We’re bringing back our Vendor Spotlight series. Today we get the pleasure of highlighting Defining Moments Wedding & Events of 30A. You can check out their site by clicking here.
I (Brian) have known and worked with Heather Archdeacon-Williams, who is the principal owner of the company, for over 10 years now. Shawn Frady, our Florida General Manager, was able to sit down with her for a little Q&A for you all to get to know her better.
SF: Tell me how you got your start in the private event business and catch us up to present day?
HAW: I graduated from Florida State University, with a BA in Mass Media Communications. For my entire Senior year, I had the opportunity to intern with the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. During this time, I worked in Entertainment and then Guest Relations. As part of my job in Guest Relations, I had the chance to work with Disney Special Activities to schedule VIP Tour Guides and tours. During this time, I was exposed to special events, working corporate park buy-outs overnight. Between corporate events and VIP tours, I fell in love with special events and the planning & coordination that went alongside of it. I knew that special events was where I wanted to be.
After graduating from FSU, I worked for 3 years in ticketing and house management for all sections of fine arts in Tallahassee. I loved it, but always felt like the ultimate destination for me was in weddings. I applied for a job at the Cottage Rental Agency in Seaside, FL and was given a job offer as I was in route back to Tallahassee. Not knowing anyone in this area (but captivated by the area), I picked up my life and moved within 3 weeks and was with them for 7 years as the Director of Weddings & Special Events. Following my time in Seaside, I started my own wedding and special event planning company. As of the beginning of April, Defining Moments Wedding & Events just celebrated our 5-year anniversary in business. I absolutely love it! I can’t image not being in weddings.
SF: Geographically, what areas do you cover?
HAW: I still do quite a few weddings in the Seaside and surrounding area, but now I work all up and down Highway 30A, as well as into Sandestin and Destin.
SF: Describe your ideal client. What are some characteristics you look for?
HAW: I love clients who can see the bigger picture. It’s not just one day in their life but starting the rest of their life together. The little details are very important and can help personalize a wedding so much, but I think if a client can experience and enjoy the process, while still seeing the bigger picture, then they are going to enjoy it all so much more. This is the beginning of a new chapter of their life.
SF: What is Defining Moments Wedding & Events’ calling card? What makes you stand out?
HAW: We are client focused. Everything we do is about them. We’re here to guide them through the entire process in making recommendations, finding things that are going to fit their personality and style because at the end of the day it’s their wedding, not ours. I tell prospective clients all the time, “We are not a “wedding factory” and we limit the amount of clients that we take on annually. We don’t do multiple full-service bookings on a weekend. This is so that we can truly focus on each individual event and give our full attention to that one client.” Our couples should feel like they are the only ones getting married that year for us.
SF: If you had to pick your favorite thing about your job, what would that be?
HAW: Every day is different and unique. I also love the fact that I get to be a part of an important chapter in this couple’s lives. Not a lot of people can say that they get this opportunity in their careers.
SF: Do you have any tips you’d give to a bride and groom for a successful wedding?
HAW: Know your venue and asking about any potential challenges with the venue so nothing comes as a surprise (sound ordinance, parking, etc.). Also, I think it’s important to develop a personal relationship with the vendors you are working with because they are going to be locking arms with you for the next several months to make this wedding happen. You have to be able to get along and trust them. If there’s not a personal connection, they may not be the right vendor for you. But most importantly, I encourage my clients to take it all in on the wedding day. It goes by so fast. So try to take time to truly experience it. It is a very surreal experience. It is important to be able to stop for a moment, look around and realize that you are surrounded by the people you love the most and are closest to you instead of getting caught in all the little things that might come up.
SF: Because we are an entertainment company, I have to ask, what is your favorite wedding dance song?
HAW: Proud Mary by Tina Turner! I love it. I think it’s a classic. It crosses generational boundaries – grandma knows it, mom and her girlfriends are going to absolutely love it, bridesmaids and girls in general are going to get up and dance to that song. It’s got a great build to it and eventually gets everybody out on the dance floor.
SF: What’s an interesting fact that we may not know about you?
HAW: My father was a Radio DJ for country music. He had a weekday morning show and was in radio from the time he was 15 until the day he died. No joke! He LOVED what he did for a living (he always said that “it wasn’t work, but fun”) and I always admired that so very much.
From a business standpoint, Defining Moments Wedding & Events of 30A with Heather is fantastic to work with. She makes our staff’s lives so easy. We just need to walk in our lane and do our part and everything falls into place. Personally, Heather is one of the nicest people we know. Her business is a true reflection of who she is. Any bride or groom would be lucky to have a planner like Heather. We are glad to recommend a person who’s company shares some of the same values we place such at a high priority.