10 Questions with Carolyn OBrien

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and highly sought-after wedding planners in Oregon, Carolyn OBrien of Creative Celebrations Wedding & Event Planning. Portland based Carolyn is the founder and owner of Creative Celebrations.

Creative Celebrations Wedding & Event Planning

Planner - Carolyn OBrien

10 Questions with Carolyn OBrien

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hello! I am Carolyn O'Brien, owner and Queen Coordinator at Creative Celebrations Wedding and Event Planning. I am a story teller. I tell your love story with those who matter most.  We start with a one on one conversation where you tell me the journey that has led you both to your wedding day. Together we create a day that is filled with love, laughter and is completely stress-free!

My degrees in public relations and Spanish led me to a career in special events, marketing and publicity. What I did for my "big clients" I now do for my couples...plan amazing, well organized, detail oriented weddings and events! In a nutshell my “special gift” is turning any area into a magical event space. Using just the right rentals, lighting, music and unique touches…I create that special place where romance meets fun!

2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?

With over 30 years of hospitality experience, and twelve years creating weddings, I help you find the perfect venue and vendors that match your wedding vision and your budget. We plan together, then you relax and enjoy the day while I make sure every thing runs smoothly! Being in the Pacific Northwest, I have planned over 100 indoor and outdoor weddings and events using natural venues as backgrounds such as Mt. Hood, the Columbia Gorge, Oregon's wine country and Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast.

My team and I have seen it all – so nothing throws us! From one or our recent couples..."Carolyn worked tirelessly, coordinating and communicating with all of our vendors, making on-site visits, thorough and comprehensive timelines, to-do lists, and most importantly, making sure we were at ease throughout the entire process. When the big day finally arrived, we didn't have to worry about a thing other than being present to the amazing experience!"

3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?

1) A a'carte Wedding Coordination

Our most flexible option providing as much or as little assistance as you need! $250 retainer deposit covers your first two hours of planning and puts your wedding date in our calendar. Hourly Wedding Planning and On-site Coordination: $125 per hour
Here's what we do for you: Pre-wedding consultations, Planning Meetings, Design and Décor, Vendor recommendations, Wedding Day Timeline, Vendor Confirmations, Ceremony Rehearsal, On-site Wedding Day Services

2) Month-Of Coordination

Meet one month prior to your wedding or event. Create a detailed timeline of your day! Coordinate with each vendor and venue. We also provide two on-site wedding coordinators on the day of your wedding!
Prices starting at $2,200


3) Partial Planning

We provide professional assistance with elements of your wedding or event that have you stumped! We then coordinate these elements into a detailed timeline, distribute and coordinate with vendors and provide personal on-site coordination so you can relax on the big day!
Prices starting at $3,400


4) Full Wedding Planning

Relax…we have everything covered. Venue and vendor selection, coordination of flowers, music, rental and design. Create a detailed timeline of your wedding weekend! On-going coordination with vendors, rehearsal coordination and three on-site wedding coordinators on the day of your wedding!
Prices starting at $6,800

4. How do payments work (a percentage of the wedding budget, a flat fee etc.)? What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?

A a'carte Wedding Coordination's our most flexible and popular option providing as much or as little assistance as you need! $250 retainer deposit covers your first two hours of planning and Hourly Wedding Planning and On-site Coordination: $125 per hour

Month-Of Coordination
Prices starting at $2,200, a 50% deposit puts your wedding date in our calendar.


Partial Planning
Prices starting at $3,400, a 50% deposit puts your wedding date in our calendar.


Full Wedding Planning
Prices starting at $6,800,, a 50% deposit puts your wedding date in our calendar.

5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?

We have a minimum of two coordinators at every wedding! One lead coordinator and one assistant coordinator so we can actually be in two places at one time!

Kiah has been planning and coordinating weddings and events with Creative Celebrations for over four years! Her bubbly personality is only surpased by her attendtion to detail. You will be in great hands with Kiah! Kiah is a Lead coordinator and also assists Carolyn with larger weddings

Becca had been with Creative Celebrations since 2021. She is the calm presences at weddings, that makes our couples feel at ease. She is a wonderful assistant coordinator and is yet another set of eyes and ears on-site making sure every signs runs smoothly.

Rachel joined the team in 2021 as well. She brings a wealth of experience in organization and provides amazing behind the scenes support as an assistant coordinator to ensure the perfect day for all of our clients!

6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?

I am proud to say I have never had to miss a wedding since starting Creative Celebrations in 2010! But, rest assured, like any good planner, I always have a "Plan B, sen for myself! If for any reason I can not be onsite for your wedding day I have not only three back up coordinators within my company that can execute your timeline, but I also network with another local planner to be "on call" for one another!

7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?

Depending on the package you choose we have between two and twenty meetings! Since I work with so many out-of-state and out-of-country clients, my process is streamline, easy and on-line! We are also available to have a "walk-through" at your venue at the beginning of your planning and once again, a month prior to the wedding, with all of you and your vendors so everyone is on the same page!

How we stay connected:
-Every email, contract, photo, etc. is all in one place using our On-Line Honeybook Workstation!
-You can comment and add information to the wedding timeline we create for you by using our Timeline Genius interactive portal.
- You can see your wedding ceremony and reception floor plane create by accessing our All Seated Portal.

We know you are busy so make it easy to stay in touch! I am available by phone and text whenever you need me.

8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?

With our Full Planning Package and Hourly Plan we offer invitation design,, addressing, mailing, RSVPs, seating charts, escort cards, organizing and/or printing whatever you need!

9. Do you handle rentals? Will you coordinate delivery, arrival and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians and the caterer/banquet manager?

We handle all your rental needs. We have a personal inventory of decor rentals including signage, candle holders, card baskets, guest books, etc. We also work closely with several rental companies and arrange rental orders, delivery and set up.

Each of your vendors checks is with us the minute they arrive at the venue. We make sure they arrive on time and provide the vendors with a timeline with their specific details a minimum of ten (10) days before your wedding.

10. Can you create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process (other pros, members of the wedding party, to-be-weds and families) what to do and when to do it? How will you make sure everyone sticks to the schedule?

Our on-line timeline system enables us to send each of your vendors a specific timeline with just their details! This ensures they know the venue's address, to check in with us and what time their specific tasks are throughout the day! We set every vendor up for a successful day!

We can also generate a Wedding Party timeline, so "your people" are informed and know exactly when and where to be for the rehearsal and wedding!

We follow the overall timeline we create for your wedding throughout the day to make sure everything runs smoothly from the first vendor's arrival to overseeing clean up and vendor move-out.

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Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2020