Your name: Amy Shack Egan
Your pronouns: she/her
What you do: The anti-wedding wedding planner, aka CEO of Modern Rebel
Amy in her Chonks in coal
Tell me a little about how and why you became a Wedding planner?
I never planned to be a wedding planner. Funny, right? Since, well, I am a planner. But here's the thing. Back in 2015, I was helping my friend, Jill, wedding plan. She was stressed about the wedding. I was stressed about finding a career path. She looked at me at the end of one of our sessions and just said, "You know, you could do this!" I asked, "What?" She said, "Be a wedding planner!" I was like, "What?! Ew. I hate weddings." That is literally how this wild journey began.
I sat with that, though, and I couldn't stop focusing on the fact that people were excited to get married but they were NOT excited to plan a wedding. I thought, why does it have to be that way? I started calling weddings love parties. What's a love party? It's a wedding that breaks the rules. You might break every single rule or you might just break one - but it was a way of saying, maybe the wedding box has gotten a little too boxy and we want something different. I also made sure that 5% of our sales went to the Center of Domestic Violence in Brooklyn, NY because why couldn't it be that every time someone got into an incredible relationship - someone could also be freed from an awful one? That's how I started. Oh, and I also called the company: Modern Rebel. Maybe it was the gender studies major in me but the industry felt so precious and I was eager to shake it up.
If you could give future brides just 3 pieces of advice for their wedding, what would those be?
I wouldn't change my advice based on bride or groom so for any marriers, I'd say:
- When planning a love party, pick 1 night a week that's the planning night. Sit with your partner, go through the to-dos, and check them off!
- When planning a love party, pick 1 night a week where wedding talk is off the table. CANNOT BE MENTIONED. You're basically project managing together and you don't want this wedding to become your relationship's personality. Trust me. This is the beginning not the ending - cultivate a relationship that will thrive long after the "I-Dos"
- On the day of the event, choose a "freeze moment" in advance. The event will go by quickly, it will feel a bit like taking a magic carpet ride and everyone will tell you to be in the moment for every moment and it's just impossible. Choose one moment you really don't want to miss where you take a deep breath in that moment and try to freeze the moment in your mind. Maybe it's your vows, maybe it's a first dance, maybe it's just a moment kissing your partner in the quiet back room after the ceremony. Choose your freeze moment in advance - so you can at least have one moment where you look back and go - I really really remember that special moment. WOW - I think that's the most someone has ever used the word "moment" in a paragraph.
What avoidable mistake do you see people make when planning a wedding time and time again?
They get so caught up in the plans they forget why they're planning in the first place. Weddings are not about color palettes and napkin folds. At the end of the day, they're about relationships. Make your relationship interesting and fun and vibrant, and I promise you that investment will pay itself back 10x in how it's reflected in your wedding day.
What 3 things should wedding guests do/not do to support the happy couple?
- Do: RSVP on time! Even if it's a no. A yes is a gift and so is a no. Don't: Miss the deadline and never reply.
- Do: Buy a gift off the registry or donate to their favorite cause! Don't: Bring a gift to the wedding. You may think it's nice but that big box now has to be transported back to their house and someone [me] is probably going to have to manage that logistical detail you may not have thought of! Do it online or mail it - don't bring it!
- Do: Turn off your phone for the ceremony. Don't: Lean into the aisle and snap pics - you may not realize it but you're ruining the professional photographer's shots by doing so!
When a couple is hiring a wedding planner, what questions should they ask to make sure they are aligned?
- Hiring a wedding planner is like hiring a coach. I always say, you can train for the IronMan on your own but it will be painful and it's usually your first time and well, you get the point. I've competed in the Ironman hundreds of times. Not the real one - we're metaphor'ing here! But the gist is, I am an expert coach and guide if you're planning a love party. How in the world could you know what you don't know if you've never done this before?! My advice is to connect over zoom [see each other] and just spend some of the call getting to know each other. This person is likely going to be planning this with you for at least a year. They will be your greatest cheerleader and your rock when the going gets tough and when Aunt Margaret invites 25 relatives you don't know and you feel like you're about to lose your mind, they'll reel you back down to planet earth and remind you - it's going to work out. Hire someone who can do the job but also hire someone you like - someone that isn't just out to plan a great wedding but also takes an interest in who you two are and who is going to be real with you when you need it and who is going to pack the fun along the way. You're hiring an advocate for your relationship. Make sure your values align, make sure you can spend time with this person, make sure your gut says - I trust them. There aren't specific questions to get to the heart of that but spending time on a discovery call usually gives you your answer. Take time to ask them about why they do this + who the hell they are. And please don't ask them for a discount.
How would you describe your personal style?
It's a little bit playful, a little bit rock n roll with a side of professionalism. Think Loreali Gilmore meets Shania Twain with a lot of blazers thrown in. Something in that mix.
What are your favorite Bryr clogs?
I'm obsessed with my coal Chonks. Effortless style, cute and I get so many compliments even if the rest of my outfit is a total mess.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up this year that you'd like to share? SO many exciting projects! Aside from the 50 love parties we're currently producing, we are doing some really fun collaborations this fall with brands I admire. First one is a poker night for women + non-binary folks in the wedding industry in partnership with Poker Power. 50 incredible vendors are joining us at the Ace Hotel in Brooklyn to learn poker! I love to play poker and went to one of Poker Power's events and thought - the wedding industry needs this! It's an industry LED by women + trans folks, and yet we fall into the trap of never claiming the CEO title or advocating for our value even if we know our worth. Poker is a really cool vehicle for fostering tools around strategy and negotiation. I'm really excited! Oh, and I can also finally shared that I was featured in The Knot's first ever national commercial, so that was pretty cool.
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