For Kimberly Klassen, it all started with a dream and a Pinterest board.
The Recreation Administration senior, who is working on her certificate in Special Event Planning, smiles fondly as she remembers what inspired her to join the wedding industry.
“To be honest, it all started when I got my first Pinterest account,” Klassen said with a laugh, “I started to look at what was feasible, how much a wedding would cost, and got really detailed in my planning. That’s when I realized it was something fun and something I loved doing.”
Initially, Klassen had no idea a Recreation Administration major even existed. As she was applying for colleges, she searched for a wedding planner degree and stumbled upon Fresno State’s event planning certificate. She said it was the perfect fit in helping to achieve her dream of one day becoming a professional wedding coordinator.
Wanting to make her own mark in the wedding industry, Klassen took a leap of faith and officially opened up her own wedding planning business, Ever After Events, in the fall of 2019. For Klassen, who was still two semesters shy of graduating with her event planning certificate, the decision was a risky one, but she said the unconditional support from her mentors in the Department of Recreation Administration gave her the push she needed.
“Kimmie is the increasingly rare student who says she wants to start a business in the industry she loves and then just gets to work to make it happen,” said Justin Buchert, a lecturer in the Department of Recreation Administration. “She has a great personality and so much positive energy – necessary attributes for the event planning industry.
She is already working with different clients around the state and planning events as she is developing her business model – she is on her way to owning and running a successful business. I am super proud of her!”
Ever After Events specializes in creating, organizing, and facilitating weddings for engaged couples throughout the Central Valley. The locally owned company offers a variety of affordable packages to accommodate a wide array of couples. From creating dream boards to making sure the day-of runs smoothly, Klassen and Ever After Events can do it all.
“I think what sets my business apart from others is the way I communicate with the brides,” Klassen said. “They may not know all the terminology or may feel overwhelmed by the process, so I want to be there to guide and teach them.”
A significant aspect to Klassen’s business venture has been keeping her connections local. As a Kingsburg native, she knows the importance of community and partnership. She currently employs two assistants for her business, one of whom she met within her major. She believes the relationships she has established in the Recreation Administration department are one of a kind.
“In the Recreation Administration major, you are able to make personal relationships with everyone in your classes as well as with your professors,” Klassen said.
So far, Klassen has successfully coordinated three weddings since obtaining her official business license. With each event, the young entrepreneur has adjusted her approach to the wedding industry to become as efficient as possible. When in doubt, she relies on the knowledge she has gained from her courses to help improve the framework of her business.
The certificate in Special Event Planning is designed to prepare students to effectively plan and execute large-scale community events. Klassen believes the knowledge she acquired has really given her an edge in the industry. When she is not busily planning weddings for future brides, Klassen can be found at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, where she works as an event coordinator, helping to facilitate birthday parties and other special events.
In the fall of 2020, Klassen will take another leap of faith – this time to Colorado, where she hopes to intern with a local wedding company.
To learn more about the Fresno State Special Event Planning certificate, visit http://fresnostate.edu/chhs/recreation/degrees-certificates/certificates.html.
-Written by Kelsey Lyman, CHHS Student Writer
-Photos provided by Kimberly Klassen