PICTURE THIS...a wedding at the beautiful Biltmore Estate courtyard as you look out to the house in the distance. A gorgeous reception in one of the many venues. Now, if only there was someone who could help me plan it...well...your problem is solved. Today, we sat down with Tamara Heston of Belle Soiree. With many years of experience as a wedding coordinator, in and around the Asheville area, including the Biltmore Estate, Tamara is definitely someone you want to meet.
You have been in the wedding business since 1999. Why did you start your business?
I worked for 6 yrs, as a Conference Center Coordinator, for University of North Carolina at Asheville. During this tenure, I had several couples inquiring if I also would consider planning their wedding. At the time, there were only about two wedding planning businesses in Asheville. After much thought, I decided to give it a shot, and founded Belle Soiree. The rest is history, as they say!
What differentiates you from the other planners in Asheville?
Certainly, the length of time I have been in the business, and the experience it has given me. I’ve established some wonderful relationships, with many vendors and sites, so I feel quite at home...everywhere.
How many weddings do usually do a year?
What types of services do you offer your clients?
Once hired, I will guide the bride through the areas that need to be addressed immediately. This may involve securing some, or all vendors. Once that is completed, we begin working on a foundation schedule, and build on it, involving all vendors, etc, throughout the months before the wedding weekend. Once we’re a week out, we should be ready to go!
How long do you typically work with a bride?
From the second they hire me, which depends on when they do. If they are several months out, then we work on the tasks that need to be handled at that juncture. But no matter what, three months from their date, we are connected at the hip!
What trends do you see with the current brides?
More, and more brides are actually moving away from depending so much on sites, like Pinterest. They like the idea of creating new and different ideas, which is really important for personalizing their occasion.
What is the most popular wedding color so far this season?
Shades of lavender and purple
What times a year do you find are the busiest for this area?
May and June, along with their “twin sisters” September and October.
What do you love most about helping brides in the area?
Almost 99% of my couples, live outside of Western NC. Our area is such a huge wedding destination site, that I work with couples that live as close as Charlotte or Atlanta. Or, as far away as London or Hawaii! Being able to guide them through the process, and taking the word ”stress”, right out of their vocabulary, is just so rewarding for me.
What is the best thing about having a wedding in Asheville?
Asheville offers a “big city feel”, in a tightly, neat package. And the Blue Ridge Mountains, to boot!
If you could plan a dream wedding, what would it be? Place, time, colors, etc.
My favorite time of year is Fall, and I love the colors associated with that season. As for a dream wedding, I would imagine a very intimate ( a few friends, and family) ceremony, and reception in Paris. Total dream wedding, of course. But, always fun to dream.
It’s always fun to learn a little about the people behind the business…
What do you like to do when you are not working on weddings?
I enjoy volunteering, and a spending time with my family.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
So many in Asheville, it’s hard to choose! However, I’m going to go with 131 Main.
What are the five presets on your car radio/ipod?
My presets are very mixed. I love current, as well as those ‘70’s tunes! Totally a fan of Sting, Fleetwood Mac, U2, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay.
If you weren’t a wedding planner, what would your dream job be?
I’ve always been interested in investigative journalism. I love solving mysteries, and “turning over every stone”. Some of those traits flow into my business. Like, “How can I solve this problem, or situation, and come to a solution”.
For a bride on a budget, what is the #1 thing a bride should not skimp on?
Their photographer, hands-down.
If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?
My ultimate goal, is to strip the word “stress”, right out of their wedding vocabulary, so they may focus on the fun stuff…like packing for their honeymoon!!
Thanks Tamara for sitting down with me today. For those of you that are interested in learning a little more about Tamara and what packages she offers at Belle Soiree, be sure to check out her website.