It’s such a shame that our nearby Barnes & Noble store recently shut down because that’s where we normally snagged all of the print magazines when we happened to be fortunate enough to be featured! It’s not a great excuse but it does help explain why we are so late sharing the news that we have a full page feature in the most recent issue of Washingtonian Bride & Groom magazine!
We were tasked with coming up with an orange themed gift box which shocked me, to be honest, because people tend to steer clear or orange. They either love it or hate it, am I right? Considering our brand is inspired by the color marigold (my own wedding colors, btw), we were definitely up for the challenge!
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
We selected a crisp white foldover-style gift box and filled it with snacks, beverages and a gorgeous keepsake candle. With blush being an accent color, we packaged blood orange macarons in clear treat boxes and finished them off with corresponding ribbon. We found the prettiest honey lollipops along with modern tangerine tea.
And now for the custom paper pieces to tie everything together! Claudia Smith of Fig2 Design had simultaneously been asked to do a stationery suite for the same feature and so naturally, we reached out to her to partner on the paper items to go inside the box. I’m so glad she did because her creative genius (and passion for tasteful pops of color) helped everything come together perfectly!
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
The phrase “to have and to hold” were used throughout Fig2’s stationery suite design so we pulled this wording into the gift like we so often do with many of our wedding welcome gift designs. One lollipop had “to have” and the second one had “to hold”. An “xo” pattern was also used in the stationery suite and we pulled it through to the snack packaging featuring gingersnap cookies and a gourmet nut mix. The welcome letter was affixed to the inside flap of the box and the marble pattern of oranges and greys was also used as the cover to the artisan candle. We finished the gift off with blush ribbon and a corresponding gift tag featuring the “to have and to hold” repeating pattern.
It was a true team effort on this one with Fig2 (see her featured stationery suite here!) and we can’t thank her enough for helping us create a gift design that was perfectly in-line with the aesthetic of the rest of the feature. And a heartfelt thanks to Washingtonian Bride & Groom for including us in this recent issue. It’s a huge, huge honor!
It’s happening! If you’ve been following along, you know we’ve been working on rebranding, launching a brand new website, and designing a brand new collection of Ready-To-Ship gifts to go live in our online shop at the same time as the new website launches. To be honest, these gifts are some of our favorites we’ve ever brought to market and we aren’t even completely done curating them! In today’s vlog, even though we’re not completely finished, we share a glimpse of this tedious, yet exciting, process of birthing an entirely new collection.
For us, designing a new gift box collection is a very fluid process whether it be for our online holiday collection or our year-round collections. It seems like every day we make at least one small tweak to at least one gift, maybe even more. We tweak and massage and tweak some more until we have that gut feeling that they’re just right. We pride ourselves on making sure gifts are useful AND beautiful so even small choices, like ribbon color for example, can take us days to completely decide. We are going to have at least 35 brand new gifts in the new lineup and we couldn’t be more excited to launch them… as soon as we finish the website, that is!
Stick around to see more behind the scenes content from our biggest gift box collection to date! We cannot wait to show you!
You can catch up on all of our recent episodes here and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! As a big thank you for enjoying our vlogs, use the code VLOG10 to shop our current Pre-Designed Collection before these particular gifts are gone for good!
As you may have read here, here and here, we’ve had a bit of turnover with our oh-so-critical Operations Manager position. But all of that is behind us and we are elated to announce our new Operations Manager Heather Shields who has already been executing projects like a pro. We feel like she’s been with us for months rather than just a few weeks. Since we’re officially introducing her on the blog, we’ve told her that she absolutely HAS to stay since it’s now “blog official”! Thankfully, she agrees!
Without further adieu, hear from Heather in her owns words…
What attracted you to the operations manager position?
I am so thankful that my sister was following M&G’s Instagram account and flagged the job opening for me when it was originally posted. She knew it would be a great fit and she wasn’t wrong! This position fills my desire to break into the special events industry (yay, gifts!), while still utilizing my project management background.
What were you doing before joining M&G and how do you think it will benefit you in your new position?
For the past three years, I was working as an account and project manager at a media production company in Washington, D.C. It was a fast-paced environment, where I managed multiple projects, timelines, and budgets. I really enjoyed working directly with clients and vendors, and I am eager to take this experience and apply it to M&G’s growing business.
What do you most look forward to about the job?
I am very much looking forward to learning the ins and outs of a small business, as well as having the opportunity to be more hands-on within a company. I can’t wait to grow with this wonderful team and perfect my bow tying skills!
Anna Reynal Photography
Fave celebrity wedding?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It may be cliché, but who doesn’t love a royal wedding? Their wedding was magical from start to finish, and I especially loved all of the personal touches that the couple included on their day of.
A personal favorite is Practical Magic – that midnight margarita scene is everything – but my go-to guilty pleasure is The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Who inspires you?
All of the ladies in my life! My mom, grandma, and sister especially inspire and encourage me to always view my glass as half full (hopefully with wine).
Hanging out with my cat, listening to true-crime podcasts, finding the best brunch spot, and making future travel plans!
Fave travel destination?
The U.K. will forever hold a special place in my heart. I studied abroad in Wales in 2013 and made lifelong friends through the program there. Although, I’d pick Italy if I had to choose one place to visit for the rest of my life…mostly because it’s beautifully romantic, but also for the endless supply of delicious wine, cheese, and pasta. Need I say more?
Fave Insta account these days and why?
It’s hard to choose one, so here are a few of my current favorites!
@kimothyjoy – Kimothy is a beautiful artist who creates illustrations to spark social-awareness and change. I definitely recommend checking her out if you need inspiration.
@rupikaur_ – Rupi’s poems are so touching and relatable. I always find myself feeling driven to create and write more because of her.
@magnolia – I (not so) secretly wish the Gaines family would adopt me. I love all of their home renovations, and I’m constantly motivated to do my own DIY projects after seeing their posts.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? And received?
My sister recently got married and, due to budget, she decided to not hire a videographer. I could not allow that to happen with my background in media, so I conspired with her wedding planner and found a few options to share with the then soon-to-be newlyweds. Don’t worry; I wouldn’t dare hire a videographer without their consent! We are now eagerly awaiting the final videos, and they are so thrilled that they can relive their big day over and over again!
One of the best gifts I have ever received was from my grandma on my 25th birthday. She let me choose a set of earrings from her jewelry collection, and then had them altered for pierced ears so that I could wear them. They are without a doubt my favorite (and most meaningful) accessory to date!
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Please join us in giving Heather a very warm welcome! She’s stepping into her role just in time to help us prep for our big rebrand and website relaunch coming soon. She’s also going to be with us as we introduce our brand new online collection of ready-to-ship gifts! We’re thankful she’s here for this so we can celebrate together as a team once we cross the finish line! And yes, we hope she’s here to stay!
I’ve always believed that custom paper in wedding welcome gifts can take the gifts to a whole new level and this project I’m about to share with you is the perfect example of this. Our sweet Florida bride didn’t have map artwork done and by the time she hired us to design her gifts, we were really getting down to the wire in terms of time. But if a client of ours wants a map, even if it’s last minute and fully custom, then that’s what they shall have! Thankfully, Caitlin of Third Clover jumped in and came to the rescue, designing a combination welcome letter/map to include in the boxes. Can’t wait to show you how the custom paper brought everything together!
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
We selected crisp white boxes for the gift packaging and filled the boxes with practical items such as water and a custom amenity kit (i.e. hangover kit) along with sweet treats such as custom cookies by Sugar Studio in the shape of Florida along with citrus orange slices. For something salty, we selected gourmet peanuts.
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
I loved how the slices added a bold pop of color to these boxes and pulled in the fun Florida vibe. As an added bonus to further emphasize the Florida feel, we added Hawaiian Tropic SPF lotion to help prevent sunburn!
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
We positioned the custom watercolor maps on top of the items so it would be the first thing wedding guests would see upon arriving at the hotel and opening the boxes!
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
For finishing touches, we created custom gift tags reading “welcome to the sunshine state” (Just Write Studios) along with blush raw edge ribbon in keeping with their blush and gold color palette. We also added a sprig of eucalyptus for a final touch!
Image: Lissa Ryan Photography
What do you think of this gift design? Let us know in the comments or you can email us here. For more information on our Custom Gift Design Service, please visit here. We’d love to help!
If you read our blog, watch us on our youtube channel, or follow along on social media, you’ll know we’ve had a bit of turnover lately in our Operations Manager position. And with turnover comes new hires and with new hires come more frequent reviews of our Employee Handbook. (You may recall I finally finalized this back in January during my workcation!) Anyway, on the front page of our Employee Handbook, we list our mission statement and core values so it’s clear that these are the driving forces behind everything outlined in the document. We’ve never officially shared these with you before so while they’re on my mind, I figured it’s time. They shouldn’t be kept private. They’re as much for you as they are for us!
To give the gift giver the same amazing experience as the one receiving the gift.
We love to make gorgeous gifts, that’s a fact. But our actual business is all about taking it a step further. Anyone can put pretty things in a box and ship it off to a recipient who’s going to love it. Who doesn’t love a gift, right? Beyond that, we are laser focused on taking the entire process of gifting from start to finish off of our clients’ shoulders so they can get back to doing whatever it is they do best…running a small business, handling marketing for a Fortune 500 company, designing and executing high end weddings, managing a demanding career while planning one’s own wedding, or even running a household like a total boss. We want our clients completely stress-free in the process and this means that we must have the proper systems in place to make it seamless for them. Doing this goes beyond just pretty things in a box.
Titles don’t matter but contribution does.
I believe in this so wholeheartedly that I intentionally made sure it was listed first. We might assign traditional titles around here but no one is above doing anything that is required to satisfy our mission. For example, if operations is bogged down when juggling multiple projects at one time with overlapping deadlines, it is not unheard of for me, the owner, to jump up and build gifts and tie bows. Even if I’m busy doing revenue generating things which some might deem as “more important”, it doesn’t matter! I do whatever it takes. Same with the operations side of things. If there’s a marketing or design project that needs an extra set of hands, they’re happy to contribute. Feedback is welcome from everyone regardless of title and regardless of whether their opinion clashes with mine. In fact, some of our part time interns have come up with some of the best ideas we’ve had. I like it this way. It’s the only way to keep innovating and growing.
Without clients, we don’t have a business. Treat them like gold.
You can have the prettiest Instagram with a bazillion followers or a press page to die for, but NONE of it matters if you don’t have clients. And more importantly, happy clients. Some businesses hide behind the social media and press facade while ignoring the right things and in the end, they’ll fail because businesses aren’t sustained on the number of followers or amount of press you have. These things can certainly help but to us, nothing is more important than happy, loyal clients, stress-free clients.
Our team is our most important asset.
This might be a controversial statement since as I said above, if you don’t have clients you don’t have a business. But, if you don’t have a team, and a really good team, you won’t end up with the clients you need to achieve long term success. Unhappy employees lead to lukewarm or even unhappy clients. I’d rather have a good team and struggle with low inventory because a good team can do more with less. I’d rather have a good team and have few operational mishaps on a project because a really good team can help smooth things over and still deliver a flawless experience for the client. A bad team will leave you hanging, resulting in leaving your clients hanging, so you must have the culture right first. All else flows from there.
Design and execution are equally important.
I’ve said this before but beautiful boxes aren’t enough. Thoughtful, beautiful gift design is a given. It HAS to be there. But what really sets us apart is whether or not we can actually execute. Can we get all 800 gifts out the door on time to 800 different address requiring 800 different address labels all while juggling multiple other projects at the same time? This matters as much as design does. We have to nail them both.
Do the right thing always.
This is pretty basic in theory but sometimes harder to live out. For example, we have a delivery go wrong and it’s going to cost us several thousand dollars to make it right. It’s ultimately UPS’ fault but telling the client UPS dropped the boxes isn’t going to fix the gifts and get them to their recipients on time. We have to pay to fix the problem and then scramble to still find a way to meet payroll, pay bills and whatever else we have going on. It might mean not hiring that assistant as early as ew want or going without a professional photographer and taking the product pictures yourself for a while. But we think long term and do what’s right even if it hurts in the moment. We treat our clients the way we wish to be treated.
We’re really curious. What do you think of our mission and core values? Reach out via our contact page or leave us a comment in this post. We value your feedback and as always, love to hear from you!
Wedding trends come and go but there will always be room for timeless design. When I think of Aimee Dominick, owner and founder of A. Dominick Events, I immediately think of flawlessly executed, classic events with touches of modern throughout. While her events are gorgeous, full of details, and worthy of gracing the pages of every national wedding publication (and they have!), she runs her events with precision. There are millions of moving parts going on behind the scenes but her couples and their guests will never know it because she, along with her team, make it appear effortless. We’re honored to have worked with her on a few wedding welcome gift projects and are even more honored to feature her on the blog this month for our Planner Profile series!
Without further adieu, let’s hear from Aimee herself…
Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?
I went to The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, but I found the industry cold and kind of terrifying. After some soul searching, I went to culinary school and baked in a professional kitchen, which I loved. While I looked for a job cooking I was offered a job with a wedding planner. I thought I would hate it, but it turns out it combines all the things that I love: design, food and logistics. I worked for that firm in NYC for two years. I founded my company in DC in 2005 and haven’t looked back!
What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?
I always find this a hard question to answer. As a planner, I work with many vendors, but never another planner, so I don’t really know how they approach their projects. I know that we put a focus on the guest experience. I care a great deal if the guests are hot or cold, if someone has offered to take their coat or hand them a cool towel. I love design also, but it can not come at the expense of how the guests relate to the celebration. If something isn’t functional or doesn’t work in real life we try to discourage the client from wasting their money on it. Maya Angelou said, “People will never forget how you made them feel.” The feedback that we get from vendors is that we are professional and extremely organized, which allows them to produce their best work. Ultimately, my job is to lead a great team and allow them to shine.
Our ideal client can take on so many forms. One of the best parts of this job is that every client, every party and every day at work is different. If I had to plan the same event again and again, I would quit tomorrow. I would say the “easiest client” is one who leans on our knowledge and advice. Someone with a story they want to tell through their celebration or a unique point of view is also awesome. Someone who wants to have fun with the planning and the actual party is a dream!
Please describe your signature style.
I am great at getting inside a client’s head and bringing to life something that they couldn’t put into words. I try very hard to suspend my personal style when I am planning someone else’s event. It is their celebration and everyone who attends should walk in and say “This is so them!” not, “this looks like an A. Dominick Event party.” I hope that shows in the wide range of design aesthetics in our portfolio.
Personally, I love color and pattern in fashion and clean lines and mid-century modern interior design. I would die to have a Donald Wexler or Richard Neutra house in Palm Springs someday.
Blue was huge last year and we are still seeing some dusty blue hanging on. The station-style wedding seems to be on its way out in favor of a return to more formal seated meal. Bolder greens and warm peachy (don’t call it blush) tones. We have also seen more interactive experience and live performances.
What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?
I love a surprise. Something unexpected. That could be a live performance during cocktail hour or a taco truck as guests depart. I love to keep the guests wondering what could be coming next. And an awesome welcome gift is wonderful way to set the tone for the weekend.
What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms to be?
Stay focused on why you are getting married and try not to get overwhelmed by everyone else’s expectations. It is a celebration and a big one, but it is still just a party. I try to remind clients of that, a lot.
Best part of being a planner?
My favorite moment right before the bride comes down the aisle. It is the most exciting and precious moment!
Image: Rachel May Photography
Most challenging part of being a planner?
The hardest part of our job is how much time it takes to make everything look effortless. When something is planned well, we are almost invisible. That is great, but challenging when trying to communicate our value.
Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?
We worked at a venue that had just been renovated and the water stopped working. All. The. Water. No hand washing, no toilet flushing. We quickly jumped into action and got a restroom trailer en route. In the meantime, we filled buckets with water from a nearby property and I flushed the ladies room toilets manually with the buckets of water. My job is super glamorous.
Thank you Aimee for sharing so much of yourself with us on the blog! We hope you guys have loved learning more about Aimee as much as we have! To contact A. Dominick Events, visit here. For more information on Custom Gift Design for wedding welcome gifts, visit here.