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Podcast for Stoked Weddings

Podcast Summary

Mackenzie Stokx, the owner and creative mind behind Stoked Weddings, joined Shawn Grindle on another episode of Eventful Endeavors. Mackenzie shared her journey into wedding planning, which began when she planned her own wedding and realized she had a talent for it. After graduating and getting engaged, Mackenzie decided to dive into wedding planning full-time.

Mackenzie got married in April 2021 and launched her business just a few months after that. She started her business at the tail end of the COVID pandemic, avoiding much of the chaos that many planners faced. While Mackenzie primarily serves the Dallas area, she is open to traveling for weddings wherever someone is willing to pay her.

Stoked Weddings offers a range of packages, including full planning, partial planning, and coordination. Full planning is Mackenzie’s favorite, as it allows her the most creative freedom and satisfaction in her job. Partial planning starts about six months before the wedding, offering a more hands-off approach while still providing guidance and support. The coordination package focuses on event management and execution, starting about two months before the wedding.

In the future, Mackenzie hopes to focus more on full planning and gradually phase out coordination. She finds full planning more enjoyable as it involves more creativity and less logistical tasks. With two and a half years of experience in the wedding industry, Mackenzie is dedicated to making each couple’s wedding day truly special.

If you’re looking for a wedding planner who is passionate, creative, and attentive to detail, check out Stoked Weddings. Mackenzie Stokx will go above and beyond to create the wedding of your dreams.

This interview was provided by Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos.

Podcast Transcript

Shawn Grindle (00:25)
All right, we are back with another episode of Eventful Endeavors. Today we are going, we’ve done a lot of stuff recently on the west coast of the country, but now we’re moving to another state. We’re going to Texas to talk about some weddings there. Today we have Mackenzie Stokes, the owner and creative mind behind Stoked Weddings. First of all, thank you for being here.

Mackenzie Stokx (00:46)
Of course, I’m excited.

Shawn Grindle (00:49)
So we always kind of get started the same way. So talk to me about your journey, like how you ended up getting into wedding planning, what started that, where did it come from?

Mackenzie Stokx (01:00)
Yeah, so I always say it’s kind of your basic wedding planning origin story, honestly. I planned my own wedding and I was like, hey, I’m really not too bad at this. So I decided to kind of dive into it. It was nothing, it was never on my radar, never anything I thought that I would do, but I graduated and.

Decided that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life So I got engaged right after graduation like literally two days after graduation and I was supposed to be studying to get my teaching certification and That didn’t happen. I got so wrapped up in wedding planning and so one thing led to another and This is where I am now

Shawn Grindle (01:44)
So now you started doing it for other people. So when was all that? When did you get married yourself?

Mackenzie Stokx (01:47)
Yes, exactly.

I got married in April, 2021. And so I launched my business literally like, I’m going to say two or three months after that, I kind of just full steam ahead. So I’ve been in it for about two and a half years.

Shawn Grindle (01:55)

Great, great.

That’s interesting, because we talked about a lot of people who kind of started pre -COVID and then went through the whole COVID mayhem. So it’s interesting. So you kind of started at the tail end of that, like, you know, kind of like, yeah, you didn’t have to actually go through the mayhem of doing the whole COVID thing. So now, do you mostly just do weddings around the Dallas area? Or you kind of, will you take on anything? Is it travel -based? I where are you kind of at?

Mackenzie Stokx (02:13)

Yeah, I got in at a very good time.

No. No.

I pretty much tell people that wherever someone’s willing to pay me to go, I’ll do it. I do. I haven’t had any out of state weddings yet. I’ve done a couple down in Austin and those are all really fun. Something new, everything like that. But I will literally go anywhere.

Shawn Grindle (02:40)
Yes, sir.

Cool, so do you do mostly like full planning with people or is that kind of partial planning, a little bit of both? Just tell me a little bit about kind of your business, what you mostly offer.

Mackenzie Stokx (03:03)
Yeah, so it’s pretty split. I do my three main packages are of course, full planning start to finish. That’s obviously my favorite. I have the most, you know, creative freedom. I get to really do my job when I have those kinds of clients, but I also do partial planning that kind of starts like six months out. So it’s a little bit more hands off. I still

Shawn Grindle (03:13)

Mackenzie Stokx (03:23)
help, you know, along the way, but they have a bulk done at that point. And then I do coordination as well. So.

kind of like an event management, it starts like two months out.

Shawn Grindle (03:35)
Yeah, something a little bit closer, just mostly like executing the thing, making sure it goes off, goes off well. And you like doing the full planning more, is that more, that’s more fun for you.

Mackenzie Stokx (03:38)
Yes. Yes.

My goal in the next couple years is really to like kind of weed out coordination and just kind of focus on full planning. It’s definitely a lot more, it’s more fun, I feel like on my part because coordination is more just like logistics, like finalizations, that kind of stuff.

Shawn Grindle (03:51)

Sure. Well, let me ask you this because you just recently got married and you also are just recently launched this business a years back. So like, what’s your number one piece of advice for couples that are newly engaged? Like just starting down this road, what would you say like number one rule do this first or like, here’s my piece of advice.

Mackenzie Stokx (04:26)
Oh yeah, when it comes to a brand new engaged couple, one, I tell people to just like give themselves a couple weeks. Don’t start any wedding planning. Don’t talk to people about weddings. Don’t do anything. Just like enjoy being engaged. I feel like a lot of people jump into it so quickly and they kind of lose the whole enjoyment of actually being engaged to the love of your life. So that’s first and foremost. Definitely take a, take a second.

Shawn Grindle (04:52)

Mackenzie Stokx (04:55)
But once you really dive into wedding planning, I tell people, number one, first thing you have to do is establish your budget and establish your guest count. Those are the two biggest things. Don’t book a venue. Don’t even book a wedding planner half the time until you kind of really have an idea of those two things, because that’s going to determine really every other aspect of your wedding.

Shawn Grindle (05:18)
That comes up all the time when I talk to people. This is one question I always kind of get, I’m intrigued by with budget because when I got married, I was like, this is my budget. My budget for my wedding is $10 ,000. And then quickly learned that, okay, that’s not realistic at all. So when you say get your budget, is that where you’d say consult somebody who knows what they’re talking about so we can tell you what a realistic budget is?

Mackenzie Stokx (05:29)
Mm -hmm.

Yeah, honestly, that’s the hardest part I feel like with couples is that of course you have a number in mind that you’re like, yeah, I could spend this on a wedding or my parents could spend this on a wedding like, and that feels comfortable. And then you get into things and realize, wow, I can book like my venue and maybe some snacks for that budget. You know what I mean? So it’s definitely, no, literally. And so.

Shawn Grindle (05:50)

I’m going to.

Yeah, everybody gets one potato chip.

Mackenzie Stokx (06:15)
It’s definitely one of those things that I have. I do have a lot of couples that come to me when they want full service planning and

they don’t really have a budget idea in mind. They might say, hey, this is how much we’re kind of looking to spend. And then I go ahead and we talk through everything that they’re kind of wanting. And then I tell them kind of, okay, this is reasonable or you might need to have some flexibility or, you know, make some compromises here.

Shawn Grindle (06:42)

Mackenzie Stokx (06:43)
that kind of thing. So it’s definitely, I always recommend talking to somebody, at least in the wedding industry, preferably a wedding planner that has a much better idea of like industry averages and market value and all that kind of stuff.

Shawn Grindle (06:57)
Yeah, and I mean, because realistically, you know, and what I’ve learned too, is like, you can do it for any kind of price. It’s just you can’t have a vision and then have a you know what I mean? You can’t be like, Oh, I only want to spend this but I want to do all this crazy stuff. Then it’s like, no, no, no, you can’t do that. Yeah. Speaking of kind of, speaking of kind of like crazy stuff. So you know, I’ve noticed, you know, weddings recently, especially in like the last five years, like there’s been a lot of like,

Mackenzie Stokx (07:03)
Oh yeah.

Yeah. Yeah, 100%.

Shawn Grindle (07:25)
And maybe it’s because of TikTok, Instagram, whatever it might be, this kind of uptick in like really unique and different things. So like, what are you seeing? Like, what are some of the new trends that are going on? Like nowadays? Like, what do you see in, I mean, especially in Texas, because I don’t do a lot of weddings out there. So I’m curious, like, it might be different than like where I’m at, you know?

Mackenzie Stokx (07:47)
Yeah, there are a lot of a lot of wedding trends right now. I feel like TikTok is everybody’s worst enemy because people you can just go through the rabbit hole when it comes to ideas and you’re like, oh, I never knew I needed to have this, you know, 10 layer champagne tower, but now I need it. You know what I mean? Well, it’s definitely one of those things that I think some trends are great and I love them a lot. And then there are some that I’m just kind of like,

Shawn Grindle (07:57)


Mackenzie Stokx (08:17)
Unless that’s really important to you, you really don’t need it. But I have seen a couple really fun things that people do. I always, my favorite is when clients add something really unique that people just haven’t seen before. I think it’s really fun. I actually just had a wedding back in October and we decided to rent a six -hole mini golf course for cocktail hour. So, so fun. Guests could just play mini golf. It was there throughout the evening, all that kind of stuff. And

Shawn Grindle (08:39)

Mackenzie Stokx (08:46)
Little fun things like that are memorable for people and so I think any kind of interactive, you know, activity, food station, you know, any kind of like fun late night snack ideas, people just go crazy for and I’m here for all of those. I think they’re so fun.

Shawn Grindle (09:02)
Yeah. Yeah, I saw a mini -golf thing and I did a corporate event recently and it was, you know, it was the same kind of thing they had at like their cocksour, but nobody played. I was kind of upset. I was like, why is nobody playing this? I want them to play, you know? But yeah, I’ve seen that kind of thing too. Aside from that, like while we’re at it, like, you know, is there anything else that you’ve seen

Mackenzie Stokx (09:07)

Oh, what a bummer.


Shawn Grindle (09:23)
that’s just super unique other than the golf thing? Like any kind of event, cause I will get into it. I know you do more than just weddings, but is there like, you know,

anything else off the top of your head that you’re like, that was super really, really cool that I’ve never seen before.

Mackenzie Stokx (09:36)
Hmm, that’s a really good question. I feel like a lot of the times there’s little new aspects that I’m seeing with weddings all the time. I feel like one of the biggest cool things is really like interactive food stations for people. I feel like most of the time cocktail hour, what you kind of think of is like past hors d ‘oeuvres, right? Somebody walking around with a tray.

Shawn Grindle (09:54)

Mackenzie Stokx (10:00)
which is great, but things that are really fun, I just saw one recently and charcuterie is such a big thing right now. Like everybody wants charcuterie boards or everybody wants like charcuterie cups, things like that. But there’s so much waste that comes along with having a big spread, right? Like guests are picking at it. It’s kind of a little gross when you really, really think about it. And so there was this…

Shawn Grindle (10:24)
Sure, yeah.

Mackenzie Stokx (10:27)
this thing I just saw and I was like, this is a great idea. And it was like a little cart and they would make individual charcuterie boards. So you could actually pick the little things that you wanted and they’d make your little board right there and you’d have it to walk around with and eat off of and all that kind of stuff. And I feel like fun, yeah, fun little unique things like that that are just like a little different. I feel like ads are really fun aspect to weddings, especially if something like guest entertainment is

Shawn Grindle (10:45)
That’s kind of cool.

Mackenzie Stokx (10:57)
you know, really important to you. But something like that’s really fun. I also think this isn’t necessarily unique, but I’m seeing it so much lately and I love it so much. It’s outfit changes. So having your, yeah, having your wedding dress or whatever it may be, and then changing into like a full glam sparkly jumpsuit or something like that. Like just wait a moment. I love those. And I think that’s definitely a fun thing.

Shawn Grindle (11:00)



Yeah, I’ve been seeing a lot of that too. A lot of like separate, especially shoe changes. I’ve seen like seven different types of shoes come out throughout the night. As well as full outfits. Yeah. So, cause you, so let’s talk, could backtrack a little bit because I know I had mentioned that you also do not just weddings, right? You do pretty much anything like corporate stuff, parties, birthday parties, whatever.

Mackenzie Stokx (11:33)
Oh yeah.

That’s a big one. Yeah, definitely.

Yeah. I’ll do corporate events. I’ll do birthday parties. I’ll do baby showers, any kind of events. I love kind of spreading it out and it keeps it interesting.

Shawn Grindle (11:59)

Are they a little bit, are weddings probably the more complex of all the events?

Mackenzie Stokx (12:09)
Hmm, honestly, it kind of depends. Really go either way. I feel like for me, at least at this point, weddings kind of have a pretty standard formula. You know, I know that that kind of takes away some of like the excitement of planning a wedding, but we kind of go through the same process for the most part with each client. And so of course, there’s going to be some fun.

Shawn Grindle (12:13)

Oh yeah.

Mackenzie Stokx (12:35)
creative aspects of it and everything like that. But at the end of the day, it really is kind of the client’s decision what they want. And so it keeps it pretty easy because you just kind of are receptive to what they’re saying. But when you get like a corporate event or you get a big awesome birthday party with, you know, 200 people and it’s going to be crazy. A lot of times the client, especially corporate, they don’t care at all. They’re like, you plan this, here’s the money, go for it. Like,

Shawn Grindle (12:57)
Mm -hmm.

Mackenzie Stokx (13:04)
have fun with it. And so with that, it can be a little bit more complex because you’re really just, you’re not working off of somebody really. It’s just like kind of on you and potentially your team to kind of figure out that kind of stuff. So logistically, sometimes it can get, there can be a lot more layers

Shawn Grindle (13:05)

Mackenzie Stokx (13:23)
to things like that.

Shawn Grindle (13:27)
Yeah, but you also get a little bit more creative freedom there where it’s like, here, just take this money and go throw a party.

Mackenzie Stokx (13:29)

It’s so funny. Yeah, for sure.

Shawn Grindle (13:34)
Yeah. And that’s where I mean, but that’s also like, I mean, with all kinds of events that I have noticed, like even in the corporate world and the wedding world, like what we were talking about, like, it does seem like everybody’s leaning towards this, like, experience idea. Like we want everybody to be like, like something just unique, like you’re doing, like you’re involved in some way. Like, you know what I mean? Like everything’s just really unique nowadays with that kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah.

Mackenzie Stokx (13:48)
Oh yeah.

Thank you.

Yeah, yeah, it’s so fun. I love those kinds of things. It makes it less like cookie cutter, right? It gives it a little bit more pizzazz to it. And those are my favorite kinds of events.

Shawn Grindle (14:08)


Yeah, my wedding, I had a donkey bringing beer to people. So, yeah, it was like the beer borough was there and I was just like, you know, I’m gonna do this. It’s gonna be awesome. And people still talk about it. I was like, yeah. So talking about moving away from like kind of the fun, unique stuff. This is my favorite question I ask people, because I’ve heard some wild stories. What’s the big like for you, like the big M?

Mackenzie Stokx (14:17)
Oh, we love the baby ones here. Yeah, those are…

Yeah, yeah, those are so fun. Yeah, those are great.


Shawn Grindle (14:43)
let’s keep it at weddings maybe, but like the big no -no, like something people just should not do, something that’s always cringy, or like, oh please don’t tell me this couple wants to do this, because it never works and it’s always uncomfortable.

Mackenzie Stokx (14:50)

Oh yeah. Um, for me, that would be open mic, letting, like if it’s toast or speeches or something, and they just like, let people come up and talk. It’s kind of gotten to the point now where if a client says, Oh, I kind of want to do this. I, I say it’s a hard no. I’m like, I’m like, we can’t, I promise you save that. If you want to do something like that and do that at the rehearsal dinner.

Shawn Grindle (15:02)

Mm -hmm.


Mackenzie Stokx (15:22)
Let people go crazy at the work dinner, say whatever they need to say, all that kind of stuff, but no. Wedding day, two, maybe three or four people max, and make sure that they know that they’re giving a toast, and under five minutes each.

Shawn Grindle (15:24)

Yeah, as the person who usually has to MC that and have the microphone and do this, I’ve only done it once and I swore I would never do it again. It was a disaster. I told a bride once, yeah, I told a bride once, I said, I want you to really think. I want you to think about everybody who’s coming, everybody, not just the ones you’re really close with, all the people you kinda know. Think about that for a sec and then think about how they’ll be liquored up. And Mike, just wanna say a quick thing.

Mackenzie Stokx (15:44)
Yeah, yeah. Mm -hmm. No. It’s a match.

Mm -hmm. Yeah. Yeah.

Oh yeah!

Shawn Grindle (16:10)
It’s not gonna be comfortable. It’s not gonna be good. You know? Yeah.

Mackenzie Stokx (16:13)
No. Yeah, and it’s like a domino effect. Like once one person gets up there, everybody’s like, okay, maybe I can say something. And it goes, go on. I will never. I just can’t do it.

Shawn Grindle (16:22)

aside from like, you know, that, which I agree with that. I think that’s a horrible idea. Nobody should ever do it. But what’s, you know, at any kind of event, what’s the like craziest thing you’ve ever seen go down? Like an actual story of somebody like, it could be related to them. It could be something completely different where like something went wrong. And even if the bride never knew about it, like something went wrong and it was just a disaster.

Mackenzie Stokx (16:34)

Oh man.

I’m sorry.

Man well thankfully I think I’ve kind of lucked out on that front where I haven’t any kind of like complete disaster happened or anything like that, but I would say a Moment where I was in kind of full panic mode was It was like 5 a .m. The day of a wedding and I woke up normally on wedding days I get up really early because I’m you know kind of stressed and a little anxious for the day

Shawn Grindle (16:58)



Mackenzie Stokx (17:23)
So naturally, I just wake up pretty early. And thank God I woke up early this day because I had gotten an email at like, I want to say two or three in the morning from the officiant. And he was pretty much just like, I have COVID, I can’t come, sorry. And I was like, what do you mean?

Shawn Grindle (17:42)
Not like, hey, I know somebody who can do this. I will help you. Like.

Mackenzie Stokx (17:45)
Yeah, he gave me no referrals, no suggestions, anything like that. And might I add, this was like a peak wedding date too. So it was an October, Saturday. So I am like full panic mode. I don’t want to tell the bride. Like I’m like, I need to figure this out before she even finds out. So for like the next four or five hours from like literally 5 a .m. to maybe 9 a .m.

Shawn Grindle (17:59)

Mackenzie Stokx (18:15)
I was calling, I was DMing, I was texting, emailing, like all these people, all this stuff like that. And thankfully, one of my now favorite,

favorite companies that I use for officiants, because he really came in clutch. So I found an officiant before the bride had even woken up that day. So that was more of like a could have been a disaster.

Shawn Grindle (18:29)
They saved your life. They saved the day.

Mackenzie Stokx (18:42)
that kind of thing. But thankfully, besides that kind of stuff, I haven’t had anything too crazy. But yeah. Oh, no, exactly. That’s what I’ve got.

Shawn Grindle (18:51)
But that’s why you get a planner, because you won’t know. If you don’t have one, you’re getting that call at five in the morning as the bride, and that’s the worst way to start out what should be the best day of your life.

Mackenzie Stokx (19:04)
Oh, yeah, 100%. 100%. Oh, actually, now that I’m thinking of something, one thing did actually happen. Yes, and it was also about an officiant. And he showed up. I’m not even kidding. I seriously almost had a heart attack. Thankfully, the bride was, she didn’t care. She was so relaxed. She was like, I don’t care if we start on time, I don’t care if this happens, but she, the officiant showed up an hour late.

Shawn Grindle (19:06)


You got one?

Okay, sure.


Mackenzie Stokx (19:34)
an hour late. He was not dressed and ready to go. He like strolls in really casually. And this is like a family friend, I think the situation was so like, they didn’t even give me his contact information, which this was back when I kind of first started. So now I know I have the contact information, email and phone number, name, every single person that’s involved, but

Shawn Grindle (19:35)



Mackenzie Stokx (20:00)
Nobody could get a hold of him. Nothing like that. He shows up an hour late, not dressed, just casually like walks in. And I’m like, are you the officiant? And he’s like, yep. And I’m like, oh my God, go get dressed right now. Like you’re killing me. This is absolutely ridiculous. Yeah, he didn’t care. He was just like, oh, it was like, it was like her uncle or something like that. And he was like, oh, she’ll be fine. And I’m like, we have people literally waiting in the chapel.

Shawn Grindle (20:16)
Did he know he was late? He didn’t know he was

Mackenzie Stokx (20:29)
for like the past hour, people are going, like getting antsy, people are like, what’s going on? Yeah, that was, that one, that one was pretty bad. That one was pretty bad.

Shawn Grindle (20:39)
Not great luck with the fishing. Yeah.

Mackenzie Stokx (20:41)
No, no. I did not at first. I did not have very good luck with the fishians. So it happens. Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Shawn Grindle (20:48)
Yeah, but then you get your people, right? And now you have your people that you trust. And it’s like, I know these people are going to show up on time. Yeah. So you mentioned that like, you know, you guys see a lot of beer burros and stuff out in Texas, right? Is that what you mentioned? So, um, it’s interesting because I thought like, you know, our company, we knew when and don’t in the country and I specialize in Southern California and it’s big out here. Um, I didn’t, I didn’t really know if it was popular anywhere else. Yeah.

Mackenzie Stokx (21:02)
Yeah, I probably should have that.

Yeah, really.

Shawn Grindle (21:18)
Is there anything else that you think like, oh, like Texas does this a lot or like, but like I don’t see it a lot of other places just because I’m curious. If you can’t think of anything, it’s fine. But I, you know, I don’t know. Like there’s, you know, I feel like Texas is such a unique state. It’s a unique state. So I feel like there might be something that’s like, you know, I mean, do you, is there a lot of barbecue catering? I mean, something that’s like just specific to like Texas.

Mackenzie Stokx (21:22)
Thank you.

That’s pretty interesting. Yeah.

That’s the only thing I could think of was there are a lot of people that love barbecue. That’s a big one. But besides that, yeah, barbecue a lot of the times. But I feel like besides that,

Shawn Grindle (21:45)

Mm. Probably get a lot of that.

A lot of big family style meals.

Mackenzie Stokx (21:59)
Oh yeah, I’ve been having, I’ve been having a lot of family style meals actually lately for weddings and I think they’re so fun. I really, really like them. I hadn’t really had clients with them before, but they’re great and people really like it. So.

Shawn Grindle (22:08)
Oh yeah.

Yeah, I think, you know, I just went to a wedding. I don’t do a lot of weddings that have family style, but I just went to one. My friend got married to his family style and I was like, this is awesome. It was quick. Number one, because I, as you probably know, like for me, like almost every wedding as the guy who’s DJing, like the one thing that I always tell people, if we get delayed, it’s usually cause of dinner. Like it’s like, we can get delayed if it’s like, you know, I see people’s timelines sometimes and they’re trying to get 200 people through a buffet in 35 minutes. And I’m like, that’s just not realistic.

Mackenzie Stokx (22:21)
Mm -hmm. Yeah. Mm -hmm. Yes.

Yeah. Yeah.

Oh, yeah. No, it never happened. No.

Shawn Grindle (22:45)
You know, it’s not gonna happen, but I love the fam. Yeah, the family style is just like, drop it on the plates, everybody eat, and we’re good, you know? Yeah, yeah. I think more people should do that. So you heard it here, family style dinners are awesome, you know? Good way to do it.

Mackenzie Stokx (22:51)
Yeah, yeah, logistically, I love it. For sure.

Yes, yes.

Shawn Grindle (23:07)
So, yeah, so tell me anything else. I mean, anything else about your service? So do you do like, you know, how many events can you take on in a given year? Like, are you out there working every weekend? Do you have people on your team that help you out? Like, is it just you like doing it all? Like, you know, tell me a little

bit more about the, about your company.

Mackenzie Stokx (23:25)
Yeah, so I definitely really lean into the quality over quantity when it comes to events. I’ll take a max of three events a month. I have realized I’ve had a couple months where peak wedding season, I can’t turn them down, that kind of thing, and I regret it after. I feel like you’re dying a little bit at the end of those months, but max I’ll take.

Shawn Grindle (23:39)

Mackenzie Stokx (23:56)
20 -24 weddings Events I’m pretty flexible. I’ll just kind of events to me even though there can be a lot that goes into them It doesn’t really take me very long to plan them necessarily just because I do have so much creative freedom so I’m not having to like Confer with somebody else about certain things. So I’m pretty flexible with how many events I take I think this year I have in all I think I have like 20 I Want to say like 26?

Ish events and weddings right now and that’s pretty that’s pretty comfortable for me I do have girls on my team, but I am the only planner as of right now

Shawn Grindle (24:28)

Well, so you’re doing, yeah, I mean, you’re doing a lot of it. I like that. That’s fun. So, you know, before we kind of wrap everything up, I mean, is there anything else you kind of want to mention? Anything else, any other pieces of advice, anything else you think is really important that you kind of want to, you know, talk about, let people know, you know, there’s so much that goes into these kinds of events. And it’s hard to cover everything, especially in like, you know, 20, 30 minute conversation. But is there anything that you’re really passionate about that you really are like?

Mackenzie Stokx (24:41)
Yes. Yes.


Shawn Grindle (25:08)
You know, just anything you want to mention.

Mackenzie Stokx (25:11)
Yeah, actually, I feel like it’s really important. I know that I said that it’s really important to establish budget and guest count at the very beginning, right? But I kind of want to touch on guest

count a little bit. And I think I really want people to realize that larger guest counts are.

Shawn Grindle (25:26)

Mackenzie Stokx (25:36)
are not ideal, you are gonna, it’s gonna affect everything, right? An extra person is gonna be an extra meal, more drinks, another centerpiece, another table, another place setting, you another linen, whatever it may be. And so when it comes to your budget, you know, if you have a $80 ,000 budget, it’s gonna be…

Shawn Grindle (25:47)
Mm -hmm.

Mackenzie Stokx (26:02)
a completely different wedding if you’re inviting 100 people versus 250, right? It’s gonna feel completely different. You’re gonna get a completely different wedding. And I think it’s important to realize that you don’t have to invite every single person that you’ve ever met. It’s, at the end of the day, I tell people that if you wouldn’t be okay spending five minutes on your wedding day talking to them, then you probably shouldn’t invite them to your wedding.

Shawn Grindle (26:31)
Yeah, I love that you said that actually. And I haven’t really had that conversation with anybody yet on this podcast. But I, and I’ve seen this a lot and you know, I even struggled with it when I planned mine, but we did like, we did two things. We said no kids, no plus ones. I was like, I don’t need, I don’t need your boyfriend or girlfriend. I’ve never met them. I don’t want to meet people on my wedding day. I don’t want to, I’m sorry. Like I’m not going to pay for the stranger to eat. I, you know,

Mackenzie Stokx (26:46)
That’ll do it. That’s good though. Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah.


Shawn Grindle (26:59)
If it’s your husband, if it’s your husband or wife, fine, I know them then, you know what I mean? Like it’s usually fine, but like, you know, even my sister, like I didn’t, I told her, I’m like, no, you’re not bringing your boyfriend. I don’t even know the guy. You just started dating. Come have fun. You don’t need to bring him. Like, no.

Mackenzie Stokx (27:03)
Yeah. No, completely.

Yeah. No, exactly. And I, one of the things that I tell people to, to kind of, you know, start to wean down your guest list is another really good question to ask yourself is one, have I talked to this person in the last five years? And two, would I invite this person over to my house for dinner? Because that’s essentially what you’re doing. You’re planning a party and you’re meeting them and providing them with drinks and entertainment.

Shawn Grindle (27:32)


Mackenzie Stokx (27:42)
If you wouldn’t have that person over on a Friday night, then why would you invite them to the most important day of your life? You know what I mean? Yeah.

Shawn Grindle (27:48)
Right. And if you have less people, that budget can stretch farther. You can make it more special for those people that are there, as opposed to being like, oh man, we have all these mouths to feed and the bar package is going to go up because we have so many guests. You know, now it’s just, it’s too chaotic. So I condone it.

Mackenzie Stokx (28:05)
No, completely. Yeah. Yeah.

Shawn Grindle (28:08)
Can I ask you this? Because this is something I’ve also, it kind of goes along the same thing, but I’m genuinely curious how you’d approach this because, you know, a lot of times I find brides and grooms specifically are inviting people under the pressure

of their parents. Especially if mom or dad aren’t paying for portions of the wedding. And what I, you know, I can speak for what I did, which was, you know, me and my wife, my now wife, when we,

Mackenzie Stokx (28:25)
Mm -hmm.

Yeah. Yeah.

Shawn Grindle (28:38)
We did take money from a parent, but we did it and we said, we will take this, but we want it to be completely our wedding. We don’t want any, any say in it. You know what I mean? So if you’re okay with that, then we’ll take this. If you’re not, then please keep it. You know what I mean? Like, so I guess my question then is like, how, how broach, how would you broach that kind of subject or what would you recommend? Because I do think I see a lot of weddings where I can tell like,

Mackenzie Stokx (28:41)
Mm -hmm.


Oh yeah.

Mm -hmm.

Shawn Grindle (29:08)
mom or dad has just put so much say into this. And you can tell the bride or groom doesn’t even want that, you know?

Mackenzie Stokx (29:17)
Yeah, oh yeah. Oh and trust me, I would say probably 50 % of my weddings deal with this. It’s incredibly common because, you know, a good majority of the time if you’re between the ages of, you know, 20 and 27, maybe under 30, that kind of thing, your parents, a lot of the times, I mean, it’s…

a lot of tradition, especially I feel like I don’t know how it is everywhere else, but big time Texas, most of the time the parents are paying. And I think that it’s a really common issue that people deal with because, you know, the parents a lot of times kind of are trying to live through their kids a little bit, you know, like they’re like, Oh, I need to invite my, you know, 20 tennis friends because I can’t not.

Shawn Grindle (30:03)
Mm -hmm.


Mackenzie Stokx (30:12)
them, you know, that kind of thing. And when, when I got married, I love my parents to death and I appreciate them more than, you know, for paying for my wedding. But that was a big thing is that they gave me a budget and you know, I’m saying this wedding accordingly, but they add an extra 50 people of all their friends. You know, that completely changes how I allocate that budget. And it’s, it kind of.

Shawn Grindle (30:38)

Mackenzie Stokx (30:42)
falls onto me a lot of the times to talk with the parents and kind of remind them that this wedding day isn’t about them, right? It’s gonna be…

And so it’s definitely one of those things where a lot of the times I kind of chime in, the bride or the groom will come to me and they’ll be like, Hey, like this is an issue and I don’t really know how to handle it. And a lot of the times I kind of have to be the bad guy and talk with the parents. You want to be like, Hey, like this is why I think you shouldn’t invite your 30 other friends, that kind of thing. And.

Shawn Grindle (30:59)

Mackenzie Stokx (31:22)
Sadly, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes parents just don’t, they don’t really care. They’re like, well, they can’t afford this wedding without us. So it is what it is. But a lot of times parents just kind of need to be sat down and kind of reminded of why they’re even paying for this wedding in the first place. And that at the end of the day, they just want their kids to be happy, right? So.

Shawn Grindle (31:36)

Mackenzie Stokx (31:46)
We’re kind of reminded that what they’re doing is causing their kids stress and kind of taking away from the wedding that they want. A lot of the times parents will kind of take a step back and realize that they should kind of take a step back in that planning aspect too.

Shawn Grindle (31:49)


Yeah, it’s just having that conversation open, you know, and talking to them because that’s, I mean, that’s why I did it upfront because I knew I was like, I don’t want this to be a thing. You know, I don’t want your, it’s not your party. I don’t want your friends there that I kind of know, you It’s not what I want to do.

Mackenzie Stokx (32:05)


Yes. No. Establishing it from the beginning is so good.

Shawn Grindle (32:26)
Yeah. So, I mean, I know it’s also, you know, everybody’s in a different situation, different financial situations, different parents, different people, different personalities. So it’s not always going to work, but I do think it’s worth at least having that conversation early in the process. If you’re a bride and groom, you know, so that down the road, you can be like, remember we talked about this, you know, uh, we already said we weren’t going to do this. So, so I’m glad you brought that up because that is something, uh,

Mackenzie Stokx (32:32)

Yes, absolutely.

Like, you have this conversation. Yeah.


Shawn Grindle (32:55)
you know,

both those things, your desk count and how that all kind of goes down is, that’s important. And it’s a big thing that people need to, you know, look at when they’re planning this stuff, especially early in the process. So, yeah, anything else you want to mention? I mean, before we wrap it all up here, I think we covered a lot of fun stuff. Obviously, like I said, there’s a million things that go into this, but…

Mackenzie Stokx (33:10)
I think…

Shawn Grindle (33:18)
We will obviously.

Mackenzie Stokx (33:20)
Well, I was just gonna say, I think we covered it. I could talk for hours, so it’s probably good to get me quiet.

Shawn Grindle (33:22)
Go ahead, go ahead.

Mackenzie Stokx (33:26)

Shawn Grindle (33:27)

Yeah. No, you’re good. And that’s the thing is, it’s, you when you do do it so much, you’re passionate about it, you know how it works. But you know, the best way, you know, we’ll link to all of your stuff, your socials and all that stuff, so people know where to find you. Should they want to do this? But yeah, the biggest we always come back to a big piece of advice, get yourself a planner that knows what they’re doing. So, you know, don’t, don’t do it alone, because it’s like, you just it won’t, it won’t go well. It won’t go well.

Mackenzie Stokx (33:39)



Shawn Grindle (33:59)
Yeah. So anyway, thank you so much for doing this. And I hope you have a great rest of your day and we’ll talk again soon. All right.

Mackenzie Stokx (34:03)
Okay, sounds good. Thanks for having me.


Shawn Grindle (34:09)
Thank you. Thanks, Mackenzie.

Listen to the Podcast About Stoked Weddings

This interview was made possible by Felix & Fingers Dueling Pianos

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