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  • Writer's pictureBrianne Ackerland

Brianne’s Story of Survival & How To Prepare For Unexpected Circumstances

Hey Wedding Pros! My name is Brianne Ackerland, owner of Stress-Free Weddings, Inc. in Iowa, and your Wedding Pro Educator specializing in “Planner Emergency Strategies.” My goal as an Educator is to help provide you with tips, tricks, and tools to provide the very best service possible for your Clients when personal emergencies arise that disrupt your events and business. I want to share with you how this became a topic I felt was extremely important to discuss with wedding pros across the globe.  


On June 6, 2021, I was relaxing at the pool with my 10 year old daughter after working a long event the day before. My last memory was of me taking a photo for my obligatory social media picture of my plans for the day. The next thing I know, it’s Tuesday.  Turns out, while my daughter was reading Laffy Taffy jokes, I slumped over and suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  The wonderfully trained lifeguards provided CPR until the emergency services arrived and transported me to the hospital.  For those that aren’t in the medical field, a Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not a heart attack. My heart was beating so fast that it was no longer pumping oxygen through my body. Less than 8% survive a Sudden Cardiac Arrest if they are not already in the hospital. I spent 2 days in a medically induced coma to let my body heal, and for them to run tests to determine the root cause. I spent almost a week in the hospital before they sent me home with an external defibrillator vest as a safety measure.  



During my stay, I had clients who I had appointments with that I clearly did not make it to, and  events that were scheduled that I could not physically work.  Due to being intubated, I had (for a short time) a paralyzed vocal cord, which made speaking incredibly difficult.  Thanks to my husband and the CWP Society family, the events I could not physically work, were covered and I was able to return to work by the Fall, of course, with restrictions.  I could not drive, I was limited on the time I could work, and because they still hadn’t determined what had caused the Sudden Cardiac Arrest – I had a defibrillator surgically installed under my left arm.  By October I had been shocked 3 times by my device, and I landed back in the hospital again, being referred up to Mayo Clinic in MN.  My wonderful heart doctor was able to track down part of the problem locally and did a procedure that has thankfully kept me out of the hospital since.


Though I am on the mend 2 years later, there are still ongoing health issues and concerns that affected my work and the way I have to operate my business because I can find myself back in the hospital very quickly. Thus my goal for writing this blog – which is to help provide insight on how to keep your events operational when you are not available. Over the next two months,  I will be sharing details on topics such as: the death of family members; pregnancy; weather issues, or even accidents on wedding days. I will also be providing protocols that you can put in place to successfully navigate unexpected emergencies. Over the next 4 to 8 weeks, I look forward to giving you ways to feel more prepared for these unforeseen and unexpected circumstances.



CWP Society Certified Educator, Lydia Leek

Brianne Ackerland Stress-Free Weddings, Inc. IA

Content provided by Brianne Ackerland, owner of Stress-Free Weddings, Inc. located in IA.

Brianne is a Certified Educator and holds the following certifications from the CWP Society. Certified Wedding Planner, Certified Wedding Design Consultant, Master Certified Wedding Planner.

Awards: 2021 Most Helpful Wedding Planner & 2024 Wedding Planner Of The Year Award.

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