TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF
I grew up in the small town outside of Kalamazoo, Otsego, where I spent a lot of time planning prep rallies, fundraisers and all school events. As I was graduating and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, my mom mentioned I should go to school to become an event planner. I laughed at first, but after a quick Google search I realized that you actually could do that. I went to GVSU and earned my degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After a short time in corporate event-planning, I learned that I wasn’t fond of the corporate world. This lead me to starting my wedding planning business, Stellaluna Events.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER.
My experience in wedding planning started in 2013 when I held my first internship at an events venue in Kalamazoo, Cityscape Events. There I learned a lot about the venue and catering side of wedding planning, which has helped me so much in my career. Throughout college and my internships I had a lot of opportunities for independent wedding planning, which inspired my passion and confidence to go out on my own and start my wedding planning company. I started Stellaluna Events on a snowy (aka blizzard) day in March 2016 and after 11 months as a side business, I was able to go full time with Stellaluna Events.
WHAT STEERED YOU TOWARD THIS CAREER?
I have a passion for creating fulfilling experiences for people. Beyond pretty décor, gorgeous flowers and good music. I love events that gather a unique group of people in a room that may have never met each other before to create community, connections and celebrate a milestone and cause. It is really special to get people together, face-to-face, to create memories.
TELL US ABOUT A WOMAN WHO TRULY INSPIRES YOU.
I am really inspired by Ellen DeGeneres. To me Ellen does what she speaks and is the essence of the saying “everybody love everybody” –which I firmly believe we were put on this earth to do. I admire her positivity, humor and overall outlook on life.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO UNWIND AFTER A LONG DAY?
I’m a big fan of being outside, especially in the warm months. Swimming, biking, walking, running or even enjoying a cocktail on the deck. It helps to really ground me and come down after a busy day.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCE?
I love traveling and try to do it anytime I can, even if it’s a quick trip to Northern Michigan. I am so inspired by other surroundings and immersing myself into new cultures and experiences.
WHAT CAUSES ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I’m a huge animal lover and care deeply about animal rights. I am getting more involved in animal shelters, helping anyway I can. I also care greatly about keeping our water resources clean. I love to take part in beach clean ups and working on becoming less wasteful & more sustainable in my own home.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR BRIDES?
How you feel through the wedding planning process and on your wedding day is a choice. Things will go wrong. People will make comments. Your Aunt Joyce may constantly compare your wedding to her daughter’s six-figure wedding. But you get to decide if you are going to let those things bother you or if you’re going to look past them, still enjoy the process and have the best day ever. When clients walk away from their wedding day saying it was “the best day ever,” it isn’t because everything went flawlessly. It is because they choose to have fun and focus on what really matters.They didn’t get hung up on the things that didn’t go “as planned.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF YOUR WEDDING DAY?
It sounds so cliché & cheesy, but being surrounded by all my favorite people & feeling so much love and happiness. I am not an overly emotional person, but I was truly humbled by all the love I felt on our wedding day.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
Making the happiest day of people’s lives happen for them. It’s that simple. I love watching my clients have the best time and feel all the love in the room.
ANY ADVICE FOR FRIENDS/FAMILY OF THE COUPLE?
Support and love them. The wedding planning process is stressful for the couple. They are trying to manage a lot of different expectations and opinions, so do what you can to help them out, make it easier on them and support them. Even if its being a listening ear or helping them stuff and mail invitations. Knowing you have a supportive community around you is so helpful and important.
IF YOU COULD REDO ANYTHING FROM YOUR WEDDING DAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Host a farewell brunch the next day, even if it was just donuts and coffee. We hosted our wedding in Northern Michigan and all of our guests had to travel. The day before the wedding we hosted a welcome bonfire on the beach, which was a total blast getting to greet guests as they came into town. And after our wedding we hosted an after party, but since that party went so late into the night, I didn’t feel like I got to do a real farewell to our guests and thank them for coming. So I would have loved to do a quick brunch the next day just to be able to give everyone one last hug and thank them before they headed home.
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SAY TO THE READERS OF WOMEN’S LIFESTYLE?
I’m a big believer that you should create the life you want and a business or career to support it. Often times we are taught to do that the other way around, but life is far too short to be coasting along, not 100% happy and just praying for the day we get to retire. Do what fills you up, excites you and challenges you –think about what you want your life to look like and what type of business, career or venture would get you there – then do it!