Pretty little details and a good dance party make us squeal with happiness, but our obsession with wedding planning goes a little beyond that. We have a wholehearted mission to curate timeless, refined and romantic events that leave a lasting impression.
At Southern Affairs Weddings & Events we believe in delivering perfection with a splash of Southern Hospitality. It is our goal to provide a personalized and unique experience from the initial consultation to the last dance on the night of the event. Our job is to take your dreams and ideas and turn them into reality!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge would have to be to not take things others say during an event personal. We focus mostly on weddings and luxury weddings at that – which means there is a high level of stress and pressure put on everyone involved to make this day perfect. And sometimes people may get overwhelmed and upset and lash out at us. I am an emotional person and used to take all of this personally and go home and cry. But knowing how to let things roll off your back and keep producing the event at exceptional standards has been a lifesaver. Most times clients and vendors will apologize quickly and move on so you must too.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
EXTREMELY important! An event is only as successful as the team selected to build it. Building a good rapport and relationship with professional vendors is key to producing stellar events. As a planner, we are like the captain of the ships and while we steer and guide the event in the right direction. If you have a team of vendors that don’t trust or like you, the ship will crash. And we do not want that.
We strongly believe in Southern Hospitality so we like inviting the vendors we love to coffee or lunch and sending thank you gifts throughout the year. We are also lovers of please and thank you in the heat of the event, which I think many planners seem to forget.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
The most exciting thing is at the start of 2020 – I will have a partner! For 5 years, I have run the business alone and the business has finally outgrown just me – so thankfully my right-hand woman, Brittany McKinney, has come to my rescue. I would not trust anyone else with my business but her! She’s my sister from another mister.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
My very first event was a 4th birthday party for a very lucky little girl. It was at Dave-n-Busters in Arlington, Texas and when we were done, the private party room looked like it was straight out of Marie Antionette’s bedroom. It was such a hit that the store manager brought in the regional manager and they were taking photos of the event as they were in shock of the transformation.
We had tacked floral fabric to the walls because the wallpaper wasn’t working with our concept, and brought in our own furniture and chairs. It is probably still my favorite party to date.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
I wish I would have known the importance of keeping the proper work-life balance. As a business owner, you get so consumed with working that sometimes you let your personal life go. So I am telling you now, don’t do it! A healthy personal life is just as important as a successful business. You have to have self-care time scheduled and keep to it because if you aren’t happy in your personal life, it will bleed into your business.
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
We had a Bride whose family was from Nigeria and so there was a 3-day wedding celebration. And on the day of the traditional American ceremony, she said she wanted to feel like royalty. So we pulled off a scene from Coming to America for their grand entrance into the reception. We hired a traditional African Dance troop and had them perform before opening the doors for the couple to enter to rose petals being tossed at their feet. It was the most crowd-pleasing surprise we have pulled off to date. And I did it all with a 103-degree fever that day!