Being a wedding planner means that I am always thinking for someone else, thinking of someone else and thinking like someone else! Getting into the minds’ of my clients is what it means to be a wedding planner and thinking about what’s best for them is what it means to be a good wedding planner. I love that aspect of my job, but it is not very often that I get to speak from my point of view (other than the blog) or tell my story, how I got here and why I choose New Orleans. These are some of the main questions I ask my clients, so I was excited to be able to share my journey and voice when the amazing Borrowed and Blue asked me to participate in this fun Q & A! Thank you so much for letting me share!!!
Describe your event aesthetic in five words or fewer.
Upscale, not uptight!
What is your favorite part of being a wedding planner?
I have so many things that I love about being a wedding planner. Getting to know the couple and the families on such a personal level is definitely something that makes this “job” so much more than a job. Becoming a part of the family and having clients come back to me as their other children get engaged, or for their corporate events and social gatherings is just amazing. I get to stay with some of my clients for years doing other events with them and that is something that is so special to me overall.
But in terms of the wedding itself, I am a sucker for the firsts. The first time the groom gets to see his beautiful bride, the bride and groom’s first dance, the bride’s dance with her father, etc. I love the emotions of the day and the sweetness of something that will be remembered forever. With all of that being said, it is always my favorite part of the night to get to step back once all of the ceremonious events are done and I get to see the bride, groom and their families on the dance floor having a blast. No stress, just enjoying the hard work that we’ve all put into the planning! Often times people forget that this is a celebration!! It should be a party! My goal is to always work with clients that want to have a great time and allow themselves to enjoy the day. If I can get them to that point and have them relaxed all day and end the night on the dance floor, then I know I’ve done my job!
I’d love some more deets on why you wanted to become a wedding planner.
I was a corporate recruiter for 5 years prior to starting this business and, while most people do not know what that job entails, it does call for a lot of the same skill set and personality as a good wedding planner. I was luck enough to have a tough boss that taught me about attention to detail, reading people’s personalities and figuring out quickly their desires, assets and bottom lines. The job took me through rigorous sales training, top notch administrative responsibilities and most importantly, the reality of high profile clients, stressful timelines and time management. They say that once you’ve succeeded as a recruiter, you can do anything – I believe that is a true statement!
While holding the recruiter position, I got engaged and planned a wedding. Eventually, prior to the wedding date, I actually called it off. I had previously attempted to get into the wedding industry, but it was not until I experienced the stress of planning my own wedding that I knew I had what it took to do this job. Pairing my professional experience with the emotional knowledge of feeling what brides go through and how that can effect your engagement process and the planning of what is suppose to be the best day of your life, I realized I could make a difference for other girls who actually should make it down the aisle!!
After hurricane Katrina, I moved to New York and worked for a private hotel/ venue. I worked under the Director of Sales and learned anything and everything I could about events, hotels, vendors, brides, etc. If there was an event, I was working it – bartending, taking cash for the cash bar, helping vendors set the space, running errands and helping the kitchen staff. I wanted my hands in everything!
I moved home and eventually, via one of my best friends, I got my first interview with a local news anchor. She took a huge chance on me and I completed my first full service wedding in August of 2008. It was a sit down dinner for 408 guests at the St. Louis Cathedral and the Ritz Carlton.
The experience was exactly what I thought it would be. Being able to use all the skills that came from the corporate world, but still being able to have a relationship with the client on a personal level; it was the best of both worlds. And I was 100% all in after that. By the grace of God, word got out, and I’ve been able to help couples create their dreams in a stress-free, fun environment every since. This “job” is not for someone looking for the glamour and fun that you experience at a party. This is for those that understand what it takes to run a business and handle finances, create designs, manage many different pieces, parts and personalities, yet you can’t take the emotion out of it. Anyone that says, it’s not personal, doesn’t understand wedding planning. It’s the fact that it is personal that keeps my business going. Every client is personal to me and that’s something I would have never gotten in the corporate world!
Let’s talk 2016 trends. What are you seeing? What trends do you think will stick around?
Honestly, I’m not a “trend” kind of planner. I’m more of the “let’s break the trends” kind of gal. I am always happy to go along with what my bride’s want, but if we can break the mold, I am 100% on board for that. I pride myself on having a great mix of clients that span across the board from the soft, all white, vintage look to the bright, jewel-toned, glamour style as well. I am most happy when I have a mix of clients all wanting something different from each other so hopefully that trend won’t fade out for me!
If you weren’t a wedding planner, what would you want to do for a living?
I would be a writer. I have a journalist degree and I actually write an etiquette blog called the Proper Planner.
I was realizing that magazines, in particular, were putting out articles with wedding planning advice and these articles were written by a staff writer; someone who had never experienced these things before. So basically, brides were taking advice from someone who may have never set foot in a wedding before. I also realized that a lot of the advice was canned advice that came from previous articles online. So I started the proper planner.
It is a twist on the new etiquette, or lack there of in some cases. So many people want to keep up with rules that were around before divorce and combined families and couples who pay for their own weddings. We are not living in the same world were everything is picture perfect and tied up in a pretty bow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a wedding that works with your “new normal” and create something perfect just for that particular bride!
The blog also features dresses each week, fun wedding shoes, some local New Orleans events, items that are sold within the wedding industry, etc. We are experiencing some growth right now, so I’m excited to see where it will go!
What is your favorite venue in the area?
This is always such a hard question. I am not trying to be as diplomatic as this will sound, but I have a love for so many of the venues for individual reasons. Depending on the size of the party, I love smaller/ outdoor spaces that could make for an amazing, quaint ceremony. For larger, sit down dinner options, I’m obsessed with designing a unique option for some of the larger hotel ballrooms. New Orleans has so many different venues to offer no matter the size, or look you’re going for. We have theaters and concert halls that are being used as venues. We have hotel ballrooms that are stunning and independent venues that offer the French quarter feel, or courtyard option if that’s more your style. For me, I tend to fall in love with a venue that is the perfect fit for my client, which changes daily and that is what I love – to work with all venues in the area and get to experience/ design something new every weekend!
Describe something that sets New Orleans apart from other places you’ve lived.
New Orleans is not only unlike any other city that I’ve ever lived in it’s unlike any other city that exists. The character and the charm of the city is always what people talk about, but the reality is that this city is all about the people! We are our own breed and we do things our own way. We are a loyal kind and we see the faults in our city, but the beauty is too overwhelming to ignore. We have people that are staples in this city – not famous to the outside world, but famous to us at home. That’s one of the reasons I think we are so popular for destination weddings. The character of the locals only adds to the full experience for the couples and their families! And working with local vendors is always the way to go. We are the most enthusiastic because we are in love with the place that you’ve chosen to share your love! A photographer capturing an amazing couple in a city that they love, results in amazing photos that someone untouched by this city could never duplicate!
Our enthusiasm is contagious. We grab tourists by the hand and excitedly tell them the best spots to go that they won’t find online! We don’t just talk to you at the next table over, we grab a seat and come sit with you. We don’t stand on the sidelines of the secondline, we join you in the parade! We want to talk about our city like no one else in this country and we want you to fall in love with it as much as we have. We want you to breathe it in, in all of it’s Bourbon Street stink, and let it fill your heart! That’s what makes us different – it’s not good enough that you came here, you have to want to stay here!
Thank you to Borrowed and Blue for such a fun Q & A and thank you for your kind words and support!!!
“When you’re planning a wedding in New Orleans—or anywhere, for that matter!—it’s such a help to have an experienced, thoughtful team of wedding professionals on your side to help execute that event. That’s where Kelly Sherlock and her team come in. While Borrowed & Blue is the online guide to planning New Orleans weddings, Kelly is a real life human who knows the ins and outs of local weddings. Between her insights about planning, her local knowledge, and her love of the people she works with, I couldn’t ask for a more interesting person than Kelly to interview!” – Helen, Borrowed & Blue’s New Orleans Market Specialist