The dictionary defines ‘LOVE’ as an intense feeling of deep affection or romantic attachment towards a person or thing. The thing is, it can get tricky when you look to define ‘WEDDING’… a marriage ceremony, especially considering to include the associated celebrations.
The tricky part? Sometimes the Love in Marriage is left at the wayside, because we get so caught up in the fanfare of the ‘event’ and forget the true meaning for said ‘celebration’. That is precisely the reason Y Millennials are seeking out other Millennials, who can take on the brunt of the fanfare worries and leave the Bride and Groom, to simply enjoy the moment, where they get to celebrate their ‘LOVE’.
So in honor of all those Millennials, who are laying down their partying ways to get hitched this Summer… At The Y Life we went and found ourselves the perfect person to help us navigate through everything Old, Blue and New!
The Bridal Whisperer Sophia Elortegui or Sophia E., as we like to call her, is a Bridal Life Coach, who will walk you through everything! She is a designated sidekick to the bride, almost like a Bridal Concierge of sorts, because she works to assist the Bride in achieving the perfect bridal portrait… from the bride’s gown to the groom’s shoes, Sophia helps bring your vision to life.
“I’ve learned Y things have to be such a production, but they really don’t have to be such a production.”
It all started when Sophia was just 14 years old, and had this love for everything bridal and bliss. She dreamt of a world where the wedding paradigm of boutonnières and pearls, met peonies and diamonds, and they were serenaded by butterfly kisses. Frankly, it’s probably what we all dreamed of, don’t lie, you know very well that you have been victim to purchasing BRIDAL magazine to carouse through on a long flight… all the while you were so very SINGLE!
Sophia was born and raised in Miami, and she loves it. Since she was just a little girl, she always wanted to make people feel good about themselves, and help put a smile on their faces. They used to call her smiles, when she was little, simply because she would ALWAYS walk around with a smile on her face. As we sat together sipping on sweet Jasmine Tea and Vanilla Lattes, I could see the joy eluding her every word, when she spoke about the joy of being able to help people on the most important day of their lives and helping to guide them through enjoying these once in a lifetime moments.
Since Sophia is living out every 14 year old girl’s dream, with Sophia Elortegui Styling, we sat down with her to get the scoop on everything Millennial Bride’s need to know before they tie the knot and say ‘I Do’.
Always having loved everything ‘Wedding’ since childhood .. We had to start off with knowing if Sophia herself had ever been married?
“No, I have never been married.
Yes, I am a hopeless romantic, but I am not rushing to the altar by any means. I am single…
I was always just fascinated by weddings and everything that went with them, all of the details and traditions and everything that surrounded this one day that these two people are King and Queen for a day!
So for a long time, I thought that I wanted to be a wedding planner… I graduated from college and ended up working in Corporate America, which was totally not my thing, but it was a great offer right out of college… I am just not Corporate America and a Monday through Friday 9 to 5 person.
I love the bridal industry as a whole, but I really fell in love with the fashion side of the bridal industry, I have always been into Fashion and when the two married together, I fell in love with it.”
Many Millennials find it difficult to keep up with the fast paced business of our lives and that is exactly what Sophia found herself entangled in. She made the choice to take control of her time and her life, adding the ability to travel and enjoy my life a little bit more, which inspired her new way of living and hence the mantra for her business, ‘The WonderLife’ — living and simultaneously enjoying life.
Then it happened..
“Being in my mid-twenties my friends started to get married and as all of my friends start to get married, the phone starts to ring and I started helping more and more friends with their weddings. There is one particular friend of mine Gina, she lives in New Jersey, I was helping her find her dress virtually and giving her random advice… I would talk her through it, and instead of worrying about everything at one time, I would guide her to just worry about one thing at a time.
When it came to the day of her wedding, I was totally a guest and I was not working at all, but I ended up pinning her bustle, fixing and helping her out with her dress, I was basically under her dress pinning when she turned around and goes ‘I don’t know why you are doing this for free.’
I started laughing and I said ‘Well, if you want to pay me…’ and that is kind of when it clicked, that I should be in this world, because I had a passion for it, and even when I wasn’t supposed to be working and I was at a wedding, I ended up doing something with the dress and helping out, or guiding people along the way…
I started to come up with a concept, what is a need that brides have that isn’t out yet? There are so many brides that get so stressed out about what everyone is going to wear to their wedding, it’s horrible and these girls are crying and freaking out about something that doesn’t need to be the biggest deal of the day.”
So if I understand correctly, you are basically a Bridal concierge… Brides call upon you at any time, because let’s face it- brides are kind of crazy, and they can ask you questions and you will have the answers?
That is when we got to business… Millennials have a few questions when it comes to weddings starting with, is there a ‘Wedding Season’ anymore?
“NO. There used to be, June/ Spring wedding or the December/ Winter Wedding. A lot of people in the industry will tell you there is a ‘Wedding Season’, I don’t believe that there is. People are getting married at all different times, for all different reasons, some people are getting married when they are out of football or basketball season and don’t want to miss a game, or because they are in a game… it’s about doing things their way, instead of the way everyone else said they had to.”
That is most certainly a cultural Millennial thing, Millennials aren’t listening to old norms, they are making their own way…
“Right, and the Wedding aspect of it, is finally catching up to that. For so long, so many people were caught up in the I have to do this, because… because… because… I say ‘Because, What?’ Because you want to, or because that is just how it has been, doesn’t mean that, that is how it has to be. We can do things our own way, it’s your wedding, do things your way!
If you want to have Groomsmen in Converse in the middle of Church so be it. If you want to be wearing sneakers, because you don’t like to wear heels, then you wear sneakers on your wedding day— who cares?”
411 on Wedding Registry’s and the Best gift suggestions?
“I always like to give a gift, that a couple can have fun with. Be it, something that they can use for entertaining for a party, I love giving things like that… I think the days of giving people their entire kitchen and bedroom set, we are passed that, we don’t need it anymore. You can always contribute to the household, with things that they can have fun with. I am starting to see that more and more couples, like the ‘Honeymoon Funds’ and I personally don’t love to give it, but I do a lot of times, because that is what the couple wants.”
Wait…. what happened to the Grooms family paying for the honeymoon, isn’t that tradition?
“That is totally tradition. I feel like the days of certain people paying for certain things are starting to slowly, but surely dwindle away, but I think a lot of times the Bride & Groom just want to ask for money without asking for money in a rude way. People are going to spend the money anyways, don’t buy me a gift that I have to go return. I don’t want to make Brides & Groom’s seem money hungry, but when you get married, life gets expensive and if they can have their guests, contribute to their honeymoon, to have a great honeymoon, where they don’t have to pay for it, why not!”
Top saving trends for Millennials on … Flowers?
“When it comes to flowers, don’t be stuck on the type of flower you have to have at your wedding. Certain flowers are more expensive than others, certain flowers are in season when others are not, if you have a planner or event designer you don’t need to hire one of these outrageous floral production companies.
You can hire a florist, who does this beautiful work, but isn’t as commercial, saving you a little bit of money in the end. You may be able to go with a different flower than the one you were picturing, because it will still give you the beautiful look and the same feel and effect that you wanted, but it might be a different type of flower.”
Least expensive day to have a wedding?
“Least expensive day is a Sunday. Saturday is obviously the best day to have a wedding, because people have the whole day to get ready and no one works on Sunday so it is the ideal day. Your second best day, is going to be Friday- the only thing that complicates Friday is that you are essentially asking your bridal party to take that day off from work. BUT… You are saving money! The only thing with Sunday, is… it makes it harder for some people to have fun, because they have to wake up early the next day. But you do save bucks!”
Cake? What if I want to save money on Cake, which can get into the thousands of $’s for batter and sugar, how do I save on that?
“People are not going to go back to a table to eat a piece of cake, so that is one thing. Buying a cake to feed everyone at your wedding, not necessarily a big deal. Alternatives like dessert tables with donuts and cake pops, work! If people want something sweet they come by, grab it and go…”
The ETSY craze?
“I love ETSY, but you have to do your research with ETSY. You can’t just blindly trust anything you see on ETSY, you can find anything and everything at all different ranges of prices and everything is beautiful at every range. It’s really great, but do your research of sellers and their shops and read the reviews…
Also, with this comes Time. Don’t order something not giving yourself enough time, things come late with ETSY. When things are handmade they will come late, but when something is two days late when it comes to a wedding that’s a problem, give a hard deadline!”
Locations? Are Desitnation Weddings the better option…
“A lot of people think that doing destination weddings are going to save them money, because less people are going to be able to travel. However, if you pick a really great destination that is really easy to get to, everybody is going, period! Not only that, but when you do a destination wedding, you can’t just have the wedding day be the only thing, you have to give people things to do. There has to be a ‘Welcome Party’, a Rehearsal Dinner Party and Next Day Brunch- you don’t have to cover everyone’s entire weekend, but there has to be certain events set-up.
You HAVE to host these people.”
“At the end of the day, your wedding portrait will be in your house forever, as long as you are married, and there has to be a great story behind it and you should love looking at it everyday.”
Dresses… The bridesmaids have to buy these dresses that are hundreds of dollars… Old world tradition Brides used to buy the dresses for the maids, now they don’t do that anymore… So what is the culture behind these dresses… Don’t have too many friends?
“It’s just one of those things… When you are the bridesmaid, you are 100% annoyed at ‘Y am I dropping 1K on one wedding’ and you have to buy the dress, accessories and shoes that match! You have to help put together a Bridal Shower, a Bachelorette Party, etc…
The smaller your bridal party is, the more options you are going to have to pick and choose things for each girl, because the more people you have, the harder it is going to be to pick options that still have a cohesive story, in that low budget world.
Now, if you have three… you can look into evening dresses and it is going to be easier to find evening dresses that go together. When you have a smaller bridal party, you can save the money on those things— I guess the ideal way, is to have less bridesmaids!
I’ve seen different ways Brides have contributed to the expenses of the Bridesmaids. Some put a certain amount towards the dress, some pay for either hair or makeup the day of the wedding, some buy the jewelry the bridesmaids are going to wear for the wedding.”
Top YWedding Trends for 2016…
“Moving away from the traditional cake… Donut Tiers and Dessert Tables, are IN!
Churches are still a thing, but we are no longer in a day where you have to marry, who your parents say you are going to marry. We are in a world where we respect religion and maybe you end up in a marriage where you have two different religions. That kind of changes the way the ceremony is going to go, if you have a Catholic Bride and a Jewish Groom, you are not going to get married in the Catholic Church or a Temple, so people find other ways to do that, still having a religious ceremony just in a different location incorporating parts of it.
Formalities… We aren’t stopping the party for formalities to throw the bouquet, or the garter, because you want to have fun… I mean it’s a cute idea, but is the person who catches it really going to be the next person to get married? Probably NOT! It was a cheesy fun thing when people were getting married at 21, we are not getting married at 21 anymore, we are getting married in our 30s and we are a little old, now we just want to have a good time.
And the Garter is just weird, awkward and uncomfortable. Can we please just save that moment for later!
Open Bar is always a trend.. It’s a celebration! Don’t ask your guests to pay for their alcohol. People actually have done that, I have seen a full cash bar… I am totally good with just beer and wine. Keep the Rose coming and I am happy!
The ‘Hora Loca’ & ‘Afterparty’ are becoming a trend… The last hour of the wedding they bring out crazy props and glow sticks and sometimes people will bring Bahamian dancers and they have the crazy hour during the last hour of the party, that has become a huge trend!
Also, Brides and Grooms are starting to plan their wedding after parties with their friends and make this part of the wedding. Sometimes it’s a nightclub, hotel suites, another event space even, or their house, because people want to keep the party going without the sound ordinances where you have to end the party at 1 or 2 am. This is a world where people are used to partying till 5 or 6 in the morning, they want to keep it going, they are no longer rushing home at the end of the night, it’s not necessarily a need these days.”
I loved all of those trending tips, but now we just have to know… Did ‘The Wedding Planner’ Inspire you?
“Okay, so I have loved weddings and I have wanted to be a wedding planner before I ever saw that movie. It wasn’t the reason that I ever started thinking about it. But, as soon as that movie came out, it was like ‘Oh My Gosh‘, that is my world! I was like 13 or 14 when that movie came out.”
Where do you see your business growing in the next couple of years?
“The biggest challenge with my business has really been trying to get people to understand what I am doing and to get brides to realize how they can use me, because it’s such a new concept! Since I started, things have evolved in ways I never would have imagined and I started styling editorial shoots, which I didn’t think I was going to do. So really, I just want to be in a place to grow off the concept, that is the goal, but being able to do so on my own terms.
A lot of what I do can be done virtually. I don’t need to be in front of you, we can Skype and do things on the computer and it totally works. I had a bride in San Francisco who needed help with her dress and we were face timing in her fittings… it totally works!
I love what I do, so most of the time it doesn’t even feel like I am working. Just being able to enjoy my life and not being consumed with work, while still working, simultaneously growing a business and myself professionally. You can balance the two worlds, you can enjoy life and still be successful.”
P.S. Don’t forget you are not alone…
Sophia: “Everybody becomes cheesy when they are getting married…”
Lauren: “Actually everybody becomes cheesy when ANYONE is getting married!”