Carolyn Burke Wedding Liaison took some time out of her busy schedule to give us an interview. You’ll see what I mean when you read the answer to her first question! Carolyn sure does have a lot to offer her brides. ;)
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I’ve been a Professional Bridal Consultant since 2004 and wear three hats in the wedding industry. I’m an event location specialist in the St Louis Metropolitan area and consider myself a wedding consultant and not a wedding planner – there is a difference. I give advice on wedding-related resources and let the couple decide what resource works best for them. I am also a Wedding Celebrant and performed over 150 weddings in 2011 which has taken my business in a new direction. Lately I have been providing a package I call the “Super Liaison” service. It is where I coordinate AND officiate the event which is becoming a great value. Anything you can do to make your business unique is imperative.
The full interview continues after the jump . . .
2. How did you get into wedding planning?
I started out as a wedding coordinator at my church. The Unitarian denomination is known for allowing non-members to have the wedding ceremony in their sanctuary. I promoted my church on the internet and was able to book over 30 weddings in a year. I knew I was hooked and decided to start my own business. I kept my job title which was Wedding Liaison.
3. What’s your favorite part of the job?
I enjoy giving advice to the couple in the pre-planning stage and ensuring that the event runs smoothly on their wedding day. I love being the ‘go-to’ person and managing the details of the event – especially the ceremony. I also love working as a team with all the wedding day vendors and working with couples in ALL budgets.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
If you can stay in business for five years and see an increase each year – then keep at it. Learn from others and network often. Attend seminars on small business trends, marketing, and time management. Stretch outside the box and do not just connect to other wedding vendors. Practice your ‘elevator speech’ and feel confident explaining what you do for a living – whether it is full or part-time. Volunteer in your community and do good deeds while referencing your company for good exposure. Get support from business consultants who specialize in helping us succeed in the wedding business (Assn of Bridal Consultants, BookMoreBrides.com, ThinkSplendid, BrideAppeal, and many others).
5. What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I collect dolls for fun – especially Barbie and dolls from my past. I love to make jewelry and am just starting to make bracelets using buttons. I also adopted a stray rescue dog and named her Zombie who keeps me busy and in and out of trouble. My family and I love to travel and spend our vacations in a new city or state each year.
6. Any great stories from working with a client?
I had a client on 9-10-11 where the ceremony was located at a popular park with a large hill in the background. The hill is famous for sledding and has a beautiful art museum at the top. The following day was September 11th and a local community organization placed almost 3,000 US flags on the hill. I am sure when the couple planned this venue for their event, they had no idea that this would have occured. They were very gracious and did not let the situation ruin their day or their attitudes.
7. What is your current favorite color combination?
My favorite colors are blue and green. I love the wedding that includes a royal blue or periwinkle and a neon green or lime green combination.
8. Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I am seeing more and more couples use non-religious sites for their wedding ceremony. Also – having the ceremony and the reception in the same place. I would like to see several trends go away – first is the sleeve-less dress on the bride and bridesmaids. Bring back some lace, short sleeves please!
I would like to have the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for photographs. This can happen moments after the bride is ready in her hair and make-up and dress – it makes working with the photographer so much easier and the couple look so fresh and beautiful. I never want to see the trend of photography go away – long live the photo-journalistic style!
Photography by Trotter Photo.