Megan Noll Photography

Megan Noll Photography

Meet Samantha of Samantha Joy Events

One of the biggest regrets after my wedding day had come and gone was that we didn’t hire a planner. There are so many things happening on a wedding day that instead of sitting back, reflecting, and enjoying the celebration, I was coordinating, fixing problems, and exhausting myself with the issues a wedding day brings. I really wish a would’ve delegated and invested in a third party person (not mom or grandma!) to be the unbiased referee when arguments arose and allow myself, Tom, and our family and friends to enjoy the day, stress-free.

I’ve noticed a lot of couples discover this realization on their wedding days or after the fact, and it’s one thing we cannot do over or “plan for next time.” SO, for all you engaged, or about to be engaged, learn from our mistakes and listen to what Samantha from Samantha Joy Events recommends! I’ve worked with this girl before and she’s the REAL DEAL and a must have on your wedding day. Read on to learn if a planner is for you and comment below any additional questions you have!

Amanda Donaho Photography , Laura Katie Photography

Amanda Donaho Photography , Laura Katie Photography

What is your title with your line of work or how do you like to be addressed (so we can be correct, if we're unfamiliar with the world you work in)?

There are a handful of titles I use depending on the type of work. Generally speaking,But I'm commonly referred to as a wedding planner because we plan, coordinate, and execute weddings. I prefer event planner because I work on corporate, social, and wedding events. I am also a Creative Director when I am brought in to conceptualize a design for a brand or editorial shoot. Lastly, a Stylist, someone who styles out props and other goods to be photographed. There is great article by Joy Proctor that helps as well.

What inspired you to get into this line of work?

I wouldn't say anything really inspired me to get into this get into this industry, although I had always wanted to produce fashion shows. You could say I found my way into something that really fits my personality. as much as I found my way to something that really fits me. You know all of those personality test you take? Well, I always fell right on the border of 2 things. I like structure, details, and when everything has its place, hence the planning and logistics side. But I also need and often find a way to work with my hands to be expressive, this led me to the design side.

When you first started learning about this area of the wedding industry, what misunderstandings do you wish were corrected or strive to correct?

There is a big misunderstanding surrounding titles and how they differ from role to role. Specifically what I found was the confusion surrounding the word “coordinator”. Often the titles sound the same like, Venue Coordinator, Church Coordinator, and Wedding Coordinator. However, the roles are really different. Given this example both the church and venue would take care of the parts of the event that involve the things happening at the church or venue but nothing outside of that. Then on top of that from venue to venue, the roles include more or often less than you would expect. Often they are just there to tend to the facility and turn lights on, deal with trash and plumbing to take care of your and your family, but a wedding coordinator/planner would take care of things as it relates to you personally. They would make sure you aren't missing anything at church, set up your personal items the way you want them and handle anything that might come up regarding the bride or the bridal party. They are also a constant thread throughout the whole day. So if something was to change at church that would effect the reception they would know and would be able to tend to it on your behalf. Often a wedding coordinator can help you personalize the event to you. With Samantha Joy Events we have a few different planning options but we often attend vendors meetings, help with preparations, guide the couple through a sticky situation or unique design ideas. It is most important to us that your wedding day uniquely reflects you and your partner, not anyone else.

What are the benefits/pros to having a coordinator?

I think the key advantages to working with a wedding planner is first you work with an expert. The are someone who has seen more weddings than you and works day to day in the industry. Just like I hire and expert to prepare my taxes and clean my teeth I do the same for events. Every industry has their own nuances and a wedding planner knows those and can save you the time and energy trying to figure them out. Second, I would say you have an advocate, as a wedding planner my objective it to provide my clients with what they want. Not what the venue wants, or the band wants but to create unique and meaningful touch points throughout the day. That is why we work closely to get to know each client so we can make design, floor plan, and vendors suggestions that really fit them and their event style.

Molly Ann Photography

Molly Ann Photography

What can newlyweds or those planning an event expect when working with you or planners with your same vision?

When working Samatha Joy Events, you can expect a tailored experience. Our team is excited by doing things differently and creating an event that both speaks to your personality and takes care of your guests. When you work with me you can expect a constant flow of ideas and excitement throughout the creative process as well as someone who really wants to get to know you. I want to know that you and your partner love to watch Big Bang Theory and cook tacos for dinner. These are the details that I pull inspiration from when we create an event design. I want every event to stand on its own, tell your story, and leave your guests talking about it for years to come.

Any advice/warnings for the DIY brides out there that are on the fence about a planner?

Doing it yourself is great, I applaud you. I may be biased but I would still recommend hiring some for event management or coordination services. Even if more inclusive planning packages don’t fit in your budget, in my heart I think every couple deserves a planner or coordinator. It is so worth having a 3rd party, that isn't your mom, aunt, neighbor etc who can step in to help at your wedding. You will only be a bride one day, protect that and set yourself up to be able to soak up every moment before the day is over.

Megan Noll Photography

Megan Noll Photography

What do you wish people know about event planning?

As an event planner we aren't just picking out colors and putting flowers on the table. We are watching for every smile and nod, listening to ever like and dislike to craft not just and event but a full experience for your guest. Each choice you make from the linen, food that is served, dessert, lighting, etc conveys a feeling and emotion to develop something that is truly unique.

What do you wish newlyweds/married couples would know/understand?

People tell me a lot that it "must be such a cool job," "you get to play with flowers and eat food," " you go to parties for a living!" It is a great job, I am so blessed that I am able to serve people everyday and bring families together through love. But we don't get to play with flowers, while everyone else is dancing we are usually cleaning up. What you don’t see is how much time we spend on our feet. We often work 10-14 hour days and are away from our families on the weekends. I have had to miss graduations, game nights, vacations and so many other things in order to serve my clients. I love the people we work with but don't forget we are people also.

What are some stigmas you wish to break or correct with planning/coordinating?

I think a misconception is that we are always available to meet on weeknights and weekends. In fact, we usually work at other events during this time and meeting really happens during the day. Also, that we don’t travel. Samantha Joy Events has help produce events in nearly 10 different states, so find a planner that you like and ask her to travel. It keeps things fun and challenging for us working in new spaces and markets.

How do you keep the balance between friend and professional?

I've never been asked that. I hope all of my clients see me as a friend. I want you to be as open and honest with me as you would your close friend. I have a business degree so I structure my company in away that helps me maintain those boundaries. But often become friends and develop long term relationships with our families, couples and corporate clients.

When you're not working, what do you like to do for fun/hobbies/distance yourself from your "planning cap"?

I'm still me. When I am home if it isn't an event I'm planning it is likely my next renovation project (working on my 3rd house), meal planning, or trying to travel. I work with my hands a lot whether it be cooking, gardening, home design or calligraphy and illustration work. I still find a way to plan and design!!! Most people don't know this but I am a big skier, I learned when I could walk and have gone 2-3 times every year since. My family loves experiences. We are a work hard, play harder group. I love to be adventurous and this had led me to surf, race sail boats, skydiving, canyoning (best thing ever), and scuba diving. My husband and I got certified on our honeymoon. Why lounge on the beach when you can study for your scuba test!!

Amanda Donaho Photography

Amanda Donaho Photography

From her website: Samantha is a lover of gardening, good shoes, home cooked meals, and hand-crafted products. Born in the suburbs of Chicago, she is a Midwest girl at heart. She is easy to work with and enjoys cultivating a creative community with clients and other businesses. Gathering friends and family around a table to share a meal is one of her greatest pleasures. From time to time she remodels her home, gets her hand dirty in art projects, or cooking up a new recipe. Samantha is also a passionate traveler, lover of adventure, and a forever student of life and the lessons it has for us.

Samantha’s design aesthetic is elegant and modern balanced with careful personal details. She is inspired by traveling and fashion while designing for the senses through colors, textures, and lighting. She takes a collaborative approach and likes to be challenged to think outside the box. She started planning corporate events in 2011 and has expanded to include weddings, social events, and corporate affairs.

Her work has been featured in Green Wedding Shoes, Mingle Magazine, Magnolia Rouge Magazine, Modern Luxury, Long Island Bride and Groom, Artfully Wed and more.