As I settle into our new home, meet new friends, and make new connections, I feel like people are always so intrigued when I tell them what I do. “I am a wedding planner” is almost always met with “Oh wow, that must be the best job ever!” Despite being a lot more work than they show you in the movies, it is in fact the best job ever. Additional questioning ensues, which I love because I could go on and on about weddings. So when Stephanie at Borrowed & Blue reached out to me for an interview, of course I said YES! Check out our Q&A below!
“Here’s the understatement of the year: weddings take a lot of thoughtful planning to go off without a hitch. That’s why wedding planning websites like Borrowed & Blue are out there to help in the first place, and is even more why we can’t stress enough how important it is to hire a wedding planner or designer to help you through it all. Luckily, A Charming Affair is there to help, as one of the best event planners in the area. We’ve reached out to them in order to get a peek behind the curtain into the wedding planning world.” – Stephanie DeVaux, Borrowed & Blue Market Specialist
If you could possibly narrow it down, what would be your favorite moment of a wedding day? This is definitely a tough question since each couple and each wedding is a little different. But I’ll admit I still tear up a bit when the bride walks down the aisle. I know, I know, so cliché…. But honestly, I feel like this is such a grand moment where not only does the wedding day become real for them after so many months of planning, but also the reason why they’re having this wedding is so pertinent in that moment when they see one another and the music is playing! It’s like “Ah-ha! At last!” and it’s such a joyful and emotional experience for them. I can’t help but feel some of that joy for them too.
(Photo by Ashley Maxwell Photography)
How’d you get into wedding planning? I did corporate event work after college, but began to focus on weddings specifically when so many of my friends and family started getting married. If you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for love stories and creative design, so the transition just came naturally. I started interning for two amazing planners in the San Francisco Bay Area, learned the ropes, and received my Wedding Planning Certification. I opened A Charming Affair after that in 2013.
Describe your event aesthetic in three words. Organic yet refined.
The first thing you ask when you sit down with a couple? I want to know what their favorite memories are together and what they’re most excited about in their future. I think these two questions can really tell a lot about them as people, as a couple, and what’s truly important to them.
Top three pieces of advice for couples who just got engaged?
- Invest in exceptional vendors. Working with quality professionals will make all the difference in your wedding experience. Make sure you love your vendors and really connect with them. Once you’ve made the investment, trust them.
- Don’t feel like you have to do something for your wedding just because everybody else is doing it. I think it’s amazing when couples want to do something unique and personal that their guests haven’t seen at every other wedding already.
- Don’t forget WHY you’re having a wedding in the first place and don’t stop writing your love story! Take a night each week and go to a movie or dinner, take a trip together, whatever. This is the person you’re committing to build a life with, so mentally check out of wedding planning mode every so often and keep building it!
What’s your favorite thing about your job? There’s nothing better than seeing the couple and their guests truly relaxed and carefree on the wedding day and it’s obvious that they haven’t given a thought to whether the tables will look like they’re expecting, or if Aunt Sue’s gluten free meal will be ready, or if the band is going to play the right song for their dances – they just know that me and my team, and their team of vendors have their back and it’s being handled. That means I’ve done my job and that is so rewarding to me.
As far as the day-to-day, I LOVE the design aspect of planning. Creating beautiful and unexpected details inspired by the couple’s story and personality is kind of my jam.
(Photo by Olivia Smartt Photography)
What’s the best thing about having your wedding in Washington DC? Having a wedding in DC just lends itself to being grand. I mean look at the architecture, the history, the excitement of the city! It’s a real treat for out of town guests to get to visit the nation’s capital and explore.
My studio is located west of the city in Loudoun County, and there are so many wineries, beautiful estates, and farms here which are amazing backdrops for a wedding as well. It is a totally different but equally incredible experience. I think the fact that this area has so many options is fantastic!
Most important detail of wedding decor? Hands down…. Flowers. And not just because I am a florist too. There’s nothing that brings a room to life like fresh flowers.
Your thoughts on DIY weddings? As a full service planner, I don’t get much experience with DIY weddings, but to me, the WHY of a wedding is so important. So whatever kind of wedding day you envision, be it DIY or the most over the top extravagant affair, as long as you have the why figured out, then I love it.
What would your ideal tablescape look like? Lots of interesting textures and dimension… definitely a unique linen or textured tabletop, a beautiful combination of charger, china, flatware and stemware, and of course lush florals are a MUST.
What’s your favorite of all the Washington DC wedding venues?
Tranquility Farm in Loudoun County is absolutely stunning. And the Willard in the city. OMG.
The most important part of wedding planning? On a practical level: the timeline is key. I get a bare bones outline going as soon as the venue is booked. It makes life so much easier and streamlined as we add in more details and book the other vendors.
For the couple: have fun with it — you only get to do it once.
Describe your dream wedding. Well, I’ve already had mine. My husband Tom and I got married in the rooftop garden at the Fairmont Hotel on the most beautiful fall day in San Francisco. The reception was on the top floor of the hotel in with the most amazing view of the San Francisco skyline. It was truly fantastic. We ate incredible food, laughed until we cried, and danced the night away with our family and friends. It was the most special and memorable day of my life.
Now, I get to figure out what a dream wedding looks like for my clients, and make that happen for them, which is the best job I could ever imagine.