Get the inside scoop on planning a wedding with Hornblower Cruises & Events from our veteran wedding planner Kristie Bryant. Say “I do” to a wedding all about you.
Name: Kristie Bryant
Title: Wedding Sales Manager
Company Name: Hornblower Cruises & Events
How and when did you get started in the wedding business?
I started in the wedding industry in 1998. I was always the planner for parties and gatherings among friends and family. That led to a wedding magazine obsession. Then the realization that this would be a great fit for me. I’ll admit, it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the romance of it, and the crazy, tiny, little details of weddings! I’m a total girl. The first thing I did when I thought about becoming involved with weddings was attend a bridal bazaar. It was there I picked up one piece of information that I thought would be great for my own wedding. It was the information for Hornblower Cruises. I joined the Association of Bridal Consultants, met wedding planners, interned with the best of them and 2 years later I started my career at Hornblower. Then 6 years later, finally, my wedding dream came true when I had my own wedding on our yacht “High Spirits”!
Complete this sentence: “I love weddings because…”
Every couple’s love story is different.
At what point in the planning process do you come into the happy couple’s life?
I start working with them at the very beginning, helping with everything from flowers to food to entertainment and almost everything in between. What’s great about Hornblower is couples can customize their wedding however they’d like. If they want to do all the planning themselves, great! Or we can act as a “one-stop shop” to take as much stress out of the process as possible. My goal, no matter what the size or scope of the wedding, is to really listen to what the couple wants and then help them make their dreams a reality. At Hornblower we say, “we create amazing experiences”, and it’s absolutely true.
What special touches does your venue offer that others may not typically have?
We have yachts! Our most historic yacht is the “High Spirits,” which was built in 1929 and restored in 1985. There is nothing else like her, she is beautiful.
But really, all of our boats are special—it’s why people from all over the world choose Hornblower-San Diego for their destination wedding. An added bonus is that our yacht captains perform the ceremonies, and there’s not much more romantic than that.
How many wedding guests can your venue accommodate?
Up to 1,000.
Where is the hidden gem on your property?
The Abbey! It’s certainly not “hidden,” but so many people drive by it and never know what it is until they get inside; it’s gorgeous. Most people don’t make the connection between Hornblower and The Abbey, and we have been in this building about 30 years.
What might people be surprised to know about your venue?
We do all of our own catering, and our culinary department creates the most fabulous menus. In fact, menu planning is my favorite part of helping a couple plan their perfect day. We can customize whatever you can dream up. We’ve done everything from decadent 5-course dinners with sorbet between courses to a gourmet “comfort food” dinner with dishes like baked truffle mac-and-cheese to a vintage carnival theme with corn dogs and caramel apple martinis.
What’s the most common thing you hear from customers after they’ve had their wedding at your venue?
Besides raves about our food, we get the most compliments about our staff. People always comment on how warm and friendly and professional everyone is. Most of our staff has been with us for years and know how important it is to put couples at ease on their most important day. We’re really proud that we’ve won the Finest Service Award from the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau several years in a row, but it means just as much to us knowing our customers have had a great experience with Hornblower.
What’s the flower you never tire of?
Bright colored tulips. It’s really too bad they’re only around a short time in the spring.
What’s the perfect wedding day signature cocktail?
Champagne cocktail! Fun, festive, classic, creative — a sure winner.
What one piece of advice would you give to a couple just starting their wedding planning?
Your venue is such an important part of your wedding experience! I always say choose a venue that you really love, one that speaks to you. In the end, you will be so happy you did.