To be perfectly honest, I can't remember exactly how I met Erin but I do know that we immediately clicked. After several emails back and forth, we decided to meet at Panera's (my office away from home these days) to get to know each other better. I pelted her with questions about the wedding business. She was a PRO and I was very new at this. She was so helpful and year later, she is still there when I have questions.
Yesterday, I went to the Carolina Bridal Fair to check it out to see if I wanted to do something there next year. I walked around the corner and there was Erin - dancing to the beat of the DJ booth beside her. All I could think was - that is so Erin. She is so much fun and I can only imagine what a wedding planned by her would be like. I am so happy to introduce you to her today. I know that you will love her as much as I do.
What made you decide to start your business?
Back when I was in college, I worked as a venue coordinator at a local country club for about 3 years and I loved it! I left there when I got married in 2007 to pursue other opportunities, but I always had a love for weddings. Fast forward 5 years and I sadly came down with some medical issues that put me out of work for a while. It was during that time and I did some serious soul searching to find my true passion and I kept coming back to weddings! Funny enough, once I was given a clean bill of health, my husband and I went out to Five Guys for some burgers and that is where the decision was made to start my own wedding planning company! We wrote a business plan out on the back of our receipt and it all started from there!
You recently changed your name. What made you change your name and how did you come up with your new name?
I did and boy was it a labor of love! When I started the company 2 years ago, I feel in love with the company name Simply Southern Wedding and Event Design. Unfortunately, there is another Simply Southern large company (they make t-shirts) that did not take well to me using the name – so I decided to change it. I am my business and my business is I – so it was an easy transition!
What differentiates you from the other planners in Charlotte?
Knowing and respecting a good number of planners in Charlotte, I think the thing that sets me apart is my energy. People call me the energizer bunny! I live life to the fullest, always have a positive attitude and truly fall in love with my clients and their stories!
How many weddings do usually do a year?
In the office, there is myself and 2 other associate planners. As a company, we do about 35 weddings a year. Personally, I do no more than 20.
What types of services do you offer your clients?
We offer everything from month-of coordination to full service planning and design. We do not have set packages, rather, everything is customized to the individual needs of each bride and groom.
How long do you typically work with a bride?
Good question! It has ranged from 10 weeks to 2 years, but on average, about 9-12 months!
What trends do you see with the current brides?
Truthfully, the majority of my brides have different weddings. I try hard not to have the same wedding twice. We have had everything from dueling pianos and food trucks to live animals and caricature artists!
What is the most popular wedding color so far this season?
I don’t think that blush is ever going to go out of style! I also see gold coming back in a big way and I love gold – so I am excited!
What times a year do you find are the busiest for this area?
My wedding season mainly runs from April – November with the busiest months being May and October! I do have a few Christmas or New Years Eve weddings sprinkled in there too!
What do you love most about helping brides in the area?
My favorite part about my job is developing the relationship with my couples! I don’t view them as the “May 14” or the “October 3 ” couple – we truly become great friends and I feel so lucky that these people bring me into their family and trust me with one of the biggest days of their lives!
What is the best thing about having a wedding in Charlotte?
The weather! Every season brings such beauty with it and I am blessed enough to have weddings year round to experience them all. Charlotte also has SO many unique venues and talented wedding professionals and that makes it so easy and fun to plan a wedding in Charlotte!
If you could plan a dream wedding, what would it be?
Place, time, colors, etc…I got married over 8 years ago, and as long as I get to marry my husband again, I would marry him anywhere and anytime! Yes, I am that girl. Hopeless romantic. However, if money were no object, I would pay for my entire family and friends to come to Kiawah Island(our favorite vacation spot) and get married on the beach in a custom made gown with perfect 75 degree weather! I would also probably hire a Michael Jackson Impersonator – freaking love him!
Okay, from one extreme to the other on that one. Like I told you guys - she's crazy fun! And speaking of fun, I always like asking a few questions about the person themselves...
What do you like to do when you are not working on weddings?
I am a big family girl! I love spending time with my family and my friends. I might shop a little also. Okay, I shop a lot!
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Depends on my mood, but breakfast is my favorite type of food. So I like the more hole in the wall breakfast joints!
I like that idea. I'm thinking our next lunch needs to be breakfast and a hole in the wall. There are lots of fun ones in Charlotte.
What are the five presets on your car radio/ipod?
I LOVE all types of music. So I have a mix of pop, country, 80’s and today’s hits!
If you weren’t a wedding planner, what would your dream job be?
Something relating to animals! Zookeeper, dolphin trainer, something like that!
pause...pause...pause...okay, sorry about that...I couldn't stop laughing. Two more questions...Now, it's time for you to give our brides to be some of your good advice.
For a bride on a budget, what is the #1 thing a bride should not skimp on?
At the risk of a shameless promotion, I would definitely say a wedding planner. My job is to keep brides on track, provide the best referrals (and discounts!) and relieve stress so the bride can relax and enjoy the BIG DAY!
If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?
We pride ourselves on providing a no judgment and open place where all brides are loved on! Whether you have $5,000 or $150,000 for your wedding, we will be thrilled to help make your perfect wedding a reality!
Thanks Erin for sitting down with us today. It was so much fun learning more about you. I hope you guys enjoyed our talk. If you want to keep up with Erin and see more of her work, be sure to follow her on social media.