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Hidden Gems: Meet Kathryn Hogan of The Vow Exchange

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Hogan.

Hi Kathryn, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
It all started with my 10th wedding anniversary Vegas vow renewal that conjured the question, “What if a Vegas style wedding worked in Kansas City?” Eight years & over 1500 couples later, the answer to that question is a resounding “YES”. With two chapels and a mobile wedding decor concept, my modern design approach “marries” the concept of Vegas weddings with the style & aesthetic that today’s couples want.

The design of my first chapel in the Downtown Crossroads, dubbed “farmhouse chic,” is a popular look in the midwest and at the moment most anywhere. Five years later with the growing popularity of the Crossroads location, I opened my 2nd chapel on the Downtown Liberty Square. The Chapel on the Corner offers couples a more polished & pretty look but still modern & laid back. Being inside is like being inside a cloud. It’s soft, bright & airy. Then in 2020, before the pandemic hit, I launched a mobile version of the concept called “Altar & Aisle” along with my college bestie. It was perfect timing with couples looking to have backyard weddings who did not want to figure out how to make it beautiful. The concept is a coordinated decor collection you can rent. This one-stop-shop option eliminates the “nickel & dime” feeling that comes with more traditional a-la-carte decor rental options. Our first collection “Boho Chic” is quickly growing in popularity. Designing spaces & decor that create the backdrop for one of life’s biggest moments has been a great joy and one of my greatest honors.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
For me, the biggest hurdle is marketing a small wedding solution in a large wedding-dominated industry. Most all of the traditional methods of marketing a wedding business don’t really apply to me. Bridal shows, magazines and vendor listing sites all attract folks planning large weddings. Even when I have advertised in these locations, couples often assume my venue can hold 100 or more people. It has been a mismatch from the beginning and it still is.

The truth is that we KNOW there are dozens of couples interested in a small wedding, but the traditional marketing channels only sell large weddings to today’s couples. Since opening, I found leaning on SEO for Google has been most effective in attracting business. By and large however, folks in town still seem surprised when they find us even after being here eight years. It has been a struggle to breakthrough in a world where large lavish weddings dominate social media & weddings in general.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about The Vow Exchange?
It’s been my opinion that the wedding industry is long overdue for an update to the solutions offered to those seeking a wedding celebration. Rooted in the 1950’s, the lavish wedding is the result of post WWII prosperity where families wanted to celebrate big after several years of hardship. Back then, brides mostly lived at home with their parents & didn’t work. They had time and their parents’ money to spend on planning a wedding. Fast forward 70 years, and we are still planning these same large involved events but couples don’t have the time & money their grandparents had in the 50’s.

The truth is that couples are looking for celebrations that fit their lifestyle & budget. Smaller events where the couple need not start from scratch save couples thousands of dollars and dozens of hours that they don’t have. The Vow Exchange offers a venue that requires no setup or decorating on the couple’s part. Designed for today’s couples (and with a modern sense of style), my venues spare couples the need to find, purchase, rent, set up, take down, store or otherwise repurpose hundreds of dollars worth of wedding decorations. Furthermore, with the venue already pre-designed, couples only need to rent it for a couple of hours to host their celebration. This results in major savings compared to traditional venues that require a full day 10-12 hour rental.

Ultimately, I believe it is important for families to celebrate their beginning. Whether it’s a young couple just starting out, or a couple who already has children, the wedding day is the official beginning of that family. Being adopted myself, the “gotcha day” is like a wedding day. It’s the day my parents promised they would be mine forever. Weddings shouldn’t put families in a bad way. They should be relaxed & beautiful days focused on the love and not all the preparations & expense. I am proud The Vow Exchange gives all Kansas City couples access to a stress-free beautiful celebration no matter what their budget or circumstance is. Everyone deserves a special place to celebrate their “gotcha” day.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
For me, it was my previous education & work experience. First and foremost, my BFA from KCAI was instrumental in my development as an artist. It was the out-of-the-box thinking taught at KCAI that trained my brain to identify unique problems and use design to solve them. Second, almost ten years of designing products for Hallmark Cards taught me the value of designing solutions for a diverse audience. When I design a space or decor collection, I think of the various types of folks who will find it appealing. Having worked on multiple product lines (including Sincerementé), I think of solutions for a broad spectrum of people.

Pricing:

  • $650-$850 – The price for a 2 hour rental of our chapel for a wedding ceremony
  • $1200-$1700 – The price for a 4.5 hour rental of our chapel for a ceremony & reception
  • $499 – The price for a 30 minute rental and no frills wedding ceremony in our venue

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Danielle Mousley Maggie Gulling Lyndsey Baldwin

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