We were thrilled when Diana Marie Events won our 2012 photography contest with this gorgeous image of her design incorporating our bead strands, centerpiece risers, jelly decor, and submersible floralytes working hard at her event, and we’re even more delighted to share some of her tips and tricks with all of you. Diana Marie offers great ideas for making your big day a big success, and one that you and your guests will enjoy from start to finish. All from someone who’s planned some, um, seriously fabulous weddings and events.
We learned a lot about today’s trends, about creating a unique and personal event, and about maximizing any budget by talking to her, and we think that you will, too. From her in-the-know trend spotting to her advice for making the most of any budget, we love her enthusiasm and her experience. And we also happen to love photographs like this one.
1. Tell us a little bit about how you became an event planner. What types of events do you typically plan?
I was always involved and actively planning various events and fundraisers throughout high school and college – all the details and work that goes into planning events is what I adore and enjoy doing. I had helped many of my friends and sorority sisters plan their weddings while at UCF, and when my (actual) sister got engaged, I decided that I would take classes and become certified as a Bridal Consultant. That turned into starting my own business during my last semester of school (then known as A Day to Remember, but changed to Diana Marie Events a few years later to encompass more of the events that we do), and I haven’t looked back! Weddings are the majority of the events that we do throughout Florida and other states (Georgia, Louisiana, California, Washington DC, etc.) and internationally (Italy, Mexico, The Philippines and more), but we also do other social events like our Bridal Showcases, Vow Renewals, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañeras, Reunions, and galas. We even do some corporate events as well. I expanded my business from just planning/coordinating to including design and décor with creating centerpieces, ceremony designs, floral pieces and linens!
2. What is your favorite part of your work?
The details! It’s not just the design and décor details, but also the other intricate details that go into planning each event that makes each one its own unique event!
(Speaking of details ~ this centerpiece of florals, a variety of vases, and lighting embellished with bead strands and pendants shows exactly what a pro planner can do with blooms and bling.)
3. What are the top five ingredients for a great wedding reception?
Definitely having an amazing DJ or live band that knows how to be upbeat, fun and an amazing emcee that will keep the party going! Finding ways to get the guests up and dancing and interacting with one another is another ingredient, whether it is with food stations/trucks, dessert bars, photo booths, fun games, and more. Another great ingredient is bringing the vision of the design and décor to life! Bringing the design and décor to life is not just with the centerpieces, linens, drapes, and etc. – it also means bringing the right kind of lighting in to create depth and a better appreciation for everything around.
4. What wedding trends do you love right now? What do you love about them?
I am SO in LOVE with the vintage chic designs right now! I love creating designs that incorporate this trend, while still utilizing the previous trend of crystals and bling. A great deal of our couples and clients are having us design their wedding events to incorporate burlap and/or lace linens with the perfect floral arrangements (like baby’s breath with garden roses, peonies, carnations, gerbera daisies or succulents) in mason jars, while accenting the designs with mercury vases/votives and crystal bling! I also love pairing vintage chic with some type of metallic (gold or silver) or glittery color, or some soft colors like mint, butter or soft pink! I also love the pantone color theme of Emerald right now – so hot! I love pairing it with silver or gold!
We couldn’t resist sharing this photograph that shows exactly what she’s talking about ~ we love the jute/burlap runner, tiered vases, and pretty florals.
5. Any trends that you advise brides to avoid? Why?
Honestly, not really. One of the most important “words of advice” that I always share, remind and stress to my couples is to BE THEMSELVES and THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Whether that means making their theme/design revolve around their love for Star Wars or their favorite sports team, or incorporating past trends that some say they are over (such as unity rituals, food trucks, etc.), it doesn’t matter! A wedding is not just a chance for any two people to share their love for one another with their family and friends, but it is a chance to CELEBRATE their love in the way that they want to! There are a lot of crazy details and nuances that my couples choose to incorporate into their wedding because it is what they want because it is who they are, and I don’t mind – it’s fun and it is them! What I do try to steer them away from are favors that get left behind or are an after-thought.
6. What are the “it” colors of 2013-2014 weddings? How are you incorporating them in wedding and reception decor?
2013 is seeing a lot of Emerald incorporated into events, whether it is the main color or used as an accent – emerald looks AMAZING with silver or gold or yellow! Right now mint is also popular, as well as a nectarine or mango color! These colors can be incorporated throughout the wedding and reception décor, whether it is with the flowers, drapes, ceremony chuppah/Mandap/altar, linens, charger plates, dinner plates (love the mismatching vintage plates and cups!), votives, vases, and more!
7. If a bride needs to stretch her decor dollars, what advice would you give her to make the most of a modest budget?
One of the first things I do with my Bride before I even go through budget breakdown is have her list in order of importance the vendors/details that she wants/needs – venue, photographer, décor, cake, catering, etc. From there I do a general budget breakdown with my couple to show them what is the typical percentage breakdown for each vendor/area. Then if we can take away from a few of the least important areas to them to add to the more important areas/vendors, we redo their budget.
8. What signature luxury item would you recommend for a bride with a sky-is-the-limit budget?
Furniture! Luxe linens! And chandeliers! If the sky is the limit, I would recommend furniture pieces that fit into their scheme, such as “King” and “Queen” individual love seats or love sofa for the couple at their sweetheart table, ghost chairs, acrylic tables, mandaps with richly-colored materials and elaborate floral accents, and more! Incorporating linens that stand out with their textures and colors, such as the satin rosette or sequins. And adding chandeliers or other ceiling pieces would add to the overall beautiful and luxury of an event, especially when the perfect lighting is incorporated to make the chandeliers and other ceiling pieces stand out and sparkle!
(We think that she means super luxe events like this one ~ you had us at bead curtains and ostrich feathers. The chandelier was just icing on that to-die-for cake in the middle.)
9. What are your favorite Shop Wild Things products? How do you use them, and why do you love them?
I L♥VE L♥VE L♥VE the chandeliers, crystal columns and curtains! These are versatile and add its beauty to the décor. I love that they can be used for practically any theme/color scheme, such as a lavish bling event, outdoor garden party, vintage chic, and more! Your lighting pieces are also a part of my inventory, and help to create the overall design look for our clients’ centerpieces and more!
10. What is the number one misconception about working with a professional event planner?
It’s not all fun and games for us! It’s not an extension of our own wedding (and I haven’t been married yet!) It’s a stressful, physically and mentally-challenging, detail-oriented job. It’s not a typical 9-5, 40- hours a week job; a “slow” week is at least 40 hours a week, going up to 80+ hours! We aren’t just planning, dealing with details, going to meetings and walk-throughs; we also have to market and promote our business at the same time, while still networking within the industry. We aren’t just a “planner” to the couple – we are also the contact person between all vendors, a designer, a logistics manager, a psychologist, and more! Another misconception is that we aren’t needed. It’s understandable if the Bride/couple wants to take care of all the planning, contacting vendors, and details. But where I stand firm is that everyone should really have at least a Day Of Coordinator. It is not fair to have your family and friends running around to make sure everything is set up for you, communicating with all the vendors the day of, and being behind the scenes rather than being right at the forefront with you. When my sister got married, I hired a PT Day Of Coordinator for her to at least take care of the set-up. I still had my planner/coordinator hat on through the entire day, being on the phone communicating with her vendors while having my hair and makeup done, sending the bridal party in and myself during the processional, and more! I didn’t get to stay around after the ceremony for the pictures because I had to rush over to the reception venue to make sure everything was set up and help the vendors out there. I did manage to eat my dinner, but I didn’t get to enjoy the rest of the reception – I was behind the scenes, and even went to their hotel suite to decorate it for their wedding night. I missed out on the cake, bouquet toss, and EVEN missed my sister and brother in law leaving!
Thanks so much to Diana Marie for sharing her time and talent with us. Her excitement about event design is contagious, and we love seeing Diana Marie Events use our products in new and creative ways. We also want to thank the talented photographers whose images feature Diana Marie’s designs ~ Clearly In Focus Photography, Focused on Forever Weddings, Jonas Peterson Photography, and Regina Hyman Photography. We are big believers in hiring established, talented professionals, and we think that the images shown here communicate perfectly the value of working with the best event professionals.