I love meeting people in the wedding industry, and sometimes you meet people that you just click with instantly which makes it even more great. I met Symone back in March at the Castleberry Hill Bridal Stroll and we’ve kept in touch. Back then she talked about her budding event planning services for intimate weddings and events. Today, she is stopping by CBB discussing her business, the happenings in the wedding world and what’s next for her and Suite14A.
CBB: What inspired you to become a wedding/event planner?
As with most things I do, I can’t always pinpoint a “moment” when something turns from a thought to a decision. I remember growing up, my mom and I would discuss buying our own “hall” and hosting weddings and events there. Though some details have changed, the dream stayed with me my entire life. It just recently became more real than dream.
CBB: Tell me more about your business and how you got started?
For years, I had relied only on instinct, research via books and television (David Tutera had a show on Discovery Channel years ago, called The Party Planner with David Tutera, that I loved), and my God given creative gifts to help me plan events. However, after finishing my bachelor’s I was interested enough to seek out more formal training. I did an event planning course online and loved it. So I decided to take a more in depth course of study at a local community college. Then, I quietly continued to help everyone plan their events as I always had done. I worked with my sorority, I helped my friends with their visions for their birthday parties and weddings, and I even volunteered to help a few planners with their events just to get my feet wet. All the while I was customizing aisle runners, designing bridal party gifts and painting bridesmaids t-shirts with my other business. Then finally, a friend of mine who was planning her vow renewal says to me, “I’m putting you on the decorations committee for my wedding.” I said “okay, well who else is on the committee?” She said “Just you. How much is it going to cost?” And I’ve been focused on making it happen ever since.
One thing that makes SUITE14 unique is a specialization in intimate events and emphasis on unique event design that includes custom elements. I chose these two things to concentrate on based on some things I’ve observed while attending and planning various events. The first is that people tend to only put forth their BEST effort when planning a wedding and I think that should be extended to all events including bridal and baby showers, birthday parties and dinner parties. The second is that there are fewer resources available for those seeking to plan small events. Traditional venues and vendors aren’t always practical or cost effective for smaller groups. So I wanted to be a resource for those with a more refined guest list.
CBB: Describe your ideal client?
My ideal clients are all about relationships. They want to provide a really special experience for the people closest to them. They prefer a smaller event to ensure that they have time to enjoy their guests, but also so their guests can have the ability to get to know one another. They take what they want from tradition and leave the rest behind. Their event style is more an expression of them and does not focus on trends.
CBB: Why is it important for a couple to work with a planner for their wedding?
This is an easy one. Working with a planner can save you time, stress, and money. When you start to plan a wedding or event, your life does not go on hold to help you focus on that event. Between all the research, calls and meetings sometimes it can feel like a full time job. Why not let someone who does it full time plan it? Now you’re free to focus on other things. Plus the closer it gets to the event, the more stressful it can become. Even if an event is small, the to-do lists are the same. A planner will help you remember the little things AND make sure they all get done. Especially in the case of a wedding, you really should be relaxing and taking time to enjoy the moment. Finally, a planner is likely to have more resources and an inventory to pull from. This means they may have or be able to find that very same thing you’ve been looking for and usually at a better price because they know where to look.
CBB: Name some wedding trends you are seeing now.
Chalkboards are very popular right now. They were specifically requested at my last two events. They can be used for anything from table numbers to message boards in photo booths, which are also very popular right now. The photo backdrops also fit into this area too. I think this is very much a result of the growing use of social media to share the wedding pictures. Which leads to the unplugged or #wedding. On one hand it’s very popular to include social media in the wedding, but the unplugged wedding is picking up steam. I enjoy both. The rustic/collected style is “in” right now as people are really falling in love with old items. I think it adds more of a story to your event and is by far one of my favorite styles to shop for. As far as fashion, I’m seeing a lot of mismatched dresses for bridesmaids, and funky bow ties and socks for men. The bride is in lace with more modest designs with high necks and sleeves.
CBB: What 3 things should people ask when looking for a wedding/event planner?
To me, these are the most important things to consider when choosing a vendor. 1) How easy is it to reach this person? 2) How long does it take them to respond? 3) Do you believe they can execute your vision? I put execution third, because skills and gifts mean nothing if you cannot depend on them to get it done. As a bride, be willing to let some vendors go if there is ANY chance or feeling in your heart that they won’t make your event a priority. If they won’t answer your calls, or questions in a timely manner, then it’s likely this behavior will continue even after you’ve paid them. It’s not worth the risk. The purpose of hiring people to manage different elements of your event is to free you of stress. If they can’t do that, it’s not worth the money. On the other hand, be willing to pay for someone who meets all three requirements.
CBB: What’s next for your business?
Right now, I’m preparing to be a godmother and throwing my bestie a long distance baby shower. Since I won’t be able to make it, I’m planning carefully, because I have to mail everything. Also I still have some dates available for events later this year and 2015 dates are also available. I’d love to work with some of your Chic Brown Brides and anyone looking to host an exquisite event with a refined guest list. I can be reached at www.suite14a.com or @SUITE14 on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
Thanks Symone for stopping by today and sharing your expertise in the weddings & events world!
*All photo’s courtesy of Suite 14A.
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