Listen to the Podcast About Braxton Event Planning and Staffing

Podcast for Braxton Event Planning and Staffing

Podcast Summary

In a fascinating conversation with Andrew Dethloff, Celeste Braxton, the dynamic owner of Braxton Event Planning and Staffing, shared her journey of transitioning from nursing to event planning. Catering to the San Antonio area, Braxton Event Planning and Staffing, according to Celeste, went from a small business to a more substantial one quite quickly, proving her decision to transition careers to be a fruitful one.

Celeste shared how elements from her nursing background helped her thrive in event planning. Balancing a nurse’s responsibilities helped her develop the skills to manage an entire day’s event without feeling overstressed. Her passion for the industry also shines through as she mentions that her job doesn’t feel like work and is instead a lot of fun.

Also, Celeste highlighted the importance of finding contentment in your career choice. Struggling to find mental peace with nursing, she chose to prioritize her personal wellbeing and family life by switching to a career she enjoyed more.

Further, she spoke about the current trends in the event industry in the San Antonio area. She also shared some insights about her operational expansion to Austin and Corpus due to increasing opportunities. The growth and success of Braxton Event Planning and Staffing stand as a testament to her hard work and commitment.

This SEO-optimized summary should make it easier for those interested in ‘Braxton Event Planning and Staffing’ to find the content, gather insights from Celeste’s discussion, and understand her inspiring career transition story.

Learn more about Braxton Event Planning and Staffing

This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos

Podcast Transcript

Andrew (00:24)
Hey, hey, everybody. So we’re sitting here talking with Celeste Braxton of Braxton Event Planning and Staffing in the San Antonio area. Hey, Celeste, how’s it going?

Celeste Braxton (00:27)
It’s good. How are you?

Andrew (00:33)
doing okay. We’re glad you’re here. We’re just doing this kind of thing all trying to support each other in the industry and all that good stuff. So, so you really went all in on event planning, the event planning industry, you’ve got a really cool story. So tell us a little bit about yourself and what you guys have going on.

Celeste Braxton (00:36)
Thank you.

So originally I went to nursing school, became a nurse and decided that that wasn’t the lifestyle for me and decided to start bartending events and weddings and just went full throttle with it. People started asking me to plan their weddings as well as corporate events started reaching out to me and decided to start a small business that seems to be turning into a big business.

Andrew (01:12)
Wow. So that must have been, was that something that you were kind of doing at the same time as nursing? Were you like, just kind of had, had your dipping your toes into event planning or had you done it in the past? Or what was, how did that enter into your mind to like, want to make that leap or change?

Celeste Braxton (01:26)
Well, I was always bartending. I’ve bartended for about 15 years. And so I was always in that industry and never let it go. And then as I started to get more into it, I started to realize that I had the mindset to where I could remember a full day’s event and keep it running without stressing out. Being a nurse, this was not as stressful as being a nurse. And then I ran with it and did great. So it just…

Andrew (01:51)

Celeste Braxton (01:53)
I love, I absolutely love it. It’s not work for me. It’s a lot of fun.

Andrew (01:58)
Yeah, I guess if there’s any, you know, injuries at the events, you kind of double -ajied that and take care of people too. That must have been really difficult though to like have gone to school for nursing and have had committed so much of your time in life to entertain the idea of just walking away from it. That must have been a really difficult thing to wrestle with for a while.

Celeste Braxton (02:03)
Yeah, there you go.

Well, yeah, it was because it was just like, what was I thinking? But mentally, I wasn’t okay as being a nurse. So I had to kind of think about who was I being at home to my children and my family, you know, at the same time.

Andrew (02:31)
Right. Yeah, that’s a pretty powerful, powerful motivator for sure. Okay, awesome. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s when I saw you had posted that or said that I really wanted to figure out kind of what was going on behind that because so many people don’t imagine they can walk away from from the normal thing or the safe thing and take a chance on something. And I think that’s true in the, in the entertainment and event industry a lot. It sounds too good to be true. There’s got to be a catch somehow. And it’s hard work for sure, but you know, it can’t be done. So that’s, that’s an awesome story.

Celeste Braxton (02:36)

I still have the degree.

Andrew (03:02)
Okay, cool. So yeah, exactly. Nobody can say you didn’t do it, right? Okay, cool. So let’s talk about the industry a little bit. So, you know, how have you found your events are going? What kind of trends are you seeing in the wedding event industry in your area? Celeste is in the San Antonio area, by the way. How have things been going for you guys?

Celeste Braxton (03:21)
Well, we’re good. I actually do. I actually started a kind of off in Austin. I do travel a toss and my sister lives over there. So I noticed that it was a lot bigger in Austin than it was in San Antonio. And I even expanded to Corpus now because my daughter, she works for me, is going to A out there. But I noticed like sometimes I worry like at first when I started this, I would worry that I didn’t have anything the next month or what was gonna happen.

but it seems like people will call within a week and want to book out and it seems that people will book me out a year in advance. So I noticed that the industry is, people want to party. They want to party and they will pay. It’s so funny is like you worry about the cost of eggs at a grocery store, but when it comes to a party thing, no money is no problem.

Andrew (04:12)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Cool, so you’re kind of in all the Texas region, then you’re kind of expanding out and are willing to travel. Cool, so are you seeing any kind of trends that you’re noticing in the event or wedding industry that maybe you didn’t see when you started or a year ago? Any changes?

Celeste Braxton (04:19)
Yes, I. Willing to.

A lot of like appetizer boards are a big thing. I’m noticing a lot of people are starting to do different things as far as I had a cart, an ice cream cart come out there instead of cake. I had like a corn in a cup cart come out there, you know, an ice cream truck came out there. I’m noticing a lot at night. I’ve done two weddings and it’s pretty awesome. Water Burger literally delivered like 200 burgers at the end of the night.

So I’m seeing that brides and grooms are really intuitive into their guests and what their guests are gonna say at the end of the night.

Andrew (05:02)
That’s awesome.

Right, so less maybe trying to have the classic traditional fancy sort of occupant three course experience and more just everybody having a party with their friends and family and kind of just being willing to call it that and not have to sort of hit some sort of traditional target.

Celeste Braxton (05:20)

Yeah, yeah, the sit down dinners are kind of like cliche I seems. They want something different, something edgy, you know, so I’m noticing that there’s a lot of different things. Robots are now, I’m doing Quintanillas and corporate events too. So robots are now a thing where they come for an hour and they dance with the crowd to kind of hype the crowd up. So that’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool. Robots, it’s, I’ll have to send you a link at some point, but it’s really awesome.

Andrew (05:46)

Yeah, please do.

Celeste Braxton (05:54)
It’s and bobbleheads. I have had a couple of bad bunny bobbleheads come to these parties to just dance in the middle of the crowd and the robots are pretty insane. They’re on stilts, they’re huge, they’re awesome.

Andrew (06:07)
What? That’s crazy. I’ve seen the bobbleheads and I’ve seen different things, but I’ve never seen a robot. So the robot’s sole purpose is to dance and hype the crowd up.

Celeste Braxton (06:08)
Yeah, they’re pretty picky though.

The robot is, their fee is only for an hour and they come out there during probably like nine, 10 o ‘clock at night. They come way later in the party and just to re -hype the crowd, they give out like balloons and glow sticks and they just dance for an hour on stilts with the crowd.

Andrew (06:34)
That’s crazy. Yeah, you have to send me a link to that for sure. Cool. Yeah, for people are definitely looking for to break away from more traditional things as well. I think that’s a big part of what we do as well. You know, doing doing pianos is kind of a nice third option. People like DJ. OK, band. OK, doing piano is gonna be a lot of fun. So we find ourselves in a lot of those those I won’t say edgy, but alternative weddings where the couples are looking for more, you know, something different. So.

Celeste Braxton (06:37)
Super fun, super fun.



Andrew (07:04)
I definitely agree with you, that trend you’re mentioning. Okay, cool. So what are some things that you would say that couples should never do? Like cringe -worthy things that you hate seeing at your events. And you can’t say anything, I’m sure, maybe. If you could name some stuff.

Celeste Braxton (07:10)
You know, I would say not to get plastered on your wedding. A lot of couples do end up, I’ve been to a couple weddings where they do and they know, because I talk to them, I’m like, my God, here I am running with my liquid IV to go help them out. But another big thing.

Andrew (07:34)

Celeste Braxton (07:35)
Yeah, another big thing that I always tell couples not to do is to take a big gap in between your ceremony and your wedding because all that’s, and what they do is since there’s such a big gap is they start drinking early. And then if you’re drinking from three o ‘clock until midnight, one o ‘clock in the morning, it’s, your crowd is done, you’re done. And so that’s a big thing like that I’ve seen is just the over, the over intoxication part of it.

Andrew (08:02)
Yeah, especially if we’re in the Texas heat seasons, you know what I mean? I can only imagine being that decked out, drinking all day, being out in the heat. Yeah, so I know what you mean for sure. So maybe lay off the sauce a little bit or at least pace yourself or drink water.

Celeste Braxton (08:18)
Lay off the sauce and yeah, and don’t go bankrupt over this. Don’t go bankrupt over your day. Not everybody needs a day of coordinator. Not everybody needs this full blown out thing. So I get it, this is our industry, but don’t break your bank just to have a good time. It’s all about just, if this is your day, this is your day. That’s what I tell everybody. I don’t expect everybody to hire me. I expect you to have a good time and not stress yourself out.

Andrew (08:44)
Sure, yeah, that’s a great approach. I’m sure people appreciate that. Okay, cool. So let me ask you, what is your favorite part of a wedding day?

Celeste Braxton (08:51)
of a wedding day? Actually, it’s going to be probably the end of it when I take a deep breath and I look at everything and I was able to manage without falling or anything. The next day I’m hurting for sure with 20 something thousand steps, sometimes 30. But yeah, I think it’s just looking back and seeing my bride and groom have a good time.

Andrew (08:58)
Ha ha!

Celeste Braxton (09:16)
Seeing actually the parents is a big thing because a lot of times people are like, what is a DF coordinator for? And at the end of the day when I see them and they’re like, you are such a big help, thank you so much. I think that’s a sigh of relief that they don’t regret the decision to hire me.

Andrew (09:33)
Yes, absolutely. That’s any time I know that we play, especially a large production wedding, the first person I look for is you. Because I know that you’re going to actually have the answers and actually know what’s going on. And whenever there’s not a you, which is oftentimes, it can be a little stressful for everybody else involved. So yeah, you definitely are the glue or the backbone of the whole thing. OK, cool. So let me think, what’s the most?

Celeste Braxton (09:47)

for sure.

Andrew (10:03)
like unique and fun idea that you’ve ever seen or maybe not ever at either ever or the recent wedding or events that you’ve done. Although I honestly, I don’t know if you can talk robots or 200 water burger. Yeah.

Celeste Braxton (10:13)
I think that’s it. I honestly think, I think it was honestly the robots. I’m gonna go with the robots, because it’s just, it’s such a hype crowd.

Yeah, but I’m gonna go with the robots for sure. The robots is, you know, I was so sad. I had one wedding where we hired these fairies to do this dance. They thought it was gonna be really cool for these fairies to be in this dance. And guests didn’t like it. It was not something. And I just, I felt bad. So I thought that would have been cool. Cause we had them on rollerblades in the middle of the dance floor. And you know, so that was not.

something that they didn’t like. And so robots for sure, I’m going to go with number one.

Andrew (10:54)
Was that your, was that a, was that a their idea? Like they had this idea, they wanted this very choreography. Gotcha. Yeah, that sounds like it could be cool, but okay, just to be clear, because I just can’t get over this. When you say robots, you mean literal mechanical dancing machines on stilts.

Celeste Braxton (10:57)
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, yeah. I will send you, I’ll even shout them out. DJZ Events Group is the one, they are booked. DJZ Events Group, they are booked fully with just this, you know, just for robots. And it is, it’s honestly fun. I have so much fun, because I don’t know, it’s just like this huge life -size robot, yeah.

Andrew (11:13)
Okay, all right, I just had to clarify because I just…

DJZ Events Group.

Yeah, it sounds cool.

Is it like, what’s like, what is like liability and insurance issues? That’s what I’m thinking of. Like, do they have to sign some sort of waiver? Like if my robot steps on you or your family members? I don’t know. Sounds crazy.

Celeste Braxton (11:48)
even know I think they have to do have insurance because they’re there everything’s metal so like on the dance floors they can’t mess up the dance floors either so yeah and they’re on stilt so I can imagine how scary that is and they’re inside of this suit I remember seeing the guy get ready before he went in and he was in this huge suit and he was sweating profusely so it was just like I’m sure for a whole hour

Andrew (11:58)
Yeah, wow.

Gotcha. That’s crazy. Okay, so that’s the part I was missing then. There is a human being inside or involved. Okay, see, I was thinking it’s just like, I’m thinking like those weird, like, you know, dog robots that you see and like, you know, the ones, the videos you see on TikTok. Yeah, I was like, they just have like, you know, the, or the iRobot guy up in there. Okay, that makes a little more sense. I knew I was missing something like that. There’s no way. Okay, that still sounds crazy, though. I still want to go check that out.

Celeste Braxton (12:18)
inside of the robot, yeah.

We have like AI’s.


Yeah, for sure.

Andrew (12:41)
OK, so tell us about what makes your service unique. What would you say makes you stand out? What’s your trademark or your stamp on things?

Celeste Braxton (12:52)
I don’t know if you know it could have been the fact that I was a nurse and I have like this really kind heart I’m not gonna I’m not trying to like blow myself up But I just know who I am and a lot of times at the end of the day a lot of these people always tell me is like that I seem to them more like a best friend than I was their wedding coordinator and they can text me with any type of issue or drama that they’re having and I’ll be a listening ear as best as I can and

So I think that’s where the rapport comes is to where I have a bride literally texting me seven months later asking me questions. So I think I go into this as a friend more sometimes.

Andrew (13:31)
Yeah, that makes sense. I’ve heard other planners say similar sort of things that it’s difficult to spend so much time with somebody leading up to this event. And afterwards, it’s kind of like, you know, it reminds me of, you know, like your child going off into the world or something, you know, or students I’ve worked with where I teach them for years and years and they move off to college. I teach music as well. Yeah, that’s got to be a difficult thing for…

Celeste Braxton (13:46)

I have so many repeat customers. I have so many referrals. Like it’s just so I stopped advertising a year ago, which was absolutely amazing. And,

Andrew (13:59)
all that to just end all of a sudden. So I can see if you really make that connection that you maintain a relationship afterwards. Probably, would you say you make friends? I mean, do you have friends that you’ve held onto for?

Celeste Braxton (14:21)
Yeah, so it’s good. I get to re -see these people over and over or even just chat with them and ask them how’s life.

Andrew (14:30)
That’s awesome. Cool. That’s the kind of real human community connection that I love about this industry. It really brings people together in a meaningful way. It’s not just surface level. There’s a lot of surface level stuff that you have to organize and plan and all the details, but the connection and the source of it is really personal for sure. Okay, great. So you mentioned your staff before the session. So tell me about them. What did you want to shout about or what do you got going on with your staff?

Celeste Braxton (14:48)
Yeah. Well, no. Well, the staff is like a big thing for me because I noticed like I didn’t go into the route of I wanted to work with regular servers and regular bartenders in the industry. And I went with like, you know, mothers that needed like.

extra income or dads that needed to come up with whatever and so I have lawyers working for me and and you know CEOs and you know realtors and stuff like that as well as I have my kids working for me but I just thought it was always like you know are the people that I have working for me aren’t just here to go to the next bar and get the next drink like it’s just real life stuff out here going on and I’m here to help you out if you need some extra money.

Andrew (15:41)
That’s fantastic. So that’s, that’s more of that community kind of building stuff. And there’s so much opportunity, I think, in this industry to give back to, to whether it’s your staff or your clients or to each other, you know, other people in the industry, even different sectors. So that’s beautiful. I love that. That’s really cool. So any, let’s, let’s think any advice that you could give to somebody that is just starting out. So it sounds like you’ve, you’ve had quite the art. How long have you been doing this by the way? How long ago did you quit your?

Celeste Braxton (15:43)

A year and a half.

Andrew (16:11)
a year and a half. Wow. Okay. So you’re into it, but it’s still relatively fresh to be doing it full time. Okay. So if you could go back and give yourself advice, you know, to somebody just starting your planning journey, they’re thinking about doing it full time, maybe like you were, I don’t think there’s maybe quite as many people that are full time nurses about to come into event planning, but maybe they’re out there, but you know, anybody that was about to start their journey, what advice could you offer them?

Celeste Braxton (16:15)
Relatively, yeah. Yeah.

Don’t think twice, just do it. Don’t think twice. I think, not to lie, I had my balloon artist, or my balloon girl, who recently, she was talking to me about it, and she was working a corporate job, and she decided to quit her corporate job to do this full time, and she’s booming down here in San Antonio. Like, it’s just incredible. And she thought about it and thought about it, and I said, don’t think about it, just do it. If mentally you’re not happy, what’s it worth for us at a job that’s killing us? And now she’s doing great, so.

Don’t think about it. And like I said, if I fail out here, I can be right back in the hospital tomorrow. So.

Andrew (17:11)
Right. Yeah. I mean, it’s, you know, not to be cliche, but it’s what’s that old saying, you know, you miss you miss 100 % of the 100 % of the shots you don’t take or whatever, you know, kind of cheesy, but it’s true. You don’t at least try it out. You know, the road won’t end if you take a risk, you know, so great. Cool. So what’s the future look like for you guys? What do you where you see yourself heading, you know, in a year or five years?

Celeste Braxton (17:22)
No, I can’t keep you. Yeah.


I’m hoping bigger. I’m adding a photo booth to my company. So I’m buying more supplies to add to this so that I can be full service decor as well. So I’m hoping to kind of be set up in Corpus full time next year as well. And more in Austin. And sometimes I really hope to do a destination wedding. If somebody would just take me to Cancun with them. That’s my goal.

Andrew (18:06)
It’ll happen for you, I’m sure. Yeah. OK, cool. So let’s get into some of the logistics, if anybody might be interested in hiring you, or getting just more of an insight into how things work. So what does your availability and flexibility look like? You said you’re pretty booked out.

Celeste Braxton (18:07)
Thank you. I hope so.

So I’m pretty booked out in regards to day of coordination. Like I said, I do have people that work on the long side of me. So I have openings for servers. I have plenty of openings for bartenders to book for that. If you need any staffing for sure, I got you on that. So plenty of people. I have a website at Instagram and a TikTok. I try my best in every wedding to get a video, but sometimes I’m completely busy and I don’t get it.

but so that people can kind of see the work that comes together and what I’m doing and how my staff is having fun as well. But yeah, they can always reach out to me, text or email, and I’ll always get back to them. And if I can’t do it, I’ll always refer them to somebody else that I trust. Because it’s a big thing working with industry. I know we know who not to refer out to and who we should. So.

Andrew (18:50)
Of course.


Yeah, and that’s a big part of why we’re doing this is to try to find like -minded people and kind of strengthen the network and the community together because there is more than enough sort of work for everybody. So I think that’s a beautiful thing that you kind of help people out in the same way. Okay, so what about pricing and payment? What do your deposit amounts look like? What does your cancellation policy look like?

Celeste Braxton (19:36)
So pricing is due for the event. If you’re just hiring for staff, then that’s not due until the day of or the week of, depending on how big it is. And then in regards to me, I always just collect a $200 deposit upfront, and then I collect the rest the day of. For people that have booked me out a year in advance, I’m not even going to charge them deposit until six months in advance because I believe that things happen.

Andrew (19:56)

Celeste Braxton (20:04)
and you know I’m not gonna keep your money if you decide to cancel your wedding you know in a year so but after six months I know I’m doing a lot of the work I’m communicating a lot so I will collect a deposit and I am on the lower end right now I know I’m only charging 800 for day of coordination so I don’t see my prices going up right now I know a lot of people are telling me I should but it’s just not in my heart right now I’m doing okay.

Andrew (20:31)
Yeah, well, you know your business and your sort of motivations better than anybody else. So awesome. Okay. So on the planning side of things, who would be the main point of contact product in the event of guessing would be you? Do you have any people that you work with or any sort of managers or people that you trust to kind of lead the operation underneath you or alongside you?

Celeste Braxton (20:50)
So right now it’s just basically me. My daughter does do a lot of the unders. She’s like the junior one of mine. And then I do have a couple other people that I, if anything happens, they are who I do give it to. But so far I’m in charge of the scheduling, the planning, the marketing, invoicing, everything. I am Braxton event planning. So, yeah.

Andrew (21:16)
Gotcha. Cool. So you’re super involved in the planning process. So somebody reaches out to you to book you or to get some information. It’s going to be you that they’re talking to, not some random other person.

Celeste Braxton (21:19)
I am in.

Yeah, no, no, no, it’s just on me.

Andrew (21:30)
Cool. All right, so do you have any vendors that you already mentioned a couple, but are there any preferred vendors that you recommend? I know you mentioned the robots.

Celeste Braxton (21:37)
I always recommend Megan Wilkinson. Her company is called Wedding Whisperer. She gave me one of my first events and she was like another wedding planner that couldn’t do it. She referred me and she said community over competition. That’s what she taught me. always one that I refer out to. Of course, you know,

There’s so many names I go with. I work with Nazario photography and Jared Fears catering is top -notch catering that I work with. But I mean, it’s just all like in your idea of what you want. If you want barbecue, I can point you in the right direction of barbecue. You know, if you want this. So I do work with my preferred vendors and I do request that they be there, but I’m not going to choose for you. I get it, you know.

Andrew (22:29)
So you don’t require couples to use for for amends or anything like that.

Celeste Braxton (22:32)
No, no, I don’t require them. I mean, sometimes they can’t afford them and I understand, but I just know who’s going to show up to work on time and who’s not. So that’s why I like preferred vendors.

Andrew (22:44)
Yeah, absolutely. Of course, it’s the community or the competition. I love that. I’ve never heard that before, but that’s really powerful for sure. Okay, cool. So if you guys want to go check out Braxton Event Planning, you can go on Instagram. It’s at Braxton Event Planning. On TikTok, it’s at Braxton Event Planning. We’ll include all those handles and information in our post and everything like that. Anything else you’d like to add? Kind of a sign off.

Celeste Braxton (22:49)

Now I thank you for this opportunity. I appreciate it. It’s been a whirlwind of a year.

Andrew (23:10)
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’ll talk about after this as well, because I’d love to get some of those people you trust and that community over competition kind of concept you’re talking about. Sounds great. OK, cool. Once again, anyone listening will have all of Braxton’s and her business’s info listed with the episode. And until then, we’ll see you next time.

Celeste Braxton (23:22)
Thank you.

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