Student Success: Sirena Hopp
For many years, Sirena Hopp wanted to be a wedding planner but convinced herself that these plans weren’t conceivable ones for her future. Instead, she worked full time in a medical office handling client paperwork, studies, and surgery preparation.
After a while, Sirena finally decided to take a leap in her career, enrolling in NYIAD’s Wedding and Event Planning course. Working from home at her own pace, she was able to actively pursue the creative career of her dreams while maintaining the stability of her full time job.
Today, Sirena works full time as a wedding advisor for the American Wedding Group, helping couples book photographers, videographers DJs and much more. We recently got in touch with Sirena to chat about her journey, her career and her goals for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
1. When did you realize that wedding planning was the field you wanted to pursue?
Growing up I would always go back and forth (and back and forth again) on what I wanted to be when I grew up. The answer doesn't always come easy for most of us! I put it on the back burner for a while and thought that the answer would just come to me one day and I would figure it out then. And, it just so happened to work out that way! I concluded that I wanted to be in the wedding planning field about a year ago. I had thought about it before then but shoved it off as though it wasn't going to be possible for me. A year ago, I was working at a medical office full time and knew that it wasn't the field that I wanted to advance my career in. I decided to research and follow my dreams! That's when I chose to enroll with the Wedding and Event Planning course at NYIAD. I truly am so thrilled I did.
2. What were you working on before then?
Before NYIAD, I was working full time at a medical office. I handled client paperwork, studies, and surgery preparation for multiple doctors at the practice.
3. What was your coursework like?
My coursework was actually manageable due to the fact that I could work at my own pace, which was a life saver while working full time! I found myself eager to keep learning and advancing so I never struggled with not moving forward.
4. Was your mentor helpful during the process?
Absolutely! I always got a quick response if I had a question or needed some assistance.
5. After graduation, how did you get started with a real-world career?
The timing of finishing my course and landing my real-world career was truly phenomenal. Getting through my learning material was nothing but motivation for me to start my life and career in this industry. Anything really is possible if you want it and are willing to work and strive for it. I started applying for related jobs that I thought would be a good fit for me. I ended up getting an interview at American Wedding Group as soon as I finished up my last internship task and sent it in to be graded. I was hired shortly after and began training for my current position. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to grow and learn with this company. Months have flown by and I have already used my knowledge from the course and have been gaining real world experience.
6. What did you learn in your first years as a working professional that you wish you could’ve learned at NYIAD?
I have always been the type of person that truly learns with experience. I like to wrap my hands around it and run with it. I could study for days or months and it still wouldn't provide the same knowledge as physically learning through various scenarios and even mistakes made. I learn something new every day! I have been learning more about scheduling vendors and handling such an emotional day in someone's life. NYIAD opened my eyes to what the bones are of planning events. It gave me the general knowledge of knowing what details are needed and how the timeline would work. American Wedding Group provided me with the real world experience of consulting with clients, scheduling the day and why, and so much more!
7. Tell us about your role at the American Wedding Group.
American Wedding Group provides many services for events! I specifically work for their company called "The Pros Weddings" as a wedding advisor. I help clients book and schedule their photographers, videographers, DJs, photo booth, up lighting, and much more. I also attend various bridal shows and expos as well!
8. If you had to pick one, what was the most memorable wedding or event you’ve ever helped coordinate?
I really can't pick just one. The process of planning a wedding can be so overwhelming for some brides and grooms. It is so nice to be able to guide them through the process and take their stress away knowing that they have someone taking care of them. I love being able to connect with clients through such an emotional and special day.
9. Describe a day in your life at work!
Never the same! It definitely is not the average 9-5! Which I adore, by the way! A typical day at the office involves a lot of consultations with clients. Usually going over our photography albums, professionals we have available for them, reserving their date with us, etc. I deal with many branches across the nation so I am always busy! The Pros also host private showcases for the clients to come out and meet with our professionals and have a great night out with our company, so occasionally you can find me there. On the busy season (now), we also attend big bridal expos!
10. What’s the most rewarding part of your career?
I would say there are many rewarding aspects of my career. I find it extremely rewarding when a bride or groom lets me know how much my help has made a difference and made their lives easier. Nothing makes me happier than knowing I've helped make someone's wedding day vision come true.
11. If you could give one piece of advice to our current and prospective students, what would it be?
My advice to current/prospective students would be to never stop following your dreams and setting goals to get there! Anything truly is possible when you put your mind to it and dedicate yourself. You are powerful!