Expert Advice for Your Perfect Day

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Concierge and Co.’s Serena Crumley and Amanda Spencer create the perfect day for two couples with dramatically different wedding ideas.

Lasting memories are made on a wedding day¬ – whether large or small, traditional or modern, local or destination, the affair involves a number of important details; and each detail can be a cause for celebration – or stress – for both the couple and their guests. Therefore, many brides- and grooms-to-be opt to The unique and picturesque Lowcountry is home to hundreds of weddings each year, as well as an abundance of professionals who are well-versed in creating memorable affairs. But with so many choices, it’s often difficult for many couples to know where to begin.

The unique and picturesque Lowcountry is home to hundreds of weddings each year, as well as an abundance of professionals who are well-versed in creating memorable affairs. But with so many choices, it’s often difficult for many couples to know where to begin.

In order to help demystify the planner selection process, MonthlyWeddingSite.com presented two reputable local wedding planners from Concierge and Co. ¬ ¬– founder Serena Crumley and wedding planner Amanda Spencer – with profiles for two fictitious couples, with their own unique set of needs and desires, and asked them to create the perfect wedding celebration.

Monthly's goal was to equip brides and grooms with insightful tips and elaborate ideas for every step of the wedding planning process and help them determine how to best find and work with a wedding or event expert.

Choosing a Planner:

Shop around. It’s important to know your expert’s background before deciding to work with them. Spend some time face-to-face or over the phone to see if there is a good rapport. Ask for references and find out what his or her reputation is through friends or those who have recently planned a wedding. Learn about their strengths and get to know their personality. Monthly’s currently featured experts boast a plethora of experience, solid credibility in the community, and an impressive passion for planning.

Serena Crumley relocated to Hilton Head Island from Bristol, Virgina after her children finished college. She turned her pastimes of entertaining and planning into her business, Concierge and Co. – a service-based operation that provides concierge, home management, and event planning services. For Crumley, the most rewarding part of planning a wedding is seeing the bride walk down the aisle with her father, and watching the mother turn around to look. She also gets a rush from seeing the dance floor fill up. “That’s when I feel like I’ve succeeded,” she said.

Her colleague, Amanda Spencer, originally from West Lafayette, Indiana, joined Concierge and Co. in January of 2008. Spencer has a degree in hospitality tourism management, from Purdue University, worked for Marriott International and later as event manager for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “My thrill for details and passion for people, not to mention my ability to excel in customer service, led me to the wedding industry,” Spencer said. “I am truly honored to work with a couple and their family on the most important day of their lives.”

Couple One – William Roberts and Susan Turner
Ages: Early-30s
Hometown: New Jersey
Professions:  Roberts is a financial advisor and Turner is an interior designer.
Wedding Scorecard: Second marriage for both.
Guest List: 100-150
Budget:  Within reason.
Goals: Elegant, classic.

MISSION POSSIBLE
He is conservative. She is artsy. His family has a second home in the Lowcountry. Her family is paying for the wedding. And while the Turner family is financially comfortable and want a lovely and memorable affair, the couple does not feel compelled to go “over the top,” nor do they want to be obsessively trendy.

Pressed for time – Because the couple lives out of town, Crumley and Spencer said they would meet with the couple early in the planning stages to determine key factors of the celebration, including the ceremony and reception locations, guest accommodations, and the style they want to achieve for the wedding celebration. However, with both Roberts and Turner having busy schedules, their time is very limited, so Spencer and Crumley said they would work as the couple’s liaison with all vendors involved.

Start the weekend out with a bang – Spencer suggests starting the weekend festivities with an event at the groom’s parents’ home in Sea Pines. The welcoming event would be done in true Southern style with an oyster roast and Carolina barbecue, complemented by an array of Southern side dishes.

Location, Location, Location – Spencer has a good understanding of the couple and feels the bride would appreciate an intricately-detailed Lowcountry affair because of Turner’s profession as an interior designer and because of her artistic nature.

Ceremony – Spencer suggests the wedding ceremony and reception take place at a private country club located on the island, where guests would be greeted by white-gloved waiters and escorted to a beautiful ceremony site overlooking the marsh, while listening to the music of a classical trio. Turner and Roberts would rent lush greenery to accent the attractive outdoor space.

Flowers – Turner, having exceptional taste, is willing to splurge on florals for this 125-person seated affair. In order to be the most cost-efficient, the country club’s chairs and classic cream linens would be used. To embrace the surroundings, a combination of the bride’s collection of antique vases and the groom’s grandmother’s sterling silver vases would display the antique green hydrangea and blush tone arrangements.

Reception – Following the outside ceremony, butlers would serve signature cocktails and tapas before the guests are escorted to the decorated ballroom. Rather than cut the cake in the middle of the reception, the bride and groom would do so after welcome their guests. The guests would enjoy a very simple vintage menu with duo entrees, such as a selection of fish and beef, or chicken and steak. While this is a basic option, it is timeless and the delectable duo never goes out of style because it appeals to a variety of guests. Attendees could also enjoy the background music of a four-piece band, and later fill the dance floor following the dinner service.

Couple Two – James Mitchell II and Angela Beauregard
Ages: Mid-20s
Hometown: Hilton Head Island
Professions:  Mitchell is a realtor and Beauregard is a marketing assistant.
Wedding Scorecard: First marriage for both.
Guest List: 400-500
Budget:  There is no budget.
Goals: The wedding should be the event of a lifetime.

ALL FOR SHOW
James Mitchell II and Angela Beauregard share a passion for trends and bling ¬– and money is no object for the couple’s families, who are paying for the wedding.  To make this wedding the event of a lifetime, Spencer and Crumley want to help them host a lavish affair that reflects the beauty and culture of the Lowcountry.
“Working with local brides is such a treat; they are connected to the area and have a pretty good idea of where they want to have their festivities,” said Spencer. An added benefit, she said, is that they are able to regularly meet with the couple face-to-face.

Ceremony – Unfortunately the church to which the couple belongs does not house the number of guests they plan to invite. The bride and groom love being outdoors in the fall, but they also want to incorporate a “big city contemporary feel.” With the budget allowing, Spencer and Crumley suggest exchanging vows under the live oaks draped in Spanish moss, next to the backdrop of a grand home built in the 19th century.
The wedding ceremony décor would complement the lush natural surroundings; cascades of white and cream flowers in large urns would border the ceremony location. Upon arrival, guests would be greeted and ushered to the ceremony location enjoying the sounds of a classical ensemble. Once the guests are seated, the bride and her father would arrive by horse-drawn carriage up the drive. The ceremony postlude would include the sweet sounds of a gospel choir and the guests would then be escorted to the impressive white, peaked-roof tent with custom ceiling drapes.

Reception –  The lush grounds on which the ceremony takes place would then be transformed into a reception area –  with scrumptious Southern stations under a peaked-roof tent.  The tables would be covered by the finest of specialty linen and the guests would be seated in mahogany chivari chairs. The jazz ensemble would entertain the wedding guests during dinner, and a magician would keep the little folks entertained in their very own private reception ¬– complete with babysitters. 
Given the shared passion of Beauregard and Mitchell for trends and bling, they would have an additional posh reception at an oceanfront resort, where there guests would also stay. Because multiple venue locations for an event are very complex, Crumley and Spencer would work very closely with all professional vendors involved so nothing would fall through the cracks. “At Concierge and Co., we make sure we dot our i’s and cross our t’s, so we ensure that all bases are covered in the case of inclement weather,” said Spencer.
Concierge and Co. would arrange for the bride and groom to be picked up later in the evening by an antique Rolls Royce limo and chauffeur them to the second ballroom reception. They would also arrange for guests to be taken by trolleys and buses to the second venue and they would be welcomed by a glass of sweet tea or lemonade while on this short tour of the Lowcountry.
In the bridal suite, the bride would change into a second wedding gown to represent her more posh and trendy event.

Ambience – The guests would be welcomed into the ballroom, which would be lavishly decorated with bright and vibrant colored linens and paperie and buffet tables adorned with tall, impressive floral arrangements.
The lighting would be very strategic, with candles lighting the entire room. There would be only bistro tables with simple, yet chic arrangements, along with several rented furniture pieces, consisting of leather couches and lounge chairs with lush pillows complementing the linens on the bistro tables and buffets.
The wedding party would be announced (the bride would be wearing her reception gown) and welcomed by the band and the party would begin.
Since Southern weddings are known for their “get up, move around and dance” vibe as Crumley calls it, she suggests that various action stations would be situated throughout the room that deliver quality cuisine with exceptional service. And, since the couple is young, Crumley suggests serving hors d’oeuvres of mac’ and cheese served in shot glasses with a demitasse spoon. She also suggests bite-sized crab cakes, bruschetta, and bacon-wrapped scallops. Action stations would be abundant with stir-fried options, a tenderloin table, as well as carving stations for turkey and pork, and choices of vegetables, plus mashed potatoes in martini glasses.
A designated dessert area, complete with chocolate and cordials, would be available where guests could lounge in regal club chairs and indulge in peach trifles served in champagne flutes along with deep-fried spiced apple crisp. And while the wedding cake is the classic dessert option, Crumley suggests that budgetless brides opt for their favorite desserts, such as tiramisu, petit fors, mini éclairs, or truffles. She also suggests serving innovative items such as strawberries injected with grand Marnier.

Spencer and Crumley would partner with their team of trained professionals to make sure every aspect is carefully materialized. Not only would this be a wedding celebration – but it also would be a true Lowcountry experience for all the guests. For further information about Concierge and Co., please call (843) 842-7688, or visit conciergeandco.com.

By Brooke Crichton and Kate Hanzalik