(Vendor) Relationships are everything, especially when you’re the planner and the event’s entirety reflects on you as a whole.

Francesca DiSalvo Follmer

Owner

Location: Charleston, SC

Pure Luxe Bride is the premier luxury wedding planning company in Charleston, South Carolina. Known for their innovative design and collaborative, high-energy approach to wedding planning, each Pure Luxe Bride event is unique, showcasing the client’s specific vision through personal details and customized experiences.

Pure Luxe Bride’s planning duo works hand-in-hand with their clients to artfully craft and produce stunning weddings with elegance and style. From chic dinner parties for an intimate group, styled elopements for two, or lavish weddings for three hundred guests, their passion for orchestrating sophisticated events for the most discerning clientele shines throughout their portfolio.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

Right now I’m loving that brides are coming to us and wanting a color palette that’s more than just blush and white. We love color and rarely get to work with it since most weddings are incredibly traditional. Bringing in pops of color allows us to get a little more creative with floral and decor.

We are also loving intimate weddings and elopements! In the past few years, we have completely tailored a package dedicated to these clients who still are wanting the look and feel of a wedding – gorgeous decor, details, and beautiful photos. They are some of our favorites because it’s all about the bride and groom with a gorgeous styled design.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

Overall, prioritize what’s most important to you and your fiance and we will breakdown the budget accordingly. We tend to be more design and floral focused, so with the decor and design, we always try to have at least one main focal area that draws the eyes and is a statement piece. This allows you to have the wow factor but then can scale down in other areas rather than splurge on everything.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

Relationships are everything, especially when you’re the planner and the event’s entirety reflects on you as a whole. It’s important to have a team environment more than anything. It keeps the event running smoothly and we all have each other’s backs.

Our vendors are strongly vetted and have the same expectations for each event as we do which is why they are so flawless. It’s important to be a good communicator to your vendors and to express your expectations from the start, that way nothing is lost in translation. After we initially meet with new vendors and decide they are a fit for us and our clients, we typically start with smaller projects or photoshoots to test the waters on how it would work for a full-scale event day.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

Coming from a family that’s in the hospitality and event industry, I swore up and down that I was going to do anything but that! It’s funny how things work out! I went to school and got my Bachelor’s in Business with a concentration in Marketing from St. Joseph’s University and started out in the fashion industry post-college. While planning my own wedding in 2008, I got the bug to get back into the industry.

Pure Luxe Bride first started as a coordination only company while living in PA, but then after moving to SC a year later transitioned into a full-scale planning and design company. With a gorgeous locale like Charleston and so many blank canvas venues, it was a dream come true.

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

The back end of the business and the client-facing side of the business are equally important, so find the best team of accountants, bookkeepers, attorneys, etc. to back you up because you can’t do it all on your own. It’s such an integral part of the business to have these key members in place and will save you lots of time, effort and energy to keep things running smoothly.

It’s also such a tough business to have any sort of work/life balance because the majority of your work is not only during the week but also on the weekends with executing the events themselves. I’ve learned to live life with no balance. Luckily my husband is also an entrepreneur so he understands the craziness of my schedule when it’s event season. We take time to book trips and getaways well in advance that way we can spend time outside of my work zone which allows me balance in travel and experiences.

During event season when I can’t get away, we make it a point to have date nights during the week. I’m also great about keeping standing appointments with either my personal trainer or Peloton and treating myself to a massage or mani-pedi on a day off. It’s about finding your own way to stay “balanced” while constantly on the go.

It’s long, not so glamorous days full of manual labor.

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