I remember when I got engaged. It was a time of excitement, delicious butterflies in my stomach from venturing into the unknown of wedding planning, and a bit of an overwhelming feeling of not knowing quite what to do! This is where I would have loved to have had Stephanie Frazier Grimm, from Couture Wedding Design, as my best friend and wedding planner. With her down-to-earth approach, and out-of-this-world eye for stunning designs and attention to detail, she can create the dream wedding for any girl (and guy!), while the happy couple can relax and enjoy the months leading up to their “personalized, boutique style wedding experience.” Meet the totally fun and truly talented couture wedding designer, Stephanie Frazier Grimm.
With such a successful background with your first business, Mama and Bambino, what made you want to switch gears and design weddings?
Stephanie Frazier Grimm: The simple answer, I love creating. And I loved creating parties and meeting new people. Planning weddings came a year later. Coming off of selling Mama & Bambino, I had my second child. I stayed on as creative director of the company, which also allowed me to be at home with Ellie for her first year (as I did with my son Carter). After a year, I wanted something “just for me.” I thought long and hard of what I love to do (host parties), how it was going to effect my family (gone most weekends, but it was OK because my husband was home on weekends),and a business that I knew I could build and enjoy doing.
Out of all the weddings you have planned, which wedding sticks out in your mind as one of your favorites?
Stephanie Frazier Grimm: Oh boy…that is like choosing who is my favorite child! I am fortunate that the people who hire me for weddings are looking for an experience. It’s not just about pretty flowers. They want their guests to talk about the whole wedding weekend, not just the food they ate. From welcome to town bags, to guided tours around the Newport, to a sail around the harbor for a day after brunch, it is all about the entire weekend and sharing it with their guests. I mostly plan Newport, RI weddings. Which, of course, is near and dear to me for I am from here, so it is nice to share this city and how many different elements we have to offer.
As a little girl, I never imagined how my wedding would be, but some of my friends had every detail planned out since they were 8 years old! Did you always have an idea of how your dream wedding would be?And aside from your own wedding, what would be your dream wedding to plan now?
Stephanie Frazier Grimm: I had my dream engagement planned (in a hot air balloon, which didn’t happen. My husband wrapped himself in a moving box and I almost suffocated him because it took me forever to open the “present.” He was on bended knee dripping head to toe in sweat!) As for the wedding part…I knew I wanted it to be in a church so my Dad could walk me down an aisle and I wanted the reception at the beach, which I did. It was a tented reception on the beach at a private beach club here in Newport. I am a traditional person, so sticking to family traditions was what was important to me. A dream wedding for me to plan would be on someone’s own family property here in Newport. I am fortunate that I have planned many parties here in Newport. The history of the homes is phenomenal. To be able to plan weddings and create more memories in these homes is a gift. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE working with venues, but I love the thrill of a new space. Some people’s homes have been in their family for over 200 years. Now that is amazing!
What is the best piece of advice you could give to a newly engaged bride?
Stephanie Frazier Grimm: Use wedding trends as a guide. Don’t feel you have to do everything you see in magazines and the web. Write down what is important to you as a couple, and find a way to incorporate that in to your wedding. As much as it is about you two getting married, it is also about joining two families together and creating memories. Where you went to college, your careers, favorite family recipes, hobbies, family vacation spots…there is a way to incorporate all of these elements in to your wedding experience. You want to look back at your wedding and say it was timeless.
On your website you mention building great friendships and becoming best friends during the process of planning a wedding. However, television likes to showcase bridezillas and high maintenance women yelling at everyone. Have you found the latter to be true, or are most women just needing to feel that they are being heard and are relaxed once they know that you will make their day the fairy tale they’ve always dreamed about?
Stephanie Frazier Grimm: I am sure those types of people are out there,but I am fortunate that I have not had those stereotypes! My couples are busy. They excel at other careers. This is my career of designing weddings. So they know when to ask for help, and that is what I give them. Guidance and help. As I tell them, I got married, I had the wedding of a lifetime, this is YOUR wedding I am helping plan. This is about them, not me. It is not usually the design they are worried about, it is the weekend logistics. Making sure all 200 guests are having a great time. We become a weekend concierge….and my couples can actually enjoy their weekend because I have taken care of it all.
When it comes time for your children to get married, do you hope to be the one to get to plan it or do you want to sit back and enjoy being the MOB? Would it be possible for you to sit back and have someone else plan it?
Stephanie Frazier Grimm: Ha! Well I have a son and a daughter….so when my son gets married, if his bride wants help, of course I would! But you can rest assure, there will be a fantastic rehearsal dinner. As for my daughter, she is only 4 now, and has quite the strong opinion now, but I am sure when the time comes she will want my help. For her sake, we won’t call it help. We will call it “expert advice.” As for the actual weekend of the wedding….someone will be hired to manage all the logistics. The last thing I want to do on my kid’s wedding day is wonder what time the florist is arriving!
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