Today, we share another inspiring story of how wedding vendors come to be. This time, we introduce a local event planning and design studio, Pauleenanne Design. The studio has helped many brides and grooms across the Upstate NY orchestrate their beautiful weddings. The remarkable team at Pauleenanne Design handles everything: from the outline of the day, to the design of your centerpieces, to executing the schedule seamlessly on the day of the wedding. But before we tell you more, we’d like to share the story of the Head Event Planner and Designer, Pauleen Vacca, who started the studio in 2011. Pauleen’s relationship with event planning began soon upon starting college. Eager to help make the campus a better and fun place, she joined the school’s Student Activities Board. That position has exposed Pauleen to event planning which she quickly fell in love with. As she worked through the student events, side jobs, and internships, she gained experience from organizing events for clients like Sharkira, Drake, or the local RIT and U of R. As she gained more and more experience, her appreciation and love for the job deepened. By the time Pauleen graduated from college, she knew that her calling was to help people enjoy their special events by taking over the stressful acts of planning and execution. Today, Pauleen has served many clients and her team has grown. Her passion and experience make her the Rochester’s go-to person for wedding planning.
Below, we share some more detail about Pauleen’s job and her advises for future brides-to-be.
Tell me a little about you and your business
I’ve been in the events field for over ten years. In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many notable clients and companies, both nationally and abroad, including Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Gap Inc., Shakira, and Drake.
I have a B.A. in English Writing from St. John Fisher College with minors in Communication and Digital Technologies & Culture, along with continued education in the areas of Interior Design, Marketing, and Business.
After working in both Rochester and New York City, I opened Pauleenanne Design in 2011. Today, I have planned dozens of events from iconic weddings to signature birthday parties to seamless corporate events.
Pauleenanne Design is a full service event planning. And by full service, we mean graphic design, design production, nonstop attention to detail, and truly working very hard to meet our high standard of excellence. In general, we serve Rochester NY, Buffalo NY, Syracuse NY, Finger Lakes, and beyond offering a fresh, trend setting perspective to our clients, while still maintaining the integrity of their personal style or professional brand.
When not busy with the business, I enjoy exploring downtown Rochester, spending time with loved ones, dreaming up my next Disney vacation, and right now planning my own wedding!
How did you get into your business? How long have you been doing it for?
The reason I am an event planner is actually from my first college tour at St. John Fisher. The tour guide encouraged me to join the Student Activities Board, which was the starting point for my love for events. Negotiating contracts, planning logistical details, executing design elements, it was all fascinating to me. I thought, “Could I do this for a real career?” From there my father connected me with a wedding planner, and I found an alumni from my high school who was running a corporate events company. After interning with both of them, I lived in New York for two summers doing high level design events in Manhattan. All of my internship experiences were truly incredible and solidified my choice to be an event planner.
My second summer in the city, I was job searching, but unfortunately nothing was clicking. All available careers were in venue sales, which was not what I wanted. So, I opted to come home and open my own business. I’ve been doing it for 7 years in August!
What is your favorite part of your job?
No two clients, events, or days are ever the same, which keeps things exciting. I also get to use both sides of my brain. Logic and organization, as well as creativity. In general I love new, so everyday has something new to encounter.
Tell me a story of one of your favorite clients/event.
I always hate this question, because I truly have some of the most amazing clients, and some awesome event experiences. From the beautiful floral filled golf course to a cocktail wedding at a bowling alley to a pizza bar for dinner (yes, it was awesome), each one is unique and has such a rewarding feeling after they are done.
If I had to pick, one of my best friends got married two years ago. I’ve helped some close family and friends, but Kelsey really let me go through the whole process with her. I feel like it’s not often that people get to show off what they do at work to their family and friends, so it was really a proud moment to be able to have the opportunity to do that with her.
When should the couple book a wedding planner?
Let me start off by saying that a full service wedding planner is definitely not for everyone. Even a day of coordinator could be more than what you need. However, I feel like so many people who need full service to day of don’t get the service. It definitely is difficult to put into dollars your time and stress levels, but you can see from our reviews that our clients really do find value in having someone guide them through the entire or end process.
That being said, if you want to work with a full service planner, while you can honestly book them at any time (we’ve planned a wedding from start to finish in three months), booking at the 12 month mark is usually good. Additionally, it’s always nice to work through the venue selection process with our client, so should you be booking your venue before the 12 month mark (which I see more often than not), I would recommend working with your full service planner during that time.
For design services, once you have a venue, you can start working with a designer. Usually 12 months is a good time for that as well. Especially for us, since we design save the dates that should go out 6 – 8 months before the wedding.
For day of coordination (which we start a month before), I would book sooner rather than later, in case your favorite planner books up. But it’s honestly something someone may be able to commit to even as little as the month before.
What makes you different from others in your field?
I would say that vendors love working with me. My approach is that if your vendors are happy, they are going to do the best job ever for you. Sometimes it’s hard to earn their trust because they haven’t worked with a planner before, or had a bad experience with a planner. I feel like there is a bad stigma for planners (mostly from diva TV party planners). After working with them, most understand the benefit of having someone there to run the show and make sure everything is working cohesively. They also see the work involved. With set up, running the day, and sometimes tear down, I feel like we never stop moving.
Are there any wedding trends that you love or don’t love?
Gold is my favorite color, and I cannot get enough of it. So any wedding that wants to use gold, I am all for it.
I also always tell my clients, “there are no rules.” Which to me is the most important trend of all. This gives my clients the opportunity to make their wedding represent who they are as a couple, rather than traditional cookie cutter standards. So when they want to have pizza for dinner, or incorporate Zelda’s triforce logo into their wedding invitation, my response is, “Let’s do it!” At that point, I want to find ways to make their ideas look tasteful and amazing!
For not so favorite, I definitely feel like blush popularity has gone off the charts. While I don’t mind using it, I really appreciate a client who is willing to put in unexpected colors to accent with it, like orange or teal. Again, the wedding day should represent who you are as a couple, so adding that flavor in rather than doing what the masses are, is important to help me pull out of my clients.
What tips can you give to upcoming brides?
Enjoy being engaged. It will fly by quicker than you know. And if you’re not enjoying it, see what you can do to get the proper help or scale back to something more reasonable.
Also, always schedule time for sunset photos. They are truly stunning, but more importantly it’s a moment for you and your spouse to run away from the party and take in the fact that you are finally married. Yay!
Where can brides-to-be find you online