Ciera Freson is the Co-Owner and Lead Creative Producer of Lucky Penny Events & Rentals based in Crested Butte, Colorado. Lucky Penny is in the heart of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, surrounded by meadows of aspen trees and towering mountain peaks. A breathtaking setting for any wedding or event.
Ciera’s family has a tradition of placing a penny in the bride’s shoe before she walks down the aisle. It comes from the saying “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” Ciera’s great-grandmother was given a 1917 penny on her wedding day and that exact penny has since been passed down to her grandmother, mother, and then Ciera on each of their wedding days.
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
While growing up for each of my birthdays, my mom and I would plan the most over the top parties. This is where my deep passion for event planning and design was sparked. I moved to the Gunnison Valley in 2007 to ski race NCAA for the local college and never left. After graduating from undergraduate, I worked in the Admissions and Marketing departments at my Alma Mater. Deep down, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and blend my need for organization and creativity into one outlet. Cue planning my own wedding. In 2014 I married my husband Eric and had a wonderful time planning my wedding. From making all my flowers (bouquets and centerpieces) from paper, to making my own desserts and working with all the vendors in this small mountain town, my vision really came together!
As for this quaint mountain valley, I can't get enough of it! From the adventurous souls it attracts, to the endless outdoor activities, I'm continuously inspired to push myself and my business. In turn, Crested Butte attracts the adventurous couples who appreciate the outdoors and want to share that with their closest family and friends. And that right there is my ideal client.
Why did you start Lucky Penny Events & Rentals?
While I was planning my own wedding, I quickly learned that every detail matters and loved the process of watching my wedding day unfold. Now, I'm so lucky to be able to design unique and stress-free days for my couples.
The rental side to Lucky Penny was started a few years later. It goes hand in hand for me. By using my own products and tents I can create magical events all over the valley. My rentals are thoughtful and distinctive. From sailcloth tents, handmade farm tables (Fun Fact: My husband’s father built all of them!), down to the most perfect antique cups and candlesticks, my five storage units and two bay garage have what it takes.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
Traditions! I love traditions, especially family traditions, but the traditions that no longer make sense are actually a little strange when you research the history of them, or possibly make a couple uncomfortable. It’s okay to skip them. Make your wedding day your own and begin your own traditions!
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want to?
I love how effectively I'm able to communicate with couples and their families. The couples I work with are usually from out of town and I only see them in person a few times during the planning process. They expect a creative event which requires essential communication of vision boards, vendor choices, venue contracts. There's a lot of back and forth that needs to happen and Aisle Planner helps us all stay on the same page with just the right amount of communication!
What's your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
It’s a one-stop-shop for the entire planning process. It’s also a wonderful and intuitive tool; from the most tech-savvy couples to the parents who are intimidated by technology, it’s an easy to use platform for all. But my favorite feature is being able to communicate and stay organized. I want to make sure I'm creating my couples dream day, which requires a lot of communication. I love planning, sending ideas back and forth to achieve this goal, all while not overloading my inbox!
If you weren't the Co-Owner + Lead Creative Producer at Lucky Penny Events & Rentals, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
I'd be a stay at home, adventurous dog mom. All the biking, hiking, skiing I do now plus more with my husband and dog Daisy Mae. But honestly, I love wedding and event planning. I can't imagine a life without it!
What are three things you never show up without on event day?
1. Chi Tea. Mornings in the mountains can be chilly and I love spending time with friends and couples over a cup of tea or warming my hands up while putting up a tent!
2. Multiple colors of duct tape. (Ask me about the time I borrowed hula hoops from a children’s ski school supply closet for a floral arrangement.)
3. Safety pins. Because you never know!
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
I have to listen very intentionally to my couples. They don't always know what they're looking for or an overall vision of what they want to create. When creating vision boards, I'm selfless and create events that I can see my couples and their friends and families having the best time, all while balancing their budget.
What’s your trademark in the client or event experience?
Creating events as unique as my couples. I strive to tell my couple's story within their wedding. I try to create a wedding day where every detail reminds you of the couple we're celebrating, all while infusing the beautiful mountain surrounding.
Is there anything you're particularly excited about working on this year?
I’m excited about launching Lucky Penny’s venue tour of Crested Butte. This small town has a number of exquisite venue options but are often buried in snow or sometimes even inaccessible half the year due to the weather. With most of my couples being out-of-towners, they travel to this hard-to-get-to location to tour venue options. If it’s winter, forget it, you can’t visualize much with feet of snow covering everything. A venue transforms a wedding, so offering a video series to give couples the layout of the land, a breakdown of pricing, and the pros and cons, a venue can be selected with confidence. But this idea is still being flushed out!
Just for fun
Three things you wouldn't board a plane without?
Chapstick, water bottle, and headphones.
I’m dying to take a trip to…
The beach! Where I live it can snow any month out of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mountain town, but I’m always down for a trip to lessen the likeliness of flurries.
Dogs or cats?
What skill would you like to master?
I love calligraphy and would like to really master it. It’s almost therapeutic for me and I’m excited to offer it to my couples.
What’s your go to casino game?
Does Bingo count?
What song do you know every word to?
Pretty much any Lady Gaga song from her 2007 album.
Favorite book of all time?
The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.
Non-work related hobbies?
Enjoying the outdoors—hiking, biking, skiing, anything away from my computer.
If you catch me out and about I’m always wearing…
If you’ve stuck around this long, well then, I invite you to learn about the entirely different life I live in the winter as a college ski coach:
Want to see more from Ciera? Check out her website luckypenny.events!
Hero photo courtesy Indes Photography