When couples ask us about fantastic wedding vendors, we always tell them about AK Brides and veteran wedding professional Anita Kanellis. Anita splits her time planning beautiful fetes in both her native California and in Central Alabama. Some planners are most comfortable with a familiar, signature style. Anita embraces each bride’s unique wedding day vision and brings it to life.

      Kelli & Daniel Taylor Photography has had the honor of photographing Anita’s weddings and her head shots for years. Our highlights together include multi-day Indian weddings, a fabulous New York City destination wedding, and some of the most lovely Southern nuptials you’ve ever laid eyes on. As the owner of Tea & Time, she’s also our go-to supplier for specialty gourmet teas.

      We think you’re going to enjoy getting to know our dear friend and a little more about AK Brides.

      Birmingham wedding planner Anita Kanellis

      When did you know you wanted to be an event planner?    

      I think I have always had the “bug” to be a wedding planner but it really started in my sorority in college. I wasn’t planning anything but I absolutely loved our weekly formal dinner nights. We had to practice the very best etiquette and conduct ourselves very properly and lady-like. It was intriguing to me to experience the wonderful cuisine served and how elegant the tabletop was always set.

      I started in the wedding business doing invitations. But I loved talking to the brides about their overall experience with the planning process and found that more exciting. A friend of mine who was extremely busy asked if I would help her plan her wedding. Boom … I was hooked! I joined the Association of Bridal Consultants and got some education about the industry and did my first wedding in 1999. Then, I never looked back and have loved it ever since!

      Wedding flowers and cake at Vestavia Country Club, Birmingham, AL.
      Bride and groom in vintage wedding car at Vestavia Country Club, Birmingham, Alabama.

      What’s the best part of your job at AK Brides?

      Aside from planning every element of the wedding day,  I love getting to know my clients and their families. I love learning about their family dynamics. I love watching all the people the bride and groom have grown up with, grown friendships with and all the special people who had a role in bringing them to that moment come together to celebrate. The love in the room on that day is magical and it makes me cry every single time.

      Bride and groom leaving outdoor wedding ceremony at The Club, Birmingham, AL.
      Hindu wedding bride and groom in wedding car, Birmingham, AL.

      What do planners and their teams bring to the table to elevate a wedding day, as well as the overall planning experience for clients?

      I like to think I bring a sense of calmness to a wedding day. I love knowing the bride can relax and enjoy her day while the planner is handling all the behind the scenes set up, load ins and vendors. If I’m doing my job right, the bride will know nothing that may go wrong on her day. I like knowing she knows I will handle all of it. No drama, just happiness, joy and a lot of love.

      What should brides and grooms ask when interviewing planners?

      There are so many wonderful wedding planners out there. I know not every bride is right me and vice versa. Personality is a lot of the interview process. I would tell a bride to make sure your personalities work well together. She will be working closely with this person on a most highly emotional day, so she needs to feel extremely comfortable with her planner.

      I would also tell the bride to ask for the planner’s experience. Not necessarily at her particular venue so much but overall planning weddings. We all started with no experience, but on the job training is where we learn the most about our jobs and our industry. I still learn something new at every single wedding I produce. An experienced wedding planner who will have the skills and capability to execute a flawless day and handle any mishaps, whatever they may be, is a strong component.

      Pink and gray wedding tablescape and Hindu bride's hands with henna, wearing pink wedding lengha.

       How do you find inspiration for your work at AK Brides?  

      I find my inspiration in my brides and their visions. That’s mostly because I produce a wedding that is solely her dream wedding and her visions. We look at Pinterest a lot to expand her ideas and some wedding blogs, but every wedding is different and totally individual to that bride. It’s all about making it her own.

      What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?  

      Hmmm … Aside from tea because I love hot flavored teas, I would say I still love to look at pretty magazines (even though I can look on Pinterest all day long) and cut out my favorite pictures. I keep a large binder of my own visions for my business and lifestyle I want to have for my future. It’s sort of my journaling method and I like to see all my favorite things in one big book. I also love Hallmark Christmas movies. I have my favorites on my DVR to watch randomly throughout the year.  It helps me escape for a few hours and dream!

      New York skyline and wedding planner Anita Kanellis helping a Vietnamese bride get dressed at The Standard Hotel.
      AK Brides bride and groom hugging and walking in Central Park, New York City.

      Anything else you want to mention about AK Brides?  

      Nothing else to mention other than a little more about my business approach. I treat my clients more than just a business arrangement. They truly become part of my heart and I don’t take their wedding day as just another wedding. I know full well that this is the most important day so far in their lives and take this very seriously and personally. It is NOT just business and it IS very personal.  

      I have done everything from celebrity weddings to weddings with just the bride and groom and no guests at all. Every single one is just as important. God has truly sent me the brides who are meant for me and I have been completely honored to work with each and every one of them.

      Need more Kelli & Daniel Taylor Photography? Here are other ways you can find us:

      The Web – kellianddaniel.com

      Instagram – @kellidanieltaylorphoto

      Twitter – @keldanieltaylor

      Facebook – @kellianddanieltaylor

      Pinterest – @kellianddaniel