Today we’d like to introduce you to Maggie Burns.
Hi Maggie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Between the ages of 13 and 23, I was in a dozen weddings. But it never crossed my mind until I planned my own wedding that this was something I could do for a living.
In August of 2011, I got engaged. About 10 days later my now-husband and I moved to Nashville while planning for our wedding in Pittsburgh the following March. There were a lot of logistics involved in planning a wedding from 550 miles away. During that process, I learned that I was good at logistics in general, and great with small details specifically. There were a lot of moving parts and my heart was full. In January of 2013, Ad Astra Events was born.
What started off as part-time planning for friends and family quickly grew. As planning consumed more of my time, I considered leaving my day job and taking the (terrifying) plunge into full-time business ownership. Around that same time, I was offered an incredible job that I couldn’t turn down. It was the second time I’d be the Director of a company and I was just 29 years old. It was clear to me: Weddings would need to be pushed to the back burner. I served in that role for a year and a half and planned two weddings in that time. I was so unexpectedly overcome by grief after the last one. It wasn’t until I didn’t have any current clients that I realized I wasn’t nearly as happy as I could be.
In the fall of 2018, I left my job and went into Ad Astra full-time. I have a hard time understanding if that first year was hard or not. I think I felt like it was challenging at the time, but looking back now, it was not nearly as difficult as 2020 was. In the first year of being a solopreneur, I expanded my services and built the business. I leaned on the skills I learned from my former Director role. I applied all of the logistical skills to set up a company. I expanded into designing weddings as well as planning them. But the honeymoon phase came to a screeching halt just 17 months later when a global pandemic not only shut down my entire industry but changed everything about what my job entailed.
There’s still a lot I want to accomplish with Ad Astra. But as I look back at where I started and where I am today, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s humbling to run a thriving business – especially because it was way harder than I thought it would be. But every day I’m filled with joy because I can continue doing what I’m passionate about planning and designing weddings that make bridesmaids everywhere jealous!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Owning a business during a global pandemic has been incredibly challenging. I was a full-time business owner for just 17 months before COVID hit Tennessee.
In March of 2020, everything shut down entirely. Because of government mandates, many couples were turning to me, to try to figure out how to get them married. Those first six weeks were definitely the hardest. I became a coach, a counselor, and a therapist. Definitely not things I’m naturally good at. But at this point in time, I’ve planned more weddings for “COVID Couples” than not. I’ve gotten good at coaching couples through grief and allowing them to feel the emotion and weight of everything while still problem-solving and creating options. While doing all of that, there was the background work of trying to keep the business afloat financially. It was a constant juggling act.
While 2020 was filled with planning, un-planning, and re-planning, 2021 has provided its own set of new hurdles and difficulties. Everyone kept getting engaged and no one got married! Now everyone wants to get married and the demand and workload on the industry as a whole is astounding. You’d be hard pressed to find a vendor who is not doing at least double their regular workload than their average, pre-COVID fall workload. The “wedding boom” is real and it’s exhausting!
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Ad Astra Events is a wedding and event planning business that specializes in planning and designing events that make bridesmaids everywhere jealous. The idea is to have not just a beautiful wedding, but more importantly a bride who has zero stress on the day of her wedding. So much so that her Bride Tribe is envious of the experience and in awe of how she did it all.
We pride ourselves on clear, concise communication with the couple and also with the vendor team. We have been told by vendors in the industry that our level of detail and thought is unparalleled. This stems from a deep passion for service.
Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I have found the best way to make connections is to be an active listener. It’s easy to slip into passive listening, but when you actually hear what people are saying and ask great questions, the relationship can bloom. Here are some questions I ask other vendors: Where do you hope to be in 5 years? What’s the hardest thing you’re currently working on? What are you looking forward to right now? How can I help you achieve your goals? What needs to happen to make the hardest thing you’re doing easier?
- Event Management Packages start at $2,050.
- Planning & Design Packages are completely customized based on client needs with pricing that varies.
- Email: maggie@adastraeventsLLC.com
- Website: www.adastraeventsLLC.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adastraevents/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adastraevents
John Myers Photography, Paul Rowland Photography, Allen Clark Photography, Courtney Davidson Photography, and Gabrielle VonHeyking Photography