From elaborate destination weddings to celebrity soirees, you could say Stefanie Cove has seen—and done—it all. She’s planned events all over the world and pulled off seemingly impossible designs, so naturally we had to reach out for her best tips and tricks and get the low-down on the newest wedding trends.
How did you get your start in the event planning industry?
A friend suggested I get into the hospitality industry when I was quite young. From then on, I spent my summers and extra time working for The Breakers Palm Beach and eventually went to college for hospitality (and psychology, of course!). My first “real” job after college was a sales manager for a restaurant company in Washington, DC, specializing in catering and events. The rest is history!
What do you think makes an exceptional wedding planner?
Someone who excels in how an event looks, but also in how it is produced. I find both elements equally important for a seamless wedding (or any event!). I also think remaining calm is very important.
What advice would you give to couples who are looking to hire a planner?
Hire someone you would want to spend time with outside of work. You spend many hours together (in person, via email, on the phone), and much of it is discussing personal family or financial matters. You need to be comfortable.
What is one thing you wish clients knew about your job?
I think in general people see event production as very glamorous. I think that’s a misconception of our industry. I can’t tell you how often I get my hands very dirty!
Out of all the weddings you’ve planned, which was your favorite and why?
There are too many to count. I have a favorite from the Bahamas, Mexico, Italy and Montecito. The list goes on and on. The reasons vary—some are truly beautiful, while others require such teamwork and seem nearly impossible to pull off—until we do!
Destination weddings are one of your specialties. What advice do you have for a couple looking to plan a destination event?
Hire a wedding planner. These are the most challenging events in regards to logistics. It’s worth spending additional money to have someone manage the plans for you. Try to narrow down where you’re looking geographically. It becomes incredibly overwhelming if you’re looking at different destinations all over the world.
You’ve worked with a slew of celebrities (Adam Levine, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway and Drew Barrymore to name a few)—have you even been star struck by one of your clients?
Luckily, I have not. Clients are all looking for the same thing no matter who they are: a perfectly beautiful and produced wedding or event. I feel lucky for so many of the people I have met throughout my career—celebrity or not!
What are your day-of tactics to keep the bride and groom calm?
My game day tool is being mellow. If the people around the bride and groom are calm, they will be too. The bride and groom should try to take a deep breath and enjoy each moment, as time will pass more quickly than they ever could imagine.
What is your favorite wedding trend, and why? What up-and-coming trends have you noticed?
I love that people are keeping things casual! Whether it’s more lounges, poufs and coffee tables or going from coat and tie to cocktail attire or beach chic, I think it’s a great movement. In food trends, I’m seeing more family-style service for dinners, which also feels a bit more comfortable and casual. Also, I love the idea of family-style Moroccan (think mezza and tagines!). And there’s less cake—I’ve been seeing more dessert stations and passed treats throughout the evening rather than the traditional cake and cake cutting.