Wedding Vendor Spotlight – Alden Blair Events

Whether you are interested in full-service wedding planning or solely “day-of coordination”, the thought of finding the perfect planner can be overwhelming.   You want to find the right person who “gets you” and who you basically click with.  Sounds like find the perfect guy, right?
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jessica Harris, founder and owner of Alden Blair Events (www.AldenBlairEvents.com) of Boston.  If you haven’t heard of her yet, get ready to hear her name a lot in the wedding circle.  Jessica has become one of Boston’s up and coming wedding professionals and the news is spreading throughout New England. 
If you are looking for a planning company who is known for their originality, creativity, and planning flexibility, look no further than Alden Blair Events! 
Me:  Tell me about your professional background and what made you interested in wedding event planning.
Jessica: My background in events began in Washington, D.C., where I planned official, international visits between the United States and the Middle East. Traveling without a staff or security entourage, I coordinated multi-lingual production teams and worked with local vendors to create elegant but understated events. The experience was incredible and laid the foundation for coordinating similarly complex and detailed events.
After years of traveling to places that most people only read about in the news (Turkey, Jordan, Sri Lanka, and the UAE to name a few), producing uninspired events, I needed to exercise my creative side — thus my venture into wedding planning. I was drawn to the opportunity to personalize the details and aesthetic of each event, creating meaningful experiences for my clients. Whether an English garden-inspired reception, or a trendy cocktail party, each event was a playful, sophisticated, and personal expression of the couple. 
Me:  Why did you decide to start Alden Blair Events and what brought you back to the New England area?
Jessica:  I couldn’t find a company that spoke to my approach to planning – a combination of stylish professional meets prep school friend – or that had the versatility of event design I was looking for. The traditional pastel-and-white color palette is great, but it doesn’t fit every couple. What about vintage weddings, or modern weddings? Red/black color palettes, or Modern Art venues? All couples deserve a planner that fully believes in their vision, especially if it is a modern twist on tradition.
Alden Blair is exactly what I had hoped for, providing the quality of service and breadth of wedding design that I couldn’t find anywhere else. After experiencing a great world of weddings in D.C. and moving home to Boston I knew it was time to start the company I had been dreaming of. 
Me:   Tell me about “Day-Of Coordination”.  That seems to be the area you really focus on.   My guess is that brides may not even know this type of service is available to them!  With all the rushing around that happens the day of a wedding, I bet a lot of brides wish they had someone to coordinate things for them.
Jessica: Simply put, day-of coordination is perfect for hands-on couples who choose to plan their wedding, because it allows them to have their cake and eat it too. Starting a month before the wedding, we meet with our couples to discuss every detail of the big day, down to the little treats for guests and decor set up. From there we plan out the timeline and confirm all arrangements with vendors, ensuring that everything is in its place when the time comes. It is a service that not only allows couples complete control over their wedding plans, but gives them the peace of mind that their precious plans are attended to on the big day – without the stress of recruiting family or relying on individual vendors pull things together.
Offering day-of coordination services, as a stand-alone package, is not new to the wedding industry but seems to be a relatively new concept for Boston. All of our planning packages include day-of coordination, as this allows us to put the finishing touches on all wedding plans. 
Me:  Do you also handle full-service wedding planning? 
Jessica: Yes! From scouting locations to attending dress fittings we provide full-service wedding planning. In fact one of our full-service couples was married in August at the Lenox Hotel — it was stunning! Complete wedding creation encompasses everything from selecting a stationery suite to coordinating welcome events and gives our clients peace of mind, knowing that they have an expert to rely on.
Me:  How many events have you conducted to date?
Jessica:   I have planned over 250 events in the last five years, 50 of which were weddings.
Me:  What are a few things brides seem to be wanting this year – are there any trends that you are seeing emerge?
Jessica:  Couples are starting to look for more stylized decor/events and are becoming less interested in the vintage trend. It began to appear with more dramatic flower arrangements and is crossing into lavish guest experiences, lighting, and hosted after parties. Over the next year I think we will see brides looking for overstated weddings that have personal touches, similar to the weddings of 2-3 years ago. 
Me:  What do you think is your competitive edge in the industry?  Why should a bride choose Alden Blair? 
Jessica:  Alden Blair’s competitive edge is, first and foremost, that we are professional and experienced event producers. Unlike wedding planners with creative backgrounds, our forté is coordinating all of the large and small details into seamless and beautiful events. Even the most beautiful decor will be overshadowed by wedding day mishaps, so skilled event coordination is the key role of a wedding planner. And because planning events is my profession, I have developed a series of policies and systems to consolidate event planning which facilitate the planning process for both clients and vendors.
With the logistics well in hand we are better equipped to design across the spectrum of beach to ballroom, and trendy to traditional. One of my favorite weddings was a cocktail-style reception at which we served artesian pizza as a nod to Italy, where the couple met. The use of red up lighting and white pin spots created a modern, sleek atmosphere that fostered mingling and dancing. Overall it was an incredibly personal event that spoke of the couples interest in design, travel, and entertaining — I couldn’t have come up with such a fitting and personal design on my own, it was only by working with the couple that we were able to achieve their perfect day. This wedding is just one example of our mission: we never impose our view of “the perfect wedding”, but instead create a client’s vision for a wedding, perfectly.
Me:  What do you think are the top 5 reasons why a couple should choose day-of coordination?
Jessica:  The top 5 benefits to delegating all wedding responsibilities to a Day-of Coordinator are:
5) Two locations, one coordinator: your day-of coordinator will oversee both the ceremony and reception.
4) Post-wedding clean up: all of your gifts, guest book, and personal items are packed into your parents’ car at the end of the evening while they mingle with guests.
3) Centralized communication: even on a moments notice, your changes are communicated to all of your vendors, without one phone call from you.
2) What you don’t know… is totally ok!: The peace of mind that even minor emergencies will be addressed without causing you stress.
1) Leave your watch at home: your coordinator will gently prompt you for all of the reception events, like cake cutting and your first dance.
 
Me:  Is there anything you want your prospective clients to know about you or something they would be surprised to find out?
Jessica:  My perspective on wedding planning, especially day-of coordination, is that it is a service that should be available to all couples, across budgets and wedding styles. A couple who puts in the effort and plans the entire wedding deserves a skilled, professional team to handle the details of the big day, so that they can enjoy the fruits of their labor. Every couple should enjoy the precious moments of their wedding day without the stress that comes with responsibility, so all of our clients, regardless of budget, receive the same attention and quality of service that allows them to enjoy their wedding day.
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