Award-Winning Wedding Planner Danielle Leilani Shares Her Industry Knowledge

Behind all the “I Dos” is a dedicated team of wedding planners ensuring that every client’s special day goes off without a hitch – and no one does it better than Leilani Weddings.

Danielle Leilani, founder of Leilani Weddings, The BachBox, and The Leilani Method, was twenty-three years old when she felt plagued by the infamous “quarter-life crisis.” Searching for a new path and researching the wedding planning industry, she hit the ground running and has never looked back. Her now award-winning wedding planning and lifestyle brand, Leilani Weddings, specializes in creating dream weddings and events for the modern boho couple. In just six short years, the Leilani Weddings team has seamlessly planned, designed, and executed 350 events, establishing her company as the go-to for “the stylish bride celebrating universal love.”

Read below for an exclusive Q&A with Danielle herself!

What inspired you to switch industries and career paths, and pursue wedding planning wholeheartedly?

I’ve loved writing + fashion for as long as I can remember. I studied journalism + anthropology in college; it’s what my Bachelor of Arts is in. But as I tried out both career paths, neither really felt right to me. I needed something a little more — chaotic, I think lol. When I discovered events, the hustle + bustle really is what drew me in. It automatically intrigued me. Luckily, I’ve been able to incorporate my passions of writing + fashion into what I do as a wedding planner + creative entrepreneur in the space. It’s been a really cool evolution.

You have built such a thriving and growing business in such a short period of time, and amongst challenges, a testament to your passion and dedication for your craft. How has your company evolved and continued to adapt to your industry, and the changes that COVID-19 may have imposed on weddings overall?

Well first off, thank you so much! It’s been a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears! Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life, but also the most rewarding. 90% of our events were postponed in 2020+2021 — it was certainly a change + a bit of a hardship, but I knew that I had built a solid enough brand that would withstand the challenge. I actually started live streaming full-time in 2020, and created an online space for like-minded females. It was a nice little break, to be honest. My business never stopped running, and that’s because I had built a brand — not just a company. But since events were on hold, I could really kind of take a pause that year, and gear up for our next chapter. 

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about the wedding planning world?

That it’s all butterflies + rainbows! That as wedding planners, all we do is play with dresses + flowers all day. That’s far from the truth! Forbes names event planner as one of the most stressful jobs next to military + pilot — every single year. There’s a reason for that! The stakes are high, we deal with large sums of money, and emotions are at an all-time high. The industry is definitely not for the faint of heart. 

How do you maintain balance while running a company and, of course, trying to lead a personal life?

My number one secret is that I truly love what I do! I genuinely wake up every day excited to get to my computer + make moves. Of course, I’m human, so I have my moments of doubt + discouragement — I’m a Scorpio, so I certainly feel emotions deeply — but I’m able to quickly work through them because I have a big vision and big goals. I also have some pretty amazing clients, and they make it all worth it. 

When do you feel most creative and inspired as a CEO?

When I’m traveling! I spend most of my time in Los Angeles right now, but I really would consider myself a true nomad. I enjoy traveling often, staying weeks at a time in places like Santa Cruz, Costa Rica, or Tulum, Mexico. One of my favorite things to do in the world is work remotely. I remember the first time I traveled to Europe — it was 2017 + I was in Spain. I took a consultation call on the cobblestone steps right outside of a tapas restaurant. That’s the first time I really felt like I had “made it.” I always wanted to live a life created by design. Something remote. A freedom lifestyle. I always say — I am so blessed that I can do what I do + run my business wherever in the world — as long as there is Wi-Fi! 

Who inspires your leadership style?

I love this question! This is going to sound hilarious, but I like to think of myself as a cross between Meghan Markle + Gordon Ramsay, with a little bit of Oprah + Gary Vaynerchuk mixed in there! I can definitely be tough, and have extremely high standards, but I’m also really down-to-earth, free-spirited + fun. At this point of life, I know myself pretty well + I know that it takes some quality time to truly understand my personality. And once you do, you either love it or hate it. And I’m more than ok with that. 

What is your advice for other CEOs in your space?

I could probably write at least three how-to books (and I will within the next decade!), but it starts with getting hands-on experience. Don’t be afraid to be a mentee first — which sometimes means working at a lower rate, or even for free. When I first started in the industry, I had a bachelor of arts degree that I went to school for five years for. But when I decided to get into weddings + events, I had to work my way up. Start from zero. So my advice to you: Put the ego aside. Put in the work. Stay consistent. Keep a thick skin. Don’t take things personally. And when you think you’re doing well — do better.


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