Every couple strives to have a “personal” wedding- and in many respects, of course it’s personal- it’s the two of your wedding and the people there are your collective friends and family- but most people want to take that further. Yet, often, beyond serving up your favorite cocktails and coming up with a clever monogram, it can be a challenge to rattle your creative cages and come up with something that feels really personal TO you.
A great place to start is a central idea/concept/thought that you want to have anchor the entire celebration… it can be super duper simple: like, love. Or, more complicated and hilarious (one friend said of his wedding “I want it to be like wearing a tuxedo and being offered coke by a butler on a solid silver tray and then jumping in a swimming pool…but without actually having drugs”). But having a centralized concept can help you to edit and infuse everything from the welcome bags to the decor.
A couple of years we were working on Jenna and Jeremy’s wedding at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine. Jeremy had been involved with the camp- whose mission is to send Israeli and Palestinian children- as well as other children from regions of religious conflict- to summer camp together. When the time came for us to work on the invitations, Jenna brought to us a poem that had always made her think of Jeremy… but that she also thought was fitting for the camp…. in fact, it turned out, it’s verses inspired some of the concept of the camp itself. We decided to have this inscribed on the back of their wooden invitations, with one phrase penned by a calligrapher that we would work into our design later…. The poem:
The rest of the invite suite foretold some of the experience, but this poem was really meant to set the tone of the mood. The phrase “There is a field, I’ll meet you there” became a bit of a theme for their destination wedding. We had it inscribed on the welcome totes, and as guests explored the camp grounds, they soon realized that they had arrived when they saw this…
At the wedding ceremony itself- held in the camp’s activity hall- we had an aisle runner made by The Original Runner Co. inscribed with the phrase and after the ceremony guests went back out to “the Field” to celebrate with cocktails.
Fast forward two summers to now- and part of what inspired this post- we are currently designing a benefit celebration for the Seeds of Peace organization happening this fall. I was going through some photos of the most recent session of camp- truly moving photos seeing all the children playing together given the current state of affairs in Israel and Gaza- when I happen to notice the banner over the kids playing below…. Jenna and Jeremy had their aisle runner worked into a quilted banner surrounded by their Seeds of Peace T-shirts from various years. The banner now hangs in the Activity Hall, just a little to the right of where they got married.
The truth of the matter is, personalization is not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of work and detail to pull an idea through an entire day or weekend or even just a few hours at a reception…. but, when done well, the payoff is so yummy! It gave me a thrill to see that some small part of the months and weeks that went into planning that celebration was able to live on at camp… but it was able to live on because there was some meaning to it.
Click here if you want to check out more details from Jenna and Jeremy’s Maine Wedding.
I recently was invited to go somewhere, and when I received the invitation I was less than elated. Everything in me said that I should just decline the invite, mainly because my heart wasn’t in it and attending required quite a bit of effort. Yet, I paused because I didn’t want to hurt the hosts feelings and many friends and colleagues would expect that they would see me there and I didn’t have the energy/guts/desire to be honest about why I didn’t want to go, nor did I have the energy/guts desire to make up half-truths either (don’t they just feel awful coming out of your mouth?).
So, I mustered up some gusto, sent my affirmative reply and before you know it there I was. This is where I’m now supposed to tell you “and boy was I glad that I was a trooper and showed up because it turned out to be a wonderful experience!”… except that it didn’t. In fact, my dread upon receiving the invite was sort of unidentified ambiguous malaise, but by the time I left it was honestly irritation, mild frustration and anger- not at my host, but at myself, for not listening to my gut that this was not a good idea for me.
I read a pretty awesome Thought Catalogue piece on 10 ways we make our lives unnecessarily harder and one of them- the one that stuck with me- was not allowing people to rob you of your time. I have historically been most guilty of this- largely because my people pleasing manifests in taking meetings and accepting invitations that my gut instinct tells me aren’t essential. It dawned on me that this most recent invite was just an extreme manifestation of something that’s been playing out for me personally for years.. I suspect I am not alone.
In this age of Push, Push, Push and Round the Clock Living and Living Your Best Life, we have become conditioned to interpreting an aversion to doing something as being lazy, or “not going for it!” or worse, “succumbing to fears” … when in actuality all that we are doing is ignoring our gut. “Bad Feelings” about potential clients doesn’t always equal a fear or being challenged that needs to be overcome…. it can also mean just say no to the job. A sense of hesitation about attending an industry event because it’s going to throw your entire weeks’ production schedule out of whack doesn’t mean that you need to get over your shy-ness or are being too lazy to network… it means your better instinct knows this will create more anxiety for you in the long run.
If you aren’t sure that you know the difference, my intuitive advisor/psychic friend Gemma has a good rule of thumb for knowing the difference: anxiety and fear responses to experiences, invitations, situations are more immediate feeling and out of control while a bad gut feels a bit more like a pit the drops you down an octave or two… like the blah sense of malaise I described feeling above (if only I heeded my own words!).
As business owners, listening to our gut can help us manage our time better in so many ways: avoiding future difficult customer service situations or bad business partnerings. Going with our gut can help us get that precious time back with our kids/husbands/friends/ourselves that we always wish we had more of by helping us to edit our calendars and decline more useless invites/meetings/etc. And it can generally go a long way to keeping you on a focused path towards where you want to be.
Happy Wednesday!!!! xoxox
I’m always super inspired by the Paris Couture shows… Not so much by the clothes (which, of course, are inspiring) but the Couture shows always really bring it in the Set Design department, which can be really helpful sources for inspiration when it comes to event design.
A few years ago I was totally obsessed with this structure at the top of the runway at the Dolce and Gabbana Couture show.
So much so that it inspired this chuppah structure from a wedding that we did this past May.
With that in mind, here are a few of the set “looks” from the fall couture shows that I found particularly inspiring!
How fabulous is this Black and White with the lush and dramatic greenery? From the Valentino collection.
Loved this Baby blue, white and Gilded mirror look at Chanel… especially with the pastel pops and tons of white!
If you love the drama, how tremendous is the Atelier Versace with the deep plum rug and black with just a hint of gold?
What shows are inspiring you these days?
I’m finally getting back in the swing of things after a few weeks of non-stop events and travel that started at the top of April. It’s nice to be back in Brooklyn and have a rare wedding industry lull during the start of summer. It’s particularly enjoyable after winding things down at Engage! in Beaver Creek Colorado, where I was honored to have spoken about managing challenging clients.
If you’ve never been to an Engage!, I will tell you what Marcy Blum told me, which is “Save your pennies and go.” There have been some equally awesome and thorough recaps of our latest (and in my opinion) greatest Engage!, but speaking in generalizations, the main power of Engage! is that you are surrounded by other motivated creative professionals in an intimate and fun environment where everyone is focused on the same thing: being better. Some of the content is inspiring, some practically useful and some simply fun, but the real magic happens in the conversations out of the session rooms and sharing of ideas with not only your peers, but professionals you admire. Learning is happening everywhere and it’s truly rejuvenating.
In fact, learning happens even from the stage, as I had a lightbulb moment while I was giving my breakout session talk during the Q & A. During my talk about different types of challenging clients, one theme that emerged was the fact that a lot of the time these relationships run off the rails because we (the professionals) don’t fully take charge of client relationships. We don’t always appreciate (and sometimes don’t sell) what our true value in the process is: we actually DO know better and if the client didn’t want someone how knew better they likely wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. I proposed a radical idea, which I will share with you here:
Delivering excellent customer service and being a doormat are not the same things. In fact, giving into your clients’ every whim is a passive aggressive way of doing a bad job.
Being in charge can come with big responsibilities: making judgement calls, deciding when no one else will, standing by recommendations, potentially disagreeing with the client’s desires. I was surprised and not surprised by some of the apprehension in the room about suffering the consequences of taking charge: being blamed, avoiding momentary conflict or being temporarily disliked being chief amongst them. But I propose that when we don’t take charge you’re being blamed anyway- for the client feeling out of control.
Sell your services like the expert that you are and direct the process like the expert that you are. After all, your clients came to you seeking out that expertise to steward their day to awesomeness!
*** If all of this is getting you jazzed about working on your business and you can’t wait until the next Engage to get your juices flowing, join us at the Be Sage Conference this August 3-5 in Chicago. A tactically bent gathering, the Sage Wedding Pros have organized 3 days packed with practical workshops and talks dealing with the things we ALL think about like expanding revenue sources, retirement and media relations. Mayra and I will be taking the stage to talk about starting our second brand, the pros and cons of partnership and more. Hope you can join us!!*****
So, I have been resisting the Orange is the New Black phenomenon mainly because I just hate getting into new TV shows. It’s such a commitment and what with the weather getting so nice and all this stuff we have going on, I don’t need one more thing to obsess about . Yet, after my friend Caryn went on and on about how she pulled a college style all nighter watching the show and waxed poetic like a Film student about it’s comedic, yet poignant take on class and race and privilege in America, I found myself watching 4 straight hours last night and fixated by, what else? The color tangerine.
So then this morning, when my favorite Wall Paper company (Designer Wall Coverings) sent me their weekly newsletter and it was entitled Orange is Back, I realized I was not the only one with Citrus colors on the brain. In many ways, Orange is the new black because it’s remarkably versatile- changing mood depending on what it’s paired up with. Orange is such a versatile color because in it’s softest iterations- like peach, or paired with white and grey, it can be romantic and light or modern and crisp and in it’s bolder iterations it can be warm or fiery. It’s quite literally a color that can go year round and is often surprising. Some of the gorgeous patterns Designer Wall Coverings showed included these great panels.
Of course, Orange can also be quite bold and graphic. Love how by pairing it with blue, this dining room is eclectic, yet bold, but not overly modern. (Via Style Estate)
And of course, Orange pairs so well with Pink. Here are these delightful invites from Ceci New York that are romantic, but modern with a lot of “heat” perfect for a summer or destination wedding. (Via The Bridal Circle)
And of course it pairs so well with Metallics. Here our “ribbon wall” from Mayra’s wedding.
And it also heats up nicely for fall or a cozier, bolder more masculine look. I loved this Brown and multi-toned orange living room via DecoHolic.