One perk about my job as a photographer is that I get to meet new people every day! And while I describe myself as an introvert masquerading as extrovert, I’m never shy to dig deeper into one person’s life. Every detail about a person is amazing to me, and their history is worth listening to. One secret about me is that I’ve grown a little dependent on my camera. Somehow, with a camera in hand — I have license to dig deeper into people’s lives and find out what makes them unique and individual. Sometimes what they say is not as important as an impression on their face, body language or even the happy silent gaps within the conversation.
So anyway… I had the fortune of meeting Caitlin Arnold, event designer extraordinare at a Wedding Wire event last year. I was very excited when she decided to do a Beloved portrait session with her husband of three years, the awesome Steve at her South Bay home.
Here are some of my favorite images from that shoot.
And here’s the transcript of me trying to be Oprah. Just a little getting-to-know Caitlin as a person and industry professional. Enjoy!
1. First of all – tell me about yourself and how you got into the wedding industry.
I’ve always had a passion for events, particularly weddings. Even as an adult, I’m that woman who freezes when seeing a wedding, because I want to watch to oohh and aaah! So starting in high school, I wanted to get in the industry, beginning with a catering company and then jumping all over the place for the next 9 years – non-profit fundraiser planning, event management companies, wedding coordinators, caterers, luxury to budget wedding and events and lots of different roles. I used that time to figure out what I liked, didn’t like and what I thought I could contribute to the industry. I didn’t want to be a repeat of all the other coordinators out there! Eventually, I got confident enough to start my own company that combined all that experience, and the rest is history!
2. You recently got married to that hunk hubby of yours Steve. How has your own wedding helped you understand your brides?
Haha! Well let’s see, I definitely get the stresses, emotions and family drama that usually pops up. I can share anecdotes from own experience that can be very calming to a bride who feels like her head will explode or is tempted to just elope instead. Plus, I can foresee some very real problems that someone who hasn’t had a wedding recently may not anticipate and can critique my own mistakes! We all make them and it helps brides to know I’m a real person who has the real-life experience to say “Don’t do it that way!” or better yet “This really works!”
3. What is the best argument for hiring a wedding coordinator?
Probably that you can’t get the day back. Why wouldn’t you want to place your money, time and dreams into the hands of someone who really knows what they’re doing, is as dedicated to your wedding as you are, and whose 100% focus is making your wedding EXACTLY what you envision, your guests and family happy, and you and your fiance feeling relaxed and special. I’m the only vendor and only person there who’s completely there for you and your interests.
4. I’ve been a wedding coordinator/event design for —- so many years. I’m sure you have some funny/true/weird wedding stories to share?
Of course! Let’s see, both true, I’ll give you one funny and one weird.
Here’s the funny one: during a bouquet toss, we were using the hotel balcony, which looked out over their courtyard down where the ladies were. The bride had such a good arm, she tossed the bouquet over her head off the balcony….all the way to the other balcony across the way. I had to sprint around the hotel to the other side and bring it back to her for a second try.
And the weird story… probably a tie between the groom getting his new step-daughter’s name wrong in his welcome toast (awkward!) or a bridesmaid standing up at the head table in front of everyone to pitch a fit about her food. When I went over to see what was going on and calm her down, she mentioned (after the food had been prepared and served by the caterer) that she was allergic to both onions and pepper and they needed to make a new special meal. If you’re allergic to onions AND pepper, wouldn’t you let someone know ahead of time??
5. I’ve seen J.Lo in the Wedding Planner and she has the little emergency kit, complete to challenge boy scout preparedness anyday. What’s in your kit?
Well, see that’s a Caitlin Arnold Weddings and Events trademark secret!Let’s just say that short of a tux and dress, I could coordinate an entire wedding with that kit. Most not-often-thought-of secret ingredient – Cufflinks. I can’t tell you how often those suckers have been used on the “I lost mine” or “Men’s Wearhouse didn’t give me any” groomsman…
6. Best advice you could ever give to a bride.
Know that no many how many problems happen, when you truly love your vendors and you can trust them, they will never let anything happen that could really ruin the day and at the end of it, you’re still going home with your new husband!
*If you would like to book Caitlin for your next wedding event, contact her directly at 650.229-8616 or email@example.com. Her website is at www.caitlinarnoldweddings.com
**Special thanks to the talented Emily Nguyen of Faces by Emily. www.facesbyemily.com. She is available for weddings and other special events. For bookings, call her at 408-515-4858.