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A One-Stop Wedding Shop

A collective of wedding and event specialists for all of life’s occasions

By Ashley Simmons

When you dream about having the perfect wedding, you dream about floating down the aisle with a gorgeous soul mate, cutting a beautiful three-tier cake, and then partying the night away at a breathtaking venue that you will never forget. But who will be there to help you put everything in order—to make sure that you have the perfect florist, the photographer you adore, and the cake that tastes better than you could ever have imagined?

Every wedding needs a little assistance, and that’s where the WES comes in! The WES, an abbreviation for Wedding and Event Specialists, is your one-stop wedding and event collective, currently housing over twenty vendors that cover everything from event planning and design to photography and catering.

The WES, formerly known as the Wedding Studio, is located in Pensacola, Florida. It was originally the idea of a group of vendors who took a trip to West Palm Beach for a wedding in a bustling destination area. After the trip, Sara Gillianne, one of the original founders of the Wedding Studio and owner of Sara Gillianne Weddings and Events, decided it was time to revolutionize the wedding industry on the Gulf Coast. She wanted to make Pensacola and the surrounding area a hot spot for destination weddings.

 

Gillianne opened her shop in a small office building on Zaragoza Street and soon ran out of space for all of the vendors interested in joining the newly formed collective. This led to the discovery of and relocation to the shop’s new home in the heart of downtown Pensacola. “We were lucky to find a beautiful location that embodies us now, located at 130 South Palafox Street,” says Gillianne. “The WES is a place where wedding and event vendors have a beautiful, professional place to meet their clients. A spot that can inspire and make the client feel comfortable—not to mention the convenience of it all.”

One of the WES vendors, Melissa Wilson of Melissa Wilson Photography, explains, “Being part of a collaborative venture such as the WES gives me the opportunity to bask in inspiration and creativity with some of the best vendors on the Gulf Coast! And being able to offer a beautiful meeting space for my sweet couples is the best bonus!”

The WES is a place where wedding and event vendors have a beautiful, professional place to meet their clients. A spot that can inspire and make the client feel comfortable—not to mention the convenience of it all.

After just one year in the new location, Gillianne—along with Chloe Winchester of Supposey Wedding Florals and co-owner of Gulf Coast Pedicabs, Jessi Field of Jessi Field Photography, and Ramsey Coates of AnydayDJ.com—decided that it was time for a change. “We are all heading up different parts of the leadership here and helping entrepreneurs and other locals promote, refine, and grow their small businesses,” says Winchester.

One of the WES vendors, Melissa Wilson of Melissa Wilson Photography, explains, “Being part of a collaborative venture such as the WES gives me the opportunity to bask in inspiration and creativity with some of the best vendors on the Gulf Coast! And being able to offer a beautiful meeting space for my sweet couples is the best bonus!”

Wedding Event Specialists bride and groom hold hands on beach. Photo by Palafox Street Weddings
Photo by Palafox Street Weddings

After just one year in the new location, Gillianne—along with Chloe Winchester of Supposey Wedding Florals and co-owner of Gulf Coast Pedicabs, Jessi Field of Jessi Field Photography, and Ramsey Coates of AnydayDJ.com—decided that it was time for a change. “We are all heading up different parts of the leadership here and helping entrepreneurs and other locals promote, refine, and grow their small businesses,” says Winchester.

After pulling in hundreds of weddings, this talented group of vendors realized the potential for growth in a thriving downtown area. This led to their announcement in March 2015 that the Wedding Studio would be rebranded to the WES. This opened the doors to other types of events, both for locals and others looking for a destination to host their parties, concerts, and more. “We are able to work with the best in the industry to create events like no other in the Pensacola area,” explains Leia Triplett of Sara Gillianne Weddings and Events. “The creative process is so much more exciting when you have others to bounce ideas off of. I work best when I work with a team, and that’s what the WES is: a team of wedding and event professionals that all bring something special and unique to the table. Each vendor company has its own style and that just adds value and depth to the WES.”

 

By offering more services, the WES has also attracted new vendors and has once more opened the door to allow more creative artists to join. “The best advice I have for anyone out there, even with the smallest thought of starting a business: Do it! Don’t wait. Start today, dream big, and work hard,” Winchester says. “You will have to sacrifice a lot, but a big hustle and constant hard work will make your passion and dream into a reality.”

According to The Wedding Report, there were 3,798 weddings in the Pensacola area in 2013, bringing in over $90 million. Couples from out of town need the most assistance in planning their weddings, since most are either not familiar with the area or have not been back recently to see what new areas have grown since their last visit. So Gillianne and her team at the WES decided to make the wedding planning and execution process as stress-free as possible, allowing the couple to come in from out of town and find all their vendors in one place. This helps the couple to relax before the big day. Having someone by your side from the beginning until your wedding day can be a relief and even allow for more time to focus on the little things that really make all the difference.

Having someone by your side from the beginning until your wedding day can be a relief and even allow for more time to focus on the little things that really make all the difference.

“I have daydreamed about the perfect wedding ever since I was a little girl,” says WES bride Lindsey Speedy, who celebrated her wedding last year and gives a perfect example of what the WES strives to bring to brides from across the country. “When I became engaged, I couldn’t wait to start planning and organizing everything; the only problem was that our wedding destination was about two thousand miles away from where we live. Even though I was born and raised in Pensacola, I had no idea who to talk to, where to go, what questions to ask—nothing. I almost thought we should just run away and elope! Thank goodness I found Sara and her team of specialists at the WES. Our wedding planning experience was absolutely stress-free and a lot of fun! They took our vision and made it a reality, down to the last detail. Our wedding was everything we wanted and more. We are forever grateful to the WES team for making our wedding day the absolute best day of our lives!”

The WES doesn’t only focus on destination weddings. They make it convenient for local couples—a huge part of their clientele—to stop by, speak to a wedding or event planner, and get a complete overview of everything the WES has to offer. The WES can assist with all of the wedding vendors, from beginning to end, or with just one or two last-minute additions. They offer a little bit of everything, which allows for a unique spin on each couple’s ideal wedding. Couples can bring in their ideas and watch them unfold!

Wedding Event Specialists cutting their grand opening day ribbon. Photo by Melissa Wilson Photography
Photo by Melissa Wilson Photography

“The WES is a great tool for me as a wedding planner because it allows me to coordinate a dream wedding for any couple, no matter the style or budget,” says Triplett, who has been a wedding planner for over five years and loves the selection that the WES offers clients. “We have a diverse group of photographers, florists, bakers, calligraphers, musicians, caterers, and makeup artists that all offer a unique and personal style with a varying range of prices. Knowing these vendors and their level of work makes the planning process much easier. We all work so closely together that we are able to build a trust with each vendor. When our couples see all of their vendors working so hard together to pull off their dream wedding, it makes their day that much more special! And as a wedding planner, that’s the most important thing to me.”

They offer a little bit of everything, which allows for a unique spin on each couple’s ideal wedding. Couples can bring in their ideas and watch them unfold!

When Gillianne wrote up the business plan for the Wedding Studio, she never imagined the vision would bring so many creative people together and develop into what it is today. “I love everything that we have become, from this being a simple idea to our dream growing and improving right before my eyes,” she says. “The vendors are more than just vendors; we have become family.”

The WES is open to all wedding and event vendors interested in joining the collective and invites you to stop by and meet the vendors currently calling the WES their home.

— V —


The WES www.LovePartyWES.com Located at 130 South Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M.; Saturday, NOON–4:00 P.M.



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