Sarah-Allen Preston, Midwest Event Planner
Who are some key vendors that you enjoy working with?
Ah, my favorite part – my people! I love selecting custom teams for each of my clients but I tend to pull from the same group of vendors because we work so well together. I use a mix of national and local vendors. Liz Banfield (@lizbanfieldwed) is one of my favorite photographers. She has shot some of my favorite destinations (Sea Island, Watch Hill, Oklahoma) as well as in Kansas City. I use La Tavola (@latavolalinen) almost exclusively for linens, and love to source rentals from California, like beautiful tableware from The Ark (@theark_). I also get rentals from Party Pro (@partyprorents) in Tulsa, Oklahoma – they have a great selection in the Midwest! My fave Kansas City local florist is Chuck Matney at The Little Flower Shop (@thelittleflowershopkc). He just GETS it. I can show him my inspiration boards, drawings, and just spout off some crazy sounding vision, and he nails it every time, no matter the style.
Due to COVID-19, many brides are postponing their weddings. Any tips on how you're helping brides navigate this process?
I so feel for brides this year! It is not only a bummer to not have things go according to plan but it is stressful to replan! I am loving the smaller intimate ceremonies and celebrations at home with family. Plan a big party later… or don’t! I’m typically a “risk taking” event planner…if we can make the dream happen, it’s happening! (See the backyard wedding photo featured in BRIDES… we made the call on that ceremony the morning of, and it paid off! Right after the ceremony it was a flash flood!) but it’s not worth it this year. Roll out the individual mini-bars, mask up, and make the celebration miniature and perfect for you! The number one thing is that you are marrying the love of your life and starting a life together. (Photos: the “risky” backyard wedding before the flash flood, personal mini bars, and a COVID kit waiting for guests at their ceremony seat!)
What is your process to throwing an awesome party?
Step 1: Get to know the client, their dreams, and their expectations.
Step 2: blow them out of the water!
I love to hear their vision and then take it to the next level with details. Not only design details (monogrammed ice cubes and custom cigars are always a hit for a hubby’s birthday! Fun late night details like a glam bar or adult balloon artists are a great way to keep the party going!) but also the overall event details. I love to think about how the party is going to move, flow, and progress. Of course it always takes on a life of it’s own, but when we lay a good base, it makes it more fun when it veers off course and someone goes into the pool!
What is the best thing about wedding planning?
The clients, the vendors, all of the PEOPLE. I work with a (wonderfully organized and chic) friend I’ve known since childhood, and we love love love working with people to create experiences they didn’t even know they were dreaming of. One of our brides last year told us we had created a dream she didn’t even know she had, and it really stuck with me! I also love having vendors stretch their creative muscles to make it all happen (even though they all might want to kill me sometimes !)
What was your favorite wedding that you planned?
Ok, I have changed my answer to this one like a gabillion times. I had the most fantastic set of clients over the last few years, I have loved them ALL! All beautiful events for beautiful people… how can I pick?! Twist my arm, I’ll go with my little brother’s wedding. It was micro before it was trendy! It was at our family’s ranch in Oklahoma and featured on Martha Stewart Weddings.
What's next for you? What are you working on?
I just did a micro-wedding on a farm that was ah-mazing, and it’s all I have on my schedule for the year so I am focusing on afloat as we launch out of our beta version early this fall! The app is all about helping people in your groups, whether that’s a group of your trusted neighbors, or school moms, or supporting a nonprofit in your community, so it is really special to me and important to bring to life right now with everything that is going on. It is satisfying my love of creating special places and experiences for people in a different way!
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
I love Mestiza! It definitely resonates with my classic but contemporary style, and I love how flattering and feminine, and powerful all of the pieces are.
What are some Mestiza pieces that would be great for brides/bridal parties/mother-of-the-bride?
The Sintra Mini is perfect for a rehearsal dinner.It’s fun, fresh, and still elegant and bridal! The Liza Crepe Jumpsuit is perfect for a bachelorette party and the Alfama midi would be my pick for a bridal luncheon or brunch the day after the wedding. It's so chic and classic! The Azulejo gown would be a great pick for the mother of the bride and any of the Chinoiserie patterns in different styles (like the Georgiana or the Stephanie Bow) would look stunning on the bridal party.