When I was little, like first grade little, my Mom bought me the most atrocious and humiliating red blazer. I have to say I hated it. It was weird and too fitted for my six-year-old frame. It felt too grown up when all I wanted were sweaters with something like unicorns on them. I wanted what all the other kids wore to school. I wanted to fit in and feel safe. While all my classmates were wearing seemingly appropriate kid outfits to our annual photo day, I was the kid with the bob cut and red blazer. Cool.

Yet on that one specific photo day in first grade, my Mom was so sure I would wear that red blazer in my photo. And I on the other hand, was so sure I would not. Carefully explaining to my teacher that it was in fact fine to leave the blazer behind in my cubby while we marched down to the gymnasium for photos – “Don’t worry Mrs. White, the jacket is not for photo day” – I felt like I had outsmarted my mother and her sorta whacky fashion sense. I smiled for the camera and proceeded to walk back to our room with a pep in my step. Unicorn sweater or not, I was going to look like every other pig-tail adorned kid that day.

Until I hopped into my Mom’s car when she came to get me for lunch that day. “How did photos go?” she asked. “Good” I replied, sure to leave out any details of my wrong doing. “You made sure to wear your blazer didn’t you?” she directed towards me in the back seat. And if any of you know me well, you’ll know lying isn’t my strong suit. Before I knew it, instead of eating my usual bowl of KD mac and cheese for lunch, I was back in the gymnasium, sheepishly looking down at my boots (were they cowboy boots Ma?) as my Mother made the photographer reset up his equipment to reshoot my photos. My mother kindly informed the photographer that I had forgotten to wear my new jacket. Kids those days, huh? What did we know!

See, this past weekend, I went to a bridal show here in Grand Rapids. I was helping out with Jeanette’s wedding flower booth and we ended up chatting with a photographer near the end of day two. And when we were commenting on how slow the day seemed to go, we branched out into discussion about the industry in our market. How can we make positive changes? How can we reinvent the way the industry within our market approaches weddings? How can we make our tiny but wonderful market better? How can we use our voices and our businesses to better educate people who are planning their wedding day?

And really, it’s stepping a little outside of that box. It’s making prices, that are competitive, yet logical, and sticking to them. It’s about knowing we, way up here in Michigan, DO have fantastic things to offer to the industry and to brides and grooms state-wide. It’s about always striving to be better and to set that bar higher and higher with each event. It’s remembering to wear those ‘ugly’ red blazers, even when we need a little push outside our comfort zone to actually wear em out in public.


Just to clarify, in hindsight that blazer really wasn’t that bad. So thanks for giving me a innate sense of style but most importantly, the ability to feel ok with stepping outside of the box in life, Mom. I love you. Photo above by the fab Tonya Peterson who helped make this shoot a a possibility even though it was way outside of the box. Happy Monday xoxo