Susquehanna Style
Women of Distinction 2012

November-December 2012

Reprinted with the kind permission of Susquehanna Style

Gifts come in unexpected ways—from chance encounters, from the glimmer of an idea, from personal tragedies. The 2012 Women of Distinction transform life’s twists and turns into gifts for others, and in return say that they reap blessings for themselves.

Susan H. Moran
Founder, That’s It! Wedding Concepts

A friend told Susan H. Moran that her website for That’s It! Wedding Concepts had all the answers—services, ideas, contact info—except one. Why, the friend asked, does she do it?

Moran was startled. No one had ever asked that question. She looked for a recipe box filled with childhood photos, hoping to find a particular snapshot.

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“I climbed up in the closet and there it was,” she says. “Did the happy Snoopy dance on that one. It tells you everything you want to know.”

It’s a picture, now on her website, of the Barbie and Ken wedding that Moran staged at age eleven. The bridal couple stands under an arbor. A baby doll is the minister. Other Barbies wear elegant bridesmaids’ dresses. Clearly, Moran was born to conceptualize and organize weddings.

And although her wedding consultation business is only four years old, Moran’s drive to connect people and stage memorable events stretches back much farther. She learned about giving from her good-hearted father, a physician who was often paid in home-canned jellies. As a young mother in Texas, Moran responded to calls for help from not-for-profits. In her native Texas and since transplanting to the Harrisburg area in 2003, Moran has devoted her energies to health care and the arts, from the PinnacleHealth Foundation to the Harrisburg Symphony Society.

“The need is unending,” Moran says. “That’s what drives me, knowing that there are so many worthy causes, but with the economy and people going back to work, the pool of volunteers has dwindled. It’s something we all need to realize, because even on the worst day any of us have, we clearly have it so much better than so many others.”

Moran has deeply held beliefs—that everyone has a gift, that God networks people for a reason, that “there’s a blessing in just about everything that happens. You just have to figure out what it is, sometimes.” Her time in Pennsylvania has connected her with “good-hearted, kind, hard-working, interesting, funny, delightful people.”

The idea for a wedding consultation business simmered throughout Moran’s years of raising her two children and planning charity galas and events. After moving to Pennsylvania, the idea resurfaced. Her first sounding board was her husband, Patrick Moran, who “didn’t take a nanosecond” to express his support.

“It would be impossible for me to do what I do if I didn’t have his one-hundred-thousand percent support,” she says. “It has been the most incredible journey since then.” Brides, grooms, and parents come to her with a vision. Her role is “creative problem solving” to make the vision come alive. She feels entrusted with a solemn responsibility.

“Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together. That’s huge. That is ginormous. They are declaring their intention toward one another in a very solemn manner, and a very meaningful manner. That’s what’s important. The reception is a celebration of that commitment and the two families joining. It’s a life moment. It’s fun, it’s dynamic, it’s memorable, it’s life changing, but at the end of the day, it’s a very sacred thing.”

To hear the vows spoken “is a privilege,” and Moran hopes to keep her business “always growing. Always growing.”

“I always tell my children,” she says, “that the only thing that’s ever going to limit you is yourself. If you shoot for the moon, you’re going to land in the stars.”

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