In her portfolio submission to the Association of Bridal Consultants panel in charge of choosing the 2012 Master Bridal Consultants, Special Moment’s Tammy Waterman included photographs and details of a Nigerian wedding she planned for 500 guests.
PINELLAS PARK – A wedding on a Sarasota-area island that isn’t accessible by land. A gathering of 350 in a hangar at St. Petersburg’s Albert Whitted Airport as a happy couple exchanged vows. A Tarpon Springs outdoor celebration during Hurricane Sandy.
Wedding planner Tammy Waterman, owner of Pinellas Park’s Special Moments, will try just about anything once when coordinating an event.
“I like the more adventurous weddings,” she said. “Not everyone would do [events] like those.”
The key to pulling them off successfully is thinking outside the box and remembering it’s all about making her clients’ wedding day special, she added.
It’s because of Waterman’s creativity and unwavering enthusiasm that she was recently designated a Master Bridal Consultant by the Association of Bridal Consultants. She’s the first event organizer in the Tampa Bay area to receive the honor. There are only nine MBCs in Florida, and just 70 worldwide.
In order to earn the designation, Waterman had to present a portfolio of a wedding she had planned from start to finish. A no-brainer, she decided to present an event she was especially proud of: a Nigerian wedding for more than 500 guests at the University of South Florida’s Botanical Gardens that she planned on a budget of $75,000.
“That was quite a challenging wedding,” she said. “It was a huge learning experience, but it was a beautiful event.”
It took her over a year just to compile everything she needed for the portfolio: letters from vendors, photographs from the event, essays she’d written to display her industry expertise. In addition, she also was interviewed and juried by a panel of Master Consultants from across the country.
“There was so much information to collect for it,” Waterman said. “So much work went into this. It was not an easy job. And the whole interviewing process was very intimidating.” This was her second attempt at attaining the Master Bridal Consultant designation. This year, she said, “there were 18 of us [who applied] and only nine made it.”
Just as meaningful to Waterman is another award she received from the association: the 2011 Ms. Dorothy Penner Heart Award.
“It recognizes passion and excellence in the field,” she said. “And it means more because you have to be nominated by your peers to receive it.”
Waterman got her start in wedding planning on a whim, simply because she thought it looked like fun. So, in 2001, while working a day job at a dry cleaning company, she started coordinating weddings on the side. As her lists of clients and professional contacts grew, she eventually decided to focus full time on wedding planning.
Her favorite part of the job is the connection she forges with her clients, who soon become friends. Some couples, such as the couple from the Nigerian wedding, she speaks to daily to ensure their wedding day goes smoothly. The couples often keep in touch after the wedding, some asking her to share in other special moments and milestones in their lives: birthdays, baby showers, first communions, sweet sixteens, anniversaries.
“My favorite part of the wedding day: After the couple walks back down the aisle, we’re the first to greet them,” Waterman said.