Interview with Carrie Moe of Type A Society, a california wedding planner and floral designer

So over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be interviewing other creatives who i find fascinating, talented, successful and amazing that I think you should all know about. kicking us off, is the ever beautiful and talented Carrie Moe of Type A Society.  I actually have no idea how I ever met her in the first place- we haven't yet worked a wedding together, but somehow our paths crossed and we wound up at the cutest little San Francisco eatery on the most beautiful afternoon having lunch together.  

Side Note: i actually didn't recognize her at first because as i scanned the restaurant patio and pegged her for a model.  This is not idle flattery. 

anyway, back to the task at hand- her (and her team's) serious talents. read below: 

 image credit:   Josh Gruetzmacher 

There are some vendors that just do planning, some that just do flowers, some that just do coordination and execution... but you guys do it all. how did this come to be and how do you balance wearing all those hats during the wedding day and leading up to it? 

Well, this question takes it all the way back to 2007, when my husband, after many conversations encouraged me to look into wedding planning as a career. He has seen me plan our own wedding with great excitement and then to go onto plan several (meaning 17) other weddings for friends just because I loved planning and design so much. With his kind encouragement to really take my passion for weddings seriously,  I went to work interning and working for a wedding planner in the Washington DC area. The planner I worked under was strictly an administrative planner with no design involved.  While I loved working for her, I soon found my creative side was not being fostered and so I started working for a florist to cultivate and feed my creative side. I loved both the planning and floral aspects of wedding and always felt like they needed to be combined or at least closely connected. Being able to put together a cohesive aesthetic from start of the first design meeting to placing the last centerpiece on the table always felt so right. In 2009 I started Fleurish Events and then Veronica Rogers came on board in 2013 and Kelly Moore in 2014. When Kelly came on board we re-branded to be called Type A Society since we are a little obsessed about keeping the details all in order. With three girls on board working together, we have been able to balance all sorts of hats and plates as each girl brings her own talents to the table. Kelly has had 10 years of visual retail styling experience and so she is our main stylist. With my passion for flowers and colors, I do most of the florals. Veronica comes with a keen artist eye and can put together an event flawlessly and so she is our main planner. We are all so much better when we work as a team. 

  image by  Josh Gruetzmacher 

 image by Josh Gruetzmacher 

 

I can imagine there are times when you envision one thing for a wedding, but your client envisions another.  Perhaps what they want is out of their budget, or not possible for the type of venue, or just not your style of what you typically produce. How to you work together to guide your client in a way that makes everyone happy in the end? 

 

Each bride is so completely different that we start completely from scratch each wedding. Once we know a bride is a Type A Society bride and wants us to really take part in her wedding we set up a meeting. Our brides come to the meetings with so many expectations and hopes and we love that! We sit down together and dream up larger than life ideas, hopes and plans. We put it all on paper and think way outside the box. Then we take a good hard look at the numbers and start to crunch them.  We always encourage each bride to keep her dreams and hopes high but we also do a lot of honest budget assessments as well. There is a lot of guidance and directional re-evaluating and planning that goes on. We have to look at each angle a few times to make sure that we are achieve what the bride hopes and dreams for while keeping within her spending plan. 

We map out a month by month checklist of various tasks that either the bride does or we do and we go at it. Comparing quotes, scouring the web for various items, being an etsy pro and re-searching options before we make any decision. 

Sometimes we outsource the floral when we have a bride who wants to go all out and her guest list is long. When we outsource the floral, we make sure we are closely connected to the florist and that they are excited about the vision. For most of our weddings, we keep the floral in house and make sure we have given each detail a thorough process of evaluation and consideration. We love to scour the flower markets for the perfect blooms and only take on 5-7 weddings with full planing and floral combined in one year so we can give proper time and attention to all of the details that go into one of these amazing wedding.

 

 

 Your job is really as a Trusted Advisor to your clients. not only do you help them achieve their vision, but also manage a ton of logistics and expectations. what is the hardest part for you during the planning or actual production of an event? 

The hardest part is definitely getting the dreams and hopes down to actual numbers. Budget crunching and spending plans being re-adjusted and evaluated. While we might have a bride that is crazy about flowers, she might care less about what people eat and so you have to balance it all out. Making sure you are giving time and attention to each aspect of the wedding even if your client is not. Number crunching and team management is always the hardest part. While you have the vision in your head, your team may not see what you are wanting them to design. Making sure they have a clear vision of how the whole entire event is designed is very important. 

 image credit:  Josh Gruetzmacher 

image credit: Josh Gruetzmacher 

 

 When I book clients they usually say 'I think we're just going to plan it ourselves', which is usually within the first month of getting engaged.  When I talk to them in subsequent meetings they have gotten so overwhelmed they've hired a planner. But, by this time they already have a lot of the main things booked, without input from an expert planner.  I can imagine you run into this a lot.... having to work around things that have already been set in stone that ideally you would have advised against in the first place. Is there any advice you can give to brides about what NOT to do in the early planning stages that will eventually make their lives easier when they do book a planner/florist/stylist? 

 

yes, we run into this all of the time. We usually have a bride that comes to us sort of desperate, searching for a clear path and some guidance. Sometimes she has already booked some talents and other times she comes with nothing booked but always, she is overwhelmed. 
What I would encouraged all brides to do is SLOW DOWN. First and foremost, you don't need to rush. You can plan a wedding by yourself or you can get a professional to do it but you can't plan a good wedding stressed and rushed. Take your time at first. It is hard to make good decisions under pressure, so take the pressure off of yourself. Seek guidance from an expert first. Planners can save you so much money even if you just enlist one to give you directional advice at the beginning.

Also, keep in mind when you come to a planner or a florist, make sure you come actually seeking their advice. This doesn't mean you do everything they suggest, it just means you are considering their opinion. Most planners and florist will not give you their honest advise about your wedding if you come with them with everything already made up. 

 

 

 What are some things you've been dying to do for a wedding, but haven't yet had the opportunity?  are there 'types' of weddings you haven't done yet that you dream about doing?  In other words, this is your 'let the universe know' moment! 

 

Oh man! I am dying to find a bride who wants to get married on top of a mountain or Italian Villa overlooking a vineyard. A bride that understand you can only do so much "bringing the outside into" to a venue before it starts to look too overdone. A bride who wants to add to and accent an already incredibly beautiful surrounding with herself. Who focuses on her guest, her food, using what is already naturally blooming and in season around her and focusing on a simple beautiful aesthetic. A person who focuses on keeping her wedding on her and her authentic dreams and not something that is second best or not authentic to her own voice. I would love to find a bride who knows herself and her style very well and is not afraid to showcase it. 

 

finally, I know you're a mom too, any tips for those of us balancing a business and a family? 

Oh man, these questions are SO good.

I guess just two words. Time Management. Really cutting out distractions that suck up your time and take you away from your business and your family. 

For example, we don't own a TV. We have been offered many TVs as a gift and we always say no. It just takes up too much precious time. 

We also don't keep the Facebook App on our phones. Again, just too much time. I plan each day out by the hour the night before. 

I use Lara Casey's Power Sheets  to plan out my year and I use Emily Ley's Planner. This year I am using Whitney English's Day Designer and am LOVING it. 

I keep my handwritten daily schedule with me in a paper in my back  pocket and cross out my To Do's as I do them. It keeps me on my toes through out my day and in my free moments keeps me doing the next thing. 

Really clear time management helps me to keep clear line between my family and my business. When I close my office door, I close it. I keep my cell phone in my office even sometimes so I am fully present with my family. When I am working I am working. Jackson goes to a play group two days a week and my husband watches him one day. I don't worry about Jackson when he is away ( I mean, of course I worry and think about him) but I don't let the mommy guilt creep in. When I am working, I need to be all there just as much as I need to be all there with my work. 

 Type A Society, Carrie Moe.  Image credit:  Josh Gruetzmacher 

Type A Society, Carrie Moe.  Image credit: Josh Gruetzmacher 

To see more of Type A Society's work, go check out their website here: http://typeasociety.com/