Jocelyn DeVance Warren, M.S.W., Ph.D., is the Owner and Lead Event Designer of A Paradigm Shift Event. She is a Certified Wedding Planner who is an experienced organizer, troubleshooter, and problem solver. Event planning was something Jocelyn had done as a part of her varied professional career but she wasn't thrilled by it. In 2013 she began her own business and fell in love with planning life event celebrations. Using her 20+ years of project management and event planning experience, she became excited about her work. As a social work educator, Jocelyn encourages others to celebrate life's milestones. Her goal is to make sure that life events are celebrated, recognized, and enjoyed!
Jocelyn holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Master's degree in social work, and a Ph.D. in urban affairs and public policy. She returned to school to be trained in wedding planning and bridal consultation to pursue her passion. She is registered with the State of North Carolina, licensed by The City of Raleigh, and insured with NV Ruccio & Associates. She brings the excellence of a trained, professional planner to each wedding and special event she works on. Her talented team of event planning professionals work to make weddings and events fun, stress-free, and memorable. Read on to find out more about Jocelyn and shifting paradigms!
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I am a college professor and project manager by training. I have a B.A. in psychology, an M.S.W., and a Ph.D. in urban affairs and public policy. I have worked in nonprofit management and education for more than 25 years -- I cannot even believe I can say that! I come to this work with both left and right brain strengths. I have often said that I use all my education and training to operate a successful wedding planning business. I love the planning process. Each wedding Is Its own unique project. Every couple is different, and I strive to make sure that no two events are the same. I like the logistics, the details, the imagining what could be! That's the part I enjoy the most. Taking someone's vision and making it come to life Is what makes it exciting and challenging.
Why did you start A Paradigm Shift?
I started A Paradigm Shift Event because of my love language, Acts of Service. Doing something for me, taking something off my plate shows me that you love me. It's often said that people show love and care In their own love language. I think that's true. My couples tend to be super busy professionals that like nice things but cannot spend lots of time planning a wedding. So that's where I come in. That's something I can take off their plate while they continue to do all of life's stuff! This is how I show that I care.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
I wish it were less about pictures and more about memories. I love It when my couples are in the moment and we have to remind them to take a picture! I love it when they are giggling at a private joke during the ceremony or scanning the reception room for each other as they talk to guests. I love it when they are on the dance floor head back, hands in the air, laughing while they "cut a rug." When I see that, I know they are creating wedding day memories they will always cherish.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
The checklist In AP Is magic! The fact that I can customize It for each couple and then for me and my team on the back end is awesome! I encourage couples to leave comments under each checklist Item. They can do that whenever it's convenient for them -- say 4 a.m.? Then when I get up at 7 a.m., I can check-in, see their progress, and respond. We can have a virtual conversation without having to jump on a call or Zoom. Most Importantly I can go back to that conversation when it's time to create the timeline and other documents and grab all that information. It keeps everything on track, works on my couple's time, and keeps us all organized.
What is your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
The seating! OMGoodness! It makes the seating a breeze. The drag and drop feature Is awesome, no one gets forgotten, and downloading then printing for escort cards, place cards, or a seating chart is so easy and time-saving.
If you weren't the Owner of A Paradigm Shift, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
If I didn't own and operate A Paradigm Shift Event, I would have my head in a book reading and doing research. I like doing that work but A Paradigm Shift Events (APSE) gives me balance. I'm not all work and no play. I love that doing this work has given me an entire community that I not only work with, but that I actually like and get to see at networking events, client events, and during the planning process. And occasionally we have a free evening or weekend to hang out.
As a business owner, what are some of the challenges you’ve overcome and the benefits you’ve experienced?
Being able to say no! I love to help people… remember my love language? But I have learned that for me to perform well, I have to say no. Sometimes I am not the best planner for a particular couple and instead of trying to contort myself into something I am not, I have to just learn to say, "Hey, perhaps X awesome planner would be a better fit?"
What are three things you never show up without on event day?
On event day, I must have my phone to communicate with my team, mints for the bridal party, and scissors. We always need scissors on wedding day… not a single wedding has NOT needed scissors. Those are just my top three that are In my apron, but I have an extensive emergency kit on hand "just In case…"
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great event planner?
My personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding planner is to be a great listener. Active listening is a part of being a trained social worker. I not only listen to the words but the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. Even though AP allows for an awesome online planning experience, I require a few face-to-face meetings so that I can see and hear my couples before the wedding day. This allows me to get a sense of their "I don't like that" face so that If I see it on the wedding day, I know to intervene. Along the same lines, active listening helps me ensure that I am hearing the couple's vision for their day and improving it, not just making it come to fruition.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
My trademark in client experience is to laugh and have fun. I love to laugh, and since for me this is a second job, it's got to be fun! I fashion myself a low-key comedian! Lol! I'm kinda funny. Sometimes traditionally, sometimes with snark and petty, but I try to keep people around me laughing and smiling. That's how I work best. The other thing I do is find your "Paradigm Shifting" wedding element. We find the one thing to ensure your wedding is unique. It can be intimate and private, or outward-facing so that all your guests can see. But whatever it is, we incorporate something that shifts the paradigm of how couples experience their wedding day!
Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?
This year 2020, I turned 50! I am excited to celebrate properly in 2021. COVID-19 decimated the wedding and event industry. My last wedding was an awesome 200-person wedding on March 14, 2020. That was it for large events for a while… including my birthday celebration. So this past year was a muted acknowledgment of this incredible milestone. But I am already thinking of all the possibilities for my 50th birthday celebration—The Remix!
Just for fun
What’s the most used tool in your emergency kit?
Scissors and safety pins are hands down the most used items in my emergency kit. I keep them in my apron along with my cell phone, an ink pen, mints, and a tide pen. Those are the things I need to have my hands on immediately. Everything else, I can go back to the emergency kit to get if needed.
What’s one trend you think should be left in the past?
Mason jars. Can we please never drink out of a mason jar again? Was that ever really a thing? But...I really like pies/desserts in a jar. That can stay!
What’s one trend you hope to see more of?
Elegance and glam. Having formal weddings where guests wear gowns and tuxedos. I love to see how beautiful people act when they look beautiful. I love to see the awe and admiration of the guests admiring each other. It's like a fashion show at a wedding!
Your favorite shoes to wear on event day?
I found BZees Lollipop in Black. They are washable, breathable, great arch support. Under $50 and can be worn all day! Well, at least until I change to flip-flops in the car to get home!
Hero image courtesy of In God's Image
To find out more about the work Jocelyn and her team do visit their website: www.aparadigmshiftevent.com