Welcome to Vendor Dispatch, where we chat with our vendor partners about their approach to working with couples, the ceremony from their point of view, and the magic that happens behind the scenes. Want to be featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Sydney Herring
Does: Elopement planner, Wildly In Love
Based: Washington, DC
Behind the Scenes
What’s your daily routine during the week, when you’re doing all the BTS work that couples don’t see? I find peace in daily structure. Each Monday I set goals for the week and that leads how I go through my days. I’m old school—I write them down in my planner so I can physically cross them off as they’re completed (I’ve tried digital task lists and it’s just not the same!). I start each day by going through my emails, responding to anything urgent. Then I begin tackling my tasks for the day. Those can be anything from mood boards, vendor research, design proposals, reaching out to venues, blogging, and social media planning.
Drinks on your desk: Water, always and forever. No coffee, tea, wine, soda, sparkling, or even flavored water. Literally, just plain water.
Favorite thing to eat while you work: I’m not a big snacker. If I eat while I work, it’s one of my meals, which can range from a delicious Buddha bowl filled with chicken and veggies to a bowl of Cheerios. Sometimes when I work late (happens more than I’d like to admit…) I treat myself to Moose Tracks ice cream, straight out of the tub.
Outfit: If I’m laying low, working from home, you can find me in lounge attire from Free People. If I’m running errands around town or meeting with a couple, you can find me repping all things H&M. No matter what, I choose an outfit for the day that will help put me in the right headspace to tackle all my tasks in an efficient way (yes, sometimes that is sweatpants and a hoodie. #noshame).
What got you into elopement planning? After years of experience in the luxury wedding and events world, I decided to ditch the “wedding day heels” for “wedding day boots” (something that is MUCH more me)—hiking boots for your mountain top elopement, work boots for the daily grind, and cute boots if you want a more snazzy day.
I’m an adventurous person to my core. I made the transition because I wanted my passions to be reflected in all areas of my life, but especially in my work. My dream is to help couples who are so wildly in love they want to run off and get married on a day that is so adventurously them. Elopement planning helps me do exactly that!
How would you describe your aesthetic? My aesthetic is wild, carefree, real love, and adventurous, but 100 percent attainable. As far as style, I like to bring the couple’s vision to life with my design expertise. Sometimes it’s very boho or sweet and romantic, other times it’s more modern minimalistic.
What gets you out of bed each day? The chance to make every day an adventure. I love to get outside and explore new areas. My list of “things ahead” is constantly growing! Of course, I cannot afford a whirlwind international trip every weekend, so I try to find hidden gems or new places to visit in my own city.
Who or what inspires you? This might sound cheesy (but it’s true): People’s love inspires me. Meeting new couples, learning their love story, and appreciating all the differences that makes them “them.” It makes me emotional to think about someone finding the person who they are choosing to love every day for the rest of their life. That is a BIG FREAKING DEAL and it makes me hype!
In the Field
What does being an elopement planner actually entail? Being your elopement planner means I’m your logistics lady, “Jane” of all trades, and hype woman. My main motto is MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.
When I say I’m here for whatever you need on your wedding day, I truly mean it. Hiking up a mountain to say “I do”? No worries, I will carry your dress and bouquet the entire way up. Raining on your wedding day? I’ll hold an umbrella over you two love birds. Florist can no longer make it? I will straight up get some flowers and make you a killer bouquet. Mosquitoes swarming as you’re trying to take photos? I’ll fan those suckers far, far away. The list goes on and on. Basically my job is to do whatever needs to happen, whenever it needs to happen, to make sure this is the best day of your life!
How does planning a destination elopement differ from planning a destination wedding? There are a lot of similarities when it comes to planning a destination elopement or wedding. It involves A TON of research—the best areas, reputable venues, and practical logistics. The main difference would be of course amount of people and venue vs. location. The more people the higher the cost. Most destination weddings take place at a venue, while elopements take place at a location. Elopements could be anywhere from a beach to a beautiful cliffside. Weddings usually have to consider more restrictive logistical factors while eloping gives you a lot more freedom!
What are your favorite elopement destinations? This question is definitely the most difficult one to answer, BY FAR. The world is filled with incredibly beautiful locations. Personally, I love the mountains and rocky coast lines. My favorites places in the U.S. would have to be in Utah, California, or Washington since they are such diverse states. They have every different terrain/landscape a couple eloping could want!
Fave venues in DC: While I’m based in Washington, DC, 99 percent of my weddings and elopements are destination, so I don’t actually work in DC that much. Some of my favorites in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area are Mt. Washington Mill Dye House (Baltimore), Goodstone Inn (Middleburg, VA), and The Sun Room (DC).
Top three dream venues: Dunluce Castle (Northern Ireland), Amangiri Resort (Utah), and iconic Santorini.
What’s the number one question you get asked by couples, and what’s your answer? “How do you plan a wedding/elopement in a destination you don’t live in or have never been to?” Answer: Through hours and hours of research, from reading blogs from people who’ve been there and asking local creative friends I know in the area, to calling vendors/venues/national park rangers to make sure I’m aware of any local laws/permits. In addition, I’ll arrive a few days before to do a final scout and adjust when needed to make sure the plans run smoothly!
What do you wish couples knew before they booked you? My heart and soul goes into what I do. This isn’t just a job or another wedding to check off the list. To me, it’s an opportunity to be a part of one of the best days of a person’s life through planning and design. I will truly do anything I can to make your unique dreams come true.
Favorite elopement trend of the pandemic: More people eloping! I have always been a huge fan of elopements and intimate weddings. Due to the pandemic, I feel like now people’s minds are more open and accepting of couples choosing to break the “traditional” and celebrate their love however they want.
What are your guidelines for couples and yourself during the pandemic? COVID doesn’t really affect my day-to-day routine that much. Living in different cities, states, and time zones than most of my couples, the communication was virtual before COVID. When it comes to the wedding day, I follow the “strictest rule” set. Whether that’s state/local guidelines, restrictions set by a venue, or preferences by the couple. If you want me to get a COVID test before your wedding, I will. If you want me to wear a mask the entire time, I’m happy to. My goal is to make my couples and the vendors I work with as comfortable as possible. In my personal life, I do as much as I can to remain healthy so that it will not affect my work life.
When it comes to the couple choosing how to implement COVID safety procedures for their day, again I fall back on local/state guidelines. Some places are much more lenient than others, so then I would say decide what you are comfortable are with. No matter what, try to keep your numbers small (we can plan a bigger celebration when this is all over!), ask your guests to wear masks when possible and social distance, and provide hand sanitizer. The trend of personalized wedding day masks and fun little hand sanitizers is really starting to grow on me. We can make it safe and cute!
Biggest piece of advice for couples making the switch from a big wedding to a micro wedding or elopement: Take a moment to be angry, upset, and heartbroken. Then take a deep breath. Even though your original plans may have changed, or this was not how you imagined your wedding, focus on what really matters—marrying the love of your life. I am all about beautiful florals and unique decor, but in the end, none of that really matters. Get excited about marrying your best friend, no matter how different it may look!