If you’re engaged and looking for a fun, modern wedding planner in Birmingham, you need to get acquainted with Magnolia Vine Events. This personalized, boutique firm that embraces and elevates classic style into unforgettable events. And it doesn’t hurt that owner and executive event planner Ashley Stork is one of the most genuinely kind people in the Alabama wedding industry. She is routinely thanked in wedding toasts by tearful brides and their parents brimming with emotion about her journey with them to the alter.
We’ve been honored to work with Ashley and her team for years on beautiful events and we think you’ll like getting to know her, too.
When did you know you wanted to be an event planner?
Event planning has always been part of my life. My mom is an amazing event planner and always has been. Her ability to entertain has been my inspiration. After planning my own wedding, I really enjoyed the planning process & wanted to help other brides do the same. I asked my wedding planner if she ever needed help on wedding days I would love to assist her. That was 8 years ago! I purchased the business from her & have been planning on my own ever since!
How would you describe your MVE style?
Magnolia Vine Events style is classic, traditional, southern but with a twist of modern flair. I always describe our clients as wanting the traditional elements of a wedding, classic in the sense that when you look back at your photos you can’t say ” Oh that was xx year/decade,” southern in that the guest experience is always top priority & they like a twist that reflects themselves as a couple.
What do planners and their teams bring to the table to elevate a wedding day, and the overall planning experience for clients? Any favorite examples to share?
Oh wow. What a question! Even the best orchestras, the most famous in the world, still have a conductor. What I always say to new clients is that, when you have not done this before, how are you supposed to know what you don’t know? A planner is there to guide you in making the right choices, at the right time, that fit your budget & style.
That guiding hand of just experience to troubleshoot things you wouldn’t have even known to ask is so huge! Another important part of having a planner is to help create an overall experience that makes sense style wise throughout the whole event from paper details, to linen, rentals, floral, layout, attire, and special details. There should be a common style thread throughout the event & it look balanced.
In terms of wedding day, something our team does is provide a bridal attendant to all of our clients. While our event production staff is on set up, this is a member of our team to tend to the bride and/or groom. It is their job to make sure the dress is out of the bag, items are steamed, details are together for the moment the photographer arrives, helps organize everyone for transportation to photo locations, assists in getting the right people into the photographs, holds her dress/bouquet when needed, makes sure she has water, and gets wedding party to ceremony on time. This is a critical part of the day. So much happens prior to ceremony but I personally cannot be in 3 places at once.
We had a wedding over the summer where out of nowhere we had a huge storm roll through. The storm was so large is knocked the power grid out in the area. After a few phone calls, we got some generators over to the venue, the band was able to power up, and the show went on. It took some time, we adjusted the timeline, and once we had power we got that party started. Our vendors really showed up for us & the client that day. Without a planner, a mother, a bride or bridesmaid may have been managing that and unsure of who to call or what to do. That is why you have an experienced planner on your team.
It is my job to oversee the investment the client has made in the set up of their event & having a member from my staff tend to the bride & be my eyes and ears is just a crucial part of the puzzle. Our wedding days run super smooth and easy because of our amazing bridal attendants! Other ways we elevate the wedding day experience would be just in that you don’t have to manage who has arrived when, is what they are bringing correct, does something need to be adjusted on the floor plan, or what to do when a bigger issue like weather or something affects the event.
What should brides and grooms ask when interviewing planners?
I believe prior to meeting or chatting with a planner you need to review their website and portfolio. Does their style look like what you are looking for? Do they do one type of event or have diversity in their work? What is their experience and how long have they been in the business? Do you just connect with them & have that trust factor? I always enjoy when potential clients ask for references. We have lots of past clients that enjoy talking to newly engaged couples about their experience with us.
How do you find inspiration for your work?
I love finding inspiration in travel — new places, new ways of doing things, new colors. I am really into patterns right now & bringing those into events. Our clients provide the best inspiration. I adore getting to know them and their lives so we can bring that into the event. This past summer we had a wedding that fell on Cinco de Mayo. Without making it cheesy, we wanted to play on that & did some fun welcome margaritas, mini passed tacos, and maracas for the send off. When we can incorporate a client’s love of traveling, how they met, and other special elements to who they are, that is where the real inspiration comes from.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
My favorite guild pleasures are Diet Coke, and anything on Bravo. I know it’s junk and terrible but when you work in our industry, it can be stressful. I like something I don’t have to use my brain for some days!
Anything else you want to mention?
I am so blessed to work with amazing couples throughout the Southeast, and we truly love what we do. A great wedding day is the best feeling in the world. Working with great vendor partners like Kelli & Daniel only make the days even more special!