Categorized | Shoestring Startup

She’s having wedding cake and eating it too.

Keli Engleson, I DO Belize Weddings

Keli Engleson

As a child, I worked for my family’s produce business. I remember working hard and waking up early hours by the time I was five years old. At a very young age I learned the importance of understanding your client, keeping up with changes and trends in your market, and coming up with fresh ideas to keep people excited. In third grade I remember talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. It was then, that I knew I wanted to be was a business owner. I wasn’t a completely silly third grader though! I had more typical goals to become a lifeguard and instructor of some sort. Yes, I was both at some point in my teens and early 20s.

At the age of 25 I packed up and followed my heart. I moved to a Caribbean island called Ambergris Caye, located in a country called Belize. Within one year created I DO Belize Weddings, a destination wedding and event planning company. We offer weddings, vow renewals, anniversaries, and honeymoons throughout the country of Belize. I DO Belize Weddings started with just myself. Keeping my overhead to a minimum resulted in a profitable company within months. I started my office virtually, working from my home office where all that was required was a reliable internet connection and telephone to reach and respond to clients. Initially, advertising expenses were kept to a minimum and I was discovered through search engines, websites, resort recommendations, and past client reviews. Today, I DO Belize Wedding’s is one of the most well known destination wedding and highly respected companies in our market organizing around 45 weddings each year.

I create each and every wedding with the couples directly and get to know them. Getting to know the client is essential, as it is with all businesses. Weddings are a celebration of two people’s new lives together and incorporating their style into their wedding is very important. Having passion for what you do is also vital in running a successful business. Doing what comes natural to you, and focusing on your own expertise plays a large roll in the path to success.

Shari and John

A strong support system makes certainly makes a difference. Can you imagine what my parents and sisters reaction was when I told them I was giving up a successful career to move by myself to Belize? I was fortunate that my family stood behind me, as they always had. I credit much of my success to my family. Trusting I was making the best decision for myself allowed me to make an extreme lifestyle change without doubts. Perhaps if they had not been excited for me I wouldn’t have had the guts to move and start a foreign business solo.

The toughest transition was embracing my new environment as an entrepreneur. Business did not always operate the way it did where I came from. This was important for me to overcome since I was unwilling to open and operate a business with nothing less than then efficient, exceptional and professional service. I wanted to make people’s dreams come true! What is more exciting than working with two people on one of the most exciting days of their lives? It has to be perfect. With any business, there are obstacles to work through from the get-go and even once you are well established. A true entrepreneur stays determined and excited to works through new challenges. This is an opportunity for growth and new ideas!

It is essential to offer as many options as possible and always come with fresh ideas and new suggestions. That’s one reason destination weddings have become a growing trend in recent years. Most people are familiar with the concept of beach weddings. Offering my client’s unique ideas such as weddings at the historic Mayan Ruins, famous caves, sailing the sea overlooking the barrier reef, and even on a private sandbar in the middle of the sea allows interesting options. Paying special attention to decor detail is equally important.

Talent, passion and good strategy are valuable to each business. Ever business, however, needs outside perspective. Listening to venders that work with I DO Belize Weddings is important. Developing relationships with similar companies in other parts of the world and being open to their ideas and suggestions benefit both the business and my clients.

I absolutely love what I do for a living. Often times it doesn’t feel like work, and I am always excited with what I am doing. I am constantly seeking new ways to offer exciting new options for each wedding. My biggest challenge today is taking myself away from my work, connecting outside the business world . Entrepreneurs need to be able to separate their business from their personal lives. It’s a challenge, I admit, but I will continue making both a commitment to my business and myself.

Keeping up with the market trends and changes, and adjusting accordingly means constant learning. Being confident in your product and services is essential. I booked my first destination wedding less than two months after launching I DO Belize Weddings. My first wedding was a group of over 20 people and fear was out of the question for me. I choose to focus on the opportunity and excitement.

Hard work, time and effort, establishing new goals, determination, taking advantage of the resources available to you, and even working through transitions are an important experience for all business owners. Remember what you are in this for and remind yourself why you chose your business. For me, even on my most challenging days, it’s easy to remind myself why I chose destination weddings. I make people’s dreams come true on one of the most important days of their lives. It just so happens to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and that is the icing on the cake!

“Love what you do, do what you love” Zen Proverb

Keli Engleson

I DO Belize Weddings
011-501-626-5440 Belize
702-968-0235 USA

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One Response to “She’s having wedding cake and eating it too.”


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maya P, Keli Engleson. Keli Engleson said: RT @ShoeStringBook Featured on Shoestring Venture Business Startup Bible! She's having wedding cake and eating it too. [...]

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