If you’re considering a wedding planner, then take our word for it – working with an expert will help save time AND money! Get to know the Love, Madison Weddings Featured Wedding Planners! We recently interviewed Dominique from Wood Violet Events + Styling and Stephanee from Plans in Paradise to gain expert insight into the world of wedding planning.
1. What prompted you to pursue wedding planning?
Dominique: In 2009, I planned my first event — my own wedding. During that time, I discovered a passion that extended beyond the excitement of my own celebration: the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from watching well-laid plans come to fruition.
Stephanee: I worked full time at a travel agency and I planned destination weddings and when I relocated from the Quad Cities to the Madison area, I opened my own wedding and travel planning agency and branched off into planning local weddings. I love helping brides (& grooms) bring their dream day to life through helping them plan and coordinate so their day goes off without a hitch. I also love being creative and every wedding allows different aspects of my creativity to show.
2. How long have you been planning?
Stephanee: I started in the industry a little over 7 years ago.
Dominique: Almost 7 years!
3. Walk us through what happens after a couple contacts you for more information.
Dominique: Potential clients will complete a questionnaire that answers all of the big questions about themselves, their wedding day, and their expectations of a wedding designer, stylist and coordiantor. Next, I meet with them [preferably in person] to go over the information they gave me, answer any questions and ask any additional questions I might have. [I call this part “speed dating”. Because this relationship is one of the first you’re establishing with a vendor, we all need to make sure we’re the right fit for each other. Like any relationship, we have to communicate well and trust each other. If we’re lacking in either area, then we’re likely not the right fit for each other.] After that meeting, I organize my notes and provide my potential clients with a proposal which includes the collection of services that your event is in need of, along with the corresponding investment. Once all of those terms are agreed on, THE FUN BEGINS!
Stephanee: Once I receive a request from a couple, I set up a complimentary consultation so we can chat and get to know one another and I can gather more information about the specifics they are looking for assistance with. After that meeting, I put together a contract for the couple and then once that’s signed, I get started on helping them with the items they have decided they’d like assistance with. Some typical things I help with are choosing a venue, retaining vendors, sketching a lay out, creating invitations and tracking RSVPs, creating decorations, among many other items. My most requested service is assistance with day-of coordinating; so the bride and groom can have a stress free day.
4. Describe your brand in 3 words.
Stephanee: Creative. Elegant. Flexible.
Dominique: Earthy. Rustic. Non-traditional.
5. Describe your ideal clients.
Dominique: My ideal clients are creative, open minded, nature loving, unique and free-thinking. They are also passionate about weaving their story throughout the day by crafting an ambiance and atmosphere that is warm, inviting, intimate and personal; no matter how many guests are attending.
Stephanee: I love working with all different types of couples! I love getting to know them and learning their quirks. I love for them to explain their vision and entrust me to bring it to life!
6. Where are some of your favorite venues in Madison?
Stephanee: Paradise Park in Cottage Grove is stunning for an outdoor ceremony. Monona Terrace is breathtaking. There are so many unique venues surrounding the area that the options are endless.
Dominique: Tumbledown Barn, Paoli Mill and Terrace, The Lageret
7. What is your favorite moment during a wedding?
Dominique: Right before the bride walks down the aisle. Her face is lit up with excitement and she’s a bundle of nerves but she takes a big, deep breath and walks toward her partner. The love and emotion is palpable.
Stephanee: When the groom first sees his bride walk down the aisle. The look on his face and the love in his eyes makes me tear up every time.
8. What advice to you have for local couples as they plan their weddings?
Stephanee: Enjoy the planning process. Make sure to incorporate both the bride’s and groom’s personality when creating the theme and feel of the wedding. Ask questions, read reviews, and be creative…you’ll love looking back on this day 40 years from now.
Dominique: Choose your wedding date, venue + photographer first. Also, if you decide that you need a wedding designer, stylist or coordiantor, involve them as early in the process as possible. The process is SO MUCH EASIER for everyone involved.
9. Anything else you’d like to add?
Dominique: When you’re planning your wedding day itinerary, don’t forget these three things:
1. Make sure you schedule time to eat lunch!
2. Once you are finished with hair and makeup, schedule a 5-10 minute “breather” where you have some time to yourself.
3. If you can, schedule 5-10 minutes after your ceremony where you and your partner are together and alone. Just take in those precious few minutes because the celebration will fly by!
An extra tip, ask your caterer to make a plate of appetizers from your Cocktail Hour and have them waiting for you at the Head Table!
Stephanee: I often hear that couples feel wedding planners are out of their budget, I like to mention that I do what I do because I love it and I want to share my expertise with others to help their day be all they imagine it to be so I keep budgets in mind when I create my custom packages for brides and grooms.