Happy #WeddingWednesday, Planner Friends! The Bridal Society is like one big family, and one of our favorite things to do is to highlight our amazing members. Today on The Bridal Society’s blog, we have another Society Planner Spotlight featuring one of our Tennessee CWPs, Madison McGhee of Southern Sparkle Wedding and Event Planning.
When asked to share a little bit about herself and her business, Madison tells us, “I am the Memphis and West Tennessee Associate Planner for Southern Sparkle Wedding and Event Planning. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Resort Management and bring a lot of experience in corporate event planning, show productions and weddings. I take great pride in making things stress free and unique to my clients. They deserve nothing but the best and to see them celebrate special moments with their loved ones makes my heart happy!
When I am not planning weddings, I teach dance to cute little children, crazy teens, and even fun loving adults. I also love hanging out with my sweet puppies, eating great food, and going to the lake whenever possible. I am always up for trying something new and my idea of fun is making great memories with my favorite people.”
Get to Know Madison
What inspired you to become a certified wedding planner?
I have always loved planning events, even when I was little I would plan my own birthday parties and make sure everything went off flawlessly. When I was about 14 years old, I decided I was going to start my own cake company. I was actually pretty good and made specialty cakes for weddings, birthday parties, etc. When it was time to go to college I decided I would get my degree in Hospitality and Resort Management so I could open up my own bakery one day. Well, as I got busier and busier, I lost interest in making cakes. I then took an event management class from a wonderful professor that made me realize that event planning was my true passion. I obtained an internship that later turned into a career planning cooperate events and helped produce the big show productions my dance studio put on.
What really got me into wedding planning though was my Brother’s wedding. After helping my sister-in-law plan all the details, I knew I wanted to become a wedding planner! I then started working as a day of assistant for Southern Sparkle, became and Associate planner within a year, opened up the whole Memphis Branch for the company, and became Certified through The Bridal Society. It has been an amazing experience and I cant wait to continue my education, become a Senior Certified Wedding Planner, and continue to help my clients plan an unforgettable experience.
What do you love most about being a wedding planner?
I love my job, and I am truly honored when someone entrusts me with such a special moment in their lives. I love making connections with people and helping them create a memorable event that they will always remember. I love giving them a fun experience and helping them remain stress free. I also love creating vendor relationships, because they are truly some of the best people on the planet and make some of the best friends.
How has your certification and membership with The Bridal Society helped you and your career?
My certification through The Bridal Society has helped me in more ways than I can count. First of all, it has helped me gain so much knowledge about weddings and continues to offer webinars to keep me up to date on everything. It has also given me a huge support team for anytime I need help with anything, I have an endless supply of resources that I can contact for proactive solutions.
I have also gained creditability in the wedding industry. Most people think just because I am young, I do not know what I am doing but when I tell them about all of my experience and my certification they have a new perspective of me and my work ethics. I am forever grateful for The Bridal Society and look forward to always continuing my education through them.
What does your average week look like?
My average week consists of tons of emails, phone calls, and meetings with vendors and clients. On Fridays I am prepping for weddings by printing off timelines, floor plans, etc. restocking my emergency kit, and running through the rehearsal. Saturdays are wedding days of course averaging at least 15,000 steps. Sundays are days of rest. Everyone deserves some time off, and wedding “hangovers” are real and require a day to rest my feet and get everything reorganized. We are also consistently continuing our education and networking ourselves to everyone in the wedding industry. My average week is extremely busy, but I wouldn’t change it for anything!
What is one item you can’t live without on a wedding day?
There are many items I can’t live without on wedding days, but my most important item is my memory foam shoes! It is like walking on pillows and at the end of the night my feet really appreciate that I purchased such an ugly, yet extremely comfortable pair of shoes!
What type of client do you attract?
We attract fun loving, sweet couples who want their wedding day completely stress free. They are usually hardworking, family oriented people who cherish special moments. Our company colors are pink and sparkle, so most of our clients love fashion, sparkles and pretty colors. Our clients also love timeless, classic looks while also incorporating unique, modern aspects that fit their personalities.
What is your favorite moment on wedding day?
Every moment of the wedding day is my favorite, but if I had to choose here is my top three! Of course one of my favorites is when the couple sees each other for the first time on the big day. Whether that be with a first look or a walk down the aisle (although first looks are pretty fantastic).
Another favorite moment is the grand entrance into the reception. Just seeing the joy on both the guests and the couples face is wonderful! The ceremony is complete and everyone is ready to party and just celebrate the newlyweds!
You may think this next one is a little weird, but just hear me out! I love the day after the wedding too. I typically look through pictures on my couple’s social media pages to see what pictures/comments their family and friends post on their walls. Seeing all the excitement and love everyone has for the couple just fills my heart. I also reflect on how much I learned about the couple through this special journey and I just sit back thankful for the opportunity to be their Wedding Planner. I send my best wishes and still remain friends with many of my amazing couples after their wedding days!
What advice can you give and/or have you received that you can pass on to new/existing planners?
Not every client is for you, and don’t be afraid to take time off. If a client does not fit your personality or brand well, don’t be afraid to not accept them. Not everyone is the perfect fit for us and both the planner and client deserves to be happy and work with someone that matches their style. We can always give them recommendations of other planners in the area that may mesh with them better. Also, time off is extremely important. We tend to get over worked and if we do not take time off we can become burned out. Taking time to rest gives you a fresh start when you come back to work which can actually lead to more productivity and efficiency.
What advice do you have for engaged couples?
Wedding planning is fun, but it is a lot of work. Hiring professionals to help you pull everything off and remind you of things you may have forgotten about, is in your best interest. Select your wedding professionals wisely, then trust in them. Find someone that matches your personality, works hard, and makes you their number one priority. Having a fantastic team of vendors makes for an amazing day and takes the stress off you and your families. Also lean on them when you have questions/concerns, I can guarantee that your vendors will be more than happy to help you with anything you may be struggling with. Still remember to enjoy every little moment as well. Sometimes we get caught up in checking everything off of our list that we forget to live in the moment and enjoy what we have.