You know what they say: You can do anything with your major and still accomplish amazing things. Penn State alumna Danielle Rothweiler is doing just that.
Rothweiler is a wedding and event planner who has worked with celebrities like “Dancing with the Stars” star Lindsay Arnold, “Jersey Shore” personality Angelina Pivarnick, and “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Danielle Staub’s daughter Jillian’s Sweet 16. She also had her own wedding featured on TLC’s “Four Weddings.”
Rothweiler came to Penn State for its meteorology program in 1999 but switched her major to political science ahead of her senior year. She then earned her bachelor’s degree in 2003.
“I loved the whole atmosphere of Penn State,” Rothweiler recalled. “It just really had the whole package and also to be the best in the country for what I wanted to study [at the time] was kind of like the cherry on top.”
After graduation, Rothweiler worked as a matrimonial paralegal and considered attending law school but ultimately decided against it. However, she’s always had a knack for event planning despite not realizing it right away.
At Penn State, Rothweiler planned socials and events for her sorority. She also organized a Thanksgiving party for her friends in her junior and senior years before everyone went home for fall break. While working as a paralegal, Rothweiler even planned divorce parties.
Although Rothweiler enjoyed the firm she was working for, her heart wasn’t fully in it anymore. From there, she decided to trust her instincts and start her career in event planning.
“I ended up reaching out to a whole bunch of wedding planners in [New] Jersey, asking to basically intern,” Rothweiler said. “So, you know, I’m here with my bachelor’s degree from Penn State, and I’m asking to intern for free, [but] I didn’t care. [It was] just so I could learn.”
Rothweiler decided to start her own event planning business, Rothweiler Event Design, after working with another company for a year. Although she specializes in wedding planning, Rothweiler focuses on social events like Mitzvahs, Sweet Sixteens, and divorce parties.
She’s also gone back to her Penn State roots by planning events for the Penn State Northern New Jersey Alumni Association, which raises money for THON.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Rothweiler planned about 12 weddings per year in addition to other events. Rothweiler says she typically works with a couple for about a year in advance to get a feel for what it is exactly they’d want for their wedding.
“I like to work with couples from the beginning where nothing is planned yet, which means they haven’t signed anything they shouldn’t sign, they haven’t forgotten any questions that they should have asked…So we’ll sit there and go over everything from the beginning,” Rothweiler said.
Rothweiler is there every step of the way for couples. She works closely with the vendors leading up to a wedding while also dealing with logistics as the wedding date gets closer.
Her work was featured in Us Weekly and People Magazine for Lindsay Arnold’s wedding. She was also on “E! News” for planning shoe designer and Growing Up Hip Hop star Angela Simmons’ baby shower and on OWN for Jillian Staub’s Sweet 16. Most recently, Rothweiler appeared on a few episodes of “Jersey Shore” for Pivarnick’s wedding, which happened to be the last one she had planned before the coronavirus pandemic.
Rothweiler says she had a positive experience with Pivarnick due to the fact that she knew exactly what she wanted and trusted Rothweiler to handle everything.
“[Pivarnick] never tried to hide or dampen the fact that she’s extra and over-the-top,” Rothweiler said. “She owned it to death…Planning with her was great.”
She credits her success to connections. While she has tried to reach out to celebrities through their public relations team, Rothweiler says that the most successful outcomes have been because a connection thought highly enough of her to connect her to these celebrities.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Rothweiler is providing micro-wedding packages for couples who don’t want to push back their wedding date or had their wedding canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I decided months ago I wanted to start doing micro-weddings and offering packages because that’s going to be — and it is — a huge thing now,” Rothweiler said.
Her biggest piece of advice for aspiring event planners is that in order to do well, you need to gain good experience in the event planning industry.
“I think the best thing for me with my business was definitely working for another planner in the industry,” Rothweiler said. “In order to do well at this, you should work in the field because there’s no other way to learn this stuff.”
While Rothweiler has planned events from Utah to New Jersey, she said she would love to start planning weddings in Bermuda — a desire that developed when she traveled there for a press trip a few years ago. If her previous event planning is any indication, Rothweiler will be more than capable of taking on the challenge.
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