There are few people whose names evoke an image, a feeling … a smile. Tara Guérard is one of these people. Her event-planning business, Tara Guérard Soirée, specializes in perfectly unique and beautiful weddings with high attention to detail. With offices in New York and Charleston, South Carolina, Tara creates beautiful weddings in various sizes. Her weddings have been featured in well over a dozen magazines, including Town & Country, Martha Stewart Weddings, Flower Magazine, Southern Living, Real Simple and more!
We are amazed by your beautiful weddings. Were you always fascinated by weddings?
Not really. Actually, in the beginning I told brides that I was not a wedding planner — but could plan and design a great party! After taking on a few brides, I fell in love with weddings: the process, the people, their dreams, the love stories. I truly love creating magical moments and spaces.
Has Pinterest changed brides’ expectations for their own weddings?
Maybe, but I love it! It helps paint a picture of what they love, their style, etc. It makes it so much easier to see what they really want.
Do you exclusively plan weddings?
We plan and design many kinds of social events. Weddings are just what we are really known for.
Do you see any trends emerging in weddings?
I like seeing all the old traditions being popular, from the big dress to the beautiful cake. I like that brides are more interested in the details today than they were in the past, and that they care that their guests experience the wedding of a lifetime.
What is one universal tip for planning a wedding?
Always remember, most importantly, that your wedding ceremony (i.e. the sharing of vows) is THE wedding, and it is the only thing that really matters in the end.
Are there differences between the approach and expectations of a Southern wedding and a Northern one?
Oh my, YES! Many Southerners prefer cocktail buffets, but not all. Over the years more and more Southerners are doing seated dinners. We have a standard that is the same for all our clients — creating different spaces. I really try to not have dancing between courses. Instead, I prefer cocktails, move to dinner, then move to another room for a lounge. There, dancing is nonstop for 2.5 to 3 hours. I have to talk more Northern girls into this plan, but once it’s achieved, they wouldn’t change a thing! There is a method to a fabulous wedding for ALL the guests! Southerners always want Southern food. Girls from up north do not! Northern brides like to announce the wedding party, but Southern girls do not. Southerners often have “house party” attendants, Northern brides do not. The list goes on and on. That’s what makes my job so fun — being a little different for everybody.
We need to let our readers know about your stationery line, as it is gorgeous. How do you manage both your events company and The Lettered Olive?
Thank goodness for the incredible girls that run and operate The Lettered Olive! They make owning two businesses easy.
If you could expand your career into another direction, what would it be?
Anything design-related: hotels, homes, event spaces. And my back-up plan is to go back to throwing pots on the wheel.
Is there a piece of advice that you have relied on that you can share with our readers?
Please, please have a good time planning your wedding, and have a blast on your wedding day!
Do you have any fears?
Of course. They include all the terrible things that could happen to my children. Mothers always worry about everything. And I’m afraid that when I get old they will say I am crazy and put me away and no one will listen to me. I’ll tell them that I have always been this way, and I am FINE.
What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I have a 100-year-old great-grandmother who lives in Oklahoma.
Is there someone you consider a mentor?
I have lots of them, from amazing women to creative geniuses to unstoppable personalities.
Can you name a favorite indulgence?
Italian shoes. Handbags. Dark chocolate. Single malt Scotch. In that order.
What books are on your nightstand or e-reader?
Since children, I have zero time for reading. I really look forward to being old so I can read again; it is one of my very favorite things to do. Not to mention that by 9 p.m. I cannot keep my eyes open, since I get up at 5:30 a.m. to run!
Where was your most recent best meal?
Name three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends.
Great food, exercise and music! Thanks, Tara, for giving us a glimpse into your worlds both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line! All photos courtesy of Tara Guérard Soirée.