Experts: The Master Strategist

With so many moving parts to a wedding, it’s best to entrust the machine to a planner who’s calm and organized. A good sense of humor helps, too.

Photograph by Jared Leeds

Photograph by Jared Leeds

TASHA BRACKEN, OWNER OF Simple Details Events, is as organized as she is intuitive—an ideal combination when it comes to coordinating weddings. Blessed with a yenta’s ability to perfectly pair clients and vendors (and with serious spreadsheet know-how) Bracken makes even complex plans seem downright simple. With offices in Newton and Newport and nearly 20 years of experience under her belt, Bracken has amassed an arsenal of Boston photographers, florists, caterers, and all the rest — and she knows exactly how to use them.

Do I really need to hire a wedding planner?
Planning a wedding is like having a second job. How much time do you have? How organized are you? How detail-oriented? If you’re someone who does things by the seat of your pants and you ask yourself those questions and say, “I’m not very organized and detail-oriented and I don’t necessarily have a creative eye or the ability to visualize well,” then you’re a perfect candidate for a planner, because they can really offer you those skills.

How do you bring clients and vendors together? Would you call yourself a matchmaker?

That’s what we are. We aren’t as limited as the planners who have just a small Rolodex of professionals to refer to—we don’t have a preferred list. What I’ve done is try to work with as many different people as I can, because everybody’s style is different. We’re the team that puts [the wedding] on and we all have the same goal in mind, which is to make it the best for our client. We get personal information from our clients — favorite color, if they were a car what they would be — to get a sense of their ersonality. And we see which vendor is the right fit.

How do you know it’s a good connection?
I look at it like a dating service, but for people planning a wedding. At most, we suggest three or four vendors; otherwise, it’s overwhelming. Because we have done our homework and we really understand who the customer is, we don’t have to give them numerous recommendations. Sometimes it’s like, “We have the perfect photographer for you,” and that’s it.

What wedding trends are on your radar?
Obviously colors — purple is huge. We’re seeing a lot of feathers. For food, mini plates are hot: mini burgers, little grilled cheeses, pigs in a blanket. Everybody wants those, either for a fun hors d’oeuvre or for an after-party.

Your company plans many events in Costa Rica. Any advice for destination weddings?
There’s a difference between going from Boston to California and getting to a location like Costa Rica — it’s a different level. The transportation and roads aren’t quite like ours. You have to take culture and country into mind, and what’s available. Just the fact that you’re miles and miles away and trying to plan a wedding, you’re going to have to think about everything you’d need to bring.

Are there ways to make weddings abroad easier?

You want to go local as much as you can. That will alleviate a lot of problems.  If there’s a local beer or a local food or something, you want to maximize that. Beyond just making it easier logistically, it’s fun to give people an experience of the country and what it’s like.

What happens if you run into a snag during a wedding?
If there’s a crisis, I fix it without the couple knowing. That’s the first priority, if it can be done. Most of the time, that can happen.

Any real-life examples?
At a wedding a few years ago, we had a limousine, and all of the bridesmaids and the bride and groom had their luggage in there. This was a Mercedes limo — it was keyless and very high-tech. We get to the church, and one of the bridesmaids wants to get something from her purse, and the trunk won’t open. We finally get to the reception and they still can’t open the trunk. Now the reception has started. I’m on the phone with the limo company, and they’ve taken it to the dealer. It’s going to take a special computer to fix it, and it’s going to have to wait until Monday. The bride and groom’s honeymoon luggage was in there! All they had were the tux that he was wearing and her bridal gown. Long story short, I got the dealer to take a crowbar to the limousine to open up the trunk. The couple had no idea it was happening.

You’re like a silent superhero.
I feel that beyond matching clients with the right people and professionals, the biggest thing we can do is make the day. We are there to put out those fires and make sure we solve the problem if we can without going to the couple. If there’s an issue that you have to bring to a client, the important thing is to bring them a solution so they feel confident that you have it taken care of.

TIPS: Tasha Bracken’s pointers for planning a wedding with an extra dash of je ne sais quois.

Give Back
Think about donating leftover food or flowers. Doing so will prolong the life of your wedding and may eliminate those pangs of guilt you feel about spending so much on one day.

Open Up
When working with a planner, don’t be afraid to get personal. It helps customize your celebration—the more we know, the better we can tell your fairy-tale story.

Hold Back
Keep certain elements a surprise. Don’t be tempted to disclose all the details of what guests will experience; it will make your wedding all the more memorable and special.

Simple Details Events, 1171 Washington St., West Newton, 617-916-5453,