After you experience all of the joys of getting engaged, there is always a moment – it’s the feeling of “now what?” that washes over you. There are so many large and small details associated with planning and executing your wedding day, and quite frankly, help may just be essential. If you are from the Philadelphia area, meet event planner Erin Proud.
Erin graduated from the University of Delaware, where she majored in Hotel & Restaurant Management and learned that she could have a career as an event planner. Throw many years spent working as a corporate planner and times planning her own wedding and those of Philadelphia area couples into the mix, and you can fast forward to the present. Now Erin is the owner of Proud to Plan, an event planning company specializing in weddings. She not only helps Philadelphia couples choose all of the details of their weddings, but Erin can personalize them too with her own line of stationary, which she designs with the help of her creative husband.
Below in today’s Q & A, Erin talks about her Philadelphia wedding favorites from locations and vendors to how to incorporate the area’s seasons and potential for a destination wedding into your day (and everything in between!). So, relax for a couple minutes and let Erin – a featured event planner on Style Me Pretty, number one planner on Philly’s Hot List, and upstate Delaware’s Best Wedding Planner – help you plan your wedding day (or weekend).
Going to the Chapel: From venues and locations to florists, DJ’s, cakes, and food – why is the Philadelphia area perfect for a wedding? Who do you think are some of the best vendors and why?
Erin Proud: Philadelphia is the perfect setting for a wedding because there are so many options available! You can have a city wedding, estate wedding, waterfront wedding or country wedding…all within a 30 minute drive! There are so many talented professionals in the Philadelphia wedding industry! The list of my favorites is so long and I’m afraid of leaving people out, but my favorite photographer is Jennifer Childress– she’s extremely talented but her personality is the best! She’s a firecracker and keeps her clients (and other wedding pros) in stitches all night! My favorite DJ’s are Synergetic Sound and Lighting. Working with them is always a pleasure- they are professional, anti-cheesy, and are the best beat-mixers out there! Plus, I love that they offer lighting and draping, too. My clients are always looking for something that makes their weddings stand out from the rest, and Synergetic does a great job of creating a lighting design that wows guests as they enter the room. If my clients want a band, I send them directly to Jellyroll– Kurt and his crew are INCREDIBLE and so much fun to work with. I’m also a HUGE advocate for hiring a videographer, and Blossom Productions is my absolute favorite. Their films are so full of beauty and emotion…I end up crying every time I watch one! When it comes to florals, my go-to girl is Brittany from Petals Lane. Hands down, she blows my clients away every single time. If my clients are looking for an Officiant, I tell them to call Andy Mahaney, the Wedding Pastor. His ceremonies are always a personal reflection of the couple and he fills it with lots of funny touches and sweet words the bride & groom have shared about each other. When it comes to making the bride look her best, I recommend Cheekadee for makeup and Meghan Cahill for hair. They are my beauty dream team!
GTTC: What are some of your favorite hidden gems in and around the Philadelphia area? Why?
EP: The Arts Ballroom is brand new and a stunning venue right in the thick of center city. Plus, Starr catering does an amazing job with the food! I also love Stotesbury Mansion- you’d never know by walking past that inside is an amazing ballroom and 3 stories of rooms full of history and charm. Out in the suburbs, I love Appleford Estate. It’s an enchanting spot perfect for elegant and rustic weddings. Just over the line in Delaware is Archmere Academy, and their space is so unique and the outdoor patio is gorgeous.
GTTC: What are some of your go to ways for couples to incorporate Philadelphia’s varied seasons (and weather!) into their wedding day?
EP: The Philly area has definitely got four very distinct seasons! Spring couples can take advantage of springtime blooms at one of the many venues that offer garden settings for ceremonies, like Cairnwood Estate or Winterthur Musuem & Gardens. Summer couples can take the destination wedding approach and have a jersey shore wedding, on the beach, complete with fun boardwalk touches at the reception! Beautiful fall colors create the perfect color palette for Autumn couples -using local produce in your wedding décor (like apples from Linvilla Orchards!) is a unique way to incorporate those rich tones. Winter weddings can be a great chance to create a cozy ambiance through lighting and sparkle, but just remember the weather can be horrendous, so be sure to invest in wedding insurance!
GTTC: Philadelphia can be a great location for a destination wedding. How can a couple turn their wedding day into a weekend full of Philly fun?
EP: There are lots of options for couples that want to make a weekend out of their Philly wedding. They could offer guided bus tours, scavenger hunts around the city, revolutionary ghost tours of Old City, Duck Boat rides, visits to Reading Terminal Market. Wineries in Chadds Ford offer many tasting events on the weekends. They could even do day trips to the Jersey Shore, New York City or Washington DC. Philly is the perfect spot- right in the middle of everything!
GTTC: Are you seeing any new wedding trends emerging in this area?
EP: Since the economy still hasn’t fully rebounded, couples are still trying to find creative ways to cut costs. The result is weddings that are very stylized, very crafty, very personal. Couples are taking the time to really think through every detail and consider if it’s something they can DIY or something they choose to purchase or rent. It’s a great task for them to focus on as a “team” and because there’s so much love involved in creating the day, the touches seem to shine that much more.
GTTC: Do you have a story about a wedding you planned for a couple and loved from start to finish? What were some of your favorite details?
EP: It’s so hard to choose just one, we have had some really spectacular events and fantastic clients!
Usually it starts with the other wedding professionals involved, and the location where the wedding will be held. So, basically, if I’m spending a day of celebration at a beautiful location with all of the people I like most, then it’s always a memorable one!
I also love really excited couples- the ones that are brimming with ideas and are receptive to unique details. I know that they have worked really hard at bringing ideas to life, so I love that audible gasp we hear when they see the reception room for the first time. I love hearing guests talking about how amazing everything is and I love hearing that it was the best wedding they have ever attended. It makes me really happy to know we had a hand in making someone’s dreams become a reality.
With her eye for details and her ever growing list of favorite Philly vendors, I’m sure it won’t take long for Erin and Proud to Plan to be known throughout the country for their wedding planning excellence.
If you would like to contact Erin and the Proud to Plan team, be sure to check out her website. In order to stay updated on all that Proud to Plan has to offer, like them on Facebook (they already have 3,000 fans!), follow them on Twitter, or be sure to visit their blog.
*photo courtesy Erin Proud