I met Charlene, the owner to Sweet Chic Events, a few months ago at The Knot’s vendor party at Salvage One. We totally clicked right away! So I got to thinking that I should let my brides know how valuable a wedding coordinator can be. That’s one of my regret when I got married a few months back is not having a coordinator. Now that the wedding is over, I had secretly wished I would’ve hired a professional coordinator throughout the entire wedding planning to 1. Take away some of the stress and 2. Take over the details that I had failed to pay attention to. Hiring a professional versus an amateur makes a HUGE difference. Trust me!! I had to learn it the hard way on my wedding day. Yes, I hired an amateur for my wedding day. Not good. So brides, please read this interview.
So here’s a quick something about Charlene for you to know a little something about this wedding lifesaver.
1. How did you get into wedding and event planning?
Becoming a wedding planner was always my dream job because it was the perfect merge of my two passions: weddings and event planning. The fantasy and romance of weddings captivated me from a very young age. In high school, I was that girl tucked in the corner of the library reading wedding magazines!
I produced my first event in college, which led to multiple other events, shows, conferences, and eventually weddings for friends and family. Events can be hectic and chaotic, but for me planning and executing an event is a rush. I love handling the vendors, logistics, and people. My favorite part of wedding planning? Working with the couple to create the overall vision for their day, taking them from start to finish and seeing the end product come together exactly as we had envisioned.
After working in the corporate side of the hospitality industry for a number of years (and planning events on the side), I decided to go on my own and pursue my passion. I started Sweetchic Events in 2008 to fulfill my love affair with weddings!
2. Tell me one thing that’s hard about your job that your clients don’t know about.
Being a wedding planner is all about developing relationships. Not just relationships with your clients, the bride and groom, but relationships with the city’s best photographers, DJs, musicians, florists, caterers, bakers, venues, stationers, makeup artists… the list just keeps going! I am out there pounding the pavement on a daily basis setting up appointments, meeting new people, developing new relationships, and seeing and experiencing their work first hand. How does this benefit the end user, aka my clients? They reap the benefits of working with the best talents (some known and some unknown) in the Chicago wedding industry! So much more reliable that a random Google search or online wedding directory listing, no?!
And why exactly is this “hard”? Because I am naturally a shy person, so it has taken some effort for me to become more outgoing and to finally enjoy meeting new people!
3. Tell your readers one thing about yourself that you would like for them to know.
I used to moonlight as blogger “Miss Emerald” on the web’s most popular wedding blog, Weddingbee.com. To this day, I am still a daily visitor to the “hive” and remain friends with many of the past and present Bees! As crazy as it sounds, Weddingbee really changed my life!
4. With the economy being where it’s at, please tell your readers why it’s important to hire an event coordinator
There are no do-overs when it comes to your wedding day. We have all heard those horror stories of wedding-days-gone-bad, and often times, it boils down to the fact that there was no one in charge. No one who knew every single detail of the 1000 piece puzzle that makes up a wedding day… no one except for the bride who is busy being, well, the BRIDE! She should not be directing people, talking to vendors, handing out tips, setting up things, worrying about anything!
Hiring a professional coordinator (and not your cousin Jane or aunt Susan!) is like getting insurance for your wedding. Because chances are, the amount you are investing for your wedding day probably COULD buy you a car… which you would never drive without insurance! A professional coordinator should step in a few weeks before the wedding and help you determine all the logistics, iron out all the details, even attend your final walkthrough with your venue/caterer. And then all that is left for you to do is to enjoy the time leading up to the wedding day with your friends and family.
And do your homework – get referrals and check reviews. A great planner/coordinator is worth their weight in gold. A bad planner is just bad news! If someone is promising you the world for $500, remember that you usually get what you pay for…
5. Is there difference between a wedding “planner” and wedding “coordinator”?
Yes, although it’s possible to be both! For example, if you hire me from the very beginning of your engagement to hold your hand through the whole planning process, then I am your wedding PLANNER.
If you hire me to step in two months (the typical Sweetchic timing) before your wedding and manage your day, then I am your wedding COORDINATOR. All planners should know how to plan and execute, while not all coordinators know how (or have the desire) to plan the whole shebang… make sense?
6. What’s the one thing brides and grooms should splurge and not scrimp on when it comes to their wedding and why?
Photography! Every wedding professional will tell you this, and it’s no secret! I just hope we can engrain it into every bride’s mind
And in my opinion, it is always preferable to work with an independent photographer (*waves at Melissa Diep*) versus a large company that outsources their weddings to photographers that they find… on Craigslist!!! (trust me, it happens people, no joke!)
Thanks for the wonderful post, Melissa!