Natalie Bradley owns the Athens-based event planning and design company, Natalie Bradley Events (formerly Soirée! Ltd.), launched in May of 2003, after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2001.
Natalie is a columnist for the Athens-Banner Herald and OnlineAthens.com, and penned the entertaining column for Southern Distinction magazine from 2003-2007. Soirée by Natalie Bradley Events has been published in The Red Envelope Blog, The Handmade Home, The Frosted Petticoat, Oconee Magazine, Inside Weddings, TLCWeddings.com, CNN.com, Vows Magazine, Hybrid Mom, WedTheMagazine.com, Elite Bridal Network, Black Star Rising Blog, WedLock Magazine, American Express for Entrepreneurs, AthensWeddingProfessionals.com, OnlineAthens.com, Modern Bride Atlanta, Style Me Pretty, Long Island Bride and Groom, The Knot Georgia, Lake Oconee Living, Weddings with Style, Brides.com and Southern Distinction.
In addition, Natalie was the lifestyle expert for Georgia Living TV and Holiday Home. Natalie Bradley has also been a special guest on BB Webb’s Living Life with Style TV show, as well as Elizabeth Dalton’s and Barbara Dooley’s radio shows! In 2007 and 2008, Bradley planned and designed the Girls’ and Guys’ Night Out fund-raiser for Hope Haven and again planned and designed Threads of Hope for them in 2012. In 2013, Natalie planned and designed the Tour and Tastes of Kitchens Fundraiser for the Georgia Children’s Chorus. Currently, Natalie is co-chairing and planning the 2014 Athens Montessori School auction.
Natalie is the President Emeritus for Athens Wedding Professionals and is still a member today in addition to Inner Circle Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Wedding Wire Network, and BorrowedandBlue.com.
Natalie lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband Ed and their daughter Reese.
A Bride’s Interview with Natalie Bradley
Please take a moment to read this before hiring Natalie and her planning team.
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you become a wedding planner?
While in college at the University of Georgia, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a non-profit organization called Safe Campuses Now. During my time spent there, I found that not only was I a great student leader, but I also realized that I was very gifted as an Event Planner. Raising thousands of dollars for worthwhile causes felt wonderful and I realized that I need to figure out how to make this my career. And so I did.
Ten years ago, after working as an Event Planner for a Special Events Facility, Hotel and Caterer, I found my calling to open my own company when my husband and I moved back to Athens. While I enjoyed planning events, I absolutely loved planning weddings.
I truly resonated with brides especially because I did not have my own dream wedding. I had the resources and I had the knowledge, but I didn’t know what I really wanted. I didn’t know how to tap into who “Natalie Keene” was at the time. You see, I realized that even though I could look through the most amazing wedding magazines and call upon all the best vendors to use their outstanding talents, it all means nothing if you don’t even know who you are or what you desire in your heart of hearts for your dream wedding…and being in that place feels not-so-fabulous.
As I worked with dozens and dozens of brides and their families, I saw a need for a full-service wedding planner in Athens to help struggling stressed out brides, grooms and families plan and design their dream wedding days. I had found that people are either at their best or at their worst at a wedding, depending on their stress levels and support around them.
My favorite thing ever was when I discovered how to eliminate the “ick factor” around wedding planning, that “ick” being stress, lack of time and know-how, in addition to helping people discover who they are and what is truly important to them. The best part about tapping into these keys for dream wedding planning is that I learned how to allow my couples to focus on their love for one another more than all that other stuff that tends to get in the way. How awesome is that?
We love your wedding planning services and portfolio. Everything sounds great… So, can you tell me what really sets you apart from all the other wedding planners out there?
Natalie Bradley Events is a full-service, full-time Wedding Planning and Design company, based in Athens, Georgia, serving surrounding areas in Northeast Georgia, including Watkinsville, Madison, Social Circle, Greensboro, Eatonton, Lake Oconee, and other destination locations such as Hiawassee, GA in the North Georgia mountains. I do not have another “day job” that you’ll have to worry about not having me to respond to your questions, concerns or desires in a timely manner. You can rest assured that I will always get back to you in as quickly as possible, and you are always a priority for us because we only work with a limited number of brides per year.
We will match vendors to your wedding planning needs, loves and personality. Hiring our company also means not having to do an exhausting search online for the right people to match your needs. A wedding planner who offers a guarantee of three or more vendors in each category for your wedding planning is someone who is insecure in their abilities to properly match you to the right vendor. It’s my top priority in always take time and sincere thought in matching you to each and every vendor who complements your dream wedding needs.
The weddings we plan and design alongside our clients are also extremely unique…from one to another, meaning that they are custom to our couples, not to what I love or to what my tastes are. It’s not about me – it’s about you. I’m not like other wedding planners you may have heard of (or encountered) who are trying to recreate their own dream wedding days. You would not be happy if I did that, and neither would I, to be quite honest. This is not about my ego, or making me look good. In fact, I’ve done a practically perfect job when everything flows seamlessly and my team and I are very much so in the background.
I have a passion for what I do, which will be obvious in my work and in our conversations. I love helping others create their dream weddings and I love adding to the beauty that already is love – who wouldn’t? (Can you tell I’m a hope-filled romantic?)
Our clients will tell you that working with me means that you’ll not only get straight-forward, impartial feedback from me, but you’ll also get someone who is here for you emotionally and more. We all need support, love and feedback, and I promise to be all that and more for my brides, grooms and their families. I love each and every one of my clients, and you will always know that.
This all sounds so wonderful. But, it also seems expensive. Are we going to be able to afford all this?
I’ve read that it takes the average bride several hundred hours to plan her wedding, in some cases, up to 400 hours. That’s TEN 40-hour work weeks. Yikes! That’s kind of ridiculous, and who has time for that? How can you possibly have a life or be able to focus on anything else right now? But it’s not only about that. I’ve had so many clients tell me how much they’ve saved in time, money and energy working with us.
Plus, I’ve actually had people who decided that we were “too expensive” to work with us in the past, but came back after their weddings and let me know how they tripled or quadrupled their budgets, all because they didn’t know what they were doing, and probably the worst of all, it wasn’t even close to what they wanted. Well, that hurts my heart, and I don’t want that to happen to you too. What a terrible experience for a family to have to go through!
So, really think about what your dream wedding looks like and what that means to you…seriously. And, call or visit with me for your complimentary “get acquainted” consultation so that we can really talk about your dreams and how we can create them together. It doesn’t sound that expensive now, does it? (Besides, there’s a reason why I have packages. There’s a solution for every bride at various price points. So take a deep breath.)
Who do you work best with?
You will benefit best from working with me if you want your dream wedding, but you either don’t have the time, the resources or the know-how to get this done. If you know what you want, but have no idea how to get there, or if you are not clear at all about how to plan the wedding of your dreams, that’s okay. You are a perfect candidate.
Will I lose control of my own wedding if you are planning it for me?
No, of course not. A bad wedding planner is one who takes control away from you. That is not the point of wedding planning. The point of having a wedding planner is to have an extension of who you are and of your creativity. That’s what we do. You are the focus of your wedding and it’s totally your day. We’re just here to help you fully explore your potential and fully realize your dreams in ways that you never even realized! Basically, you just can’t be the star and the backstage manager at the same time.
You will never, ever lose control. It is YOUR day. Period.
Of course. We will work with your fabulous vendors and make sure that they’re the right fit for you. It is not necessary for you to only work with people we’ve planned with in the past; however, we do have amazing vendors at our fingertips that we can easily match to your needs.
Do you take credit cards and can we have a payment plan?
Yes. We happily accept all major credit cards. That’s how we do most of our business actually. What also makes us different from others is that we can setup automatic payments so that you never have to worry about sending checks, and you don’t have to think about paying us before the wedding.
Do you have liability insurance?
Yes. We have liability insurance that allows us to work confidently every where. We have never needed it, but we are protected to help you feel more secure and safe for your peace of mind knowing that we’re fully covered.
No, we do not. We can only focus on one wedding per day. No more.
This sounds like everything we’ve been looking for. What happens next to start the wedding planning process?
Fabulous! The next step is for you is to call me at 706.395.6376 or you can email me to set up a “Get Acquainted” complimentary session. I want to hear about your vision for your dream wedding day and what you’d love to see your day be like.
I’ll be happy to take you through our packages to see which one makes the most sense for you, to show you more from our portfolio, and to describe our process in more detail.
Yes, absolutely! Our brides, grooms and their families have become raving fans of our wedding planning services and love to speak to other potential brides about their experience with Natalie Bradley Events. You can also look at our client testimonials here now.
We have a couple more questions before getting started…can I call you to discuss this further?
Yes. Every single wedding we plan and design is distinctive, unique and is customized completely to the couple.
Please feel free to call me with any questions or ideas you may have at 706.395.6376 or you can email me to discuss your event.I can’t wait to meet you. And congratulations on your engagement.