Sterling Imageworks

Melissa launched Weddings by Melissa E after helping her three daughters say I do.

Melissa Etheridge got quite the initiation into the wedding world. Her three daughters were married in back-to-back weddings over the course of three short years. In an effort to save money, Melissa planned them all herself, but didn’t realize how much she would miss on the actual day while she was wrapped up in the planning details. Something else that surprised her was that it’s not just the bride that has visions for her big day—the groom does, too!

After her experience planning her daughters’ weddings, Melissa was approached by a photographer friend whose daughter was also getting married. Melissa was hesitant at first, explaining to her friend that there’s a big difference between planning your daughter’s wedding and someone else’s. “Her words to me were, ‘Then plan it like she's your daughter,’” Melissa says. “So, I did. From that moment on, it’s how I treat each bride.”

Now in the wedding business for five years, her company Weddings by Melissa E is committed to being there for her brides every step of the way. Need your bridal bouquet picked up ahead of your portraits? No problem. Not enough time to address all your invitation envelopes? She’s got you covered. Your bridesmaid’s zipper broke on the day of? That’s OK; Melissa always brings a just-in-case needle and thread to weddings. After all, peace of mind is one of the biggest benefits to hiring a planner.

“My favorite part of every wedding day is when the final napkin is folded and all the florals are in place, and you step back and the bride and her family come in to take sneak peek before the festivities begin—and she looks at me and says this is beyond my expectations!” Melissa says. And “when I get to witness the last moments with the bride and her dad right before he walks her down the aisle.”

Fill in the ( blank )

My favorite season for weddings is: Fall

My must-have items for the day of a wedding are: Zip ties, needle and thread, duct tape (they will fix anything)

My favorite wedding color palette right now is: White, gold and dusty blue

My favorite post-reception send-off includes: Dried flower petals (all colors)

My favorite flavor of wedding cake is: Cinnamon roll

The best reception food I’ve ever had was: Chicken cordon bleu from Vibrant Occasions Catering

One of my favorite venues in Arkansas is: RidgeRunner Blackberry Farm in the city of Floral

Sterling Imageworks


The company: Weddings by Melissa E
Based in: Cave City
Mission statement: "To design and implement the bride and groom’s vision beyond their expectations."
What they offer: Full-service planning; month-of planning; and day-of wedding planning

No matter your budget, there’s a planner out there who is ready to make all of your wedding dreams come true. Find out more with IN GOOD HANDS: Your Comprehensive Guide to Event Planning & Design in Arkansas.