With Bruce Pittman Inc. A boutique specializing in the planning and design of weddings and social events
Even as a young child, Bruce Pittman was surrounded by the aura of entertaining. “I think I was destined to work in the hospitality industry, growing up in a family that entertained on a regular basis. Some of my earliest memories are being shown how to properly set a table and helping to prepare meals in the kitchen,” says Pittman. He adds that this, coupled with his growing passion for entertaining, essentially laid the foundation for opening his own catering company 17 years ago. He adds, “At the time, event planners were not as prevalent as they are today. Catering weddings was the backbone of my business.”
Pittman explains that over the years, his desire to enhance his brand led to transitioning his business into Bruce Pittman Inc., a wedding and event planning “boutique” that allows him to work with clients on a much more personal level. “I have heightened the planning experience for couples and feel strongly about being the person clients work with from start to finish, rather than assigning them to an alternate planner after contracting with my company,” he explains. Today Pittman plans approximately 30 weddings annually as part of the Bruce Pittman Inc. (BPI) Collection, in addition to numerous fundraising balls and galas.
Planning a Wedding in the “It” City
When meeting a couple for the first time, Pittman says there are three things that need to be accomplished almost immediately. The first is to create a wedding budget tailored to each couple’s specific wants and needs. Next is to identify and contract the venue, since on average venues are being reserved 17 months in advance. Last, identify and contract hotel room blocks. Says Pittman, “With Nashville’s convention business growth, hotel room blocks have become challenging for the most part to obtain, with some hotels booking out a year in advance.
“Nashville has been, and still is, the ‘it’ city. Interesting enough, I plan more destination weddings in Nashville than marriages of couples living here,” says Pittman. “It’s now common place for venues to contract Friday and Sunday weddings in addition to the traditional Saturday weddings. Couples begin reaching out to me 12 months in advance at minimum, with 18 months in advance becoming the norm.”
Pittman shares that according to costofawedding.com, the average wedding in the United States totals $26,444, with couples typically spending between $19,833 and $33,055. But he adds that many couples will spend less than $10,000. Weddings budgets utilizing the BPI Collection range from $40,000 to $100,000+.
Choose Your ‘A Team’ Wisely
Pittman also stresses the importance of choosing the right vendors to help plan the most important day of your life. He says, “The success and ease of executing your wedding lies in the hands of the wedding partners you contract, which I like to call your ‘A Team.’ Bringing partners on board who are credible and professional make all the difference.” These partners include the photographer, caterer, transportation services, rentals, florist, band/DJ and bakery.
Once the foundation for a wedding is laid, Pittman says it’s time to enjoy planning the fine details which include:
* Stationary identification. Save the dates, invitations, thank you cards, ceremony programs, menu cards and place cards.
* Clothing identification. Wedding gown, bridesmaids dresses, tuxedos and suits.
* Favor identification. This could be utilizing a traditional favor, or be a more creative option such as a late night snack.
* Song selections. Prelude, ceremony, cocktail reception, traditional dances and post-dinner dance.
* Design selections. In addition to rental and floral needs, an event diagram needs to be created along with linen selection, if needed, and final review and approval of the design plan.
* Hair and make-up identification for the bride and wedding party.
* Registry creation. Selection of home needs for guest gift selection.
When asked if he has worked with any celebrity clients, Pittman’s response is humble. “I have had the pleasure of working with clients in the past with recognizable names, but each couple I work with is considered a ‘top’ client. I have always practiced not capitalizing on a person or couple’s ‘name’ to heighten my brand. Weddings are intimate occasions, celebrating the love between two people.”
Cheers to that sentiment and to BPI.