With Denae Brennan at the Wheel, Couples Can Enjoy the Ride Down the Aisle

Denae Brennan models a summery bouquet by Studio C Floral (studiocfloral.com).

The Bridezilla stories have become clichés at this point—a stressed out bride yelling at her mother and her best friends, hysterical because the flowers are all wrong or the seating chart is messed up or …

The list of details that can go wrong on the big day is almost endless. Denae Brennan has a completely different vision of your special day. In her version of the story, the bride and groom are calm and confident as they approach the ceremony and prepare for their new life together. There may be floral mishaps and last-minute seating arrangement snafus, but Brennan is there taking care of them, calmly and professionally.

“A professional on your side the day of the wedding can let you and your family enjoy the fun part,” Brennan says. “Let someone else take the stress.”

Brennan says she believes marriage is one of life’s greatest adventures, and she loves helping couples get off on the right foot. A professional event planner with an impressive resume, Brennan spent five years planning events for the Fiesta Bowl (now the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl), an annual college football bowl game played in Arizona, and then worked for the Arizona Opera, handling galas and fundraisers before moving to Minnesota with her husband in 2011, living first in Rochester and then settling into their current home in Victoria.  

The first wedding Brennan ever planned was her own in California’s Napa Valley in 2010. It was a destination wedding—the couple was living in Arizona at the time and family members were primarily on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Brennan says their wedding was lovely, and she has many fond memories of the day—but she also remembers being very stressed and a little overwhelmed.

“I loved planning our wedding, but I wish I’d had a professional on my side the day of the wedding.” Brennan says. “No matter how simple and small your wedding is, everyone needs someone to help them on their wedding day.”

Denae Brennan Events offers services that go well beyond just coordinating the day of the ceremony. Brennan loves coming on board with a couple right after the engagement and being there every step of the way to assist with the planning stages. Especially if the plan is for a big event, she knows there are details and timelines that can cause any couple to become overwhelmed.

Brennan encourages couples to let her worry about vendors for flowers and food, how many tables will be needed and so on, so that the bride and groom can devote more time to the really important things. “Take the time together to plan a meaningful ceremony,” Brennan says. “A big party with all your friends is a fun and joyous occasion, but don’t overlook the importance of the ceremony.”

She believes strongly in working with couples to personalize both the ceremony and the reception. “Find the details that really tell your story,” Brennan says. “When your guests walk into the reception and see the décor, I want them to say to each other, ‘Oh, that looks just like them.’”

Brennan is obviously a woman who is both organized and adaptable. One need not look far for proof. Brennan is married to Mike Brennan, president of Holy Family Catholic High School, and the couple has four children—two sets of twins— the oldest twins are 3 years old. To review: one couple, two full-time careers and four toddlers.  

“I am an example for people who think they want to do something but think they don’t have the time,” Brennan says with a laugh. “It’s definitely a challenge to keep everything on track, but I know that in a few years, when the children are older, I will be so grateful for this business that I have built.”

With Brennan, clients not only get a professional with years of experience planning elegant events and weddings, they also have an event planner who understands how to prioritize and stick to a timeline without letting the details overwhelm either them or her. “Being able to go with flow is essential for the mother of four very young children,” Brennan says. “And it is a really good skill to have as a wedding planner, too.”

Going with the flow can also mean staying current with changes in what’s popular or on trend. Brennan says that, in Minnesota, the traditional June wedding isn’t generally as popular as a September wedding when the weather is more reliably mild and sunny, and she sees people moving away from church weddings to the idea of having the ceremony and the reception at the same venue. Personalizing vows and reception details is a trend that’s just getting stronger, and wedding dress choices are shifting farther away from traditional white lace styles.

This all translates into couples having many more choices than there used to be. “It can really be hard for someone who has a hard time making decisions,” Brennan says. And when decisions are delayed, the pressure of budgets and timelines can boil over and create a very long and complicated journey to the special day. “That’s why full service wedding planning is my favorite of the services we offer. I like being involved in the whole process. I love helping couples create their perfect day,” Brennan says.  

In her words: Denae Brennan’s advice for wedding planning—without a hitch!

Hire professionals.

It's wonderful if you have friends or family members who are willing to help with certain aspects of your big day, but unless your aunt is an actual florist with a business and legitimate event floral experience, don't have her do your flowers just because she likes to make arrangements for her kitchen table.

Hire professional wedding vendors, who are reputable and trustworthy. Be wary of any vendor who doesn't have a contract and don't be afraid to ask for references from past clients.

Make it personal.

Don't make decor or color choices just because it's what you're seeing on all the wedding blogs. Your wedding day should be a direct reflection of you and your fiancé(e).
Choose design details that relate to your relationship—how you met, places or things that are important to you, family traditions, etc. You want every element to make guests say, "This feels just like Jack and Diane!"

Be realistic about your numbers.

And by numbers, I mean your budget and guest list—as the two are directly related. The higher your guest count, the more money you will spend—plain and simple. It not only requires more food, but more chairs, tables, centerpieces, linens and guest favors. The easiest way to save money is to edit down the guest list.

Issues surrounding the budget and guest list can be difficult to discuss with your families, but make sure you talk honestly and openly to all who are financially contributing before you start booking a venue or making any decisions.

Stop looking at Pinterest.

Once you have made decisions about the wedding, whether it’s about the food, colors or (especially) your dress, stop looking for alternatives. Pinterest, wedding blogs and even Instagram are wonderful sources of wedding inspiration, but they can also be a major source of stress when they start making you second-guess your decisions.

Be confident that your decisions were the right ones for you and your fiancé(e).