The Oxford Exchange | Tampa Photographer | Laura + Steven’s Wedding

Here at K&K we sure do love our planners… I mean LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our planners! We work with some really incredible people with a very unique and important skill set that ensures our clients wedding day goes smoothly, and for that, we can’t thank them enough ūüôā
Today we wanted to do a little shout out to Nikki Baxley Leonard with Southern Elegance Events who ensured¬†Laura + Steven’s Tampa wedding at the Oxford Exchange¬†was one that none of us will ever forget. What a beautiful day, an even MORE¬†beautiful couple and just an all around incredible time. We asked Nikki a few questions about her love for weddings & event planning and we thought we’d share them with you. Also, be sure to check out Laura + Steven’s gorgeous photos below, cheers! ūüôā
NIKKI BAXLEY LEONARD
SOUTHERN ELEGANCE EVENTS, LLC
1. HOW DID YOU GET INTO WEDDING AND EVENT PLANNING/COORDINATION?
¬†I’ve always loved throwing parties and getting people together, not to mention being organized and planning things! When I was in middle school, instead of a lemonade stand I started an “event planning business” but no one would hire me, because I was 12. I still have the notebooks. In college, I became a hospitality and event management major and learned about about not just weddings, but the entire hospitality¬†industry while working in various hospitality jobs and things with my sorority. Then I became a certified wedding planner with training and shadowing and¬†decided instead of working for someone else, I could better live my dream and serve my brides with my own company!
2. WHAT GETS YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT COORDINATING WEDDINGS FOR YOUR BRIDES AND GROOMS?
¬†I love love love getting to know them as a couple. By the end of most of my weddings, I feel so connected to my couples (and usually their families) that I’m sad for the day to be over because I don’t want to lose touch. I stay friends with a lot of my brides and watch their families grow.¬† I get to be a special part of one of the most important parts of their lives, and ¬†use my experience to help make sure it goes smoothly and as stress free as possible and really help make their dreams come true. It honestly doesn’t get much better.
3. OUTSIDE OF THE EVENT INDUSTRY, WHO IS ONE ROLE MODEL OF YOURS AND WHY?
¬†This sounds so cliche but honestly it’s my mom. She didn’t have an easy time raising me and my sister AT ALL and we had to fight for everything we all have. She supported all of my dreams, and adventures and education as best she could emotionally and tried to help me get off on the right foot while teaching to me to work for and earn what I have. It gave me a great appreciation for a good life, and a really great work ethic. Now that I’m a business owner and a mom, she steps in to be a great support tool for myself and my husband as we work on building our careers, and she helps with raising our son and being such a good Nana so he’s always surrounded by love and kindness no matter what our schedules look like that day.
 
 4. WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, COMING FROM AN EVENT COORDINATION PROFESSIONAL, DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR COUPLES?
Prioritize. It doesn’t matter how large your budget is, there are 2-3 things that are the most important to you. Those might not be the same for¬†each of you, but you both need to make a list prioritizing your items, and¬†then compare and decide who gets to pick things (like if colors are more important to her, but the band vs. DJ discussion is more¬†important to him) and what your top 3 items as a couple to spend money on are.¬†That will¬†determine a lot in terms of your venue, your date and where things go for the budget. It makes it easier to choose vendors and have the day come together cohesively for you, making your planning process a lot less stressful and the day more accurately reflect your desires!
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