1.) When did you get started in the wedding business and how did you go about doing that?
You could say I got the "spark" way back when my husband Rob and I were married in 1988. We planned our wedding mostly during lunch breaks, as many vendors were closed by the time we got off of work, and we were working crazy hours.
Yeah, it was stressful, but the experience stuck with me, and for the next few years I would talk about learning how to plan weddings as a profession. To tell the truth, I didn’t think that a "wedding planner" was a real profession, which is why I toyed with the idea so long before taking the plunge. There was never an ‘a ha’ moment of "this is want I want to do." Instead it was a gradual progression and blossoming of an interest. One day Rob basically told me, "stop talking about it and do something about it, or stop talking about it." Ok, maybe not exactly those words :), but he was giving me his blessing to pursue this thing that I found so interesting.
Even though I planned my own wedding, and helped some friends with their wedding plans, I realized that that was not sufficient to actually say I was a wedding planner. So, in 1994 I joined the Association of Bridal Consultants, took their professional development program, and apprenticed with an established wedding planner. So by the time I officially opened Weddings From The Heart, I knew and had worked with several different wedding vendors, had training in different areas of weddings, as well as practical experience of behind the scenes of a wedding day.
2.) What is the best way to find the ideal wedding planner and what should someone look for?
Ask your friends and family who they used. Ask other vendors who they recommend. Go online to places like Wedding Wire to see who’s in your area. Then set up an appointment to meet with this person - you want to make sure there’s a ‘meeting of the minds’ and that this person "gets" you and your wedding vision.
A wedding is not just a big party with some "wedding stuff" added in, so, you want to look for someone who has experience in planning weddings (not just corporate or social events), has a good track record, is creative and can come up with ideas to enhance what you have in mind, yet is mindful of your budget.
3.) How would you describe your approach to weddings?
There is no one right or wrong way when it comes to weddings, there is only a right or wrong way for each couple. Every couple is unique, from their personalities and style to their wedding vision. I’ll help with as much or as little as they want, and never "take over" - it is their day and I’ll never deny a couple (or even mom) from planning their own wedding. My role is to help make the process easy, fun, and stress-free!
My approach is to get to know them - their sense of style, their wedding dreams and desires. What do they want for their wedding? What don’t they want? What traditions do they want to incorporate, and which would they prefer to forgo? Also, what new "traditions" would they like to create and include? Essentially, what will work for their wedding and what won’t? Then help pull it all together so they have a wedding day that expresses who they are and their wedding vision.
4.) What inspires you in your work?
Oh, goodness! There is so much inspiration out there – the seasons, artwork, locales, movies, design styles, . . . There is no one place to find inspiration. I have designed a series of tablescapes based on paintings at the Dayton Art Institute, incorporated feng shui elements into wedding decor. . . I’m currently helping design a wedding with an Alice in Wonderland theme.
5.) What do you find the most rewarding about your job?
Being a part of the joy, happiness, and romance that is only found at weddings. It’s exciting to find creative ways and new ideas that represent and hold meaning for each couple. But the most rewarding thing is seeing the happy smiles on the couples’ faces, knowing that they are able to relax, have fun, and not have a care in the world on their wedding day - knowing that I had something to do with that - that’s the best thing of all.
6.) What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?
This isn't an oh-so-glamorous get-rich profession. On the wedding day I am not all dolled up running around in 10-inch heels. Being a wedding planner is work. I and my team get sweaty. We’re on our feet for 12+ hours on the wedding day (comfortable shoes are a MUST!).We’re on our hands and knees. At the end of the day we ache from head to toe. I’ve even had beer spilled on me during a reception. But I have a passion about everything that goes into creating the "perfect" wedding day. You could say I live and breathe weddings, it’s in my blood. I love it.
7.) What do you think sets you apart from other wedding planners?
My focus is 100% weddings and working with couples with their weddings. I don’t do other types of events, I don’t have a "day job" or side venture.
Every wedding should be the absolute best it can be, and to achieve that each couple deserves to have someone who will be able to devote the time and energy to them and their wedding. Weddings From The Heart only takes a limited number of weddings a year. Why? Because I believe in quality over quantity. Every couple deserves to have someone who will have and take the time to carefully search out the best vendors and resources, create and develop ideas and concepts to complement and express the couples’ wedding vision and transform all of these elements to bring that vision to life.
8.) Share with readers an example of your work
1st picture above by Faye Sommer Photography
2nd & 4th photos by Open Field Photography
3rd photo by Jean Neuhart
9.) What do you love about weddings?
It has to be the variety. I always say that there are many similar elements to all weddings, but they are never done in exactly the same way. Whether more traditional or non-traditional, classic or contemporary (or somewhere in-between), each couple has their own style, their own preferences, and their own interpretation of how their wedding should be. It’s always exciting coming up and creating ideas that express their wedding vision.
One of my favorite quotes is "The most damaging phrase in the language is: ‘It’s always been done that way.’" So true with weddings. I love to help couples make choices based on what makes the most sense for them and their event, not because of some preconceived notion of it has to be a certain way. There is no one right or wrong way to do things, only what is right or wrong for each couple.
10.) What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding?
Never forget why you’re doing this. The reason for planning a wedding isn’t about the big party or presents. It’s because you get to spend the rest of your life with the love of your life and to celebrate that love and this new journey as a ‘married couple.’
11.) What do you do when you are not working?
Read, go to the movies and hang out with my guys (my husband Rob, our 18 year old son Anthony, and our 13 year old furbaby Ryan).
12.) Who is your favorite artist or band?
Absolutely LOVE The Beatles.
13.) What is the best song(s) of all time?
The Beatles - Do You Want to Know a Secret & While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
14.) What is your website URL?
You can find me at http://www.weddingsfromtheheart.net
15.) Closing comments / thoughts:
Never stop. Keep learning, keep reading, keep doing. Be the best you can possibly be.
Above picture by Open Field Photography
Posted on July 10, 2014
by Brian Harris filed under