For this week’s vendor spotlight, we are featuring one of our preferred planners, Ashley Nicole! She has been in the wedding industry for almost a decade and has done everything from sales, venue management, banquet captain, chapel coordination before finally becoming and independent wedding consultant!
Ashley’s journey into wedding coordinating started when she got her masters in Recreation, Park and Tourism with an emphasis in Event Management from Western Illinois University. There, she worked for a student organization that planned the broadway and musical concerts. Ashley had the opportunity to fly to NYC on several talent scouting tours—she even got to meet and talk with the artists!
“Weddings are weddings are weddings.”
What Ashley loves most about weddings is interacting with each couple and making a “wedding” truly unique and special for them. Like all good planners, she takes notes, meets with vendors, and is friendly and organized. Ashley says that what makes her different from others is that she is what you see. Sometimes she’ll have no makeup on, live in her jeans and is completely content with talking final plans over a slice of pizza.
“There is a time for formality (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to dress up) but then there is also a time to just be. Be you and be you boldly”
With over a decade of planning under Ashley’s belt, she has had some type of connection to over 280 events—some corporate, most weddings. As an independent coordinator, she usually takes one wedding a weekend.
“I can only be one place at a time… though I do think I have some super powers!”
Ashley tries not to take more than 25/30 events a year. Some years she does more, some years less.
“The season of life that I am currently in, I am working more. For now, this works.”
As much as Ashley loves weddings and her favorite part of the day is the last 5-10 minutes before guests enter and the space is empty. She says with all the hard work that brides, grooms and families put into planning every last perfect detail, it all gets destroyed the minute guests enter the space.
“Picture it, all of the candles are light, the lights have been dimmed, soft music is playing and it is clean. It is quiet, it is peaceful. The room looks beautiful and I can step back and really take in all of the blood, sweat and tears me and my clients have put into creating this moment.”
Ashley’s favorite part is for just those few moments—“we have suspended perfection.” Then the doors open and guests pour in and begin touching everything.
When it comes to the time of year for a wedding, Ashley thinks there really is no bad time for one. She loves the spring because of the promise of new life, growth and change. She also loves the fall because of the crisp cool nights and changing colors. Winter is special because she says you can save money on decorations if you find a venue that decorates for the holidays.
“Summer… I have a love/hate relationship with because it is HOT and HUMID and who wants to be all sweaty and gross on the most important day of their lives… but if my client loves the summer, then so do I!”
Ashley’s biggest suggestion for newly engaged couples is to set a budget. After you’ve done that she says to write every wish, dream and desire down and begin to prioritize. That way if you only have a certain amount of money to spend, you can decide what is a true priority and put more of the budget towards those and less to the things that aren’t as important.
“I always say Food, Beverage, Floral, Photography and Music should be on everyone’s top priority list.”
She points out that the photos are forever and if you are holding a bouquet—you will see that forever. Ashley says once all the priorities are set, if there is room left in the budget, go crazy!
Another important piece of advice that Ashley wants to share is to never stop dating your fiancé or spouse. The wedding only lasts one day, but your marriage is for forever.
“Do not let the stress of planning a wedding ruin your relationship.”
Her final words of wisdom to those who are newly engaged is, when all else fails… hire a planner!
“You only get one shot at making this an epic adventure and a good planner always has your best interests at heart. They can also help you prioritize, so it is a win win!”