Bride Interview With Stephanie Thompson

How long have you been a wedding coordinator? And why did you become one?

For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed planning parties, working on new projects and creating floral arrangements. But it was something I did just for fun… a hobby. I’m actually a registered nurse and worked in cardio-vascular surgery and palliative care for over 5 years. I really do love caring for people who need help and support even if it’s to be there to listen so they feel heard. So really event planning and nursing are very similar as instead of showing your love for people through medical attention I do this through thoughtful gestures of hospitality, helping people experience a special moment to the fullest as well as keeping my clients stress-free during the wedding planning process.

A defining moment happened when planning my own wedding and going through that whole experience. I would contact vendors and would never hear back from them, not even an acknowledgement that I emailed them. I felt ignored, isolated and like just another wedding to them. On my wedding day things weren’t as I had said I wanted them or that we had discussed in our initial consultation. I was pretty disappointed and felt like they didn’t care about my wedding that I was just another number. And worse it’s a day that only happens once… I can’t get it back… and two years later I still think about it.

Once my daughter was born I sort of looked at her differently one day I realized how precious life was and that I need to be doing what I love not just doing what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s what makes me and my company different. I don’t want my clients to go through that feeling of isolation or experience what I had gone through. No one should be planning their wedding alone and I’m very careful with who I let work with my clients because they only have one day to get it right. So I help them put together a dream team of wedding professionals who are just as passionate about helping and fulfilling the wedding wishes of my clients… as I am.

So keeping in mind my own experience while planning my wedding Stephanie Thompson Wedding Design/ A Thompson Wedding & Event Decor was born in January 2008 and since then I have worked on over 25 weddings.

We love your portfolio and the services you are offering sound exactly like what we need. So, can you tell me how you’re different from all the other wedding planners out there?

Stephanie Thompson Wedding Design is a full service wedding planning + design company based in Campbellville, Ontario serving clients getting married all the way from the Muskokas, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara and everywhere in between and even destination weddings. Although we can assist any busy couple looking for a unique and personalized wedding, I really love and specialize in rustic-vintage-romantic wedding design. If you want a wedding in a barn, on a farm, a winery, at the cottage or a resort, outdoorsy, a historical building, old mills, golf and country clubs… this is our specialty.

Planning weddings is my passion and full time career this means that you‘ll have a wedding planner who is completely focused on her clients and their weddings, who doesn‘t have a ‘day job‘ and I guarantee that we will respond to your e-mails and calls within 24 hours during business hours. Not only that but I take this profession seriously. I regularly attend industry conferences to learn from top celebrity event planners, I read several wedding blog feeds, magazines and books so I can keep up to date with the latest and greatest in weddings. I share my thoughts and tips through my popular e-magazine “Wedding Wishes By Stephanie Thompson” with over 3500 subscribers, I had the opportunity to work on Rich Bride Poor Bride, get one of our weddings featured in Hamilton-Halton Weddings Magazine (Jan 2011) as well as share my expertise in wedding trends on Ch Morning Live.

A wedding planner is only as good as her team, therefore I have a team who works behind me such as other associate planners & assistants, interns, a floral designer, décor set up staff and our administration.

Does a wedding planner take control over my wedding?

Oh gosh no. My clients’ vision is my biggest inspiration and to make it come to LIFE is my ultimate goal. I’m here to work collaboratively with you, to brainstorm creative ideas to WOW your guests, to offer you support (a.k.a ‘bridal therapy’) when you’re feeling stressed out and no one else seems to understand what you’re going through (I’ve been there myself). I’m also here to offer you my expertise and connections in planning weddings. You have total control over all of the decision-making, I get to do all of the dirty work and present it to you for you to make choices that’s best for both of you. This is your AMAZING wedding day…not mine.

Do you take on more than one wedding per day? How many weddings do you take on per year?

I personally only plan one wedding on a given weekend and only take on a maximum of 15 wedding planning + design clients in a year. I know that in order to be the best for my clients a burned out wedding planner is no good. I make sure to take vacations, spend time with my family, time for myself and improving my business. However I do have certified associate planners who have been trained by me and are absolutely amazing to work with if I am not available. And I also offer group wedding planning to brides and grooms who are looking to plan their weddings themselves but would like a bit of guidance and resources along the way.

Who do you work best with?

My ideal couple is recently engaged and just starting the planning process or maybe have booked their wedding venue and a few vendors booked. I work best with clients who don‘t have the time or know how to plan their weddings. I’ve had past brides refer to this as being a “deer in headlights” when relating to getting started with their wedding planning. Some just feel disorganized and overwhelmed with finding the right vendors to work with. Perhaps they are having difficulty finding that ’perfect venue’ for their vision or have some great ideas but aren’t sure how to ’make it happen‘. Maybe you want a wedding that’s “non-traditional” and reflects who you the both of you are and isn‘t “what everyone else does“. Perhaps you are planning your wedding from a distance (or a destination wedding) and need help finding local vendors. I generally work best with clients who are more laid back and will be able to accept my help so they can just enjoy the process.

If you’d like to get to know me a little bit better than you can follow my tweets, join my facebook fanpage and connect with me on linked in.

Who’s NOT going to benefit from your services?

I absolutely LOVE what I do. However you have to have a good working relationship with your wedding planner so we can reach the ultimate goal together which is your AMAZING dream wedding as well as stressing less and having more fun during the wedding planning process.

With that being said I can’t work with couples who are unrealistic with their wedding budget and how much things cost. If you don’t have a positive attitude or you are unable to trust someone else with a part of your wedding then you won’t be able to benefit from my help. I need to be able to communicate with you on a regular basis this can be through phone, e-mail or in-person… but please make sure I can reach you to go over your wedding or I won’t be able to help you. The role of a wedding planner isn’t to take over your wedding, it’s to do a lot of the ‘dirty work’ and boring research that leads to the ’fun part’ the ultimate decision. What to chose for your menu, booking that amazing photographer you love, what flowers you want to go with, how you want your décor to look etc… this is the fun part I was referring to.

I know that wedding planning is a stressful time in your lives, it’s not easy, there are people to please, a budget to stick to and you’re trying to have the wedding that “you” want so you have no regrets. Well I’m here for my clients through this transition from being single to getting married. It’s really important for me to help support you through this process so you can stress less over the details. I want you to be able to open up and share your feelings and frustrations with me. I can offer you a supportive ear for getting things off your chest that are bugging you as well as other tools to deal with the changes that are going on in your life while planning your wedding, I‘m here to help.

Do you have a backup in case of emergency and can’t make our wedding and who are they?

If for some reason an emergency occurs on your wedding day and I’m unable to coordinate your wedding one of my associate planners will gladly take over where I left off and can orchestrate your wedding day.

This sounds great, but it also seems expensive. Are we going to be able to afford this?

It’s a common misconception that a wedding planner is an added ‘expense’ to your wedding budget. But they don’t see what a wedding planner is worth, the value you are getting, and how I can actually save you costly mistakes and not blow your budget. I love watching my couples go into their reception hall and watch the tears of excitement on their face, because they realized it was ’their’ vision and it came to life. Imagine having the wedding day you envisioned and it was everything you envisioned plus you had fun during the planning process and enjoyed the day with your new hubby and guests. What would that be worth? Not only do we match you to the best vendors that suit your needs, personalities and style but we also pass on any discounts and bonuses that they offer directly to our clients, so you can actually save money on your wedding.

Now I’ve had potential clients who decided not to hire me, later tell me that they had made a mistake and if they could do it all over again “they would never do it without a wedding planner“. That they ended up spending over double their budget because they had no clue what they were doing and even worse, they had someone else’s wedding, not the wedding they envisioned. I’ve also had potential clients tell me that their wedding day didn’t go as planned, that they thought the venue coordinator would be there to look after all of the details… except they were sorely mistaken. I’ve had several brides contact me a week before their weddings because vendors had cancelled on them and they had no idea what to do or where to find someone short notice. I had things not as I had asked on my wedding day and I was heartbroken…I would never wish that upon anyone else, because it stays with you. It’s impossible to be able to enjoy your wedding day “to be the star in the spotlight for this one day” and to “be the director, working behind the scenes”. Let a professional team of wedding planners ensure that you can enjoy every single moment of your day while we look after any problems that arise.

Do you take credit cards and do you have a payment plan?

We accept Visa and Master Card and we also accept payment by Cash, Cheque, Email money transfer and Pay Pal. We definitely can offer you a payment plan that varies depending on the wedding planning program you go with.

May we contact some of your former clients testimonials to see what it’s like to work with you?  

Yes absolutely! You can view our client testimonials and contact any of our past clients who are raving fans of ours!

We have a few more questions before getting started. Can I call or email you to discuss this further?

It’s really important that you and I are a good fit and I want you to understand all of the details related to working with me.

This sounds exactly what we need, so what’s the next step?

That’s great! I ask that you ensure that you’ve read this interview over, look over our planning + design programs and if you don’t see exactly what you need we can definitely tweak and fully customize a program just for you. Please contact us to schedule your 1 hour complimentary ‘get acquainted’ session at our NEW Design Studio located @ 87 Main Street North, Campbellville, ON just off the 401 & Guelph Line. At this meeting we will learn more about the two of you, your vision for your wedding, you can view my portfolio, go over our wedding planning + design programs and you can ask any additional questions. If you want to go ahead with booking us then a contract and an initial payment is required to secure your wedding date, then we can get started working together. I can’t wait!