Caitlin Maloney Kuchemba, is the fast-talking, tea drinking, always matching lady behind Clover Event Co. She’s always been an entertainer at heart and when she was younger, she knew she wanted to be a wedding planner before she knew it was a real career. Learn more about Caitlin's journey to becoming Owner and Principal Planner of Clover Event Co. and how Aisle Planner helps her business succeed!
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I know people say this a lot, but it’s true…ever since I was a little girl people told me I should be a wedding planner. I was always the one having friends over to my house and I organized all of the school dances and proms. I continued to plan events in college at the University of Delaware, and after graduating with a degree in communications, I went on to get a certificate in wedding planning from Temple University. After completing that program, I began working with a local wedding planning company for a few years before launching Clover Event Co. in 2015. I now have almost ten years of experience in the industry and haven’t looked back. If you told my childhood self I would actually become a wedding planner, I probably wouldn’t believe you, but I love every minute of it.
Why did you start Clover Event Co.?
At the time I started Clover Event Co. I felt like there was a need for a non-traditional and non-cheesy approach to wedding planning in the Philadelphia market. We take an authentic and hands-on approach to wedding planning and work very closely with our couples during the planning process to make their wedding feel uniquely theirs. We want guests to show up at a wedding and feel like it's that couple's wedding, not just any wedding. Because of our approach, we tend to work with clients who are getting married at more modern venues, looking for a more unique design approach, or are looking for a more authentic experience for their guests during the wedding weekend. We're so fortunate to have such amazing clients that let us be creative and trust us throughout the process to bring their visions to life.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
Honestly? The cost! Weddings are a big investment and we understand that, so we work with our clients to be realistic. Our clients are in all budget ranges, it’s just about being realistic with your guest count, venue, and priorities. In order for us to give your guests a really authentic and unique experience, an investment needs to be made in your planner and other great vendors to get you the most value to make that happen. We wish we had more money on some weddings to really splurge on additional items, but in the end we know that a wedding is most importantly a celebration between two people who have chosen to share their life together.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
Aisle Planner is essential to our business. With three planners and over 50 weddings a year, it allows our team to stay organized behind the scenes keeping track of client timelines, vendor details, and day-of documents. We also use it to track new leads and create and send contracts. From the client side, it allows us to easily share planning tools with our clients including checklists and style guides and help track their budgets. Since everything is updated on Aisle Planner directly, we never have to worry about different versions of documents floating around and we know the most up to date details will be saved right on there. It's definitely allowed us to streamline our process and give clients the most organized experience we can.
What is your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
Overall, we love how customizable it is! I looked into other platforms that were all pre-set and they didn’t work for the planning system we designed when starting the company. Aisle Planner has allowed us to use their software, but completely tailor it to the Clover experience. We created our own custom checklists, contracts, notes, and more. As for individual features, you can’t beat the timeline tool and the ability to customize which times and notes are shared so you can send specific timelines custom for each vendor.
If you weren't the Owner + Principal Planner of Clover Event Co., what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
I come from a family of several architects, so it's always been an interest of mine and I almost went to school for it. I appreciate beautiful architecture and would love to design my own home one day. For now, my husband and I recently bought a home that we're fixing up. It has a unique structural exterior and my new home office is actually a former architect's studio so it has a large drafting table that's great for production and wedding design.
What are three things you never show up without on event day?
- Dress Tape: Bridesmaids always need tape to keep their dresses intact and we go through it like candy on wedding days.
- Tissues: Lots and lots of tissues for happy and ugly crying.
- Lighters: We always carry lots of lighters to light up candles during the cocktail hour and reception. You can never have too many.
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
At the end of the day, it’s all about being honest and genuine with yourself and your clients. We're fortunate enough to be able to be picky with the weddings we take on, so it’s important for us to work with clients who match our style and aesthetic, and value our approach to planning. It makes the wedding planning process easier for us and in the end makes for happy clients that leave great reviews.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
One thing I'd say we're known for is being easy to work with. And this might sound small, but wedding planners are not always known to be the easiest to work with. Even though some vendors can be challenging to work with as well, we always have to play the role of being kind to other vendors—it also helps us advocate for our clients and get what they want in the end. You'll never get what you want by making enemies. It's our role as planners to make our client's wedding day, their family and guest's day, and the vendor's day easier than it would be without us there. So being a smiling face, keeping cool during stressful situations, and being a mediator is a big piece of that.
Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?
We're launching a podcast we started recording last year! It’s meant to lift the curtain and give couples and vendors a closer look into the world of wedding planning. We interview some of Philadelphia’s best vendors to get their take on the industry and give you our insight along the way. You can find more details on our website and details on the upcoming launch on our Instagram at @clovereventco.
Just for fun
I’m dying to take a trip to…
I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland, even when I was younger (before it became the “it” place to go), so it's still very much on my list. I love the winter and unique time zones, so I really want to visit in the winter where there's only a few hours of sunlight. There's something so magical about that. Seeing the northern lights is definitely on my list as well.
If you owned a restaurant, what food would it serve?
I’ve always had a dream of owning a bakery in another life, or maybe later in this one. I have such a sweet tooth and often sneak a piece of wedding cake when there's some left over. I'd also serve tea, as I'm an avid tea drinker and in a former life managed a tea shop in Philadelphia. Rooibos and chair teas are my favorite!
Favorite book of all time?
I don’t have one in particular, but I’m an avid user of Audible. Since I don’t have a lot of leisure time, but rather am always on the go, I regularly listen to audiobooks through Audible. It’s the best way to get some “reading” in while on the go to and from meetings and weddings.
Non-work related hobbies?
My husband and I are big skiers and recently moved north of Philadelphia to the Pocono area to live in the mountains and be closer to the skiing life we love. We now live just 10 minutes from a ski mountain!
If you catch me out and about I’m always wearing…
Clogs! I’ve always been a big fan of clogs and thankfully they came back in style a few years ago. I have six or so pairs—sandal versions for summer and boot versions for the winter. I ever wore a pair of BRYR clogs for my wedding two years ago. Check out BRYR if you haven’t already, they're true works of art.
Want to see more from Caitlin? Check out her website clovereventco.com!
Hero photo courtesy Haley Richter