Wedding planner with a passion for wine helps make dreams come true
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH ...
By Jennifer Primrose
In this edition of Five Questions With ... we reached out to the creator/owner of Weddings by the Vine, Kimberly Williams. Weddings by the Vine, based in Cary, is a boutique wedding planning service specializing in vineyard weddings here in North Carolina. We first met Kim and her husband, Ron, through our connections with Triangle Around Town. Not only did we enjoy talking with them about Kim's wedding planning business but also discovered that Jen and Kim were from the same hometown in Michigan.
Being from Michigan, it is no surprise that North Carolina is an attractive place to relocate. Kim knew from the time she was 14 years old she wanted to move from Michigan, so two years after graduating from college, she and her husband moved to Cary.
After volunteering as a wedding coordinator at her church for nine years, and combining her love of wine and weddings, she started Weddings by the Vine as a side project while working as a financial analyst. In 2014, Weddings by the Vine went full-time.
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Your business is called Weddings by the Vine. You plan weddings around the perfect winery location. How did you get into wedding planning, and better yet, what made you decide to specifically work with North Carolina wineries in planning the perfect wedding?
I went back to college when my kids were a little older to focus on finance. During my time at Meredith, I was able to meet with some of the NCSU students who were researching the growing NC wine industry. Back in 2004, there were only about 50-55 vineyards, and now, we have well over 100. Not all of them accommodate weddings and events, but they are all fun to visit, and I love hearing the unique stories behind the beginnings of each vineyard.
With my love of wine and hobby of going to wine tastings, I just knew that the industry would continue to grow. I began considering services that I could offer the vineyards and sent out a survey to assess their needs. I even attended a full day class at Surry Community College about how to start a vineyard.
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While some of my clients have already selected a NC vineyard as their wedding venue, some contract me to assist with the selection, which is the favorite part of my job! They are just not aware that NC has well over 100 vineyards to offer – all beautiful, unique spaces – giving them a number of additional options than they originally thought. I've even had couples who have had a hard time making a decision because there were several vineyards that fit their wedding vision.
You're a wedding planner that works primarily with wineries. Tell us a little about that. Is it easier or more difficult to work with wineries than typical event facilities? Most event facilities you can, technically, work with year round. Do you find that with winery weddings you have a smaller window to work with, due to when the vines are in bloom.
If you would have asked me this question last year, I would have definitely said it's very seasonal. But I had two vineyard weddings this winter which were beautiful. I will admit that there weren't any photos by the vines, but one of the ceremonies was able to be held outdoors since the weather was so mild. A number of the vineyards have increased their indoor/covered spaces so they can now accommodate both the ceremony and reception indoors, if needed.
I wouldn't say it's harder to work an event at a vineyard, but it's definitely more spread out than a typical venue set up. I also love the variety that vineyards can offer clients. They can easily have a rustic setting for their ceremony near the vines, then move onto a lovely patio for cocktail hour and finally make their way inside to a dinner with an upscale feel – it's just amazing when you can have slightly different cohesive styles at the same venue. I will say that I definitely get my exercise in for the day though!
How many wineries have you worked with in the state so far? Do you have any favorites you prefer to work with?
While I have personally visited and toured most of the vineyards that have wedding space, I have had events and worked with about 30 vineyards. I have to say that they all have an aspect that I love and are all my favorites in their own unique ways.
There are so many perfect moments in planning a wedding. Can you tell us some of those? But also, many weddings have slight to epic disasters. Can you give us a few examples of those?
Interesting question! I'll start with no wedding is perfect – and it's my job to hide/resolve any issues that arise. Of the few major issues I've experienced, weather has always been the reason and is the biggest concern with any outdoor wedding. I've learned a lot from these experiences and am better prepared for future weddings. It shouldn't deter brides from wanting an outdoor wedding – we always have a weather plan in place. Some of those weddings though have turned into the most fun when the bride and her family have a good attitude and remember this is their one day to celebrate regardless of the weather.
There are two really special moments that I remember specifically. One was actually at a wedding where wind was a factor, and I had to take down some of the items so they wouldn't break. When the bride was walking up to meet the groom, the wind was blowing and she looked absolutely stunning because her dress was tiered and all of the overlapping layers were blowing in the wind. It was so pretty, and right before she started her walk, she said to me, "this is exactly what I had pictured for my wedding!" Definitely one of my favorite memories.
Another favorite memory is from my first out-of-state couple who I got to know really well. They were just so happy, and I saw it the whole day. They weren't afraid to show their emotions and you just felt happy for them. It was one of the most fun weddings I've worked on.
You recently started doing event planning, private parties, anniversaries, etc. in addition to weddings. What made you head into that direction? Are these new paths going to still stay in the winery field?
Yes, definitely! It's just another avenue to bring events to the NC vineyards. Weddings are still my main focus, but I had a few requests last year for these types of events at the vineyards and local wine bars. It's a nice change and these events can happen year round. My new fun service is choosing and serving NC wine at corporate events, seminars, etc. – just another way to introduce NC wine to people who may not make it out to the vineyards.
What's next for Weddings By The Vine? Anything new we might see in 2017?
That's a great question! I'm always coming up with new things, but you'll have to subscribe (sign-up form is at the bottom of my home page) to my new newsletter to find out! I will say that my goal, as it's always been, is helping clients turn a stressful process into happy planning while promoting the NC wine industry!
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Keep up-to-date with Weddings by the Vine by visiting the web page at www.weddingsbythevine.com
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