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Hornblower Wedding Spotlight: Haley Brantley

Hornblower Wedding Spotlight: Haley Brantley

Meet San Francisco's Wedding Specialist

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Tell us a bit about your background in weddings.
I’ve been lucky enough to turn my passion into a career as a wedding planner for the past seven years. My love for the industry began while catering in college. I remember watching the wedding planners run around managing every detail from decorating to sending the bride down the aisle.  After coordinating for a bit, I eventually moved into planning. I’ve had the pleasure of planning intimate elopements to grand 400 guest affairs. It’s incredibly gratifying to be trusted by a couple with such an important day and see all of our hard work come to life.

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Walk us through the experience of menu selection.
I encourage couples to personalize every detail of their wedding, down to the grub! If you love comfort food, get creative with something like chicken & waffles paired with a mac and cheese station. Is sushi your go-to date night? Consider a raw bar. I love unique, interactive, engaging styles of dining (especially on a yacht!) with creative stations, heavy passed hors d’oeuvres, and detailed, unique spins. I once had a couple who loved San Francisco’s famous It’s-It so much that we stored dry ice and had ice cream sandwiches for dessert!

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How do couples benefit from having a bridal attendant of their own?
I’m 100% biased but I don’t think you can put a price on a ‘wedding wingwoman’! As your planner we are here for it all:  juggling several vendors at once, being sensitive to unique family dynamics, bridal party roundup, timeline management, event flow, all the way down to emotional support! Bottom line: most couples are planning this type of event for the first time and using their savings. It’s priceless to have a cheerleader on the sidelines encouraging you, helping guide you in the best direction, and making sure you enjoy the experience! 

Tell us about a typical wedding day, day of. What should the couple expect?
Try your best to let go of stress and trust your planner so that you can sit in your hair and makeup chair, champagne in hand, surrounded by your best friends and enjoy your day. Before and during the ceremony will be the most nerve-wracking part-expect to be on Cloud 9 afterwards! Stay in the moment because the day will pass in the blink of an eye. Make sure you squeeze in a ten minute break for just the two of you before heading into the party. 

What are some of the benefits couples can expect from having their ceremony / reception on a yacht?
You will receive amazing feedback from your guests after the event.  Everyone has been to a wedding, but has everyone been to a wedding on a private yacht in the San Francisco Bay Area?! Your guests will be talking about how cool the experience was to all your other friends that are getting married. #MicDrop

What are some things that brides/grooms never seem to know when they begin the wedding planning process?
“I have no idea where to start,” … said every newly engaged couple ever! This is exactly why it’s imperative to have a specialist leading you down your wedding planning journey. We give you tips, guidelines, and advice on next steps as you approach the big day.

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What are the top 5 tips you would give to any couple?

  1. Stop and take moments during your ceremony and reception to look around and really soak up all the love and energy in the room.
  2. You, you, and more you! Your wedding day is about you and you are encouraged to adopt this motto!  
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Trust me, nobody noticed.
  4. Go back and re-read numbers 1 – 3.  
  5. If, at the end of the day, you married the love of your life-it was a success!

What’s your most memorable wedding to date and why?
My very first is my all time favorite wedding. My clients found me when I originally planned their son’s first birthday party. When they got engaged and asked me to be their planner, I was beyond honored. I was a very young and green planner at the time, but they trusted me regardless. They encouraged me to continue pursuing this career and every time I look back I will always credit them for pushing me to follow my dreams.

How do you help couples cut costs without cutting corners?
Selecting a venue like Hornblower helps cut costs without cutting corners in and of itself! A location that offers in house food, beverage, rentals, coordinator, DJ, photography, etc. will significantly cut your planning time and stress in half.

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What is one of your favorite stories from a wedding you’ve worked on in the past?
It was the hottest day of the Summer and my bride declared that she was hot. A wedding guest conveniently handed her a pocket knife. She took it to her gown and made it a short cocktail dress in the middle of the dance floor. Epic!

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