Introducing our March Vendor Feature, Ileen Hoekman of Once Upon A Wedding Events.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been in business since 2011.
What inspired you to start your business?
It’s surprising to me that it took me so long to start planning weddings. I’ve always been fascinated with weddings. I believe in the power of love and the celebration of it is so beautiful to me. Right before I made the decision to start Once Upon A Wedding Events I worked as a retail sales manager. Wedding and gift registry was one of my areas of responsibility. I enjoyed working with the couples and their families so much. After a while, that’s all I wanted to do. When a friend on a very tight budget and extremely short timeline asked me to help her with her wedding. I fell in love. I quit my job immediately after that to launch Once Upon A Wedding Events.
What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
Being able to do something I love so much that it doesn’t feel like work is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
What is your primary role in your business?
I’m the owner, lead planner and all the other little things in between.
Who is your ideal client?
I love to work with couples that are fun, stylish and laid back. They normally have an idea of what they what to create but need some help pulling it together. They are busy people either working, in school or both. I’m able to help them manage in spike in the demands on their time and pull together all the details that will make their celebration spectacular.
Who inspires you in your design?
My inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Most of the time, it’s found in the most unexpected places.
Describe the process of working with you. How would a couple interact with you from start to finish?
Planning a wedding with Once Upon A Wedding Events is like having a best friend in the planning business. We meet for an initial consultation to see first and foremost if we are comfortable with one another. My relationship with my clients is so important. For them to have a positive experience we have to be a good fit for one another. From there, I develop a package that will suit the clients’ needs. I then, guide them through the planning process and take care of all the logistical details. I become their liaison to simplify the process. I remain available to them as much as possible throughout. My couples feel comfortable calling me any time to talk things through. I become their planner, friend, organizer, stylist, designer, personal assistant, and therapist J. Then on the day of the wedding, I’m the first to arrive and the last to leave to make sure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
What food could you not live without?
I could eat bread and pasta for every meal! Yummy carbs! Bacon is a close second.
Where would you like to travel most?
If I could go anywhere it would be to Italy. I’m enamored with the whole country and culture. I love everything from the countryside to the city architecture… most of all, the food and wine!