This year, I’m celebrating many amazing things. I’m celebrating a huge birthday milestone and an even bigger career milestone as 2019 marks my 20 years in the wedding industry as co-founder and lead event designer and wedding decorator with my family business, Mapleleaf Decorations.
Luckily, these past years, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in thousands of couples’ special days and their family life. I’ve attended many clients weddings, learnt from many diverse cultural wedding celebrations, taken many candid wedding pictures, treated many brides-to-be to coffee (see drink) to ease in the stress and nerves. I’ve also worked with many amazingly creative and hands-on mother-of-the-brides, and some surprisingly very excited male fiancees who also wanted the big beautiful and flowery wedding - yes, they also exist. I ve been so fortunate to learn so much from people and to come out of my shell because of it. In 20 years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and beyond.
Whenever I’m asked, what is it that I do for a living, and tell them i’m in the wedding industry, I often get the big ‘wow’ followed by peoples wedding stories on how much they loved their wedding day, followed by a disappointing “but”. People often tell me they wished they had spent less money in their wedding, invested that money in real estate earlier, or just simply eloped to their dream bucket-list travel destination. That bittersweet reaction always has to stroke a cord with me, and made me reflect on a personal level about my role in this industry.
As a designer and empath, my nature is to help people and clear the clutter, to create breathing-space and bring harmony to everything I do. Yet, somehow I felt the traditional approach to wedding planning was very chaotic and emotionally-charged, which went against my belief system.
When I first learnt about the wedding concept of going ‘Pop-up’ and ‘Micro’, I completely “got it”. Yes, I understood ‘this way’ was the only way I would cross-over from the event design and graphic design world, to the one role most people have advised me on taking, and one I was most reluctant to becoming, the one of ‘wedding planner’. Yet, I still don’t consider myself as such, and here is why. Even thought, I believe my role as a decorator is a relevant one in the wedding industry, It has always ached my heart to witness what for some clients brings out so much stress, anxiety and financial burden to heir lives. I can’t help it! I’m an empath, and a giver. I’m a problem solver; I’m someone who believes in ‘streamlining’ rather than chaos.
After experiencing a personal shift within myself early this year - see ‘awakening’, I’ve being able to see ‘life’ and my ‘self’ more clearly which have led me to change my perception about my purpose and my fears. I found that the answer to most of my questions is Love. That is self-love, love for my talent (yes, we are all talented!) and love for others such as my family, my clients and peers. As it applied to my career life, I was able to change my perspective and understand that becoming a wedding planner was no longer an issue, instead it was a welcomed opportunity to take on what has been stablished and give it my own interpretation. I was able to find a happy-medium where I can do, what comes natural to me, which was to create and help others in ways that only I could do it. I feel I was presented with the gift to create myself from scratch as per my heart’s desire, all while bringing me inner peace. This new career shift would also give me the chance to open up to newer trends, bringing people and vendors together to work as a bigger team, who also align to the idea of providing an alternative excitement and cost-effective solution to celebrate what is already beautiful for both traditional and more adventurous engaged couples.
In my books, true love is the ultimate expression for selflessness and giving oneself fully to another human being in mind, body and soul without asking for anything in return - that’s my only true way of loving. Love comes to your life when you are not searching for it, but when you are ready to receive it, just like everything this else in life. I think weddings should symbolize the beauty and bliss of the coming together of two people who promise to grow and nurture each other for a lifetime and beyond.
Inspired by true love, and this newfound conscious career approach, I have made my priority to also celebrate this new awaking milestone by celebrating ‘being present’ in this moment, by experiencing life as if for the first time every single day, and making ‘Love’ my number one priority when planning my clients special milestone. From carefully choosing which wedding projects to take on, mindful of my time and my clients; as well as their budgets, to brainstorming meaningful wedding expertises for my clients, to sourcing unique wedding sites and partnering vendors, I constantly strive to align my business with those clients and vendors who are truly passionate about love and their craft, beyond the monetary value. with those who believe in people’s essence and deeply care about adding value to the industry and working as a collective for the common good - both clients and vendors. Although every planner and wedding vendo has its own style, Quality-over quantity remains the common denominator.
The concept of Pop-Up Weddings and Micro-weddings are already well-known in North America, thanks to amazing event planners who keep pushing the envelope in this realm of expected ‘big production’ wedding celebrations. My take on these awesome wedding concepts is not to mimic, but to add value, my own twist to an already great idea.
All this Love and excitement for planning mindful Pop-UP Weddings & Micro Weddings, has become contagious as many vendors and venues are jumping on board with my vision. The more aligned I am to my intentions, the more aligned I am with the universe.