You guys! Something awesome happened here at TLT a little while ago and it’s about time I tell you about it: we added Mariel English to the team!
Mariel came on board as a full time Production Coordinator in mid-December, and she’s hit the ground running in a role that’s dynamic and demanding. She’s leading the charge on putting our couples’ personalized and comprehensive design plans together; she’s finalizing logistics with our awesome vendor teams for each of our 17 remaining 2018 weddings and helping our 2019 couples to hit the ground running; she’s reviving our blog (which has been VERY neglected for the past – I dunno – two years?); she’s placing rentals orders and she’s creating meeting agendas and she’s putting timelines together and she’s updating our planning software and she’s essentially keeping this train on its tracks on a daily basis.
True story: donuts brought us together. And not just any donuts, but Holy Donuts, aka the absolute best donuts ever (read more on that, in Mariel’s words, below).
And if that’s not enough of a reason for you to believe this lady was meant to be at TLT, here’s another crazy, fate-y nugget of info: Mariel is from Warren, a tiny town in Northwest Pennsylvania (POPULATION: 9,500) who no one’s ever heard of, except for me. My best friend in this life was born there and his family had a cabin there. We spent a bunch of our weekends throughout high school in that little town and I loved every second of it. The last time I visited was in March 2008, when we laid him to rest. He didn’t live in Warren, but his family chose it because it was the place that he loved the most in the world.
There are times in life when the universe gives you signs and – for the most part – I tend to ignore them. But after chatting with Mariel a few times and discovering more and more things we had in common each time, when I learned she was from Warren, the signs that she was the person meant to be here were too blaring to ignore.
It took me a really long while to take the leap and bring on a full time member of the TLT team. Part of that delay was because I wasn’t sure I’d find anyone who embodied all of the necessary characteristics of someone who would excel in this position. It’s one that requires dichotomy in almost all ways: being insanely organized and structured, but able to adapt quickly to changes and make decisions on-the-fly. Being able to hold your ground while exuding softness and grace. Being creative but also analytical. Extending lightheartedness and humor to a process and an event that holds very serious weight for our couples and their families. Being able to remain calm and collected on the outside, no matter what may be happening on the inside. Having the leadership skills to bring a team seamlessly together toward a common goal, but allowing certain parts of that team to take the lead when it’s most beneficial. I could go on (and on), but I won’t – the moral of this story is that Mariel is someone who embodies so many of the qualities necessary for someone to exceed in this role and, importantly, she’s pretty great to be around (and trust me, we spend A LOT of time together). I can’t wait to see the magic she creates as we move through wedding season. Read on to learn more about this little lady in her own words!
Tell us about you.
Hey there! Nice to meet you. I’m Mariel. 24. Planner and designer here at TLT. Five feet tall. (No extra inches.) I was born and raised in the sweet little town of Warren, PA, which is about as different from Boston as it gets. (Friday nights are spent in the woods gathered around a bonfire and country music, and Saturday mornings at the brand new Walmart, where you see every single person in town).
I spent four years at Penn State, where I did a lot of studying, tailgating, eating grilled stickies and ice cream, sprinting uphill to class, and falling asleep in the library. After graduating I moved to Portland, Maine. I knew no one. I worked in advertising, and then event planning, for a year and a half. It was the most challenging and incredible year and a half of my life.
How did you end up at TLT? Is it true that donuts were involved?
Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s important to note that almost everything good in my life comes as a result of donuts, so naturally, my working at TLT is no exception. The story goes like this:
I was living in Portland at the time, eating far more Holy Donuts than was reasonable for one human being. One day I was browsing through the Holy Donut’s tagged photos on Instagram (as one does), and came across an angelic overhead shot of their half-dozen variety box.
Drooling, I clicked on the account responsible for posting the photo, and was taken to a gorgeous feed full of light, white, minimalist design, artfully styled tablescapes, couples smiling from ear to ear, epic donut walls, a black and white speckled pup, aerial latte shots… We’re talking all-around major #inspo. (If you’ve seen the TLT Insta, then you know.)
I stalked her for days. It’s tough to explain, but I saw something in Alexis and in her work that really struck a cord with me. It’s like when you hear or see or read something totally random but eerily perfect for you at that moment in time. It’s just what you need, and it’s like someone placed it right in front of your face as if to say, “Pay attention to me. This matters. I am important.”
She wrote like me. She created like me. She cared like me. SHE ATE DONUTS LIKE ME. I was all like, I gotta work with her. I don’t know anything about planning weddings, I don’t even know if she’s hiring, but I gotta get in on this.
I emailed her. I told her how her work made me feel warm fuzzies. I asked her if there were any opportunities within TLT, now or in the near future. Fast forward a few months and here we are. I made it happen… by the grace of the Holy Donut.
What’s your favorite part about working at TLT?
It’s hard to choose just one, so here’s a few:
1. Using my logical and analytical left brain (planner mode), while also being able to flex my wild and creative right brain (designer mode). It’s the perfect fit for my personality: wholly crazy and spirited and dreamy, balanced with structure, logic, and reason.
2. Our couples are incredible. They challenge us, give us purpose, make us laugh, and serve as a constant reminder that one of the most important things in life is connection with those we love.
3. That black and white speckled dog, Riley. 🙂
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m not one to brag, but I’m just gonna say that if you were to combine Martha Stewart and Julia Child, and then throw in Bruce Bogtrotter from the movie Matilda, that’s me. I bake a lot. I also eat baked goods a lot. It’s kinda my thing.
My other things include writing, reading, being active (hiking, running, walking, yoga), talking to my mom on the phone, exploring new cities, checking out new bakeries and cafes, laughing until my belly hurts with friends, and petting dogs.
What lights your fire? What makes you come alive?
Anything that gives me goosebumps. You know the kind. It’s usually good lines in great books, a singer hitting just the right note, an awesome, passionate conversation with someone, a killer view during a hike, or biting into a really, really, really good pastry.
What else should we know about you?
I have a lot of plants, despite not really understanding how to keep any of them alive. I have a cat named Seth Russell, whom I’ve managed to keep alive for a whole year now.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Most of the things floating around in my head at any given time can be traced back to something my Dad has said to me. Most of it involves how to fix my heater, or do my taxes, or use the pepper spray he bought me. But one time he told me that my intuition is the strongest guiding force I have, and that I should always honor it. I’ve lived my life according to those words, and to this day, my intuition has only ever led me exactly where I need to be.
Find Mariel at @marielspanish on Instagram.