Listen to the Podcast About Availed Events

Podcast for Availed Events

Podcast Summary

In an insightful interview with Alyssa Jones from Felix and Fingers, event planning guru Lexie Cummings from Availed Events shares her favorite aspects of the wedding planning process. Alyssa highlighted Lexie’s incredible work and unique design aesthetic, which has made her a popular pick among clients looking for a standout experience with Availed Events.

Lexie revealed her anticipation for the 2024 wedding season, noting how color played an exciting role in the designs of 2023. She described an unforgettable wedding where bright, monochrome fuchsia arrangements took center stage, reflecting the bold aspirations of the bride and presenting a dramatic twist on classic wedding decor.

Describing her favorite parts of her work, Lexie mentioned both venue selection and design. She loves finding venues that capture the essence of a couple, and then designing the wedding to complement that space. She says it’s like a “hunt” for the perfect venue and design elements, relying on excellent local vendors to bring her designs to life.

Despite her love for the pre-planning process, Lexie admitted the ultimate thrill comes from seeing everything come together on the couple’s big day. Her interview showcased her dedication and the personalized touch she brings to every Availed Events function, making her a standout in her industry and a favorite on Alyssa’s podcast.

Learn more about Availed Events

This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos

Podcast Transcript

Alyssa (00:25)
Hey everyone, this is Alyssa with Felix and Fingers and I’m here today with Lexie from Availed Events. Hi Lexie. We’re super excited to have you on today. I found Lexie in a weddings Facebook group where there’s a lot of good resources and I love your looking through your work and I just think you’d be such a great fit for this podcast. I’m super glad that you’re taking the time to come and share all of your wonderful knowledge with.

Lexie Cummings (00:31)

Alyssa (00:54)
all of our listeners today. So thank you.

Lexie Cummings (00:56)
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited to chat with you today.

Alyssa (01:00)
Awesome. Okay, we’re gonna jump right in. So my first question for you is, what is your favorite thing that you’ve seen at a wedding recently? I know this is a hard one.

Lexie Cummings (01:09)
Yeah, it is a hard one. We are starting our 2024 season next month, so we haven’t had any, well, I guess we had a January wedding, but we haven’t really truly kicked off the 2024 season, and so I’m gonna probably pull back to 2023. And I think what I was so excited about in general in 2023, which I would say is mildly carrying over into some of our designs for 2024, but maybe not as boldly as color.

And as someone who absolutely loves the design process within planning and designing, having to be able to design it with color is just amazing. And so my favorite design last year was a bride who came and said, I want something bold, something different, something that you would never see at a wedding. And she gave me one picture and it was like this inspo picture of Santorini. And so we kind of took that pretty literally and did these bright.

old fuchsia pink flowers and just monochrome. There was no mixing with white or lighter pinks. It was just all straight hot pink floral and it was amazing. It was so good. I think just that wedding and it was at a private country club so it just felt really special to the bride and groom. And so on top of all that of the design, it was just a really special day.

Alyssa (02:20)
I love that.

I love that. I also am a big fan of pops of color. You can’t see by the flowers behind me. If everybody feels like I’m like a giant poster that has flowers, I love the big bright bold colors. So while we’re talking about your planning process and design process, what do you think your favorite part of that? I know it’s like for especially for weddings that you are doing a full planning for, you know, that’s a long process. So what do you think is your favorite part?

Lexie Cummings (02:41)
Yeah, yeah.

me too.




Alyssa (03:05)
the whole thing.

Lexie Cummings (03:06)
Yeah, so it’s hard to boil it down to one, so I’m going to slightly cheat and say two things. They kind of tie into the same reason as to why, but really it’s venue selection as well as designing. For me, the reason I love both of those activities is because it’s kind of like this hunt for the perfect place, the perfect space that really…

exemplifies the couple that’s getting married and really kind of like diving into how they want their wedding to look and feel. And then obviously once we find that space, then designing a wedding that really reflects them in that space and kind of the hunt to find the perfect items that we can either source or rent from many of our great vendors across the Twin Cities or have our lovely florist friends design.

from a floral perspective. And so it’s just kind of like that, yeah, that hunt and the research that you have to do to find the best place or the best designs is like what really gets me excited. And then I’d be remiss not to say like, obviously seeing it all to come together on the wedding day is also really fun, but I love that pre-planning process as well.

Alyssa (04:24)
Definitely, yeah. It’s hard to describe how it’s things that like somebody might not even directly notice at the wedding, but the environment does play such a huge piece of the puzzle and the overall feel and the vibe of the entire day, which is, I think, just super cool.

Lexie Cummings (04:38)

Alyssa (04:46)
So let’s backtrack a little bit. I want to hear kind of your story, how you got here, how did you get into wedding planning and what was your inspiration and route to get here?

Lexie Cummings (04:52)

Yeah, so thanks for asking. I always tell my clients or potential clients that I feel like I have a little bit of a non-traditional background. And that is in the sense of, I actually started my career at Target Corporate. And so I started at Target Corporate about 13 years ago, just right out of college. I had studied business and design at the University of Minnesota, but did what a lot of people do is they start to go work at one of the,

lovely Fortune 500 companies that we have here in the Minneapolis area. Um, and it was a really great experience. It really allowed me to, um, understand how businesses work, understand how to communicate, how to lead teams. Um, and I, I really, really love that experience because I feel like I pulled so much from it as I built up available. Um, but for me, like the corporate environment just wasn’t

one for me long term. And so as I started to kind of feel like, you know, this itch to do something different, I kind of pulled back on the experiences and the roles that I really loved, kind of blended with, you know, when someone asks you like, what do you want to do when you grow up? I would always be like event planner, but I never really saw anyone doing that or like could not, felt like I could do it, I guess, if that makes sense.

And so I started to just like ideate and think about again, those past experiences. And I, during high school and college, I worked at Savvy FormaWare, which is a, or was a tuxedo and suit rental company. It no longer exists, but I got the opportunity to do a lot of their marketing, a lot of their trade shows and just work with a ton of couples through that experience. And just really, really.

grew to love the wedding industry. And then kind of in conjunction with that, I’ve almost always had a side gig like my whole life. So even when I was going to school and high school or college, and every side gig has been in either marketing or events. And so I have over 12 years of experience in events from corporate to nonprofit, to obviously weddings. And so it was just kind of combining those two loves and passions and that’s kind of how Availed was born.

I know when people read my bio, I also talk a lot about my mom and how her ability to create experiences and celebrations since I was very young has also been something that’s been very influential on me and something that I now really try to emulate for my family and hope that I also emulate for our clients at Availed as well.

Alyssa (07:38)
I love that. I think transferable skills are such a big thing. And I think that it’s become like a big buzzword recently. And I’m so glad that it has because it really, I think that well-roundedness really can play into events and really can play into being able to look at all the different sides of it. I would like to say like, I’m a big jack of all trades. Like being able to see everything from every angle really helps. Even you catch those like little details that might be missed otherwise.

Lexie Cummings (07:46)


Totally. Yep. Yeah. Completely agree.

Alyssa (08:08)
Definitely. Okay, so my next question is a little silly, but what is like the wildest wedding moment? Like what’s the Thing that has been like, oh my gosh. This is the craziest story That I will never forget

Lexie Cummings (08:12)

Yeah, yeah, this is a really great question. And it’s funny because I would always joke with my leads. So for those of you who don’t know, I have a team of eight and so that’s comprised of lead planners and assistant planners and leads are the ones who can lead a wedding day on their own, hence the title. But I always joke with my leads. I’m always like, all the fun things always happen to you guys. Like, my weddings are so like, normal and boring. Like, not really. But you know, just like

these big funny outrageous events never happen at my events. And then two summers ago, I was at a wedding up north on a family owned property. And they were in kind of like the automotive type industry. And so they had a lot of vehicles on site of which were like ATVs and snowmobiles and semis.

Yeah, so long story short, the groomsmen had a little bit too much to drink and they were doing like, you know, like when you do like donuts with a car, but they were doing that with a snowmobile and burning out and apparently ruined snowmobiles. But then furthermore, they decided to then do that with one of the semis and the semi caught fire.

and literally blew up in flames. And it’s not funny but it’s so outrageous and the only thing I’m slightly disappointed about is I was not there at this point anymore. I had just left. The only reason I’m happy I wasn’t there is my car was parked right next to the semi. So I probably wouldn’t have had a vehicle but I get a photo from the caterer

Alyssa (09:52)
I’m sorry, it’s not funny, but I’m like, it’s so outrageous.

Lexie Cummings (10:18)
hey, here’s what’s happening right now. And I’m just like, I couldn’t believe it. And so, you know, a lot of interesting conversations with vendors on the following Monday, like why are there trademarks in my linens, or why are there holes through my linens, or why is there smoke on everything? And so just, again, conversations I never thought I would be having.

Alyssa (10:40)
Oh my gosh.

Lexie Cummings (10:45)
But luckily no one was hurt. They definitely, unfortunately, ruined a couple of vehicles in the process, but no one was hurt and the fire department came and got everything put out and so it was all good. But just completely wild and literally nothing. I will never, ever forget it. So yeah, just very interesting one to share for sure.

Alyssa (11:04)
You will always remember that.

Oh my gosh. Definitely. Okay, so tell me a little bit, we’ve talked about availed a little bit, but what are your long-term plans with availed? Where’s availed going? What do you think is gonna happen next for you?

Lexie Cummings (11:25)
Yeah, thanks for asking. Well, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been really focusing on building up my team, just ensuring that we can accommodate multiple weddings a weekend and have really great leads to lead those days so that our clients can feel like, people get really excited and wanna work with me directly, but I obviously can’t be there at every wedding day. And so I’ve just been really focused on finding like really awesome people.

to build out my team and really be able to provide that client experience that I uphold us to. But yeah, my ultimate pie in the sky goal is to build a venue. So not buy a venue, not take over a barn or an existing structure. It’s actually find land and build a venue.

I’ve had a specific vision that I won’t talk about because I’m going to keep that under wraps, but I’ve had a specific vision for quite a while and think there is quite a need for this type of venue as well as this in this location. And so, yeah, I’ve been actually actively looking for land for a while now and hope to make that dream come a reality. And my hope is within the next five years, but…

Alyssa (12:19)
I love that.

Nobody can steal it.

Lexie Cummings (12:48)
We gotta wait for the perfect piece of land for that to happen. So yeah, that’s something I, as you know, it kind of ties back to the earlier response about like the venue selection being one of my favorite parts of the process. And so just being able to have a space that people feel like is really special and they can celebrate in would totally be my dream.

Alyssa (12:48)
I hope so too.

I love that, I love that so much. So I hear the rumor that you’re a big foodie, so I have to ask you too, what’s the best food that you think you’ve ever had at a wedding?

Lexie Cummings (13:10)
I’m going to go.

Oh, at a wedding. Oh, wow. Okay, well, I’m a fan of the non-traditional wedding food. So I had a taco bar at my wedding. So if that like explains anything, okay. Okay. Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s just one of those things where, you know, we have so many amazing caterers in the Twin Cities, but we wanted something that was just like fun and engaging and really easy to

Alyssa (13:28)
that. I’m from Texas, so like Tex-Mex tacos is like all I eat all the time.

Lexie Cummings (13:45)
easy to eat. But honestly, my favorite is butcher salt, if you’ve heard of them. They have a food truck and they have a mobile bar and they just they do these like phenomenal sandwiches out of the truck with these like incredible rosemary thyme fries. And fries are like one of my weaknesses. And so I just love like how fresh their food is and how fun.

Alyssa (13:53)

Lexie Cummings (14:15)
it is and it’s just a little bit more of like a relaxed environment. Um, so yeah, that’d probably be my answer.

Alyssa (14:22)
I love that so much. Okay, I have one last question for you. And that is, if somebody’s at the very beginning of their wedding planning process, what is the number one piece of advice that you would give them?

Lexie Cummings (14:27)

Yeah um get a planner, no.

Alyssa (14:40)
Hire me!

Lexie Cummings (14:42)
Well, yes, but no, I think, you know, one of the things I tell everyone right when you get engaged, the most important things to figure out right off the bat are your guest count and your budget. Those two things will really dictate everything you do. Obviously, you need to know your guest count so you can figure out what space you’ll be in for what space you can hold your wedding in. And then also food and

food and drink drive about 40 to 50 percent of your entire budget. And so obviously, the more people you have, the more expensive it is. And so I think those two things are what I always ask my new couples to come with right at our kickoff meeting, because I think it really just helps us anchor to back to those two data points. And I’ll just say, I know the budget conversation can be really difficult.

Especially if you’re asking a family member to support you, but I have just found it is a lot better to have open and direct conversations up front so that you’re not down the road and worried about overspend. Budgeting is definitely something just with my corporate background that we really, really heavily focus on and make sure we’re anchoring back to in our planning process as well.

Alyssa (16:02)
I love that. That’s such good advice for sure. Awesome. Well, thank you everybody so much for listening. Again, this is Alyssa with Felix and Fingers, Lexie from Availed Events. Thank you so much, Lexie, for all of your advice and coming on today and for everybody listening. We hope you have a great rest of your day. Bye.

Lexie Cummings (16:06)

You know.

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