Planning in Charleston can be a whole beast to tackle, and as a photographer, I see firsthand the difference a great planner can make! So I’m starting a series of interviews with the very best planners in our Holy City, beginning with the lovely Elizabeth Elkins! Read her thoughts on the whole process, along with seeing some of my favorite wedding photos while working alongside her and her team!
Give us a little background on who you are and what you are passionate about for your couples!
Hi! My name is Elizabeth and I am the Founder and Designer for Elizabeth Elkins Weddings & Events ! I am local to Mount Pleasant and have been in the Charleston Hospitality/Event Industry for eleven years. At a young age, I recognized how lucky I am to grow up in such a beautiful town. Now, as a Planner I get to create gorgeous events all around the town I grew up in and it’s truly such a blessing. Growing up here has given me the privilege of knowing all the secret spots and hidden gems around town that I love sharing with my clients. Charleston paints a perfect backdrop for any occasion, and with a touch of design, together we can create something that is uniquely you.
Why is it so important to have a planner for a wedding?
Charleston is one of the top destinations in the country for weddings and because of that, our event industry works a bit differently; it is extremely saturated, and can be hectic to navigate if not experienced. I get a lot of clients that come to me halfway through the planning process, totally burnt out and stressed, regretting they didn’t have help from the start. My goal is to take all the stress of planning away from my couples. This is the biggest day of your life and worry only takes away from the joy you should be experiencing!
What is your favorite type of wedding to plan?
I love ALL weddings! Seeing my couples unique style and personality show through design makes me so happy! If I could plan MY perfect day that would express my personality, it would involve a stationed dinner to allow for easy cocktailing , it would be outside on the water, with a live band, a live painter, and a boat exit!
How do couples ensure that their wedding remains classic and timeless?
For any client that wants a super trendy wedding, I say, do what you love! And I can work with them to create a design that can be trendy but still have a pop of personality. I also recommend my clients to put themselves in their “future shoes”, meaning, when you are 30 years older looking back at your wedding photos, are you still going to be in love with them? This exercise really helps clients when choosing their ideal photography/videography style to make sure it is something they will love forever.
What is the biggest tip you can give when couples are planning a destination wedding in Charleston?
The biggest tip I have for destination wedding clients is to hire a Full Service or Partial Service Planner! As Planners, we can go to those venue tours, vendor meetings, menu tastings for you if you’re not in town. The market is so saturated with vendors here and we can help you narrow down the right fit for your style and budget so you’re not researching for weeks. Another tip I have for destination weddings is to plan your wedding on a week day! Most venues offer discounts during weekdays and typically have a lot of availability during busy season! You and your guests will already be taking off work for the travel so take advantage of those weekday deals and get the wedding of your dreams at a discount!
Top favorite venues you have worked with in the past –
There are SO many amazing venues in Charleston and the surrounding areas. I would say it totally depends on the couples needs. Does the couple want a water front view or historic downtown building? Is it a small affair or large party? Does the client want something extravagant or something simple and elegant? There is a venue for every client and I love to help find their perfect match ! Personally, my favorite is the Citadel Beach Club on Isle of Palms. This is a large indoor/outdoor venue with private beach access. The venue has a set number of tables and chairs that are included which help with budgeting. The building has a fireplace and wrap around porch which is gorgeous in photos. And, Isle of Palms has many rental properties close by which are ideal for destination weddings.
What do most couples overlook that is crucial in the planning process?
Something I have noticed in my years in the industry that clients sometimes overlook is transportation. This is especially crucial for destination weddings. Transportation companies can book out far in advance for busy season so it is important to figure out what guests need rides to and from the wedding, and where majority of people are staying.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I have such a passion for this industry. I truly love every part of the process from meeting and getting to know my clients and their families, creating a design that’s unique to them, seeing everything come together the day of, getting the happy couple down the aisle and watching them celebrate the night away! I am very grateful to be able to work in such a rewarding industry where I get to share in so many people’s special day!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned being in the industry?
The biggest lesson I have learned in this industry is to always draft up a rain plan. Not all venues require this but I do it no matter what. As planners, there are some things that we cannot control, like the weather, but we can control how we react to it. I always make sure to discus rain plan with clients and all vendors to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Any other final thoughts for future brides and grooms?
Remember this is your day! If you’re stressed about anything, hire a planner! Our ENTIRE job is to make sure our couples don’t have to worry. We are your biggest advocate throughout the whole process, making sure you’re getting all the best deals and have access to the top vendors.
Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for giving such valuable insight today!
You can check out Elizabeth Elkin’s website at https://www.elizabethelkinsevents.com/