Victoria Priester moved to northeast Florida to go to college. "I moved up to St. Augustine from Key West in 2008 to go to Flagler College. It was a lot like Key West in some ways — laid back, and very nice."
She worked at a number of jobs through school. "I worked for the college, waited tables, I was a nanny, worked in retail. Every free moment I had, I was working to save and to pay for school."
Victoria graduated with a degree in political science, and moved to Washington with a job, planning to start her career there. "I had a fellowship with the Library of Congress. I knew it was temporary, but I thought I'd get a more permanent job before it ended. And I knew that the competition would be tough, but it was 2012, and the jobs just weren't there. I returned to St. Augustine, and it was just as bad. Everybody who had graduated with me was looking to start their careers in the recession. So I did the same part-time jobs I did while I was in school ... but nothing felt until I got into wedding planning."
Victoria had interned with a wedding planner while she was in school, and went to work full-time afterward.
"I'm a planner by nature," she says. "My job is ... their day come together easily.
Every wedding is different, in part because something always goes wrong.
"Without fail! There are so many moving parts on that one day that something always goes wrong. it's my responsbility to make sure that no one ever notices, and that the bride and groom and family enjoy what is often a stressful day."
Victoria Priester also was motivated to find something she loved doing by her mother, who died while Victoria was still in college. "I was close to my mother. She was a very independent and strong woman. She was sick for a long time, and he passing may not have been the best thing, it certainly was the right thing. It made realize that every day is precious, and that I needed to do whatever it takes to get to where I needed to be to be happy."
Victoria has started her own wedding planning business. And her occupation has made her ... just a little envious.
"I definitely see myself with a family one day. Seeing so many happily-ever-after fairytale weddings, you can't help wanting that for yourself."