Monday, April 16, 2012

Newest Badge: Blue Ribbon Vendor!

We've been a little MIA over here for the past few weeks, but for good reason! Yesterday we submitted our entry for the 2012 ISES Trinity awards in the Best Weddings category! Now that we're done with that, we'll be setting our sights on the 2012 ISES Esprit awards. Things haven't slowed down one bit in the meantime, though, and we have some very exciting news to share!

Does this look familiar to anyone?

I know this does!

That's right! Your Special Day Weddings & Special Events is now a Blue Ribbon Vendor with Southern Weddings! We are so honored to be given a warm welcome into such a sweet and friendly community of wedding professionals. Check out our Blue Ribbon Vendor listing and portfolio here!

Part of the reason this listing is such an honor is that obtaining this pretty little badge is no easy task! First we answered a few questions about how we fit the needs of Southern Weddings brides. Next we answered in-depth questions about our services, philosophy, background and strengths and weaknesses. Once accepted, we filled out our portfolio on SW's site to give brides some insight into our style and personality!

We thought that sharing some of our answers here might be a great way to let you all learn a little more about us! So, read on for answers to some of our preliminary questions:

How long have you been in business? It this a full-time business for you?
I [Shawn] have been in the business for 11 years. After working for another planner for six years, I felt like it was time for me to step out with my own approach to weddings. I started Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events in 2005. It is absolutely a full-time business (and more)!

Tell us about your relationship with your clients:
It’s very important to us to meet our clients right where they are. We can give advice, be mediators, be a support system, do the event design, be the event producers, etc. – but what we really want to do is be what each individual client needs. If our client wants us to be a task master and focus on making sure she gets everything checked off her list, we can be a task master. If our bride needs us to be a mother or sister figure, we can be that. We have found that when working with our brides, being just what they need us to be is the best approach because not every bride needs the same direction. 

What are your greatest strengths as a business?
My [Shawn's] 11 years of experience in this industry and my involvement with ISES are two of my greatest strengths as an event planner. This is my third year on the board of directors and second year as vice president for the local ISES chapter. Through ISES, I have formed relationships with outstanding vendors nationally as well as locally. This allows me to bring any type of service or product to my clients, no matter where they are located.  It also helps me find the best vendor matches for my clients, which is always a top priority. Our extremely high standards in customer service is another strength we bring to the table. My clients benefit greatly from the fact that we surround ourselves with vendors who share the same high expectations for customer service. We know we can’t do every single aspect of the day ourselves – the flowers, the lighting, the food, etc. – so we have formed relationships with vendors in whom we are completely confident to do an outstanding job in all of these areas.

If you haven't checked out our Blue Ribbon Vendor portfolio yet, it looks a little like this...

Here is a little peek into some of the fun questions Shawn answered!

Favorite thing about weddings in the South?
The southern hospitality! I work with so many vendors who really do understand the meaning of hospitality. They are warm and welcoming, they listen to their clients, truly care about them, and go above and beyond for them.

Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms?
Relax and focus on each other! Let your professionals handle the details, and you guys focus on what’s really important, which is the commitment you’re making in marriage. The day will go by so fast, so you have to be free from thinking about the small stuff. 

Dream travel destination? 
Italy. I’m going there before I die!

Favorite Southern city? 
Atlanta. Can you say GWTW??

Pie bar or red velvet cake? 
Pie bar. My favorites are pecan and lemon meringue!

Succulents or peonies? 
Peonies, hands-down. I’m looking forward to the peonies coming to my garden soon, transplanted from my great-uncle’s yard!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kind Words from the 2012 Triangle Heart Ball

Last September Amanda announced that Shawn was named logistics chair for the American Heart Association's 2012 Triangle Heart Ball. At the beginning of February I posted a press release with some exciting details about the event and the role Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events would play.

The Triangle Heart Ball took place on Feb. 25, and wow! Was it an event to write home about or what?! Of the $850,000 event goal, $802,000 was raised, meaning we reached 94% of our goal! Even more impressively, that was a $140,000 increase from last year.

David Stevens, who served as chairman this year, had this to say to the executive leadership team: "This is truly an achievement of which we should all be proud. I think we would all agree that the look and feel of the evening was perfect. Thanks to Shawn Schindler, Logistics Chair, for casting that vision.

"It has been my honor to serve with you on the Executive Leadership Team for the 2012 Triangle Heart Ball.  I am truly grateful for your generosity and your time that was so graciously donated.  This was a great team and you all were a part of a record-setting year for the Triangle Heart Ball!"

Development Director India Lucas echoed Stevens' comments: "We are truly appreciative for the hard work and dedication that each of you gave to this campaign this year. It was an honor to work with each and every one of you. This was a record-setting evening and it couldn’t have been done without you!"

We are so glad others were pleased with how our plans came together for this event and just couldn't resist sharing these encouraging words with you. We are very grateful to have been part of such a great cause!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Corporate Holiday Party!

Today we have pictures to share from a fun holiday party we hosted back in December! The holidays always bring a lot of excitement for us at Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events, but this year was even more exciting with this party for a new corporate client in the works.

The Stockroom at 230 was our chosen venue for the party. The large room, with its pretty wood floors and urban atmosphere, was the perfect space for us to transform. We had a fun and fresh twist on the typical Christmas party in mind for this night. Rather than the standard red-and-green decor, we decided to go with eggplant and chartreuse.

All the gorgeous photos below were taken by our friend Cara at f8 photo studios! Our linens, tables and chairs were provided by CE Rental, and AFR Furniture Rental provided the great lounge furniture. The floral arrangements were designed by Expressions of Love and Simpsound Productions added the finishing touches with dramatic lighting.

 Mitchell's Catering Company provided all the tasty food for our guests! 

Our DJ was Ryan Pflumm from Spin.  He kept the energy high as dance instructor Shari Huggett of NC Dancesport taught guests the wobble and "Footloose" line dance!
A very fun part of our night was the entertainment provided by nationally-renowned magician Joel Givens! Joel interacted with and amazed guests in the midst of the festivities and dancing throughout the night. 

Santa Amanda helped give away door prizes with Ryan!

This was a wonderful corporate event for us! We enjoyed watching our clients celebrate the holidays as much as they enjoyed the evening, and we anticipate lots of future events with these executives!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Casey and Elliot: Cary, N.C.

I'm so excited to share images today of a beautiful fall wedding Shawn and Michelle did last October. The bride's family has known Michelle since Casey, the bride, was a little girl, so it was a natural choice for Casey to choose Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events when planning her wedding with Elliot. All the photos you will see here were taken by Tammy of Tammy Wingo Photography!

Casey chose shades of purple for her wedding colors. The gorgeous bouquets and lush centerpieces were designed by Shelley at Expressions of Love.

Casey and Elliot were married at Casey's home church, Apex United Methodist Church, only a few minutes from their reception venue. The designers at The Green Kangaroo designed these pretty programs!
The reception venue was very special for Casey and Elliot. They chose MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary because this is where Casey's parents were married years before! It provided the perfect backdrop for their indoor/outdoor affair. The ballroom in the country club hosted the cocktail hour, bar and cake cutting, while the tent outside allowed guests to enjoy the crisp fall weather for dinner and dancing. Classic Party Rentals and CE Rentals helped us dress up both areas.


This stunning three-tiered cake was made by Cinda's Creative Cakes!

The lighting inside the couple's tent gave the space an exclusive and romantic ambiance for the night thanks to our friend Jeff at Simpsound Productions. Guests enjoyed jazz music during the dinner hour from DJ Randy Pulley, who progressively pulled the energy level up as the night went on.

One big surprise during the evening came dressed in a gorilla costume! Now wouldn't you like to know the story behind that??

Casey shared a sweet goodbye with her mom as she and Elliot took their sparkler-lit exit walk! Congratulations Casey and Elliot! You were a joy to work with!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cara and Robb: Wilmington, N.C.

As Shawn's sister, I (Michelle) have worked with Shawn since her first wedding nearly 12 years ago, but this past summer I had the opportunity to plan and orchestrate my first wedding for a longtime friend of my family.

In June, Cindy (the mother of the bride) came to work telling us that Cara was engaged. I knew I wanted to be a part of this from the beginning.  Shortly thereafter we learned that Cara wanted to get married in September – not in 15 months, but in only three months. After working with Shawn, I knew this was possible, but I also knew certain things had to fall into place. 

This wedding and marriage are meant to be.  Cara was able to find the dress of her dreams on her first day of shopping, and it fit perfectly.  The dress had just arrived at the shop, and only needed minor alterations to be perfect.

Next, we needed a venue. (Did I mention in September, one of the busiest months of the year, and only 3 months away?)  Cara and Robb found Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington, N.C., where they live, and it happened to be available on Sept. 24. The plantation has several scenic ceremony locations on site and a barn that turns into an excellent location for your reception.

The only must-have we still needed was a minister, and that proved to be trickier.  Cara and Robb attend a large church in Wilmington, but none of their pastors was available on such short notice.  They were able to attend premarital classes through their church, but we still did not have a minister. Fortunately, through Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events, we were able to secure a minister who had performed many weddings for us in the past. Cara and Robb met with him, and we were set to proceed with all the puzzle pieces necessary to allow them to start their life together.

As July and August passed, a florist, baker, photographer and caterer were selected, forming a team of vendors from both Wilmington and Raleigh. 

The weekend quickly approached, and before I knew it, Sept. 24 was here. Unfortunately, the rains of September did not know they were supposed to stay away this weekend! We planned to move the wedding inside if we absolutely had to, but on Friday, the rain cleared for us to rehearse by the gazebo. When we arrived at the plantation, I noticed a white tent that was there for a corporate event they were having that same night.  We were able to contact the rental company and have the tent left for our use on Saturday.  I was so grateful.  I did not want to move our ceremony inside, away from the natural beauty of the plantation, but I also did not want a soaking wet bride, groom and guests.

After postponing the decision until the last possible moment on Saturday, we made the decision to move the ceremony under the tent. What a blessing! Our florist was able to incorporate the flowers Cara wanted for the gazebo inside the tent instead, and our guests were able to stay dry.  The skies cleared soon afterward, allowing our couple and their guests to enjoy the grounds for the cocktail hour.

It was a night of fun, food and dancing for everyone. Cara, Robb and their parents were all thrilled with the evening.

I am so grateful for the experiences I have had over the years as Shawn’s assistant. Those experiences are what enabled me to make Cara and Robb’s wedding dreams come true.  I can only imagine the stress the bride’s parents would have been under if they had not had a third party to orchestrate their first daughter’s wedding day.  They were all able to enjoy the wedding with their friends and family.

Congratulations, Cara and Robb Turbeville.  Thank you for allowing me to be part of your special day!

 Photography: Photos by Kristopher

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Local Wedding Planner Lends Skills to Triangle Heart Ball

The 2012 Triangle Heart Ball is fast approaching! Below is a press release we recently sent out describing the event and the part Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events is playing this year.

Local Wedding Planner Lends Skills to Triangle Heart Ball
Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events enhances night of fundraising

RALEIGH, N.C. (January 25, 2012) – Shawn Schindler, owner of Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events, is this year’s logistics chair for the American Heart Association’s 2012 Triangle Heart Ball. Schindler’s knowledge and relationships in the event-planning industry have allowed her team to make the evening a spectacular night for guests as they pledge to support the future of cardiovascular health.

The Triangle Heart Ball will host its 27th year of celebration on Feb. 25, 2012, at the Raleigh Convention Center. The night will include a silent and live auction of some incredible packages, such as tickets to the 2012 CMA Music Festival and a yacht vacation in the Bahamas. Guests will be served a seated dinner and hear a survivor’s inspiring story, followed by a performance by The Soul Psychedelique.

Schindler has partnered with outstanding vendors to add even more excitement to the night. Simpsound Productions, ShutterBooth and Elevate dance and performance group will keep guests entertained throughout the evening. 

The organization’s fundraising goal for the Triangle in 2012 is $850,000.

“We are so fortunate to be given this opportunity to play a part in such a great cause,” said Schindler.
“My team never says ‘no’ to a challenge. We will do everything in our power to put on a great event and help AHA achieve this goal.”

The American Heart Association is driven by a mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Heart disease remains the most deadly disease in America today. That is why the American Heart Association fights so hard for a change through groundbreaking research and education. 

David Stevens, President and CEO of SunTrust, Central Carolina Region, is the 2012 Triangle Heart Ball Chairman. The event is presented by SunTrust Banks Inc., Leith Inc. and UNC Health Care – Rex Healthcare. For more information, please visit To get involved, send an email to, or call 919-463-8353.

The American Heart Association has pioneered the future of cardiovascular health for more than 50 years. For more information, please visit

About Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events
Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events is an award-winning wedding and special event consulting company located in Raleigh. Services range from hourly consultations to full-service event design and coordination dedicated to meeting the individual needs of each client. Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events’ professional staff is led by owner and lead consultant Shawn Schindler, who has over 10 years of experience working with brides statewide and is a wedding expert for local publications. For more information, please visit