bride and bridesmaids in blush gowns holding white bouquetsPhoto Credit: Robert & Kathleen Photographers

Today’s wedding planner interview is with Kristen Carro-Estela, Founder & Owner of Lovely Event Planning, based in White Plains, New York! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

I grew up in a kitchen surrounded by chefs & hospitality professionals, so it’s no surprise I fell in love with event planning. I started event planning at one of the world’s top media companies and recognizable brands, MTV, where I worked on every kind of event, from planning small, exclusive parties to escorting VIPs down the red carpet at VMAs. It was a truly amazing 5 years of my life and it really helped me build an incredible foundation.

Read the full interview after the cut!

My passion for events led me to the NY based tech company Shutterstock, where I worked as the company’s Corporate Event Manager, planning hundreds events and managing productions for their 8 offices globally. In an effort to fully embody the industry, I made a shift from client to client services, working in hospitality at a five-star event venue to gain intimate industry knowledge and back-of-house experience that sets me apart from other planners.

The experience and exposure I’ve gained throughout my career is truly unique. I’ve worked with some of the world’s most high-profile celebrities, businessmen, politicians and dignitaries. I had quite the ride, learning from some of the best in the business and knew that someday I wanted to build something of my own.

Last year, I started Lovely. Lovely is built from unparalleled experience and a true passion for events. Our team has a deep understanding of this industry, both as a client and a service provider, offering expert advice & organization. We are based out of Westchester, NY, but service New York City, the Hamptons, Connecticut, Hudson Valley and beyond! Attentiveness, communication and trust are qualities we champion. We enjoy getting to know our clients, building a partnership to create successful events.

bride and bridesmaids in blush gowns holding white bouquetsPhoto Credit: Robert & Kathleen Photographers

How did you get into wedding planning?

I knew at some point I wanted to start my own company and I went to work at a five-star property to gain key experience I knew I’d need to excel in the industry. To be completely honest, I took a huge pay cut, but I knew it’s what I needed to do if I wanted to learn and understand every aspect of the business.

It was at this job I fell in love with weddings. I’m a straight shooter, really honest and willing to help – as an Event Manager, I just started going above and beyond for my clients, helping them plan every aspect of their wedding, not because it was required (in fact, it was not part of my job to do so), but because I enjoyed it!

Helping someone plan their wedding quickly became the most rewarding type of planning I had done. It’s definitely more challenging, which I really enjoyed, more personal & every wedding is unique. There isn’t just a set of formulas that work for everyone – each client has a different priority and vision and I truly love that challenge!

 classic outdoor wedding portrait of bride and groom in a field

Photo Credit: Photos by Basia

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Building relationships & making people happy. It’s such an amazing experience to get to know my clients, their friends & family. I truly love creating a strong partnership, and it really goes a long way when it comes to personalizing their wedding.

Of course, the best part of the job is the thank yous! My entire team takes pride in creating a perfect experience. Having come from such high-end service backgrounds, it’s nice to share that level of service with each client. We do well at that – and it’s so rewarding when our clients recognize our dedication and appreciate our efforts, as much as we appreciate them allowing us to be a part of such an important moment. We really cherish that!

beautiful white bridal bouquet

Photo Credit: Photos by Basia

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

Don’t assume anything. Never hesitate to ask questions and reconfirm details – better safe than sorry!

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

I enjoy the basics, hanging out with friends & family, cooking, etc., but my favorite pastime is spending quality time with my husband Julio and our dog Boomer.

Lately I’ve been working on my website. I built it all on my own (designed, coded, curated) and that’s something I’m really proud of and enjoy doing. I’ve also been dabbling in different areas of creative work like floral design & photography – I guess it comes with the territory!

elegant candlelit tablescape

Photo Credit: Frame Your Love Photography

What is your current favorite color combination?

I’m looking forward to fall & winter and I’m excited to start seeing deeper, warmer tones of pinks, purples and greens. I like a moody vibe!

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

I love when brides take initiative and are willing to do their own planning and DIY projects for their weddings! I’ve had my client’s do everything from design their own invitations & stationary to build their own arch for their ceremony! It’s so impressive to me when couples are creative and channel their talent to add a personal touch to their wedding.

bride in a strapless gown holding a red and white bouquet

Photo Credit: Frame Your Love Photography

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

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Many couples struggle to keep up with all the details or don’t have the industry knowledge to know what’s the correct pricing, offerings or options. At Lovely, we understand how difficult planning can be, and we’re more than willing to chat and offer limited advice or guidance, no matter how big or small the job.

Wedding Planner at work, setting a lovely tablePhoto Credit: Rosehip Social

Thanks, Kristen! For more information about Lovely Event Planning, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

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