Wilson wedding planner honored as best of the best

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


A Wilson-based wedding planner recently was named among the top 3 percent of wedding professionals across the country by The Knot and among the top 5 percent by the Wedding Wire.

Magnolia Grove Weddings and Events has been a labor of love by owner Meagan Graddy for several years, switching from a part-time hobby to a full-time career about two years ago. Within six months, she started hiring additional wedding planners and staff.

“When I started it was just me,” she said. “I’ve had an online bakery since I was in college, but I felt like I had the training to assist in more capacities than what I had been doing by making a cake, topping it off and leaving.”

In 2017, Magnolia Grove worked on 51 weddings and 19 other events like baby showers and sweet 16 parties. Graddy also taught 14 calligraphy and baking classes, so she stayed busy, but she held fast to her belief that everyone deserved the wedding of their dreams.

“One of the biggest things that was really important to me early on was that I didn’t want to turn people away,” she said. “Whether your budget is $10,000 or $100,000, if you want help, I want to find a way to help you.”

To live up to this mission, the styles vary greatly among her staff.

“We joke around that our client sheets are like a match.com profile because we fit the planner to your style,” she said. “We don’t just do barn weddings or ballroom weddings.”

The Best of Weddings 2018 list from The Knot was determined based on almost 3.6 million reviews from wedding parties across the country.

“I was beyond thrilled to receive The Best of the Knot Weddings award this year. We made it a priority, this year especially, to develop more personal relationships with our couples in hopes of elevating the wedding planning experience and we’re thrilled to see that our hard work has paid off,” Graddy said. “We are already trying to find new ways to grow in the upcoming year, in hopes that we can win this award year after year.”

For more about Magnolia Grove, visit www.idomagnolia.com/.

Rising Unemployment

According to the N.C. Department of Commerce, unemployment rates increased in 99 out of 100 counties across the state in November. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state for November was 4.5 percent, but Wilson County had a rate of 7 percent, up 0.4 percent from October.

State officials said Wilson has 35,702 people in the labor force and 2,506 people are unemployed. When compared to neighboring counties, only Edgecombe County has a smaller workforce with 22,637 people, yet Edgecombe also has the third-highest unemployment rate in the state. Despite an increase from 6.6 percent unemployment in October to 7 percent in November, Wilson went from 96th highest unemployment in the state to 93rd in November.

“When compared to the same month last year, not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates decreased in 99 counties and remained unchanged in one,” according to a press release. “All 15 metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year.”

In November 2016, Wilson County had an unemployment rate of 8 percent, earning our community the largest year-over-year change compared to neighboring counties. The Rocky Mount metropolitan area went from 6.9 percent in November 2016 to 6.5 percent this November, and the Rocky Mount, Wilson and Roanoke Rapids combined statistical area went from 7.3 percent in 2016 to 6.8 percent a year later.

“It is important to note that employment estimates are subject to large seasonal patterns; therefore, it is advisable to focus on over-the-year changes in the not seasonally adjusted estimates,” the release states.

Extra! Extra!

Tickets are going fast to two upcoming business events in Wilson.

The Wilson Chamber of Commerce has tickets available for $45 each for the annual meeting that will kick off with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Kennedy Family Theatre with the main program to follow. A dessert reception will conclude the event. To purchase tickets or inquire about sponsorship, call the chamber at 252-237-0165.

The inaugural DreamFest competition will take place two days later at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 at the Boykin Center in historic downtown Wilson. Five entrepreneurs will give oral presentations for a chance at a $10,000 grand prize for start-up funds and two entrepreneurs — Ken Adelglass and Julius Tillery — will discuss their respective trials and errors along the way toward business success. Tickets are $15 and come with a $5 voucher for lunch at a downtown eatery. For more information on the event, visit www.dreamfest2018.info/.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.