Vendors with Values: Pure Event Planning + Design

event planner duluth mn

Sunday, February 14th, 2021




The Vendors with Values series is a great resource of all the incredible vendors I love to work with. Today we’re talking with Mary of Pure Event Planning + Design. Mary is a Duluth event planner that loves to help couples create events that support who they are and their values.

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

I’m an animal lover that happens to also own Pure Event Planning + Design. It’s always my goal for our team to make your wedding day filled with joy through our planning, coordination and decor rental services. 

Nice and brief! I’d love to hear an extended version now.

I fell in love with weddings while working at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in their events department. I quickly realized that I loved getting to know my clients on a personal level, which meant I needed to transition out of venue management and into owning my own planning company, so that’s what I did! After five seasons in the industry, Pure Event Planning + Design was born as my husband and I were relocating to Duluth, Minnesota in 2016. Starting my own company was both terrifying and a dream come true. Nearly six years later, I couldn’t be happier that I took the leap. 

The best part about my job is getting to know my clients, so that by their wedding day we feel like old friends. My husband often jokes that I could get my job done in half the time if I cut the small talk. Never! I enjoy laughing with my clients and finding the little things that will make their wedding day extra special. 

On a personal note, I’ve been married to Cole for nearly 11 years now. We have a three year old son and a hoard of animals (4 horses + 4 cats to be exact). When I’m not planning weddings, you can find me hanging out with the animals, hiking or camping. Generally, we spend as much time outdoors as possible! 

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

  • Enthusiasm
  • Inclusivity
  • Dependability

Spend five minutes with me and you’ll know that I’m pretty full of energy. My team is too. We all live with an enthusiasm for life and for the events we are planning.

During the entire process, we try to be as inclusive as possible. We are only human, so we certainly fall short from time to time, but we are constantly striving to learn and do better in this area.

Finally, being dependable is something that everyone should expect out of their wedding planner. More important to me is that we are dependable all around – I think the pandemic has really shown this to be a strength of Pure Event Planning + Design. We have walked side by side with our clients as they have navigated difficult decisions.

The past year our conversations have been so much more than simply wedding planning – we have laughed and cried together and discussed all the things life has thrown our way during this weird year. 

duluth event planner
Image by Derek Montgomery.

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

Joy. My life motto is “collect joyberries.” I want all of my clients to walk away from every conversation we have feeling filled with joy. 

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

Being present + having fun. Wedding days FLY by. I know everyone says this, but let me tell you – it is SO true!! I want my clients to have the best day of their life – the day should be filled with laughter and joy. You should be able to sit back and enjoy it. 

Image by Fond of That.

What made you choose to start this career path as an event planner in Duluth, MN?

In many ways, I feel like this career chose me. Sure, I loved event planning in college, but I sort of fell into my position at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. I disliked the corporate job I was doing and they had a position open so I applied. Somehow I convinced them to take a chance on me.

From the very first wedding I did, I was hooked. There is something about knowing that there is no do-over for weddings. We get one shot to make the day perfect for our clients.

The feeling at the end of the day that we did everything to make the day perfect is the best feeling. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give it up. 

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

Well, we are having a baby in late March, so in the immediate future people can expect to see some adorable baby photos on our social media! 2021 is going to be a crazy busy season – I cannot wait!! We have tons of new rental items that I’m itching to share with people. Stay tuned for all the gorgeous weddings….

What is something you offer/do that you find most couples love or appreciate? It can be a service, or something more personal.

Pre-pandemic clients loved coming to my home office… we have a hobby farm with horses, so it was always fun to share the animals with my clients (who often are animal lovers themselves!!). One or more of the cats typically sneaks into my office building during these meetings. Even as I write this, our newest addition – Izze Banana, a 9 week old black kitten) is curled up on my lap. Animals ease tension and generally make people feel more comfortable, so we love sharing our farm and pets with my clients. 

On a business level, our clients love the decor we now offer. We added this service early in 2019 and it’s really taken off in the last year. You name it, chances are we have it or can get it! Our clients love that they don’t need to fuss over finding and hauling decor. We bring it, set it up and take it home.

This is also a more sustainable approach to weddings – which, if we could have added a fourth value, it absolutely would be sustainability! Weddings can be so wasteful. Having decor that we can reuse eliminates so much waste. 

duluth event planner
Image by Bryan Jonathan Weddings

Is there a dream event that you’d love to take part in? It could be a dream venue, style, duration, couple, anything. What is something you’ve always wanted to help design?

I’d love to open the perfect venue on the shore. We have some venues right on Lake Superior, but I hear from a lot of clients about what they really want. If I ever win the lottery (which I don’t play…), you can expect I’d buy lakeside property and build it!!

That’s incredible. Where else can we find you?


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

If you ever find yourself getting stressed out by planning, take a break. Planning should be so much fun – after all, this is the day that you get to marry YOUR person. Honestly, nothing else matters.

I’m so excited to be working with Mary in 2021! Mary’s love for her clients, her career, and family is infectious. Her work as a Duluth event planner is gorgeous, meaningful, and respected among fellow vendors. Follow along with her event journey, and reach out to her here to start working on the event straight out of your dreams.

And when you’re ready to talk about taking intimate, candid images of all your favorite people, reach out and let’s talk about the images you’d like to create at your event.

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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