I caught up with Amanda Felsman, the young and local wedding planner who founded Tailored Engagements, after being co-speakers with her for a UWM communications class. I loved the portfolio of wedding photos she showed the class, and decided to follow up with her for Milwaukee Bride. Behold:
Claire Hanan: When did you realize you wanted to become a wedding planner?
Amanda Felsman: I have always been involved in planning events. In high school I loved designing décor, tickets and posters for school dances, and in college I was always a part of campus events, but I didn't realize it could translate into a profession until later.
Like most freshmen in college, I felt a bit lost and very confused so I took one of those career placement tests. One of my results was an event coordinator, which, to be honest, I didn't even know existed at the time. The idea of planning events for a living got me excited, so I researched the different options. I fell in love with the idea of weddings.
Heather Cook Elliot Photography.
CH: How did you start planning weddings once you realized what you wanted to do?
AF: Wedding planning is a tough field to get into and I knew I had to get my feet wet somewhere. So in college I took an internship in the fundraising industry. I continued with that path after college and tried my hand at some events, both in the non-profit and corporate event planning field. I worked on weddings on the side just from word-of-mouth references, and while I liked being a part of any event, I loved the emotion and detail that went into wedding days. I decided to make it my full-time profession after a couple years of doing it as a hobby. I haven't looked back since.
Heather Cook Elliot Photography.
CH: I believe you said during that UWM class that you planned your own wedding. During the planning process, what was your favorite part, and what was your least favorite part?
AF: I did plan my own wedding, and loved and hated almost every minute of the planning. It is so much easier supporting a bride who is planning her big day. When your friends and family are involved, you get pulled in so many directions and start second guessing the decisions you're making.
I guess that would be my least favorite part; the stress of thinking you can try to please everyone. On the other hand, I loved making the day our own. We incorporated our favorite food and drink and included little details that were special to us. Our cutting cake was made from my husband's grandma's famous recipe and we cut it with the cake knife my parents used at their wedding. We wanted the day to be about us, but to also be about having a great time with our guests.
Of course, I also loved planning all of the décor. I gathered crystals from vintage chandeliers and hand painted all of our food description signs with details about why we chose everything. In the end, the details that meant something to us are the ones that we remember.
CH: What is your favorite and least favorite part about being a wedding planner?
AF: My favorite part of my job is getting to know my couples. I spend so much time with them and get to know them well. I am a sounding board, a support system, a shoulder to cry on, and I love being part of all of the fun. I love seeing the look on a bride's face when she sees her reception for the first time, and the look on the groom's face when he sees how happy it makes her. I love getting a huge hug at the end of the night and being a part of something so special each weekend. I also love hearing from a bride that she had the perfect day and that we made it possible. That will never get old!
My least favorite part of being a wedding planner is dealing with difficult family dynamics. I always want the day to be about the bride and groom, and although I want parents and grandparents to have an amazing day as well, it can be hard to juggle all of the different interests involved. Most of my couples have amazing parents and support systems, and as much as I love getting a hug from my bride at the end of the night I enjoy them from moms, too.
CH: In your opinion, what is the most important thing a bride-to-be can do during the planning process?
AF: I tell all of my clients to make a list as a couple of their top five priorities for the wedding. It's a way for them to have a conversation about what they are both interested in for the wedding. It also ensures that they are on the same page early in the planning. From there, focus on those top five right away.
Then book those vendors first.