The Perfect Match: How Kathryne Carter’s Coordination Skills Align with Your Wedding Vision
Are you curious about what it takes to organize a flawless wedding or event? If that’s the case, then you’re in for a treat as this video takes a deep dive into the world of event planning with Kathryne Carter.
Kathryne Carter is an experienced event planner and the proud owner of Grace and Virtue Events, a company that specializes in planning and coordinating services for couples, families, and small businesses. She has acquired years of expertise in managing logistics, being creative, and resolving issues on the go. Her event planning skills cover a wide range of events, including proposals, weddings, and celebrations.
In this episode, you’ll have an exclusive opportunity to observe how Kathryne Carter plans a DC wedding from beginning to end. You’ll witness how she collaborates with clients to comprehend their vision, manages vendors, and arranges every detail of the event.
Gillian de Souza: Hello again. This is Gillian with DC Weddings with Gillian. Welcome! If you ever wondered what a wedding planner would do for you during your wedding or even, what else do they do for you other than what meets the eye at your event?
Stay tuned. I have Kathryne Carter of Grace and Virtue Events, and she’s gonna tell you not just about planning, but also about coordinating and logistics for your event. Stay tuned.
Gillian de Souza: Hello, Kathryne.
Kathryne Carter: Hi.
Gillian de Souza: How are you doing tonight?
Kathryne Carter: I’m doing so good. How are you?
Gillian de Souza: I am wonderful, thanks. Thanks so much for joining us. Our listeners are going to be so pleased to hear all about Kathryne Carter and Grace and Virtue Events. So Kathryne, tell me about Grace and Virtue Events. What do you do for brides and grooms or couples?
Kathryne Carter: Yes, so Grace and Virtue Events is a planning, coordination and logistics company. We support couples with planning throughout their planning journey. I call it a journey because it is a process and it’s something that we wanna make sure that we support couples through and be able to provide decisions for.
We help them with choosing vendors, choosing venues, and really making decisions that are best for their marriage celebration and bringing their families together and really just having a really good time.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. Now, you said that you are a planning, coordinating and logistics company. So just from my decades of experience, when people say a wedding planner, they only focus on that piece, the wedding planner. But I know in working with you and other vendors, the logistics and the planning, if you don’t have that working well and working for your client, we going to have some problems.
Tell us a little bit about that. Let our listener know what more than just planning that they see on the ground. You all look glamorous when you are on the floor, dressed up pretty and walking around with your mic. Tell them about some of what’s happening in the background, in the planning and logistics.
Kathryne Carter: Yeah, so planning and logistics is really from how do you get from point A to point B. So if your ceremony and your reception are in the same venue, that’s great. Sometimes that helps. Sometimes you have a different space within a venue, so we really support couples with making sure that if they have a particular setup or something special that they use during a ceremony gets to reception.
If their ceremony venue is different from their reception venue, we’re making sure that we’re talking to them about how are guests getting from point A to point B, how are you and your wedding party and your families getting from point A to point B. And we’re also talking to the couple about their vendors and their photographer will need to be at both venues, right?
Their videographer need to be at both venues. And so we’re coordinating all of those pieces beyond just what color is the linen, what color china goes on the tables, what kind of flowers go on the tables. We’re coordinating those pieces too. But the logistics of how are all of these pieces from the beginning of the day when hair and makeup get started? Where does the wedding party need to be?
How will they get to the reception? How will they get to back to the hotel at the end of the night. Where do things go at the end of the night? If couples are providing special memento items, we wanna make sure that we’re giving those back to the appropriate people. We’re making sure all of those little intricate details and pieces are getting managed from first thing in the morning to last minute at night.
Gillian de Souza: That is wonderful. And that’s on the day. You said some key things in there that people tend not to think about beforehand, but we could tell you the horror stories after, like cake topper from the brides, grandmother that got shipped in from Ireland, that went missing at the end of the night.
Kathryne Carter: Right.
Gillian de Souza: Because we didn’t know who to give it to and had to go on a three month search before it was found. These are the things, my beautiful day that was otherwise perfect. But then you had this nightmare to deal with for three months after the wedding because a minor detail, like you said, wasn’t paid attention to. So it’s things that people don’t think about, right?
Kathryne Carter: Well, and there’s so much to think of on the wedding day, right? And the day goes by so fast for couples that we wanna make sure that they’re not thinking about those little details. But that’s what my team is for. That’s what we are there for, to kind of help you make sure that the cake stand that’s been in your family for decades doesn’t get lost and it presents your cake, but then it gets taken care of and given back to your mom or your dad or whoever. Those mementos are not lost throughout the day, that they’re also cherished too and seen. Sometimes people show things during their ceremony that they wanna display during cocktail hour and then again at reception.
And so those things have to get moved and for logistics, it’s like we wanna move things. And you know this from like flipping rooms and stuff. You never wanna do that stuff in front of house, right? You always wanna kind of be discreet about how we’re moving things. We don’t move tables in front of guests.
There’s certain logistics and formalities that things that we won’t do client facing side or guest facing side. So knowing those details and knowing how important it is to a couple, and their family is so important to help us kind of make sure that we capture those and that they get taken care of.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. Now, you’ve talked a lot about on the day-of, and I think the average couple can appreciate once you kind of say it, it’s like, Oh, I haven’t thought of that.” But then they can literally on their own, think through the tens of things that may have to happen on the day-of that they would appreciate you for.
Tell me about the weeks and months before, what’s happening in this planning, coordinating, and logistics, long before the day happens?
Kathryne Carter: Long before the day, planning meetings are happening, venue walkthroughs are happening, family meetings, couples are meeting with their families, and kind of talking about what’s important to them. But then they’re also meeting with me to kind of answer questions that I have to say.
Okay, what’s important to you? What things that we can put on the side, not that they’re not important, but that they can wait, so that we can get the priorities attended to. Those walkthroughs are so important. The tasting, so whether it’s your venues, catering tasting, or your cake tasting, those things are happening.
Every single detail is being discussed from what hair and makeup will look like. Calls are happening with your vendors. What your DJ’s gonna play, your do playlist, your do not playlist? All of those things are happening and behind the scenes, I’m hoping coordinate some of those meetings. Because our couples are busy.
They are taking care of other things. They have families, they have jobs, and so I’m helping to kind of make sure that, “Hey, you only have between six and eight on Wednesday evenings to do meetings. Okay, I’m scheduling a meeting for 6:30, so you can have a little bit of time from when you get home to when you have to be on this call and we’re trying to keep them as efficient as possible so you’re not on the call for hours and hours and hours, that we’re getting those calls done. And then also, I’m going back, reviewing my notes, coming back to you and saying, “Okay, so this is how it looks in the timeline.
This is what I kind of see as a gap. We need to fill this gap. How would you like to do that? And I may help support you with decisions that you need to make and you might have ideas of things of how you wanna celebrate.” And so my expertise with being able to fill in the gaps and do logistics, it’s just really just to help you guys kind of make the best decision for your celebration.
Gillian de Souza: When you say all that, I can hear it’s sounding overwhelming to some people, “Oh, the detail is just too much.” I can hear other people saying, “Oh, it doesn’t take all that. Me and my girls could get that done.” So talk to both of those couples for me. First, let’s talk to the one who think, “Oh my gosh, this sounds overwhelming. Even if you make all these meetings for me, all of these decisions and how do things go together and if I make a decision here, how would it affect the decision there?” And so you have that couple that is overwhelmed. What is your input now for it? So don’t forget, you have a listener here that’s now overwhelmed.
Tell them something that will let them know that Kathryne will get them outta that overwhelmed instantly once they are working with you.
Kathryne Carter: Absolutely. So first they’re not gonna get all that information at once. I’m gonna walk them through little by little and so we’re gonna chunk it, right? Maybe we’re only gonna talk about ceremony for one call and then a few weeks and a few months may go by before we get to the next step.
So that was the quick and short, fast version of like what could happen over a period of time. But really what’s happening behind the scenes is I’m really kind of doing more of like the logistics and then bringing you options for the couple to be able to make decisions, right? My whole job is I want y’all to make decisions and presenting you with options versus giving you a whole list of like, “This is all the things I need to get planned. Pick one. “No, absolutely not. Absolutely not.
Gillian de Souza: And so that question was well placed because I’ve worked with you, Kathryne, before and I have seen you do this because I can tell you of another couple that will have to do all of that, have a list of things that they have to do and say, “Okay, can we loop instead?” But then I have seen you very carefully. You are not just planning and coordinating and doing the logistics for the couples things that they have.
You are also doing the entire thing and say, “Okay, I need to do this chunk now and this chunk down in between these chunks, I’m finagling in here so that by the time they get to the next chunk, they just have to make two other decisions.” And so that in itself is work that you are doing that doesn’t ever get to them if they were either doing it themselves or didn’t have the expertise of Grace and Virtue Events on board.
Kathryne Carter: Yeah, no, absolutely. Like I said earlier, it’s important to enjoy the journey, right? Planning is stressful and it’s emotional and there’s a lot of things going on. They’re excited. Maybe some sad moments there, like if someone that may have passed and that person’s not there.
There’s a gamut of emotions, right? So, I wanna be there for that process to be able to say, “Hey, we have to talk about ceremony. What do you want included? And so, some of those moments are happy and some of them are really sad. And so it’s really about taking in and talking to the couple about what those things are and then being able to kind of do little chunks at a time.
We both know there’s checklists for days of like what you should do for the planning process and all of that. But really it’s about taking those moments very slowly as many as there might be. Taking them slowly and really thoughtfully thinking about, “Okay, what’s important to me for ceremony?”
If we don’t wanna do certain things and traditions, that’s okay. We can take those things out and if there’s certain things that you want in, absolutely. It’s about kind of taking them through the process and really supporting them through the journey because having them be stressed out, it’s not helpful.
And they might already have that stress anyway, right? So —
Gillian de Souza: Yes.
Kathryne Carter: — being able to support them through that process is helpful.
Gillian de Souza: Oh my goodness. That is so important because that stress is bad for them and also bad for us, because we aren’t able to get the right information to give them the best product back. And so reducing that stress all around is very important. And that’s the thing that we understand at Caribbean Caterers is that having a coordinator is not just reducing the stress for the client, which is very important, but then that translates into how you relate to all of your vendors and how you get things done and that you actually are enjoying this journey as a couple, that you as a couple making all of these big decisions probably for the first time together and going through all of those moments, it’s relieving this stress in so many areas for everyone involved .
Kathryne Carter: And something you said —
Gillian de Souza: Go ahead.
Kathryne Carter: Sorry, I was gonna say something you said about like the vendors piece, like being a planner and having worked with so many different vendors and having worked with your team as well, I kind of know like what you all need or what you all expect, and I can anticipate like, “Okay, Ms. Gillian’s gonna need the final count in a couple weeks.” Two months ago, I’m already making sure that I’m lining things up so that we can get that to you well in advance. And it’s about knowing what my vendor partners need. So then I can go to my clients and say, “Hey, your vendor venue RSVP count is gonna be due. Let’s push this back a few weeks. So that way if things change,” I tell my couples that all the time, “Have your RSVP due date do maybe a few weeks before your final count.” So if things change, you have a buffer.
Gillian de Souza: Yes.
Kathryne Carter: So, it’s about knowing all of those pieces and then being able to talk to the clients about what their options are.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. That is so great because what I hear you say is something that we are so focused on with Caribbean Caters, like for instance, the guest count, which seems to be one of the biggest stressors for most couples, in getting their RSVPs back, even knowing who to invite and who they can’t invite even though they would like to invite because of constraints of the space, of budget, of the whatever it might be.
And so one of the things we do, as you well know, is that we give them a minimum guest count and a final guest count. We give them that minimum guest count in a time when they have their RSVPs coming back and they still have another two weeks, they give us that final guest count. So everybody’s stress goes all the way down because we have time to slide in there and get things done without getting overwhelmed.
So I totally appreciate that about approach. Yeah. And knowing how much work we depend on you for as a planner. It is just refreshing to hear that you are not dumping all of this on your client. That they are able to piecemeal and just very, almost effortlessly, I hope, just come through this process and get everything done that they need to get done even though it’s so numerous.
Kathryne Carter: Like you said, a lot of couples are doing this for the first and hopefully only time, and so it’s our job as professionals, like we know this information, it’s our job to like guide them through it and walk them through it and it’s definitely rewarding at the end of it, right?
Like when you see the couples and they’re like, “Oh, we made a decision,” like they’re so excited, they’re so happy and then they come back. And even I’ve had couples where they made a decision and they were talking to a vendor and they were like, “This is what we want.” And then they go and talk about it and they come back and you’re like, “You know what? You made a great suggestion, or you suggested this and we thought about it and we changed our mind.” Like it’s so, I think enlightening and refreshing to kind of see that, like, they trust us. They take our expertise and we really kind of wanna walk through that process of like, “Here’s your options. You can do whatever makes you happy and you don’t have to all the things.”
Gillian de Souza: Indeed. Indeed. I think from all the vendors, we are really upstream, the caterers and the coordinators, we get our clients early on in the process. So they’re with us for months, sometimes a year and more. And so getting to a place where we understand them, that we know what their likes and dislikes are, so that we can make those suggestions and allow them to trust our judgment and to trust that we are just a hundred percent in their corner and doing things to support their likes and wants and needs. Once you get there, it’s just like a dream.
Kathryne Carter: I think we had a wedding last year where our couple was so happy and so excited, and I think that was probably, I have quite a few favorite weddings, but that was one of my favorites because they did things so different and it so refreshing to see how they put a twist on different things and we were able to kind of walk them through that process of all the things that were important to them.
Gillian de Souza: Exactly. And as you said, it’s a team so that you brought us with the client together and they were out of town, right? They weren’t even know them.
Kathryne Carter: Yeah. Yeah.
Gillian de Souza: And you brought us together as often as we can on Zoom to just iron things out and it worked so beautifully. Fantastic.
Wonderful. So we talked about all the great things that you would do and it sounds all like pie in the sky and “Oh, this would just be wonderful,” but let’s throw a little monkey wrench in there, if you will.
So you talked about doing things front facing to the guest, front of the house as opposed to getting things done. Like if you had to change over something, you don’t get it in view of the guest and so on. So I’m gonna give you a what if scenario and how would you handle this what if.
So what if a client is saying, “But I don’t mind if we change all of chairs over and move four tables to make a dance floor after the dinner.”
How would you handle that with a client in terms of meeting their need but still doing something that you know as a planner in terms of how it affects the events and what we should do because there’s etiquette out there and there’s ways we should do things and ways that we ought not to do things. So when a client is then asking to do something that you know that we ought not to do in order for them to not — I mean, let me preface it by saying, and this is more for the listener’s perspective — in that you don’t really see how it would affect your event and your guests and the experience that they have by — let’s use the example of taking up four tables and chairs to make a dance floor because you didn’t have enough space. What would you do for client that is saying, “Hey, Kathryne, can we take up those four tables right up in front of the head table and move those 40 chairs just so that we have a dance floor and those 40 people have to stand up and say, where’s my table?” Anyway, how would you handle that?
Kathryne Carter: That’s so interesting because I actually had a wedding last year like that. The couple wanted a larger dance floor. And when we did our walkthrough, I really tried to understand what is your goal? What are you looking for? And for that couple, they wanted the bigger dance floor. And so we had a floor plan picked out, and when we actually went to the venue, I was able to kind of mark out and show them if a table is here and the dance floor is here, these are the options, right?
I can move these chairs. I can push a table, maybe one or two to the side, but to like take a whole table with glassware, china, flatware, people’s food that they may or may not be finished eating, it’s not the prettiest to move all at once, right? We could slowly move that, right? Like we could move four chairs at a time.
Nobody’s noticing cuz they’re dancing. We can clear plates slowly and we can slowly do that. But I would kind of present the couple with options, but I would really try to understand, what is it you’re trying to get? You want a bigger dance floor, what are you thinking is gonna happen? Or might not happen if you don’t have the bigger dance floor?
I would try to understand what their goal is and then present options, “Okay, I can’t just pick up a whole four tables and move them, but here’s how I could do it. I could slowly move the chairs at a time.” That’s easy, right? Like no one’s gonna notice that chairs are missing if they’re dancing, right?
But if it’s a front table, I probably wouldn’t touch it. Maybe I can do some tables from the side or some tables from the back and slowly pull back that way. I think there’s ways to do it discreetly. I wouldn’t want to do it kind of like, “Oh, you’re done. Gimme that chicken on your plate. Like that’s it.” I wouldn’t wanna do that to a guest, but I would make sure that between my team and a vendor team, catering team like yours, that we would communicate together like, “Okay, the dance floor is priority, this is what we need to do.” And maybe make sure that we situate tables in a way that it would allow for a bigger dance floor if we just shifted one table later.
I think there’s ways to work it out. I think for me, I would wanna understand what’s the goal that the couple wants.
Gillian de Souza: Yes and that is so important because I think people think they know how to solve a problem that they’re having, and they just ask us to do something that they think will solve a problem, but it creates another problem that they’re not thinking about, and that maybe our expertise could give them a different way to resolve the problem that they had initially. And so that’s the kind of thing, and again, I’m placing these questions in a way because I know, again, I have seen us do these things. And again, it’s things that our couples listening aren’t thinking about, that we are working hard behind the scenes to work on —
Kathryne Carter: It’s also hard to move a table too, because you’re still in the middle of dinner service and sometimes dinner service doesn’t really end until dancing gets started, and so it’s hard to move that table. It’s so funny you brought that up because I had a wedding like that was their goal.
They wanted the bigger dance floor and then in that particular venue, it was like, “Well, we’re gonna have to do some things to like shift.” And so I actually set it up where we did a long head table and we took out some of the rounds to give us more space.
Gillian de Souza: Good, good. And you see, there are other ways to achieve it other than doing something so much in the face of your guests because your guest experience is really important. Now, think about that person who just got it from the table and went to the bathroom and their purse, their umbrella or something was under the table, if they come back and their table is gone.
It’s an uncomfortable experience for your guests. We can give you your dance floor, here’s how we can do it, or here’s some other options. And so these are some of the things that I think we work through and sometimes we are working through them for weeks because we might be planning to do something and made a plan based on a guest count of 150, but when it was all said and done, it’s 170. Well, where we putting these three extra tables when we already have to pick up tables? And so now, we have to think again.
Kathryne Carter: Well, and it’s very much like taking a table away and changing it like around to a wreck sometimes makes a little bit more of the difference, right? But if their guest count is large, it’s just about knowing what the expectations and the requests are. There are options like, but like you said, it’s like that client facing and it’s the overall experience.
I think that’s important too for guests to also feel that like they’re not being pushed out because their table was taken away. We want them to remember that they had good food, that they were dancing, that they were celebrating the couple, we don’t want them to remember we took their table away.
Gillian de Souza: Correct! In human nature, they remember the one thing that was uncomfortable. Not the 20 things that were wonderful. So we want all 21 things to be wonderful, not have that one uncomfortable thing. And this is why we are here to help you with your decisions so that you don’t falter things like that. And do things just because you didn’t know.
Kathryne Carter: That’s the logistics part.
Gillian de Souza: That’s the logistics part. And I’m hopping on these because you are a planner, you’re a coordinator, you’re a logistics person, and we have to see so much more than meets the eye. I once had one couple tell me afterwards, and they thought, “Well, maybe we really didn’t need a planner because they didn’t do anything on our wedding day.”
It’s like, “Excuse me, that’s because they did an excellent job before that.” So all the pieces just fell into place and there wasn’t a confusion and commotion to resolve running around on your wedding because they did all that. That’s the planning, that’s the logistics. All of that in the background, not just coordinating your vendors that show up that day.
Kathryne Carter: Yeah.
Gillian de Souza: So much goes into that.
Kathryne Carter: And handling the things like we can have the best lead plans, but handling the things that come up, we’re not gonna tell you the things that come up. We’re just gonna handle them on your behalf. Obviously, if they’re important things that interfere with contracts and payments and things like that, absolutely we’ll discuss that with you.
But things that come up just logistically in terms of vendor things, we’re gonna manage those things so that you don’t see them. That’s the point of having us around so that you don’t see that.
Gillian de Souza: We could laugh about it next week. You don’t need to know about it tonight. You don’t need to know that we had to move the DJ and he didn’t have enough cord to run his speakers, so we had to go out to, what is it? Some electronic store, get something at the last minute. It could be 20 feet further than he was supposed to be.
Kathryne Carter: It happens all the time. There’s something that always happens, and I’ll say, “I love doing weddings.” They always give me a positive challenge that like, I get to problem solve and I get to work just as hard to like let the couple have fun and experience their wedding because behind the scenes things are happening.
Gillian de Souza: That is wonderful. Oh my gosh, Kathryne, I can continue talking to you for another hour to bring our couples good examples of what you do in your business, but our time is up and we have to say goodbye. Maybe we could come back and do a part two and talk about other things because there’s so many other things I would love to talk to you about.
Kathryne Carter: Absolutely.
Gillian de Souza: Any parting words for our couples? Tell them why should they consider calling Kathryne Carter at Grace and Virtue Events.
Kathryne Carter: I wanna make sure that couples have a really good time, that they get to experience their planning journey and be happy with the choices that they’ve made so that on wedding day they don’t have to worry about anything. They can just enjoy the day, enjoy the time, it’s gonna go by really, really fast.
So I just really want couples to know that it’s your celebration with your family and your friends and your partner for life, and I want to be able to help you with that process. And also I wanna say thank you, Ms. Gillian, for having me.
Gillian de Souza: Oh, you’re very welcome. It’s a pleasure having you. I know your work. I totally am enamored whenever somebody selects you because I know we are going to have a great experience. They are going to have a great experience, and the guests are going to have a wonderful event.
Kathryne Carter: Thank you. I remember when I told you when we got to work together, I was like, “I’m so excited,” cause I looked up to you so much. I still do. And I remember like when we first met, I was still new, I was getting myself together. And so now that I’m like being able to get more weddings, I’m always excited when we get to work together.
Gillian de Souza: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s always a pleasure.
Kathryne Carter: Yes.
Gillian de Souza: So thank you so much my dear. Appreciate your time and we will chat with you soon again. Happy weddings!
Kathryne Carter: Thank you.
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