Be a Guest at Your Own Event!

Planning even a casual get together among a few friends can get extremely complicated. Planning a memorable event or celebration for hundreds of people, on the other hand, takes considerable experience, the patience of a saint, and a four-star general’s talent for strategy – which are not coincidentally all Renee Murrish’s gifts.

As the founder of Signature Events Mandan, Renee has spent the better part of the past decade making certain all of her clients’ special occasions have gone swimmingly. As the owner of the Dream Day Bridal Show she is well-connected to every decorator, caterer, baker and musician one could need to throw an impressive wedding. The party-meister even teaches the subtleties of her trade to business students at University of Mary. In short, Renee is the Bismarck-Mandan area’s leading expert on event planning. 

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“I specialize in weddings,” said Renee. “I love learning all about my client’s passion for their upcoming big day, and then doing everything they need to feel like a guest at their own wedding. My heart sinks whenever I hear newlyweds say they wish they had just eloped instead of planning their wedding. I know I could have helped them enjoy the process – instead of dreading it.

“You don’t want to spend your own wedding day worrying about whether the DJ has set up, the cake has arrived, and the church has been decorated. You want to relax in your hotel room, sipping a mimosa while having the finishing touches done to your makeup. That’s the greatest benefit of hiring a wedding planner. Still, I don’t mind sharing a few tips on how to plan your own wedding seamlessly.

“Before doing anything else, you have to sit down as a couple and create a vision for your wedding. If you don’t create one ahead of time, someone else will wind up doing it for you. That’s why I offer a special gallery in my office, where I present everything our local vendors have to offer that will help you bring your vision for your wedding to life. Having all of your vendors picked out so early on will be a great time saver!

“Your budget is the most stressful part of planning a wedding, but determining it from the start is essential. That will let you plan a realistic event, avoid inviting too many guests, and prevent parents from having to come in at the last minute to save the day with their credit cards.

“Plan to split your guest list into thirds: the bride’s family, the groom’s family, and the bride’s and groom’s friends. If there are leftover guests to be invited, then the family that contributed more toward the wedding should get to invite them.

“I always advise my clients to avoid what I call ‘moving down the tree’ – an example of which would be inviting your boss’s daughter’s son. By cutting out superfluous guests, you can devote more of your budget to treating the friends and family who most matter to you.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of picking the right bridal party. After your budget, that is the biggest thing that can make or break your wedding. I advise that you pick best friends and close relatives who will have time to help you, be able to afford the travel and other financial obligations involved, and most enjoy sharing your wedding with you. You also have to ask yourself if a potential bridesmaid or groomsman likes to create drama. I promise you, you will have enough to think about on your wedding day than offending someone by not taking one of their suggestions!

“Finally, make sure you personalize your wedding, because that is what will make it memorable. For example, I once worked with a groom whose family owned a food truck. They decided to park their truck outside the venue to serve footlong hot dogs as a late night snack, while the bride, herself a dental hygienist, handed out personalized dental flosses and toothbrushes. Those little touches made their wedding truly ‘them,’ and their guests are still talking about it.”

Take it from me, folks – planning a wedding takes a lot of work. I know this for a fact because I watched my ex-wife do it all by herself. That’s why I advise following Renee’s advice to the letter, and engaging her services as well. You can learn more about all she has to offer at


By David Scheller