Photo Credit: Custom by Nicole Photography

Today’s wedding planner interview is with Angela Christoforo of Elite Wedding and Event Planning, based in Saugerties, New York! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

Most people are surprised to learn that I was a paralegal for 13 years. My legal career has given me valuable experience, which I use in my planning business. Contract review is an important aspect in planning. Most couples are unsure of what to look for in reviewing contracts and are happy to have someone with legal experience and knowledge of the industry to take care of all of that for them. While I enjoyed my long career as a paralegal I find my passion is in planning and designing beautiful events. When I’m not helping couples design their weddings I put my creativity to use in planning and designing styled shoot. Organization is second nature to me having worked in an office setting for many years so naturally staying organized and keeping things on track I have a knack for.

As a company we want clients to enjoy all the fun aspects of planning and be able to feel confident knowing we can handle all of the stressful and time consuming details for them. It’s a fun and exciting time in their lives and probably one of the most expensive investments they will ever make in planning an event. They should be able to say it was a piece of cake planning and their wedding day was one of the best days of their lives.

Read the full interview after the cut!

Photo Credit: JBM Photography

How did you get into wedding planning?

I started planning weddings when I was completing my B.S. degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. My initial career goal was to work in hotel management. After a semester of taking event planning courses and planning a few small weddings I found my true passion was in wedding planning. Prior to graduating I started Elite and the business has continued to grow. This year I expanded to offer full design services.

Photo Credit: JBM Photography

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Design and making things look pretty are my favorite part of the job. I like being able to take the couples vision and help put it all together so they have this wow moment on their wedding day. It’s the moment when they see it and can’t believe how beautifully it all came together that makes my job all worth it.

Photo Credit: JBM Photography

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

I’ve learned a lot during my first few weddings and year in business. The most important lesson would be that I will make mistakes and they will help me to grow and build a better business. My advice to new planners is to understand that your mistakes will make you a better planner and a stronger business owner. Don’t let them get you down. Think of them as growing pains. I still learn from every wedding I do. It’s also a good idea to hire a mentor or apprentice under an established planner. This will give you valuable knowledge and experience you can use when you are ready to start your own business. I have been in business going on 4 years now and I am thankful for having made the investment in hiring a mentor.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Manzi Photography

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

I love to travel. I have a bucket list of places to visit, which include Italy, France, New Zealand and Fiji. It would be an amazing experience to have the opportunity to plan destination weddings in some of these locations. I enjoy the beach so my travels don’t have to be across the globe to be enjoyable. A simple trip to a beach somewhere close that I’ve never visited is just as priceless.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Manzi Photography

Any great stories from working with a client?

One of my most unique stories to date would be a wedding I had where the man of honor had tracked down a music artist for a surprise for the bride on her wedding day. The bride and groom had their first dance in a club, which the groom DJ’d at, to a song by music artist Kimblee. The man of honor by chance found her, now living in Long island and working as a schoolteacher. She agreed to come upstate for the weekend and perform at the couple’s wedding. She was so nervous about singing since she hadn’t performed any of her songs in over 5 years. She did an amazing job and the bride literally fell out of her chair on the floor when she saw Kimblee come out and start singing. She was expecting a toast from the man of honor not a performance from one of her favorite music artists. Kimblee actually ended up staying and enjoying the celebration with them for the rest of the night. It was definitely one of my favorite weddings.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Manzi Photography

What is your current favorite color combination?

My favorite color is purple so naturally color combinations with soft purples are at the top of my list. I love incorporating metallic into color palettes so I’d have to say soft purple tones, gold and ivory would be my current favorite combination.

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

I love the floral hairpieces. They are so trendy right now. The big blooming floral crowns or even small floral clips look beautiful. I also enjoy seeing brides do fun cocktail lounges. Vintage furniture and props can really give cocktail hour a fun feeling. Cocktail hour is one of the areas couples tend to overlook in planning or they end up doing traditional cocktail tables with a small floral arrangement or votives. Cocktail hour really is the start of the party. You should create an experience for your guests from arrival until the end of the evening when they take away favors.

Mason jars I’d like to see left behind. I’ve seen so much of it. Sometime I feel like Pinterest is relied upon too much and couples don’t explore their own creativity.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Manzi Photography

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

My advice for couples is to make sure you hire vendors which you feel you connect with and fit your vision. You need to be confident each vendor you hire will do an amazing job at your wedding. I find couples tend to focus more on price before the service being provided. A vendor’s fee represents the level of talent and expertise being provided. If you are hiring a vendor based on price you are compromising the success of your celebration. You have to think how important of a role does this person plays in the success of your wedding and how valuable that is to you. Then consider where you can afford to cutback so you can afford to hire them. It shouldn’t be the other way around. I’ve seen couples cut corners way too many times and end up hiring the cheapest vendors so they can spend more money on decorations or some other tangible item. We understand everyone has a budget to consider. If you start your planning properly with creating a realistic budget you should have no problem hiring reputable vendors that fit within your budget. Don’t make the mistake of not creating a budget first and having to hire less than quality vendors because you over spent in other areas. A planner can definitely help you establish a budget that works for you.

Thanks Angela! For more information about Elite Wedding and Event Planning, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

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