I stumbled upon Muriel Saldalamacchia on Instagram and fell in love with her feed. Her destination weddings are spectacular. If you’re considering a destination wedding, do your self a favor and contact Muriel.
*featured image: photo credit Felicia Sisco, location – Lake Como
Below is our interview – edited and condensed for clarity:
YENW: Please tell us about yourself and how you became a destination wedding planner?
MS: Before being a specialist of destination weddings, I started my career in the wedding industry as a wedding planner. It was actually a little more complicated as I was a Corporate event planner when I created my company in 2008 in France, and I was embarrassed to say I was planning weddings. It was everything but a serious thing. In 2009 I came to NYC for the first time and this completely changed my vision of weddings. At this time, David Tutera was on TV, and I was amazed by the way the job could look super professional. How curious, isn’t it? So definitely, NYC changed my whole life. Since then my back and forth nourished my culture, developed my will to work while traveling, to work with clients and couples always on the go somewhere. I developed my network in NYC (I had been featured on a NYC TV show, on the radio, wrote for an NYC based bridal magazine) and my vision of weddings literally changed ever since. A few years ago I decided to focus on destination weddings as it is always a new story to narrate, always big challenges to face, with excitement and expectations. “Always more”! This is my fuel 🙂
YENW: What is your favorite thing about being a destination wedding planner?
MS: Welcoming the couples, or flying with them as the local insider they rely on. Trust is everything to me. Insider tips, local’s cliches, native culture… So much to offer, isn’t it? I definitely believe a destination wedding is one of the most phenomenal things to experience as a couple!
*photo credit John Dolan, location – Provence
YENW: A career highlight?
MS: I travel the world two times a year to speak at destination wedding conferences around the globe. (This as a result from being named to the list of TOP 50 Luxury Planners in the World by QNA in 2004) . Sharing with peers and giving interviews is something that counts to me as I truly believe our world is changing thanks to our clients. And what is true today will be different tomorrow. This impacts my daily work. No shortcuts, always new, “always more”.
YENW: A career disappointment or disaster?
MS: I am blessed enough to have a dedicated team working with me, but I am the wedding planner of the company. I have an assistant, a marketing director, and an accountant, but I want to be the only wedding-planner in contact with the couple. And that’s how I want to manage my company. I truly love being a wedding planner. As an entrepreneur, you have to grow your business. So, it came naturally to have dozens of weddings. Some years ago, I had up to 17 weddings a year. And it was a nightmare. Not enough time to spend with clients (something that I hated above all), sometimes you have some stereotypes and then you produce the exact same wedding. I was disgusted. Now, it’s fair and clear. No more than 10 weddings a year. Bearing in mind that each wedding is composed of 2 up to 4 days of reception… if you count … that’s a lot of work 🙂
*photo credit Valery Villard, location – Provence
YENW: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
MS: Super cliché, but spending time with my two adorable daughters and my husband, who is also my business partner. Traveling, cooking and chilling. We have a tradition in our family: spending New Year’s Eve in a different country. This is our family’s cherry on the top!
YENW: What makes you different from other destination wedding planners?
MS: My American-French culture is definitely an asset. I built strong skills over the years thanks to effective relationships with my clients and my partners. I listen. I really listen. And my goal is to always go beyond my clients’ expectations. I can’t help without being caring and surprising. “Always more”, yes I already told you, I know^^
My motto: “Elegance is free, Authenticity beats ostentatious, More is always possible”
*photo credit Felicia Sisco, location – Corsica
YENW: Tell us a random factor talent you have, Muriel.
MS: I am said to be fun, cultured, problem solver, challenger, and extremely obsessed by elegance.
YENW: Where was your wedding? Did you have a wedding planner?
MS: We got married in NYC. We cut our wedding-cake with our beloved ones on a boat we privatized and facing the Statue of Liberty. She was kind of one of our guests. A lifetime experience for us. And yes, I had a wedding-planner even though I was already in the business. I surprisingly let everything go on that day and enjoyed the day like any bride I would have guided myself. Best experience ever. It was in 2012.
YENW: Favorite wedding you’ve done to date? Can you supply a picture or two? If not, a favorite destination for a wedding – please supply a picture or two?
MS: I can hardly tell you which wedding is my favorite. There’s always a reason, a really specific one I mean, that makes me decide to say yes to a couple when they inquire and ask me to be their wedding planner. But the weddings I adore have one point in common: the couple is excited by the challenges we have to face to meet their expectations, motivated by the relationships we are building with the couple, and truly focused on creating the most perfect ambiance that reflects the couple.
MS: And for my favorite destinations: easy! NYC, South of France and Lake Como, the three areas I love to say I’m native of.
*photo credit Valery Villard
Thank you, Muriel!