I have found the last few weeks I have been reflecting on the journey that has gotten me to where I sit today (and I don’t mean on my couch watching The Voice on PVR). There are a couple of moments that stand out to me as I take a step back and appreciate how incredibly fortunate I am to do something I love.
It hit me recently how important the work we do is. We got to be part of someone’s once in a lifetime day. At times I get caught up in our whirlwind of orders and ongoing events and need to remind myself that we are helping create a special memory in someone’s life. This in itself is special. It can also be kind of weird. I was chatting with the bartender at one wedding this summer and we both felt like voyeurs. It is strange to stand around and watch really personal moments for people who you don’t always know really well or personally. It is an honour to be included in these days.
I have been thinking back to before this whole business started, and it started with a wedding. Not mine but rather one of my childhood friend’s. I was shocked and delighted to be asked to be her Maid of Honor. I have to admit I knew nothing about weddings or protocol or what I was supposed to do so off I ran to Chapters for a “How to be a MOH” guide book. It was such a magical experience from start to finish; to watch one of your friend’s marry the love of their life and celebrate with them and be there as a new chapter in their lives start was priceless. Though I still remember being terrified to toast the happy couple, I stumbled my way through it and faced my fear and I am so happy I shared it with them.
I think if I dig back through my archived email I may even find the email from my friend introducing me to the best man who lived literally down the road from me. We had to figure out how to plan the stag and doe for the couple. That email turned in to text messages and phone calls, then a new roommate and eventually my husband! When we started dating we promised that no matter what we would make it to their wedding so that it wouldn’t be awkward if we broke up before the wedding, we would renegotiate after that event to see if it was working. That was over 10 years ago so I guess the contract negotiations worked out.
Another pivotal event experience for us was the first full wedding we did during the first year of our business. We were working out of our house and met the couple on a Friday evening in our basement where our show room was located. I can still remember their décor (black chair covers, champagne organza sashes – the groom wanted the bride to be the only white in the room). Scott and I both worked the event from start to finish (installation of décor, holding umbrellas for guests, wedding party introduction, etc. we even danced with the family on the dance floor). It was exciting and terrifying to be part of this day. I think it shows the philosophy that built our company. It was the personal connection and trust we built with our client, we even helped the bride’s sister with her wedding a few years later because she still thought so highly of how we had contributed to her day. I think I may have forgotten to mention that I was just over 8 months pregnant at the time as well. It was driving home from this wedding at 3am talking about baby names that we came up with the name for our son. The couple had an absolutely adorable ring bearer named Chase. At first we weren’t sure about the name but it grew on us and so we put it in the mix and when our little buddy arrived a few weeks later, the name was a fit.
This summer took its toll on me, like everyone else, and as we approach the light at the end of the tunnel, I have been thinking – how do “we” do it? We put in countless hours as small businesses and keep looking for more work even when we are emotionally, physically and mentally drained. I was touched when one of the planners we work with often reached out to me and just wanted to check in to see how I was holding up. Her kindness was so genuine it helped energize me when I needed it the most. In light of the upcoming holiday I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people I consider friends in this industry. We started out as colleagues and now I consider you to be true friends. Thank you for bouncing ideas around with me via Facebook and Pinterest, or doing 5k runs where we get splattered with paint, or just being an ear to listen and showing you care. Thank you for putting your trust in us to represent your business and believing that we can contribute to your organizations, boards and groups with our contributions. I know I may stretch myself thin at times but I hate turning down opportunities that help me grow and have the potential to enrich myself and our community. Each of you brings something unique to this industry and you make it better for everyone. I love learning from you all and I look forward to the opportunities that the future holds for all of us.