What a treat to be able to share in Jenna and Ben’s wedding. I met Jenna when I was pregnant with our first son, Thomas, she was our nurse practitioner and patiently couched me along the way to motherhood. I was honored when she contacted me to help plan her intimate union to Ben at their home in Berkeley. Using all local vendors from the east bay we created a simple, fun, family gathering that was intimate and elegant. Hugh Groman Catering was amazing as always with their experienced staff and tasty bites; and I had the pleasure to working with Sweet Adeline, a well know Berkeley cake shop – their cake was delicious and the owner herself came to deliver, pruned flowers from Jenna & Ben’s freshly landscaped garden to create a lovely display.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I am from England originally, however my family and I lived in Germany, Texas and Italy from the time I was 1.5-12 years old. My parents finally settled down in California and I have been in the Bay Area ever since. After completing my physical geography degree I knew the work I would do had to involve taking care of our environment. Co-founding Locally Grown Weddings allows me as a Wedding and Event Planner to work with an amazing collective of female owned, sustainable businesses.
How did you get into wedding planning?
I started my company in 2008, in response to a freshly finished Master’s degree and the collapse of the economy (see: No jobs for new Grads…). I had experience as a fundraiser and event planning in both the corporate and non-profit worlds, and it seemed I could provide needed service in the private sector while being my own boss. My hope was that in focusing on sustainable event planning, I could merge my environmental aspirations with a successful business model. While weddings are the main thrust of what I do, I hope that I can get more corporations and businesses to embrace sustainable practices for their holiday parties, corporate events, and meetings.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
It is a great feeling to help two people bring a large scale wedding in on time, and on budget. I always love watching new couples enjoy all their friends and family on their wedding day, knowing that any complication that arises will be taken care of by my team. We have helped make sure that all their decisions have been made, and that they are free to revel in all the fun of their special day.
What’s the biggest lesson you've learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
Listen to your clients, make sure you are telling their story, not your own. Take the time to connect with your clients and make sure they feel supported and invested in the planning path you have mapped out with them. Be diligent about calendaring, and spreadsheets, they make things so much easier in the long run.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
Pre-kids, I loved bike riding. Hopefully I can get back into that, but with 2 young children, it may be a different kind of ride. I love to scuba dive and have my dive masters, although I haven’t taken the plunge in a couple years I’m looking forward to continuing my exploration of our underwater world. Spending time with my family, gardening, and eating chocolate are always great too!
Any great stories from working with a client?
I have been very lucky to have had the pleasure of working with a large number of wonderful couples. I have also had the privilege of working with a solid team of amazing wedding professionals. My favorite part at each wedding is that very special moment just after the couple has completed their ceremony and are walking together with these amazing grins on their faces. Full of excitement and a bit of relief after making the transition to being a couple.
What is your current favorite color combination?
I’m a big believer in many shades of green, surprise!
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I love that couples can personalize so many details of their day. Incorporating design ideas that truly reflect each couples’ journey makes the event personal. I have been enjoying seeing the mixing of styles, vintage meets popping saturated colors, couples are breaking all the rules and I love it! The cake in the face smashing tradition is dated and should be retired.