A Year in Review: 2013

2013 can only be described a whirlwind year.  From tons of gorgeous brides to beautiful details to magazine inspiration shoots, this year was one for the books! I am so incredibly humbled and in awe over 2013. In 2012, I took a leap. A big leap. Prior to owning TGH, I was actually an employee of TGH. I met the amazingly talented Heather Gear in 2010, who hired me part time to help with the execution of weddings. Meanwhile, I was working in corporate communications for a healthcare company in Charlotte, and I was planning for my own wedding in New Orleans!  Juggling two jobs and working 7 days a week isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I was so in love with producing weddings with Heather that it didn’t feel like a job – it was so much fun! Eventually, we started to collaborate on design concepts, and I was began to get a better picture for the Charlotte wedding industry through various networking events.  But, in 2012, Heather had something big to tell me – a total game changer that I would’ve never seen coming – she told me that she was no longer accepting brides for 2013 because she was planning to “retire”, and that she’d like to give TGH to me.  If I remember correctly, I think it took a few minutes for me to pick up my jaw and process what she had just said. And, as they say, the rest is history. On December 31, 2012, the day of our last wedding together– a fabulous New Years Eve wedding at the Ballantyne Hotel – I officially took over ownership of The Graceful Host.  Which I now realize was the dream job I never even imagined.

You know the saying “If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans”?  Well, I bet he had a giant laugh over my life plans.  If you would’ve asked me 10 years ago where I’d be at this point in my life, I would’ve said something insane like living in New York City and singing professionally, touring all around the world.    Let’s just say I’ve never lived in NYC for longer than two months, I’ve only been involved with two opera productions professionally within Charlotte, I’m happily married to my college sweetheart, and I live in the suburbs with two insane cats.  Just a little different than touring the world, right? Never in a million years did I think I’d be so lucky as to own this business, and experience pure love and joy every weekend of the year.  And, I could not be happier! I know now that this is the life I’ve always wanted, and it does make me laugh thinking about my former plans.

In 2013, I took that leap I mentioned earlier and quit my real job in communications to go full-time with weddings and run The Graceful Host to its fullest potential.  It was scary - but a good scary. I am excited to wake up every day and do something that I’m so incredibly passionate about. But, enough about all of that - let's get to the pretty stuff!

Would you take a look at all the beautiful brides and handsome grooms we've worked with over the past year. I love them all so dearly! It's been such an honor to be a part of your wedding planning!

2013 Couples

In between weddings, I got a call from Charlotte Wedding Magazine asking if I’d like to participate in an inspiration shoot for the Summer 2013 issue by designing a fiesta-inspired wedding.  I was floored to have received the call and was (still am!) so incredibly honored by the opportunity.  This was an absolute dream come true for me!  I had about three weeks to pull together the design and secure a vendor team for the shoot. It’s challenges like this that are so exhilarating! I had a blast working with the Charlotte Wedding Magazine team and all the vendors involved with the shoot.  My design and inspiration was brought to life before my eyes and captured by some incredibly talented photographers. It felt so great to come up with concepts that are different from the traditional wedding ideas, and I loved the opportunity to show brides how to use color – especially bold colors. (See the full blog post!)

2013 Inspiration Shoot Feature

I still get so excited to see my couples grace the pages of magazine and wedding blogs! And, we had a quite a few features and published weddings this year - from Southern Weddings to Style Me Pretty to The Knot: North Carolina.

2013 The Knot Magazine Feature
2013 Online and In Print Features

I have to thank each of the amazing couples I've had the opportunity to work with for putting your faith and trust in me to produce your dream wedding. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am so honored to know you and to call you a friend.  And to each of the incredibly talented vendors that I've had the pleasure of working with over the past year - THANK YOU!  Thank you for your hard work, dedication, passion and amazing service to each of these brides and grooms.  It truly does take a village to create a flawless event, and I am so grateful for you!  Over the past year, I've had the chance to get to know more individuals in the Charlotte Wedding Industry - and, ya'll, there are A LOT of amazingly talented vendors in our little city.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from each of you, and to get to know you better.

All in all, 2013 was a year I'll never forget.  It was a year full of growth - both professionally and personally. I cannot wait for 2014 and all the excitement that is sure to follow! I am 110% along for the ride - and I am just loving the journey!

XO,
A.