who is LAUREN PRADO?
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about LAUREN Prado
You might find it surprising that I had never been a guest at a wedding until I was 24 years old; which is part of the reason I became so intrigued by weddings when I was younger- because I had longed to attend one! Always having been interested in party planning and events (thanks to my mom, the ultimate hostess), I knew I wanted to pursue a career in this field. However, my passion for weddings really developed during college when I worked as front of the house staff for a premier Chicago catering company. After working numerous weddings over three years, I was absolutely hooked and knew I wanted to be the one planning these events.
Wedding planning, of course, allows me to use my keen eye for detail (hello, timelines!) and my creative side, but it also allows me to get to know people from all walks of life. I truly enjoy the process of getting to know my couples and interacting with their families. In the end, it allows me to seamlessly blend into my couples’ wedding days which often has guests wondering if I’m a planner or just a good friend helping another friend get married. I really work to understand my clients’ personalities, style, goals, and manage expectations so that I can play matchmaker and pair them with the perfect vendors. By getting to know my clients and forming awesome vendor teams, I’m able to provide a sense of calm throughout the entire day. Not to worry though – there are a million checklists running through my head to ensure a wedding day runs smoothly.
My favorite part of the planning process, aside from helping navigate the catering world, is sitting down to talk about the overall design and all the contributing details. I’m always up for a challenge. If you’re traditional, modern, romantic, industrial, boho, or some combination of all of those – let’s plan something beautiful, fun, and unique. We’ll talk about everything from favorite or least favorite flowers all the way down to the cocktail napkins at the bar. It’s always a “wow” moment for me when I see a venue transform and see our design ideas come to life. Revealing the reception space to my clients is the best feeling after many months of planning. I know we achieved our goal together when there are happy tears coming from everyone!
As the most recent LOLA to be married in July 2018, I also have a new view on weddings from the bride’s perspective. I can better understand a client’s stress revolving around guest lists, seating charts, scheduling tastings and floral samples, and honeymoon planning all while still having a full-time career. There are so many decisions a couple will make for their wedding day and it’s easy to question every decision or backtrack. My advice? Go with your gut! No one will ever know we looked at twenty different table linens or that you could have had two signature drinks instead of one. During my own planning, I realized that 98% of the time, I ended up going back to my original ideas after I started toying around with some changes. I’m happy to give advice based on my personal experiences if you ask for it, but I promise I won’t be the planner who only talks about her own wedding.
In my free time and weekends off, I enjoy spending time with my new husband, Scott, and our families and friends. I enjoy exploring Chicago’s always evolving restaurant and bar scene and, on the flip side, trying to stay fit with barre classes or spinning on our Peloton. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I live for summers in the city, but after our honeymoon, I’ve caught a travel bug. I love hearing all about my clients’ past and future travel plans – I get so many good ideas to add to my bucket list!
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WORDS FROM LAUREN'S CLIENTS
Hiring Lauren P from LOLA Event Productions for our wedding in Chicago was the BEST decision my husband and I made during our wedding planning process. After our first meeting with Lauren, hiring her was an obvious choice. Lauren was so warm and friendly, listening to our thoughts about our wedding without any judgment or preconceived notions. She was extremely knowledgeable, offering insights into how to prioritize certain items in our wedding to fit within our budget and explaining her process for recommending vendors. Most importantly, Lauren was SO easy to talk to- we left our first meeting feeling like we had just spent time with an old friend.
We had chosen our wedding venue before hiring Lauren for planning services but she was intimately involved in every other piece of the planning process over the next 17 months. Lauren was very understanding of my busy schedule and was always willing to meet with us late in the evening, over the weekend, or over the phone to make sure that I was comfortable with all decisions. She helped facilitate meetings with vendors outside of traditional business hours, never making us feel like it was a burden to work around our professional schedules. Lauren saved us countless hours of Googling by always providing us 2-3 vendors per category that were within our budget, available on our wedding day, and highly recommended by herself or her LOLA coworkers. She was also open to working with new vendors, putting in significant time and energy to build those relationships and have us feel 1000% confident in our choices.
Lauren is always reachable via email- she answered so many questions throughout our working relationship and was always encouraging and excited about our big day. The clout that LOLA Event Productions carries in the Chicagoland area is also incredible- Lauren was able to help us negotiate contracts and, more importantly, every vendor we hired gushed about LOLA and how seamless our wedding would be because of our wedding planner.
On our wedding day, all of Lauren’s hard work was obvious in how perfectly our night flowed. Lauren kept all vendors and all bridal party members on schedule with a firm but extremely warm manner. She never once seemed flustered despite having to juggle so many responsibilities on the day and delegated tasks wonderfully to her assistant. Neither my husband nor I needed to lift a finger on our big day and, as an added bonus, neither did our bridal party or our family- everyone was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the STUNNING celebration that Lauren had coordinated. When my husband and I walked into the reception room for the first time, we were speechless. Lauren had taken our vision and all of the design decisions that the three of us had made and elevated it to another level. It was truly perfect. She helped us navigate the timing of the reception with ease, coordinating speeches, dances, cake cutting, etc.
I can’t put into words just how amazing Lauren is at her job and I am certain that all LOLA Event Productions coordinators are equally incredible. My husband and I have both lamented that while we are so happy to be married, we are sad that this means that we don’t get to see or talk to Lauren on a regular basis- she truly became a friend! Run, don’t walk, to hire LOLA Event Productions. I will be telling everyone I know to hire them as a wedding planner because, honestly, I can’t imagine going through this process without Lauren. Thank you, thank you!