Planner Profile // DC-Based Wedding Planner Aimee Dominick of A. Dominick Events

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Wedding trends come and go but there will always be room for timeless design. When I think of Aimee Dominick, owner and founder of A. Dominick Events, I immediately think of flawlessly executed, classic events with touches of modern throughout. While her events are gorgeous, full of details, and worthy of gracing the pages of every national wedding publication (and they have!), she runs her events with precision. There are millions of moving parts going on behind the scenes but her couples and their guests will never know it because she, along with her team, make it appear effortless. We’re honored to have worked with her on a few wedding welcome gift projects and are even more honored to feature her on the blog this month for our Planner Profile series!

Without further adieu, let’s hear from Aimee herself…

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?

I went to The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, but I found the industry cold and kind of terrifying. After some soul searching, I went to culinary school and baked in a professional kitchen, which I loved. While I looked for a job cooking I was offered a job with a wedding planner. I thought I would hate it, but it turns out it combines all the things that I love: design, food and logistics. I worked for that firm in NYC for two years.  I founded my company in DC in 2005 and haven’t looked back!

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

I always find this a hard question to answer.  As a planner, I work with many vendors, but never another planner, so I don’t really know how they approach their projects.  I know that we put a focus on the guest experience.  I care a great deal if the guests are hot or cold, if someone has offered to take their coat or hand them a cool towel. I love design also, but it can not come at the expense of how the guests relate to the celebration. If something isn’t functional or doesn’t work in real life we try to discourage the client from wasting their money on it.  Maya Angelou said, “People will never forget how you made them feel.” The feedback that we get from vendors is that we are professional and extremely organized, which allows them to produce their best work. Ultimately, my job is to lead a great team and allow them to shine.

Please describe your ideal client.

Our ideal client can take on so many forms. One of the best parts of this job is that every client, every party and every day at work is different. If I had to plan the same event again and again, I would quit tomorrow. I would say the “easiest client” is one who leans on our knowledge and advice. Someone with a story they want to tell through their celebration or a unique point of view is also awesome. Someone who wants to have fun with the planning and the actual party is a dream!

Please describe your signature style.

I am great at getting inside a client’s head and bringing to life something that they couldn’t put into words.  I try very hard to suspend my personal style when I am planning someone else’s event.  It is their celebration and everyone who attends should walk in and say “This is so them!” not, “this looks like an A. Dominick Event party.”  I hope that shows in the wide range of design aesthetics in our portfolio.

Personally, I love color and pattern in fashion and clean lines and mid-century modern interior design.  I would die to have a Donald Wexler or Richard Neutra house in Palm Springs someday.

What trends are you seeing this year?

Blue was huge last year and we are still seeing some dusty blue hanging on. The station-style wedding seems to be on its way out in favor of a return to more formal seated meal. Bolder greens and warm peachy (don’t call it blush) tones. We have also seen more interactive experience and live performances.

What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

I love a surprise.  Something unexpected.  That could be a live performance during cocktail hour or a taco truck as guests depart.  I love to keep the guests wondering what could be coming next.  And an awesome welcome gift is wonderful way to set the tone for the weekend.

What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms to be?

Stay focused on why you are getting married and try not to get overwhelmed by everyone else’s expectations. It is a celebration and a big one, but it is still just a party. I try to remind clients of that, a lot.

Best part of being a planner?

My favorite moment right before the bride comes down the aisle. It is the most exciting and precious moment!

Image: Rachel May Photography

Image: Rachel May Photography

Most challenging part of being a planner?

The hardest part of our job is how much time it takes to make everything look effortless.  When something is planned well, we are almost invisible. That is great, but challenging when trying to communicate our value.

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

We worked at a venue that had just been renovated and the water stopped working. All. The. Water.  No hand washing, no toilet flushing.  We quickly jumped into action and got a restroom trailer en route.  In the meantime, we filled buckets with water from a nearby property and I flushed the ladies room toilets manually with the buckets of water. My job is super glamorous.

Fave celebrity wedding?

Yikes, I don’t think I have one!

Favorite wedding tradition?

I love the private moment after the ceremony.  Those first few quiet moments as a married couple.  Gets me every time.

Fave color palette?

I love all color, especially brights and patterns, but I’m not a purple fan.  Sorry purple lovers.

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

We did a wedding in Aix, France several years ago. It was so beautiful, but also very challenging. I think Round Hill in Jamaica is my favorite spot, partially because we have worked there the most.

Fave ‘something blue’?

I guess shoes, but I’m not a stickler for the old, new, borrowed, blue-thing.

Fave floral?

So many.  Peonies, if I have to choose one.  But also, garden roses, sweet peas, Cafe au Lait dahlias, anemones.

Fave Insta feed these days?

I’m obsessed with Amelia Johnson’s stories. I stop whatever I am doing when she puts a new one up.  For my non-wedding life, I love HalfBakedHarvest!

Thank you Aimee for sharing so much of yourself with us on the blog! We hope you guys have loved learning more about Aimee as much as we have! To contact A. Dominick Events, visit here. For more information on Custom Gift Design for wedding welcome giftsvisit here.

Planner Profile // Adam Donovan Groves of Charlottesville-based Donovan-Groves Events

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

This month’s Planner Profile guest is one of the very first wedding planners I met with in-person upon starting my business. He was warm, friendly, showed interest in what I had to say (even though I was a total newbie!), and was a wealth of knowledge about the wedding industry. I remember thinking I could easily see why couples select him as their planner. Not only does he have a keen design eye but his demeanor immediately puts you at ease. After a few successful projects together, I am thrilled to finally welcome Adam of Donovan-Groves Events to the blog. Right this way as we reveal our full Q&A session…

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner.

I first began working in the wedding industry in Atlanta, Georgia in 2002. After a move to Charlottesville, Virginia 12 years ago,  I had the opportunity to continue working in the wedding industry as the Director of Weddings and Special Events at the Forbes 5-Star rated resort, Keswick Hall. While at Keswick Hall, I worked with a wide variety of planners, while being the sole planner for many of the weddings at the resort, giving me the best education you can receive for events…hands on!  Once my family determined we had no desire to leave the Charlottesville area, Donovan-Groves Events went from a dream, to reality.

My husband and I reside just outside of Charlottesville on our small family farm with our rescue dog, Gracie, a few barn cats, and our honey bees.

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

While we focus on the design elements and logistics, one thing which makes us different is our service on the day of the wedding. Our program is designed to not only make sure everything runs as planned, but to provide a higher level of customer service to the guests, family, wedding party and especially to our couple.

Please describe your ideal client.

Our ideal client simply wants to have a fantastic wedding! We work with clients from all different parts of the country, and world. The majority of our clients are from NoVa and New York. We ask our clients to trust the process, enjoy the process and be open-minded to ideas.

Please describe your signature style.

The best compliment we received was when our style was described as “Understated Elegance”. It is important for us to be able to bring out the style of the clients, and not our own, however we find the majority of our clients want the look we tend to love as well.

What trends are you seeing this year?

Color, color and more color. We love color so this doesn’t scare us at all. It is all about putting the right color, in the right place.

What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

We love to make sure our timelines have a natural, flexible feel. We don’t ever want the guests to feel like they are sitting through a program. This is where our clients are all terrific by trusting us to run the timeline in a way which makes the evening run in a natural, not rushed, not slow, just perfect.

What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms to be?

Trust your vendors, don’t fight your venue (aesthetically), and enjoy the entire planning process.

Best part of being a planner?

For me, the best part of being a planner is getting to know our clients on a level where I truly want everything to be perfect, not because they are another client, and that it is another wedding, but because we have been through this planning journey together. It’s an amazing time in their lives, and we get a front row seat!

Most challenging part of being a planner?

Mother Nature. We have to have Plan A, Plan B and sometimes Plan C.

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

The venue lost all power 10 minutes before the guests were going to arrive from the ceremony (at a nearby church). We lit more candles, brought in the generator we had on hold, bought flashlights and disguised them to create uplighting (it worked!). We had enough power for the kitchen and the entertainment. I look back on those pictures and am just amazed how great it all looked!

Favorite wedding tradition?

Bury the bourbon people! It works!

Fave celebrity wedding?

Grace Kelly – her gown, OMGOSH!

Fave color palette?

Completely depends on the venue!

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

We loved the wedding we did in Capri. That being said, Charlottesville is pretty amazing!

Fave ‘something blue’?

Any piece of sapphire jewelry!

Fave floral?

I’m a sucker for peonies.

Fave Insta feed these days?

@martha_weddings

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Planner Profile // Geomyra Lewis of Geomyra Lewis Events

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

You know when you follow someone on social media for ages and then you finally meet them in-person and they’re exactly like you’d hope they’d be? Well this is precisely the feeling I had when I met Geomyra of Geomyra Lewis Events. Not long after I came off stage after speaking at the Signature CEO Conference last year, she came up and introduced herself and I’m so glad she did! She’s creative, business savvy and as warm and energetic as ever. Which is why I was over-the-moon thrilled when she agreed to let us feature her in our Planner Profile series for March.

Okay, I can’t wait any longer for you to meet her! Here we go…

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. While studying business management in college, I decided to take a wedding and event planning course my junior year. Ever since then, a piece of my heart has been tied to the wedding industry! Less than three months after graduation, I opened the doors to my wedding and event planning company. Twelve years later and I haven’t looked back!

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

Our industry is filled with an incredible pool of talented planners and designers. My clients and vendor partners are drawn to my calm demeanor, positive outlook, and the depth of my experience that I bring to the table.  Although I love designing all the pretty, glitz and glam, planning the logistical details are my fav.

Please describe your ideal client.

My ideal client is more focused on building a solid and meaningful marriage over anything else. My clients tend to be people just like me who are busy professionals, loves to travel, enjoys spending time with their family and friends, and looks forward to a wedding day they can enjoy without worrying about all the details.

Please describe your signature style.

My signature style is timeless, elegant, sophisticated and polished without feeling stuffy or overwhelming,

What trends are you seeing this year?

Trends that I am seeing this year include couples ditching the rules and marching to the beat of their own drums. From intimate over enormous, to variety of matchy-matchy, couples are stepping out of the box and doing what feels natural to them.

What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

I am all about the guest experience! I love when I get to work with my couples on designing the guest experience. I am a huge fan of spoiling your wedding guests. For those that have traveled and spent money to come and celebrate with the couple, enhance their welcome with a  custom, jaw-dropping welcome box. End the night with a fun, but meaningful favor or surprise!

What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms to be?

Hire a planner! 😊 Seriously, a planner will allow you to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you have never planned a wedding, you have no clue what’s in store and the adventures ahead. Thus, having the best vendor team is crucial if you want to enjoy your celebration with your family and friends without worrying about the numerous details.

Best part of being a planner?

I am very blessed to do the work I love and share in someone’s most important day to date.  To know that I play a role in a couple starting a new journey together is truly an honor I do not take lightly. No two couples are the same; Thus no two weddings are the same. My job is filled with a new twist and turn each day!

Most challenging part of being a planner?

When you are the captain of the ship, you should be two steps ahead of everyone. Planners are leaders, problem solvers, therapists all wrapped into one. I always say that as the planner, you have to be “on” so you can provide the best service and experience for your clients, but your vendor partners as well.

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

I’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t had any major wedding disasters. In our earlier days, we’ve dealt with a bridezilla or two. By knowing our ideal client, we’ve been blessed to work with great couples and execute their vision seamlessly. Any planner will tell you that no wedding goes off without a hitch. However, it is our job to be the calm in the midst of the storm and bounce back as quickly as possible.

Favorite wedding tradition?

I love wedding traditions! Anytime that my clients have the opportunity to honor their family traditions is always super fun. I love a good hora dance, watching couple’s jump the broom and the serenades that the Greek fraternities and sororities participate in.

Fave celebrity wedding?

I must say that Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade’s 2014 wedding stands out to me. Their celebration seemed authentic, fun and filled with love and support from their family and friends.

Fave color palette?

A classic ivory, black and mixed metallic wedding is right up my alley! You can never go wrong with neutral hues.

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

I’m a sucker for a destination wedding. Over the past twelve years, we have planned weddings on the West coast, Charlottesville, Dominican Republic and a handful of other fun destinations. We are thrilled to return to Mexico this summer to gorgeous Punta, Mita.

Fave ‘something blue’?

A piece of fabric from the bride’s grandmother’s garment woven into the bride’s gown is beyond special.  Anything that has a sentimental meaning is always a good idea.

Fave floral?

Hydrangeas are my jam! I love the fullness of the bloom and it can be paired with other flowers to make a bold or soft statement as needed.

Fave Insta feed these days?

@Binspiredthemag pulls together some of the best wedding inspiration.

@cake_ink has the most beautiful wedding cakes and designs.

@meganhess_official is so talented, and I appreciate the diversity she pulls into her work.  @beckiowens is one of my favorite interior designers. So much inspiration from all of these guys!

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Geomyra as much as we have! If you haven’t already, follow her on Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest. To get caught up on past Planner Profile posts, visit here! Thank you Geomyra. We absolutely loved learning more about you and we have a feeling that everyone else has too!