One of the most awesome things about our role as wedding planners is working with people of all different backgrounds. We recently had the honor of producing a wedding for another event planner based in Knoxville, TN. Her wedding took place in this incredible old warehouse with amazing brick work. Can’t show you all the professional pics just yet, but here are a couple of shots we took. Anyway, we recently caught up with the bride, Laura Sohn of Mockingbird Events, for a little 101 on what it’s like to plan your own wedding (as a pro) and here’s what she had to say…
AE: Since you’re an event planner, was it easy to plan your own wedding? Did you find it difficult to “let go” on certain things and let AE take over?
LS: I am an event planner and have never been much of a wedding daydreamer, however as soon as I was engaged I had half the wedding planned in my head. I thought, I run events. I work at the biggest music festival in the country. I got this. Turns out I didn’t. I got through picking my vendors and hit a wall. At the same time, I ran across an article about Alison Events and new my problems were solved. Throughout the whole process I got the question, “Isn’t it hard letting go of things since you’re a planner?” over and over again. While AE might disagree with this, there were a lot of things I had not trouble letting go of. I kept the things I wanted to and AE took the things I didn’t want to deal with. My mantra for my professional life is: if the right person is doing the job, trust them do the job. AE and the rest of my vendors were right and did an amazing job.
AE: What was the most enjoyable part of planning the wedding? Most stressful?
LS: Favorite part, was planning the menus. Food and drink are integral to all parts of our lives. I make my living from both and who doesn’t like drinking and eating? That said, I understand the importance of simple menus. For the food menus I dove into both our family history and shared history. That meant Brazilian, German, and Appalachian food. Five whole lambs from my family’s ranch, Brazilian street food for the cocktail hour, Appalachian soup beans and Feijoada at the rehearsal dinner, Stack cakes instead of one big wedding cake. Our caterer was amazing and totally on board. She was able to take some of my rough ideas and put them into menu form and excited to make some of the Brazilian items she hadn’t done before.
For drink, I am a strong believer that no matter how much or what drink you put out people will find something to drink. So, at the rehearsal dinner we had Cava and beer only. At the wedding we had 2 cocktails, 12 bourbons, beer and wine. The cocktails and bourbon were my equivalent of a craft project. I started collecting bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys as soon as we got engaged and one of the cocktails was barrel aged for over a month.
Hands down, most stressful was seating chart. This may be is because I’m an event planner, it may be because I hate people telling me where to sit, or it may be that I worry about people having enough to talk about constantly. I have very recently divorced parents, work people, lots of friend groups, a huge family on my side and a teeny family on my husband’s side, etc., etc., etc. Even though I threw my hands up eventually, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did without the Social Tables program.
AE: How and where did you pick out that amazing wedding dress?
LS: My sister-in-law, Lahla, and I flew up to New York for some dress shopping. I was pretty sure I didn’t want a white dress and Lahla who is a staunch wedding traditionalist said there was no way I could have a black dress. After trying on white dresses and feeling a little less than inspired, we started looking at non-traditional dresses. Gold sequins were not on my list and are fairly far from my daily uniform of jeans and a t-shirt or sweater, but I wanted a dress I would never have a chance to wear otherwise. This Diane Von Furstenburg seemed the perfect fit. All in all it was a super fun experience, the girls at the DVF store were pretty excited the gold wrap was going to a wedding dress!
AE: How did you find the venue and what was your vision for the space?
LS: We knew we wanted a non-traditional space and that we did not want to be outside. A friend of mine sometimes lets me use some his under-development downtown, historic spaces for events. I begged and sweet-talked and pleaded for him to let us use something awesome. My vision was, for them to not finish the build out in time for the wedding so it would be super rough, chipping paint, dirty floors, and all. Luckily, that is exactly what happened.
AE: How did you start the design process? Was there a specific look or color scheme that kicked off your inspiration?
LS: The design process began with the invitations, the dress and the space. The space was raw and fairly neutral but with tons of character. I didn’t want to loose that in our design, but we knew we needed some strong colors, which we pulled from the invites. We were lucky in that we were guinea pigs in a space that wasn’t officially open yet. This did carry some risk, the fire marshal showed up (we didn’t have to shut the party down), but it also allowed us to do things like use big tall taper candles, paint the seating chart wall whatever color we want and generally not worry about messing anything up. The Alison Events team had many amazing ideas that were creative, inspired, and perfect for both the space and Carlos and I as a couple, the design came together really effortlessly.
AE: What was the most memorable part of your wedding day?
LS: The whole weekend was pretty perfect and memorable but there are 2 things that stood out on the day of. The first, my office is about 500 feet from the wedding space. I was able to buy a $35 floor length mirror from Target and bring all my getting ready stuff to the space early in the day. I let family and close girlfriends know I’d be there all day getting ready and hanging out. It was an open-ended invitation with no RSVPS, no drinks plans, no real food plans. All in all the least planned part of the weekend. Amazingly, all of my girlfriends ended up getting ready with me. They are definitely my extended family so, having them with me laughing and helping and generally killing it as friends was so special and kind of beyond words.
The second was our ceremony. My uncle Ted officiated. He married my parents 38 years ago and my brother and I grew up traveling with him and his family. He has always been a very large part of my life. He helped us craft a tailor made ceremony, which included a Jewish blessing, his thoughts, and traditional vows. At that moment it was just the three of us up there launching the beginning of Carlos and I’s marriage.