Getting Married? Expert Advice from an Event Planner
Event planner Alyssa Thomas answers some of the most important questions you should ask before you start planning your big day.
Photos by Abbie Tyler
Alyssa Thomas is the owner and principal planner of Alyssa Thomas Events. She has been planning weddings and events for over three years across Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland — here, she answers some questions about her process, why it’s so important to hire a planner for your big day and shares some stories.
What is the first thing a couple should do after they get engaged?
Take some time to celebrate this amazing season in your life — then start creating an ideal guest list and budget. Choosing a venue that reflects your wedding vision, has enough capacity for your guests and falls within budget is key. Your guest list and budget play a huge role in the venue selection process, so it’s important to talk with your partner and families about those two items before booking your venue and vendor team.
Why would you recommend hiring a wedding planner instead of planning on your own?
For some people, planning is enjoyable and easy, as their lifestyle and personalities align with the demands of the planning process. For others, planning will be stressful at times, as it requires a lot of time and attention, and you need to be organized to keep all of the details in place. Hiring a professional planner will make this entire process a joy — not a stress — for you and your fiancé. It’s our job to give you confidence that your ideal wedding day will come to life with your vision, budget and priorities in mind. We are professionals, have strong vendor relationships, can stretch your budget, keep you on track and on design, negotiate contracts, communicate and book vendors on your behalf, act as the tie-breaker in the decision making process, set up and tear down your event and so much more.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere, and I encourage my clients to pull inspiration from places and things that give them joy. My inspiration comes from a lot of different places. I found a new love for traveling these past few years, and the cultures, architecture and varying flavors I encounter inspire my work. I also enjoy being outdoors which heavily influences my love for movement and texture throughout my designs. I also pull a lot of inspiration from home decor and interior design. There is so much that you can take from studying a beautiful space and seeing how pieces were chosen to give it personality.
Can you describe your perfect client?
My ideal clients are excited to host a wedding that reflects their love story in a unique and personal way. They’re thoughtful and kind, eager to get married and excited to work with an event planner to bring their wedding vision to life. My couples love a little romance, a little whimsy and aren’t afraid to use color, texture and dimension throughout their designs. They are excited to celebrate their love through a series of thoughtful details and meaningful moments.
What services do you offer, and will you travel?
I offer full service event planning and design and day-of event coordination.
My passion lies in full service event planning as I have the privilege of serving and planning alongside my clients from the moment they’re engaged through the entire wedding weekend. I work closely with them to plan, organize and design their dream wedding day. Sometimes this can mean I’m with a client for six months if they have a quick engagement, and other times I’m working with a client for over two years.
My day-of coordination service is for clients that enjoy the planning process, but would like a processional to step in during the final two months to review contracts, oversee the final details, create their timeline and execute their wedding day with their vision in mind. You deserve to enjoy your day and host your guests without worrying about the details. At the minimum, I always recommend hiring a day-of coordinator to orchestrate your wedding day so you don’t have to.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while planning a wedding?
Nothing too crazy has happened — which is a good thing. There are always those few guests that get a little out of control or unexpected weather that requires on-the-spot change of plans. I have seen a medical emergency — one of my couple’s family members went down during their first dance and required CPR to bring him back to life. He was taken to the ER and treated immediately, and thankfully was okay.
What is your favorite thing about planning weddings?
It’s difficult to choose only one thing, but I love my initial consultation with clients as the excitement and raw joy in their voices when sharing their story and ideal wedding day is so refreshing. I also love the reaction when a couple sees their reception or ceremony space for the first time. And I’m a sucker for flowers, so I find joy in choosing fresh colors, blooms and textures to bring our designs to life.
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