A Year In Review: 2014


Back in my former days as a lifestyle blogger, my annual Year In Review posts were some of my favorite content I pulled together. Who wouldn't want to look at a list of all of their amazing adventures, new discoveries & bucket list accomplishments all crammed into one place?

Well...old habits die hard.

Ahh 2014, quite the transformative year for Lucky & In Love. It was the year I booked more weddings than ever, added more than 10 trips (personal & professional) to my list of lifetime explorations, and pulled a fast one on my friends, family and certainly myself by making the decision to transition FULL TIME to Lucky & In Love, away from my blooming career in Fashion PR.  I'm still thanking whoever that brave, optimistic, crazy person was for pulling the trigger!

Without further adieu, I give you, 12-months of total greatness!

In January I rang in the new year with the wedding of Chelsea & Scott, who were married on a gorgeous Saturday in Old Town Scottsdale. I toured new potential venues, and spent plenty of time planning for the year. We rounded out the month with a quick trip to Santa Monica to breathe in that fine ocean air.

February brought loads of love as I began working with a fabulous new couple, found excuses to bake all kinds of Valentine's treats, and brunched with some seriously awesome creative ladies who all call phoenix home. I spent entirely too many mornings emailing, document updating and grinding to get wedding work done before heading off to my day job (a struggle I will ALWAYS be glad that happened), and in true hard work/payoff fashion, I was offered a chance to write for Arizona Foothills Magazine!

In March I completed my first article with AFM, where I interviewed the wonderful Teresa of Camelback Flowershop. We became fast friends, and after an introduction to fellow creative maven Misha West, we dreamed up and brought to life the workshop platform Pith + Marrow. We kicked off with our first floral design workshop in only three weeks! In the midst of building this second brand, I had the opportunity to help the incredibly talented stylist Kylie Swanson & photographer Brett Heidebrecht for a desert photoshoot they traveled from Oklahoma to complete. An incoming storm while on top of a giant mountain with couture clothing? Near heart attack. At the end of the month, I snuck off to Vegas with Chris for March Madness and enjoyed a little R&R as the rest of the group stayed glued to the big oversized screens. Madness I tell you.

Contrary to popular belief, April brought hardly any showers, and Jamie & David were married in their backyard. The transformation from grassy area & pool to ceremony space, covered pool with seating for 130 & dance floor was SO INCREDIBLE. It took a solid week, but the outcome was absolutely worth the blood, sweat & tears. Their gorgeous wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty in October! We (pith + marrow) hosted a killer floral design workshop at Chestnut, I ate really good enchiladas, and battled a three-week cold as working two full time jobs began to take its toll. Toward the end of the month, I hopped on a plane to Denver, to shower my best friend with kitchen goods and wife-necessities. I raced back to help a WILDLY talented friend with her first workshop, where Chris & I got dolled up and pretended to be models (fairly un-convincingly:)).

May. OH May. We (pith + marrow) kicked off the month with a floral crown photoshoot for an upcoming class, and I celebrated a new collection release with my favorite gals at La Tavola (yes, we celebrated a new batch of tablecloths...it's a wedding industry thing). The June/July issue of Arizona Weddings Magazine hit newsstands, featuring two articles by yours truly! Chris and I took off for a weekend in Palm Springs, where a few days of relaxation were exactly what I needed before a very hard week. Upon our return, I completed my last couture fashion show with Neiman Marcus, and officially said goodbye. On May 17, I woke up a self-employed, solo entrepreneur/dream maker. ENTER CRIPPLING FEAR & SELF DOUBT. But hey, we survive. 

In June we took a trip on a hot air balloon, went antiquing in Prescott, then packed our bags for my first ever trip to the windy city. OH CHICAGO, if only you didn't experience a snowpocolyspe once I year, I'd pack it all up and move immediately. The coffee! The Bean! The baseball! I may become the youngest snowbird on record and start spending half my time in that awesome city. We returned to Phoenix, where I had about a minute to dry my tears before heading off to Carlsbad for Michelle & Scott's beachside wedding at a private estate (I know, I know. No one feels bad for me). A week later, I found myself back in a plane, en route to Estes Park, Colorado for Devin & Darren's mountain nuptials. The next week, Karie of Ace & Whim and I started working on a new kind of workshop, for fine art photographers with a budding desire to learn how to shoot with film. I signed on as planner & creative director, and the Phoenix Workshop was born!

Each year on the 4th of July, I find myself road tripping to cooler weather/paradise, aka Coronado Island, where my best friend Bianca & her husband kindly open their doors for a weekend of fireworks and celebrating America. I toured a venue for a Fall 2015 wedding, and stuck my toes in the sand on several sunset walks. We got home in time for a few days of work, before heading out again to Nashville! What a dream I never knew I had until I found out I'd be heading there. Brooke & Jason were married at one of the most beautiful venues I've ever seen, we ate dinner at Pinewood Social and drank way too much Crema Coffee. Hipster street cred for the win. Back in Phoenix, I sat on a panel of social media, marketing & branding gurus for a Bloguettes event to help local small business owners. Such fun! I filled my hours with my new opportunity as a freelance writer for Modern Luxury Scottsdale Magazine (testing coffee? Twist my arm), venue touring for a Fall 2015 wedding, and I worked with Ace & Whim to style not one, but TWO lookbook photoshoots for Smitha Menon Bridal. As the month wound to a close, I coordinated & styled a Fall entertaining inspiration shoot for Emma Magazine, we (pith + marrow) announced our Fall workshop lineup, AND MY LIFE PEAKED. Chris surprised me with plane tickets home to Seattle, and almost front row seats to see the Beyonce & Jay-Z On the Run Show. Me and Queen B made eye contact. I will never be the same.

I decided to spend the first full week of August working from Seattle (all hail the cloud!), returning to Phoenix to attend very important events, like the fall fashion kickoff at Neiman Marcus. Priorities. I attended a baby shower for Ms. Camelback Flowershop, and we celebrated as pith + marrow landed itself its first print article in Modern Luxury. It was hot out. Let's be real, I stayed inside a lot.

September brought a very exciting opportunity - the chance to freelance as an event producer for my pals at Neiman Marcus! Muahaha, they will never be rid of me! The second week of the month brought my first workshop with Ace & Whim, where I coordinated & styled a shoot in the desert for 10 photographers...which was attacked by a haboob (or desert dust storm for you non-residents.) I wish I was kidding. There's no denying the photo results were incredible - and we were featured on Magnolia Rouge! I was asked to be a preferred vendor by the uber inspirational wedding blog Once Wed, we (pith + marrow) had our first fall workshop, then I was off to the forest with the talented Kym Ventola and Stephanie Neiheisel to help Sam & Kieran get married under the stars, where all of their guests stayed in cabins & moonrise kingdom tents and partied for three days at a boy scout summer camp (read: I have the coolest clients ever). I came home from the wedding on my birthday, where two little furry creatures were waiting. My birthday present, Marcus & Todd, baby chinchillas and total heartbreakers. Honestly...I still can't even.

In October I got to play with pretty fall floral at a pith + marrow workshop, we celebrated the grand opening of the new and improved drool worthy Camelback Flowershop, and I got a call to be on the the local CBS affiliate's evening broadcast for a story about Arizona's decision to allow same-sex marriage. I'm basically waiting for a call to be on E! now. (Still waiting....). After my 15 seconds of fame, I packed up my car and took a trip to San Diego to visit with a 2015 bride while she was in town. We dress shopped, cake tasted, and brainstormed all kinds of design ideas for her indian themed affair. Since I was already in the state, I jumped on a plane to San Francisco to visit another 2015 Lucky & In Love bride and groom for our first in-person meeting! Right before our meet up, Chris took me up to a gorgeous overlook point with a picnic and a secret agenda. (!!!)

Planning, planning and more planning was the official theme of November. Ace & Whim and I completed our second workshop, this time at The Hermosa Inn, with no crazy weather interruptions! I was caught in my element here and here and oh so filled with inspiration at the end of it. Later, we were fortunate to be featured on Weddings Defined! All in all, I became completely overwhelmed (as most November's cause) with the incredible opportunities I've been given in the last year. We celebrated Thanksgiving with family, dropped surprise deliveries in the mail for clients and at doorsteps for neighbors, and attempted to spread a little joy to everyone we met.

In December I experienced snow in the desert at my first WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association) event. We (the ladies of pith + marrow) realized our paths were traveling in different directions, so I said goodbye to the amazing brand I had an opportunity to build, handing the reigns over to Misha & Teresa. I know they'll do amazing things! On the 20th, we welcomed family to Arizona, hung stockings with care, and I finally shut my office doors for the remainder of the year, to focus on a very personal project. Eek!

2014, you were a year to remember. I can only imagine what is in store for 2015.

My resolution?

The same as last year. Plan awesome weddings, and be more like Beyonce.



Pith + Marrow: Beginning Floral Design

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Floral design has always been such an intriguing concept to me. From far away, assembling a bouquet or table centerpiece looks rather easy. You have a bunch of beautiful flowers, you chop the stems at an angle so they can drink water, and you plop them in a vase - easy peasy folks.


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Wrong. So very wrong. 


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The more and more I play with flowers with Misha & Teresa (the other 2/3 of pith + marrow), the more I respect wedding florists and floral designers of all kinds. This is no joke. Between narrowing down the hundreds, probably thousands, of different blooms out there to select a collaborative color palette full of texture, variety and good smells, to filling out the arrangement with the proper ratio of flower to filler, and doing so one handed as you twist, pull, fluff and assemble to perfect grouping to cut and stick in a beautifully selected vessel. (Don't even get me started on what to put it in - glass, silver, hand thrown ceramic pots, mugs, vintage metal boxes, tea crates - TOO MANY decisions!!)


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That being said, I kind of like this floral design thing. What a beautifully tangible item based off of your inspiration, that you create with your own two hands. No two arrangements will ever be alike, no matter how hard you try. They are perfectly imperfect. I'll spare you the life revelations metaphorical joy going on on the other side of this screen right now - but I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

In other news, we start our three part more advanced floral design workshops this week at Camelback Flowershop! I'm so excited to meet our new season of students, and to dig in and play. Let's see what we come up with this time!


Hiring Help: Who to Hire

The mystery : who to hire?

The mystery : who to hire?

Yesterday, I wrote about the reality of needing help when it comes to planning and executing your wedding. When it comes down to it, you cannot be two people, and as much of your wedding (pre-planning and day-of) should be focused on the major life event that is about to happen. It should be less about the "behind the scenes" prep work.

It is my hope that every engaged couple has enough time and resources to allocated some of their budget to a wedding planner or coordinator. As much as you love your second cousin, or aunt, your best friend or almost sister in law, it can be a bit dangerous trusting your wedding in their hands. The art of producing and executing an event may sound like an intuitive skill, that anyone can pull off, but it truly does take practice, expertise, and the development of organized minded, cool, calm and collected professionals. These professionals that you hire, you will not have to see at family gatherings, weddings and parties for years to come, and will not have to harbor the bitterness that they forgot to pick up your cake. 

And your mother, as sweet and wonderful and creative as she is, should not have to worry about your wedding. She raised you, fed you, listened to your teenage angst, and has had PLENTY of years of birthday parties, holiday celebrations, graduations and family dinners under her belt. Give her this one day off. She deserves it.

With family and friends out of the picture, there are four basic types of professionals you can hire, which all come with different levels of benefit.

1: The Full Service Wedding Planner - This person is the "do everything under the sun" professional. We're talking J.Lo wedding planner status. They help to establish the look and feel of your event from the beginning, so your save the date, your invitation suite, your location, decor and dress all feel cohesive. They are with you when you visit their list of preferred venues. They book your cake tasting. They help build your budget. They feel for you when your parents add 40 extra guests. They help settle the open bar vs. beer and wine debate between you and your fiancé. They craft your table numbers and place settings. They sit on ebay and track down every single vintage decanter and highball glass with a gold rim made in paris in the 1940s so your bar will look authentic. They communicate with your caterer, your florist, your event rental company, making sure no detail is left until the end. They remember to pay your vendors, so you are not left bouquet-less on your wedding day. They are your stress relievers, your cheerleaders, and your strict budget police officers. They will stand alongside you until the cake is cut, the event is over, and you are jetting off on your honeymoon. They will go home and feel such immense joy that their client turned friend (it happens - you've been working together for a year!) got everything they wanted out of their wedding day.

2: The Month-of Coordinator - This person joins your mostly finalized wedding when it's down to the wire. You may hire them mid way through planning, or earlier, but they will likely begin working on the wedding 4-6 weeks out from the big day. When you first meet - you brain dump. No detail, plan, or hope for the wedding should be left out, as this person will act as an extension of you on your wedding day. You planned it, and they will coordinate and execute it.

This person is ideal for the bride and groom who are extremely jazzed about making all of their wedding decisions themselves. They have the time on nights and weekends to research, communicate with all of the event partners to receive quotes, finalize plans and book. They are typically creative, or have the ability to whittle down and make sense of an exploding pin board, to design their perfect event. They are organized, keeping every contract, receipt, and DIY project neat and easily accessible.

When the Month-Of Coordinator comes on board, most vendor communication switches away from the couple. As it is the last minute details and questions like arrival times, server uniforms, directions, and the oh so important day-of timeline, couples can feel a great sense of relief as they wash their hands of these details and leave it to a professional. They have much more important things to consider, like facials, final workouts, final fittings, vow practicing, registry item delivery (a sea of gifts!) and the arrival of out of town guests. The month-of coordinator will coordinate and direct your rehearsal, so you can cool your pre-wedding jitters. On the day of, this person will execute all of your well planned decor decisions, will act as the onsite liaison between all vendors, will wrangle and direct the bridal party through the ceremony, and will make sure your reception flows without missing a beat.

3: The Venue Coordinator - This person is typically offered by your venue, when the package is more "all-inclusive". Your ceremony is on the property, as is your reception, you are using their rentals, linens, dish ware and chairs, and the in-house catering team is on board for the apps, dinner and cake. They will help you with any and all questions and plans that are venue specific, but generally speaking, this is where their services end.

You will be on your own to find a photographer, to design your invitation suite, to design the look and feel of your event, to bring in outside enhancements like a gelato cart, DJ or Photobooth, etc., and to build your own wedding timeline. At the end of the day, their responsibility is to ensure you love your wedding, but more so, to make sure their venue is kept clean and safe. Chances are, the professionals in this role are also tasked with planning ALL of the events at the location, whether it's a conference for 200, birthday party, corporate event, or networking happy hour, not to mention a wedding every other weekend. They will get the job done, but you may miss out on any additional personal touches.

4: The Day-of Coordinator - This person may be provided by your wedding venue, hired by the main venue coordinator to oversee the wedding if they cannot be there, OR, may be a wedding planner that offers a one day "show up and direct" service. This, my friends, is a bad idea. 

It is my personal belief that a person cannot, and should not, show up on the day of your wedding having no idea what the space looks like, what decor you've picked, and who the major players are (photographer, catering team lead, officiant). They may have a general idea of set up, but will be going off of a sketched diagram you likely slaved over in microsoft word. As they unpack each individual box that is labeled "Table 1, Table 2, Table 3" they question the placement of the three candle sticks, five votives, the wine bottle table number and name cards they reveal. The bride and groom typically have to start the day onsite, directing the location of each item, staging an example table, and touring the venue so the day-of coordinator knows where to send guests when they need to use the restroom. This sounds like more work than need be. And it is.

It is important to note that many wedding planners call their "Month-of" service "Day-of" (I made this mistake in the beginning), when truthfully, they've been working on your wedding for weeks, and performing all the tasks of a month-of coordinator. 

With all of this information, it can get very confusing when hiring help for your wedding. Many professionals use different words for the same thing, like event "designer", "stylist", "producer", "director", and more, which all entail a slight variation from the two main types - Planner vs. Coordinator. My advice to engaged couples? Do your research. Look at several planners to see what they offer. Request a list of responsibilities, but go into the conversation with an understanding of what YOU need, and what your budget can handle.

In my personal opinion, every single wedding needs a month-of coordinator, at minimum, unless your venue is extremely hands-on. 

So enough from me! Past brides & grooms - I'd love to know who you brought on to help with your wedding. And for those engaged couples out there, are you wrestling between one type or another?

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, OR, email me at katherine@luckyandinlove.com. I'm here to help!