2013. You were lovely. Truly. I loved you so much. See?
You were the first full year I was able to get used to the new HGE brand. To truly define what the HGE experience is all about. To fall in love with every ounce of my career and business. And that I sure did. You brought a full year of floral design my way, ten incredible events and couples, four amazing editorial shoots, a massive print feature in The Knot, a tough fork in the road between moving the studio outside our home or finally settling on renovating our basement (it’s all insulated as of last weekend!), two speaking engagements, a trip to Florida, a trip to Texas, a trip to Engage in Arizona, and the decision to create a workshop that has completely lit my heart on fire. You were non-stop and full of movement, life and adventure. Let’s walk through it all again together shall we, friend? Fasten those seat belts.
In January my friend Leah and I trekked out in the snow for some bouquet goodness. Just to keep inspired and on top of our game. January was cold, cold, cold and did I mention cold? A lot of time was spent in the office praying for sunshine but also working behind the scenes to get ready for what would be a bustling year. At the end of the month, I teamed up with my amazing gal pal Kelly Braman and a team of other fantastic vendors to make a little feature possible for The Everygirl. It was full of girly Valentines Day goodness more of which you can see here and here.
March was spent making a partnership with BHLDN come to life, again with Kelly. More here and here.
In April, Andrew turned 30. In May I turned 27. We celebrated with dinner at a favorite restaurant downtown. Andrew and I also celebrated with a photo shoot together (naturally). We loved the results from our friends at Studio 623. And no we did not plan our outfits to coordinate so wonderfully with this striped wall. But how fun is it that we actually matched? We’re fun like that. And we’re hoping to get this photo made into a canvas sometime this year for our home.
And then just like that, my official 2013 wedding season began. With the ever so anticipated unicorn inspired wedding. The sweet Janet and Jon finally said I do in front of 80 of their closest friends and family in Western Michigan. It was a freezing cold day here in Michigan despite it being the start of summer and everything still came together so wonderfully. You can see more here on Green Wedding Shoes. And more here too. It was a pleasure working with Kelly who brought it all to life so wonderfully in her images. This wedding was creatively a turning point with my brand. It taught me so much. It humbled me. It opened up a whole new can of possibility and creativity. I’m so thankful for that.
June also brought the amazing wedding of Elise and Kenny in Grand Haven. Love this Southern Belle like you wouldn’t believe. As she told me in one of our meetings, ‘The bigger the hair, the closer to God!’ From endless phone calls and emails between Michigan and Texas she and I curated the prettiest of blooms and lovelites of details for the big day. She also had one of the biggest bridal parties I’ve ever worked with. 10 maids in a row. Photo by Bryan and Mae.
And we were also out to the East side of the state for a camping themed couple’s shower for Kris and Chris. This one was pretty fun let me tell you! A bonfire, a camping inspired treats table, red gingham everywhere. There’s something to be said about co-ed showers; I’m hoping there’s a shift this year towards these kinds of events. You can check out more here and here over on Inspired By This. The gorgeous photos were actually taken by a former bride of mine, Sarah.
Then in July, my sweet Maggie finally got hitched. It was my final coordination only wedding. And it sure was one heck of a party to end with! I was able to work with one of my favorite photographer friends, the one and only Jen Lynne. We had a blast working together for one of our industry pals (Maggie owns the wonderful Renee Austin Wedding, Grand Rapids premier wedding gown destination). Fun story? Maggie and her husband JF are expecting their first child, a son this summer! I couldn’t be more thrilled for them both and wish them all the best as the enter parenthood.
We headed way up to The Homestead later that month for Leigh and John’s fabulous wedding. These two New Yorkers were such a joy, right Ames? Most notably, we strung foot after foot after foot of ribbon over the ceiling beams of the homestead to create a pretty cool ceiling installation that day. It was fun. And Leigh was such a laid back bride with a fret-free attitude. I mean how fierce are her maids and man of honor below? Exactly.
And before I knew it August was here. I started to realize how nutty things were getting with a full load of weddings. We decided this month to start renovations on our basement so the entire studio could move down to one larger space. I also had the pleasure of finally executing and being a part of a truly special event for Kris and Chris at Meadowbrook Hall. I cannot wait to share more photos from their big day. Months and months of heart and soul went into this lovely celebration! And it was my first event with the amazing Abby Rose Photography to boot. I hope it’s not the last.
And this little shoot happened. You can see more here and here. Bradley James Photography is simply incredible.
Over Labor Day weekend, the biggest event I have ever planned, designed and floralized came to life. Ben and Laura from Harrison Studio were there that weekend to capture it all. I’m so thankful. My team and I literally worked for five days prior to this private residence wedding, to ensure set up went according to plan. It was such a big learning experience executing this sort of event. When you see all of the photos you’ll understand why there was such an intense set up schedule. You’ll also see more in April in the national issue of The Knot where we will have the pleasure of having this endeavor featured. Kate Spade meets Lake Michigan meets classic nautical. Oh my heart. Having it all come together without a hitch so beautifully, may just be one of the highlights of all of 2013. Thank you, Lord.
Then just days after our Lake Michigan wedding, it was back to the East side of the state again for this big day. Rebecca and Dave are some of the most humble people I’ve ever met. It literally rained inches and inches and inches that day leaving Rebecca’s fairytale backyard wedding soaked to the nines. But the show goes on. It always does. And in this case these two finally said I Do after years and years of dating. It was incredibly sweet and beyond a pleasure being a part of their day. I also just loved working with the lovely LinneaLiz Photography for the first time.
I nearly fell over when I crossed off a small bucket list item from my list that month too. Two words: Martha Stewart. And HGE! And my girl, Beth who captured it all so beautifully of course. We waited a year for this feature. And it was well worth it. Check out the incredible love between Nicole and Chris and all of the very simple but very sweet details from their day. I want to put these two in my back pocket and keep them there forever that’s how fabulous they are.
In October, it was home to Canada for Alex and Josh’s big day in Hamilton, Ontario. It was a flat out rad celebration of music and love. These two are just so cool, I mean check out this photo below from Mango Studios. Shouldn’t every groom have that look of happiness on his face post-ceremony? I can’t wait to share the rest of this wedding because this big day was really special (and the videographers did the best job with their wedding trailer). More coming soon!
October was here before I knew it. Off I flew to Chapel Hill for my second speaking engagement of the year. It was life changing being a part of the Making Things Happen intensive again but this time as a speaker. I shared my story with close to 100 people, some old faces and some new. I left feeling hopeful and inspired for change, as I always do. I left with some new friendships too. And an invitation to return this spring to do it all over again. The Lord is so good for giving me these moments and experiences to better not only my heart but others who are just as open to change as well. Photo below from Anna Paschal Photography of all us speakers before the first day of the intensive.
And in November, I was back at the airport this time to fly to Austin, Texas for a little thing I like to call a surprise.
More on this soon, I promise! I stayed with my lovely friend Shay. We actually met in 2012 when we sat beside one another at Making Things Happen in Chicago. We’ve become so close since then and my heart is so more than grateful for our friendship. Not only did she host me while I was in town, but she kept me fed and happy (all is takes is a few Pillsbury Cinnamon Buns to be honest). She also took photos of me, I played flowers, I executed a surprise, she captured this below. Oh Sara and Austin! Let me count the ways I so love you two. September 20th is just so close!
And once I got home that month, I made this, shot by these guys and then launched this. We sold out in 8 hours. I cried.
That same week Sam, Brad and I made this collaboration between West Elm, Style Me Pretty and some other incredible vendors come to life. It was very Merry and very Bright and it makes me want to throw a party for Christmas next December. You can see more here and here. It was one of my favorite non-wedding features ever. The bow wall was one of my favorite simple installations to date. And who knew our front living room could be such a great and neutral backdrops for fun little projects like this? I’m saying yes to more of these in the future please and thank you.
In December, my friends Ben and Laura came over to shoot my Girl Cave. I love them. More here if you’d like a peak!
And in December we also celebrated Christmas together at home, just the four of us. Andrew and I, and Chenks and Zoe. Imperfectly perfect home of ours included (check out that pet hair on my leggings, oy)! Brad and Sam shot a few photos for our holiday cards, including this one here which we ended up not using, and I’m so thankful for the obsessive amount of photos I have from different points in our live, milestones or not. One day, I’ll sit here and show these to our kids. How special is that? Oh and it looks like Zoe may be smiling in this photo. That makes me quite happy.
At the end of December, I faced my craziest planning roadblock yet. My California floral truck for our NYE event, carrying all my client’s garden roses, anemones, greens and more, was 24 hours behind schedule. After finally getting our product, leaving 12 hours late, driving through the night (thank you Andrew!), cleaning 300 hydrangea stems in an Ohio hotel room until 5:30 am, bringing together an onsite team of six for pre-wedding set up, staying up until 1:00 am the night before the event to make sure every little detail was perfect for Katie and Bryan, we did it. It truly takes a village. We pulled off the perfect end to a jam-packed and very blessed year. Oh! And Style Me Pretty featured the now married couple’s engagement session that same day. Go see how lovely they are. It was a sweet day celebrating two special individual’s love, doing what I love, with the one I love. What could be better? The amazing and ever so sweet Jen and Jonah captured all of the details. We’re all on the edge of my seat waiting for film scans to come back.
2013 I really liked you. I wanted you to be purposeful. And you were. That was actually my word for last year. And it fit well. I feel like so many of my business methods and the things my business stood and still currently stands for were established. I felt less like I owed people an explanation for why I do what I do. And that in and of itself was very liberating. I overcame obstacles, I learned so much more than I could ever fit into a blog post here, and I really had the absolute pleasure and honor of working with amazing clients, their families and vendors. What more could a girl ask for?
Well, for starters, time with her hubby! It hurts my heart to say it, but there wasn’t much time spent dating, enjoying and falling in love all over again with my husband like I so love to do from time to time (ok, scratch that all the time). I’d also love to take more puppy walks, make home cooked meals, visit the gym more frequently to get strong and fit, feel content with more time away from my phone and social media, spend more purposeful time on projects that matter and less time on things that don’t. More road trips home to see my family. More visits to Andrew’s family down the road. More dinner parties just because. More movies, more books, more risk, more balance, more prayer. More thought on starting a family. 2013 wasn’t bad. But 2014 is going to be better. Much much better.
Happy New Year, friends. May it be made up of all the things that matter the most. Sending you ALL so much love xoxo
(p.s. you can see 2011 in review here, and 2012 in review here)