Listen to the Podcast About Creations by Sota Weddings & Events

Podcast for Creations by Sota Weddings & Events

Podcast Summary

In an engaging episode of ‘Inventful Endeavors’, host Alyssa Jones was joined by an exceptional guest, Karla Brutlag, the creative force behind the highly-regarded ‘Creations by Sota Weddings & Events’. The theme for this lively interview focused on trends and practices in the wedding industry.

Karla Brutlag’s dedication is evident not only in her own work, but in the extraordinary team she leads at Creations by Sota. She appreciates how team collaboration ensures operational success, and emphasized this during the podcast.

The conversation focused on recent trends in weddings that are making their way even into small Minnesota towns. Alyssa and Karla discussed the rise in popularity of colorful florals and eco-friendly weddings, demonstrating that small-town venues are adaptable and up-to-date with modern preferences in the wedding industry.

Karla also highlighted the unique qualities of ‘Creations by Sota Weddings & Events’, including their warm embrace of collaboration over competition. They prioritize not just wedding planning, but also provide floral arrangements, decor, setup, teardown, and day-of coordination. Karla’s clients appreciate this range of services, often choosing ‘Creations by Sota’ for the convenience of a ‘one-stop-shop’.

This insightful exchange between Alyssa Jones and Karla Brutlag truly shone a light on the experienced, trend-conscious, collaborative work being done by ‘Creations by Sota Weddings & Events’. Don’t miss out on future updates on the wedding industry and the invaluable insights offered by Karla and her talented team at Creations by Sota.

Learn more about Creations by Sota Weddings & Events

This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos

Podcast Transcript

Alyssa (00:24)
Hey everyone, welcome to Inventful Endeavors. It’s Alyssa from Felix and Fingers, and I’m here today with Karla from Creations by Sota

Hi Karla. Awesome. We’re so glad to have you here today. Karla does some amazing work. You definitely need to go check it all out after you listen to this podcast. But yeah, we’re just super excited to have you here with us on the podcast to talk about everything that you do and then get some of your expertise that you have. (00:34)
Hello! Hello!

Alyssa (00:53)
because you have a lot of it. (00:55)
Well, thank you. I am excited to be here and I can’t take all the credit. I have an incredible team. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do all that we do. So huge shout out to all of them as well.

Alyssa (01:07)
I love that. I love that. Same with my Felix and Fingers team because everybody keeps everything afloat. So it’s always nice to have a good team. So we’ll just jump right into it. So my first question that I always like to ask people is what are current trends that you’re seeing in the wedding industry right now? (01:16)

Yeah, so here in small town Minnesota, we trend, we tend to be a few years behind the big city trends, which is kind of fun because we can see that a little into the future glimpse every once in a while. So this year you can plan to see a lot of color in the florals. But also there’s still plenty of just not just there’s plenty of black and white.

and just very classy. People are really experienced. They want their guests to have that experience when they walk into the reception. So they’re walking in and it is colorful or very classy. But also I’m super excited about the rise of eco -friendly weddings as well. That is really making its way even to small town Alexandria.

where couples are incorporating and venues alike, just sustainable practices into their receptions and their celebrations, which is very exciting as well.

Alyssa (02:34)
I love that. Yeah, I definitely, I think it’s so interesting, like what you’re saying about being able to see into the future. And like some of those trends being behind because I’m sure it also is really telling to see like what works well, what doesn’t work well and things like that. I’m sure it gives you a lot of insight to that as well. (02:53)
Yeah, so that’s just a typical Midwest state thing, I think, is to just kind of be behind those really big areas. But yeah, it’s super fun. So we attend different workshops. We can keep up with the trends. The MBA in Las Vegas is one that I have been to a couple times and is a super great way for us to keep up with those trends.

Also, of course, social media and those different avenues, but to really be in on it and be hands -on and see it firsthand is just really, really cool too. We’re really excited to be able to do that.

Alyssa (03:32)
I love that. Can you tell me what sets you apart from other wedding planners and what sets Creations by Sota apart from other wedding planning companies? (03:43)
Yeah, I love that question. I am all about, well, we are whole crew here, but especially me, I’m all about collaboration over competition. So really working with the area venues, other company, we aren’t just, we’re not the one that’s gonna make your wedding. It’s gonna be your entire vendor team. So truly working together, whether it’s your venue, your caterer, we’re communicating, we’re staying on top of things for you and with you.

But also our big thing is we don’t just offer wedding planning, we offer floral, decor, setup, teardown, day of coordination. We have a team or teams that do any one or all of those things. So our clients tend to come here because they love being that, basically they love that we are a one stop shop. So it just, they don’t have to worry about.

having their aunt or their grandma tearing down at the end of the night and putting everything away. We’ll take care of them for you. Of course, it’s a service that we offer. We don’t just do it, but it’s a service that we do offer. And so I think that that is a huge thing that sets us apart. And to be honest, I think most of my clients here are not from rural…

Alexandria, I do have some but many of them are from the Fargo in Minneapolis areas and we are the central grounds for We’re really kind of Alexandria is a wedding and event Destination area now. We’ve got beautiful venues here. So a lot of my clients We are able to meet over the phone Google meet whatever that looks like and still get everything done. Our proposals are super

visual so you know what you’re getting line by line. There’s really no room for error. So we are pretty proud of what we have to offer here.

Alyssa (05:42)
I love that, yeah. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, Alexandria is absolutely gorgeous. I want a cabin there all the time. But it’s a gorgeous area, not too far outside of the Minneapolis, St. Paul Twin Cities area, and also not too far from the Fargo, North Dakota area. So it really is that in between retreat. I know I’ve talked to so many different. (05:53)
Everybody does. Me too.

Alyssa (06:09)
venues and vendors there and they really do have just like some superstar vendors and venues in that area. So it really makes it a great place that’s an escape outside of the city, which I love. I always love getting to go play in a bit there on the weekends where you get to get out and see the beautiful nature and it’s just really awesome and amazing. (06:18)
You win.

Mm -hmm.

Yes, and I have plenty of clients too that are super excited to come here. They don’t even have family from here, but it’s not far from the cities. Maybe they have family in both the city and in Fargo. And we were, or Alexandria just happened to be like the middle ground, but it didn’t cost as much for, I’m not saying anything is wrong with the city’s area or the Fargo area, but any of these, those are all so beautiful. But here in Alexandria, I think we’re able to offer a more.

Alyssa (06:54)
Yeah. (07:03)
competitive or maybe less price range, because we just don’t have, oh, I’m messing up here, but we don’t have the scale, I guess, maybe for weddings and events. So the Alexandria area is able to offer a better price point, I think, for many clients. So the clients that we have are often maybe looking for to upscale or…

level up on that floral and decor and they’re able to do that because they’re able to save on their venue rentals. So that’s a lot of what we’re seeing here.

Alyssa (07:38)
Definitely, yeah, I’ve heard that from many people as well. And I love that you’re able to also be that one -stop shop to be able to really have your hands on everything. Like you said, collaboration with all the teams is so important, but I’m sure that it’s really nice to be able to collaborate even within your own team as well. (07:42)

Yes, absolutely. 100%. Yeah.

Alyssa (07:58)
Okay, so my next question for you is what is one of the most memorable or unique event planning experiences that you’ve had so far? (08:07)
Yes, it was actually, I think it will forever be the most memorable wedding that I will ever experience. It was actually one of the very first events I coordinated or weddings I coordinated as an owner of Creations. And we was it 2021 I think, just coming out of

Coming off of COVID, you know, people are still really doing the outdoor weddings really vibing with that. That was a big trend for quite some time. It still is around here because it is just so beautiful. But at this particular time, it was very much still a big thing. This couple is just fantastic. I’m friends with them to this day. But anyway, it was a drought. It was like had not rained.

for months. They cleared a bunch of trees. That was their family farm that they wanted to get married on. And they cleared this beautiful area, planted grass, watered and watered and watered and mowed and mowed. And I mean, they just had these grounds looking beautiful. We had a solid game plan for ceremony set up, reception set up, the tent, the some furniture, photo ops, the bar. I mean, it was like we had it.

set up and the possibility of rain was like nowhere to be found anytime soon. We always have a backup plan but you know at this point in time it was like it hadn’t rained or storm or anything in so long so we really weren’t too concerned about it but still had that backup plan but the backup plan was still kind of like

Okay, we’ll clean out the machine shed. We’ll get it so it’s not like super dusty, but there’s still gonna be stuff in there because it’s not gonna rain. Well, long story short, it rained and it rained and it rained for days to the point where the ground was so saturated after being so dry that the tent wouldn’t stay standing. So we had tables under the tent. We had chairs under the tent. Everything was there.

and as we were under it, we were in a place where we had to make a decision right then and there, like it’s not safe to be here, it’s not safe for us to be here, much less your guests to be here. So we needed to use the backup plan. And my sweet bride, she cried and cried and I felt so bad. I said, here’s what you’re gonna do, you’re gonna go pick up your furniture and we’re gonna figure this out while you’re gone. So they traveled to, I believe Minneapolis to pick up some furniture.

for her different settees that we were gonna have throughout the space. Meanwhile, family is moving, moving. I mean, this family is just incredible. From the parents to the siblings to the in -laws, cleaning this machine shed. And we came to town, we loaded up fabric to cover the tools on the walls and ceiling draping and I mean,

everything and anything. Thankfully, they also had a man lift so we were able to get up to the ceiling and again, in -laws, siblings, mom and dad were just, everybody was on deck, including the vendors and we turned that machine shed into a wedding venue overnight and it was turned out to be the most incredible day. But I always think back,

to, oh my gosh, what would she or we or they have done had I not been hired as setup and coordinator or my team, myself and my team, had we not been hired to do the coordination and the setup, it would have hurt my heart for her. So to date, that is we will truly…

If we have been contracted as a service to coordinate, we will truly see your day through and make sure that it gets done the way it’s gonna get done. It may not be what you dreamed of all your life, but it will be beautiful in the end no matter what. So that for sure takes the cake. If you go to our website, you can see their really long story and testimony to.

Alyssa (12:38)
I love that. (12:49)
the service that my team put in for that day. It was just, it was incredible. It was a lot of sweat and tears and probably even blood, but it was, it gives me goosebumps to this day on how incredible the day was even after all of that.

Alyssa (13:08)
I love that. I think something that I’ve thought a lot about is that, you know, there’s always going to be a curve ball. It’s never, things are never going to go exactly how you expect it. And so really, like, I think the beauty of having such an amazing team and, you know, amazing family and people stepping up is that sometimes the things that end up that you are like, that is my worst nightmare. This can never happen. End up being the thing that. (13:16)
in it.

Alyssa (13:36)
has all the memory behind it and ends up being the most memorable, wonderful thing that you look back on for years. (13:43)
Exactly, and they will never forget it. Oh my gosh Do you remember our wedding day when we didn’t have rain for months and it rained for days and we couldn’t get the tent and we scrambled and Yeah, so I often tell them that it’s the day you’ll never forget. That’s for sure Yeah

Alyssa (13:58)
Definitely. So my next question for you is what are some common misconceptions that you think the people have about the wedding planning industry? (14:07)
Yes, this is such a good one. When it comes to misconceptions, I think a lot of people think that, oh my gosh, you must have the best, I hear it a lot actually, you must have the best job in the world, which I would agree with, but it’s not all the glitz and the glamour that everybody tends to think. Yes, I love my job, especially the coordinating that is like where my…

That’s my heart and soul. That’s my jam. I love that. But in reality, it involves a lot of behind the scenes, which is exactly how we want it and how it should be. That’s the goal is I always say, you should be the guest of honor on your wedding day. You shouldn’t be being asked all the questions and being pulled in 12 different directions, right? Invest in the service so you can be the guest of honor on your wedding day.

Same with any event, but I specifically talk weddings because I think it is just such an important investment on that day. But like I said, back to that behind the scenes, somebody’s running late or they’re not there, why should the bride have to panic about that? I wanna take care of that for you. I’m gonna call these people. I might be panicking, but you’re not gonna know about it.

Alyssa (15:24)
You (15:25)
Bender communication and coordination and making sure that everybody is set up where they need to be when they need to be there. Does your personal attendant know the proper way that bridesmaids are supposed to hold flowers, the proper spacing in between the ceremony processional, those little details. Same with like, I don’t know, I always say it’s cringy to me. If you’ve ever been to weddings where…

bride is on the dance floor. They did their first dance and now there she’s ready to dance with her father or whomever that other special dance is going to be with and she’s standing there all by herself now and the DJ is hollering out on the microphone, father of the bride where are you? And he’s nowhere to be found and I’m like no you know again like making sure that all of these details and the flow of the day is continuing on. Let’s see.

budget management, making sure your vendors are taken care of, problem solving throughout the day, where is the best man, where is so and so. Again, I don’t feel like a bride or a couple should have to be worrying about that. That’s for us to do. So as far as the misconception, yes, the job is great. I love it.

But I can tell you I reached nearly 30 ,000 steps in event coordination day and I’m sweating and filthy. And it’s not all the glitz and glamour. So I think that that would be about the only misconception that would be there.

Alyssa (17:05)
Definitely, I’m laughing because it would be my family where that actually happened like at my parents’ wedding. Like they’re calling for people and they’re not there because they’re running off and you know, they’re at the bar having their own good time too. So that is… (17:17)

Yes, and that’s typically where you find them. And it’s not every all the dads, I’m sorry dads that I’m putting that on you, but those are the ones that just tend to they just kind of get lost in conversation and it’s not intentional or anything. But yeah.

Alyssa (17:40)
Definitely. So how do you say, because I know that you have a lot of things that you’re working on all at the same time, so how do you stay organized and manage multiple events simultaneously? Because obviously there’s only one a day, but you’re implanting for them, all overlapping each other. (17:57)
Yes, yes. So A, I only take on a certain number of coordinating events in a month. I try to keep that to two to maybe three a month, definitely no more than one a weekend is my goal because you have invested in this service and you deserve that time and attention that is necessary. But also I rely super heavily on digital tools.

like project management software. We use a software program called IELT Planner. It’s a collaborative planning platform. So I can access it. I will update information. You as the client can access it, update information as needed or see my notes, see your, enter other notes. Clear communication and attention to detail of course are super crucial to the process as well. But…

Vendor communication, collaboration is something that we really pride ourselves on here, especially locally. So a big thing for me too is sticking with venues that I am super familiar with or have a good relationship with. Many of the venues here, I’m proud to say, have handed a key over to me. So we can, you know, when you have established that type of trust and that type of relationship, that alone,

you’re so familiar with the venue that you’re just comfortable being there and can text that person if you are the owners if you need to or the managers and but again heavily on digital software that collaborative planning software program and then just staying in my own territory. I’m not here to

stomp on other people’s grounds or turf. I like to stay, we keep it pretty local within a 30 mile radius. And that for me helps keep us organized so that we all kind of know the ropes and what’s gonna happen that day.

Alyssa (20:05)
Definitely, I always love it whenever a planner knows the venue so well, because I know, you know, when we’re setting up pianos, I’m always like, where’s the power supply and things like that. And I find the best planners always, you know, they’ve mapped out everything and they know, and they’re so familiar with it. And that’s always so helpful on wedding days. Because I always just love it when you can just tell that they really have thought through all the details. And it’s so freeing, I think, to the bride and groom. (20:14)


Alyssa (20:35)
to not have that strain put on them that day of. (20:37)

Yes, I agree. So with those venues too, we prepare a layout. There are a couple of venues that do their own layout and then we just incorporate it into our file. But the other venues we have the dimensions of, so you have a layout that’s not just a quick drawing, it’s actually to scale. And on the computer, there’s nothing wrong with doing a drawing one, just make sure that it’s to scale. Sometimes we like to put things in a place where we want to put them, but then the reality…

and the actual logistics of it don’t work out because it’s not to scale. So.

Alyssa (21:12)
That’s me whenever I try to plan out my apartment before I move in and go, oh, I did not do any of this right. (21:21)
Yes, yes, we find that a lot. And then, you know, we add like room for, we call it a service territory around each table. So you can put the chairs in and out, the servers can get around each table. So again, those logistics are super key as well. And just making sure that the actuality of it is true.

Alyssa (21:42)
Definitely. So what are some common pitfalls to avoid? Like if somebody is doing a DIY wedding planning, what are some common things that you’ve seen, you know, that didn’t work out that you would want to tell other people so that way they don’t have to make those same mistakes? (22:00)
Yeah, there is absolutely nothing wrong with DIYing your wedding. You will find that when you book me as an event coordinator, I do require three contracted people or vendors, I should say, as catering, floral, and DJ. Those are three things that I am like, that that has to be. So, and with the floral,

Okay, we can go back on that a little bit. So I say that because over committing to too many DIY projects tends to be a big pitfall a very common pitfall and not setting a realistic budget Those are two big ones I would say but back to the floral side of it as Long as you’re not planning to do it the day of or on site

go for it. If you think that you want to do your own bridesmaid bouquets, bridal bouquet, I’m totally good with that, but I do not want you doing it the day of or the week of and that better be done. Because I’m not going to DIY it as much as I don’t want you to DIY it the day of. So I should be clear about that. But really over committing to too many of those DIY projects, not setting the realistic budget, just

kind of poor communication with vendors also are very common pitfalls that end up really just leading to unnecessary, not extra, and unnecessary stress and probably disappointment as well. So be true to yourself, know that this is your one day that you get. Maybe instead find a little side gig and invest in those areas.

The DJ and the caterer are the other things that I require to be a contracted licensed service because A, that’s your entertainment, that’s your guest experience. You don’t want the speakers to go out or electricity to go out if you’re gonna be playing your own music and now you have nothing. I think you would feel really sad if that were the case. And the caterer,

Alyssa (24:21)
Definitely. (24:24)
I don’t want grandma in the back cooking barbeque pulled pork and having to go back and forth. Just let them take care of it. They’re the professionals. Highly recommend those services to be contracted. Yeah.

Alyssa (24:37)
Definitely. I know that’s why Felix and Fingers now does DJing as part of our package shoot where we can DJ it because we’ve seen so many times, you know, the venue might say that they have a PA system that you can just plug in through. And I’ve seen somebody show up to a venue, we’re just going to plug in an iPod for this one thing and the speaker is blown and they had no idea until that event started. And it’s, you know, that’s heartbreaking whenever that’s what you’re, you know. (24:44)


Alyssa (25:05)
There’s no backup plan there. And so I think that’s why I completely agree with you on that with the music of, you know, we say all the time, like that’s why we bring all of our own equipment and have backups and things like that. Because whenever you have vendors that like even with your planning, even when you have somebody who’s thought through every worst case scenario that can possibly happen and has a backup for every worst case scenario, that is really, you know, that’s how we keep your day stress free, I think. (25:35)
Yes, yes, and you guys probably added that service after having gone through a couple of bad experiences, right? I added those things to my contract after having been through a couple of those experiences. I’m okay. I don’t want anybody else to ever experience that again, so we’re just gonna make it this way. And yeah, I think it’s perfect.

Alyssa (25:54)
Yeah, definitely. Because you just want everybody like, that’s something that I always say, I love working with awesome vendors, because it’s all about making that day as memorable and stress free for you as possible. And so I really think that those small things can really make or break. I don’t want to say the event because everybody else might still have a good time, but your experience. And I think people forget how important their experience is on those days. (26:06)


Yes, a thousand percent agree with you. Yes.

Alyssa (26:24)
Definitely. Okay, I have one last question for you before we wrap up. So what is like the number one piece of advice that you would offer somebody who is recently engaged and just like at the very beginning of their journey planning their wedding? (26:28)

Yes, I’m going to kind of piggyback off that previous one. So hire professionals for key aspects like catering, photography, your entertainment, whether that’s Felix and Fingers or a DJ service. Those are whatever is most important to you as a couple. So if budget is kind of becoming an issue, what I always tell clients is then to prioritize. What is the most important to you? For some people, that is the floral decor experience.

For other people, it’s the photography. For other people, it’s the entertainment and how their guests experience the party after the ceremony. But also don’t be afraid to delegate specific tasks and ask for help. If you’re not planning to have a coordinator, it’s super important then that you don’t take everything on yourself. Again, don’t.

Don’t sign yourself up for too many things. So don’t be afraid to delegate some of those guys to carry around an arbor, move it from the ceremony to the reception or to ask your aunt to help with some laurel placements or whatever those things are. Just don’t be afraid to delegate. Those would be my biggest recommendations. So my biggest advice.

Alyssa (27:58)
Definitely. Well, thank you so much, Karla. It’s been so great to pick your brain and get all this advice for you. And hopefully this will be super helpful for everyone who is in the process of planning their wedding or thinking about planning their wedding in the future because. (28:00)

Yes, thank you for having me. It’s always fun to talk about all of these things. I love it.

Alyssa (28:17)
For sure well thanks everyone for listening, this has been a list of from Felix and Fingers again and Karla from Creations by Sota thanks so much for listening and have a great rest of your day right.

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