Bridal consultant and 2007 Gala Award nominee Robyn Martin always knew she had a knack for events. But it wasn't until 2004, after years spent slogging away in corporate administrative positions and doing weddings in her spare time, that Martin made event planning her profession. That's when, she says, “My daughter encouraged me to take a leap of faith.”
The Wedding Belle, Martin's Edmond, Okla.-based consulting firm, has since seen a significant boost in business, growing from a mere handful of events to 18 weddings per year today, with budgets typically ranging from $35,000 to $170,000.
Martin says savvy South-Central region brides, many of them Oklahoma natives who live out of state and return home to wed, are drawn to The Wedding Belle's distinctive design edge. “We mirror what we see on the coasts but with our own particular colloquial twists,” the planner notes. Examples: “Cigars on the terrace, ballroom dancing instruction and roving minstrels” are popular choices, she says, as are elegant passed hors d'oeuvre rather than conventional wedding buffets. On the decor side, Edmond brides are embracing “bright, hot colors,” but also subdued, sophisticated pairings like “pear green and ivory.”
While Martin derives satisfaction from raising the bar on wedding design, her greatest reward, she says, comes from the relationships she shares with clients, many of whom have become lifelong friends.
But it wasn't always so. In fact there was a time when Martin wasn't sure if she could go on with her chosen profession. After encouraging her mother to strike out on her own, Martin's daughter passed away suddenly, in 2005.
“I didn't know if I could continue to work with other mothers and daughters,” Martin recounts. But, she says, knowing that “my daughter would never forgive me” for not following her dreams, she per-severed — and surprised herself with the strength she found along the way.
“This job has actually helped me in this journey,” she says. “I cannot begin to tell you how loving and supportive people have been. I just have wonderful, wonderful clients. I thought it would be too hard for me to go on doing weddings, and just the opposite has held true.”
The Wedding Belle P.O. Box 3502, Edmond, OK 73803; 405/250-4998; [email protected]
ONSTAGE TO BACKSTAGE
“I graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ballet and theater from Texas Christian University. As part of my degree, I received training in all stages of production, including staging, set design, lighting, etc. After my performance career was ended by damage to my knee, events were just a natural progression for me.”
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
“I really don't view my peers as competitors. As professional consultants, we need to refer each other out at every opportunity.”
THE GOOD THINGS
“Professionally, my Gala Award nomination has been my greatest accomplishment. I never felt so validated in my entire life. On a personal level, I'm married to a great guy who supports me. We raised two accomplished, amazing kids and have two wonderful grandkids. Having The Wedding Belle is the icing on the cake. I didn't think that at my age I would finally find what I wished I had been doing all along.”