Hi! Happy Monday! Today I have an amazing guest who I interviewed…Marissa of Marissa Reneé Events! Marissa is such a talented wedding planner who is KILLING IT – seriously – go check out her website and her Instagram for a ton of badass, drop dead gorgeous wedding inspo. When we met, we totally clicked over chatting wedding trends (see more below), starting a business (also more below), and our style similarities. If you’re a bride, or even if you’re not, read on for a ton of style tips, business tips, how to hire a planner, and a lot more.
Lynn: Tell me about yourself and your business!
Marissa: I’ve always had a love affair with planning weddings (cheesy, I know – haha!), but it’s so true. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been dreaming about my own wedding day, but then I realized I loved all of the details that go into weddings – the design, decor, colors, florals, but most of all, the love story! I am a hopeless romantic & I love that I am able to be a part of so many couples’ special day. It truly makes my heart so happy!
I studied Marketing & Public Relations in college & that’s where I realized my passion for event planning. I started my career planning marketing events and then transitioned into corporate events, which I loved – but I still wanted to dip my toes in the wedding planning world. So I started working for a wedding planner in SF as a “day of assistant” & I was hooked! After 2.5 years I decided to start my own wedding planning company since it has always been a dream of mine! And now here we are! Marissa Reneé Events is getting ready to turn 1 year old this summer!
Lynn: Why should couples hire a wedding planner?
Marissa: I know I am a little bit biased, and to me it seems like a no brainer, but let’s dig in!
1. Planners can help you coordinate the entire day (as opposed to one aspect)
In my eyes, hiring a planner is crucial. Even if your venue offers a coordinator, I would highly suggest hiring a wedding planner! A venue planner is likely only coordinating the specific details that the venue is responsible for like food & the space itself. They may not be focused on helping you juggle all of the details for your special day as a whole. That being said, full planning may not be practical or even possible for everyone. Most planners offer a range of services like Month of Coordination, Partial Planning, Design Services, Full Planning and even custom packages to fit your needs. So pick the one that makes the most sense for you!
Photo: Christy Marie Photography
Styling – Marissa Reneé Events
2. We make planning less stressful & a tiny bit fun (trust me, it’s possible)
We are your planning partner in crime through out this whole process! Not only will we keep you on track, but we want to make sure we carry out your vision from start to finish! I really value the close bond that I create with my couples through out the planning process! I know that wedding planning can be stressful, but you can lean on your planner & take advantage of their expertise. After all, we have done this lots of times before and can help guide you in the right direction so that you can focus on what’s really important to you! We are also here to iron out all those last minute details & help you execute on the actual day so that you and your family can sit back & enjoy every moment of your wedding day! Which leads me to my next point…
Photo: Christy Marie Photography
Styling – Marissa Reneé Events
3. You should be 100% present on your wedding day
Your wedding day only happens once & it can never be repeated… So why not hire someone to free yourself (and your family & bridal party) from any responsibilities on your big day? You’ve likely invested a lot of time, energy & resources into your wedding, so you deserve to enjoy it. Leave your day in the hands of a professional planner!
4. If you need help focusing your vision & design esthetic
We now live in the age of Pinterest which is both a blessing and a curse! I know brides (and myself included) who have spent countless hours getting lost in the never ending abyss of wedding inspo pins & it can be overwhelming! I’ve worked with lots of couples who need some direction & help honing in on the overall look & theme they are after for their wedding day. This is one of my favorite parts of wedding planning – the design phase! I usually start with a design meeting to chat about what their vision is and to find out what design elements are important to them. Then I elaborate upon their vision and create an esthetic direction, complete with inspo board. Once the concept is finalized, we usually take a trip to the rental showroom where we’ll play with linens, china and I’ll help a couple pick the perfect decor accents. That’s where the fun begins! Often times couples have an idea, but need help bringing their vision to life & that’s where a planner can help. Planners who offer design services have a knack for putting together the perfect decor, colors, patterns etc. to help create a cohesive & beautiful event.
5. They have tons of insider knowledge
A wedding planner regularly communicates with florists, caterers, DJs, stationery designers, hair & make up artists and photographers. We can recommend the best vendors for your esthetic & budget, meaning you don’t need to spend hours sifting through Google search results. We can also potentially negotiate deals you wouldn’t get otherwise since they have an ongoing relationship with most local vendors.
Photo: Christy Marie Photography
Lynn: Are there any trends that you would love to see brides leave behind?
Photobooth with Props
If I never see another one again…I will be happy. Sorry, I know people love these!
Overly Posed Photos
I think it’s time to steer away from the staged photo trend, and instead embrace more natural and candid photography to capture your wedding day more authentically. You want to be able to look back on your day & have photos that capture the true, raw emotion that you felt! There are lots of photographers who specialize in candid imagery, so take your time when choosing your wedding photographer to ensure their work aligns with your vision.
Burlap & Mason Jars
I know this has been a staple decor item for rustic weddings for years, but there are so many other ways to achieve a rustic look with florals, decor pieces & furniture.
Giant Bridal Parties
I’m personally a fan of smaller bridal parties. I know it can be tricky to pair down your bridesmaids & groomsmen, but trust me when I say, smaller is better. And while this was a big trend (no pun intended) for 2017, in 2018 we are seeing smaller bridal parties. I’ve even worked with numerous couples who opt out of bridal parties all together.
Lynn: What bridal trends are you loving right now?
Bold Colorful Florals
Don’t get me wrong, I love a classic gold & blush wedding, but there’s just something about incorporating dark and moody florals that just speaks to me! We’ve been in the era of beautiful, soft lush florals featuring lots of greenery – but this year we have been seeing lots of dark, detailed, textured blooms. And boy am I a fan! It’s all about the drama!
Styling – Marissa Reneé Events
Unique Groom’s Attire
This kind of ties into my love of bright bold colors, but I love when the groom lets his personality shine through & wears an unconventional suit! I know the bride is usually the main focus, but I am loving that groom attire is also making a statement! I love colored suits, and suits that mix different texture & patterns like silk & velvet. Can’t get enough!
Image via Pinterest
It’s no surprise that lucite and other see-through mediums are about to have a major wedding moment. You’ll see couples opting for things like clear tents, venues surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, glass tables, lucite invites & place cards. There are so many ways to incorporate this trend that really adds a modern & clean design feel!
Photo: A Fabulous Fete
Creative Place Cards
I started to see couples incorporating this trend last year, but I think it will be even bigger this year! While paper will always be the tried and true medium for place cards – I love seeing out of the box ideas like place cards that are edible, printed on acrylic, ribbon, marble, leaves etc.! So fun & really pulls together the esthetic of your wedding!
Bridal Trends I am loving
In another life sometimes I dream of working at a bridal gown boutique & being a wedding planner!
I just started to see these emerge for this season & at first I wasn’t on board. But now I am kind of loving them! They definitely aren’t for everyone, but they are such a unique way to add drama to your dress & then you can take it off! Maybe even a substitute for a veil! I think they are perfect for fall and winter brides! Sheer capes, lace capelets, hooded style and pearl-encrusted designs all made their way down the runways & I’m really loving the ones I am seeing from Alexandra Grecco.
Photo: Alexandra Grecco
I always love sleeves on a gown, so this trend makes me so happy! Flowing sleeves are everywhere this season & are giving me a serious retro throwback! I really hope one of my 2018 brides embraces this trend!
Lynn: What tips or advice can you give to brides who are in the midst of planning?
+ Take some time to enjoy being engaged before you dive into wedding planning!
+ Once you start planning, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to focus on too many aspects of your wedding upfront. Start with your budget, date & venue. Break down the planning into achievable chunks. Then start tackling the rest!
+ Take a step back and remember this day is about you and your fiance (not your family & friends). Stay true to what’s important to both of you and focus on incorporating those things into your wedding.
Lynn: When someone is looking for a planner, what are some good questions to ask at the first meeting?
Marissa: Allowing someone else to handle the planning & details of your wedding day is a big decision! When I meet with couples – I want to make sure we are the perfect fit for each other. After all, we will likely be working together for quite some time! Here are some things you should consider when looking to hire a wedding planner:
Are you available for my wedding date?
This should be your first question. You want to make sure they are available before you get into the nitty gritty details.
Talk money – What is the cost range of your services?
I know talking about price early on seems slightly taboo, but asking this question will give you a good gauge of whether or not the planner is in your price point.
Understand the scope of their services
Ask them what type of services & packages they offer to make sure they offer what you are looking for! All planners offer and specialize in different things. So it’s important to understand what the planner will & won’t be doing for you.
Have you planned a wedding at our venue?
If you have already chosen your venue, this is a great question to ask! Working with a planner that is familiar with your venue is a huge plus because they likely already know the staff, layout & logistics of the venue.
Are there any other vendors/pros you like to work with?
Most planners have a trusted network of professionals that they love working with & those vendor relationships could definitely work in your favor!
Get to know them!
Ask them about their background & anything you want to know! You will be working with this person for many months, so make sure you like their working style and can envision working with them long term!
Lynn: Do you have advice for wedding planners who are just starting their business?
Marissa: Don’t be afraid & follow your heart! If you think starting your own wedding business is the right move for you, just take the plunge (I did)! If you aren’t quite ready, take baby steps and maybe start by doing your business part time & go from there! There are so many other wedding professionals who are in the same boat as you, so reach out to your network for advice!
I would also suggest working as a wedding assistant or shadowing an actual wedding planner before making a career move if you haven’t experienced being a wedding planner before. Sometimes it’s not a glamorous as people think. Being a wedding planner often requires very long hours, dealing with difficult situations and being a problem solver all while staying cool under pressure! But it is so rewarding & I love every minute of it!
One other thing that has really helped build my brand is planning styled shoots! They are a great way to help build your portfolio if you don’t have a ton of clients yet. Styled shoots are a fantastic way to showcase your creativity & also help to build your vendor relationships/network. I have met some of my favorite vendors (who I also call my “friend-ors”) by reaching out to them on social media to collaborate on fun styled shoots!
One last tip – be active on social media! It’s a great marketing tool for your business and a perfect way to showcase your work. I really love leveraging Instagram & following fellow wedding industry professionals to see what they are up to!
Lynn: What is your favorite reception song? You know, the one(s) you find yourself dancing to when you think no one is paying attention!
Marissa: Let’s be honest, I can’t help but break out some of my hilariously bad dance moves at a wedding. Even if it’s just off to the side with my assistant! By the time open dancing rolls around, most of my hard work is done and I can breathe a little (and dare I say let loose?). Anyways, “Yeah” by Usher will always get me on the dance floor & is usually a crowd pleaser haha! Some of my other faves are “Love on Top” by Beyonce & “We Found Love” by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris!
I saw a bride recently who added this question to her RSVP: “You’ll find me on the dance floor when they play…” and there was a space to fill in your favorite song. This is genius! You have a built in play list, guaranteed to get your guests up and dancing! I might steal this one day haha!
xo, happy planning!