Planning Makes Perfect
It’s every bride’s worst nightmare: rain on the wedding day. There are certain circumstances that we can actually control and then there are those that require last minute alterations. No one knows this better than wedding planner Camden Chitwood of Emerson Events. It’s her job to expect the unexpected.
Camden is all about having a plan B. She knows it’s the secret to planning outdoor weddings in Oklahoma. “I know how to quickly execute an entirely different plan,” Camden said. “When you have a planner, all those things are talked about before the 10-day forecast.” Although Camden’s team made sure to check the forecast for a previous wedding she was planning, last minute rain clouds threatened to ruin the outdoor ceremony. As she prepared to move the bride to an indoor venue, something truly unexpected happened. Instead of running to safety in her white gown, the bride refused to let go of her dream ceremony.
With only 40 of her 200 guests in attendance, the bride wanted to start the ceremony early so she could have her dream ceremony minus the rain. Camden knew that she only had one option: make her client happy. It was a wedding catch-22. Usually, Camden’s job is all about sheltering couples from the unexpected storms that may arrive on their wedding day. Today, she was pushing them directly into the eye of the storm. So, as rain clouds slowly rolled in, Camden’s bride quickly said her “I dos” in front of her close family and friends. “My dream wedding is when the bride, groom and their families are happy,” said Camden. “That lets me know that I’m doing my job as the planner.”
Camden has been getting brides ready for their walk down the aisle since 2006. After working banquets and catering for a number of years, she helped her family run The Paper Lion, a gift shop in Edmond. She was constantly around wedding décor and started helping her friends find items for their weddings and helping finalize little details. Before she knew it, word-of-mouth had Camden running a successful wedding planning business.
Camden is now one of Oklahoma’s go-to wedding planners. She’s learned how to keep a couple’s stress level low by setting realistic goals for their dream weddings. “For a lot of brides, keeping the budget and guest list on track is the hardest part,” she said. More guests means more linens, centerpieces, food and seats. “The more guests you invite, the higher your budget needs to be. With the services I offer, it includes budget tracking. Once I get their guest list, I build a custom budget based on the guests they have.”
Leslie Herring of Leslie Herring Events echoed Camden’s sentiments and advised all brides to start their planning process with a budget. “Typically the average for a wedding in America is $25,000. Start with a budget and a guest list. Pick your venue wisely. If you book an all-inclusive venue, sometimes it comes with a caterer, chairs and linens, and it reduces your costs.” She also encourages brides not to focus too much on the wedding date itself. She said that stressing over the single day can, at times, make couples forget about their forever. “Try to focus on the marriage and everything else will fall into place beautifully,” she said. It may sound like a segment from an Oprah special, but Leslie said that it’s all in day’s work. “Sometimes we’re interior designers, sometimes we’re counselors—we wear different hats,” she said. Leslie’s initial goal was to be a successful magazine editor. After working at Brides of Oklahoma and The Knot in New York City, her new passion led her to wedding planning.
Whether you’re planning a lavish black-tie event or aiming for a small ceremony with close friends and family, Leslie said that remembering one important component will keep you smiling all through your day. “Make sure you’re with the right person! Have fun and make sure to enjoy it. Your marriage lasts forever and the wedding lasts for a day.”