March 18, 2016

By Invitation Only: Event Planning and Design | Columbia SC

melanieBIOToday I am featuring one of my FAVORITE event planning companies! I can vouch that Melanie and her team do an amazing job because she did my wedding!! I tell Ryan that if we could have Melanie and her team coordinate, set up, plan, and design… I would get married every weekend! SERIOUSLY! A lot of people are surprised when I say that! I know most people associate weddings with stress, but it really doesn’t have to be like that! I have the most wonderful memories of my wedding day and A LOT of that is because of Melanie and her  team! They took care of all the setting up, breaking down and organizing on my wedding day. All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the fact that I was about to marry my best friend! And isn’t that how it should be on a wedding day?! I think so! Below are a couple of photos that my photographer (Courtney Dox Photography) took from our wedding. As you can see Melanie and her team did an AMAZING job that day! Here is a little bit more about Melanie, her business and some common questions brides may have about hiring a wedding planner.

Tell Brides a little bit about you and your company! Where are you located? How long have you been in business?

By Invitation Only celebrated 10 years in business August 2015. I graduated from USC with a degree in Geology – I worked as a geologist for about 10 years and started the company ‘on the side’. I have always loved the details and etiquette of weddings so I thought I would try my hand. I began with a few wedding my first year and after having great success with those amazing couples, the company began to grow.

Our weddings started fairly easy but as we grew and expanded our designs, the events became much more involved – so we began taking on staff to help execute the events. We began thinking more outside the box and creating the events around the personalities and desires of our couples. We now have 3 planners and 21 event associates on staff.columbia-familly-photography_0016

How do you typically work? How does the planning process go when a Bride books you?

Every couple comes to us at a different point in the planning process ~ so we assess where they are in that process and determine what we need to focus on next. We listen to their wishes and must-haves and then prioritize from there.

Designing a wedding does not happen overnight – we work with couples to learn about their likes and dislikes, their style and personality. Then we take all the factors that play in to the event (venue, time of year, budget, guest count, etc.) and begin bringing the elements together – we make all sorts of suggestions of ideas for the couple to consider and then it starts to take form.

While we work on the design all along, we want to also make sure the couple is staying on the appropriate timeline for getting things accomplished – booking vendors in time, ordering invitations, paying vendors, etc. so they are not falling behind and able to get what they want for their wedding.


 The most common question that all brides are probably thinking when it comes to a wedding planner is WHY. Why should I hire a wedding planner?

Weddings have become beautiful productions of a coupe’s love, relationship and personality. With the flood of ideas that we are exposed to from the internet (i.e. Pinterest, Social Media and Blogs), it is sometimes difficult for couples to organize and develop their wedding – it is sensory overload. We help bring the flood of ideas into one balanced and cohesive design.

Along with all the wedding ideas you see ~ there seems to be just as many wedding vendors! Making sure you are getting the style vendor and services that you want within the budget you have set can be challenging. Working with a planner who will recommend vendors whose product and service are exemplary and you can trust.

Then it comes down to executing the event itself – making sure all vendors are onsite and doing what they have been contracted for, setting up the hardscape, building in the detailed elements, directing the ceremony…. Your day is so busy already for you, your bridal party and family so having someone handle all this is worth its weight in gold. It allows all of you to fully enjoy the event.

Planning a wedding come sometimes be stressful ~ so having a professional to help you defuse some of that and advise you on etiquette, vendors and design will truly help you fully enjoy the planning process as well as helping you create a very custom, unique and memorably event!!!


And lastly, do you offer different planning packages for Brides who want help planning the entire day? OR for Brides who only would like day of planning help?

We do offer a few levels of planning with our company. However, since we are a design firm as well, we don’t necessarily offer a ‘day of’ package ~ we work all along the way helping create a custom event with personalized elements which is something that takes more time. We get connected to our couples so we learn about them to help build in their personality. But as I stated, couples come to us at different points in the planning process so we custom create a planning package based on where they are in that process.


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