Lots of people speak metaphorically about growing up in a family business, but I can literally say I grew up in the wedding and event planning business. My mom and aunt started Party Panache out of our house three decades ago, and I had the luxury of spending my formative years amidst the best arts and crafts projects a little girl could ask for. I was decorating paper with bows and rhinestones before I was potty trained. By the time I was off to school, Mom and Adrienne had long since left the house for their new office and showroom, but I didn’t lose my passion for all things girly and sparkly. Combining that with my entrepreneurial spirit got the better of me, and by age 9 after tiring of bake sales and lemonade stands, I took to selling “party favors” to classmates on the school playground. Who knew that it was against school rules? Let it go on the record that it was the only time I was ever called into the principal’s office.
Growing up in this business, especially in New York, there was never a shortage of interesting characters and hilarious stories. There was the dancer that came to our house to teach my family how to do the Electric Slide so we could showcase our skills on the 1991 Bar Mitzvah circuit. And I’ll never forget the male face painter who showed up dressed in turquoise tights and a feathered cap long before fascinators were ever popular among women. Everything about him was colorful.
While I moved away from home to pursue my own goals, event planning was always part of my life. I spent four years at Wharton earning a BS in Economics, but when I turned 21 I got a part-time summer job slinging drinks for the well-heeled at catered events on Long Island. Even after graduating college and moving to NYC for a job in investment banking, I would take any chance I could to accompany the Party Panache ladies to events – even just to help with set-ups. I loved being around all that creativity and glamour (and was secretly keeping up with industry trends). In 2005, I decided to go back to school for my MBA, and left my NY roots to move west to Chicago. Not quite ready to branch out on my own, I accepted a job in brand management at a local Fortune 500 company. Soon after, I met my future husband and knew that I had found a new home in Chicago. Fast forward several years to my realization that the corporate life and the politics that come with it were just not for me. A few weeks ago I worked up the courage to resign from my job, and now I’m looking forward to a future filled with endless possibilities.
As I planned my own wedding last year, I pored through tons of wedding sites and blogs written by brides giving out helpful advice. It was a fun distraction from whatever it was I should have been doing at work, but at the end of the day, I realized I didn’t need advice, but instead could be giving it. And hence this blog was born.