Iowa Alumni Magazine | August 2007 | People

Wedded Bliss: Lori Strasburger

By Kelly Stavnes
After more than 15 years of planning weddings, Lori Strasburger has seen several changes. Most notably, weddings cost more, couples wait until they're older to get married, bridesmaids' dresses are no longer hideous, and she's now seeing the emergence of "groomzillas."

Lori Strasburger

At her own wedding, Lori Strasburger would have liked someone at her side to prevent a photographer from stepping on her cathedral-length veil as she walked down the aisle.

Now, she helps modern brides avoid such matrimonial mishaps. Strasburger, 67BA, of Marion, is a professional wedding planner who owns Affairs of the Heart Bridal Consultants, a company that's saved families stress, time, and money since 1999. She plans up to six weddings a year, arranging every last detail from the decorations to the catering, from the DJ to the dinnerware. In addition to booking venues and vendors, she makes sure ring bearers -- and brides -- don't have meltdowns, that the flowers arrive on time, and, most importantly, that budgets don't spiral out of control.

With a $20,000 price tag on the average Iowa wedding and pressure to create amazing memories, Strasburger confronts a fair amount of stress.

"You have to have Teflon coating and a good sense of humor," Strasburger says of her job, a role that combines the patience of a kindergarten teacher with the preparedness of a Girl Scout. "Let's just say that bribery is your best friend when it comes to children and weddings."

Her record speaks for itself. She says she's never had a disaster she couldn't handle (and as far as her clients know, the day went perfectly). One of her proudest achievements was a "spectacular extravaganza" in Cedar Rapids, where her reception hall decor made the bride and groom feel as if they'd been transported to the swankiest hotel in New York City.

Although she didn't officially launch her company until 1999, Strasburger made her first foray into the business more than 15 years ago when she helped a niece plan her wedding. While most of her weddings have taken place in Iowa, she's also arranged events in Illinois, Washington, DC, Texas, and California. She feels honored to share such a special time with the people she serves, and she takes great joy in helping them relax and enjoy the festivities.

"At the end of the day, every family I've worked with says, 'I don't know how we could have done this without you; this has been the most perfect day of our lives,'" Strasburger says. "That's what I love about the job."