Planning for Perfection

Style by Design owner Amy Stanley shares wedding trends and discusses the importance--and money saving benefits--of hiring a wedding planner for your big day


From the moment you get engaged (and possibly even before) your mind begins to conjure up beau coups of ideas about your wedding—color schemes, centerpieces, decorations, flower arrangements, etc. Needless to say, it can get overwhelming. This is when a wedding planner can come in handy. Former bride Amy Stanley realized the importance of having an event coordinator after trying to plan everything for her own wedding and being too stressed to enjoy the day.

Stanley combined her passion for design, her project management skills and her creative vision to create Style by Design, an interior design and event planning business that offers wedding services including floral design, graphic design for invitations and save-the-dates, photography, bridal boot camp, custom décor creation and rental. Style by Design specializes in helping brides and grooms to plan the darling details of their big day through planning services that include coordination packages, vendor checklists and event timelines, vendor sketches, floor plans and seating charts. Her services are unique and specialized to fit each individual bride’s needs.

Hampton Roads Bride: Many brides see hiring a wedding planner as an unnecessary expense. What are some of the benefits of hiring a wedding planner, and is it worth the added cost?

Amy Stanley: I think one of the driving factors in people trying to do everything themselves is to save money. I’ve learned that hiring an event planner can save you a ton of stress and may actually save you a lot of money. Planners often know the vendors that will give you the “bang for your buck” and who will work best with your wedding vision and personality. We know where to save and where to splurge when it comes to all aspects of creating a seamlessly designed wedding. We also take full control on the week or weekend of the event so that our clients can sit back and enjoy the moment—something you simply cannot do while overseeing every aspect of an event.

HRB: When a bride comes to you with different ideas she’s seen in magazines and online and wants to incorporate everything into her wedding, how do you help her to focus on certain items to create the inspiration for her wedding?

AS: It’s important to keep all of the design details cohesive so that it flows together. When a bride is trying to mix burlap and sparkles, we talk them through it and make them understand they need something that’s going to work together in every aspect.

HRB: What’s the most important thing to consider when choosing a theme for your wedding?

AS: I think it needs to be something that’s timeless because fashions aren’t and neither are wedding trends. It’s all about adding touches that are going to make it personal without overdoing it. It’s all about balance.

HRB: What are the most popular trends you’re seeing for Hampton Roads weddings?

AS: DIY Brides—There are so many people discovering Pinterest and trying to create every little detail possible for their own event. For the majority of the time, I encourage brides to do this, but there are instances where someone has to step in and give advice. Creating an event design that flows seamlessly is extremely important, so all the little details have to accent and highlight one another.

HRB: Are there any trends that you see fading?

AS: There are so many people that love Mason jars, but I hope the really rustic weddings fade out. Also, I would love for people to start having more live bands instead of DJs. It adds another element, more excitement.

To learn more about Style by Design, call 757-641-6177 or visit

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