York-based wedding planner Taryn Blake featured in Forbes article on industry entrepreneurs

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Planning a wedding is a big job, and in the age of the internet there can be a lot of pressure on couples to fit a certain mold or have a particular look.

Taryn Blake, a wedding and event planner based in York County, said the images on websites such as Pinterest and Instagram only provide a glimpse of a wedding or a styled photo shoot.

Forbes recently featured Blake's company, Taryn Blake Events, in an online article about seven entrepreneurs who are shaking up the wedding industry.

As great as Pinterest can be for inspiration and bringing together different ideas, Blake said the photos can create unrealistic expectations.

"I want every couple to just feel empowered to be who they are and plan what they want to plan," she said. "And it doesn’t matter if it’s not trending on Pinterest or not going to get 100 Instagram likes."

Taryn Blake Events tends to attract clients with their own distinct style who don't want a wedding that looks like it's been pulled straight from the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings, Blake said.

Blake makes sure her clients know it's OK to step outside that box and that they can plan a wedding that reflects who they are and what's important to them without following the herd.

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Taryn Blake is the owner of Taryn Blake Events, a York-based wedding and event planning company. Forbes recently featured Blake in an article about entrepreneurs who are shaking up the wedding industry.

Blake got her start planning corporate events and helping friends plan their weddings on the side before making her wedding business official about 10 years ago.

She and her team of five other women work mostly in central Pennsylvania.

The majority of their couples grew up in the region but no longer live locally, Blake said, and they plan their weddings here to be close to family.

The company also has one staffer stationed in North Carolina who plans destination beach weddings.

'Chillope': One unique package Blake offers to couples is called the Chillopement, a cross between "chill" and "elope."

The first chillopement she planned was last December.

Blake said the bride and groom were focused on their two kids and their careers and just didn't have time to dedicate to planning a big wedding.

So Blake offered to take the reins and plan the entire thing, from choosing the bride's gown (after she tried a few on) to the location, the food and all of the vendors.

It was a tiny wedding with only eight people, and the bride and groom didn't have any idea where it would be or what it would look like.

All they had to do was write their vows, choose their first dance song and then show up and enjoy their big day.

"They trusted the process, and it was like the adventure to start all adventures," Blake said.

Blake held the deluxe elopement for the couple at the former Western National Bank building on West Market Street in York City, and a handful of couples have since reached out to her about the chillopement option, she said.

Taryn Blake, owner of Taryn Blake Events, put together this deluxe "chillopement" at the former Western National Bank on West Market Street in York City last December. Blake planned everything and surprised the couple. Eight people attended the special event.

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Business is booming: Blake and her team will plan close to 50 events next year — including weddings, corporate functions and other events — in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The average cost of the weddings they plan is $25,000 to $30,000, she said. On the low end, her clients' budgets range from $8,000 for the chillopement to $20,000 for a more traditional wedding.

On the high end, the priciest wedding Blake and her team will plan in 2019 is $80,000, and in 2020, they have a wedding in the works with a $125,000 budget.

In addition to the event planning itself, Blake is the co-founder of Behind the Bash, a wedding show for modern couples currently in its fourth year. Her co-founder, Lauren Stine, is director of wedding sales for Mountain Laurel Catering and Events.

Instead of pushy vendors competing for business in a dated hotel ballroom, Behind the Bash is billed as an up-to-date wedding planning experience that brings together talented, up-and-coming vendors and industry veterans alike, without any of the usual corny wedding show trappings.

Blake said she and Stine do their best to make it affordable for small business that are just getting started to participate as vendors at Behind the Bash.

"We have found so many amazing diamonds in the rough with talent, and they just didn’t have the opportunity to market themselves and really get out there yet," Blake said.

If you go: The next Behind the Bash will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Historic Acres of Hershey in Lancaster County. Tickets are $10 each. For more information, visit behindthebashwed.com.