Hi! This is Kate, the curlier-haired half of The Browns! I’ve owned a design-centered business in the wedding industry for almost 7 years now, and I still get very confused looks when I tell people what I do for a living. I suppose it may sound unusual, but isn’t “wedding designer” self-explanatory? Apparently not! (But that’s okay, I got a lot of weird looks when I was a working actress too, so I’ve had a lot of experience explaining my career choices!)
So, I thought it would be helpful to tell you a bit about what wedding design is, for all you researching, newly engaged sweethearts out there, and what that means at LoveWell Weddings. It’s a relatively vague concept, and still not altogether common, so my hope is that after this little post, you’ll know what it is, how it could pertain to you, and what you experience would be if you chose little ‘ol me to design your dream day!
So, what really is Wedding Design? My definition…
WEDDING DESIGN: the culmination of intentional decisions made for a desired outcome that contribute to the style, essence, function and ambiance of a wedding.
At LoveWell, Wedding Design pertains to the surface of a wedding: what it looks like, the style, the materials, the goods & services, the sensory experience; as well as the esssence of a wedding: the intangibles like the use of time, the crafting of special moments, evoking emotion, creating a memorable, timeless experience.
The difference between design and planning a wedding to me, is design has a specific purpose through which all decisions are made. Planning is putting ideas and solutions into action, and eventually into completion. Wedding planning can simply be boiled down to making a lot of decisions! So when I design, I take the decisions that would be made anyway, and work the decisions in favor of the desired outcome. For instance, if you’re going to choose a wedding cake anyway, choosing it through the filter of the design brings a specific outcome. The cake design is a detail that contributes to the overall design, one little decision after one little decision, begins to make the vision a reality. So really, no decision in the planning & design process is overlooked, they all matter, they all contribute to the couple’s, and their guest’s, experience– and ultimately the success of dream coming true.
Sounds a little lofty, huh? Well, it can be, especially when you see it spelled out! But the concept is simple. The key word in it all? INTENTIONAL. When the vision is clear, and our intentions line up with the vision, each decision has focus, and can be made quickly, efficiently and hopefully with a love of fun to be had!
So when does Wedding Design apply? And to whom?
Making decisions with a design-purpose can by applied to anyone, any wedding, any budget. Like I said, you’re going to make a choice on every element, if you do it with an angle of design, you’re designing your wedding!
Hiring a designer is the advancement of that desire. While I would love to say my services are necessary for every wedding or couple, they aren’t. This is a service that enhances the planning journey and the experience of the wedding itself. So for those who have the money to spend, that’s one of the starting places (good to clarify that it doesn’t have to be a lot extra or even a separate allotment put to the side, I’ve had lots of clients see the benefit beyond the budget and compromised in an area that was less of a priority to make this a priority, and kept their budget balanced!)
Design services tend to be the most helpful in these scenarios:
- the vision is beyond the capacity of the client;
- the client lacks creativity in this area and is at a loss of what to do with the task before them;
- the client is super creative and wants to work with a professional to create something incredible;
- the client has a design in mind, but life’s demands make it too hard to manage it all;
- the client enjoys a portion of the design process, but doesn’t want/know how to bring it all to life;
- or a combination of all of the above!
Why work with me, Kate, specifically?
This is an answer you’d love to know, and not an easy one to answer! My clients have run the gamut: limited budgets, to more money than I’ll ever make in my lifetime; hard-working professionals to kids just out of college; from math geeks to writers, to actresses to bakers, to social media gurus, from pastors to high-stakes professional poker players to aspiring farmers– they all have one thing in common: they have a desire for their wedding day that they can’t achieve alone. They also have another major common denominator: they want to be a part of it.
I’ve had few occasions to be handed a couple ideas and a budget, and go make magic. While it’s fun, it’s not me. Like I mentioned, I’m an actress first, which means, I am a collaborator through and through. You can’t grow up in the theater, study it, have a degree in it, pursue it with every fiber of your being, and operate on an island. I am most alive when I am operating with talented, creative, trusting and focused individuals, all coming together to create magic in the name of love. Man, that’s powerful! And that’s what inspires me the most to create unique designs, all based off of who my clients are, their vision and their personalities. I dig deep to the heart of it, we uncover the design through each decision, and watch on the wedding day, as it is fully revealed to us in all its glory.
How does design work at LoveWell?
We listen first. We customize our contracts based on what you want and need. There’s certainly a minimal amount of involvement we need to have to do the job set before us, but it’s important to us for you to get services that fit your needs and that directly apply to your unique event. So, we have you fill out a questionnaire to get to know you and some details first, and then we meet as in person as possible.
After getting to know you and your needs, we figure out what types of services best fit you. This is the list and what they are to help you understand the types of services that apply to Wedding Design:
- Consultation: this is simply meeting. Our sessions are usually 1.5 hours (most productive amount without being overkill); we talk, problem-solve, create, review, coach, and voluntarily offer you any knowledge, ideas or resources to help you along your way. When consultations stand alone, it is the Client’s task to make the plans, coordinate and task anything as a result of the session.
- Design (Partial & Full): After discussing vision, ideas, needs and desires, I make a design board to give the vision direction and specificity. This is based off the Client and any ideas/creativity I bring into the equation: rarely is it a from-scratch vision, but it can be, should the Client depend solely on me to design the wedding. (This is a result of the wiring of my clients, almost all my clients want to be involved and collaborate on their wedding, which I LOVE, if you didn’t catch that before!)
- Since Design almost always leads to coordination, styling and production, we offer Full Design; it’s difficult and not usually practical to solely create a design, hand it off, and not feel responsible for it– but it’s a service that can be commissioned on its own if that’s all you need!
- In Partial Design, we go beyond the design board, to talk through that elements are needed to create that design, from rentals, to linens, paper design, lighting, specialty rentals, etc. In hiring LoveWell for Full Design, we would coordinate and manage all these elements from start to finish.
- Coordination & Production: Some clients have a lot designed, they know what they want, they just don’t have the ability or desire to bring it into reality. So, we do the Coordination and Production as a team of services to take all the ideas and plans and mount them. It’s a combination of logistics management, coordination of vendors/venue, directing load in, overseeing production, and making sure all is just as it should be for the big day. (Production also includes overseeing load out, the not so fun, but very necessary, part of the event!)
- Styling: This service can be a stand alone, especially with smaller events like an engagement shoot, or rehearsal dinner, or can apply to an area or two of the event. Examples: lounge areas, photo booths, dessert stations, escort tables, the bandstand, the head table, etc. Having some areas highlighted in your wedding is a way to have low-impact on your budget while still having a significant impact on the look & feel of your wedding.
- Event Styling: This is a broader scope of styling services that goes hand in hand with Design. Taking the Design and the pieces that make the design, and finessing them at the end. The Coordination and Production would be in the hands of the Client, or a venue, separate coordinator or planner. Styling is the surface perfecting of the elements involved. This is a smaller package of hours, and great for a client whose logistical needs are met and they just need a design eye to make it picture perfect.
- Full Design: All of the above! Full design is a scope of services, based on the design and the vision, that spans Consultation, Coordination, Styling, Production, making sure every “t” is crossed leading up to the day and every “i” is dotted before the festivities begin!
- Full Design & Planning: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention planning. The reason I planned for so long is because it’s a logical and necessary extension of design. I can’t plan without design, it’s not in my nature, and I believe that’s what has made our weddings so special and significant in our client’s wedding days.
Over-planning kills magic. I don’t know where I read that or who said it, (so don’t give me the credit!), but the day I read that, I breathed a sigh of relief! As much as I plan, consult, coordinate, create to the very finest detail, and perfect things into submission– when the wedding day comes, I surrender completely. Micro-managing, over-perfecting, over-anything blocks the magic from happening. I like to set the stage: all the actors have their roles, all the crew knows what to do, we all know how the story ends, and we leave it up to the present moment to reveal the magic to us. And then I respond, graciously, with an open heart and capable hands, to guide the day to its happily ever after.
So, that’s wedding design, through the eyes of me, Kate, and why I do how I do.