This week’s episodes features St. Louis’ own Brittany Starks, from Build A Wedding. She walks us through the ins and outs of picking a wedding planner that is perfect for YOU! Enjoy!
Anthony: Hey, everybody. How you doing? It’s Anthony from Heavenly Love Studios and I’m sitting here today with Brittany, events director at Build A Wedding here in St. Louis. How are you doing, Brittany?
Brittany: I’m great. Happy to be here.
Anthony: That’s awesome. That’s good, that’s good. Thanks for taking the time to meet with me and help all these future married couples out there get their dreams on the road.
Anthony: Can you tell me, I guess, a little bit about Build A Wedding?
Brittany: Sure, yeah. Absolutely. Build A Wedding, we specialize in wedding planning and wedding related events, so, weddings, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, all of that. We focus strictly on that. We definitely drive logistics like timelines and things like that. We believe in creating very efficient weddings and weddings that the couple can basically just really cherish for years to come. Yeah, that’s pretty much what we do in a nutshell.
Anthony: Cool. Cool, cool, cool, cool. I like that. I like that. I guess you can help people understand why it’s important to have a wedding planner for their day.
Brittany: Sure. Wedding planners are some of the most underrated vendors within the wedding industry by brides. Not hiring a wedding planner is like basically having in an ingredient list, right, for the perfect dish but you don’t know where to buy the ingredients, you don’t know which brands are the best and you don’t know how to put it all together, so you can make this perfect dish. That’s really what wedding planners do. We pull it all together. We source the right vendors. We have the relationships and the networks to really bring together all those loose ends that brides typically have to really create their dream wedding.
Anthony: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I guess with that being said, what would be like the responsibilities of a full-service wedding planning company like Build A Wedding?
Brittany: Sure. I can give you some key responsibilities. Otherwise, I think we might be here all day if I give you everything. Our goal at Build A Wedding, it’s important that we know what they love, what they hate, what they feel so-so about. It’s important that we understand the wedding day in and out, what’s happening. The guests can be surprised. The bride can be surprised. We, however, can never be surprised. We have to know everything that’s going on, so, it’s just important that we manage those aspects, we do a lot of risk management and that we keep our bride and groom at the forefront, so, we can really produce what they expect.
Anthony: Got you. Got you. Got you. Is there anything unique or specific that you do to ensure that relationship, I guess, when you’re learning your bride and your groom?
Brittany: Absolutely. We offer a service that is very similar to what people call the day of coordination package in the industry. What we offer is a six-month coordination package. Instead of us just showing up two weeks before the wedding or the month of the wedding, we’re there six months beforehand and we’re talking to that bride. Again, like I said, when we need to do that brain transference, all those thoughts and ideas and things that they’ve been thinking over for the last 18 months, we know that so we can make the best decisions for our clients. Really, that six-month is just … It’s a huge advantage as opposed to just coming in a month before and saying, “Hey, tell me everything that you’ve been thinking of over the last two years.”
Anthony: That’s awesome. Hearing that, it sounds like you do make sure that they’re getting what they want. That’s awesome.
Brittany: Yeah. That’s it, that they’re getting what they … That’s the goal.
Anthony: That’s awesome. I like that. That’s different. That’s different.
Brittany: Yeah, it is.
Anthony: That’s different. Okay, so with that then, what is the most important thing that clients look for in your service?
Brittany: When they call us or e-mail us or they reach out to us through The Knot or Wedding Wire, the first thing that they tell us is, “I want my wedding to run smoothly.” That’s what they ask. “Can you make my wedding run smoothly?” We built packages just to do that. Again, we believe very strongly at efficiency, making sure that we’re affordable, that it’s within their budget. We don’t ever want to oversell a client where they’re in this tough spot. We also don’t want to not give them enough of what they need. Honestly, how we do this is by creating weather contingency plans for outdoor weddings or if there’s an alternative venue like on a skating rink or something like that, we’re able to really step in and produce what they need us to produce for those different venues. That’s one of the ways we’re able to really cater to our clients.
Anthony: Let me pull back a little bit
Brittany: Yeah, sure.
Anthony: Is that something that you work out with the bride and the groom themselves or is it something that you work out personally with the venue that you come into contact with? Is that-
Brittany: Sure. It’s really a collaboration piece. We work really closely with the venue for the weather contingency plan and we also work really closely with the client. We want to make sure that if it is raining in the forecast or any type of inclement weather, that they’re okay with whatever decisions we make as a backup plan and then, also that the venue that we’re working with can actually accommodate and if they can’t accommodate, then what needs to be that plan B, or plan C for that matter. It’s really a collaborative piece. We try to work really close with the venue. We bring the couple in but we don’t want to overwhelm them. A lot of it’s taken care of and we bring it to them just for their approval.
Anthony: That’s awesome. Weather contingency … There was a wedding I was shooting this year and if they didn’t have a contingency, it would have been bad. I’m talking hail, gusting winds, rivers underneath the tent that we were in. It was bad. That’s awesome that you ensure that your couples have that. Talk about coverage.
Brittany: Yeah, and it’s free. It’s not something that we add on. It’s not a nickel and dime service because it’s essential. It’s an essential service. All of our packages are built like that so we don’t throw in a lot of fluff. It’s very essential pieces that are going to make the best wedding day possible.
Anthony: Yep, that’s beautiful. That is beautiful. That’s beautiful. Okay. I want to say how important then is it that you have the contact information of your client’s vendors as well?
Brittany: Sure. It’s important that we have information that our clients have gotten from previous vendors or vendors that they booked with. Now, this more so applies for day of coordination or six-month coordination where we’re not sourcing vendors but for the six-month coordination package where the client is sourcing their own vendors or are booking their own vendors, it’s really important because what I always say is we’re only as good as the information that our clients provide us. If they tell us something really off, you know what I mean, then that’s what we’re going to work off of. It’s important that we have the information, the accurate information because that’s how we’re able to really service the client the best way.
Anthony: Got you. I got you. That makes perfect sense. That makes perfect sense. What is it like to work with Build A Wedding?
Brittany: Sure. On my end, it’s exhilarating but … I think for my couples, it’s the same experience. Booking with Build A Wedding is not just a business transaction for us. It’s an emotional investment for our team as well. Not every bride’s going to be the best fit and that’s the truth but when we do get our brides, we love them. It’s a great experience from the beginning because our team is genuinely excited when clients book. We love our brides. It’s a great process from the very beginning.
It’s funny. I joke sometimes that I speak with my clients probably more than I do with my family sometimes. We talk every other day and sometimes, multiple times a day. It’s just that frequent communication from the very beginning that causes that trust to begin to build and that relationship to begin to form with our clients. Once they start that process, we begin the pre-planning and then, we move into the actual planning portion. They receive timelines and schedules and they know kind of what to expect as we move forward in the planning process. There’s also a lot of touch and go. We’ll meet … We have site visits and vendor meetings and things like that. As that relationship continues to build, we eventually get to the wedding day and that’s obviously my favorite part because it’s just everything just kind of brought into fruition.
Anthony: Comes together. Yep. It comes together.
Brittany: It comes together, exactly. When that wedding day hits and their guests are out there dancing and they’re having a great time and they’re saying hi to their guests and they’re thanking their guests for coming, it’s beautiful because we embrace them. We are able to congratulate them on embarking on the very beginning of their happily ever after. That’s what does it for us.
Anthony: That’s awesome. I feel the same way when it comes to my couples. You spend all of this time planning with them, helping them in whatever way you can. We’re service based. We’re not just providing our talents.
Brittany: Absolutely. Yes.
Anthony: We’re service based. In that service, we want to build that relationship.
Anthony: I always tell my people I want to become friends with you especially as a photographer. I’m going to see you more than you’re going to see your spouse the day of … You know what I mean?
Brittany: Yes, right. Yeah.
Anthony: I definitely agree with you on the saying that you build that relationship and you love on your people just like you do …
Brittany: You do. You do.
Anthony: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Brittany: What makes them feel comfortable, yeah.
Anthony: I guess the last question I have, kind of leading off into that, what can clients do themselves to help you deliver their dream wedding?
Brittany: The truth, the honest answer is it’s honestly premarital counseling and communication, great communication. Premarital counseling sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s often because the misconception is that people believe that either your relationship has to be super rocky to go into premarital counseling or that if you do it, that it may cause problems in your relationship moving forward and that couldn’t be more false.
What we do is we require our clients to at least have two hours minimum of premarital counseling. We take care of an hour for them too, complementary, with any package that they purchase just because we believe more in a healthy and strong, long lasting marriage than we do in a 12-hour wedding day. We love our weddings. We love hosting fabulous weddings but we love long lasting marriages with happily ever afters even more. That is the goal.
Honestly, with premarital counseling and communication, it develops them in so many different ways. It allows them to be able to deal with conflict resolution and if they end up having a disagreement, maybe the couple doesn’t really know what are their buttons not to push, what are some pain points, what are some areas in their life where they may haven’t discussed it yet. It’s brought up. It’s a great environment. Premarital counseling creates an environment for conversation to be had.
How that benefits us is it allows for us to deal with a healthy couple, a couple who is walking into marriage with their eyes wide open. They know what to expect. They know that this is the person that they want to spend the rest of their lives with. Then, we’re able to really help them because they have a clear understanding of what they want, what their budget is, what they’re comfortable with, what they’re not comfortable with and then, we’re able to take that information and then produce results that they really want.
Anthony: Beautiful. That’s so cool that you advocate for counseling.
Brittany: Absolutely. Yeah.
Anthony: One of my mentors told me when I was getting ready to get married, he said, “Don’t look down on counseling.” Then, he put this next to it. He said, “You take your car in for regular checkups, don’t you?” I was like, “Yeah.” “Then, why not do that for your marriage?”
Anthony: Like you said, it’s not anything to look down upon.
Anthony: It’s kind of helping in preparing yourself and arming yourself to be able to handle conflict that may arise.
Anthony: That’s awesome. I think that leads right back into what you were saying that you actually care about your people. That’s awesome.
Brittany: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Anthony: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Good on you.
Brittany: No, no. I’m so happy we may do it and everybody’s really, really … I think that it really is a benefit to them. We rarely have … It’s actually never happened when someone goes … When our clients go to premarital counseling, they never come back and say, “Why do you all … Why do you require that? That’s so stupid.” It’s always been a benefit to them and they’ve been together. None of our clients, as far as we know, have divorced. They’re still together. We keep up with them. They’re building houses and having babies and we are so thrilled and we love our clients and we love their marriages.
Anthony: Awesome. Thank you for stopping to talk with me.
Brittany: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Anthony: I appreciate it. I know they’re going to appreciate it so if you want to work with Build A Wedding, this is one of the ladies you need to get in touch with. Matter of fact, how can folks find you, follow you, all that kind of stuff?
Brittany: Sure. Absolutely. Our number, you can call us at 314-266-2667. Again, that’s 314-266-2667. You can also shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com. You can also find us on The Knot. I think you’re on there too, The Knot. We’re also on Wedding Wire, as well as Instagram, Facebook at just Build A Wedding. Build A Wedding so check us out.
Anthony: What about website?
Brittany: Website, right.
Anthony: You need a website.
Brittany: Right. It’s at all of those other things too but it’s www.buildaweddingstl.com.
Anthony: Cool. I will see you soon.
Anthony: I know they’re going to see you soon and yeah, talk to you soon, all right?
Brittany: All right. Thanks.
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St. Louis Wedding Photographer
Hey, I’m Anthony, St. Louis Wedding Photographer! If you or a friend have a wedding coming up soon feel free to reach out to me. I’d really enjoy chatting it up with you, and learning what it is that you look forward to about your wedding, LET’S TALK! Visit me at www.HeavenlyLoveStudios.com