Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Affair: What's it's all about

As you know, the owner of Madeleine's Daughter, Elizabeth, recently partnered with Leslie Barbini the owner of the Wedding Belle, the seacoast's premier wedding planning industry. They've had a long-standing professional relationship between their two businesses, but recently they've gone into business together to create Love Affair, a bridal planning suite that we have no doubt will revolutionize the way couples plan their weddings. I sat down with Leslie a few days ago to find out a little bit more about Love Affair, specifically why couples should head there ASAP.

MD: How did the idea for Love Affair come to be?

Leslie: The idea started about a year ago. Elizabeth and I spent an entire year working on a business plan, developing the concept and building the space.

MD: Tell me more about the concept. What exactly IS a bridal planning suite and why should couples want to use one?

Leslie: Well, we've essentially narrowed down the field of vendors to the most qualified ones, the ones we feel are the best to work with. Between Elizabeth and I, we have decades of experience in the bridal industry, not just working directly with brides, but with vendors as well. We know first hand which vendors to recommend and we've been extremely selective in who we chose to be a part of Love Affair.

MD: So how does that help couples planning a wedding?

Leslie: They can choose to be a member here at Love Affair and then we become their "matchmaker." We pair our couples with the perfect vendor for them based on budget and style. It's sometimes hard to narrow down the field, so we've done the research for them and can much more easily and efficiently find the best vendor for their wedding. We represent ALL price points as well as all styles and aesthetics.

MD: How does the pricing work?

Leslie: Couples can sign up for as little as an hour of our time to the maximum they need. Just like our vendors are represented at all price points, so are our services. And if you upgrade, the previous payment you made gets applied to the new package you choose! It's actually very affordable.

MD: So, what it sounds like is that instead of going to a bridal show and meeting tons of vendors who are all trying to make a sales pitch, or searching endlessly online, reading hundreds of reviews and websites, you help couples choose their vendors in a fraction of the time and effort.

Leslie: Exactly! Gone are the days of spending your whole weekend at bridal shows and sorting through hundreds of photographers, caterers, florists, etc. And what's better is that when you're here, we hope other couples will be here, too. You can bounce ideas off each other, not only about vendors, but about DIY projects and anything else wedding-related! Love Affair is about creating a community of couples who can support each other. Wedding planning is stressful and anything that can help ease that stress is a good thing!

MD: You mentioned DIY- what about couples who plan to DIY a lot of their wedding? How will Love Affair be beneficial to them?

Leslie: Starting this month, we'll be hosting events to help those couples learn how to do the DIY projects they intend to do! For example, we'll be having a DIY Brooch Bouquet class very soon! We'll be doing all sorts of events that are educational for all couples, whether DIY or not! We're even going to have events like trivia nights and speed-dating-with-vendors!

MD: Seriously? Speed dating with vendors? If that doesn't streamline the process, I don't know what will! Thanks for taking the time to meet with me and let our readers know more about what makes Love Affair so fabulous!

Love Affair really is an innovative idea and we just know that couples are going to love it! The Grand Opening is Friday April 25th from 5-8pm! Stop by and check it out- you won't be disappointed! Here are some photos to entice you! Isn't it a gorgeous space?

The front reception area is gorgeous and welcoming!

There are lots of nooks to meet with vendors and other couples to talk about your wedding.

This cozy meeting spot is just one of several available to members to meet with vendors and discuss the details of their wedding.

Yet another meeting space...

We're obsessed with this chandelier!!!!

Photos of happy couples are scattered around. It's nice to know happy former customers of Leslie and Elizabeth are on the walls of Love Affair!

Love Affair is located at 51 Islington Street in Portsmouth. For more information, call them at 603-319-8280 or visit their website here!

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