Weddings from the Pros
Episode 78 with Nathan and Andrew Roby
Discover new ways on how you can elevate your wedding experience with tips and advices from our guest, Andrew Roby of Andrew Roby Events as he talks about how engaging and interesting activities can create immersive experiences for your guests and overall, a much more fulfilling wedding experience.
In This Episode We Cover:
- How Andrew Roby started to be a wedding planner and how he can help you.
- Making a unique wedding planned takes time, effort and Trusting in the process.
- How to make your Wedding Reception very memorable and enjoyable.
- Do not RUSH your Wedding, Enjoy and make plans properly and talk about what you really want to have.
Read the Full Transcription Below!
Here at Angled light photography, we believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals. We're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime. Hey, couples Welcome back to another episode of weddings from the pros guys. If you're here, you're probably a very intentional couple and you're looking to create a fulfilling wedding experience today. I'm really excited. We're speaking with a just an incredible and event planner. His name is Andrew Roby, How you doing? Andrew? Hey, I am great. Thanks for having me on the show today. No. Yeah, for sure. I'm excited that you're here. So this might sound just a little bit different, correct me if I'm wrong, you're in the process of moving right now. So or something like that, right? Like you, you weren't able to to do are kind of regular zoom call. So you're, you're dialed in by your phone. So I'm really glad that we could work this out and give you an opportunity to be here. Yes, it's a little crazy in this environment that we are and every day is something different. So I'm glad that I'm able to at least dial in to talk and share with you all That's cool. We'll go ahead and tell the audience, tell everybody who is Andrew and how did you get into this business of event and wedding planning. Yeah, So I, I have been a, even a wedding planner for going on 16 years wow it's been a long time and I pretty much fell into planning weddings and even right after I'm an army veteran so I got out of the army um And yeah and some of the stuff that I was doing you know on extracurricular side of things while in the military to help you know single service members just pretty much stuck with me leaving the army and you know going through school, I decided to get my business degree and then continue to try to figure out if you know doing events and doing weddings with something that I wanted to do. So I started off with events and then you know on the tail end of my career just began to do a lot of weddings for I started doing one wedding for a friend and it just you know went from there um and now we are based in D. C. But we do weddings in New York, in Dallas, in L. A. Um I have a team of four amazing people that you know share this load with me and we're able to you know take care of our clients is as as much as we absolutely can. So it's been really fun being a part of this. That's incredible. Well first off thank you for your service. It's amazing that I honestly I kind of wish that we could have more army veterans kind of in this industry because I think I can't imagine all the skills that you gained being in the service and then coming out like all the logistics and the planning expertise you probably gained and just a high level of accountability, right, that I'm sure you kind of take to your events into your wedding's this idea that like we're gonna get it done and we're gonna get it right and you know, and that's that's not something that that can always be found in a wedding event coordinator. So I'm sure that that really kind of already put you kind of above the norm, you know, so to speak, so that's really, really cool, so thank you again for your service, that's awesome. Yeah, you're absolutely welcome. Not a problem. I was talking to, I had a meeting yesterday with a couple and and we were actually, the groom is a prior airman. And so we were just having a conversation of like the things that we did in the military and how that translates to what we're doing now. But for me, um at least my job aspect of it, like always dealing with chemical and biological weapons and it has absolutely nothing to do with that doing what I'm doing now, but you know, to your point, you know, the attention to detail the logistics and all that kind of stuff absolutely does help, you know navigate very long planning period and what happens the day of So I totally agree. 100%. So I'm really excited that you're here because I'm like, I'm just looking on your website Andrew Roby events dot com and you know, I'm looking at your bio here and it's really interesting because it says within your 13 years you've worked worked with brands such as the Not Many Brides C. W. Simon halls artists to northern Virginia, magazine, city of Alexandria Virginia vita, coco kind snacks, honesty. Like you've done a lot of work for a lot of really high end more if you want to call them luxury brands. Right? I'm really curious like what I see this word on your website called experiential events, right? You even say here at the top, you call yourself an event storyteller, which is really cool. So I can kind of give me a little bit of a background on what what what what kind of events, you know, especially in like the corporate event space. Like what are the kind of events that you've been really working on there and what kind of set your team apart from a lot of other kinds of corporate event planners. Yeah, I love the realm of experiential events because one, it's been around, you know for a while, but I think now it's getting more attention because of the fact that we're trying to find more creative ways to create events and and get attendees to really enjoy themselves first. It's just saying, hey show up to this festival or show up to this and that, giving them more reasons to do that and you know, we're recently just work with Hennessy and for the lunar New year where we had experiential event, we tied a dinner into you know activations as well. So for instance guests came in and we had an authentic calligrapher that was able to take people's messages and write them in Chinese, you know, very authentically and I thought that that was absolutely amazing. So they were able to take these as keep take yeah and take that home but we also had a 10 ft. wishing tree and so for cultural reasons wishing trees, you know, you, you, you write out you know things that you hope for and you place them on the tree and we allow the guests to be able to do that, you know to set up this huge um cherry blossom tree and then you know have strings hanging from it and then guess to come in and write their wishes and tie them to the tree, you know, which is really big for, you know, lunar New year and and and things like that. So it was really cool to be very intentional about this specific event and what the meaning, the cultural meaning that is involved with various aspects of, you know, lunar new year. So that was really fun but it's those types of things that you have to think about and create to be activation station, you know, for guests to be able to go through an experience and really just time memories, uh, two events and solidify why they like a particular brand even more because that brand is thinking about them as the consumer outside of just saying, hey, buy this product or by this service. You really are tapping into who they are as a person at this point that, okay, okay, now I'm getting excited Andrew. That's amazing. I've often thought to myself when, when I go to wedding. So I'm a wedding photographer based here in Greenville south Carolina and often, and so I'm observing weddings, you know, all the time and always think to myself like the, the thing that really makes certain weddings pop is the level of interaction and involvement, the, the friends and family get when they come to that wedding. Like, you know, often times you go to these weddings and you just kind of feel like a very passive observer of what's happening, right? Like you show up, you watch the ceremony. It was very, it was beautiful, right? And it was, it was amazing in its own right. But you really didn't have anything outside of that just being an observer as opposed to what are the ways that you can get people involved. I was at this wedding one time where they took the two wedding rings, they threaded the rings together with a piece of string and they actually had someone go around and every person got to say, like, kind of a bit of a quiet prayer touching the rings, right? So like, they would go around the entire audience and everybody was able to have there was some giving their from everybody, like everybody got to experience and be part of this amazing thing that's going on, not just a passive observer, you know what I mean? And I think that that's isn't that very similar to what you're talking about here, it's like how can you provide these experiences that really elevate the experience for the people who is there in the room, right? And I agree, because when you think of the format of a wedding, like weddings have been around for so long, we all know you know what a wedding is and what happens at a wedding, right? You know, you go, you go to the ceremony, you know, that there's a cocktail party and then, you know, that there's a reception with food and dancing, right? That's the premise of weddings, but it really is trying to break the traditional thought process of what a wedding is and make it special for that particular couple. So, yes, being able to pass rings around and get your guests involved is a great way of really elevating how people see weddings and giving them a different perspective, because once they have that different perspective, they grow to appreciate the meaning behind a wedding much more than what the traditional sense of weddings are, because at this point, I think that we all feel like, okay is typical is standard, you know, we go to a wedding and do these things, but when you add additional elevation to it, it really makes people a little bit more excited about going to more weddings following the one that they just went to 100% I was speaking with another coordinator, another wedding planner and they were kind of making this point that, you know, like, and again, we always kind of toss around this word luxury like what does that even mean? Really? But like, but she said like a true luxury experience is one where your guests, your your friends and your family that you you've chosen to be there, the people that mean the most to you in the world, they walk away from your wedding at the end of the night almost certain that they'll probably never experience what they just experienced again. And I thought that that was like, I thought that that was very powerful, you know, like that's that's a really interesting concept and again, what you're doing the, the amazing work that you and your team are doing, bringing these experiential, I keep wanting to say experiential experiences, but that's probably that feels a little redundant, but these experiential moments and interactions to the wedding, like that's exactly what you're doing and like I can just imagine a couple, you know, if she is, let's say that she's Chinese, I'm gonna go back to your earlier example of like, you know, writing your name down or writing, you know, something down in Chinese and giving that as a gift, you know, like there's a professional calligrapher who's there at the wedding and is taking people's names or is doing something special, you know, for the guests that is unique and that is, that isn't just kind of like a standard gift that ever everybody's getting there at the wedding. There's something special about that gift, that intentionality to me is what makes it incredible, you know, besides the fact that like, everybody's gonna want to sit there and look over the shoulder of the calligrapher and watch this beautiful writing that's going, that's taking place, you know, like those kind of things to me, like that's awesome. That's what really in my mind elevates, you know, a wedding into something that, again, going back to what the wedding planner says, like, you walk away and you're like, yeah, I'm probably never gonna go to another wedding that looked and felt and that not just look, but that felt the way that, that felt. Yeah, and I like to see it and it's, it's sort of like a conundrum because one you create these moments where you say, you know, I want everyone to be intentional. I want everyone to be in this moment, right? And I want you to enjoy what we have created for you and oftentimes the way that people actually remember things is by pulling out their phones. So it's hard to say, hey, you know, I want you to be intense and just enjoy this moment without your phone. But then at the same time, most of us want to capture such beautiful moments and the only way we can do that is with our phones. And so it's a hard balance to try to have when you're creating these experiences and sometimes you have to allow them to go through the experience themselves, but then go back through it again. Um or at least have a portion of that where they're able to take their phones out and record or take photos those of of what you captured and what you've created for them. So it's very tricky. Yeah, that's so it's such an interesting point because it's so true. You know, like anytime somebody sees something that is extraordinary, right? Like extraordinary. That's that's outside the norm of of what they experience in their everyday life, they always want to, that's the first thing to do is pull out their phone and that does kind of, it does pull them away from the moment you you can't and I experienced it so much. I was laughing with somebody about this the other day. Like as a, as a photographer, I struggle hard with like being present with my family sometimes because like, as a photographer, I want to create photographs to kind of memorialize and document like this really amazing thing that's that we're doing. But at the same time it I cannot do both right? Like I can't both be present and be fully immersed in this amazing thing that's happening. And also have my camera and be thinking about like, you know, what's the, what's the best angle or you know what like what's the lighting doing right now or what should I be doing? And it's impossible to do both. You know, even if you're not a professional photographer, it's impossible to do both. So it just takes discipline to pull away from it at times it does, it does. So Andrew tell me just a little bit like when couples come to you and they begin the process of planning their wedding. Like how how do you, how do you go about flushing out? Like you know, because I'm sure that people are coming to you because of your experience with doing really outside the box kind of events, right? Like your experience of like taking what something stands for, right? And then creating this experience for the guests, for the family, for the friends that are there. That is a kind of honors what that means and is a representation of what the the event stands for. So a wedding is just honoring them and honoring their background, honoring the people that built them up. You know, and I've poured into them throughout their lives and kind of made them the individuals that they are like all those things right? There probably come people couples are coming to you because they're wanting, they're wanting some help trying to the design this uh experiential wedding, so to speak or this wedding with experiential interactions. Like how do you go about kind of flushing out? I guess maybe even, I'm wondering like how do you start the imagination process? Like the process of finding out who they are and then, I don't know, coming up with ideas of like interesting ways to interesting things to incorporate into an event. Yeah. So I think the biggest step that we take is driven by personality. I think that, you know, we always give our couples a personality quiz just to figure out who they are and also understand what matters most to them. It's like a kid in the candy store, you can go into a candy store and see a wall full of candy and think you want all of that. But then as you begin to taste that candy, you realize some of these flavors you really don't care for and some of them you really, really love. So we try to figure out what are the things that they really, really love and begin to exploit that, right and exploit it so that we're we can really take in understanding why. And I think when you ask the why question over and over and over again, you really delve down deeper into what is making this person so passionate about a design element or decision that they're making for their wedding. And once we have that, that really begins the design um concept and creating an environment for not only them but their guests and, and that really helps us to say, okay, you told us this at the surface level, but ultimately this is really what you're going after, this is what really makes you happy, you know? And a lot of times people like, oh I want peonies flowers and I'm like, okay, those are nice, those are great. But then as you continue to ask why you get deeper and deeper down to it and then honestly the reason behind it is not necessarily because of the flower, it may be because of the way it looks or maybe because of the way it smells or something, you know, So that gets down to that and that helps us to create these environments in these spaces for each of our clients and so just having that session where it literally is, hey, let me pick your brain and understand who you are and why you think the way that you think for your wedding is really what helps us, honestly the most because a lot of times people say, well you created this based off of your personality and not really, I put some of my personality into because it is our design work. But honestly the foundation, the root of what this is, is solely driven from us asking our questions and, and getting our couples that actually really let us know about them. Yeah, I'm curious to see what you would say about this. I've always felt that the best designers, the best planners are the best guides, right? Like it's not someone who's necessarily going to tell you what should happen, right? Is someone who discovers what's meaningful to you and what's important to you and then helping to guide you that kind of guide that set of values, that set of beliefs that those, those needs that you have into reality, right? Would you, would you agree with that? Yeah, I agree. And it's so funny because this, this conversation came up yesterday with our clients and they're like, you never really give us decisions. You always giving us options. And I say, well that's what you need me to do because one you need to feel calm in the decisions that you make and making sure that these are going to be the absolute best options for you. I can only guide you and I say one this is your money to like this is an investment, not only financially but in time and emotion and energy. So I only want to make sure that you have the right options, choose how you want to move forward, right. And so I totally agree with you. That's awesome. That's so good. So Andrew, Let me ask you this then what's probably like the one or two, maybe three and you can take your time on this. What's maybe the 12 or three biggest pieces of advice that you would have for couples who just got engaged right there in the process right now of dreaming about what their wedding's gonna look like and more importantly what the wedding's gonna feel like, right? Like what what advice would you give for them kind of as they're in their early stages of being engaged? Yeah, very good question. The first thing I would say is don't rush your engagement season often times so many couples get engaged and literally the next day or the week. Uh they're already in the mindset of planning a wedding and you skip past the beauty of just getting, you know engaged. And so we we are that microwave world where we are instant and we bypass the moment to just get on to the next moment. And I think that it is so important that you take your time to enjoy your engagement. There is so much that happens during that period that you should not skip past that. Right? So how long should that last? I don't know, but I think that, you know, giving yourself you know a couple of days, a couple of weeks, you know, to get past that I definitely wouldn't rush anyone to start planning, you know, right then and there, I would say give yourself at least a month to enjoy that moment and then get in that process. And the second part is I would say come up with a plan. So many people, you know, reach out to us and they don't know what their wedding should look like, what they, you know, they're ideal wedding will feel like they don't know their budgets, they don't know all of the key things that you should know and sit down with your fiancé and say, okay, we're engaged, what do we want our wedding to be, where do we want it to be, Who do we want our wedding to, you know, be invited to and that experience that we want to create, whatever must have, what are the things we absolutely should not have. You know, all of those questions should be intentionally thought out. And a lot of time couples just rush in to start hiring a bunch of people and it's weird because you're hiring people, but you don't have a plan, nor do you know if the people you're hiring can actually execute that plan. So it's kind of weird, you know, to do it backwards, but oftentimes that's the process, a lot of people just start booking people and then finding themselves in a situation where like, okay, I didn't know this, I didn't know that. So let's, you know, really start over. Um and in many cases it's too late, you pay deposits and things like like that. So I always recommend that people, you know think are intentional about the plan before moving forward with finding contracts. And then the last thing I would probably say is remind yourself of enjoying the planning phase that I tell people all the time. This is just your wedding is the start of a new chapter for you, right? It introduces you into your marriage, right? It is not your marriage. And so many people put so much stress on planning a wedding when it's not necessary, you know, oftentimes we sit up here and we are stressed over, is this going to be set up on time, who's doing this, who's doing that when your sole purpose of going through this whole journey is to enjoy yourself, is not to worry about what other people are doing or you know, checking on them or micromanaging them, You hired everyone for purpose, you hired them because you trusted them to carry out everything that they said that they would do. So you have to give them that to do that. And a lot of times stress comes on because you are second guessing yourself when you should just allow the process to take its course. So those will be the three things I would say, it's amazing trust in the process, like that's if there's I'll tell you what, if there's like one and this is probably something that you that you might have even picked up in your service, your time in the service. But I mean guys like in life that applies to everything in life trusting the process, you're probably going to be happy with the outcome. So that's awesome. Thank you for all those pieces of it. Andrew. My last question for you is this, do you have, and again you can take a minute to kind of think if you want to tell us a little bit about maybe an upcoming event and it could be a wedding or maybe it's a corporate event that you've got going on. What's something that you're working on right now that you're very excited about. I know you're excited about a lot of them. Sure. But what's kind of the first thing that comes to your mind that you want to share? I am excited about a lot of things. We love our clients that we make sure we pick good clients to work with. But I actually am excited about, we're doing a wedding later this month in Little Rock Arkansas and uh I really am excited about this because one we have changed the location of this wedding from being in D. C. Now to being in Arkansas and I think that all of the work that we've put into this and you know, we've come up with this really beautiful design for our couple and they're really amazing hard working people um you know, our bright, she is a doctor. So she's been dealing with, you know, covid this entire time, you know, and dealing with patients and all that kind of stuff. So I think this is something that we feel like we are giving them to give them like something that is just really gonna change their their lives and to be a part of that is completely exciting, you know, to to have this journey with them. And I know that they're excited about it and they are like, look, we can't wait because they're spending their we're creating a four day experience, you know, for them and their guests over this weekend and you know, they are just really awesome people. So our team, uh you know, we're excited about that from a corporate standpoint. We have a client from a different country that's coming here to do a multi dated event. And to me that's exciting to be able to work with, you know, 300 different people from a different country. And we've been talking together in different time zones. Um and and trying to coordinate everything for their delegation. And just to me that's exciting. I'm a logistics person. So whenever I get to get into the weeds with, you know, coordinating in logistics of that nature and then see it all come together, especially when it's the fact that we're in two different time zones. And now there's a culmination of all our hard work put together to me. That's really exciting. Um so I can't wait. That's not until another couple of months. But still, it is really exciting to be able to see. And it challenges us and I think that challenges what really drives me to keep at it. So 100% things that now. 100% Yeah. That's awesome. It's funny that that both of your events that you're excited about this coming up or, you know, these multi day event, I've really found that the more that I do those kind of things where the family chooses a place to go and it's, it's a bit of a retreat. They get to spend real quality time with each other. They really get to have an immersive experience, man, I love documenting those, those, those weddings. I mean that it really does. I feel more connected, you know, to the wedding party. I feel more connected to the friends and family who are there. And it it's always just a really cool experience. So I I can totally see why you're why you're stoked about those things that are coming up Well, Andrew, thank you so much for being on uh to tell people really quickly, how can they find out more information about you and how can they, you know, if they have a question or if they have if they want to reach out and just find out more information about what you guys are doing, what you have going on, where should they look? Yes, definitely find us on our website at Andrew Roby event dot com. And on there you can see, you know, our social media stuff. So Facebook and Instagram, you can find me of course on LinkedIn, always talking about events and weddings. So that's probably the best place. Awesome. That's killer. Well Andrew, thank you so much man. It really means the world. Thank you again for your service and yeah, just keep doing the amazing work that you're doing. I mean, I'm hoping that sometime in the future we can say that every wedding will be an experiential event and wedding. I'm sure right now you are one of the ones that that's blazing the path and leading the trail. So thank you so much for all the work that you're doing. Thank you, I appreciate that. Yeah, 100% guys, If this conversation well, and we hope that this conversation with Andrew was helping for you, there was a couple of things I know that I learned in this conversation. Hopefully there's gonna be some things in this conversation that you're going to pull out and that you're gonna want to roll over. He gave some great piece of advice on what you you should do and what you should bring to the table when you start your conversation with, not only your wedding planner, your wedding designer, but the rest of your wedding professionals that you're going to be talking to and that you're gonna be having behind your back and on your team to creating a fulfilling wedding experience. Guys, let us know if you have any questions, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for your time and thank you so much for your attention. It means the world to us and hopefully we were able to give you something of value today. Have a great day until next time here, angle life photography. We believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals. We're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime.