I had the honor to work alongside Dana with Dana Carroll Co. at Cody & Molly’s wedding, and I was blown away by how genuinely she cared about everyone. I was quickly greeted by her smile, and she was sure to check in regularly to see if the other vendors and I needed anything throughout the day. This hospitality was not only shown to the vendors and me, but every wedding guest and staff as well. Let’s dive into the value that Dana brings to a couple’s wedding day with her services!
Tell me a little about yourself and/or your team!
I’m a wife and mom with over two decades of experience being married while also planning and designing events! I not only love the beauty of weddings, I believe in marriage and family as two of our best foundations! I want to help couples plan for their big day and also help them build for the years to come!
What made you want to be a wedding planner?
My hope is to design events with a personable, genuine excellence that transcends the day and inspires faith in long-term relationships again! I decided to invest my life and skills into the next generation by coming alongside each bride and groom with peace and strength, combined with expertise and grace. I believe in raising the culture of honor around us by learning how to see people where they are, listen to their needs, and deeply care.
What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?
I offer services from Event Management (otherwise known as Month-of Coordination) all the way to Full Planning and Design for both wedding and special events. I have a strong sense of visual design, and I’m dedicated to the details of each client’s vision as well as the logistics of bringing it to life!
Will you handle every aspect of the planning or can we do some things on our own? In other words, what parts of the planning will we be responsible for?
I’m invested in the relationship with my clients. I want each of them to know I’m here for them from day one; we’re in this together! I value communication and clarity of expectations. Early on, we talk it through in a discovery format and discuss their specific needs, so it varies with each client. I take the time to listen to the areas where they are most excited to participate and the areas where they feel they need the most support. For example, some couples can’t wait to get to the catering tastings, but would rather not get into the details of linen and flatware selections.
How many meetings will we have, and how will we be involved?
This will vary depending on the planning services I provide. For Event Management, we will have up to two meetings, which will include one venue walk-through to discuss logistics and overall vision. For Full Planning, we will have many meetings as well as monthly calls and updates. I make myself available to all of my clients and check in regularly with each of them. I believe they each would tell you that my response time is very important to me. Whether they simply need encouragement from a stressful day or need advice on contract fine print, I’m here for them!
Do you handle professional services, contracts, and payment processing?
Relational and vendor management is a strong value of mine. Having served in non-profit leadership for most of my adult life, I understand the significance of establishing professional relationships. And yes, for my full planning clients, I will oversee and assist with vendor sourcing, contracts, and payments.
Can you walk us through the process of selecting other vendors and how we would be involved?
This will vary depending on the level of planning service the client needs, but I always include my list of vendor recommendations for each of my clients. My trusted list of professionals are those that I’ve personally worked with or who have a solid reputation among my other vendor friends.
Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
I can make myself available for invitation coordination. However, I typically assist and provide feedback on the wording. And yes, I can assist with guest list coordination for my full planning clients.
Do you handle rentals? Will you coordinate delivery, arrival, and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians, and the caterer/banquet manager?
Depending on the level of planning service, yes, I will source and manage rentals once the client has chosen to work with me! And yes, I coordinate delivery and set up/break down times for all vendors involved for each of my clients by looping them into my detailed timeline. I prefer to over-communicate expectations and details with all participating vendors because I understand their value to the event’s success and seamless flow!
How many people on your staff will be at the wedding?
This depends on the size and scope of the wedding. I typically have at least one trained staff assistant with me for events over 75 guests. However, guest count isn’t the only factor. Smaller weddings with extensive decor items or DIY, which require a more hands on approach, will require more staff. I do my best to cover these scenarios in advance with my Detail Tracker and Design Questionnaire so that we are well prepared for the big day!
Can you create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process (other pros, members of the wedding party, to-be-weds, and families) what to do and when to do it? How will you make sure everyone sticks to the schedule?
Oh, I love this part! I grew up in a military family, and my dad spoke to us as if we were in his squadron. “Build time,” he would say. I build time by thinking it through very carefully. Most importantly, I factor in the elements and special moments the client has envisioned. Then I partner with the vendors to create a comprehensive timeline that is best for the overall flow. I listen to their input and make necessary adjustments. All that to say, I also remind everyone that the timeline is there to serve us, not the other way around. We’re there to celebrate, after all!
How many weddings have you planned?
I’ve been on the venue and production side of hundreds of events the past five years but only recently have ventured into full planning. To date, I’ve planned and managed seven weddings and three special events!
What’s your secret for staying calm under pressure, and how do you deal with day-of disasters?
I’m a mom of four kids, so I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’ve also lived in 11 different states and have moved over 20 times. Challenges are second nature to me. And I was a pastor’s wife for over 20 years too. I’ve sat with people during great sorrow as well as great joy. My peace is not determined by the outward; it comes from my foundational relationship with God. I deal with the day-of disasters by calmly evaluating the situation and making the best decision I can under the circumstances. Stuff happens that throws us off at times, but we always work it out!
Do any of your packages include honeymoon planning? If not, would you provide that service, and what would be the extra cost to include it in our contract?
Good question, and as fun as this sounds, I don’t think so! I’d much rather stay in my area of expertise.
Do you have references? (testimonials from both professionals and recent couples.)
Yes, I am building up my testimonials and have added a few of them to my website; others are posted on Google and Facebook. It’s always an honor when clients and vendors have such kind things to say!
What’s your biggest tip to a couple planning their big day?
Take it all in, enjoy every moment as it is. As they say, it goes faster than you think. When the planning stops being fun, take a break, go out and do one of your favorite things together as a couple! Also, plan for some quiet moments alone together in the timeline for your big day, whether it’s sunset photos, a few minutes with champagne and appetizers before introductions, or a moonlight private dance before send-off – take it all in and enjoy every moment!