Meet Melissa Williams, owner and lead planner of B Astonished Events. With over seven years of professional experience in business management and working in the events industry, Melissa believes in building strong, trusting relationships with both clients and vendors. After receiving her master's degree in Sports Business Management, she was inspired and encouraged by her own past work and the nudging of a dear friend to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams.
At B Astonished Events, Melissa pursues a clear understanding of each client’s vision in order to plan and execute a beautiful and authentic events. Her acute design instincts and penchant for detail make her a design master. She loves seeing clients’ visions take full shape and bloom into being. She and her team design gorgeous, luxury weddings and event planning both domestically and internationally for those who dream beyond limits.
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I was inspired by my own experience of planning events since I was 13. I would always plan the most lavish birthday parties and events. My passion for event planning grew stronger each year. While attending the University of Maryland for my undergraduate degree and then receiving my Masters in Sports Business Management from Georgetown University, I decided to become an entrepreneur with the help of my best friend De’Angela Boone.
What inspired you to start B Astonished Events?
My passion for event planning and design led me to start B Astonished Events. In my spare time, I always had a passion for interior design so it was no surprise that my love for design would grow into an entrepreneurial career. Starting B Astonished Events in 2014, I initially had an idea to only plan small scale social events. When I was asked to do my first wedding, I had no idea that 6 years later that B Astonished Events would be a premier full-service event planning and design company specializing in luxury weddings and lavish events both domestically and internationally.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
There are so many things I would love to change about the wedding and special event industry, but if I had to choose one it would be the peer pressure of holding your wedding to a certain standard to look like a wedding that the couple may have seen on social media. I believe each wedding is unique and special and should tell a story about the couple.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver a great client experience?
Aisle Planner is a life-changing client experience tool that is a major asset to my business. I started using Aisle Planner in 2017, and it has helped elevate the B Astonished Events client experience tremendously. I use Aisle Planner for both client and internal operations. My clients really enjoy using the system since it is a one-stop-shop for all of their wedding planning needs.
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
My favorite feature in Aisle Planner is the Design Studio because I love creating astonishing design boards for my clients. Some of the newer features such as being able to move the Design Boards around have also been helpful when displaying the boards to my clients.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a wedding and event planner?
My biggest advice to new wedding and event planners is to invest in your business early. It is important to educate yourself about the wedding industry and learning the best systems to help navigate your business from the jump is key.
What do you think will change about the weddings and special events space over the next five years?
Currently, we are already dealing with a change in the wedding industry due to the pandemic. I think that at least for the next couple of years, micro weddings and special events are going to become the new normal and planners will begin to get creative with styling and floor plan layouts.
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
My personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner has been investing in my education over the past few years. I have attended conferences, hired Coaching for Creatives as a business coach, and built a stronger network to keep me focused and accountable on my business goals.
What lights your creative fire?
Site Visits. I truly enjoy site visits with my clients; it gives me an opportunity to visually show my clients my creative designs and ideas for their events.
Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?
I’m extremely excited about my launch of the “Just The Two of Us” package that I released in April 2020. Due to the pandemic and having to adjust to the new norm of social distancing, I started having several postponements for my 2020 couples. The very first wedding I had to postpone was for a couple who was getting married on April 25, 2020. Although we had to postpone their wedding to September 2020, the couple decided to make a commitment and still get married.
After the wedding, I realized that many other couples are currently facing similar issues with not being able to get married on their original wedding date. So I came up with the perfect idea to launch "Just The Two Of Us". This package is a part of the newest Astonishing Experience for couples who are postponing their wedding but still want to commit to a wedding for Just the Two of Them! We have partnered with a variety of vendors to make this experience special. This offering includes vendors such as, Terri Baskin Photography, Blair Williams Productions, Pretty Petals Florals, With This Ring, I Thee Wedd, Pastor Marshall, Jenny Baked It, Marquia James Make-up Artist, Tress Art Hair, and more! We are also offering Special Enhancements for couples who want a little more for their special day. While conducting our "Just The Two Of Us" experience we are committed to providing a safe experience in a clean and sanitized environment by complying with all CDC and state guidelines.
Just for fun
I’m dying to design a wedding or event in…
Italy or Tahiti. I love the scenic views that both places offer and have so many inspirational ideas that I would love to create!
What’s one trend you think should be left in the past?
One trend that I would like to see less of during the bridal getting ready photos is the confetti throwing on the hotel beds.
What's one trend you would like to see more of?
Since we are in 2020, I would love to see more creative bridal suite decorations for the bride and bridesmaids to enjoy before the ceremony.
Your favorite shoes to wear on event day?
My favorite shoes on our client's wedding and event days are my block heel Sam Edelman heels before the ceremony and my Yves Saint Laurent espadrilles during the reception.
If you could plan any celebrity’s wedding, who would it be?
Beyonce! I have attended every Beyonce concert in the Washington DC area and have always loved her passion for her family and music. My dream would be to plan their vow renewal.
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would change about your wedding?
My wedding venue. I believe it’s very important to have enough time for set-up for vendors on the wedding day when you have a detailed wedding design. When a venue does not provide additional time for set-up it can throw your wedding day timeline off.
Hero photo courtesy of Terri Baskin Photography
Want to see more from Melissa? Check out her website: bastonishedevents.com