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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Special occassions by design

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Janet Mills, left, and Brittney Mills have formed a company to tackle the details of special event planning for others.
SIKESTON - The bridegroom thought a wedding on a farm would be perfect. The bride was opting for something a bit more traditional.

A happy ending for the pair was arranged by Storybook Weddings and Special Occasions. Owned by Janet Mills and Brittney Mills, the company is designed to tackle the details of special event-planning.

Janet Mills, who has served as a wedding coordinator and decorator for the past 20 years, said she finally decided to officially take the leap into business when she found a perfect partner. Daughter-in-law, Brittney, joined the family seven months ago after planning her own storybook wedding, and now the pair have formed a business partnership.

For five months, the Mills said they met with a variety of vendors, researched products and studied the wedding service industry before officially inaugurating the business on May 1. Already they have weddings and events for Sikeston and the surrounding area booked through the fall.

The women agreed they work well together. Janet Mills said while they like many of the same things, often they will see different ways to incorporate ideas. "We work off each other," she said.

Typically, the two will sit down with the prospective bride to discuss what she wants for her wedding. The initial consultation, which is free, also includes questions on the budget for the event.

"The good thing about sitting down one-on-one with the bride is that we can concentrate on what she really wants," said Brittney Mills. She said there are many young women, herself included, and even men, who have very specific ideas of what would make their wedding perfect. The women work hard to turn these ideas into reality.

"We want to make sure every wedding is special - their own storybook wedding," said Brittney Mills.

Services available are wide-ranging depending on the couple's budget. Some only want guidance while others request more detailed involvement by the Mills from accompanying the bride to dress fittings or designing the rehearsal dinner to arranging the layout of the chapel and ensuring the flow of people into the reception goes smoothly.

Storybook Weddings and Special Events maintains its own list of vendors such as rental halls, floral designers, photographers, caterers and printers.

"We make sure the vendors know what our clients want. If they go with one of our recommended vendors, it will save on their costs," Janet Mills said.

Prices for services are based on how involved Storybook Weddings and Special Events is in the event. The women have developed several pricing packages in an effort to better meet client needs.

"We can do wonders with a bride's budget," said Brittney Mills. "The couple doesn't need a lot of stress from planning. They can leave it to us, knowing it will be an event to remember."

But, even with a less expensive wedding, Janet Mills, added, they can guide the bride and provide rental items she may need.

They even offer consultation only, charging by the hour for review of contracts with vendors or establishing a budget.

"Our goal is no matter the price we want it to be a storybook wedding, the day they have always dreamed about," said Brittney Mills.

When planning for a special event, the owners encourage contacting them as soon as possible so any necessary bookings can be made. However, they have already stepped in on the last minute, rescuing a bride who found herself overwhelmed.

Also to assist couples in planning their wedding day, the company is hosting a Bridal Show in August. The show will offer ideas on fall and winter weddings and be an opportunity for vendors and clients to meet.

After all, concluded Brittney Mills, planning takes time and effort but is worthwhile. "Whether it is a large wedding for 500 or a small event for 50, you still have to plan. Every wedding is their story, hopefully one that will end happily ever after."

Storybook Weddings and Special Occasions LLC accepts Mastercard and Visa. The company can be reached by calling 573-620-0825 or 573-620-5088. The e-mail address is storybookweddings@charter.net.