Saying yes is easy. Planning a wedding isn’t. Whether you go big and splashy or small and intimate for your big day, orchestrating the event is an exercise in decision-making, timing, financial planning, and diplomacy. Our advice: Seek professional help. With the assistance of a wedding planner, like the pros at Bon Ton Events in Memphis, you can enjoy the process — and the party.
“Our number one goal is to allow the bride and her family to just relax and have fun,” says Bon Ton’s lead event planner Betsy McKay. “This is your day. This is your week. And when it comes down to it, you don’t want to mess with all the little details.” And with four different packages featuring varying levels of service, Bon Ton Events, which also runs two of Memphis’ premier venues (Bon Ton Café and the Cadre Building), can accommodate any bride no matter her budget.
Bon Ton brides also receive a discount at both venues. “Bon Ton Café has a really unique vibe,” Betsy says. “It’s kind of a hidden gem in town, and even though it has been here forever, people just don’t really know about it.” The café is popular for post-toast parties, goodbye brunches, small receptions, and rehearsal dinners. And the speakeasy vibe downstairs makes it a great spot for late-night, post-reception after parties, too.
“The Cadre Building is our larger, more elegant space,” Betsy says. “It was built is 1928 and has etched columns, mirrors, and gorgeous stained concrete floors. Ninety-percent of our business there is weddings.” Bon Ton Events even has an in-house catering company, Downtown Dish. “We’ve made it where we can definitely be a one-stop shop, but we also realize our clients really like to customize things,” she says, which means their brides aren’t obligated to use any particular venue or vendor.
Betsy and her team coordinate between 90 and 120 events a year, collaborating with some of the best vendors in town. Those relationships give Bon Ton brides a leg up. They’ve waded through the sea of caterers, bar services, rental companies, floral designers, photographers, and bands so you don’t have to. And after an initial consultation to discuss budget and preferences, your Bon Ton planner will recommend two or three vendors per category that fit your price point and needs. “We want them to be people we think you’ll have fun working with,” Betsy says. “Most of our clients plan a year or more out, so these vendors become like family.”
Bon Ton negotiates contracts and runs point with vendors the weekend-of, so you won’t turn up late to the bridesmaids luncheon when the caterer forgets plates, or the lighting guy ends up at the wrong venue making him an hour later than agreed upon. Vendor choices are heavily influenced by the look and feel of the event, so Betsy and her team partner with brides to develop a unique style for the weekend, coordinating florals, décor, lighting, stationery, favors, welcome bags, and more.
If it sounds like a lot, it is, especially the week and weekend of. To keep stress levels low and merriment high, Betsy creates a near-minute-by-minute timeline. “It’s really a blow-by-blow,” she says. “I feel like people sometimes get overwhelmed when they read it initially, but I say, ‘Look, I make it this way so if I get hit by a bus, someone can pick it up and run with it.’”
This article is sponsored by Bon Ton Events.