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.

Ashley Williams

Beverage Director, Chow Chow

Ashley Williams is co-owner of The Times Bar, an upscale craft cocktail bar located in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina. She also serves as the Beverage Director for Chow Chow, An Asheville Culinary Event Series, overseeing all of the delicious beverage pairings for guests throughout the summer.

 

Ashley began her hospitality career in Seattle, Washington working for Heavy Restaurant Group, and quickly worked her way up the corporate ladder. After 6 years, she felt she needed a change of pace (and a little sunshine) and left Seattle to begin working with craft cocktails in Saint Augustine, FL. This is where she fell in love with the art of cocktail making and immersed herself the bar community. 

 

In 2017, Ashley recognized the opportunity of Asheville's growing market and opened up her own cocktail bar with her business partner. When she is not working at The Times Bar, you can catch her supporting local bars, trying new food, talking shop, and socializing with bartenders and chefs alike. 

 

Kristen Boddy

Venue Manager & Events Specialist

 

As Venue Manager & Events Specialist at Shay Brown Events Management Group, Kristen 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 working with Shay Brown Events, 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, & 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.

Lisa Smith

Events Associate

 

In July of 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 forests, 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 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 pillowcase 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 learn more about Asheville’s community and cuisine.

Lindsay Blum

Events Associate

 

Lindsay is a recent graduate from Allegheny College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and has found her passion in working and connecting with her community. She has published many academic works ranging from energy efficiency in low-income neighborhoods, to the environmental impact of dairy. She is currently researching effective methods of communicating environmental issues to the public.

 

New to event planning, Lindsay is eager to support the diverse Asheville community through all of the projects the team is working on, from wedding planning to Chow Chow and everything in between!  

 

In her free time, Lindsay enjoys running, reading Harry Potter, and cooking for her friends.