When it’s time to plan that special day, couples want an expert to guide them as they approach “I do”. Tyler Lindsay is one such expert. Following an early career in retail that included event planning, Tyler made the jump full time, planning weddings and corporate events in Atlanta before moving to New York in 2008. There, he built a network and career in the event planning industry, working in catering, venue management, wedding rentals, venue brokers and more, before joining Hornblower in 2016.
You came to Hornblower with some crazy wedding experiences under your belt, didn’t you?
Tyler: Yes! I was a wedding coordinator at a restaurant/wedding venue that closed with no warning at all. I literally went to work and there were padlocks on all the doors. There was a wedding the next day and the day after–weddings were booked every weekend for the next year. Over 200 couples lost their wedding venue, many of whom had paid in full already.
Using the contacts that I have, I was able to re-plan the couple’s wedding for the very next day. I coordinated everything, even though I was officially unemployed at that point. That entire summer all I did, weekend after weekend, was help those couples re-plan their weddings.
Clearly you bring a lot of wedding planning experience to the table! What are your top 5 tips you pass along to a couple?
- There are no rules when it comes to planning your wedding. If you want, go ahead and throw tradition out the window (or overboard, in our case.) If you want to have the cocktail hour before the ceremony or if you want to forgo typical wedding staples like bouquet tosses or parent dances, then do it!
- It’s YOUR day. Sure, consider your guests when making decisions but be careful to not forgo things you really like or want to do just because you feel like you need to please the masses.
- Stay focused. Many times, a bride or groom becomes fixated on one, simple thing — maybe the color of the napkins, or the placement of flower arrangement. Trust me when I tell you: Your guests will not notice or even care. They are there to celebrate you!
- Steer clear of trends, if you can help it. Decor pieces like mason jars and burlap table runners are no longer unique.
- Communicate with each other. Make sure each planning decision is made together and, much like a long-lasting marriage, be prepared to lovingly compromise.
Walk us through the experience of menu selection.
Tyler: I chat with the couple to get a sense of the style of service they’d prefer and the types of foods they enjoy. Based on that info, I outline our menu options and discuss what would work best for them.
In some cases, we will work directly with our executive chef to create personal, customized touches. For example, this past summer, we planned a wedding for a Turkish bride who requested specialty artisan Turkish cheeses that our chef was able to procure! One thing I always do is encourage them to sail on our City Lights Dinner Cruise so that they can sample the delicious food, and experience our fantastic service.
What is it that makes a wedding on a Hornblower yacht so special?
Tyler: A Hornblower wedding is not a typical wedding celebration. A wedding cruise on a luxury yacht is such a unique, fun experience unlike any other. Not only is it a fabulous way for out-of-town guests to see the city, but I’ve heard born-and-raised New Yorkers talk about how they never tire of the seeing the city’s majestic skyline from our boats! A Hornblower wedding is a unique event that a couple’s family and friends will rave about for years.
What can a couple expect from the Hornblower team on the day of the wedding?
Tyler: I ask the couple to bring decor elements to me a few days before the wedding. On the day of the wedding, I arrive early to set up those elements — place cards, table numbers, gift card boxes, and favors. I also coordinate the vendors who arrive early for set up as well. Wedding couple should never have to deal with those things on their big day — they should have fun with their friends and family while getting ready.
My goal is for the wedding couple to feel like the special guests at their own celebration. After all the planning, it’s time for the payoff! From the moment they walk up the boat’s gangway to the very last dance, our entire team of servers, bartenders, managers, and marine crewman works diligently to ensure a seamless, exciting celebration.
Joaimee & Danny gushed about how their bridal attendant, Gabriel, made the day extra special. How do couples benefit from having a bridal attendant of their own?
Tyler: Not only does a Hornblower bridal attendant assist with the ceremony and maintaining the evening’s time line, but they act as a personal assistant for the wedding couple as well, making sure that their drink glasses are full and ensuring that they get a chance to eat. Gabriel is so awesome — I’ve even seen him assist a bride with touching up her make-up.
How do you help couples cut costs without cutting corners?
Tyler: Couples are often adhering to strict budgets, so I always suggest that they should spend the money on the part of the party that is the most important to them. If they want to host an energized dance party, then entertainment should take precedent over elaborate table arrangements. For some couples, the food is the most important so they might go DIY with place cards or invitations so that they can splurge and treat their guests to additional food stations or fun, edible party favors.
What’s your most memorable wedding to date and why?
Tyler: I’ve been an event planner for nearly 15 years and in that time, I’ve planned hundreds of weddings. I’ve dealt with everything from drunken groomsmen brawls to collapsing cakes and even a bridesmaid going into labor during the ceremony.
But, for me, my favorite wedding is still the very first wedding I planned in New York. Their ceremony was sweet and sentimental; one of their friends serenaded them with an acoustic version of Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet” and chills ran up my spine. The exuberant reception was so fun. The bride and groom even pulled servers onto the dance floor. I’m still in contact with that couple and feel honored to have played such an essential, key role in the most important day of their lives.
A Hornblower wedding is truly a departure from the ordinary. We would love to chat with you about your unique wedding, browse our wedding packages at any of our ports: San Francisco, Berkeley, San Diego,New York, Marina del Rey, Long Beach or Newport Beach. Or fill out the form below and a Hornblower wedding coordinator will help you get started.