Written by KPW Planner, Christina Hadlow
Outside of our roles as creative directors, our roles as wedding planners evolve with each event. It is our responsibility to best personalize every couple’s and family’s experience. No wedding planning experience can be alike since no couple or family is. Personalities, priorities, and inter-relationships are always different and require us to modify our skills to provide the best support and guidance for each person.
Some clients need us to not only chart the detailed logistics of the day or design an atmosphere that is striking, but to be their persistent advocate. To listen to a personal and emotional challenge, to guide them through it, much like a trusted friend would, giving them the reassurance that together we are making the right move.
We have always believed that the relationships between a special event planner and their clients are to be revered and are essential to planning and producing a true one-of-a-kind event. This relationship is forged throughout our time working intimately with our clients; listening, learning, collaborating, and crafting a celebration that is a reflection of their dreams.
We can only capture and craft a wedding that showcases a couple’s personality and priorities when we are able to have a relationship with them when we get to know who they are and learn what is important to them. That takes time and trust, and with those things, we can completely transform a basic wedding into something truly personalized that speaks to the soul of the couple.
For eight months in 2019, I worked closely with Courtney, the bride, and her mother, Debbie, to plan and produce a wedding celebration that would not only blend two families together but showcase the couple’s style and personalities. The groundwork was set when the bride’s church, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, was secured for the ceremony and the groom’s family’s club, Merion Golf Club, was booked for the festivities.
Courtney reached out to the KPW team the same week her husband-to-be proposed to her! Our initial meeting was held in her childhood home, where I witnessed firsthand the energetic charisma both the bride and her mother shared and couldn’t wait to begin planning with them.
I built a marvelous relationship with Courtney and Debbie, a relationship-centered around trust. They knew I was utilizing my extensive event planning experience to guide them with calm and reason and enhance their celebration with their best intentions at the heart. This trust allowed us to foster a planning experience in which we could explore, collaborate, and create openly.
From the beginning, it was important to us that this October wedding feel fresh and that it did not follow the typical autumn path of dark wine hues, orange pumpkins, and rustic textures. Together with her professional partners, we took Courtney’s vision and began to design a wedding that would not only bring that vision to life but leave her saying it was better than she could have imagined. Wispy blues and grays seen in the stonework at the reception venue and soft creams of dusty fairytale pumpkins were cemented as the wedding color pallet. The bride’s desire to incorporate bold pinks brought an unexpected brightness to the pallet. Thick, textured handmade paper with torn edges and velvet were selected to enhance the romantic ambiance.
During our conversations, Courtney suggested we incorporate a large geometric shelving unit she had seen online. At first glance, I took the structure to look like a honeycomb, a natural structure. We discussed incorporating the honeycomb detail into the wedding design; adding a contemporary edge. We introduced this design in the lining of the invitation first, and the wildfire of creativity caught! It became the inspiration for the specialty drink, bee’s knees, which was served from a large honey jar dispenser and paired with a honey dipper stir.
Our goal is to create unique and personal moments throughout the wedding day. Through creative collaboration, we came up with the idea of serving the first course, the chef’s signature Kennett Square mushroom soup in ceramic pumpkin soup bowls, purchased by the mother of the bride for the occasion. The mother of the groom came up with the idea of placing a delicate lamb’s ear doily under the pumpkin, adding the touch of grey-green to the plate and tablescape.
Throughout the planning process, our positive working relationship continually strengthened the design potential. Both Courtney and Debbie were open and eager to hear my thoughts, ideas, and concerns, as well as the various paths I had in mind for the wedding celebration. They gifted me with the freedom, respect, and enthusiasm to present creative ideas and solutions that personalized the occasion.
During this wedding, we often found ourselves wondering how we could honor Courtney’s father, who had passed. How could we cherish his memory and include him in the festivities without focusing on the depth of his absence? After many brainstorming sessions and heart-to-hearts, we wove meaningful moments into the day to bring his spirit to the celebration. The bride’s bouquet was wrapped with a cuff from one of his shirts. The band played “Here Comes the Sun” just after the mother of the bride’s speech, a song that Courtney’s father claimed was his daughter’s theme song.
One moment that was discussed often was how to navigate the father-daughter dance. On the night of the wedding, we knew we had taken the right path when the groom took the stage and acknowledged his father-in-law’s absence and invited all of the guests to the dance floor to celebrate his memory during the father-daughter dance.
I was blessed to have worked with Courtney and Debbie in the planning of this stunning wedding. I am still in awe of the love that this mother and daughter have for each other and the strength that they share. Throughout the planning experience, I was witness to these women navigating many emotional moments and some logistical and planning challenges with love, kindness, and honesty. Together they gifted me with the respect to voice my opinion, the trust that I would see this event through to perfection, and the beautiful kindness of our relationship.
Style: romantic, organic, and refreshingly seasonal with-a-twist
We worked with these wonderful vendors during this striking fall wedding:
Band: EBE – Monte Carlo
Beauty: Beke Beau Makeup and Amanda De Andrea Hair
Cake: The Bakery House
Ceremony: Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
Floral: Event Florals by Christine
Photographer: Sarah DiCicco
Stationary: Papertree Studios
Videographer: CinemaCake Filmmakers
Venue/Valet/Caterer: Merion Golf Club
Posted Under: Weddings