Brianna Pisani, ’11, Plans Pretty Little Weddings and Events
October 25, 2018 by Lisa McMahon, MA'09
In October of 2015, Brianna (Lowry) Pisani, ’11, had the wedding of her dreams. Today, she helps other brides create theirs.
As a student in Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Brianna spent some of her required internship hours working in catering and setting up weddings at prestigious and award-winning resorts, hotels, and inns in New York state and Cape Cod. After graduation, she found work in Buffalo as a catering and event manager before moving to Alabama, where her boyfriend, Chris Pisani, ’11, was completing his studies at the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker.
Finding a job proved to be difficult, given the fact that the couple would be moving to Fort Bragg, N.C., in a few months, so Brianna launched an Etsy shop, where she sold hand-lettered signs, home and wedding décor. The shop was successful, and Brianna was able to continue working on it even after obtaining a position as a wedding and event manager in North Carolina.
A year or so later, Brianna and Chris got engaged, and the wedding planner now began to plan a wedding of her own. Like many couples, they wanted their ceremony to reflect their personalities, so Brianna began looking for a place that rented the vintage furniture and décor that would create the magical setting she envisioned.
But no one in Upstate New York, where the wedding would be, offered the barnwood props, signs, furniture, and vintage pieces she was looking for, so she began collecting and making them herself. The couple drove them from North Carolina via U-Haul to the wedding venue the week of the wedding.
When several of her guests suggested she rent the décor she used, Brianna began thinking about opening her own boutique-style rental company that would offer one-of-a-kind items such as vintage furniture, tabletop décor, china, handmade farm tables, mismatched chairs, and benches.
“I loved the freedom of my Etsy shop, but was ready for a bigger challenge, and this seemed like it would be perfect,” Brianna says.
Brianna came up with a name, Pretty Little Vintage Company, and a logo within a week of her honeymoon, and began collecting additional items to add to her inventory. Although she and Chris were still living in North Carolina, they hoped to be assigned to Fort Drum, N.Y., so she began marketing her business there. She created business pages on social media, made profiles on wedding sites, created a website, and emailed every wedding vendor and venue that she could find listed online to tell them about her new business and what she was trying to do.
Her marketing efforts paid off--one month after moving to Adams Center, N.Y., she was working on her first weddings.
The company quickly caught the attention of the Adams Center community, as well as its peers in the wedding industry. It was featured on the cover of NNY Living Magazine’s wedding issue in its inaugural year of business, and was a Wedding Wire 2018 Couple’s Choice Award Winner.
“While these (awards) are amazing,” Brianna says, “I think the act of starting a business alone has been our biggest success. It was a huge risk to start and we had little to no experience figuring this all out, but it is so absolutely worth it to have something of your own.”
“I love everything about what I do,” she continued. “I love that it’s mine and that I have every power to change any part of it. While it’s hard and stressful sometimes--I am still motivated to make it better every day and am learning as I go--it is so rewarding watching the business grow. It makes me so happy to be able to provide something to this area that we didn’t have before.”