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Meet Brandy Blackford of Sweet I Do’s in Surprise

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandy Blackford.

Brandy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been planning events for many years, since my oldest child was in middle school. I was the driving force behind a number of fundraisers, sporting events and carnivals, but I was content to stay behind the scenes, bringing it all together and knowing that in the end, we had a successful event. Sweet I Do’s however, was a whole new adventure.

It all started and ended with a phone call, or, to be brutally honest, a series of phone calls. In 2009 I was a full-time corporate employee with a newborn son and a wedding to plan in two months. I lived with my phone in one ear and a bottle tucked up under my chin as I wrote down information from vendors. To keep my sanity, I developed a system of tracking information and bundling it all into usable segments. A system that has taken every event planning document, tip sheet, checklist and guideline and made it actually useful and relevant.

Even with my amazing system, translating the vision in my head into reality was a lot of work. And looking back, there were a number of moments that I did not feel like a bride. Why? I was so worried about all the details and had no one that I felt I could transfer my vision too, that I was doing it all.

Was it worth it? Yes, especially when I received a phone call from my venue coordinators. They were amazed at what I had created, especially the unique, themed candy buffet. They could not help but tell me how impressed they were that every little detail perfectly coordinated with all the rest to tell a story. And then came an offer and a strong suggestion, something I didn’t see coming – an offer to be a preferred vendor and a suggestion that I seriously consider designing and coordinating weddings as a career change. This wasn’t my friends and family telling me I had done something nice, but a venue wanting to recommend me, to their clients. 6 weeks later Sweet I Do’s was official and I entered the world of weddings and events. That was 9 years ago this November and I haven’t looked back (other than to quit that corporate job and have two more babies). Along the way I’ve earned awards, become a recognized expert in my field and made a ton of friends from couples that have had perfect weddings!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would never recommend to anyone to just dive in to a new venture. I was lucky, I had experience in business and knew that there were things that needed to be in place before I took one dime of money from a client. We never borrowed any money to start Sweet I Do’s and in the beginning, we personally put a lot of money into doing all the things that needed to be done (getting a business license, creating marketing materials, paying for a website, buying a space at the bridal shows, and the list goes on and on). There were times when we weren’t sure if there would be enough money in the business bank account to cover all the expenses. And the time commitment at the very beginning made for long nights and even more shortened sleeping hours than would be typical for new parents. And a few years in the clients seemed to disappear and to be honest I thought about closing it down and selling all the assets. But my amazing husband (the man who would run all over the valley at 1:00 in the morning to clean up displays, that gave up his dreams to make sure that mine came true) told me that we just needed to tweak things, to learn what we needed to provide to be different. It meant taking a leap of faith that specializing and not being everything to everyone was the right way to go. His encouragement was what took Sweet I Do’s through the tough times.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Sweet I Do’s story. Tell us more about the business.
Sweet I Do’s is a wedding planning company located in Surprise, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). We specialize in wedding day management (also known as the day of coordination). We help couples create an amazing, unique and totally “them” wedding that allows them to be in the moments making the memories, not worrying about the details. From contract review and timeline creation to day of management, set up and tear down, we’re focused on ensuring our couples, their families and friends experience a stress and worry-free night to remember.

We are also known for our amazing candy buffets and treat stations. Our candy buffets and other treat stations are a fun way to allow our clients guests to participate in their event. Acting like kids in candy stores, the possibilities seem endless as they pick and choose their favorite candies and treats to take home with them. Candy buffets and treat stations are also beautiful additions to the décor of your special event. With the magnificent colors and textures in beautiful sparkling containers, all eyes are drawn over and over again to this gorgeous display of confectionery goodies.

Just this past September we were honored to be nominated for and win 2 of ILEA’s Zonie Awards. ILEA is the International Live Events Association and is a worldwide organization of event and wedding professionals. There are multiple chapters located around the world and each chapter hosts an awards event to honor the best of the best in their chosen field. We were nominated for the Best Wedding Over $50K and the Best Wedding Under $50K. The application and nomination process are fairly arduous as you have to tell an amazing story, provide gorgeous pictures and video and be able to provide documentation of the pre-production, production and post-production of the wedding or event. This is the second year we have been nominated and our second win for Best Wedding Under $50K. We also participate in an amazing charity event called Tables That Bloom. It is put on by the Delta Gamma Association to benefit the Foundation for Blind Children. Local event professionals are asked to design and execute a table design for the theme of the year. This year the theme was Hope and the Sweet I Do’s table won the award for Best Table to Showcase the Hope Theme.

Because we specialize in wedding day management, we are hyper-focused on ensuring our couples have very little to stress about the last few weeks of their weddings. We have an established method of creating all of the necessary timelines, floor plans, vendor communication plans, etc. to quickly get immersed in the details to provide the absolute perfect wedding for our clients. I think that our couples appreciate that we can come in and execute their vision, without controlling their wedding or breaking their banks.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m not sure I would call it luck, but definitely a God thing. Within two weeks of the phone call we received from our venue strongly suggesting we start a company, we had every single item in place to run a successful business. Things that normally take 6+ months to fall into place. We had our federal EIN, the business name that had been floating around in my head was available, a sold out bridal show had a last-minute cancellation the call before we made a call asking to participate, we were able to quickly design and create a working website and create coordinating marketing materials.

Pricing:

  • Our basic wedding day management package is $750.00 and includes unlimited email and text communication as well as 2 hours of pre-ceremony set up. We are also one of the only wedding day management companies in the valley that will stay until the end of the night and assist with clean up.
  • Our extended wedding day management package is $1,000.00 and includes all day (if necessary) set up as well as coordination of the rehearsal (typically the day before).
  • Our partial planning package start at $1,250 with pricing dependent on what level of planning and coordination that the couple is looking for.
  • Our full service planning package starts at $4,000.00 with pricing dependent on the complexity of the needed planning and coordination.
  • Our candy buffets and treat stations start at $3.25 per person with pricing dependent on candy and treat selections.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Groove Heads Entertainment
Mya Zenner Photography
Brandy Blackford

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Ian Tiso

    November 6, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Brandy coordinated our wedding this year (it got the Best Under 50K award)

    It’s true. All of it.

    Brandy rocks.

  2. Trish

    November 9, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I have worked with Brandy and seen her Creations she is truly amazing

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