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Featured Planner: The Design Co.

Aisle Planner The Design Co.
Photo courtesy MIV Photography

As planners, we know that the job requires us to wear a lot of hats. So, when Stacey Price got into the business of weddings, she built a team – one person for every hat! And today, we’re excited to introduce you to Stacey, the woman behind Ottawa based team of dreamers, wedding planners, builders, creatives, stylists, and flower lovers!


Aisle Planner The Design Co.Tell us about your path to becoming a wedding planner?

My degree is in business and marketing so, I have always been very entrepreneurial. I knew I would run my own business one day but wasn’t sure in what field until my first daughter was born. While on maternity leave, Ottawa was hosting a large bridal show and I was looking at all the different vendors involved – it was then that I knew the wedding industry was for me! Being super type A and a creative I got a booth, set up 4 different table styles and talked to brides all weekend long. I booked 6 weddings from the show and have never looked back. Noella was 8 weeks old at the time! Luckily I had (and still have!) a great support system of my parents and husband.

Even from the first day, I was always very clear on the type of client we were after and made sure our website and branding reflected that. Twelve years later we have planned and executed over 400 weddings!

I love this quote from your website. If you had to pick one thing, what do you wish that couples new about what it really takes to plan and execute a wedding?

“Below the surface, the reality is 14-hour work days, endless timelines, climbing stairs and ladders, putting floors together, moving tables, bustling dresses, soothing crying flower girls, dealing with unpaid vendors, opinionated bridesmaids, drunk groomsmen, tired feet, and… that’s only the half of it. These are all the details that we love about our job but if you’re worn out just reading it… it’s time to hire a professional.”

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life and planning their wedding should be an enjoyable experience. The biggest thing I wish couples knew was the amount of time they will spend researching things, especially venues. From playing phone tag with the right people at each space, viewing the rooms, dimensions, floor plans, menu, bar, tables, chairs, china etc, etc. And this is just venue! There are 15+ other vendors to consider before their wedding team is complete. A wedding professional has spent years learning the pros and cons of each vendors and will make sure you hire the right people based on your style, vision and budget.

Your team has someone for everything! And, we have to ask, what kinds of projects does Matt get thrown at him?

Hahah – love this question! Well, Matt has built everything from a 10 foot donut wall, to the desks we work on at the shop, to suspending floral chandeliers 20 feet over a head table, to loading up our trucks in such precise fashion it almost makes us feel bad to unload them!

Best place to getaway in Canada?

We love the camping and beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park. White sand and clear water that rivals the Caribbean. Plus we got married there!

Favorite country music artist?

Tim McGraw, with Blake Shelton a close second!

Describe your 3 daughters in 3 words.

Noella – head strong, focused and outgoing (classic first child!)

Alexa – angelic, caring, optimistic (classic second child!)

Clara – maternal, sweet and spunky (we are still figuring Clara out, lol)

You also have a dedicated marketing specialist. Did appointing someone to be dedicated to this change things for you?

This was a game changer for us. With SO many social media outlets (Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Instagram and now Snapchat) all being viable new business sources, it was important for us to have a branded look and consistent content. Building a weekly social media calendar was key (Monday – new blog, Tuesday – this or that, Wednesday, behind the scenes videos, TBT, Fun Fact Friday, Saturday – Before and After wedding, Storyboard Sunday) once this was decided, filling our channels was easy.

We now have followers who say they can’t wait for our storyboards or fun facts. Engagement with your “fans” is so important!

How do you guys collaborate as a team?

I adore our team! We have been working together for so long now we each have fallen nicely into a groove. Typically, Erin and I meet with all prospective clients, do our pitch and once the contract is signed, either myself or Brittany will take over the planning role. Erin and Emma come back in for the floral and decor components and once a story board is agreed upon we get the boys to make or build anything necessary. Brittany, Brianna and Karen are the onsite coordinators on the wedding day. Erin and Emma take care of floral set up and our lovely boys take down at the end of the night.

Aisle Planner The Design Co.
Photo courtesy Union Eleven Photography

Do you remember how you found out about Aisle Planner? 

YES! When we first started every bride had at least 7 different excel spread sheets, word documents and folders with some items printed, some in email form and most of the to-do’s floating around in my head! Not the most productive way to run a business! As we started to grow, it become clear that we needed one system to organize all our clients and their respective planning. We actually were using another software for a few years but it really didn’t do all the things we needed so after an exhaustive online search I came across Aisle Planner and signed up for the trial. Very quickly I saw this was exactly what we were looking for. I was so excited I sent a quick little message thru the system thanking you ladies for this program.  Two minutes later the owner, Christina called me – she just wanted to say thanks for my saying thanks!!  Amazing customer service from day one, I was sold.

Asking the very type-a side of you: what is your favorite Aisle Planner feature? The “2 days before” email remainder in the Checklist! This is how we stay on top of all our clients, so first thing every day we check our task list and organize the priorities for each wedding. And if we start to get off track or fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole, we get a nice little email reminder that something for our client need to be booked!

Tell us about Engage Ottawa.

Engage Ottawa is a labour of love for Erin and myself. As I mentioned, The Design Co. has a very specific bride in mind and we noticed the current bridal shows in Ottawa were trying to be everything to everyone. You would walk through aisles of 30+ photographers, florists or hundreds of venues and all you left with was a bag of business cards and no memory of actually speaking with anyone! We wanted to change all that. As we say on the site: “Brides will have the chance to interact and engage with a limited and select group of vendors in an intimate environment, leaving the hustle and bustle of the traditional wedding show behind.” We limit each vendor to the top 3 in category this way the brides can have access to the top talent in the city. And every year our vendors go over and above with their designs to show the brides in Ottawa what can be done! Next show is November 12, 2017!!  We can’t wait.

Aisle Planner The Design Co.
Photo courtesy MIV Photography

Do you see differences in design trends between Canada and the U.S.?

The U.S. seems to have access to so many more decor pieces than Canada.  We are catching up but for some clients we do have to look outside our city and sometimes country to find the perfect item. Trend wise, it seems to take a little longer to take hold in Canada, for example when Marsala was the Pantone Colour of the Year, we noticed it was about a year later before brides really gravitated to it. Trends aside, we generally encourage our clients to choose what they love not necessarily what is “in” at the time. We want them to look back on their wedding in 10 years and still love every detail and colour!

What are you most excited for in 2017?

We have some GREAT weddings lined up for 2017 and love that our clients are embracing the “more is more” philosophy!  Years ago, charger plates would be considered enough table decor but today our clients want charger plates, layered with a pretty accent plates, layered with hand pressed stationery and coloured goblets and rimmed glassware. Fabulous design really is in the little details!

 

On this month’s theme: Be Passionate
Being a wedding planner is all about passion!  It is a very rare honour that someone you don’t really know puts complete trust in you to pull together their most important and emotional day. That trust starts to be built at the first meeting when they can see the true joy we get from working on weddings. Like in anything else in life, if you are not passionate about what you are doing, its time to move on. We are so fortunate that every single day we wake up we get do exactly what we are meant to do <3

 

Aisle Planner The Design Co.

Want to see more from Stacey and the team? Head over to their website thedesign-co.com

About the Author

Tayler Cusick Hollman
Tayler Cusick Hollman

Tayler is the Media & Marketing Director at Aisle Planner. She is obsessed with color and pattern, notoriously cooks everything from scratch, and can sometimes be seen cruising around on a skateboard. Follow Tayler on Instagram @taylrd_designs

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