Photo Credit: Falcusan Photography

Today’s wedding planner interview is with Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss, based in Portland, Oregon! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

Born and raised in Portland, I had been smitten with weddings since I was a child. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in Psychology & Business and working several years in the bridal industry, I decided it was time to take my expertise to the next level. Bridal Bliss opened its doors for business in 2002 and has since risen through the ranks as Portland’s top event planning firm. I’ve led my talented team to earn several awards as well as national and international recognition. We were recently named “Portland’s  2015 Best Wedding Planning Firm”  by Oregon Bride Magazine, and “Portland & Seattle’s Best Wedding Planning Company” by Wedding Industry Experts.   Our team is not only professional  detailed and educated on all things wedding-related, but we are personable and fun.  While we may be doing business together, our clients become our friends and we take a personal interest in ensuring their wedding is PERFECT.

Read the full interview after the cut!

Photo Credit: Jessica Watson Photography

How did you get into wedding planning?

I planned events all throughout high school and in college worked as the planner for club/organization events.   I was the resident party planner for friends, family and anyone else that had an event to celebrate.  I loved every single thing about it which let me to submit a business plan to a local competition.  I ended up winning which supplied me with the funds to start Bridal Bliss right out of college.  It was definitely a learning process but almost fourteen years later here we are.  Its been one amazing ride.

Photo Credit: Brianna Morrison Photography

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of planning is having my team on-site on the wedding day and watching our clients have the time of their lives.  Even if all hell has broken loose in the background or something has gone majorly wrong that we have had to fix, it makes it that much better to know that we (along with an amazing team of wedding professionals) have a client that is truly thrilled.  It makes all the time and hard work worth it.

Photo Credit: Powers Studios

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?

I started my business, Bridal Bliss, straight out of college with no true training, other than a bit of experience planning events for friends and family. I had planned corporate-type events in college but without much supervision or advice.  If I was to go back and start all over again, I think I would have interned with a few other coordinators both in the NW and in other parts of the country to get an idea on how others have perfected their trade.

Photo Credit: Yasmin Khajavi Photography

What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?

I have a very active two year old son that keeps my husband and I on our toes.  I love to check out the vibrant Portland food scene, stay active running or at the gym, serving on the board of Levé, getting lost on Pinterest, spending time with family and sipping Prosecco with my besties.

Any great stories from working with a client?

How do I pick just one! I am always asked for horror stories so here is my favorite…

A few years ago was working with a mother-of-the-bride who insisted on creating the wedding cake for her daughter’s big event.  She had made a few in the past so I wasn’t too nervous about it, until I saw the cake being delivered.  The mother placed it in the hotel’s walk-in fridge and left to go get her hair and makeup done.  Throughout the day, the cake fell apart more and more to the point of no return.  I had to scramble to get a new cake through a local baker friend, and everything worked out perfectly.  That was until the reception rolled around….the mom was so sad about her cake that she decided to drink incessantly,  which led to her falling on the dance floor, breaking a few bones, and going into surgery the next morning.  This was the one event where I actually had to call the paramedics!

Photo Credit: Ben Pigao Photography

What is your current favorite color combination?

As much as I love the current blush/neutral trend, I am more of a bold color girl myself.  I love raspberry, navy and white.  Bright, crisp, preppy and gorgeous.

Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?

The biggest trend I’m seeing this year that I love is the same trend I’ve seen the last few years….couples are craving a wedding that is unique and different.  The way that is achieved has definitely morphed the last few years.  This summer I’m seeing much more attention paid to the smallest details, which I think we have Etsy and Pintrest to thank for.

The weddings I am working on are coordinated down to the last detail with a theme or specific look that is cohesive throughout the event.  A few examples of unique elements we are coordinating in 2015 weddings are ceremonies in the round, unique “bars” (popcorn bars, trail mix bars, milk and cookies bars, etc.), mixing up seating arrangements, incorporating entertainment (Cirque Du Soleil dancers, live paintings, Aerial artists, etc.), tiny late-night treats that are a feast for the palate as well as the eye, and over the top after-parties.  Unique weddings are not only fun for the guests, they are exciting to plan!

Photo Credit:Ben Pigao Photography

What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning?

My biggest piece of advice is to trust your planner.  You have hired this person for a reason so have confidence that he/she has your best interests in mind and will go to bat for you.  There is no need to micromanage or stress out about every single detail, your planner likely has it all covered.  Enjoy being engaged, and always remember that this is all about the commitment you are making to your fiancé.  A quote I love is “A wedding is a party, not a performance.  If at the end of the day you are married to the one you love, then everything turned out perfectly.”

Thanks Nora! For more information about Bridal Bliss, please check out their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Nora? Add them to the comments below!