A Monique Affair’s Chanda Eddens – Daniels is a Same-Sex Wedding Planner Pioneer
Chanda Eddens – Daniels is one of the pioneers in the wedding industry as an out wedding planner. The openly lesbian wedding planner has been helping same-sex couples plan their weddings for almost 16 years.
She launched A Monique Affair, a full-service wedding planning, design and coordination business dedicated to same-sex couples, in 1999. The creative director of A Monique Affair says she has always been in love with weddings since I was a little girl.
“I did not know back then but it was my true calling. I just had no idea it was a career. When I finally decided to follow my passion I got certified by taking an in-home course from the Association of Bridal Consultants. As I started looking around I noticed there were no planners focusing on the same-sex weddings. So I set out to service my community, and that’s how this journey began!”
A Monique Affair is based in Oakland, Calif., which is a little less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco. Eddens – Daniels says that 95% of her clientele is LGBTQ, and she absolutely loves that.
In between her busy wedding schedule, we stole a few moments of her time to get to know her a little better.
EW: How does it feel knowing you’ve helped so many couples for more than 15 years celebrate love and commitment in such a traditional way?
CED: I feel absolutely thrilled that the universe guided me to do this. I always do what’s in my heart, and it’s been an amazing journey. And the fact that people told me my business would not make it too long because my market was so specialized, but look who’s laughing now! I have had more clients say that they are so happy to see real same-sex weddings on my gallery, not just styled shoots. I have the experience to back it up and that makes my clients feel comfortable. Wedding planning is such a personal thing; you have to feel comfortable with the person you are trusting with your wedding day!
What do you love about working in the wedding business?
What I love about working in the wedding industry is being given the chance to tell my couples unique love story. I love when couples walk into the reception room for the big reveal and they hug me like crazy! That joy at that very moment is why I do this!!
What types of weddings are you known for in Oakland? How about winery weddings?
I am known for creating unique weddings for my clients; no two weddings have ever been a like! However the most common thing in all weddings is designing children’s play areas! Last season, we did a huge picnic themed wedding, but picnic in a glam way—it was amazing! Yes, we love winery weddings in Sonoma, Napa and Carmel Valley—those are so pretty and intimate.
What can couples expect when they come to you?
When couples come to me and they are ready to work with AMA, we focus a lot on their wedding day investment. I don’t do anything until we create a financial plan that my couple feels comfortable with. This requires a lot of focus because most couples are really surprised at the total cost of a wedding. Once that is done, we start the fun part: creating inspiration boards, meeting with vendors, etc. We aim to give our clients a flawless planning experience because this part is the longest, so why not have fun? Oh, and of course, there is always a laugh-fest toward the middle of planning; I call it “Wedding Breakdown.”
Who else in on your team?
Our full team consists of an event manager, a concierge, and four event techs for installation and strike. In order to give our clients, their guests and our creative partners the flawless experience, we bring in a complete team. I learned earlier in my career that I couldn’t do it all!
What advice do you have for couples who are on the fence of whether or not to hire a wedding planner?
My advice is to not think twice about it, seriously! A planner should always be in your financial plan. However if you cannot fit a full-service planner in your costs, at least get someone who offers a partial planning service. Your wedding day goes by so fast; you need to be in the moment, all day! Not worrying about where the centerpieces are!
What else would you like readers to know about A Monique Affair?
I would like readers to know that I love what I do! I have a passion for it and that makes me put my all into every wedding. I have been given this talent to share with my community and I do not take that lightly. I am honored every time a couple trusts me with their wedding day, which is a huge responsibility! I love seeing the world, and I will travel for weddings. Oh, and I’m a Nana!
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