Talk about finding JOY in your career! I had the pleasure to sit down with Joy Orr, owner of Bride and Joy & The Refinery, an elegant event space and bridal rental company in Culpeper.
What brought you to this career?
I got experience with buying and then selling decor and items for my own wedding, and then realized I could make a business out of it. A local business in Culpeper had a contest offering a discounted rental space for companies willing to submit their business plans, and I won! Bride & Joy started with buying and selling/renting wedding décor to brides, and after several moves to new locations, eventually grew to become an event space as brides came in to rent items and fell in love with the space. The business continues to grow, and by the end of this year I plan to focus solely on the event space upstairs from Bride & Joy, called the Refinery. This is an elegant space and is great for weddings, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, or company events.
What is your most memorable experience?
I truly love getting to know each bride that I work with very well as I learn about them, their special day, and how I can help in the coordination of it. I also appreciate the many thank you letters or texts from brides after the wedding thanking my team and I for all of the hard work put in. I see hand-written letters as a lost art form, and these are very special for me to receive.
What is a typical day like for you?
No day is exactly the same for me, and I like this variety! It suits me, my husband, and my daughter to have this flexibility and to be able to work from home sometimes. I have several people that I contract out to help me coordinate and set up events as well as clean, usually on the weekends. Generally, on Mondays the bridal rentals come back in, Tuesdays are for cleaning and prepping, Wednesdays we pack more rentals, and Thursdays the rentals go out to the brides. Over time and experience, I’ve learned how to prioritize what needs to get done first, what things I can delegate to others, and the best timeline to follow.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that there is a definite end-point to my work and I can see the final product at the end: a beautiful space set up for a bridal shower, seeing the wedding plans come together, etc… I enjoy the excitement of working with brides who are so enthusiastic about their special day. I also have come to enjoy being an advocate for brides or diffusing situations when brides and their bridal party/family don’t see eye to eye on something.
What advice would you give for someone looking to pursue a similar career?
No job is too small. Especially when you are just starting out, take every job, treat every bride the same, because you never know the connections that each person might have. I also have learned a balance for myself of dedication to my work and self-care. Work harder than you think you should be, but also take breaks when you need them. I am living this out as I’m planning for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica, where I used to teach!
What education/certifications, skills or experiences have helped you in your career?
I transferred from community college to James Madison University and graduated with a degree in English. My life and prior work experiences have been the most influential to me in my business. A combination of my own wedding planning experience, teaching and running a classroom, management roles in customer service/food industry, and having good bosses have helped me learn how to lead people well and treat customers well.
This week on our Facebook Live video, we continued our College Planning series talking about tips for writing your college essay. This is an important part of the application process because it catches the eye of the admissions board and it can be used for scholarships too. It’s important to remember to show the person who you are vs tell them who you are in your essay. This can be done by telling a story vs listing your traits or things you’ve done in a matter of fact way. In storytelling, you want to describe what you saw, heard, tasted, touched, and felt. Your story doesn’t have to be a momentous experience; it could be a hobby, trip, or conversation, as long as it puts people in your shoes. What did that experience do for you; how did it make you who you are? We’ve also included a link for a resource about some other types of college essays. Let us know if you have any questions- we would love to hear from you! You can comment on our Facebook video or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.