How do you possibly put a big piece of your heart into a few blog posts? Truthfully, I don’t think you can.

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So while it’s next to impossible to tell you ALL THE THINGS about our four days in Holly Springs this past May at Trouvaille 4.0, instead I’ll be sharing some really beautiful images from Nancy Ray Photography and my own commentary here this week to illustrate the goodness. After hosting four workshops now and learning a boatload with each one, I can confidently say we have a groove and unique position in the workshop industry. We educate, we inspire, and we love really, really well on the women and men who have become family.

With that I say to you, welcome to Trouvaille Week!

Let’s start with Day One shall we?

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Hi Keri! Keri is a three time Trouvaille attendee and watching her business grow and change over the past few years has been incredible. But Keri isn’t our sole repeat attendee! There are plenty of other women who have returned to Trouvaille multiple times and this is one of the best testimonies I could ever receive. Hugging Keri, and each and every other person who walked through the Mim’s House doors that Monday was the best!

Infused waters, fruity lemonade and sweet tea awaited everyone upon arrival. In some of the rooms we had various vignettes set up with beautiful pieces from the Paisley and Jade inventory so everyone could mingle and get comfortable. You can probably tell from this collection of images, but our first day was designed around a palette of gray, blue, ivory and sage. This was all purposeful when we selected the lounge furniture, stationery, and even the double faced satin ribbon for the gifts. All of the details are so important in the big picture.

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As Nancy, Jamie, and I put finishing touches on some of the styling details that afternoon, everyone found their seats prior to an official welcome from yours truly. The excitement was so evident in everyone that day!

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Oh! But first, please meet Priscilla and Brooke. These two beauties are the owners of the Mims House and the best hosts in the South. Brooke is also the owner and director of Belles Catering who was responsible for the simply amazing food and drinks served throughout our four days in Raleigh. Honestly, in my seven years of planning events I’ve only ever truly loved one caterer and Belle’s Catering changed all of that. I now love TWO.

The HGE Team loved you ladies!

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I also need to talk a little about the gorgeous invitation suites that were sent to everyone.

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Working with Moya Minns for all of the Trouvaille stationery and calligraphy was an honor and highlight. The invitations were laser cut word pieces completely penned by Moya. Included in each box was also a super fun and information booklet from the team over at Guesterly. This was helpful for everyone to get to know each other ahead of coming to NC. Everything was wrapped in soft silk ribbon from Tono & Co and adorned with a beautiful custom tag from Paloma’s Nest. It truly takes a village to make something so special. I am so grateful.

While I greeted everyone outside the front of Mims, my team waited inside to greet everyone with a warm smile and a treat box of North Carolina themed snacks as a gift from Belle’s. Melissa Jones joined us again as our chief encourager and having her there was truly one of the highlights of the week. Her zest for women in business, relationships that matter, and networking that means something is exactly what our industry needs.

There’s a heartbeat behind Trouvaille and this is a big part of it!

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And the gifts! If you know me well you’ll know I love gifting to others. I also have built the Trouvaille experience on a foundation of loving well and that includes through giving to others in tangible and intangible ways. I want everyone at Trouvaille to go home with a full brain AND full heart. For our last experience I also knew I wanted to take the gifting experience to a new level so I called up Jamie Kutchman of Marigold & Grey to help do just that. Working together with Jamie to bring my ideas to life and to allowing her to utilize her impressive talents was very fulfilling. And the gifts were as beautiful as they were special.

Here is what greeted each person as they sat down to our opening sessions.

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Hearing everyone share why they decided to come to Trouvaille was a highlight of day one for me. I will be sharing all of my favorite moments on Friday but I had to mention it here too. There really ARE some special special people in our industry. And those people give back to couples across the world, and then those couples give back to others in THEIR life and the cycle goes on and on. How cool is that?

Here is Valerie from Sapphire Events looking on during introductions. Hi sweet Val! Val is a two time attendee of Trouvaille and I was honored to have her as a speaker at 4.0. She is so wise and honest which was evident in her presentation on pricing your services as a wedding planner and designer. I feel so lucky to know her.

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Our littlest attendee was just shy of five months! Isn’t he the best?

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Our welcome dinner was hosted outside at Mims under a tent strung with bistro lights (which also happened to protect us from the rain that hit North Carolina that weekend!) Belle’s created a delicious menu for us including a cocktail hour full of Southern inspired bites and a signature peach drink that was as tasty as it was lovely. From the stunning linens provided by our sponsor Nuage Designs and the calligraphed paper goods by the talented Moya of MM Ink, the tables were the cherry on top to the dinner we enjoyed together that night.

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Look at that peek of soft blue letterpress detailing! Moya, you’re amazing.

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And here is the whole group minus Andrew (hot hubby alert!), Nancy (who took this photo obviously!), and Nicole and Tyler of 314 Productions who were getting footage of us all! I know I’ve said it before, but this was such an incredibly diverse, talented, and kind group of women and men. I look at this photo and that’s honestly the first thing that comes to my mind. I wish I could bring together ALL of the last four Trouvaille classes for a reunion because I think some really special and BIG things would come out of it.

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I don’t think I have ever shared this publicly, but the inspiration behind Trouvaille is two fold.

Years ago when I was searching for the perfect workshop to attend as a multifaceted wedding planner, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted a space where I could learn more about how to run my business smarter. I didn’t need to learn how to work harder but was hoping I could learn from others who were willing to share their processes. I also wanted a space where I could feel safe and accepted. Some past workshops I had attended left me feeling quite the opposite and I craved an experience that allowed me to feel confident in myself and my worthiness as a professional and a colleague. Where I could ask questions and engage in conversations without being judged or ignored. And I wanted to go to a retreat where I could get away! With yes, pretty things! Gorgeous meals, beautiful gifts, little surprises, having all senses catered to. This really didn’t exist and if it did I didn’t know about it! So I seized an opportunity and made it my own.

Moreover, it was around that same time Andrew and I started talking about growing our family. We decided that should we become parents we would find a way for me to take on less weddings and instead supplement those weddings with one or two workshops a year. If I could take my passion for serving others and slightly shift who was on the receiving end of my efforts (e.g. other professionals and fellow colleagues versus more brides and grooms) then this would be ideal for the work life balance I dreamed of as a mama. I also wanted to find a way to allow Andrew and I to work on the business together so our time could be spent together more intentionally as family. I had a lot of really big goals to meet after getting Trouvaille off of the ground because there were (as you can see) so many driving forces behind my efforts.

But all of that to say this; it was very sweet and fulfilling to have my entire little family at this past retreat. It felt like things had come full circle from those days where Andrew and I first started talking about both parenthood and creating a retreat like Trouvaille! If you were there in Holly Springs you’ll know how big of a part of the experience Andrew was and is; he’s Mr. Dad tending to Lachlan’s needs all day so I can make sure I meet the needs of our attendees. He is the epitome of supportive and very much on board with me so we can make this vision possible. So I will end this first recap post with these two images below. My sweet baby fell asleep at the welcome dinner just like that in my arms with his thumb in his mouth.

Being around so many wonderful women is exhausting, I suppose!

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Sponsors, suppliers and vendors from day one can be found below. And what a powerhouse of a group! Xo

Trouvaille Day Two recap over here.
Trouvaille Day Three recap over here.
Trouvaille Day Four recap over here.
Trouvaille Highlights recap over here.

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Venue: The Leslie Alford Mims House / Photography: Nancy Ray Photography / Planning, florals and host: Hey Gorgeous Events / Catering and drinks: Belle’s Catering / Stationery and calligraphy: Moya Minns of MM Ink / Welcome guestbooks: Guesterly / Curated welcome gifts: Marigold & Grey / Linens: Nuage Designs / Rentals: American Party Rentals / Vintage rentals: Paisley & Jade / Candle sponsor: Riles and Co / Custom notebooks: Five Dot Design / Rhiannon’s earrings: Gemma Jewel Shop / Silk ribbon: Tono & Co / Videography: 314 Productions / Film processing: Indie Film Lab