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Daily Inspiration: Meet Tsai-Ann Yawching

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tsai-Ann Yawching.

Tsai-Ann, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I went to undergraduate at Lebanon Valley College for Business Administration and Accounting, however, while attending school I joined a sorority my sophomore year – Alpha Sigma Tau.

I quickly was nominated and appointed to leadership positions, and soon enough I was holding two executive positions, one director position, and one assistant chair position; in these roles, I was planning or assisted to plan every event for the sorority – from fundraisers to philanthropy to mixers to formal, I planned it all. I fell in LOVE with planning events, and I wanted to know what kind of career could be built from this skill set.

In my junior year of college, I went on to intern with the Harrisburg branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) where I was able to assist the office in planning their annual spring gala. I did everything from picking up silent auction items from local businesses to deciding on decor options to helping manage volunteers the night of. From here I was instantly hooked on event planning and coordination.

After graduation, I wanted to move forward within the events industry, and I has the privilege of working at a wedding venue for a year where I served as the events assistant but was heavily involved in the event planning process and sales processes alongside the main event coordinator. While I loved weddings, I wanted to expand my horizon past weddings in the realm of weddings.

I moved on to higher education by joining the events team in the Office of Institutional Advancement at UMBC. During my time at UMBC, I worked on the events team for four and a half years assisting with alumni/donor/community/corporate relations events as well as university events (i.e. Homecoming, Commencement, and Convocation).

What I loved the most about weddings was getting to know clients and their families throughout the planning process – and then playing a large role in one of their happiest days. Alumni engagement events have allowed me to work closely with alumni and help them enjoy a day of reconnection, celebration, or fundraising. My favorite alumni engagement event that I was able to plan & execute at UMBC was the Chapter of Young Alumni’s Wine Tasting & Silent Auction.

The planning is elaborate and complicated, and I worked very closely alongside the Chapter of Young Alumni. Because I love working so closely with people, I have moved forward from UMBC’s institutional advancement toward alumni engagement at Goucher College.

I joined the Advancement team at Goucher this past April as the Assistant Director of Alumnae/Engagement & Philanthropy where I have already been able to coordinate events for seniors (such as Cappy Hour – a cap decorating happy hour) and regional events in various cities for young alumni under the Gophers In The City event series.

While my professional career has moved away from solely event logistics, I am happy to still have event planning and coordinating as a large part of my job, as well as now planning the programmatic areas and understanding what events or communications young alumni would like to engage in.

Weddings have still managed to hold a large part of my heart even as I wandered into higher education events in my professional career. Because weddings are so magical and special, and I truly love guiding clients through the process or being trusted to ensure that their day is as amazing as possible – I began to do partial planning and day-of coordination on my own.

It all started with my best friend’s wedding, while being Maid of Honor, my best friend used her resources (me) and we planned her wedding together. While her wedding planning came first, my first day-of coordination gig all on my own was in January 2019. I was referred to this couple by a co-worker at UMBC and a long-time wedding photographer.

Between the glowing review received from the couple, and the anticipating wedding of my best friend (where I would be playing the double duty of day-of coordinator & maid of honor) I decided to launch my event planning Instagram in an attempt to gain traction and see if I could do more wedding planning & coordination on my own in addition to my full-time job.

I have been able to plan several weddings between 2019 – 2022 on my own (with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), with my packages varying from day-of coordination only to partial planning and wedding design to full planning and coordination services. I absolutely love being able to plan and run events in both my full-time job and on my own!

My favorite parts of weddings are:
1) getting to know my clients in order to bring their vision to life.
2) sending bridal parties and couples down the aisle for the ceremony processional.
3) sending the couple down the send-off aisle!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The biggest challenge has been getting friends, friends of friends, and strangers to trust me to provide them with an amazing wedding day experience.

It is hard enough as a young professional, but even harder when I don’t have hundreds of reviews or even a website to help support my case. I have reviews and photos from the weddings that I have done, and I do post them on my Instagram – but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

There are so many amazing vendors in the field, so it’s hard to convince prospective clients to go with the trusted choice by their friends or coworkers instead of an established veteran with thousands of followers.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Wedding Planning & Coordination

I am proud of all of the weddings that I have serviced, each couple is so unique, different, and one-of-kind that no two weddings are alike. Also means that no wedding faces the same hiccups that I have to quickly solve and push forward past.

I truly love being able to take the stress from clients on their big day so that they may truly enjoy it! My motto is that
“Things will go wrongs, it is my job that you [the clients] don’t know what, when, where, or how.”

What sets me apart from others is that I am picky about what weddings I take within a calendar year – I want to make sure that I am scheduling myself in a way that allows me to always bring my best self to every meeting, phone call, email, and rehearsal, and wedding.

I do not overbook or overschedule myself. And lastly, I take personal pride in each wedding that I assist with as if it were my best friend’s wedding all over again.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
The quality I feel is most important to my success is -time management: I not only work full time but I also volunteer heavily with my sorority (previously as an advisor for two and a half years at Lebanon Valley College, and very recently elected to the national board) while also in graduate school for my master’s.

I have to be able to manage my time well in order to bring my best self to each and every compartment of my life -interpersonal skills: if we are not best friends before we have started the planning process, we will be once your wedding day comes. I want to hear about it all, your attire, your thoughts when walking through the venue, all of it!

I am also able to hold small talk with Grandma, Aunts, and Uncles during the rehearsal. Leadership: I am able to command a room full of bridal party members and family members in two seconds in order to get them in order to line up for the ceremony rehearsal.

I have to be comfortable with giving orders politely but firmly to any staff to ensure that the wedding is set up correctly and running smoothly

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @eventsbytsaiann

Image Credits
Marylana Demond Alexa and Wild Native Photo

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