Tori Williams did not set out to be a wedding planner. As a young girl, the Memphis native dreamed of doing hair and makeup in magazines. “I was one of those girls who was always in trouble because I was in my mom’s makeup,” said Williams.
But after moving to Atlanta in 2000 and achieving that dream, her path would eventually change. Five years ago, Williams officially became a wedding planner.
“I love, love, love weddings. I used to watch all the wedding shows,” said Williams owner of Tori Williams Events.
On Wednesday, she will watch her own debut on national television as the wedding planner for Tiffany “Monie” Cashette, star of Lifetime’s Little Women Atlanta.
“It was fun to meet with them. They are truly a great couple,” said Williams of Monie and her husband, Morlin.
Monie was hesitant in the beginning because she wasn’t familiar with Williams’ work, said Williams, but after a few examples of what she offered, Monie sent the planner a text and told her she could take over.
“She let me have at it with her wedding. After everything was over, she texted me two or three days in a row to say it was beautiful,” Williams said.
The episode airs June 28 and as with many weddings, Williams had to deal with a few unexpected challenges that were magnified by the fact that it was all happening on television.
The first date the couple chose for their wedding coincided with the wedding date of Monie’s cousin so they had to scramble to find a new date. Another issue was the amount of time Williams had to plan the nuptials.
“A normal bride comes to me six months to one year before their wedding day. I had two weeks to put this whole wedding together,” said Williams.
The location changed three times in two weeks and with Williams in Atlanta for the first week, she had to pull together concepts using just pictures and videos of potential venues.
While wedding planners are adept at handling a crisis, they don’t call it wedding planning for no reason. In the world of television, Williams learned one is expected to fly by the seat of one’s pants.
This after all is a woman who sparked a trend of wedding performances when at her own wedding in 2012, she performed a choreographed Beyonce inspired tribute for her husband.
“I knew exactly what I wanted. I had a day-of planner, but I planned my entire wedding,” said Williams whose was dubbed the ” Beyonce Bride” for her wedding day performance.
After planning a spectacular party for her husband’s 40th birthday, friends told Williams that party planning was her calling.
She had no clue where to start, but she stopped her hair and makeup gigs and within months had her first wedding client. One referral led to another and another, until she had built a following and now planning a television wedding for a celebrity couple.
Williams said she learned the business on her own and always learned from her mistakes, like the time she spent two months hand cutting and creating 150 crepe paper flowers for a client but forgot to charge labor costs.
She is obsessed with making sure her clients are happy with the service they are receiving and has a special method for handling bride or groom-zillas. “You let them vent and talk and then you turn around and reassure them. And when things are not perfect, I don’t tell them. I just solve the problem,” she said.
Couples spend months planning for a day that goes by so quickly and Williams advises them all to have tunnel vision on their special day.
“You want other people to be happy, but at the end of the day, I feel like it is your wedding day. It is one day and it goes by so fast, you want to be happy,” she said.
Wedding trends are increasingly leading to weddings as entertainment, said Williams, with brides and grooms engaging in full on productions. In a way, it has started to blur the line between regular weddings and weddings made for television.
“This was the first time I have done a wedding special. I may have another offer on the table to do one or two more,” said Williams, who hopes to create her own show that takes a look behind-the-scenes of wedding planning. “The experience was amazing. The response from new clients has been overwhelming and I learned that I love it,” she said.