Collectively speaking, when asked which of my parents I take after-- I say my dad. I look like my mom, no question. But where she is relaxed I am methodical. She thrives as the center of attention, whereas I prefer small group communication and orchestrating from behind the scenes-- like my dad.
But the thing my mom and I share even more than our looks, is what I call ‘The Mama Bear Mentality.’ Even before my dad left, my mom was very much an ‘us against the world’ kind of mom. She was always quick to jump to my aid-- and that only grew as I got older.
Fiercely loyal and constant-- she is the first person I call when I’m frustrated, overwhelmed and everything in between. While I don’t have children of my own, I did start to notice some similarities between us when I started to grow the MG team.
For the better part of five years, the business that would eventually become Magnolia Grove was a one woman show. If the event couldn’t be executed on my own or by asking a friend or family member to step in and help for the day, I didn’t take it.
And then, I hired Savannah. Savannah and I went to UNCW together and were in the sorority together, but aside from that, we didn’t spend too much time together. And then four years ago, I was asked to act as the day of coordinator for a day I was already booked-- which had never happened before. I didn’t want to turn either bride down, so I asked Savannah to step in and essentially, be me, at the other wedding.
The team laughs now-- but we literally went over the details of the wedding sitting in a Moe’s over chips and queso. That was her training y’all. But I trusted her! I knew her enough to know that she was incredibly organized, cool under pressure, and quick on her feet. She ran that first wedding without any issue, and that was all it took for me to realize that I would be stronger with people in my corner.
We grew slowly at first, and then seemingly all at once. With each new team member that joined the team, they became part of the family. Some were thrown into the deep end, like Kathryn, who got pulled in to bartend a wedding exactly 11 hours after she sent me a message volunteering to ‘pick up some shifts if I ever needed her.” Others worked as interns for the better part of a year, and were so resistant to leave after the internship ended, that they still continue as members of our team today.
But with each of these ladies (and gentlemen) that joined our team, I felt that sense of protectiveness that I can only imagine my mom feels over me. I tell them all the time that I will never ask them to do something that I am not willing to do myself. Standing in a corner with a clipboard isn’t my style. If glasses need to be watered or tables need to be bussed-- not one of us is exempt from the job.
There will always be jobs that some of us are better at than others, and that’s okay. Emily on our team, is the most artistically minded person I have ever met. I can send her the colors of an event, and 2-3 random facts about the couple, and she can design an invitation suite that perfectly compliments their style. If I was tasked with the same project, it would take me 5x as long and would still need to be edited at some point.
Sometimes we get couples who ask specifically to work with me rather than another one of our planners and I try in the best way possible, to tell them that if they’re getting one of our other planners, it’s because that planner is probably a better fit for them!
A few years ago, we had a 500+ person destination wedding and due to weather, my flight got canceled-- preventing me from getting there in time for the wedding. And you want to know who was the lead on our 11 person team in my place that day? Elizabeth-- who was an intern at the time. She had been on site all week for setup and knew the paperwork better than anyone, so when the rest of our team got to town, they collectively decided that she was the best one for the job. And when they went to break the news to the bride, she didn’t even notice that I wasn’t there, because the girls had executed everything so seamlessly.
I share these things to tell you this: the MG team is a family, and like a family, we all bring our own unique strengths and weaknesses to the table. But like a family, we also lean on each other and make each other stronger as a collective.
So if you ever get the privilege of working with our team and I personally am not there, know that you’ve got the best of the best in your corner, ready to support you and make your event run as seamlessly as possible!