Wilmington NC Wedding Venue Interview
Welcome to interview #3 on my wedding photography blog.
I decided to have a candid conversation with the top Wilmington wedding vendors about why they do what they do. I think this will be a great resource for brides to use when they’re deciding on who to hire for their big day.
With so many choices, it’s important to do your research! By doing all the interviewing ahead of time, I can point my clients to any one of the upcoming posts and they can get a glimpse into a business owner’s personality. This will save so much time instead of having countless hour-long phone conversations only to be overwhelmed and undecided!
Today we’re sitting down with the ladies behind 128 South Events and Bakery 105, two of the most sought after downtown Wilmington wedding venues. We have with us Chere Velazquez, Jordan Miller, and Meredith Swicegood.
Don’t forget to check out our awesome bridal session we did at both venues.
MA: HOW DID YOU THREE COME TO WORK AT 128 SOUTH?
Chere: “I had the pleasure of knowing the owners when they first opened up 128th South. Once they started to grow and they added on Bakery 105, they reached out to bring me onto the wedding side of events, which was amazing. I’ve been here for about 4 years now.”
Jordan: “I’ve been here for about 3 years now. I started just working in the office part time, and this past year I graduated with my degree then came on as an event coordinator full time.”
Meredith: “I came from a background at a resort down at Wrightsville Beach. I did all the sales there for about seven and a half years. I knew the owner and when they restructured the business, I took on the sales part. I’ve been here for almost 2 years.”
MA: WHAT MAKES 128 SOUTH SUCH A UNIQUE VENUE?
Chere: “The historic side of it. The building has actually been there since the 1900’s and still has the beautiful stain glass windows it did in the photos from the 1900’s. I honestly think our staff is what takes it to the next level when it comes to catering and venues. We are lucky enough to work with some pretty amazing people.”
MA: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME EVENT COORDINATORS?
Chere: “For me personally, I love the aspect of all of the planning and putting everything together. More importantly, I actually love seeing it all get brought to life and the first moment when the bride and groom walk down to the venue and they see everything they’ve been imagining for the past year, year and a half; and you just see it in their eyes and they’re just so happy. It’s such an honor to be apart of making that moment happen for them.”
Jordan: “For me it would be building the relationship with the clients to really get to know them throughout a year if not longer depending on how long they book. And like Chere said, just helping them plan this day and taking it over with our packages.
We do day of coordinating, so they basically plan the entire wedding, and then we’ll kind of take over the week of, calling vendors, setting everything up the day of just to help them relax, take the stress off of them, and knowing that they’re in good hands. And when they do show up, like Chere said, just seeing their faces and how everything came together, their vision come to life.”
Meredith: “I don’t do any of the planning anymore, I am strictly sales. But for me, it’s also believing in the product that you are selling, and I truly believe that we have a great venue, great staff, great people to work for, so it’s an easy product to sell.”
MA: MEREDITH, WHAT MADE YOU SWITCH FROM PLANNING TO SALES?
Meredith: “I have a family. I have a little girl now, and it can be long hours. I wouldn’t mind doing the planning every now and then, but when I did work the other job I worked a lot of hours. So now my job is basically more part time, because it is strictly just sales.”
MA: HOW MANY WEDDINGS DO YOU USUALLY BOOK IN A YEAR?
Chere: “We probably are anywhere from 100-135. And then we do a lot of social events.”
MA: WHAT IS THE MAIN DEAL BREAKER FOR COUPLES CONSIDERING YOUR VENUES?
Chere: “Guest lists. You really can’t go over 125 guests, so if someone is looking for a 200 guests list, 128 South would definitely not be on their list. But Bakery 105, however, could accommodate that number no problem; which is why we have both of those venues right across the street from each other.”
MA: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 128 SOUTH AND BAKERY 105?
Chere: “I would say 128 gears more toward an outside venue, so most of the time its spent on the deck overlooking the river. We do have a tent that we provide with a rental fee, so rain or shine you’re out on that deck. Most people do the ceremony and cocktail on the deck, inside for dinner, and then back outside for the dancing.
Now, Bakery 105 does have a brick courtyard. It’s more geared towards everything inside. So you would either have your cocktail hour in the courtyard with the reception inside. Bakery 105 is a much more open space, too, so it allows everyone to be in one room. At 128 South, it’s a little more intimate and you’re going back and forth between the deck and inside.”
MA: WHO IS YOUR IDEAL COUPLE?
Chere: “Anyone who wants to get married.”
MA: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Chere: The relationships you get to create with our clients. Most of them we’re still close with afterwards and, like I said earlier, just creating something so special and being able to be apart of that.”
MA: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED WHILE WORKING IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?
Chere: “Anything is possible!
You have to be able to go with the flow. You can plan all you want, but at the end of the day somethings always going to come up. Whether it’s weather, a vendor doesn’t show up, or family issues. There’s always something. You just have to stay calm, take care of it, keep moving on and make sure that no matter what’s going on your bride and groom are having the best day ever, and that they have no idea what’s going on behind them.”
That’s it for the interview! Keep checking back for more interviews of local venues, planners, and dress shops!
If you liked what Chere and her team had to say, you can visit their website here.