A YEAR OF LEARNING, HAPPINESS, SORROW, GROWTH
525,600 minutes. 8,760 hours. 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months. All of these things symbolize one thing. 1 full year of the earth’s rotation around the sun. As the old year fades away, and the new one moves in to take its place, many people around the world often find themselves reflecting over the happenings of the last year. It is a time to rejoice, again in the good times, feel the pain of the bad times, and look forward to what the future holds. Businesses are no different. During this time, they too, will look at the good they have achieved, the areas that need improvement in the coming year. Even though Wright Time, Wright Place Events is relatively new, still, I would like to take the time to review my year. As with many businesses, what happens in one’s business can, and more often than not, affects what happens in one’s own personal life. I share with you, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and anyone else who is reading this, the events of the last year.
January was a busy month. I was four months into a year-long Master’s Degree program. Upon enrolling in school, I chose to do the accelerated program instead of taking two years. January’s classes were the beginning classes of the business law classes required by the program. These classes, as well as the rest of the program, I was averaging 500 pages of required reading every week. Since I did not have a Bachelor’s degree in business, I often found myself having to look up terms, and do extra reading and research so that I could understand what was being said in the required reading.
Along with completing my Master’s Degree, I made a business goal of doing 4 styled shoots during the year, one for each season. Many of you who do not have dealings within the wedding industry, and so, may not know what a styled shoot is, or what it entails. A styled shoot is a collaborative effort of multiple vendors, who are able to put their creativity to use in a visual concept. Reasons for doing a styled shoot are many, but can include things such as creating new trends, create marketing content, and push the boundaries of what is considered “normal.” Often times, styled shoots are created with a theme in mind. These themes can range from ideas such as “classic elegance,” and can go as far as one’s imagination will allow them.
I wanted each styled shoot to be unique, something that you would not see every day. But, I also wanted to use the styled shoots as a way to show potential clientele what I could do. As I began thinking about the themes I wanted for each of my styled shoots, I turned to ideas and things I liked to do. For my winter theme, I wanted something that said more than just “winter wonderland,” or “ice” décor. The phrase ‘always winter’ came to mind. For those who do not know, this is a phrase from the movie, Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The full phrase is “always winter, never spring.” It is from this that I got my inspiration. I wanted it to feel as if the guests would be arriving to the ‘reception,’ and in doing so, would find themselves IN Narnia. I created 4 table-scapes with themes from the movie. These table-scapes included The Witch’s Castle, The Beaver’s Dam, Father Christmas Handing out Gifts, and Aslan and the Stone Table. To bring this together, I had friends who helped me create the ‘wardrobe doors,’ which acted as the backdrop for the sweetheart table.
Photo Credit: Mikayla Scott
The photo shoot came together beautifully! I couldn’t have been more pleased with how well everything came together, especially with this having been my very first styled shoot. I had a great team, wonderful models, and together, we were able to bring my vision to life. The only thing that surpassed the feeling of having everything come together was to learn that this shoot was accepted for publication in an online blog!
(For more information on this, please visit https://www.wtwpe.com/post/narnia-themed-winter-wedding).
As my schooling continued, I learned that I would not be able to keep a full-time job and do well in school. My husband very graciously decided to take a second job so that I could focus on my schooling. He has continued to work two jobs as I move onto the next step of the business. In my schooling, I learned so much information that I was able to immediately turn around apply it to my business. One of those things was trademarking my logo, and creating a tagline. Thus, Wright Time, Wright Place Events; Creating the WOW Factor for Any Event, came to be.
March flew by in a blur of more reading for school. I was vacant from many things, and it was often wondered by family and friends if I was still even alive.
In April, I had the privilege of assisting my good friend and colleague, Lori Hahn with a styled shoot she put together in cooperation with The Brightside Music and Venue. It was during this photo shoot that I earned the nickname “Mountain Goat” from my fellow wedding professional colleagues. (More information can be found here: https://tlceventsandweddings.com/photo-shoot/).
April is also a time to celebrate our Lord and Savior’s great sacrifice and consequential resurrection during the Easter celebration. In my family, we celebrate Greek Easter because of my mother’s heritage. This year, we were surrounded by family. My cousin, Rob, and his wife, Danielle were able to come visit us from South Dakota/New Mexico – they moved from South Dakota to New Mexico last year, but I can’t remember when this move took place. We were also able to visit with my sister, Jamie, her husband, Kris, and my Aunt Carol and Uncle Paul.
May was an emotionally charged month! I got to participate in a styled shoot that I was asked to help coordinate at the Cornerstone Manor in Middletown. It was a simple shoot, more to showcase a bride getting ready at the Cornerstone. (Pictures of this shoot can be found at https://www.wtwpe.com/styled-photo-shoots?lightbox=dataItem-jwno59qg).
I have talked openly about, and am happy to talk to anyone who has questions regarding, my adoption at the tender age of five. I was the 2nd oldest of five children adopted to my parents. The four oldest are all blood brothers and sisters. The youngest was adopted a year and a half after the rest of us and came from an entirely different family. What many people may not know is that in my original birth family, there were a total of six children. There was another girl, Cathy, and another boy, Shawn, who, for various reasons, were not adopted with the rest of us. After the adoptions were finalized, we really didn’t have any contact with our other siblings again. In 2013, I found my sister, Cathy. In 2017, I FINALLY found my brother, Shawn. To saw it was a shock to Shawn that he had other siblings other than the ones he grew up with, was probably the biggest understatement of the century. Well, after a year and a half after finding out the news of the rest of us, Shawn was able to get over the shock and agreed to meet with me. This meeting took place Memorial Day weekend. To respect his and his family’s privacy, I have agreed not to share any pictures of him online. I wish we had been able to visit longer, but am so very grateful for the time that I was able to spend with him.
The Monday following the visit with my brother, Dayton, Ohio had a total of 19 tornadoes rip apart whole communities. We had foreign exchange student from China staying with us for the summer. The poor boy had never seen a tornado, and so when the sirens sounded warning us to move to the basement as quickly as possible, he was very confused as to what was happening. Thankfully, we only had branches from trees around our house break off, and no real damage done to our property. To date, as you drive through parts of Dayton, you can still see ravished houses, and destroyed trees, and your heart can’t help but hurt for those who are still dealing with the effects of the tornadoes.
A week after the devastating tornadoes, I completed my second styled shoot that I personally planned. It was a spring shoot inspired by the colors of a vineyard getting ready to burst into the summer months. This particular shoot was an interesting one for me to plan. I am not a wine drinker. At all. As in I have never actually drunk wine in my life. I will use it on occasion to cook with, but have never actually drunk it. With this in mind, I turned to the internet for inspiration. I came across a bride sitting in a grapevine wreath, which I thought was beautiful. Being the creative that I am, I set about trying to figure out how to create my own version of this. With the help of the same friends who helped create the wardrobe doors for the Narnia photo shoot, we created a grapevine and floral swing. (The photo shoot can be found here: https://www.wtwpe.com/styled-photo-shoots?lightbox=dataItem-k29t907g. If you go to my portfolio on my website, you can also find a video of the photo shoot there.)
I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I realize that the content of this shoot will offend some. For this, I am sorry that you are offended, but I will not apologize for participating in, and being a part of a shoot that depicts same-sex marriage. I would ask that you keep all negative comments regarding this style shoot to yourself. I enjoyed every aspect of this shoot. And I am glad that I live in a country where you are allowed to love and marry anyone, regardless of their sex. I am proud to say that I have no problems helping plan and coordinate such an event.
In June, we also had three more foreign exchange students join our home for the summer. These three were from the smaller country of Estonia. At the end of June, Xueteng, our Chinese foreign exchange student, had his parents come and visit. We offered our home to them. At this point, we had a VERY full house, and I loved every minute of it!
In July, we welcomed two new members to the family. Moonbeam and Cheetah, two of the kittens born to my brother’s cat earlier in the year. They are in act from the same litter of kittens, and are two of six kittens born. The craziest part is that NONE of the kittens look anything like each other! Kefi, our dog, has adjusted to having the kittens around, but he definitely gets very jealous, very quickly, especially if we are petting and paying attention to one of the new kittens.
In July, I was also able to complete the third of the styled shoots I had planned. This shoot was a summer-themed shoot. As I trying to figure out what to do for summer, I first thought of a beach themed shoot. But then, I felt that the beach theme had been done... Several times, in fact. So I asked myself, what else says “summer.” As I was thinking this, the radio station I was listening to made mention of a festival that would be taking place and one of the attractions would be cotton candy. That got me thinking… Cotton candy is definitely a ‘summer’ thing, but what else could say summer. Almost as soon as I thought that, I had the idea of the game Candyland. Thus, the Candyland Shoot came to be. It was held at the White House Event Center, in downtown Dayton. We set the room up to remind the viewers of the Candyland board game. One of the local bakers participated by creating the centerpieces, which were to symbolize the “stomping grounds” of each of the characters from the game. For this shoot, we are still waiting to see if it can get published, so there are no pictures published to my website as of yet, but here is a sneak peak of some of the custom décor I created for the shoot.
In August, after much frustration, and tears, and worrying that I would not finish, I was able to complete my Master’s Degree, and I finished with a GPA of 3.35.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck Dayton, once again, in August, when someone decided to begin shooting into a crowd of people, in downtown Dayton, killing nine people. Once again, the community came together and #DaytonStrong was once again prevalent in our lives. Two days later, El Paso, Texas also had a mass shooting. Where I do not know anyone personally who was killed in either of these attacks, my heart continues to feel deep sorrow at these senseless tragedies.
Photo Credit: http://www.mcvsc.org/
In September, we said goodbye to all of our foreign exchange students. And with my Master’s Degree officially over, I took the month off, and really didn’t do much of anything! It was fantastic to be able to relax. Unfortunately, I was not able to relax as much as I would have liked. On September 12th, while I was at home, alone, I experienced one of the most terrifying nights of my life, when an unknown person attempted to break into my home. Thankfully, our dog, Kefi, AND the cats alerted me to the attempted intruder and scared the person away before any damage was done.
The police came out and checked everything. Needless to say, though, I had a very difficult time feeling relaxed or at peace. We have since installed cameras to monitor the outside of our house, and through the support of friends and family, I feel safe in my own home again.
October was another roller coaster of a month. I had the opportunity to attend the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas. This is an annual conference for wedding professionals of all types, who come from all over the country. While here, I learned gained much knowledge that complemented what I learned in my Master’s Degree program. While at the conference, I had the privilege of meeting David Tutera, a celebrity wedding planner.
October also brought about a personal tragedy. While at the conference, I suffered my sixth miscarriage. I was just shy of two months along, and we had planned on announcing the pregnancy at Christmas time to our family and friends.
November really didn’t have anything major happen, although I did have two small events – a rehearsal dinner and wedding that I set up and tore down the décor for – as well as a small victory. I was able to get one of my smaller debts paid off, getting me one step closer to becoming debt free all together.
My biggest accomplishment in December was the ability to coordinate and decorate an amazing holiday party, which was held at the White House Event Center in downtown Dayton. I have not yet had a chance to post pictures of this event to my website, but hope to soon.
I know that this has been an extremely long blog post. If you have made it this far, I want to take the time to thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your patience. And thank you for your belief in me, my business, and my endeavors! I leave with each of you, my prayers for a good new year, my thanks for your friendship, and my love. God bless each and everyone of you!