We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Kristine Shipman-Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Kristine, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always loved weddings and loved the different moving parts of big events, but I have kept very busy with my full-time job as an education administrator for more than 17 years. When I lived in Central California I had a small wedding business for 13 years and I had so much fun with it, but when I was recruited for an advanced position in education resulting in the need to move to San Diego 6 years ago I set the wedding business aside. I felt a little intimidated entering into the San Diego wedding industry where weddings are produced at a much grander scale.
I set my dream of launching a wedding business in San Diego aside while I committed my time to the pursuit of my doctorate at the University of Southern California. While I pursued my doctorate, COVID-19 struck and after a very difficult personal battle with COVID-19 I emerged from 2020 with a decision to find what brings me joy and to spend more time committed to that.
I graduated with my doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from USC in May of 2021 and after contemplating pursuing more advanced positions in education, I made the decision to bring my love of organization and my passion for weddings together into a beautiful new approach to wedding planning, wedding coordinating and floral design.
As I launched Kristine Smith Designs I knew I wanted my approach to be unique. I wanted to provide a personalized approach to the wedding planning and design process so that couples would feel that I was more than a vendor but a friend. That’s when Kristine Smith Designs was birthed with the goal of becoming each couple’s Wedding Bestie. The Wedding Bestie approach moves beyond providing goods and services but brings love, joy, and passion to each event.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up I have always seen patterns, systems, and structures where there weren’t any. This helped to set me apart in my education career as I can make meaning of chaos in a quick manner and create supportive structures and systems, bringing that skill into the wedding industry is next-level type of work.
Weddings are so complex with each couple having a unique vision, theme, color scheme, and vibe that they are hoping to bring to life. In my 13+ years in the wedding industry, I have yet to meet a couple who wants their wedding to be a carbon copy of anyone else’s. With that being said, staying relevant is a key component to being marketable in the wedding industry and especially for individuals wedding planning in a COVID era, social media marketing has been a game-changer and really can make or break a business. Social media trends have a direct influence on wedding styles so staying on top of trends means that I have to commit intentional time to observing social media trends, figuring out how to represent my wedding work in a virtual space, and continuing to network with couples through various social media channels.
I would love for my couples to feel a deeply personal connection to me regardless of being in a virtual space or meeting in person. I love to bring wedding visions to life for each of my couples and I enjoy building their wedding mood board, sourcing unique decor items, and helping their celebration to be a work of art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love adventure and quality time is my love language…maybe that is why I get so connected to my couples. My best friend lives out of state, so every time we are together it is all about quality time together. Anytime I put together a weekend experience for when my best friend visits, I love to share unique experiences in San Diego but scheduled in a way that allows for deep conversation, great food, and great scenery. I love traipsing through Little Italy hitting up some of the family-owned Italian restaurants especially if they have an outdoor patio. Grabbing an early dinner and then picking up a cannoli and walking down to the waterfront to watch the sunset would be the best way to kick off our girl’s weekend.
From there, the next day we would go on a hunt for wildflowers with a long drive out to Julian and Ramona. I LOVE boho picnics so we would pack the cutest poufs, rug, and grab one of my palette tables and set up the cutest little picnic. We would take a charcuterie board with us and pick up an apple pie from Julian pie company before hanging out among the wildflowers and having girl chat while we snack, laugh, and relax.
Our next day would be a day of relaxation and rejuvenation. For this, we would take a trek up to Glen Ivy Hot Springs for a day of pampering including massages, pedicures, a delicious poolside lunch, and of course ending the day with a visit to the epic Club Mudd.
Floral design is therapeutic for me so on our last evening together I would have my bestie get dressed up in her favorite boho dress, glam herself up with hair and makeup, and I would drive out to Sunset Cliffs and provide her with one of my signature hand-tied floral bouquets and surprise her with a small scale styled shoot to remember our amazing Southern California girl’s staycation.
I love San Diego, it is full of so many beautiful types of landscape and I would want to share all of that with my bestie while spending time to relax, recover, and spend quality time together.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to give a huge shoutout to all of the couples planning weddings in the middle of a global pandemic and all of the vendors in the wedding industry who are working harder than they have ever had to work before squeezing in three times as many weddings to help couples finally have their dream celebrations after a year and half of waiting.
Bridal photo and backyard reception photo: @amandanoel_ @amandanoelphotos (Amanda Noel Photos)