12/07/18

Mariel, Signing Off

It has been a full calendar year since I started working at The Little Things. A full year of learning and growing, both as a professional and a 20-something, a full year spent with amazing couples and talented industry professionals and an unbelievable team. It is with a heavy heart that I announce I will not be with TLT for the 2019 season.

Mikhail Glabets Photography

My year with TLT brought so much goodness into my life. When I first moved to Boston and started at TLT, I stepped into a whole new life. I had no experience in wedding planning. In fact, the last wedding I had been to was my starring role as flower girl in my aunt’s wedding when I was seven. I came into it with few expectations other than a burning desire to learn and a readiness to give it my all. I had seen TLT’s work and – without knowing Alexis previously or knowing anything about what she did – I just knew that I had to be a part of the magic.

One of the first things I learned is that the world is straight up fascinated with wedding planning. Like, when people find out you’re a wedding planner, they have a lot of questions. And while I had zero experience to draw on, I had a few weeks of training under my belt and was learning the process quickly. I watched Alexis be the Boss Lady she is day in and day out (those of you who know, know), so because of that, I was able to speak about our incredible work with ease.

And now? Now I find any opportunity I possibly can to brag about TLT. I’m that girl in a conversation about literally anything other than work who finds a lull in conversation to be like, “That’s cool, but not as cool as this wedding we did last weekend. Here, I think I have, like 76 pictures of the staircase floral installation and 42 of the bride walking down the aisle.”

The most common question I got from people will make me chuckle until the end of time. The first thing everyone wanted to know? How many “bridezillas” we had. It’s funny for a number of reasons, but mostly because my answer every single time was a quick, resounding “None.” As hard as I tried, I struggled to call to mind even one of our brides who I didn’t absolutely adore. The couples I had the pleasure of working with in 2018 I’m lucky enough to now call my friends, and they are so special to me. The most rewarding part of the job was the time I spent getting to know our couples and working on their behalf to create the best day of their lives. I will cherish those special moments forever.

Lindsay Hite Photography

One crucial piece of being a good wedding planner is attracting the right couples for you and your company. Time and time again I remarked to Alexis, “We are so lucky to have such amazing couples. How did we get this lucky?” Not a day went by that I didn’t feel grateful for the incredible people we called our clients. People who trusted us with the one of the most important days of their entire lives, who listened to us, challenged us, made us laugh, and gave us purpose every. single. day. Without our couples TLT wouldn’t exist – this is not news – but without our couples, Alexis and I truly wouldn’t be the people we are right now. Cheesy? Yes. True? Even more yes.

Diving into my role as a Production Coordinator/Lead Planner/Designer/Wearer of Many Hats was undoubtedly the best thing I’ve done, for both my career and personal development. Alexis brought me on and trusted me with an extremely dichotomous position: it required being rational and analytical, but wildly creative; methodical and structured, but swift and adaptable; insanely detail oriented, but being perceptive and a big-picture thinker. The left and right sides of our brain must work together in perfect harmony – one minute making meeting agendas and timelines and details checklists and production schedules, and the next, pivoting to create color stories and comprehensive design plans. And then there’s executing the weddings themselves… a whole different ball game. I truly enjoyed each moment spent working on behalf of our couples — yes, even details checklists can be fun! — and I know that I’ll carry my experiences with me forever.

My work with TLT took me to some incredible places. 2018 brought us from Lancaster, PA to Cape Cod to the Berkshires to Newport, RI to Cape Cod (again) to Reading, VT to Cape Cod (two more times) to Portland, ME, back to Boston and beyond. We drove a lot of miles, sang a lot of songs, and ate so many road salads we lost count.

And – let me ask you this – do YOU get to have Inspiration Days? Do YOU get to go apple picking and bake beautiful apple rose tartlets with your bounty? Do YOU get to take a trip to the flower market and spend the afternoon in the sun creating centerpieces just because it gets creative juices flowing? No further questions.

My time at TLT taught me how to accept challenges with curious enthusiasm. It taught me how to handle unexpected challenges with grace and ease, and how to adapt quickly and make decisions on the fly. I learned how to run a rehearsal, and how to command a room, and how to stand my ground with poise. I learned that you can be really really really good at Instagram, but at the end of the day, it’s the value you deliver your clients that matters. Curating an aesthetically pleasing feed is great, but time spent with and for your couples is priceless.

I also learned that I thought I knew what love looked like, but I really had no idea. (I still don’t, just FYI. But I think that’s kinda the point.) All I know is that it’s beautiful and messy and exhilarating and frustrating and altogether confusing, but man oh man is it worth it in the end.

Lastly, I think it goes without saying but you best believe I’m gonna say it anyway… I owe my incredible year – and the person I’ve grown into during that time – to Alexis. It’s no secret that I spent my year at TLT learning from the best in the biz. Honestly, sometimes I think Alexis is an alien. If you’ve seen this woman in action you know what I mean. Being a wedding planner is hard, managing a team makes it even harder, and owning your own business is the hardest.

Can we all just… give her a round of applause?

Cool. Thanks.

The stars aligned in 2017 and brought us through an Instagram photo of donuts (more on that here), and I am – as most people are after working with Alexis – an infinitely better person because of it. We are the same in a lot of ways: We are both freakishly organized, for example. We’re both from Pennsylvania. We both grew up with two brothers and are true tomboys at heart. We both love spending time outdoors, exploring new places, and discovering the best small town general stores. We both believe you can have Whitney Houston and Biggie Smalls on the same Spotify playlist. We’re both hosts at heart – crafting a beautiful charcuterie board and popping open a bottle of bubbly for guests is our favorite. We take our coffee the same way: first thing in the morning, piping hot, and then five cups more throughout the day. Repeat for best results.

But we are very different, too: She cooks; I bake. She likes savory; I like sweet. She drinks enough water; I might as well be a camel. Her guilty pleasure is Real Housewives; mine is the Kardashians. (Don’t judge us!) She’s gregarious, outgoing, sociable, the one you want at your party; I’m more of an introvert, I can be found alone on my couch with a book and a mug of tea on a plan-free Friday night. We balanced each other out in the best way.

Alexis puts her whole heart into everything she does. She works harder than anyone I’ve ever met and leaves it all on the floor for every event. (Not literally, though… we clean up every last speck, I promise.) She’s a gifted leader with a compelling charm that inspires motivation and devotion in others. She’s a true visionary – even when bogged down in the details, she’s able to step back and think big picture, which is everything when it comes to planning a wedding.

I’ll never forget one time during holiday break when I invited my mom to sit in on a virtual monthly meeting with one of our couples. “You can’t make a peep,” I told her, “but you’ve gotta listen to this. Alexis is amazing.” I think that says it all.

Basically, she’s a total bad ass boss woman, and exactly the type of person you want in your life. And I’m so grateful to have her in mine.

I was – and still am – so proud to be able to say I was a part of The Little Things. I will treasure my time and memories here for the rest of my life. I am departing feeling so emotionally full, and I owe that all to everyone who came into my life during my time at TLT. So, to our incredible couples who taught me so much about life and love: thank you. To the talented, creative industry professionals and vendors who were such a pleasure to work with: thank you. And to Alexis, my Truffle Fry Lemon Bar Queen: thank you.

xo, Mariel.

Mikhail Glabets Photography

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