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A Force Called Terrica

A look at a beloved industry leader & CS+TSE speaker

Captivating. Funny. Hustler. Badass. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when one thinks of Terrica.

A wedding planner and speaker/educator extraordinaire, Terrica is a beloved figure in the events industry, and it’s easy to see why: she’s both charming and honest, a leader, and one of the people. And in superstar fashion, she goes by one name: “It’s just Terrica,” she once told event pro Jamie Lee Quickert (Mills James). “Like Beyoncé or Madonna or Cher.”

Terrica has made a name for herself in the industry with her speaking gigs (she’s a favorite at Catersource + The Special Event), her coaching business, and her wedding planning company, Cocktails & Details®. She’s a go-getter and self-proclaimed hustler, outgoing and seemingly everywhere all at once. She’s been in the industry for around two decades, has earned many awards and recognition for her event and education work (which has been featured in The Knot, Reader’s Digest, Martha Stewart Weddings, and many others), and has created resources for those planners getting started in the industry. 

“What do I admire about Terrica? So many things,” Fausto Pifferrer (Blue Elephant Catering & Events) told Special Events (SE). “She always makes time for people who approach her after her sessions and during her down time at conferences. She remembers names and faces, and makes people feel heard and special. She ignites the stage when she speaks.”

Doing it all

If she seems like she has endless energy and is capable of doing everything, it’s because she has such good boundaries and knows herself well. 

“I have an outgoing personality...but I am such an introvert, and so many people are shocked to know that, like when we go to Catersource + The Special Event, I need a minute to come down, and to just decompress for a little bit, or I just hang out with my very small circle.”

Those in her circle know just how much she values all the roles in her life. “She is an amazing mom, friend, industry leader, and all-around badass!” says friend and industry pro Brian Green (By BrianGreen). 

Terrica does wear many hats: business owner, speaker, planner, educator, designer, single mother, only daughter. “I am pulled in so many different directions where it’s just like, I need a minute to just drain my sponge so that I can be the best that I can be later.” For her, “draining the sponge,” as she puts it, looks like soaking in the bathtub, going to the gym, or even a night alone with Netflix. Anything that gives her a chance to “get back to me after I feel like I’ve given and absorbed so many people throughout the day.”

And while she uses a calendar to block out every hour of her days, she keeps a certain mindset about spending her energy as well. 

“The older I got I realized how important it is to spend your energy wisely,” she told SE. “I always teach this to my coaching students and in some of my sessions: If I gave you 20 ‘yeses’ to spend this week, where would you spend them? That would mean you’d have to say ‘no’ to a lot of things, and people don’t think of their energy and effort as dollars.”

This scheduling and careful expenditure of energy isn’t flawless, however. “Sometimes it’s a seesaw, there really isn’t any balance to some things.” But prioritizing her time and energy keeps the seesaw moving.

Jamie Lee Quickert, Renee Dalo, Terrica, CeCe Todd, and Aleya Harris at Catersource + The Special Event in Miami, July 2021. Photo courtesy Jamie Lee Quickert

A high achiever

Surprise number one: Terrica, an award-winning wedding planner, has never had a true wedding of her own.

Surprise number two: before starting her own wedding planning business, Terrica went to school for pre-med and criminal law.

Before the wedding industry was on her radar, Terrica was on track to become a criminal attorney. She married at 19 but never had an actual wedding—though not for a lack of trying. As she planned her own wedding, which kept getting thwarted, she gained compliments from vendors, telling her she was a natural. Meanwhile, toting her baby daughter to classes, she studied her way through law school. It was after talking with her mentor she realized that her current path was leading to a life where raising a family would be nearly impossible, where clients would dictate her life. Eventually, she decided to take a sharp turn and build her own wedding planning business.

Entirely on her own, through trial and error, she built up her company, Cocktails & Details® (“we always like to say cocktails and details are the essentials of every fabulous party”). The company does boutique destination weddings, drawing in couples from all over and bringing them to the Golden Isles in Georgia. Her “amazing” team allows her to choose the weddings they do—about 10 to 15 per year—and work on design and production.

“Having a really good team is just as important as having a great vendor team,” says Terrica. “You want people who get your vision, who get your company culture, who get, you know, why you do these things and why it’s important. It’s very important to me that people feel safe with their event team, that they feel excited about working with their event team.”

Quickert says of the company’s success: “Terrica is an amazing event planner because she knows how to see past the Pinterest boards in the fairytale dreams to what is at the heart of a client. She sees what they value. She sees what they want to walk away with and then she makes it happen. She’s also smart enough to know that she will succeed by surrounding herself with good people, and her team is seriously unmatched.”

When asked about the signature touch of Cocktails & Details® weddings, Terrica jokingly told SE, “We’re always dancing.” But there’s more to the company’s success than having a good time. Terrica is protective of her couples, and as a romantic, she focuses on reminding her couples of why they’re getting married. Any problem solving is taken care of behind the scenes so couples can enjoy their day.

She’s learned a lot about being herself and following her instincts throughout her career. One of the biggest lessons she’s learned is to not work with clients she knows in her soul she shouldn’t work with. “Not all money is good money.”

But it’s the lessons she’s learned and being herself that has made her a successful wedding planner. She’s proud of how far she’s come, and even though she’s been in the business a long time, she’s proud that she’s “still here...that I still find new reasons to get excited, new reasons to fall in love with my clients, to want to create something amazing for my clients, and I’m not bored. I’m not over it just yet.”

tse crew.jpg
Brian Green, Fausto Pifferrer, Meryl Snow, Terrica, Tamara Gibson, and Eddie Reyes pose together at Catersource + The Special Event in 2023. Photo courtesy SpotMyPhotos

Being what she needed

When it comes to educating and speaking in the industry, Terrica looks back to her early days as a planner.

Coming from virtually nothing in the industry, Terrica has built an empire that has generated close to $19M of wedding and event revenue in her area. And she wants you to know that if she can do it, so can you.

“There are always elevations in life, and I’ve elevated even further by becoming a speaker and an educator. I want to be who I needed when I got started.”

She started her business 600 miles away from home, with zero experience. The industry has changed in the past 20 years, but back in the day, people were more protective of resources and knowledge than now, making it difficult to learn the business. Instead of going along with the norm, Terrica created an online community, sharing what she learned so other wedding professionals could succeed. It grew to be the largest across the globe.

In 2018, she began recording her thoughts—what she calls “five-minute hustle tips”—in her phone voice memos while waiting to pick up her kids from school. She began sharing those thoughts in the form of a podcast, “She Doesn’t Even Go Here: Unsolicited Musings on Life & Business,” with episodes like “Clap For Your Damn Self” and “How to Build Your Own WuTang Clan.” Though she hasn’t released any episodes since late 2020, she hopes to bring it back by the end of this year.

Her podcast is by no means the only place she shares her wisdom. Her speaking engagements (which, besides Catersource + The Special Event have been at such gatherings as IADWP, Wedding MBA, NACE National, and The Coterie Retreat) cover topics like sales, client experience, event production, DEI, the hustle mindset, balance, and self-care, to name a few. She’s launched her own wedding industry education system, Hustle Sold Separately, and through her coaching, Terrica offers workbooks, tool kits, contact sheets, templates, and other guides, as well as coaching sessions and intensives. 

“I was first introduced to Terrica as she presented at the Be Sage Conference in 2017,” remembers wedding PR pro Meghan Ely (OFD Consulting). “Like many before me, I found myself simultaneously nodding with every word while taking notes, trying to capture all of the gems she was sharing. It was clear she was a powerhouse from the start—someone who really knew what she was talking about and had the unique skill of engaging the audience every moment she was in their presence.”

Michelle Loretta (Be Sage Consulting) told SE of Terrica’s speaking style: “As a speaker, Terrica is magnetic and captivating. But, more importantly, she offers deep content and a wealth of knowledge.”

Chef Chris Taylor (Chris Evans Events + Catering), an industry friend who claims he’s Terrica’s favorite chef, says that “she gives so much of herself on stage and in her mentoring groups it is both inspiring and motivating to all in proximity. She has a canny ability to give back to those who are ‘hungry’ in this industry and looking to ‘boss up.’ Her drive and what inspires her is a true testament of who she is; in life and on stage she holds nothing back and leaves no crumbs. Her natural ability to transcend a crowd all while equipping, changing mindsets, and empowering them to tackle this grueling industry is second to none.”

Terrica at Catersource + The Special Event 2023. Photo courtesy WASIO Faces

Excellent reviews

Industry pros and peers alike can’t say enough good things about Terrica.

“Without question, Terrica is the most amazing pro I know in our industry,” says Green, “and not only that, she is one of my absolute favorite people on the planet.  What you see on stage when she is speaking and pouring herself into an audience is what you get in real life. She is always 100% authentic and that is a rare gift.”

Quickert adds, “Terrica is a good teacher because she can make you laugh at yourself and make you reevaluate your priorities in the same breath. She is captivating on stage. Even after years of friendship, and hearing her teach similar classes over and over again, I can’t take my eyes off her when she speaks. I fill up pages of my notebook with her advice and insight. I always leave her classes feeling empowered and positive, and also ready to work and make change.”

When SE asked why she thinks people respond to her so well, Terrica answered, “Because I’m everybody else. That’s it. I don’t get up there and talk at people, I talk to people, and I speak their languages.” She admitted with a laugh that she knows a lot of five-dollar words from her education, but she speaks in a way that people understand, starting sessions with funny stories and memes. “If I can make you laugh, then I can make you relax. And if I can make you relax, I can make you learn.” She doesn’t sugarcoat failures either—she’s transparent, and it’s that transparency that makes her great at breaking things down so that people can easily understand them.

Looking forward

For Terrica, event planning is a passion, one that she will hang onto as long as she can.

“I hope I never get tired of that, and the second I get tired of it...I still get so nervous before every wedding,” she says. “The second I stop getting the butterflies I gotta wrap it up because then I’m just going through the motions.”

When asked about what the future holds, she says she’ll hang onto her wedding planning business as long as she’s passionate, and whenever she’s ready, she’ll find someone else passionate to pick up where she’ll leave off.

“I want someone else to take my butterflies, I want somebody else’s wings to spread.” It’s easy to see Terrica’s love of the event industry; she plans on coaching and educating basically forever, and teaching someone new to take over her business when she’s done. 

Terrica has a lot of wisdom, but it all boils down to a simple phrase: Be you.

“‘Be you and the world will adjust,’ I think is the quote,” she told SE, and it’s easy to see how she’s embodied this concept. While she says it’s taken her time to step into that sense of self, she’s there now, and it’s the key to her success in the industry.

“The reason why I am so loved—on the stage, on the podcast, on Instagram—is because I am myself. And it took almost 15 years to get to that point, to be myself. And people ate it up.” 

It’s true—her Terrica-ness has made people loyal to her. “If Terrica ran for president, I would be her campaign manager and her biggest cheerleader,” says Quickert. “Because her word matters. Because she does what she says she’s going to do. Because she never lets anything get in her way.” She adds, “And because she is funny as hell. Her press conferences would be everything.”

Terrica wants planners to step into themselves fully, the way she has. “Don’t try to be anybody else, don’t be a watered-down version of yourself, don’t hide what you’re great at. I hate false modesty. I think that it’s ridiculous. It’s the same thing as lying.” 

If you think being yourself will put you at risk for losing clients, think again. “There are enough weddings out here for everyone,” encourages Terrica. “The world needs what you have.” 

“It is not often in our industry that there is someone who is genuinely rooting for everyone to succeed,” says Green. “There is truly no ego involved in her process—what you see is someone confident in their skin and who knows their abilities to help others shine. I am glad I get to call her one of my BFFs!”

“She is our industry jewel that is cherished by all,” says Taylor.

Terrica knows how to elevate herself and those around her. “The events industry is made richer by everything Terrica puts out into the world. In addition to the top-caliber events that she produces as a planner, as an educator she elevates the way event pros think, act, and do,” says Loretta. “Terrica is a force to be reckoned with!” 

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