This “job” really has never felt like a job at all.
Laura Maddox

Laura Maddox

Owner/Partner

Location: Atlanta, GA

Magnolia strives to keep the planning experience both exciting and joyful. We desire to understand our client’s vision and work with them to make their dreams come true! We work hard to maintain excellent relationships with trusted vendors so that we can cultivate incredible options to best suit our client’s needs. We endeavor to make sure that we are not just pulling together any team, but the RIGHT team!

Magnolia clients enjoy working with a hands-on experienced planner. We work to form a bond with each of our clients and create memories for a lifetime. Our client’s priorities become our priorities so we can ensure a professional event execution process.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

A limited budget does not always have to mean you limit your vision! Keep in mind that the largest driving factor in your budget is your guest count. It potentially can limit the spaces you can use, raises your costs in almost every area (food, floral, bar, need for a larger dance floor, etc). Remember if you’ve not spoken to them in the last year they really don’t need to be on your invite list.

Then other suggestions:
Focus the money on impactful areas. Are you able to reuse your ceremony space? Yes, then make it a focal point! No, then keep it simple! Go big on the decor behind the DJ or the band, stay more modest on the table centerpieces. Maybe do something really cool at the bars, or at the entrance. Double your escort card display as a picture opportunity… pick an area or two and get creative!

Using the same idea for the food, focus on the appetizers and the dessert. Most people don’t remember much of the entree! Acknowledge it for sure, but if you wow them before they ever sit down and again at the end of the night the middle can often be remembered as outstanding without much effort. If you’re wanting a buffet try for stations instead. Keep the same items that would be on your buffet but break them up into stations. The simple change elevates the event in most people’s minds.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?

My dream client is a client that knows what they want but are still flexible in their vision. Someone who wants to work together to create something new, exciting, and a really fun night!

My dream event changes with each client! I truly get the most enjoyment out of finding what the client wants, sourcing the right team to make it happen, and bringing it to fruition. I come alive on event days as I begin to watch the guests experience what we have been planning for months or over a year! This “job” really has never felt like a job at all. I enjoy what I do and have loved being a part of people’s most exciting days!

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

My relationship with my vendors is invaluable! Of course, we all want to make the clients happy! We all want a successful event and clients that will be singing our praises to all of their friends! However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am only as strong as the team that surrounds me.

I work hard to maintain great relationships with my vendors. The goodwill and team approach this creates makes the event days so much more fun! Not to mention hugely more successful! When we all respect each other and feel like a part of a team, creating a magical event for this couple, the whole team is more motivated to go above and beyond throughout the day!

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Consulting! I have just opened a new “arm” of our business, consulting with event professionals and helping either venue owners to elevate their existing space to a luxury property, or new venue enthusiasts from the onset to ensure the space they are creating will attract the top clients.

I am also consulting with other event professionals to help build their brand, streamline their work processes and again, attract the higher-end client.  All while keeping balance in mind and working smarter, not harder, to ensure they do not get to a space of burnout.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

I planned a back yard wedding for about 100 people. The client moved into the house just months prior and most of the planning was also done working around construction/remodeling. The client had a specific vision and it was so fun to see it all come to fruition! We were able to make the event feel like an amazing experience while also incorporating their elements of home. The caterer used their grill for the meat, we had their pool lit with hundreds of floating candles, we hired a DJ that set up two booths knowing that we would need to move the party inside at a certain time, but wanting the guests to be able to dance under the stars for as long as possible. I worked with local police to ensure that the party was not moved inside a moment before the sound ordinances made it a need. It’s an event I will never forget as everything had to be brought in, everyone had to work together to make it happen, and Mother Nature had to be on our side!

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