- Wedding planner and floral designer Leah Barnes has created an interactive playroom for couples preparing for their big day.
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Leah Barnes, owner of Your Perfect Day LLC and Perfect Stems Floral and Gift Shop in York Township, stood in front of her newly married couple, trying to read their maid of honor’s speech without breaking down in tears.
Just weeks before the wedding, her client’s maid of honor and best friend had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, with treatments making it impossible to attend the wedding.
Leah recalls receiving that phone call from the bride: “Could you please read her speech?” When an “I can’t, what if I mess it up?” came up in the conversation, the bride said, “I don’t trust anyone else. Please?”
An ‘I do’ epiphany
Any time Leah has a frustrating day planning weddings, designing florals, or performing day-of coordination, she thinks back to that moment and reminds herself why she does what she does.
Leah got her start in 2016, initially working on friends’ weddings as a coordinator, then for a local wedding venue, following a few rabbit trails to work in nonprofit, then big pharma, and finally earning her business degree from York College of Pennsylvania. Along the way, David Cook, a mentor she worked with at a previous job, encouraged her to take the leap and start her own business.
In July 2021, she had an epiphany—a dream in which she was standing at the back of a wedding as a coordinator.
“I felt immense joy,” she says. “I knew instantly what I wanted to do. I knew my business plan.”
Within a month, she had rebranded her business as Your Perfect Day LLC and booked her first nine weddings.
Leah saw a need for a one-stop shop where clients could find everything necessary for their special day and trust that the coordinator would have everything under control. In 2022, she and her team worked on 62 weddings, providing floral design, décor rentals, planning, and day-of coordination.
She also opened two side-by-side shops in York: Your Perfect Day LLC’s hands-on décor rental showroom and Perfect Stems Floral and Gift Shop.
A sustainable wedding approach
Sustainability is top of mind for Leah, who learned that an average wedding can create 400 pounds of waste. She initiated a décor buy-back program to help her clients reduce that amount and offer them a way to recoup some of the money they had spent on décor.
With over 5,000 décor pieces in her inventory, she quickly is outgrowing her York Township showroom.
For those items Leah doesn’t stock, she turns to local vendors. Linens, candles, custom signage, and furniture are supplied through small-business partners.
Eventually, she hopes to create a unique one-stop shopping experience for brides and grooms that includes a bridal boutique, catering, and the services of other vendors, all working together to make the event-planning process as seamless as possible.
True crime meets marriage bliss
When not designing pristine floral arrangements and creating impeccable sweetheart table settings, Leah works on a podcast to be released this year. “Til Death with Leah and Lizard,” a collaboration with her twin sister, will explore marital woes and true crimes of passion with a smattering of wedding planning thrown in.
Leah, whose mom is a survivor of domestic violence, wants to shed light on abuse in relationships and offer a way out for those trapped in unsafe situations.
Motivated by the happiness of her clients, Leah hopes her services through Your Perfect Day LLC and her podcast will help create unforgettable experiences.
“At the end of the day,” she says, “it’s not my clients getting married, it’s my friends.”