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Meet Kellene Dinino of Betty Blue Events

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kellene Dinino.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
To be perfectly honest, I grew up being told I was bossy. From telling my little sister everything Barbie should say and do rather than letting her just play (Barbie got married a lot) to organizing elaborate productions for the plays neighborhood kids would put on.

I never wanted to be the actor, just the one behind the scenes making everything perfect. It is this organization and coordination that I eventually learned I really excelled at.

However, growing up I never realized wedding planning could be a career, just that I really enjoyed the logistics and back end of making any event (whether Barbie’s wedding or a planning a date night for my parents) special. When I started college I knew I wanted to do something in the wedding and event industry and found a job working at a rental company. After graduating I moved to San Diego and worked for a caterer, a golf club, and another wedding planner before opening my own wedding planning business. All of this experience has really given me a well-rounded perspective on weddings.

Working for a catering company was crucial to my wedding education. Your caterers are the ones who interact with guests nightly and know what makes them have fun, what they love at a wedding, what they hate (lines at the bar), and overhear all the little compliments and complaints throughout the evening. It also helped immensely to be able to know how a timeline best flows, for example, guests hate listening to more than two toasts in a row.

It was during my time in catering that I started to feel San Diego was missing a great wedding planner who enjoyed working with couples on a budget. Many new coordinators would work with small budgets to get their foot in the door, but it was never a passion and not part of the business plan. Time and again I would see couples on a budget without a wedding planner because they thought they couldn’t afford it.

Unfortunately, I have also seen couples taken advantage of and not received the best service because they didn’t have a wedding planner. It is so important to me that every couple has a fantastic wedding, regardless of their budget. Which is when the idea of Betty Blue Events was born, a wedding planning company that specializes in weddings on a budget.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I was actually sort of shocked when I got my first client. I had just finished getting my certificate in event management and published my website two weeks before when I got an inquiry from a sweet couple who was starting to feel overwhelmed with planning their wedding and needed someone to rescue them. I had planned weddings for friends in the past and had worked in the industry for several years so I had a good background, but the idea that someone would pay me to do something I love so much was a novelty!

Because I started off branding my company as “Wedding Planning for Budget Savvy Brides” I think I had an easier time than I originally feared. I really found a niche in the market and filled a need for couples who needed a wedding coordinator but didn’t think they could make it work with their budget.

That is certainly not to say there have not been struggles along the way. Running a company as a sole proprietor can be lonely at times. I have been so lucky to make some amazing friends along the way that I can bounce ideas off of or just meet for drinks when life as a business owner gets to be overwhelming. I also have an amazing husband who runs KCD Public Relations, so having a partner who has also set up their own company, knows what a challenge it can be and supports me (and pushes me when necessary) has been incredible.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
A lot of people think wedding planning is just playing with pretty flowers and making tables look like a magazine spread, but it is so much more than that. To me, the most important part of my job is making sure everyone has a good time, including the newlyweds. This means a lot of work months before the wedding ever happens. The logistics of planning a party for 100+ guests is overwhelming for most people and truthfully weddings are a lot of hard work, so I always want my couples to be able to enjoy all they have worked for.

Realistically something will go wrong on the wedding day. It is my job to make sure my couples never know about what goes on behind the scenes. Being prepared for anything is a major part of this, but also the ability to think on your feet and make adjustments as needed.

Betty Blue Events specializes in wedding planning on a budget but this doesn’t always mean picking the cheapest option available. You also need good quality and know how to prioritize a budget. I would say 90% of my couples tell me their top priority for their wedding is for guests to have fun. So when planning a wedding we work towards that goal. This means sometimes choosing to spend more on food, music, and alcohol (the things that make a great party) and spending less on things like decor. I’m going to find a way to make it beautiful no matter what, but being able to see the big picture is one of the benefits of having a planner who doesn’t get bogged down in the details that can quickly overwhelm your wedding and budget.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Is it too cliche to say every time my clients say theirs was the “best wedding ever”? Or every time I receive a referral from a previous client? I recently had a wedding with a fourth generation referral and it made me so proud that from wedding to wedding to wedding my team did such a great job that they wanted us back again.

I am always so proud of my team who is essential in helping me pull off seemingly impossible tasks, from an event for the president of Slovakia to set up an entire wedding in just 34 minutes to flawlessly executing a day for 500 people and an elephant. There is no way I could be as successful without the help of my fantastic assistant coordinators and the amazing vendors I get to work with.

Pricing:

  • Month of Coordination $1500
  • Design + Month Of $2000
  • Full Service Planning $3000

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Walter Wilson Studios, Studio Z Photography, True Photography, Laura Christin Photography, To Wander and Seek, 8Twenty8 Studios

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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