Why Wedding Decor Details Matter: the story of a baby quilt
If you read the introduction to the Michelle Edgemont Shop blog post, you might remember a little story I told about scrounging up interesting textiles to use as table linens at my wedding. For anyone who didn’t read that post, 1) how dare you, and 2) a little back story…
I planned, designed, and decorated my own wedding in 2009. We threw a seated dinner reception for 100 guests on a budget that, basically, was, how to I put this, as tight as the slightly inappropriate shorts I wear to Crossfit. No more room to squeeze in anything not absolutely necessary. Since I love a challenge, love designing, love textile design, and love searching for treasures – off to flea markets, random side of the road barns, and fabric stores to find some fun color to jazz up our plain reception space.
I found vintage bed sheets (the pink and blue floral), retro curtains (the green and teal geometric), and modern cotton twill (the navy and pink fabric) that would all soon decorate the tables at my wedding reception full of our closest loved ones. The vintage, shabby chic look was all the rage for weddings back in 2009.
Our best people dined and laughed and cried over these linens. People who have since passed away, like my grandfather and my dad, ate a meal over these beautiful fabrics that I spend hours searching for.
Since our reception, the fabrics spent five years in our wedding memory box buried in a closet. I had always wanted to make something out of them, but never really got around to it or had much inspiration. Then I got pregnant. The weeks leading up to my due date were spent eating spicy food, bouncing on a yoga ball, and sewing this baby quilt out of the fabrics that I used as table linens at my wedding. Eight days past my due date, I was still hand stitching the binding over a gigantic belly full of baby.
This quilt now has a bigger story. It has a legacy that can be passed down. I can say to Dean when he’s at an age when he’ll care, let’s say 25, “your dad and I were married around these fabrics and you used this quilt when you were a baby.” Then, in my biggest dreams, my grandkids will use the quilt too.
The details matter in the long run. They matter when you can fetch a keepsake out of a dusty box in a closet to show your kids something from your wedding. I couldn’t have made this quilt from the basic white linens provided by my caterer. You can’t display a cake topper in your home if you didn’t purchase one. That incredible custom welcome sign? Yep, it won’t be hung in the foyer of your first home if you didn’t have one welcoming your guests at your ceremony.
For me, I finished the quilt the day before I gave birth at over a week past my due date. Since then, I took Dean’s monthly photos on it (month 3 and month 9 above), played on it, napped with it, and all around treasured it as a memento from all of my favorite people (two of which are no longer here) being all in the same room in 2009.
The details aren’t about throwing a “blog-worthy” wedding. They aren’t about impressing your friends or living up to your pinterest board. And for goodness sake, please do not go into debt over some party decor. The decor details are about creating an aesthetic space at your reception that makes you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, loved, cared for – however you want your wedding to feel. Keepsakes, mementos, that little, physical piece of your wedding that you can decorate your home with – that’s what the decor details are for.
2015 / 2016
2016 is here. That was fast, huh? In the wedding world, the winter months that fall across the New Year are usually free of events and full of reflection on what worked and what didn’t this past year. 2015 was my fourth year in business and my first full year as a mom. The combination of experience designing events and absolutely no experience parenting was an interesting mixture. It let me more easily say no to projects that weren’t a good fit for my business. On to the juicy pulp of this post…
What worked in 2015
1) I consistently produced creative events with strong teams. I’m immensely proud of every wedding that I designed this year. Each was drastically different than the other – from an Indian/American party on a boat to a love filled B&B celebration in the Hudson Valley to a destination wedding in a loft – all of the couples I was honored to work with this year were creative, smart, and open to unconventional decor ideas. Every single freelancer that I hired was crazy talented, 110% on board with my insane ideas, and worked hard to make these weddings come alive.
2) I grew my prop styling portfolio. Although I love working on wedding celebrations, after having Dean I made the decision to give myself a maximum number of weekends I would work a year. This left some room in my schedule to grow my prop styling portfolio, which has been rewarding creatively and monetarily. My work on HGTV has blossomed into my brand being prominently featured on their site. Weddings In Color, the modern wedding decor book that I styled, officially hit book shelves in October.
3) My schedule worked for my personal life. The decision to take on a limited number of full event design clients is the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s let me leave room in my schedule for professional projects, such as styling and blogging, and for personal things, like taking Dean to the pool in the summer and busting my butt at Crossfit. Having part-time childcare means that I sometimes work at weird times of the day – like from 6-7am before everyone else gets up – but I’ve been able to serve my clients, produce events, spend time with my family, and go to Crossfit five times a week – all while technically working a part-time schedule.
4) I launched the Michelle Edgemont Shop (with new site and updated branding). I’ve been dreaming about this shop for years. It’s finally here! The Michelle Edgemont Shop is a place for couples to find modern, colorful, simple decor to liven up their wedding celebrations. I have plans to add more patterns, more products, and curated goods to create a one stop shop for contemporary, fun event decor. Creme Brands updated my branding with fresh colors, patterns, and a clean website that speaks to how my aesthetic has grown in these past four years in business.
What didn’t work
1) Dealing with the busy season. I should give myself a break here since it was my first season with a kid, although when I was busy, I felt it 100% more than I used to. When the to-do list grew too large the overwhelm gave me a short attitude to the people around me. I don’t like being a not nice person.
2) Florals in my apartment. Yep, I’ve been working out of my apartment for the past four years. It was fine when we didn’t have a kid. It even worked when he was a baby. But a crawling/walking toddler who is curious about everything? It’s not working anymore. It’s time for a studio space in 2016. Whether that means renting a space on a per-event basis or find a studio to call my own, I’m not sure yet.
What I want to do better in 2016
1) Work out of a studio. See #2 above. Specifically for my floral work and photographing larger DIY projects, a studio space is crucial. Who knew a child would take up so much space? Oh yea, everyone. It’s not even necessarily his toys and clothes (which there is a lot of), it’s more of him touching and eating everything. I’m looking for a space within walking distance of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn – anyone have any leads?
2) Submit my work. I’ve got weddings from years ago in my files that haven’t been submitted to be published yet. It takes so much time. Whine, whine, whine…blah, blah, blah. I have to sit down with a pile of gummy bears and a coffee and just get. it. done. I was luckily enough to have work featured in a few blogs this year and I was quoted in the NYtimes….but I’ve got so much awesome stuff you guys haven’t even seen yet!
3) Get things done faster. The quicker I can finish the tasks on my to-do list, the more work I can get done in the limited hours that I have. That’s the thing about being a parent and owning a business – the work hours are now limited. It’s not like it was before Dean was born when I could work whenever I wanted for as many hours as I wanted. Now I have a limited number of hours in the office, which means that I have to get as much done as possible. Working smarter and faster, not harder and longer. Processes are going to get automated, a lot of backend tasks are going to get outsourced, and I’m going to stop dicking around on facebook during work hours.
1) Grow the Michelle Edgemont Shop. Whew, my first line of party decor is out in the open. The next step is growth. Marketing. Partnerships. Sponsorships. Generally getting the word out there that modern, colorful wedding decor exists! That there is somewhere to buy cool stuff for your party that isn’t covered in crystals or white tulle. That a shop is live in this world where your color-loving, contemporary-aesthetic-wanting, unconventional soul can dance around in happiness.
2) Partner with planners across the country with my Virtual Event Design service. I’ve had a blast in 2015 partnering with a few local planners on my Virtual Event Design service. I want to take it across the country in 2016. Basically, it’s an event design service where I partner with wedding planners to design their client’s weddings at a much lower price point than hiring me to do full in-person event design. The couple gets a professional design plan for their wedding and then the planner is able to take that plan to their favorite local vendors to execute it. Are you a wedding planner who wants to offer design services to their clients without having to do it yourself? Let’s work together!
3) Get smarter with expenses. I could be better at constantly buying lattes on the company’s dime.
New Year’s Eve Dinner Party
What are you guys doing New Years? Before Dean, Adam and I would hit up our favorite NYC restaurant for an 11pm pre-pix dinner that was usually too expensive but came with noise makers and a million glasses of champagne. In stark contrast, last year with a four month old, we went to bed at 10:30. This year, we might try and take Dean to the Prospect Park fireworks, that is if we don’t pass out first. New Year’s with kids looks a lot different than New Year’s without kids.
A happy medium can be an intimate dinner party at home with some close friends. Camille Styles (yes, THAT Camille Styles. The super cool one with the cutest babies and the amazing styling blog) asked me to style a New Year’s Eve dinner party using some products from the Michelle Edgemont Shop. I purposely designed the patterns on the placemats to be beautiful at weddings as well as dinner parties at home.
I’m giving my top 5 tips for throwing an intimate dinner party at home over on Camille Styles. What food should I serve? How about drinks? Will I have time for crafts? This centerpiece was really simple. Honestly, any time you use cloche glasses you really can’t mess up. Throw anything inside of them and they look great. Here I used metallic fringe curtains underneath the glass to create a modern shape full of sparkle.
Those Dash placemats, man, they’ve been the shop’s best seller so far. The classic black and white pattern works for almost any color palette. It’s no secret that I love foil printed cocktail napkins. They definitely aren’t as necessary for a party, as say, plates, but they add that touch of fun, like you put that tiny bit of extra thought into the decor, that makes an event feel that much more special. Here I used the I’ll Drink To That cocktail napkins as a cheeky way to add color to the table and protect my reclaimed wood table from spills.
Get your guests talking. Sure, this small dinner party is most likely your closest friends, which is why a very personal conversation starter is your best bet.