Lindsay Longacre is the owner of LVL Weddings & Events, a premiere wedding planning team with offices in California, Colorado, Arizona and Hawaii. Lindsay and the LVL Weddings & Events team have been featured in magazines such as Martha Stewart Weddings, California Wedding Day, Ceremony Magazine, Bride and Bloom Magazine, as well as online on Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake, Wedding Chicks, Green Wedding Shoes, Carats and Cake, Inspired by This and more.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lindsay and discuss how her team operates, making a real connection with your clients, and the exciting future of robots at weddings.
What was your path to becoming a wedding planner? Was it something you always were interested in?
I have always known I needed to do something where I was directly helping people, but for the longest time I could not figure out the right medium in which to do this.
I started working for a planning company in Chicago, moonlighting to see if this was the path for me. I spent time learning the business and really knowing what it took to be a planner before jumping in headfirst. Then I coordinated my first wedding and was forever changed by it.
What a great way to see first hand what it’s like running a business in the wedding industry. Was that your first glimpse of running a small business?
My first glimpse of running a small business was watching my mom run her local cleaning business. Without even knowing it my mom used her ability to clean houses to truly connect with others and change their lives. She got to know each and every one of her clients and befriended them. Helping them rearrange their house, listening to their problems and offering advice.
Through all of it, she showed me the key to having a successful business was connecting with people. Having the ability to give the client what they need without them even telling you. That is the art of connecting with customers.
“She showed me the key to having a successful business was connecting with people.”
You’ve built a growing team with LVL Events and cover a large area in California and just opened locations in Denver, Phoenix and Hawaii. What was it like going from a single planner to building a team?
I am not going to lie it was a little bit scary at first, to let the reigns go. But I made sure I hired the right people and trained my team well. Hiring the right people is the key in growing a team. It gave me the confidence to take a step back and be a leader and let them do what they love. Someone once asked me what was my proudest accomplishment. Hands down it is my team. They continue to make me proud everyday and are a true representation of LVL.
What makes your team different from other planners in your area?
Our team approach. Even though we each take on our own individual clients, we still help each other. For example, if someone is having a hard time finding a venue with certain criteria we have a handful of trained experts to ask.
Where do you look for inspiration for your client weddings?
It is simple.We get to know them as a couple. We ask them questions about their background, how they met, what are their family traditions, what do they like to do together. Things that really allow us to find inspiration and help create a wedding that is as unique as they are.
“Don’t worry about what others think of you, trust your heart. It will always lead you in the direction you are destined to go.”
What’s the most rewarding part of guiding a couple through your wedding planning process?
The most rewarding part is building a relationship. That is why we love what we do, because we make strong relationships that hopefully last forever. We can truly make an impact on our couples lives, not just during the wedding planning, but also after.
What do you see coming up in the industry that’s exciting to you?
The use of technology to connect with guests who cannot attend. Today’s world has allowed us to build friendships in every corner of the world.
We have recently partnered with Partibot. Their platform allows families and networks of friends to connect in-person, whether they can physically be present or not. Imagine a best man toast being given at a wedding in California by a soldier deployed in Afghanistan. Imagine a grandmother too frail to travel but able to watch her son dance with her granddaughter during a father-daughter first dance. Their technology is simple, fun, clear, and mobile. Partibot allows users to move around a reception or dance floor with ease—conversing real-time as if they were there at party.
You recently started using Aisle Planner. How’s that changed your work?
Prior to using Aisle Planner, we were using Dropbox, Google Docs and Pinterest to organize. Though it is amazing the amount of technology out there, it can make things unorganized if you don’t have one system to house and organize everything, and it can be overwhelming for our team and our couples. There are so many details when it comes to weddings so if you miss one little photo or note from the bride it could really affect the end result.
How has Aisle Planner supported your team approach to planning?
Having a team is amazing but the challenge was that we were all doing things a little differently. There was no one formula on how to plan a wedding but in order to be consistent and professional we needed one program that helped us customize our own system for planning. For us, Aisle Planner has been a game changer because, with a large team, it is imperative we are all using the same planning process and have a uniform system. We now all plan the same way and communicate this to our couples. We call it the “LVL Method.”
We love that you’ve customized Aisle Planner according to your LVL Method! How has Aisle Planner made it easier to work with your clients?
It allows us to have access to our client’s details no matter where we are at or where our clients are at. When we have phone calls it gives us an outlet to use that we can walk through every part of the planning and details together in real time.
What, in your opinion, makes a great wedding?
The vendor team. Team work and great vendors always makes an amazing wedding. This is why hiring reliable, professional, and friendly vendors is so important.
How does Aisle Planner help you pull together a great vendor team for each of your events?
I personally love Aisle Planner’s vendor library. It has made it so easy for us to build vendor lists for each wedding and share this information quickly with our couples.
You and your team of planners at LVL Events are active members of wedding industry associations, such as the Association of Bridal Consultants and Wedding Industry Professionals Association here in Southern California. How has being involved in associations like these helped you and your business?
Being part of these wedding industry associations allows us to meet new vendors and gain support. We learned that everyone is generally struggling with similar aspects of their business and I always loved being able to talk about it with other businesses.
Over the past 5 years, LVL Events has been host to the popular LVL Academy, a training program to support planners new to the industry. Tell us a little more about your program.
A huge struggle for anyone wanting to get into the industry is that they don’t know where to start, so we’ve taken all of the knowledge and skills that we’ve learned working with modern brides on a daily basis and created a hands on training program that gives aspiring planners an in-depth look of how to plan a wedding and how to be a professional planner the right way.
What’s unique about the LVL Academy?
This program is different from others out there because of our approach—we blend classroom learning with hands on training so aspiring planners are able to experience things that happen on the wedding day. Seeing what happens on the actual day of the event is so much different from being in a classroom. We give you the foundation you need to enter the wedding industry.
How can we learn more about this program?
And lastly, what advice would you give to yourself if you could travel back in time and talk to a younger version of yourself?
Don’t worry about what others think of you, trust your heart. It will always lead you in the direction you are destined to go.
Learn more about LVL Weddings & Events and their upcoming programs at lvlevents.com