We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Pletcher and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are many factors that I feel contributed but the old tenant- treat others as you would like to be treated- is still the most applicable. People don’t want to work in a purely transactional relationship for weddings- they want to work with people who do not treat their event as ‘another wedding’ but rather as if they are planning with a friend. Success comes from realizing how important those big life moments are. Weddings have a way to bring together people, to create a moment in time that entire families will remember for the rest of their lives, and while that may sound cliche, getting to have that first dance with your Father before he passes away, or getting to say your vows to your husband before he is deployed is more meaningful than most realize. 2 years ago we had a bride in a horrific car accident weeks before the wedding. She was in the hospital until a few days before. She was in a wheelchair and was able to walk the last 10 feet of the aisle with assistance. I will never forget it and the ability to make that moment happen for them. They were too overwhelmed to finish all the details and they had to trust me to make all decisions.
This year, with Covid, we had a couple who lost 4 family members in the 6 months before their wedding- not from Covid, but just horrible accidents on 4 different occasions. We cried on the phone together, because you build genuine relationships with people you talk to constantly over a year- and they said that even with Covid, we had to find a way to have the wedding because their family needed something positive to actually celebrate. And we made it happen, even when their venue canceled on us 3 weeks before the date.
Weddings are not about what they look like- its about how they make you FEEL. And being able to create that for wonderful people is an honor. Weddings are large investments- emotional and financial and as a Luxury Wedding Planner, my job is to create a RELATIONSHIP with my clients so they know no matter what may come, we are in this together and I take the stress away and instead focus on a fun and enjoyable process. The wedding is one day, but planning is all year- make it fun and something to look forward to. So why they may not have a global scale impact, there is something so unique and special about being able to produce those moments that at the time seem almost impossible- because everyone needs someone on their team once in a while who can help them. And that is the key to our success- genuine connection and kindness. Creating a feeling that lasts. Being so much more than a transactional business.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Our work specializes in creating many unique and “first” events that have never been done before. I love when couples come to me and say “I have an idea, but I’m not sure it can work”. It can work and that’s what we love doing- let’s figure out how! Or how can we make this wedding completely unique in style to each couple, so it doesn’t feel the same as all their friend’s weddings they have been to?
I took a path from Marine Biologist to Event Producer, and I think having that different background has really assisted me in thinking outside the box, staying calm under pressure, etc. But what sets us apart is the relationship we have with our clients. This summer during Covid, most high end planners had almost ALL of their events cancel. In contrast, we had 8 of our 10 luxury weddings- and I 100% feel this was attributed to our clients trust in us not as a business but as a person who has their best interest. As far as how we got here- when I was a Biologist I was the Vice President of an organization that set the standards for care of all marine mammals in human care in the entire world- essentially setting the bar of animal welfare. We would produce elaborate conferences in Hong Kong, Hawaii, Mexico, Florida, The Bahamas and all over the world for about 9 days at a time. That gave me the event foundation. However, the JUMP from one career to the other came when my son was born and I didn’t want to keep working such a difficult schedule that I was. I love hard work and strive to set high goals, but to be able to do it on my terms for my family is a huge benefit of this career. Instead of continuing to miss so many special moments, I am able to create more.
For our weddings I always ask myself How can we exceed expectations for weddings, there are no do-overs. My favorite part of the career I now have is the relationships we have developed with couples and families that last long after the wedding has ended. That to me is what life is all about- the people you spend it with and how you can pay it forward.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In Colorado? Well what time of year is it- lets say summer because its the best kept secret ( or was 15 years ago) of Colorado. I was born and raised here before leaving for college, which is pretty rare, so I know of the really special places that make this state so amazing. To my in the summer, no trip is complete without a Raft Trip. We own a raft and I would take our friends, whether its through Glenwood Canyon or cliff jumping by State Bridge. In Vail, we are known for Vail Village, the Gondola etc but true locals rarely go into Vail where the weekends have now become over populated and overcrowded. However so many fun activities lay close to those high traffic area. For example, another great activity and exercise if to bike the Village to Village trail on Beaver Creek mountain. This requires a mountain bike and moderate skill, but I have found it is also the best stress relief in the summer! Where else can you be surrounded by total beauty and only see 4-5 other people for a 2 hour bike ride? Then if you can stay another day, I would take you over to Paonia along McClure pass- an epic Colorado drive to a hidden lake and campground surrounded my aspen trees in a remote forest. Colorado adventure and privacy!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?100% my parents and husband. My parents divorced when I was 2, both remarried when I was 3, so I grew up with 4 amazing, loving parents who over the years have become best friends themselves. They all go on trips together even without the kids. We all celebrate holidays and Tuesdays together. They have shown me the importance of love and kindness since my childhood. And forgiveness- it must have been hard to put somethings behind them post divorce for the benefit of their children, and luckily all I remember is the love. They also were the ones who have always supported my dreams. If you grow up in Vail, Colorado and want to be a Dolphin Trainer, people laugh at you, say its impossible. Its almost impossible to become one even if you live near the ocean, but in the mountains? They got me SCUBA certified at 13, they gave me the courage to talk to professional trainers when I was a shy, intimidated teenager and they helped me move all around the world for my career, Hawaii, Antigua, Florida, Northern and Southern California. Then when I had my son and wanted to make this career transition, they were the one who supported me, watched my son on long 16 hour wedding days because my husband works wild hours as a federal agent and in law enforcement, and gave me the pep talks I needed in the beginning when it seemed to daunting a risk to take.
And thank you to my husband who took a pay cut and a career change so I could move back to Colorado to pursue this next chapter.
And of course my son, because he is my reason for all of it.
Just like a wedding, no one’s success is without a great team behind them and I surely have one of the best!
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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqWpamW-JbLGUgMWSH1X4fA Gemini Event Planning and Design Jennifer Pletcher
Tamara Gruner, Shane Macomber, Nate and Jenny Photography, John Cain Photography