It’s officially engagement season! From the holidays of Halloween to Valentine’s Day, these are the most popular months for partners to get engaged! Knowing this, we wanted to help newly engaged couples begin their wedding planning experience with the top tips and information from a wedding planner at Rae Nicole Events, Rae Grijalva.
As a wedding planner, Rae and her team at Rae Nicole Events create one of a kind events for their couples. From local Orlando weddings to romantic destination getaways, their team is ready to plan your wedding, no matter the location.
Continue to read as we interview Rae, a Central Florida wedding planner at Rae Nicole Events. Rae shared everything you need to know about hiring a wedding planner, her personal experience as a bride, and how to enter the industry as a professional.
“Enjoy the moments. Planning can be stressful for any couple, as you’re not only planning a huge and personal gathering of family and friends, but you’re also combating flying emotions and it can be overwhelming. Lean on your planner, trust in your vendors, and soak in the wonderful moments as they come!”Rae | Owner of Rae Nicole Events
An interview with Rae Grijalva, Central Florida and Beyond Wedding Planner
Tell us about yourself, how did you get into wedding planning?
My original background and passion were in theatre and technical theatre. I was working as a stage manager for a couple of years and truly loved being on that side of a performance, but wanted to see where else I could expand to. I decided to move to Orlando and attend the Rosen College of Hospitality and Events for my Events Management Degree. During that time I studied and worked under a multitude of different event companies from corporate events, to large festivals, concerts, and social events. It was while working at a venue that I truly fell in love with weddings, the joy and love behind the day, and the hustle and bustle of one of the biggest days of a couple’s life. I refer back to my training in stage management often for many different elements on a wedding day and absolutely love that I get to include those elements with each client.
What is your favorite thing about being a Central Florida wedding planner?
My absolute favorite thing about being a wedding planner is getting to know my couples. Their personalities, who they are as individuals and together as a couple. I love learning little pieces about how they met, what their family means to them, what they mean to each other, and all of those details that go into making a wedding day something more than just an event, it creates a personal and connected day made up of special moments.
What personality trait, skills, or specific education is necessary for all planners?
Flexibility and a great can-do attitude. A planner must learn and know how to be flexible, move with the flow of the day, and should any issues arise, be able to turn that issue around at the drop of a hat so hopefully your client, and definitely their guests never know. A great attitude and a smile go a long way as well! Remember, this is someone’s special day, these memories last a lifetime, so be happy for your couple, and reflect their joy.
Can you explain the difference between a full-service wedding planner and a venue coordinator?
A venue coordinator is there to protect and service the venue. They are going to greet you with a smile upon your arrival, they may even set out your guest book, but their priority first and foremost is to the venue and assuring the venue is set and serving your needs as your venue. A wedding planner is there to service you as the client. They are there to not only guarantee that your vendors are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but also setting out your personal details, answering questions as they arise from family and friends, having your back before and on wedding day, lining up your party for the ceremony and reception entrances, greeting you with a cocktail at the end of your ceremony, and so many other pieces that completely service you, the couple, and your families.
When should a couple book you? Before they book their venue? As soon as they get engaged?
This all depends on the service a couple is looking for. If a client has been dreaming of their special day since they were 5, and they already know the venue, the decor, the details, etc. after booking a venue and getting your details in line is perfectly fine. For a client who is looking for full service, they may know what they’re envisioning but would prefer to have an expert walking along side them, or gathering the details together for them, we recommend prior to booking the venue, but after the engagement, excitement has settled, and you’re ready to dive in!
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Im not Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner. Though I would love to be able to wear stilettos all day on the wedding day, and not a single hair out of place, and the only issue to arise is a slightly misplaced FOB, its just not that! There are so many moving elements that guests and clients never, and should never, see on the back end. Its that person calling all of the shots, and keeping complete composure. Also, my house is not nearly as tidy as hers, and I definitely do not have the energy to vacuum my curtains after a wedding day!
What is a wedding day must-have for you cannot work without?
My emergency kit. It has everything from an extra dress hanger, to a hot glue gun, to bandaids, Tylenol, a sewing kit, and so much more.
What is your biggest tip you can give to brides who are currently wedding planning?
Enjoy the moments. Planning can be stressful for any couple, as you’re not only planning a huge and personal gathering of family and friends, but you’re also combating flying emotions and it can be overwhelming. Lean on your planner, trust in your vendors, and soak in the wonderful moments as they come!
What is your number one tip when a couple is in search of their wedding venue?
There are a few tips, of course does this venue service the amount of guests comfortably and in a way that makes sense is number one. Does the venue have a weather back up plan, what are the vendor stipulations, and can this venue provide the style and vibe I am looking for in my day are all important pieces when first searching for your venue.
You are a newlywed! Congratulations! Looking back, how would you describe your personal experience when planning your own wedding? Would you do anything different today?
I had a destination wedding, and I absolutely loved everything about it! I hired a planner first thing! She assisted me in finding my perfect venue, decorator, and so many other vendors that I was not traveling over with. Though I am a planner, I knew where my resources and limits lied in planning my own day, and I knew that I wanted to enjoy the process, and by letting an expert assist me with this, it was a much more stress-free and enjoyable experience! Shockingly, I would really doublethink of my veil. My ceremony entrance was downstairs that was very rough and the cathedral veil kept getting caught. Though I loved it for photos, I would reconsider now knowing just how intrusive that would be for the ceremony entrance. My favorite part of the day was my first look with my husband, where we read our personal vows to each other. I made sure that it was at a location far from everyone else, so it was just a moment between him and I, and that piece of the day I will always cherish.
What current design/style trend are you ready for the industry to move on from?
Industrial. It had its day, but there’s something just so soft and lovely about a beautiful pallet of color in a minimalist setting on a table, vs the heavy and harsh darkness of industrial pieces.
What tips do you have for young professionals who are wanting to enter the industry?
Train, train, train. Gather as much experience as you can by working under a couple of different wedding vendor companies. As a planner, its so important to know about so many different elements of the day, so the more knowledge and experience you can, the more confident you will feel running that day and answering those questions.
What is a design style you wish to see more of?
Minimalist with a pop of color. There is something so beautiful about that contrast, and letting natural beauty shine through!