Rebecca launched New Creations Weddings in 2009 after moving home to Seattle from Hawaii. She has been honored to become one of the top wedding planners in the Seattle area, specializing in Asian and Pacific Islander weddings. She has been a speaker on cultural wedding customs and traditions on several panels for NACE, ILEA, and on the wedding Podcasts “From Ring to Veil” and “Get to Know Your Wedding Pro.” She has also made several appearances on King 5’s “New Day NW” doing everything from crafting to farm-to-table decor ideas, and Komo 4 News promoting her wedding show in partnership with the Fairmont and Luly Yang Couture “Beyond the Dress Collective.” Rebecca also served as Chapter Director for Wedding Network Seattle for 2 years and is currently serving on the board for WIPA Seattle as the Director of Membership.
She, along with her team of 3 additional Associate Planners, is known for bold designs, rich patterns, textures, and color. Clients often say they appreciate Rebecca’s responsiveness, constant communication, and becoming a friend through the planning process.
Recently, Rebecca and her husband fulfilled their dream of purchasing their own wedding venue, Twin Willow Gardens. She is excited to take on the 2020 season with planning and venue management.
When Rebecca’s not working, you will often find her in her garden accompanied by her 2 golden retrievers, 7 chickens, and 2 cats.
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
I am so excited that color is coming back! Our company has always been known for our rich patterns and bold textures, and I’m so excited it’s coming back into vogue. Personally, I think color, patterns, and textures are so much more inviting to guests; giving them some eye candy to enjoy as they take in the space. Colors can transform a “blah” ballroom into something extraordinary.
I encourage couples to not be afraid of embracing pattern, texture and color. I think so often the “standard” whites, golds and pinks tend to be the featured weddings on many blogs because they’re classic, “safe,” and timeless. However, there is beauty in being different and bold, and I very much hope to transform the industry into featuring more diverse, colorful weddings.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Relationships with vendors are *imperative* to a successful company within the wedding and event industry. New Creations absolutely would not be where it is today without positive vendor relations. We have been so lucky to be 100% word-of-mouth referral-based, and a huge portion of those referrals come from fellow wedding vendors. In fact, our number one referral source is a “competitor” wedding planning company.
Knowing and being known within the industry is HUGE. So get out, network your butt off, and get known. The more you show face with your vendor community, the more you will be top of mind. Think about networking as your marketing dollars. You are not only creating relationships, but you’re also staying current with seeing new vendors that are out there, which translates to a better service to your couples.
Continue to cultivate those vendor relationships by creating opportunities for one-on-one connections with them by setting coffee or lunch dates, partnering with them on shoots, or just hanging out. Some of my best vendor relationships just enjoy going to the dog park with me. Something I’d be doing anyway, but get to have company doing it and continuing to develop those relationships. The biggest thing is BE KIND. We’re all in this together.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Definitely the most exciting thing coming up in the 2020 season is ownership and management of my own wedding venue! Venue ownership has always been the next step for me after wedding planning. And while I’m still working as a wedding planner, my husband and I were given an opportunity too good to pass up with the purchase of our own wedding venue.
We purchased Twin Willow Gardens this last summer and officially moved on property in October. This is a seasonal outdoor garden venue, so we’ve enjoyed moving in and getting settled during the “off-season,” as we get our bearings about us, make improvements to the property, and continue to give tours and book weddings for the 2020/2021 season. It’s going to be interesting working a full-time wedding planning year along with venue ownership, but I am so thankful for my husband alongside me in this journey.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
For sure charge what you’re worth! I remember my very first full-plan wedding I only charged $800. Can you believe that?! I am now at least 10x that, and while I know that comes with experience, I also wish someone would have told me to charge what I’m worth. The hours that go into a wedding day x the hourly rate you want to make should determine your approximate charge. I totally undervalued myself just to get the job, and looking back I cannot believe I did that. I totally undercut the market, and certainly didn’t do myself any favors by charging that little. Don’t be afraid to charge the going market rate based on your experience. It lifts the industry as a whole, and in the end, it is MUCH better for everyone.