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Planning for ‘I do’


By Shelby Corliss

Every girl dreams of her wedding day, but not every girl dreams of helping others create their special day to perfection. Ellie Henry, 18, is a freshman at Grand Rapids Community College, studying to become a wedding planner. “I have always enjoyed social gatherings, parties, and just being around people.  Luckily for me, being a wedding planner encompasses all those characteristics and a happily ever after.”

Her dream began at the age of five when she walked down the aisle as a flower girl at her cousins wedding. Just like many young girls, she loved the idea of dressing up and seeing the bride in her fluffy white dress walk down the aisle behind her as she tossed flower petals. But she recalls having a “deeper fascination with the entire wedding scene than the average 5 year old.”

Courtesy Photo
Ellie Henry

A wedding planner’s job is to coordinate, organize and plan every detail of the wedding day. From the bridal party arrivals, to the marriage license, and to even making sure that the newlyweds are safely sent on their honeymoon. A wedding planner makes sure that the florist, photographer, preacher, caterer, location contacts, bridal party, as well as the bride and groom are all on the same page and prepared to make the wedding day the perfect celebration.

As far as planning her own wedding, “I’m waiting until I find that special someone to plan my own wedding.  I just want to make everyone else’s perfect and magical in the meantime,” Henry said.

Besides attending GRCC, she works as a Wedding Consultant for Dunhill Tuxedos in Grand Rapids. A typical day at Dunhill Tuxedos entails measuring and fitting tuxedos for guys of all ages. It also involves picking styles and colors for wedding parties and helping brides feel reassured and excited about what the guys get to wear.

“I have the pleasure of dealing with guys aging from 5 to 70 years old,” Henry said. “Within this age range, I hear plenty of stories, jokes, and even some life lessons that make me love what I do every day.”

According to Henry, the hottest wedding trend right now is using the colors grey and yellow at the wedding. “Many weddings are mixing these two colors in a way that makes the combination seem like a year round color palate,” Henry said.

At Dunhill, the most popular tuxedos are many shades of grey. The use of the color grey at weddings even extends to decorations and flowers.

At a wedding, Henry said her favorite part is witnessing couples see each other for the first time. “This is a sacred and special moment that tugs at my heart every time I witness it,” said Henry. “It jump starts the events for the day in an emotional yet beautiful way.”

Henry has some experience in the field of wedding planning and this is only the beginning. She has job shadowed and has behind-the-scene experience at weddings for multiple family and friends.

The biggest and most costly mistake she said people can make while planning a wedding is trying to tackle every detail at once.

“People should space out their “to-do list” in a realistic timetable to ensure a less stressful planning period and well thought out party.”

Working at Dunhill Tuxedos gave her the opportunity to work and attend the Grand Rapids Bridal Show earlier this month. “I loved every moment of being at the Bridal Show and chatting with the other vendors in the wedding business. It was a great experience to see what other companies and businesses are doing to help make weddings the perfect event for each couple,” Henry said.

If she could plan weddings anywhere in the country she said she would want to plan them beach-side. “I love beach front weddings, as well as outdoor, vineyard, greenhouse and backyard weddings.”

After finishing her basic courses at GRCC, she plans to transfer to Grand Valley State University to major in Hospitality and Tourism Management with an emphasis on Wedding Planning. She also hopes to start her own business someday. For now, Henry loves what she does and is excited to continue following her dream of becoming a wedding planner.

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