• September 2009 Archive •

(n): Unexpected Good Fortune

If you’ve never seen the movie Serendipity, I highly recommend you rent and watch it. Since it is 8 years old, you can probably pick it up from the bargain bin for only a few bucks. Nonetheless, it is a romantic-comedy; all-about-love story (Insert eye roll) spanned across years and built around a set of coincidental events. Some would view the movie as a complete unrealistic example of finding true love and that never in a million years could two people come together like Jonathan and Sarah. I’m not one of those skeptics. In fact, I think we all have a little serendipity in our lives.

When interviewing potential clients, I always like to get the background of how the couple met. Typically, the couple responds to my question unexcitingly as if they are somehow disappointed in the method they met. Keeping in mind we live in the age of dating via Facebook and breaking up via text message, I understand that all couples aren’t going to respond with a unbelievable love story about how boy met girl in kindergarten and after 18 years of living cross-country from one another, the boy rescued the girl from a burning 5-story building and proposed atop Cinderella’s Castle. Maybe they met at a bar on a not-so-special Saturday night or perhaps they met online on an unproductive Wednesday. And sure, on the surface those “chance” meetings don’t seem like chance at all. But I like to look deeper. I like to examine the years before two people met and the decisions that led them to go out on a Saturday night or logon on a Wednesday. It’s those little and big choices made along the way that make the meeting of two people serendipitous.

Everyone always asks how I met Chase. Especially since I’m from the small town of Hudson, North Carolina and he reigns from the apparent greatest state on Earth, Texas. The short story of how I met my husband would go something like this:

“We met through some friends in the parking lot of Remington Grille.”

That’s boring and unexciting. Producers certainly won’t be beating on our doors anytime soon to turn The Parking Lot into the next The Notebook. But the serendipitous story of how I met Chase involves years and is dependent upon a high-school couple, an indecisive 18-year-old, a life-changing move to another country and a flight choice of a new-found friend. Let me explain.

Here’s the abbreviated version of the decisions I made, the decisions those around me made and the subtle role serendipity played in me meeting my future husband.

• Become best friends with Carrie at age 3
• Carrie meets Jeremy at a basketball game
• Carrie and Jeremy date while Seniors in high school
• Indecisively, I go back and forth between college choices (My immaturity was pulling me to Tennessee while Dad & Mom’s checkbook pulled me to Myrtle Beach.)
• Attend Coastal Carolina as a Freshman in college
• Carrie attends UNC Wilmington; Jeremy attends NC State
• Carrie breaks up with Jeremy; Tennessee and I break up
• Carrie and I want to experience college together so we transfer to UNC Charlotte
• Carrie and I are accepted to study abroad for a semester
• We live and go to school for 6 months in London, England
• Become friends with Tom from Jersey while abroad
• Meet Tom’s girlfriend during Spring Break
• Become instant friends with Tom’s girlfriend, Natalie
• Return to the states and keep in touch with Tom and Natalie
• Tom’s job transfers him to Charlotte
• Natalie decides to move to Charlotte and plans a visit
• Natalie books her flight to fly into Raleigh instead of Charlotte
• Carrie and I arrange to pick up and drop off Natalie at the Raleigh airport
• Carrie and I decide to have dinner with Jeremy while dropping Natalie off at the airport
• Jeremy brings his friend from NC State to dinner
• I meet Chase
• The rest is history

What if I would have finished college at Coastal? What if I thought Natalie was a snob? Out of all the cities in the country, what if Tom’s job had transferred him somewhere else and Natalie had never come to visit? What if Chase and Jeremy had never met at NC State and what if Carrie and Jeremy never spoke again after breaking up? If one event or one decision had been different in the years leading up to meeting Chase, it’s likely we would have never met. And those are just my decisions. They don’t even account for the years of choices Chase had to make to end up in Raleigh in May of 2006.

So in my eyes, we didn’t just meet in a parking lot outside of a restaurant. It was a meeting that had been strategically planned and orchestrated by someone and something bigger than the two of us. I encourage you to be proud of the way you met your significant other. Sure, it was in a smoke-filled bar or via a virtual method. There was a lifetime of choices that led you to that exact moment in your life. Maybe you’re single and considering screaming the next time you hear someone say “He’s/She’s out there. It will happen one day. You just have to be patient.” From experience, it’s annoying but so true. Stay focused on the decisions you make today and make sure they’re in your best interest because they will undoubtedly affect your future.

As for me, I’ll continue to tell the elongated version of how I met my incredible husband. It’s a story I can’t re-tell without smiling (Seriously, I’m smiling as I type). Maybe it’s the fact I’m in love with him more today than I was when we met or maybe it’s just the reaction to the little bit of serendipity I have in my life. Either way, I wouldn’t change a thing.

xoxo, Priscilla
The New Face of Orangerie Events

Orangerie Events had a facelift. It was definitely time. I’m proud to announce that after a few months of recovering, Orangerie Events is ready to show the world a brand new look. It’s fresh, fruity and full of Vitamin C.

I have stared at the same screen and same information day after day for the past three months. My eyes are crossed and my brain is fried from color codes and photo resization(Nope, not a word. Just another “ation.” See this entry.). One day I was pleased with the progress and the next I was ready to throw in the towel and start from scratch. Despite the days of doubt, I’m excited to debut the new Orangerie Events website. I’m sure there will be some changes and adjustments and maybe in the future Orangerie Events will go under the knife again. But for now, Orangerie Events is ready to show off the cosmetic overhaul.

For those shrugging their shoulders as to why the Orangerie Events blog features a partridge in a pear tree, which clearly has nothing to do with oranges or wedding planning, don’t worry. The Orangerie Events “Freshly Squeezed” blog will soon have a modernized look to match the website. (At least the current template gave another planner a website to find their blog template. Isn’t it such a small world?)

So take a drive with the top down on the information highway. Not literally topless. Unless you normally surf the web topless. Then by all means, have at it. I welcome feedback, thoughts and opinions – just as long as they’re positive. Even then I may have a hard time accepting your positive criticism. Just ask my old AG teacher Mrs. Storie or take a look at my old report cards. I never got a check mark beside “Accepts Positive Criticism.” Nonetheless, enjoy looking around the new site and if nothing else I hope the opening song makes you tap your feet.

P.S. – Those used to be my initials so it was always clever when I added a P.S. at the bottom of a letter or email. Now it’s just like everyone else who adds a P.S.

P.S.S. – What I really meant to say in the above amendment was thank you to all of the beautiful brides and amazing photographers for so graciously allowing me to plaster their faces and art all over my new website. I am extremely grateful.

xoxo, Priscilla
Sweet One Who Birthed Me
Everyone loves recognition, especially on their birthday. Today marks the anniversary of the day my sweet mother graced the world with her presence. I wish I could offer her something more than a blog to publically recognize her, but due to limited funds and resources, my words will have to suffice. 

I was fortunate growing up that my mom stayed at home with me until I entered elementary school.

When I began kindergarten, my mom took a job with the school. It was a blessing to have easy access to visit her during the school day, pick up forgotten lunch money or grab a quick hug. Each school morning began with a prayer in the car and each afternoon ended with a homemade snack. Although she didn’t follow me to middle or high school, she was still always there for me no matter what the conditions were or what situation I had managed to get myself into. 

As I’ve graduated into adulthood, I’ve started to thoroughly comprehend the sacrifices she made for me. Although I told her thank you, as an excited 16-year-old getting ready for the red carpet at South Caldwell High School, I didn’t fully understand what it took to buy my perfect prom dress. As a 24-year-old with a mortgage and monthly bills, I now comprehend that dropping $500 for a dress takes months of saving and budgeting. Multiply that amount by 4 homecoming gowns, 4 prom dresses and 1 wedding gown and you’ve got a nice down payment for a new car. My mom never complained or made me feel guilty. She just smiled and told me I looked beautiful.

The truth is my mom is beautiful. A lot of people label others as being beautiful inside and out, but my mom sets the standard. Through the years, I’ve watched her become even more beautiful with age. I’ve watched her fight battles while others waved white flags to surrender. I’ve seen her exert strength in situations where others conformed to weakness. And I’ve learned from the mistakes she openly admits to making. Throughout all of life’s curveballs, (There have been some major, unexpected ones) she’s remained the world greatest mom.

So on her special day, I just want to take a moment to say thank you to the sweet one who birthed me. Thank you for all the times you were my chef, chauffer, seamstress, decorator, baker, maid, manager, therapist, bank, teacher, preacher, personal assistant, encourager, doctor, cheerleader, best friend and just plain ole’ mom. With all the love this little heart can give, Happy Birthday!



xoxo, Priscilla
Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

I would have to disagree with Charles Caleb Colton for coining that phrase. To me, imitating is just plain aggravating.

As a kid, the best way to immediately frustrate someone was to copy their every word in a mockingly fashion. It’s a tactic commonly used by little brothers and sisters to pester their older siblings. I experienced the approach first-hand. As soon as I had reached my boiling point I would yell “Stop It Andrew!” Immediately I would hear “Stop It Andrew!” echoed from a 6-year-old with bleach blond hair, wearing nothing but Power Rangers underwear. He knew exactly what he was doing. Either he would continue to mutter my every sentence or I would have to remain silent. I don’t feel as those he was being “sincere” by imitating me. He was being aggravating.

But that’s just being a child and when you become an adult it should be flattering for someone to imitate you, right? Wrong. It’s even more aggravating to be imitated after you’ve worked tirelessly to make a life for yourself. Let me explain.

As a Wedding & Event Planner, I can group the questions I’m asked into two categories:

1 – Service Related Inquires (These are potential clients and prospects – keep em’ coming!)
2 – Profession Inquires (These usually begin with “I’ve always wanted to be a wedding planner…what did you do….what do you charge…etc.)
Let me be clear, I don’t mind other beginner planners asking me general questions about my business or career. I am more than willing to offer advice and detail my experiences. However, there’s a thin line between offering advice and handing over my business plan. Once you start seriously inquiring about what I do and how I do it in order to start your own business, you instantly become competition – especially if you live in North Carolina. (If you live in Alaska, we’re cool. No pun intended.) My frustration is not directed at those who simply inquire about what it takes to become a Wedding & Event Planner. My frustrations lie with those who simply duplicate the work I’ve already done.

It’s common in the world of Wedding & Event Planning for beginners to look at established planner’s websites and materials for inspiration. Inspiration – not duplication. I’ll be the first to admit that when I started, I visited other event planner websites to get ideas, but not to copy. Plagiarism is virtually impossible to detect in an age where a business can be ran solely online. I never understood the big deal with a little “copy” and “paste” while I was up at 2am finishing (or maybe beginning) a college essay. Now, after putting countless amounts of my time, energy and money into perfecting a website, crafting proposals, securing vendor partners and completely building a business, it is highly aggravating for others to simply imitate my efforts.

Perhaps this blog is my indirect way of being direct. It isn’t intended to make me unapproachable. It’s simply my way of proving Charles Caleb Colton wrong and growing a backbone.

xoxo, Priscilla