How did you get started doing wedding planning?
Ultra planning has been instilled in me from a young age. I recall my father printing out laminated itineraries for family trips, and every time before we head out for anything, my dad would call a family meeting to run through the logistics.
I didn’t realize how useful all of this training was until my own wedding. I planned and executed every single detail and found it to be so much fun. It was almost second nature to me. It was then that I realized I could use my skills to help other couples.
Being an event planner is also a great creative outlet for me since being an attorney (my day job) can be very stressful.
Photographer: Trynh Photography | Venue: Rengstorff House, Mountain View | Wedding Planner & Coordinator: Peony Amour
What do you think is the most important part of wedding planning?
I believe the most important part of wedding planning is to never lose sight of ensuring the event is a celebration of the union of two unique individuals.
Trends come and go and can become overused, but if a wedding focuses on reflecting the couple’s passion and personalities, then it will remain timeless.
For example, I had this couple who designed their wedding to reflect their Mexican heritage in every aspect, including their altar, flowers, and tabletop decor. It all came together, and it was so classy and fun!
How should you decide if you need a wedding planner and what should you look for?
Even if you are an amazing wedding planner, you will need a day-of coordinator, at minimum.
Look for a coordinator that is willing to ensure you have a great plan, not just execute your plan as-is, even if you don’t hire him or her as a wedding planner. The best way to ensure a smooth day-of is to have a great plan and it doesn’t hurt to have a second set of eyes!
I had this amazing bride who was one of the best planners I’ve met. The couple had an absolutely gorgeous wedding with beautiful aesthetics, but we last minute helped re-arranged some of her floral just to add that missing magic touch to the ceremony. The client was super happy that she deferred day-of execution to the experts!
| Wedding Planner & Coordinator: Peony Amou
If a bride is on a limited budget, what do you recommend she prioritize?
There are so many ways to work with a limited budget, but the approach depends on what resources and talent the couple have.
For example, if a couple has friends that can help out with various things, such as being a day-of coordinator, providing the wedding cake, or the flowers, those three things alone could potentially save a couple of thousand dollars.
If a couple does not wish to use friends and family for help, the two big-ticket items to consider carefully are venue and catering. I had a bride who ended up doing her own floral, very impressive, and they turned out great!
Photo credit: Peony Amour | Venue: Tank 18, San Francisco | Floral: Made by bride | Decor: Made by bride and groom (including all the floral vases and signs). | Wedding Planner & Coordinator: Peony Amou
What pieces of advice do you have for brides on their wedding day?
There will always be unexpected issues, but remember, you and your planner/coordinator are the only ones that know of the plan, so don’t stress the minor deviations, your guests will not be able to tell.
What are some tips for brides planning an Asian-American fusion wedding?
Incorporating Asian culture into an American wedding can be so much fun and classy! I recommend thinking out of the box, especially with the venue.
Just because you love Chinese banquet food, red florals, or chinoise, it doesn’t mean you have to have your wedding at a Chinese restaurant!
Take this couple, for example, we found them a great catering team and we served Chinese banquet dinner at the beautiful and elegant Green Room in SF War Memorial. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever had the pleasure of coordinating.
What are some wedding traditions that you’ve seen couples include in their Chinese wedding?
The most common Chinese wedding traditions to incorporate include the tea ceremony and gate crashing games. Both of these are very fun and interesting to watch, especially for your guests.
Another creative insert is to include it in your drinks! I had one couple create cocktails with Vita lemon teas (a very common drink for those growing up in Hong Kong) and it was so delicious too!
What are some venues you recommend for hosting Chinese-American weddings or banquets?
I encourage all couples who want to do a multicultural wedding to look at any and all types of venues!
The only restrictions to be concerned about really are those that require the catering company to be on the approved vendor list, and even then, don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes venues will be willing to accommodate and make exceptions.
What are some tips as brides navigate rescheduling/canceling their wedding during this period?
No one (maybe except for pathologists and some few others) could have imagined a pandemic such as COVID 19 affecting our lives to this extent.
One thing that we must all now consider during event planning is “what if”, remember to ask all of your vendors about “what if” your wedding needs to be canceled or postponed, and make sure all the parties are in agreement as to how to handle the consequences, such as cancellation fees and/or deposits.
What are some aspects of wedding planning that brides can focus on during this time?
The good news is that we can do so much online/virtually these days that even though there is a “shelter in place” ordinance in effect, there is still a lot of wedding planning that can be done!
This includes picking your venue, photographer, and florist, which is mostly done based on photos and peer reviews anyways. In terms of catering, get creative, and see if there are take-out options that can otherwise replace in-person tastings.
About Peony Amour:
Peony Amour is a bespoke event planning and coordination company, as every couple (or party host) is unique, and so our services are also catered to the individual needs of every client. Our primary goal is to ensure that the event host has a memorable, fun, and loving experience, letting their personalities and passion shine through, without having to worry about the little nitty-gritty details of event logistics.