After attending the NotWedding Charleston just a few short weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to learn a little about the founder. So this months Insider Interview is with Callie Murray, the creative mind behind The NotWedding. Callie began her career in the wedding industry as a photographer. Through her efforts trying to reach new clients through marketing she came up with a brilliant idea for a twist on the traditional bridal show. Rather than a room full of vendors standing static behind booths Callie thought it would be more organic for couples to experience them actually working and displaying their craft in action. So the NotWedding was born!
As a guest you begin the evening at the ceremony, which is a real couples vow renewal. After you head to the reception where you are treated to a full dinner and dessert of cake, just like a real wedding! After the Charleston event I can honestly say that it felt like a real wedding and the air was full of excitement as newly engaged couples mingled with wedding professionals and admired the event they created.
So if you are looking for a fun night out, gather up your girlfriends or round up that fiancee of yours and experience this unique wedding event! The NotWedding is holding “weddings” in Nashville and Athens, GA later this summer!
What is your background and how did you get involved in weddings?
I am actually a photographer and got into wedding photography when I replied to an ad on Craigslist to assist a wedding photographer. (Thankfully it worked out oaky!)
When did you start the Not Wedding and where did the idea come from?
When I was ready to launch my own wedding photography business, I began looking to market myself and considered the weddings I had already booked. Most were from word of mouth referrals and people who had met me at a wedding I was shooting. So I thought surely we could recreate that and throw the ultimate wedding where wedding vendors could show off their product or service and truly interact with the guests; building relationships and harnessing that grassroots “word of mouth” advertising. With the help of some wedding industry friends we threw the first NotWedding in 2008 in Atlanta and were blown away with the response! We’ve since hosted 11 events in Atlanta, Orlando, San Diego, Charleston, LA and NYC. We now have events in the works for Nashville, Athens GA, Wichita and Cape Cod. (With a few other cities brewing!)
How is the NotWedding different from a traditional bridal show?
The NotWedding is totally about the experience. Guests are able to see how a photographer captures a real event, how the food actually tastes, how the DJ handles the crowd, etc. Guests are then able to meet the vendors towards the end of the event in what we call our “Tunnel of Love,” where they can get to know each vendor and their personality.
What would you tell a couple to convince them to attend the NotWedding?
We like to tell people that it’s the coolest wedding you’ll ever attend, even if it is a fake one! Our goal is that guests will leave with full bellies and a brain full of ideas. That they’ll be encouraged to plan a fun and very them wedding while also planning for what comes after the wedding: marriage!
What is a creative way for bride’s to mix up the traditional wedding?
I would encourage couples to think of what they enjoy (dessert, song, a game, certain candy?) and include these elements in the wedding and ceremony, even if it’s not the traditional wedding-y thing to do. Let the day be about you as a couple and not just a checklist of what a wedding is supposed to have.
What would you suggest to a couple on a budget?
Choose one or two areas to splurge on based on whats most important to you. Don’t spend a ton of money on something that doesn’t matter to you and definitely don’t spend money to meet others expectations.
What was your favorite element of your wedding day? Anything you wish you had done differently?
The music was an important part of my wedding day and my husband and I chose untraditional songs that meant a lot to us. The only thing I regret about my wedding was that I had one of my best friends handle the catering AND the coordinating of our wedding. She did an unbelievable job but I wish she was standing next to me as a bridesmaid rather than sweating in the kitchen. Hiring a coordinator (rather than a friend who then missed out on the joys of the wedding day) would have been a wise choice.