We’re thrilled to introduce you to Gilly Francis, our new Wedding and Event Coordinator at Harbor Club on Lake Oconee. Gilly is a renowned wedding planner in the Southeast, winning WeddingWire’s Couples Choice Award for the past four years running. She’s a fun-loving and impressive asset on our team who’s expertly handling Harbor Club’s weddings and events. We recently sat down with Gilly to learn more about her professional background, her new role at Harbor Club, and a few fun facts about herself.
Tell us a little about your professional background and what made you decide to join the Harbor Club team.
I was first introduced to Harbor Club on Lake Oconee because I was the wedding planner for Brandon Matney [the GM of Harbor Club] and his wife, Jen. I had organized several of their friend’s weddings, so that’s how we came to know one another. Brandon and Jen had a marvelous wedding in March of 2020. Then, this past summer, Brandon called me about working on weddings and events at Harbor Club. I saw it as a great opportunity to add to my repertoire, so I’m excited to be on board.
What are some of the main things you do as the new Wedding and Event Coordinator for Harbor Club?
Right now, I’m promoting Harbor Club as an incredible venue to hold events, especially weddings. I’m updating all the wedding sites, conducting tours, and creating top-notch vendor lists. It’s exciting to showcase all that Harbor Club has to offer. I’m working with outside partners to create a big vendor fair at Harbor Club, which will be held sometime in late winter or early spring. I also have a styled photoshoot scheduled with Southern Distinction in early November, highlighting the beauty of all our venues and the magnificence of Harbor Club overall. Outside of weddings, I’m also brainstorming fun new event ideas for Harbor Club members and residents.
What new events have you planned for Harbor Club members?
Don Forchilli [Harbor Club Membership Director] and I have planned a fabulous Macarons and Prosecco Tasting to be held on Tuesday, December 5. It’s with the renowned Le Cordon Bleu, Paris-trained chef Deborah Johnson. She’s known as frenchforawhile on Instagram and has over fifty thousand followers. I’m excited for our members, as this event will be spectacular.
What do you feel are the main benefits of holding an event at Harbor Club?
The main benefits are exclusivity, privacy, security, and a helpful management team that happily supports you through your entire event.
Out of all the venues available at Harbor Club, which is your favorite? Why?
My favorite venue is The Stables. It’s a beautiful, serene setting with tons of incredible photo ops. There’s a lovely, rustic outdoor wedding chapel made with cedar trees imported from the Virginia Mountains. Plus, The Stables has a large banquet space and a bridal suite. It’s the perfect place for both indoor and outdoor events.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
It’s hard to choose just one thing. I would say helping my client’s wedding dreams come true, especially since it’s one of the most important days in their lives. I enjoy helping them plan exactly what they envision and making their wishes come true. For me, the planning, styling, and decor are excellent bonuses.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I find it rewarding when my clients tell me how much they loved their wedding – that their event was phenomenal and above expectations. When I hear feedback like that, it’s hugely gratifying.
When not working, what do you like to do for fun? Are there any hobbies you enjoy?
I love traveling, hiking, gardening, and enjoying the outdoors.
Care to share any other interesting, fun facts about yourself?
I’m from England and have lived in 11 countries so far. For a while, I lived in the West Indies, where I ran several high-end resorts. One of my daughters was born in Barbados, and the other was born in Costa Rica. I also lived in Sarasota, Florida, for 17 years before moving to Georgia in 2017.
Ready to plan your perfect wedding at Harbor Club? With over 25 years of experience in worldwide event planning, Gilly would be honored to make your dream event come true. Don’t wait – you deserve the best…and it’s all here for you at Harbor Club. Contact us today.