Tara Guérard

Owner/Creative Director

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading tastemakers, Tara Guérard has earned a widespread reputation for her exceptional ability to create spectacular settings celebrating life’s most anticipated occasions.

For over 20 years, clients across the United States and abroad have turned to Tara for her impeccably executed events infused with Southern hospitality. With a core business in event design, Tara has expanded her brand to include furniture design and her letterpress printing company, Lettered Olive. She maintains offices in both Charleston and New York City.

A noted style expert, Tara has been featured in several national publications, including Food & Wine, InStyle, Southern Living, Traditional Home, Town & Country Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides, and was named a top wedding planner by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She has also made appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, The Nate Berkus Show, and the Style Network. Additionally, Tara is a regular on the speaking circuit, dispensing tips and advice on an array of design-related topics.

Tara’s debut book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South (Gibbs-Smith) was published to rave reviews in 2007, and her second volume, Weddings by Tara Guérard (Gibbs- Smith) premiered in early 2010, further establishing her as an authority on gracious entertaining. Looking ahead, Tara is working on several new projects including a product line, broadcast development, and her third book.

Tara lives in South Carolina, with her husband, Russell, their children, Aiken, Myers, and Lila, and springer spaniel, June.

Erica Missel

Executive Director

Erica graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and has been putting it to use ever since. With more than six years in the event planning world, Erica has honed her skills to be one highly organized, detail-oriented planner with a flair for entertaining and a potent passion for style and design. In 2017, opportunity arose and she jumped at the chance to be Tara’s lead event coordinator. When she’s not working, this South Carolina native loves boating, entertaining friends, curating her wardrobe, and spending time with her aptly-named husband, Charleston, and cat (named Cat).

Kate Little

Social Media Manager

It’s round two for Kate, who began her career at Soirée as an event coordinator but a decade later now handles the company’s social media. Kate has lived in both New York City and Charleston and now calls James Island home. She and her husband, Barrett, and their son, Palmer, and daughter, Vivie, share their lives with two pugs: Boss and Olive. Kate enjoys going offline and traveling, catching live music, visiting the beach, doing a barre workout, or watching television or a movie.

Karen Simon

Director of Sales

While studying for degrees in Hospitality and Tourism and Arts Management, this New Orleans native developed an interest in event planning. Plus, Karen always knew she wanted a job that allowed her to be hands-on and creative. She developed her skillset working in retail as a visual merchandiser and then learning the ins and outs of graphic design at a local stationery shop. In the spring of 2017 she put it all to use at the Lettered Olive. Karen’s two pups (a poodle-bichon mix named Einstein and a lab-mix named Indy) are the best of friends and her beloved companions. They join her and her boyfriend on beach trips, and Karen also kicks back by taking bike rides, cooking, or just enjoying a really lazy Sunday.

Susan Avent Irvine

Production Manager

Raised in North Carolina, Susan moved to Charleston after getting her degree in Studio Art at UNC Chapel Hill. She fell in love with the city, and put her background to use working in photography and at local art galleries. It was years later, during her time living in Florida, that she ventured into event planning and production management—working in the corporate world at first. While her role is mostly behind-the-scenes, Susan loves seeing the finished product come together and hearing guests gush over how beautiful an event is. The avid reader and travel-lover lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Jeff, their son, Barclay, and their Cavachon, Fletch. She and her family revel in boating or sailing and looking for shark’s teeth on the many barrier islands around town.

Heather Santucci

Lead Floral Designer

This year marks Heather’s 20th season with Soirée, where she takes the lead on all things floral. Her favorite part of a wedding to design? The bride’s bouquet. And while she loves a beautiful peony, she’s just as happy to work with foliage and leaves, or flowers from a home garden. Heather studied business, culinary arts, and worked at various floral shops before meeting Tara, and there’s no one else she’d want to work for now. You can often find her catching up with her friends in Mount Pleasant, at the beach or pool, or going for a walk or hanging with her pups, Bruce and Felix.

Becca Smith

Creative Director

Becca put her background in Fashion and Textile Design to use when she designed the invitations and printed materials for her own 2016 wedding and that’s when she realized her calling. Since then, she has been the lead graphic designer at Lettered Olive. While she and her husband Owen live in Wilmington, North Carolina with their Westie pup Ruthie, Becca plays an active role in designing for the company. In her spare time you’ll find her on a boat, or just exploring her creativity. Mostly, sewing and playing with textiles is her thing and she’ll find something she wants and try to make it herself.

William Johnson

Construction Coordinator

William has quite a storied career, with nearly thirty years of service in the fire department, more than a decade overseeing the construction of the graduation set up at the College of Charleston, nearly as long as a rigger in the live entertainment industry, and stint as a set carpenter for two movies. He’s been part of the team since 2005, building everything from bars to tables to backdrops and also making sure everything is up to code and safe for guests across the board. Although, he was born in Connecticut, he’s called Ravenel, South Carolina, home for his entire life, living there with his wife, Melissa, and their pit bull, Baloo. When William’s not at work or at home, you’ll find him out and about pursuing a slew of outdoor hobbies including hunting, shooting, and riding motorcycles.

Bri Hughes

Logistics Manager and Assistant

Our most recent team addition, this New England transplant graduated from High Point University with a major in business and a minor in event management and marketing, making her perfect for her role at Soirée. Bri began her career in the event industry as a wedding planner’s assistant here in Charleston and as a sales coordinator back home in Maine. When
she’s not in the office tackling logistics for upcoming events or on site for a wedding, Bri is hanging out with friends, enjoying the beach, or getting fresh air on a walk or run around Mount Pleasant.

Tara Guérard

Owner/Creative Director

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading tastemakers, Tara Guérard has earned a widespread reputation for her exceptional ability to create spectacular settings celebrating life’s most anticipated occasions.

For over 20 years, clients across the United States and abroad have turned to Tara for her impeccably executed events infused with Southern hospitality. With a core business in event design, Tara has expanded her brand to include furniture design and her letterpress printing company, Lettered Olive. She maintains offices in both Charleston and New York City.

A noted style expert, Tara has been featured in several national publications, including Food & Wine, InStyle, Southern Living, Traditional Home, Town & Country Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides, and was named a top wedding planner by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She has also made appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, The Nate Berkus Show, and the Style Network. Additionally, Tara is a regular on the speaking circuit, dispensing tips and advice on an array of design-related topics.

Tara’s debut book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South (Gibbs-Smith) was published to rave reviews in 2007, and her second volume, Weddings by Tara Guérard (Gibbs- Smith) premiered in early 2010, further establishing her as an authority on gracious entertaining. Looking ahead, Tara is working on several new projects including a product line, broadcast development, and her third book.

Tara lives in South Carolina, with her husband, Russell, their children, Aiken, Myers, and Lila, and springer spaniel, June.

Erica Missel

Executive Director

Erica graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and has been putting it to use ever since. With more than six years in the event planning world, Erica has honed her skills to be one highly organized, detail-oriented planner with a flair for entertaining and a potent passion for style and design. In 2017, opportunity arose and she jumped at the chance to be Tara’s lead event coordinator. When she’s not working, this South Carolina native loves boating, entertaining friends, curating her wardrobe, and spending time with her aptly-named husband, Charleston, and cat (named Cat).

Kate Little

Social Media Manager

It’s round two for Kate, who began her career at Soirée as an event coordinator but a decade later now handles the company’s social media. Kate has lived in both New York City and Charleston and now calls James Island home. She and her husband, Barrett, and their son, Palmer, and daughter, Vivie, share their lives with two pugs: Boss and Olive. Kate enjoys going offline and traveling, catching live music, visiting the beach, doing a barre workout, or watching television or a movie.

Karen Simon

Director of Sales

While studying for degrees in Hospitality and Tourism and Arts Management, this New Orleans native developed an interest in event planning. Plus, Karen always knew she wanted a job that allowed her to be hands-on and creative. She developed her skillset working in retail as a visual merchandiser and then learning the ins and outs of graphic design at a local stationery shop. In the spring of 2017 she put it all to use at the Lettered Olive. Karen’s two pups (a poodle-bichon mix named Einstein and a lab-mix named Indy) are the best of friends and her beloved companions. They join her and her boyfriend on beach trips, and Karen also kicks back by taking bike rides, cooking, or just enjoying a really lazy Sunday.

Susan Avent Irvine

Production Manager

Raised in North Carolina, Susan moved to Charleston after getting her degree in Studio Art at UNC Chapel Hill. She fell in love with the city, and put her background to use working in photography and at local art galleries. It was years later, during her time living in Florida, that she ventured into event planning and production management—working in the corporate world at first. While her role is mostly behind-the-scenes, Susan loves seeing the finished product come together and hearing guests gush over how beautiful an event is. The avid reader and travel-lover lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Jeff, their son, Barclay, and their Cavachon, Fletch. She and her family revel in boating or sailing and looking for shark’s teeth on the many barrier islands around town.

Heather Santucci

Lead Floral Designer

This year marks Heather’s 20th season with Soirée, where she takes the lead on all things floral. Her favorite part of a wedding to design? The bride’s bouquet. And while she loves a beautiful peony, she’s just as happy to work with foliage and leaves, or flowers from a home garden. Heather studied business, culinary arts, and worked at various floral shops before meeting Tara, and there’s no one else she’d want to work for now. You can often find her catching up with her friends in Mount Pleasant, at the beach or pool, or going for a walk or hanging with her pups, Bruce and Felix.

Becca Smith

Creative Director

Becca put her background in Fashion and Textile Design to use when she designed the invitations and printed materials for her own 2016 wedding and that’s when she realized her calling. Since then, she has been the lead graphic designer at Lettered Olive. While she and her husband Owen live in Wilmington, North Carolina with their Westie pup Ruthie, Becca plays an active role in designing for the company. In her spare time you’ll find her on a boat, or just exploring her creativity. Mostly, sewing and playing with textiles is her thing and she’ll find something she wants and try to make it herself.

William Johnson

Construction Coordinator

William has quite a storied career, with nearly thirty years of service in the fire department, more than a decade overseeing the construction of the graduation set up at the College of Charleston, nearly as long as a rigger in the live entertainment industry, and stint as a set carpenter for two movies. He’s been part of the team since 2005, building everything from bars to tables to backdrops and also making sure everything is up to code and safe for guests across the board. Although, he was born in Connecticut, he’s called Ravenel, South Carolina, home for his entire life, living there with his wife, Melissa, and their pit bull, Baloo. When William’s not at work or at home, you’ll find him out and about pursuing a slew of outdoor hobbies including hunting, shooting, and riding motorcycles.

Bri Hughes

Logistics Manager and Assistant

Our most recent team addition, this New England transplant graduated from High Point University with a major in business and a minor in event management and marketing, making her perfect for her role at Soirée. Bri began her career in the event industry as a wedding planner’s assistant here in Charleston and as a sales coordinator back home in Maine. When
she’s not in the office tackling logistics for upcoming events or on site for a wedding, Bri is hanging out with friends, enjoying the beach, or getting fresh air on a walk or run around Mount Pleasant.

Owner Tara Guérard and her “Soirettes” organize every event from either their spacious studio in Charleston or their office in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Endless excitement and energy, plus more than two decades of experience, make Soirée one of the most sought-after event designers in the country.