04-27-2016

Planner Profile // Heather Miller of Hitched by Heather

FILED IN: Small Business Spotlight

Posted By: Jamie

Today's featured wedding planner is one of the first planners I met when I started my wedding welcome gift business. I was immediately struck by her intense devotion to her clients and passion for creating a day that expressed each couple's personal style. She has a corporate background and brings that corporate savvy and a whole lot of heart to her Maryland-based planning business.

Without further adieu, let's hear from Heather Miller of Hitched by Heather!

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Stacey Windsor Photography

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?

My great grandmother owned a wedding boutique that my mom, sisters and I would visit on a regular. We even walked in her yearly wedding fashion show from the ages of flower girl to bride. My mother was a wedding photographer, and while my photography skills are less than desirable, I was one heck of an assistant. Mostly because the photographer turns into a makeshift wedding planner when one is not contracted for the day. At 19, I planned my first wedding after 3 months of classes.  It was a very stressful two days and I only made $100. I cried the entire way home. The feeling of being a failure is not in my genes and I hit the books again. After one year of planning weddings for friends, I was offered the position of the only onsite wedding planner for a brand new vineyard and I officially got my start. After 8 years of working full time for a government contractor and part time as a planner. I quit my job and became a full time, full service wedding planner. 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Birds of a Feather Photography

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

After over 11 years of working in this industry, I realized my job is not solely to keep the wedding day and process stress free, but to be my clients right hand.  In meetings with vendors, I know the brides thoughts before she voices her opinion. I can tell by the raise of her eyebrows or shift in posture if I need to take over with new ideas. Knowing my clients and their families will ensure a flawless experience for everyone. Ask any of my couples and they will tell you my honesty is almost shocking. I tell them industry secrets that will save money and don't let vendors get away with slacking or undeserved overpricing. I also give 100% of my career to working for my couples and finding the perfect future HBH clients. Although I love how planners are banning together more than ever, and I have many planner friends, I do not want to be the "best of the wedding planners to other wedding planners." I want to be the best wedding planner to my clients.

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather

Please describe your ideal client.

I work with all types of couples, but the clients that normally work with me love LOVE. They also love their wedding as much as I do and get butterflies when their fiancé sends them a text. Their wedding is not just another day to them, but a moment in time that will change their life forever. They are not satisfied with just a "Pinterest Wedding," and get giddy with the thought of chandelier cakes or personalized and out of this world, out of town baskets. 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Birds of a Feather Photography

Please describe your signature style.

My style is light, airy, classic and 100% romantic. I love bold touches, but side with romantic candle light any day of the week. I always push the limits of bringing in never before seen touches that pull in the couples style. Since everything is client based, I can pretty much design and execute anything the couples dream up. Which sometimes become my favorite days! 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Mike B Photography

What's your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

I believe guests should be spoiled. From welcome gifts to midnight snacks. There needs to be something special for every type of person. If the budget can only go so far, I concentrate on a few over the top touches that they will truly appreciate and take away with them. Flimsy favors can be over rated, but they will never forget your amazing wedding band or personalized whiskey and cigar bar. 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Birds of a Feather Photography

What's the best advice you have for brides and grooms-to-be? 

Remember why you're here and be kind to one another. Do not let the stress of finances, emotions and relationships take away from this amazing experience. This day is about two people joining as one, not one crazy person throwing a party. Be mindful of your fiancé and let this journey connect you, not divide. 

Best part of being a planner?

Experiencing the best day of someone's life in the best seat in the house. I get to know my couples like friends and watching their excitement, tears and happiness is the best feeling. Knowing I'm helping to create a day they will never forget is adrenaline pumping. I get chills right after I send the bride down the aisle. We worked so hard to get to this one moment and the energy in the room is electrifying. That is why my job will never get old!

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Stacey Windsor Photography

Most challenging part of being a planner?

Saying goodbye. I have joined majority of my clients on this emotional journey about a year, sometimes longer, before their big day. They text, call and email me daily. After their wedding, I go through withdrawal and miss seeing their name pop up on my phone. It's like quitting cold turkey and losing a friend. It's pretty sad! Thank goodness for social media or I would be a total mess. 

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

The unknown is the biggest reason my job is extremely important. Some of the most terrible things are possible at larger events and if you are not trained to handle it properly, it will infringe on everyone's happiness. A few big disasters I've had to overcome are; a wedding cake falling on the floor 10 minutes before the bride and groom were announced, all of the toilets breaking in the building at one time, the photographer arriving late and a hammered team of bartenders. That's just scratching the surface. I swear I've seen it all. Handling these types of situations must be entered into with poise and class. If anyone sees you freak out, panic sets in. They were fixed with: a call to a nearby bakery and lots of buttercream and flowers, my assistants standing at each restroom to let the guests know they can't flush the toilets (that was a fun night), taking out my back up professional camera and making sure the videographer got extra shots and politely, but sternly, telling the bartenders to straighten up or they were history.

Fave celebrity wedding?

Sophia Vergara and Joe Manganiello. Their night was a fairytale. The ceremony and reception were dripping with orchids (literally). It was a black tie dream with an after party that blows most concerts away. And guests received gifts you will only see at the Emmys...and Marigold and Grey. ;)

Fave color palette?

Anything with Navy. But Ive been loving the Marsala, blush and gold trend recently. 

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

I have an extreme travel bug and see many potential, favorite wedding locations. I'm torn between Nantucket and Hawaii. I'm nautical obsessed in every way and can't think of a better way to celebrate a lifetime together than an old house on the ocean. And nothing screams romance than a beachside wedding on a Hawaiian island. 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather Image credit: Vicki Grafton Photography

Fave something blue?

Hands down, sapphires. In a ring, earrings, or in a broach tied to your bouquet. They are such a classic and gorgeous touch. 

Fave floral?

Peonies. Peonies. And more peonies. 

Fave Insta feed these days?

Mindy Weiss- her feed is real and over the top 

Sparkle and shine darling- I want EVERYTHING they post

Bossbabe inc.- for my daily dose of awesomeness

Dream fashionably- she keeps me current with fashion and trends 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather

Thank you Heather for sharing so much about yourself and your business with us! Much appreciated!

To see more examples of Heather's work, check out her gorgeous website or Instagram for a more behind-the-scenes look.

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