Hi friends! It's time for another Celebration Series interview and this week I'm thrilled to be introducing you to the lovely Callie Murray! Callie is the founder and CEO of an amazing company called The Big Fake Wedding. The Big Fake Wedding is, to steal the most succinct description from their website, a "bridal show alternative complete with an emotional vow renewal ceremony, light bites and a dance-party reception. "Wedding guests" are brides- and grooms-to-be who get to truly experience the wedding vendors in action."
Such a ridiculously good idea for a business, am I right?
While Callie has built a hugely successful company from the ground up (and was even featured on The Today Show!), what I'm most impressed by is her kindness (she is SO darn nice) and all that she has accomplished in light of her circumstances. While we have yet to officially meet in person, I feel connected to Callie in that we both have husbands whose jobs keep them super busy and away from the home for long periods of time. Callie's husband is in the military and as many of you know, mine is in medicine. This equates to a lot of time spent alone. While it would be easy to feel resentful or that her career would have to take a back seat (I know I've felt these things a time or two), Callie only sees opportunity. I can't tell you how much I appreciate and admire women like this. Women who take initiative, dream big dreams and are brave enough to do the work to make them come true.
Oh, and have I mentioned that she's also a mother to three sweet girls? She does it all.
Let's get into the interview!
Give us a quick background on who you are and what you do for work.
I am a military wife and mother to three little girls that founded and runs a company called The Big Fake Wedding. We provide an alternative to a bridal expo that allows wedding vendors to show off their goods or services live and in-action to engaged couples who attend the event as “wedding guests”. The event is complete with a ceremony, food and drinks and a dance-party reception, and we will host nearly 30 of these across the country this year. I currently manage the business, and I have a stellar team of six full-time ladies and a handful of contractors who join me in doing fake weddings for a living!
What about your work brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
I thrive on the experiences, relationships and education this business has provided me. I started the company in 2008, and I refer to my last eight years as my “DIY MBA”, as I am learning so many valuable lessons along with way. Because of this company, I’ve found myself in pinch-myself experiences over the years, ranging from a tour of a partner winery in Italy to interviews with The TODAY Show and Good Morning America to surprise real weddings we were able to put together with our incredible vendor network. I have met the most interesting people who have so generously poured their knowledge and connections into me and the business, and I’ve learned a lifetime of lessons about myself as both a business owner and a human being in general.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
I am currently inspired and encouraged by military wives! My husband is currently away for military training, yet thankfully it is just for a few weeks. I keep thinking about those women whose husbands are gone more often, or much longer, and to dangerous situations. I’m inspired by their grit and resilience the weight of their service, all of which is vital in allowing people like me to pursue business and creative ventures so freely.
What has been difficult lately?
It has been difficult to know that I am not able to do everything I want to on my own accord. As a do-er and as someone who likes to win (and who therefore most definitely does not like to fail), I’ve been continuously brought past the boundaries of what I alone of capable of. I’ve been learning again and again that I need to lean into my little village of friends, employees, family and mentors as well as leaning hard on Jesus to sustain me. It’s been humbling and exhausting, but what a gift it is to know that I am not alone.
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
I am a connector who is passionate about building strategic relationships. This is the foundation of The Big Fake Wedding, as our goal is to set the stage for real connections to form. In my personal life, I am continually connecting people to job opportunities or possible friendships or ways to network. (Unfortunately though I have a terrible track record for connecting people for dates. Oops!)
What's your Meyers-Briggs personality type?
I am an INTJ, which apparently means I am weird and conflicted and rare. Ha! I’ve bonded with the other few INTJs I’ve met, and you can find us having deep and intentional one-on-one conversations about how much we wish we didn’t ever have to have feelings.
Thank you, Callie, for your example of leadership and kindness. I so appreciate you! You can find more of Callie on her personal instagram account, The Big Fake Wedding website and THEIR instagram account. Go forth and be inspired!
Love & Respect,