While planning a wedding at her client’s home in Maine
over the summer, Eliza Brown Cowan ’03 found time to visit
the mother of one of her previous clients who lived nearby.
I didn’t tell her I was coming, so when someone answered
the door and she saw me from the top of the stairs, she
ran down with tears in her eyes,” Brown says. “That’s what I
love about what I do. I create a really personal experience
and develop close relationships with clients. These people
become important and special to me.”
Cowan’s firm, WedBoston, is in its ninth season of weddings,
but she’s been planning events since her St. Lawrence days,
working on Reunion activities with the alumni office and
events for her sorority, Tri-Delta. It was only a few years after
college that she and a friend decided to start a wedding
planning company.
In Boston, there were two types of groups in the wedding
industry – large companies that planned weddings, and cor-
porate event planners who loved reliving them,” she says.
We wanted to be different. For large companies, weddings
are just a small piece of what they do. Often the money be-
ing spent on a wedding can’t compete with big corporate
budgets, so wedding clients go on the back burner. Our
approach was to do just weddings, no distractions. We were
23
and 24 years old and single. We just enjoyed the business
of planning weddings.”
Where WedBoston sets itself apart is in its specialty, at-home
weddings. “Getting married at home is a very personal
experience,” Cowan says. “My job is to get to know the
families and find ways to highlight what makes this space
so special to them. There’s nothing like seeing the looks on
the families’ faces when we’re able to showcase their home
with a wedding.”
The first two years brought success, but by the third season,
they weren’t getting much business. Instead of throwing in
the towel, Cowan spent the next two years working full-time
during the day and keeping WedBoston alive at night and
on the weekends.
I did what I had to do to keep it afloat,” she says. “It was
challenging, sad and emotional. But I was 100 percent com-
mitted to making the business work. I made every sacrifice
I could. That really made the difference and strengthened
the business in a lot of ways.”
Today, she choreographs seven to 10
weddings a year,
anywhere from Connecticut to
Maine. She doesn’t advertise. Her business comes almost
all via referral, with the exception of a couple of cold calls
each year. She has an assistant who helps her on the day of
an event, and she hires others as needed. Other than the
weddings themselves, she does this all from home, often
surrounded by toddler Caroline and baby William.
There are plenty of crazy days, but it’s all about finding a
balance,” Cowan says. “It’s an adventure but it works for
me since my clients require me to travel to them, so I don’t
need an office. My family life is very important to me, and
being able to work from home allows me to have the bal-
ance I need to enjoy it all.”
24
FALL 2013 | ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE
Leap of Faith:'
Eliza Brown Cowan ’03
WedBoston,
Whit Haynes '10
Are you a Laurentian entrepreneur with a great story,
or do you know one?
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