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  • Writer's pictureDana Hookanson, Owner | Lead Event Planner

Why I became a wedding planner

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Hi there!

My name is Dana Marie and I am the owner of Dana Marie Weddings & Events based here in Newport, Rhode Island.

Weddings have always been a passion of mine, and Dana Marie Weddings is a dream come true for me! 

I currently reside in Middletown, RI with my fabulous fiancé, Tyler, our 3 month old daughter Charlotte Mae, Tyler’s nine year old son, Liam, (pictured above) and our three wild dogs - Emmitt, Sasha, & Wylie (pictured below).

I am twenty-three years young and started Dana Marie Weddings in February of 2020 - before the pandemic, and before the hospitality industry ultimately changed indefinitely for this 2020 season. 

I moved from Connecticut to Rhode Island in the Fall of 2015 to pursue my undergraduate degree in Event Management from Johnson & Wales University. I knew since my early years in high school that it was a dream of mine to not only end up in the Ocean State, but to do something in the hospitality industry. I loved organizing, planning, hosting parties, decorating, and bringing people together over good food & drinks!

Stumbling upon Johnson & Wales Event Management program I knew it was the path for me - Rhode Island and events. Throughout my time completing my undergraduate degree, I knew I needed to work and wanted to get a better feel for what direction I might go in once I completed my degree. I worked at various venues - my first job in the wedding industry was as a server at OceanCliff Hotel & Resort in Newport. I worked my way up from a server, to a banquet captain, and eventually the ceremony coordinator and assistant banquet manager at another of the company's properties in Little Compton, RI. From there I worked for some more various Newport wedding venues, for some of the most luxurious Newport wedding planners, a locally based catering company as the Director of Catering, and dabbled in some sales as well. Let’s just say, I fell in love with the wedding industry pretty fast, and never looked back. 

So why a wedding planner? Weddings have always been a passion of mine. After working Summer seasons in this beautiful city by the sea, working over 300 weddings in just under four months. I fell in love with the Newport weddings scene. Seeing a couple’s vision of their big day, come to life.

Seeing the smiles on their faces. The happiness. And overall love for one another. It just gets me everytime. As a wedding planner, you’re not just planning a wedding - you’re helping the bride & groom prepare for one of the most special, happiest days of their lives. You’re creating an experience for all. 

In February of 2020, I was pregnant. Out of work due to the pandemic. And was convinced by my lovely fiance THIS was the moment to “chase my dream” as they say. I slowly started to plan all the components. And decided, yup. This is the time. So I took a leap of faith. 

Nothing truly compares to seeing the smile on your bride & grooms face after they just said “I do” and knowing you helped make this day be everything they wanted and more. What better feeling is there than that?!


Dana Marie 


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1 Comment

Nov 03, 2020

Very excited for you and your family that you have taken this "leap of faith." You have the skills, the saavy and the special sensibility that will all combine for a successful company! 2021 is going to be a "banner year" for Dana Marie Weddings & Events.

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