Do you really need a wedding planner? We are of the belief that a wedding planner is an essential role. A professional wedding planner can save you time, money, and stress. They have the knowledge, experience, and local connections to take your vision and make it happen. Regardless of your budget, this is an investment that should not be skipped. Portland has some amazing wedding planners to choose from and Ashley of Alston Mayger Events is definitely one of them! She is fantastic. We love her and we know you will too! Check out this awesome video (shot by Moving Pictures) and Q&A with Ashley below.
1. Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
My family moved from Brown Deer, WI when I was 5, but I grew up in the Longview/Kelso area.
2. What is your favorite thing about Portland?
I love how spontaneous the city can feel. Yes, you can schedule and structure an entire weekend going from stop to stop, but if you’re the type that just wants to walk around and see what you’ll run into, you can 100% create-your-own adventure.
3. What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
You can’t beat the shopping, and I’m a sucker for sweets – You can find me at Salt & Straw or Petunia’s Pies & Pastries any day.
4. How long have you been working as a professional wedding planner?
My business just turned 2 years old this February!
5. What people/training/experiences/ opportunities led you to this career path?
My favorite part of a corporate talent acquisition role was assisting on and creating events that celebrated employee milestones and engagement. I then interned with an absolutely amazing wedding planning company in Portland (shout out to Bridal Bliss!) over a Summer. The best way to figure out if you really love something is to do it for free, right? I was hooked. I then left my job and became a full time Event Coordinator at my local regional conference center. I worked there for two years whilst simultaneously running Alston Mayger Events, and left there in December 2019 to pursue full time ownership of my company.
6. How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional planner/coordinator for their wedding day?
I believe having a planner or coordinator (or both!) is paramount to a wedding day. Not only is this individual helping you map out details on the fun side (colors, textures, floral, menu design), they’re also able to foresee issues that could arise (have you thought about how many bathrooms your venue has vs. how many guests you’ll have?) on the logistics side that can really save the guest experience. There’s also the classic heartbreaking tale of couple’s families missing very important parts of their ceremony/reception due to having to intervene with a vendor. Don’t be that person. Let your family and friends enjoy your day, and hire a professional to take care of the details. You’ll thank me later. I promise.
7. What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing your faces looking joyous as all get out in your wedding photos because you weren’t thinking about things like who was going to place your escort cards.
8. What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
It’s (almost) everyone’s first time getting married, so this can create challenges with couples not knowing what to expect as far as what their budget will get them in certain areas. It’s my job to help manage that expectation, and provide my couples with the same knowledge I’ve come to learn throughout this journey.
9. Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
10. What do you attribute to your success as a wedding planner? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
Ever heard the saying, “I never lose, I either win or I learn.” This has been so true for me in my business, and so helpful in shifting perspective. My success comes from putting in the work to lay a solid foundation for me to build upon. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to open my own business. I worked in corporate events, I interned, I started AME as a side hustle in 2018, and then I worked full time with a conference center. I know you know all of this if you’ve read this far, but I tell you to re-iterate that I have a solid work ethic, I don’t give up, and I’m always searching for a solution to whatever your problem may be. What sets me apart is my love of designing a guest experience. My couples love their families and friends fiercely, and want to make their wedding and reception a thank-you to those that have supported and upheld their relationship so far. I love working together collaboratively to design a celebration that really wows.
11. At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
As soon as possible! If you’re engaged, let’s chat!
12. Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
I follow a lot of luxury brands to see what they’re up to on any given day. I also love a good travel account that showcases both scenic shots as well as what kind of hotels they’re staying at and what kind of experiences they’re having. Trends are fun, and I love featuring ‘pops’ of them throughout events, but I really love designing timeless celebrations that speak to the old soul in all of us.
13. What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
“Do you love what you do?” It might be a little more emotional than “Are you insured?” or “How much experience do you have?”, but I’m a firm believer in gut feelings and really connecting with event industry professionals. I tell all of my clients to trust their gut when meeting with any vendor that is going to be working on their wedding, and feel this question can reveal a lot while helping to foster that relationship.
14. What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Dial in less on what look you’re after and more on what feeling you want to evoke with guests. This can be so helpful when meeting with your creative vendors like bakeries, planners, floral designers, and chefs. It’s valuable feedback for them, and will likely get you great, more out-of-the-box thinking with them.
15. Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
If you’re interested in learning more, please connect with me! I love talking about vacations, my dog (Italian Greyhound Martin), fashion, and of course – your wedding! Find me on Facebook, Instagram, or at my website!
16. What other local wedding professional (s) are currently inspiring you?
I have loved watching companies like Bridal Bliss and Luxe Productions grow and the amazing events they’re working on. Always love seeing our local dress shops like Anna’s, The White Dress, a&bé and Ania share images from real weddings to see how brides ended up styling their looks. Getting to see sneak peeks from Moving Pictures and The Film House Weddings will always be something I stop in my tracks for as well!
Featured image by Emily Grant Photography.