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Interview with Colorado Wedding Planner Emily of Particulars Planning

While my blog is a great way for someone looking for a photographer for their Colorado wedding to find out a bit more about me I find it’s also a great way for me to share information about some of my favorite vendors and venues to let clients know a little bit about them as well.

While I’ve venues before like Dunafon Castle and South Broadway Christian Church I decided to grow these posts and from time to time interview a wide variety of Colorado wedding professionals.   So a week or so back I got to sit down over coffee with Emily Lenich of Particulars, a wonderful Colorado wedding planner.   Going for something different instead of me just telling you about Emily I interviewed her with some questions that I think my clients would appreciate.

Now Jay Leno, Ellen or Oprah I’m not, but it was fun and hopefully you’ll learn a bit about Emily as well.

Mark:
What type of services do you offer?

Emily:
Our services run the gamut from comprehensive event design and execution – what I sometimes refer to as the “Oprah Treatment” – a situation characterized by us managing ALL aspects of the event – conceptualization, legwork, implementation.  I start with the development of a storyboard for the event – and then proceed with all the planning.  For example, as part of our stationery suite selection, I’ll choose three samples of invitations based the event’s aesthetic and bring them to the client’s office/home to allow them to decide – each element of their event is handled as such.  On the other end of the spectrum of services, each season we offer a limited number of “day of” coordination opportunities – a common term in the world of wedding planning – which really involves so much more than just showing up.  There’s referral of vendors, contract review, attendance at the final walk-through, direction at the rehearsal and then being the first person to arrive and the last person to leave on the wedding day itself. Most of my clients end up somewhere in the middle of the service spectrum.  I happily customize each proposal to the exact needs of that client.

Mark:
What are three adjectives that describe your or your business?

Emily:
Joyous.  I have a really happy approach to life.  It translates well to my business, because a wedding is supposed to be FUN, right? But planning can become stressful – that’s why I’m there – to alleviate the tension for the bride and, typically, her Mom – and keep the mood positive.

Organized.  I’m a Virgo and may be a bit neurotic about organization – again, event planning is the perfect job for me – so many details that have to be handled – love the challenge and responsibility.

Fun.   It’s kinda like joyous, but that’s me.  I’ve been called “effervescent”, I’ll say that.

Mark:
Is there a venue you love working at?

Emily:
My favorite ceremony spot: the Top of Lift 7 in Telluride – also known as, San Sophia Overlook . Stunning.  I love that town.  I love to ski there, I love to hike there. It’s just so beautiful – my favorite part of the state – so it’s my favorite outdoor ceremony location.

For something a little closer, I like working at the Lake House here in Evergreen.  It’s   appeal is similar to Boettcher Mansion – both have proximity to Denver that so many couples look for when planning a Colorado wedding where so many friends and relatives might be flying in – and both offer a mountain setting that is rustic but elegant. Oooh, and I am really excited about a wedding this season at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science – we are using the Leprino Family Atrium and the Sky Terrace – amazing views and a perfect spot for the couple who wants to showcase the Rockies but keep a modern vibe.  Oh…and I love Estes Park – Della Terra is an amazing location for a mountain wedding with all amenities at your fingertips – and their service is unparalleled.  And, the meadow at Wild Basin Lodge has jaw-dropping views.

Mark:
Is there a venue you’d love to work at?

Emily:
Beano’s Cabin up in Beaver Creek.  That’s a goal, for sure – and, I am working on an event design for a wedding there in June 2011 – fingers crossed.  And, the Wedding Deck and Aspen Mountain Club of The Little Nell – dying to work there!

Mark:
Do your services range a variety of budgets or do you work with a specific level only?

Emily:
Since I offer customized levels of service, I can work with a range of budgets.

Mark:

Why should a bride consider using a wedding planner?

Emily:
When planning a wedding, the options available to couples are literally limitless.  There is so much information – and there are so many options and so many decisions to make.  For a person who has any sort of life commitments, a career, school, a family, etc. – to digest all the information and make good decisions is very difficult – and time consuming.  Planners help save their clients time and alleviate stress.

Once an experienced professional understands what you’re going for – what a couple’s vision is – then the planner can really simplify the process and give you options that suite your needs.

Planners also save you money.  Many of the vendors I work with offer a discount to my clients because I am involved.  Mark, as you well know, as a professional wedding photographer – planners make things run smoothly.  Vendors appreciate that.  We are all on the same team – there to serve our clients – the best way to do that is to work together.  So, vendors value my involvement.

In cases where a vendor offers a “kick back”, which I am firmly opposed to, I pass the savings along to my clients, so often there’s a lot of money to be saved.

Mark:
I just want to echo that running smoothly aspect because this is such a huge gift for a couple on their wedding day.  I love it when my clients are just savoring every moment of their wedding day and someone else is handling all the little things that always crop up.  And when the bride and groom are freed from that stress, well they just look better in pictures than those who are stressed out about the little things during the day.

Mark:
What sets you apart from other professionals in your industry?

Emily:
Personality, freakish attention to detail and vendor relationships.

I’m a transplanted southern girl – and have been told I have a great mix of charm and tenacity.  I value my client’s needs above all else – and work hard to meet those needs.  I fanatically obsess over the details so my clients can relax on the big day. At the end, what they’ll remember about the planning process and the event is the FUN.

Also, I treat my colleagues with respect.  Happy vendors and happy teams make happy weddings. I make sure the band has a hot meal – at the right time.  I make sure my photographers are always up-to-speed on the timeline and that they are fed!  I keep the communication lines open – and work to make sure the experience is enjoyable for everyone.

Mark:
What are the favorite parts of your job?

Emily:
Initial meetings and consultations – where I’m pulling out what a couple wants their wedding to “feel” like and helping them figure out their wedding’s aesthetic.  Often, they have this deer in the headlights look – you know, “we’re engaged – now what?”.  They’re going to have a wedding and want it to be special, but they don’t know which direction to go in next.

My second favorite part of the job is the end of the night.  I’m the last one to leave and everything is done, it’s a great sense of accomplishment.  I enjoy standing in the empty venue and scanning the blank canvas that was transformed for a joyous occasion not many hours ago.

Mark:
Since a lot of wedding photographers read my blog, what do you wish more photographers would do to make either your job easier or service the clients better?

Emily:
I sometimes wish in consultations, and not all do this – but some do, that photographers would focus almost exclusively on their art, their craft instead of the details of their packages and all the options available.  This is part of what overwhelms a couple.  The photographer is just one of many vendors they need to decide on.  Let them decide on you as a photographer first before they have to worry about materials and options.  Sell your craft.  Sell your art.  The rest can be figured out after the fact.  UNLESS – the couple has indicated that the “stuff” is really important…

The other thing that would really help is for photographers to send me files after the wedding – without me having to ask.  Send me some pretty pictures.  When I use those images to promote myself, I’m promoting the photographer as well.  For me, the detail shots are so important.  Show me the aisle decor.  Show me the escort card display.  Show me the pie buffet…all the “particulars” – I know, shameless plug…

Emily:
May I add something, Mark?

Mark:
Sure, Emily.

Emily:
Thank you for what you do as a wedding professional in Colorado.  I’ve come across a few people here who really contribute and help make us all more effective – and you are among those few.  You offer advice, you help promote us – not to mention you’re an all around nice guy and a very talented photographer – I am very appreciative for all that you do – so, Thanks.

Mark:
Thank you so much.   There’s a photographer from Orange County California, [b]ecker, that I got the chance to spend the day with last year who has a great expression for this.   A rising tide lifts all boats.   OK, sure it was JFK who used the expression first, but the idea holds.    For me it comes down to the idea that by doing whatever I can to assist others in the wedding industry, be they wedding planners like yourself, my favorite wedding venues like Dunafon Castle, cake artists, salons and make up artists, caterers, DJ’s, and even other photographers, then I’m helping the industry as a whole stay strong.  I have a much better chance of finding couples that love my style and approach to weddings in a strong industry than a struggling one.  Besides we have so many wonderful people in the region it’s easy to be supportive of others.

Emily Lenich of Particulars

www.particularsplanning.com


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