Meet the Team

We live to create meaningful experiences. Our clients who host weddings, festivals, and events receive planning and design that is unique and exclusive to them. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind experience with exquisite attention to detail and style, you're looking for a Shay Brown Event. 

 

We are proud to have one of the most talented event planning teams in the Southeast with more than 60 years of combined experience. With each event, we get to know you as an individual so that we can activate your vision. Our clients trust us to take care of every detail so they can enjoy every moment. Let's get started! We can't wait to help you create memories that last a lifetime. 

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Shay Brown

Founder & Owner

Shay Brown makes magic happen. An expert planner and community connector, she started Shay Brown Events more than twenty years ago with the mission to create meaningful experiences for hosts and their guests across the Southeast. Today her team plans dozens of events, festivals, and weddings every year while also managing several boutique, independent venues throughout the region. Shay also serves as the Festival Director for Chow Chow, An Asheville Culinary Event Series. In that role she is responsible for the full scale event production and managing the Culinary, Beverage, and Volunteer Directors.

 

Before she jumped into event planning and design, Shay had another career as a lobbyist. During that time she developed a love for working with people and honed her skills in relationship development and building connections. Eventually, she tired of politics and was drawn back home to the majestic mountains of Western North Carolina.

 

Shay launched her company because she knew there was a major element missing in the wedding planning industry and that was customer service. She made it a priority to deeply understand each client’s vision, their likes and dislikes, and tailored events to reflect their unique character. She truly believes that each moment should illuminate the authentic personality of the client, not the desire of the planner, and that is what sets Shay and her team apart from others—they listen to you.

  

Shay has surrounded herself with an amazing, talented, and professional staff that delivers each element of the planning process with the same quality and detail that Shay has cultivated over more than two decades in the industry. The Shay Brown Events team finds inspiration and delight in working together to create an amazing experience for each and every client.

 

Shay is very passionate about a lot of things in life like hiking, cooking, books, and spending time with neighbors and friends in the Asheville community. Most of all, though, she is in love with her family and furbabies Hazel, Eastwood, Max, Onyx, and Addy.

Amy Wood, Shay Brown Events Wedding Planner

Amy Wood 

Director of Events & Operations

 

An order maker dedicated to facilitating meaningful experiences, Amy expertly and graciously organizes events, operations, and flourishing teams.

 Amy started with Shay Brown Events Management Group over a decade ago. Her love of planning and pretty things drew her to planning celebrations of the prettiest thing of all: love. Hundreds of weddings later, Amy knows weddings are one of the most sacred and joyous experiences in a couple’s lifetime. Throughout the planning process, Amy seamlessly shifts from envisioning to budgeting, coordinating to counseling, and back again.

Every wedding is a unique expression of the soul of the marriage, and Amy is called to attend to every detail with heart, integrity, and expertise. 

 

As Director of Events and Operations, Amy pays exceptional attention to her clients and supports the team in achieving the excellence that Shay Brown Events and venues are known for. In her tenure with the company, Amy has worked in every kind of role while always improving quality, functionality, and teamwork. She is highly skilled, especially in creating systems that deliver high performance and empowering team members to shine. 

 

Prior to working at Shay Brown Events Management Group, Amy worked in retreat counseling, financial planning, and non-profit events. She has a B.A. from Pomona College. When she’s not at events, Amy can be found working the land in her rural Western North Carolina property, on top of a mountain, or swimming in a lake. Amy values family, her Southern heritage, being in wide-open spaces, and of course flowers!

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Courtney Edwards

Director of Marketing & Communications

 

A transformational leader dedicated to empowerment and collaboration, Courtney believes in the power of authentic storytelling knows that every person’s perspective matters.  

As the Director of Marketing & Communications, Courtney leads growth marketing and communications strategies for Shay Brown Events Management Group with the ultimate goal of creating meaningful experiences for communities and guests across the Southeast. As part of her role she also serves as the Culinary Director for Chow

Chow, where she is responsible for all culinary aspects of the event series that celebrates the rich food culture of the Appalachian region.

Prior to joining Shay Brown Events in 2022, Courtney held various leadership roles over 16 years in communications, marketing, customer experience, events, and hospitality. Most recently she led brand and marketing strategies for workplace wellness provider Work From Om as their VP of Marketing & Communications. Previously she was brought on by global manufacturer Milliken & Company to transform their guest and associate experience, and was later promoted to also oversee corporate communications, brand, and community engagement for the company.

After college Courtney spent 9 years in some of the best and busiest Washington, DC restaurants, including working for the chef and humanitarian José Andrés. The lessons learned during that time fuel her vision to implement global best practices in customer experience and hospitality wherever she is.

Throughout her career she has served as both a formal and informal mentor for dozens of rising stars and has worked to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in every company she’s been a part of. Courtney holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Washington and Lee University and is obsessed with cooking and grammar.

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Beth Edwards

Business Development & Sales Manager

 

Beth brings a lifetime of experience in the hospitality industry to Shay Brown Events, attending her first food-service tradeshow at the tender age of two! She continued to work in sales for her family business throughout high school and college, sparking a passion that continues today. 

Prior to joining the Shay Brown Events team, Beth was the Director of Sales and Sponsorships for the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, a group of more than

150 locally-owned restaurants focusing on staff and management training, advocacy, and community building. 

Beth welcomes the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients—listening to their plans and inspirations—and then helping turn that into reality. Event planning can be full of ups and downs, so she believes it's better to over-prepare for every possible scenario. Her attention to detail and strong time management and organizational skills gives clients confidents that Shay Brown Events will deliver a flawless event, every time. 

You can find Beth tucked up in the woods with her husband, son, and three furbabies when not "on the clock." Beth moved to Asheville over twenty years ago when the city was undergoing a Renaissance of sorts. From the world-class food scene to plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities, she feels lucky to call this area home. 

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Kristen Boddy

Venue Manager & Events Specialist

 

As the Venue Manager & Events Specialist for Shay Brown Events Management Group, Kirsten oversees events at notable local venues and prioritizes client experiences to ensure their events are carefully crafted and memorable. She also serves as Volunteer Director for Chow Chow, with the goal of creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere that provides community members with the opportunity to have behind-the-scenes access, experience exceptional local cuisine, and make lifelong connections. 

Prior to joining Shay Brown Events Management Group, Kristen served as Membership and Events Manager at the Asheville Art Museum and Development Associate at Bard Graduate Center in NY. She took a short detour from fundraising for the arts to live in Uganda for a year and a half, where she developed a love of the outdoors, and an appreciation for the powerful connection between food and culture. 

With a passion for travel, Kristen has been fortunate to experience traditional cuisines from around the world (her favorites include Moroccan, Argentinian, and Italian fare!) Although travel was not possible during the pandemic, she continued her world tour from the comfort of her kitchen where she loves to experiment with new flavors, spices, and color! She feels especially fortunate to live in Asheville, a city that places great importance on bringing people to the table to forge friendships and experience an unforgettable meal together. 

 

Kristen holds a Dual Master's degree in Modern & Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism and Arts Administration & Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently pursuing her Post-Baccalaureate in Biology from UNC Asheville with the goal of transitioning her career to marine science and conservation. 
 

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Alexandra Sheen

Events Specialist

 

With several years of experience in the wedding and hospitality industry, Alex is the newest member of our team! Her background spans across wedding planning, hospitality management, catering, hotel and restaurant management, and event production. Understanding that it truly takes a village of industry professionals to make a great event, Alex focuses on creating strong relationships with vendors so that she can bring them together and seamlessly execute each client's vision.

What drives Alex? Seeing a bride, family, or team leader happy at the end of their event. Being able to connect with her clients and the vendors she works with. Creating great friendships over the years. She loves it all. 

Alex is excited to incorporate her expertise in planning elegant, sophisticated weddings as well as corporate events and social galas into the Shay Brown Events Management team. When not planning and executing the best parties, Alex enjoys hiking, traveling, or hanging out with friends and family. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, you can also find her rooting on the Buffalo Bills every Sunday afternoon!

 

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Lisa Smith

Events Associate

 

In July 1999 Lisa experienced her own Asheville destination wedding in a mountain meadow, during a thunderstorm, and celebrated with local fried chicken and grits to night music and square dancing. To be near family and friends, she later moved from Brooklyn to Asheville. A big friends and family potluck birthday bonfire with homemade three-layer chocolate cake, decorated with garden flowers, is her family's go-to celebration! She comes to Shay Brown Events Management Group with a

love of special events, food traditions, family celebrations, and beautiful flowers. 

As an artist, founder, and textile designer, Lisa also owns and grows POEM CROWN, a product design company. POEM CROWN products express the idea that every person, object, and situation is continually surrounded by and contains poems. POEM CROWN patterns also include the French sentiment chaleureux, which means warm and welcoming. 

Lisa has significant volunteer experience, having volunteered with her daughters' schools while raising a family, for the YMCA's mobile markets during the pandemic, and most recently with Chow Chow, An Asheville Culinary Food Festival. With a concern for food distribution, an interest in family food histories, and commitment to local food ways, she loves working with Chow Chow now in a more formal capacity to learn more about Asheville's community and cuisine. 

 

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Morgan Whatley

Venue Operator

 

Morgan is on the front line of the Shay Brown Events Management team's execution and production work as our Venue Operator. With a natural affinity for service and helping people, he is the company go-to-guy for all of the endless details that keep our events on time and on plan. We literally could not make all of the magic happen without him! 

Morgan's career is rooted in hospitality and food service, and he expanded into full-service event production in 

2021 when he connected with Shay Brown Events Management. Currently he oversees all of our managed venue facilities and serves as the lead captain for many of our events from high profile festivals all the way to simple family gatherings. Morgan is a true team player, willing to do anything that it takes to get a job done--nothing is too small or too big. Guest oriented and committed to making people happy, Morgan loves our clients and especially enjoys playing a part in creating memories and experiences that people will remember for the rest of their lives.