Talk with anyone who has worked with Maureen Gaffney and Tina Anderson of Gem Events and watch their face break into a genuine smile. Clients become friends, and vendors confide that while they’re not generally crazy about event planners, these ladies are different.
Maureen and Tina differentiate themselves by truly listening to the people who come to them to plan a wedding, corporate event, or other celebration. They listen to the ideas and inspiration that inform the vision a client has for the occasion. Then, rather than dismiss that vision in favor of a momentary trend or signature style, they go to work bringing that dream to life. The partners often elevate the idea along the way, but they always keep that original thought—and the person who had it—in mind as they work.
And they work a lot. They’re at weddings on the weekend and stylish corporate events during the week. “Both of us are always there. If it is a wedding, one of us will stay with the bride and the other handles logistics. Then we come back together for the reception,” Tina explains. This means that brides and their families are free to enjoy the festivities rather than worry about handing out payments and correcting missteps.
The divide and conquer strategy employed by Gem Events serves their clients well, especially when last-minute issues inevitably arise.
They tell a great story about a destination wedding planned for a bride who had always dreamed of a garden wedding complete with a veil blowing in the wind. Maureen, who was with her in the salon while Tina saw to last-minute details in the ballroom, was asked to retrieve the specially chosen veil from the bride’s room. It wasn’t there. A family member had packed the wedding clothes and the veil was hanging forgotten back in a Lincoln Park condo while the three-day festivities took place in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Maureen broke the news with the simple words, “We’re going to make this right for you,” and they sprung into action. An appeal was made to recently married hotel staffers to gather up possible veil options, and a front desk associate who happened to be close friends with the owner of the only bridal shop in a 50-mile radius placed a call. She agreed to open up her store, and a perfect veil was selected and on the relieved bride’s head when it was time to walk down the aisle.
The best part is that the last-minute lace looked so lovely and received so many compliments that the bride truly felt she had lived her dream.
Tina and Maureen confide that many times brides approach them with trepidation, worried that hiring a wedding planner may be an extravagance that they either can’t afford or that doesn’t feel in sync with their lower-key lifestyle. But working with professionals means that professionals are doing the negotiating, which can lead to savings that more than cover their fee. Bring them your budget, and they will work within it, often creating more with the money because of ongoing relationships with vendors.
Even the initially wary are won over by the ladies of Gem Events. “We feel so fortunate that we usually become like members of the family,” Tina says. Well, only if your family is filled with people gifted with incredible style, the ability to make the impossible happen, and warm,
To learn more about Gem Events and to view their work, visit gemevents.net. Tina Anderson can be reached at 630-640-2181, Maureen Gaffney is at 630-430-1822, and either one would be happy to discuss your dream event.