Introducing Misse, founder of Chicago’s premier wedding planning company, Honey Bee Weddings: A Buzz Worth Believing.
Chicago Hustles: I have a friend who just got married and she was a “bridezilla” throughout the entire process – seriously. Do you have any stories of difficult brides or grooms that you could share?
HB: I think that the idea of a bridezilla is overplayed in the media. On the rare occasion that I have a bride or groom that is being difficult it is because something else in their lives in causing them stress. Either they have a family member that is demanding certain things at the wedding or they have another major life event going on simultaneously (buying a home, new job, graduate school, etc.). I did have one bride that sent me 250+ emails the week of the wedding; including a bunch on her wedding day. I was very excited for my clean inbox after her wedding.
Chicago Hustles: Being a wedding planner, I can only imagine that your own wedding was extravagant. Did you plan it yourself?
HB: I did all of the planning and then had my staff take over for the day of the wedding. We had a nine piece band and dances between the courses. It wasn’t extravagant but we did incorporate many personal touches. I love street performers so we hired a sax player outside of the hotel to greet the guests. My husband is a beer aficionado so he selected the beers served at our wedding. As favors, we gave out boxes of Girl Scout cookies because I had been a Daisy Troop Leader.
Chicago Hustles: I know you started your event planning with non-profits, why did you decide to make that transition into wedding planning?
HB: While working at a non-profit, I had the opportunity to help plan my co-worker’s wedding. She was getting married on a bison ranch in Kansas; there were no local resources. During that evening, I realized that I loved weddings much more than events. I opened my company a few years later.
Chicago Hustles: What is it about weddings that you adore?
HB: Everything! I adore finding a venue and creating a concept that reflects the couple and their personality. For one couple, we had Rainbow Cones served because they were the bride’s favorite Chicago Hustles: Out of all the weddings you have planned, which is your most prized?
HB: Honestly, I love them all. It’s a challenge when a bride wants to incorporate something that I don’t like but I am forced to embrace. A red and purple color palette is probably my least favorite. But I have done that a few times — and one ended up being the most publicized wedding for my company!
Chicago Hustles: When clients contact you for a consultation, how do you capture the essence of their relationship and turn that into an event?
HB: I capture the couple in the event by really listening to them and seeing what they want to incorporate. In the past, I have had part of the meal from the night of their engagement recreated for the reception. I have named the tables after bottles of wine that the couple has shared together. For a couple that was into fine dining, we added an amuse bouche to the dinner to add a level of formality.
Chicago Hustles: How do you decide that certain themes or styles fit well with certain couples?
HB: Before styling a wedding, I have to find the right venue. In Chicago, there are so many venues that the venue search process can be daunting. I focus on learning about the couple and the type of wedding that they want before finding the perfect venue. By the time we start on décor, it’s a fairly simple process.
Chicago Hustles: Event planning, specifically weddings, seems incredibly stressful. Is it as hectic as it appears?
HB: Even more than you can imagine! Everyone wants to have a perfect wedding day, which means I try to make each day flawless by going over every event detail twice to ensure that the details are correct. I also have to troubleshoot the hiccups that occur on the day of the wedding.
Chicago Hustles: I often look at wedding albums and what not online, have you ever gotten any outlandish requests regarding themes or decorations?
HB: Of course! I have had couples request everything from cigar rollers, belly dancers, dueling pianos, and a game show during dinner. The key to incorporating these into an event is to making sure that they fit with the overall feel of the wedding.
Chicago Hustles: How many weddings (guesstimate, of course) would you say you’ve planned?
HB: I have planned over 100 weddings since opening Honey Bee Weddings, but my company has done even more.
Chicago Hustles: Where do you seek inspiration? Where does your passion come from?
HB: My first love is fashion. I love watching the runway shows online [and dream of one day attending live] as well as reading fashion magazines and blogs.
Chicago Hustles: How does Honey Bee Weddings define “hustle”?
HB: Hustle means working hard and not giving up. I worked as a consultant for two years full-time while working full-time as a business owner. Two years of many 80 hour weeks was formidable. I am so glad that I took the plunge to be a business owner full-time.
Chicago Hustles: Anything else you would like to add for the readers?
HB: I’m a left brain/ right brain type of person. For a long time, I felt that I shouldn’t be in a creative field because other skills (computer programming, business) come to me naturally, but I’ve really found a groove that works for me.
Photography by: Sonia Roselli
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