As we near the beginning of Spring, we are also gearing up for “wedding season” here at Blush and we thought what better way to kick off the busiest months of the year than to introduce you to the ladies who make the magic happen for each and every one of our incredible clients! First up in our Meet the Team series is our Fearless Leader aka Senior Planner, Alison Watkins:
Have you always wanted to be a wedding coordinator? I would love to say yes but it wouldn’t be true. Growing up, I had a mild heart condition which prevented me from playing sports so student government was the direction I took. I started to become active in student government in my sophomore year of high school and decided to run for Junior Class Vice President the following year. For my senior year, I was ready to be in charge, well as much as a senior class president can be. With this opportunity, I planned multiple events along with the senior class committee and truly enjoyed it. Hospitality wasn’t my original major but when I had to decide what I wanted to study and eventually do for my career, it was a natural fit. I looked back on planning my prom and other events and decided event planning was for me. I majored in Hospitality Management at UCF’s Rosen College with a focused track on convention services. I wanted to plan large conferences, meetings, etc… And I did for about 6 years before falling in love with weddings! I truly love being a part of each of my couples amazing day and knowing that I helped create lasting memories for them and their families.
How did you start at Blush by Brandee Gaar? Brandee and I have been friends for years, meeting through our now husbands. We were both in hospitality. I saw her grow in experience on the hotel side while she watched me grow on the corporate meetings side. I remember her talking about starting Blush and thought it was just perfect for her. She has always loved weddings! A little over a year after she started Blush, she asked me to assist her on some of her weddings. Less than a year after that, I started working with her on a full-time basis coordinating weddings and helping grow Blush alongside her.
What was the first event you ever coordinated? As I mentioned above, I was senior class president so there were a lot of events to coordinate. The most memorable was coordinating my senior prom. I remember going to multiple hotels and checking out ballrooms, then having to read through contracts before our sponsor would sign off on them, etc… I worked with the class to vote on a theme and then met with a designer to help bring it to life. I didn’t know at the time that this event is what would make me decide to go into event planning.
What has been one of your favorite details about a wedding? There are so many!!! I love when couples add their own personal touches to their wedding. The one ceremony detail that still chokes me up when I have to explain it is the wine box ceremony. While it is not for everyone, the accountability that is put on the couple to communicate, work on their relationship and reflect on their love before making any hasty decisions in time of doubt, is truly touching.
What is your favorite thing about weddings? Just being a part of their special day, whether it is for a few months or over a year, is my favorite. Seeing everything come together and seeing their smiling faces and happy tears and knowing that I helped with that.
Did you plan your own wedding? This question makes me laugh! I get asked this a lot. I planned very little. I was not a planner at the time. I was in hotel sales so while I had the knowledge, I didn’t have the drive. I wasn’t the girl who always dreamed about her wedding, with the exception of the church. I always dreamed of getting married in my childhood church in South Florida but then my parents moved to Orlando and that dream was out!
After being a part of so many weddings is there anything you would change about your own wedding day? Yes, everything!!! We had a very low-key wedding and since I was very hands off, there are a lot of things I would do differently.
What do you do when you aren’t spending your weekends working weddings? I spend them with my husband, Montague Jr and my son, Montague III. Our son is very active so right now he is playing basketball games on the weekend. We like to go out and have lunch or just hang out at the house playing various games.
If you could go back to the day you started at Blush, what advice, if any, would you give yourself? That is a great question! I don’t know if I would do anything that differently. I love where I am at now with Blush. I have grown throughout the years both professionally and personally which I think comes naturally in any career. Maybe it would be to not sweat the small stuff. I stress over a lot of details and wanting everything to be perfect on the wedding day. But I also think as a planner, you need to stress a bit about the details no matter how big or small as this couple is trusting you to make their day magical!
Is there any advice that you could offer to aspiring wedding coordinators? Stay true to yourself and know that you may not be the right fit for each couple that comes your way. But if you pride yourself in giving them the most memorable experience, they WILL come your way. I think providing amazing customer service along with expertise gets you far in this industry. At times it can be challenging but ultimately rewarding!
Tell me about the most unique wedding you’ve done: A little over 2 years ago, I got to plan a wedding in a car dealership. While the dealership was nice, it was a car dealership! There was no masking that but alas we did! I worked with an amazing team of professionals to transform this Chevy dealership owned by the bride’s family into a glowing wedding venue. The dealership was a part of both the bride and groom’s life. They worked there together and their co-workers were like family to them so there was no other location they had ever dreamed about for their special day. They trusted me to bring their vision to life and enhance upon it, and I am forever grateful!