2015. You were a whirlwind of a year. My goodness.
It’s hard to believe I have been recapping my life for the past five years at the end of every December but here we are on the verge of another new year and with it lessons learned and blessings to look forward to. This year feels a whole lot different though because I type this to you while I’m only 11 days away from my due date with our sweet son. In the past, I’ve spent time between Christmas and the new year working on my goals and preparing for the year ahead on a professional and personal level. But this year I’ve been still and I’ve been letting The Lord lead me to whatever it is that needs my attention in the near future. That includes rest, learning to navigate the waters of being a first time mama, and extending myself grace while I try to find the best balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship. And all the other things that come up in life of course! It’s going to be a really life changing year. But so was 2015. I’m so excited to relive it all in this post with you!
In January, the new HGE studio was finally completed (with the exception of a few small things like the bathroom sink and closet doors which are still not finished but hey baby steps right?) and it was a sweet way to kick start the new year working in a beautiful new space. Betsi and Jess came over for a team day in the studio to prep for the year ahead, freshen up our skills with some floral time together and Brad and Sam joined in on the fun to take photos of it all. Having a designated space reflective of how the HGE brand has changed and grown over the past nearly six years is a blessing. You can view a whole tour of the space over here. But these girls?
Everything to me. Our team grew closer in so many ways this year and I’m forever grateful for these souls below.
I then joined Steve Moore in Redondo Beach later that month to assist with Desiree Hartsock’s wedding. It was a whirlwind trip to California but an amazing opportunity to learn from Steve and sit back and serve versus being in charge. The wedding was so beautiful and the weather was a nice change from the below freezing Michigan temperatures. I can still feel the salty ocean breeze and picture the soft pink sunrises I enjoyed.
Apb and I took some time in February to meet again with our financial advisor and discuss our future a bit more seriously. I loved this bittersweet time in our marriage because we were trying to still start our family yet figure out what we would need to do to prepare financially. College funds for our children we had yet to conceive? We figured it’s never too early to start saving. Little did we know our biggest prayer would be answered soon.
For Valentine’s Day, Andrew and I gifted each other with the experience of our first church service together. We went to a Saturday night service (ironically the sermon focused on being respectful towards your spouse on a financial level) and then enjoyed a nice casual dinner out. We have been so grateful to call this church our home since then and have joined a wonderful small group that has been so supportive and to us. Looking forward to 2016, I plan to hopefully be baptized along with #sweetbabybosse this spring. The Lord is so so good.
Then at the end of the month I flew back out to California for Kate Holt’s floral workshop and had the pleasure of meeting new colleagues, working on my floral skills, and having my work photographed by Jose Villa. Did you know the cherry blossoms in California were blooming in late February already? I totally begged Andrew (unsuccessfully) to consider moving to California but instead will have to live with these film scans from Jose.
Transitioning into March brought lots of mock ups, tastings, invitation assembly, office work, emails, meetings and FINALLY packing for our first wedding of the season in Seattle. Betsi accompanied me on this trip and I’m so grateful she did! It was a trip for the books and Kristina and Josh’s wedding was a beautiful success. I can’t share much more than the photo below but Betsi and I enjoyed the beautiful Seattle landscape, freelance help of some talented and sweet Trouvaille alum, and knocked out some really lovely designs that will remain as some of my favorites. And how adorable is the couple’s ring bearer bulldog pup, Henry? More soon!
Did I mention Hey Gorgeous Events FINALLY became an official trademark that month? I am so grateful.
In April I went off again to North Carolina for both my fifth time at Making Things Happen and my second Southern Weddings Magazine editorial. All in one week! If there was one theme prevalent during the first half of my year it was escaping to beautiful climates during one of the longest Michigan winters we have ever had! MTH was life changing as always. But this specific workshop was made even sweeter when Andrew flew to NC to surprise me on day two of the retreat. To have Andrew there to meet everyone, see Raleigh and why I love it so much, and to help prep florals for the SW editorial was such a blessing. This photo below by Robyn Van Dyke is one of my favorites ever. Our marriage grew this year in ways I never thought possible.
Andrew you are my favorite.
And then there was the above mentioned editorial. And the sweetest pig ever. It was a good day.
At the end of April, Kristine and Brett’s Petoskey wedding from August of 2014 was featured in the latest print issue of The Knot, Michigan. And on a fun side note, Kristine and her husband Brett are also expecting a baby boy shortly into the new year just four days before Andrew and I are expecting our son! It’s been pretty exciting to grow closer to Kristine as a friend as we together anticipate what motherhood and our boys will be like!
Also in April? Andrew turned 33. We’ve been celebrating birthdays over the past few years in really simple ways.
In May spring slowly started to show her beautiful face. At last! The tulips started to sprout, the snow began to melt and wedding season prep started to pick up. I travelled home to celebrate Mother’s Day with my family in Canada. I had a memorable dinner with my closest friends there. And then after feeling a little unusual halfway through my trip and being a few weeks away from starting fertility medication and treatments, I cautiously took a pregnancy test in a Whole Foods bathroom to discover the biggest surprise and blessing of a lifetime. A very long 24 hours later I was able to share the news with an absolutely shocked Apb when he joined me in Canada for the weekend. It was a Mother’s Day celebration I will remember forever. And one of the best days of my life.
I then turned 29 mid month. I couldn’t believe I was that much closer to turning 30! And that I was a mama to be! The peonies in our yard slowly began to burst open (there were close to 100 blooms this year!), we had some pretty spectacular sunsets from our front porch, and spent many nights eating dinner on our back porch.
June kick started a whirlwind of a wedding season, paired together with fatigue and morning sickness. I made it through these tough few weeks with lots of bagels, Cheerios and root beer even though some days felt unbearable. Thanks to my incredible team and supportive husband however, everything went off without a hitch. Like Emily and Matt’s stunning Ann Arbor back yard wedding which you can catch more of over here. It was a beautiful day for a really really special family. I’m so grateful to still stay in contact with Emily and her genuine and kind family. It was also such a pleasure to have Kelly Sweet capture everything that day.
Then exactly one weekend later, Jasmine and Tyler said I Do in another backyard tented affair. This wedding will be featured in print in a couple months so I can only share this one photo for now. I promise it will be worth the wait though, friends. The bride had two gowns, we used foraged peonies from the groom’s mom’s garden, and everyone danced under the stars all night before a surprise fireworks show ended the evening. It was a long long week of hard work with this event made well worth it by the end of the celebration.
We also helped West Elm kick off their Grand Rapids grand opening party that same week! I put together this post to go hand in hand with the launch. Then the following week I headed off to Kate Spade Chicago to lead a fun floral class with a group of 20 women in one of their Michigan Avenue stores. Another fun story here but the manager of the store ended up getting engaged a few weeks after my class and ended up hiring the HGE team to design and do florals for her wedding next summer! What a fun full circle of events right?
Finally, we announced our big news to the world. You can read this post here!
July arrived in no time and the first half of the month was spent preparing for the third Trouvaille Workshop and remainder of our wedding season which included some pretty big ‘all hands on deck’ weddings and projects. There were many mock ups completed, lots of cake flavors sampled, and endless amounts of excitement as Andrew and I went to doctor appointment after doctor appointment to see how big our babe was growing. We received news that our baby was a BOY this month! We have our reactions from the gender ultrasound saved on tape and it will be so sweet to share this with our son one day. There were lots of “I knew it!’s.
We finally headed up to Petoskey for a big wedding at Bay Harbor. This place is amazing and we had some of the most beautiful weather you could imagine for the weekend. You can read more here and here. It was a special five day trip spent with Betsi and Jess, and Andrew who was up north for a friend’s wedding which we also did the florals for. We came home Sunday exhausted but with full hearts. Danielle and Nick, we love you!
At the beginning of August, Alex and Josh were married in a simple and sweet backyard wedding. More soon!
The retreat finally arrived and it was by far my favorite conference yet. You can read more about this retreat here and here. I started the Trouvaille Workshop brand a couple years ago to educate, inspire, and bring together multifaceted planners and designers, but also to bring my husband on board with my business and in a way that extended beyond weddings so we could focus on starting a family. To oversee this conference while 20 weeks pregnant was really humbling. Even if I got sick as a dog two days in and felt exhausted and miserable most of the time! Shay flew in from Texas to capture everything and I was so thankful to have her there.
After Trouvaille ended (and I finally received a prescription for my bronchitis!) The Bosses headed to the airport to head to California with The Polhemus crew. We spent four days in 115 degree weather (oy!) sipping on iced beverages, frolicking in the pools at The Avalon and resting out hearts and bodies. I don’t have many photos to show from our trip minus the few on Instagram but it was a sweet trip away without work.
At the end of August we started working on our son’s nursery.
We also geared up for some final trips of the season. The Trouvaille Workshop was granted trademark status and my belly began to grow and grow! We spent many days at Babies R Us, many weekends at church, and many nights dreaming of what life will look like when we would finally be a family of three. We also hosted our small group at our house for dinner and it was so great to host such a great group of people outside of our church.
Finally over Labor Day weekend, Sarah and Michael’s long awaited wedding unfolded. It was one of my favorites. I can’t wait to share more with you soon, guys! It was the largest floral order we’ve taken on to date.
Then just one week later in September, Andrew and I packed up to head off to Italy for our final wedding of the season. We were so excited to be meeting The Nelsons there and to be working alongside them again (we did this in 2014 in Texas with Sara and Austin’s wedding and had such a blast!) Flying across the pond at 6 months pregnant wasn’t the easiest for me but it was a challenge I’m so proud to have accomplished. We worked most of the time we were in Italy to serve our bride and groom as best we could and the wedding went off without a hitch. More on that soon! Shay and Drew captured this special intimate celebration so beautifully.
But we also had about 48 hours of down time spent in Cinque Terre where Shay and Drew gifted us with a maternity session. It was one of the high moments of my pregnancy and year, standing in the frothy ocean with Andrew celebrating the gift of life in my belly. You can see more of our session here. Goodness Andrew is going to be such a great dad to our son. I can’t wait to see those two guys together in the very near future!
Once we returned home from Italy (and it sure took us a long time to do just that!) I began really diving into work with my 2016 couples. My goal for 2015 was to take on less but since so much of what my team and I do revolves around work done up to 16 months in advance, it was hard to control my workload in 2015 (since most of it was set the year prior). So I set my sights ahead to 2016 and only took on a maximum of 3 weddings. But that three turned to four when an amazing opportunity came my way (more on that later). I decided to settle on keeping my roster to four events after talking it over with Andrew and the girls and figuring out a way to serve my clients well while managing my expectations going into motherhood as best I can. My fall of 2015 was suffice to say, spent planning as intentionally and purposefully as I could to head into a new year of change.
Also in September Andrew and I celebrated 5 years of marriage!
I joined a women’s small group at church studying The Best Yes, we continued decluttering our home with our EIGHT drop off of the year to the Salvation Army, and celebrated Hallowe’en with an epic pumpkin carving party with our neighbors. We spent less time online and more time face to face savoring a slower season.
At the end of October I flew back to North Carolina again for Making Things Happen but also some meetings for the fourth Trouvaille Workshop scheduled for May of 2016. Going through MTH as a mama to be was so sweet and baby boy and I were both so celebrated by the girls during our time in Raleigh. God has done so many beautiful things in my life and in my relationships with these women since I first attended the intensive in 2012 and I have so few words to describe what my time in Raleigh every six months means to me. It’s so powerful.
And I celebrated the launch of Southern Weddings volume 8 from a far. Seeing our Love Preserved editorial was so rewarding and made all of our hard work earlier in spring so worth it. Not to mention, working with Nancy on a professional project was a bucket list item of mine and crossing it off this year was quite fulfilling.
You’re amazing, Nancy!
In November my to do lists started to look a little differently as we really started preparing for babe! Between lots of prenatal yoga, birth classes, hospital tours, so many gracious baby showers, final nursery touches, a visit from my sweet Dad, our annual trip to the apple orchard with Zoe and time on the weekends with Andrew to fill in parts of our baby book, it was a slower but full November. Thank you, Lord for this sweet time!
We celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister in laws and spent the beginning of December sending out holiday cards, nesting in our home and wrapping up as many loose ends as possible to head into the new year feeling refreshed. I also had a boudoir session with Kelly to celebrate all of the physical changes I’ve fought hard to embrace over the past 8 months. Most of the photos are private but these two sum up our afternoon nicely.
A few more highlights:
I hosted a holiday pop up shop at Rowster my favorite coffee house here in Grand Rapids, launched Trouvaille 4.0 tickets for next spring’s retreat in North Carolina, celebrated a decor-free holiday with Andrew, attended our first holiday service on Christmas eve and spent Christmas day together without all the fuss of past years. It was simple and lovely and involved a lot of the good stuff my mind and body both needed. As much as I didn’t want the holidays to end, I knew at the end of December would be a new year and a new beginning as my due date creeps closer and closer. We are so close to a very new beginning and I’m so yearning for this change.
With that being said, there is admittedly a bit of anxiety in my heart and mind about what 2016 will look like. Not that my heart isn’t ready to embrace the change and joy that is coming our way but that this is the first year I haven’t set goals for 2016 or thought intentionally about any of the things I want to pursue or accomplish. I haven’t picked a word for my year like I have in the past and I haven’t tackled any of my Powersheets. And well, when it feels like everyone else is doing those things and then some, it feels a little like a step in the wrong direction. Or like I’m falling behind. While I know this season of life is one we (and I more so because I’m the over thinker between Apb and me!) were blessed with for a reason and it will be monumental in ways I cannot quite make sense of yet, there are so many things that privately still feel like major unknowns.
I say this to share any encouragement if you too feel like your current season is one of unknowns or if you haven’t had time to send out your holiday cards let alone order them this year because of the mess and chaos and imperfections of real life. Life happens, you’re human, and please know that there are many many people who are heading into 2016 with a less is more approach and a goal of simplicity, quietness and surrendering to the Lord’s plan. At least that’s where you’ll find me for the next 12 weeks.
Have a beautiful start to 2016, friends! I can’t wait to touch base again with you in the future to introduce our biggest and proudest accomplishment yet. Stay safe, be well and know you are enough.
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