Heidi Brown is a designer for AFR Event Furnishings, one of the best event companies in the industry. Her company provides stylish, high quality furniture to transform a space to fit each couples unique taste for their wedding day. We're so impressed with the ambiance she's created for so many events, and we couldn't wait to learn more about her experiences in the business!
How did you get started in the wedding business? My career started as a corporate event planner in Florida. Personally, I wanted a change in location and decided to take a job as a supplier in Washington, DC. Naturally, as soon as I switched to the supplier side it opened the door for weddings.
What do you do when you are not working? Living in the District opens so many doors for fun and inspiration. My free time usually consists of visiting the cheetahs at the National Zoo or checking out the other Smithsonian Museums. The Portrait Gallery is one of my favorites…also the gem exhibit at the Natural History Museum; what girl wouldn’t love all those jewels!
How would you describe your approach to weddings? It’s important to get to know the couple and their interests. The design and personality all need to match up as it’s their day. I want to find out before even designing why they selected that time of year, why they selected their venue, what their non-negotiables are, etc. Once I get an understanding of the why…I can design the wow.
What inspires you in your work? I customize every, single proposal. Honestly, I could have packages and make my job easier, but getting to know the couple and venue inspires me every time and makes for a more successful outcome.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? As a designer, I get a thrill in seeing a blank space transform into something spectacular. It’s another form of art that in itself is rewarding and creative.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? Furniture is not just about putting a lounge in a corner and calling it a day. You really have to think about the style, layout and design as it will impact the comfort of your guests and the flow of the event. A sofa or focal bar in the wrong size or place can throw of your catering staff as well as your guests.
What do you think sets your company apart from other rental companies? Since I started as an event planner, I know my process is unique from most rental companies. I would rather be over-informed so I can pick the perfect piece. Also, since we are a national company, we have an extensive amount of inventory. We can have every guest in a sofa for the ceremony if you want!
What do you love about weddings? Getting to be a part of such an important milestone in a couple’s life.
What do you hate about weddings? There is a lot of emotion involved, and understandably so. It can get in the way sometimes of making the appropriate choice versus what is thought to be the right choice.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? I have seen a fair amount of interesting things. Fresh in my mind is the upside down hanging wedding cake chandelier at Kaley Cuoco’s wedding by The Butter End Cakery in Santa Monica, Calif.
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Do what is right for you as a couple. Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t be persuaded to make decisions that don’t fit you both. Some things are worth standing your ground on and some aren’t - choose wisely.
Who is your favorite artist or band? Adele & Bruno Mars – I’m a throwback who loves the Temptations and Supremes so I adore the fact that both of these artists have a modern take on that style.
What is the worst song of all time? Celebration and YMCA…nothing will get them off the dance floor and to the lounge faster. Wait, maybe that’s not a bad thing for me after all.