Wedding Planner

Whitney Juneau originally set on the path to be a performer, but found happiness planning weddings.

Whitney Juneau graduated from the University of Kansas in 2017 with a degree in business administration. She is now the owner and lead planner of Fashioned Events, a custom-tailored event design and production company based in Lawrence. A big part of Juneau’s job is planning weddings.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Kansan: How long have you been a wedding planner?

Juneau: About 8 years.

Kansan: How did you get started in wedding planning?

Juneau: My background is actually in performance. When I came to KU the first time, I studied musical theater, and when I left and walked away from pursuing that degree and that career, I didn’t want to completely abandon the production and creative aspects of that profession. I’d also kind of developed this passion for the hospitality and food and beverage industry, and events just kind of became the perfect marriage of those two worlds.

I just kind of started trying to figure out what a career in events would mean, and weddings sounded fun. I had a really good friend who was willing to let me do her wedding, and that was the first one I did. I was hooked after that.

Kansan: What’s it like planning a wedding?

Juneau: It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of problem-solving and creative resource managing. One of the things I love about my job is the relationships that I get to build with my couples. It’s a very intimate relationship because they’re trusting you with one of the biggest days of their life.

I’m a lot of times the last person my bride sees before they walk down the aisle, and that’s a really special moment — it’s a lot of fun. 

Kansan: What goes into planning a wedding?

Juneau: When we first start meeting, I try to learn as much about them as I can — get to know them and their story — and then figure out what are the things that are important to them for their wedding. Is that the food and beverage? Is that the experience that their guests are going to have? Is it the photographs that they want or the wedding video? So, we start to prioritize where to put their funds.

We really look at the big picture — what’s the overall goal — and then we start prioritizing what’s the most important things to focus on. From there, it’s really just kind of a matter of plugging and playing. I help them research and locate vendors and make those vendor decisions; help them manage all the decision making throughout the process.

When it comes time, my team and I oversee the day of setup. We oversee the management and direction of vendors, staffing, the timeline and the programming — or business — of the day. We tend to the needs of the wedding party and the families. It’s a lot of expectation management and people management.

At the end of the night, we need to take care of the teardown, we deliver our clients’ gifts. I’ve even had to take a marriage license to the courthouse for a couple because they got on a plane the next morning, and so that needed to be taken care of.

I would say that my job — while I have a certain kind of defined deliverables — it’s very loose and fluid.

Kansan: How do couples behave when they’re in love right before their wedding?

Juneau: There’s a lot of excitement. It’s that energy and buzz of something is happening — something is new, this is a new step in our relationship, in our journey together, in our story.

I have had couples who have been engaged for really long periods of time and brides who really kind of break down because it’s hard to believe that it’s finally there.

I think that sometimes — even though you put in all the work — you’re like, 'Yes. I’m planning a wedding. I’m getting married. This is happening.' When the day finally comes, it’s kind of like, 'Oh my gosh, I’m getting married. This is actually happening.'

I think that hits some couples harder and different than others, but in general, my experience has always just really been this energy that surrounds the whole family and the whole bridal party.

Kansan: What’s it like working with these couples?

Juneau: I think the best way to describe it is that it’s always a new experience, which is one of the things I love. I have always been a person who can get bored easily. I remember being a little girl going to dance classes, and I would learn the routines the first night, and we would go over it for weeks, and I’d be like, “Can we do something else because I got this?” 

I think one of the reasons I love what I do is that it’s constantly changing. Every venue, every vendor team, every couple presents a new set of challenges — not in a bad way — but just a new set of ideas and thoughts to work through. It’s so important to me to have a good connection with the couples that I work with because there is an intimacy to it, but also, there’s a lot of ground that we cover — everything from financials to color preferences — so, it’s fun for me to get to approach every situation with a blank slate, and learning who they are individually and as a couple and how we’re going to work together. 

Kansan: Do you have any interesting stories, whether about a couple or wedding in particular to share?  

Juneau: I had a bride and groom contact me last spring. They were at the time living in Arizona. They were KU graduates. They had both worked at KU housing, and they were coming back to get married here.

That’s actually something that I’m seeing more and more of — believe it or not, Lawrence as kind of a destination wedding location because the University, I think, is so paramount in a lot of couples’ lives — either they met here or they have some connection. It’s a nice common ground, and it’s a good place to bring family and friends to experience that history and tradition.

I am from Lawrence, so being from Lawrence, I feel very connected to what those “uniquenesses” are that our town has to offer.

So, they were getting married here, and they wanted to find somebody to work with that was familiar with the University. Their wedding was in October, and everything that they did was just a uniquely Lawrence wedding. Their hashtag was #Jayhawksinlove. They booked all local vendors to really spotlight their dinner. They kind of did a taste of Lawrence.

I think that their wedding was so uniquely them. It would not have necessarily been everybody’s picture-perfect wedding, but for them, it was perfect.

It was so much fun for me to be a part of that because I knew that they were just so happy with the way everything turned out.

Kansan: So, you get joy from planning weddings?

Juneau: Absolutely. There’s definitely an adrenaline rush that’s associated with it. There’s definitely, again, that energy that surrounds the whole weekend, and I am definitely a person that feeds off of that.