Mark Athitakis is a contributing editor to Associations Now.
Members of the Society of Wedding Professionals team up to craft a couple’s perfect day—and enjoy a team-building experience at the same time.
A wedding is a blissful event, everybody can agree. And most would agree it’s also a logistical obstacle course: Wrangling venues, caterers, photographers, transportation, and more has been known to create a few bride- and groom-zillas.
This year, the Society of Wedding Professionals was inspired to lighten one couple’s load by having its members collaborate on handling the details.
Rebecca Hackl, president of SWP, which represents wedding-industry professionals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, first conceived the “Wedding Wish” idea as a team-building exercise within the membership. “Once we unveiled the concept, members were truly excited about it,” she says. “Many people were asking, what can we do?” Twenty-three member companies stepped up to donate their services.
SWP’s board and other volunteers assisted not just in coordinating members but in helping to select the couple who would receive the donated services from among 12 applicants. SWP selected Nikkita Morris, who had postponed her wedding to Fred Morris after receiving a budget-draining breast-cancer diagnosis two years ago. Now cancer-free after chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, she tied the knot last January.
The Wedding Wish event provided visibility for SWP and the members that participated. But Tiffany Bell, SWP director of membership, says it served more as a member-bonding exercise.
“I think once we really got going, it became more of a family affair to see what we could do to really support the couple,” she says.
Bell and Hackl say that SWP intends to make the Wedding Wish event an annual activity for the association. “Now that people understand more about the event, hopefully we’ll see even more applicants in the future,” Bell says.
And for Bell, who works for a member firm that provided venues for the wedding and reception, it was a strengthening experience. “In terms of building internal morale, getting behind a project all together as a company was a really positive experience for us,” she says.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled “A Wedding Wish Fulfilled.”]