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ICYMI: Yello Interviews TCI Entrepreneur Eunece Morris, Founder of Blue Hills Events

by Karen Rollins Mar 11, 2024

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Eunece Morris

Caribbean entrepreneur Eunece Morris specialises in giving couples the weddings of their dreams.

She spent several years in the airline and travel industry before moving to the Turks and Caicos in 2012 and starting her wedding planning and corporate events company ‘Blue Hills Events’.

Eunece has since organised countless wedding ceremonies (and other special occasions) for locals and tourists, and despite the current COVID-19 crisis, is more enthusiastic than ever about making sure her clients’ event is as picture-postcard perfect as the island itself.

Yello chatted with Eunece in 2022 about her life and career in TCI. In case you missed it – here is our interview.

Describe yourself using a few words.

Determined, optimistic and a people’s person.

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in Abaco in the Bahamas, but both my parents are from the Turks and Caicos. My mum is from Caicos, and my father is from one of the oldest settlements called Blue Hills. I am a descendant of the Hall and Morris tribe.

I grew up and was educated in Grand Bahama. I studied travel and tourism management in Florida, and I also did marketing and management at Nova Southeastern University.

What were your initial career plans?

I actually wanted to be a pilot. I was always fascinated by the travel industry. I did a stint of learning how to fly, but I never really finished it. I got to my solo flying but never went any further.

I think I decided to stay grounded because I lost a number of colleagues in plane crashes. Someone I was very close to was killed in a plane crash so subconsciously I removed myself from that particular dream.

My career spanned from managing a private charter service to working for TWA (Trans World Airlines), and then I started work as a travel agent. In 2004 I opened my own travel agency which morphed over the years into a concierge and event planning company because the travel industry changed so much.

In 2012, one of my largest clients invited me to assist with planning meetings and events for them, and that’s when my current career as a corporate affairs and events manager really got started.

Blue Hills Events

When did you move to Turks and Caicos?

I moved to Turks and Caicos permanently in 2012.

I used to visit my father often, and then one year, my cousin, O’Brien Forbes, invited me to meet some people who were launching a private villa project to start up their events department. That didn’t get off the ground, but I decided to stay on.

I assisted my cousin with a ground tour company which helped to get my face out there, and enabled me to get into the right circle, and make contacts with photographers and people that you rent items from etc.

I also assisted an existing event manager who is seasoned in the business, which gave me a good idea of how to pull off a wedding or large event in the Turks and Caicos. I did a few events with him, and I’m grateful to him for giving me that opportunity to get hands-on experience. So, Blue Hills Events got started that way.

The business is named in honour of my father and the Morris side of my family, who are from that settlement, and it’s also where I currently live. My mum and dad’s favourite colour is also blue.

What was the toughest challenge you faced setting up your business?

Starting the business wasn’t too difficult really. I had a lot of support from O’Brien. He’s very inspiring and encouraging, and he helps you realise your ideas and go all out.

The toughest part was trying to get people to trust me to plan such a special day in their life. I remember surfing the internet and coming across a global entity called Wedding Wire. They help businesses like mine become more well known, and through that connection, my business grew, and I was also able to connect with another agency in the US that needed a person on the ground in TCI to handle certain aspects. So, I have my regular weddings along with doing that work.

COVID is the biggest challenge I have faced so far. It brought weddings to a complete standstill, and it’s only now starting to pick up again. I’m in the process of revamping and relaunching because it’s been a rough 18 months.

What are some of the services you offer?

As well as the weddings, we can assist with engagement and birthday parties. We also provide ground transport and hotel bookings. If our clients want to have a ceremony on one of the sister islands, we can do that. We also organise group meetings and events and group tours.

Basically, we will try to facilitate anything that a client asks for and wants.

Blue Hills Events

What is your company’s unique selling point?

One of our unique selling points is the ability to communicate speedily with our clients and provide the information that they need in rapid time. If a client has a request, we try to facilitate it within a 24-48 hour timeframe, depending on whether the request is large or small. We can provide a pricelist, answers to their questions, and we are hands-on, so we can immediately respond.

Walk us through the process of planning a wedding with Blue Hills Events.

Firstly, I congratulate the couple, give them all the information they need, and let them know that I am here for them and that the ceremony is all about them because our purpose is to bring their vision to reality. We want them and their guests to experience what they envision their wedding day to be.

Next, we make the couple feel comfortable, so that whenever they want to talk about any aspect of the wedding, they can contact us. If it’s a legal wedding or ceremonial, we will go through the list of the legal aspects and what paperwork they will need.

Then we’ll ask for details like; what is their favourite colour or flower? Is there anything they want to do while they’re on island? Do they want a rehearsal dinner? Do they want a cocktail reception or a spa day? So, we offer all options.

On arrival there will be a representative to meet the couple unless we’ve been told that it’s a surprise ceremony. I always put a welcome gift in their room as well. Then we’ll have a complete walk through of what will happen on the day of the wedding.

After the ceremony, we’ll leave it a couple of days, and then we’ll ask for feedback. We also stay in contact, and on their anniversary, we’ll send an electronic message of congratulations.

Why should a couple get married in TCI?

Marry where you vacation! The Turks and Caicos is known for its beautiful blue ocean and there are soft sands for miles. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, and you move at your own pace. We have some of the best hotels with concierge or private chef services. Everything is at your fingertips.

Blue Hills Events

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

I am heavily involved in community service. I served as the President of the Rotary Club of Freeport for a year, and I also served in an all-women’s club called The Pilot Club. I also did mentoring for youth groups with various schools.

Spearheading the disaster relief in Grand Bahama for the Rotary Club during Hurricanes Frances and Jane was a proud moment. We fed between 3,000 and 4,000 people and assisted them with rebuilding their homes. We also had a major clothes drive. So, organising that event and having it run smoothly was fantastic.

During my tenure as President, we made history in inviting the first and only black President of Rotary International to speak in the Bahamas. We raised $70,000 (US) for the Rotary’s charitable projects, and 500 persons from all over the Caribbean attended that lunch event. So, that was one of my finer moments.

Planning my baby brother’s wedding was a proud moment as well. That was one of the first weddings I did and it was for 500 people.

Are you still involved in charitable work?

I never rescinded my Rotary membership so I am what you call an “inactive volunteer”.

I haven’t joined the Rotary Club in Turks and Caicos but during Hurricane Irma I did assist with distributing food and clothes. I also volunteer with the Red Cross. So, I am still doing charitable work, but I am focused on building my brand to make it self-sufficient.

My community service keeps me focused and reminds me of the purpose of being a human being.

What do you love about TCI?

The island has a relaxed atmosphere. I can go to many different restaurants and get a wide variety of food. On the weekend I can just hop on a boat and go to another island.

I also love the beauty and the rich history. When I came here I got to meet a lot of my cousins and elders and find out more about who they are.

Blue Hills Events

What do you do to relax on your days off?

On my days off, I do a lot of reading, catch up with friends, or I go to the spa. I also do community work with an MP on the island.

What are your business plans over the next 12-18 months?

I plan to revamp our social media presence so that we are 100% active again on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. I also want to partner more with other event planners to organise weddings on some of the other islands.

Currently, we’re doing ceremonies for two to 50 persons, so I’m hoping we can get back to catering for 100 to 150, but that depends on what COVID does and what the government will allow.

We’re putting everything on paper, in terms of how we hope to expand and see the company grow, so that we can be ready for the next stage.

What advice would you give budding event planners?

Do your research and speak to persons who are in the industry. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Some people will try to discourage you but keep moving forward. If your gut is telling you that this is what you want to do, then go for it.

There will be days when you are discouraged, and that’s when you have to encourage yourself. No-one knows your dream better than you do, so work on whatever your vision is for yourself.

Believe in yourself, and no matter how rocky the road gets, just take some time out and move on.

What’s your personal motto and general approach to life?

Be the difference that you expect in others. So, what that means is that when things seem impossible, and you’re going through trials and tribulations, be the difference and be an overcomer.

Do good things for yourself, and others, and be selfless in everything that you undertake to do. Be the champion of your own destiny!

You can contact Eunece at Blue Hills Events via Facebook and Instagram.