FREE e-book: 101 Wedding Design Secrets Download Now

Looking back, 2013

photo by brklyn view photography

Each year is filled with it’s successes and challenges. You see how I said challenges there and not problems? It just sounds nicer. The word challenges gives a little kick in the pants to get past whatever the challenge is. Problem sounds negative, obstacle sounds like I’m in special forces training, and struggles feels too permanent. So, challenges it is. My 2013 was successful, challenging, sometimes stressful, productive, and exciting. Here they are, my 2013 successes and challenges:

photo by Justin Hackworth

SUCCESS: I attended AltSummit in January where I spoke about facing fear and doing it anyway. I met tons of new friends and got to spend a few days with my internet pals who live far away, like Kathleen and Jenn and Maddie and Meg.

SUCCESS: After holding out a few months for my bonus (thank you, corporate America), I finally said good-bye to my job as a textile designer to run this wedding design business full time.

 photo by Mackenzie Kern

 SUCCESS: I was asked to speak and share my story at the conference that changed my life and, basically, kicked me in the butt to start this company, Making Things Happen. I made 100 new friends and was lucky enough to soak up time with Lara, Emily Ley, Gina, Nancy, Amber, Emily, and Stefanie. If you ever have the chance to attend Making Things Happen, please, for the love of God, GO.

image by Chelo Keys

SUCCESS: Designing, decorating, floraling, and producing 15 amazing, awesome, weddings for my incredible clients. This is probably my biggest success. It’s why I get up every morning. I filled one wedding with pink peonies, purchased 30 vintage albums for another, designed a modern mandap and a romantic chuppah, hand painted 40 wooden planters, and covered a hallway completely in ribbons.

image by Angela Kohler 

SUCCESS: I collaborated with Bri from DesignLoveFest to decorate two installments of NYC Blogshop. One with leather triangles and anemones, the other with lots of acrylic and ranunculus.

SUCCESS: Adam and I had such a great time on our Hawaii trip in April that we are going again in February. I’m blessed to have a job that let’s me work for two weeks from a tropical island.

image by Allison Andres

SUCCESS: Meg from A Practical Wedding (aka, my favorite wedding blog) flew me out to the bay area (twice!!) to design and style wedding DIYs with them. It was such a treat! I started reading A Practical Wedding when Meg and I were both getting married a few weeks apart back in 2009. It literally saved my sanity from the sometimes crazy wedding industry. Four years later, I’m blessed to call Meg a friend and her blog continues to be a voice of reason and reality in the often too-pretty and glossed-over world of wedding blogs.

I got no photos for the challenges parts of this. If I did, they would be photos of my messy office, me crying, the pile of clothes next to my bed that I’ve been meaning to put away for a year, and me schlepping vases at midnight. GOOD TIMES.

CHALLENGE: I was often stretched too thin and working too much on the days before events. 2014 is going to be the year of hiring more talented folks to be on the team.

CHALLENGE: My pregnancy only lasted 14 weeks. At least I can get pregnant without medical intervention, right!???! (that’s what everyone says, at least)

CHALLENGE: Breaking down a wedding at midnight is the worst part of this job. There has got to be a better way. I’m determined to find out what it is.

CHALLENGE: Although I love my home office, it’s 81 square feet are not enough to hold a whole wedding’s worth of decorations and flowers without spilling into my hallway, living room, and kitchen. My gut (and by gut I mean dream) is inching towards renting a space filled with pretty lights, shelves of vases, and bins overflowing with craft supplies.

CHALLENGE: The state of my physical health and the cleanliness of my apartment were far too often put on the back burner behind blog posts, designing, and working.

What were your successes and challenges from this past year? Let’s work on our challenges together and turn them into successes for 2014, shall we?

  • facebook
  • twitter



  1. Meg says:

    You move to CA/ I move to NY/ We have a time swap of 6 mo 6 mo, and then we share a space where we can work quietly SHHHHH and then have amazing chatty lunches and then SHHHH again.

    2013 man. It was… a lot. Good and bad and a lot, and heeyyyy 2014.

  2. This was such a great post, Michelle! Thanks for sharing your challenges as well as successes. SO refreshing to see honesty in this crazy event-world. Love your work and look forward to seeing all you do in 2014!

  3. It sounds like you had an amazing year! I definitely feel you on some of your challenges too – not enough space to store all of the goodness, and working for yourself doesn’t mean you have oodles of time to eat healthy, work out and clean house like I thought it would. Can’t wait to see what fun things you do in 2014!

  4. Sundari says:

    You are my hero! I admire your positive approach to 2013 as it sounds both an exciting yet an overwhelming one. What you bring to the wedding industry is priceless and i hope i can bring something similar to the UK. There is nothing quite as indepth and purely creative as you! London is the boring realm where you can’t quite find what you need. Or the suits charge through the nose for something they just dont create themselves. I have this dream of launching my own wedding styling business and it’s sort of on the back burner as i try to save and really figure it out. I got a bit wishy washy and need to focus. I mean a business takes planning right!? Your hard work and talent just inspires me to just go for it! I wish i could just chat to you in person and give you a huge hug for you are amazing and i hope i get to meet you at some point! It would be a dream! Lots of love, Sundari. P.s Happy New Year xxxx

  5. Cassidy says:

    Loved this update, Michelle! And I loved hearing the amazing things and also the challenges. I couldn’t agree more with you about your last challenge—my apartment, gym membership, and my physical self has suffered since things got busy. But that’s why I love a fresh start in January. Cheers to 2014! Can’t wait to see more!