Today I want to introduce you to a dear friend of mine and the owner of Petals & Lace Event Planning & Design, Toria Carlo. When Toria first told me about starting her own event planning business I was squealing with excitement. This girl's got some serious style. You should see her house - straight out of a magazine! Her own wedding, which she planned entirely herself of course, was one of the prettiest wedding's I've ever seen. So not only did I just know she'd be great at this, I finally had someone else in my circle of friends to talk weddings with. So who can blame me for being absolutely giddy?!
I'm so excited to share a little interview that I did with Toria to get to know the person behind the business a little better:
Tell me a little about yourself and why you started this business.
I’m a stay-at-home mama, wife and new business owner here in Cincinnati! I love flowers, chai tea lattes, historic buildings and shopping! I am a total planner at heart. Seriously, to-do lists and planners are my obsession! I also love designing and decorating. Just ask my husband, somehow I successfully got him to agree to build our first home 3 years ago and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life! So when we found out our 1st child, Dominic, was on his way, I got serious about what I really wanted to do. I found myself reflecting back to when I was planning my wedding. At that time, I was working in finance at a local healthcare system. I was stressed out, working long hours and frankly miserable. Once we got engaged, I was so excited to plan and design my wedding. As I browsed bridal magazines and discovered Pinterest and Etsy, I was blown away by all the creative ideas out there! I was reeling with inspiration and kicking myself for suppressing my creative side for so long- I had definitely been missing out. As I “pinned” and shopped and met with vendors, I began to discover what I liked and what I didn’t like and who I wanted to work with and who I didn’t. I was discovering who I was and pouring it into my wedding day plans. Our wedding day was full of vintage details, flowers and the Cincinnati skyline with friends, family and vendors that I loved dearly. It was absolutely perfect! Through this reflection, I realized as a planner-type with a business background and my yearning to design (i.e. be creative) I wanted to start my own business in event planning & design and Petals & Lace was born!
What services do you offer?
I provide planning and design services for weddings and events like bridal showers, engagement parties and baby showers. I offer a variety of packages from day-of coordination to full event planning services. As a designer, I know what an important role florals play in the look and feel of an event, so I offer floral design services to a select number of clients each year as well.
What's your favorite part about planning a wedding or any event?
My favorite part of planning a wedding is getting to know my clients! I love learning their love story, style and personalities, then designing their wedding day with all these components in mind. Every couple is so different and that is so much fun! I love not knowing where my next event will take me on my creative journey, but I know I’ll be inspired as we meet and discuss their vision. It really is an incredible journey. At the end of the day, my clients and their families get to enjoy themselves in celebration and I have a sense of accomplishment as all the details come together to form the overarching vision.
Any advice or tips for couples who are in the midst of planning their wedding?
Yes! Here are some helpful tips!
1. Get Organized- Planning a wedding is a tremendous process so start early and get organized. I recommend signing up for an account on WeddingWire or The Knot. Both have some amazing tools to help you manage the planning process from start to finish. Some of these tools include a comprehensive checklist, budget tools, seating chart templates and more. So check those out and stick with it!
2. Venue First- Once you're engaged it can be so tempting to go dress shopping or choose your wedding date. But first things first is picking your venue for the big day! Venues are typically a big percentage of your budget so if you have your heart set on a specific venue find out early on if it will fit within your budget. In addition to price, ask about availability, capacity and accommodations to ensure they align with the date/season you are interested in, the number of guests you plan to invite and whether you have a preference for an inside or outside setting. Once you lock down your venue, you’ll have your date set and can dive right into determining the vendors you’ll need and making design choices.
3. Budget & Prioritize- Planning a wedding requires a ton of decisions and can get expensive fast. Before you start interviewing vendors or buying things, prioritize what services or items are most important to you and which you would be ok foregoing or doing yourself. Like any other industry the wedding industry has professionals at several price levels. Prioritizing ahead of time will help you stay on track with which services you plan on spending a little more on and which ones you’ll go with a middle of the road vendor or do-it-yourself. It is also a good idea to leave a little extra money in the budget for unplanned expenses, there will undoubtedly be some expenses that crop up that you hadn’t expected.
4. Read the Contract- The average wedding has 10 contracted vendors. Make sure you read and understand the terms, especially the timeframe included and overtime clauses, before you sign on the dotted line. I recommend keeping a spreadsheet of all your vendor contact information, important contract terms and the payment schedule so you can refer to it at a glance without shuffling through pages of contracts. This will also help when developing your day-of timeline and is very useful for your day-of coordinator to see all your vendors and their contact info in one place.
5. Seek out Referrals- Word of mouth referrals are how most wedding vendors get booked. If you know someone who just got married ask who they used, what their client experience was like, what they wish they would have done differently. Even if you don’t end up going with that vendor you know what types of questions to ask other vendors and be in a better negotiating position.
I hope you found this helpful and if you're in the planning stage, definitely check out Petals & Lace!