I met Claire at the Wedding Wire conference last year through mutual friends. One of the first things that stood out about Claire was her energy! With a PhD it’s a no brainer that Claire has the skills to plan and execute your wedding day vision without a hitch, but what sets her apart from other wedding planners is her style & creativity. Read more to learn about the creative mind behind Claire Duran Weddings & Events and see images of how she styles wedding details to create a gorgeous look!
Tell me about yourself. Who is Claire?
I am a creative. As a child I created piano songs and choreographies to dance along with all my school friends. As a teenager I wrote songs and love poems, as a young adult I created research papers about development and democracy; now (still a young adult, ahem!) I create wedding designs, because otherwise I just wouldn’t feel complete. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. I am passionate about my job in a way that words cannot explain. I love being able to design something for my clients that represents them, give them a voice through all the beautiful and unique details that a wedding may entail. I love being able to orchestrate and organize an event in such a way that my clients and their loved ones have nothing to worry about because they know I am there. I love giving them that sense of security and watching them enjoy their night away. I love the hugs, I love the smiles, I love the images that captured it all.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
It was very interesting, because for years I knew that I wanted to do this , which I was doing informally here and there. However, I kept myself busy with graduate school. For officially starting my company I felt two nudges. One came the months after I had my baby daughter and the second and final one came literally after I defended my PhD dissertation. I started feeling a strong urge that I had never felt before. It was like God was telling me “ok, you completed this chapter of your life and you did great, now it’s time to continue following one of your other dreams”. It was a strange message giving its timing, but while I still do home-based research consultancies every now and then, I am absolutely convinced that having made my wedding planning career the center stage of my time, is the best decision I could have made. I couldn’t feel more overjoyed and fulfilled.
Describe the experience clients can expect when working with you.
When clients hire Liz and I, they will feel like they just don’t have to worry about anything at all. We’ll guide them through every single step. First of all, we listen. We listen to their needs, we listen to their wishes. We have a customized wedding management site for each client, where we keep all of the information regarding their wedding: their checklists, their budget, their planning calendar, their guest list, their RSVPs and seating arrangements, their vendor proposals and contracts, the wedding day timelines, their inspiration boards, etc etc etc. It’s just a way to keep us all organized and in a centralized manner. We meet several times throughout the planning process and we help with two key aspects of their event: design and logistics. We are very careful in referring clients to vendors we have a relationship with, so that their wedding vendor team is not only a great match for them, but it is able to deliver on their vision and execute with high quality and responsibility.
What keeps you passionate about weddings? All the beauty and all the love I get to witness. I love flowers. I love paper and calligraphy. I love photography. I love wedding fashion. I love bringing all of these and many other elements together and creating a piece of art that will make our clients’ dreams come true. I also love doing editorials with fellow vendors. Being constantly surrounded by so many talented individuals in their areas is a true inspiration and it makes it so easy to want to keep doing this more and more.
What’s the one thing you wish couples knew before searching for a wedding planner?
That a wedding planner and a venue coordinator are two very very different things. The venue coordinator only focuses on responsibilities that have to do directly with the venue, we instead can assist in every single aspect of the wedding planning process from beginning to end, related or not to your venue. I wish all couples were to read this before deciding whether to forego a wedding planner. Rhi of Hey Gorgeous explains brilliantly.
How long in advance do you recommend couples book their wedding planner?
Soon after they get engaged, before they start booking their venue and vendors.
Thanks Claire for sharing fun facts about yourself and your business. Don’t forget to connect with Claire on social media and check out her website and blog for more wedding eye candy and inspiration!