The secret to making magic out of a tight budget is prioritizing – it’s about allocating funds to whatever you can’t seem to compromise on, and putting in work and creativity to make everything else happen.
Suzanne Halaska

Suzanne Halaska

Certified Wedding Planner/Owner

Location: Chicago, IL

Before debuting my company, I was always the go-to person for planning social, charity, and community events as well as the hostess for all special occasions.
I have the passion, enthusiasm, and creativity for organizing the details to produce a special event that is elegant, fun, and memorable. With these personality traits and six years of experience in the industry, I was recently awarded Best of weddings for 2020 from The Knot.

My knowledge of weddings and events ranges from the elite in top hotels and venues to a garden party in its natural landscape.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?

My clients’ venue suffered a fire several months prior to their wedding, but they were assured that the venue would be running again by their April wedding. Six weeks prior to the wedding (after all of the invitations had already been sent out), we were notified that the damage had not yet been fixed and that the venue would be unable to host my clients’ wedding.

With six weeks to go, I called every possible venue that would fit their style and budget. After touring twelve venues, we finally found one that the couple liked, but it was more expensive than their original venue and needed a bit of love to make it fit the couple’s original vision. After reaching back out to the venue that canceled to have them reimburse my clients for the additional funds incurred, we notified all of the vendors of the change and the wedding went off without a hitch.

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

The secret to making magic out of a tight budget is prioritizing – it’s about allocating funds to whatever you can’t seem to compromise on, and putting in work and creativity to make everything else happen.

A smaller budget means more time and effort being the creator instead of paying someone else to create your vision for you. One example is invitations. As the first thing your guests receive, invitations set the tone for your event, so you want your invitations to be elegant and well thought out.

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

Vendor relationships are the most important thing to cultivate in this industry. I learned early on how to start and grow these relationships, and it really comes down to trusting their expertise, being open to their suggestions, and figuring out how their style meets your style. When you work as a team with your vendors, it’s like the icing on the cake, which makes for a beautiful stress-free wedding day.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

I’m becoming a grandmother this summer – who doesn’t want to be a grandma? I’m so excited to see the next generation of my family grow.

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?

After planning social and corporate events for many years, I knew I found my niche after my son’s wedding. I love all of the details that come with planning a wedding from the big decisions, like the dress or the venue, to the small ones, like escort cards or table numbers!

I have to say, the icing on the cake is definitely getting to share one of the best days of my client’s life with them. By the end of our time working together, watching my clients walk down the aisle is the most heartwarming feeling.

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