Hello everyone! My name is Amanda Hudes, and I am the Founder of Smiling Through Chaos. My goal in life is to help people become the best version of themselves and stress less, handling the big events in their lives and helping them feel amazing. AMA!

Amanda Hudes
Jul 9, 2018

My name is Amanda Hudes, and I am the Founder of Smiling Through Chaos. My focus is on seamlessly planning and managing large events while helping my clients look and feel their best for the special day. How do I do that? Through nutrition and exercise guidance, relaxation techniques, and motivation through truly listening.

I am certified in several areas of health and wellness (find out more at www.smilingthroughchaos.com) and love helping people become more energized and just feel great about themselves and have become known for helping clients lose weight quickly in a healthy way.

Ask Me Anything! 

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What elements are currently making the biggest impact on ambience when it comes to weddings?
Jul 16, 6:48AM EDT0
What can you tell about your Facebook movement Bringing Nice Back?
Jul 15, 9:49PM EDT0

Thanks so much for asking! "Bringing Nice Back" was created a few months ago. With so much negativity right now in the world of politics, in schools and social media, and just in daily life, I wanted a type of sanctuary where people can go and see positivity that will uplift them, little reminders that there are still great people out there who do nice things. Sometimes it can be difficult for people to smile through the chaos, so this page helps to remind people that there are so many wonderful things that happen each day. Please join and spread the word!

Jul 15, 10:04PM EDT0
When doing a wedding, do you have favorite vendors that you prefer to work with? Will you go outside of that list?
Jul 15, 7:07PM EDT0

Hi Sagar! I do have vendors who have proven great to work with and who I have become close with as a result of our personalities meshing well together and both of us working very hard for our clients. However, I do not recommend them for every client because I make recommendations based on what is right for that particular client. I love meeting new vendors and working with new people! It's all about the right fit for that specific event.

Jul 15, 10:01PM EDT0
What types of venues have you planned weddings in?
Jul 14, 7:47PM EDT0

Great question! Every venue is so different from the next! I have planned in venues that are wineries, elaborate venues with huge chandeliers, rustic and modern...all types!

Jul 14, 7:50PM EDT0
Do you work alone or do you have a support team that helps you?
Jul 14, 12:10AM EDT0

Hi Dennis,

I work with a team on each event, but the teams are different because the needs are different. On Event Planning, I work alone, but if the event has 250+ guests, I have an assistant with me that day as well. 

Jul 14, 6:07PM EDT0
What are your most effective techniques for pevent planning?
Jul 13, 5:47PM EDT0

Sorry - I'm not clear on the question....?

Jul 13, 6:41PM EDT0
Do you charge a flat rate for your services or a percentage based on budget? How do you determine the cost of your services?
Jul 13, 4:40PM EDT0

Very interesting you ask that because I recently was toggling (in my mind) between both options. You see, some events end up taking double the amount of time as others, but it's not always because it's a higher budget. In fact, sometimes the smaller budgets actually take more hours! It really depends on the event and the client(s). The problem with percentage based on budget is that the fee isn't set in stone from the start. To further clarify, the budget sometimes increases, and it sometimes decreases, with time, so that would mean I would either be paid at the very end (which I don't like) or the amounts would keep changing, which would mean I would be spending time on that as well. Thus, for now, I charge a flat rate for each service. 

To determine the cost of my services, I do competitive research, I listen to my clients and potential clients, and I weigh everything I put into an event to determine the best price for Smiling Through Chaos services.

Jul 13, 6:41PM EDT0
How is the process of planning an event?
Jul 13, 2:14PM EDT0

Hi Rahul,

Do you mean what goes into planning an event or how do I feel about it? Please let me know and I'd be happy to answer -thanks!

Jul 13, 6:42PM EDT0
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Jul 12, 4:24PM EDT0

I wouldn't call myself the expert of entrepreurship, but for me personally, having the will to make things happen, the belief that they will, the drive, and the persistence really make the difference. That's more than 3, but I think all are really important.

Jul 12, 8:54PM EDT0

How has your journey as entrepreneur been? What was your biggest struggle setting up your business? Your greatest achievement?

Jul 12, 3:34PM EDT0

Hi Anna! It's been quite a journey, right? With new technology every day and changing tastes and requests, it's can add a challenging piece to the mix, but being an entrepreneur also allows the flexibility and freedom with time and providing the best care to my clients without any discussion with "the people setting the rules" or politics. Setting goals and achieving them is always wonderful, but when you do it as an entrepreneur, I think it's an even better feeling. 

Jul 12, 3:59PM EDT0
What motivates you? How do you generate new ideas?
Jul 12, 9:23AM EDT0

Thanks for asking! Surrounding myself with inspirational people, physically but also through social media and books, really motivates me. I also naturally, and with some work, think positively, so I can self motivate as well. 

I take inspiration from everything around, from the laughter of a baby to the artwork on the side of a NYC street. I also really listen to my clients and feed off of that to bring them new ideas. With a fashion and advertising education and background, I have the "design mind" where I am super inspired by color and design. 

Jul 12, 12:51PM EDT0
As a wedding event planner, is your work similar to a wedding coordinator? Or does an event planner goes beyond. Could you explain?
Jul 12, 3:09AM EDT0

What a fantastic question! I think this does confuse people, so I am happy to address it. Wedding Coordination is usually managing the wedding and making sure the day goes smoothly. I do Month-Of Wedding Coordination where I get started 4-6 weeks in advance and manage the timeline and vendors my client already booked, and then I work the event to make sure it goes smoothly. Event Planning is booking the vendors, setting the tone with colors, ideas, a theme if you will... Let me know if you need/want further explanation!

Jul 12, 12:54PM EDT0
What type of events does your company specialize in planning?
Jul 11, 6:32PM EDT0

Smiling Through Chaos specializes in planning weddings and other major lifetime events, those big moments.

Jul 12, 12:49PM EDT0
What makes your service different than other businesses alike?
Jul 11, 5:24PM EDT0

I think what makes any business different from the next is it's customer service and people. I really try to empathize with my clients and relate to them as best I can, whatever the situation. My actual services are very unique in that I offer everything for the client to look and feel their best in addition to planning their event.

Jul 12, 12:48PM EDT0
How many weddings do you plan per year? Per month? Per weekend?
Jul 11, 11:43AM EDT0

Hello! I never plan more than one per weekend as I like to give my full attention to each of my clients. I also like to leave the opportunity for them to request my service at other parts of their wedding, like rehearsal, after party, day after brunch, etc. It depends on the month since some are much busier than others, but I am selective of my clients just like they are of me. My business is called SMILING THROUGH CHAOS, so in order to keep that positive energy, I need to surround myself with people who will be great to work with and allow me to provide them with great service. Thus, the numbers can vary each year. I am divided of whether to provide more exact details since I was taught something a long time ago by one of the most successful people in his field: It's never about the number, it's abou the service and the relationships. So I am hesitant because I don't want you to focus on the number, if you are in this business (I'm not sure if you are), but on the clients you have instead.

Jul 12, 12:47PM EDT0
How would you like your business to evolve in the next 5 years?
Jul 10, 1:18PM EDT0

Thanks for asking, Salma! This is a major question because I come up with ideas and goals all of the time and then really focus on which I'd like to move forward. I have so much going on right now with setting up projects for the near future. I see my business evolving into a bigger version of what it is today, not in the sense where I want/need to plan 1000 weddings a year, more in the sense that I believe Smiling Through Chaos is meant to be much bigger when it comes to inspiring and motivating. It's meant to become bigger on a larger scale than in just one category. 

Jul 12, 12:57PM EDT0
Can you mention the main principles you follow to build a successful customer base?
Jul 10, 12:13PM EDT0

Hello there! The main principles I follow are honesty, reliability, authenticity, trustworthiness, hard work, and treating my clients as I would want to be treated. They refer to others, and others even just see it at the events and want to have that for their own event.

Jul 12, 12:58PM EDT0
What makes Smiling Through Chaos stand out of the crowd?
Jul 10, 7:40AM EDT0

I am an Event Planner, and I also help people look and feel their best in the process. Many Event Planners are adding another piece to their business, like fashion styling or flower arrangements, but I am certified in many areas that allow me to help my clients in all areas of their life to create a truly amazing end result. I also always try to put myself in their shoes, which not everyone does in business. I make business personal in some ways too.

Jul 10, 10:53AM EDT0
What steps do you follow to ensure your clients the best customer experience possible?
Jul 10, 6:25AM EDT0

Good morning! Organization-wise, I follow steps like when to create and email out the timeline, I add follow-up calls into my calendar and a spreadsheet that I track almost daily, and just really caring keeps me thinking about my clients often and what would make their experience amazing. 

Jul 10, 10:51AM EDT0
What have been the benefits for you of smile through chaos?
Jul 9, 9:47PM EDT0

Hi Ivan! Aaah...the benefits...my goal in life is to help others and Smiling Through Chaos helps in so many ways, from building self confidence, to feeling inspired, to walking down the aisle on their wedding day and feeling SO happy. I have always been one to smile often, and I really try to look at the positive in most situations, so when I can help others do the same, it's really a beautiful thing. 

Jul 9, 10:56PM EDT0
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