Post-Pandemic Wedding Planning

How Luxury Event Planner Fallon Anawalt
Is Keeping Guests Safe

I was lucky enough to get married in Joplin, Missouri, years before the novel virus spread across the globe and devastated the wedding and event planning industry. When I planned my wedding, COVID-19 buzzwords like social distancing, sanitizing stations, and N95 masks weren’t part of the dialogue. But now that these words are the “new normal” in our post-pandemic world, positioning my wedding and luxury event planning business to make other people’s experiences as magical and unforgettable as my own has been a priority.

My company, Athena Event Consulting and Decor, has been preparing and tailoring our plans and processes to accommodate health and safety guidelines throughout the pandemic. As states recover and re-open public spaces to full capacity, those who wanted big weddings but were forced to postpone until normalcy returned are now ready to jump back into the planning process. The demand is high, but because COVID-19 is still fresh, many couples have questions about health and safety.

On a special day like a wedding, emotions run high, and hugging, kissing, and handshakes are second nature. For those looking for COVID-safe options, here are some ideas that Athena Event Consulting and Decor has to help minimize risk and keep guests and family safe.  

Social Distancing

From the onset of the pandemic, social distancing was one of the recommendations from the CDC that stayed consistent. Seating can be arranged six feet apart and in unique patterns for visual appeal and dining tables limited to single households. 

Dance floors can get crowded, and that’s part of the wedding experience. But one fun alternative is to hire a “silent disco” DJ. Each guest is given a pair of wireless headphones, each tuned to the same channel. This allows them to hear the music clearly and dance anywhere in the venue (or at least within range of the transmitter)!

Color-Coded Comfort Bands

Comfort bands are wildly popular at COVID-safe weddings. When guests arrive, you can display different colored comfort bands that guests can choose and wear on their wrists, with each color representing a comfort level. Just by looking at the color of the band, you can automatically know how to interact with the person wearing the comfort band. 

For example, you can have assigned “I’m vaccinated! Let’s party!” to the green bands, “Let’s hang, but no hugs!” to yellow bands, and “I’m having a wonderful time, but please maintain social distance!” to pink bands for those at higher risk.


Some guests might choose to bring their own masks, but it’s always a great idea to provide them in case someone loses theirs or forgets to pack one. Providing wedding-themed masks is always a fun way to add some extra charm to these accessories.   

Sanitization Practices

Place hand sanitizer in multiple, easy-to-access areas throughout the venue. Even providing small, travel-sized bottles of sanitizer for each guest is a great idea. We also recommend using single-use hand towels and moist towelettes in restrooms or kitchen areas. Having a cleaning crew on hand to quickly sanitize areas throughout the night is a great way to prevent lingering germs and keep surfaces sterile. 

Serve Plated Meals and Have Servers Bring Drinks

Instead of a buffet-style dinner, serving meals on individual plates to guests at their table can maximize social distancing. It can also create a more elegant dining experience with beautiful food plating. You can also have masked servers bringing out fresh drinks to limit trips to the bar. 

With most states currently open to full capacity, you can choose to have your wedding in any way you’ve envisioned it. But for some, there is still a certain level of anxiety or discomfort if you’re high risk or after a year of distancing from crowds. You can always speak with your event or wedding planner to have them tailor your experience to your comfort level. We’re always glad to help and look forward to keeping you safe on your fairytale wedding day!  


Fallon Anawalt is an entrepreneur with a strong background in marketing. She grew up helping her dad on their family farm before graduating college and starting her career in marketing. She wrote articles and press releases for industry publications for an industrial tank company and then went on to provide marketing work for aviation companies in the Joplin, Missouri area.

After getting married in Joplin, Anawalt identified the need for quality event vendors in the area and created her first event planning business. In 2018, Anawalt partnered with the aviation company owner with whom she previously worked, and together they launched their own marketing company.  Her event planning business merged with the marketing company to form Athena Companies.

Athena Companies provides marketing, advertising, event rentals, and full-service planning for events. The company is comprised of three divisions, each specializing in a focused industry. Anawalt currently resides as President of Athena Companies.

In 2021, Anawalt built Homestretch with the help of her team at Athena Marketing, a one-of-a-kind real-estate project management software that focuses on improving the real estate buying experience. When she isn’t working on her business, she is an avid equestrian. 

Follow Athena Companies on Instagram @athenamktg @athenaeventsllc @homestretchrealty @fallonnoel

Connect with Athena Companies on LinkedIn at

“Like” Athena Companies on Facebook at

Athena Companies Bio

Athena Companies provides marketing, advertising, event rentals, and full-service planning for events. Founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Fallon Anawalt, the Joplin, Missouri-based company is comprised of three divisions, each specializing in a focused industry.

Athena Marketing and Advertising is a marketing firm focused on developing and implementing custom marketing strategies to increase revenue for its clients.

Athena Event Consulting and Décor offers top-tier event planning services and rentals for weddings, corporate events, in-person and online parties, and more.

Athena Consulting Services provides business consulting services such as business planning, recruitment, and hiring.

Homestretch is an innovative project management software that focuses on improving the real estate buying experience and streamlining the home buying and selling process.

For more information, please visit Athena Companies at and

Follow Athena Companies on Instagram @athenamktg @athenaeventsllc @homestretchrealty 

Connect with Athena Companies on LinkedIn at

“Like” Athena Companies on Facebook at

Women in Charge

Who’s The Boss? More Women
Decide They Are
Business Woman Offers Advice To Others Ready
To Take The Entrepreneurial Plunge

The number of American women who own their own businesses is on the rise.

It’s estimated that more than 9.1 million women now lead their own enterprises. What’s more, from 1997 to 2014, when the number of businesses in the United States grew by 47 percent, those owned by women grew by 68 percent, according to a report published by American Express OPEN.

One woman who is part of that trend – and is helping other women become their own bosses, too – says those statistics may not be that surprising.

“I think many women are willing to branch out on their own because they decide that the benefits outweigh the risks,” says Dr. Diana Hoppe, founder of Amazing Over 40 Inc. (, a health coaching certification program for women.

“We live in a time when people often re-invent themselves because job opportunities are limited or they are looking for new challenges.”

Hoppe says that when you do that, it’s important to study the market to see where the opportunities are going to be and find a good fit for yourself.

“The women I work with who are going into health coaching, for instance, understand that having a health coach is a major trend in fitness,” she says. “So look at the trends. Where will the opportunities be?”

Dr. Diana Hoppe says there are plenty of advantages to starting a business. Among them:

• Be Your Own Boss. When you own your own business, you can discover what it’s like to be fully independent, dictating your own path without anyone looking over your shoulder. You’re the boss and the decisions are yours.

• Set Your Own Schedule. Maybe you want to work a full 40-hour week, or maybe you are seeking a part-time schedule. When you are setting up your own business, you have more flexibility about when, where and how you work.

• Find Work That Fulfills You. Those who start a business can create a career for themselves that provides fulfillment. Hoppe says she has seen that in action with women who decided to become health coaches. They can personally change the lives of the clients they work with, helping them take charge of their health and discover their best selves. “I think it’s always important – whether you are launching a business or building a career working for someone else – that you find something you consider rewarding,” she says.

But it’s also critical to have a strong business plan so that you understand the market, have specific goals and know how to achieve those goals.

“If you don’t focus on building a strong foundation for your business at the beginning, it is likely to fail or not grow as fast as it can,” Hoppe says.

Among the factors to consider is that some businesses require more overhead than others. For example, if you are working from home, you don’t need to worry about leasing commercial space. Regardless, it’s crucial to make sure you have the necessary capital for whatever business you launch.

That’s been challenging at times for women, according to the National Women’s Business Council. Research shows that businesses owned by women start with about half the amount of capital as men, the council reports.

But don’t think you need millions of dollars, Hoppe says. Many successful businesses have been started with a relatively small amount of money.

“One of the most frequent questions I get asked involves what the start-up costs are for becoming a health coach,” she says. “This is a good example of one of the less costly businesses to start. Mainly, you just need business cards, a cell phone, a computer and transportation. Of course, not every business is quite that simple.”

Once a business is in full swing, one goal is to continue to grow the business while keeping current clients or customers happy, Hoppe says.

“One thing you can do for your customers is develop a relationship with them by engaging them on social media or by keeping them interested with email content,” she says. “Customer service is a critical part of any business because once someone begins to use your product or service, you want them to keep coming back.”

About Dr. Diana Hoppe

Dr. Diana Hoppe, an obstetrician and gynecologist, is the founder of Amazing Over 40 Inc. (, a health coaching certification program for women.

She also is an author and speaker who has been featured on a number of TV shows, including “Dr. Oz.”

Be the Boss of Your Own Life

How to Be the Boss of Your Own Life
Businesswoman Provides Tips for Being Your Own CEO

Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the United States with hundreds of thousands of new businesses opening each year.

More than 22 million of our small businesses are one-man (or woman) shops, and the number of those ringing up more than $1 million in sales is growing – it was nearly 27,000 in 2011, the most recent U.S. Census statistics available.

“Americans are very savvy business people, and for more and more of us, the rewards of running our own business trounce the risks associated with stepping out on our own,” says Lynda Chervil, a longtime businesswoman, thought leader and author of the new book, “Fool’s Return,” (

“Imagine what would happen if we applied our CEO mindset and skills to our own lives? Sometimes, it takes a boss to tell you to do something in order for it to get done. Now’s the time to become that boss.” 

Chervil shares tips for doing that:

• Embrace change, renewal and rebirth. There is no shortage of opportunity to notice change in life. Don’t be afraid to use milestones to provide yourself with an “employer’s review” on how you’re doing in your own life. What are you doing well, what needs work and how are you going to improve? Create a detailed plan on how you expect to accomplish your goals. Give yourself a timeline, such as losing 20 pounds by summer or increasing your net worth by next year.

• You’re your own best entrepreneur. Part of being a good boss means trying out enterprising ideas; it’s the mediocre bosses who are content with the status quo. You don’t have to start with something wild. Instead, follow through on ideas that are good for you, such as buying healthy food that you haven’t yet tried. Look up recipes for how to prepare a healthy item like quinoa – make a project out of it. Have fun with the new you. Just because you have a new job with plenty of responsibility – being your own boss – doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

• Manage what you can control; accept what you cannot; and look outside the box. This is not as easy as it may sound because we often think we can control things that, in fact, we cannot, including how people respond to us or how quickly our bodies respond to diet and exercise. Progress does not happen all at once. While it makes sense to focus on what we can control, you may also consider alternative methods of living. That may include riding a bike to work rather than driving, or exploring alternative forms of spiritual healing.

• Don’t be a victim! To a greater or lesser extent, we’re all taught to be obedient conform to the standards set by parents, teachers and bosses. Unfortunately, for many, this passive role can shape one’s identity and influence other relationships. It all starts with one’s own relationship to one’s self, Chervil says. As most parents and teachers will say, the best students are those who need the least help and are willing to be proactive in their own improvement. Understand that it’s not others who determine what you can do; it’s you!

About Lynda Chervil

Lynda Chervil is the author of “Fool’s Return,”, a new novel that incorporates valuable life lessons in a page-turning tale that touches on technology, the green movement, and other aspects of contemporary society. She graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and has extensive experience in consumer and commercial banking and has held positions in new business development, sales management and executive leadership. Chervil seeks to push the limits of established understanding by exploring alternative forms of spiritual healing, and, through creative writing, to expand the narrative of cutting-edge energy technology to promote sustainability.