10 Small Businesses Worth Knowing in Honor of Small Business Saturday

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

We love to support small businesses on Small Business Saturday but because we are an artisan gifting business specializing in curated gift boxes, we intentionally support small businesses all throughout the year. Here’s a listing of just ten small businesses we’ve worked with in the past and if you don’t already know about them, have a look! They are definitely worth checking out and supporting in any way you can.

Brightly Ever After

Owner and founder Garrett Turner’s personality is as bright and lively as her giant light-up letters, stunning floral walls and creative marquee signs used for weddings, birthdays, styled photoshoots and all of life’s special occasions. True, this isn’t the type of product you buy. (You technically rent). But her business is definitely worth a mention on this list especially for anyone planning that last minute holiday party and looking for that special somethin-somethin to take celebration to the next level! Learn more HERE.

Image: Brightly Ever After

Image: Brightly Ever After

Brooklyn Candle

I can’t even begin to count the number of of Brooklyn Candle Co. candles we’ve included in our gift boxes over the last few years but it’s a LOT. They show up in our Pre-Designed Holiday Gift Box Collection again this year. The scents. The packaging. The fact that they’re eco-friendly and seem to burn forever. Not to mention, the owner Tamara Mayne is a dream to work with! Reliable, hard-working, friendly and extremely supportive of our business as well.

Image: Pur Opulence

Image: Pur Opulence

Buttercream Bakeshop

Buttercream Bakeshop has taken the Washington, DC bakery scene by storm. Their cakes. Their savory options. Not only the taste but the aesthetic. They’re as beautiful and unique as they are delicious which isn’t always the case. Take time to visit them in the Shaw neighborhood of DC this holiday season, but especially on Small Business Saturday!

Image: Buttercream Bakeshop

Image: Buttercream Bakeshop

Chouquette

Owner and founder Sarah Dwyer left her successful banking career to start her chocolate business several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her ability to put custom designs on her delicious chocolates has been the perfect match for our gift boxes but her confections can also be purchased directly from her website. From Washington DC and Virginia motifs to chocolates featuring holiday imagery, the designs take the delicious chocolates to a whole new level.

Image: Chouquette

Image: Chouquette

Fig. 2 Design

It’s no surprise that we tend to design custom gifts with neutrals and softer, more muted colors around here. Which is why DC area based Fig.2 Design is such a welcome change of pace for us. Her brightly colored greeting cards, art prints and gift wrap are so much fun! We especially love her gift wrap. From holiday to wedding to versatile all-occasion wrap, you should head on over and take a look. The collections will immediately put a smile on your face!

Image: Fig 2 Design

Image: Fig 2 Design

Little Well Paper Co.

You may know owner and founder Jess McSweeney from her wildly successful custom stationery business Poppy & Scooter. Earlier this year, she made the decision to hit pause on P&S for a business idea that she felt was a calling. She now designs greeting cards for those less “mainstream” occasions in life, the sometimes more painful ones you rarely see addressed in more traditional greeting card lines. Jess fills a very important space in the industry and she does it with all of her heart and soul. Check out Jess’ brand new collection HERE!

Image: Little Well Paper Co

Image: Little Well Paper Co

Monique Melton

Monique Melton is a Maryland-based author, speaker, business coach, relationship coach and overall force to be reckoned with! Most recently, Monique has added coaching specific to motivational speaking to her offering with a program called the S.W.E.E.T. Intensive. While Monique isn’t necessarily offering a product or service specifically designed to be purchased on Small Business Saturday like product-based businesses do, she is an incredible resource for issues related to business ownership and even life in general. She’s outgoing, warm, approachable, spiritual, and immediately lights up any room she walks into! Get to know her better HERE.

Image: Terri Baskin Photography

Image: Terri Baskin Photography

MM Ink Studio

The “MM” in MM Ink Studio stands for Moya Mimms, an uber-talented designer and calligrapher. We’ve had the honor to collaborating with her on a few different projects and on each occasion, we were absolutely blown away by the top-notch quality of her work as well as her professionalism. In addition to calligraphy services, she also does fully custom wedding invitation design. You can view her portfolio HERE.

Image: Nancy Ray Photography

Image: Nancy Ray Photography

Sugar Studio

I’ve lost count on just how many custom cookies we’ve received from Sugar Studio but rest assured, it’s a LOT. From corporate logo cookies to cookies featuring couple’s pets for their wedding welcome gifts, the sky is the absolute limit to what owner and founder Tiffany can create. Yes, we even worked together to bring Beyoncé cookies to life earlier this fall for a VERY special couple for their wedding welcome gifts. If you can dream it up, Tiffany can bring it to life…in the form of a cookie!

Image: Brett Denfield Photography

Image: Brett Denfield Photography

The Garter Girl

The Garter Girl creates heirloom-quality, handmade garters for stylish brides. Brides can even work with owner and founder Julianne Smith to design fully custom garters to perfectly match their individual style and personality. Even if you aren’t a bride-to-be or looking to buy a gift for a bride-to-be this Small Business Saturday, The Garter Girl’s collection is impressive and definitely worth taking a look. It will immediately change your impression of garters. They are definitely not meant for the garter toss. Nope! These are meant to be treasured for ages and even passed down from generation to generation.

Image: Red October Photography

Image: Red October Photography

We hope you’ve enjoyed our line-up and that you’re inspired to go out and support as many small business owners as you possibly can, not just this weekend but all throughout the year. Are there any small businesses you think WE should know about? Please share by reaching out via our contact page or emailing us at hello@marigoldgrey.com.

 

 

The Everyday Mother Baby Tracking Journal Featured in Mom-to-Be Gift Box // Small Business Spotlight

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Perhaps you saw our brand new Mom-to-Be curated gift box that’s now available in our online shop? If you did, you probably noticed that one of the main items contained in the gift box is The Everyday Mother baby tracking journal. Because it’s aesthetically beautiful, extremely useful, and also has a very inspirational backstory, I thought we’d go straight to the designer herself for an in-depth look at how The Everyday Mother came to be. Meet Jackie Mangiolino…

Tell us a little about yourself!

Well, hello there! I’m Jackie – a Long Island based wife, mother, designer, entrepreneur, coach, dog-chaser, poop-cleaner, and dreamer of….naps. Like many business owners, I ditched a rather corporate career in order to create a life, and business, that worked better for my family and I. My professional background, and Master’s Degree, is in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which is the psychology of people in business. For years, I worked with executives and future corporate leaders to hone their interpersonal skills and create a more productive, fulfilling work environment. Interesting stuff, right?

Very interesting, indeed, but not the most creative, and definitely not supportive of the work-life balance I needed. Enter: Sincerely, Jackie. All through college, graduate school, and my corporate career, I was honing my skillset as a stationer. I fell in love with wedding invitations during my own engagement, and spent years learning all I could about print methods, paper textures, etiquette, and typography. Sincerely, Jackie steadily grew, and in 2014 my husband and I made the decision for me to work full-time for Sincerely, Jackie. Since then I have worked with couples across the country to create fine wedding invitations – paper heirlooms – for them to start their lives together with. I have also opened a studio that hosts other creative businesses and continue use my I/O background through coaching and mentoring other business owners.

Life was going swimmingly well, and in 2016, when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, things went from wonderful, to terrifying, to completely life changing.

Tell us the story behind The Everyday Mother.

On May 26, 2016 my husband and I welcomed our beautiful baby boy, Richard Peter. He weighed 2lbs 2oz, was 14 weeks early, and his birth literally saved my life. I developed HELLP Syndrome, an extremely rare, potentially fatal pregnancy complication that can only be cured by delivery. Our family spent 99 days in the NICU, it was there that The Everyday Mother was born.

The Everyday Mother is a beautifully printed baby log for tracking daily essentials – feeding, napping, diapers, and showers for mom (let’s be real!). When Richie was in the NICU, I had to keep meticulous notes on my pumping, which is when I discovered there was nothing on the market that I could use. Yes, there were apps, but I needed something I could bring to and from the hospital (where cell phone service was poor). Even more, I wanted it to be BEAUTIFUL, you know, to perk up the oh-so-glamorous task of pumping. This is when I first decided I needed to create something for myself and other NICU mothers. I created a simple template that I printed at home – as a designer, I made sure the template was as lovely to look at as it was to use. I gave the template to my lactation consultants and nurses, who then gave it to other NICU moms, and before I knew it, I was sitting in the pumping room next to a mother who had hole-punched my template and was telling me how much it helped her! After leaving the NICU, I had to track even more baby details, so I decided to expand the original template and make it into a beautiful, spiral bound notebook that ALL families could use. Enter, The Everyday Mother. Our first print run of The Everyday Mother sold out in a matter of weeks, and that’s when I knew I had really created something amazing for families.

What were your biggest challenges in becoming a new mom?

 Aside from the unique medical challenges surrounding Richie’s birth, I had the same struggles as all other mothers. Eating, showering, surviving. Staying organized was huge for us, which is why The Everyday Mother became so important. Keeping track of the mundane things, like pumping, Richie’s bottles, naps, etc., really helped to free up a tiny bit of (desperately needed) space in my brain.

How is Baby M doing these days? What is he up to?

Richie continues to amaze us every day! He’s currently discovering solid foods, giggling up a storm, and trying to figure out how to befriend our dog (hint: it doesn’t involve tail-pulling). Even though he is technically ten months old, he is developmentally adjusted to seven months old (the three month difference is because he was three months premature). We will use his adjusted age until he is two years old.

He’ll always be considered a micro-preemie, even beyond the first two years. While that’s a little intimidating, I love seeing how he continues to beat the odds every day. We are so lucky that he has no severe lingering health issues. He’s right on target for his developmental goals, thanks to the team of medical professionals that we have helping us. The gratefulness I feel for Richie, and his incredible journey, is something I have a hard time putting words to.

In what ways do you think The Everyday Mother is most useful to new moms?

For me, the most powerful benefit of The Everyday Mother was that it relieved so much pressure from me, as the mother, and allowed my husband to really step in and share the load. Since mothers are often responsible for feeding baby (specifically, if breast feeding), it sort of snowballs and becomes the mother’s responsibility to remember when baby ate, pooped, got their gas medicine, napped, got a bath, etc. It is SO MUCH to have to remember and the pressure to remember such important things is overwhelming – especially when sleep deprived and recovering from, oh, you know, giving birth. The Everyday Mother allows all of that information to be logged neatly into a book that EVERYBODY can use. If I hopped in the shower and Richie started crying, my husband could easily look in the book to see the last time Richie ate/slept/got a fresh diaper without having to ask me anything. Now that I am back at work and we have Richie’s grandparents caring for him during the day, they use The Everyday Mother to write down feeds/naps/diapers. When I come home from work I can take a quick look at The Everyday Mother and known instantly how the day was and where to pick up – and the fact that the book is so beautifully designed makes it that much easier to use!

What are your future goals for The Everyday Mother and Sincerely Jackie Paper?

 I would love for The Everyday Mother to be a staple in every household with a new baby. I want to help families enjoy the early stages with their new child, and I believe the simple organization provided by The Everyday Mother is one way to achieve that. It’s amazing to me that a smartly designed pen & paper solution for daily baby tracking has never been made before The Everyday Mother, and I am honored to be the one to fill that hole.

As for the future of Sincerely, Jackie? Simply, my goal is to continue working with couples to create their wedding invitations. However, I am not at all opposed to altering some back-end aspects of my business(es) in order to make sure they’re effective and sustainable.

Why did you decide to partner with M&G? 

Partnering with Marigold & Grey was a no-brainer. On a personal level, Jamie and I share very similar business values, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. On a strategic level, I know that many people who purchase The Everyday Mother give it as part of a larger gift that they have to put together themselves. It seemed natural to take the guesswork out of the process and provide a curated gift all ready to go. And when it comes to curated, gorgeous gifts, who does it better than Marigold & Grey?!

Thank you Jackie for your extremely kind words and for taking the time to share your story with us! We’re thrilled to see where this collaboration takes both of our businesses and are honored to feature The Everyday Mother as this month’s Small Business Spotlight.

Planner Profile // Heather Miller of Hitched by Heather

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Today’s featured wedding planner is one of the first planners I met when I started my wedding welcome gift business. I was immediately struck by her intense devotion to her clients and passion for creating a day that expressed each couple’s personal style. She has a corporate background and brings that corporate savvy and a whole lot of heart to her Maryland-based planning business.

Without further adieu, let’s hear from Heather Miller of Hitched by Heather!

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?

My great grandmother owned a wedding boutique that my mom, sisters and I would visit on a regular. We even walked in her yearly wedding fashion show from the ages of flower girl to bride. My mother was a wedding photographer, and while my photography skills are less than desirable, I was one heck of an assistant. Mostly because the photographer turns into a makeshift wedding planner when one is not contracted for the day. At 19, I planned my first wedding after 3 months of classes.  It was a very stressful two days and I only made $100. I cried the entire way home. The feeling of being a failure is not in my genes and I hit the books again. After one year of planning weddings for friends, I was offered the position of the only onsite wedding planner for a brand new vineyard and I officially got my start. After 8 years of working full time for a government contractor and part time as a planner. I quit my job and became a full time, full service wedding planner. 

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

After over 11 years of working in this industry, I realized my job is not solely to keep the wedding day and process stress free, but to be my clients right hand.  In meetings with vendors, I know the brides thoughts before she voices her opinion. I can tell by the raise of her eyebrows or shift in posture if I need to take over with new ideas. Knowing my clients and their families will ensure a flawless experience for everyone. Ask any of my couples and they will tell you my honesty is almost shocking. I tell them industry secrets that will save money and don’t let vendors get away with slacking or undeserved overpricing. I also give 100% of my career to working for my couples and finding the perfect future HBH clients. Although I love how planners are banning together more than ever, and I have many planner friends, I do not want to be the “best of the wedding planners to other wedding planners.” I want to be the best wedding planner to my clients.

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather

Please describe your ideal client.

I work with all types of couples, but the clients that normally work with me love LOVE. They also love their wedding as much as I do and get butterflies when their fiancé sends them a text. Their wedding is not just another day to them, but a moment in time that will change their life forever. They are not satisfied with just a “Pinterest Wedding,” and get giddy with the thought of chandelier cakes or personalized and out of this world, out of town baskets. 

Please describe your signature style.

My style is light, airy, classic and 100% romantic. I love bold touches, but side with romantic candle light any day of the week. I always push the limits of bringing in never before seen touches that pull in the couples style. Since everything is client based, I can pretty much design and execute anything the couples dream up. Which sometimes become my favorite days! 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather

Image credit: Mike B Photography

What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

I believe guests should be spoiled. From welcome gifts to midnight snacks. There needs to be something special for every type of person. If the budget can only go so far, I concentrate on a few over the top touches that they will truly appreciate and take away with them. Flimsy favors can be over rated, but they will never forget your amazing wedding band or personalized whiskey and cigar bar. 

What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms-to-be? 

Remember why you’re here and be kind to one another. Do not let the stress of finances, emotions and relationships take away from this amazing experience. This day is about two people joining as one, not one crazy person throwing a party. Be mindful of your fiancé and let this journey connect you, not divide. 

Best part of being a planner?

Experiencing the best day of someone’s life in the best seat in the house. I get to know my couples like friends and watching their excitement, tears and happiness is the best feeling. Knowing I’m helping to create a day they will never forget is adrenaline pumping. I get chills right after I send the bride down the aisle. We worked so hard to get to this one moment and the energy in the room is electrifying. That is why my job will never get old!

Most challenging part of being a planner?

Saying goodbye. I have joined majority of my clients on this emotional journey about a year, sometimes longer, before their big day. They text, call and email me daily. After their wedding, I go through withdrawal and miss seeing their name pop up on my phone. It’s like quitting cold turkey and losing a friend. It’s pretty sad! Thank goodness for social media or I would be a total mess. 

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

The unknown is the biggest reason my job is extremely important. Some of the most terrible things are possible at larger events and if you are not trained to handle it properly, it will infringe on everyone’s happiness. A few big disasters I’ve had to overcome are; a wedding cake falling on the floor 10 minutes before the bride and groom were announced, all of the toilets breaking in the building at one time, the photographer arriving late and a hammered team of bartenders. That’s just scratching the surface. I swear I’ve seen it all. Handling these types of situations must be entered into with poise and class. If anyone sees you freak out, panic sets in. They were fixed with: a call to a nearby bakery and lots of buttercream and flowers, my assistants standing at each restroom to let the guests know they can’t flush the toilets (that was a fun night), taking out my back up professional camera and making sure the videographer got extra shots and politely, but sternly, telling the bartenders to straighten up or they were history.

Fave celebrity wedding?

Sophia Vergara and Joe Manganiello. Their night was a fairytale. The ceremony and reception were dripping with orchids (literally). It was a black tie dream with an after party that blows most concerts away. And guests received gifts you will only see at the Emmys…and Marigold and Grey. 😉

Fave color palette?

Anything with Navy. But Ive been loving the Marsala, blush and gold trend recently. 

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

I have an extreme travel bug and see many potential, favorite wedding locations. I’m torn between Nantucket and Hawaii. I’m nautical obsessed in every way and can’t think of a better way to celebrate a lifetime together than an old house on the ocean. And nothing screams romance than a beachside wedding on a Hawaiian island. 

Fave something blue?

Hands down, sapphires. In a ring, earrings, or in a broach tied to your bouquet. They are such a classic and gorgeous touch. 

Fave floral?

Peonies. Peonies. And more peonies. 

Fave Insta feed these days?

Mindy Weiss- her feed is real and over the top 

Sparkle and shine darling- I want EVERYTHING they post

Bossbabe inc.- for my daily dose of awesomeness

Dream fashionably- she keeps me current with fashion and trends 

Wedding-Planner-Heather-Miller-Hitched-by-Heather

Thank you Heather for sharing so much about yourself and your business with us! Much appreciated!

To see more examples of Heather’s work, check out her gorgeous website or Instagram for a more behind-the-scenes look.

Planner Profile // Laura Weatherly of Engaging Affairs

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Pop the cork and cue the confetti because this week’s featured planner just celebrated her 20th year in business! Friends, this is not a typo. I really do mean TWENTY YEARS. From formal DC weddings to destination celebrations all over the world. From timelines that go off without a hitch to the occasional drama-filled wedding that’s nearly called off (more on this later!). This expert planner has seen it all and managed to execute countless thoughtful, beautiful, and memorable weddings no matter the circumstances.

I’m beyond honored to introduce you to Laura Weatherly, founder and owner of DC-based Engaging Affairs!

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?

I started Engaging Affairs in 1996 when I was 24 years old. I had been an English major at Duke University and worked briefly in literary publishing before moving to D.C. and working in government publishing (which was awful). My best friend from college and I were both in D.C. working at jobs we disliked so we decided to start our own business. Since we’d just planned her wedding at The Willard Hotel, we decided to start a wedding planning company. We didn’t have much idea about the industry before we jumped in but we devoted all our energy to learning and the business took off. We were named to Washingtonian Magazine’s Top Wedding Vendors list the year after we started and have been named top vote-getter on that list ten times since then. My English and publishing background paid off years later when I wrote a mystery series about a wedding planner in D.C. (truth is stranger than fiction!) and it was published by HarperCollins and won the Agatha Award for best first novel.

Wedding-Planner-Laura-Weatherly-Engaging-Affairs

Image Credit: Justine Ungaro

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

Probably the fact that I’ve been planning weddings in D.C. for 20 years!

Please describe your ideal client.

My ideal client is someone who knows themself well and is secure in what they value. They have seen enough of the world and had enough real life experiences to be grounded. They have worked hard and appreciate the work others do for them. They are able to be in the moment and fully experience the joy of their wedding day no matter what happens.

Wedding-Planner-Laura-Weatherly-Engaging-Affairs

Image Credit: Justine Ungaro

Please describe your signature style.

My signature style is about flow and grace. Even though I want each wedding I plan to fit the distinct personality of the couple, each one should have exquisite flow. I want each of my weddings to be planned so that it feels seamless and effortless and that every detail has been thought out ahead of time to ensure a gracious experience for every guest.

What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

Taking care of logistics for guests goes a long way in eliminating stress. We always provide valet (even at churches with tough parking) or plenty of shuttles so that guests aren’t worried about getting to the wedding. This also ensures that the guests aren’t straggling in late to the ceremony (one of my pet peeves). We make sure to stock enough umbrellas on rainy days so that each guest can be escorted from their car or shuttle without getting soaked. And if guests are going to be on a shuttle for a while, we like to provide water and snacks.

What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms to be?

If you enjoy your wedding, so will your guests. No matter what happens (and sometimes things do happen), if you can roll with the punches and remember the reason you are throwing a big party then your wedding will be a success. The best weddings I’ve planned weren’t necessarily the most expensive or most detailed. The best weddings have been the ones where the couples had the most fun with their guests. Joy is contagious!

Best part of being a planner?

I love getting to know some amazing families and getting to be a part of their lives. At this point in my career, I have done multiple siblings in families so I almost feel like I’m part of the family by the second and third weddings!

Wedding-Planner-Laura-Weatherly-Engaging-Affairs

Most challenging part of being a planner?

It can be tricky being away so many weekends when you have children of your own. We work regular business hours plus we often have evening meetings and then weddings on the weekends so it can add up to a lot of time away if you don’t work at balancing it all.

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

I had a couple almost cancel the wedding on the day-of. The groom was a professional athlete and the only way he’d agree to continue with the wedding plans was if we could get a pre-nup signed before the ceremony. I ended up getting a pre-nup drawn up for them and the hotel concierge notarized their signatures only a couple of hours before the bride walked down the aisle.

Fave celebrity wedding?

I loved Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding because it was intimate and personal and didn’t follow tradition.

Fave color palette?

I love gold and rose gold with just about any color.

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

We’ve planned several weddings in the Caribbean islands and a beachfront wedding is beautiful but I would love to plan a wedding somewhere with lots of history like Istanbul or Venice.

Fave ‘something blue’?

Messages or monograms embroidered in blue thread on the inside of wedding gowns.

Fave floral?

Tulips and peonies equally.

Fave Insta feed these days?

I love Instagram feeds that make me laugh. @kirbyjenner is hilarious as is @crazyjewishmom

Wedding-Planner-Laura-Weatherly-Engaging-Affairs

From left: Amanda McCabe, Laura Weatherly, Christine Godsey; Image Credit: Rodney Bailey Photojournalism

Congrats again Laura (and team!) on 20 years. Here’s to many, many more!

For more Planner Profiles, make sure to hop over here! We love introducing you to the best wedding planners in DC and beyond!

Planner Profile // Caroline Dutton Events

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Do you hear the term “traditional wedding” and think stale or out-dated? Or worse, you hear “DC wedding” and immediately think over-the-stop and stuffy? Think again, my friends. The planner behind this week’s Planner Profile feature has a gift. She takes the traditional DC wedding and adds a fresh, modern twist resulting in some of the most clean, classic, chic and flawlessly-executed celebrations around.

Without further adieu, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Caroline Dutton, owner and founder of Washington, DC-based Caroline Dutton Events.

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image Credit: AJ Dunlap

Tell us how you became a wedding planner!

So, this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that I always grew up wanting to be a wedding planner. Well, that’s partly true. I was certainly the young woman that devoured wedding magazines, reading them from cover to cover and tearing out inspiration for my future wedding day. That has never changed. I still do it because I’m very visual in that way. But, in college I studied something very unrelated and when I started in the corporate world (investment banking, can you believe it?), part of my responsibilities involved event planning. I naturally kept gravitating back to celebrations and even fell into helping a friend with her wedding. On her wedding day, it finally clicked—I loved this and I realized I could actually have a career doing it! It may sound like a roundabout path, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. In fact, I love that I had 8 years of experience in corporate America before starting my own business. It’s that background that enables me to plan and execute, using my right and left brain. I focus on the little details all while keeping the big picture in mind—and the budget too!

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image credit: Elliott O’Donovan

Describe to us your ideal client.

I love to work with couples looking for a personalized planning experience, from start to finish! In terms of style, the classic, elegant and romantic wedding is always right up my alley. If a couple is looking for a timeless and sophisticated soiree with personalized touches—things that are uniquely them—well, that’s my specialty. Whether I’m helping a couple find an invitation that pays tribute to how they met or discovering a cake flavor that represents the blending of two cultures, I adore clients who want each and every element of their wedding to reflect not only their present, but their future life together and their family traditions of the past too.

Please describe your signature style.

Classic with a modern twist. For weddings that often means a timeless design that you will still be just as happy with 50 years from now, but still incorporates your personality and taste! “Traditional” doesn’t equal “boring” in my book.

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image credit: Camille Catherine Photography; Florals: Eight Tree Street

Why do you think it’s important to focus on the guest experience when planning a wedding?

Oh gosh, guest experience is everything! How do you want your guests to feel at your wedding? Imagine a party at your home and how you think about making everyone feel welcome and important—it’s just like that, only on a much larger scale! Honestly, even the swankiest affair can still feel intimate and comfortable for guests. Your guests have traveled from near and far to be a part of your special day, so you want to make them feel wanted and appreciated. Believe me, there are lots of decisions to make when planning a wedding. But, by focusing on the guest experience and the feeling that you want you guests to have—that can not only serve as a guiding light for your decisions throughout the process, but also a way to create an unforgettable experience. The last thing a wedding guest will remember years after the wedding is how good the cake tasted. However, they will remember that you welcomed them at the hotel with a thoughtful gift basket, provided transportation to make it easy for them to get around Washington, DC, that they laughed so hard at the ceremony they cried, and that they had the time of their life on the dance floor with you, the couple. Again, it’s all about the emotion and experience. Memories that will last a lifetime!

What are some trends you’re seeing in terms of creating guest experience?

Interactive guest experiences are definitely on-trend right now, and for good reason. From photo booths where guests pose with creative props and create memories with family and friends, to a fun, interactive activity like a food truck from your favorite donuts in the city–more and more couples are incorporating experiences that offer a hands-on element for their guests. Things like signature cocktails still remain very popular. It’s an easy way to infuse your personality into your wedding! Most importantly, couples are looking for ‘one of a kind’ experiences that their friends did not have at their wedding!

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image credit: Camille Catherine Photography; Menu: Just Write Studios

What do you want prospective brides to know about wedding planning that might potentially help them?

Planning a wedding can be fun, exciting and downright enjoyable—if you let it be! Yes, you heard me right—wedding planning can be fun, but it can also be very stressful. At the beginning of the planning process I always like to remind couples that is your first, and probably largest, celebration you’ll ever plan as a married couple. It can be tempting to rush out as soon as you get engaged and start booking vendors–so many ideas and undoubtedly, opinions from family and friends. One, just enjoy if for a bit. And two, these large decisions at the beginning will set the tone for the rest of your wedding. Make sure that you are on the same page as your families at the beginning and come up with your priorities. It will help you guide decisions and also keep your budget in check. Oh, and hire a wedding planner. I’m not just saying that because I am a wedding planner. But having a good planner can help you navigate these early challenges and keep you on track throughout the process. Helping you create not only a memorable event, but allow you to truly enjoy your engagement—and the process. It goes by quickly. Believe me!

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image credit: Tony Powell

Fave color palette?

Can’t commit! Too many favorites to choose from. 😉

First-look, yay or nay?

Oh gosh, I love a first look! It’s such a special moment and I’m the first one to tear up. But, it’s such a personal decision for each and every couple—I say, be true to your heart on this!

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image credit: Camille Catherine Photography; Florals: Eight Tree Street

Favorite bridal gown designer?

Carolina Herrera, Amsale, Oscar de la Renta…should I go on? I swoon over tons of different styles, but these would be my favorites.

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

The travel bug in me says—anywhere makes for a good destination wedding. But, honestly, Paris is always a good idea!

Fave floral?

Just one?! Flowers bring so much life and joy to any situation—give me a classic bouquet with a hand-tied ribbon, suspended floral arrangements of a cascading bouquet. I love it all! But, I’m currently obsessed with bridal bouquets of a singular flower: Lily of the valley, for example, or installations and arrangements with a singular floral, like white tulips.

Fave ‘something blue’?

Splurge: Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Pumps in Blue. Sentimental: Something meaningful, like a handkerchief monogrammed with your wedding date!

Fave Insta feed these days?

I assume it’s cheating to say Marigold & Grey?! 😉

Caroline-Dutton-Events

Image credit: AJ Dunlap

Thank you times a million Caroline for sharing your background, signature style and words of wisdom with us today! Much appreciated! We love sharing Planner Profiles on the blog, so stay tuned for even more!

Planner Profile // Kari Rider Events

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

This week’s Planner Profile guest is poised, polished and yes, even on a casual day, looks like she stepped right out of a magazine. Her studio showroom in Easton, Maryland is out of a dream. Having been born and raised on the Eastern Shore now inspires her design work. But wait! Don’t assume nautical. Her designs are classic with a dash of contemporary, traditional with a twist, and no matter what…lush, full of texture, and executed with precision.

Time to meet Kari Rider, the founder and owner of Kari Rider Events!

Kari-Rider-Events

Image credit: Natalie Franke Photography

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up as a wedding planner?

I kind of fell into it actually! I took a marketing job at a country club right out of college. A few months later, the event planner quit and they asked me to take over. Right away, I knew I had found what I wanted to do with my career! I worked there for five years until my youngest son Nolan was born (almost a year to the day after my oldest, Ivey, came into the world—so life was pretty crazy for awhile!). When things settled down a bit, I decided to kick our crazy up another notch by starting my own event planning business! I began slow, working part time at first before really launching Kari Rider Events into a full-fledged operation a few years ago—the culmination of which came with the opening of my downtown Easton studio and showroom last spring.

Kari-Rider-Events

Image credit: Natalie Franke Photography

What sets you apart from other planners in the industry?

My location on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Although I serve the entire Mid-Atlantic region, my focus is on the Shore, where I live and have my studio. The majority of my clients live outside the area so they need a planner with extensive knowledge of and connections to the region. And it’s almost like I was born to work here, as my favorite design palette—a mix of cool gray, bright white, oyster shell blue and a pop of gold—screams Eastern Shore!

Please describe your ideal client.

My ideal client is attracted to the natural beauty and understated elegance of the Eastern Shore, and wants those themes woven through their event design. They appreciate a well-dressed table, lush blooms and thoughtful details that allow their event to stand out.

Please describe your signature style.

In a word: polished. I love a neutral palette, subtle textures, lush blooms, metallic accents and cohesive details that trend toward the classic.

Kari-Rider-Events

Image credit: Elizabeth Fogarty

What’s your favorite way to enhance the guest experience?

Little touches that are unexpected—think creative escort card displays, fun drink stations and standout décor—and, of course, an amazing band!

What’s the best advice you have for brides and grooms to be?

Have fun and don’t overthink it! Yes there’s a lot involved with planning a wedding, but some of my most memorable weddings have been with clients who were able to relax and enjoy the process. That’s why I’m here after all—to handle all those little stresses for you!

Best part of being a planner?

The ability to be creative every day, and to see that creativity come to life in new and beautiful ways during one of the most meaningful days of our clients’ lives.

Kari-Rider-Events

Image Credit: Natalie Franke Photography

Most challenging part of being a planner?

Dealing with eccentric clients and, at times, demanding needs! I’ll elaborate when I retire!

Biggest wedding disaster and how you overcame it?

We had just loaded up the first shuttle of guests at the end of a reception last season, only to find out a few minutes later that a pickup tram had slammed into the side of the bus. No guests were injured but the passengers of the truck were flown out via helicopter (fortunately, everyone recovered just fine). The road was shut down for hours as emergency personnel worked to make sure everyone was okay. Unfortunately that meant the rest of the guests couldn’t leave the reception. I quickly talked to the parents of the bride and decided not to alert guests of the disaster, but instead to announce the band would be playing for another hour. Everyone danced away the extra time and the road cleared just in time. That was definitely one for the record books!

Fave celebrity wedding?

Honestly, nothing is really coming to mind! I feel like so many celebrities are keeping their nuptials secret these days and not sharing photos. But when it comes to celebrity wedding fashion, my faves include Olivia Palermo, Allison Williams, Anne Hathaway and Whitney Port!

Fave color palette?

Neutral, neutral, neutral! White, gray, gold and oyster shell blue top the list.

Kari-Rider-Events

Image Credit: Elizabeth Fogarty

Fave spot for a destination wedding?

Bald Head Island, North Carolina. I’m totally biased—my husband and I got married there 10 years ago—but it’s the perfect wedding destination. Imagine all of your guests renting houses and making their way around the scenic beach community via golf carts (because they don’t allow cars!). It’s like a big family vacation for a hundred of your closest loved ones!

Fave ‘something blue’?

A silk ribbon on a bridal bouquet.

Fave floral?

Not to be cliché, but peonies! Especially the cool blush tones. They’re the perfect pop of texture.

Kari-Rider-Events

Image Credit: Natalie Franke Photography

Fave Insta feed these days?

Once Wed and Jose Villa. Now, always.

Kari-Rider-Events

Image Credit: Natalie Franke Photography

Thank you Kari for taking the time out of your busy day to chat with us! Much appreciated!