Event planning is a success

Sassy to Classy owner Johnna Todd finds pleasure in helping with events

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Johnna Todd has found her niche with her special event business Sassy to Classy, celebrating its second year in business.

“I love decorating and making people happy for their special occasions,” said Todd, who works full time as the office administrator in the Edgar County Probation Office. “I grew up with this and it just feels natural.”

Sassy to Classy offers everything from complete decorating and event planning services to rentals of special events needs. “We have lanterns, chairs, tables, linens — anything someone might need,” she said.

For Todd, “it’s all about the planning,” she said. While she is kept busy most weekends with weddings and/or receptions, she also decorates or plans for bridal and baby showers, corporate events, family reunions, anniversaries and landmark birthdays. “Sometimes people don’t know exactly what they want,” Todd observed. “I can help them bring their thoughts together.”

Sometimes the bride knows her wedding colors “but doesn’t know much after that,” she explained. That’s when Todd’s creative streak kicks in and she begins pulling ideas together to present to the bride and those involved in the planning.

Country themed weddings and events are very popular right now, she said. Some brides want lots of burlap while others “don’t want to see burlap anywhere,” she laughed. Lanterns in all shapes and sizes are also very popular right now.

Locations for weddings have also become more interesting, she noted. While many are still held in churches, Todd has helped plan or decorate for weddings at rural locations, next to the East Lake, at Malfunction Junction and in a family home or yard.

Todd recently planned and carried out a fall themed lakeside wedding at the gazebo area across from Step Station. Chairs were set up so a traditional aisle was formed and she used two large doors in a frame to make the setting more intimate.

“When it comes right down to it, I am a planner,” she said. She said her business will not only set up, decorate and clean up but rent items for the finishing touches on a ceremony and reception. “Sometimes it’s renting something as simple as votive holders or runners for tables,” she said.

Todd got started in business by purchasing the inventory of a special events business operated by a mother and daughter in Effingham. “They didn’t do any planning, they were strictly a rental business,” she said. “I wanted to be able to provide a complete service or rent — whatever anybody needs.”

Brides and families frequently select the complete service, she said. “Nobody wants to clean up after a wedding,” she said. 

Always on the lookout for new items to add to her inventory, Todd currently fills a large space on the first floor of En Pointe Studio on the east side of the square in Paris. She also has another large storage space north of Paris — and she recently upgraded her trailer so she can more easily transport items to events.

“I’m always on the lookout for items,” she said, noting she scours social media sites for sales. In addition, Todd can call upon local residents to make items for her events. She recently added several large handmade wooden lanterns to her inventory. She was hesitant to share who made the lanterns for her, however. “I answered that question once and the next thing I know, someone had them made for them instead of renting from me,” she said.

While weddings are a bulk of her business, Sassy to Classy handles a variety of events including the annual The Rec auction, graduation parties, sweet 16 parties, decorating for Christmas and the annual Paris Chamber of Commerce banquet.

“I love doing tablescapes,” she said. “I love hearing people’s ideas and them making them a reality.”

Todd said her busiest time of year is September and October. “Fall weddings are very, very popular,” she said. “We had something every weekend — sometimes more than one,” she noted. 

Todd is looking forward to a wedding later this month — a Black Friday wedding. “It just makes sense,” she said. “The family is here for Thanksgiving. I think it’s going to be fun.”

As the business continues to grow, Todd admits she has a dream.

“I’d love to have a venue some day,” she said, noting she would like to be able to operate her business fulltime.

Everything that is needed for any occasion is at Todd’s fingertips. “I’ve gotten a call two weeks before a ceremony and was able to help. Everything is here other than the fresh flowers,” she noted.

To make an appointment with Todd, call 217-822-7633.