Diana Chaudinard is the owner and creative director of Jubilee Events. Diana discovered her passion for planning events while studying at the University of Connecticut. She did not major in event planning, since that wasn't an option at the time, but she did chair a committee that hosted events on campus. She enjoys getting to know her clients so she can build and design weddings that are custom to their stories.
Outside of event planning, she loves to keep active! An avid traveler along with her partner-in-crime in life, she has taken numerous spontaneous road trips. She's trekked from the northernmost to the southernmost point of Mile 0 in Key West, and all the way west to the Glamis Sand Dunes of California, and is itching to see and do much more!
Diana is also a dog lover and owns a blue nose pitbull, Jack, who she also calls her 'baby hippo'. Side note: dogs are always her favorite guest at a wedding! When she isn’t taking trips with her partner and their matching RayBans, she is working on designing her new home. Read on to find out more about her passion for the industry and hopes for the year to come!
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I got my first taste for event planning in college, where I was the chair for an on-campus committee responsible for events that appealed to all students-- a crowd that at the time was just over 20,000 people. I was constantly designing a variety of events that fit the needs and excitements of large groups of people. I grew an affinity for the logistics each event required and knew I wanted to pair that with something more creative that would be more beneficial to others. I loved that weddings were a place to develop designs based on two people’s personalities and stories. I enjoyed building experiences for couples that would become a part of their legacy. I also love getting to know and understand people, and that is the key to being able to build a unique, custom event!
What inspired you to start Jubilee Events?
Jubilee Events began in 2007 after discovering that Connecticut lacked a fresh-faced event planning team that also excelled in design. Over a decade later, it’s such a blessing to recount all of the amazing stories and celebrations we have been responsible for, and all the incredible people, both clients and vendors, that have become extensions of our family. After being with the company for 10 years (to the day!), I bought the business and became the sole owner and creative director. I can’t wait to continue sharing the amazing love stories and experiences of our clients and their families!
We believe that life is a series of moments spent with the people we love. Our company works with clients to celebrate moments that matter.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
I wish the best parts of this industry could reach all limits of the industrial world. When it comes to weddings, we’re celebrating love; and love is the great unifier. I’ve always said that even though we’re following the same course of action planning every event, no two days are alike because each day is inspired by the people we’re celebrating. When it comes to creating events, it’s so important to be authentic. Every single person has a gift to bring to this table. This work requires passion, honesty, collaboration, and authenticity. Anything less would be a disservice to not only the client(s) but to you and who you are as well!
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want?
Aisle Planner allows us to communicate with our clients on all things wedding in one collective space. It not only allows each step to be seamless and organized but tends to answer the common questions, “What should or can we be focusing on” and “at what point do we focus on X?”
What is your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
The Seating & Layout feature is not only helpful but alleviates a lot of the stress around one of the most commonly aggravating elements of planning: the seating chart. It helps ensure that all guests are assigned to the floor plan, and it helps organize the guest list in ways that both the venue and caterer require. This AP tool helps all parties involved understand seating and layout seamlessly!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a wedding and event planner?
The best thing you can do is gain experience! The media and planning your own wedding can give you some good insight into what planning a wedding entails, but the best way to fully understand is to sink your hands into it. Planning a wedding for other people certainly requires creativity and a love for logistics, but it’s so important to understand people, the emotions, and stress (both good and bad) that accompany planning such a monumental event. It’s also critical to love the variety of ways you can build up a celebration around your clients!
What do you think will change about the weddings and special events space over the next five years?
I think and hope couples will be more inclined to invest in experiences for themselves and their guests, which can be introduced in several ways from the setting and the menu to the activities. Whether your location is a destination or a spot your guests are familiar with, the most memorable of celebrations are those that incorporate elements that mean the most to the couple and offer the opportunity for all guests to do something together. For example, a local excursion to a summit, museum, or cultural landmark is a great idea. Anything that shows guests they were thought of during the planning process can enhance their overall experience.
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
I’ve always approached wedding and event planning with the notion that it’s a very intimate process. As planners working with our clients, we are privy to a wide range of emotions, relationship dynamics, and life in general. It’s very rewarding to be allowed to witness all of that and learn about your clients, but it’s also important to be able to listen to it and honor it. I love getting to know people – learning about them, understanding who they are. One-sided conversations can get old, fast! Knowing your clients allows you to plan a successful event and allows you to tailor your planning process and approach to their style, needs, and traits. The most memorable celebrations are the ones that are built around the person or people you are celebrating!
Authenticity is the greatest attribute one can possess as it not only allows you to connect with your couples and families, it helps them trust you throughout the process. You can’t be everything for everyone, and your unique skill set and approach to planning should be reinforced in your purpose statement and overall brand story to attract the right clientele!
Education plays a vital role in becoming and continuing to be an event planner. Understanding trends in the event industry allows your designs to be fresh and personal, of course, but also opens you up to understanding how clients change with the times. Let's face it, none of us are the people we were 5, 10, even 20 years ago, so why should our style and approach stay the same? If we are passionate about continuing on in the event industry, we have to be excited to learn any chance we get!
Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?
I am glad to see that so many of our couples are keeping the excitement alive and looking forward to celebrating themselves in some way, shape, or form. While the day may not always wind up the way we imagined, what’s most important is we are still finding ways to safely gather and celebrate.
There were so many unique, personal designs that I was thrilled to showcase this past year. I’ve always prided myself on the fact that we can create any design tailored to our couples because they are exactly where we get our inspiration. We can dream up anything that speaks to them! For those we have saved for this year, those events will be all the more impactful and memorable. We’ll always continue to raise the bar for ourselves!
For those who are having a smaller, shorter wedding reception, I love that they are finding creative ways to invest in things that they wouldn’t normally be able to do within the confines of their budget. I’m seeing people get excited for smaller, simpler things that usually cause a smile. Couples are finding joy in exploring various place cards that greet guests at tables, collaborating with caterers to craft their ultimate meal, and focusing on sitting and talking with their guests. It means so much to see them excited, no matter what the reason.
For 2021, you can bet your bottom dollar that we are showing up full force with show-stopping designs. Get ready for leather table linens; full, colorful, and patterned tent draping, cake bars, a Chinese tea ceremony for guests, cocktail style lounge setups, and all-night dance parties, just to name a few. We are waiting with excitement to toast to our couples and create memorable experiences for them and their loved ones!
Just for fun
What’s the most used tool in your emergency kit?
Easily safety pins and fishing wire! You don’t realize just how useful they are until you’ve used them for just about everything.
I’m dying to design a wedding or event in…
New Orleans! It may seem silly to do something domestic when the whole world is at your fingertips, but NOLA boasts so much vibrance and energy! The city is full of history and lively traditions, and everywhere you turn there are unique infrastructures that create the perfect backdrop and setting for a wedding. I live for beautiful, one-of-a-kind features!!
I also love that the Big Easy is a melting pot of the best food, music, and people; all the most significant elements that contribute to a memorable and amazing celebration!
What’s one trend you hope to see more of?
Creativity with the “Cake cutting” has been a detail many of my couples put their own spin on, and I have been loving their own unique takes on this tradition. From sharing two sides of an Oreo from their cookie tower to sharing a slice of pie or croquembouche, I love seeing anything that couples can make their own!
If you could plan any celebrity’s wedding, who would it be?
Bruno Mars – if not for him, then any of the Impractical Jokers! Not only would Bruno’s wedding take place in a warm location, but it will easily have the best, most lively music. I’ve always found the guest list mirrors the best traits of the couple you’re working with; so there’s no way that, for any of the Impractical Jokers, their event would be filled with anything less than fun, laughter, and good nature.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever created for a wedding or event?
There are so many I could list here, but they all derive from something exciting and personal to the couple! Personal cake bars, Oreo cookie towers, custom painted cookies representing the couple’s pet are some to start. If you couldn’t tell, we’re sweets lovers over here! Aside from those, we’ve created custom structures, like tents and pool-covered dance floors, that have allowed us to truly transform the space we're in and create sensible layouts for guests. I love to see the logistical elements allow the vision to function.
If a client gave you an infinite budget, what would you do differently?
I would absolutely invest in the overall guest experience! There’s really something so grand when you can travel for something enjoyable, whether it’s local or destination. We love to invest in experiences that heighten our senses to the beauty of the area we are in and allow us to take advantage of something and someplace new.
Hero photo courtesy of Alicia Ann Photographers
Want to see more from Diana? Check out her website eventjubilee.com!