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9:45 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Wedding planner finds the job challenging, but satisfying

Tahna Falk, sitting, and her crew, Adrienne Burke, Alexes Niekamp, and Davomana Dalton, of Starstruck Event Planning. (Courtesy)

Tahna Falk, sitting, and her crew, Adrienne Burke, Alexes Niekamp, and Davomana Dalton, of Starstruck Event Planning. (Courtesy)

Tahna Falk says she’s nothing like the clichéd wedding planners seen on TV and in films, frantically running around, trying to make the ceremony perfect.

She doesn’t own a headset.

And she doesn’t bark orders, either.

She does use a clipboard, but that’s only because she has a “ton of details to keep track of,” she said.

“I have a calm demeanor,” she continued, “and I keep brides and mothers and mothers-in-law calm.”

Falk bought StarStruck, her Prescott-based wedding and event-planning business, from another owner in 2014.

She might not seem like the type to want to be a wedding planner, especially given her background: she was in real estate until the market crash, and then she went to work for a real estate attorney.

Eight years later, she was feeling “burned out” and in need of a change, Falk said, so, without a real plan, she quit.

“Within a week of leaving the law firm, I ran into the girl who used to own StarStruck, and asked her if she needed an assistant,” but the woman said she was preparing to sell the business.

Six weeks later, Falk owned StarStruck, a major career change. “It’s just a very different environment from a law firm,” she said.

Falk now has two other coordinators and “a handful of other support assistants.”

In four years, she says “Bridezillas” like the ones seen on TV just haven’t come her way.

Much more common are the fun events. “I had one this past year in May,” she said. “It was an awesome collaboration ... it was smaller and more intimate.”

It’s not an easy job. “You have to be organized, you have to be detail oriented, and then, I feel like a wedding planner (should have) a personal relationship with their bride,” she said, noting that it’s important to learn family dynamics.

“You have to be flexible. You have to be. You may have a timeline and all the details worked out, but every single wedding, there’s issues that come up. You have to adjust — I enjoy that,” she said.

Learning about clients’ traditions that are new to her, while challenging, is part of the fun.

The adrenaline rush of getting the ceremony and reception right invariably lead to a crash the following day, which Falk called a “wedding hangover,” although alcohol isn’t involved.

Many of her clients have been families whose daughters were the second in the family to be married, because, while the parents might have wanted to try doing it themselves the first time, the second, they’re ready to hand the job over to Falk.

Falk, 40, is married and has a daughter who is nearly 2 years old.

“That comes with its own challenges,” she said. “My family lives here in town and my husband’s family lives here in town, so they watch my daughter each a couple of times a week. I feel very blessed to have those resources; she doesn’t go to day care.”

She turned to her staff when she got married and needed a wedding planner.

“It was the best feeling. I didn’t have to look over anything they did. It was totally worth it,” she said.