Name: Lori Stephenson
Title/Position: Owner and Principal – LOLA Event Productions
Specialty: Wedding and Event Planning and Design
CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
L.S.: I’ve been in the wedding business in some way, shape or form since before I graduated from college where I attained my degree in fashion design and business and paid my way through school in part by making wedding gowns and accessories. I guess wedding planning is just pumping through my blood at this point! I started LOLA in 2006 – we are celebrating our 11th anniversary this year and have sent over 500 brides and grooms down the aisle!
CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
L.S.: We take our clients ideas, vision, challenges, and unique perspectives and create the wedding or event that is perfect for them – all while keeping them happy and relaxed throughout the process.
CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
L.S.: In looking at our portfolio, it is obvious that the scope of our work is as broad as the personalities and needs of our clients. We really LISTEN to our clients and try and deliver on their unique vision AND THEN SOME with that special LOLA touch of creativity and innovation.
CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
L.S.: I love the moment when a client walks into the room and sees their vision turned into a reality for the very first time. That moment at the completion of a set up is like a calming breath of air right before the guests enter the room and fill it with enthusiasm and energy. The immense satisfaction of taking an idea from notes on paper to a room filled with beauty, love and energy is really incredible.
CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
L.S.: I love that event design has become about so much more than a color scheme or what décor you are placing into a space. Innovation comes in creative menus and entertainment and experiences within that gorgeous space. Today’s events are a feast of all the senses rather than just something visual.
CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
L.S.: Well, funny you should ask! I have a groom that wants to ride a live grizzly bear down the aisle next summer at his wedding. I had to put the breaks on that one for sure! Although I did tell him that I would rent a bear suit and let him ride piggy-back down the aisle on my back if it would make him happy!
CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
L.S.: An event day is kind of like a marathon. Carbo load the night before with a giant bowl of pasta, review your notes, get a good night sleep, put on your most comfortable shoes, and have confidence in all the incredibly detailed preparation you have been laying down for weeks, months and even years leading up to the big day… and or course, be ready for the unexpected!
CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
L.S.: Professionally: My incredible team of loyal colleagues and professional partners that make me look good, my event emergency kit which contains everything but the kitchen sink, and my husband who has never stopped supporting me by doing everything from lifting me up when I am having a challenging day to loading up my car for an event and tying bows on programs late into the night when the client ran out of time to do it themselves.
Personally: My husband for his undying support – because being married to a wedding planner who is gone most evenings and weekends can be a real drag, my menagerie of rescue dogs and cats that keep my blood pressure down with their unconditional love, and really good concealer for the black circles under my eyes!
CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you
L.S.: I was a state champion and national championship level cheerleader in high school, I am a complete germ-a-phobe and walk through life with a lot of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer, and before I decided to go to college for fashion design, I wanted to go to school for environmental law.
CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
L.S.: Hire great people that you can trust and then LET THEM DO THEIR JOBS.
CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
L.S.: Chez is the ultimate blank canvas for design. You can create something pristine and monochromatic and timeless or go crazy with the color, texture and whimsy of what’s current at the moment. The location is insanely convenient for guests (they can stagger back to their hotel rooms just steps away), and all the perks that come included like their stylish ghost chairs make it an incredible value!