Renee Strange-Farnham started Strange Events in 2015 and organized five weddings that first year.

Renee Strange-Farnham Photo courtesy Jen Lamoreau- Studio 17

In 2019, the company booked 65 events and she’s now in full swing for 2020.

We talk trends, positive attitudes and planning an island wedding for Auburn, Maine.

Yup, you read that right.

Name: Renee Strange-Farnham

Age: 34

Lives: Mechanic Falls

How did you get your event planning start? I first realized that I truly enjoyed planning events and creating the perfect day for someone in 2008, when I worked on Offutt Air Force Base (in Nebraska) under the catering manager. I quickly learned her tricks and became the assistant catering/bar manager for the facility. I have taken all of those tricks and things I have learned along the way back to my home state of Maine.

What do you enjoy about wedding planning in particular? Hands-down the excitement. There is this positive energy in the air that you can literally feel! At the end of the day when the couple (or the parents) hug me and say, “We couldn’t have done this without you.” That is why I do what I do, so they are able to relax, laugh, dance and enjoy this huge day with everyone they love.

What was your own wedding day like? Amazing. Thanks to my amazing family and bridal party! We quite literally had a barn-raising at one point in the preparation of the day. Everyone chipped in the day before (boys and girls alike) setting up tables and decorations, just making our dream day perfect. We had an amazing ceremony in fields that overlooked beautiful New Hampshire mountains and an amazing reception inside a very old barn (not an actual venue). It was one of the best nights of my life and I would love to do it all over again! P.S. Even I had a day-of coordinator!

A detail that can make or break an event that people might overlook? To be honest, there are not many details that can break an event. If you don’t remember something, we cut it out of the timeline. If you don’t have enough plates for cocktail hour AND dessert (which happens often), I send a staff member to the store and we buy paper, or we roll up our sleeves and wash them.

One thing I always remind couples when we meet: “No one else knows the details of your day, or in what order things are supposed to happen. So between us, we can go with the flow and let the night happen. If we need to switch a few things around, or you decide you don’t want to do the cake cutting, guess what? You don’t have to! It is 100% your day and your guests just want to have fun and be part of it! No one knows that you forgot the cake server!”

Most unusual request you’ve pulled off: Shuttling boats to an island for only the ceremony! This couple wanted to get married off an island in Auburn, Maine on the Androscoggin River. There were roughly 140 guests that needed to park their cars, walk down a steep embankment, load onto boats and get to this island (which had no dock). Between loads of friends and four boats, we made it happen! I was at the top of the hill ushering people down to the boat launches, staying in contact with all the boat captains (my husband one of them) via walkie-talkie. We did it and successfully, making the last trip with me, the bride and her bridesmaids. What an amazing day!

Any requests that you’ve had to redirect? I can’t think of anything specific, but I know I do a lot of negotiating. Between couples and between groomsmen (often when they have had a couple beverages). Things like, “Let me hold your sunglasses, beer and hat. You can have them back after the ceremony, I promise!” Or talking people down from a silly idea that I know the bride will not be happy about! I seem to be good at negotiating so everyone is happy with the outcome!

At what point in the night do you get to take a breath and say, “Yes! Another awesome wedding in the books”? Once they get down the aisle! There is so much chaos right before this: Getting the groom and groomsmen down to greet guests, lining up the bridal party, finding Dad to walk the bride down the aisle and more. Once they get down the aisle, the rest of the day is pretty planned out (thankful for our timeline creating!). The rest of the night is what it is, and things will fall where they fall. I am here to facilitate them, solve any issues, but mostly things just happen after that! Especially with the awesome group of wedding vendors we have in Maine, I rarely have to be concerned they aren’t doing their part, because we all rock at our specialties!

As you’re busy planning now for 2020, seeing any trends among your couples? Yes! For 2020, so far we are under contract for coordinating 17 weddings, bar tending 20 events and event staffing 12 events. (We don’t only do weddings. We also do lobster bakes, family reunions, business functions). Many more inquiries out there and emails/phone calls always happening!

Barns are still trending and over the last few years so have camps! Getting kids camps in the off season where everyone can stay on site is a big hit in Maine! I look forward to how the trends change and grow as the years come! I hope that Maine continues to be a destination wedding location and we keep getting to do these fun events for many years!

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