How Many Weddings Do You Take a Year?

We get asked this question SO much. It’s not a simple answer either.

In late 2012, we decided to come together and start an event planning company. Ally and I were fairly new to events at the time, while Jeri had been in the industry for many years.

On top of owning our own event planning company, Ally and I worked full time, while Jeri worked at home, raising 4 of the cutest girls ever. in 2015, Ally welcomed her first adorable daughter, and will be welcoming a second daughter this summer! I had my first son in June of 2016. Our answer has been different each year because of all the personal changes in our lives from year to year.

Our families have been, and always will be our priorities. Because of that, and because we want to be able to meet and exceed our clients expectations, we limit the amount of weddings we take per year. We will not take more than 4 full service weddings a year, so that we are able to devote the amount of time necessary for each wedding. With our 2 month coordination package, we have yet to reach a limit – because those require less time, they are easier to accommodate.

While we love what we do, we also want to keep in mind that the reason we celebrate weddings, is because we celebrate marriage.

So the complicated answer is that we take as many weddings as we are able to, without missing out on precious, fleeting time with our families!


Thank you for reading,


Travel Theme Baby Shower

We started our summer celebrating with one of our own {Erin & Kyle Warner} on their new little one. 

Ally and Jeri (with the help of Terri the soon-to-be grandma and mother-in-law of Erin) planned a travel themed shower to celebrate the littlest Warner arriving into the world. 

It was just a fun day helping Erin prepare for her little one. 

We’re happy to report Bennet Lincoln Warner made his arrival on 

June 30,2016 

8lbs 13oz 


Welcome to the MSS family Bennett!

Venue | Winona Heritage Room 

Event Stylist & Planner | My Simole Soiree

Welcome Lauren!

We are SO excited to welcome Lauren to the MSS team! From the moment we met Lauren, we knew she was the perfect fit. MSS is not only a business but a group of best friends and really a mini family. So bringing someone new into the fold was a bit nerve racking but Lauren fell right into sync. It felt like she had been there from the beginning. 

Lauren also brings a wealth of small business knowledge. We are excited to utilize her skills for Warsaw Vendor Network, Non Profit and Corporate clients. AND to help us grow the MSS brand!

Read on to hear from Lauren more about her story and excitement about serving the clients of My Simple Soirée…

Throughout my life as a descendent of a family of entrepreneurs, I have developed an intense love for business and its continual growth and development. I love finding new ways that allow me to grow and learn in a new and exciting way while bringing my skills, experience, and expertise to the environment that I am in. There is nothing that I enjoy more than sinking my teeth into an objective and investing my time and effort in to seeing it grow successfully.  
I graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology Pre-med and after working in a hospital for a few months realized that the business and organization behind the science of Medicine is what I was more interested in. That experience led me to get by MBA. Since that time I have worked for family businesses helping grow and develop their strategy, organization, and development.

Utilizing these talents and gifts guide me through this new and exciting adventure I have embarked on with My Simple Soiree. I am so excited and honored to take part in this organization and begin to learn and grow with the incredible ladies that make it all happen.

-Lauren Martzall

Your Role as the MOH

How to Be the Best Maid of HonorFrom the moment your friend switches her Facebook status to “Engaged” you can bet her mind starts racing with wedding thoughts! One of the first things a girl considers when planning her wedding is who will be standing next to her. In fact, I think most girls would admit they have the girls picked out long before they know which guy they will be standing next to.

Not only have we interacted with many bridal parties while coordinating weddings, but each of us has also been the Maid of Honor (and bridesmaid) for multiple weddings, not to mention having our own weddings ourselves. Here are some tips we’ve learned, both firsthand and through observation, which we want to share so that you can rock out in your role as the Maid of Honor.

ONLY say YES if you truly mean it.

Most of you will probably gloss over this because, presumably if you’re reading this post, you’ve already committed to standing up in the wedding. However, this truly is the first step you must take before you can be a good MOH.

Most women don’t understand that being asked to stand up in a wedding is just that- it’s a REQUEST. Nobody is forcing you. When you accept, you’re accepting the responsibilities that come along with it. Too often we hear members of the bridal party complaining about being in the wedding when, in reality, you said yes. It’s an honor that someone wants you to be by their side on their wedding day so if you know you simply can’t fulfill the traditional role of the Maid of Honor, be honest with your friend.

Things to think through before saying yes:

Budget- Can you reasonably cover the costs that come with the responsibility? Most girls just plan on buying a dress, but additional costs may include throwing & attending a bridal shower, bachelorette party, shower and wedding gifts, hair/makeup for the wedding day, and shoes or other accessories the bride requests you have for the big day (ie matching shirts, anyone??)

Life Circumstances- Are you graduating from school the month of her wedding? Moving across the country? Are you engaged yourself? A wise man once said, “Life happens.” And that it does! While you aren’t expected to devote 100% of your attention on your friend’s wedding, be honest with yourself. If you know you won’t be able to balance it all, it may be necessary to politely decline; or, offer to help in a different low-key way.

Help her plan HER wedding day.

Help your friend plan the wedding SHE is dreaming of. Not you. The wedding that SHE is envisioning. Not the one you’re envisioning for her. HER wedding. Not yours.…..

Ladies, you’re the Maid of Honor. You’re her friend, confidant, advocate, wingman, secret-keeper- but you are not the bride. Enough said. 

Be the Maid of Honor she needs you to be

To be honest, most pieces of advice fall under this! Here’s the deal- you know your friend! To be honest, there are sides of her that you’ve seen that her fiancé may not have even been exposed to it. That’s the beauty of a true friend. Each bride has different strengths and weaknesses, different life situations, different time constraints, etc. Your role in Jackie’s wedding may not be the same as that time you were in Ashley’s. Jackie may be an independent, Type-A project manager who honestly doesn’t need you to call the photographer for her ; however, her parents just got divorced so your main job on the wedding day may simply be to keep them apart! Or, your job may literally just be to drink champagne with her on the wedding day and tell her how much you love the dress (Yes, of course youll shorten it and wear it again!)

Listen to your friend and ask her what SHE needs; be her advocate when she needs that extra voice in her corner. When a bride knows she has you in her corner to help her out wherever she needs it most it makes a world of a difference!

Let her cry over spilled milk

I cannot tell you what it will be, but I guarantee there will be at least one seemingly simple thing during the wedding planning process that will push her over the edge. And sorry chicas, but if you haven’t been engaged before, you can sympathize- but you won’t understand. But in this case, your job isn’t to understand, just listen.

When the rental company only has white linens instead of ivory, sympathize.

When the florist can’t get in spray buds like she thought they could, sympathize.

When her fiancé and her can’t agree on the cake topper, sympathize.

When she wants the string quartet version of her first dance and all the DJ can find is a piano version…


​…. And one more thing. Make sure she’s told a RIDICULOUS amount of times on her wedding day just how stunning she is and that her fiance is THE luckiest guy in the whole world to have her. What more could a bride ask for??​

Bridal Workshop

We are so excited about our bridal workshop coming up on April 21st. This workshop is the first of its kind in our area and we can’t wait to teach brides all the important aspects of planning their special day. 

Our vendors for this first class our some of our favorites.  It’s so great to work with not only true professionals but great friends. 

For registration information, please visit our EventBrite page. 

Here’s more information on this all-inclusive course:


Unveil Your Story

We recently blogged about the importance of a budget. Today we are going to cover how prioritize your budget to tell your story.
Some of the best weddings and events we’ve planned or coordinated are the ones that incorporate aspects that truly represent our clients. 


Matt and Ali love the lake. They both grew up one the water every summer. It was only fitting that they arrive to their reception on their families’ sail boat. 


Darrin and Amber both graduated from Purdue University and grew up on the farm. Their wedding was a true representation of “telling your story. From the fire pits to the home grown pumpkins and gourds it was an honor to help them create a unique experience for their guests. 

Maybe you’re wondering how do I do this for my wedding or event? Here are the first steps we ask our clients to do.

1. Tell us your story. How did you meet? How did your organization start? What’s your mission statement? What do you do for fun? What words to you want your guests to use to describe your event at the end of the night?

2. Prioritize! What’s the most important to you? Is it the food, decor, entertainment?

3. What can you do realistically do yourself? Or a less expensive version of? Do you need high end invitations or could you do a design from Etsy and print at your local printer? Or could you do a later start time and serve heavy hors d’oeuvres vs a full meal? Maybe your event could utilize sponsorship to help with event costs. 

4. Is it cheaper to buy & resale items rather than rent? Think smaller events. Many times it’s easier to buy linens and either have them for future use or resale after your event. This means pick classic colors that can be reused and fit broader needs. 

We’d love to help you make your event about you! Contact us today for a consultation on how we can help you save and create the event YOUR story. 

Your Best Friend: The Budget

Planning a wedding or large event has many moving parts but none of them move without money. It’s the part of the planning process that everyone dreads: the budget. 
Budgets are not the enemy. In fact, they are a great way to spark creativity and help prioritize your must haves. 

Don’t fall into the common budget buster pitfalls:

  • A case of unrealistic expectations of service & cost. Or, one simply underestimating the cost of services on the want list. 
  • Not being prepared for all the extra expenses that are needed. 

Talking to a client about money and how far or, in many cases, how quickly that hard earned money goes is not my favorite part of the process, but one I have to approach comprehensively. 

Why? Well many people are disillusioned about the cost of quality professional services. Aunt Milly may be the family baker but feeding 300 people a cake like the decorated one on your Pinterest Vision board is costly. The same goes with florals, decor, food, photography and all those miscellaneous aspects of an event that clients without planners don’t anticipate. Professional services come at a cost and they are worth properly budgeting for.

Here are 3 steps to help you begin.

  • Get a firm budget amount. Meaning If you have others(parents/grandparents) contributing, then know the exact dollar amount that they can contribute. Don’t bank on the fact that they’ll pay whatever the cost is because “they just they want me to be happy.” Believe me, everyone has a dollar amount limit – unless you’re Hollywood royalty ;-). 
  • Prioritize! What tells your story? What people remember are the items that made it personal not everything being Pinterest Perfect (read our thoughts on Pinterest here or here). This is where you should spend your money first and use the remaining money on the less important things.
  • Remember to include an incidental category. The areas people usually don’t remember are tipping vendors, invitation postage, event insurance, taxes and delivery fees. 

This week we will be posting about how to tell your story within your budget and what that means. If you’re beginning the planning process and want a consultation to go over your budget or recommendations on vendors that fit within your budget, please contact us! We have openings starting in February to assist in your planning needs. 


Balance: The Purple Unicorn

  Photo by Jaci Forshtay Photography

I am (Jeri) wife of 11.5 years to Matt, my high school sweetheart, and mom to 4 beautiful girls ages 7, 5, 2.5 and 1. When we started this business 3.5 years ago. I had 2 littles and wanted a way to get back into working part time and using my creative side for more adult ventures. Life was busy but manageable and frankly being able to have a few hours a month out of the house, talking with adults and using the part of my brain that I’d shut off for 3 years was a welcome change of pace. 
Then life got real. My husband was going back to get his MBA (Go Irish!) while traveling very frequently for work, I was pregnant with baby #3 (and had a very difficult pregnancy), business was growing and so were the needs of my family. In true Jeri fashion, I put my head down and managed a grueling schedule. I mean that’s what you do right? You just make it work because this is what I signed up for. 

Business continued to grow and we were so thankful for the people that believed in us and for the sacrifices our husbands and families made to see our little dream grow. Then I got pregnant with baby #4. Game changer! After thinking I was going to loose the baby, being on modified bed rest and being incredibly sick I had to say no. I had to realize that doing it all was not possible, nor was it healthy for my body, family or emotional state. 

God has a way of whispering the direction you should take. Unfortunately, I see those as suggestions and must learn the hard way. Learn from me, listen to the whispers. I was not only dealing with my physical limitations but my family was sick literally and figuratively. We were worn out and paying for the decisions of busy that we had been pushing through. Something had to give. 

  Photo by Jaci Forshtay Photography

2015 was a crazy year. We welcomed our 4th daughter and we were full of weddings and people depending on us. In my mind, I knew after I delivered the baby things would get moderately better. I knew how to handle baby & work and would have my “normal” body back but I was dreading the cycle of busy that was coming. 

After discussing this burn out feeling with Erin and Ally, we knew that we had to start making changes to our business. Setting boundaries, clearly defining our roles and getting back to the why of our business. 

First, we set business hours. Sounds so simple but it was huge. I’m the type of person that feels like when I get an email, text or request I need to deal with it now. So this gave me the okay to say no, it can be handled when I’m back in office mode not when I should be sleeping, in the moment with my family or on a rare date with my husband. 

With office hours set, I decided I needed to dedicate 3 mornings a week to business. Meaning I needed help with the kids. This was the hardest. The guilt of leaving my littlest girls when I didn’t do this with their older sisters made me feel like a bad mom. I felt guilty that I needed the Martin’s Starbucks to draft client paperwork, timelines, schedules and contracts and those mornings to schedule client meetings. The whole reason I started my own business was to stay home with my kids, right? Yes, but here’s the lesson I had to learn. If you want to be a business, then treat it like a business otherwise you have a hobby. Don’t get me wrong I sneak in grocery shopping and the occasion hair cut but I needed dedicated time to focus and to really be present for my clients. This also gives me the freedom to really be with my girls when its not my business days. To say no, this is my day with my kids and show them that mommy is reaching for her dreams but also caring for her family. So important as I parent 4 girls, I want them to dream big but know that they are and always will be my greatest gifts. 

 All of this to say that balance doesn’t exist. I love how Jen Hatmaker describes the “balance unicorn” in For the Love

“I’m not doing it all. Who could? I can’t. You can’t. I decided what tricks belonged on my beam and dropped the rest or figured out a way to delegate.” Chapter: Worst Beam Ever

Jen put into words the feelings I had been having for almost 2 years and validated my feelings that the guilt of not achieving it all was destructive. 

Take this away on how to juggle it all. Don’t. Simple, but so hard to implement. Figure out what’s stressing you out. Is it worth the space and energy you’re giving? Do you need to set limits like business hours or have a few hours a week or month out of the house to focus on your business? Map out your typical day or week. Really look at what needs to stay & what needs to go. Be honest and be willing to let go of things that just aren’t working for this season of life (see more on how we are do this in New Name, Same Faces). Giving it up for awhile doesn’t mean no for forever. It means no for right now and may bring opportunities you’d never imagined because you gave them the space to develop.