Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'M A PLANNER ON BE A PLANNER: Brandi Hamerstone

Brandi Hamerstone | All Events Planned

Name: Brandi Hamerstone
Location: Main office is located in Chagrin Falls, OH but area market is all of Northeast Ohio
Company: All Events Planned (opened previously under A Planned Event)
Years in Business: All Events Planned was created and wedding planning began under that name only in July. Personally as a wedding planner, I have had over 8 years of experience. Working with weddings through hotels, off-site catering companies and even private business clubs have given me a full range of knowledge and ability through each different source.

What do you specialize in (Day of Coordination, Full Service Design…)?
I would say that most planners agree, we specialize in it all. I enjoy full service weddings because it gives me the opportunity to get to know the bride, get to know her likes, dislikes and her expectations. This allows me, as a planner and friend to the bride, to have all the answers and to stay one-step ahead of any issues or last minute decisions.

Day of Coordination is more of an on the spot activity. It gives you a little more excitement on the day and requires the planner to be organized, detailed and ready for anything. I would say that Day of is more of an adventure and gives you the ability rely heavily on your experience and expertise to ensure the day is perfect.

What are your three favorite sources of wedding inspiration?
Wedding magazines will be my first. I subscribe to every single one that even mentions weddings. The times that you can sit with a bride a leaf through, page by page and explore colors, details and design are the best times to get to know them and their style. I hope print never goes away! Get Married is a new magazine that I have personally enjoyed and my clients have had a great response to as well!

Blogs have been a new source of inspiration. Until I started mine, I did not realize how many were out there, available to assist the bride, the planner or any of the vendors in their wedding journey. I love the photos, color layouts and even writing styles. You get to know so much about a person by how their blog is situated and it is just a click away if you want your client to enjoy the content as well!

Lastly would be my portfolio. Being able to show bridal clients what I have done, what I can create and what other brides have chosen for their events is priceless.

What made you get started in wedding planning?
I attended PA Culinary in order to obtain a degree, not in culinary, but in hotel/restaurant management. Even during school I was drawn to only the dynamics of events and planning. While in college, I worked for an exclusive club in downtown Pittsburgh as part of the event planning staff. As I worked my way up the ranks there, I stayed true to my love of event planning. After transferring from PA to OH I was able to find a job as a Catering Director at another exclusive club. Weddings were my love, my pride and my joy. Through the years of working, I stayed with events but always just felt a deep connection with weddings. I love sharing those special moments, those once in a lifetime events with clients. It takes so much to make it perfect, but at the end of the day, it is always worth it!

What is one thing in your office that you could not live without, technology excluded?
That’s the tricky part there, technology excluded. My husband, that’s a fair response right? He is sometimes in the office. He is supportive of every decision I make and is always available for last minute assistance on site and even for appointments. I was lucky to find a man who loved weddings (or maybe loves his wedding planner wife) as much as any man could. He’s even drive hours away to drop off items that I’ve needed for wedding shows and when a steamer broke on-site he showed up minutes later with a new one. Wrinkled dress crises avoided!

If you could make one recommendation to a new planner, what would it be?
Never stop learning and listening. This advice is for anyone in any field really though. As a planner, you can never know too much about the industry, about other vendors or even about other planners. Always be open to new advice, new styles and sometimes criticism. (of the constructive type, that is) Someone from California emailed me about the layout of my blog. Frankly, what they said was true and after I made a few of the changes they suggested, I actually got compliments on my “new blog layout.” Not much can be said for ignoring good advice.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of competition. There are 100’s of planners everywhere, find out what you are good at and be the best. Everyone planner has their own “specialty” and you just have to find yours. As long as you are good, there is nothing to feel threatened by as a wedding planner. Good planners stay good and when a better planner comes along, learn from them and then, yup, you’ll get better at planning too!

Template design credit to The Cutest Blog on the Block.