One of San Diego’s staple wedding coordinators has more than just a busy itinerary on the docket for 2018. I Do Weddings and Events is celebrating 15 years in business and, in owner Melissa Barrad’s kindhearted fashion, a special way to pay the milestone forward.
“If I am completely honest, I never ever thought I would see this day,” Barrad says of the anniversary. “No one in my family is an entrepreneur—except my Papa Manuel. It’s caused me to dig deep, work hard and become stronger. I am thankful that I can show my son that working hard has dividends well beyond finances.”
On that note, we challenged Barrad to dig deep into her memories over the past 15 years to divulge her beginnings in San Diego’s wedding industry, how its evolved—consider from binders of photos to Pinterest boards—and some of the trends she’s seen come, go, and stay in that time.
Can you recall back to your first wedding coordinated?
I was so anxious to do a great job. It was an early spring wedding, and a chance of rain was on the horizon. Luckily, it did not rain. My father told me something that morning that I hadn’t known: My grandfather Manuel, a local architect here in San Diego, designed the ballrooms back in the 1970’s. It felt pretty cool to take the leap into event planning in a room my Papa designed.
What elements would you see at a wedding 15 years ago that you would not today?
Chair covers, and more chair covers! And maybe Mad Hatter cakes—which actually made an appearance at a trend-forward wedding I did this fall. But seriously, everything comes full circle. Pantone’s color of the year for 2018 is ultra violet. I’m ready for bold color, and something new!
What elements have stuck around for the last 15 years, and what do you believe will become “big” in in the years to come?
Pictures. It all comes down to the pictures, as this is the true tangible from any wedding or event. Photo booths show no signs of stopping. Now, there are slow-motion booths, video gifs, and hashtags. I’m loving the custom Snapchat filters, and being able to document weddings and events in real time. Technology will continue to revolutionize the event industry.
How has the wedding planning process changed over the past 15 years, including your personal approach?
When I meet with a young bride, I joke how I began planning weddings in the dark ages without Pinterest, wedding blogs, and review resources like The Knot and Yelp. It likely was much easier to settle on design elements without numerous resources to find inspiration. Conversely, it was much harder to find what was out there.
When I first began, I’d meet brides at coffee shops. She’d be lugging a ton of bridal magazines, and her bridal binder, and I’d be lugging around an actual portfolio. Now, everything is technology based, and a potential client has likely seen my work, my reviews, photos of my dogs Snoopy and Zorro, and maybe a shot or two of my personal assistant, my son Bennett. For so long, I was a one-man band, till this lovely lady named Rachel sent in a resume. Now, we’re six strong and a name people know in the events industry.
Is there any one wedding from the past 15 years that you could relive over and over again?
I had a lovely couple that hired me for both design and full-service coordination. Within the last two weeks of planning, she needed emergency surgery and her father, who was in the late stages of Parkinson’s, took a turn for the worse. They walked down the aisle in matching wheelchairs, and there was not a dry eye in the house. The day was just gorgeous and fun, and the bride’s father passed the following day. It made me remember why I do what I do. It’s not just the itinerary, the perfect day, or the just-right design. It’s supporting my clients, no matter what.
Cheers to that—and many more years of memories to come!