Making Every Wedding Special
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Insights from California-based wedding planner, Merryl Brown
With the Royal Wedding kicking off wedding season on 19 May, the world is waiting to see the trends and traditions that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will honor on their special day. Planners know that heavily publicized events like the Royal Wedding can majorly influence and establish wedding trends for years to come — brides still seek out replicas of Kate Middleton’s iconic long-sleeved gown from the 2011 wedding. Not to mention the rise of wedding inspiration sites like Pinterest, The Knot and wedding blogs, which have given couples have a wealth of information, trends and ideas to sort through and choose between. With event planners doing anywhere between 10 and 20 weddings a year on average, how do professionals cultivate a unique wedding experience for each and every one? ILEA asked Merryl Brown, the president and creative director of Merryl Brown Events, how her events company brings every couples’ personality front and center on their special day.
Wedding Trends: To Follow or Not To Follow?
Many wedding trends, Brown points out, are created when people adopt elements from high-profile weddings. While Brown is looking forward to the elegance and pageantry of the Royal Wedding, she also anticipates that many of these elements will be repeated in different colors or other subtle changes for the next couple of years. Trends can be a great jumping off point for ideas, but Brown prefers to a put a strong focus on the distinctive attributes of the couple to wed. “We typically blend old-world elegance with the unique, experiential elements that transport guests beyond a tent or ballroom,” she says. “Our work is about creating something that is uniquely representative of the couple getting married.”
Adding Personalized Elements
Today, Brown shares with us a couple of different elements she and her team have incorporated to add charm, sophistication and personality. Any of these elements can be built and modified to truly reflect the specific interests, design aesthe tics or food cravings of the couple.
- Opulent tablescapes. Brown’s favorite vendors to work with enable the team to stay true to the creative vision. She works with a tablescape company, who even "curated an incredible collection of Haviland Limoges porcelain and sterling silver flatware that has graced many of our social and corporate dining tables over the years.” She says. “We build upon this look by adding in gorgeous Italian linens from Resource One and Haviland chargers from Theoni."
- “Shops” for guests to visit. A special after-party treat, Brown has implemented pop-up shops for guests including a charming French patisserie, complete with custom cakes, confections and servers in matching aprons serving guests on antique plates. For those with a more savory palette, she’s also done a charcuterie and fromagerie. Brown says, “Guests love these types of experiences for when the after party begins, allowing for late-night bites, as well as the opportunity to select an assortment of post-event bedtime snacks.”
Focusing on the Ideal Client
How can planners ensure that they are building a wedding experience that truly speaks to their clients? Creating personalized weddings starts with having a great connection with the two people to wed. Recently, we discussed ways to narrow your scope to only your ideal prospects. In that same vein, refining the amount of weddings your business takes on can help safeguard that every client gets a wedding experience that is completely tailored to them. Says Brown, “We take the weddings that we want to take, with clients that we genuinely connect with. We interview each other at the outset and if it is a great fit, we are off to the races!” Because her company only focuses on the clientele they want to work with, they can truly be available 24/7 for anything they need throughout the planning process. By only taking a limited number of weddings a year, her team can really “throw themselves into the creative and oftentimes emotional process with our clients.”
While Merryl Brown Events does all types of events, she recognizes that weddings require a very specific and personal kind of attention. Brown recommends taking the time to get to understand the clients’ wishes and assembling a detail-oriented team that can to make their vision come to life. The reason she is in wedding planning comes down to the close relationships that she forms with her clients. “We get to know many generations of the couples’ families in a lasting and deeply connected way.” She points out. “Often, we become friends for life. I love this very human aspect of what we do.”
Read even more ideas on wedding planning in an interview with Morgan Doan, CSEP here.
Merryl Brown Events (MBE) is an award-winning event design and production company that creates exceptional experiential events for individuals and corporate clients. President and Creative Director Merryl Brown received her Master’s degree from Columbia University School of International Affairs and is a former New York-based, multilingual international banker. Merryl brings over thirty years of project management expertise to the events that her company produces. MBE accepts a limited number of engagements each year in order to give their clients the highest level of personalized service. Merryl Brown Events is best known for their boundless creativity, discretion, integrity and unparalleled attention to detail.
Cover and Photo 2 credit: Elizabeth Messina
Photo 1 and 3 credit: Jose Villa