One of the things I love most about being a wedding photographer is the relationships I've been able to form over the course of my business! Getting to know Danielle Cartwright and her lovely team at Detailed I Do's has been such a joy and highlight of the past year! Not only did I have the pleasure of collaborating on a couple of stunning shoots on Jekyll Island (the second of which comes out this summer!), but I loved working with them on Emily & Oliver's beautiful real wedding as well! From creating a smooth timeline together (y'all know how much I appreciate planning and organization!) to the way they make an entire day run better and always put a smile on my face these ladies are the real deal! Danielle's leadership has been an inspiration to me, and her artistic sense of style and design can be seen to elevate everything from a small dinner party to a luxury wedding! I'm thrilled that my interview with Danielle kicks off this new blog series featuring some of my favorite wedding vendors in Atlanta!
Tell me your story. How did you get into Wedding Planning?
Well, even though it may be unbelievable I have always known I wanted to be a wedding planner. As a little girl I would sketch wedding flowers, cut wedding images out of magazines while creating my very first inspiration boards & instead of playing house with my best friend we dressed up as bridesmaids and brides helping each other down the aisle while entertaining our room full of furry wedding guests. :)
I always felt a connection to the arts and designing. I took fashion design classes throughout high school, loved sketching & often found myself inspired by textures and nature.
Upon graduating college I accepted a job at a Hilton property working as an event sales manager and venue coordinator for three years. During my time at this property I oversaw a wide variety of events, as well as interned with local atlanta wedding planners & other venues on the weekends to learn even more about the wedding industry.
I quickly realized my calling was to start my own business and take on my own clients.
I love your team! Tell me about the other girls that work with you at Detailed I Do's.
My biggest goal after starting my business was to one day have a team of dynamic girl bosses who not only felt like family but who had a passion for serving our Detailed I Do's clients and I am so lucky to have these lovely ladies as part of my team now.
Christine Hawkins is a full-time associate planner with us and has worked under the brand for a few years.
She is a wife to her college sweetheart Dustin, a dog mom to sweet little Sadie Hawkins, a sister, aunt & loyal friend. She was born and raised in Marietta so her soul craves all things southern hospitality. She is known as our teams Martha Stewart, hostess with the mostess & cocktail connoisseur.
Rachel Hegner is our social media manager and wedding day assistant. She is currently attending Georgia State University and will be graduating in May and joining our team full time. We couldn't be more excited!
Anyone that meets her instantly feels a connection to her warm personality and demeanor. She is a animal lover, girlfriend to her sweet boyfriend of 5 years Patrick, a professional model & an artistic soul.
We also have a wonderful team of interns and assistants that assist us on weddings days and special projects that we are so grateful for!
Describe your process & vision.
Our first step with a client to jump start the planning is to schedule a meeting to get to know each other in person at the venue. This meeting helps us highlight any issues they may have had in the planning process so far so we can jump in and help in those areas first. We walk the venue space together and talk about the space logistically and then talk about design and any elements or images they love to get our creativity wheel turning. This allows us to draft a customized inspiration board, mood board and budget breakdown to work off of as we help them select and book their vendors.
We also introduce them to our online planning software Aisleplanner early in the process which gives them immediate access. This program allows our clients to personally login and track their progress with an extensive planning checklist as well as complete client tasks, like assembling a guest list.
We assist with vendor team selection by referring each couple to vendors that fit their personal style, event aesthetic & budget. We reach out to these vendors for our couples to check their availability, set up any phone calls or in person meetings that are needed, loop them into our design and plan & look over all vendor contracts. Once each vendor is booked we communicate with them directly throughout the planning to be sure we are all on the same page and to take that stress off of our couples.
Then as we get closer to their day we work meticulously to put together a detailed wedding weekend timeline, diagram of ceremony & reception setups, confirming all vendor services and details and then helping our couples make any necessary changes with their final count.
We are firm believers that wedding days matter. The sentiment of being surrounded by the people who matter most in your lives and walking down the aisle to the love of your life is important and fleeting. Because of this we work hard to make sure that those moments are free of any worries or stress.
What is the difference between a Wedding Coordinator and a Wedding Planner?
The biggest difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator is that a wedding planner is a professional that helps the bride and groom prepare, organize, design and financially manage the wedding. This service starts the moment a couple decides to hire them whether they are a year and a half out or 6 months away from their big day. A wedding coordinator (also known as a day of coordinator) on the other hand is only responsible for tying together loose ends and details a month before the wedding.
A wedding planner guides couples through details like picking a wedding color palette, getting vendor quotes and contracts put together, selecting & wording invitations, maintaining a budget throughout the process as well as so many other things.
A wedding coordinator focuses their energy on putting together a wedding day timeline, ironing out all final details and then overseeing the event on the day of.
Another difference between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner is that oftentimes wedding coordinators don't have design experience or don't offer design services while wedding planners tend to have a creative background and include this in their services.
If a couple:
- has demanding jobs
- wants to enjoy their engagement
- wants to stick to a certain budget (yes this is actually easier with a full service planner)
- realizes they need someone with knowledge to guide them with making decisions
- Feels like they may have an idea of what they are looking for but aren't sure how to execute their vision
- wants someone there to bounce ideas off of, and to ask for advice throughout the process
Then, these couples need to hire a full service wedding planner.
If a couple:
- Is ok with personally planning almost every detail of their wedding
- Wants to book all their vendors on their own
- Is ok spending more then 5 hours per week after work on wedding planning
- Has a lower wedding budget then the realistic market in their area
Then they may be ok just hiring a month of / day of coordinator.
What's your favorite part of wedding planning?
My favorite part of the planning process would be getting to know my couples personally and translating the knowledge I gain from that into our designs. I love putting together custom inspiration and design plans and then blowing my couples away with ideas and details they have never seen before. Seeing their faces on the day of the wedding as they see this come to life is why I do what I do!
What aspects of 2018 & 2019 weddings are you most excited about?
I am really just genuinely happy to celebrate with our amazing couples we are working with and meeting their families. I think we also have some amazing designs prepared that are completely ahead of trend that I can't wait to see come together with our vendor teams and to share with our following!
What do you love doing outside of work?
Golfing with my hubby on the weekends we don't have weddings (we were actually on the golf team together in college), shopping and eating around the city, meeting up with fellow friendors for coffee, cooking, baking & taking dance classes! Anything that inspires me!
Stay tuned for more features in my Vendor Spotlight over this coming year! And a big thank you to Danielle - Thank you for sharing your heart!