Good morning and Happy New Year! This morning we're chatting with Meg Gutowski, the Meeting and Event Manager at Kirkbride Hall. Kirkbride Hall is part of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, the former State Hospital. This landmark of historic Northern Michigan is truly one of a kind!
Meg Gutowski is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a BA in Hospitality and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Event Planning. She has over ten years of professional experience in the service industry. Meg prides herself in delivering exceptional and personalized customer service.
In 2013, Meg was inducted into Michigan Meetings + Events Magazine’s Hall of Fame as Up-and-Coming Special Events Planner.
As Meeting and Event Manager, Meg specializes in booking all events at Kirkbride Hall and many events at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. In addition to this, Meg oversees all marketing of Kirkbride Hall. Meg is also involved in several local activities and groups including Traverse City Young Professionals, Grand Traverse Area Hospitality Association, Co-Chairing the Silent Auction for the Remembrance Run benefiting the Local Women’s Cancer Fund for two years, acting as Volunteer Manager for the Opening Night Party for the Traverse City Film Festival in 2014, and more.
Married in 2013 and expecting their first baby due December 31st, Meg and her husband Phil, a Wisconsin native, enjoy all that the stunning region has to offer. Spending time at home with their three dogs Winston, Stella and Henry watching Northern Michigan sunsets on their back deck overlooking the cherry orchard is a favorite part of their day.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
It all started during my internships at both A-Ga-Ming and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. From there I received my first job at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and seemed to always be working with weddings in one way or another – and now here I am!
What is your favorite part of a wedding?
I would say the glow of the bride and groom at the end of the night. There are quiet moments of immense gratitude and satisfaction when the day is drawing to a close – that is a very special time.
What are some of your favorite trends from this wedding season?
Personalization and away with the traditional. I had a bride and groom use vintage cameras as their centerpieces and table assignments as both were photographers/videographers. I LOVE when couples break away from what they think they should do and make the wedding very personal.
What advice do you have for couples about choosing a venue?
Pick the venue that speaks to you as a couple and just feels right. I tell this to all my couples. It has to feel like your venue- your space. I have actually had a few moments where the bride has cried in complete awe and satisfaction when looking around the space– those raw emotions speak volumes. I can’t help but to get emotional with them!
How far in advance should a couple look into booking your services?
Generally speaking, 6 months to a year in advance. If a specific date is an absolute must – the sooner the better. We have one venue and do not book multiple events in the space so once the date is booked, it's booked.
What advice do you have for couples about the planning process?
Take it one thing at a time and remember what you are doing all of this for. It is easy to get lost in the emotions but if you take it one item/vendor/opinion at a time and remember why you have chosen to take this amazing journey together – it will all be so much more than you could have ever imagined.
What do you love about living and working in Northern Michigan?
We live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the globe. The seasonality and amount of activities to do in the area is endless. What is not to love?! I love destination weddings and helping brides and grooms with plans for their out of town guests – it is one of my passions sharing our great area with others. I could go on and on! It’s a true gem that I DO NOT take for granted.