Wedding Pro Spotlight: Eutopia Events
I worked at a wedding organized by Eutopia in January and loved how organized and efficient everything was, and how easy and fun Ruthie & Lauren are to work with. Since we are currently planning a photoshoot together, I figured it was high time to share a few details about their business – as well as some useful observations for any brides feeling overwhelmed by wedding planning!
1. Tell us your names, business name, what you do, and where you do it!
We are Ruthie McDonald and Lauren Mace of Eutopia Events, New England’s premier wedding and event planners. We are based in Greenfield, MA but we service all of Massachusetts and New England. We specialize in full-service event planning and design, ensuring our clients have peace of mind and a memorable celebration. We are not only experienced event planners, but we also are talented graphic designers, cake makers, and stylists. Because of our creative talents, we are able to provide our clients with other special services that many other event planners cannot.
2. Tell us the story behind the name “Eutopia.”
Utopia with a U is more about an idealistic state, considered to be perfect, but sometimes impractical or fictional, and actually means “no place”
Eutopia spelled with an E is a homophone derived from Greek, and means the good or happy place! The prefix “eu” means “well” or “good”
Your perfect wedding day is not an unattainable, impractical, fictional idea. That is why when you work with Eutopia, you know you have come to the Good Place 🙂
3. What – or who – got you started as event planners?
We have been working in the wedding industry for almost 20 years collectively.
Ruthie: Bachelors of Graphic Design
I entered into the wedding business initially as a photographer. I studied design and photography in college and got started photographing various events when I was in my early 20’s. I continued to shoot weddings for about 10 years before I settled into a graphic design position and got away from wedding photography for while. I have always been the organized, go-to person for planning and decorating events for family and friends.
Lauren: BFA Graphic Design and Letterform
I have always had my hand designing invitations and other stationery since I was in high school. That passion transformed itself into a small invitation business in college which went well with my graphic design and letterform (the study of letters and typography) degree. My mind is always brimming with ideas, so I decided to try decorating cakes, a totally different medium than paper. Self-taught, I started getting a lot of requests for cakes from friends, and friends of friends, which then turned into a small cake business as well. On top of that, I was always helping plan events for friends and family.
We both worked at a national parenting magazine (where we met) styling and organizing photo shoots, and we instantly became friends. We both talked about how we have always dreamed of owning our own wedding planning company since we have always helped organize and design events for friends and the like. We loved weddings and all of the details that go into making a day like that so spectacular for people. Our combined talents could really offer people something great and different we thought. Then one day, the magazine ceased publication. We were out of a job, or were we? With a little encouragement from our co-workers and friends, we started Eutopia Events!
4. What’s the difference between coordination and planning services, and when do you recommend one over the other?
We have several options for a couple when it comes to assistance with their wedding. One service we think every couple should take advantage of at the minimum is the Day-of Coordination. With this service, the wedding coordinator takes all of the planning that the couple worked hard to pull together and executes it on the day of the wedding. This gives the couple peace-of-mind on their wedding day to know that all of the details are being handled while they relax and enjoy getting ready for their big day! We recommend this service for anyone getting married. It is an affordable way to ensure their wedding goes off without a hitch.
When we assist someone with the full planning of their event, we help with every step. We help with locating vendors, assisting with their budget, ensuring no detail goes unattended. We attend vendor meetings, review contracts and help the couple through every planning step so they are sure to have a smooth and pleasant planning experience. We want every aspect of the wedding to be perfect. We take the couples vision and we help them make it reality.
We also offer partial planning, and all of or packages are customizable to suit each couple’s needs.
With all of our services, we offer etiquette advice, answer all sorts of questions from “How do I address an invitation” to “What can we get for bridal party gifts?” We offer advice and guidance throughout the wedding process whether people have hired us for Day-of Coordination or Full-planning. Our concern is our couple. We don’t want them to feel like they missed something or weren’t educated enough about various areas of wedding planning. We get a lot of “OH, I didn’t know that!”
5. What or who inspires your professional style and the work that you do?
We find inspiration in every corner of life. From the design of a room in a house, to fabric patterns, music, movies, books, color, paint swatches, flower gardens, the list goes on. We especially love old things, or items that can be re-purposed! We love to put our own twist on things to make it unique. We also like to mix styles and push the envelope when it comes to design, whether it be print design, or the design of a table setting and other decor.
6. What types of clients do you work best with?
We work really well with almost any client. We’ve been very fortunate to have some pretty amazing couples! We find that one common thread is a good sense of humor. You have to have a good sense of humor when planning an event. Not to say that we aren’t serious when we need to be, but we like keep things light and fun in order to help maintain a sense of calm. Planning a wedding can be stressful and daunting, but that is why we are here!
7. What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job?
Sometimes we have to play the mediator between the parents and the bride or groom, especially mothers of the bride. There are so many emotions and opinions that all come together, and sometimes the varying opinions cause loved ones to butt heads with one another. We try to help them make decisions together so that everyone is happy and feels heard and appreciated.
8. What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Ultimately, our favorite part at every wedding is when the couple hugs us at the end of the night and tell us how amazing everything was and how happy they are! THAT is why we love what we do! We love seeing our couples smiling faces, see them having fun, and enjoying their special day. Sometimes we even get brought to tears, as we form strong bonds with our couples, and they feel like good friends. Each wedding is unique to a couple. Not one event we’ve done has mimicked another we’ve done before. We love that about our job too.
9. What tips do you have for couples looking to hire a wedding planner?
Don’t mistake your venue coordinator for your wedding planner. While most venue coordinators are great and provide you with an invaluable service, the difference between us and them is that we work for our clients and anything they need, whereas the venue coordinator works for the venue. Also, don’t assume you have to have a large budget in order to afford a wedding planner. We customize packages to suit all types of budgets! We are well-versed in all aspects of planning, coordinating, and designing a wedding and we know many vendors and cost-saving tips that can ultimately save you money in the end. Also, find someone you feel comfortable with. You will spend a lot of time with your planner or coordinator, no matter what service you have hired them for. You also want someone who pays attention to even the smallest details. Those are the things that make a great wedding or event. People may not notice each individually but they will notice how well everything went overall.
10. Tell us a story about one of your favorite jobs.
Just one? It is hard to pick one since we have worked with so many great couples!
One summer we helped plan a wedding at a beautiful farm in Orange, which was owned by the bride’s family. As the processional began, the bridal party walked through these tall, golden blades of field grass in a large field to the “alter” which was a homemade arbor, built out of wooden branches and vines. The field was large and it was such a beautiful view to watch the bridal party winding through the grass. The way the sun hit the grass was like a movie. Our bride Jenna was smiling so big and was so excited to walk down that aisle, I (Lauren) almost thought I would have to hold her back. And then there next to her, stood her father. He was so happy and proud of his daughter, his oldest child and first to be married, and he began to cry. It was such an emotional moment to be a part of, and I began to cry too. We all hugged each other, then Jenna said “let’s go!” and off her and her father went down that same winding path of golden grass. It was such a sweet moment, and the reason we do this as a “job.” To be a part of that kind of special moment in someone’s life is a great feeling and we never forget it!