photo courtesy Tara Guï¿½rard
A wedding planner with offices in Charleston, S.C., and New York City, Tara Guérard recently published Weddings by Tara Guérard, illustrated with photos from weddings orchestrated by her company, Soirée. These elegant events often feature unexpected colors and floral designs, as well as spectacular lighting and settings. In 2008, Guérard launched a line of invitation suites, The Lettered Olive. She will speak and sign books at Richmond Bride's sixth annual Artful Wedding event June 28 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Q: Charleston is a very traditional place, and so is Richmond. How do brides get their own personality into their weddings without offending their grandmothers?
A: With my clientele, it starts off with the engraved Crane's invitations. None of the brides want that. I try so hard to be very traditional with the wording and the correct etiquette on mailing and having people's full names, but the design of the invitation can be really beautiful and a little bit different.
I remember one time I did this party — this was about 10 years ago — and I did these funny, fur-covered ottomans. And the grandmother was like, "Oh, my God, you have beds at our party." But once the wedding [reception] started, the adults were lounging all over them and enjoying them the most.
Q: If you have a limited amount of money, where would you get the most bang for your dollar?
A: I never, ever skimp on the bar. Ever. The bar means a full bar for parties. With my New York office, I'm finding that they're not as interested in having Scotch and water. That would never be the case in the South. But in the North, they're just fine with a beer-and-wine bar. I like [providing] lots of bartenders. My pet peeve is waiting in line for a drink. As long as your guests have a drink in their hand, you have a happy guest.
Q: What do you think about elopements?
A: They're smart! Why not? I think it depends on the person. If you have a bride who's an only daughter, and it's important to the family, and they can afford [a big wedding] — those are the kind of clients that are perfect for me.
But if you have a bride who really wants [a big wedding] and is begging her parents for it, and they can't really afford it — they're putting their house up for a second mortgage — I'm really against that. You should only do what's comfortable and affordable and not do things that are going to break the bank. —Kate Andrews