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The MBA Bride | November 20, 2017

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Learn from a real MBA bride: An interview with Tiffany Israel

Tiffany used her business school skills from Boston University’s part-time evening program along with her work experiences as a Marketing Manager to assist in her wedding planning. Among it all, Tiffany made a job change soon after she was engaged and worked in California for nine months. Tiffany married her one and only, Gregory Israel, on 10-16-11 just outside of Boston, MA. As she prepares for a honeymoon, Tiffany remembers how her business-school lessons improved bridal planning. Read on to learn her insight.  
Tell us a little about your wedding.
One word to describe our wedding: perfect!
Greg and I are both transplants to New England so this was a destination wedding for everyone else but us. Having everyone travel in to see our home and new hometown was exciting but I also wanted to make sure everyone had a great time. With our wedding being on a Sunday, this allowed folks to come in early, do some sightseeing, get to know each other and enjoy their weekend. But it also meant some more planning on our part.
We had a casual hang out at our home in Charlestown on Friday night. Saturday we chartered two duck boat tours for our bridal party, family and friends and then moved on to the “rehearsal dinner” at a local brewery. What a great day! The best part is that people got to meet and greet before the wedding so the wedding was more enjoyable for all.
The ceremony and wedding were held on an apple orchard about 20 miles north of Boston. We had a garden ceremony that was a mix of Jewish and Christian traditions that we wrote. The reception was in an old historic barn that had twinkle lights everywhere and had so much character. The weather was just wonderful so everyone could experience a great Northeastern Fall day. We were married surrounded by family and friends and it was just perfect.

What was your most distinctive wedding planning memory?

Checklists, schedules and reflection.
I live by my checklists in my everyday life so wedding planning was no different. I had my folders, my lists and really enjoyed crossing things off those lists. With each swipe of the pen, stress decreased and the wedding came together to be the wonderful day it was. Atul Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto really helps to put into perspective the effectiveness of using checklists. His checklists were saving lives, mine was reducing stress. You say potato, I say po-tot-o.
When I’m was part of a wedding, I always appreciated knowing where I should be and when so that the bride and groom can focus on their family and their day. So to keep my sanity with 140 guests and everyone from out of town not knowing the Boston area, I created schedules for the groups of people: family, guests, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and one particular schedule for my Mom. This really helped set expectations and let everyone know where they needed to be and when. While it may lean towards “controlling”, it really helped alleviate redundancy of questions and allowed me to enjoy my guests.
Marriage is no small deal. I hold the importance and sanctity of what a marriage represents and reflection and appreciation of the meaning of marriage was important to me during this process. I read Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (who wrote Eat, Pray, Love) which approached marriage through historical relevance, social importance and humor causing the need to pause and understand one’s own view towards marriage. It was an unorthodox love story which every practical, hard working girl can appreciate.

Tell us about your MBA coursework so far.

I am chartered to graduate in Spring of 2013 with my MBA in Nonprofit & Public Management. I have always gravitated towards nonprofit work and have felt drawn to working in the sector ever since college. I am looking to use my time doing my MBA part time to learn more about the nonprofit sector and gain much needed experience so that I can make the switch in the near future from the private sector.

Which business school class was most applicable for wedding planning? Why?

I wouldn’t say that one class was more applicable than another since they all help you manage every aspect of a wedding. However, the latest class that I have taken while finalizing the wedding was in Strategic Fundraising. This was my first non-profit class in my curriculum and I LOVED it. One main lesson in fundraising is plan, plan, plan, plan and then plan some more. The most successful fundraisers focus the majority of their time on planning and then executing falls into place. I would say that I adopted and loved that notion as it lead to a stress-free and ideal wedding weekend for us.

What skill learned in business school was most helpful in planning your wedding? How did you use it?

I have found that I cherry pick various skills from many classes. An overarching skills that I have really maximized during school has been time management and organization. These are absolutely key while trying to balance a full-time job, part-time MBA, wedding planning, a social life and working out.
I believe another important business tool is planning for the future. I believe that Greg and I always maintained that the important part of this whole shindig was to enjoy ourselves, our family and friends and to celebrate our future life together. Because the day after the cake has been cut and all the bobby pins come out, it is you and your spouse and life. No matter how the day went, it only mattered that we both showed up to that ceremony and said our “I Do’s”.
What would you suggest to other business-savvy brides planning their wedding?
Paint your wedding weekend how you want it to be. And then work backwards from there to figure out what you need to do to get there (ie: plan, plan, plan and then plan some more).
I created a preliminary schedule for what I thought the weekend would look like. Filling in details like who, what, where and when helped to fill in the shell of a schedule. Then once we had a weekend that we responded “this is awesome!” to, it was creating the lists of what needed to get done in order to make that vision a reality. Categorizing the to-do’s by events was helpful – Saturday events, Rehearsal Dinner, Getting Ready, Ceremony and Reception.
Doing all of these things beforehand helped me to truly appreciate my wedding weekend. I was able to revel in the events and not worry about the details because everything had been taken care of!
To learn more about Tiffany, visit her LinkedIn page.

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