Tell us a bit about your background in weddings.
All of my adult life I’ve been planning events for friends and family and then it dawned on me-I love planning events! Fast forward to the mid-90’s, I went to my cousin’s wedding in Wisconsin and everything was a disaster; enter Kristie. Let’s just say I got everyone and everything to the church on time. I randomly started collecting wedding magazines and I fell in love with weddings. In 1998, I went to a bridal show to explore and I picked up exactly ONE brochure and it was for Hornblower Cruises. I envisioned that someday I would have my wedding on a yacht.
A minute later, I joined the Association of Bridal Consultants and began interning with the most established coordinators in the business. In 2000 I heard about the opening at Hornblower Cruises and my life was forever changed. Seventeen + years later and I’m still loving it.
What are the top 5 tips you would give to a couple?
Know the basics before you start: date, guest count and don’t be shy to have the budget talk with any of the “planning committee” involved. This will alleviate a lot of stress and no one’s feelings will be hurt if discussed up front.
Delegate – use your support system! Your parents, family members, wedding party or anyone that’s offering give them a task, no matter how small it may seem, it will make them feel a part of the big day, and free up some of your precious time.
Don’t talk about your wedding too much. You will be surprised at how opinionated even your most beloved are. Make your choices and stick to them even if Aunt Mary doesn’t agree.
Plan a date night! All of this wedding planning can really put a strain on a relationship. In between all of the fittings and favor shopping, make sure you schedule some quality time and put a kibosh on the wedding talk for the night.
Take care of yourselves, especially in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Drink lots of water, get good sleep, a massage, exercise, up your vitamin routine, and be sure to wash your hands a LOT. Everyone wants to look and feel great on their wedding day!
Do you occasionally attend your clients’ weddings? If so, what’s your most memorable wedding memory and why?
I’ve had friends get married over the years and of course I’ve attended weddings that were friends and also clients! I do VERY occasionally attend a client’s wedding. I met a couple, 9 years ago, inquiring at the Abbey for their wedding. It was love at first site; them for the Abbey, and me for them! They were a young couple who had been high school sweethearts. They had been together so long before getting engaged, the families knew and loved each other very much. Both sets of (still married) parents were a part of the process, and in the best way possible. Lucky for me, not only did they choose the Abbey for the wedding, they also decided to have their rehearsal dinner on one of our beautiful yachts!
It was such a pleasure working with them on both events. Their joy was so infectious, I simply couldn’t resist. There wasn’t anything super fancy or over the top, it wasn’t a big budget wedding, it didn’t have a theme, and by most accounts it was fairly traditional. But it was, by far, one of the best weddings I’ve attended, simply because of the LOVE. There was so much buoyant energy pouring out of everyone in all directions, the Abbey’s 40 ft cathedral ceiling could hardly contain it. It was the exact reason I got into the wedding industry, because of couples and families like them. We are Facebook friends today and they just had their first baby!
What is one of your favorite stories from a wedding you’ve worked on in the past?
There are way too many to choose! I have a couple that was married in 1997, with 30 of their most favorite people, on our smallest yacht, the Renown. I just missed planning their wedding by three years, as I started with Hornblower in 2000. They took a great picture of the whole group on the bow, she in the center in a white wedding dress he next to her, in a black tux.
In 2007 they celebrated their 10th anniversary, the same as on their wedding day, on our smallest yacht, the Renown! They used that group wedding picture on their invitations. Once on board they replicated that great photo on the bow.
“In 2017 – you guessed it – they celebrated their 20th anniversary, on the Renown!”
A Hornblower wedding is truly a departure from the ordinary. We would love to chat with you about your unique wedding. Browse our wedding packages at any of our ports: San Francisco, Berkeley, San Diego, New York, Marina del Rey, Long Beach or Newport Beach. Or fill out the form below and a Hornblower wedding coordinator will help you get started.