Our "Salute" to Wedding Planners: Nancy Jeffries-Dwyer

This is the second installment in a series we've created to highlight the many amazing wedding planners we are so fortunate to have living and working in Vermont. These magicians of the industry are a huge reason that the wedding business has grown into such a major revenue generator for our tiny Green Mountain state over the past several years.

Our series continues with Nancy Jeffries-Dwyer, the Founder, Chief Event Officer and Creative Director of NJOY Event Planning. NJOY is a full-service wedding and event planning boutique in Stowe specializing in one-of-a-kind, forget-me-not events. With an eye for detail, a flair for style, and a commitment to organization and flow, Nancy has spent over 30 years perfecting the art of event planning and design.

How did you get into wedding planning?

I graduated with a four-year design degree in Toronto, Canada, from Ryerson University. To help pay for my college costs, I modeled wedding gowns for the Robert Simpson Company every Saturday afternoon. That was the beginning of my love for the industry. After graduation, I also became very involved in producing live theatre events in Canada, and then in Vermont when I moved here in 1991. I founded the Stowe Theatre Guild in 1995 and will be producing a 25th year milestone event, ONE MORE TIME: A Musical Revue Celebrating 25 Years of Stowe Theatre Guild on May 29 and 30.

What are the biggest challenges of your industry?

Currently, it’s the corona virus. We need to reassure our families that we will help lead.

What's been the scariest moment you've experienced at a wedding? :-)

A couple that I remember vividly: 1). Losing power at the Round Barn in Waitsfield due to a wind storm for a wedding.

Action: 1. Find generators to power the DJ and Kitchen - done!

2) Find a water source from a local farmer to provide water for the bathrooms and kitchen - done!

3) Negotiate with the Round Barn to allow us to use live candles to light the event - they did, and it was brilliant! The couple and their guests were thrilled.

AND, the BEST of all really memorable events, 8/27/11; Hurricane Irene at a fabulous tented wedding event in Springfield, Vermont. We made it through the outdoor ceremony and 95% of the outdoor cocktail reception, and then the heavens broke out with torrential rain. Guests were undercover and thoroughly enjoyed the wedding reception. Then, at 10 p.m., when our staff had to escort guests to their waiting buses, they were knee deep in mud,..and when finally boarding their buses, they couldn’t get traction to move! Quick decision: find a local farmer with a tractor to pull the buses out of the mud. Done. Guests evacuated..

My team, and Nancy Murray and her floral team, slept on the floor at the house, and were up at 2 a.m. on ladders to remove rented chandeliers from the tent as we worried that the tents would blow away. The next morning, Nancy and I started out to get home and learned that all of the usual roads were closed due to trees down. We found our way out by navigating unusual roads, found the interstate being pelted with horrible rain, and finally got home. While we were safe and grateful to get home, we learned that one guest from the wedding tried to get out on Sunday morning, and their car was swept away in a current. What advice would you give to someone getting into the wedding industry?

Take courses in design and event planning. And be prepared for every day and weekend of your life to be totally immersed in your profession.

Oh, and by the way, get a degree in family psychology. You will become the most important person in your client’s life, and with this comes immense responsibility.

What is something most people wouldn't know about you? I am a certified hatha yoga teacher with certification from Yoga Center Toronto. I have taught classes internationally. My practice of yoga has personally directed every aspect of my life and business.