It’s good ol’ #WeddingWednesday here at Catalyst Ranch, which means we’ve got weddings on the mind. Actually, we have weddings on our minds a lot (not just on Wednesdays) as we help people plan for their perfect day at the Ranch. One of the things we love about hosting weddings is that we get the chance to work with some absolutely amazing partners such as Carlene Smith, owner of Naturally Yours Events. For the inaugural post of our new #WeddingWednesday blog series, we sat down with Carlene to chat about her role as an event planner and her favorite parts of the job!

carleneHi Carlene! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Why did you become an event planner?

I have always been obsessed with details — whether planning birthday parties at 10 years old, organizing huge trips to midnight showings of super geeky movies, or helping family and friends plan their most important life moments— and I was quickly known as “the planner” among those around me. It wasn’t until after earning a degree in advertising, working for a prestigious wedding photographer, and moving to Chicago that I had that “ah ha” moment: I love to plan events and I rock at it! Pairing my personal and professional commitment to the environment with a passion for details, Naturally Yours Events came into fruition. Now my team and I work with some truly amazing vendors to create unique and stress-free events that are absolutely fun!

What do you do as a planner, how are you instrumental in wedding plans?

My team and I work closely with our clients to ensure their personality and style shine through in every aspect of their event. We love non-traditional events and pride ourselves on pairing couples with local vendors that fit their budget and vision. This removes a lot of the guesswork, leaving a more enjoyable and seamless event-planning process so you can focus on having a great time. Whether you are looking for fresh ideas, full planning, day-of coordination or anything in between– we can help.

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How does Naturally Yours Events differ from other Chicago wedding planners?

We are anything but cookie-cutter planners and think outside the box to create unique and memorable events. We specialize in planning eco-friendly events and can help couples create their special day with less waste and a smaller carbon footprint. This is more than choosing like-minded vendors but also about the way you think about planning. It can be anything from choosing reusable soy-based candles to planning escort cards that double as favors to using vintage pieces for decor. We have all the greener tips.

What is your favorite moment of a wedding?

I love when it is time to tell the bride to start that walk down the aisle to meet their future husband/wife. I cry every time!

Have a story where you saved the day from disaster?

I once had a day-of client who rented linens from a rental company and picked them up the day before the wedding. When I arrived on the big day to setup the reception space I quickly realized the couple had not picked up all the linens as half of them were missing. I made several calls to the rental company (who were not answering their phones) before I was able to arrange to get more linens. I had 15 minutes to set all the tables and place centerpieces before guests arrived for cocktail hour. It was intense!


Carlene Smith, has been involved in the wedding industry for over five years, and has always loved the details and art of planning. Her passion for details landed her a job at a prestigious wedding photography studio in Michigan. Carlene’s role as the studio’s day-of coordinator, bride de-stressor, and event assistant extraordinaire introduced her to another love: weddings! After earning her degree in advertising, assisting companies in implementing green policies, and moving to Chicago, Carlene combined her passions and formed Naturally Yours Events.