Getting to know – Chic by Cara
When planning your special day is getting you in a tizz, a planner or on-the-day coodinater can slip in to help ease your wedding woes.
With over 500 weddings and special events under her belt – Cara of Chic by Cara can offer her extensive experience and make your wedding day a breeze.
If you’re looking for a professional, savvy helping hand – Cara’s your girl. We sat down with Cara to get the lowdown on event planning, and that extra pizzazz she brings.
When did you realise you were destined to be a wedding/event planner?
I was at university studying Public Relations and Journalism and I realised that I loved the event’s side of the industry. I started off organizing university events before volunteering for not-for-profit organisations, sporting clubs and the Rip Curl Pro. I later applied for the position of Events and Marketing Assistant at the Geelong Cats Football Club, and I got the job! From there I have worked for the Blues and Roots Festival as well as the Arsenal Football Club for two years.
I also lived overseas for a while and returned to Australia to realise I had a passion for the wedding industry. I wanted to start my own business running events, specializing in weddings.
After two years working as the Event Director at Campbell Point House, a year as Event Manager at Mt Duneed Estate for Peter Rowland Catering and managing over 300 weddings, I was ready for Chic by Cara!
Did you study in event planning or have you gained your talent purely through experience?
I have a degree in Public Relations, majoring in journalism. There is a lot of event planning in Public Relations and Marketing, and this combined with all of my volunteering and my 12 years in the industry has brought me to where I am today, owning and running my own company!
You have been heavily involved in/managed over 500 weddings and private events, what has been some of your career highlights to date?
The 2007 and 2009 premierships for Geelong Cats – We had endless events for over 2000 guests and this was all managed by myself and a small team of three.
Geelong Cats 150th Birthday Celebration – This was held in a marquee on the water front in Geelong. It was huge and was so cool to be part of!
2010 Blues and Roots Festival – Working with the team to bring this event together was massive and to see it all come together over a three day concert, and work successfully, was amazing.
Arsenal Football Club –I organized an event which entailed camping on the oval with 400 kids. We had to entertain them from 12pm until the next morning at 8am. It was one very long day but it all worked and it was so much fun.
Marquee wedding at Campbell Point House – This was a four day operation, and to see the couple so happy with the outcome it was all worth it.
A wedding for 300 guests at Mt Duneed – We had only 2 hours to set up the Barrel Hall for 300 guests for a sit down wedding and make sure all styling was in place. We had to transform the entire space in 2 hours, but we did it!
Three ‘A Day on the Green’ festivals – These entailed putting together a sit down dinner for over 400 guests for Peter Rowland Catering at Mt Duneed Estate.
To be honest every wedding I am involved with is a highlight because you spend so long getting to know the couple and bringing their vision to life. When you see it all come together and the love in the room, it’s special!
What styling trends are you currently loving in the wedding industry?
I love the use of lighter champagne and peach colours, though on the other hand, the use of dark burgundy and purples I love also. I am also noticing couples are enjoying being more involved in the planning process by incorporating something DIY to their day, which I always encourage.
What is your favourite thing about planning or assisting in a couples wedding?
The thing I love most about being involved in a couple’s special day is the fact that they are all different. They all have different visions, venues, family dynamics and I love helping them plan a day that reflects what is important to them. To see the smiles on their face on the day is the best part. You see a beautiful result after months, sometimes even years, of planning!
Is there a particular aspect of weddings that you enjoy planning the most?
I have an operational background so I love bringing all the right vendors together to collaborate and making sure there isn’t anything operational missing, so the day runs smoothly.
I also love coordinating everything on the day. I am always on such an adrenaline rush; it’s so busy and exciting!
Do you have any words of wisdom for those about to plan their big day on their own?
Try to stick to the same theme and idea the whole way through the planning process and make sure it reflects you as a couple.
What are your top tips for choosing a wedding planner?
Make sure you connect with your planner and feel a great vibe with them because you will be leaving a lot of your day in their hands. It is nice to be on the same page and have a great relationship.
Meet with them or chat to them over the phone about what kind of help you are looking for you so you know they are the right fit for you and your budget.
Make sure they have lots of experience so you know you’re in safe hands.
What do you believe sets Chic by Cara apart?
The experience I have had in both event management and operations as well as working with various venues. I know what is needed and what to think about both operationally and from a styling perspective.
I know all the local vendors and what they can offer, so I know who to approach for certain styling items. This cuts out all the endless time spent researching, so the couples can spend more time enjoying the planning process.
I also tailor my packages to every couple’s needs. They can tell me what they think they need my help with and then I can tailor package costs accordingly.
Planning and coordinating weddings and events can pretty full on, what do you like to do to kick back and relax?
There is not too much time left for that with a three and half month old baby girl! But when I can, I have a wine, a nice bath or I go for a swim.
To see more of Cara’s work, or get her involved with your special event – enquire here.