Despite the fact I can nearly recite The Wedding Planner verbatim and seriously considered a career in wedding planning back in college, I had never really given much thought to my own wedding until one perfect day at the beach in May. Now that I’m tasked with putting one together, the idea of a more intimate affair is sounding increasingly more wonderful. Not to mention, we could actually afford customized letterpress invites, go absolutely bonkers with the flowers (yes, please!) and invest in a stellar photographer to capture every inch of the day. And if we lived in Texas, I’d know just the gal to help us out: Karis Crawford. Earlier this year, she launched her aptly dubbed wedding planning business, Kindred, with the notion that weddings could, in fact, be small, intimate and oh-so-lovely. Above all, she focuses on the joy of the occasion and I can’t think of anything better for the happiest day in our lives.
NAME Karis Crawford
LOCATION Austin, Texas
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND B.S. in Public Relations
COMPANY Kindred By Karis
Tell me a bit about yourself & what inspired you to launch Kindred. I’ve always loved working with people, building relationships, and organizing and planning events. When I was planning my own wedding a few years ago, I was shocked at the cost of everything that went into a wedding. We had a small wedding on a tight budget and I adored everything about the intimacy and joy that came from that day. A few years later, Kindred was created out of my frustration with much of the wedding industry’s standards of what a wedding “should be” money-sucking, attention-grabbing, Pinterest/blog-worthy, perfection…etc. I felt that I wanted to — needed to — get back to the real meaning of a wedding: love, God, family, commitment, and the joy of the future ahead together.
When planning small, intimate weddings, I would think they’re very much a reflection of the couple being married. Have you found that to be true? Absolutely! I hear from couples that value a meaningful marriage, not just a picture perfect wedding day. They are most concerned with focusing on celebrating with family and friends rather than focusing on celebrating with glitz and glam. They want a beautiful wedding day, but they want intimacy, family, and joy above all. I draw inspiration from the couples themselves. I believe that their day should look and feel like who they are as a couple. My goal is for family and close friends to look at the day we’ve created and say, “Wow! This is so them. This feels like home.”
Tell me about the planning process. Where do you begin? I start by meeting with the couple and listening to their story, learning about their preferences and personalities, and then I begin connecting them with vendors that share the same values.
As a new business, how did you get the word out about your company when you first began? How do you anticipate handling marketing moving forward? I reached out to wedding vendors in the area that have similar values to my own. I knew I could wholeheartedly recommend them to my couples because of their passion, commitment, and heart for their brides and grooms. I see myself doing a lot of my marketing in the future through Instagram. It’s such an awesome place to connect with people in this industry.
What has been the most rewarding part about working for yourself? Most challenging? I love being able to set my own hours and having the freedom to grab coffee with a friend or bride in the middle of the day. It’s really rewarding to start a business on your own and see other people on such an important day. The most challenging part about working for myself is staying focused during business hours. It’s so hard to not be doing laundry when it’s right next door to your office.
Let’s rewind a few years. What advice would give yourself on the topic of entrepreneurship? I would tell myself to find a mentor as soon as possible. I have an amazing mentor now that has encouraged me so much and given me so much valuable business advice while launching Kindred, I just wish I would have found her sooner.
Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself & Kindred? I see myself working with more and more couples to help them plan meaningful weddings. I would love to be able to add people to the Kindred team as we grow.
What one pearl of wisdom would you share with those getting into the wedding/event planning business? It’s easy to get caught up with the idea of “perfection” in the wedding industry. Remember to stay focused on the “why” of what you do and the people you serve. It will keep your passion alive.
Guilty pleasure? Date nights to Alamo Drafthouse (a dinner/movie theater), watching New Girl for hours.
Favorite moment during a wedding? The bride’s anticipation moments before she walks down the aisle and the groom’s reaction to seeing her.
Favorite wedding blog? Cottage Hill Magazine
Cake or pie? Pie
What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you? I was a wedding photographer for a while after college.