KNIGHT + The Wedding Planner

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm beginning to believe there is no one on this earth that I can't make laugh or at least crack a smile. Especially when I catch dance fever in the middle of a shoot. Its either Brandi or I that decide to put our bad moves to the test when all else fails. Other times we just want to enjoy ourselves.

My good friend Michelle from Lemiga Events contacted me about a session for her new upcoming website and press releases. Of course she used the most common statement in all of my clients' first consultation, "I'm not the most photogenic person." I always say, "Yeah right. You're beautiful in your own unique way." This is very true of every person I photograph. I find out what I see (...the key is to love what you see. ©2004) is beautiful about them and try to capture just that. Friends and family end up agreeing with me in the end and people that actually like themselves do too.

Michelle is the owner of Lemiga Events and StudioWed in Atlanta. I am a part of the studio and have enjoyed the relationship Michelle and I have developed. She helped Brandi with the decor for my birthday party in April and we have two weddings to collaborate on coming up in November and January.

For her headshots/lifestyle session Michelle wanted to just be herself. I proposed we do "Michelle's Favorite Things" and we took it from there. Michelle enjoys going to the flower market and the Tiny Bistro (for lunch) at least once a week, loves fabric and linen, is a paper junkie, and likes reading wedding magazines. We incorporated all of these things into the shoot.

I decided to interview Michelle to give all of my upcoming and potential brides out there some tips on planning your wedding. I hope you find this informative and helpful!

A Photoshoot and Interview with Michelle Gainey of Lemiga Events

1. How long have you been in business? How did you get started?
I initially started planning events as a hobby, but with encouragement from family and friends, I turned my passion for planning into my business. I started Lemiga in 2004, first planning social and corporate events, and eventually branched out into weddings.

2. Why does a couple getting married need an event planner?
Event planners are important to help keep you organized, educate you on the process, and be an advocate on your behalf with other vendors.

3. What is the difference between event planning and event design?
Event planning involves the logistics of the day - coordination of the vendors and wedding day timeline. Event design involves designing the wedding day decor elements. Sometimes clients may only have colors they like and don't know where to go from there. I help them come up with a cohesive design that allows for everything from the stationery, to the flowers, to the linens, etc., all flow together nicely. As well as designing unique details that reflect the couple's personality within the wedding.

4. Your greatest memory as an event planner?
I recently had a wedding where the bride walked into her reception room and started crying. She was overwhelmed with how everything turned out perfectly as she had envisioned. Of course then I started crying too! It just felt so wonderful to be able to deliver her dream-wedding day.

5. Does having a couple on a budget limit your creativity?
Not at all. I love getting to know what is important to my clients - their interests and hobbies - where they fell in love - what they love about each other. And I take those details and design the wedding around those elements. There are always ways to incorporate those into the wedding without it being expensive.

6. Why should someone choose you to be their event planner?
A potential client would choose me as their planner because they want an event or wedding that's full of unique details and at the end of the day, reflects the couple and what is important to them. They want a planner that thinks outside the box and enjoys doing something that's never been done before. My ideal client wants to choose me because they value quality and good customer service.

8. Are you married? If so, what would you do differently planning if you could go back in time and do it again?
I have been married for 9 years. And boy are things different now than when I got married. Mainly photography! I'm so in love with wedding photography today (especially Ross' work : ) 9 years ago, photography was much more posed and not creative. So if I could have one thing different it would be a photographer who truly captures the emotion of the day, and brings an artistic approach to photography.

9. Why Atlanta?
I grew up in Atlanta and live here with my husband and two daughters.

10. Do you travel?
I love to travel! I love the challenge and inspiration of new and different locations.

11. How does photography affect your business?
After all is said and done, just like the couple, all I have are the photos. In order to have a good professional portfolio of work, quality photography is key.

12. What should a couple look for in a planner? A photographer?
You want the right fit for your style and personality. You work with your wedding vendors on a very intimate level and you want to hire professionals that you trust to understand your desires and vision and deliver that for your wedding.

13. Does communicating with the couple's photographer affect your success as a planner?
Definitely! I always communicate with the photographer to make sure we include enough time in the wedding day time line for the couple's photos. I also work with the photographer to make sure they capture all the details the couple spent so much time and energy preparing. Nothing is worse than not getting a photo of items that are sentimental or you worked hard to prepare.

16. How does lighting affect your designs?
Proper lighting is everything. Lighting changes the mood of the room. You want your guests to see all the details you've meticulously planned, and good lighting highlights colors and textures as well creating the glow for you and your guests to be photographed.

17. What is your favorite season for weddings?
In Atlanta, probably Spring. It's not too hot or cold. And the city is just beautiful with everything blooming around.

18. Where do you draw inspiration from (business and life)?
Everywhere! I'm lucky to be surrounded by a great group of wedding professionals at StudioWed and they inspire me on a daily basis. For event design I draw inspiration from fashion, home decor, architecture, colors, etc. It's funny how I can be in a random place and something sparks an idea. I always carry around my camera and notebook so I can easily jot down my ideas.

21. What are the new trends in event planning and design?
Trends come and go. I prefer to design events that are true to who my clients are and what is important to them. This way even when you look back at the event years from now, it will be timeless because it represents the essence of the couple. For example, if you met and fell in love in Paris, so we decide to incorporate Parisian touches in the wedding, even 10 years from now you'll look back on that with fondness and meaning. However, if you designed your wedding only by what was trendy at that time, when you look back on it a decade later it will probably look very dated. Yes, I follow trends and I'm always in the loop to the hottest colors and the latest and greatest ideas. But trends aren't a guiding factor for me. Being true to who you are and what you love and reflecting that within your wedding is what is most important. And who knows, by doing that you might start some new trends!

22. What is the greatest misconception that you feel brides have? Biggest mistake?
Taking on more than they can handle. There's nothing more sad than to see a bride or her family running around and working on the wedding day. When the day is properly planned and you have a good team, all you have to worry about is getting married. You don't get to do this day over again, and believe me it goes much faster than you can imagine. So have a competent team in place to handle the logistics and details for your wedding so you can just spend the time taking in all the emotion of the wedding.

23. Is it common for brides to think they can plan their wedding on their own?
Yes, in the beginning. Many brides usually don't understand all the details and organization that are needed to plan a wedding. Especially when they have full-time jobs, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything that has to be accomplished with planning a wedding. I find my brides usually have a sense of relief after hiring me, because now they know they have a partner in the planning process who is watching over them, guiding them, and ensuring that nothing is missed. And most of all they get to relax and enjoy their wedding day knowing that all the details are taken care of.

24. How did you enjoy Ross Oscar Knight dancing during your portrait session? Is he crazy or just doing what it takes to make people feel comfortable in their own skin?
The tactics definitely work! It just goes to show there's nothing he won't do to make the client feel comfortable to get the shot.

To learn more about Michelle and see some of her design ideas, check her out by clicking here.

Assistant: Lauren Wade (KNIGHT intern)
Hair: Terion Montgomery (Like A River Salon)
Location: Tiny Bistro, StudioWed, BrickWorks
Makeup: Keya DeLarge (previous shoot with Keya and Erica)
Styling: Erica Angeline (previous shoot with Keya and Erica)


Ross Oscar Knight Photography Destination Wedding Photographers



Neka said...

Those were great pictures of your friend and plus the interview was funny too! LOL

Darcita said...

Awesome!! I love the shot with the little black dress and all the fuscia accents. She is a beautiful woman!

Kim said...

Of all the photos you posted, I like the first one the most. I love Michelle's pink eye shadow and how it relates to the color of her necklace, the flowers in her hand and the stationery and tablecloth.

a little bit of whimsy photography said...

michelle did a great job.. very photogenic and beautiful..

and you too knight.. as per your usual!!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THEM ALL!!! Great work as always and of of course Michelle is always stunning!

Unknown said...

You look beautiful Michelle! Love the shoes!
-The NEW Mrs. Anna Kinchen :)

SBrownART said...

She is VERY photogenic!! Beautifully done, and great interview too!


(JIN) Love, Loss & Lacquer said...

What a great post - not only are the images beautiful (as is she), but the interview was great as well.

Lemiga Events said...

Thanks everyone for all the great feedback! Ross you are so great to work with and amazingly talented. Now I can say that as both a client and a planner.

Glitter said...

Loved this interview. Check out the Lemiga Events site too....niiiice!