Alumni Spotlight: Erin McCauley (Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators/EMC Squared Consulting)

  • Name: Erin McCauley 
  • Organization: Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics Coordinators/EMC Squared Consulting 
  • Position: Founder & CEO 
  • Location: Raleigh-Durham, NC 
  • Alma Mater: Indiana University BA’96 Telecommunications; Indiana University MA’99 Arts Administration 

Can you tell our students a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?  

Erin owns Chestnut & Vine and EMC Squared Consulting, which is a consulting company that works with wedding logistics. At Chestnut & Vine, Erin oversees a team of 8 wedding planners that primarily coordinate weddings in the Raleigh/Durham region of North Carolina. What sets Chestnut & Vine apart is that they focus on day-of logistics, while the couple does the planning throughout the process. Chestnut & Vine does about 35-40 weddings per year. Erin has lived in North Carolina for fourteen years. Prior to December of 2022, she was a paralegal for 15 years. 14 of these years, she got to work remotely.  

What did your professional journey look like from college to your position today?  

Erin earned her Master of Arts in Arts Administration in 1999. During her time at IU, she was a Graduate Assistant (GA) with IU Foundation – Events. This led to a position with alum and student event coordination. She then moved to New Jersey to take a position at Rider University as the Assistant director of Campus Activities. From there, she went to UW Milwaukee as the Assistant Director of Events at the Student Union. She then pivoted and took a role as a paralegal with a large law firm and spent the next 15 years as a trademark paralegal at Manpower Group. 8 years ago, she launched Chestnut & Vine Wedding Logistics.  

What does your professional network look like and how did you build it? 

Erin’s professional network is made up of wedding professionals, photographers and videographers, caterers, and DJ’s. She met these people through going to networking events for the wedding industry. When Erin moved to North Carolina, she knew nobody. One of her favorite photographers recommended “Tuesdays Together” as a network of professional creators that she started connecting with. Erin also asked a venue if she could shadow their venue coordinators, which led to becoming a part-time coordinator herself. She also joined the online “Planner’s Vault” group which offers training and support in the world-wide wedding logistics and planning network.  

When you encounter competition in the field, how do you establish your mastery and credibility with clients?  

Erin stressed that she values Community over Competition. She will let a client know if she knows someone who will do what they want better. To establish credibility, Chestnut & Vine gets involved as soon as they are hired, whether it is 18 months out from the wedding or 6 months out. They have monthly To-Dos, attend tabletop rental appointments, and are well-known for excellent timelines throughout the Raleigh/Durham community.  

How do you evaluate success with your O’Neill Master’s Degree in Arts Administration?  

The Arts Administration program helped Erin narrow her focus to Events management. Her business courses prepared her to be an entrepreneur. Erin had no idea she would be an entrepreneur when she started out, but looking back, the business courses were very helpful. The Arts Administration Program exposed her to lots of creatives and helped her learn how to communicate with many different kinds of individual people.  

Are there any tips you can give our students as they think about heading out into the professional sphere? 

Erin said that you should seek out experts in the field you are interested in. These relationships are invaluable for mentorship, conference suggestions, online forums, etc. Be sure to stay connected! She also shared that students should be open-minded toward entrepreneurship but get experience in the field first. Erin stressed to not be scared to go out on your own and find a good business coach – even if you’re not considering entrepreneurship!  

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

Erin’s philosophy in life is that “it’s best to find out what you don’t want to do because you can cross it off your list and find something you do want to do!” Don’t be afraid to try something new! 

By Samantha Clements
Samantha Clements Peer Educator