Mother-daughter alumnae coordinate weddings

Angela Johnston’s childhood dream was to be a wedding planner — growing up she adored the wedding scenes in every movie she saw. So when it came to planning her own wedding, Johnston (BSBA ’99) and her mother Pamela Drennan (BBA ’96) used the event to test the wedding planning waters.

Following the big day, Johnston approached her mother about partnering, and the two startedSapphire Celebrations. Now, after fours years working together, Johnston and Drennan have been recognized by the wedding magazine The Knot as one of the five top wedding planners in Colorado. They also topped Channel 7’s “A List” of wedding planners.

The strength of this mother-daughter partnership long precedes their business relationship. While Johnston was a DU freshman, Drennan was a senior at the Women’s College. Johnston says she first fell in love with the DU campus while working on high school papers in Penrose Library.

“We have always been best friends,” Drennan says.

The “sapphire” in their business name is a nod to their relationship. Johnston explains that her mother had a star sapphire ring she gave Johnston. Drennan replaced her ring, and now they wear matching sapphires to represent their close bond.

The “celebration” is what they anticipate for the company’s future.

Johnston, who worked in corporate event planning before switching to weddings, says they plan to expand to different kinds of events.

So far, the two are confident they’ve built the business reputation to grow and diversify. With three day-of coordinators on staff, the company can handle up to four weddings in a weekend. They’re also on the preferred vendor list of several of Colorado’s high-end locations, including the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and Denver’s Inverness Hotel.

Their planning style focuses on the personality of the couple. In one destination wedding in Estes Park, Colo., Drennan says, she went around with housekeeping during the rehearsal dinner delivering red and white blankets to guests.

For an Asian-themed wedding at the Inn at Cherry Creek they hired peddy cabs to transport guests.

“We don’t do cookie-cutter weddings,” says Drennan.

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