March 18th, 2018

Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner | Let’s hear from a few local favorites

When it comes to planning your wedding, I would say hiring a wedding planner is one of the most important things you can do! They are there from the very beginning and see everything through the end. They help turn your vision of one of the most special days of your life into a reality. They keep everything cohesive with paying close attention to making each event unique and personal for their couples.

When my husband and I got married in 2014, I knew nothing about weddings. All I knew was I was marrying the love of my life. I had the slightest clue of what went into a wedding day and all of the things that needed to be accounted for. We were also blessed with a rainy September day in Connecticut. We had no planner and there was no rain plan. There wasn’t even a timeline in place. The ceremony was moved inside. The whole day ran 45 minutes behind. Which caused dinner to be behind and a late start to all of the fun festivities we had planned. Without a timeline or a plan, this left my husband and I with 5 minutes of couple’s portraits. Being a wedding photographer now, this breaks my heart. But it is also one of the reasons I eventually became a wedding photographer. You can read more about my story on the About Page. And honestly, why would I have known how to plan a wedding? Most people getting married, have never planned a wedding before. So let’s leave it to the experts.

Planners spend HUNDREDS of hours putting your day together. ( According to Stephanie Shaul Events, Stephanie spends around 400-450 hours for every wedding she plans! ) Everything from choosing your vendors, managing your budget, navigating through RSVP’s, seating charts and so much more. They bring fresh and unique ideas to the table. Some you may not even of considered. They have preferred vendors they recommend that know how to perform a timely and professional service. There is nothing worse than working with a wedding vendor who doesn’t know or care about the wedding day timeline. If one thing is running late, it causes the whole day to run late. ( And from a photographer’s perspective, every minute that passes by is less time for those gorgeous sunset portraits with my bride and groom ) Wedding planners ensure that the day runs smoothly and everyone is sticking to the timeline. But most importantly, they allow you to ” Just Be ” on your wedding day. They allow you to soak in every moment possible without worrying about the little things. Wedding planners truly care about their couples and have their best interest in mind. And at the end of the day, they just want to design a beautiful wedding that is meaningful and unique to their clients!

Below are four of my favorite wedding planners in the Raleigh area. I asked each of them the same questions and I have loved reading through their answers. I loved hearing how they started and their heart behind the business. Each planner brings so much value and has a unique voice when it comes to style and aesthetic. It was an honor to have them participate and featured on this post. I hope you enjoy reading through their answers as much as I loved putting this together. You will not be disappointed if you hire one of these power house ladies to plan your BIGGEST day!

First up,

PLUME EVENTS | Amy Plant-Perdue ; Owner & Lead Planner

How did you get started?


I have always loved weddings—even as a young girl, Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine was my favorite, and I would mark my favorite pages with post-it notes. I worked in the wedding and event industry in various capacities, including working for a catering company and a bridal shop, in college and through my early twenties. Plume Events began after the joy I found in planning my own wedding, which was in 2013. We originally started as a vintage rental company, but after a bride asked me to help her plan and design her wedding because she loved the images of my own so much, I fell in love with planning. Eventually we dropped vintage rentals, but added floral design and have been focused on planning, designing, and flowering beautiful and meaningful weddings ever since.

How would you describe your design style and aesthetic?


We always say that a plume events occasion is classic in look, but not traditional in feel, meaningfully and creatively crafted, and designed with love and with love in mind. Our clients are discerning and appreciate how we pair a classic and romantic aesthetic that is often a little bit southern and a little bit vintage with meaningful details that tell their unique love story.

What is your heart behind the business? Your why behind the what?


Before I started my business, I was a high school English teacher, and I believe one of the main reasons I am drawn to weddings is the same thing that drew me to literature—symbolism. I love the idea that a wedding is really a symbol of the choice you make to commit yourself and your life to another person. That is why I believe your wedding design is a way to share that love story and celebrate it with loved ones. It is my goal to help you craft a day that is as special as it is beautiful

Why should couple’s hire your team as their wedding planner? What makes you different? 


My team and I pride ourselves on being able to both create a beautiful design and execute the day’s logistics equally well. We also take the time to get to know our clients before ever even starting on their wedding design. Since we believe their design should represent them, it is so important that we know them first! We also love that we are able to offer floral design to our couples. Not only does it simplify the planning process for them, but since florals are such a huge part of the overall design, it helps keep everything cohesive. The design and the execution of the design are coming from the same place.

Website : https://www.plumeevents.com/ | IG : @plumeevents

KAST EVENTS | Cheryl-Anne Kast ; Owner & Lead Planner

How did you get started?

I was born and raised in South Africa and began my career in the events industry with a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts from The Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch, South Africa. My passion for impeccable cuisine landed me a position as Pastry Chef at the Conran Group’s acclaimed London eatery, Coq d’Argent. With stops at Lambs of Stratford-upon-Avon and the World Service Restaurant in Nottingham, I honed my skills as a Pastry Chef and gained extensive knowledge of catering and events.

In 2006 I made a fateful move to the Tarheel State with the opportunity to join the AAA Five Diamond Fearrington House Restaurant, a Relais & Chateaux treasure nestled in the lush farmland of Pittsboro, NC. 

I always had a passion for bringing people together around a dinner table, so eventually I  made a smooth transition from the kitchen to Catering Manager and Weddings and Special Events Manager.

In 2015, I found Kast Events and Company, giving me the opportunity to serve a more diverse clientele and to allow my creative flag to fly!

How would you describe your design style and aesthetic?

Above all else, we keep your style and vision in mind. We want your day to speak to who you are as a couple. We pride ourselves in designing classic, understated, timeless events. Every design element incorporated in your day has meaning and is crafted with intent.

What is your heart behind the business? Your why behind the what?

I have always enjoyed bringing people together and having company over around a dinner table. Gathering and good company is what it is about for and truly designing with intent. Every little detail has a meaning behind it.  We listen, truly listen to our couples and design a day that truly speaks to them as a couple.  I am proud to say I am in good company with a team of assistants and hand-selected vendors that are truly the area’s best. Together we make sweet lifelong memories for couples as they celebrate the happiest day of their life together.

Why should couple’s hire your team as their wedding planner? What makes you different? 

We are a team of experienced planners with well over 800 weddings under the belt and close to 12 years of event planning experience. But above the experience, we care very deeply about our clients and strive to make every part of the planning process a true joy ! We are there for them every step of the way and guide them down the path. We believe when it comes down to the details for our clients wedding day , when everything is done with intent and thought, that the results are event better than anyone would of ever thought! We strive to create a day that is truly theirs! 

Website : https://kasteventsnc.com/ | IG : @kasteventsandco

AMANDA BLAIR BY DESIGN | Heather Lawson ; Lead Planner

How did you get started?


Long story short, I worked at NC State as a health educator, for about 4 years, hosting health related events for the University. While there, I met a friend of Amandas, Ashley, who for years told me how much Amanda and I were alike. I reached out to Amanda in late 2018 and started helping her day-of with events at the start of 2019. I started taking on my own clients later that year and she offered me a full time job and I would absolutely never look back! Getting to wake up each day and work in a profession that you completely love is the greatest blessing!


How would you describe your design style and aesthetic?


I would say my design style is romantic, whimsical and timeless. I am a huge fan of neutrals but not afraid of color. I love mixing traditional styles with fresh ideas to make any client’s vision come to life. Whether it be a 2 year olds birthday party, an intimate elopement or a 200 person wedding, I enjoy researching upcoming trends and new ideas to make our clients have stand out designs! I find inspiration in the most interesting places and always welcome new ideas and concepts. 

What is your heart behind the business? Your why behind the what?


The heart behind our business is the intentionality we enter into each client relationship with. Our hearts are deeply invested and really steer our business. From the first thrill of booking a new client, to sitting down and getting to meet their partner and families, we love being a part of such a special moment and journey. Being entrusted with someone’s wedding day is a huge responsibility that we do not take lightly. We do our absolute best to make sure your wedding day is a reflection of you as a couple and we will always remind you of what the day is truly about, marrying your person, your confidant, your best friend. As planners and designers it is easy to get caught up in the more is more mentality. We are not that! We plan and design intentionally so all of your details big and small fashion an exceptional experience for you and your guests!

Why should couple’s hire your team as their wedding planner? What makes you different? 


I think what makes us different is us! When you book Amanda Blair By Design you get Amanda and I both. We are a team in every aspect of the word! We consult each other and work together to ensure our clients are 100% satisfied with their choice of booking us! We have different strengths but the same ideals which make for a great working pair. We tend to have 50-60 weddings a year but try to make each client feel like they are the only. It is our hope that from the moment we book with a client to years after their wedding day, that they feel we have provided them detail-oriented planning, unparalleled design, had friendly and caring spirits and that their wedding was the best day ever, partially because of us! It’s the age old saying, “when you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life”. We absolutely feel that way and are lucky to be wedding and event planners and designers.

Website : https://amandablairbydesign.com/ | IG : @amandablair_bydesign

STEPHANIE SHAUL EVENTS | Stephanie Shaul ; Owner & Lead Planner

How did you get started?

I’ve always been the girl who loved weddings and who planned all of the parties and events, so it’s only natural that I’m now a wedding planner and have been for 6.5 years now! It’s funny, though, that I never considered wedding planning as a career until later into my 20s. I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2009 with a double major in Psychology and Sociology, and I fully intended to go to grad school a few years later for social work or counseling. I moved to Washington, DC right after college and spent six years living and working in our nation’s capital – and I loved it! I planned events for several organizations throughout college, so it was only natural that my love of serving others, organization and design, and planning events came to fruition in my first job out of college. I was the national conference planner for the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs and learned quickly what it was like to plan national, full-scale events with large budgets for thousands of federal employees. I also worked (and volunteered) for several years as a program manager for a mentoring and literacy non-profit in Washington, DC for inner-city elementary school students. During those years, I attended 33 weddings in 3 years and was a bridesmaid numerous times! To make a long story fairly concise, I realized my deep love of weddings, of event management and logistics, evolved into a designer and stylist, and launched Stephanie Shaul Events (formerly Stephanie Scholl Events, my maiden name) in January 2014. I moved to Raleigh, NC in 2015 when I took Stephanie Shaul Events full-time, and I’ve never looked back! This business of mine is the culmination of my talents and heart, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I adore serving engaged couples wholeheartedly and loving them well, and I feel like wedding planning brings together everything I am best at to plan, design, and style weddings with beautiful details, meaningful design, and a joyful process and experience!

I married my incredible husband Rob in April of 2017, and it was absolutely the best day of our lives (and yes, I planned and designed every bit of it and loved doing so!). You can read all about our wedding day here! As perfect and joyful as our wedding day was, marriage is truly just that much better. I know how important it was for us to have a marriage more beautiful than our wedding, and that’s what I want each and every one of my couples to experience, too!

Being a recent bride and newlywed has tremendously impacted and shaped my business and how I serve my couples. I know our wedding vendors went above and beyond throughout our engagement and on our wedding day, which is something I’ll never forget and am forever grateful for. And that’s precisely the kind of care, attention, expertise, and love I always want to ensure my couples experience from start to finish (and beyond)!

How would you describe your design style and aesthetic?

Unabashedly joyful and romantic, southern and heartfelt, grace-filled and elegant, meaningful and intentional, fresh, unique, personalized, celebratory, inviting, and warm.

Focused on what matters most to my couples

Stunning, bespoke details and design that tell each couples’ love story while also celebrating and loving their wedding guests well

A lover of dusty French blue, white, and plentiful pops of color

What is your heart behind the business? Your why behind the what?

The heart and mission of Stephanie Shaul Events is to plan grace-filled, elegant, joyful weddings with beautiful, meaningful, Southern details and design, and we believe in loving our couples well throughout their entire engagement, on their wedding day, and as they begin married life. We are rooted in legacy and strong marriages, kindness and joy, serving others wholeheartedly, and grace-filled love. My heart is to design and celebrate extraordinary moments, and both my business and my life are  rooted in love, legacy, faith, and intention

Stephanie Shaul Events aims to authentically make each wedding uniquely stunning and meaningful to our couples’ love stories. Weddings are definitely about the beautiful details and smooth execution, but they’re also about much more than just that! We believe that each wedding is the perfect opportunity to celebrate that couple’s love and the legacy, traditions, beauty, and joy that make up their life. We believe in marriages that are strong and lasting and that your wedding day is the first day of that beautiful marriage! We unabashedly love LOVE and celebrating that love alongside you. We will take all of the stress and overwhelming details out of wedding planning so that you (and your family) can focus on the most important things and so that your engagement is calm, enjoyable, and fun!

My heart for strong marriages runs deep, and marriage is a definite pillar of my business. As much as I adore weddings and my job as a wedding planner, I know that there is so much more than just this one day. Marriage is what matters. A lifetime of love (messy, joyful, challenging, and full of grace!) is what the focus truly is and should be. I want my couples, my friends, and my husband and myself to have marriages so much more beautiful than our wedding days. I want engagements to be filled with marriage planning and big dreams and deep conversations – not just wedding planning. I want you to know that there is so much more to come after your wedding day! That’s why I do the work that I do: so that my brides and grooms can focus more on their upcoming marriage than just on wedding planning and so that their engagement season is joy-filled and not stress-filled. Marriage and your legacy matters!

Why should couple’s hire your team as their wedding planner? What makes you different? 

I joyfully work with my couples from the beginning of the wedding planning process to make their dream wedding vision a reality and to authentically, intentionally tell their love story. I get to know my couples, their love story, and what’s most important to them as I kick off the comprehensive planning and design process, curate their ideal team of vendors and talent, design every aspect of their wedding for a personalized, cohesive, and heartfelt celebration, and meticulously plan every little detail and over-arching logistic. With a heart for marriage and unending love, I bring to life their dream wedding days that are as joyful, meaningful, stunning, and love-filled as they’ve always dreamt it would be!

My passion is in the details and in fresh, beautiful, meaningful design, and that’s precisely where wedding and event magic happens. Wedding planning can be a stressful and overwhelming process, and I want to take all of the worry and stress off of my couples so that they can fully enjoy their engagement and joyfully prepare for marriage. My expertise, logistical planning, and creative eye for design allows them and their families to thoroughly enjoy the wedding planning process and their wedding day.

My unparalleled expertise and wisdom, extraordinary eye for detail, appreciation for fresh yet timeless design, calm and joyful demeanor, and penchant for beautiful, romantic styling are combined to provide my couples with the wedding day of their dreams; flawlessly executed, meaningful and fresh in design, and beautiful in every way. I serve each and every one of my couples wholeheartedly from the start of the wedding planning process through the wedding day (and beyond!). 

For the last 6+ years, it’s been my biggest joy and honor to plan, design, and style weddings for the most incredible couples imaginable, to be surrounded by love and beauty on a daily basis, to have the pleasure of creating alongside the most talented and kind professionals in the wedding industry, and to have clients turn into dear friends. I’m able to use the talents and passions the Lord has blessed me with to serve others wisely and generously, to spread as much love, joy, and beauty as possible, and to celebrate life, love, and marriage.

Website: https://stephanieshaul.com/ | IG : @stephanieshaul

  • Photo Credit from Top to Bottom : Jamie Vinson Photography, Alaina Ronquillo Photography (ARP), ARP
  • Krystal Kast Photography, AJ Dunlap, Anagram Photo
  • ARP, ARP, ARP,
  • Ally & Bobby, Adelyn Boling Photography, Anagram Photo

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