Every year I sit down, preparing myself to write this reflection on how I thought the season went, and I am always at a loss for words.
Not because I don't have anything to say, because I have LOTS to say about the incredible amount of experiences that my team and I went through.
But because I am always in awe as to where we are today, how far we've come and the fact that we managed to get out alive ! :)
There were lots of milestones this year. Most significantly, we opened the Envision Floral Studio, my pet project for 2 years in the making. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually be a floral designer - someone that gets to surround herself by pretty things day in and day out (and also listed somewhere as one of the happiest professions in the world - not surprisingly!). And I decided to make it official by creating a standalone branch to the Envision Weddings group of companies.
That didn't come without it's challenges. On a personal level, I also moved homes with my loving husband (you may have seen him around) and puppy (follow those shenanigans on Instagram under @joey_the_doxie) and therefore my workspace for florals shrunk significantly. And also our freedom in being able to produce events from the comfort of my home, which was restricted by condo laws.
But like I always say - when one door closes (literally), another door opens.
Most of my business decisions are partly fuelled by smart and thorough planning, and largely fuelled being at the right place at the right time. And as the universe would have it, all my woes of condo living aligned me perfectly with having our first independent studio space, opening as of February 2017. I'm incredibly blessed, completely terrified, and shaking-in-my-pants excited. More to come on that soon. Stay tuned.
Speaking of milestones - we also hired on a production manager for the 2017 season. Bonnie was one of our interns earlier this year, and pretty much pushed through a fog of bad hiring and shone like a gem in the middle of the desert. I remember thinking to myself, there is no way I can let this girl go about her merry way without me offering her... something. And thus, I created the production manager role, with the anticipation that next year's season for floral and decor will be bigger and better, and she will be a busy bee keeping all our inventory stock, design mockups, set ups and teardowns in check. Bonnie, welcome. Thank you for joining our team and trusting that I will make next season fulfilling for you.
We also hired on our Senior Coordinator of 2017. Alexa was my intern in 2014, and although we spent some years apart (which was probably a good thing, as I worked out all the kinks in the senior roles so she can ease into it quite nicely), she definitely made an impression on us. And so when the resignation of our beloved 2016 Senior Coordinator, Shana, fell into our laps (ugly tears!), we called upon Alexa to take over. Alexa also got married this year at a drop dead gorgeous, albeit a little damp (it poured that day), barn wedding, for which we had the privilege to oversee. And given that she planned and designed the entire affair herself, down to the last gold sprayed pumpkin, I am confident that this girl will handle anything near year will throw at her. Batter up, girl!
Finally, we went on our first Europe FAM trip, which was altogether an incredible experience, but also overwhelming. Branching off into a new continent is going to have it's challenges, but we've never been one to step down from a challenge. Our commitment has always been to offer the most and the best in planning services and as of last year, we figured, "Why does that have to be restricted to Toronto?" Thus, the launch of Envision Destinations, our signature destination weddings planning department. And not to divulge too much information, but Europe isn't the end. We ain't stopping until we have taken the world by storm.
If there was one word to sum up this year, it would be resilience. The wedding industry is a hectic, beautiful, stressful, satisfying, heartwarming, and chaotic place to work in, and year after year, we always reflect on why we do what we do. Why we take the phone calls at midnight; why we drive across the province (or fly across the country!) to be there for our clients; why we listen to the meltdowns, the arguments, the deliberations, the reasons and the stories; why we go back to the budgets to tweak numbers again and again and again; and why we walk/run 16,000 steps on the event day to make sure we are everywhere, all the time.
We do it because we love our clients. We believe in beautiful moments that last a lifetime. We believe in marriage, and that even though the wedding is just one day, it must start off on the right foot. And we do it because we love our jobs, and we were born to do it.
And we're not done. We're bringing the New Year to you full force, ladies and gentlemen.
Before I sign off, I want to thank all the interns to put in the insurmountable amount of hard work to make both their experience here and our wedding season as successful as it was. To Shana - you are a friggin rockstar, and I have no doubt there are HUGE things awaiting you in the world of entrepreneurship. We love you. And I want to thank our family and friends for supporting us, without question, whether it's jumping in at last minute to help us finish centerpieces or pinning and sewing fabric together for a custom linen. You guys are the true heroes.
On that note, from everyone here at Envision Weddings and Events, we hope that you too had just as fulfilling a 2016. And if you didn't, here's to a clean slate, and pushing forward in the face of adversity. Here's to your resilience.