Oh 2016! You were quite the year.

A wonderfully, life-changing year full of milestones. I want to remember you forever, learn from you always, and give you thanks indefinitely for all you brought and taught me. While it’s bittersweet to bid farewell to the year that made me a mother, it’s refreshing to say hello to a new year and with it all of the exciting adventures ahead. Plus, I selfishly am looking forward to waking up on January 1st and not feeling a million months pregnant like I did last year. Even if Kelly Sweet did happen to make me feel beautiful when I was full term with our Lachlan I was mighty uncomfortable with that big belly (and a babe that waited 8 days longer than anticipated to arrive!)

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January was my favorite month of the entire year.

Andrew and I welcomed our son Lachlan Rue into the world and our lives were changed forever (as we expected). I never wrote my birth story out in a public place and probably won’t as it was a really emotional experience but motherhood is my thing. I’ve loved every second of this new reality and can confidently say when Lachlan was born so was a new version of myself. I blogged about Lachlan’s nursery here and shared his birth announcement here. We are so incredibly blessed and have loved being mum and dada this year.

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I worked really hard the second half of 2015 to make sure I would be able to take a three month maternity leave. I hustled with my clients, prepped my team, and assured all of my couples their wedding planning process would not suffer as a result of our growing family. So in February and March I did a lot of this, this and this. And I loved every single minute of getting to know my son and forming a bond with him that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the whole world. I learned a lot about self care and what sets my heart on fire.

In March this happened. What an exciting milestone for my company! We also took a trip to Chapel Hill for Making Things Happen which also happened to be Lachlan’s first plane trip. It was so sweet introducing my son to my closest friends that week and also, having Andrew by my side to help manage all those late night feedings.

In April, Andrew turned 33. I can’t believe this is the 10th time I’ve celebrated a birthday with him! And Sarah and Michael’s 2015 Labor Day Weekend wedding was featured on Martha Stewart Weddings. This celebration was one of the final events I took on during my pregnancy and was one that brought me a lot of joy. That color palette, all those blooms and of course such a gracious couple made it one for the books.

View More: http://bradleyjamesphotography.pass.us/mcauliffewedding

May is always my favorite month for so many reasons.

First of all, I started sending out a newsletter! You can sign up here if you’d like. I got back into the groove with work. I also turned 30. So I celebrated by creating a 40 Before 40 bucket list and have loved referencing it from time to time as it’s always a simple reminder to live both an intentional and fun life. While the day of my birthday was spent getting my hair cut and colored before a simple dinner with Andrew and Lachlan, what I wasn’t prepared for was the surprise dinner party he threw for me the very next day. While I spent most of the dinner tending to a cranky baby, being surrounded by family and friends all there to celebrate me was a memory I will cherish forever. Andrew, I love you and your selfless heart for me.

BRIDES featured Kristina and Josh’s 2015 Seattle wedding in May, too. Kristina and Josh, we love you!

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And finally at the end of May we took a road trip down to North Carolina for Trouvaille 4.0. And what a trip that was! You can read more here and view the website for next spring’s retreat here. I’m so proud of what Trouvaille has evolved into and even more proud of all the women who have been a part of the workshop. I just sent out new year cards to all former attendees and can you believe I sent out nearly 100 cards? It was a humbling realization that this workshop experience IS making a difference in the wedding industry.

We returned home from Trouvaille and hit the road again but this time for Seattle to visit this gal. I got to design with the most beautiful product while I was there. When we got home, Sam and I also started working together on a few simple lifestyle projects including this one here and here. June is when I started to feel like I had my groove back as Lachlan started to almost sleep through the night at this point. He also started going to school three times a week which was the best choice for our family. June was really good.

July marked my first night and trip away from Lachlan to head to Chicago with the team for Christine and Nick’s wedding. It was refreshing to work with a bright red and blue color palette. July also brought a second Martha Stewart Weddings feature. Christine and Dagan had a magical destination wedding in Tuscany, Italy and I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to be there for it. Plus, as I mentioned in last year’s review, this was the trip we got to make with The Nelsons (who now have their own sweet little boy too!)

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And I think August was the busiest month. From Arden and Jeremiah’s gorgeous soiree, Michaela’s bridal shower (oh, what a hot day!) and Megan and Graham’s beautiful Saugatuck wedding (oh, what another hot day!) we were busy making the magic happen. I’m so proud of my team and the way we worked tirelessly over the summer to not only meet expectations but exceed them as well. I get to work with the best people and the best clients and I truly mean every little bit of that.

Again, I can’t show too much but here’s the beautiful Arden and her maids before the ceremony, photographed by Sarah and Rachel. Have you ever seen such a radiant bride? I certainly haven’t and I’m sure Arden’s kind groom can agree with me there. We worked tirelessly to set an ENTIRE wedding in three hours. It was crazy!

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/jeremiahandarden

September marked the end of our wedding season with a beautiful Northern Michigan wedding. I can’t share much more than the following photo from Jen and Jonah but this was a celebration for the books and I must add, for the kindest and most gracious family. Working with this family to plan this special wedding will forever be a memory I cherish and hold close to my heart on both a professional and personal level. I had a team of 11 with me that week and it was rewarding to end the season on a high note.

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We also celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in September. One of my few goals for 2016 (since I didn’t set too many) was to gift something unique and special to Andrew for the occasion. So I had my favorite chef and caterer Christine of The Farmhouse Deli come to our home and cook our favorite food for us. Andrew came home from a work trip right before dinner so while Chris cooked our meal for us I picked Andrew up from the airport and brought him home to delicious home cooked meal. It was really lovely and perfect.

We rounded out the month with a family session photographed by Kelly Sweet. These photos are the best.

I can’t wait to share more but we did use one on our holiday card this year!

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October brought a trip to this magical place for Trouvaille Five prep, an annual trip to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for another incredible Making Things Happen, and Lachlan’s first Halloween which was equal parts hilarious and memorable (he dressed up as a dinosaur if you’re wondering; or better yet, a Lach-a-saurus. I’ll share more once we celebrate his first birthday in a couple weeks). I also had a chance to put on a beautiful new black dress and head out to the Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty Under 40 gala. Being selected as a 2016 honoree was a complete surprise in 2016 but nonetheless a wonderful way to celebrate my success with my biggest cheerleader by my side. I slowed down a bit too, which was much needed.

Oh! And the October BRIDES issue brought this wedding with Vienna Glen to the public at long last!

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In November I brought a Masculine Elegance concept to life with the support of the Style Me Pretty editorial staff. It was an incredible editorial with both my friend Sam and a team of talented vendors. That skirt from Carol Hannah was one of my most favorite details and paired together perfectly with the modern floral designs.

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And then December was here in a flash.

Between making new traditions with Lachlan, savoring the smell and sight of our real tree, making sure our 2017 clients were off into the holiday on a good note, wrapping gifts with Sam, and prepping for holiday floral orders, the month came and went so quickly. Thankfully we found many ways to soak up the season!

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I’d also love to mention I wrote a ton of business blog posts this year including Three Business Resources to Outsource, How to Maximize Floral PrepWhy Your Client Experience Matters, Small Is The New Big, The Magic of Mock Ups, How to Be OriginalWhy You Need Whitespace In Your Life, and most recently, The Process Behind Largescale Floral Design. I loved blogging this year even if it wasn’t often because the posts I did share were intentional and content rich. I look forward to doing more of the same here in 2017.

I also not surprisingly wrote many blog posts about maternity leave, my newborn essentials, and life with Lachlan. I want to be an example to women everywhere that you can have it all it’s just a matter of wisely selecting what your ‘all’ is. I used to think I had to pick between being a joyful mother or being a powerful business woman, and I know now that hindsight is 20/20 because the life I have now is far from perfect but it’s full, fruitful, intentional, fun and full of all of the things that matter most to me.

Which, I may add, 2017 is going to be really good. Last year I went into 2016 with really low expectations. I knew becoming a mother would be a big transition so I didn’t want to add more to my plate. I set some small goals, loaded up on grace, and sort of powered through the year. But already over the last few weeks there’s been a sense of clarity and direction within that’s left me feeling fearless and excited for the next 12 months to come. I’m hoping to make a few bold moves in 2017 and can’t wait to share those with you.

May you too, pursue those same virtues of courage. Wishing you all the best!

Year in Review 2015
Year in Review 2014
Year in Review 2013
Year in Review 2012
Year in Review 2011