Scott Corridan is one of my absolute favorite Lake Tahoe wedding planners. His strong design is bold, bright and completely unique. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to interview him and share his knowledge on destination weddings in Lake Tahoe.
Photos: Catherine Hall Studios
TU: You have established an incredible and highly regarded design business. From this, how did you get your start in the wedding industry?
SC: Thank you! I guess that is true. Sometimes you have to step back from the day to day work and investments of time and resource to see what others see. And yes, I am blessed with success. I got in to our industry by mistake. Well, I guess there are no mistakes really. But I was doing my Interior and Architectural Design work when I got a client who was opening a full service floral design business. For them I got to design a whole new building front and interior, all their furnishings, as well as their logo. I fell so in love with what I had done with them that I made an offer to buy in to their business. That was the beginnings of what has become Scott Corridan Design some 24 years later. I’ll never forget making my first boutonniere – it literally took me 8 hours. Hysterical looking back!
TU: You seem to really love what you do. What do you love most?
SC: The relationships with my Clients and my Vendors. Relationships. At the end of the day—no matter how gorgeous things are or how successful an event was—it’s the relationships in this small community that provide the very backbone of day to day life. With our Vendor community I have never been a part of a more collaborative community. We are so blessed here to be able to reach out by phone and problem solve with someone you very likely are competing against to secure business. I’ve never seen it before. And the clients that our destination attracts are truly rooted in the core qualities of what this destination is about. It provides for a connection that I’ve never experienced in all the other places I’ve worked.
This is a very special and unique place.
Photos: Myrtle and Marjoram Photography
TU: What inspires you and where do you go for your design inspiration?
SC: Everywhere… inspiration is literally everywhere. I remember when I was designing my gowns, I would find inspiration in the miniature budding pine cones in a noble fir at the lake. Or in the sound that the wind makes when its going through aspen trees in the fall. I spend a lot of time just out. Walking around. Going in to stores and cafes. Walking through public parks and private gardens. Driving around the lake and Reno and Napa and Sonoma. Inspiration is everywhere. Life is pretty nuts and incredible when you stop and look at it. And then that a.d.d./o.c.d. kicks in and you’ve found the answer to a client’s question and you start running with it.
Something I try to share with colleagues of mine I adore and of course my own team, is that we will always be subjected to trends – you can’t stop the forces of a popular movement. But something I find so disappointing in our market right now is the relentless copy catting that is going on. As professionals, I believe strongly, that it is our job to find our client’s unique and individual story within the trends that are happening in the marketplace. I don’t set out to make my work ‘different’ but I hear almost all the time from clients looking to contract us that that is what they are attracted to – that our work is different from the pack, and at a high bar. I like hearing that. And I like pushing my team and my colleagues to find that space for themselves.
TU: On the topic of trends, what are your favorite trends for the 2014 wedding season?
SC: The death of d.i.y. makes me very happy.
I love hearing editors and publishers putting out mandates of no more vintage anything.
I don’t love the return of glamour and high end weddings so much for the ‘stuff’ of it… but I do love it in the sense that weddings are profound moments where we do and should be putting on our ‘best’. So I’m excited to see how clients will be defining their ‘best’ moving in to next year. And how they’ll define their stories uniquely on this path.
For Tahoe, I am excited to see a strong clutch of new vendors establishing themselves and defining a new voice. This partnered with the continual opening up of venue assets and activity experiences will continue to push Tahoe to claiming its world class status as a wedding destination.
Photos: Jesse Leake
TU: What are the most important things to remember on the day of the wedding? For yourself and for the couple?
SC: Timeline. Flexibility. Magic. Timeline. Flexibility. Magic. Repeat.
TU: I love the way you put it. Magic is definitely part of an incredible wedding! What was your most memorable event you and your team coordinated?
SC: Too many… it’s a book. They are each memorable because they were each so important to our clients. Each wedding I’ve done has a profound memory. And not one based on money or products or services or destination or anything like that. Each memory based on a story told, a goal defined… and an experience delivered.
TU: What is the biggest indulgence you’ve seen at a wedding?
SC: One of my clients bought a 1975 yellow Corvette Stingray for his bride after learning that a favorite memory of hers was when she and her dad would drive around in his on their special dad/daughter days when she was little. Her father had passed away before the wedding. The groom found a perfect condition model in Florida and then had it airlifted by helicopter from Miami to Paradise Island and dropped down right in the middle of our cocktail reception as his gift to her. As dinner started it was airlifted back to Miami for them to pick up when they returned stateside. He airlifted it because he didn’t want to pay duty tax on it. It was an insane surprise and just over the top incredible for her. Never forget it!
Photos: Corey Fox Photography
TU: As couples have access to online resources how do you feel about them planning a destination wedding on their own?
SC: Planning a wedding – SUCCESSFULLY – is an incredibly intricate and difficult task. ESPECIALLY for a destination bride. That’s my gown always – success. Success as defined by our clients. And I’ll be frank – all this foolishness about d.i.y. and you can manage your own celebration, blah, blah, blah that you see everywhere – its nonsense. Why on earth would anyone, ever, want to invest the types of dollars that brides and grooms invest, all surrounding what is one of the most stressful and emotionally powerful moments in our lives, and then have to manage it all themselves when they’ve likely never even hosted a dinner party for more than 6 or 8 people at their home. It’s ludicrous. They simply have no idea, whatsoever, what goes in to managing a celebration successfully. And the saddest part of all to me is that there are no re-do’s. You can’t do your wedding day over. Once its started it will soon be done and that will be that. Period.
I’ve been doing this for 24 years. I most certainly do not know everything and daily I continue to learn something new. But I do know the pitfalls, the red flags, the scheduling challenges, the logistical constraints, the power of a budget to build success or failure, the hand holding of psyche and spirit that can’t be otherwise quantified on a timeline or spreadsheet… all managed in an efficient manner based on experience with a result that suggests a multiple of what was actually invested in an event was invested.
The ridiculous stories I hear – we all hear – will one day fill books. The Idiots Guide to Not Planning Your Own Wedding might be the title of the series.
My fiance and I are getting married this May. I’m lucky in that I do what I do. And I might be embarrassed to share that our wedding is completely done and planned at this point. But I will be for god damned sure that I will have nothing to do with managing our wedding celebration once its show time. Hell to the no. We are hiring a team of PROFESSIONALS who will take the reigns and allow us to fully enjoy all we’ve invested in as our own guests of honor, creating the space for us to fully embrace our family and friends and be fully present for this life altering moment in time.
I hear often about how we are a ‘luxury’. Nonsense. We’re an insurance policy. We’re the ones – the Professional Planners – who guarantee that a celebration will be fulfilled beyond the client’s expectations. A great Planner is not only money well spent, but the single best investment expended on a wedding.
Photos: Corey Fox Photography
TU: What is your advice for a bride who’s starting to make decisions about her destination wedding?
SC: Budget, budget, budget. Don’t fool yourself or be foolish about what this will cost and what feels right and comfortable to you. Define your budget which will in turn define your priorities and stick to your guns not with a what you’re sacrificing sort of resignation, but instead with a what you’re in control of authority that will be the strongest foundation of success you can start with.
Logistics, logistics, logistics. Your wedding celebration – the actual ceremony where you say ‘I do’ – is most certainly all about you. But this celebration is actually all about your guests. Select your sites and accommodations with an eye toward making your guests comfortable. Happy smiling excited passionate guests make an ordinary moment an extraordinary celebration. Grumpy tired angst out guests make any event a drag… and Tahoe is not a kind place for logistics. So choose wisely.
Get educated. The Tahoe Truckee wedding market is flooded with great resources, services, products and vendors. Knowledge is power. And taking your time to get educated about all there is to know so you can make your best decisions is time well invested.
… Hire a Professional Planner who is an expert in the destination.
And then relax. Enjoy. Even indulge. This one day will fly by and be over before you realized it started. Don’t miss a minute of it!
Photos: Viera Photographics
TU: What’s your best wedding planning tip for Tahoe Unveiled readers?
SC: Weather and Logistics, weather and logistics, weather and logistics… If you don’t like the weather in Tahoe, stick around for 5 minutes and it will most certainly change. No wind, no problem – 5 minutes later we have 60mph winds and 4-6′ wakes on the lake. Too hot, no problem – 5 minutes later we’ve gone from 92F at the shoreline to 56F at your ceremony lawn. Gorgeous sun on a summer’s day, hold on – 5 minutes later we’re experiencing torrential downpours from a Ninja thunderstorm… Weather.
And Tahoe and Truckee have a perception – well earned and real, of being a quaint community filled with warm and welcome people. There is no question that that is true. But what’s actually true is that Tahoe and Truckee are a continual line of several quaint communities, each filled with warm and welcoming people. If you’ve put all your guests up in Squaw Valley and your wedding is at Thunderbird, you need to have a plan on how you’re addressing the up 90 minute commute in the middle of a busy tourist filled Saturday afternoon in summer to get to your celebration. The roads and the maneuvering around the destination can prove very frustrating and fatally time consuming to brides and grooms and their guests, to say nothing of the vendor services. Logistics.
Photos: Theilen Photography
TU: What do you like to do in your off-time?
SC: horses, dogs, skiing, hiking, boating… napping.
TU: Other than the wedding and design industries, what are you passionate about?
SC: Oh god. I’m passionate about the ski instruction I do. This will be my 10th season now of working with children and adults across a wide spectrum of disability. I’m a certified Alpine and Adaptive ski instructor. This year I’ll be working once again with the teams at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra in Mammoth Lakes and Disabled Sports Far West at Alpine Meadows/Squaw and Northstar. Let it snow!
TU: It is wonderful to hear about your work and what you do to give back to the community! Thank you so much for intimately sharing your knowledge, passions, inspirations and wedding tips.
For more information please see Scott’s website at www.scottcorridan.net, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 530.388.0214.
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