CHESHIRE – With the wedding season winding down and planning for next season starting, the owner of Pink Olive Events Carisa Lockery squeezed in an appointment with the Record-Journal to chat about her newly re-branded business (formerly CR Socials Event Planning), changes in the industry, a memorable wedding and the best parts of her job.
Q: What is your role like as a wedding planner?
Lockery: I’m a wedding planner, wedding coordinator, day-of coordinator, lots of titles for it. It’s based on the different levels of service that I offer.
I have my full planning, which is basically I work with the couple from finding the venue all the way until working the day of the event. I just booked a full planning client for next year, we’re looking at November or December.
I book all the vendors, I find their photographer, I find their florist, their DJ, their band, I kind of get an idea of what they’re looking for, what kind of style they want to go with.
I also do day-of and month-of coordinating services, which is basically the client plans everything. About a month before the wedding they hand all of that off to me.
Q: How long have you been a wedding planner?
Lockery: July was 11 years. I started before I got married with doing some smaller events, birthdays, anniversaries, that kind of thing and then after I got married in 2008, that’s when I really started doing weddings.
Q: What is your background?
Lockery: My background is actually in marketing and then I have my master’s in business. I just always kind of loved organizing and planning. I assisted a photographer back when I was 22.
Q: Has your job changed at all in the last decade?
Lockery: It has changed a lot. Social media is huge. A lot of people are looking to Instagram for referrals to vendors. There’s a lot of Do It Yourself or DIY brides out there, they want to do everything themselves and a lot of couples are paying for it themselves now.
Now they’re (engaged couples) a little bit older, they’re waiting a little bit longer, they’re already living together and they’re paying for a bulk of it themselves so they’re trying to cut back on certain things.
Q: Have those changes created any challenges or benefits for you as a wedding planner?
Lockery: I think it has been a little challenging because so many brides are DIY type brides now, they want to do most of the planning, which is great. I still try to emphasize you can do all the planning, you can do your own centerpieces, you can do all of that but still on the wedding day you want to enjoy it. You want to be the bride, you don’t want to be the one that the florist is calling because she can’t find what room you’re in.
Q: What are some mistakes you see from the brides that really want to do everything themselves before they come to you?
Lockery: I’ve seen some clients book certain vendors that might not have as much experience because maybe they were less expensive and I’ve had people call because their vendors canceled on them or backed out. I work with many professionals and I can whole heartedly say that any of the people that I work with would never do that.
Don’t cut corners where it’s important.
Q: How many weddings have you planned start to finish?
Lockery: Full planning isn’t really the bulk of my clients but I’ve probably done maybe 10. A lot of day-of and month-of coordination.
Q: What’s one of the biggest weddings you’ve seen?
Lockery: I think about 240 to 250 (total guests) was the biggest one I’ve done and it was recent. They’re not that big generally now. 125 to 150 is about average.
Q: How about the smallest wedding?
Lockery: As of this past Saturday, it was about 55 people. Nice intimate ceremony.
Q: What is the most unique wedding you were able to help coordinate?
Lockery: I think the most unique that I’ve done is a Lord of the Rings theme, which was pretty fun. They actually had an actor who was a statue in makeup and costume and he stood there and looked exactly like a statue but he handed out riddles from Lord of the Rings. So that was pretty different, and the bridal party had swords .
Q: What is the most popular time of year to get married?
Lockery: September and October are huge right now. I think everyone is under the assumption that June is the most popular month and I think it used to be, and we were still pretty busy in June, but I think September and October in this area are probably the most popular.
Q: What makes you really love what you do?
Lockery: You just develop relationships with your clients and at the end of the night when they’re thanking you and basically saying, ‘I couldn’t have done this without you,’ those moments are always the best to me. This is why I do it.
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