I am happy to say that the incredibly talented Aimee Dominick of A. Dominick Events has been a friend of MyDeejay for years, and we’ve been so fortunate to work with her and her fantastic planners, Cindy Bastron and Lauren Kohr, on many spectacular events from weddings to corporate galas. Considering that they’re one of the top planning companies in DC (translation: extraordinarily busy!), we were so excited for them to share their experience with our readers. Here’s the wonderful A. Dominick Events team!
How did you get started in the wedding business?
AD: I studied fashion at FIT in New York, then went to culinary school. I have always loved design and entertaining, but wedding planning was not on my radar.I thought wedding planners tied bows on chairs… I had no idea how challenging and rewarding planning parties (and other events) could be.I was offered a job at a high-end boutique firm in NYC after culinary school and thought I would try it for a few months.I stayed two years and loved everything about events. It is the perfect blend of creativity and organization to fit my personality.
In 2005, my husband took a job in DC and I followed him.Soon thereafter, I booked my first wedding on my own.It has been a wild ride ever since.Our team is now myself and two amazing full-time planners, Cindy Bastron and Lauren Kohr.
CB: I initially started working in the hospitality industry in restaurants and hotels. As I gained more experience and studied the industry in college, I decided I loved hospitality and the service but didn’t really enjoy working on property. After some time at the Four Season Hotel in DC, my interest in event planning increased and I transitioned to weddings with A. Dominick Events.
LDK:I left a job as a client service manager in advertising and graphic design to pursue my love of food. After graduating with a degree from The Culinary Institute of America I was cooking in restaurants and looking for another way to combine my culinary and event training with my experience as a project manager. I asked Aimee Dominick (a fabulous chef herself!) to have lunch and the rest is history.
What do you do when you are not working?
LDK: I cook! I started in the event industry working in kitchens and I still love to cook on my days off.
AD: When I am not working, I like to cook. I have two small kids and we spend loads of time, making pizza and cookies. Not that we have a ton of down time, but I try to keep up on my favorite fashion and interior design magazines also. In the slower season (January and July) we love to travel.
How would you describe your approach to weddings?
AD: As far as the overall planning process, we try to work on 3-4 items at a time, to keep a good pace and not overwhelm our clients.Our goal is to create the feeling, look and experience that is specific for each client.We spend a lot of time talking about and looking at photos of what the bride likes and doesn’t like to create the exact environment for them. The best part of my job is when a bride walks into her reception and says “this is so me” or “I couldn’t describe what I wanted but this is it!”
CB: My strength and passion is the organization and logistics of putting events together. I love spreadsheets and to do lists and I am very detail oriented. I am not saying I don’t love my brides or a good inspiration board but I tend to approach weddings from a more analytical side and look at the wedding as a project that we work towards step by step.
LDK: My approach and strength in planning weddings comes from my background in project management and client service. I enjoy interacting with couples, listening to ideas, and talking through how we can create their wedding vision. I work through the planning process step by step to help our couples focus their priorities but also to ensure a successful and logistically sound event.
What inspires you in your work?
AD: I love that every day is different.No two projects are the same nor are two families.There are surprises in every meeting and every interaction with our clients.That keeps our job fresh.I can say I am NEVER bored.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job?
AD: We are welcomed into the most intimate parts of a family; their financials, family conflicts, and even, unfortunately, family illnesses. The level of trust that we build with each couple and their family is a gift.When I stand with a bride and her dad (and mom) right before they walk down the aisle, I am often overwhelmed by the specialness of being a part of the family, even if just for a year of their lives.
What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?
LD: Planning weddings/events is not as glamorous as people think. Standing next to trash in a loading dock at 7am waiting for deliveries, packing and unpacking vehicles, and meticulously alphabetizing and sorting escort cards are just a few of the things we do on a regular basis.
AD: I wish everyone could see how many hours of work go into making any event.It is awesome to have a pretty party, but that doesn’t matter if the logistics aren’t perfect or we missed our budget. My job is not glamorous. It is often tedious and stressful, but totally worth it.
What do you think sets your company apart from other planners?
AD: There are many talented planners in DC, but I can’t say for sure how other planners work.I learned the business from an amazing planner and I learn everyday day from my incredible team.I do think our team environment makes us great at what we do.There is always more than one person working on each project and that allows us to be very responsive and lean on each others’ strengths.
What do you love about weddings?
LDK: I love the reaction of the bride and groom when they see the dinner/dancing space for the first time.
What do you hate about weddings?
CB: I hate the pressure that is put on our clients about the expectations for their wedding. I wish that each and every one of our brides would allow themselves to make their wedding exactly what they want for themselves, their fiancé and their family without worrying about what other people want or expect.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?
CB: We did a same-sex wedding about a year ago and I was standing at the end of the aisle waiting for the couple and family to usher them off to photos. As the group reached the end of the aisle the father of one of the grooms hugged the other groom and said “you are now my son too.”
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding?
LDK: For brides – If your in-laws to be are hosting the rehearsal dinner, it is their party. Let them handle the details and don’t get caught up and try to control every aspect of the rehearsal dinner as well. Starting off on good terms with your new family is incredibly important. For the couple – at the wedding, take a moment to stop and look around together. Take in everything around you and remember to enjoy it. The entire weekend will fly by in an instant.
Who is your favorite artist or band?
CB: I was born and raised in Colorado and while I am in no way a country girl, I do love my country music (much to the dismay of some of my office mates). I don’t have a real favorite artist but do get mildly obsessed with some current country hits now and then.
What is the worst song of all time?