We spent an afternoon with the amazingly hard working Natalie Good, owner of A Good Affair Wedding and Event Production, to pick her brain on the world of wedding planning!
how did you become an event planner and designer?
I started in college. I worked for a florist and an event decor company. I fell in love with it and did it part time as I got a communications degree, with an emphasis in public relations. After college, I ended up becoming a director of catering, ran private venues, and worked for a top catering company in OC for several years that led me to get even farther into design and coordination. I did the professional coordination program to become certified and it all just took off from that.
what was the professional coordination program?
If a planner is not ABC certified, it means a planner is not staying at the forefront of their education. To become ABC certified, I had to do a lot of education, pass tests, and keep up to date with my education to be among the best.
how did you get the name a good affair?
My last name is Good and everyone said I had to play with that name. It’s too good. Over a bottle of wine one day, a girlfriend of mine sat down and said, “What about A Good Affair?” I thought it was perfect.
what makes a good affair different?
- High Standards | It’s a company based on really high standards. I’ve been in the business a long time. I have a lot of experience to back it.
- Started from Childhood | I think a lot of people get into planning after having their own wedding or doing a friend’s. But I had always been a planner since I was a kid, just planning social events, pool parties, valentine parties, themed out and fabulous.
- Strong Background | I have a strong management background, coming from running a catering company, private venue, floral design, and just by being an artist myself. I took a step into every portion of the event world so I have a lot of backing that gives me the ability to handle pretty much anything.
- Working Well with Vendors | I think understanding all your vendors is so important. I work with all the vendors as a team and I don’t act like it’s just my show. It’s not. it takes a small army to make the wedding happen. I happen to be team leader but it’s definitely a team. I don’t dictate.
- A Full Production Company | We’re not just in coordination and planning but also floral, designs, and props. We can really take your event from the ground up and really create a design that uses what you’ve got, your background as a couple, and personalizes it. We’re not just walking you down the aisle.
what is your favorite kind of bride?
My favorite bride to work with is someone who is starting out in their planning, who really wants to have someone there that’s going to put them in line with the right vendors and who wants to have a cohesive design for their event, something chic and different. I love to push the boundaries. I don’t want my last client’s wedding to be like the next one’s. I like people open to new ideas. I’m not perfect for the bride who just wants ivory linens and chair covers at a simple location with no flowers and design. That’s just not my style. I want someone really fun. This should be the best time of your life and I want to be a part of it. I want to have a good time with my clients with the best service I can provide.
what do you think about hiring a friend vs. a professional?
I always say friends have really amazing intentions. Weddings are amazing, a lot of fun, but it’s a LOT of work. Your body feels like it’s been to war and back by the end of a wedding when you’re crawling back on the ground to your house.
It’s not just planning a wedding, putting out favors and walking down the aisle. It’s family issues, managing a whole entire team of people who’ve never worked together before, and bringing families on the same page. I’m a counselor half the time and I deal with conflict management.
A friend is nice and they can definitely be helpful but you also want all your friends to be a part of your day. It’s like doing your own taxes versus hiring someone to do them. Yeah, you can do your own but it isn’t going to be as flawless and perfect with the best return then if you go for a professional. I’ve seen friends, who were supposed to show up two hours before the wedding to drop off favors, show up 5 minutes before. Sometimes, friends have the best intentions but they don’t follow through.
can you explain the difference between a wedding coordinator vs. a site coordinator?
I’ve been both. There are so many times I’ve heard venues say, “We’ll coordinate for you and you don’t need a planner.” It kills me to hear that because I know the reality of it since I ran a venue before. They’re not going to be a part of any of your personal side of the planning. They won’t give etiquette advice or design advice aside from the table linens and china. They won’t be involved in the whole family aspect. If you only care about making sure the toasts and dinner happen at the right time, that’s enough. Anything outside of that location they won’t take part.
what are the red flags to watch out for in picking a wedding coordinator?
- Costs <$700-$800 | You’ll get only a $700-$800 job. They’re not professional. They do it on the side. It’s like buying a Kia vs. a Mercedes. You get what you pay for.
- No Liability Insurance | If someone falls down or hurts themselves at your wedding, what insurance coverages are there if it’s involved with the planner’s work?
- Reviews | Look for Wedding Wire, The Knot, and Project Wedding. All the past clients can write reviews. If they don’t have reviews, they probably haven’t done any weddings or done any good ones that people want to write about.
what are the common mistakes brides make in planning a wedding?
Not hiring a planner.
People tend to think they will do it themselves, be a DIY diva, without realizing how much work it takes to plan a wedding. The average bride spends 150 hours planning a wedding. It’s like a part-time job. When they have a planner, that really gets cut down. With full planning, you can cut that down to just 50 hours. You only make big decisions and work on the the fun things rather than every single thing. Realize what your life is like. If you’re busy, then the wedding planning is going to turn into way too much stress and not fun. You’d rather just spend time on good stuff than the hard work in-between.
why should a bride hire you?
I’m passionate about what I do. I’m definitely a type A. I love to be organized. I love lists. I really love relationships. I thrive on building long term relationships. When I ran a private venue, I had so much repeat business year after year. I make it fun. I love to joke around a lot and laugh but I’m always professional. My clients are most important and what they want is what I will do anything to get done.
Thank you for all the Type A Bride tips, Natalie!
If you’d like to contact her for your wedding and event production needs, view her website here.
The beautiful florals were designed by Lavender’s Flowers.
want more tips from natalie?
View our 1st ever Type A Bride Minute video | How to Pick the Right Wedding Planner here!
The Type A Bride