Meet Ashley Amtmann—the lime of Lemon & Lime Event Design, and Katey Clark—the lemon. Their years of experience in advertising and the corporate event world really prepared them for the jump into the wedding industry. "There's nothing like the feeling you get after sending the bridal party down the aisle," says Ashley. "It's a cross between 'Oooooh what a beautiful couple!' and 'Hurry up, there's only 20 minutes until cocktail hour!' Adrenaline. Rush. And I wouldn't have it any other way!" From their favorite AP tools to their personal philosophies on becoming a great wedding and event planner, keep reading to learn all about Ashley and Katey of Lemon & Lime Event Design!
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
We were in the corporate world planning events for big well-known brands down to local banks and hospitals. While we loved the type of work we were doing, we were missing that personal connection with clients. We also found ourselves being somewhat limited in terms of creativity once our ideas and designs were pushed through several board members and higher-ups. We knew there had to be a career that allowed us to use our event planning skills, creativity, and most importantly have clients who were more than just an email address. Wedding and event planning was the perfect combination!
What inspired you to start Lemon & Lime Event Design?
When we started our company almost a decade ago, wedding planners had a bit of a rep of being stuffy, a smidge uptight and OCD (or maybe that was just based off of Jennifer Lopez and the Wedding Planner movie). Being a wedding planner takes an extreme attention to detail and logistics, in addition to a keen eye for creative ideas. We knew that, but we also figured it should actually be a fun process. We wanted to bring laughs and humor to wedding planning, it should be exciting and enjoyable in the midst of the other several emotions. Shockingly enough, at the time of opening our business we didn’t see a lot of fun in the industry. Times have changed and the wedding industry couldn’t be more fun and creative these days, but our initial mission hasn’t changed.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
People’s perception of what we do! It's not all sunshine and rainbows and we wish everyone knew just how hard this industry works. Florists aren’t playing in flower fields all day, wedding planners aren’t sitting around playing on Pinterest, and photographers don’t just show up the day of the wedding. We all work very hard, especially on wedding weekends. It’s always hard when clients question a labor fee or a staffing cost—so many have no idea what goes into producing a wedding day. I know that’s part of our job, hiding the work and the mishaps, but the event industry is filled with incredible businesses that work their butts off.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
Our clients are organized people but they typically don't have a lot of time on their hands. Whether they're in medical school, lawyers, teachers, or just overall busy people, they need to be able to access information quickly and easily. Aisle Planner is our hub for all things planning! They can access it from anywhere at any time and when they do, they see all of their professional contracts, budget and spend, our master checklist of things to do, etc. Some of our clients also request to give parents access as well to help cut down on the number of questions they get from them.
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
For us, it’s a toss-up between the checklist and the budget. We work with quite a few clients so being able to have automatic reminders sent to us from Aisle Planner when tasks are due is great. The budget and spend tracking is also amazing because it allows us to update our couples in real-time how much money we still have to use for additional things they may want.
What would you tell someone who's thinking about becoming a wedding and event planner?
Do an internship or shadow a planner that you look up to. Wedding and event planning isn't all glitz and glam. Honestly, I think that’s only about 10%. Just like any profession, you want to make sure you love it but can also handle all that it entails—the good, the bad, and the stressful!
What do you think will change about the weddings and special events space over the next five years?
It'll be interesting to see what long term effects COVID-19 will have on the industry. Right now, with all of the new guidelines/restrictions, we’re having to rethink how to use spaces and how we can still give clients an amazing experience. For example, we could see mini dance floors becoming a trend! Instead of one large area, it may be that we’re designing smaller “pods” throughout the event space. Something initially created to assist with dancing while maintaining social distance.
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. At the end of the day, we all want our clients to have the most amazing event possible. If that means you need to roll your sleeves up and move a table in order to get the job done right, then do it. Lemon & Lime is very team-oriented with both our clients and our vendor team. We’re all there to get the job done!
What lights your creative fire?
We're inspired by fellow creatives in this industry. Covid has messed up so much for our industry of course, but one of our favorite activities during popular wedding months was to scroll through Instagram and seek out all of the amazing designs our industry helped create for their couples. We’d be suffering our own wedding hangovers, but seeing the magic everyone created the night before was the best form of recovery.
Is there anything you're particularly excited about working on this year?
We have some of the best couples who were supposed to get married in 2020. Although we wish they could've gotten married this year, we're selfishly jealous we get to have them as clients for another year. Not trying to be corny, we really mean it. They're the reason we started Lemon & Lime—amazing people that we get to guide during one of the most exciting times in their lives.
Just for fun
What’s the most used tool in your emergency kit?
Our mini scissors! They get used at every single wedding.
I’m dying to design a wedding or event in…
Katey: Pittsburgh! I just love that city and really want to design and plan a wedding there. There's so much to be inspired from, tons of history, and several amazing spots for photos.
Ashley: Napa Valley! I dream about a beautiful outdoor wedding under the stars. No tent, rolling hillside views, delicious food, and of course, wine!
What’s one trend you think should be left in the past?
Receiving lines. We’re sure in a post-covid world they'll be forced to stop for a while, but they take up too much time. Several guests don’t know when to stop chatting, and it’s overall very overwhelming and not fun for couples, or guests for that matter. It just seems like a big timesuck on a day that already goes by too fast. We create several opportunities for our couples to spend time with their guests, so a receiving line isn't needed on the actual wedding day.
Your favorite shoes to wear on event day?
We’ve tried them all! In 10 years we’ve learned the secret is changing throughout the day. We start with a tennis shoe (APL brand is so comfortable), then change into something a bit dressier for the ceremony—a wedge heel, or Tiek black leather flats. For the reception, you can find us in Birdies or Rothys! During breakdown when all the guests are gone, depending on the time of year, Uggs, Birkenstocks, or back to tennis shoes for many on our team!
If a client gave you an infinite budget, what would you do differently?
Spoil the guests! Guest experience is normally #1 for most of our clients. We love creating a full weekend of hosted events focused on spending time with their loved ones. We always say, when else will you be able to spend time with all of your nearest and dearest for such a special occasion?!
Hero photo courtesy of Angela Newton Roy Photography
Want to see more from Ashley? Check out her website lemonandlimeevent.com!