This year in review post is going to be SO different than years pasts. Normally I open with something inspirational about the past year, my hopes for the future, and touch on all the amazing events and happenings I was lucky to be a part of. This year my couples faced planning during a pandemic, postponing their event to 2021, or making the extremely hard choice of canceling. It’s a lot to talk about and so I will keep that for a separate post.
With that in mind, I think I’ve sat down to write this blog at least 4 times and I just don’t know how to lay it all out. I will start first by saying that I am happy to be alive and healthy. I am lucky that my family and friends have escaped Covid thus far or have had mild cases (if even a mild case really is a mild case). My heart pours out to those friends and strangers who have lost someone to Covid or just frankly have been impacted by this whole situation. Which is really everyone, even you dear reader.
My Personal Life
I was having to manage my business as well as my role as Mom and Wife. It started with virtual school for my preschooler, a summer of going nowhere (canceling our Disney trip even), making the hard decision to send my daughter into kindergarten, and then back to virtual school again. Plus everything else in between. Let me first say, I am not a teacher and although being a wedding planner is a Top 10 Most Stressful Job, I cannot share my love for teachers enough. Teachers are everything to kids right now. So if you are a teacher reading this…..thank you!
I also had two surgeries which were scary in themselves. My knee was planned but my gallbladder was not. And frankly, I would rather have another child then experience a gallbladder attack again. Add on Covid and my recovery time stuck at home with a 5-year-old. This year has taught me a lot of patience…..and also not.
Wedding Planner Life
One Red Door Photography
I can say for certain that the wedding industry was rocked hard this year and still has not recovered. Frankly, I feel it will be a long time before weddings return to what used to be “normal”. That doesn’t mean weddings won’t happen, but just as we see them will be a little different for some time.
I have had friends close their businesses or come reeeeally close. I have spent countless hours chatting with other wedding professionals and just listening to their frustrations and giving them the best advice I can. I myself have leaned on my colleagues for advice and information. When the regulations on live events first went into place, I was glued to my computer for information and to make sure that the local industry Facebook group I run was civil and the correct information was given out. I also had to postpone the wedding show I was organizing that was supposed to be in just two weeks.
There was also supporting my couples with whatever decisions they had to make and assuring them they were making the right decisions for themselves. When I started wedding planning, postponements and cancellations happened once in a blue moon. This was new territory and with my ability to think on my feet, knowledge of weddings and how they work, and capacity to be exceptionally organized, I was able to assist my couples in whatever they needed while still keeping my company afloat.
The Silver Linings
In a nutshell, 2020 sucked….hardcore. But there were some positives that came out of it as well.
My daughter and I got to spend a lot of time together. Not only because we couldn’t go anywhere, but when a child starts kindergarten it’s a shock. I went from her being home all but a few hours a day for preschool, to being gone for more than half the day at kindergarten. It was great for many reasons but my heart missed her so much. So although zoom for young kids is a complete joke (I wish I had a mute button) and my daughter has probably consumed way too much TV, I was able to be with her.
My car mileage and gas consumption has gone WAY down and I have saved a lot of money.
We actually met a lot of our neighbors we had never met before. Seriously, we have lived in this house for 15 years and we actively talked to two people that lived near us. This summer my daughter made 5 new friends that all live within 3 houses of us. One is right across the street, where we basically spent our summer in their little pool. The even bigger silver lining is I made friends with her mom. Like sitting on the couch, enjoying a drink together, letting the girls play all while we talk about life friend. That is priceless to me.
I became moderately better at sewing. I got a lot of practice helping to make masks for frontline workers (over 450 of them!)
So there you go. A short rundown of my year that shall not be named. I am putting it behind me as best as I can because we are still really in the thick of it. I’m trying my best to look forward to the positives and projects in the future.
To my couples that have postponed, we will meet again and put together an amazing celebration that everyone will be beyond ready to have. To the new couples that have found their way to me, I am feeling very lucky that you have put your trust in me and that no matter what happens we will get through it together. To my fellow wedding professionals, congratulations on making it here and surviving what is probably the most unique and hardest season to date. To my friends and family, I cannot wait for the Christmases in July and bonfire cookouts this summer. We will get to hang out and hug and be with each other again. Cheers to 2021, I am ready for it. May it bring peace, happiness, closure, or anything else you need it to bring. You deserve it.
This was a year of growth for me as a wedding planner in many ways. I’m slowly working on growing Eventistry into the company I see it becoming. See, I’m on a 15-year-plan….when my daughter is 15 and doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore, I want to be doing this full time. (I’m kidding…..but also, not really.)
This year included helping 7 of my own clients walk down the aisle, being featured on a CBS Sunday Morning News, assisting another wedding planner on 3 of her weddings, a business trip to Las Vegas, a creation of a local wedding planner mastermind, growing my local facebook group for professionals to almost 700 members, a change in my second company We Thee Wed, 2 wedding shows completed and one in the works, beginning the process of my first styled shoot for early next year and discussing wedding shows for 2021. All while trying to maintain my personal relationships and raise my daughter as a stay-at-home mom. Wowza. So here we go, my year in review for 2019!
It was just a few days into the New Year when I met with Val (Perfectly Planned) for tea and we discussed bringing together wedding planners in the area to form a mastermind. It turned into a monthly meeting with about 8 planners and we have big plans for the future for wedding planners in the area. Even more importantly, this was the first time I actually sat down with Val for more than 5 minutes, actually learned about her and gained a new friend.
February – March
Then I began to really focus on both of the wedding shows I had organized with my second company We Thee Wed. The first was in North Olmsted, on the windiest day of the year. The power went out and was out for the entire setup (lit only by the wireless LED uplights provided by the amazing Mo of Lime Lights Entertainment). It turned back on 5 minutes before the doors were to open and I broke down in tears of joy…..seriously. The second show is the one I do annually with Villa Croatia in Eastlake where we had 65+ vendors – my biggest show to date.
This was the month that my wedding season started to really take off. Client meetings were beginning, and just as awesome was the shoot I took part in. Back in February, I was talking with a producer at CBS Sunday Morning about surprise weddings. And I was currently planning one with a couple and they were looking to feature one. Well, they picked us!! They came out this month to do some interviews and planned to come back for the big day later. None of my interview made the cut, but we got pictures of it at least and I was shown in the segment as their wedding planner. A complete success for me.
My first wedding of 2019 was the surprise wedding with Alisha and Tyler at Claridon Woodlands. They had sent invitations to their guests for an engagement party, but they were actually getting married. I also officiated my first wedding. Nothing like being filmed for national television while officiating your first wedding. We set everything up the day before so the day of things would run smoothly and we wouldn’t have any hiccups. Alisha’s mom almost caught us during setup, but luckily nothing for the ceremony was set up yet. Phew. It all went swimmingly and I would totally do another surprise wedding again! You can learn more about their wedding here.
Next up was Kristen and Brandon’s wedding day at Makakiki Golf Club and Pine Ridge Banquet Center. This one was one for the books, I never thought I would be talking to Subway Corporate to coordinate a subway cookie tower, but I did. A beautiful day, amazing flowers and a FANTASTIC wedding party. So glad I was able to be a part of it all. You can learn more about their wedding day here.
Caitlin & Jake’s wedding had arrived at St. Noel’s Banquet Center. Not only did I get to work with Christine (Rising Ashes Designs), who I loved working with last year. I got to help create a day for an amazing couple who was great fun to be around. You can learn a little more about their day here.
The other two were my own beautiful couples. First up was Jenna & Adam at Sapphire Creek Winery. This evening was so amazing with such beautiful weather which was perfect for the setting. Jenna and Adam were so great to work with and I have never had a family so appreciative of me and my team. It was so amazing being able to be a part of their day and get to know the family too.
Then came time for Katalyn and Ben’s big day at Lakewood Country Club. A wedding on the greens and a dance party in the club, complete with an amazing selection of desserts from The Faithful Little Cupcake. Some of the best sweets this season for me. You can read more about their wedding here.
Amanda & Jeremy’s wedding was my biggest of the season. Not in the sense of guest count or budget, but in scope of work. I mean I walked over 25K steps this day. It was a BIG day for Eventistry. The wedding was held at The Madison, which is an amazing blank space that you can do so much with. We started with a ceremony space, sent the guests outside for a cocktail hour and then proceeded to do a 45-minute room flip to their reception. My team was there to lead the way but it could not have been accomplished without the help of The Madison crew and the fantastic staff from Thyme Catering. You can read more about their wedding here.
Right after Amanda & Jeremy tied the knot, I flew off to Las Vegas for a whole week. It started with a few days alone with my husband to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. Then he went home and I stayed to attend Wedding MBA. The biggest wedding industry conference in the US. I had such a fantastic time last year and learned so much, I went back again. I got to see friends that I only talk to online, build new relationships and learn even more. Plus this year a few friends from Cleveland went with me.
As soon as I got back from Vegas I got to help my friend Val one more time at a wedding at the Lake Erie Building.
The wedding to end this season was with Candace & Josh. I absolutely LOVED working with these two. We clicked so easily when we first met and I was thrilled to learn they were doing a Day of the Dead themed wedding at Manakiki Golf Course and Pine Ridge Banquet Center. Seeing all the bright colors and every little detail they had for their guests, it truly brought the entire day together.
In the past few weeks, I have had a few meetings all about wedding shows. My focus has turned to the big one at Villa Croatia while also talking with others for shows later in 2020 and even 2021. With that, I am in the beginning phase of my first styled shoot and working on ways to elevate the local wedding professional group I run. I love helping other business owners and I want to be able to give them a great platform to communicate and learn from each other.
This past year was a big one for the growth of my personal network for me as well. I met a lot of new people at networking events. I went from hiding in the corner to walking in and having people looking for me. It’s a great feeling. But in the end, I look back at this year with a lot of gratitude for the support from family, friends and fellow professionals. Without my support system, I wouldn’t have those to vent to, learn from or lean on. As a business owner, it is essential to have those systems in place to be able to survive and grow. So a very special thank you to them. Now on to 2020, a year meant to be the best one yet!
So many words to say about this wedding, yet so little time to put it into words. Heather & Brandon were the lucky couple to be my last of the wedding season for 2017. I was so lucky to go out on such a high note.
When I met Heather it was just a little over a year from her wedding day at the venue she had booked for her wedding. We were talking about her plans and I shared that I had a wedding coming up on October 13th, 2016. Ironically her wedding date was October 13th, 2017. It seems to be my lucky day even though this year it landed on a Friday as well. Two weddings exactly one year apart in the exact same venue. It was fate.
We had such a wonderful consultation and just clicked. I knew this was going to be a dream wedding to help design and plan, and that it was. Heather had three things in her head that she wanted for her wedding. The first was sunflowers, the second was Beauty and the Beast and the third was touches of Friday the 13th (the day not the movie). I scoured the internet and Pinterest (yes, even as a professional I use Pinterest) for inspiration to go with my ideas. With my good friend Julie Elizabeth, I presented to Heather, Brandon and her mother our vision for the day.
It started with the sunflower and fall leaves for the ceremony. Her beautiful bouquets and leaves to be thrown by her adorable flower girls set the scene. It went so well with the pumpkins on the front steps. We added some small touches of luck with signs and pennies on every guests chair. “See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.”
After the ceremony the guests were invited inside to a Beauty and the Beast themed reception. Centerpieces were designed to reflect the main charachters. Hand beaded napkin rings to be able to fold them like the dancing ones in the dinner scene. Red floating roses and a gorgeous cake topper to match. To push it home Heather had some amazing signs created that really reflected the entire look and feel of the wedding.
The evening was filled with laughter, dancing and fun filled photos from Magnet Me Now. When the end was near I know I was filled with mixed emotions myself. The wedding being over, my season being complete, is always bittersweet. Yet this amazing couple being so happy, being able to enjoy their day with their friends and family, still brings a smile to my face.
This even would not have been possible without the amazing work of the following vendors:
When I first met with Lauren she said that she didn’t think she needed a wedding planner for the day. Then about 3 months before the wedding we were talking again and Lauren, her fiance and her family were starting to feel the stress of the little things all coming together. That’s where I came in. I was able to sit down with her and go through everything together, and really she had it all there it just needed to be organized. Then of course there were the few things she hadn’t even thought about, but hey, that’s what she hired a wedding planner for! On the day itself everything ran smoothly and was just exactly how they wanted it to all be.
Lauren looked stunning in her dress. It was just the right amount of bridal, so that it was a perfect wedding dress for her. Just look at how happy she was when she was smiling at her Father walking her down the aisle at the beautiful Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
Their reception was set at the Hanna Mansion on Manakiki Golf Course with touches of an art deco Gatsby theme. Gold sequin runners, candleabras and feathers all pieced together with great food, dancing and donuts. What more could you ask for?
One of the small touches that was added was the favors for their guests. Little bags of gummy bags that I was informed was the best type of gummy bear out there. Of course I was like, “Aren’t all gummy bears just gummy bears?”. No, they are not, and I was proved wrong that day.
The day ended with the arrival of the gorgeous old fashioned car (if I knew anything about cars I would tell you what it is, but alas I do not) for some portraits to fit their theme. And then a grand exit full of bubbles and cheers for the newlyweds.
This amazing wedding could not have been possible without the help of these amazing vendors:
I often get asked by friends for help and advice when they start their wedding planning. I love to help where I can, but it’s not as often that I actually get asked to help on the day itself. I’m so glad Tara reached out to me because I absolutely loved being able to help on their big day.
When I met with Tara to go over all the final details I could tell that this day was going to be special. Her style has always seemed to have been simple and sweet to me. She’s so fun and easy going and her fiance Josh is just a big fun-loving guy. They’re perfect for each other. So with the beautiful blue linens mixed with delicate doilies and candles galore, I knew it was going to reflect them completely. She’s also so laid back that she really just gave me her items, a basic idea of what she wanted and then set me free.
The day started out with a torrential downpour that lasted a long time. A lot longer then I wanted it to, but when it comes to a wedding, nothing stands in the way. Especially when you have over 120 wedding guests coming in just 4 hours.
With a little adjusting and assistance from my staff, we were able to assemble almost everything under the tents to be taken out right before the ceremony. But we didn’t have to wait that long because about an hour before the wedding was slated to start, the clouds parted and the sun shined through.
A beautiful memorial table was set on the ceremony stage to represent all those who couldn’t be there in person, but were certainly there in spirit.
A make-your-own-cupcake-bar was a big hit with the wedding guests. Your choice of flavor cupcake and icing and then decorate till your hearts content.
A little candle table off to the side that the young and old enjoyed alike.
And a lot of fun dancing on the dance floor. This was a lively group of people there to celebrate a beautiful couple who’s love for each other really showed through that day.
Thank you so much Tara and Josh for letting me be a part of your wedding day. I’m so happy for the both of you and I cannot wait to meet your newest little girl. Congratulations!
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo Credit: James Blask
Diana is a Cleveland Wedding Planner serving all of Northeast Ohio.