It’s probably no secret that as a photographer, I love working with wedding planners. I encourage every couple I work with to hire a planner. Planners are basically the angels of the wedding industry—they’re the ones who always swoop in to save the day and keep the wedding on schedule!
Today I get the honor of highlighting the work of Savannah, Owner & Designer of The Shindig Co. Savannah is a luxury event designer here in Florida. I’ve had the delight of working alongside Savannah on many projects and events. She is kind, hospitable, organized, talented designer and a sweet friend. She and I connected as local vendors however, we instantly became friends (you’ll see that this is just who she is) no one stays a stranger for long around this lady.
Here at Molliner Photography, we are big believers in the importance of partnering with other wedding vendors to serve our clients on their wedding day. We also believe in the importance of hiring a planner (at minimum for the day of your wedding). This investment allows your loved ones to be present for each moment of your wedding day, instead of coordinating details.
So excited for you to get to know Savannah. Below, Savannah shares how she launched her company, wedding trends she liked to see retire and the advantages hiring a wedding planner has on your wedding day experience!
Introduce yourself...Hello, hello! I’m Savannah, or “Sav,” whichever you prefer. I am the owner and founder of The Shindig Co, a luxury event design company with a focus on weddings, but a love of all events, big and small.
How did you get into this industry? Oh, goodness. As with most people’s careers, it has certainly been a journey. I studied hospitality and event planning at the University of Florida, and the summer before my senior year, I interned with a luxury planning company that was based in DC. It was the dream internship, and I ended up returning with them full-time after graduation. I got burnt out within six months–like, majorly. At that time, I didn’t understand the concept of burnout, so I thought I just wasn’t built for the industry. I left the company, ran events for a DC startup briefly, felt entirely lost in life the majority of that time, and then got a job at WeddingWire in Chevy Chase. I knew more about the wedding industry than anyone (that’s not a planner!) ever needed to know, so being able to talk weddings all day and utilize that knowledge, all while having weekends off was really fabulous. There was also a blowout bar in the office… Again: fabulous. The people were amazing, and while it was a really fantastic chapter of my life, I knew I didn’t want to live in DC forever. I ended up moving to Atlanta, opening a pilates studio for a high-end fitness brand and was managing that business full-time when COVID hit. I came home to Florida and at that time, a friend asked me to help with her wedding. Long story short: I planned it, realized the burnout from my first job was gone and that it could be managed, and that I really do love planning events. I was going to just launch Shindig on the side, but within a few weeks realized it would be much for successful with my full attention. And that’s where I am now!
When did you launch your own business? July 2020! I’m aware that most would call me crazy to launch an events business in a global pandemic, but here we are! LOL.
Is there a story behind your business name? There actually is a bit of a story! I was visiting my best friends, Jon and Alex, last June when the idea to start this business came to me while I was planning Jon’s sister’s wedding–that’s the one that started it all. We easily went through a hundred possible names. I was really drawn to trees?? “Oak & Elm,” “Willow & Pine,” you name it. But none of them felt right. Fast forward a few weeks to the night of Caitlin and Nick’s wedding. Jon, Alex, and I were sitting on the couch in our Airbnb, recovering from a full weekend of festivities, and Jon said, “Shindig. Like a party! A shindig! The Shindig Co.” I thought he was joking, but it had more personality than everything else we had thought up, so I considered it more heavily, and after another glass of wine, decided to roll with it! Truthfully, I felt unsure about it for a few months, but now I can’t imagine it being anything else. People love it and it encompasses so much more than just weddings, which was important to me. It’s also so special that one of the most important people in my life thought of it.
What’s your biggest tip for couples planning a wedding right now? Well, first, to remember that it’s a wedding. It’s a beautiful and important day, but it’s not life or death.
A more tangible tip: if you have your date, just go ahead and book all of your vendors. There’s no point in waiting!
What do you wish you could tell your couples, or inquiring couples about your role on their day? I truly think that the day-of is where I stand out. The logistics and planning that have to happen beforehand are obviously crucial, but I pride myself on orchestrating your day with a calm demeanor, a big smile, and a happy vendor team.
One thing a couple should consider when hiring a wedding planner? That you like them as a person! You’re going to be talking to them a lot over the next year, so if you couldn’t be friends with them outside of planning, it might not be the best fit. Some people might not agree with that, and to each their own, but this isn’t just business. Additionally, consider if you need an event manager (someone to handle logistics and run the timeline) or an event designer (someone to handle logistics, run the timeline, curate the decor, and plan the client experience).
What is your favorite part about working with couples on their wedding day? Oh my goodness. Just watching the sheer joy in their smiles as they hug their family members and friends. After I spend a year getting to know them and hearing what they’re imagining the day will be like, watching it unfold before them is so special. If I had to pinpoint one single moment, though: the vows. That’s what the entire day is all about, after all.
How can a planner benefit the family of the couple? The vendors on the team? Well, a planner should naturally take the stress off of the families both during planning and on the day-of. Clear communication of what is needed from each decision maker is where that starts. More than that: your planner should have a calming presence on the day-of the wedding. There is enough anxious energy in the air!
What would you say to the couple who doesn’t understand the value of a wedding planner? Godspeed, y’all. Lol! Kidding, but not. I heard this a long time ago, and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: the last thing that you (or your mom, your sister, your maid-of-honor…) should be thinking about while you’re saying your vows is where your guests go next and if that space is ready for them. Having a dedicated individual (or team!) running the show will allow you and your loved ones to be present and absorb the full impact of your day. At minimum, I firmly believe that every couple needs a day-of coordinator.
What is your favorite wedding trend right now? Ditching traditions that don’t hold meaning to you!! There is no blueprint of what a wedding day has to be… You don’t have to do ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception. Think outside the box!
Coolest place this job has taken you/coolest thing you’ve seen on the job? Oh, man! Working events in DC was pretty incredible. You’re constantly surrounded by so much history! But under TSC, I’m headed to Greece next summer for a wedding, and I’m thrilled to be planning that.
What current design / style trend are you ready for the industry to move on from? I feel like I’m going to need a private security detail after I say this, but, boho. I love it as much as the next girl—my apartment is actually pretty bohemian—but I think there’s an opportunity to get more creative with dried florals and rattan than a lot of people are doing right now. Myself included!
Isn’t Savannah just amazing? She is such an asset to her couples and to fellow wedding vendors. As a wedding photographer, I value wedding planners, like Savannah for a couple reason:
- They help your day flow with a timeline – Wedding days are often on tight schedules. Hiring a wedding planner means having someone to keep things on schedule. Planners work alongside me (as your photographer) to stay on time which ensures we get your photos taken in the best possible light of the day.
- They’ll give you peace of mind and that will translate to your photos – Working with a planner will give you peace of mind and you’ll be able to savor every moment. This will translate into your photos as well. You’ll be able to feel at ease as we take photos, knowing your guests are being cared for and the day is running smoothly.
- They think of things no one else does – Working with a planner will save you from surprises on your wedding day. They help the wedding day pivot when there are last-minute changes. This enables us to never miss capturing a moment of your day.
These are just a few reasons we believe couples should hire a wedding planner. To hire Savannah, say hello, or follow her journey as wedding designer, check her out on Instagram.