2018 is the year I’m describing as a remarkably emotional year well lived filled with pure joy, excitement, extreme sorrow, challenge and growth. This year was marked by the biggest milestone in my life, the happiest day of my life and our gorgeous wedding day, surrounded by incredible celebrations around our wedding from the most epic bachelorette getaway weekend in Charleston, SC (my favorite place in the world) to our incredible honeymoon on the dreamy Amalfi Coast of Italy (now my second favorite place in the world).
2018 brought AYE 6 absolutely sublime weddings from Rhode Island, to Massachusetts, to New York and Vermont. For our couples we designed six completely distinctive celebrations that included elements such as a floral arch chapel entry that even Meghan Markle would swoon over, a wedding completely inspired by flowers with chandeliers dripping in florals and bars overgrown with greens and blooms, a bride’s horse driven up from the South and fit with a floral wreath and custom engraved harness to surprise her, a statement sweetheart table the looked like it belonged at the final rose ceremony on a season of the Bachelor, one of the chicest and fiercest brides rocking a voluminous ponytail and bouquet draping with black ribbons as she came down a staircase encased in greens and flowers, a tented wedding filled with Pacific Northwest flair at a former US President’s home in Newport, RI, and a Cape Cod wedding with a rainbow passing right over the seaside tent during golden hour. And of course 2018 was also the year of Sean’s and my wedding, which I cannot wait to share more of this magical celebration with you all in the very near future.
It was also the year that with extreme sadness I experienced one of my brides tragically lose her father to a short and devastating battle with cancer in the two months leading up to her wedding day. It broke my heart to see this couple cancel every vendor and aspect of their celebration, one by one, navigating through something so devastating in so many ways just less than 45 days leading up to their wedding. My heart goes out to this bride and groom and their families, and I have and will always think about them when I fluff a bride’s gown as she stands there linking arms with her father, getting ready to walk down the aisle. On my own wedding day, I stood there emotionally holding my Dad’s hand before the doors opened to the chapel, thinking about what a gift it was that I simply could hold his hand on this day.
In 2018 our couples’ weddings were featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Magnolia Rouge Magazine, The Knot Magazine, BRIDES and Style Me Pretty. With every page and post published, I could see my couples’ love stories prominently shining through the details and their stories told in their own beautiful words, and it felt like I had won the lottery. Some of our most intricate and spectacular weddings to date took place in the last 365 days, and I was reminded that the love, passion and professionalism that my team and I possess can never be matched and can defy anything that comes our way.
Aside from our wedding being the highlight of our year and our lifetime, personally 2018 was an incredibly difficult year for both my family and Sean’s family. We lost my uncle in March, Sean’s grandmother in May and then my grandmother in July. While losing my uncle and Sean’s grandmother left me incredibly sad, it was my Grams’ passing that broke my heart into pieces. My Grams and I were incredibly close. She was sweet, strong, confident, had the funniest sense of humor, and the most loving woman you’d ever meet. Because we didn’t live close to her, we had spent every Christmas with her for 28 years, I spent many childhood Summers with her at her home in Buffalo, and she visited us every July for her annual trip to Cape Cod. When we were children, Dad used to film our daily lives and send them as VHS tapes to Grams so she didn’t “miss” us growing up. She was better than Santa at gifting us the gifts at the top of our Christmas lists. She is the reason I love roses as much as I do. Grams brought our entire family together from wherever we were, and wherever she went is where we all wanted to be.
On the morning Grams died, I was trying to get to Buffalo to see her in the hospital before she passed. But I missed her last breath, and I cried the whole flight to her. It felt like a little light left the world. With my aunt I picked out her casket with roses engraved on the handles, along with a lush and layered arrangement of garden roses to lay over it. Instead of wearing that beautiful amethyst gown she bought specifically to wear to my wedding, we buried her in it on a warm Summer day in July (just two months before Sean’s and my wedding). She was undeniably missed on our wedding day, and there was truly a moment when I cried looking at my parents sitting at their table and Grams not being next to them like she was supposed to be, wearing her new dress that she had been so excited to wear. And this Christmas was our first Christmas without her, and I spent most of it reliving and replaying memories of our 28 Christmases together over and over again.
As I look back on 2018, I am reminded the life is truly one beautiful rollercoaster of emotions and that’s what makes it so incredible. Yes there was sorrow, but it was offset by an infinite amount more joy and happiness. There were such joyful moments this year where it seemed like time stood still and for a minute there was nothing more perfect than that 60 seconds. There were SO many of those in 2018 for me, and those are the memories we should hold onto when we step forward into 2019. 2018 will be a tough year to beat!
Now, 2019… I can already tell that you are going to be an epic year! With 8 amazing weddings in the books for 8 ridiculously incredible couples (and one taking us to Delray Beach, FL), I’m beyond excited to see what this year has in store. 2019 will also be the year of a brand new website featuring THREE brand new services Always Yours Events will be offering (or maybe there will be a second brand to come to life…) and a product for couples planning weddings that I believe will be pivotal for how we plan weddings.
And finally, my word for 2019 is “unveiled,” meaning to reveal. If I had to choose one of many valuable lessons I learned this year, it’s that our time here is precious and how we live our lives not only effects us, but those we leave behind. We can take nothing with us except that which we give away. It’s being ourselves, sharing ourselves, being vulnerable and true to who we are that impacts the world and our loved ones. There will never be another one of us in this world. I can tell you that I am so grateful that I have a plethora of candid photos of my grandmother genuinely happy with my grandfather on her wedding day, raising her children, playing with us on Christmas morning, etc over a hundred little squares of her fake smiling at a distant wall or in front of a perfectly styled corner of her house. And so I’ve promised myself that this will be the year I live as my truest self, and let myself just be who I am. Share more time with those who I love, give more than I take, share the things I’ve tucked away for my business out of fear of taking a risk, share the photos that I love and don’t necessarily “fit” on Instagram, put my phone away and let the messages and notifications build up because life is happening right in front of me and I don’t want to miss another moment.
Thank you all for following along this journey with me, and for being so supportive always! I feel so thankful and inspired by each of you, and I hope that as we embark on 2019 (and beyond!) I can continue to inspire you, give to you and show you more of the woman behind this brand. Wishing you all the happiest New Year — let’s make it the best year yet.