By: Holly Kelsey-Henry
When Northland Special Events owner and Principal Event Specialist, Mariah McKechnie unwittingly launched her business in 2010 from the back of a mini-van, she had no idea how hugely successful it would become.
“All I knew was there was a niche for this, and I also realized I loved doing it,” she says.
Having been a wedding coordinator in Washington, D.C., she was no stranger to the overwhelming details involved in staging big events, but when she and her mom, Sharron pulled together the finishing touches for sister Kaitlyn’s wedding six years ago from the back of that van, the passion for the business stuck.
Today she has hundreds of successful weddings and events under her belt, and Northland Special Events has established itself as the region’s premiere vendor for event planning, design, and floral and decor services. This year alone, Northland Special Events will coordinate and oversee more than 150 events, employing between 40 and 50 staff members in the summer, and engaging dozens of local vendors.
“At the height of the summer we will coordinate and oversee as many as nine total-package weddings in a single weekend,” Mariah notes.
And naturally, such ceremonious, high-stress celebrations aren’t without their challenges. Among her most memorable save-the-day moments are flaming centerpieces and ring bearer pillows, bridesmaid conflicts, and medical emergencies.
Through it all, this masterful entrepreneur remains
“It is stressful,” she admits. “But we have this incredible team of people, each with their own area of expertise and a willingness to jump in anywhere at the same time. We lean on each other, we have a lot of fun doing this, we laugh together and we cry. At the end of the day, our clients get to enjoy a wonderful, stress-free event.”
Northland Special Events provides expert services for weddings, business events, non-profit fundraising events and special celebrations of all varieties. Its offerings include event planning, decor, linen rental, lighting, ceiling installation, and Fleurtation, the floral design segment of the business.
“We offer the most seasonally available and affordable blooms for every client,” Mariah explains. “We hand choose the flowers to ensure our designs will color coordinate perfectly and provide the wow factor our clients love about our work.”
In Mariah’s experience, the key to a flawless, personalized wedding or special event lies in hiring true professionals and trusting them to do what they love. “Our business is built on our reputation and word of mouth,” she says.“Our work speaks for itself. As a team we go for
nothing less than a five-star review. We are always evaluating.”
And at the heart of every event Mariah and her team orchestrate, is their own heart. Along with weddings, Northland Special Events promotes the causes of non-profits through its Non-Profit Partnership Program, using its talents, resources and expertise to inspire donors to give more through creating a memorable and unique event experience.
“We use innovative designs and creative solutions to enhance fundraising events with minimal out-of-pocket costs for the organization,” Mariah explains.
For every dollar an organization allocates towards Northland Special Events’ services, the business matches it with a donation of goods and services.
“This offering allows a significant increase in options available to enhance the event,” she says“Together we partner to raise funds for critical organizations in our community and that feels good.”
Visit the Northland Special Events team at their showroom and floral studio, The Vault, located at 314 W. Superior St., Suite. 50, in the historic Torrey Building in Duluth. For more information, visit
northlandspecialevents.com or call (218) 499-9449.