Full-Service Wedding Planning That’s True to You
All other images by Megan Nicole Photography
Your Trusted Wedding Planner Friend
After I jumped into full-time wedding photography, one of the first vendor friendships I made was with Carina of Raleigh Weddings, a full service wedding planner based here in Raleigh, NC. We instantly jived over our love for connecting with our couples and having fun walking through the wedding journey with them. I have had the pleasure of working with Carina professionally several times now (including for her own one-year anniversary wedding reception) and I can say she is absolutely amazing! Her couples always rave about her services.
At the moment Carina is only offering full-service wedding planning. If you’re looking for a planner who will not only help you find your vendors and oversee your wedding day, but who will also be a trusted friend to walk you through the entire wedding journey, then you need to talk to Carina!
Keep reading on to learn a bit more about her business, Raleigh Weddings, and also for some advice for brides looking to book their wedding planner or coordinator!
To see more of her work on this styled shoot above, check out: Spring Styled Shoot at the Upchurch
Tell us a little bit about your business: how did you get started and how long have you been working in the wedding industry?
Raleigh Weddings came to fruition because of how much I loved planning my own wedding, which is the same story you’ll hear from many planners! When my now-husband and I got engaged, I immediately dove into “bride mode”, putting together mood boards and doing all sorts of research. I had several friends who were also getting married at the time, so I took a lot of work on for their weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties… anything wedding-related, I wanted to help with. My husband saw how much I seemed to enjoy it, and suggested I get certified as a wedding planner, which I did. We got married in October of 2022 and I officially launched the business in November 2022 and began booking clients under the business name. I was lucky enough to go full-time about two months in, and since then have had the honor of meeting so many incredible people (couples and vendors alike) and executing some really incredible weddings.
What is your favorite part about being a wedding planner?
This is a tough one because I really do love most things about being a planner, but I’d have to say getting to know my couples takes the cake. It sounds a little corny, but it’s very difficult to be a wedding planner – a good one, that is – unless you really dive deep with the people that you are serving. Learning what people value, what they enjoy doing together, how their love story came to fruition, their passions…those are the building blocks of a wedding day and completely set the foundation for how I plan a wedding. As a couple’s planner, I feel that I get to see a different relationship dynamic than others may, and that can be really endearing. I’m blessed to have several past couples who I can now call very dear friends.
Of course I have a favorite “planner moment” on wedding days too: having a last calming moment with my bride and groom before sending them down the aisle. The anticipation has been building for months so it’s typically very emotional and vulnerable in those few moments. And yes, I do shed a happy tear at just about every wedding.
What advice would you give a couple looking to book their wedding planner or coordinator?
The biggest advice I can give somebody looking to book a wedding planner would be to find a planner that you really jive with. There are a lot of different types of wedding planners, both in personality types and planning methods. This is somebody that you’re going to be meeting with often, who will be there your entire wedding day, and who you may need to have stressful conversations with throughout the process – so it should be at minimum somebody you like and trust. Interviewing multiple planners is the easiest way to pinpoint your preferences and get an idea of what different planners specialize in.
What makes your wedding planning business different from the others?
Raleigh Weddings differs a bit from other wedding planners in that we do not currently offer a “day-of” or “wedding management” package. There’s several reasons for this but the main one is this: being with a couple from the very beginning enables me to really guide them through a stress-free engagement season, with my experience and expertise at the helm of it all. What we offer is truly a fully comprehensive, personalized, concept-to-execution experience. Something that my couples really enjoy about working with me is that while I have the expected organization, attention to detail, and knowledge that all planners should have, my greatest passion lies in getting to really know them and what they want. I don’t often have a planning meeting that doesn’t include a big ol’ belly laugh or a few hugs.
I’m also really passionate about creating a wedding day experience that is actually reflective of the couple being celebrated, and not just a collection of trends from Pinterest or TikTok. I think with social media, it’s really easy to get into the mindset of “this is what my wedding should be” versus “this is what I WANT my wedding to be” – so I focus a lot on going a bit outside of the box. Everything about a wedding day should be intentional, no matter what it is.