About NSE

 

Founded in 2010, Northland Special Events began out of the back of a mini-van at a popular North Shore resort. As owner, Mariah and her mom Sharron pulled together the finishing touches for sister Kaitlyn's wedding, they knew it couldn't and wouldn't be their last Northland wedding! Seven years later and hundreds of successful weddings and events, Northland Special Events is the region's premiere vendor for event planning, design, floral and decor services.

As a small, woman-owned business, NSE prides itself in working with local vendors to produce first class events. Our creative business model provides opportunity for Team members to pursue their event planning careers in a supportive, flexible environment.

Visit us at The Vault, our showroom and floral studio located at 324 W. Superior St. Ste. 50, Duluth in the Medical Arts Building, to see our extensive collection of event decor and if you are lucky you'll find the Fleuristas working their floral magic too!


Love Note

Mariah and her entire team were incredibly awesome. We had many meetings leading up to the actual wedding, and each time I would go in with more questions and regular wedding planning worries,and I would always leave feeling so much better about everything and in such good hands. I wouldn’t have been able to do everything without Northland Special Events. The wedding day itself was more than I could have ever imagined- the centerpieces and decor were beyond my wildest dreams amazing, and having mariah as a “day of coordinator” was the best decision we made. She and her team can truly do it all, and I can’t say enough. If you are getting married in Minnesota (the cities or the duluth/north shore area) and want personal service and true dedication, this is your best bet.
— Katie

 

The NSE Team

Mariah McKechnie, Visionary & Principal Event Specialist Our fearless founder, leader and "Idea" woman... Four words to describe Mariah...Calm. Confident. Decisive. Silly. Mariah began her events career in Washington, DC as a "Wedding Day-Of Coordinator" and quickly grew her expertise to include event and floral design. Seven years ago, she convinced her family to support her in pursuing a crazy dream....you can see how that turned out! Her "Save The Day" Moments seem to primarily revolve around fire...flaming centerpieces, ring bearer pillows, bridesmaid conflict....Mariah is known for "putting out fires" of every variety! Mariah loves all things pink, pink, and pink...particularly pink peonies.

Mariah McKechnie, Visionary & Principal Event Specialist

Our fearless founder, leader and "Idea" woman...

Four words to describe Mariah...Calm. Confident. Decisive. Silly.

Mariah began her events career in Washington, DC as a "Wedding Day-Of Coordinator" and quickly grew her expertise to include event and floral design. Seven years ago, she convinced her family to support her in pursuing a crazy dream....you can see how that turned out!

Her "Save The Day" Moments seem to primarily revolve around fire...flaming centerpieces, ring bearer pillows, bridesmaid conflict....Mariah is known for "putting out fires" of every variety!

Mariah loves all things pink, pink, and pink...particularly pink peonies.

Bernadine Spinner, Chief Integrator & Balloon Artiste To know Bernadine is to love her. Especially her cute face. Over 5 years of experience bringing Mariah's crazy ideas to life gives her street cred for ever. She gets things done. Four words to describe Bernadine...bubbly, tenacious, loyal and adorable. Bernadine's save the day moment....TOO many to count. Where would we even begin? When she walks through the door she makes our day with her smile, positive attitude and endless energy. Clients, customers, and pretty much anyone she meets would agree.

Bernadine Spinner, Chief Integrator & Balloon Artiste

To know Bernadine is to love her. Especially her cute face. Over 5 years of experience bringing Mariah's crazy ideas to life gives her street cred for ever. She gets things done.

Four words to describe Bernadine...bubbly, tenacious, loyal and adorable.

Bernadine's save the day moment....TOO many to count. Where would we even begin? When she walks through the door she makes our day with her smile, positive attitude and endless energy. Clients, customers, and pretty much anyone she meets would agree.

Yana Stockman, Senior Event Specialist Straight off the runway, our Ukranian beauty graces NSE with style, class and an amazing work ethic! She describes herself as, Youthful. Ambitious. Natural. Adventurous. YANA. Yana's "Save The Day" Moment involved digging into her emergency kit for not one, not two, but THREE separate medical emergencies on the wedding day. We often refer to her as Dr. Yana! Yana dreams of working with a color palette of shades of white. Her favorite flower must be the Gardenia.

Yana Stockman, Senior Event Specialist

Straight off the runway, our Ukranian beauty graces NSE with style, class and an amazing work ethic!

She describes herself as, Youthful. Ambitious. Natural. Adventurous. YANA.

Yana's "Save The Day" Moment involved digging into her emergency kit for not one, not two, but THREE separate medical emergencies on the wedding day. We often refer to her as Dr. Yana!

Yana dreams of working with a color palette of shades of white. Her favorite flower must be the Gardenia.

 
Kaitlyn Swenson, Human Resources Director & Fleurista One of Fleurtation's original Team members, Kaitlyn brings true floral artistry to our studio every day. Four words that describe Kaitlyn....Loyal, Versatile, Inquisitive, & Wise....also, Fleur-mazing! Kaitlyn's "Save The Day" moment involved creating a special bouquet on the spot for a flower girl that refused to walk down the aisle carrying a pomander. She insisted she wanted to be 'just like the bride'! Kaitlyn dreams of designing flowers in a color palette of lavender and mint green using her favorite flowers - ranunculus!

Kaitlyn Swenson, Human Resources Director & Fleurista

One of Fleurtation's original Team members, Kaitlyn brings true floral artistry to our studio every day.

Four words that describe Kaitlyn....Loyal, Versatile, Inquisitive, & Wise....also, Fleur-mazing!

Kaitlyn's "Save The Day" moment involved creating a special bouquet on the spot for a flower girl that refused to walk down the aisle carrying a pomander. She insisted she wanted to be 'just like the bride'!

Kaitlyn dreams of designing flowers in a color palette of lavender and mint green using her favorite flowers - ranunculus!

Lynda Ritsche, Client Services Specialist Lynda's beautiful personality shines in everything she does. Four words to describe Lynda....Kind. Detailed. Energetic. Loving Lynda's voice is the first thing one hears when contacting NSE...and they never forget it. Her instant calming personality and her ability to connect with anyone make her an incredible asset to our team. She works tirelessly to care for our clients and our team.  Lynda also holds the title of a "NSE Mother of the Bride" - we proudly worked with her as a client first for her daughter's January 2014 wedding. She truly knows the "NSE Experience" first hand!

Lynda Ritsche, Client Services Specialist

Lynda's beautiful personality shines in everything she does.

Four words to describe Lynda....Kind. Detailed. Energetic. Loving

Lynda's voice is the first thing one hears when contacting NSE...and they never forget it. Her instant calming personality and her ability to connect with anyone make her an incredible asset to our team. She works tirelessly to care for our clients and our team. 

Lynda also holds the title of a "NSE Mother of the Bride" - we proudly worked with her as a client first for her daughter's January 2014 wedding. She truly knows the "NSE Experience" first hand!

Kyla Ekstrom, Event Specialist The calm, quiet thinker. Four words to describe Kyla are...  Happy. Hardworking. Dedicated. Eager. Kyla might have thought she was interviewing Mariah for a school project, but little did she know it would turn into a job, first as an Event Assistant and then climbing the ropes to Event Specialist. It seems nearly impossible to rattle Kyla, a characteristic ideal for an event planner. Her calm, steady approach to life and work make her an incredible wife, mother, and member of Team NSE.

Kyla Ekstrom, Event Specialist

The calm, quiet thinker.

Four words to describe Kyla are...  Happy. Hardworking. Dedicated. Eager.

Kyla might have thought she was interviewing Mariah for a school project, but little did she know it would turn into a job, first as an Event Assistant and then climbing the ropes to Event Specialist. It seems nearly impossible to rattle Kyla, a characteristic ideal for an event planner. Her calm, steady approach to life and work make her an incredible wife, mother, and member of Team NSE.

 
Kathy Beede, Senior Event Specialist An original NSE Team member, Kathy exemplifies the NSE spirit. She is the strongest woman you have ever met.  Four words to describe Kathy...Resourceful, Kind, Humble, Strong. Kathy's "Save The Day" Moments are too many to count. She is an expert at working with couples on a budget using innovative and creative designs. Kathy always goes the extra mile for her clients and they can't help but fall in love with her during the process!

Kathy BeedeSenior Event Specialist

An original NSE Team member, Kathy exemplifies the NSE spirit. She is the strongest woman you have ever met. 

Four words to describe Kathy...Resourceful, Kind, Humble, Strong.

Kathy's "Save The Day" Moments are too many to count. She is an expert at working with couples on a budget using innovative and creative designs. Kathy always goes the extra mile for her clients and they can't help but fall in love with her during the process!

Diane Kaarbo, Lead Fleurista & Floral Manager An engineer, a dreamer, and a voice echoing in a crowd...all things we love about Diane. Formerly of Meadowlark Floral Art Studio, Diane joined Team NSE in January 2017. She's got big plans to transform our every day floral offering and we know she will continue to impress us with her talents.  Four words to describe Diane...industrial, soulful, energetic, bold. Diane's "Save The Day" Moment....bringing back thirsty hydrangeas like a champ when a heating and cooling malfunction got the best of them!

Diane Kaarbo, Lead Fleurista & Floral Manager

An engineer, a dreamer, and a voice echoing in a crowd...all things we love about Diane. Formerly of Meadowlark Floral Art Studio, Diane joined Team NSE in January 2017. She's got big plans to transform our every day floral offering and we know she will continue to impress us with her talents. 

Four words to describe Diane...industrial, soulful, energetic, bold.

Diane's "Save The Day" Moment....bringing back thirsty hydrangeas like a champ when a heating and cooling malfunction got the best of them!

Sharron McKechnie, Lead Fleurista & Fleurtation Retail Manager The Matriarch of the NSE family, Sharron might be Mariah's Mom, but she's everyone's Best Friend.  Today she leads the charge of ensuring "Flowers for All" through everyday floral department.  Four words to describe Sharron...Youthful. Wise. Surprising. Dedicated. Sharron's "Save The Day" Moment: rescuing a falling wedding cake from utter destruction....  From day one, Sharron's played a critical role in every NSE event and milestone.

Sharron McKechnie, Lead Fleurista & Fleurtation Retail Manager

The Matriarch of the NSE family, Sharron might be Mariah's Mom, but she's everyone's Best Friend. 

Today she leads the charge of ensuring "Flowers for All" through everyday floral department. 

Four words to describe Sharron...Youthful. Wise. Surprising. Dedicated.

Sharron's "Save The Day" Moment: rescuing a falling wedding cake from utter destruction.... 

From day one, Sharron's played a critical role in every NSE event and milestone.

 

 

What We're Up To

 

As Seen In

Northland Special Events in the press. 

 
 
cemai-025.jpg

Destined for Duluth

Minnesota Bride, Spring/Summer 2017

“Superior Street [is great] for bar-hopping, Canal Park is right on the lake with lots of cute shops and restaurants, and Park Point Beach is an unbelievable pristine sand beach,” says Mariah McKechnie, owner of Northland Special Events. “If wedding parties have a chance to head further north, there are lots of great spots. Sometimes [couples] will extend the wedding and go further north to hike or do a mini-moon in Lutsen,” further up the North Shore.

 
0BxM-Q1UIkBvZR2JjN0hMTzQtdDA.jpg

Northland Special Events grows services, downtown footprint

Duluth News Tribune, March 2017

Mariah McKechnie is a master of plans — which makes sense, given she's the owner of wedding and special occasion planner Northland Special Events.

Now she's got something planned for herself as her business continues to balloon.