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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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