Vendor Feature: BW Studio + Events | Wedding Planner in Illinois
I met up with Blair Woerfel, owner of BW Studio + Events over Zoom last week, and I’m so excited to share her story on my blog as the first featured vendor of 2021! Blair has a really unique story of how she became a wedding planner, and I think you’re going to love getting to know her!
But don’t take my word for it — let’s hear it straight from Blair!
Please introduce yourself and your business.
My name is Blair Woerfel, a wedding planner in Illinois, and I started event planning 5-6 years ago. I began planning non-profit events with my friends in the architecture and design community. (I’m a certified interior designer.} We started a non-profit group, and I was doing the fundraisers — the events and banquet dinners, and parties. Everyone was like, “Blair’s good with that, let Blair do that,” and before I knew it, people were asking me to do their private and personal events. Showers, birthday parties, weddings, you name it!
I took it and ran with it, and before I realized it, I was doing a lot of work for free! It was then that I realized I had an opportunity to create a business. About three years ago I “went legit” and formalized my business legally as a wedding planner in Illinois, and everything exploded overnight. The first year we had four clients, the next year we had ten, the next year we had twenty.
Now, most of our business comes from referrals from other vendors or bridal party members.
What makes your business unique?
I come from an interior design world, so as a wedding planner in Illinois, I’m very conscious of how your space is laid out, how you move through your space, the function of your space, and how things move minute-to-minute. That comes from a combination of my interior design training and non-profit event planning. I did a lot of project management in that role,too, so I’m very used to prioritizing outcomes and figuring out what needs to get finished first. I’m not afraid to help analyze your wedding budget, too!
Lots of clients love that I do interior design, and then tell me, “You get this!” because I understand clearances and how much room you need to have things happen in addition to time in the schedule.
Tell us about your process. How do you work with your clients?
The relationship always starts with a client inquiry through my website or on the Knot or WeddingWire, and we get together for a free consultation to get to know each other more. A lot of clients want to begin that conversation by diving into their wedding details, but I like to start by taking a step back. Instead, I ask them, “How’d you meet? What’s the love story here? How did they propose?”
I want to know all that fun stuff because that helps us understand if we’re going to work well together. I feel like there are some vendors you have to be buddy-buddy with for the process to work. I really rely on building that relationship early for it to be a successful client-planner relationship.
After that, we put together a proposal, with a nice summary of what’s going on and what our packages offer. Then we go into a contract and it really depends on what package you select as to how fast we get started, and how frequently I call you. We meet a lot by Zoom now, though I used to really love Sunday coffee dates. I tell my clients to bring their coffee on Zoom calls — let’s try to normalize this a bit!
If you’re a full planning client we’ll meet at least monthly, if not biweekly at the beginning. As it gets closer to the big day and more decisions have been made, then we bring that meeting frequency way down. I have a lot of clients who are doctors, lawyers, in med school, and things like that, so I’m always happy to be flexible about meeting times. I’ve had lots of 8 pm meetings after someone got out of their evening class!
From there on, it really depends on what level of assistance they really need for planning their day. I customize everything I do to your vision and needs for the big day! wedding planner in illinois
As a wedding planner in Illinois, what are your top tips for brides?
- Take a deep breath. Slow down. Unless you’re trying to plan an elopement in 30 days, take some time to slow down and relax a bit. Pick one item, one vendor, one challenge at a time, and just focus on that. And then cross it off your list. I’m a big list maker! I love checking things off! (By the way, I believe there’s no such thing as multi-tasking…you can only focus on one thing at a time.)
- Stick to your budget. There’s nothing wrong with having a budget and sticking to it. At the end of the day, your wedding is just one day, and we don’t want that one day to determine your financial future for the next 20 years. I’ll be a realist and tell you if something can’t happen, but in most cases, we can do more research and find a solution that’s right for you.
- This is the biggest one! Lean on and trust the people that you’re hiring to do their job. As your planner/coordinator, you can trust me, I’ve done this before. You, as a client, probably haven’t planned that many weddings! Unless you’ve helped a sibling for a friend plan their wedding this is probably the first time you’ve planned a wedding, and that’s ok. Ask questions, and don’t feel like something might be too silly to bring up with your vendors!
What do you love most about your business? Favorite event, planning process, or activity?
Oh man! It has to be hanging out with my clients. Especially during lockdown, since my only social interaction has been with my clients! Getting to know them, their story, their “why” for their wedding day, and why things are so important to them.
I once had a bride break down and cry at a wedding and I was like, “What happened? Who made my bride cry?” And she responded, “I’m just so happy!” She didn’t know any other way to explain or express herself. I just love getting to know people and serve them on that personal level on their most special day so they can just sit back and have fun.
This all started with my wedding planner. I didn’t know what was going on for half the day, but I had the most amazing time, and it was because she was running around like a crazy person taking care of me the whole day. That way I could relax and get my hair done while drinking mimosas, and that’s the feeling I want for each of my clients.
Oh, and my favorite wedding day moment: I’m usually the one standing behind the curtain before the wedding party goes down the aisle, so I get to do the big “dress fluff” before the bride is escorted in by her dad. That’s my moment. Dad’s there, and that always chokes me up. I get really excited about that.
What’s the best way for someone to contact you?
Where can we find you online?
Do you have any questions for Blair? She’s an amazing wedding planner in Illinois, and I’m so excited to feature her business and look forward to recommending her to my sweet brides and grooms. Blair, thank you so much for taking the time to connect and share your story!
Want to catch up on past installments of my vendor feature series? Check them out right here:
wedding planner in illinois