Tag Archives: New Albany


Exit | August 2017

In June, the Building & Development Association of Southern Indiana (BDASI) invited attendees of the 2017 BDASI Home Expo to enter the Extol Your Selfie Contest for a chance to win $250.

Participation was easy: Take a selfie at the BDASI Home Expo and submit it to Extol. A panel of judges picked the top five favorites, whose photos were then posted on our Facebook page. The winner of the $250 prize was chosen by whichever selfie garnered the most likes at the end of the contest. screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-11-38-28-am

Congratulations to Amanda Kaiser Myers (right) of New Albany and Nancy Becht Whitaker of Floyds Knobs, who will share the prize.

“I’m actually not a big selfie person,” said Amanda, who took the photo, “but good friends make for good selfies.”
Like hundreds of others, Nancy and Amanda enjoyed this year’s BDASI Home Expo, presented by River City Bank, which was located at Champions Pointe. Tickets were only $10, $1 of which benefited Habitat for Humanity Clark & Floyd County and $1 was donated to Susan G. Komen.

The ladies’ favorte aspect of the expo? The beautiful work by LL & A Design. “It was gorgeous,” Amanda said.


(Clockwise from top left)
n An aficionado enjoyed his cigar. n Katie Woods & David Beard. n Hutch. n Sissy Van Winkle, Match owner Jeff Mouttet, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Jonathan Drew and Sara Mouttet. n Match bartender Jinx and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. n Douglas Kahl, JT Jones, Jessica and Jeff Knopp, & Terry Beard.

Match Cigar Bar New Albany Grand Opening

(Clockwise from top left) n An aficionado enjoyed his cigar. n Katie Woods & David Beard. n Hutch. n Sissy Van Winkle, Match owner Jeff Mouttet, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Jonathan Drew and Sara Mouttet. n Match bartender Jinx and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. n Douglas Kahl, JT Jones, Jessica and Jeff Knopp, & Terry Beard.

(Clockwise from top left)
n An aficionado enjoyed his cigar. n Katie Woods & David Beard. n Hutch. n Sissy Van Winkle, Match owner Jeff Mouttet, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Jonathan Drew and Sara Mouttet. n Match bartender Jinx and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. n Douglas Kahl, JT Jones, Jessica and Jeff Knopp, & Terry Beard.

June 9 • Match Cigar Bar in New Albany

Jeff and Sara Mouttet hosted the grand opening of Match Cigar Bar’s newest location in New Albany. Julian Van Winkle and Jonathan Drew were on hand to mingle and educate attendees about an unreleased cigar crafted for Pappy Van Winkle. Guests enjoyed a lively evening as they ushered in the city’s newest hotspot.

Photos by Danny Alexander








(Clockwise from top left)
n Erik Merton, Steve Shaffer, Eric Goodman, Chris Goodman. n Meredith Lucas, Randy Braun, Ray Lucas. n Troy Cunningham, Kristie & Dustin Williams. n Adrian Brown, Cristy Brown, Matt Willingera.

Night Racing with German American

June 30 • Churchill Downs in Louisville

(Clockwise from top left) n Erik Merton, Steve Shaffer, Eric Goodman, Chris Goodman. n Meredith Lucas, Randy Braun, Ray Lucas. n Troy Cunningham, Kristie & Dustin Williams. n Adrian Brown, Cristy Brown, Matt Willingera.

(Clockwise from top left)
Erik Merton, Steve Shaffer, Eric Goodman, Chris Goodman.  Meredith Lucas, Randy Braun, Ray Lucas.  Troy Cunningham, Kristie & Dustin Williams.  Adrian Brown, Cristy Brown, Matt Willingera.


German American hosted a group of young professionals from Southern Indiana for the June
30 night racing event at Churchill Downs. The theme that night was “Downs After Dark Does the Decades.” Guests enjoyed a delicious, complimentary buffet and drinks while watching from a luxury Jockey Club Suite with a private balcony.

Photos by Christian Watson









A Treat for Teacher

By Morgan Sprigler

The thought of sending my firstborn off to preschool in a few short weeks has me feeling all the feels. For two mornings a week, she will be in someone else’s care, learning and growing without me, making new friends and becoming her own little person (cue the ugly cry). I am equally as excited as I am terrified at the idea. For those of you with several years of sending your children off to school under your belt, I commend you.

So, for the woman who will bear the weight of schooling my toddler (who, up until this point in her life, has been the boss), we have made you a vase out of pencils. Same, Same?

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-11-16-11-amMATERIAL LIST

• Smooth, round vase

• Pencils

• Glue gun

• Glue sticks

• Ribbon

• Fabric flower

• Letter to teacher

• Envelope

• Scissors

• Floral sticks

• Floral tape

• Faux apple

• Card holder

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-11-16-16-amStep One – Glue

Choose a vase that is the same height as a pencil or a bit shorter. Begin adhering pencils around your vase with a line of hot glue, alternating the direction each time. Genevieve participated by handing the pencils to me once I laid each line of glue. Be sure that your pencils are even at the bottom to keep your vase level.

Step Two – Jazz It Up

Genevieve chose a burlap/lace ribbon and a pretty ivory fabric flower to wrap around the center of our vase (like mother, like daughter). Have fun with this part. The options are endless! Simply glue the ribbon around the center of your pencil vase and adhere your flower in the center.

Step Three – Type a Letter

The letter we composed to Genevieve’s teacher, Mrs. Jamie, will come in handy throughout the year because we gave her a little bit of homework by asking her to fill out a few questions about her favorite things. Her answers will help me surprise her with gifts of thanks during the school year. We used the same ribbon we chose for our vase to decorate the envelope, and finished off the back with a cute little button.

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-11-16-05-amStep Four – Flower Shopping Spree 

This was our favorite step of this project. We traveled to Nance’s Floral Shoppe to choose the perfect arrangement for our teacher. Mr. Brian was kind enough to allow Genevieve to select any flower she desired and even took the time to teach her how to put it all together. He was a great teacher, and Genevieve was a natural.

Step Five – Finishing Touches

Once we arrived home with our beautiful flowers, we decided to add some final touches. Using floral tape, we secured a few pencils to our floral sticks and placed them inside of our arrangement. With a Sharpie, I wrote the initials of Genevieve’s new school on the front of our faux apple and then secured it to a floral stick using hot glue before adding it to the arrangement. Finally, we placed our card inside of the card holder. Ta-da!

We hope Mrs. Jamie loves her vase as much as we loved making it. Don’t forget to tag me with photos of your creations on Instagram – I’m @ Mrs_Sprigler. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy school year!




Biz Briefs | August 2017


Epayroll Resource Group, LLC has moved into a newly-renovated building at 320 E. Elm Street in downtown New Albany. Epayroll, is an affiliate of Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC, a regional accounting and consulting firm with eight offices throughout Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The new building is located just across the street from Rodefer Moss’s New Albany office. Extensive renovations were completed to include a modern industrial feel, sporting high ceilings with contemporary lighting and state-of-the art security features.

Epayroll has grown substantially over the last few years making it necessary to find a new office space to accommodate their customers’ needs, as well as their own. In addition to payroll, the company also provides human resources and fringe benefits services.

Terin Jenks, Payroll Manager added, “Customer service is our No. 1 priority. Rather than calling an 800 number when you have a payroll problem, our customers call their very own local payroll specialist. … This level of service is unique to the payroll industry, and I believe it’s a key differentiator when choosing a payroll service firm. We’re thrilled to be in this beautiful new space that will help us serve our clients better. We invite everyone to stop by and visit.”

For more information about Epayroll Resource Group, visit www.EpayrollRG.com or call 812.981.3431.


Second Baptist Church has been recognized by the National Park’s Service as an official Network to Freedom site.

The process and scrutiny by the National Parks Service for this recognition is extensive. It is quite an honor to be included for making a significant contribution to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American history for inclusion as an official site on the national Network to Freedom.

For more information about the Friends group or the history of the Town Clock Church and the role it played in the Underground Railroad in the Metro area, go to TownClockChurch.org.


Business First has named Doug York, president of Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC, as an inaugural honoree of its Louisville-area “Best in Finance” Award.

York was selected from dozens of nominees that included chief financial officers, vice presidents, finance directors, brokers, and business managers. Judges were past winners of Business First’s CFO Awards, which recognize excellence among chief financial officers.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award from Business First and to be included in this elite group of financial professional finalists. My appreciation is extended to Business First and the exceptional finance professionals who participated in the judging,” York said.

“I view this recognition as a validation of a career-long practice of putting clients and their needs first on my list of priorities. Our firm’s motto is ‘Listening better, trying harder, and caring more.’ That’s what we do, what helps keep me focused, and it’s a great asset to be blessed to work with a terrific team of professionals who share that priority.”

York is the sole president of a company among the 20 Business First 2017 “Best in Finance” honorees.biz1


New Albany Historic Homes Flourish

Max Gunther's home near downtown New Albany is a craftsman-style two story home that began life around 1875 as a one story shotgun.

Max Gunther’s home near downtown New Albany is a craftsman-style two story home that began life around 1875 as a one story shotgun.

Historically, New Albany is bursting with homes that tell an abundance of stories. Laced with transformations through the years, many are coming back to life through the efforts of some committed and passionate individuals. People who labor to honor the integrity of the original creation sprinkled with a vision. On Sept. 9, the New Albany Historic Home Tour will treat visitors to some of the revitalized houses – including the home of Max Guenther.

Being a first-time homebuyer, Guenther was looking for something turnkey. “I originally toured the home next door which I really liked. When I was told that this home was going on the market, I decided to take a look, and that is all it took.” The attention to detail and the proximity to downtown New Albany was a definite plus when making his decision.

The home was originally constructed as a one-story shotgun around 1875 with a second floor max34
likely added around the 1890s and Craftsman-style embellishments transpiring in the 1920s. But then the liveliness of the home was compromised with neglect and being turned into a duplex. Hope was restored when Jane Shine purchased the home in 2014. With her vision, the home had a rebirth. The Victorian-era pine banister is a reminder of stories that the house holds along with an array of architectural detail that pays homage to the style of the home. A three-color scheme on the home’s facade creates a cheery demeanor as it greets visitors.“If I am not on my front porch, then my favorite place to be is definitely my reading room,” Guenther said.

Defined by tapered posts, Guenther’s reading room is decorated with comfortable easy chairs layered with family pieces. It is a room that easily accesses the kitchen and the living room. While Shine’s vision was careful to not overly-modernize the kitchen, she was sure to add those amenities that make living easier.

The dark, floating cabinetry brightened by the subway tile backsplash gives the airy space a stylish twist. The natural light is abundant throughout the home, which was a delightful discovery. “I was very surprised how bright the space is with its close proximity to the other homes on each side,” Guenther said.

The neutral palette also allows him to use his accessories to make a statement. The black and white photographs of various
New Albany landmarks decorate the walls in the living room, adding an element of deep-seeded Southern Indiana roots. “I took the photographs with my phone and really love the black and white element.”

Guenther has a deep appreciation for the work that went into revitalizing this home. “In my opinion, the quality of work put into this home from top to bottom is the most distinctive element. You must see it up close to truly appreciate what this 100-plus-year-old home has been turned into.”



A Perfect Match (Cigar Bar, That Is)


Sara Mouttet

Mouttets open cigar bar in New Albany


Nearly five years after opening Match Cigar Bar in Jeffersonville, Jeff and Sara Mouttet have opened Match New Albany at 147 E. Main St.

“We found the perfect location close to many wonderful restaurants and shops,” said Jeff Mouttet. “We feel Match will bring yet another reason to visit Southern Indiana.”


Sidle up to the bar or lounge on one of the leather couches or chairs at Match New Albany. Just be sure to say hello to Jinx the bartender.

Upscale yet approachable, Match is housed in a building that dates to the 1870s and features exposed bricks and original hardwood floors. The speakeasy-style boutique cigar and bourbon bar offers specialty cocktails and artisan and local spirits, beer and wine. Food is available from Urban Bread Company, which is located next door.

“For Match New Albany, we wanted to integrate everything we’ve done in Jeffersonville at Riverside Cigar Shop and Lounge and Match Cigar Bar,” Jeff explained. “We have a great bourbon selection and the ability to smoke a premium cigar. … Our people are very knowledgeable about either bourbon or cigars, and we want you to feel like you can ask questions and it’s a place where you can learn.”


Jeff Mouttet

Not exactly an aficionado? That’s just fine, said Jeff. “One of the great things about the cigar-bourbon culture, people are so friendly and nobody looks down on you if you do it this way or you do it that way. … Match is a nice, upscale welcoming place to be.”

And that means for the ladies, too.

“A lot of the macho has been taken out of it,” said Sara, “and I think this space signifies that. It’s not all just a manly guy club anymore. It’s definitely fun for the ladies as well because it’s really all about relaxing and enjoying the experience with who you’re with, whether that’s women or men.”


If you’re looking for a Bud Light Lime, a shot of Jägermeister, raspberry vodka slammers or the clinking of balls on a pool table, there’s a place for you right down the block. This ain’t it.

Be patient. Every cocktail is handmade when you order. This takes longer, but you get a higher quality drink, too.

If you can dream it, think it, taste it, see it, and want to try it, tell us and we’ll try to make it happen. Really.

We’re about bourbon, the best cocktails we can make, the finest locally made craft beer, wine, and wine education. And if you’d like a premium, hand-rolled cigar o enhance your experience, that’s right next door.

Match Cigar Bar

147 E. Main St.

New Albany




Art, History and Skateboarding in New Albany

4The Carnegie Center for Art and History sees a new skatepark as an important element to public art in the city’s riverfront.


How many people look at a skatepark and see art?

Daniel Pfalzgraf does.

Fortunately for the city of New Albany, Pfalzgraf is curator of the Carnegie Center for Art and History on West Spring Street. The building is a piece of both art and history itself, designed and built in 1904 as the old Carnegie Library by noted architect Arthur Loomis for Gilded Age industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

When the library was moved into newer headquarters in 1969, the old building was turned into the Floyd County Museum. It was given its current name in the 1990s to better reflect its history. skate3

The center is dedicated to preserving and appreciating local history and local artists. Its two permanent exhibitions are about the Underground Railroad, a slaves’ passageway to freedom across the Ohio River and into the North, and about Lucy Higgs Nichols, an escaped slave from Tennessee who joined the Indiana 23rd Infantry during the Civil War as a nurse, and then came to live the rest of her life in New Albany.

But Pfalzgraf and the center’s staff also host a number of rotating art exhibits, mostly highlighting contemporary art. The two exhibits this year were #BlackArtMatters, featuring 10 different contemporary African-American artists, and Pulp Art, featuring work influenced by comic books and cartoons.

This summer, the center is hosting probably its biggest event – the annual “2017 Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie,” an annual, juried exhibition of contemporary art quilts art from all over the country, which Pflazgraf said is one of the premiere exhibitions of contemporary art quilts in the nation.

This year, there are 284 quilts in the show, which is expected to attract about 1,500 to 2,000 visitors before it closes on Sept. 16, 2017.

The center, with its magnificent old building and its efforts on behalf of both history and art, is one of New Albany’s real treasures.

But what does this all have to do with skateboarding?

The center has been staging an annual New Albany Public Art Project since 2010 “to get public art into the New Albany downtown community,” said Pfalzgraf, “and to promote interaction with artwork and public spaces outside our museum’s walls.”

For the first seven years, the center would solicit local artists to create a piece of work somewhere downtown to stay up for two years as an integrated part of the city’s business and entertainment district.

“When I came here two-and-a-half years ago,” said Pfalzgraf, “our director, Sally Newkirk, asked me to reimagine this public arts project, to see what new directions we might take it in.”

Pfalzgraf said his approach to art exhibits in general is having popular points of reference for people to engage. Thus, the comic book theme of the Pulp Art exhibit. “Everybody relates to comic books,” he said. “I think it breaks down the barriers of people’s emotional interaction with art, which they often feel they don’t understand.”

For the public arts project, he was interested in playing up a physical engagement with the artwork – “not,” he said, “just something you sit and view passively. Rather, something you can actually get into the middle of; something that hits all cylinders going on in your brain.”

The cylinders in his brain were hit one day while walking around New Albany looking for ideas. “I saw the skatepark down by the riverfront and a lightbulb went off.”

A skater growing up and the father of an avid 13-year-old skater, he knows how skateboarders – and BMXers, inline skaters, razor scooter riders, etc. – think about spaces.

“It’s a creative thought process,” he said. “They see curves, forms, shapes of concrete differently than most people see them. They think automatically of geometric lines and how they can utilize these forms and features. It’s a completely three-dimensional approach: forward, backward, up, down, left, right. And they’re always looking for creative ways to adapt and change their bodies and the flow of their direction within the flow of their environment.”

But the current park sadly falls short of satisfying all that creativity. It’s 20 or more years old and, said Pfalzgraf, “the features were never done correctly. It was always difficult to use, even when new. There are seams in the concrete and angles that don’t make sense. And now age is wearing it down.”

The parent of a skater, Pfalzgraf feels it would be utilized more by New Albany’s youths with better-constructed features. And the museum curator sees it as “a skateable work of public art” in a key part of the city – on the waterfront, next to the amphitheater.

“Internally, we’ve been calling it the Public Art Skatepark,” Pfalzgraf said, “but another possibility is the New Albany Flow Park because it runs along the flow of the Ohio River, which echoes the flow of the skaters.”

It would also be a haven for biking, hiking, dog walking and children running around.

The goal is to raise $300,000, which the Center hopes to accomplish with two events this fall. One is to raise money; the other is to raise awareness.

“I think the whole thing is difficult for some people to wrap their heads around,” Pfalzgraf said. “They may see it as just another playground. But we have some preliminary sketches, which we’ll release to the public soon. And I think that might inspire some of those people.”

One who is already inspired is New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan, “who absolutely loves the idea and is behind it 100 percent,” said Pfalzgraf. “In fact, we found out that the city had plans to demolish the park because it’s in such disrepair and gets so little use. But after the mayor saw our drawings and renderings, he cancelled those plans.”

There’s a major redevelopment of the riverfront in the works, spurred by a $5 million award from Horseshoe Casino. “The plan is for boat docks, riverfront restaurant and some upscale camping sites,” said Pfalzgraf. “To include the skatepark as part of that says a lot about their trust in us and our ability to create something special.”

A Taste for Art and History 

The Carnegie Center for Art and History will hold a major fundraising event for its 2017 public art project, the skatepark along the river in downtown New Albany.

The event will be held Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Calumet Club, 1614 E. Spring St. in New Albany. It will include food, wine and bourbon tastes, as well as silent and live auctions and raffles.

Tickets are $65 for members of the center, $75 for non-members. They can be purchased at 812.944.7336 or through a link on the center’s web site, www.carnegiecenter.org/taste.


This year’s 2017 #IamPublicArt event will be the Carnegie Center’s opportunity to call attention to its planned new public art project, a new and much-improved skatepark on the New Albany riverfront.

The event will be on Sept. 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater.

It will include three pop-up art installations created by teams of professors and students from Indiana University Southeast, Bellarmine University and Kentucky College of Art + Design.

There will also be a musical program put together by Louisville artist Jecorey “1200” Arthur and headed by the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (and New Albany resident) Jamey Aebersold.

And there will be food and drink available from local vendors.

The event is free and open to the public. But a free fundraiser?

“We’re hoping to build awareness for the project,” said Daniel Pfalzgraf, curator for the Carnegie Center. “Especially because this year’s event will be in the amphiteater right in that area, right next door to the skatepark.”


Wedding Woes

For better or worse, the big day doesn’t always go as planned. 

My husband and I got married in February. We thought it would be fun for the officiant to pull two small breath sprays from his jacket pocket right before we kissed. My now-husband was supposed to spray the breath spray in my mouth but ended up spraying it all over half of my face. At least I was minty fresh the rest of the evening. 

–Caroline Crowell

We had a February wedding and it snowed a few inches. It was beautiful outside the church and it made for some cool pictures. We had a fabulous reception that was lots of fun and went late. When one of our guests – who has an Ultra-Brite smile – was leaving, she slipped on the ice and knocked out her teeth, her very perfect teeth. 

–Johnny Harralson 

The night before our wedding, the priest called and said he could not marry us. My brother-in-law spent all night and the early morning looking for a priest. Until this day, I’m not 100 percent sure the priest he found was legit. 

¬–Jennifer Yennes-Vizhnay 

My husband and I got married twice. The first was a bedside ceremony at my dad’s bedside in Audubon Hospital (ahead of schedule) because things were looking pretty grim. Ten days later, he passed, and then 12 days later we went ahead with our scheduled ceremony. At one point during the ceremony – after I had walked down the aisle – the minister announced, “We are gathered here to witness the ceremony between…” and our two-year-old daughter, who was in the front row, started clapping loudly, and yelled out “Yay!” which had absolutely everyone laughing, including the minister. We got pictures of the exact moment and it’s one of our favorites. 

–Shawna Lynn Shepherd 

I must have had the wedding jitters. I almost passed out during picture taking and actually have a picture me sitting on my husband’s lap after they cold wash-clothed me looking quite pale during pictures. Then on to our reception in our local high school cafeteria (that was the reception place). I made it through all the motions of that. We finally left and stopped at his aunt’s home as planned to change clothing, and I got nauseated. Let’s just say my dress had to be bagged and left behind for his aunt to get to the cleaners. Then on to The Hyatt to clean up and allow me to sleep my wedding night off. Trust me, no alcohol was involved, just good old-fashioned jitters. Thank goodness God didn’t tap my husband on the shoulder during the ceremony and say, “Hey, I don’t think this is going to go as you thought!” A few years later, I was diagnosed with NF2 brain tumor and it has been an ongoing journey since. He’s still my rock after 37 years. 

–Cathy Guthrie 

My brother had a July wedding with an outdoor reception. Atlanta in July. His bride is an only child with no extended family. Ours was extensive and it seems all of them drove hundreds of miles to be there. The bride’s father had the belief that since we were all Baptists the open bar would not be a big expense. Accordingly, he selected the premium champagne but forgot to request water. When the caterers came asking for permission to crack multiple, additional cases of expensive champagne, he distractedly said, “OK.” Seniors, boomers, and tweens spent hours slaking their thirst with very good bubbly. The father-in- law dined out on the story of the Baptist Wedding until the day he passed. And that’s not even the biggest disaster of the day of my brother’s wedding. I’m sure you’ll do this again someday, so I’ll save the better stories. 

–Randy Smith


Let’s Get Planning

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-10-25-33-amBut do you really need a wedding planner? 


So, you’ve just said “yes!” Now what? Brides and grooms can become inundated with choices, from the dress and tux colors to venue seating, flower decisions and thank-you notes. Hiring a wedding planner can certainly ease the load, but is it an affordable option for the average future married couple? We talked to Jamie Lott, owner of Louisville Events4U and a wedding planner for 11 years.

EXTOL MAGAZINE: Who should hire a wedding planner?

Jamie Lott: The value lies in having a professional who won’t forget even the smallest detail of the big day. Wedding planners are all about the details – things you might miss. If you’re a detail-oriented person and you’ve got a career of your own, maybe a busy life with your fiancé, it’s much, much easier in my opinion to turn (wedding planning) over to a professional so that nothing is missed as part of your wedding planning process.

EXTOL: What are some of the most overlooked details by couples who plan their own weddings?

Lott: Transportation to and from the venue and/or the church. Things like right down to the catering. Did you plan on just feeding (guests) the cake or did you plan on feeding them another dessert? I’ve been to so many weddings where I’ve just done day-of coordinating and they ran short of cake. Little things like that, I’m there to remind you about.

EXTOL: Is there anyone who shouldn’t hire a wedding planner?

Lott: By the day of the wedding, even the control freaks, even the very OCD brides, have been very grateful that (a wedding planner) is there because she can relax and not have to worry about the details. My standard line is, “I’ve got this. Please don’t worry.” I do this almost every weekend, and if you haven’t thought of it, I will. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t need a wedding planner. I think there are some girls who think they can do it on their own, but I actually feel bad for them on their wedding day because they are so stressed trying to do it, even with their girlfriends. They should be getting ready that day. They should be with their family. They should be relaxing and sipping mimosas or whatever makes them happy versus worrying about setting up their tables and their centerpieces, and going to pick up this or going to pick up that.

EXTOL: What should you look for in a good wedding planner?

Lott: It’s all about the details. Look for the person who asks all the right questions, the person that is the best fit for you. Your personalities need to mesh. You need to make sure that you like this planner and this planner is almost a member of your family because of the length of time you’re going to be spending with this person and what this planner is going to ask of you. As you go along in this process, you need to be willing to work with this planner and trust this person.

EXTOL: How do you help set a budget with the bride and groom?

Lott: I’m very brutally honest and I ask them what they think they can spend on this wedding. If it’s a certain amount and that amount is very low, I ask them if they’re willing to do some of the work themselves, like we make part of the centerpieces ourselves and then we add florals from a florist –– anything we can do to cut costs. I’m very good about keeping them on budget. They take themselves off budget!

EXTOL: As a wedding planner, how do you handle so-called bridezillas?

Lott: In the industry, we all laugh at the shows because they pick the worst of the worst. I have been very blessed … that I have had very few “bridezillas.” Most of these girls are very grateful for the help, which is why they hired me in the first place. If they get a little tense right before their wedding, which is very common, we talk it out. … I try very hard to let them know I’m on top of this.

EXTOL: What should the wedding planner do and what should the couple take care of?

Lott: Everything, down to scheduling everything. I create timelines and itineraries, an overall day-of timeline for the ceremony and the reception so everybody’s on the same page. I make sure the DJ’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, the venue’s doing what they’re supposed to do, and if that includes catering, we’ve gone over that menu 15 times. I don’t want that bride to think about anything but enjoying her day. … I keep a bride box with me on the day of the wedding of all the “what ifs.” If this breaks, if this needs to be taped, a first-aid kit, things like that that they would never have thought to bring.