First, can you tell me a little about yourself? Are you from this area originally?
I was born and raised in northeastern Wisconsin. After college (University of Wisconsin), I lived in London for 2+ years where I was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. I moved back to the states and got a job as a producer in a local television station. Ultimately, I made my way to Washington, DC, where I met my husband who was a Foreign Service Officer then State Department official. We spent years traveling to various foreign posts. We moved permanently to the Shenandoah Valley in 2005 after moving back stateside from Guam. During those years, I worked a the managing editor of a business-focused magazine, had a radio show, and planned events both in the US and overseas.
When you were a kid, did you ever expect you would get into the wedding industry? Have you always known this is what you wanted, or is this a newer experience for you?
As a kid, I always loved parties and would help my mother plan cocktail parties, holiday parties, dinners, etc. I loved all aspects of the planning and logistics (except I hated putting ice and water in glasses… Don’t ask). I didn’t plan on making this a career, but I got into meeting planning working for various educational and trade associations in DC. Meaning, I just sort of fell into it.
When did you first become interested in weddings?
When our last restaurant manager vacated her position at Bryce 2 years ago. There was a wedding that was contracted and no one to take over the implementation. Because I was already managing upwards of 16 member events a year, I was assigned to the wedding and have been organizing all the events at Bryce since that time. It has been a blast!
If you specifically mean the wedding industry, only two years. If you mean hospitality, meeting planning, and event planning, more than 35 years.
Are you married? Does your personal wedding experience influence how you oversee them now?
I was married. My husband passed away 3 years ago. My personal wedding experience did not, by any stretch of the imagination, influence my oversight. We were married at DC Superior Court with 9 friends in attendance. My husband was 45-minutes late because he was stuck in a meeting. So maybe, yes, it had some influence – I understand when a wedding or reception doesn’t start on time. Gotta go with the flow!
What specifically is it that you do at Bryce Resort? Host weddings, talk to brides, interact with wedding planners, etc.?
I arrange the event from start to finish – whether it is a wedding, anniversary celebration, corporate dinner party. Pretty much whatever needs to be planned. I work with the bride and groom, and a very talented team of colleagues – Director of Food and Beverage, Chef, kitchen and restaurant staff.
What is the most memorable wedding you have worked on? What made it special?
Honestly, they are all so different and that’s what makes them special. We had an early morning wedding last summer where the entire wedding party hiked up our ski slopes with dogs in tow, then hiked back down again. The rest of the guests were transported on our quad lift for the mountain-top wedding. The bride had a lovely, short wedding dress with hiking boots for the ceremony, then changed into a designer gown for their reception – a wonderful wedding brunch with a 60-layer crepe cake as their wedding cake. After the brunch, they all headed out to play mini golf.
Weddings, like fashion, are extremely “trend” driven. What do you see as 2017 wedding trends in the way of décor, wedding size, reception parties, the dress, the “hot” color etc.?
We see it all out here. Our younger brides are very into the “shabby chic” country look ala Magnolia Homes, even down to wearing cowboy boots. Lots of distressed-look decorations and LED lights in glass jars on the tables. What we are not seeing is lots of typical formal flower arrangements, or overt glam. We are also seeing more casual food, less plated, formal courses, and more fun buffets with lots of variety. We also do a lot of heavy hors d’oeuvres with various food stations. I am working on two weddings currently – both winter weddings on the ski slopes. One is a small ceremony and reception for about 40 guests, the other will be between 175 – 200 guests. With the larger event, the wedding party will be skiing down to the reception venue in our restaurant.
How much of the wedding do you work on first-hand? Is it normally the ceremony or the reception?
I work with the bride and groom on whatever they need. Because we don’t have an inventory of wedding props, it is up to the bride to provide those items. It is a fun part of the set-up, though. Many turn it into a party – a get together with girlfriends the night before to decorate and have wine and hors d’oeuvres. We also personalize the food and beverage to the couple according to their likes and dislikes, and of course budget. Our strength is creating something unique to each reception – we don’t use a formal catering menu with pre-existing menu items.
Do you have any personal advice or words of wisdom to the brides and grooms that are planning their weddings?
Relax and have a good time. Don’t let anyone push you around and stress you out. Always remember it is a party. We are here to help you over any hurdles and make everything easy.
What kind of bride picks your venue?
All kinds – from very young brides just out of college, to brides celebrating a second marriage, to couples who have been married for many years renewing their vows. That’s what makes them all special.
How would you describe your venue to a bride?
Bryce Resort is a beautiful alpine location that offers a wonderful venue for the wedding ceremony and/or reception. We are known for our ability to offer just about any kind of venue – from mountain top to golf course settings. Our dining room has an amazing view of the ski slopes, and our service is awesome. We really are a family here and that projects to our potential wedding customers.
A huge thank you to Nan for answering our questions! We enjoyed getting to know more about you and the role you play at Bryce Resort. For more information on booking a wedding at Bryce Resort, you can visit our page as well as their website.