Tag Archives: Event planner

You’re only a stranger once Part 1

A look into my heart……. From stranger to client to friend

In August I will have been in business for 4 years! I can not believe that much time has passed. It has been 3 years of me running this business 100% after quitting my full time job. I am blessed and so grateful, but always continue to work even harder than the day before

My first “official” bride and groom was Keri & Jason, and I remember that day so well. “Official” because before I started the business I had helped plan TONS of weddings, showers, birthday parties…you name it, but this….this was to be my FIRST WEDDING or so I prayed. I was meeting them at the River Room downtown. So to make me more nervous it was my first time being in this space I had walked by for years and thought was breathtaking. I remember meticulously picking out my outfit, walking in with confidence, even though I was dying inside. The dress I picked out was a little low cut so I put on a blouse underneath so as not to offend anyone. When you are nervous you second guess everything. I worried were my shoes to high? Would it make me too tall? Did I fix my hair just right? Was it the perfect outfit? Would the things I say get me the job? Would they KNOW this was my first wedding and not want to book me as their planner?

I drove a P.O.S. Vw Jetta with the paint peeling off, no door handle, no AC, a string to open the door, and vice grips to roll my window down. So I arrived well in advance to park my car far away so that my potential client wouldn’t see me step out of it. For what client would take me seriously or sign a contract with a planner who doesn’t have a nice car? I walked around the space and once they arrived I was ready! They had driven from Winston Salem, NC so this was my one shot. I was still trying to find my way in this company plan as my partner had just left P3. “You got this” I repeated over in my head! Would this be my first FULL, real pay check?

As we talked I remember being able to feel the love that they share and remember their engagement story complete with a bucket of sand! I had my contract ready in prayers that they would sign it. After meeting for an hour the contract was mine!!! Wow…I had done it!! My first real job!!! I can not tell you the joy I felt that day but MORE importantly I cried tears of joy because that first couple gave me AFFIRMATION that I WAS GOOD ENOUGH!!!! Everytime I wear that dress I remember that day, my nervousness, and my joy.

I am HONORED to say that almost 4 years later that couple is still in my life! I have hung out with them as friends, enjoyed beer tastings as clients, been her saving grace on the wedding day (even though I made a mistake), been a shoulder for hours of concerns or worries, worked with their families, face painted at fundraisers for them back in Winston, photographed their gorgeous baby boy, and even babysat. From stranger to client to friend……. I can’t think of a better way to be blessed! Thank you Keri & Jason, From my heart to yours

Keri & Jason collage

Best and Hardest thing I have ever done…….

I have been so fortunate and blessed lately! So please do not take this blog as a complaint!!! ( I am also sorry for not blogging since October but MAN have I BEEN BUSY) Thank you God!

A little over three years ago I decided to start my own business. Making this decision my main goal and objective was to be able to be here for my girls, volunteer at school, and be the best mom I could be (now that includes wife). One way this business has helped me is that I get to teach my girls that they can strive to be anyone and do anything they truly set their hearts desire on. I have been told by fellow business owners and vendors that I won’t amount to anything or my business won’t grow. I may not be the David Tutera of Wilmington, but I have no desire to be! I strive to be the best Courtney Winter I can be and I give every client whether I am taking their picture, planning their event, or face painting for their children 150% of everything I am. I am creative, fun, loyal, outspoken, trustworthy, organized, and hardworking. I get asked on a daily basis how I do everything I do. The answer to me is very simple. One; I LOVE MY JOB Two: I love my family Three; I am a great planner for everything has a place on a calendar ;) .

It has been a little overwhelming the last few months as the business grows. I recreated my website and web designer I am NOT! However the penny pincher I am I knew I had no choice but to buckle down and Just do it! It took me 20 hours, some of you IT pros may laugh, but we do what we have to do. It is hard some days to balance everything and not everyday is easy let’s be real. Some days I want to just turn off the computer, cuddle with my girls and not worry about uploading to Pinterest, working on a family photo shoot, or emailing for leads that sometimes have no end. I especially love the clients who waste my time with emails, phone calls, and scheduling a session or event for them to call back two days before hand and say “Oh my best friends mom is a (Planner, Photographer) and she will do it for us for free, but we will keep you in mind for next time.” Did you stop to think that next time I may not be available, or did you ever hear the saying Burn my once?? Well, we know what happens next right?

I have experienced bumps in the road, times of joy, times of worry, being drunk off creation, and blessed beyond my imagination. I have some of the most amazing clients that compliment me the most by using my services over and over again. For your support, love, kindness, and trust I THANK YOU.

“We all have a vision, a goal, and a dream! Don’t smother mine because yours are coming true!! ”

Once upon a time
Once upon a time

Reasons to hire a Planner….not your Aunt’s sister cousin….

I know many of you ask why? Why do I need to hire a planner when I can make everything myself or go to pinterest?  Why hire a planner when I can organize all vendors? Why hire a planner when I don’t need any recommendations for vendors or venues my grandmother knows everyone? Why hire a planner when my Aunt’s sister’s cousin is going to take care of it all?

Those all seem like valid questions right? As a professional planner I almost cringe especially when I hear the last question. Why? Because the last question tells me two things. First that you do not want to have to worry about anything the day of your wedding so you have asked someone else to help. And second that you may be in for a disaster…

I KNOW you love your Aunt’s sister cousin and I am SURE she has the best of intentions but there are so many things you need to think about outside of that. Does she know how to facilitate a timeline for the day of a wedding? What if she gets too sick? What if she is a little controlling and her vision is not your vision? And last but not least what happens if there is a family dispute ? Let’s face it sometimes there are :) and it helps to have a person there to help who’s ONLY interest is making her clients happy while professionally intervening.

Keep in mind that as an event planner we have several packages available so even if you don’t need a full wedding planner please consider hiring someone for at least your day/week of coordination.  As event planners am here to help you with your budget, bring your vision to life, help with fellow vendors/venues, vendor meetings, and much more. The most important job I am have is to help my clients be at ease and know that all they have to do is sit back, relax, and LOVE each other. Please don’t let your Aunt’s sister cousin ….well….you know! The best place for her to be is front row watching you get married and enjoying your beautiful day with you!


IMG_9005 final

FULL Invitations for $1….postage included!!!!!!

How you ask????

If you can recreat something from pinterest you can do this!! Bargain shopper even BETTER!!!!

Look for clearance items especially after season. I did this for wedding invitations but  you can use the same idea for any party or function you are having. I purchased a full set of 50 invitations with inserts, envelopes, reply cards and all for $1!!! (Since they were only $1 I bought several boxes!!) Break this down…that’s $.02 PER invitation! That in itself is awesome!! Right?



We had our wedding at the Land of Oz and I actually walked to my husband down the yellow brick road. It was a beautiful rainy day. I purchased the postage card inserts from zazzle.com for .18 a piece. So just to help you I will keep a running tab….that’s $.20 per invite now. I drew the yellow brick road on every single one of my invites, printed from my home computer verbage. The directional insert printed from home,  also came with original invites purchased. I purchased all of the Wizard of Oz books to make paper flowers then tore out a page  from a book to  glue inside of envelope to add style. Adding $.01 totaling $.21. I cut up yellow bricks and added a hot air balloon sticker to exterior of envelope for effect. My friends were finding yellow bricks for months after!! Adding another .01 totaling $.22.

Last but not least postage…to send out invitations it cost .46 and postage for Reply cards was .33. making my grand total $1.01 PER INVITE!!!!!!

As an experienced Event Planner I want to help you save money but remember if making invitations isn’t right for you, order them from a reputabable source. There are other ways you can save! Stay tuned for more tips, and feel free to ask Questions!!!!

Expert Wedding Tips for Newly Engaged Couples <3

First and foremost CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that you are on the way to wedding bliss please don’t start by being overwhelmed. Below I am listing tips to help you cope and ENJOY this process thoroughly!

1. What kind of wedding do you want?

Do you see yourself as a more laid back couple or formal? Think about the feeling or vibe you want your guests to feel. Do you want a church wedding, non-religious, or to be married by an independent officiant?

<MOST IMPORTANT ….remember do not be affected by what you think your families will want, friends, or otherwise;this is your wedding day and needs to be reflection of your love!



2. Who to Invite?

Make a guest list first as there is no point in looking at any venues until you know the guest size you are expecting. Please remember to make your list so that you can share this special day with people that are most important to you. Do not feel the need to invite everyone you know! While you are making your lists you can star each name of those most important to help you narrow down your wedding party.

3.When and Where to Marry?

I feel that these two items go hand in hand because you may already have the perfect venue in mind and be flexible on the date or vice versa. If you prefer a destination wedding you may consider a major holiday which can make it easier for guests to attend. This can also be effected by your budget so if you want to try for an all outside wedding pick the right temperature month so guests don’t burn up or freeze to death.

4. Decide what is more important to you….

This list varies for every bride, groom, and couple as we all have different things that we are willing to weaver on but others we will not budge. Whether this is your food, caterer, photographer, florist, or even hiring a planner. Decide what is of utmost importance to help make your day go smoothly. For a larger wedding I say you need a year to plan but I have had great success with smaller weddings being planned in 6 months depending on location availability, vendors, etc. Decide what items you are willing to pay top notch for and what ones aren’t as important. This will thoroughly help.

5. Know your budget!

Sit down and decide what your budget will be for the entire wedding and then divide everything out per item of what you want to spend and be able to fill in with what you actually spend. This will help you stay on target and not go over budget. (Feel free to contact me at Courtney@pthreeplanning.com as I have a great budget I will be willing to share for a minimal fee of $10.00 . Budget allows you to set items at priority levels, tallies it up automatically and more. )

6. Hire a planner or Day of Coordinator!!!! A MOST!!!!!!!

I will stand by the statement most as you need someone outside of your family to help keep things in check and running smoothly. Maybe you don’t have the money for a full planner but at least spend the money on a day of coordinator so that you can honestly sit back and enjoy your day and know that your planner has everything in order!! 



Top Ten Reasons to hire a Planner;

  1.  Experience: Knowledge and experience is key. An experienced coordinator is able to solve last-minute problems on site without panicking and  match the right vendor to the client. With every Event a planner learns something new then pass this knowledge to you for a perfect celebration.
  2. Vision: The ideal experience for clients and their guests are a day were nobody has to think or make decisions. Your professional consultant will execute your vision and navigate all the events of the day so that you are free to enjoy your wedding-just as you’ve imagined it with ease.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: It is a wise investment to hire an experienced coordinator so that all of the money and months spent planning a perfect day will actually be executed to a couple’s highest expectations.
  4. The Gift of Time: Save time by getting valuable and qualified vendor referrals from your coordinator. No need to spend hours researching and wondering if certain vendors are right for you.
  5. Cohesion: With such a significant investment of time and money spent Events especially a Wedding, a professional planner will not only make sure that you have the correct pieces to your puzzle, but that they are all put together smoothly. They guide through the web of options while maintaining the client’s goals. Having all of the best vendors in the world is meaningless if the glue is not there to pull it together.
  6. Security: Having a coordinator ensures less risk of anything going wrong and more security that all the details will be just right!
  7. Stress Relief: Having a planner on board allows you to slow down, take a deep breath and truly enjoy the process of planning your Event or Wedding.
  8. The Matter of Manners: Etiquette can play an important role in a wedding, especially for those brides who want a traditional celebration. Wedding coordinators have experience and knowledge necessary to advice bride and families on how to invite guests, on how to deal with difficult family issues, on how to create a processional order at the ceremony, on how to assign seats at the reception, on how to send thank you notes, and so on.
  9. Creative Inspiration: It seems there are countless decor ideas out there, but your coordinator can help you narrow them down to fit your own wedding style. They can help you create customized options to make your wedding truly unique and memorable.
  10. Peace of Mind: There is nothing like knowing that you have someone to oversee all of the details that you have dreamed of and seeing them come to life.

Wedding Budget Ideas and Tip

As an Event Planner I have been involved with several weddings and I am often asked by my clients what they should spend their money on and what they can skip on or do without. My response is always that my clients need to decide what is important to them as I have learned over the years that no matter what the event the things of importance vary. One thing that I can say holds common is a GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER!! There are a lot of things that can go wrong, be forgotten, and ignored, but having terrible pictures of your special day can never be replaced, redone, or changed. Please also keep in mind this is not to say that you should spend a thousand dollars on a fantastic photographer either. There are amazing photographers out there!! Interview them, look at their work, check out their website/facebook page, ask for references, and MOST important make sure their style matches yours!! Every couple is different as is every photographer. Find someone you and your spouse click with because you want to be comfortable to share your intimate moments with them so that he/she may capture those on film! To me photograph can NEVER be replaced, changed, or altered and it captures the love and adoration within the bride and grooms eyes with which they can look back and even on the darkest day it can make them smile and remember the butterflies they had in their stomache once upon a time!