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Local wedding planner has a new challenge: Planning her own

Wedding planner Jaime Johnson smiles as she unloads items at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. She is planning her own wedding, which is Saturday. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Wedding planner Jaime Johnson smiles as she unloads items at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. She is planning her own wedding, which is Saturday. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Who plans the wedding of a wedding planner?

When it comes to wedding planner Jaime Johnson, the answer is: She does.

With a little help from friends, of course.

Johnson, owner of Jaime Johnson Events, has been planning weddings for decades. In an interview several years ago she said that when it came time for her to get married, she wouldn’t be the one handling the logistics.

Now that the big day is here – Johnson’s wedding is planned for this afternoon – she bending that rule. She’s worked with many of the same vendors over the years and many have become friends. She picked several to work on her wedding and told them to do what they wanted.

“I’m not a typical bride,” she said. “I delegated, I definitely have.”

She told her florist, Carissa Taberham of The Art of Flower, to surprise her. “I don’t know what my flowers are,” Johnson said. “I trust her.”

She did much the same thing with her invitations. “It’s probably the first time I saw an invitation and cried,” Johnson said.

The vendors are coordinating things and working together and largely leaving Johnson out of the picture. “I’m letting them share their gifts and talents,” she said. “They’re all individuals who know me. I have to trust the people I’ve surrounded myself with and I do.”

During the whole process she’s been fighting her urge to get involved in the little details like she usually does. “It has been a lesson in patience,” she said. “I don’t sit still and I’m not used to delegating. It was overwhelming at first, but it makes you feel so loved.”

Johnson met her fiancé, Brian Kehne, while both were in Las Vegas for different conventions and a friend introduced them. Kehne is originally from Colfax, and they discovered they had a shared a love of golf. When they decided to get married, they picked the Golf Club at Black Rock in Coeur d’Alene as their wedding. Kehne even has a tee time set for 18 holes Saturday morning, only hours before the couple exchanges vows.

Johnson started her career as an event planner at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and the Davenport Hotel and opened her own business 12 years ago. Over the years she’s seen a lot of things go wrong. A windstorm once destroyed everything set up for an outdoor wedding only minutes before it was set to begin. In another case, a bride had a pen explode all over her dress 30 minutes before the ceremony.

“We’ve had not enough food, we’ve had too much food,” she said. “In planning mine, I’ve tried to avoid all those potential dangers.”

One of the hardest things about planning her wedding was keeping the guest list down to an “intimate” gathering of 129 people, she said. “One of my girlfriends said I could have filled the Spokane Arena with people who wanted to attend my wedding,” she said.

Johnson said it probably won’t sink in that this wedding day is for her until she slips into her wedding dress on Saturday. She’s anxious to see her friends and family and, ever the wedding planner, wants to make sure they all enjoy themselves.

“I want my friends and family to have the experience of being greeted and treated,” she said.

A wedding veteran, she said she’s not anxious and is confident that she and her new husband will have a good life together. “I’m not nervous at all about him,” she said. “I’m just excited.”

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