Unconventional Internships: Wharton junior says 'yes' to wedding planning

Melanie Smith is interning for Lisa Kenward Events and Plum Productions

· June 2, 2014, 9:11 pm   ·  Updated June 4, 2014, 10:51 pm

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Many girls dream about their own wedding, but very few dream of all the different weddings they can plan for others.

But that’s exactly what rising Wharton junior Melanie Smith is doing this summer as an intern at Lisa Kenward Events, a wedding planning business, and Plum Productions, a corporate events planning company for Southern Living Magazine.

Like most Penn students, she’s using her summer to explore potential career options. Claiming that she doesn’t fit into the “cookie-cutter Wharton mold,” Smith said that she is excited to test the waters of event planning.

“I don’t want to do finance, and I don’t want to do all the On Campus Recruiting for consulting jobs, and I know I want to do something different, but it’s not something that I’ve had the opportunity or capability to explore at Wharton or Penn,” Smith said. “So coming here, I get to see this industry that is kind of looked down upon and often not available.”

As Lisa Kenward’s right-hand woman, Smith described her job as that of a “yes person.”

“Whatever she needs from me, I say yes to,” Smith said. “She’s the ‘yes person’ to the bride, and I’m the ‘yes person’ to her.”

During the weddings, Smith has filled a variety of roles. At one slightly short-staffed nuptial, she helped tend the bar, assisted the bridal party and organized the procession.

“I got the bridesmaids alcohol a lot because they kept wanting something to drink,” she laughed.

With Plum Productions, her major project this summer is helping to market Southern Living Magazine’s first annual Bottles & Barrels event in Beaufort, South Carolina. Smith said that the event will offer an Iron Chef type competition, as well as a variety of wine, beer and food.

As an event planner, Smith’s favorite aspect is observing the happiness that permeates throughout a wedding scene.

“Everybody’s so happy. I get to talk and learn a lot about the bride and groom, make sure the family’s comfortable and just make things run a little more smoothly,” Smith said. “Just trying to make the bride not stress at all is nice, because I definitely want someone to do that for me when I get married.”

While many of her peers may enjoy corporate scenery and office windows, Smith has an entirely different vantage point.

“It’s so beautiful. Love is so beautiful. I love seeing the groom’s face when he sees the bride for the first time.”

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