I’m Michelle – the only LOLA currently without a name twin because I’m 100% unique (so I tell myself). I’ve been a devoted member of the LOLA team since 2014 and have hundreds of events under my belt – which seems to keep getting tighter, and there’s no one to blame for that but wedding cake (I prefer chocolate – thanks for asking). I know a lot of people fall into this job, but for me, it was always the end goal.
I grew up in a household that was built around entertaining – candles were always lit for company to come over during the week, and St. Patrick’s Day was no joke. I knew the only true path to happiness for me would be to turn entertaining into a career, so I started my degree in Hospitality at Purdue University – Boiler Up! – and never looked back.
Honesty is the best policy and my number one motto. If we’re working together, you’ll never question my opinion on a matter, and I will always manage your expectations to make sure there are no surprises. I promise to make the planning process manageable and fun, no matter how much or how little we have to do in whatever amount of time you give me. I will never overwhelm you with choices, and promise to give you my truthful suggestions to help you make the right decisions for your day!
I love to be creative, and the more inspiration you give me, the more I can help you produce a day that is absolutely unique to you as a couple. I personally hate to mimic events that have already happened, and instead, I prefer to design an atmosphere that is based on something special to you – a favorite painting, grandma’s china pattern, the way your living room is designed, or even inspiration you may have found on travels you’ve taken together. I even promise to keep you and your style in mind while I’m on my travels, because I’m currently in the process of exploring the world. Don’t be surprised if at our design meetings I throw out an idea or two that may be a bit out there – you’re totally welcome to say no, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep putting them out there until something different sticks. I also promise to beg you to use color and be different every second I can!
On the day of your wedding, I promise to be as involved or as uninvolved as I need to be at any which moment of the day. Don’t be shocked if you hear me say “Let me do the worrying – you just have a glass of champagne!” because by this point, you’ve trusted me to put together a solid team of vendors that I have total confidence in to execute the day to the absolute fullest. That leads to a successful wedding day, allowing me to stay mellow, let the team do their thing, and keep you cool and collected. You get to worry about spending time with your nearest and dearest, and leave the wrangling of the masses to me. I even promise to threaten your wedding party with a lack of alcohol until they do what I need them to – which is a tactic that has yet to fail me thus far! And, if and when all the formalities are done, the dancing has subsided, and “Closing Time” by Semisonic has sounded at the end of your after party, you want to send me your most true selfie of you both eating the Shake Shack I left for you next to your hotel bed, I wouldn’t be opposed…
So, if you’re still reading this and you want to know a little more about me that’s not necessarily wedding related, you’ve skimmed to the right paragraph. I’ll be honest – the majority of my weekends are spent turning clients and colleagues into friends, but on the rare occasion I don’t have to send someone down an aisle, you can either find me perusing the restaurant scene, whether that be in Chicago, or another city that may or may not already be on my radar or stamped in my passport, or executing a fun DIY project at my home on the northwest side of Chicago. I’m a sucker for a good tartare, an extra dirty martini, and mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I am actually convinced my 5-year-old self hates me for not having a tub of ice cream in my freezer at all times. I pretend that I like to work out, but it’s really just to counteract all of the wedding cake, I can tell a mean dad joke, I 100% believe that aliens exist whether it be in human form or other, I’m desperately awaiting a cover of “Ignition (Remix)” so I can go back to not feeling guilty about the love I have for that song, and I’m the President of a foundation – Jeanne’s Journey for Hope – which my big, Irish family has created in honor of my mother. It’s a way for me to take my love for events and put it towards my other passion of helping families who have been so deeply affected by cancer, like my own. And, to be honest, it’s another excuse for our family to throw a big, annual party where we can all be together and remember the coolest woman I have ever known and the person who first planted the words “wedding planner” into my head.
Finally, for those who are as unenthused about reading as I am – The SparkNotes: If you think you’re looking for a planner who will always tell you the truth, who will dare you to be different when it comes design, who isn’t afraid to boss your rowdy wedding party around to get the job done, who promises to tell a few dad jokes per meeting, and who will gladly swap restaurant, travel, and home improvement recommendations with you, then let’s make it happen – talk soon!
Working with Lola Productions was arguably as good of a decision as saying yes to my husband was in the first place. Michelle Vining, specifically, is an actual superhuman who was born to be a wedding planner.
From the very beginning she instilled a confidence in us that our wedding day would in fact be “the best day ever” despite the uncertainties that come with planning a pandemic era wedding. She is insanely organized, budget conscious, efficient, and has an incredible ability to read minds. Without being able to clearly articulate the thoughts in my head, she was somehow able to bring my wildest wedding dreams to life in a way I would have never imagined possible. I still cannot believe the wedding we had came alive from the vague, confused thoughts in my head. Michelle = magician.
Throughout the process she was unbiased but also direct when we needed her to be to help keep us on track. She provided a thorough list of vendors and details for each decision, big or small. The recommendations she makes come from hours of hard work and years of experience in the field, which made it easy to make confident decisions. Considering my mother and I, admittedly, can be quite indecisive, that was another all-star ability of hers. There was never a doubt in my mind that any vendor choice we made would be the wrong one because if Michelle didn’t have experience first-hand, one of the other planners at Lola did. Their experience and knowledge as a whole is worth every penny.
For anyone thinking you may not need a wedding planner, do yourself a favor – trust the experts. And I promise you this, these ladies are EXPERTS. Not only is she a master planner, she is a friend. Michelle is a special person who made planning a wedding so.much.fun. She makes it her job to take on any stress she can so you can worry less. Looking back, I am so thankful that not only was our wedding day the best, but the whole year leading up to it, too. Thanks to her, we were really able to ENJOY PLANNING A WEDDING. No one ever told me it is fun to plan a wedding. In fact most people joke about it being the opposite. I feel sorry for most people because IT CAN BE FUN if you work with Michelle. Thank you so much Michelle and Lola Productions for making our wedding and the entire planning process memories we will cherish for a lifetime.