DREAM WEDDINGS “GUARANTEED”

 

Mother-daughter duo make promises they can keep!

 

STORY BY: LESLIE FOSTER

PICTURE BY: WENDY HILLIARD

When “everything matters” this mother-daughter team has both the experience, talent and desire to make a couple’s wedding day dreams a reality. Since 2009 Wendy and Nicole have blended their skills to create one-of-a-kind weddings for countless couples. Their Southport based business (think destination wedding!) provides a beautiful backdrop for every couple on a budget.

 

Q. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A WEDDING PLANNER?

A. The job found me. I was a wedding photographer for years and more and more destination brides were asking me for vendor referrals, etc. As a photographer I got a behind the scenes look and became very aware that without a planner, it can be very difficult for a bride to enjoy her day. The decision to make the big leap to off planning services as well as photography came after my daughters Wedding in 2009. I was ready. Things grew so fast and I quickly realized I was in over my head. Thankfully, my daughter, Nicole Finley, relocated back to Southport and became my business partner.

Q. WHAT KIND OF PLANNING DO YOU PROVIDE? LOGISTICAL, DESIGN?

A. Seaside Wedding Connection is able to help with as much or as little is needed. With most of our brides being from out of town, we usually are very involved with every detail. They count on us to be their hands and feet. We start with an overview of the big day, break it down and start crossing off the list. Logistics and design are equally important. Logistically our goal is create an effortless flow throughout the day for both the couple and the guests. Designing each wedding is easily one of our favorite aspects of the job. We love the process of bringing the bride’s vision to life. We have found that being hands on is very helpful. We will bring in linen, din- nerware and décor items for the client to play with and create an actual table scape. It is a wonderful collaboration.

Q. WHAT KIND OF PLANNING DO YOU PROVIDE? LOGISTICAL, DESIGN?

A. Seaside Wedding Connection is able to help with as much or as little is needed. With most of our brides being from out of town, we usually are very involved with every detail. They count on us to be their hands and feet. We start with an overview of the big day, break it down and start crossing off the list. Logistics and design are equally important. Logistically our goal is create an effortless flow throughout the day for both the couple and the guests. Designing each wedding is easily one of our favorite aspects of the job. We love the process of bringing the bride’s vision to life. We have found that being hands on is very helpful. We will bring in linen, dinnerware and décor items for the client to play with and create an actual table scape. It is a wonderful collaboration.

Q. HOW MANY WEDDING CLIENTS DO YOU WORK WITH SIMULTANEOUSLY?

A. Excellent question – we have to be very careful not to over commit. Each wedding deserves our best! It is rare that we will have more than one wedding per week. Our average during our busy season is 3 per month and we will probably help 30 couples say “I do” this year. I am so thank- ful for Nicole and her systems she has put into place. We are able to guarantee that nothing slips through the cracks and that every part of the planning process is stress free.

Q. DO YOU OFFER DIFFERENT PACKAGE OPTIONS OR IS EVERYTHING CUSTOMIZED?

A. Yes and Yes— We have standard packages, Full Planning, Day of Planning as well as a’la carte options. Having said that, all of our weddings are customized. We strive to make sure every wedding is as unique as every couple.

Q. DESCRIBE THE MOST CHALLENGING WEDDING YOU PLANNED , AND HOW YOU HANDLED THOSE CHALLENGES?

A. Well… Hurricanes are a real thing around here 🙂 In this area, you really need to be prepared for bad weather. —But, the most challenging wedding was at the Amuzu Theater in Southport. The owner’s daughter’s dream was to have her wedding in the family owned theater. We had to completely gut it, remove theater chairs, props etc. We then brought in everything! Tables, Chairs, Lighting, Arbors— The week of the wedding we realized that we honestly did not have enough room for all the guests that had RSVP’d. We re- worked the set up many times and then realized we could put the bridal party on the stage and even had guests in the balcony. The end result was perfect!! Magical!!! It was a fairy tail and worth it all!

Q. IT’S THE DAY OF THE WEDDING! DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE.

A. We are up very early— Our U-haul is already loaded and we have our staff up to speed. We arrive on site and start set up. It’s such an army and everyone knows their role. We are there as other vendors arrive and usually field hundreds of questions. We have to make sure all the puzzle pieces fit. We make sure all parties are following the time line. (Especially the groom and his groomsmen). We have our bridal ER kit stocked and ready and it ALWAYS comes in handy. Our goal is to have the set up complete in time for the bride to do a walk through and see her vision come to life. We always have to plan a time to change clothes as the day of is very labor intensive and we want to look nice for the event. Our phones ring off the hook. We are the 2 that know everything about everything. I’ve been at weddings and actually had people standing in line to ask me questions. This is what we take off the brides plate. She gets to be a bride and focus on what is happening..

Q. DO YOU HANDLE EACH ASPECT OF THE PLANNING OR CAN COUPLES DO SOMETHING ON THEIR OWN?

A. Both— we’ve actually worked with couples that never set foot here until their wedding day. We work with them via phone, email and skype. They leave it all up to us. Yes, this makes us nervous, but I’m happy to report that every couple has been thrilled. We’ve also had brides that had a very distinct vision and would take the lead in the look and décor. We love being whatever we need to be.

Q. DO YOU HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH VENDORS OUTSIDE THE SOUTHPORT AREA?

A. We do— Often, a bride will have a preferred vendor outside of our area. We strive to work with local vendors as we have developed a team approach and work great together. We know and work with numerous vendors and are able to make sure the bride gets the best for her day.

Q. WOULD YOU SAY THAT A SENSE OF HUMOR IS VITAL TO YOUR ROLE?

A. Oh My Goodness— YES!! We have to be so prepared, so ready, take responsibility and then roll with it. It’s not “if” something unexpected happens, it is “when” something unexpected happens. To do this job, you have to love what you do and keep a sense of humor.

Q. WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES THAT MAKE A GREAT WEDDING PLANNER?

A. I think answering this question will explain why Nicole and I are such a good team. It takes both of us, with different skills and talents to provide 100% of what is needed. I am the big picture person, encourager, positive attitude, net worker and photographer Nicole is the budget, logistics, staffing, efficiency expert, cool head. We both are focused on the bride and groom and will never forget that we get to be a part of the most important day of their lives. Everything matters!.

Seaside Wedding Connection

(910) 547-2352

seasideweddingconnection.com

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine