Celebrating a Decade of Weddings with Mango Muse Events

2019 has been a milestone year for Mango Muse Events as we celebrated 10 years. 10 years of planning and designing weddings all over the world.

I am so honored to have met and worked with such amazing couples.

And as we embark on a new decade (and another 10 years), I can’t help but look back at where we’ve come from and all of the weddings we’ve helped to create.

So, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane and sharing moments, stories, learnings and milestones from the last 10 years.

Come and join me in…

2009 – The Beginning

It’s 2009. The world is still in upheaval from the 2008 crash.

And 2008 is of course when I decide to quit my job and start my own business.

Smart girl, huh?!

After about 6 months of not having a name and really lame looking business cards, Mango Muse Events came to life in early 2009.

While I technically was running a business in 2008, in 2009 was the true beginning of Mango Muse Events.

A happy bride with destination wedding planner Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events at a California wine country wedding
My first wedding as Mango Muse Events! (Photo credit: VAS Photography)

People always ask me about my name because well, it’s not your average wedding planning company name (which was by design).

And honestly it look a long time to come up with one.

Because I knew I didn’t want to use my name. I didn’t want the focus to be on me.

And I also knew I didn’t want something fluffy or overly weddingy or something that made you just kinda want to barf.

I wanted something that gave you a true feeling of joy and warmth.

And maybe something that intrigued you.

Now, I’ve always loved mangos. I’m from Hawaii and we have the BEST mangos. So, I’m a total mango snob.

Besides the taste, I love the color and how happy they make people.

I love the feeling you get when you think of them. Fresh. Delicious. Sweet. Tropical and perhaps a bit exotic.

And I just liked saying the word and how it makes you smile.

But, it needed to be paired with something.

And I’ve always liked the word muse. The meaning behind it and the sound of it.

And together, it meant that anything can be your inspiration.

And that’s what Mango Muse Events was (and still is) all about. Not creating something trendy, showy or over the top. But creating something inspired, something with meaning.

Alfresco wedding reception dinner with bistro lights at Autocamp Yosemite by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Mary Meck Weddings)

Our couples have always been and will also be the inspiration behind the planning and design of their weddings.

And we take small things about them like the love of a mango to big things like cultural traditions and include those in their design.

And I’m proud to say that philosophy still holds true today. It’s the core behind what we do.

And while people still confuse us with a catering company sometimes…

And while I’ve heard all kinds of iterations of my name (Mango Mouse, Mango Mousse, etc…) …

To this day I honestly still love it.

2010 – A Match Made in Heaven

Now I’d like to say that we started out planning on doing destination weddings and the Mango Muse Events name played into that.

Because let’s be honest, it works quite well as a destination wedding planning company name.

But… that would be a lie.

Destination weddings actually found me.

I didn’t have the intention of doing destination weddings to start. But within the first year of Mango Muse Events, I started planning destination weddings.

And it all started with Hawaii.

Newlywed couple on the beach enjoying the sunset at their wedding in Maui by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Aihara Visuals)

Being from Hawaii gave me a head start. And I got to plan weddings in a place that I personally love.

And it was fun!

What I discovered was that it fit me. It fit how I plan and design. And those couples who want a destination wedding fit the company so perfectly.

It was a match made in heaven.

So, once I started doing destination weddings, that was it.

And Mango Muse Events had found its niche.

2011 – Just Do It

As I starting doing more destination weddings, I quickly realized how lucky I was to be in the Bay Area.

Having access to unique design pieces and the ability to create things from scratch made me a little spoiled.

So, when I was creating in other locations that didn’t have the resources or the inventory, I ended up feeling a bit stuck.

I knew what I wanted, but I just didn’t have access to it.

And while you can get anything if you throw enough money at it, that was not my client’s style. And honestly, not mine either.

So, I thought to myself, well we can try to use something else… or not do the idea at all… but, that would be sad.

So, what can we do?

Let’s just create it.

And thus, custom design was born.

Custom designed hanging orchid chandelier at a Hawaii tent wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Marina Miller)

Over the years we’ve had a number of custom design projects. I’ve done everything from wood working to painting to floral design.

When something doesn’t exist and there isn’t a good alternative, we create it.

It’s taken some ingenuity and major problem solving, but it’s also been so much fun.

To be able to create something from scratch that is unique and customized (and within budget) just for my client is amazing.

And seeing it come to life is truly exciting.

2012 – All Shapes and Sizes

As destination weddings (and semi-destination weddings) became more popular, we started working on different types of weddings of all shapes and sizes.

Everything from the really small and intimate 30 person wedding to the large 400 person wedding.

We worked with long engagements (18+ months) and super short ones (1 month!).

We started working with more and more multi-cultural couples. Couples with different religions, backgrounds and traditions.

We also started working with clients from all over the place.

It was no longer just couples based in the Bay Area, but all over the country.

Some of which I never met in person until the week before the wedding.

And I gotta say, it was fun!

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, just like people.

And that’s what makes it interesting and what makes each wedding unique.

I loved meeting couples from different places and helping each of them to create their personal wedding.

And of course I learned a lot.

And got really good at time differences.

2013 – The Highs and The Lows

2013 was an interesting year. It had simultaneously some of the biggest successes and also the biggest failures.

I’ve always been about pushing the boundaries and throwing the rule book out the window. But, this year we really pushed the non-traditional boundaries.

We created different types of weddings, put together different schedules, played with different design styles, and used creative vendors.

It was a blast!

Our couples were up for doing something different, so went for it and the reactions were awesome.

When you hear veteran vendors remark about how they’ve never seen a wedding like this before, you know you’re doing something right.

It was proof that going for it despite the fact that it’s not “normal” can be just perfect.

Bride and groom at a nighttime ceremony for a Hawaii destination wedding at Lanikuhonua by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: What a Day! Photography)

But sadly, this year also had a major failure. Not personally on our part, but with a vendor we were working with.

It was for lack of a better word, a disaster.

A true disaster.

While we were able to fix it the problem, instead of finishing the year on a high, it ended on a very low low.

It haunted me for months afterwards. And still to this day when I think about it, my heart starts pounding.

But, it was a learning experience.

Things happen that we do not have control over. And all we can do is our best to fix it and move on.

I wish it didn’t happen, but I have to say I’m a better planner for it.

2014 and 2015 – Going International

Both 2014 and 2015 were all about new adventures and forays into different countries.

We had both clients from different countries and we planned weddings in different countries.

And man was that a learning experience!

The wedding industry in every state and every city even, is a little different within the US.

But the differences increase with a different country.

Learning those differences is so important to understanding how things work and making sure you’re both effective and respectful.

And let’s not forget different cultures, styles of working, pricing and options. All of which plays into how a wedding is created.

I learned so much and it not only expanded my mind, but our capabilities.

It’s so interesting to see how others do things and how they think. Sometimes it’s great and something we want to adopt. And sometimes it’s not.

But either way, it makes us better.

And these years of international work and international clients, only pushed me further and the company further as well.

And I got even better at time differences.

2016 – A New Way

As with any business, there are always clients who you can’t help. For a wedding planner, there are more than you can count.

Over the years, I’ve had to turn away couples who just didn’t have the budget to hire not just me, but any planner.

And it always broke my heart.

Because I knew what was out there. And trying to figure out wedding planning on your own is hard and tremendously stressful.

But, in 2016, I finally created a solution.

A new way to plan your wedding was born, Passport to Joy.

Passport to Joy the online step by step wedding planning program created by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

Passport to Joy allowed you to be able to plan your wedding on your own without being on your own.

Giving couples the ability to tap into the experience and knowledge of a professional so that they didn’t have to figure everything out on their own.

Online courses are not new, but in the wedding industry they are.

I was venturing into uncharted waters.

Passport to Joy was literally something new.

But, I was so passionate about it (and I still am) because it has the capability to help so many people.

Since it’s birth, we’ve had happy graduates, we started an affiliate program (if you’re a vendor, let me know if you’re interested!), we updated the course and I’ve got so much more in store.

2017 – What’s Important

Over the years, we’ve worked with all kinds of weddings, all kinds of people and and all kinds of budgets.

But in 2017 the range of budgets increased greatly.

There are wedding planners who will only work with couples who have a certain budget.

We’ve never been that way.

And that’s because it’s all about what’s important to a couple.

If enjoying their engagement and having a good experience is important to a couple, it doesn’t matter if they’re spending 20K or 300K.

We’re here to help make the planning experience a joyful one whether that’s with our full time services or via Passport to Joy.

Bride and groom just married fist pump at their Monte Rio wedding by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Bustle and Twine)

Despite budget differences, couples all want the same thing, to create their wedding, to not be stressed out, and to actually enjoy themselves.

It’s been our pleasure to help couples of all budgets. And to hear and see their sheer happiness is why I do what I do.

Because this is a happy time and couples should be happy.

We’re all about the joy here (hence Passport to Joy) and more than ever we’re stressing that philosophy.

As we say here on the website… Be you. Be Happy. Live in the Moment. Savor the Experience. And Celebrate with Joy.

2018 – The Great, the Ok and the Ugly

Over the past decade, I’ve spoken with and worked with tons of different vendors in many different locations.

And it was always pretty clear who was a legit professional and who wasn’t (I have so many stories I can tell).

But in 2018, that gap really increased.

The wedding industry is one with a really low barrier of entry. You don’t have to go to school or have experience to say you’re a wedding planner or a DJ or a photographer.

But, here’s the problem, with the right marketing and social media you can look legit, even if you aren’t.

And of course if you’re newer, you charge less which can be really appealing for many couples.

So it can feel like a real win for a couple. Getting someone who seems good for a low price.

But, when that lack of experience comes to back to bite you, there’s nothing you can do about it.

We don’t force our couples to work with vendors we know. Sometimes they come to us with vendors already hired and we’ll work with whomever they’ve brought on board.

But, when a vendor just doesn’t know what they’re doing and the train wreck is happening before your eyes… it’s heartbreaking to watch.

On the flip side, when a true professional is a part of your wedding, it’s such a different experience. They arrive early, they have everything in place, and they go above and beyond.

It’s so easy it’s almost magical.

A smitten bride and groom at their Calistoga Ranch multi-cultural wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Emik Nikora)

More than ever before, the phrase “you get what you pay for” is so accurate.

True legitimate professionals are impressive and stand out.

They have fantastic customer service.

They actually care about the couple and it shows in the experience you have from start to finish. And they make not only the couple’s lives easier, but my own.

While there are so many vendors out there, it’s nice to know that the greats really do stand out in the sea of oks and uglys.

And they’re worth every penny.

2019 – To the Future

Which brings us to today.

To celebrating 10 years of fun and meaningful weddings and pushing the boundaries of design and planning.

2019 was all about new places, new venues, new ideas and I’m excited for that to continue into 2020 and a new decade.

Destination weddings are still non-traditional. They’re still not the choice most couples make.

But, they are not going away any time soon.

More than ever, weddings are all about the guest experience.

Couples care about their loved ones. And they want to make sure they’re creating a fun experience for everyone.

They want to spend time together and create memories together. And destination weddings lends itself so well to that.

Newlyweds and guests dancing at destination wedding reception in Hawaii by destination wedding planner of Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: What a Day! Photography)

With the new year we welcome new couples to Mango Muse Events and Passport to Joy and I can’t wait for all the new memories.

So, here’s to the end of a decade and the excitement of a new one!

And for all you newly engaged couples, congrats! Enjoy this time together and we’re here for you when you’re ready to start planning.

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