BABE #308: KATY TURCHICH - Owner, Coastal Coordinating
Katy’s first internship in the wedding industry gave her a glimpse into a world she’d soon fall in love with—and devote many long hours, late nights and weekends to. Years later, she combined her wealth of experience and passion for the craft to open Coastal Coordinating: a full-service wedding and event planning company. Katy and her team are dedicated to building strong relationships and providing exceptional service to the lucky couples that trust them with their very special day. With thousands of weddings under their belt, it’s safe to say they’re doing a damn good job.
Hometown: Massillon, Ohio
Current city: Jacksonville, FL; Palm Harbor, FL
Alma mater: Ohio State University — Go Buckeyes!
Degree: B.A., Business and Hotel Management
Very first job: Wedding and Event Manager, Marriott Football Hall of Fame
Hustle: Owner and Wedding Planner, Coastal Coordinating
Babe you admire and why?
Christina Karst; She is amazing and a true babe. She beats to her own drum and has built a photography empire for herself. She also always stays true to herself which is rare and can be hard to do. She is fierce, kind, and fun.
How do you spend your ‘free’ time?
I LOVE pool floats and whenever I have free time I love to lay and relax in the pool. Fun Fact: I currently own 37.
Go-to coffee order and/or adult beverage?
I love straight black coffee. The Stronger the better. For an adult beverage, I love frozen rose.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Indian Food or Mexican—the spicier the better.
What’s something you want to learn or master?
Any other language; I’d love to be at least bilingual.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Tom Petty for sure—I love his free spirit and am a huge fan of his music. I’m so, so sad I never got to attend a concert!
What’s something most don’t know about you?
I struggle with anxiety. I’ve learned how to cope with it on my own and make my life function without medication. When you meet me you would never know I have anxiety—and few know that I do.
Tell us about your hustle, providing an overview of your job and roles.
I am the owner of Coastal Coordinating, the leader of 28 wonderful, fierce women and a wedding planner/event planner/boss/owner. Up until this year, I personally worked over 60 weddings a year as a full wedding planner and day-of coordinator. Today, I work only 2 to 3 weddings a month, and focus more on leading the team. I own several Coastals—two being in Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, with Orlando and Tampa as two newer branches. I also recently took on a new role as a bonus mom, which is probably one of the hardest roles in my life, but it’s so rewarding.
What does your typical workday look like? Which various ‘hats’ do you wear throughout the day?
My workday is never truly the same, which I love. I wake up early (occasionally hitting the snooze button,) grab a cup or two of coffee, and then answer emails, texts, voicemails, and messages via social media first. On a perfect day, I get them down to under 10—but that’s a true task to reach on a normal day. On weekdays, I meet with potential clients, do planning meetings with current clients, attend design and floral meetings, conduct final walk-throughs. During a wedding day I pack supplies and decor for the day, check-in with my couple and their parties, as well as check-in on hair and make up. Once we can access the venue, we set up and design the day, then manage the day from start to finish. After a perfect day, we pack up and check out with the venue. If I’m lucky I head home and go to sleep—anyone that knows me knows my sleep patterns are crazy, and I can function on an hour of sleep. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit? What inspired you to start your own biz?
Always! I have always had a desire and a passion for entrepreneurship. Freedom to do it my way and create a life based on my passion inspired me to start my own business. I always knew I would start my own brand and company — I honestly didn’t realize it would happen so soon, or so fast.
Specifically, what inspired Coastal Coordinating? What has the evolution of the business been like since you created it, and what was the most important piece of your vision for it?
I started out working for another local wedding company, then entered the corporate world doing HR and wedding planning. I honestly loved it, but fate had other plans for me. One day, a friend called and said he wanted me to be the wedding planner for one of his best friends, and I said “absolutely.” I met the bride and fell in love with her—she was the best. From there, I started to meet with my old vendors who then started to refer me. It was a very organic start—and that’s how Coastal Coordinating was born!
What sets Coastal Coordinating apart from other wedding and event planning companies?
Honestly, I have an amazing staff who just loves what they do. There are times when we answer phone calls at 5am or even past 11pm—we build such strong relationships with our couples that we could never not answer. I think we’re also unique because we do events all over, and in different cities. It keeps our minds going and up-to-date on trends and venue styles.
Similarly, what’s your process for fostering and maintaining connections with vendors? What do you look for (and not look for) in a vendor?
My vendor relationships are some of my favorite things about the job. We work lots of nights and lots of weekends, so having the best vendor team is crucial. I think the most important thing with fostering relationships with vendors is just getting to know them personally and professionally. Taking the time to get to know someone really makes a difference. We want all of our vendors to be happy and ensure the night goes smoothly, so we always help where we can. I also want to make sure that my vendor team is having fun, because having a fun night is so important. (Have you seen our vendor dance off highlight on insta?!)
How do you stay organized and on top of deadlines while also managing your team members in the multiple cities you operate in? Are there any specific organizational tools you recommend?
I’m not a micromanager and I allow my employees to run their own events, but we have so many standards and tools in place that make it easy to succeed. I also believe in everyone showing their individual work style and learning from one another—so we brainstorm a lot! I want them all to feel a sense of ownership in what they do and inspire them to be the best they can be! Communication is definitely key here.
How have your past professional and academic experiences and lessons prepared you for the work you do today? How have they not prepared you?
I couldn’t do what I do without my previous experience. Years of education and business experience have taught me what I needed to know to succeed. I was lucky enough to do my first internship ever in weddings, and it taught me so much—I knew that I wanted to be a wedding planner or an event planner for the rest of my life. Without the fundamentals I learned early on, I don’t know if I would know what I know today. I also worked for Hilton—one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for. It taught me how a corporation works, which really helped me grow my business. They also taught me all about client relationships and why it is so important to make genuine connections. It was the best sales experience, hands-down, that I could ever ask for. As much as I love having a small business, I don’t think my company would have grown to be where it is today without my past experience.
What would you say is your biggest career milestone to date and why?
I’m actually blown away because I’ve had so many milestones that I never thought that I would reach so fast. Early on in my career, I really wanted to do a wedding at the Don Cesar hotel in St. Pete, FL—it’s a dream property. The day that I got hired for a wedding there, I cried. The next day, I made a new milestone goal. I believe that if you put it into the world, you can make it happen. I set milestones for myself all the time, and we’ve had some amazing moments happen this month: a destination wedding in Italy, getting published in a national wedding planning book, doing an amazing podcast, and being spotlighted in The Knot’s Hall of Fame. I still pinch myself every day. I’m blessed.
How would you say being a woman has affected your professional experience? What can we do to create more equal, uplifting (and well-paying!) spaces for women in your industry?
I’ve always worked in environments where the men were the bosses. I think if anything, it just motivated me to focus on what I wanted. I want to be a boss and inspire women to do the same in life. No negative talks or thoughts. I want my girls to feel like they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. I love the whole movement of community over competition; I’ve always felt like there is room for everyone in this industry. We all bring so much to the table and have different styles!
What’s the gender ratio like in your industry? Do you see it evolving? Why or why not?
As a wedding planner and coordinator, I’d say about the ratio is about 90% women to 10% men, but in the industry alone I’d say it’s more like 60% women and 40% men. I honestly don’t see it changing much. There are a few male wedding planners that are awesome, but they’re few and far in between.
What are some common misconceptions about your job? What are some struggles we might not see?
I think the main misconception is that I’m always stressed. I’m not. I can take on a lot. Also, most people think this is a glamorous job all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and have so much fun, but there are some long hours put in, and we’re always on our feet. We give our nights and weekends up to make the dreams of others a reality—there is a lot that we give up in our personal lives. I’ve learned to live my life differently, and it works well.
What is one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your work? How’d you overcome it?
I give up a ton of my time with family and special events to make this dream a reality. I miss weddings and celebrations in my own friends’ and family’s lives. My loved ones miss me at these special occasions as well, but are supportive and understanding.
What would you say is your biggest strength in your role? What would you say is the skill you most need to improve?
I think either multitasking or my eye for detail is my strength for sure. Also, my memory! I can remember every detail, every past client, and everything important. As for improvements, I definitely need to improve on my grammar skills. They’re pretty scary—but I always, at least, spell check and talk-to-text. I love it, but my employees aren’t always fans.
What does your approach to work/life balance look like? How do you unplug and unwind?
I usually unwind in the pool or I get a massage. I also love binge watching Bravo Tv!
Career and/or life advice for other babes (both inside and outside of you industry?)
Be strong and always lead with integrity. Be yourself— it will draw people to you, and you will succeed.
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