Inspiring our readers to make their home their favorite place to be is an objective that drives every piece we create. For many of our readers, their house isn’t just “home”. For many of your, where you live may also double as your workplace.
Recently, we visited the home of a premiere name in Charleston’s wedding and event planning industries, Arielle Stratton. Arielle is the founder of Party. Love. Birds wedding planning company and Pure Fluff Co. cotton candy.
We wanted to chat with Arielle to learn more about her work process and how she helps bring her clients dreams to life. A lot of the magic begins in Arielle’s beautiful home (more on that in a later post). There on King Street, she’s often busy planning, prepping and crafting some of the most amazing DIY creations. Below, she gives us a tour of her trusty toolboxes and a peek behind the scenes of Party. Love. Birds!
Pink Verbena: When did you launch PLB?
Arielle: Spring 2013
PV: What inspired you to begin your own wedding planning business?
Arielle: I can’t say I was ever inspired to own a business- I’ve always heard it is the hardest thing you could ever do! My parents are small business owners and I can remember my Dad grumbling about never getting a pay check since forever!
I was working for a company in the industry that chose to stop offering their planning services right at the beginning of spring wedding season so I of course had quite a few contracts on the books so in order to continue with those clients I started Party.Love.Birds to ensure everything was insured and licensed. And from there it just kind of took off!
PV: Do you work primarily from home? If so in what room(s) or areas of the house?
Arielle: I do work from home- I had a co-working office at one time, but I realized my night owl tendencies are better met at home. Depending on the day & weather I either work in my craft room, out on the deck, or in my bedroom study nook. I have been known to take over the living room floor during some major DIY projects too.
PV: How would you describe your work process at home?
Arielle: I usually spend the morning catching up on emails then I hit the gym around noon and run any errands or to appointments before 5pm then finish up my day with DIY or crafty projects.
PV: You are very hands on. What drives you to go the extra mile for your clients?
Arielle: I love “getting creative” and I think I attract clients who want something unique and personalized too. Sometimes DIY projects are not exactly what I would call lucrative for me, but I do enjoy the crafting process and I think our clients appreciate our emphasis getting everything they want for less.
PV: Where do you draw DIY inspiration from?
Arielle: Oh man! West Coast & Japan- they are light years ahead of us when it comes to design and use of color and textures . I stalk so many California based companies if I ever ran into one of their owners in the grocery store I would probably think I knew them and say Hi!
PV: How comfortable are you with tools while you work?
Arielle: Very. I grew up with a mother who was always renovating the house herself. Seriously I learned how to use a wet saw to cut marble tile before I could ride a bike. That being said as useful as knowing Lowes like the back of my hand is for work– I will never admit to being handy around the house because I feel like I did my quota of home improvements by age 16.
You carry a toolbox (or 3) with you to every wedding? What kind of problems have you had to address that required you to become a , sort of, “Ms. Fix-It”?
Arielle: I make it my personal mission to try and be prepared for any problem we may run into and when it comes to weddings and events that could be so many things! We have one [set] that is a tried and true tool bag given to me by our first intern’s mom. And since that one was hot pink we had to follow suit with the other two tool boxes, which contains everything from personal bug fans to any type of device to secure anything to anything.
There is nothing in our toolboxes that we haven’t needed to use at least once! A lot of our clients are destination brides so when they bring us their personal décor they haven’t necessarily thought about it needing batteries or something to hang or adhere it to wherever they want it displayed and since we usually work at venues that aren’t next door to a Hobby Lobby we come prepared!
There are also of course the crazy surprise situations that we could never predict- like needing to sew a bridesmaid into her dress 5 minutes before she walked down the aisle because her zipper burst open. Or when we needed to slap on a head lamp and search for a missing mother of the groom on a massive pitch dark plantation! Or when Aunt Sue left a bright orange face print on the groom’s tux shoulder- we just pulled out our collection of stain removal stuff from the tool bag and tah-dah! Problem Solved!
What’s the largest craft project you’ve ever created for a wedding?
Arielle: We had a couple I totally fell in love with in 2013 that we went completely overboard on the number of DIY projects we did for them. They were both [veterinarians] and were totally into quirky cute animal décor giving us only one restriction which was to follow a pink & gold color palette. Needless to say we went nuts! We made metallic dipped feather ceiling installations with matching place card inserts, plastic animals in lieu of table numbers, mini magnetic animal favors, vintage window & door signs with hand painted glittered animals, AND the list goes on!
PV: What’s in that fanny pack you carry on the job?
Arielle: Our clear acrylic fanny packs hold our timeline, lip gloss, and cell phone- the bare essentials that we need post setup. There is also a extendable scissor attachment for breakdown that is a total lifesaver! I made these packs because I lost/cracked 3 phones in a row trying to keep everything in the pockets of my cocktail dress. It was probably the best idea I have EVER had.
PV: Has there been anything in your toolbox that has helped you avoid a catastrophe?
Arielle: Absolutely! The staple gun & zip ties have saved MANY A DAY! Seriously I can’t tell you how much I would give to meet the man who invented the zip tie! A lot of my job is creating the bride’s vision and the hardest part of that is getting décor up “temporarily” – nothing has been more helpful than zip ties. They’ve held flowers onto arbors, they’ve held draping onto tents, they’ve kept signs from blowing away, they’ve attached garland to ceilings – I’ve even made an impromptu bustle for a dress with one before!
PV: List Your Must Have tools and/or supplies you have to have with you onsite at each wedding.
- Measuring tape
- Screwdriver x 2
- Wire Cutters
- Box Cutter
- Screws / Nails
- Bungee Cords
- Staple Gun + staples
- Xacto Knife
- Glue Gun + Glue
- Rechargeable Cellphone Charger
- Acid free pens
- Metallic Markers
- Chalk Markers
- Off Individual Bug Fans x3 + refills
- Bug Spray
- Long Stick Matches
- Glue Dots (Temporary)
- Zip Ties
- First Aid Kit
- Protein Bar
- Trail Mix
- Sewing Kit
- Fishing Line
- Scotch Tape
- Washi tape (3 colors)
- Floral Tape
- Command Wall hooks
- Metal Wire