Coffee with Caitlin: Missy, Antonia Christianson Events

Choosing wedding vendors who fit the style and budget of your wedding day can be difficult, but getting to know the people behind the business often makes that decision much easier. In this series, Coffee with Caitlin, I want to introduce some of my favorite wedding vendor friends… or friendors as we call them.

Today’s interview is with Missy, owner of Antonia Christianson Events, a wedding planning company based in Virginia Beach but also serving the California market. I always love working with Missy and the ACE team, because they will do whatever it takes to give the bride and groom an amazing wedding day. We did two weddings together last year, Tammy & Brent and Cindy & Kyle, and I'm excited to see what the 2016 calendar holds for us!

Photo: James Christianson

Photo: James Christianson

What’s in your coffee cup/mug this morning?
-Sweet Tea, all the way! It runs through my veins.

What does a normal day-in-the-life look like for you?
-A little hectic, but fun! Mornings are for my boys, getting them ready for the day, packing book bags, bus stop selfies, all of the good stuff! Then I head to the office for meetings, emails, and all of the day to day tasks of running a business. I'm in the studio or in meetings every day until it's back to the bus stop to get the boys. I really try to be mom during the time that the boys are home, and use my time wisely. If they are in practice for a club or extracurricular activity, I break out the computer and work work work...if they are available to hang with my beloved and me, then that's just what I do. Since I have clients all over the nation, when they go to bed, I'll typically have a video conference with those clients in different time zones, and hopefully have a few minutes to wind down with my husband in the evening. 

How does having a team effect the wedding day?
-For an example, I can have someone at the reception venue greeting vendors, someone else with the shuttles making sure they are where they need to be at the appropriate times, another team member at the ceremony cuing musicians, and another with the bridal party making sure they have bouts and bouquets and are lined up in the appropriate order. It sounds silly if you've never seen it in action, but I can tell you, we wouldn't have it any other way, and neither would our clients!

What business advice has been the most helpful for you?
-Do what is best for your company! When I first started off in the industry, everyone had an opinion on where I should advertise, how I should find clients, etc. Really, there was an opinion on how every aspect of my company should be run. But the truth is, there have been ups and downs, trials and errors, but I have needed that to grow as an individual and business owner. I know in my gut what is best, and that's what I do. It's not always awesome or perfect, but it's mine, and that's the most important! 

Naturally, spending time with your boys is a big priority to you. What do you do to keep your life balanced?
-Yes! Family is my number one priority! I learned a long time ago to set boundaries, and I really stick to that.  My clients knows my in studio hours when they hire me, and they know that I always have 1 night a week that I'll work late in the studio to schedule additional appointments for clients that aren't available during the day time. If that means 9 meetings that night, then, 9 meetings it is! Of course, there are special accommodations that can be made with notice if that week night doesn't work, but sticking to a schedule helps me stay balanced, and my clients always know where and when they can find me!   

What is something non-wedding related you’ve been loving lately?
-Sleep! No, kidding. I don't really have much downtime with 2 boys and their extracurricular activities, but we do make it a point to rock climb together a few times each week. 

What is something you’d love to see become a wedding trend? 
-I love for clients to focus on each other in their wedding and planning! Really bring details to the table that mean something to them, rather than something that they have found online. I always find those to be the most meaningful events. I'm not sure if that's a trend, but I'd love to see it more! Less for show, more for love! 

If you could give brides one piece of advice about another wedding vendor, what would it be?
-Choose to work with event professionals that you genuinely like! Of course, the quality of work should be a huge priority, but I always say, if you are going to have a photographer 8 inches from your face for 8 hours, you better like them! The end product will always be better and you'll feel like you are surrounded by friends (not strangers) on your wedding day.

What was a favorite detail you saw at a wedding last year?
-Amazing Vows! While in Iceland for a wedding in December my clients sat down together to write their personalized vows and later recited them to each other. They were definitely in the top 3 vows out of all of the weddings I've ever planned. They were heartfelt, spiritual and gorgeous.  

What is your favorite part of the wedding day?
-I'd say that my favorite part of a wedding day changes from week to week, or wedding to wedding. But I always love the moment when I fix a bride's train for her walk down the aisle and see the giddiness in her face. It always brings back how I felt when I was getting ready to take that walk myself. 

What’s your current favorite color palette?
-I'm always obsessed with two colors in weddings (not together). A gorgeous summer coral or a strong hunter green can never go wrong in my opinion. Coral is making a strong comeback, but hunter isn't used nearly enough. 
I love jewel tones and I agree, that hunter is not used nearly enough! It's so elegant!

What are three words that describe your ideal couple?
-Trusting, Marriage-Focused, Fun

Do you ever dream about weddings or wedding planning?
-Yes! But not in the way you'd think! If I have a nightmare about a client event, it's typically a great sign. If you've ever heard the saying "a bad dress rehearsal means a great performance", I live those out in my dreams!  I've had "the bad dress rehearsal" in my dreams and then the wedding day goes awesomely. Typically this is for the huge events with a lot of "moving parts" or logistical nightmares if you will. I get all of my nervousness out in my sleep, then I'm good to go on the big day!  

What's your favorite thing about having the ACE team?
-Great question! My favorite thing about having a wedding day team is knowing that we can have eyes and hands everywhere. I can't tell you the number of times catastrophes have been averted because we could be everywhere at once. It's something that we pride ourselves in, and we know that our clients can truly relax and enjoy the day. 

If you could give brides one piece of advice about their first year of marriage, what would it be?
-Choose your battles wisely! I live by this advice daily over 10 years later. If you don't love what your significant other said or did, but fighting them isn't going to help, just drop it. Point blank. 
Yes! There are so many things that fighting about isn't going to help!


Find Missy on social media:
Facebook and Instagram (@antoniachristiansonevents)

Meet more of my favorite vendors:
Chelsea, Tidewater and Tulle
Missy, Antonia Christianson Events
Evelyn, Letterlyn Studio
Caitlyn, Blue Steel Lighting Design
Kristina, Norfolk Botanical Gardens
Dhalia Edwards, Makeup Artist
Adrienne, Heart's Content Events and Design
Becky, Roost Flowers