Friday, August 8, 2008

Let's Talk Weddings- Interview with Regina and Chris Hare, tuxedos, flowers…yep, there is definitely a theme in this blog and it sounds like Wedding Planning! Upon the launch of Runako Designs, I’ll be offering customized pieces for special events and of course weddings. Weddings are special, and whatever special piece you purchase from Runako Designs will be heirloom have my promise.

But what about all the other work and accessories and fashionable attire that go along with planning a wedding? Definitely not my specialty, so I reached out to a couple (pun intended) of local event planners, Regina and Chris Hare of Planning With Excellence, and asked them to share some advice on planning for a wedding and to tell us a bit about the services they offer.

Regina, tell us about your event planning experience and how you came to be a wedding planner.

I began event planning many years ago (1986) and started by coordinating small office events in the law offices I worked in. I enjoyed the coordinating aspect and watching everyone have a good time. From the small office events, I graduated to doing social events such as milestone birthday parties, children's parties, and other events, and then onto weddings. My husband and I were married in 2003 and decided to begin a business together coordinating weddings and special events. We initially operated out of our home on a part-time basis. In our wedding and event coordinating, we began to analyze things that we felt could be done better and explored ways we could help save couples money in planning their wedding. After a few years of research and pondering the market, we came up with the idea of a one-stop shop-wedding boutique. The idea was to offer all the services we currently provided (coordinating, floral design, invitations and fabric aisle runners). What we did not offer ourselves we would refer to reliable vendors that were screened and reviewed to make sure of their ability to project the image, customer service, and the style we wanted for our clients.

What exactly is a wedding planner and how do you distinguish between a good one and a bad one?

A wedding planner is someone who helps with the planning and coordination of your wedding. She can do as much as or as little as you would like her to do. She can help you plan and coordinate your wedding from beginning to end or she can just show up for the day of your event to keep everything on point. A good wedding planner is full of knowledge about all the products pertinent to planning events. She has access to various types of vendors that can service all types of customers at various price points. She is client loyal and not vendor loyal and always has the client's best interest at heart. She is compassionate, organized, trustworthy, and thinks on her feet. She is also creative and can work with any type of client or budget as long as the client is willing to be practical and realistic, and willing to take the planner's advice. She is honest about what she can and cannot do and is firm but always pleasant. She is always responsive and takes the time to stay promptly connected with her clients and the vendors she is involved with.

What type of products and services do you offer at your boutique?

The Planning with Excellence wedding boutique is a one-stop shop boutique, which was designed to save client's money and time in their wedding planning or event process. Our general services include consignment wedding gowns and formal wear for women (new and like-new for resale); custom jewelry, wedding accessories such as veils and tiaras (also consignment); invitations; floral design; tuxedos for rent; men's suits for sale; fabric aisle runners; and coordinating. We have developed a vendor team of wedding/event vendors, who offer services we do not offer, for referral to clients who come into our shop. When a client comes in, we take the time to sit down with them and see what their needs are and how we may be of assistance to them. The idea is to get the job done in one spot and the client does not have to run all over town to find what he or she needs.

We offer free wedding planning seminars in our shop for brides/couples getting married. We are currently offering budget counseling as part of the premarital counseling sessions offered at local churches as well as churches in the Northern Virginia area, free of charge. Educating clients about the wedding planning process, what to expect, and what products are out there is imperative to their finances.

We also have social events of interest in our shop once a month where we feature our vendors. These events are not necessarily wedding related and open to the community. We want the community to know what we are doing so that when the need arises in their life to utilize any of our services or when they know someone who needs our services, they will remember us.

Are there advantages to purchasing a pre-owned gown?

There are definite advantages to owning a pre-owned gown from our shop. They are in excellent condition. You would never know any of our gowns had been previously worn if we did not tell you. We only take the best merchandise. We have designer gowns and vintage gowns. The advantage is price and in some instances alterations can be minimal. The bottom line is, you will wear the gown for a few hours at the most. Why pay $1,200 or more for a gown when you can get it for half that price or less, and it still looks as good as the day it was originally purchased? It is a big savings in money and you can use that money on something else on your list.

What do you enjoy best about your job?

I enjoy interacting with all sorts of people. I enjoy being able to make their dreams become a reality and the look on their faces when everything just works. The relationships and friendships established in my work are priceless and are worth more than I can ever explain.

Can you share a favorite wedding planning memory?

Every wedding we do is very special to us. The best and warmest memory for us is when the bride and groom express their appreciation for a job well done.

What does the perfect wedding day survival kit include?

Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mints, drinking straw, pain reliever, antacid, hand lotion, emery board, clear nail polish, facial tissues, deodorant, tampons, adhesive bandages, hair brush, hair spray, bobby pins, interior mirror, lint remover, mending kit, scissors, safety pins, stain remover, static remover, super glue, double-sided tape, earring backs, corsage pins, extra wedding bands.

Any advice for couples planning their up and coming wedding?

Contact Planning with Excellence. You will be very happy you did!

Well, there you have it folks. A wedding planning service operated by husband and can't get more specialized service than that. Regina and Chris connect on a personal level with their clients and offer only quality customer service. Give them a call or refer someone you care about. Until next time...



You can find out more about Planning with Excellence and their upcoming events at

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