A Beautiful Plan

No matter how large or how small a wedding will be, the bride must have a plan. Three of Memphis’ finest wedding and event planners share a few tips to make the wedding day a dream come true.

by Sandy Butler Hughes & Lesley Harris Colvett

Sheril Greenstein, owner of Shindigs by Sheril,  suggests that as soon as the ring is in sight for upcoming nuptials, get organized and hire a planner. “One can never begin planning too early,” she said, “For most brides, this is their first wedding; however, this is my hundredth!” Sheril listens to the bride’s vision and dreams, then she shares her expert advice throughout every decision. With her experience, creativity and compassion, she works to ensure the planning process is smooth and stress free for the bride and entire family. When Sheril works with a bride (and usually her mom) for a year, spending countless hours together, they form relationships and truly become lifelong friends. “I love when I plan the entire family’s special occasions, from numerous family weddings to special birthday celebrations. I feel like I become part of the family.” Trends that she is seeing is for an “experience” for the guests, from the invitations to the moment they leave the reception! “Attention to detail is an invaluable trend that sets every wedding apart. From signature cocktails to late-night snacks and even special pets, creative details can be incorporated throughout the ceremony and reception. 
“I love to create surprises around every corner — a donut wall or bourbon tasting station, breakfast tacos for the Austin-born bride or beignets for the Tulane grad. It’s all about the details that bring out each couple’s personality.” As for the week and day of, the bride’s focus should be only on her groom, family and friends while Sheril takes care of everything else. “‘Whatever it takes to get it done!’ is my motto,” she said. While a spectacular wedding is certainly a great start, she wants the newlyweds to remember this bit of wisdom: a wedding is not a marriage. Sheril shared, “Be happy with the one you love, and everything else will fall in place. The wedding will be a special memory, but it’s just one of many, many more to come.”

Betsy Comella McKay, owner of Salt Style & Events feels very blessed to work in an industry where the daily focus is on making things beautiful and memorable. “It is so much fun to work with clients bringing their vision to life for a party or wedding through the use of décor, food and beverage, and music,” she said. As an an event planner, she wears many hats. Much of her role involves leading vendor meetings, working on various layouts, and reviewing contracts, and other business-related tasks. “Other times I play mediator between a bride and a relative,” she continued. “Best of all, I end up being friends with my clients and enjoy seeing them grow and change through the years.” As Betsy shared one of her favorite parts of being an event planner is that no two events are the same, as she creates a unique and one-of-a-kind special day. She has seen the trends in the wedding business constantly evolve, and currently her favorite thing to do is to contrast the existing décor of a venue through furniture, colors, and other décor items. “For example, if a venue is neutral and traditional, mix it up by incorporating bright colors, soft seating, and modern touches. I love showing brides all the ways a venue can be designed for their special day,” she said.
As the event is being planned, Betsy also suggested that brides slow down and enjoy each step of the planning process. “It goes by in the blink of an eye and this is one time in life where it’s acceptable to make the day all about you!”

Audrey Hurst, owner of Audrey Hurst of Audrey Hurst Events, enjoys creating “the best day ever” for her brides. She says her goal is to be the steady thread throughout the planning process – a source for endless creative ideas, practical and level-headed advice as well as wisdom from experience as far as “what works, and what doesn’t”. “My role varies with every client based on their stage of life, hometown, and their own strengths and what excites them about planning a wedding,” she said. At the end of the wedding day, Audrey wants her client to feel that she added immeasurable value to the planning process, and of course for them to say “that was the best day ever!” Audrey’s favorite part of being a wedding planner is the friendships she has made with her clients and vendors. “Being in close communication with a client for 6 to 18 months inevitably walks us both through different life events. It’s a privilege to be along for the ride for the wedding stuff – but also for the everyday life celebrations!” Audrey encourage brides to avoid “trends” as much as possible, and rather find meaningful, sentimental details that they will remember long after the wedding day. “I have seen more of my brides seeking timeless, ‘old fashioned’ traditions – including brides and grooms who choose to forego seeing each other before that walk down the aisle!”  Audrey offers a main piece of advice to newly-engaged couples: prioritize. “Decide what’s most important to you both about your wedding day – then prioritize those items on your timeline and in your budget and be willing to let go of some of the things lower on your list. I think being tethered to reality early on provides a much more enjoyable planning experience!”

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