We don’t know what we would do without our fabulous wedding vendors. They work so hard to make each event at The Treasury on the Plaza so downright awesome! Wedding planners, in particular, can be the biggest unsung heroes–you can’t always see all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make everything run like clockwork.
We recently interviewed one of St. Augustine’s best wedding planners, Brittany Jones, owner and lead coordinator of Uncorked Occasions. We are so thankful that Brittany gave us some of her time (in the peak of wedding season, no less!) to share more about her company and provide some sage wisdom for our couples. Read below to see just why Uncorked Occasions has been a preferred wedding vendor at The Treasury on the Plaza since day one… and don’t forget your tissues; it’s getting sappy over here!
About Uncorked Occasions
How long have you been working in the wedding industry?
We just celebrated our fifth birthday at Uncorked Occasions, but I have been working in the wedding and event industry for the last 10 years.
How big is your team?
We have three Lead Coordinators and four part-time team members who assist in the office and on event days.
What services or packages do you provide?
We offer Full-Service Wedding Planning, Wedding Consulting & Coordination (our most popular package) and Day-of Coordination. We also offer some à la carte services, such as Rehearsal Dinner Coordination, RSVP Management, and Favors Assembly.
How do you decide how many wedding planners and other staff members you will need at each wedding?
At a minimum, we work in teams of two – a Lead Coordinator, who you are connected with prior to signing your contract with us, and a staff member to assist. After we determine our set-up needs, anticipated guest count, and day-of logistics, we determine if additional team members are needed.
The Wedding Planning Process
What is your first step with each of your clients?
We begin the planning process with a consultation to discuss our clients’ overall vision and expectations for their wedding day. We are more involved with the design, budget, and vendor team aspects when it comes to our Full-Service and Consulting packages, but – regardless of the level of coordination contracted – we like to get to know our clients’ personalities and paint a realistic picture of what that dream day will look like down the road.
What do you think is the most important thing for brides or grooms who are just getting started with the wedding planning process to know?
Your guest list is the first thing that you really need to nail down. You will need to know the approximate number of guests that you plan to invite before securing a venue. This number is also a large factor in other costs, from catering to bar service to rentals!
Do you recommend that clients book their venue first or find their wedding planners?
If you’re in need of assistance with your entire planning process, including venue selection, we recommend hiring a planner first. If you do not need assistance in the venue search or budget planning, we recommend booking your venue first and then hiring a planner – even if it’s just day-of coordination that you need. Each venue is unique in their requirements of vendors, so we recommend that you confirm and understand those requirements prior to signing contracts with your vendor team.
Do you help clients with establishing a budget for their big day?
With the exception of our day-of coordination clients, we assist our clients with budget planning.
Are there any budget-saving tips that you can share?
1. Pick a venue that stands on its own. When you have to bring in every rental and/or décor aspect to transform a space, costs for rental, delivery, and labor can really start to climb.
2. Prioritize your guest list. Start with immediate family, bridal party, and closest friends, then add extended family, friends, coworkers, etc. If you need to make cuts, start at the bottom and work your way up.
3. Prioritize your wedding wants and needs. There are many areas of potential savings– from choosing florals versus another type of décor, to the type of linens and entertainment selected. Our team can help you build your vendor team based on those priority wants/needs and your goal budget.
Depending on the package couples choose, how “hands-on” will your team be throughout the planning process?
We communicate with all of our couples throughout the planning process, but we are more hands-on with our consulting and full-service clients. For these couples, we are pulling quotes, recommending vendors, attending meetings, and managing planning timelines.
What else do you assist couples with prior to the wedding day?
Prior to the wedding day, we attend a walk-through at the venue(s), finalize and confirm the timing of the day with our couples’ vendor team, and help them make important decisions regarding seating arrangements, ceremony processional, and personal touches. We share advice, coordinate logistics, alleviate stress and prepare for any potential obstacles that may arise on the big day.
The Big Day!
Do you have preferred vendors that you work with regularly?
Absolutely! We have a preferred vendor list for each city/area that we have worked. We love working with vendors that are familiar with the venue(s) and a team of vendors who are accustomed to working with each other. While we also love working with new vendors, we highly recommend they schedule a site visit with us at the venue prior to the big day to ensure things run smoothly from load-in to load-out.
What does a typical wedding day look like for you and your team?
A typical wedding day starts the day before when we meet our clients to collect their personal décor/items and rehearse for their wedding ceremony. Once they pass off those items and rehearse, they can truly enjoy their family and friends without having to worry about bringing or forgetting anything for their big day.
What is your favorite part of a wedding?
Gosh, all of it! It is an incredible thing to play such an integral role in the happiest days of people’s lives. I live for three moments on a wedding day… first, sending my Bride & Groom down the aisle. Second, the recessional. Those just married smiles are as good as it gets! And last, but certainly not least, the walk with my couple to their grand exit. The music has ended but their forever is truly just beginning, and I love being the one to send them on their way into that next chapter.
Do you have any special wedding day memories you can share with us?
What kind of special are we talking?! Haha, just kidding. Grab the tissues! Mrs. Amber Robinson, who got married on November 5, 2016. Amber’s father had passed, and her Uncle was proudly escorting her down the aisle on her Wedding Day. We placed a single rose in her father’s seat in his honor and planned to share in a moment of silence at the start of the ceremony.
What Amber didn’t tell me ahead of time was that her father would be with her in more ways than one in this moment… Just before it was time for me to open the ballroom doors and send her down the aisle, Amber said, “gosh these shoes are so big, I hope I don’t trip!” I immediately reached down for her feet, asking if I could grab something to help, and there they were… Amber had saved a pair of her father’s loafers so that he could walk her down the aisle on this very special day. (I’m not crying, you’re crying! ????) It was hands down one of the most precious wedding day memories I will ever have.
I have also had the pleasure of performing the ceremony for two of my couples to date, Mr. & Mrs. Brian Aitkens and Mr. & Mrs. Kevin Howard. I cherish those memories with both couples.
The personal touches and the beautiful, special and funny moments that I am blessed to share with my clients – pre, during and post wedding (growing families included) – are the moments that make this job a dream.
What advice do you share with your couples on their big day?
There are three things we say on repeat to our clients:
1. Perfection isn’t perfect. It’s all in perspective.
2. Be present in every moment. Your wedding day is truly over in the blink of an eye!
3. Don’t let any of the thing(s) that do not go according to plan take away from the love, joy, and excitement of this day. There are some things that are simply out of your – or our – control, and we will do everything in our power to bring your dream day to life, regardless of any obstacles that may arise. Your guests never 100% know what we had planned, so leave the stressing to us and focus on what the day is really about – a celebration of your love for one another. Besides, sometimes plan B is even better than the OG!
Thank you again to Brittany, and the entire Uncorked Occasions team, for all that you do! Cheers to even more incredible events that we can share in the near future!