Friends, join me for a little recap of the most jam packed year of my life would ya? Here we go :)
In January, I took a trip down to Atlanta to attend a styling and floral workshop hosted by the one and only Joy Thigpen. Not only was I able to spend a few cozy and wintery days sharpening my floral and design skills but I was blessed to finally meet an industry colleague that has now become one of my sweetest real life friends. Kristin Polhemus and I happily roomed together for three nights at the workshop and together made prettiness amongst amongst the wintery magic of Serenbe. Rylee Hitchner was on hand to capture our arrangements for us and I came home in January with a tenacity to bring to life a new sense of art to my work and florals.
February brought on a lot of behind the scene work, cake tastings, mock ups, office work and emails. We hustled behind the scenes. But we played a bit too. Apb and I headed to the Dominican Republic with my family for five days to escape the snow (and Andrew and I both battled the flu while we were there unfortunately). In between travelling and working, I also contacted the amazing Kathryn Duckett to start what ended up becoming a massive rebrand for Hey Gorgeous. Once I came home from Joy’s workshop, I realized I had grown and my brand had evolved and my clientele had changed and what was stirring in my heart needed to finally be brought to life. I wanted to serve my clients better. But I’m getting too ahead of myself right now!
This wedding was featured in March. And it was a beauty to relive!
In March I took a lot of time aside for creative projects while preparing my heart for the busy whirlwind of a season that was about to unfold. Slowly but surely I brought to life a more refined and sophisticated style and aesthetic. Brad and Sam also grew alongside me as photographers and an even bigger of a blessing was Sam and I growing our friendship as women. We went on coffee dates and had many heart to hearts. It was refreshing.
In April, Andrew turned 31. I gifted him with a fun Hotel Bosse experience and I must say, he truly loved every second. I had the complete pleasure of seeing my first national feature hit news stands. Jamie and Ryan’s Grand Haven private residence wedding was shown off in a five page spread via The Knot and it was definitely a highlight of my career; you can see their entire celebration over here. The first ever Trouvaille Workshop also unfolded and it was simply put, incredible. Women from all over Canada and the United States, flew into Grand Rapids for three days of learning, inspiration, community and so so much more. You can read more about the workshop over here. When the workshop came to a final close, I slept. For a long time.
I also travelled to Chapel Hill again for another round of Making Things Happen. Mountains were moved.
In May, I turned 28. Typing that out feels so surreal. I feel like just yesterday I was celebrating my 25th year. In that same month, I had the complete pleasure of being a part of two very beautiful weddings. Ellen and Pat said I Do on a chilly but nevertheless spring day in May and thanks to my amazing team, we set everything in a total of four hours. The bride was a complete vision. The flowers were some of my favorite ever. It was a lovely day.
And Brogan and Doug finally made their union official. More on this wedding next week though.
In June, life got a bit crazy as we prepped for two big trips. We also teamed up with a group of really amazing artists and rocked out an editorial shoot at one of my favorite venues. The results landed us on Style Me Pretty. Who said purple can’t be done in a beautiful way, right? Even better, one of our incredible 2015 couples will be celebrating their wedding day at Hidden Vineyard over Labor Day weekend. I’m counting down the days!
Andrew and I then packed our bags to head to Denver for a week. While we were there we soaked up the mountains, did a little zip lining, ate donuts from three different places, and watched a dear college friend get married to the love of her life. While Andrew flew back to Michigan after the event, I stayed back for a few days to collaborate with the talented and wonderful Sara Hasstedt. Together we created this gorgeous, sunshine-drenched editorial and celebrated our efforts with some of the best tacos and margaritas I’ve ever had.
I also took a three week break from social media. It inspired a little challenge called #stopthescrollchallenge.
Read more here if you’re interested.
By the time summer was in full swing, July was upon us and I was off on another trip but this time to Seattle for some meetings and venue walkthroughs with the sweet Kristina and Josh. We ate too many donuts (naturally), visited the beautiful downtown BHLDN, and I made a complete mess out of my hotel room with florals for the couple’s engagement session. The weekend ended with the couple’s engagement session shot by Marissa Maharaj and my trip ended with a pizza and wine date together with Marissa. I can’t wait for March to see this event finally come to life. What a truly incredible God-centered bride and groom to be.
At the very end of July, we did this.
I also flew down to North Carolina again, but this time to join the Southern Weddings ladies for a peachy editorial that landed on the cover of volume 7. It was a whirlwind three days of go, go, go, floral prep and assembly in Lara’s living room. There are also too many sweet moments to list out here in one post but it was a trip that cultivated gratitude and joy from within. Even better, my sweet friend Nancy Ray and her assistant Callie, ended up being the ones to shoot the behind the scenes; photos I will treasure forever. Hi friends!
August was here before I knew it. And it brought this feature. Jen and Jonah and I high fived from afar!
Then the girls and I loaded up the uHaul (literally we couldn’t have fit one more thing in that truck) and trekked up north four hours to Petoskey for what ended up being one of the most fun weddings we’ve ever been a part of. I can’t share much from that event quite yet because it’ll be in print next spring but it was a really beautiful day for a really special couple. We danced, laughed, sang, floralized and hustled more than ever that weekend. I fell more in love with my worker bee gals that weekend as we worked long into the night before the event, making sure each and every flower was fluffed to absolute perfection for our sweet clients.
Judging from this Harrison Studio photo, I think we got it right.
August was also really bittersweet. We lost our sweet Chenks after 14 and a half years of kitty snuggles and so much love. We miss you sweet, sweet boy. Zoe misses you too! And in that same week, the new Hey Gorgeous Events brand was revealed. I cried both tears of sadness and tears of joy in a span of just days. You can read more here about the rebrand. You can read more about the Hey Gorgeous brand here. And you can see my new website over here. Kathryn, I am so so grateful for your friendship and guidance over the past year.
By September, I was ready for that last massive push of events, travels and obligations. I headed off to Nashville for my dear friend Amber Housley’s workshop. Within ten hours of returning I was back on another plane, this time with Apb in tow to head down to Austin, Texas y’all for our final HGE event. For five days we rolled napkins, made centerpieces, ate more donuts (duh), made new friends, hung out with old ones and of course, celebrated another amazing couple becoming husband and wife. We created one of my most favorite floral creations of all time and pinched ourselves when the gals at Southern Weddings featured the event. I also got to hug this girl. More than once. And our Andrews finally got to hug it out. Month made.
We celebrated four years of marriage. Andrew, I love you so much!
Our Beloved Session with Sam was a treasure.
Then came October and all hands were on deck for Trouvaille 2.0. Our welcome dinner was an absolute hit, set against the dreamy backdrop of the Grand Rapids downtown market. For three days I was humbled, inspired and encouraged by some of the most incredible women in our industry; those who served as speakers and those who came as attendees. In the new year I’ll be sure to share more reflections from the event.
To celebrate, the Bosses and the Polhemus’ travelled up north to Mackinac Island and then out east to Canada for some much needed downtime and far too much consumption of deep fried food than you could care to know about. Getting to know long distance friends in a close up capacity was such a blessing. Then to round out the month, I found myself en route back to North Carolina (third time out of four this year!) for another round of Making Things Happen. And this time things felt lighter, more hopeful and sweeter than the last. I left feeling very much like a new person with new discoveries about myself and the path ahead of me.
By November, this had hit news stands. I had a major punch me moment. Bucket list item checked off.
I also travelled back to North Carolina (phew!) to surprise those sweet Southern Wedding gals at the volume 7 launch party. Some peachy and pink #hgeblooms made their appearance at the party. Big thanks to my gal pal and party planner extraordinaire Kristin Winchester for helping my keep my secret under wraps and for keeping me company while I picked rose thorns out of the host hotel carpet. I’m very confident I can call myself a professional hotel-room-floral-designer by now. Hi, Millie and thanks for the super cute capture!
Right around Thanksgiving, Cottage Hill at long last released their first issue ever and I was beyond honored to have a really special feature gracing its pages. There’s a wonderful back story to our efforts and I can’t wait to share more but here’s two photos from the talented Jen Lynne. And yes, that’s me there in the taupe hued dress. Like I said, there’s a wonderful back story and I’m on the edge of my seating waiting to share it. Soon.
Andrew and I closed out the season by taking a trip to the Bahamas at the end of November. And while we didn’t catch the flu this time around, we ran into a five day rainstorm. I mean beach-closed, palm-trees-horizontal, no-one-at-the-pool kind of rainstorm. We played a lot of Scrabble, ate a lot of pizza, and drank too many lattes instead. It was admittedly quite nice to disconnect, oversleep and spend some quality time away from the snow that hit the Midwest that week. We came home feeling much more rested than when we had left, and had a low key Thanksgiving at Andrew’s sisters home giving thanks for all of our blessings.
Finally in December, we decorated our home for the holidays, made serious progress on the basement studio (ah!), and sent a ton of festive holiday cards to friends and family worldwide. It was a joyful and celebratory month that flew by entirely too fast but nevertheless it was a breath of fresh air to just sit back and be still with my sweet little family for a change. I forgot what that was like which leads into my next thought…
More importantly, and this might just take the cake for the entire year, I vowed to my sweet family to slow down and take more time away from work and noise in 2015. Truly. 2014 was full, full and I mean just packed full of goodness. I am entirely grateful to The Lord for His grace and love. And the abundance of blessings and opportunity. But I felt like I could hardly keep up at times over the past year and swore in those moments, I had learned my lesson; I am just one person! Nothing less. Nothing more. I’m not superwoman. I’m just an ordinary woman trying to do extra ordinary things. And while it’s possible to do just that, only I can be the best servant of my time and how I spend it. I yearn to do things with more intention. To being content with white space and spare time. I desire to be okay with being perceived as ‘not so busy.’ And I’m ready to just be.
May 2015 be your best year yet too. Whatever it is you’re dreaming, hoping, praying and yearning for; may it come to life and then some for you all, sweet friends! Happy new year and I’ll see you in January.
Love, Rhi xoxo
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