There are a lot of exciting new Milwaukee wedding event planners in the area. One that we wanted to highlight is Elevate Events. They are based out of Madison and serve all of Southeastern Wisconsin. We knew intuitively that this was a very personal endeavor for them. Their work shows it. So, we wanted to sit down with them to hear more about why they do what they do. Renee, a lead planner and designer, took some time to tell us her story.
Tell me how you came to be with Elevate Events.
I started with Elevate Events, which is based in Madison, in April of 2019. Prior to moving to the Milwaukee area and working with Elevate, I worked for another event planning company in Cleveland. I knew I didn’t want to give up working on weddings, so I researched a bunch of Wisconsin-based companies and Elevate was totally my style. I contacted Mallory and Kirstie, who had already been considering branching out in the Milwaukee wedding area. So it was a perfect opportunity and it just kind of all fell together. Right now I’m working on getting to know Milwaukee area wedding vendors. We have a lot of weddings already scheduled for 2020 that I’m excited about!
What is the overall vibe that Elevate brings to the clients and what type of clients are really good match for your business?
I would say we have a very timeless look. Years down the road you’re going to look back at your pictures and say, “I still love this, it looks amazing.” We have a very soft, very romantic vibe. We are having more and more of that vintage romantic style that clients are looking for. There are so many fun items like that at rental companies around! Other than aesthetics, our main goal is to make the wedding planning process stress-free for our clients as possible.
What kind of packages do you offer? And what are the differences between the types of coordination that you do?
Our most basic package is a Month-of Coordination. We will meet with the client for an initial consult, but we really jump in the month of your wedding and take over the vendor coordination and tackle last-minute details. That can help the couple really spend those last days relaxing, spending time with family and focusing on them, rather than worrying about the little details.
We also offer a Dash of Design package. You get the same month-of coordination, but you also get a lead designer who guides you through all your style needs. We will help make a mood board with our clients, which they can share with florist, venue, rental companies, etc. We make recommendations for pretty much any aspects of design and incorporating those little details into their wedding day.
The most comprehensive package is the Complete Planning and Design package. We make a unique and very personalized full design plan for these clients, guiding them through selecting vendors. Choosing everything down to the linens and going to the venue and floral meetings with them is a big part of our service. We always offer customized packages as well. If a client wants you with something in between we can work with them and make a customized plan.
When people are going with a complete planning package how far ahead of the wedding are they starting to work with you?
Usually it’s about 12-18 months prior to the wedding.
Where do you look for inspiration? What are your favorite areas as an artist to draw from?
I worked as a personal stylist a few years ago, so I really look to fashion and style trends. It can give you inspiration for colors coming out, new designs and overall aesthetics. I always ask my clients where they like to shop at your personal style. Because if they’re going to tell me J.Crew, you know, they’re going for a very clean line little more sophisticated if they tell me Anthropologie, they like that little hint of boho. So I always ask them where they shop at to get a little a better idea of their personal style for you personally.
What is your favorite aspect of designing? Are you really into the fabrics? Do you like the florals?
As much as I love the florals, I don’t know about types of flowers as much as I would like. I know what colors I like to work with, and I love to look at inspirational materials. But thankfully the florist are experts it! So my favorite part bringing in all the colors to work together. I like talking to the florists about the fabrics that will be used and making sure the whole design is well-coordinated.
When you’re working with a client who may be on a budget, what are your favorite tips for getting the most value of the vendors or materials they are investing in?
There is a broad range of budgets that we can work with. I always talk to the client first about, for example, how important are florals to you? That is somewhere where they can spend a large chunk of money, but you can also still make a very big impact by using a lot of greenery, which is less expensive. That’s a big spot where you can really adjust your budget.
But I always tell my clients somewhere where you want to focus your budget is the food and the music, because that’s what your guests are going to remember.
What is your preference for types of entertainment? What would you suggest to a client that is looking for something unique for their guests to experience that they may not have seen at a wedding before what are things outside of the basic band or DJ that you would suggest?
I get that question a lot. We had a wedding once where they had outdoor fire pits where their guests roasted marshmallows, and that was a fun, interactive experience. I did a wedding where they had a caricature artist come in during the reception to create drawings of the guests. It was fun for them to have something they could take home with them, rather than the usual kind of wedding favor.
What is your favorite out-of-the-ordinary guest experience you’ve had recently?
We did a stargazing lounge at a nature preserve in September! It was mixture of just big different size pillows a bunch of fun blankets and quilts in different textures. It was very relaxed and laid-back for the wedding guests to just hang out.
Where do you find inspiration for a design if you are just starting out with a client?
We have our clients start with a design questionnaire, which asks about, for example, what colors they use to decorate their homes. Do you like pops bright colors or do you like neutral muted tones? Then we move on to florals, and that’s when I ask question how much of an impact are they looking to make with the floral design, are there any flowers you love, flowers you don’t love. We also ask them to give us some vision words to describe the wedding, such as elegant, organic, formal, very relaxed. I also ask them to give me something personal about the themselves that may be incorporated into the wedding. Sometimes they know it right away, and sometimes they think about it a few days. But I love being able to include something, like a favorite pastime, vacation, or pet.
What are your favorite design trends that you’re seeing coming out for 2020 and 2021?
I was just looking at all the fun dresses at bridal boutiques recently. I went to some trunk shows, and a lot of the designers are doing the very low backs which is super fun. There was one dress that was covered in beads, but they were all neutral colored beads on white and I love that. For bridesmaids dresses, there’s a lot of deep burgundy out there right now as well as velvet.
What are you seeing coming up for event trends?
I’m seeing a lot of industrial spaces, but giving them a more romantic look. A lot of the warehouses are being renovated into venue spaces and I’m loving that trend, the mix of vibes and styles there.
How do you recommend that couples go about incorporating multiple styles or multiple sources of inspiration?
That happens a lot. I’ve had couples send me Pinterest boards and there’s one of everything on it. I help them narrow down to like two to three styles that they really want incorporate. Maybe they want a little bit of vintage with the industrial look so we might have the chairs be industrial metal, also adding vintage touches with very soft fabrics. I will definitely put those together on a mood board so we can see them side-by-side. If possible I would love to do mock-up tablescape for them so that they can really visualize it and see how it’s going to look together.
like this is how we can make this happen, you know, we need to rent these items. I always a lot of them.
Let’s talk a little bit about you.
What is your favorite junk food? Probably chips and salsa. I could eat chips and salsa every day of my life.
What is your favorite animal? I am a huge animal lover. We have two dogs, two cats and two hermit crabs. So I’m all across the board. But ever since I was a little kid, I’ve liked giraffes for some reason.
What’s the best trip you’ve taken? My favorite trip was probably with my husband and kids to Niagara Falls. It wasn’t a huge tropical trip, but it was just fun because we were all together, and we all got to experience something new together. Everybody had a great time. It was good all around.
What do you like to do with your family and friends? I love to entertain! Our house is kind of the house that all our friends come over. We had a big Fourth of July party this year. Also, we had people over this past weekend for my husband’s birthday. We like having them over and being in the space together, and feeling comfortable. But I also love, going out to the restaurants and trying new food.
What is your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry? Definitely my relationships with the couples. I feel like every couple I connect to somehow. I’m always crying during the ceremony.
What is the best thing about working with you for a wedding design? I studied interior design in college, so I think I have a good range of styles that I can work with. I’m pretty good at stepping outside of my style zone and into the clients’, seeing what they see. There are so many styles and I love seeing them done well.
To see more of our Milwaukee wedding work, please check out our portfolio.