With experience on both sides of the aisle, wedding planner Shannon O’Connor of Events by Shannon is ready to help you curate the wedding day of your dreams.
Some brides are totally prepared to handle every intimate detail of their weddings. But for all the brides who’ve been scrolling Pinterest since high school, there are just as many who feel incredibly intimidated by the planning process. Where do you begin? What vendors should you hire first? How in the world do you even attempt to make a seating chart? If reading those last three questions raised your heart rate through the roof, you might want to consider enlisting some expert help.
Shannon O’Connor of Events by Shannon (a BOLI preferred vendor) knows what it takes to plan a beautiful wedding – and she has the insider knowledge (and first hand experience) to bring all of your visions to life.
“I want to plan weddings and see where this could go.” – Events by Shannon
For O’Connor, the pull towards wedding planning started during her college years. “I was in school, going for pre-med,” she remembered, “and two years into it I said, ‘this isn’t for me.’” Deciding on her future meant taking some inspiration from the past. “My mom did a lot of parties growing up and I always loved helping with them, getting everything organized and set up. So I thought ‘I want to do parties, I want to plan weddings and see where this could go.’”
Aside from inspiration, Shannon also gained some valuable experience from her past. “When I was younger, I actually worked at East Wind” – a fellow BOLI preferred vendor. “It was there that I gained experience serving wedding guests, and watched maitre d’s run a wedding reception. This was also when I realized I wanted to get in on wedding planning at an earlier stage than just the day of the wedding itself.”
After graduation, Shannon took some bold initiatives to help develop the skills she’d need. “I started searching for local wedding planners on Instagram and reached out to any & everyone I could find to see if they would be interested in hiring an intern,” she recalled. “I eventually found a taker and began helping her out on some of her weddings for the season. As I was gaining all of this valuable experience from a seasoned pro, I was also building my own business from the ground up. I did a few bridal showers and events like that, and it gradually grew from there.”
Perhaps the best experience she could gain was as a bride herself. “I recently got married on March 25th,” said Shannon. “So now I have a real insider view on what it’s like! This has helped me tremendously to anticipate my bride’s needs.”
“We take things a step at a time.” – Events by Shannon
Shannon offers clients a full service planning package, which as she describes is “pretty much the whole shebang.”
“Full service is definitely more of a ‘blank canvas’ type of thing,” Shannon explained. “Some brides will come in saying ‘I don’t even have a venue.’ Or other times a bride has picked a venue, but now they don’t really know where to go from there. That’s where I come in and help.”
From there, she begins looking at each piece of the wedding day puzzle. “First we try to get a solid budget down, what they can really spend. Then we break it down into categories, looking at each vendor, and then I start helping them book those vendors. I take them all the way from the beginning stages of planning, straight through the wedding day.”
Shannon understands that the planning process can seem very overwhelming. “Sometimes people come in thinking ‘Oh my gosh, we have to do everything right now. If you have that fear, know that you don’t have to do everything at once. We take things a step at a time.”
“I want to make sure that I know every single detail.” – Events by Shannon
While many wedding planners will offer day-of coordination, Shannon prefers to enter the picture a little sooner. “I do month-of coordination, which is what some people might consider day-of, but you’re just getting a little more help,” she described. “You’ve worked on this wedding for so long, and I want to make sure that I know every single detail, and I have talked to every single vendor, and everyone’s on the same page.”
Shannon’s Month-of Coordination package offers brides a designated “point person” who ensures their day runs smoothly. “I’m working with the maître d’ or the caterer, the photographer, the videographer, the DJ – making sure everyone is on the same timeline and pulling everything together,” she said.
Having a month-of coordinator is not only beneficial for the vendors on your team, but for your family and friends as well. As Shannon mentioned, “a lot of brides find it helpful to have that point person for not only the vendors, but also for the bride and the groom, bridal party, and parents. That way, their close family is less worried about all those little details and they can actually be there and enjoy the day with the bride and groom.”
Soon Shannon will begin offering “wedding management”- an option that’s in between a full service planner and month-of coordinator. “It’s right in the middle of the two,” she said. “I would come in three months prior to the wedding and help to plan decor details, seating charts, and stuff like that. With month-of coordination, you don’t really get those kinds of things. So management is a medium ground.”
“I’ve been in their shoes, and I want them to have the best day possible.” – Events by Shannon
Being a newlywed herself, Shannon has some words of wisdom for Brides of Long Island – from both a personal and professional perspective. “Try not to overwhelm yourself with too much at once,” she advised. “I always say, limit things to three options. If you’re looking at a bunch of venues online that’s great, but don’t go see ten venues – you’re just going to drive yourself crazy. So limit it to maybe three places that you want to go see. You can apply that same concept when booking all of your vendors.”
She also suggests being realistic about your budget. “It’s a big thing, make sure there’s clear communication as early as possible about what your budget is. You don’t want to start falling in love with venues or vendors that you really can’t afford.”
As many recent brides will attest, Shannon confirms that there are bound to be a few hiccups on your big day. “Nothing is perfect in life,” she said. “You can plan all you want, and obviously planning is great. But when the day comes, you never know what life’s going to throw at you. Take things as they come and let go of the small things. You’re marrying the love of your life and no matter what – if it rains, if it’s sunny – it’s going to be the best day ever because it’s your special day.”
“And most importantly, enjoy every second,” Shannon added. “Everyone says it, but it’s true – the day flies by. I’ve been in their shoes, and I want them to have the best day possible. Let me sweat the small stuff while you soak in that ‘just married’ feeling, and enjoy celebrating with those who love you most!”