Today’s wedding planner interview is with Wendy of Wendy’s Affairs of Hearts, based in Pennsylvania!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Wendy’s Affairs of Heart began in 2003 after years of running restaurants and bridal salons, running events and working backstage in a theater. I needed a more flexible work life, so I threw all of my talents and skills into the pot and created my business. My philosophy from day one was that I was NOT like any other planner and that my ONLY focus was going to be on THE BRIDE. I was going to be her friend, advocate, voice and mentor. This was not about me, but about that bride who trusted me to guide her through the process and give her a perfect wedding day.
I have never had “packages” and my fees are all designed for the budget and the needs of each bride. Once a bride entrusts me with her wedding, I am available for whatever she needs from me. There are NO limits as to what I will do, how many hours she gets or what is “extra”. I just do whatever it takes to give each and every bride I help a magical and stress free wedding day.
I am not the floral designer. I am not the invitation source or the calligrapher. I don’t make the favors or decorate the room. What I do is guide my brides to the professionals that best suit their needs and oversee the entire process. Then, on her big day, I am with my bride all day, making sure that everything is just how she wants it.
How did you get into wedding planning?
In 2003 my mother had a stroke. I was running a bridal salon and it was not a good situation. I wanted out and I needed a more flexible schedule in order to care for my mother. I had already helped many brides to dress and get to their weddings in my positions with bridal salons. So, it wasn’t really a stretch to think that I could do it on my own. I didn’t really ever set out to become a wedding planner. But, given my skillset and my commitment to all the brides whose dresses I had helped pick out, it just seemed a logical next step.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my job comes at the end of the day. When I see a happy bride who has had a perfect day and she leaves her wedding with a smile- that makes it all worthwhile. The thank you’s from the other vendors, from family and from the bride for all that I have done- that is my favorite part. That is why I love my job.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
The biggest lesson I have learned is that this is NOT an easy business. It is stressful, it is frustrating at times and it won’t make you rich or famous. Reality TV is NOT real life.
There are some very lean times, the competition is fierce and, frankly, brides don’t get what you do. Making brides understand the importance of this job and why they should not get married without a planner is sometimes maddening. The other thing I have learned- even more important, is that this is not a job that you can learn from a class. It is a lifelong learning experience. You don’t start out knowing how to fix things, where to
go for the best professionals or how to handle an emergency from getting a certification on line of by planning your own wedding. It is not a glamor job and it takes years to hone your craft. I still, after 10 years, learn something new at every wedding.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
When I am not working, I get the most joy out of being with my two grandchildren. They are my joy! I love the theater and ballet. I enjoy anything historical- especially Celtic history. I like to read and I LOVE to cook. I used to do a lot of sewing and crafts, but I don’t seem to have time anymore.
Any great stories from working with a client?
All of my brides are great stories. But, I will just link you to some of my favorite brides. I keep in touch with many of them. I see their babies, hear their anniversary stories and watch them grow as women. My very first wedding was for a producer for 60 Minutes. She was 40, never married and her mother was deceased. She was overwhelmed and needed help. It was a huge undertaking, travelling back and forth to New York and coordinating all the pieces. The wedding was at an estate on the Hudson and it was a glorious affair. One of my memories of that wedding is walking up Madison Avenue with the dresses from Vera Wang’s flagship store on a hotel valet cart. I got lots of stares. I also have to redo some of the hairstyles because the girls hated how their hair looked.
Here are some photos from the day.
And, a few links to some of my favorites…
What is your current favorite color combination?
I love champagne, pink and gold. It is so rich and fits in any season. I also like red, white and black- very chic. And, chocolate brown with muted orange and a hint of blue.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
Right now, I love that sleeves are big on wedding gowns. The soft romantic silhouettes on the 2013 wedding gowns are just to die for!! I also like the nostalgic feel of weddings, the vintage touches and the romance. It doesn’t happen much anymore, but I really dislike the cake smashing, the garter toss and the money dance. Many couples opt not to do those things, but I think we could do away with them altogether and it would be
better. Most of the current trends are really lovely and I find that my clients are looking to personalize their weddings with things that have deep meaning in their lives. There will always be things that I think are overdone or not really appropriate. But, I do think that weddings have become a statement of the couple more than “what everybody is doing”.
Questions or comments for Wendy? Leave them below!