Vendors with Values: Northland Special Events

northland special events duluth mn

Sunday, May 31st, 2020



The leading lady behind so many of the events in the Northland: Mariah of NSE. I still remember the warmth and energy of the handshake the day I first met her, and that’s something that never fades. Her true passion is helping people plan the parties and events that they will truly never forget. Mariah gave me some more insight into her and the amazing team she leads at Northland Special Events.

Can you summarize who you are and what you do into two sentences?

I am a wedding planner for purpose-driven couples and Lake Superior Lovers. I make wedding day dreams come true.

Nice and brief! Can you dive deeper?

A wedding planner = so many roles….designer, coordinator, referee, therapist, educator, cheerleader, and friend….to name a few. I work with couples to guide them towards a wedding crafted with personal details and rich with personal connections. After 10 years in the industry, I’ve seen it all – big, small, lavish, simple.

What I take away from every wedding is the energy in the room. My goal is to work with couples to create a scenario that reduces anxiety and worry and promotes an electric energy full of love and joy. I’m so freaking lucky to get to play all of these roles and make this magic happen.

If your business was built on three values, what would you say those are and why did you choose them?

Our core values are part of our daily dialogue (and prominently featured on our Northland Special Events homepage).

1) Peace of Mind and Heart – We create peace in chaos with structure, detail, and a shockingly calm demeanor. We nurture trusting relationships that allow clients peace of mind at their events. We understand that the true goal of event planning should be to create a sense of peace among hosts and guests, allowing all involved to truly embrace the experience.

2) Love Leads the Way – Everything we do, we do with love. We work with clients to develop a loving, positive mindset throughout their planning process and not let the details get in the way of the reason.

3) Purpose over Plan – At NSE, we believe that an event is never about US. We humbly serve our client’s needs above all else, focusing on the purpose of their event first and foremost.

Each year, we donate over $50k in event services to support community organizations across the Northland. We believe that givers gain again and again and this work brings another sense of purpose to our talents and gifts.

northland special events mariah

What would you say is the number one feeling you want your clients to walk away with when working with you?

Trust. From the moment we first meet, my goal is to start building trust with my clients. They need to trust that they can place the most precious, expensive, emotionally-charged day of their lives in MY hands. I need them to trust me enough to give me the freedom I need to make magic happen while they are all dressed up and attending their own party.

What it the most important thing to you on somebody’s wedding day?

Love. I want them to LOVE their wedding day for ALL of the reasons.

From the moment they wake up to the last dance, I want them to love each and every minute because they can be fully present to enjoy and participate in their own wedding day. I want them to be able to love on each other and their guests the whole day through.

What made you choose to start this career path?

Parties and events have been part of my life from an early age. My parents owned a party supply store, so I grew up helping people pick out decorations and plan for events. Flash-foward to my own wedding when I realized I needed major help and hired a Day-Of Coordinator. It was the best decision we could have made for our wedding. That experience sealed my fate!

When my husband and I moved our family back to Minnesota from Washington, DC, I set my sights on building the first true wedding planning company in the Northland, starting with my sister’s wedding at Lutsen Resort. Ten years later and thousands of weddings and events, I can’t believe all that I’ve accomplished and been part of on this journey.

Are there any exciting projects/offerings in the future that people can look forward to seeing?

My Podcast! I am busy learning the art of podcasting, audio editing and interviewing in order to bring something new to the genre. More details coming soon, but I can tell you the focus is all things Love and Lake Superior. I can’t wait to launch sometime this summer.

Are there any ways that you can help other couples who have to reschedule/find new vendors? (i.e. open dates, COVID related resources, etc)

We’re full of ideas and resources at NSE! Fortunately, the size and scope of our company makes it easy to shift dates and reschedule. We rarely close dates, so if we need to take more business in the fall or into 2021, we’ll do it. I’ve hosted Zoom calls for couples and vendors to ask questions and seek support and I plan to host a webinar in a couple of weeks with some fun new ideas we’re working on for virtual / out-of-the-box wedding options.

Where to next, Mariah? Where can we find Northland Special Events?

Instagram: @nse_events

Are there any parting words you want to leave us with?

Thank you, Makayla, for creating this series. Values have always been at the forefront of my business and I so appreciate when other vendors recognize this and appreciate it in the industry. At the end of the day, we are part of one of the most unique, human experiences and choosing vendors with values to be part of that is incredibly important.

(Thanks Mariah! I was happy to have you.)

Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN. 

I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.

This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.

Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.


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