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By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff
It all starts with one question and one answer:
“Will you marry me?”
Many brides agree that this is one of the easiest decisions they will ever make. However, this decision is quickly followed by several other questions that aren’t as easy to answer.
Where the wedding will take place?
Who will provide the food?
What flowers should be bought?
These and many other tasks can quickly turn a happy event into a looming black cloud of stress as the days tick closer and the to-do list gets longer.
That is where wedding and event planner Liz Stewart steps in. A year after going into business for herself as a local event planner, Stewart has earned rave reviews from clients she has helped transform ideas for the perfect wedding into dreams come true.
“I feel honored when they trust me with the most important day of their lives,” Stewart told The Gazette.
Six years ago, Stewart moved to the area from California to be closer to her family. After the move, she helped plan several events for some of her friends. Hearing their positive feedback inspired her to launch her first business, Liz Stewart Events, in 2012.
“I loved doing the events and I kept getting requests from people to help them,” she said.
Today, she has happily settled into the area with her six-year-old daughter and two-year-old son, and her business is doing well enough to keep her on her toes on a regular basis.
So far, her work mainly centers on weddings. However, with today’s economic stress, people often ask if they need a wedding planner.
Absolutely, says Stewart, to make the wedding more enjoyable for all parties involved.
While some families take on the burden of wedding plans themselves in order to save money, the added stress of handling every detail can ruin the experience for some.
Another downside is that the family members who end up helping do not have as much time as everyone else to celebrate, Stewart said.
“Just by setting aside a bit of the budget for a planner, I can be there to take away that stress so everyone can enjoy the day,” she said.
People can afford to hire a planner just by cutting back a little on other areas of the budget, such as flowers.
Stewart’s involvement can be as extensive as planning from start to finish, or simply arriving on the big day and overseeing the event. “For a small wedding, I’ll usually take a month before, to re-check their list and help them out with any last-minute details,” she said. “For a big, full wedding, it can take anywhere from six months to a year to work on it.”
After working with many local brides, Stewart has formed a network of venues, caterers, flower shops and local businesses for her clients to choose from. In fact, when she first started her business, she worked out of an office at The Personal Touch Florist on West Grayson Street in Galax.
Since classic and country themes are a common request for the area, she has done weddings in venues like Mt. Vale Vineyards and The Doctor’s Inn.
A fun wedding Stewart recalls involved a couple who wanted a recreational theme. “A bunch of people rode their bikes there, and then after the ceremony, everyone went on a bike ride,” she said.
After such a positive beginning, Stewart looks forward to expanding her business to include other events, such as birthdays and fundraisers.
Her calendar is already filling up for the year, with her currently averaging one wedding per month.
“I want to eventually be busy enough to hire two or three other people to help me out,” she said.
• To find out more about what Stewart has to offer, call 237-8824, visit her website at
www.lizstewartevents.com or read her blog at lizstewartevents.blogspot.com. She can also be found on Twitter under the username EventsLiz. On Feb. 23, Stewart will be part of a Wedding Open House at Mt. Vale Vineyards from 1-5 p.m., along with several other local wedding experts. For more information, call 238-9946.