This week I was able to interview another wonderful wedding resource Kerry Lee Dickey, who is a long time professional wedding planner in Santa Barbara County, specializing in Wine Country Weddings. Kerry tells me that a few years ago she was one of a small handful of consultants in the area but now there are over twenty. Her observations both socially and economically reflect some of the changes that have taken place in the business over the past couple of years.
I asked Kerry in what way brides and grooms have adjusted to the economic times. She explained that weddings are still happening but brides trim their guest lists and they do a lot more DIY projects for the wedding rather than hiring professionals or purchasing items.
I also asked what most “exciting additions” she had noted lately. She tells me there is a relaxing “down” of all the pomp and circumstance. Keeping it rustic and simple, and this is not only economical, it is “in”. People are offering fewer favors and are more socially aware with donations to charities. It is actually not “pc” to have an over the top wedding in today’s economy and with so many people struggling.
Kerry works in some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. I asked her to describe the most magical part of wine country weddings.
She says it is nature’s backdrop with gorgeous lighting. It is a setting that does not have to be constructed. It is already there. Minimal decor is needed.
Of course I asked about flower girls! Did the brides she works with have flower girls? Kerry assured me that they did, 99% of the time, and even if there is no ring bearer, there is almost always a flower girl.
I am always looking for good reasons to reassure brides about children. I asked Kerry for her take as well. While she doesn’t recommend flower girls under the age of four, when brides do insist that an 18 month old – 3 year old walk down the aisle, Kerry always reminds the bride and the families that the little girl may or may not walk and we won’t know until the actual moment. Kerry says they get a plan in place – she (the flower girl) either walks down with her mom or the Maid of Honor can accompany her or an older flower girl. Some of the best memories are often when the little ones (toddlers) have their own agenda and it is very engaging what they do on the way down the aisle. (I always love the little ones who pick up the petals because they are taught to be tidy!)
I did ask Kerry, in her opinion, what was “the perfect style”. Her answer fits in well with my memories of cold evenings, no drinks, limited rest rooms, and too loud music. She recommends a style that is relaxed, but well thought out, taking the guests’ comfort and fun into mind. Special lovely touches but nothing over the top. Take the expense that you would put into over the top things and invest in comforts for your guests: extra heaters, maybe “favors” that they can take home or use the night of the wedding – pashminas to keep them warm, engraved glasses to use the night of the wedding and take home, etc.
That music comment it one we hear so often…Kerry said that the music that works best for the mainstream wedding event is to have instrumental for the ceremony – no vocals just classical guitar or classical music. Cocktail music should be upbeat in energy and most couples choose jazz/big band for cocktail hour. Dinner should be instrumental, easy going and relaxing background music. Dancing music should make the majority of guests want to get up and dance. While country is fantastic and may be a favorite of bride and groom, having a reception dedicated to 100% country music may not encourage all guests to get up and dance all night and leave the event feeling a bit flat so I recommend a variety of dance-able music for the reception.
Kerry reiterated that the most important part of a wedding to get right and spend the most on is the guests because these are the faces you will see forever in your photos and they make the day! So ensuring their comfort and good time means you will have the same. This usually boils down to a site that is event-friendly and supports large guest counts, restrooms, valet (if necessary) for comfort of guests, places for them to relax and lounge (rentals), heat lamps (rentals) and a timeline that allows for a great time, maximizes the day, all the vendors- and the guests’ comfort as well.
Lastly of course why is Kerry’s role so important? Well as if we didn’t know… it that wonderful credential experience! Kerry’s over 500 weddings and many years on the job means she will know what to look for to help prevent crises before they happen. This and a deep love of family and wanting to make each wedding day a great day for the couple and their families and guests.
Then I asked Kerry for her words of wisdom? Brides are always very anxious, they want this day (remember you have to get it right there is no rerun!) to be the best. I really encourage them not to over-think things because the brides who have over-thought everything and micromanage every detail obsessively and change things 100 times (things by the way that no one will notice but them – truly) not only ends up taking away from their sleep and valuable time on other priorities, but in the end, the details they obsessed about will not even show and no one ever notices. Worst of all, it can actually sabotage an event. Trust your professional event supplier team and what they have to share with you. You can’t go wrong.
Thanks so much Kerry…and if a Wine Country Wedding is in your future you won’t go wrong if you give Kerry a call!