For today’s episode, Kelly is joined by Stephanie Hile, general manager and co-owner of the Diamond Room in Omaha.
The Diamond Room is a wedding and events space, awesomely located almost exactly catty-corner from the Omaha ballpark, that bills itself as “industrial chic.” Think cool cement floors and garage doors – but make it fashion. Stefanie says couples love the space because it’s just so versatile – a cool and modern blank canvas. (2:30)
Right out of college, Stephanie began a career in internet retail, (3:46) doing everything from social media, to SEO, and email marketing. She attributes this experience with giving her a solid base from which to begin her own business. Coming from the entrepreneurial family that she does, Stephanie’s dad and her sat down to draw a business plan for what later became The Diamond Room and began to look at spaces in 2008. (4:26) After coming up empty handed for the perfect space, Stephanie moved on and continued working for internet retail for another 5 years. One day her dad let her know that he had found the perfect place – and 3 months later she had the keys in hand.
Today, Stephanie’s role primarily consists of assisting with tourism bookings and helping the clients through their planning process When it comes to weddings, she meets with couples at 60 days out, and then again at 30 days out to go over all concerns, questions and logistics – leaving nothing until the last minute – or worse – to chance. Stefanie likes getting couples into the venue space early on to truly visualize how everything is going to come together.
A blank canvas can be overwhelming, but Stephanie guides couples throughout every step of the process. To walk couples through planning their perfect day, she begins by discussing what the couple is envisioning for centerpieces. (2:20) She then suggest table shapes and layouts, as well as head table options to create the look and feel they’re going for.
In the past few years, Stephanie has definitely sensed a shift toward more unique, personalized weddings. While the first few weddings she did were all sort of the same as far as look and vendors, brides are now coming up with their own unique ideas and visions for what they want on their big day.(6:22)
Kelly then asks Stephanie to share three things clients may not know about her. She shares a little about her fun role as a dance mom, her possible caffeine addiction, and her love of comparing her life to her favorite tv shows. (She’s a Charlotte, if you’re curious.)
When it comes to things she wishes couples were asking, Stephanie reassures that they should feel comfortable asking anything and everything they want. There is no such thing as a dumb question, as we’re not all expected to be wedding pros. (That’s what the pros are for, after all!) She also wishes couples would really get into the weeds of their contracts with vendors as well as their venue. (12:00)
Stephanie finally shares her advice on choosing vendors couples love (17:40) and prioritizing what is most important to them, as well as looking out for red flags that could lead to issues further along in the planning process.