Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vendor Series Interview No. 14, Maine Seasons Events

Meagan Gilpatrick might be one of the nicest wedding planners I've ever spoken to. Her clients love her, vendors enjoy working with her, and with her taste in design- I completely understand why. Take a look at her website for more information and enjoy the interview!

Maine Seasons Events

Meagan Gilpatrick

Image by Sharyn Peavey

Some examples of Meagan's work!

Image by Cunningham Photography

Image by Sharyn Peavey

Image by Samantha Warren

Image by Sharyn Peavey

KP: What is your favorite part of the wedding process?

MG: My favorite part of the planning process is when the vision for the event design is solidified-when the colors, the dishes, the tables, flowers, location and other design and decor elements have been selected. For me, being able to show my client what their event will look and feel like, is when the event comes alive and when everyone gets excited about the tasks ahead to make the vision reality.

KP: What do you love most about your job in the wedding industry?

MG: I love helping people enjoy the wedding planning process, of making the seemingly insurmountable task of planning a wedding feel easy and fun. I enjoy getting to know each client, hearing about their story and then translating the idea of their wedding into a real life experience.

KP: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?

MG: There is a misconception that wedding planners are for celebrities and are not a financial option for most people. In reality, there are planners for every client's style, budget and personality. Hiring a great wedding planner will save clients countless hours of research and frustration, while managing the overall wedding budget, therefore saving money and time.

KP: How did you get into the wedding industry?

MG: Nine years ago when I was planning my own wedding, I encountered so many obstacles that took some of the fun out of the process. It occurred to me that I would love to use my background in management, customer service, design and hospitality to help others create visionary weddings on a realistic budget. I planned weddings for several friends, and word spread. After a few years of planning events on the side, I left the corporate world to focus full time on the one profession that never felt like a job to me.

KP: Tell me one wedding vendor other than in your industry you highly recommend? Why?

MG: This is what I do for a living! I think it is critical for wedding planners to recommend vendors who best suit the needs, budget and individual style of each unique client. There are many talented, passionate and professional service providers in the wedding industry-assembling the right team of vendors for each client is a critical part of the wedding planning process.

KP: Tell me one wedding vendor in your industry you highly recommend? Why?

MG: There are many excellent wedding planners, and each of their different personalities better suit different clients, it would be difficult to recommend one over another without knowing a client and their needs first. Different planners have different trademark styles, and best-at talents, aside from the organizational skills necessary to be effective planners. I recommend that clients interview a few wedding planners before making their choice. I advise clients that they will know when they have met the right planner, "the one"-it will just feel right.

KP: Favorite wedding story- funny or serious

MG: There are so many noteworthy stories...One that has always stuck with me was a September wedding that took place at the bride's parents' waterfront house. The mother of the bride is quite possibly one of the sweetest and kindest women I have ever met and the bride and groom are as well-likely the reason this family is still in my thoughts even years after the wedding.
I knew there would be some sort of weather that evening, it was just a matter of when. I snuck away several times to check the weather radar, to estimate the time of the storm's arrival. Experience with many outdoor and tented weddings and being a Maine native has given me a sixth sense about the weather here. The afternoon of the wedding was beautiful, and the ceremony on a cliff overlooking the ocean, went just as planned. All the while, clouds were moving in off the water and the leaves on the trees were turned upside down in the wind. I call it the "sour-sweet wind", the kind that comes just before a significant storm here in Maine. Guests mingled on the point for the cocktail hour before they were to be escorted into the dinner tent to begin the reception. I had to make the silent decision to move the guests into the tent a few minutes before the scheduled cocktail hour conclusion. Just as the bride's grandmother and the last few guests made it safely under the tent, the sky opened up and a deluge of rain drenched most of the floor of the tent. The thunder was so loud that the music wasn't audible-so everyone sat in awe and silence and watched the lightning storm-it was a beautiful, candle lit, 20 minute pause. The cupcake table began to sink into the ground and the photographer and I grabbed the table just as it was about to topple over and tip -toed through the tent carrying the desserts to higher ground. Weather that could have caused a disaster was gracefully and humorously accepted by the family and their guests. The Mason jars hanging from the tent ceiling, illuminated with candles, created a warm glow, it was cozy and intimate-just what the couple had wanted. When the rain stopped a fun, festive and perfect reception continued. This event reminded me of the importance of having an attitude of gratitude and acceptance for the things you can't control.

KP: What other part of the industry would you not want to work in? Why?

MG: Catering to me, is the ultimate difficult profession in this industry. How caterers manage to prepare, cook and serve delicious, proper temperature food, for sometimes hundreds of people, who may have different dietary needs, outside in a tent, on a typical Maine weather day, is amazing to me, every time I witness it. I actually did work in a past life in the catering and restaurant industry-I have a lot of respect for those who have the passion to provide such an integral part of most wedding celebrations.

KP: What differentiates you from the rest of your industry peers?

MG: Clients should choose a wedding planner whom they feel comfortable with, whose personal style reflects their own and whose experience encompasses the type of event the client is planning. Maine Seasons Events' wedding planning services are designed to be customized to the needs of each unique client. For one client, the service that best suits their needs could be full event planning, and for another client, hourly consultation and day of event coordination services. Offering the flexibility to choose different levels of customized service has been an important feature for our clients. After planning, coordinating and executing over 100 weddings, one of the things I hear the most from our clients, is that we brought order and calm to what would have otherwise been a stressful day. Our attention to detail, caring about our clients, a true understanding of the importance of a wedding, diligence and consistent professionalism are some of the fundamental elements of our client's experience when working with us.

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