10 Questions with Ashley Sawyer

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and highly sought-after wedding planners in Virginia, Ashley Sawyer of Ashley-Adrien Events. Virginia Beach based Ashley is the founder and owner of Ashley-Adrien Events.

Ashley-Adrien Events

Planner - Ashley Sawyer

10 Questions with Ashley Sawyer

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hi, I'm Ashley Sawyer and I am the owner and lead wedding planner of Ashley-Adrien Events. I have been planning weddings since I was a teenager.

It started as a hobby but quickly grew into a career. I was born and raised in The Netherlands where I went to college to study hotel and hospitality management.

during my entire school career, I was part of some sort of event planning committee. After school, I moved to Orlando, FL where I worked as an incentive meeting and event manager for 10 years. Within those ten years, I went from jr. manager all the way to the owner's right-hand woman as a senior project manager. Organizing million-dollar multi-day events for international corporate clients. On the side, I worked as a wedding coordinator for a friend's wedding planning business. This was a nice change of pace and way less stressful than corporate planning. When that friend decided she was going to move and give up her business, she offered me the option to take over her business. At the time I wasn't 100% ready but it did plant a seed in my mind that would later blossom into my very own business.

Once I was finally ready, I took a leap of faith. quite my corporate planning job and started Ashley-Adrien Events. Ashley-Adrien is my full first name by the way. No one actually calls me that but I thought it would make for a cute business name. A nod to my late grandmother whom I was named after. Often people ask me if Adrien is going to join us for meetings and such. I don't always have the heart to tell them it's not another person. LOL

Anyway, It's been 8 years since I took that leap and things are going really well. In the meantime, I've also gotten married and had three awesome kiddos. Business is booming, the team is growing and life is good!

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

At this point, I'm not really sure how many weddings I have planned or coordinated on. I know it's more than 100 though.

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

We have three wedding planning packages that can be fully customized to our client's needs. We offer full-service wedding planning, partial planning and wedding day management, which is the same as day-of coordination. We stepped away from calling it day-of-coordination because it confused a lot of potential clients. Because our "Day of coordination package" actually starts about 2-3 months prior to the wedding date and includes more than just one day of wedding coordination. Our clients plan their own wedding and we help them over the finish line in the last few months when things are most stressful for them. We basically look over their work and try to keep them on course while trying to plan the final little details.

Our partial planning package is a mix and match package of whatever service you think you need on top of the Wedding day management package. For some, it's room block and transportation management, for others it's decor and design. Whatever it may be, we will customize the package to our client's needs.

Full-service planning is the whole shebang! Everything from A-Z wedding planning. We guide our clients throughout the entire process. Everything from vendor selections, budget management to etiquette advisement. It's all included!

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?

Our most popular package is our Wedding Day Management Package, followed by partial planning and then full-service planning. We only take on a set amount of full-service clients per wedding season, in order to give them our full attention.

The price depends on the location(s) of the wedding, the number of expected guests, and the amount of setup and prep that's needed. All of which is discussed during our complimentary consultation.

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

Our team consists of 5 staff members. a mix of planners, coordinators, and assistants.
The amount of staff that will be present at a wedding depends on the wedding. It's usually a minimum of 2.

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

Then the next senior staff member will be available to take over.

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

This also depends on the wedding and the package they booked. At a minimum, there is a consultation, kick-off meeting, venue walkthrough/detail meeting and rehearsal. Clients are also able to call/email us with questions and concerns at any time. For full-service planning, we have a lot more meetings, monthly in-person or zoom meetings as well as vendor meetings. As we get closer to the wedding date we will see a lot more of each other :)

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

This is one of our services. Its included in full-service packages and can be added to partial and wedding day management packages. We also offer discounts for several popular stationary vendors.

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?

Yes. We coordinate all arrival, delivery, setup, breakdown, and pickup times. We create an elaborate production schedule that we share with all of the vendors involved. Just so we're all on the same page.

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?

Yes. we create a productions schedule that also includes a timeline. All vendors are confirmed prior to the wedding date.

There is always a little buffer in the timeline to account for bad traffic and other hold-ups. Otherwise, we have never had an issue with a professional vendor not sticking to the timeline. We also offer all wedding parties (attendants and VIP family members) personalized timelines so they know where to go, what time to be there, and what to bring for all wedding events.

Gallery

Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2020