The room changes when Chase Nobis enters. Suddenly—people gather around him to hear what he has to say. But behind his—what many would call—energetic “rock star persona” and “boyish good looks”—lies a brilliant entrepreneur with the business of weddings on his mind.
Since 2009, Chase Nobis has been the stalwart leader of the Lansing Bridal Association (LBA), which produces the most successful bridal shows in Mid-Michigan. Thousands of people have no problem showing up—to see the world of weddings at its finest. Nobis greets brides and grooms personally as he “works HIS room.” He could very well be likened to a “maestro” waving the wand to his orchestra of wedding vendors; fine tuning their precise placement; and coordinating timing to show off their best harmoniously. He allows other business vendors such as realtors and legal consultants (in their blog) to showcase as well—all for the benefit of brides and their families.
To make things work in LBA, Chase Nobis surrounds himself with a trusted—tight inner circle made up of a board of directors, an executive assistant, interns and volunteers. Interns are screened and carefully chosen to work on many day-to-day tasks. On any given day, he may show up in shorts and change into a suit or tuxedo—depending on what needs to get done. He’s a man of many talents and versatility.
I sat down with Mr. Nobis to go more in depth about what he does:
Why did you focus on the bridal industry?
“I recognized a need for businesses in the wedding industry to reach brides. We started the West Michigan Bridal Association back in 2004 just for that reason. You see, I couldn’t get into bridal shows to get enough leads and make connections and sales. So we started that as a non-profit 501c3 and put on bridal shows to connect wedding vendors with the multitude of brides in West Michigan.
And the same thing was true in Lansing—there was a need—because no one else had produced a bridal show in the fall that went anywhere. They were very unsuccessful in the past and I knew they were possible; it just needed someone to take the “bull by the horns” and run with it. That’s when I put together a great a group of wedding leaders to help get it started because it’s a team effort. It’s not me—it’s not one person—it’s a team effort. But my company benefits from this by being in the bridal show just like all of the other vendors. So that’s what I get out of it.”
What is your favorite part of the job (the LBA)?
“I love the day of the bridal show. Seeing brides excited and giddy about meeting all of the potential vendors and the excitement of their wedding; you can see it in their eyes and all the fun they’re having. One of my other favorite parts is having the interns on staff with us. Man, they are dynamic, they are fun, they are educated and are educating me—we couldn’t do it without them. I learn so much about the business. They are leading the way in social media marketing and better ways to communicate with our target demographic—which is 26 year old women.”
If you could structure anything any differently, what would you do; and how would you do it?
“I think I’d like to do more bridal shows throughout the year, but that takes time to build.”
Is there anything that has gone wrong?
“Oh yeah, there’s politics involved in this business. For example, if someone doesn’t like their booth placement, there can get some sore feelings. That’s why we have a board of directors; so it’s not just a dictatorship where I say this is how things are going to be. There are checks and balances, and we have leaders in the industry to make sure everything is fair for all vendors. It doesn’t mean a particular vendor isn’t going to be unhappy with our decisions; but we know and we can trust that the decisions we make as a board are benefiting all of the association—and not just one person. That’s important.”
What is your educational background?
“I have a degree in journalism from Michigan State University. I started out with an emphasis in broadcasting as I wanted to be a news anchor. I started out as a DJ right out of college, for the company I eventually bought. Who knew I would buy Complete weddings + events and then 25 years later— I’m still running that wedding company. Complete weddings + events has become one of the largest wedding companies in the United States.
I’m really not using my journalism degree much because there are people that are on our staff that are far better than I. But it really got me into the wedding industry and I really appreciate having that educational background–even though it’s not directly suited to what I’m doing now. Life experience has gotten me where I am though.”
How do you balance family time, the Bridal Association and other business ventures?
“I think one of the most important things about success is the people you surround yourself with. And finding good people that have a common value, business ethic, and common goals is critically important. The LBA has a board of directors and interns that are all striving to do just that. Frankly, like I said, it’s not one person; it’s all of us. Even the other members make the LBA successful—so it’s not all on my shoulders at all.
And then, in my full-time business as well, Complete Weddings + Events; I have great staff. Each department has it’s own manager, so the head of that department is the person that I work with. I have an operations manager who’s phenomenal—who helps take most of the workload off.
Now I’ve gotten to the point that one of my luxuries in this business that most people in this business don’t have—is that I don’t work weekends! Except the bridal show! I truly enjoy my weekends as that’s my family time. It’s important to me that I can go home at night and spend the time with my family. There’s minor things here and there that I need to address, but I know if I need to; I can devote one hundred percent to my time to my family and the other stuff will wait. And I’ve got good people who can figure it out.”
Anything else you’d like to tell everyone?
“I think one of the big things I want to make sure that people understand is that the LBA is designed specifically to help both vendors and brides. That’s my number one goal—putting those two together and give the brides the BEST vendors that we can which encourages the vendors to always strive to be better. I want everyone to succeed. It’s never been just about Complete Weddings + Events; however, we do get great return from the bridal shows. But it’s all about helping ALL of the vendors.”
This isn’t the end—it’s just the beginning for the Chase Nobis and the Lansing Bridal Association. Stay tuned for more exciting shows with the most talented vendors in the wedding industry!