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When Kellene Fleischmann was little she loved playing Barbies….well, that’s not exactly true, her sister would play with the Barbies and she would tell her what to make them say and do. Same goes for playing wedding, she never wanted to be the bride, or flower girl, or even the groom, Kellene was the girl telling everyone where to stand, what to say, and making bouquets out of dandelions.
Well flash forward and she’s still that same girl, she’s just found a way to make her perfectionism an asset, not the bane of her little sister’s existence.
Betty Blue Events is a full service wedding and event planning company focused on planning budget-conscious events that are still creative and impactful.
MO: What inspired you to launch your own company instead of working for someone else? Was it harder or easier than you expected?
Kellene: I saw a need in the San Diego market for wedding planning for brides working with smaller budgets. The average San Diego wedding costs $37,500. That is still far outside of what many of my brides are able to afford. I truly believe everyone deserves to have the wedding of their dreams regardless of how much they can pay for it.
I would never say starting your own business is easy. There are times of self doubt and times of complete panic, but I think the main reason Betty Blue has been successful is because we are targeting a specific need in a market where budget conscious brides are often overlooked or looked down at. I want people to realize that everyone has a budget, everyone! Kim Kardashian may have had a million dollar wedding budget, but there is a reason her wedding wasn’t 2 million, or 3 million. Everyone has a budget.
MO: What important detail is most overlooked by brides during the beginning of the planning process?
Kellene: Definitely the logistics of a wedding. Most of my brides have been thinking about what their wedding would look like since they could say “princess”. Even brides who want simple elegance, or minimalism all have an idea of what their wedding should look and feel like. What usually is overlooked is how you are going to make it all come together. Brides most often come to me after they are completely overwhelmed and have no clue how to get all the puzzle pieces to fit together. It is my job to reassure them and get the picture they imagine from their mind to paper, or more accurately to the wedding.
MO: What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
Kellene: This may be a little controversial, and I am sure lots of event planners will disagree with me, but let go of the details. No one will remember if your centerpieces had peonies (beloved by brides everywhere and quite expensive) or ranunculus (a much less expensive look alike). Focus on the big picture. What will your guests remember? How do you want them to feel? I worked with a couple who set a handwritten card at every guest’s seat. It cost just fifty cents each, but half of the guests were in tears reading a personalized letter just for them. Those are the things people remember.
MO: How do you use Pinterest to stay inspired and get ideas? What recent ‘Pins’ or trends have you been excited by recently?
Kellene: I am absolutely addicted to Pinterest! I am constantly trolling for new ideas because even the most creative minds out there get inspiration from others. I am not craft at all (yes, you can have a beautiful wedding on a budget without being Martha Stewart)so I tend to look for easy Do It Yourself ideas and elaborate set-ups I think I could re-create for less. Saving money is almost like a game to me so I love seeing if I can “beat” someone in prices spent.
Right now I am loving the Roaring 20s. I think next year’s wedding trend will follow The Great Gatsby the way the past few years have been Mad Men inspired. We are already seeing a ton of vintage, gilt metal, and blush tones and I think fashion, music, and menu will be following. I am getting all sorts of fun ideas just thinking about it!
MO: Can you share an amusing, surprising or little known fact about the wedding planning industry?
Kellene: That if you add the word “wedding” in front of anything the price is going to skyrocket! You need a dozen roses wrapped with gold ribbon, no problem, $30, max. You call those same roses a “bouquet” and your price just went up to $160. When I am doing vendor research I almost never reveal I am planning a wedding. There is no reason a box of four chocolates should ever cost $5.25. Yet when you add the words “wedding favor” they are. You could but those same chocolates, from the same retailer and on the same website for 33 cents each.
MO: I love that you acknowledge on your site that planning a wedding is stressful and that “tension” is going to define some of the relationships throughout the planning process.” What are some techniques that you implement to diffuse tense situations?
Kellene: Ever hear the phrase “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar”? I live by that mantra. Smiling, asking nicely, being polite is the best way to get what you want and it works in almost all situations, kind but firm. As a wedding planner it is my job to take all of the blame and shield the bride and groom. I have grown very thick skin and it won’t hurt my feelings if your new mother-in-law yells at me because she is seated at the wrong table. I simply apologize and make the situation correct. Most of the time all people really want is to know their feelings have been heard. It is also important to always stay calm in a situation where everyone else is heated, and sometimes irrational. This is a very big event in the lives of not just two people but all of the people who love and support them as well and they just need to know that you know and respect that.