Filosophi's Erin Bishop on why people love weddings (and other things)

Erin Bishop is an award winning wedding planner based in Vancouver, BC. She started Filosophi Weddings in 2010 with a goal: to give every bride a completely stunning, personalized and unique wedding that is anything but stereotypical. Erin is an industry leader, renowned for putting on a show that's a little bit different. I sat down with her and her pup, Frances, at Filosophi's headquarters in downtown Vancouver.

So tell me how you got into the business?

I was working at Earl’s while I was in college and Earl's was asked to cater a chamber of commerce dinner. I was at the event and I was totally interested in aspects beyond the catering, like the layout, the décor, entertainment and so on. So the next year when we got asked to do it again I said I’d really love to help with the layout and some of the other aspects of the planning. I just found I naturally had thoughts and ideas on how to make it great - it was really fun, I loved it and it went so well. I sent some cold emails and managed the get a job as a day of assistant with a great company called DreamGroup Productions and just kind of worked my way up to doing day-of coordination and then full planning. And that's how it all began

So you started with a corporate event, but Filosophi's specialty is getting people hitched. Why weddings?

There’s sort of an emotional get back with the wedding that's unlike any other job. I mean maybe if you're a surgeon you probably also have this kind of gratitude after, but to have a client where you went to work and you did your job and at the end of it they’re saying “wow that was the best day of my life,” and “I love you and I’m going to miss you so much”, is pretty exceptional, and it’s that sort of connection with people draws me to it. When I started to really see that, I knew that's what I wanted my job to be. 

What is it about weddings that makes them different from other events?

Marriage is such an iconic thing. It's kind of miraculous that it still even happens in the way of the world now, you know where were relationships and love are a little more…fickle. With all the options that people have in the world, deciding that they're going to make this commitment to each other is just enthralling for everyone to watch and its’ inspiring, as cheesy as that sounds. At a wedding the guests are like a spider web out from these two people and the dynamic that that creates where everyone has these two people in common is just really cool and different.

So not everyone gets a planner for their big day.

So Sad but true.

A lot of people think they can plan a wedding themselves. Why should people get a planner?

Party planning is not rocket science. Anybody can plan a wedding and I totally believe that. It's just how hard or how easy do you want that to be for yourself and how good do you want it to be.

Like any job of any kind or any task in life the more you do something the better you get at it, and as a planner you get to become an expert in the field. Getting a planner is giving you the gift of time more than anything else. We have our clients quite involved in the planning process but we'll do all of the sort of backend, administrative, no-fun stuff to match people with vendors who fit their budget and style.

It's a gift you're giving yourself because you you can kind of let go of the reins and actually just enjoy the day and focus on getting married. But it's also a big gift to your bridesmaids and to your Auntie Sally and your mom and whoever else would otherwise have to help. 

So who's your ideal client?

Filosophi is known for is diversity in style – we don’t just do vintage or just do rustic, or just do classic, I’d like to think there is no client that isn’t for us. Stylistically they're not super tied to anything too traditional. They have a taste and a style that maybe can be seen in their home or how they dress. Most importantly their biggest priorities are to do with the guest experience, making it about the people that they're bringing together, and ensuring they all have an amazing time. Those people are the people who I personally tend to resonate with the most, where we can come back to that with every decision we make. We're in ballrooms, we're in fields, we’re in backyards and we’re in art galleries, but always we are with clients who want to create a night that is an amazing experience for everyone, themselves included. 

What do you do with your spare time?

I co-founded and co-manage Side One, which is basically the coolest and best event band in the city. And in other cities, as we’ve recently expanded to Calgary, Toronto and Seattle. The end product is amazing, they put on a great show and they do a really good mix of music that's never cheesy. It’s work, I know, but I’m super passionate about it and spend almost all of my non-Filosophi time working on marketing, sales and HR for Side One. Its my other baby.

But, one can’t always be working, so in my actual, very limited spare time, I love hanging with my three legged dog, watching/listening to baseball, and travelling. I love reading, and in the last few years I’ve fallen in love with podcasts. I'm not overly athletic - I feel like I should be saying I exercise, but I never (ever) go to the gym. Walking the dog is as exercisey as I get! I also love animals, and art – I have a side business at the moment painting pet portraits. Random, I know. It’d be ridiculous for me not to mention that I love Instagram in my spare time, and have way too many accounts - @filosophi, @sideoneband, @loyalcollection, @francesthedesi, @vancouverlocal and @saidseb