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Podcast for Ciel Bleu Events

Podcast Summary

Azurae Shults, owner of Ciel Bleu Events, a wedding and event planning company in Paso Robles, was interviewed by Shawn Grindle on the eventful endeavors podcast. In the interview, Azurae shared her journey into the world of wedding planning and how she found her passion for creating memorable events.

Growing up in Templeton on the Central Coast, Azurae always had a knack for planning parties and being involved in various leadership projects. While initially considering a career in wedding photography, she ultimately realized that her skills were better suited for planning weddings. She decided to move back to her hometown of Paso Robles to explore the wedding industry and quickly became immersed in the area’s booming wine scene.

Azurae’s timing couldn’t have been better, as Paso Robles and the surrounding counties were experiencing a surge in popularity as wedding destinations. With its breathtaking scenery and abundance of wineries, the area became the perfect backdrop for couples looking to tie the knot. Azurae capitalized on this opportunity and focused on building her business, Ciel Bleu Events.

Throughout the interview, Azurae emphasized the unique experiences that San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County have to offer for weddings and events. She expressed her love for the area and how it has allowed her to create truly unforgettable experiences for her clients.

For anyone considering a wedding in Paso Robles or the surrounding area, Azurae highly recommends it. The region’s scenic beauty and diverse range of wineries provide the perfect setting for a dream wedding. As the first wedding planner to be featured on the podcast, Azurae’s expertise and passion for her work shine through, making this interview a must-listen for anyone interested in the world of wedding planning.

To listen to the full interview, visit [Ciel Bleu Events]( This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos.

Podcast Transcript

Shawn Grindle (00:25)
All right. Welcome back to another episode of eventful endeavors. We are here today with Azure Schultz, who is a wedding and event planner in Paso Robles. Uh, and she owns, uh, CL blue events. So thank you for being here. First of all. Yeah. Yeah. So tell me a little bit before we jump into a lot of stuff, tell me a little bit about your story, how you got into wedding planning and all that kind of stuff, where you’re from, et cetera.

Azurae Shults (00:39)
My pleasure, thanks for having me.

Sure, so I actually grew up in this area. I grew up in Templeton, which is a tiny town here on the Central Coast. And then I went away to college and I stayed away for about 10 years and I entered the corporate America rat race and hated it. And I have a passion and an affinity for planning things. Like ask any of my friends I grew up with, I was like coming up with reasons to always have a party or.

Shawn Grindle (01:05)

Azurae Shults (01:16)
being a part of school leadership projects in college, I was a part of things with my sorority. And so it just resonated with me to explore the idea of planning weddings. I was approached by a few people like, hey, would you maybe do this for fun? I actually, at one point, kind of set out to be a wedding photographer. I love photography. I looked at attending the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.

Shawn Grindle (01:36)

Azurae Shults (01:41)
And it just was a little too narrow for me in scope, so I didn’t end up doing it. However, because of that conversation, I think people started recognizing the fact that I knew my way around a wedding. And I did a few for fun and realized, hey, there’s actually something here. But at the time, I didn’t live in Paso Robles. I was still in Northern California and it wasn’t a destination wedding type atmosphere, you know? So I convinced my husband to…

leave his hometown and relocate to my hometown so that I could get my feet wet and see what was here for me. And I immediately couldn’t live off of my own business salary. So I worked for wineries and I ran a couple of wine clubs. I planned big events and really got my bearings in terms of what was happening in this area. We had also been married in this area.

So after a couple of years of that, I decided, you know what, I’m just gonna rip the Band -Aid off and see what happens. And I’ve never regretted it. So that’s really kind of how it started. And I think timing is always of the essence, right? Like in the 08, 09, 2010 era, our area really started booming in terms of wine. And that is when I put a big emphasis on my business. So it was just…

Shawn Grindle (02:48)

Azurae Shults (03:07)
kind of magical that it all happened at the same time. Perfect storm, yeah. And now, you know, Paso Rolos is such a distinct place on the map and really just our county, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, we’re neighbors. We have so much to offer in terms of, you know, experiences for events. So, yeah, so it’s been just like a really wonderful progression from there.

Shawn Grindle (03:08)
Perfect storm, yeah.

Yeah. And for anybody listening to this, if you have not been up there, I highly recommend it. We’ve done events up there, plenty of them, and it’s just a beautiful area. And if you like wine, it’s fantastic. There’s a plethora of wineries. There’s not a shortage of wineries for sure. So, uh, so that’s great. So I’m also, I’m excited because I told you before we started chatting that, um, you know, this is the first time we’ve had a wedding planner on. We’ve had a lot of venue managers and that kind of stuff. So, so we’re going to dive right into some of the wedding planning stuff. Cause this is, you know,

Azurae Shults (03:40)
It’s the place to be. Yes.




Shawn Grindle (04:00)
This is the big thing. I mean, you know, every, almost every venue manager, I asked them what their biggest piece of advice was to people starting to plan a wedding. And they’re always right away. They say, get a wedding planner, which is my piece of advice too. So I’m going to go right in and ask you, you know, as somebody who does this, like, why is that what everybody recommends? Like, why, why do you recommend hire planner? Do this, make sure you have this all set. Like what’s, what’s your main thing with like, you’re going to need this.

Azurae Shults (04:12)
I love it.

So I often will compare what a wedding planner does for a couple getting married to a real estate agent when you buy a home. So I am, you know, Susie, homemaker, and I’m ready to sell my house, my husband’s on board, we have a timeline that we wanna fulfill, we actually go find a real estate agent to help us with that conversation, right? That’s nine times out of 10, that is the natural progressive move.

Shawn Grindle (04:54)
Mm -hmm.

Azurae Shults (04:57)
for some reason in the wedding planning business, that’s not. And it should be, oh, we’re gonna get married, especially if we’re gonna get married out of town and in an area such as Paso or, you know, slow County that we’re maybe not that familiar with. It’s like relocating homes. You wanna move to Nashville from Los Angeles? Guaranteed you’re talking to somebody in Nashville about best neighborhoods, school districts, all the things, crime. That’s what a wedding planner does for a bride and groom in the…

wedding planning process. And so it really should be, if not the first thing, maybe the second. If you’re familiar with the area you want to get married in and you’re really just anxious to snag the venue you’ve had your eye on and the date, fine, go for it. But don’t go any farther than that. Call somebody, get a relationship established with a wedding planner, ideally before the venue conversation, because there’s a lot of little tricky things in contracts and in your budgeting that…

you may be kind of, you know, shooting yourself in the foot. If you’re planning a, say $80 ,000 budget wedding and your venue’s 40, guess what? You’re in a little bit of trouble. You’ve just, you know, you’ve allocated a little too much to your venue. And I think some people just get ahead of themselves and they’re excited and they’re anxious. And we all lived through the aftermath of COVID of worrying about not getting things that you want and vendors that you want and dates that you want. And that’s definitely settled down now. So,

Shawn Grindle (06:06)

Azurae Shults (06:24)
If you have the option to pump the brakes a little bit and go talk to a couple of planners and figure out who’s a good fit for you, that will make your life so much easier. And then you have a personal concierge who’s going to hold your hand through that entire venue shopping process, making sure that you’re not overlooking maybe another great option that you didn’t even know about or think of, and also just making sure that all of your contractual language …

is exclusive to what you’re looking for. People really, I think, kind of get themselves backed into corners sometimes, not realizing like, oh, we can’t come in the day before and set up, or we don’t get anything with our rental. We have to bring everything in. We didn’t realize that. So there are a multitude of contractual details that I think we can help with, similar to a real estate agent. You’re not signing those contracts without them sitting down and walking you through it. So.

I just think people get a little ahead of themselves, super excited. We live in such a world of Instagram madness that you see something on there, you’ve got to have it, you love it, it’s everything you want. But the reality of how that image came to life is not always what you think it is. So I just always say if you have an extra week or two to just settle into the idea of a planner, it’s really going to go a long way.

Shawn Grindle (07:27)
Right, yeah.

I love that analogy. I’ve never heard anybody put it that way. And you know, just like a real estate agent, I mean, there might be a fee that they’re gonna take, but at the end of the day, their goal is to really get you the best value, like save you some money and make this happen. So I love that.

Azurae Shults (08:01)
100%. Yeah, and that’s, you know, and that’s, for me personally, I, you know, I feel really strongly about respecting people’s budgets and not trying to push them beyond their limits. So if there’s a ceiling on something and we’re, you know, talking about it in the early phases, then the entire process is gonna be based around, you know, achieving that goal and staying within those numbers, not, hey, what if we just push the envelope a little bit farther and I got you this, this, and this? Like, that’s not.

That’s not fair. That’s not what I’m here to do. So I, again, like, I just think there’s so many little detail oriented decisions to be made that like a real estate agent, you know, we guide you through and we hold your hand and make sure that everything you’re getting is exactly what you want in the budget, you know, sphere that you’re working in.

Shawn Grindle (08:52)
Right, that makes sense. And so let me ask you this, because this is something that I come across a lot, because there’s a lot of different, you know, there’s a lot of different budgets

for weddings. There’s a lot of different ways people do things. So talk to me a little bit about, because a lot of people, some people hire full service planning, and some people get their, their day of month of coordination, where it’s just kind of, hey, we plan this whole thing, we want you to just make sure it happens. So talk to me a little bit about the difference of those, the pros, the cons, what you do personally, and what you recommend.

Azurae Shults (09:08)
Mm -hmm.

Yeah, so it’s kind of a slippery slope because a lot of people see a savings attached to a smaller level of service when it comes to planning. And so they feel like, well, maybe I just won’t spend the extra money to have somebody do all of the initial planning with me. And that’ll help me in the long run because I really want to add, say, $5 ,000 to my floral budget. The reality though is that,

As you go through the process and plan and choose all your vendors without a planner, you’re likely gonna make some mistakes and you’re gonna end up booking things that you either don’t need, that are maybe a bit excessive, or you’re just not talking to the right people. We have the relationships, we have the connections, we have the kind of inner spider web of people that we know and trust that you’re really using a planner for.

that access to those people. So going out in the big bad world of Google and finding all your vendors, and even if I gave you a list of vendors and said, here’s some people to start with, I think this is a great jumping off point, it’s likely that you’re gonna allocate things incorrectly, you’re gonna overshoot the moon on some things, you’re gonna underestimate other things, and then guess what? You’re coming to me three months before the wedding, pretty frustrated and upset that…

you have to cancel somebody because you made a mistake along the way or you forgot something. And lo and behold, had you just committed to the full service planning from the get -go, we wouldn’t be in that place, right? We would never get there. And you would have a much better experience knowing someone else is doing the shopping and the negotiating for you. Because I don’t know, like as a consumer, I don’t love the art of…

negotiating with people when I’m trying to do something. It’s not super fun. It kind of makes you feel weird. It’s not always the best thing to have to do. Having someone else do it for me, that’s amazing. I don’t want to have those scary conversations if I don’t have to. And that’s a part of it, being able to sort of remove yourself from the negotiation process and really just talk surface level details of like, this is what I want, this is how I want it to feel and look, and I want the guest experience to be a certain way and let me figure out how to get you there.

Shawn Grindle (11:18)


Azurae Shults (11:43)
So full service planning is really, I think, important, especially if you’re planning a high level luxury experience for your guests. You really need somebody in your court. You really need somebody who’s going to be privy to all the local details. Hire somebody in the market of where you’re getting married. Don’t bring someone in from out of town. There’s people that do that, and it doesn’t make sense. They don’t know the vendors. They don’t know how long it takes for someone to get from point A to point B.

They don’t know which hotels are closest and have the best access. So I always recommend, even if it’s not me, hire someone local. Don’t bring someone in from like LA or Santa Barbara that doesn’t know the area. Try to stick within the region and you’ll really do yourself a favor having someone on your team vouching for you all the way through and fighting for you. So making sure that you get everything you need from start to finish.

Shawn Grindle (12:12)
Mm -hmm.

Well, and you also know what those things should cost. You know what I mean? Because if you do it without that, you might spend $5 ,000 on X when you’re like, oh, I could have got you that same thing for 2 ,000. You know what I mean? Because you don’t know. Yeah.

Azurae Shults (12:42)

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s what I’m saying. Like the difference between maybe spending on a full service package versus a partial is usually something to that tune where they spent the money anyways, they just didn’t realize they were going to spend it because they made some kind of mistake or they, you know, overshot the moon and didn’t need to. So it all is relative. It all balances out in the end. It’s just, it’s hard. And I understand that a lot of people have never planned a wedding before.

They don’t know the process. They don’t know what to expect. It looks like planning a fun dinner party. It really, you know, that’s what it starts out looking like, right? But then you get into the nitty gritty stuff, especially again, if you’re creating like a weekend experience for people, you realize there’s a whole lot more to this than I give planners credit for. And we’re not charging a premium to plan with you for a year or a year and a half of our lives for nothing. You know, there’s really a lot of work that goes into it.

Shawn Grindle (13:24)


Azurae Shults (13:48)
And there’s a lot of experience that I have and that some of our other more senior planners have that took a long time to get to this point. So again, it’s just, it’s a service. So it’s not a tangible thing. I’m not gonna bake you a cake and deliver something pretty on the wedding day. I am the thing. So it’s really, it’s hard for people to wrap their head around that. Like, oh my gosh, I have to spend extra money on someone.

Shawn Grindle (13:57)
Mm -hmm.

Right. Yeah.

Azurae Shults (14:14)
to do what I think I can do myself. Sure, you can probably do it, but can you do as good of a job as you would expect me to do? I don’t think so. And usually that boils down to the fact that they don’t understand what things should cost, like you said. They’re not familiar with the area and they’ve just never orchestrated a big event before. So it’s kind of a culmination. Some people do a great job and pull it off and some just lose out on the experience of enjoying.

Shawn Grindle (14:23)


Azurae Shults (14:43)
what’s supposed to be this incredible experience once in a lifetime, right, we hope. And they don’t get to do that. They lose themselves in the details and the stress and trying to make everybody happy along the way. Because there’s still gonna be that even with a planner. So you’re just kind of cutting the stress in half, right? I can’t make your mom agree with you on everything and I can’t, you know.

Shawn Grindle (14:48)

Sure. Yeah.


Azurae Shults (15:08)
I can’t counsel through the family financial situation and I can try and I can have conversations about what makes sense, but we wear a lot of different hats. We, family financial planner, family therapist, life coach, all the things. And that’s because we spend a lot of time together too. I always say, we’re gonna get to know each other quite well. And by the time you actually get married, we’re gonna have to say goodbye. And it’s kind of sad.

Shawn Grindle (15:12)



Azurae Shults (15:36)
We get divorced and you get married and it’s all happening on the same day. So yeah, it’s a hard thing for people to really understand. I mean, I think Hollywood has glorified a bit of it. People have friends who have had planners and they’ve had great experiences. So it’s always, there’s a certain sector of people that get it and that know no matter what, this is my first thing I’m gonna do and it’s a highline priority for me. There’s others that just don’t really understand why it’s necessary.

Shawn Grindle (15:40)

Right. Well, and this is actually a great transition into what I was gonna ask you next. So I got married before I got into the industry and I did not hire a planner. In retrospect, there’s probably a million things I would have done differently in this whole process. The wedding went great, but it was not an easy couple of years doing it and putting it together. But the biggest thing, when we decided to get married, we didn’t wanna do anything crazy. We had maybe a hundred people or something. And the first thing we said was,

Azurae Shults (16:13)
Okay. Okay.

Shawn Grindle (16:35)
Okay, well, let’s put together a wedding budget. And I think we said $10 ,000, which in retrospect was the funniest thing I’d ever told myself.

So quickly learned that we were wrong. Once we realized how much things cost because we had no idea what we were doing, didn’t hire a planner. So my question then is, since I think a lot of people go into that, they think, okay, well, this is what we want to spend, but they don’t really know what things cost. So for you, how would you say like, you know, when you’re putting together a wedding budget, what

Azurae Shults (16:42)

Shawn Grindle (17:03)
How do you make that a realistic number that you’re okay with spending, but not like, I’m gonna go broke from this wedding? Like, how do you recommend people pick that number, essentially?

Azurae Shults (17:12)
It’s hard. And you know, it’s hard because if you want to have a wedding for $10 ,000, there’s a way to do it, right? Like you could have, you could have done it. You could have cut corners and taken, you know, the fifth favorite option off the list over and over again. You could have done it, right? You could have, well, sure. Like it’s not what anybody wants, but people do it. I think what we’re working against that other areas aren’t is that

Shawn Grindle (17:20)

Yeah, would have been lame though. Yeah, right. Sure.

Azurae Shults (17:41)
California is expensive, bottom line, and our prices are inflated compared to other places. So you go on the wonderful Google and punch in how much does a wedding cost, and we’re getting really bad information given to us based on national averages or other markets that are cited at the bottom that we didn’t see. So then they come to me and they say, I want to have 250 people for $25 ,000. And it’s like, ooh, yeah, that’s not happening.

Shawn Grindle (17:44)

Azurae Shults (18:10)
That’s tough. You could do it. I’m not saying you can’t do it. Anything is possible. You could have a barbecue dinner on paper plates and a couple of cakes, a beer and some wine and a DJ and you could do it. I’m not saying you can’t do it. But when I see your Pinterest board and your Instagram ideas and I see what your vision is and what your budget is, then we have to have a conversation early on. And again, that’s part of what I’m here to do is to say, I don’t want to set you up for…

Shawn Grindle (18:11)

Thank you.


Azurae Shults (18:40)
complete disaster, I’m not gonna take your money and be your wedding planner when I already know that your budget isn’t sound for what you’re trying to do. Oftentimes, those people do not hire me and that’s okay because I don’t feel like I would be doing that in good conscience. So.

Shawn Grindle (18:56)
Right, and you don’t want to do it and then not be able to deliver it. You’re not going to lie to people. Yeah. Right.

Azurae Shults (18:59)
100%, yeah, I’m not gonna lie to you. And so usually most of my initial consultations on the phone and stuff is like, let’s talk about your budget. Where are you at? Do you need some guidance? Do you want some advice? Because I’m happy to give free advice. That’s fine. And most of them walk away going, oh my gosh, thank you so much for being upfront about that because I had no idea. I look at $25 ,000 and like, that’s a lot of money.

I don’t discredit the fact that that’s a lot of money, but you want to have a grand luxury experience in San Luis Obispo County, it’s going to be really hard to pull that off unless your family owns some sort of venue and you’re pulling a lot of favors. So it’s hard to say from the get -go that any one budget is the right number because it’s not, but there’s certainly an average and there’s certainly…

Shawn Grindle (19:30)


Azurae Shults (19:59)
you know, an expectation of if somebody wants a certain type of weekend, I can give them guidance on what I think their budget should be, or at least a range, and then they can go back to their families or back to their financial person and say, it’s a little more than I thought, but what do we have to work with? And then call me back and we kind of massage it from there. And oftentimes it is an ongoing conversation. And I, you know, I feel very strongly about the fact that,

I’m planning someone else’s wedding, not mine. So I always give options of here’s X, Y, and Z caterers. Here’s X, Y, and Z florists. And they’re all gonna be, you know, a little bit different in cost and style, but it gives them the power to say, I was trying to keep this to 75 ,000, but gosh, I love that caterer so much. And I wanna put an extra 5 ,000 in the pot to get what I want. And that happens, and that’s fine. But I’m not the one telling them, hey,

you have to do this and you need to come up with $5 ,000 more to make this, I’m just saying these are options, you decide, it’s kind of like choose your own little destiny here. And that’s a nice way to approach it because if we have sort of a jumping off point and I know what the ceiling is initially and there’s something that comes up that’s gonna push us over, then it’s up to the client to decide if that’s gonna work or not. But every budget is a little different and every…

Shawn Grindle (20:59)

Azurae Shults (21:24)
expectation is a little different. So it’s hard to come in, you know, on my, even on my inquiry form on my website, it’s like, what’s your budget? And I asked that question because I want to get an understanding of what they already know and understand about the wedding world so that we can have this conversation in one of our first calls. It’s like, well, you just told me 25 ,000 for 250 people. Let’s talk about that. Where did you get that number? And is that…

Shawn Grindle (21:50)

Azurae Shults (21:52)
Is that a hard end for you or are you just throwing that number out because you don’t know and you need someone to help you figure that out? So it’s hard. That’s a big like it’s a big discovery phase early on in the relationship of kind of hashing out back and forth of like what would work what makes sense How much do we have to work with is there wiggle room if we need it? Is it a hard end? You know, there’s all kinds of

Shawn Grindle (22:16)

Azurae Shults (22:17)
different scenarios with budgeting. So yeah, so I don’t know. It’s just, it kind of depends on the client obviously and then their personal situation.

Shawn Grindle (22:27)
even if you have the lower budgeted like say your budget is really like you’re like, I can’t go above $25 ,000. Like, you know, I think some people have this thing with like getting a full service planner is undoable with certain types of budgets.

I mean, I didn’t get I didn’t get a full service planner. So I truly don’t know, you know, how much it costs, what it’s all about, and how that works. Like, can you work a full service planner into almost every kind of budget? Is it more so on the bigger weddings? Yeah.

Azurae Shults (22:42)
Mm -hmm.

No, it is, unfortunately. I mean, and there are planners out there who do the smaller and budgeting type services to make it work. So I think there’s a planner for everybody. It may not be me, it may not be the next person, but with a little bit of shopping, you’ll find that person. And trust me, I get passed on all the time for budget and I know that that’s the right thing to happen, right? I don’t want to see people over committing themselves because they like me.

Shawn Grindle (23:06)

Azurae Shults (23:22)
and then they don’t get the photographer they want. I want them to get everything they want. So yeah, there are certainly different levels of pricing based on different planners. There’s a lot of newer planners that are up and coming, kind of straight out of college, starting a business, and they’re hungry for it. They’ll take anything. I’ve lived that part of my life. I’ve done those days and it doesn’t work for me anymore, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not out there. And I think people…

Shawn Grindle (23:25)




Azurae Shults (23:52)
Even on a limited budget, they should always at least have the conversation with a few planners and see what’s out there. It’s not going to hurt to try.

Shawn Grindle (24:00)
Yeah. And you know, full service planning to me sounds like such a, such a, uh, involved job. And you know, obviously it can last for a year, you know, while you’re planning this wedding people. So how many weddings can like someone like you take on per year? Like you have a cat for yourself or like what’s that kind of, how’s that look?

Azurae Shults (24:11)
Mm -hmm.

Yeah, it’s hard, you know, it’s a delicate balance because you don’t want to over…

book yourself, right, and not have enough time in the day to give what you need to give to each client. I would say like, and I don’t know if this is how everybody does it, but I have kids and we have weekend things that I don’t want to miss and you know, I don’t want to be gone every Saturday. So I try to put myself in kind of a maybe 15 events to 20 events a year on the high end. And some years if I end up with bigger projects,

Shawn Grindle (24:27)


Azurae Shults (24:52)
and I don’t want to take as much, I’ll do maybe 12 to 15. And that’s a lot, that’s sustainable for my business, but it’s also about as much as my brain can take in a year. And remember, for wedding planning, this is a revolving door. So I might execute two or three events the first part of a calendar year, but then I might book six more for next year.

Shawn Grindle (25:05)
Right, yeah, yeah.


Azurae Shults (25:21)
So as I’m saying goodbye to three or four clients, I’m bringing six more in, starting the process all over. So at any given time, I might have 18 to 25 clients on the books, but they’re not necessarily all in the same calendar year. So that gets tricky too, because you don’t, again, you don’t wanna over commit yourself, but you have to plan a certain distance out to kind of stay in the game. We can do it.

Shawn Grindle (25:22)

You’re right. Yeah.


Azurae Shults (25:50)
on shorter timelines and it happens, but ideally like a 12 month window or so is where we’re falling usually. So it’s funny, it’s hard to balance, but I’ve been doing it long enough. I know now what my personal, I guess routine needs to be and also workload. So I try not to take on more than I can handle.

Shawn Grindle (25:57)


That makes sense. Yeah, I imagine there’s a lot of different steps. You’re like, okay, this person’s just starting, this person’s getting married next week. Like, you know, there’s a lot of that kind of balance going on, but it sounds like a full thing. Okay, so I have two things I’ve been asking everybody. I haven’t asked the wedding planner yet, so I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of stuff. Having done a lot of weddings, I have two questions. The first one, and these are just for fun, is what is the, it’s kind of a two -parter. The first one is what is the cringiest thing you’ve ever seen in a wedding?

Azurae Shults (26:14)

Oh yeah, 100%. Yeah.

Shawn Grindle (26:43)
And the second part is like, what would you recommend people never do at their wedding? Like something you see more often than you should, but like, don’t do that. It’s just uncomfortable.

Azurae Shults (26:53)
at their own wedding or just as a guest at a wedding.

Shawn Grindle (26:54)
Or something, or if you haven’t seen it, but somebody told you they wanted to do it and you were like, let’s not do that, it’s not gonna work. Like what’s something just cringy that you’ve seen or somebody told you they wanted to do?

Azurae Shults (27:07)
Okay, well, I will tell you a cringey story and it was actually at a celebrity wedding, but I won’t, I’m not going to tell you who it was. I’ll mail it with me, but I’ll tell you off camera who it was. Yeah, yeah, I’ll keep it private. But this person had some fun, few too many cocktails, went over to the dessert bar and there were like cupcakes and cookies and all these fun things and proceeded to lick all the icing off the cupcakes and put them back on the cupcake bar.

Shawn Grindle (27:11)
Okay. Just yeah, just closed.



Azurae Shults (27:34)
And I kind of caught wind of what was going on so that my assistant and I had to go and like follow her through the buffet line of desserts and get rid of everything that she licked and try to rearrange. And yeah, that was a cringy moment of like, no, no, no, no. There’s other people picking these up. Don’t do that.

Shawn Grindle (27:46)
Oh my god.

Well, when you mix alcohol into the situation, things happen. Okay, so piece of advice, don’t lick the cupcakes. Got it. Don’t lick the cupcakes.

Azurae Shults (27:57)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, don’t lick the cupcakes. I mean, have fun, have fun, but don’t have so much fun that you’re falling over and someone has to take care of you, because that’s the other cringey thing. It’s like, I’ve seen lots of, you know, dresses over the head on the dance floor, nothing underneath. There’s lots of, yeah, yeah. It’s like, okay, well, I mean, it’s great people watching.

Shawn Grindle (28:09)


Okay, your relatives are here.

Azurae Shults (28:23)
Yeah, it’s great people watching, but I think that person’s probably mortified when they find out later what happened. So I feel like the balance of like having a really good time and just being a complete idiot is sort of cringey at a wedding. You know, it’s, especially when you have grandma and all the family sitting at the coffee, you know, sitting at the table drinking coffee, and then there’s this complete mayhem going on on the dance floor. That’s where I’m like, oh, save that for the after party when everybody goes to bed.

Shawn Grindle (28:30)

for him.


Your photographer is still here, there’s evidence.

Azurae Shults (28:55)
Yeah. And don’t, you know, don’t get me wrong. I love a good party. I love, that’s my favorite part of the night is watching everyone dance and let loose and all the programming’s done and they can have their fun. But I do think that it tends to go a little too far sometimes and it gets a little crazy. So that would be my cringy kind of moment. And then for couples, I, the thing that,

Shawn Grindle (28:59)

Uh huh.

Yeah, what should they never do? Like, don’t do this. It doesn’t work. Ever.

Azurae Shults (29:20)
I, okay, well it does work, but I don’t like it. And that’s a first look. So there’s this trend where your photographer takes pictures of you together before the ceremony. And I just think it’s cheating. I don’t think it’s fair. I think you have to live through the anxiety and the butterflies and that moment of like walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time and not, I mean, some people just like can’t even fathom the stress of it. And I get it. That’s.

Shawn Grindle (29:24)

Okay, yeah.



Azurae Shults (29:50)
it’s better for them to probably see each other first, but I just feel like it’s cheating. And so I always tell my clients, I’m like, you can do it if you want. Yes, it saves a little bit of time, especially in like daylight savings hours when it gets dark a lot earlier and we need to get photos done before sunset. I get it. It all, there’s a purpose for it, but in the grand scheme of things in life, you only get a few of those like once in a…

Shawn Grindle (29:56)

Azurae Shults (30:18)
million years moments and that’s one of them. And I just feel that it’s become so popular to just, oh, we’ll just do the first look and get it over with. Cause we would, we just want to get to the party and like, that is not why you’re here. You’re here to get married. You’re here to have like this, you know, moment between the two of you. It’s not about anybody else. And I think we lose sight of that in the wedding planning process of like, they’re trying so hard to impress everybody else and take care of everybody else. They put themselves,

Shawn Grindle (30:20)


Azurae Shults (30:48)
last and I don’t think you should. I think you should be a little selfish. I think you should do something that matters for you and not necessarily always worrying about what everybody else is going to walk away from. It’s your day. So that’s, I don’t know.

Shawn Grindle (30:53)
That’s interesting.

And that, yeah, I like that. That’s interesting, because so many people are doing it. I first look is like, I mean, I think it’s on almost every wedding I do now. I did one, but now I think back on it, I’m like, well, if I hadn’t, that whole like walking down the aisle moment would be way more powerful for me. You know what I mean? Like, you kind of forget that like that, maybe you don’t have the picture of the first look, like as in a separate location, but like something about that reaction when you’re right there is really cool. Yeah, I guess I did cheat myself out.

Azurae Shults (31:10)
It’s so popular, yeah.

I know.

Oh, 100%. Oh.

And even if it’s not a picture, it’s a memory. It’s a moment. It’s a feeling. It’s a culmination of all the things and why you’re there. And yes, it turns into the extravagant party and the dinner and being with your friends and all of those other things come into play. But that moment is why you’re there, right? The ceremony is why you’re there. So I don’t know. I just, I think, and I’m not like a super traditional person by any means, but there’s something about that that like…

Shawn Grindle (31:34)



I agree.


Azurae Shults (31:58)
I just, I always try to talk them out of it and not talk them out of it, but just say, you’re never going to get this back. I’m just telling you like something to think about and you know, yeah. So who knows? I mean, everything is, there’s so many trends and wedding planning and you know, from one year to the next people love things and then they hate things and I don’t, it’s so hard to say where it all comes from, but that is something that has kind of stayed.

Shawn Grindle (32:03)
It’s up to you. Right.

That is interesting. Yeah.



Azurae Shults (32:27)
stayed in the conversation for at least a decade, people doing the first look thing. So yeah, that’s just my little, yeah.

Shawn Grindle (32:32)
Yeah, yeah, it’s been around for a minute. I like that. Okay, my last question is kind of the opposite of that. And this is the last one

Azurae Shults (32:40)

Shawn Grindle (32:40)
and then we’ll wrap it up. But is, you know, similar to that, like what’s the most unique thing you’ve ever seen? Something that was just like, you saw it at this one wedding and it was just something really, really cool, really unique. You know, any memory popping in your head?

Azurae Shults (32:55)
You know, there’s probably more than this, but the one that comes to mind, I’m very inclusive in who I work with. And so I had a gay couple and they were very eccentric men getting married at a winery here in town. Awesome to work with and just big idea. Big ideas, lots of color. They even had a drag show as their entertainment during dinner. Like we went all out. It was so fun.

Shawn Grindle (33:22)
Awesome. Sure.

Azurae Shults (33:25)
to be a guest at that wedding would have been such a cool experience. But what I thought was really cool was they travel a lot and so they wanted to incorporate animals that they loved. And we actually have a really neat zoo program here in town that rehabilitates exotic animals that can’t be in zoos and can’t enter their natural habitats. So you can like rent time with them.

Shawn Grindle (33:43)
Thank you.

Azurae Shults (33:54)
So we brought them in for cocktail hour. We had a camel, we had a boa constrictor, we had like an armadillo, we had

all these cool animals floating around with handlers at cocktail hour and people sipping their cocktails, eating a can of pay or something and getting, you know, a moment with these cool animals that they would probably never otherwise get to experience. So I just thought that was really fun to put like a different touch.

Shawn Grindle (34:03)
That’s awesome.

Azurae Shults (34:23)
on a wedding, you know, with some animals. It was very fun. The list goes on and on of all the fun things we did. So I love a client like that that’ll let us get a little creative.

Shawn Grindle (34:25)
That sounds like a fun wedding. Yeah.

And it’s fun for you too at that point, because you’re like, I don’t get to do this very often. Let’s do this. Yeah.

Azurae Shults (34:39)
No, it’s totally different. It was like kind of like planning a birthday party more than a wedding. You know, we just did so many wild things, but in the end it was really a cool day.

Shawn Grindle (34:46)

Well, listen, I mean, I think that’s all I have for you. I mean, is there anything else you want to say? Anything else you want to kind of mention? You know, obviously we’ll link to all your stuff in the show notes and whatnot so people know where to reach out, where to find you. But I don’t know, is there anything else you want to just say before we wrap it all up?

Azurae Shults (34:52)

Oh great.

No, I just appreciate the conversation and I think it’s so fun that musicians are looking from another lens at, you know, what it takes to put on a good event. I know you guys are absolute pros in what you do and the stuff that we’ve done together has been really fun.

And I just think this is a great way for people to gain a little perspective. And I hope that whoever’s watching, whether they’re coming to my area or not, that they take a little bit of this information to heart and help themselves plan in a much more relaxed way and enjoyable way. Yeah.

Shawn Grindle (35:28)

Yeah. It’s not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. You know, there’s a way. So yeah, I just made it up. I feel that was a good one. I’m going to, I’m going to put, I’m going to put that on a bumper sticker or something. Um, okay. Azure, thank you so much for having this chat with me. I appreciate you. You have a great rest of your day and, uh, we might be talking to you again soon because as Ray also manages the venue. Uh, so we might be having you back on in the near future to chat about all that stuff. So, um,

Azurae Shults (35:44)
Exactly. Exactly. I love that slogan.

Hey, that’s perfect. Yeah. Yeah, thanks, Sean.


Okay, good. I would love it.

Shawn Grindle (36:10)
Yeah, thank you very much. You enjoy the rest of your day.

Azurae Shults (36:12)
Okay, have a good one.

Listen to the Podcast About Ciel Bleu Events

This interview was made possible by Felix & Fingers Dueling Pianos

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