There’s something very special about Emmett Hickam, the owner of Richmond Bridal Consulting: he is actually the ONLY male wedding planner in Richmond! Crazy, right? He is one of my absolute favorite people to run into at events for MANY reasons, but the first that come to mind are his sense of humor and his style! I have a feeling that you’re going to love him, too.
Richmond Bridal Consulting is a full-service wedding planning company. We offer a variety of packages depending on how much assistance a bride needs. And as I like to say, not all of our clients wear white. We also plan and execute corporate events, non-profit fundraisers, private parties, and more.
How did you get started in this business?
Like most people, my current profession isn’t my first one. I’ve been an operations manager at a Fortune 500 company, the general manager of a rental company and a high school teacher. About seven or eight years ago, a local wedding planner invited me to work with her, which I did for four years. Then I caught the entrepreneur bug and decided to start my own company.
What differentiates you from other businesses in your field?
I have the perfect background for wedding planning. As an operations manager, my job was to look for ways to streamline processes, make and enforce budgets and ensure that quality was never compromised. Plus, my teaching background has taught me how to herd cats and never to take myself too seriously.
My clients appreciate that I am not a yes-man. I know that expectations can sometimes exceed budgets, so I am always honest with my brides about what’s possible. And while I may sometimes have to bring them down to earth, I always offer lots of ideas about how to pull off an unforgettable wedding without breaking the bank.
Why do you like working with weddings?
No two events are the same, and it’s a new challenge every weekend. This keeps me on my toes and there’s nothing more exciting than seeing good planning and hard work come to life.
What is the most difficult situation you have faced with a bride and how did you resolve it?
I had a couple break up before the wedding, which of course was devastating to the bride (and the groom, too). I suddenly went from wedding planner to therapist, providing a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Planning a wedding with a client can be quite a bonding experience, so I wasn’t surprised she turned to me for support.
From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?
Some brides forego hiring a planner because they think it’s a way to economize. The opposite is actually true. I can save my clients money in several ways, including through my ability to obtain certain products wholesale. I also have relationships with a lot of top-notch vendors who offer my clients discounts because of their relationships with me.
What or who motivates you?
The challenge of making an event as flawless as possible. I know I’ve done a good job when a bride comes up to me in the middle of the reception with a smile on her face and thanks me, telling me she couldn’t have pulled off the day without me.
What do you like to do when you are away from work?
Is there a such thing as time away from work? When I find some down time, I like to curl up on my sofa with my cat, Lyndon Johnson, and nap. (Yes, I named my cat after a president. History nerd, I know.)
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I hold both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. When I was a kid, I lived in the pork capital of the US: Smithfield, VA. And the bow tie — yes, I sleep in it.
Thank you for answering our questions, Emmett! To learn more about Emmett and how he can make your wedding everything you’ve dreamed of and more, please visit www.RichmondBridalConsulting.com.