Article for University of Maryland Alumni Magazine

This is an article I wrote several months ago, and unfortunately Maryland wasn’t able to publish it, but I wanted to share it here because it highlights SAVE The DATE and my career. Hope you enjoy reading and look for new posts to come soon!

Weddings and Mitzvahs and Parties Oh My!

November 2013

CARA (WEISBERG) WEISS ’91 has made quite a name for herself in the party world with her business SAVE THE DATE – with events that included stars such as: N’SYNC and Dave Matthews Band.  Cara has consistently been voted Best of Bethesda Party Planner for several consecutive years, and has many repeat clients including a UMD alum – class of 2013 – who Cara worked with on her Bat Mitzvah, and her recent Wedding.

Cara followed up her degree from the College of Human Ecology at the University of Maryland, College Park by becoming a Certified Event Planner from The George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. Twenty years later, SAVE THE DATE is a booming business with a staff that includes three graduates from the University of Maryland – Weiss, Joel Weiss ’91, and Christine Ash ‘13.

SAVE THE DATE, LLC events and promotions your way, is a full service event planning firm with a slightly different twist. Weiss believes in educating her clients, teaching them how to plan their party, and sending them out her door with homework; this business model keeps the clients involved, and their pocketbooks happy. Cara originally built this business model as she felt somewhat excluded from the planning of her own wedding.

Cara and SAVE THE DATE recently moved into an office space – the business was previously located in her home – just off of Rockville Pike. The decision was inspired by a new addition to the business model, décor rental and consignment. The consignment business is intended to provide clients with the opportunity resell and/or purchase previously used décor to make decorating your event more affordable.

In addition to the events side of the business, Joel Weiss, Cara’s husband and business partner, offers Ad Specialty items such as shirts, pens, mugs, and more to assist businesses in spreading their name. This is a great addition to the event business as favors, or giveaways are an ever popular component in social events.  Cara and Joel have worked together to create both a successful business and a successful marriage, so they know how to assist clients in staying calm and organized despite all the stress with planning your own event. While planning is a great help, it is really the “day-of” side of the business that tips SAVE The DATE over the edge.

When it comes to your event, no amount of planning guarantees that you will have a successful event. Small fires occur at the last minute, guests need help during the party, a kid is dropped off at the wrong party venue (this is a true story that happened to Cara); as the host you want to feel that you were able to enjoy the party rather than taking care of the little things. That is why a SAVE The DATE day-of coordinator is so beneficial because they are there to make sure that problems do not overshadow the momentous occasion. Cara explains that her career has been to help ensure that people are able to relax and enjoy the special moments in their lives. Sometimes that means she acts as a therapist, but despite all the stress it is rewarding to know that you are helping your client enjoy a special time in their life because these celebrations are fleeting. Cara’s passion to helping people and being creative extends beyond just professional aspirations.

Over the twenty years of owning her own event planning company, Cara has used her skills and resources to support several causes near to her heart. She has been actively involved in her children’s schools, assisting with planning and decorating school dances, proms, and various fundraisers. In the past five years, Cara has become a Montgomery County Rep for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation; a cause near to her heart after her mother suddenly passed away from one.  More recently, Cara has accelerated her activism. She has created an annual event called Rockin’ 4a Cause, a fundraiser featuring the B Street Band (a Springsteen cover band), food, and silent auction items. Rockin’ 4a Cause is organized by Cara and Joel along with two additional couples and friends and it raises money for: The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Association, and The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  It is an event that continues to grow, demonstrating Cara’s tenacity and her desire for personal advancement.

While Cara certainly has plenty to keep her busy between her business, her family, and her charity work, she is a creative dreamer, and as a result is in the process of developing a board game titled Mahj Jr., a game intended to teach children (and some adults) the basics of Mahj Jong. She was inspired to do this because she loved playing with her mother and she wanted to teach her children.

Cara is the living embodiment of the University of Maryland because she continues to grow, improve, and dream proving that there is still room for learning and creativity beyond the classroom and post-collegiate days.

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