Each year, we present a list of the Brides Best Wedding Planners in America. This year, as we spoke to our 104 honorees, there was an underlying message of “we love what we do more than words can say" and, also, "damn, this job is not easy.” We have 2020 and 2021 to thank for any emphasis on the latter—but, pandemic or not, that's the hard truth of being a wedding planner. It's a job that can be challenging, unpredictable, complicated, emotional, tireless, thankless, stressful—and, yet, inspiring, fun, joyous, celebratory, rewarding, and beautiful, too. Notably, it’s the chosen profession of the individuals on this list.
These are the pros on the front lines of wedding planning today, helping couples coordinate, reschedule, and reimagine events. In many ways, a wedding planner's job can seem as unpredictable as the times: In the past 12 months, planners have been forced to not only navigate the pandemic—organizing rapid tests, tracking vaccine requirements, and implementing safety measures to keep their clients and guests safe—but to do so all the while bringing wedding visions to life in the midst of a wedding boom, flower shortage, paper shortage, supply chain issues, and, well, the list goes on.
It's been a rollercoaster of a ride, yet, when you ask them to reflect on 2021, it’s not the challenges they talk about. They recall the hugs, the toasts, the dances, and the indescribable feeling of being “together again” after two years too long. They talk about how COVID has changed the industry for good, with intimate gatherings, newfound traditions, and emotional celebrations they’ll remember forever. What they won’t tell you, we will: These are the people making mini festivals of love happen across the country (and, when safe, across international borders)—for their clients, but also for the Brides community, as they continuously share their expert advice, opinions, and insider secrets with you, our readers, despite their crazed inboxes and packed calendars.
So, with that, we present the Brides Best Wedding Planners in America, a list of 104 dedicated, selfless, and immensely talented individuals who, we believe, are the top full-service wedding planners in America. They are the “best of the best," and they continue to surprise us not only with their talent but with their perseverance, devotion, and commitment to celebrating love, whether it's with two people or a party of 500. It takes special individuals to be in the business of love, and we’re so grateful that these 104 wedding planners so clearly love what they do.
Francie Dorman and Britt Cole are the founding partners and creative producers of 42 North, a full-service planning and event design company located in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The pair has been in the events, hospitality, and catering business for over two decades and believe “a magical event is born when hospitality and mystery intersect. Where we all can escape, and momentarily enjoy a dream-like experience that will last forever as memories made long after an event has passed.”
At 42 North, they approach each wedding and event with a “less is more” mentality. “Our clients have an inherent style that we showcase in a playful, but subtle way,” share Dorman and Cole. “We believe parties (including weddings!) should be fun, spirited beautiful representations of our clients and their specific [stories]. We love to start with a gorgeous location—whether that is a city institution such as the MFA in Boston, or the natural backdrop of a meadow in the Hudson Valley—and enhance the natural beauty of that space, rather than transform or disguise its existing features.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “We feel the music, food, and other experiential aspects of an event are what makes it an unforgettable lifetime memory.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “When clients think of planning their wedding like the party that it will be, the process is much more enjoyable. It's meant to be fun. It's not meant to be a high-pressure, nerve-wracking, all-bets-on-the-table kind of experience. That's the pressure we, the professionals, really thrive on so our clients can enjoy their engagement and the wedding celebration to the fullest.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Non-traditional bridal parties!”
Co-founders Lisa Costin and Somer Khouri launched A Charming Fête in 2011 with one goal in mind: to offer their clients personalized, memorable, and one-of-a-kind design experiences with seamless execution.”Our team is best known for our highly personalized design approach, creative ideas, impeccable attention to detail and dedication to exceeding clients' expectations,” the dynamic duo says of their Cleveland, Ohio-based event planning and design company.
From dreamy, Parisian-inspired affairs to glamorous, high-profile weddings, the team at A Charming Fête strives to incorporate elements of each couples’ personal style while maintaining the elevated and refined taste they’re known for. “The devil is in the details and we like to consider all aspects and touches of the design,” Costin and Khouri share of their meticulous process. “Details and personal touches are so important!”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A smile on the bride + groom's faces! So I suppose it's not just one detail but a ton of planning and design aspects that contribute to their happiness, ease and joy on the day of the wedding! But of course fresh, lush flowers, amazing entertainment and delicious food are a few others.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: "Relax and trust the process. Our planning and design teams will work countless hours to create a magical dream day/weekend that will exceed your expectations! We've curated and hired the most perfect and talented team of professionals to rally around you and support every detail of your event. There is no challenge we cannot handle and we will do so quietly and calmly and in many cases, without the client ever even knowing.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Big statement floral installations and focal points, bigger and more over the top design elements! Coming out of the pandemic, we noticed our brides wanting to go bigger and more over the top. We have seen some epic 2021 weddings and are excited for many more in 2022!”
“For those that know me best, they know that I am the first to arrive and the last to leave a party, and that spreadsheets and floor plans are two of my love languages,” says Alicia Fritz, the founder of A Day in May Events. Fritz’s knack for planning and organization not only comes in handy when she’s designing luxurious destination weddings out of her Traverse City, Michigan office, but also when it comes to raising her toddler. “I am a mother to a toddler and my husband of two years is also in the special event industry, so our son is surrounded by tents being built, sound checks, and fabulous smelling flowers!” she says.
Since launching their firm in 2007, Fritz and her team have aimed to keep the fun in wedding planning by tackling the nitty gritty for their clients and allowing each couple to truly enjoy every moment of their engagement. “Once the big day arrives, we want our clients to be a guest at their own event, enjoying the fun they have planned for their guests, with their guests!” she shares. And while Fritz approaches every wedding she plans with a “fresh set of eyes” to design a bespoke event for each client, she can also always look back to her own fairytale wedding for inspiration. “I love to tell our couple's love story and watch them make their own family with two simple words, ‘I Do!’”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great entertainment!!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “While we can build Rome in a day, we can't tell you just when your invitations will arrive in your guests mailboxes... unless there's a tracking number!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Big parties! Over the last two years, we have all gained a new perspective for what it means to celebrate and I am excited to see our clients surrounded by all their loved ones on their wedding day, it's magical!”
When it comes to planning elevated destination weddings for their clients, Alison Laesser-Keck and Bryan Keck of Alison Bryan Destinations take a very hands-on approach. In fact, the husband-and-wife team only works with five to six clients per year in order to give each couple the most personalized and collaborative experience possible. “As destination wedding planners and travel advisors, we produce five-star weddings that feel more like a vacation,” the couple says of their California-based company, which they first launched in 2008. “Our process is 99 percent virtual, so you can work with us in the comfort of your own home, no matter where it is you wish to go.”
And while Alison and Bryan might run their company from Santa Barbara, they allow their minds to wander when it comes to planning their signature luxury events. “We're designers, and we tend to draw inspiration from the local culture, landscape, and architecture that plays host to the event,” the couple shares. “We want to treat guests to an authentic experience. Tapping into what makes a destination special is our secret sauce.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great service.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Locking in a venue prior to a planner is one of the biggest mistakes someone can make. It doesn't happen often with our clients, but when it does, it just sort of pigeonholes you into settling for something that likely isn't even the right fit—and it's a domino effect from there. (P.S. it can also be up to 50 percent of your budget, so it's really in your best interest to get professional eyes on it from the very beginning.)”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We love the trend of hosting boat days, sound baths, wine tastings, etc. as part of a wedding weekend. Those 'in-between' times are often some of the most memorable. We're also excited to see people taking more risks with where they're getting married. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have everyone you love together in one place. Don't settle!”
For more than two decades, Alison Hotchkiss and her team at Alison Events have planned and produced luxury weddings around the globe. The Sausalito, California-based team only takes on six to eight clients per year in order to give each couple the utmost attention. “We want our couples—and their guests—to have an experience of a lifetime,” says Hotchkiss. “Creating with our talented vendors and seeing our client's joy throughout the process is why we do what we do.”
And while the full-service planning, design, and travel company is known for its grand events, Hotchkiss notes that the team also strives to make each wedding feel extravagant and intimate. “We like to design weddings and events that feel like upscale dinner parties,” she explains. “Our team strives to make even the most extensive guest lists and events feel intimate and exclusive, from impeccable attention to detail, without feeling overly fussy, to high-touch service and luxe hospitality.“
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great music. Music drives the energy of the space regardless of size and scope. Lighting is also essential, but music starts the party—and keeps it going.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “I wish people understood that this industry is similar to the entertainment industry. We often find ourselves in a hurry-up-and-wait position. With COVID especially, we have seen prices go up, hotels and venues staying firm with rates, and we often have to wait to get information because people are busy. A vendor or venue doesn't need to negotiate like they once did because if you don't book them, someone else will. Patience is essential—and understanding what the hospitality industry is experiencing is crucial.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Black tie is back! After losing a whole year of parties, people are more excited than ever to get dressed up for formal events. Quite frankly, it looks better in photos anyways.”
Based in San Diego but working globally, Heather Balliet describes Amorology events as "classic modern romance with a touch of whimsy and playful that remains timeless." She started her business in 2003 after planning her own wedding, and says it's been an "incredible and long 19 years since!"
"I am passionate about people, families, and celebrating all things love," she says. "Getting to celebrate traditions new and old is one of my favorite parts of being a wedding planner. To be able to be a part of people's most memorable moments is such a gift as it allows me to combine all of my passions into one outlet."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Personal touches! The things that make a wedding uniquely their own.“
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Everything will all come together beautifully in the end. Sometimes it can be so hard to see the end result but a good planner will have the foresight to be able to make all the beautiful elements come together and create something timeless and cohesive.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Experiential events! We are seeing our couples want to take their events from tuxedo to trunks and everything in between!”
"We believe that all you have is your name and as such, we must use it wisely," says Amy Zaroff of Amy Zaroff Events + Design, a company she founded in 2004.
The Minneapolis-based planner clearly understands the value of reputation, and, for this reason, "seeks to be the best in all that we do." This translates directly to her company vision, as Zaroff says she and her team strive to connect with their clients and creative partners on a deeper level, not only as a revenue source. "Our relationships go far beyond the business transaction," she explains. "We are smart, fun loving, and creative people brought together by a shared passion for attention to detail and bringing joy to those who attend our events. We live by the highest standards."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Live music.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “When you select a team of the right professionals, TRUST them to have your best interest in mind when the planning process takes place. You chose experts for a reason.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Smaller gatherings with those who matter most to the couple.”
Andrew Roby launched his company, Andrew Roby Events in Washington, D.C., in 2005 after a pervious career in service ("I am an Army Veteran who has had the honor of laying to rest President Ronald Regan," he says). He has since participated in a number of events for foreign dignitaries and worked with many charities over the years, "aiding them in building up marginalized communities and those underrepresented."
Roby is now the lead experience creator at ARE; however, he makes it known that he is certainly "not alone" in his mission to create immersive environments and experiences. "Dana, Danelle, Dalonte, and Frederick are my Charlie’s Angels, and, without them, I would not be able to execute so many wonderful events and weddings to date," he says. "The best approach my team and I can provide to our clients is one that allows us to work alongside each other—not above or below one another."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “The one detail a wedding cannot go without is creating the guest experience. Yes we know that weddings are for the couple, but what better way to have this celebration than by making your friends and family feel included. Moments happen when friends and family are a part of them and can talk about how they felt at your wedding for the rest of their lives. So focus on that detail and the rest will fall in place.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish couples know they could take their time planning their wedding. Yes I know so many want to get right into it after their engagement, but when you pile on the pressure to get wedding planning done as fast as possible, you remove all of the fun out of things. Take your time and enjoy the journey. What matters most after it's all said and done is the person you get to curl up with each night.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “I'm excited about wedding weekends vs a wedding day. Couples are more excited about spending more time with friends and family due to not having as much opportunity because of the pandemic. Creating a weekend-long schedule of events where people can just have a good time is what gets me really excited about 2022.”
Founder Tzo Ai Ang might have left her career in investment banking to start Ang Weddings and Events in 2011, but she admits that she didn’t leave every aspect of her previous path behind. “I have always enjoyed the organization, timelines, details and logistics around planning,” she explains. “That comes naturally to me given my background.” However it’s the creative aspect of her job that she loves the most. “I find it really exciting building a team of event professionals for a couple that will bring their dreams to life,” says Ang.
Along with her team at the Manhattan-based company, Ang has planned elaborate weddings at iconic New York venues including the New York Public Library, The Plaza, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the Rainbow Room. “Especially with what we have been going through these past two years, it is abundantly clear how important gatherings are and how doing so in person cannot be replaced by Zoom,” she explains. “Being a part of bringing people together and celebrating the love of two people is something I really cherish.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great music! Whether that is a live band or a fantastic DJ, they really direct the mood and vibe of the event.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Something will go wrong, but if you’re working with the right vendor team, you will never know about the issue as they have already fixed it, or they will figure out a solution that is even better than the original plan! Your planner and vendor team fix so many problems you never even knew about.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “With the forced changes to events these past two years (e.g. micro weddings followed by bigger parties), I have seen more couples decide to do things in a more nontraditional way, and I welcome the change.”
At Anna Lucia Events, founder Anna Lucia Richardson and her Tampa, Florida-based team want every wedding they plan to feel elegant, fresh, and completely one-of-a-kind. To achieve this, the company keeps one important rule in mind: they never repeat a design twice.
“We design with the client's style always in mind, but we love to add our own signature touches to it to bring our client's vision to life,” Richardson explains. The boutique planning and design firm has been producing dream weddings for couples since 2007, drawing inspiration from both the small and details in their client’s lives to create unforgettable bespoke events. “I love the personal connections that we build with our clients,” says Richardson. “To have that connection and trust with them is truly an honor!”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Love. You HAVE to have a couple that is madly in love with one another. No love, no wedding!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Trust the professionals that you hire to assist you in doing so. Hire a planner that you trust explicitly and feel a strong connection too. Just like any relationship, you cannot force something that doesn't feel right...both you and your planner need to have a strong connection and you need to be on the same page from the start. Building that strong rapport from the very beginning, along with clear lines of communication throughout, are key ingredients to a successful planning process.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Color! Lots and lots of color!!!”
Founder Ashley Smith has been planning weddings since 2010, but she still finds the job just as exciting and challenging as she did day one. “There is never a dull day!” Smith explains. “We get to share locations and experiences with intimate groups. We also get to deck out these locations, how cool is that?”
For her and her San Francisco-based team, planning next-level events is all about thinking outside of the box. “We have a modern and fresh approach to design,” says Smith. “We listen to our couples and we steer them in a direction that will yield the results they are seeking.” And while she describes her signature wedding style as “modern, a touch of whimsy, fun, engaging, and upbeat,” she and her team are also experts at helping clients discover and design their own dream wedding vision “We love to let peoples’ personalities shine, which is often done through touches big and small,” she says.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great entertainment & decor! And really good lighting.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “I wish they knew how much Covid really impacted our industry and others we work with. It's still going to impact weddings and events for a long time.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “In 2022, I am most excited for all of the long weekends (or weekdays) of events! Nearly all of our clients are doing multi-day events (3-4 days) and it makes the experience so rewarding. Everyone gets to cknow every one very well and there is so much more fun and joy sparked in these settings.”
At her Washington, D.C.-based company B. Astonished Events, owner Melissa Williams believes that strong relationships are the cornerstone of trust with clients and vendors. She runs her company with this value so much that it shines through in every event they plan—whether it's a glamorous, large-scale event or a timeless, classic affair. In terms of signature style, Williams says she and her team operate with a "modern meets timeless" vision all the while striving to plan events that are "true to the heart of the dream." "I love bringing clients' dreams to reality! I enjoy sharing my creativity and creating unique experiences for my clients and their loved ones," Williams says. "We’re so honored to be a part of so many clients' love stories and seeing them unfold."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “We strive to convey to all our clients how important details are on the wedding day. One detail that could make or break your wedding is quality lighting. The proper lighting on your wedding day not only enhances the look of your design, but it also highlights the important décor elements such as your centerpieces, statement tables, sweetheart table, cake table and other areas of focal points in the room. Not having quality lighting on your wedding day, also plays a huge role in the outcome of your photography and videography footage. It is very important that every wedding has a quality lighting production vendor team that will produce the correct amount of light needed for your wedding day.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Wedding planning is no easy job but when you love what you do, you make it look easy. As wedding planners, we do a lot of behind the scenes work that goes unseen and requires the help of an entire team in order to be successful. It is important for all clients to understand that you hired a professional full-service wedding planner that will guide you in the right direction in selecting the best vendors for your wedding day. The more you trust your wedding team to do their job on your wedding day, the more magical your wedding day will turn out.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “One of the trends we have been excited about recently is the variety of entertainment that has been showcased throughout weddings. Creating a unique experience for the guests is what we strive to do in all our weddings and events. Many of our clients have added unique entertainment to their weddings that either play a huge part in their culture or fit within their wedding theme and it becomes an opportunity for us to enhance their guest experience. We believe this trend will remain on the top of the list in 2022 because everyone is excited about being able to celebrate again in larger capacities. Recently, I have had clients who hired entertainment such as moko jumbies, steel pan bands, champagne ladies, aerial dancers, celebrity guest performances, and much more.“
At Bash Please, no detail is too small for the experienced team of event planners and designers to tackle. Led by Sunna Yassin and Mollie Jones Hennes, the firm holds offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and has specialized in grand multi-day celebrations since first setting up shop in 2010. Whether they’re planning a boho-chic wine country wedding or an elegant beachside affair, the team at Bash Please takes cues from “the old, the new, the textured, the organic, the unconventional, and everything in between” to pull off artfully designed events.
As Yassin herself puts it, “[Wedding planning] allows us to bring in our creative forces, ambitious fortitude, and seasoned production skills to create the perfect orchestration of our client’s celebrations.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A venue that the couple is drawn to and excited about! It allows everything else to fall into place in a much more organic way.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Wedding planning requires communication and trust! As event experts, we spend time getting to know our client’s so that we can not only expand and evolve all of the ideas that they share but also find new and exciting ways to bring their personalities to the forefront. This combined with putting together a team of experienced professionals is the key to a successful event. The fundamental basics of the process always start and end with communication and trust.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Black tie! The request for formal, black tie celebrations is back in a big way! This is not your average ball gown and tuxedo. Our client’s have great taste that pairs well with a Bash Please curated color palette and an expert stylist. 2022 is in for some very fun formal looks!”
If you ask Beth Helmstetter, weddings are about much more than the union of two people. “I believe creating moments of beauty and joy ultimately makes the world that much better,” says the founder of Beth Helmstetter Events, a Los Angeles-based event design and planning company that specializes in over-the-top, multi-day bashes. Take one look at the breathtaking wedding she recently coordinated for Uche Nwosu and Clinton Moxam, and we guarantee you’ll agree the world is better off because of it.
Whether Helmstetter and her team are planning an intimate backyard affair or a lavish wedding weekend abroad, the company has approached every event since launching in 2004 with the same attention to detail. “I overthink every detail because, after over 15 years of experience, I know the celebrations we’re a part of are so much more than weddings; they are lifelong memories,” Helmstetter explains.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Enough staffing. Without the proper amount of servers, bartenders and behind the scenes support, guests will be waiting too long for drinks, food and more which ultimately will take away from their ability to remain present throughout the celebration.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Problem solving plays as big of a role in the process as planning.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We're currently creating many international weddings after two years of staying domestic. I'm excited to see couples ready to celebrate abroad again.”
For Wendy Kay, the founder of Birds of a Feather Events in Dallas, Texas, the planning process matters just as much as the final result, which is why she and her team strive to make it as stress-free as possible for the clients. “We believe the planning experience is just as important as the day itself and that it’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination,” she explains. To allow the couples she works with to focus on the joys of their engagement, Kay and her team of pros take on all of the planning details and limit the number of meetings their clients need to attend.
When it comes to the actual big day, Kay is never afraid to go bold. She describes her signature wedding style as “approachable, detail-oriented design with artfully captivating color palettes that have become our signature.” And while the company specializes in outdoor events, they also pride themselves on having all of their boxes checked with multiple weather plans for every wedding, too. That way, their clients can focus on nothing else but having the most memorable and remarkable wedding day possible,
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Beautiful flowers.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “It can be stressful, complicated, and you only get one chance to make it perfect—no dress rehearsals! Hire a seasoned professional.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “So ready for color to come back! I pride myself on my color palettes and am ready for those adventurous clients who want more color.”
“Bluebird Productions is all about the team!” says founder Virginia Frischkorn, who launched the wedding planning and design company in 2008 after initially moving to Aspen to be a ski instructor. The team, which specializes in planning weddings big and small throughout the rocky mountains, now holds offices in both Aspen and Denver. But though their team of pros has grown, the company’s collaborative approach has remained the same.
“We start by getting to know our clients and their aesthetics, sensibilities, sense of humor and what makes them tick!” Frischkorn explains. “We then assemble a dream team to further the process. Communication, creativity and curiosity are key!”
Frischkorn, who describes Bluebird’s signature wedding style as “timeless and elegant” and “understated and unassuming,” says it’s her calling to create memorable experiences for others. “I caught the ‘wedding bug’ at a very young age and have been hooked ever since,” she admits. “There is something about a wedding that brings people together like no other experience I can think of. It is a true honor to be included in such a pivotal moment in another's life and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A fabulous 'wow' moment. This may be an experience or it could be something visual, but we believe that having a moment of surprise and delight is critical at every wedding.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “We like to remind our clients that they are the only ones that know what all of their options were during the planning process. It's common to struggle to make a vendor or design decision when there are many fabulous options. We like to reframe this for our clients that, when their guests arrive at the wedding, the guests will only know the option that was selected and will be blown away.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We love how guest experience is almost all of our client's top priority. While this isn't a design trend, it is something one could classify as a trend and one that I hope will stay for a long time to come.”
Founded in 2009, Brooke Keegan Special Events is a full-service planning and design company that specializes in destination and multi-day events. Founder Brooke Keegan and her team accept a select number of events each year in order to tailor their approach to each couple. “This allows us to focus our efforts on creating outstanding, memorable events that exceed expectations,” says Keegan.
The Newport Beach-based company has planned extravagant weddings all over the country, from Napa Valley to Park Slope to Maui. But no matter how grand the occasion, the team always takes a “residential approach” to their design. “Our couples are looking for us to produce and plan a party that reminds them of an intimate dinner party at their own home,” Keegan explains.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “The First Look! It is the only time the couple can truly be alone, see each other, hug, kiss and just absorb the beauty of being together and what that day is all about!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “It can be stressful at times, but always go back to the reason for the celebration. It is about the two of you and your love for one another.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I love that weddings are going back to being more intimate. It is the quality of the guest count, not the quantity.”
"I have always had a creative spirit! Planning parties and finding new ways to display my creativity has always been a part of my life," explains Erin Taylor of Napa, California-based Bustle Events. She believes that every client is unique and prides herself on creating a design fit for each individual couple. ("We never create the same wedding twice," she adds.)
"Our approach to planning is to get personal," she says. "We believe that the best way to get to know our client is by building a relationship and have them trust us. We take to heart what inspires them, what their passions are, and what environment they want to create for their guests."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Joy! We make sure to bring the joy wherever we go. Each guests should feel the joy of the day and it begins with us setting the tone.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “That they don't have to keep things traditional. If you don't like a tradition or it doesn't fit within your wedding don't do it. Get out of the box and make sure your wedding feels like you.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Experiences! We are infusing immersive experiences into each wedding. Our goal is for each guest to feel transported and fully present at each wedding and the best way to do that is to keep wowing them.”
Since 1999, Calder Clark and her team at Calder Clark Designs have been planning detail-oriented, over-the-top soirées for clients out of their Charleston, SC headquarters. With over two decades of wedding planning experience, Clark has a knack for tapping into each couple’s entertaining style, which helps her and the team take the heavy lifting off their plate so they can enjoy every moment.
“Every couple deserves to have a stress-free engagement season,” she says. “It literally fuels me to reduce their overwhelm—and to develop each client's creative vision.” As for her company’s trademark wedding style, Clark describes a signature Calder Clark Designs wedding as “joyful, editorial, layered, unstuffy—and always fresh.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Top notch food, hands down. I'm well aware that few will remember how we folded a napkin, but everyone will remember that the food was insane.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “YOU drive the mood. If the skies open up and you're still smiling, thrilled to be marrying the love of your life, the party will be a smashing success—it's really that simple.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We adore mixing landscape materials with high level hothouse floral. We've been popping live trees into tents for decades, and now the options are endless for layering natural elements in for scale and drama.”
“As a boutique company, Callista and Company takes on a select number of events per year to ensure every detail is planned to perfection and every client receives the personal dedication they deserve,” founder Callista Osborn tells us of her company’s meticulous approach to wedding planning. The full-service planning and design firm has been producing exceptional events around the world since 2012 from their offices in Los Angeles and Seattle.
Osborn says “extraordinary details” are the key to planning an entirely unique event for every client the company works with. “I love the combination of meticulous planning paired with custom design work to create one-of-a-kind experiences,” she explains. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to see everything come together in a way that is both stunning and logistically sound.” (Speaking of extraordinary details, Osborn’s own Big Sur wedding was full of them, from the individual hand-painted cakes each guest received to the couple’s personalized wedding ceremony playlist. Take a look at the entire event here!)
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Callista and Co. weddings cannot go without custom details that are reflective of the couple. Whether it’s an over the top installation or a tiny embroidered icon, the details make all the difference.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Hire a high-quality team with great experience and an eye for design, and then trust them to do what they do best. You’ll get to enjoy the moment, and the end result will be incredible.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “My clients have a renewed focus on the guest experience and creating an incredibly special event or series of events that are uniquely reflective of the bride and groom’s style. We’re creating new traditions and are honoring the places, foods, activities, music, and people that are most important to them.”
“From intimate gatherings to spectacular affairs, we put our heart and soul into each of our clients’ events,” founder Heather Dwight says of her team at Calluna Events, a Boulder, Colorado-based boutique wedding planning company that’s currently in the midst of their 18th wedding season. “We are a dynamic group of women who love planning weddings! Above all else, we value creating fresh, inspired gatherings that truly represent our couple.”
To accomplish this for each client, Dwight and her team focus on designing one-of-kind wedding experiences filled with authentic and timeless details. “Planning someone’s wedding is very personal. We often develop such a close bond with our couples that when we get to the wedding day, it’s like watching a friend get married,” she shares, adding that the emotional connection and intimacy they develop with each couple is one of her favorite parts of the wedding planning process. “I love that each and every one of our couples is different and relish the challenge of planning a wedding that is uniquely them. “
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Ensuring that the guest experience is seamless throughout.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “How hard our team works on their behalf—many don't realize how much we actually do for them until after the wedding.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Entire weekend affairs with smaller guest count that focus on the guest experience and truly bonding with those you love the most.”
For owner Chanda Daniels, wedding planning is all about telling the unique love story of each couple she works with. She and her team at Chanda Daniels Planning + Design specialize in creating curated wedding weekend experiences for a limited number of clients each year, which allows them to focus uniquely on each couple. “Through an in-depth acquainting session, I learn all about the lifetime milestones that brought my couples to the day of their engagement,” Daniels explains. “Then, we make cohesive connections to their love story throughout the design and flow of their event.”
Daniels, who started her first company, A Monique Affair, in 1999 and has been planning weddings in the Bay Area ever since, describes her company’s signature aesthetic as “refined and classic, with elevated details, lots of textures, and an epic dance party.” “I proudly celebrate all love, equally. I value diversity and inclusivity,” she shares. “For the past 22 years, my designs have reflected the diversity of my clients.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A real budget that matches your expectations. Your creative partners can make all your dreams come true, when you have a realistic budget to match your expectations.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Contrary to popular belief, wedding creatives do not charge you more because it's a wedding. I've heard this so much throughout my time in this industry, it's simply not true. You are paying for experience, knowledge, time and talent.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Intimate weddings (75 or less guests) and curated details! More please!!!!”
Born in Zambia and raised in South Africa, Colin Cowie left at the height of apartheid in 1985, moved to the U.S. in 1985, started a small catering company in Los Angeles...and "never looked back." He has since traveled 15.5 million miles around the world as a "fiercely passionate experiential designer with a very curious mind in search of the most unique and authentic experiences."
His clients include Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Ryan Seacrest, heads of state, and foreign dignitaries. "I have had the opportunity to design unforgettable luxury experiences for the most celebrated people," he says. "I love bringing dreams to reality and creating memories that last a lifetime!"
Most Important Wedding Detail: “The thing that makes or breaks a wedding is the least expensive item on the entire budget: timing! Timing is absolutely essential. It can make or break any wedding—and guess what? It does not cost a single cent.“
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Clients should always make their wedding their own! Forget about expectations and create a celebration that reflects you and your partner. This is your first joint statement of style—it's your time to shine!“
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Sustainable weddings! I love to see that sustainable weddings are on the rise. People are starting to incorporate sustainable elements into their weddings by selecting vendors with greener production, selecting a plastic-free caterer, using online save-the-dates and invitations, and recycling and donating the flowers after their special day. More couples want greater vegan options, and some prefer an entirely vegan menu, which is another way to make your wedding greener.”
Since setting up shop in Houston in 2009, founder Darryl Moore and his team at D’Concierge Weddings have planned over-the-top events for actresses, athletes, Grammy-nominated musicians, and even figures of the Michelle Obama Administration Staff. “I love to create beautiful spaces and moments for couples that will last a lifetime,” says Moore of his approach to planning. “I want people to feel like the couple is hosting them at a dinner at their dining table.”
The United States Navy Veteran got his start in wedding planning after helping his mother plan her own nuptials while he was serving overseas in Japan. Since then, he’s helped couples plan their dream events everywhere from East St. Louis to the Eiffel Tower. “I love to keep a clean and timeless look that can't be timestamped,” Moore shares of his signature wedding aesthetic. “I love to incorporate hints of home interior decor into every design—furniture, shelving, planters, custom flatware, and glassware items that will spark guests to have conversations while dining at the tables.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “One detail that a wedding can't go without? A beautiful emotional ceremony! Many often mention how swift a ceremony will be. Never forget the reason everyone's coming for.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “One thing I wish couples knew about wedding planning...Toss all of the Emily Post traditions out the door and create something that makes you two feel comfortable and proud of. For example: If you don't eat sweets why spurge on a wedding cake? If you don't love flowers, candle light is just as magnificent. There is NO wrong you can do planning your wedding. This is the first official party you two are hosting as a married couple!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “One trend I'm so excited about are cocktail receptions. As much as I love a good plated dinner.. I believe guests will have more variety with passed apps for a few hours of the reception or beautiful action buffet stations as part of the reception in place of the traditional plated dinner.”
“‘Banquet’” is a dirty word to Daughter of Design,” founder Annie Lee tells us of her Miami-based planning company. “I take a very interior design/boutique hotel approach to wedding decor,” she explains, adding that she gathers inspiration from design, fashion, travel, food, music and more to produce bespoke weddings for a “stylish and discerning clientele.”
Lee also offers planning services on an hourly basis, and even launched a new company called Plannie during the pandemic that aims to help couples find day-of producers, hourly event planners, and COVID compliance officers.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Good furniture. Chairs, tables... They are the foundation of every well-designed room.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “The planning as much as the wedding is part of the rite of passage and you will learn and grow during this process.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I actually love this smaller, more intimate wedding. Selfishly for decorating purposes, we can do so much more interesting designs when we're setting 50 places rather than 250!"
Based out of Brooklyn, New York, David Stark and his team at David Stark Design and Production have been going above and beyond the typical wedding planning services for the clients since 1996. The company prides itself on taking the couples they work with on “personalized, collaborative journeys that end with indelible, one-of-a-kind experiences.”
"Our job is to bring to life our clients' unique style,” Stark says, noting that his team is comprised of “storytellers, idea generators, over-achievers, and passionate perfectionists” that all share one common goal: to turn their clients’ dreams into art. “That's why we can go from an avant-garde installation on one project to drop-dead, floral chic on the next and feel entirely comfortable in both camps,” he explains. “We are not designing for us; we are committed to becoming extensions of our clients.“
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Humor. Everything doesn’t need to be so, so serious, right?! Chic can absolutely include levity.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “It takes many more people behind the scenes installing, breaking down, managing, serving and supervising than most clients could ever imagine. Labor is, perhaps, one of the least exciting wedding elements to allocate budget towards, but ensuring a project is resourced properly is ultimately critical to its success.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Vivid color and unexpected pattern—small, floral prints, country toiles, chinoiserie, and more are coming to the table literally and figuratively. We look forward to innovating on these trends in the year to come.”
The oldest of five children, Denise Lillie O'Neal credits her Type A personality and political background for her top notch organization and planning abilities. The founder of Denise Lillie Engagements previously worked for United States Senator Carl Levin, where she was able to perfect her logistics and production skills before pivoting to the wedding industry in 2008.
O’Neal now runs her company out of Sunnyvale, California, planning glamorous events across the state with a specialty in destination, fusion, and cultural weddings. “Our clients are detail-oriented perfectionists who have discerning taste,” she shares. “They want everything to start on time and go perfectly as planned—we understand and know how to deliver!” The experienced planner describes her signature wedding style as “regal, glamorous and color-saturated.” “I gravitate toward the chic vibes of Gucci, with the colorful drama of Betsy Johnson,” says O’Neal. “I can never have enough sparkle or purple! Ombré and color-blocking make my heart sing!”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Lighting designed with intention and drama. I love the decadence of chandeliers and candelabras, to stage highlights to illuminate the couple... lighting design with colors to accent the ceremony or reception are a must.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “It's a marathon not a sprint! Its better to take your time and plan with detailed intention then just quickly get things checked of your list. It is also so important to focus on enjoying the process and adding your personal touches. Your wedding should look and feel like an epic date night and celebration of your love—this is more important than any trend.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Destination wedding experiences! They are here to stay... multi-day weddings are so much fun, and it feels like a true celebration of the couple. It’s an immersive experience, like a romantic summer camp.”
"It was never my intention to be an event planner but rather a happy accident,” founder Chioma Nwogu-Johnson says of how she got her start in the wedding industry. “I helped a friend with her wedding and received an overwhelmingly positive response; 14 years later, and here we are.”
Nwogu-Johnson has since helped hundreds of couples plan their dream weddings after starting her Houston-based planning company, Dure Events, in 2007. From intimate affairs to opulent soirees, Nwogu-Johnson and her team are known for their attention to detail and their ability to create true sensory experiences for every occasion.
“As creative director, I strive to make sure each event is unique and flawlessly executed,” she says. “I like to challenge myself and explore unchartered territories. I'm always thinking of ways to be better, to surpass my previous work.” As for her trademark wedding style, Nwogu-Johnson tells us, “It's really personalized to each couple but I tend to go for streamlined, elegant yet modern experiences. Classic with a modern twist, if you will.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “An experienced and detail-oriented wedding planner! Somehow wedding planners are an afterthought when they should really be one of the first things you lock in. And I'm not just saying that because I am one, it's just true....a good wedding planner is a game changer.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Prepare for the expense! Especially now that the pandemic has affected so many supply chains and inflation is up across the world. Be ready to throw out everything you think you know about what weddings cost.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “As someone who prefers the timelessness over trends, I think I want to see more people personalize their weddings to fit who they are...not something everyone else is doing.”
For Lynn Easton and her team at Easton Events, the key to planning their signature opulent destination weddings relies on one thing: the location. “We always design with our location in mind and play into the world of residential interiors through layering color, texture, subtle patterns, and patina,” Easton tells us, noting that while her company has offices in Charleston, South Carolina, and Charlottesville, Virginia, she’s never one to shy away from going global. “We have the unique opportunity to not only plan impactful parties for our clients but we simultaneously have the privilege of traveling the globe, visiting some of the most amazing corners of the world,” she shares. “We love a new passport stamp!”
Easton and her team take on a limited number of events each year in order to provide their clients with an unparalleled level of service. And whether they’re planning a western-themed wedding weekend or a timeless coastal affair, their signature look is always present: “Our style and aesthetic would be described unequivocally as understated elegance.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “An investment in the guest experience is key. While we love all of the ‘wow’ moments that decor and entertainment bring us, it is often the well-thought-through moments that leave the best impression on your guests. Properly organized transportation, a speedy hotel check-in process, intentional menu planning that pleases a wide variety of palettes and dietary restrictions, and bookend events. The very last impressions for guests are just as important as the first!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “We always advise that our couples and their families establish a target budget before booking their venue...and planner!”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Entertainment has always been a central focus point at our weddings, but we are seeing a new era of over-the-top musical elements come to the stage—and we are here for it! Whether it’s a fabulous pop-up boy band performance, a headliner, or a broadway set in the middle of dinner, surprising your guests with a major musical moment is a trend we are loving.”
Elana Walker's career began in fashion when she majored in fashion design at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. "That's where my love for beautification, style, and design was refined," she says. After college, she returned to her home state of North Carolina—and became a certified wedding planner in 2009 after leaving a career she didn't love. She's never looked back and, and today, she works with clients who come to her for her style, as well as her warm, funny personality.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Proper lighting! Bad lighting can really throw off a design!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish all of my clients knew how much we do behind the scenes that they don't know about to make things happen.“
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “In 2021, I noticed more couples wanting to go paperless for their invites. This actually releases the stress from planners during the mailing and RSVP phase (if the planner manages it) and it allows more money to go towards creating a really beautiful day of pieces that ultimately enhance the decor of the wedding.
Based in Sacramento, California, Erica Estrada Design is a full service event and wedding planning and design company that caters to clients who value a timeless and elegant design aesthetic. Founder Erica Estrada has been planning luxury weddings in the Northern California area and beyond since first launching her business in 2017.
“I love working with clients to create a memorable experience that truly reflects who they are as individuals and as a couple,” says Estrada, noting that while she favors a timeless style, she’s always looking for modern elements to incorporate in her events. She considers herself a ‘forever student,’ and strives to stay up to date with the ever-evolving trends of the wedding industry by constantly expanding her network.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “An amazing guest experience. If guests don't have a good experience, they will remember that forever.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “We are always working on things behind the scenes.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I love that couples are thinking outside of the box about how they want to celebrate their special day. I hope this continues forever!”
“There is absolutely no other career like being a wedding planner,” the co-owners of Estera Events, Bianca Hall and Erica Vanco, tell us. The best friend duo launched their Chicago-based planning firm in 2010 and have taken the wedding industry by storm thanks to their creativity, exacting standards, and high expectations. “We get to work creatively, logistically, and form incredible relationships and bonds with our clients—all while creating the most incredible day of their lives,” they share.
The duo prides themselves on creating bespoke events that are overwhelmingly creative and unique to each couple they work with. “We truly customize every event we design based on that client's specific style,” the co-owners say. “Our ability to immerse ourselves in a vision that suits our client's personal tastes and focus in on what design direction to take them is truly what we're known for.” And while they favor different aesthetics in their personal lives (Vanco is a clean-cut, neutral-loving minimalist while Hall is a bold, texture-mixing maximalist), the pair say their contrasting styles help them strike the perfect stylistic balance for their clients.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “We work with all of our clients to ensure that unique personal touches are woven into the details and truly believe the little details make such an impact.“
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “As cliche as it may sound, our only rule for weddings is that there are no rules. We firmly believe that nothing in a wedding must happen because a couple feels like others expect it to happen. As with everything in life, if it feels right, that's how you know it's right. If it doesn't, skip it! We're here to help you break the rules a little.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “A small ceremony with immediate family followed by a big celebration later! Erica got married in 2010 and did this for her own wedding, so we like to say she started this trend (Covid, who?!) In all seriousness, we love the intimacy and romance of a small ceremony and the build up of anticipation for a larger party afterwards!”
"My obsession with weddings began on a seven-week long summer vacation, in Europe, when I was 10-years old," recalls Eva Clark of Eva Clark Events. "While in Spain, I witnessed a wedding that was being held at a 17th-century palace-turned-hotel—the glasses of fresh sangria, intricate lace, and celebratory dancing made a huge impression on me. As a girl from modest, Southern roots, I'd never seen anything like it. Little did I know that experience was the beginning of a journey that would lead me across the country and around the world in the pursuits of once in a lifetime event experiences."
She founded her Atlanta-based company in 2003, though, as a designer and planner, Clark admits that she is thrilled to "see the emphasis on personalized weddings that has emerged in the past decade. "I want the couple to feel that their wedding is a true expression of who they are so that their story is the essence of the event," she says. "I want our guests to know precisely whose wedding they are at, from their first impression, upon arrival, to the send-off. There are no cookie-cutter events here."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A thoughtfully dressed dinner table with interesting layers.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “How vital it is to trust your planner and the partners they bring on board.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I'd love to see more intimate weddings in 2022!”
For more than a decade, Jeannette Tavares says she has been extremely fortunate to plan and execute luxury weddings and events across the U.S. and Europe under the Evoke Design & Creative banner.
"For each wedding, I work hand-in-hand with our clients to design around their personal aesthetic," she says. "Evoke strives to create an experience, not an event, for them and their guests. We achieve this by placing the utmost importance on innovative elements, exceptional service, and seamless logistics."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “We strongly believe that a carefully considered, yet concise, welcome note to your guests can set the tone for the entire weekend. Identify all of the highlights you don't want them to miss. Assure them that every logistical detail has been thought of. And, above all, make sure they know you're grateful and ready to celebrate with them!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “To trust that we truly have their best interests in mind. Together, our team has planned and attended thousands of weddings. We offer advice and suggestions from a place of experience, not ego. Believe and trust us when we say, "If you're happy, we're happy!" That's our #1 goal at the end of every event.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “It's an unfortunate reality, but a traditional mother-son or father-daughter dance isn't always possible. To help brighten a potentially somber moment, several Evoke couples incorporated a 'family dance' into their celebrations in 2021 that honored those loved ones who couldn't be with them. While each one was unique, the central theme was for our couple to dedicate the dance to their mother or father and to take turns dancing with close relatives in attendance—grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. They were all emotionally memorable, to say the least, which is why we'll encourage couples to honor parents this way in 2022, and beyond.“
Fallon Carter admits she didn’t always see herself becoming a wedding planner. “Event planning fell into my lap, as becoming a lawyer was the original plan,” she shares. However, fate had other ideas, and during a week-long celebration in Paris for one of her friend’s nuptials, Carter found herself taking on the role of wedding coordinator. She immediately fell in love with the job, and abandoned her law school plans to head to New York to pursue event planning.
Now, Carter and her Manhattan-based team at Fallon Carter Events specialize in planning luxurious destination weddings that focus on culture and an unforgettable guest experience. “My approach to weddings is taking my clients' vision...and turning it up a notch,” says Carter.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Intention.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “Wedding planning is for one day, don't forget to plan for your future together.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Travel is back!! Excited for more destination celebrations!”
Since 2012, Yodit Gebreyes Endale and her team at Favored by Yodit Events & Design have been helping clients in the Metro D.C. area and beyond plan and execute their dream weddings. The company specializes in multi-cultural luxury weddings, and believes that impeccable planning and communication are the keys to pulling off a successful and memorable event.
As for what inspired her to work in the wedding industry, Gebreyes Endale tells us, “I love all things love! I’m grateful to be a vessel that ideas and creativity travel through in order to make other people's lives more meaningful through love and weddings.” She and her team are best known for their attention to detail, creative ideas, and their ability to create truly one-of-a-kind events. “We invest time to learn our client's personalities in order to produce unique events that are a creative reflection of each individual client’s needs and desires,” says Gebreyes Endale.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “No matter where you get married, first impressions are essential for both the ceremony and reception space. A personalized entryway or warm welcome to your wedding can help guests feel at home immediately.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “You should hire wedding planners as early as possible since we have lots of experience with different scenarios, great resources, discounts, and recommendations to guide your wedding planning process.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I think intimate weddings are going to be big again in 2022 and smaller guest counts equal more room within the budget to splurge on extras and unique details, such as floral installations and specialty rentals and much more!”
When it comes to creating completely unique, custom weddings, Fête owner Jung Lee has set a high standard for herself. “My litmus test is, if a guest goes to a wedding without the couple, could they identify that it was so-and-so’s wedding?” Lee tells us. The former real estate developer launched her full-service planning service in New York City in 2002 after noticing how the “modern sensibilities that drove architecture, interior design and hotels” had not yet taken off in the event world.
“Fête is one of the only companies that conceptualizes, designs, plans and oversees all key elements of a wedding in-house,” Lee shares. “No two weddings are alike and no detail is overlooked.” She explains that Fête doesn’t have a signature design aesthetic, since each event they plan is absolutely personal to the client. “We discover parts of a couple that are unique to them, and that at times they didn’t know they wanted,” she says. “I like to create the ultimate fantasy as this is YOUR day to be extra super duper special.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: "It has to have heart and soul. My personal stamp on a wedding is having the couple use the china they registered for at their reception. It is deeply meaningful to have the memory of their wedding on the china that they will eat off for years to come.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: “I see so many people stressed and anxious about tomorrow and the uncertainty. I tell all my clients, ‘We don’t know, but we’re going to do the best we can do today, and we’ll move forward. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today’—I’m a big believer in that.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Since Covid, it is so exciting to see the resurgence of the proper three day weekend wedding. Although we feel destination weddings are back, even if it is a hometown wedding, there are full-on three day experiences. It feels more immersive and celebratory than it has in the past. I feel there is a new appreciation for the celebration of a couple entering a new phase in their life. In addition, entertainment is a huge element, we are seeing whether it is a notable performer or immersive entertainment that emulates the couple.”
Teissia Treynet started Firefly Events in 2009 out of her studio apartment in Los Angeles. In 2011, she opened a second New York office and brought on seasoned New Yorker, Alia Wilson, who is now co-owner of the company.
"Our mutual love of beauty, design, list-making, organization, and a true desire to help couples seamlessly navigate the planning process is at the heart of everything we do," Treynet says. "While we've opened offices in Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Jackson Hole, Alia and I are happy to call northern and southern California home for the time being."
When they handling the logistics and designing celebrations that are "beautiful, innovative, and highly personal," Treynet and Wilson are helping other planners start and grow their businesses through their sister company, The Firefly Method.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A welcome speech from the couple. Your guests have come from far and wide to spend this momentous occasion with you. It's so important to make them feel appreciated and included.
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It can be so much fun if you just get organized from the get-go!”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Safety! We know it's tempting to ditch the rapid covid tests and get straight to the party but we think it's so important to continue to take precautions. With the right planning and some creativity you can even make this fun and unexpected for your guests. We have to take care of one another as we continue to navigate these challenging times and no better place to do that than with your nearest and dearest.“
GATHER Events is an international full-service planning, design, and destination event planning team. Founded in 2009, GATHER Events has grown to have offices around the world in Europe, Seattle, Portland, and California. “We are incredibly proud to be a group of women who thrive on creating the most memorable weddings and events out of our USA locations, Europe, and beyond! We value collaboration and believe that in this creative industry we are all stronger and more inspired when we work together,” shares the team. “Cultivating relationships with our clients, vendor partners and members of the community is a top priority for us. As wedding and event designers, we create fresh, elevated concepts that make an impact, believing that every detail should be intentional, every choice justified.”
While GATHER Events produces weddings that capture a style of “organic chic minimalism,” they share, “We believe that wedding and event planning is so much more than simply producing something aesthetically beautiful. For us, it is curating a thoughtful experience for our clients and their guests that is representative of their stories and that will last a lifetime in memories.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A bounty of joy.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It is okay to say no! Often we see couples try to please everyone because they care so much about each person involved. The downside is that they can lose sight of their vision.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We feel that 2022 will be the year of intimate, personal gatherings. We’ve all seen dark times in the last couple of years and have been reminded that love and light always win. Along with the build up and anticipation of getting to see and celebrate with loved ones, we’re finding that our clients are REALLY focused on guest experience. From planning surprise moments (celebrity impersonators and pop-up performances) to personal welcome notes and thoughtful gift bag items, ensuring that guests experience the weekend in a way that promotes presence and connection is of the utmost importance. The aim is to have guests depart the weekend feeling delighted and cared for and with specific memories that will last a lifetime. We find that if you focus on the little details, this level of intimacy can be achieved for guest counts of all sizes!”
Run by Debbie Geller and Paige Blatt, Geller Events is a full-service planning company based in Los Angeles. The duo curate beautiful bespoke weddings with a simple goal: making people happy! “We approach weddings as an opportunity to share a couple's story: every couple is unique, and their vows and celebration should reflect their personality and style,” share Geller and Blatt. “We are great listeners, and have developed a process whereby we are able to interpret and elevate our clients' vision. Design is only a small portion of what we do. Producing seamless events and making sure our clients have fun along the way is our standard.”
The planners consider themselves “style chameleons” when it comes to their events. “Our job is to help our clients to develop their wedding style, then elevate it to the highest level. We believe it's essential to have not just a beautiful overall design, but little surprises and details that emerge so that the story continues to unfold,” they explain.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Hospitality. When your guests feel welcomed and cared for, your wedding automatically has heart.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Life still happens when you're planning a wedding, and not everything is in your control. We wish that clients understood that no matter what happens on your big day, at the end of it you're married to the person you love. Oftentimes a pivot or unexpected event can become your favorite memory.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Color! During this difficult time, our events have pops of color that are a visual manifestation of how happy they are.”
Founded in 2002 by Emily Campbell, Go Bella is a full-service planning company based in Breckenridge, Colorado. After spending years traveling the globe, Campbell decided to take the approach of an anthropologist when crafting weddings with an organic minimalist edge. “I enjoy observing how my clients and their guests interact with each other, what makes their eyes sparkle and what turns them off. Using this information, I build a team of creatives that I know will create something special,” she shares. “Working in various cultures with different languages, currencies, and learning how different regions do business prepared me to be a strong negotiator and someone who can figure out how to get things done. Progress can only be made if you are aware of your surroundings.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A wedding can't go without a fantastic officiant. The ceremony is the most meaningful part of the day and a good celebrant knows how to move the crowd and the couple with perfectly chosen words.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It's not glamorous. It's emotionally and physically taxing. It ruins your feet. Yet, somehow I love it.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I'm seeing more people hiring stylists and choosing non-traditional fashion. It's exciting and I am curious where it will lead.”
Kate Ryan, owner of Gold Leaf Event Design & Production, was born and raised in Michigan but made her way to Aspen after college. There, Gold Leaf Events was born, later expanding to a second office in New York City.
The company's approach to planning weddings is simple: They listen to their clients. "Not all of our couples have the same priorities when it comes to the elements that go into a wedding," Ryan says. "The initial steps of our planning process include educating our team on each individual client’s likes and dislikes, discovering what their style is as a couple, and adjusting the process for working together to guarantee it best fits their needs."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Couples have a tendency to underestimate the importance of paper goods. While they’re sometimes considered to be a less relevant element they are the source of information for guests throughout the entire wedding weekend. Beautiful, informative paper suites are a detail couples shouldn’t forgo.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “We understand there is a learning curve when embarking on the planning process—it’s why we’re here! However, if couples came into the process more knowledgeable of the impact guest count has on the entirety of the event that would be a useful.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Layers, textures and patterns. The more, the merrier, and I love it! “
Based in Whitefish, Montana, mother-daughter duo Darci and Arden Greenwood plan and produce events throughout the United States. "Greenwood Events is based on the principal that luxurious weddings do not always mean showy and pretentious, but rather meaningful and tasteful," Darci says. "We approach weddings with a warm gesture that every guest, and, of course, our couple feel completely comfortable and well taken care of throughout the experience."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Elevated service for the bar and dining experience. A good cocktail is a must!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It takes time! Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Luxe and over-the-top after parties.”
Blake Sams founded Gregory Blake Sams Events after over a decade in the industry. With offices in both Charleston and New York City, his firm produces weddings that are “classic with a little drama.” “I strive to be intentional with every bespoke detail to add a personal touch to each wedding that makes the experience feel effortless, authentic, and reflective of the couple,” shares Sams. My firm approaches every wedding with an exacting attention to detail and standard for perfection, no matter the size or complexity. We are dedicated to offering couples a unique and one-of-a-kind experience that is reflective of their taste and personalities—giving them and their guests the feeling of intimacy no matter how grand the affair is.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “One huge detail that weddings can’t go without is proper lighting! This harkens back to my love of layering. Go for layers and layers of lighting!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “One thing that I wish my clients knew more about wedding planning is that it is truly a long and close relationship—you get ready to know each other really well! It should be mutually enjoyable and fun throughout the entire process!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I truly love old-school decadence and plan to help bring more of it into 2022 wedding design!”
While Guerdy Design has offices in both New York and Miami, founder Guerdy Abraira says she’s based “out of an airplane!” The full-service planning and design firm curates beautiful destination weddings worldwide. Guerdy’s approach is to create “timeless affairs with a defining twist” often stemming from personalized touches that are reflective of each of her clients. For this planner, she finds joy in bringing creative visions to life on a consistent basis.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “LOVE! Love has to be at the focal point of this celebration.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It is a marathon not a race—follow your planners lead and trust in the process.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Love can’t wait so I love how couples are finding creative ways to celebrate safely during this pandemic.”
For Alicia Mae, founder of the Summit, New Jersey-based ILE Events, everything starts with the couple. “Our weddings dive deep into the people. Everything starts with our clients' lifestyle as individuals and then fusing their ideas into one,” she says. “It’s the nuances or details that create a memorable wedding. With our concierge planning and design style this allows us to effectively enter their world.”
“After becoming a mother, it was important for me to do work that was meaningful,” notes Mae. “The feeling I receive when planning such a monumental moment for our clients and their loved ones is exactly that.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Authenticity. We tell our clients to be true to what you want and what’s important to you for your wedding—you have to love every single choice. Honoring traditions does not mean you can’t make them your own.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Wedding planning is about all the feels—the joy surpasses it all and your loved ones generally have good intentions when making suggestions or requests. Keep this in mind during the process and, like our bride Brittney says, ‘We defer to our planner!’”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We are excited about vintage elements being incorporated into the wedding design like champagne coupes. They are so gorgeous!”
Based in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, Imoni Events is a full-service wedding planning company that specializes in destination clientele who are hosting intimate affairs in beautiful locations. Together, Jennifer Thye and Sarrah Gaboury, combine their love for sophisticated designs and elaborate logistics to provide a high-touch and custom experience for each client. "We want the planning process to be both memorable and enjoyable," they say.
As for their name? It's a company-created word meaning "faith, love, and hope."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Memories and experiences are the two cornerstone items we measure everything we plan against. Whether it is a good band that helps facilitate the celebration or a good photo and video team to provide lasting images, we are constantly thinking about how we can preserve the wedding weekend experience for longer than just those precious few days. When done right, the celebration lives on endlessly in the minds of those that attend.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Honestly? That it is harder than you think! I truly believe that weddings are so fun and festive that people forget how much work goes into making them happen. So whether you are the couple planning alongside your creative team or the guests attending the celebration, it is important to know that the wedding planning process can be difficult. So be a good guest/friend/support and allow for the couple to enjoy the process. And if you are the couple, allow your team to help you. Weddings are certainly not rocket science, but they are a skill. And those with years of experience honing those skills can make the process so much more enjoyable if you let them.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “The multiple-day event. I can't tell you how much I love planning a welcome party. And how much I see the wedding receptions bubble over with joy and excitement when people have had a day or two to get to know those around them. Sometimes this means guest counts are smaller so the experience of all can be greater, and we are good with that too! We just know that these multiple day affairs are more and more the norm and we can't wait to see how they transform the landscape of the wedding weekend.
Invision Events is an award-winning destination wedding design and planning firm led by founder and creative director Julie Bunkley from Birmingham, Alabama, and principal planner Courtney Wolf in Atlanta. They serve couples coast to coast.
"We're most known for our refined and tailored aesthetic as well as thoughtful and intentional approach," Bunkley says. "Together, we are driven by our clients' longstanding desire to honor family."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Gathering the people you love most! We believe in creating events that allow for meaningful and joyous time spent with the important people in our clients' lives.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “In the same way, couples host their guests; we serve as gracious hosts to our clients, guiding them through their wedding planning process together.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Destination weddings are the top request! After curtailing travel the past few years, couples are ready to build a multi-day experience and excited to share meaningful locations with their guests again.”
"I consider myself to be a 'laid back type-A'. It takes a lot to knock me over!" admits planner Jacin Fitzgerald of Jacin Fitzgerald Events, who says she has dealt with her fair share of planning problems—from navigating earthquakes to relocating alligators from a pond at a private residence to, now, planning events during a pandemic.
Through it all, Fitzgerald credits her calm and collected nature as fundamental to her success, adding that "the energy is contagious and helps to ease our clients' nerves on what is already an emotionally-charged day." This extends beyond the big day. "While we are known for creating beautiful, timeless moments for each and every client, behind those moments is an orchestrated atmosphere that makes every single guest feel welcomed, accepted, and delighted to sit at the table," she adds.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A well-oiled, expertly-communicated, transportation plan. Also, lighting, lighting, lighting. It can make or break the design and should never be an afterthought.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Wedding planning brings out unexpected emotions from all parties involved. Be cognizant of this—it will give you the grace you need to get through the unexpected stressful moments.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Trends go so quickly these days it seems, especially with social media, so I'd say I'm very into the increased focus on guest experience, whether micro wedding or a guest count of 400+. If your guests feel taken care of from start to finish? That's the best wedding they've ever been to.”
Jason Mitchell Kahn planned his first wedding for his sister and her wife before gay marriage was legal in 2010. “I was already planning and running events at the Soho House New York, but I was instantly hooked on weddings,” he shares. Eventually, he wrote a book on planning for gay grooms and began working weddings full time. In 2017, he opened his own firm.
As a former playwright, “I work to tell a couple's story through their wedding,” explains Kahn. “I love the character study of getting to know my clients through the process, from who they were before they met to why they want to enter into marriage. It's endlessly fascinating, which makes working in this field consistently exciting and fresh.” With a personal approach to planning, Kahn and his team curates beautiful events that “balance creativity and organization with a relaxed touch to every couple. We love collaborating with our couples, hearing their ideas, and then expanding on them in ways they never dreamed possible.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “One? Every detail is so important! If I had to choose one, I would say it's having someone run the show who is reading the room constantly. No matter how beautifully a space is designed or how delicious the food is, it's imperative to be tapped into the energy of the crowd. We often recalibrate schedules in real time because nothing should ever be a wedding buzz kill.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish they knew that just like the marriage that lies ahead, they need to be able to compromise.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “The pandemic forced us to throw some rules out, and it has given clients permission to lead with that, beyond health and safety reasons. We spent a while not being able to celebrate, and now that we can, we are going bigger and better than ever!”
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jenna Lam’s full-service wedding and event design boutique creates luxurious destination weddings and other bespoke, “joy-filled bashes” of all sizes. “I love translating a couple's style and story into an event that guests will remember for a lifetime,” shares Jenna. With a love of travel and great design, she curates events that are highly personalized and universally engaging.
With a style the planner describes as “classic modern luxury,” Jenna Lam Events works to curate memorable events that celebrate bringing people together.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A perfectly tailored welcome gift.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “For every hour we spend interfacing with them, we probably spend about five interacting with other vendors on their behalf.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Weddings that feel like intimate, authentic dinner parties.”
Nashville-based Jessica Sloane takes an artistic approach to curating beautiful weddings to fit her clients both locally and for destination events. Listening to what her clients value and what inspires them leads the planner to craft the perfect event for each couple. “With consideration to the environment, we help create thoughtful and intentional spaces for the clients and their guests to connect,” shares Sloane. Her intentional, warm, and airy aesthetic makes her a winner with her couples.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Intentional time for photos that allows everyone to be present. A good photographer and planner team will ensure that the timeline allows for documenting the day without interfering in how you experience it.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish my clients knew that making intentional decisions with your venue and vendor team during the planning process will make for a much more curated, fluid, and personal event.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Overall, since the pandemic, we are seeing more intimate gatherings that are focused on what really matters. It reinforced why we are in the business to begin with. An added bonus: champagne towers have made a comeback recently. They are a more engaging way to make a toast!”
After founder Jove Meyer planned his best friend's wedding in the summer of 2008, Jove Meyer Events was born. According to the planner, “I love love and can't get enough of creating authentic and joy-filled moments for those in love and their loved ones!” To help curate his design-driven and colorful events, the full-service planning and design firm turns to partnerships with creative companies primarily owned and operated by women, people of color, and queer people.
“I create weddings for couples who dare to be different,” shares Meyer. “We design beyond what should be, what has been and what is supposed to be, we design authentically for our couples, and bring out their love story, personalities, and styles in fun celebratory ways!”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A wedding cannot go without great music! Music is the heartbeat of the celebration and brings everyone together for all of the special moments, from the ceremony to dinner and dancing! Great music sets the tone for key moments and helps make memories more exciting and emotional!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish all of my clients, and all couples, knew that they do not have to do what everyone expects them to do—not their family, friends, or colleagues. Couples should be who they are, they should celebrate as they want, and their wedding should be filled with their favorite food, music, people and moments that reflect their love story, personality, and styles in their unique way! Do not perform at your wedding. Be yourselves and be intentional and authentic in your selections and you won't regret a thing! Silence the voices around you and turn up the volume on you and your fiancé!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I am so excited about the fun-focused trend. Couples have been waiting to celebrate for so long, delaying and changing and morphing their weddings due to Covid-19, and now are focused on FUN and less on formal, which I think is FAB! Weddings are a celebration of love and should be fun-focused, so this trend makes me so happy!”
Jennifer Zabinski has been in the business of planning weddings since she opened her New York-based firm in 2000. However, working hospitality at top hotels around the country led her to her passion. “It was there that I realized my knack for bringing people together and making sure their every need was met could translate to a new line of work in the wedding industry,” shares the planner.
Jennifer styles weddings to fit the aesthetic of each couple and makes them “authentic to individuality and capturing intimate details about what makes us who we are,” she says. ”The creativity that my job allows me and the emotional connections that I make because of it is why I love what I do and who I do it for.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “No wedding should go without a well-plotted, fully flushed-out timeline. Of course, once the wheels are in motion on the day-of, many of the big pieces fall together organically. However, having a solid plan of how the event will play out is integral to its success.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish my clients knew that being true to yourself is the best way to plan a wedding. Channeling your own style and capturing your personal aesthetic will ensure that you are comfortable on the actual wedding day and feel more authentic to your guests. It is not always about copying someone else’s Instagram post or Pinterest board. It is about finding what you love and making it YOUR day.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Small, intimate weddings. We have seen an appreciation and acceptance of intimate weddings which I would be excited to see in 2022. I have found that with a smaller guest count, the couple can focus more on providing special details and personal touches.”
Akeshi Akinseye, the founder and creative force behind Kesh Events, has produced more than 200 events at home in Chicago and at exclusive properties in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Caribbean, and beyond.
“I fell in love with the art of celebrating ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always been drawn to all things beautiful and unique. And now, I get to curate unforgettable experiences for my client’s special day all over the globe,” shares Akinseye. “My focus is always on transforming a personal story into a living, breathing moment in time.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Flowers! Flowers bring life to a wedding and add beauty, elegance, and style to every celebration.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Patience is a virtue. When planning a celebration, things take time. Be patient and trust that your planning team and vendors you have hired are working tirelessly on your celebration. There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that planners don't disclose to their couples to minimize stress and overwhelm. Trust and mutual respect goes a long way. Some of the very best wedding ideas develop over time. Treat your vendors with kindness and you will get the best results. Also, don't sweat the small stuff.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I am very excited to see more personalized and curated experiences at weddings from catering to entertainment, stationery, decor and more.”
First and foremost, Kia Marie is a "proud Chicagoan" who counts herself blessed to do what she loves as the owner and principal planner at Kia Marie Events, a renowned planning company for the exceptional couple with extraordinary style.
"The KME look has a classic, modern, and stylish approach to every event," she says. "Our events are tailored to our client's personal style, focusing on clean uninterrupted designs and extraordinary details. We are a boutique company that offers a white glove planning process exclusive to a precise number of clients each year."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Cushion time! It's so important to factor in extra time for getting ready, first look and those special moments that really count.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “You do not have to live up to unrealistic expectations. So, skip what you see on social media and focus on what's important to you on your wedding day!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “One trend I'm so excited about is live entertainment. In 2022, couples will want more entertainment. Live music is always great but we will see more interactive weddings with live performers and artists.”
Laurie Arons has been an industry vet since 1994. Her company, Laurie Arons Special Events, is a high-end wedding and social event planning company based in San Francisco, specializing in multi-day event weekends throughout California and in destinations around the world.
“Weddings encompass all of the things that are important to me: love, family, celebrating joy, honoring tradition, creating beauty, and leaving people with lasting, cherished memories,” shares Arons. “My style always seeks to honor what is classic and timeless about the tradition of weddings, but reimagined for each couple and setting with a fresh and very personal perspective.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Assigned dinner seating. Taking the time to thoughtfully place your guests in a group that will enjoy sharing the experience together is the best way to ensure a wonderful evening is had by all.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I think the greatest gift a client can give themselves in the planning process is truly trusting your team of experienced professionals. Clients who stress over every detail or try to over-control the vendor team end up not enjoying the process OR the end result as much.
The brides who share their vision and clearly articulate their likes/dislikes, but then give their planner, florist, photographer, etc. the trust and space to do what they do best end up delighted and overjoyed in the end (not to mention sleep better at night throughout their engagement).”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Micro-weddings were born out of necessity in 2020 and 2021, but they sparked a desire for more intimate-feeling weddings over grand, ostentatious affairs. Moving into 2022, even my clients with large guest counts want to create cozy spaces and a sense of familiarity at their weddings, and I’m really enjoying the design challenge. Building little partitioned nooks in a large space, incorporating dining ‘booths’ in addition to tables and chairs, and designing a series of sheltered lounge areas are just some of the ways we’re making big weddings feel intimate and personal this year.”
Coming from the world of interior design, Lea Stafford entered the wedding industry 13 years ago and practices the art of blending the two worlds together daily. The San Francisco-based planner shares, “Everyone has a story to tell and I want to help them share it in a fun way! We thrive on partnering with clients who are unwilling to play by the rules and represent different walks of life.”
“Focusing on timeless design and creating out-of-the-box experiences, LSE believes in supporting true artisans and living an ethical lifestyle. Simply put, we support intentional behavior where the mantra ‘quality over quantity’ is valued and practiced.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Eye candy! Every wedding should include something for everyone to take in visually. This can come in the form of florals, creative costume, pretty cocktails, handmade paper, lighting, and more.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Planning a wedding takes MANY hours, in fact hundreds of hours, and every step isn't so pretty.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Going big with entertainment. Let's keep this going folks!”
Whether she's planning an event in her hometown of Atlanta or on the other side of the world, Michelle Gainey says every Lemiga wedding includes a bit of what she describes as "Modern Southern Hospitality."
“I have a passion for creating experiences that make people feel seen, cared for, and loved,” explains the planner. “We take the ordinary details of our clients' story and turn them into glamorous, memorable moments.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A happy couple.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “The only thing you have to do is get married. Everything else is a decision on what will make you happy and your day memorable.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Customization is key! Personalize every element of your wedding to reflect who you are as a couple and what you love about each other.”
Founded by Lynn Ehumadu in 2010, LilyVevents is a full-service planning and design studio focused on producing custom luxury events in and around Philadelphia.
“My approach to a wedding is like telling a story,” Ehumadu explains. “All the months and months of planning get to be seen in one glorious day set as the wedding for my clients and the opportunities are endless. I have my own personal taste and design aesthetic, but wedding planning is about understanding a couple and finding unique ways to bring their style to the event.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Food and drinks. You definitely have to make sure everyone is happy and content.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Hire a planner and take the burden off you. I really take the utmost care to ensure every detail is executed accordingly. Sometimes we go through extreme measures to make sure that happens.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Total room transformations. You won't believe how we can make something from nothing and those are the transformations I love the most. Hope to see more in 2022.”
Offering custom invitation design, florals, and gifting in addition to their planning and design services, the team at Lindsay Landman Events quite literally does it all. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that founder Lindsay Landman intentionally organized her company, which has offices in New York City and San Francisco, this way. "My approach is holistic, knowing that solving for logistics alone or design alone will never make for the perfect wedding," she explains. "My focus is always on creating a well curated celebratory and impactful experience in every element of a wedding celebration.”
As for why she "does it all," Landman has this to say: "I think, at my core, I'm a good problem solver. And while I would never describe a wedding as a 'problem' by any means, the planning, design, and production of a complicated event is really an interconnected set of creative and logistical puzzles. I've always found great joy in figuring out the best and most beautiful solutions."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Heart. It's the only detail that matters.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish every client knew that wedding planning is about a series of interconnected decisions—no one choice can live independently from all the others. Therefore, having a strategic master plan for everything from the outset, from budget to design to vendor selection, is the key to a seamless celebration.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “I'm not much one for trends, but I'm watching almost all of our clients invest big in music and entertainment for their weddings and I'm totally here for it! One-of-a-kind, intimate experiences are the ultimate trend.”
Lisa Vorce and her full-service wedding planning firm, Lisa Vorce Co, might be based in Los Angeles, California, but she orchestrates one-of-a-kind events across the globe. With over 20 years of experience to lean on ("The time has flown by!" she says of her illustrious career), Vorce's team is known for consistently "pushing the boundaries of excellence." That's why her long list of clientele is peppered with A-list names: Vorce was the visionary behind both the weddings of John Legend and Chrissy Teigen and Kate Upton and Justin Verlander.
As for what you can expect from her events? "Our wedding style is a reflection of the style of both the couple and the location," Vorce notes, meaning no two weddings she's tasked with creating will ever look exactly alike. "It is a deeply authentic connection between people and place, which creates an intangible soul in our celebrations."
Most Important Wedding Detail: "Proper lighting."
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Wedding Planning: "For every ethereal design, there is precise, military-like execution that is required to bring the vision to life."
Trend We Want to See More of in 2022: "In person events around the world!! Our clients want bigger celebrations, with more guests and more activities, in more unique destinations. We support this trend 100%."
Lori Stephenson founded LOLA Event Productions in 2006, but, combined with her team, she says they have a combined 70 years of experience in the industry. "We work, sleep, eat and breathe weddings and love it that way," she says. "That's quite the 'hive mind' to have in your corner!"
Together, they just celebrated their 15th anniversary, and Stephenson credits their ability to customize the planning process with their success. "We always keep in mind that everyone has different priorities and things that get them excited," she says. "For one client, it may be selecting the perfect menus and favors to complete their place settings and for another, it may be finding the perfect live music for their ceremony."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Love. The couple are the social barometers of the celebration, so without their love for each other and their personal investment and excitement in the process and outcome, nothing else matters. Love and respect bake the cake, we just frost it!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Hiring a planner at the onset of your project allows you to establish a relationship that will be indispensable throughout the planning process. Establishing expectations, budget projections and overall project scope early with someone you trust are crucial to helping you enjoy the planning process and keeping to your goals, objectives and budget along the way.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “COLOR, Baby! While we've really enjoyed the trend toward greenery and candlelight (and that will ALWAYS be a go-to favorite), the past couple of years have been so challenging for our clients and industry partners that COLOR in design seems like the outward manifestation of the joy we are all feeling as we start seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.”
Nathalie Cadet-James is the founder of Luxe Fête, an international event planning and design company based in Miami. A former attorney, Cadet-James started her business in pursuit of a creative venture. No matter where in the world they're planning, Cadet-James and her team set out with a goal to always coordinate and produce an event that is breathtaking and makes each guest feel they are a part of something magical. “We view weddings as an experience rather than a production—organic, authentic and always breathtaking,” she shares.
“It’s my clients’ who drive the style for their celebrations. Pulling from their rich cultures, diverse backgrounds, and personal tastes, I help to create atmospheres that are warm, inviting, fun, and reflective of who each couple truly is,” explains the planner. “With refinement and intentionality always at the forefront, we create style-focused celebrations with an emphasis on cultural experiences.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “The ceremony is the soul of the wedding. Make sure it is deeply meaningful and personal. This is the secret.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Time is our best friend. Let’s plan early.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Pearls. Pearls and more pearls. I’m a classic girl at heart. I love to see this resurgence.”
Manda Worthington is the owner and creative director of Mae&Co Creative, a Portland-based styling and planning company. Worthington describes her team's approach as "unique and purposeful," as they specializes in intimate and high-end weddings, events, and elopements both stateside and abroad.
"We love nothing more than creating beautiful and intentional designs for every one of our clients," she says. " Every elopement and wedding is genuinely special to us and we make a conscious decision to give nothing less than 110 percent to everything we do. We choose to work closely and comfortably with our clients and whole-heartedly care about their well-being and happiness."
Above all, she says: "We love people and their stories. We love weddings at home and abroad. We love elopements and the constant need to travel. We genuinely love our job."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Design-wise, lighting—whether that's candles or twinkle lights, you need special lighting. Otherwise, a good DJ. It's a non negotiable.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “This is YOUR DAY. This is actually one day where you get to go as crazy as you want, be as extravagant as you want, create whatever you want. At the end of the day, you'll never regret the extra $$$ you spent on those floating floral clouds because this is your chance to create a one-of-a-kind day that will blow everyone away. So do what you want. Don't hold back.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Patterned and textured table linens. Such a fun way to create a truly unique design for each day and I can't wait to see clients opening up to using them more.
Marcy Blum is a true veteran in the field of wedding planning. She started her firm in 1986 and has continued to produce beautiful events since. “I work in weddings because there is very often a deep connection with our clients and our partners,” notes Blum. “I always say wedding professionals are like circus people. We’re all very intertwined.” Her beautiful events emphasize a “strong design point of view and very gracious hospitality.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “FUN! Also, a wedding can't happen without a plan for the entire event that is custom designed for each couple.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Wedding planning is not an exact science. We all do the absolute best that we can and suffer horribly when things don’t go according to plan. But the truth is, invitations get lost, tents can have leaks, service can be slow—but our oversight will make it all better and minimize the problems! We aren’t gods and goddesses (well maybe just a little!)”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I'm excited that couples and families that are hosting weddings are really really excited and into the wedding planning process. I want to see more of the trends toward lavish black-tie dinners, multi-day parties with varied entertainment, and a lot of thought put into truly giving the guests a magical experience.”
Neillie Butler founded Mariée Ami with the idea that “no wedding was too small and no dream was too big” for the company she was building. Her planning firm has grown in number and heart, now with an ambitious and dedicated team of seven full-time members in Mountain Brook, Alabama.
“We thrive on the ability to offer knowledge, professionalism, and calmness needed during such an emotional time for couples,” shares Butler. “The high from earning our clients trust and executing luxury weddings keep us coming back for more!”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Stage design is a must in our design building process. With entertainment being such a principal role in the progression of the night, making that focal point worth being excited about is a non-negotiable for us!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “To take a deep breath and trust the process! Planning should be fun for brides, especially with a planner. One of the most important reasons you hire a planner is you’re bringing on a professional that offers an unbiased and knowledgeable approach to planning. We have your best interest in mind, always, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way!”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Destination weddings! While they’ve always been a leading force in the industry, the post-COVID world has exploded this urge to create an experience like none other for not only the couples themselves, but the intentional collection of friends and family, too!”
For over 18 years, New York-based Matthew Robbins Design has produced events all over the globe ranging from intimate dinner parties to weekend-long celebrations. RobbinsOtoya, a division of Matthew Robbins Design, is specifically focused on events outside of the United States in destinations such as Italy, Ireland, France, Guatemala, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Colombia, Mexico, and Japan.
“I love curating a personal, custom experience for our clients that brings together their stories and vision,” shares Robbins. “The magic our team brings to the table is the talent and passion for connecting all of the dots to produce a cohesive, well designed, and unforgettable event.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Gorgeous details. These are essential for making a wedding unique and personal. It’s easy to tick off the boxes for band, lighting, catering etc. But, the personal and curated details make all the difference.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I sometimes wish our clients knew that the planning process is organic and not a perfect science. You can have all the schedules and spreadsheets, but sometimes things just take their own path during the planning process based on a client’s life situation and work schedule.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Very excited to see clients focusing on fabulous tabletop details again. Not necessarily huge or over-the-top flowers but instead a focus on fabulous napkins, flatware, and unique place settings.”
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Michelle Leo Events is an award-winning event design and planning firm specializing in local and destination events. Led by Michelle Cousins in SLC, with teams in Utah, Arizona, and California, MLE offers one-on-one planning and design services, and, in 2020, micro wedding and elopement packages as well.
"Our team is dedicated to providing a custom, personalized experience that delivers unforgettable and memorable results," she says. "MLE has quickly become Utah's top event planner for both local and destination events and our reputation among vendors, venues and previous clients speaks for itself."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Amazing entertainment! Your guests may forget what they ate, and they probably won't remember what type of invitations you sent them or what style of flowers were on the table, but they'll definitely remember if they danced the night away and had a blast or if they sat at their table all night bored and counting the minutes waiting for the party to end. Couples will never regret investing in quality entertainment!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Time, quality, and cost—otherwise known as the project management triangle). You can choose two. Planning takes time and a great deal of patience. Planners are dependent on the vendors they work with to provide their clients with a quality experience and/or product and as the age old saying goes- you get what you pay for. Quality products and services are always worth paying for and simply put, it takes time to pull the right details together. Patience is key in addition to aligning your expectations with your budget.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “COLOR!!!!! Don't get me wrong, I love a classic wedding as much as the next person but I am always beyond thrilled when I have clients who aren't afraid of colors (and patterns)! Take a seat blush, white and green! Hello fun, colorful weddings!”
As a New Orleans-based planner, Michelle Norwood truly tries to capture the unique spirit of the city through her beautiful events. “From intimate affairs in bespoke, remote locales to boisterous, stylish celebrations in NOLA, my team create experiences that feed the soul,” says the planner.
“It’s planning and design with purpose,” Michelle notes of her brand mission. “The work we do is truly collaborative with our clients because it’s so important that each and every detail holds meaning and is a true reflection of the client and their backgrounds. Planning with intention really means that even though it looks effortless, every detail is intentional.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “This is a tough one. My first thought is the food, however, my second thought is the bar. I'm going to go with my gut and say food.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Don't sweat the small stuff and it costs what it costs.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “A crescendo of entertainment moments that elevate as the event proceeds through the evening.”
While New York City-based Michelle Rago has been planning destination weddings since 1997, her full-service planning and design firm always brings something new to the table. “We never produce the same party twice. Our approach is completely unique for every client,” she shares. For Rago, the role of the planner is an integral one that “creates the space for people to have this magical experience.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Heart.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “That it is terribly complex and requires experience especially in this new climate.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Go big or go home! Clients are stepping out of their comfort zones because they haven’t been able to gather.”
Mindy Weiss never shies away from planning a grand affair. Her firm is behind the stunning celebrity weddings and events of celebrities like Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin, the Kardashian family, and Paris Hilton, after all. Weiss adds, “However, no matter the size of celebration, I pride myself on client details so that no two events ever look and feel alike.”
Weiss has been in the industry for 30 years but shares that her style is constantly evolving. “By focusing on the details, I feel like a storyteller at each event! I love the beauty of design and personalization incorporated throughout an event from the ceremony to the celebration,” she explains.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Well, love of course! But besides love, one detail a wedding cannot go without is good lighting.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “The one thing I wish all my clients knew about wedding planning is to be patient and have confidence that one of the most important days in their lives is also one of ours. Being given the opportunity no matter how many we've done is always an honor!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “The one trend I'm excited about and would like to see more of in 2022 is the curated focus of tabletop and less about the ceiling. The flowers, dishes, and details that sit in front of the guests throughout the event are sure to be appreciated!”
Monica Relyea is the owner of her eponymous full-service event planning and design company in Hudson Valley, New York. She entered the industry in 2010 and credits her own marriage as one of the reasons why she loves working in weddings so much.
“I love the journey that I am on in this world with my husband, BFF, and best partner in the world,” she says. “Getting the chance to help other couples join forces to do the same is like ‘Sign me up!’ Second would be the building, constructing, and production of it all. Putting up tents, designing the site layout, and all the logistics that go along with creating a series of events that flow from day to day, event to event, is also so exciting. Doing it all for couples that really appreciate the work behind the scenes is an added bonus.”
Her wedding aesthetic also stems from her own childhood and upbringing in the Hudson Valley. “I have a great appreciation for the landscape and beautiful farms we have here in upstate New York and I love sharing that with my couples. Much of my style inspiration comes from the Hudson River, the rolling hills and lush greenery that surrounds this valley. Sourcing food locally, being as sustainable and environmentally conscious as possible, and working with creatives and clients that have the same values is what I hold dear.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Rain Plans! Hopefully, we never have to use a contingency plan, but the reality is, if you're planning an outdoor wedding, you must have one or two really good rain plans. A solid rain plan puts everyone at ease, including vendors. Knowing what is going to happen in the event of rain and communicating that to the entire team is crucial in the world of outdoor weddings.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish all of my prospective couples would have a better understanding of the time and efforts needed to build their event from the ground up. As I've worked with couples, they begin to see how much is involved in the logistics, vendor management, site build, and time management. After their wedding, they have a greater appreciation of the planning process.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Intentionally choosing to be sustainable and support local, while planning your wedding is a trend I would love to see stay forever. Sourcing your food from a local farm and repurposing your flowers by sending them to a nursing home or hospital are two of the things we encourage our couples to consider. Hiring local creatives and supporting the community where you are hosting your wedding weekend are also great ways to continue that sustainability.”
Founded in 1987, Norma Cohen Productions is a boutique, hands-on event planning and design firm. "I don't follow guidelines and I don't have a distinct style," Cohen explains. "For each event, I follow the couple’s lead, and adjust my creativity to wherever that takes us. You know it's an 'NCP Event' because it's not just about the food or decor; it’s a total experience. From the moment you enter, a line of matching hostesses rivaling the 'Rockettes,' welcomes you, offering trays of champagne and different aperitifs to suit each individual whim. From the attentiveness of the wait staff, to the grand scale of the bar... from the ground beneath to the unexpected surprise of the ceiling above, it’s the way my events make you feel that marks my style. I transport the guests to wherever I want to take them; it’s an aura, an atmosphere that is created. I am always pushing boundaries and I never do things twice."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “The proper floor plan makes or breaks every event.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Experience is priceless. I have years under my belt. I know what works and what doesn’t, and if you trust me, you’ll have the event of a lifetime.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “In the past, most of my weddings have each entertained more than 500 guests at a time. While the excitement of a tight crowd has its own allures, I have learned to appreciate the seductiveness and beauty of intimate, smaller weddings.”
Oren Co is one of the world’s leading luxury event firms with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Led by Yifat Oren, the "image architect behind some of the world’s most memorable celebrations," the Oren Co team provides a full range of services to a discerning clientele, both domestically and internationally, with signature discretion. Notable clients include Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Maria Sharapova, Hilary Duff, and Adam Levine.
"Yifat possesses the unique ability to create completely personalized, unforgettable, and authentic affairs with refinement and tasteful restraint," explains her team.
Founded in 2010, Pejy Kash Events is a full-service and event design company based in Brooklyn, New York. “We believe that the best part of event planning and design is becoming a part of the family,” shares owner Pejy Kash. “Whether it’s for six months or for years, it’s about those irreplaceable connections that truly carry the business. Our favorite part is knowing that we are now part of someone’s forever history.”
With a wedding style that can be described as “personal, memorable, unique, and timeless,” Pejy adds of his approach: “We begin by finding out about our client's needs and wants, so we can make their experience as unique and personal as possible. The way that we approach event planning and design is to start with a connection with the family with whom we are working. The only way that you can make an event special, is if you make it personal. For us the process is not about the colors or the seasons, it’s about telling their story.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A wedding or any special event is about layering! The only way you can make any event special is by making it personal. That personalization could be anything from a specialty drink to a menu or the end of the night giveaway. The bottom line is that the only way to make an event memorable is by making it uniquely theirs and trying to tell their story through the guest experience from beginning to end.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Realistic expectation for wants vs needs based on an overall budget.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Unique and non-traditional venues/event spaces and the couples’ open-mindedness to take a chance.”
Born in San Francisco and raised in the South, Alison Jackson brings a unique cultural perspective to the weddings she plans with her Washington D.C.-based planning and design company. “I am known for weddings that are classic with a bit of an edge,” she shares. “I believe that when it comes to design, simplicity is sublime, yet it’s the thoughtful weaving of details inspired by a couple’s personal story that make a wedding truly spectacular and memorable.”
As she plans weddings around the country, Jackson says she sticks to her mission to honor the “importance of celebrating love and creating lifelong family memories.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A Plan B that is as strong as your Plan A! And, probably also a Plan C and Plan D. The last year or so we have been crafting multiple sets of contingency plans for our clients. It's really the only way to minimize stress associated with things beyond your control, like inclement weather and COVID.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “The Golden Rule goes a long way in life in general, and it goes a very, very long way in the events industry—an industry based on hospitality and service. Even with the best vendor team in place, the months leading up to a wedding can feel stressful for many reasons—family dynamics, budgeting, uncertainty resulting from COVID, fear of inclement weather, etc. It's easy in moments of stress to forget basic manners and professional courtesy. I wish all my clients when feeling stressed would take a moment to remember the Golden Rule. Treating your wedding vendors the way you would like to be treated earns you their respect, admiration, appreciation, and caring. As a result, vendors naturally become even more invested in your wedding and are likely to go above and beyond to make everything perfect for you both during the planning process and day of the celebration.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Multi-day experiences. Couples more and more are stretching out their celebrations to include fun events that happen over multiple days. There is so much I love about this trend. Most especially, I love that couples are feeling the impulse to extend this level of hospitality to family and friends, particularly when travel is involved. Also, weddings that are multi-day experiences result in an unparalleled and authentic spirit of community, as guests have more opportunities to meet one another, to spend time together, and to make memories.”
Founded in 2003, Posh Parties is a boutique planning firm in Palm Beach, Florida. Run by Heather Lowenthal, their wedding style can be described as “classic with a twist,” adding, “ I want our [couples] to be able to look back and have a wedding that will never go out of style and I want guests of our weddings to leave feeling like the wedding had so many personal touches, making it custom to the couple.
She says of her planning philosophy, “We approach each wedding as if it’s our own and take time to make sure the [couple’s] personalities are reflected in each wedding. To me, it’s the little details that go a long way and nothing makes me happier than a perfect tabletop or a curated welcome bag.” When Heather isn’t planning a nuptial, you can find her enjoying the company of her husband, two daughters, family, and friends—but she loves working in weddings because “it’s my passion and I love nothing more than seeing it all come together on the wedding day.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Embroidered hemstitch napkins.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish they knew all of the blood, sweat, and dedication it takes to pull off every detail of their wedding. It truly takes a village!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Espresso Martinis!”
“I always say we have the best team in the business, with more than 30 in-house and seasoned event directors, producers, production managers, and designers,” boasts Bryan Rafanelli, owner of Rafanelli Events. Founded in 1996, Rafanelli Events is a full-service planning company located in New York, Boston, and Palm Beach.
“Each of our clients are assigned one team member from each area of expertise to support the 360-degree [conception], design, and execution of their wedding,” explains Rafanelli. “The highest compliment we can receive from a client at the end of their wedding evening is ‘Wow, you really got us.’”
Rafanelli describes his wedding style as “classic, multi-layered, with a touch of boldness and always with a tiny sense of humor. I am a storyteller at heart [and I] love telling families unique stories through wedding celebrations.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Warmth. Weddings are about love and coming together. [Make] sure you create a warm and inviting environment, whether it’s through color, or taking the time to greet every guest and make them feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for the privilege of their time.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Time gives you choices. The more time you have to design and plan your wedding, the more thoughtful you can be with every detail. Time gives you the opportunity to really create a special experience for yourself, your family, and your friends.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Abundance. We have been forced to hold back on almost everything [in] our lives. I see abundance all around us. More of everything to make every wedding dazzling and once in a lifetime experience.”
Regina Brooks is the owner and lead producer of Régine Daniell Events, a full-service planning firm based in Chicago and founded in 2012. “We go beyond cookie-cutter events to build immersive experiences that tell each client’s story in an engaging and refined manner,” says Regina. “As trusted guides, we lead our clients through the various stages of planning, providing concierge-level attention from overture to finale.”
Regina and designed and executed countless celebrations, with each event centering on this philosophy: “Weddings are more than events; they are experiences allowing guests to feel the warmth and love shared by her clients.” With a classic and refined wedding style, Regina’s inspiration comes from a number of experiences and interests in classic architecture, travel, interior design, and theatre. “I love creating unforgettable experiences that tell each couple's unique love story.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A first look. The wedding day is so full of activity that a first look is a great opportunity to have an intimate [moment] with your partner.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I wish all of my clients knew that they don't have to follow traditions and that they are free to think outside the box and create a wedding experience that is unique to their love story.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I'm excited about the growth of tented and al fresco weddings and would love to see more in 2022.”
Over the past 15 years, Gretchen Culver has worked in almost every area of the industry, including a catering company right after college. In 2010, she launched her "out-of-this-world company, Rocket Science Events, with a goal to "revolutionize weddings."
"We are known for our innovative design, willingness to take risks, and ability to handle anything that comes our way with a smile on our face and calm demeanor," she says.
In short: Minneapolis-based Culver says their approach is to find the story and tell it in a way that is both compelling and fun. "That usually involves cocktails," she adds with a laugh.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great food.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It doesn't have to be hard. Hire a planner and let them get to work! Instead of stressing over every little thing you will have time to enjoy your engagement and get excited about the next phase of your life!”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “The return of color! Color is an integral tool in transforming a space and creating a vibe. You can tell a great designer from a good one simply by seeing how they use and understand color.”
A former film producer, Rosemary Hattenbach is the force behind planning and design studio Rosemary Events. Rosemary and her California-based team have been planning multi-day destination weddings since 2001. "Our process starts with a deep dive to get to know each couple, their style, values, and sensibilities,” she says of her approach. “Then we tailor a plan and assemble a team of event partners that is perfectly suited to them. Wedding planning is inherently stressful and one of our most important roles is to mitigate that stress so couples can have fun and enjoy the experience. We are there to navigate through every step, keeping it real and relaxed.”
Rosemary considers every wedding a “creative challenge and a new adventure. I really enjoy getting to know my clients, their families, and friends and creating experiences that wow them. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Lighting is the unsung hero of a wedding and is one of the most important investments. It can truly elevate any event to an extraordinary one.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “This year, especially on (hopefully) the back-end of the pandemic, I wish clients had a better understanding of the monumental challenges that all wedding industry vendors are facing (shortages, labor issues, excessive workload, etc.) and will exercise patience, flexibility, and understanding as we navigate the new normal.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I am excited that more and more couples are focused on [creating] experiences for their guests. I hope this trend becomes a norm!”
Although headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Miami, lead planner Roxanne Bellamy and team have planned weddings across the country and abroad. “Exceptional customer service, loyalty, authenticity, and effective communication are at the forefront of our brand ethos. In standing by these core values, we are able to earn our clients’ trust, and that, we believe, is the foundation of a great planner–client relationship,” shares Roxanne.
Although her personal style is eclectic and minimal, Roxanne assures it is her clients who inspire each celebration. “Pulling from their rich cultures, diverse backgrounds, and personal tastes, I help to create atmospheres that are warm, inviting, fun, and reflective of who each couple truly is. With refinement and intentionality always at the forefront, we create style-focused celebrations with an emphasis on cultural experiences.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “I once heard, ‘If food is drama, then the table is the stage.’ A noteworthy tablescape, in our opinion, is the prime focus in any space, and one detail a wedding can’t go without. With the use of lighting, texture, and flora, for example, the tablescape sets the mood and creates an atmosphere that speaks to who the couple is. It’s one of the most intimate details in the client's story and is essential to the story's setting.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Our clients are discerning and most often have a firm grasp on wedding planning, which we appreciate. With that said, if there was one thing I’d want to reinforce, it would be that an exceptional planner-client relationship is built on trust. In trusting your planner/designer, your celebration usually surpasses your own expectations!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “We love that more of our clients’ have embraced intimate guest lists and would love to see that carry over into 2022 and beyond. Oftentimes, this wedding trend has allowed for an even more curated and high-touch guest experience.”
"It is a humbling experience to have a front-row seat to my couple's most important day of their lives,” declares Valerie Gernhauser, owner and principal planner of Sapphire Events. She founded the New Orleans-located full-service planning company in 2010 with a goal of “bringing out my couple's personal style and taste in an experiential event that appeals to all five senses.”
She continues, “Coming from New Orleans (the party capital of the world), I integrate details of my couple's lives into a masterful storytelling experience that shows each guest how much they mean to my clients. I write living legacies one chapter at a time, and it is an honor I take very seriously. The party starts with us!"
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Great music! A completely immersive soundtrack to the entire day, from each point of transition, really makes a difference.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It does not have to be stressful. In fact, when you are in the right hands, it should be an enjoyable experience. Yes, there will be times requiring tough conversations and difficult decisions, but at the end of the process in the hands of a trusted planner, the wedding planning process should be one that instills confidence and inspiration with the couple.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “A focus on the people! We learned so much about what really matters in the last two years. I love when clients come to me wanting to put their guests as VIPs in the process and make decisions that will have the biggest impact on the guest experience. That makes for the most remarkable celebrations."
Ashley Mason’s wedding planning career began in 2009—however, it wasn’t until 2014 that she launched a full-service planning and design firm of her own, Saunter Weddings. Based in Dallas, Saunter Weddings plans and designs both local and destination weddings inspired by nature. “We do lean in to tented, outdoor and private estate weddings as some of our favorite soirées,” Ashley says. “We cultivate luxury in the way our clients and their guests feel by putting in place personal details and thoughtfulness in an elevated fashion.”
Saunter’s approach is simple: “Timeless styling and well-designed intimate atmospheres that have an extended dinner party feel.” Ashley adds, “We love a good “wow” factor detail but for us, it’s less about over-the-top grandeur and rather focused on intentional and personal touches that reflect our couples best. The best moments we remember in our lives are often gathered around the table so why not make it exceptional”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “An element that represents you both. For one of our couples, we helped create a stunning family crest that displayed symbols from both of their heritages, where they met and things they valued. We used the crest in all of their stationery and they now have that crest forever as the start of a family heirloom.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “The last few months can be a lot emotionally. Between managing work, your personal life, family matters and wedding tasks, stress can sneak up on you even with an incredible wedding planning team. We always caution our clients to protect their peace at all costs. If that means delegating more tasks, scheduling more date nights or setting up a staycation, it helps.
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “We’re loving all of the weekend activities that clients are setting up for their guests to enjoy. It could be a recommended food tour of your favorite places to dine or or sea adventures in your destination location. Just makes for an even better weekend!
With offices in California and Maryland, Shannon Leahy Rosenbaum of Shannon Leahy Events plans and designs stunning weddings from coast to coast—and all over the world. "A Shannon Leahy wedding is characterized by clean line design, a carefully orchestrated flow, and an incredible attention to every detail," she describes.
Beyond the "look" of her events, Rosenbaum admits that she is "renowned for her ability to remain calm in stressful situations and is beloved for her candor and creativity." She adds, "Our clients come to us for my keen eye for design, my wealth of wedding knowledge, and my easygoing nature—we often become lifelong friends!" she says.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A seamless flow.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “The more you are able to delegate decisions to your planner and creative partners, the happier you will be!”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Multicultural influences in the design, decor and cuisine.”
Simply Troy Lifestyle and Events is a full-service planning and design firm located in Los Angeles. “Simply Troy is an immersive storyteller of romantic narratives who loves designing any size wedding, both super intimate to lavishly large, to feel incredibly personal to the couple while adding an element of surprise to the night for them too. Plus, we laugh a lot and have fun during the entire planning and design process,” says founder Troy Williams.
Experienced in high-profile weddings and working with charitable, social, and corporate clients, Williams and his team strives for timeless, tasteful, and thoughtful event designs. “I love creating a heartfelt story that is both seen and felt for a couple and their loved ones,” he says. “ Luxury with heart, a splash of whimsy and an authentic attention to emotional detail.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Every wedding needs to have a ‘wow’ moment, whether it's a grand gesture or a small personal moment, that leaves an impression on both your couple and their loved ones hearts. You make people feel a moment and they'll remember it for a lifetime.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “There is never a ‘perfect’ event. It doesn't exist. Remain flexible with the day and remember that the moments that don't go exactly as planned still become a part of your unique, one-of-a-kind love story. Embrace it, love it and laugh right through it all.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Make bold choices and bring in unexpected moments to your wedding design process. It's better to set the trends than to follow ones already out there. Put your own spin into your day and a talented wedding designer will be able to elevate it for you.”
Founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife duo Jamie and Steven Moore, Sinclair and Moore is a full-service wedding planning and design firm based in Seattle, Washington. Serving clients both across the country and in Europe, The Sinclair and Moore “wedding aesthetic is refined simplicity and a fresh approach to classic, timeless design.”
The Moores add, “We work in weddings because we are passionate about celebrating life and making it beautiful. We chose this line of work because we love people and knowing them, serving them well and telling their story through the wedding brings us so much joy.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A wedding can't go without dessert! Is there any better way to celebrate!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “We wish all clients knew that focusing on the guest experience (instead of only prioritizing their personal preferences) will result in a much better wedding. We also wish all clients knew the importance of being patient and remaining flexible.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “One trend that we love and want to see more of is the intimate guest list. When couples fine tune their guest lists to include just their closest family, inner communities and people of influence, (instead of the obligatory invites) the resulting time together of celebration is incomparable!”
Located in Southern California, smith + james is a full-service planning and event design studio founded by Tory Smith. Since 2013, Smith and her team have produced countless weddings, all following their “effortless, cool, intentional, and organic” wedding style. “Our approach to weddings is both heavily curated and experiential, so that our clients and their guests always have a blast in the most stunning places around the world,” explains Smith. “The biggest kicker for us—we don't take ourselves too seriously. We’ll be your ultimate hype girls and keep you laughing the whole time.
She adds, “I love the challenge of bringing fresh ideas into the wedding space, mostly inspired by fashion, interior design, or architecture. For me, it’s all about producing creative moments in creative places…and also, our clients are incredible. We always become dear friends with them, which is the best part.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Good fashion.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Have fun with it. The more you enjoy the process, the better the end result will be. At the end of the day, you’re planning a party to celebrate love with all your favorite people. It’s so important to remember that!”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “We love the ‘anti-trend’ trend. The whole industry is moving away from cookie-cutter weddings and we’re here for it. Out-of-the-box destinations, culinary surprises, and crescendo moments really do it for us.”
Nancy Park and Paean Wang are the partners behind So Happi Together, a full-service wedding planning and design firm in Southern California. The company started in 2009, specializing in destination weddings around the world.
“We believe that being engaged is not just about planning a wedding, but about taking every opportunity to celebrate a couple's commitment to each other,” share Nancy and Paean. “So, we focus on planning the details of the big day while our couples relax and focus on building the foundation of their lifetime and love. By the time the wedding day comes around, the energy is contagious and every person in attendance is enveloped in the experience.”
So Happi Together is known for celebrations that are “timeless, personable, and as unique as our discerning clientele.” The lead planners add, “We focus on creating an ambience and experience through elements like beautiful details, live entertainment/music and fabulous food and drinks. Producing an event that reflects the beauty of each couple and their love story is so rewarding. Executing it flawlessly is the best feeling in the world.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A happy couple, with perspective. At the end of the day, our motto is that whatever happens on a wedding day, was meant to happen. As long as our couple can remember that the day is about their union and all the people who came to witness and celebrate it, the other details are just icing on the cake! Happy hosts make for happy guests, which makes for the best party ever.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Booking vendors that you can trust and do trust is crucial. Once this is done, trust their process and expertise. Everyone does a better job when they are allowed to do their job.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Destination weddings, near or far, that plan for multiple fun events over the course of two to three days are definitely becoming more popular. Whether our couples are buying out resorts or small estates/villas, they want to make the most of their wedding weekend (or weekday!) with their guests.”
As the name suggests, Soirée Telluride is a luxury wedding and event planning company based in Telluride, Colorado. Founded by Wendy Jacobs Hampton in 2000, the firm only works with a select number of weddings per year, allowing a higher level of personalized service for their clients. “For us, it's all about the connection. We get deeply excited about the logistics that come with producing bespoke off-site tented affairs in the mountains,” shares Wendy.
If your wedding vision is to transforms an empty field or meadow into a gorgeous wedding venue, Wendy and her team can do just that. “Our goal is to use the beauty of the mountains to guide the design of the wedding. There's nothing I love more than seeing my clients having the best day of their lives.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A phenomenal band with great sound production.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Wedding planners offer clients the ability to relax and enjoy a stress free weekend and focus on what really matters.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Big parties and destination weddings are back on the table.”
Beginning her wedding planning career over 18 years ago in New York City, Sonal J. Shah of Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants has planned over 1,800 weddings. “Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants is a unique blend of artists and intelligent professionals who share a single passion—making your wedding or special occasion a spectacular event that guests will remember for a lifetime! We are team players, and will do anything and jump through hoops to get your wedding to be absolutely flawless,” says Sonal.
Sonal and her team specialize in over-the-top celebrations full of details and elegance. “We are not understated. We like to put the exclamation mark on our weddings!”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “An amazing band.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It is one of the hardest jobs in the world. We do have families. Also, everyone does 1000 percent need a wedding planner!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “No bridal party!”
Led by lead designer Robyne Swink and principal planner Brittany McKinney, Southern Affairs Weddings & Events is a full-service planning and design firm based in Dallas. As their name suggests, they approach planning with a "splash of Southern hospitality."
"Our couples come to us with the expectation that we will create a unique experience that embodies who they are as a couple," they say. "We believe in choosing elegance over opulence, and that there is something incredibly beautiful to be found in a refined approach to luxury. Our signature style is a marriage of classic and refined elements, assuring that every little detail comes together to create something unforgettable."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A stunning place setting! What every guest sees when they arrive at their seat should feel as warm and welcoming as inviting them into your home for dinner.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “That wedding planning is more difficult than blogs make it appear. Your wedding planner is coordinating not just one wedding but most are planning multiple at a time. Being a planner that cares about our clients and their overall well being, I often have to provide emotional support and lend an ear throughout their process, even when it’s not about their wedding.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “I am really loving the intimate guest lists and hope this trend continues to 2022 and beyond.”
Stefanie Cove of Stefanie Cove and Company began working in the hospitality industry when she was just 17 years old. “My approach is ‘stress-free,’” she says of her planning style. “I want our clients to enjoy the process and focus on the important decisions—while knowing we will make sure the entire experience and weekend is perfect.”
Located in both Los Angeles and New York, Stefanie Cove and Company follows the design philosphy of “understated elegance with a touch of funk.” As for why Stefanie works in weddings? “Each client, project and location is a different challenge every day.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Perfect execution.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “It is a lot harder than it looks!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Color!”
Summer Newman spent 10 years coordinating large-scale events for film studios and non-profits before launching her own company, Summer Newman Events, in 2013. Based in Beverly Hills, California is a destination wedding planning and design company “driven by integrity,” “inspired by art,” and “delighted by romance.”
“We work in weddings because we’re hopeless romantics who cherish designing beautiful experiences for our clients,” they say. “We love crafting experiences that evoke emotions, delight the sensibilities, and leave our clients and their guests in awe. We embrace romantic, refined design—but always work to freshen up a classic aesthetic with thought-provoking event elements and artfully-crafted experiences.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “The one detail a wedding can’t go without is the age-old notion of gracious hosting. We believe that if you start here you will have an enjoyable and memorable event.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Getting engaged is so exciting and couples are so eager to start planning their wedding. Despite this excitement, I wish more couples would hire a planner first. We have so much experience and knowledge to give our clients and, most importantly fleshing out the vision before booking anything helps to make the planning and design process seamless.”
Trend I Want to See More of in 2022: “Thinking outside the box! Clients are being more adventurous in design, location, entertainment, etc. They’re open to fun ideas which our clients can attest is creating unforgettable events.”
Tara Guérard Soirée is a full-service planning and design firm (also offering in-house florals) located in both Charleston, South Carolina and New York, New York. Owner and lead planer Tara Guérard also offers custom letterpress stationery through her company Lettered Olive.
Her wedding style can be described as “simple, elegant, timeless, tailored and the most fun! I love seeing our couples happy, over the moon and seeing our visions come to life. It is everything.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A big bar!!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “We can't control the weather :)”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Espresso Martinis!”
The Lynden Lane Co. is a family-run business, owned and operated by Barbi Walters and her daughters Layne Povey and Lyndsey Moore. “While we always had a passion for design, through planning and designing Layne’s wedding in 2012 we had our ‘ah-ha’ moment that this should be our next career move,” Barbi reveals on getting started in the industry.
Based in Southern California, The Lynden Lane Co. weddings can be described as immersive, comfortable, and welcoming. “We believe that an event should not only look amazing, but it should feel, sound and even smell amazing. We create an immersive experience for clients and their guests where every touchpoint is intentional,” adds Barbi. “We get to create a transformative atmosphere with intentional design that allows our couples to intersect their past and their future.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “A great band and a great photographer!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Wedding planning is an intensive process that involves a lot of collaboration and trust, so making sure you have the right team is critical. We recommend really talking to potential partners about their work—and who they are as people. It is a very intimate relationship that is built on like-mindedness. Once you find your team of experts, trust in them to guide you through the process and have your best interests in mind.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “More intimate weddings—for some this is a guest list of 50 and some it’s still 200. We love when our clients have a carefully curated list of those they truly care about and want to witness their significant life moment.”
Elizabeth McKellar, a self-proclaimed middle child and Canadian, describes herself as a "literal born peacemaker." And while she counts this quality, along with her more than a decade of experience, as an asset while planning, her real mantra is "collaboration—anywhere, anytime." In fact, McKellar and her team take this motto quite literally as they work from offices in Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, where she grew up. "We’ve mastered the art of digital collaboration as our busy clientele (and our team!) work, live, and travel around the world—embracing the reality of a global world and building an incredibly close working relationship no matter the time zone," she adds.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “An epic dance party!”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “There is so much emphasis on the wedding day itself, and yet the process of getting there, and who you want on your support team, and how you want it to feel is, just as, if not more, important. It's like running an ultra marathon but forgetting that you need to actually run the 94 miles and only focusing on the finish line. (Both are important, I've just found that finding the right fit for those 94 miles makes a massive difference!)”
Trend We Want to See More of in 2022: “Zoom ceremonies for those that can't make it! Honestly that is a COVID result that is absolutely amazing, especially if you have a proper camera/ sound set up.”
The Styled Bride specializes in working with engaged couples to explore and find their aesthetic for their wedding while collaborating with an expert to make sure all of the moving parts are handled. "We believe having someone help you isn’t a luxury, it just makes sense," explains Susan Norcross of Philadelphia. "Think of us as your guide—we are your biggest advocate in creating a wedding that represents you as a couple and helps you enjoy the process along the way."
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Good food, good entertainment, and good company.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Be honest; tell us the good; the bad and the ugly; we can handle it. We want to know all about you; your fiancé and your family and friends to help craft the best day possible and tell your story.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “Intimate home weddings. With all that has gone in the world many of our couple have opted for smaller affairs with their closest family and friends. It makes for such a special day to see our brides and grooms celebrate at cherished family homes and adding in lots of unique and personal details that only this type of celebration can lend itself to.”
"I tend to be traditional with a modern spin," admits Todd Fiscus of Dallas-based Todd Events. "I like projects to feel romantic, kinda sexy, really comfortable, with great service and tons of flowers!"
However, no matter the event style, Fiscus says he mostly just loves watching people have fun. While planning, he wants his clients to remember that. "For my brides, I feel sometimes stuck somewhere between a hired helper, a best friend, and a bridesmaid," he says. "I want them to enjoy the process, while at the same time keeping myself in the driver's seat to ensure that they enjoy the ride!"
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Killer music!“
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “That there are A LOT of behind the scenes hours spent leading up to the weekend itself. What you see during the 40-hour weekend-long event is just one piece of the process!“
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “I have loved the strong return I'm seeing to a seated dinner wedding format. It will also be fun to see cocktail style weddings with food stations and a lot of mingling and hugging!“
Tracy Taylor Ward Design is a full-service planning and design firm offering floral and décor production and stationery with a flagship office in New York, New York and a second office in Boca Raton, Florida. “Having been exposed to the world of design from such a young age, I’ve always had a passion and talent for curating effortlessly elegant spaces,” shares owner Tracy Taylor Ward. “That said, it wasn’t until 2010, when planning and designing my own wedding with my incredible husband Matt (who created the invitations and reception stationery) that my love for event design and the wedding industry was sparked.”
Taking on a limited number of projects each year, the team at Tracy Taylor Ward Design takes a client-first approach to each event. “Our planning and design processes center around getting to know our clients like our new best friends to ensure we can guide them through their own planning processes, providing support every step of the way, while also designing events that speak to their unique interests, love story, and lifestyles. We strive to design events that are not only chic and breathtakingly beautiful, but that also feature exceptional music and entertainment, ensuring every event is extraordinarily fun and an experience that will never be forgotten by our clients or their guests.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “One detail we incorporate into every wedding is a beautifully designed menu and floral detail at each guest’s seat. While these may seem like small details, they can go a very long way in making guests feel welcome and taken care of when they find their seats, contributing to their overall experience of the event.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “We encourage all our clients to select vendors they trust and enjoy being around. When making recommendations we always consider our clients’ styles and more importantly, their personalities. This ensures their vendor team is a group of people who they feel supported by and want to spend time with, contributing to them having the best energy possible surrounding them throughout their planning journey and on their wedding day. Furthermore, we encourage our clients to truly put their trust in the vendors they select, including us, because at the end of the day all their vendors are artists, who, with the trust of their clients, will be able to truly fulfill their greatest potential. Plus, with total trust in their vendor team, our clients can fully relax and enjoy the planning process, knowing that they are in the best hands on their wedding day.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “While smaller guest counts and micro-weddings rose in popularity out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples are continuing to embrace more intimate events, and we’re here for it! Of course, we love events of all sizes, but we’re happy to see couples feeling empowered to prioritize their nearest and dearest on their wedding day, while focusing on details that will contribute to the best guest experience possible. From food and beverage upgrades to more elaborate décor details, smaller guest counts ultimately allow couples to allocate more of their budget to hyper-personal, design-forward, details, which we love.”
Established in 2003, Valley & Company Events is a full-service planning, design, and floral design firm headquartered in Seattle, Washington. “We founded Valley & Company Events together in 2003, rooted around our shared passion for stellar parties and love of celebrating our favorite people,” say owners Aleah and Nick Valley.” In nearly two decades, our company has grown to a house of creative planning and logistics, design, and floral and our focus is (and always has been) to tell the story of our couples and our clients.”
Aleah and Nick also authored the wedding planning coffee table book Storied Weddings and the Valley & Co. team pride themselves in creating fun and polished events, and never repeating a place setting twice. “Our weddings are a direct reflection of our couples and each one carries their hallmarks and bits of their story. To us, the details support the framework of the vision, which is why it's so important to us that a Valley & Co. wedding is notable and stand-out as one of ours, but that it looks entirely different than any other wedding we've had a hand in.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Hospitality comforts! One of the most important standards of an event: think about what your guests will be feeling through each chapter of your wedding. Will they be warm enough? Cool enough? Will there be easy access to restrooms, water stations, and other beverages? Will you have enough hors d'oeuvre styles and quantities to last through happy hour? Are tabletops comfortable and does your timeline support the venue(s) and guest count? Is it clear through attendants and signage where to go for the ceremony and where shuttles are picking up your guests? While we all love the decadent and gorgeous eye candy of a wedding, the key to its success rests within the hospitality comforts you've established.”
What We Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “How paramount great relationships are to planning a wedding—you can hire who you feel is an excellent vendor or expert on paper but having a keen understanding of who works well as what type of venue, which caterers or chefs best understand the layers of hospitality and the logistics of a space, and which photographers will gel with you and your crowd is so important to the planning process. We rely so heavily on the trust we've built up over 18+ years in this business and we appreciate the trust our clients give us to present them with the very best.”
Trend We Want to See More Of in 2022: “ Going all-out with all of the trappings making up for 2020. Also: seated wedding parties, cohesive-but-mismatched wedding party attire, house party wedding parties, midweek weddings, multi-day soirées, and welcome events.”
Founded by Victoria Holland in 2010, Victoria Ann Events in a Los Angeles-based full-service planning and design firm. With a wedding style described as “aproachable elegance,” Victoria and her team have planned and produced lucury celebrations for a high-end clientele.
“A born social butterfly, there’s nothing I love more than connecting with clients on a deep level so I can translate their story into a celebration that can’t be recreated.Above all, it’s my goal to make planning your wedding approachable, enjoyable, and absolutely effortless,” she says.
Most Important Wedding Detail: “That's so hard but entertainment and food are so important!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “That it will all be OK! It's an overwhelming process, and sometimes you can get lost in the small things. But at the end of every one of our weddings all of our couples are just living their best lives and all those little moments of worry don't even come to mind.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Couples playing by their own rules and lots of after parties!”
Waverly Coleman founded her eponymous full service planning and design company in 2017, after years of working in the event industry. “From producing exclusive after parties, premieres and private screenings for major motion picture studios, I knew producing events was what I was born to do. And then I discovered wedding planning,” Waverly explains. It's meaningful and rewarding being able to witness unconditional love!”
She says of her wedding style, “I'd describe my style as colorful and chic! I love bold and artful floral designs and adding personalization throughout.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Champagne!”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “Most of us are in this industry because we truly love love!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Colorful wedding gowns!!”
Offering full-service wedding planning, design, production, and floral creation services, Whim Events has been serving New England couples since 2011. “Our celebrations are individually tailored around building meaningful experiences, allowing our couples and guests to feel distinctively treated, incredibly well taken care of and blissfully lost in the moment,” says co-founder and lead planner Natalie Pinney.
Whim Events is known for it’s natural and organic wedding style. “It’s not building a stunning tablescape or an Instagram worthy moment that inspires us to work in weddings,” adds Natalie. “It’s the feeling we get when our couples and their loved ones feel when they take their seat at the table, at a venue we’ve built from the ground up. It’s the stories that people share as they come together. It is the deep relationships we build with couples to create such an important day in their lives. But mostly, we work in weddings because we adore seeing our couples completely lost in the moment, surrounded by their loved ones—a feeling they will treasure forever.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Every wedding must have at-least one unexpected (but planned) or interactive guest experience that will have people raving! For example, this season at one of our weddings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, we surprised guests at at the reception with a mini putt-putt! The groom was a huge golfer, so we thought this would be a really fun touch and guests loved it. At another wedding, the bride and groom were musicians and surprised their guests by playing with the band on stage for an epic song. It felt like a concert, and by far one of the coolest things we've ever seen. Doing something unexpected and out of the norm is what always makes any event memorable.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “We wish every couple really knew in the beginning how amazing their wedding day will actually turn out. While the anticipation of planning can be exciting, it can also lead to anxiety and second-guessing decisions. We encourage all of our couples to trust in their vendor and creative team, be clear and thoughtful with their decisions and not to overthink it. The day goes by in a flash, so enjoy every moment of your engagement.”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “Bold unapologetic expression! Whether it be in colors, festive dress codes, statement pieces in the design, unique entertainment or performances—anything that expresses you! We are excited to see more couples break the mold!.”
Jaime Kostechko founded Wild Heart Events in 2010. And although Santa Barbara, California is where Kostechko calls home, Wild Heart Events produces weddings worldwide. “Our events are experiential, inclusive and revolve around top-notch hospitality,” she says. “We are heavily style centric, creating memorable designs that permeate an energy through a room that gets people going. Our aesthetic repertoire is broad and tailored to each of our couples to create a look and feel that is authentic to them and memorable to their guests.”
With experience in both interior design and restaurant and hospitality management, entering the world of weddings was natural for her. She says of her approach, “My formula is to layer color, pattern and texture with experiential moments to create unforgettable celebrations full of trend-setting details. Our approach is more centered around creating an elevated dinner party feel for our clients that is reflective of their personal tastes from the decor to the food and beverage and entire weekend itinerary.”
Most Important Wedding Detail: “Incredible hospitality and service. From the first impression moment as guests arrive to the smiling faces of the staff members throughout a wedding weekend, feeling welcomed and having every detail taken care of is of the utmost importance. While we pride ourselves on beautiful event design, it is the hospitality that leaves a lasting impression.”
What I Wish Every Couple Knew About Planning: “I don't think many people realize the sacrifices that wedding planners make—from working weekends and holidays, to late nights spent problem solving, meals missed while setting up and managing events, and working incredibly long days back to back. This past year was especially hard on our industry as we worked double time to postpone weddings, many times replanning them all together!”
Trend I Want to See More Of in 2022: “We are super excited about off-beat color palettes trending as well as mixed patterns. We have always been a fan of color, but we are seeing some new combos that have our wheels turning! We are also here for a striped, checkered or interesting pattern moment!”