• January 2018 Archive •

Orangerie Events Top Southern Wedding Planner by Southern Living Magazine

Southern Living Top Planner Orangerie Events

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” -Aristotle

 There’s a level of unparalleled anxiety which envelopes my entire human form when I see the email subject “You’ve Received a Review” pop up. My hands begin to sweat. I start shaking my leg nervously. There’s a 50/50 chance as to what the outcome will be and the only way to see if I’ve hit the jackpot or need to file bankruptcy is by clicking “open.”

Honesty hasn’t been my finest attribute in the past but in regards to this particular subject, I do feel it’s the best policy. So here’s full disclosure: I don’t have all 5-star reviews because I haven’t always given 5-star service. I know. Pick your jaw up off the floor and keep reading. Maybe you’re thinking if I would just do my job and do it well then every review would be glowing. I would tell you I’ve tried. It’s not like I plot ways to piss off people. I don’t plan on coordinators quitting and leaving me in a bind. I don’t plan on houses to burn down leaving me stretched thin and in two places at once. I intend to respond to emails as quickly as possible and then you know what has the audacity to interfere? Life.

As a small business owner and one in a highly emotionally charged industry, I have always operated under principle. I’ve listened to complaints and feedback and I’ve tried to modify workflows and systems to do better. I’ve offered and given refunds despite contractual obligations. I’ve been cussed because I started a ceremony three minutes after the time noted on the invitation. I’ve been publicly defamed and slandered based on stories that are completely one-sided and far from factual.

Reviews are a double-edge sword. They can make you and they can break you. And the caveat is the scale isn’t equally weighed. It takes 50 favorable reviews to outweigh one negative Nancy. So how the heck does this have anything to do with Southern Living Magazine naming me as a Top Southern Wedding Planner? It’s proof that it’s okay to be human. You can be perfectly imperfect. You can make mistakes. You can accumulate a few less than stellar performance evaluations or get removed from a venue’s vendor list even though you’ve coordinated more than 40 weddings at their property. You can learn and grow and persevere and eventually your hard work is going to be recognized by someone or something more notable than user “AnonymouslyMarried17” online.

So here’s my acceptance speech for this honor bestowed upon me by Southern Living Magazine. To those clients who took the time to fill the interwebs with positive vibes and words of gratitude for our experience working together – I thank you. I hang onto your words and I use it as motivation for future clients. To those clients who were rightfully disappointed because something or someone distracted me from my role as your planner – I apologize. You deserved better and I’m sorry I didn’t meet your expectations. And lastly, to those pseudo clients who feel it necessary to bash my business or slander me personally with misinformation and inaccurate accounts of interactions – I pray for you. I pray you never really experience disappointment in the form of losing a loved one or suddenly waking up to find yourself a single parent with a disassembled life. I pray you don’t have to be tragically reminded that the world doesn’t revolve around you or dare I say it, your wedding day.

In case you didn’t know, you can’t make everyone happy. And there comes a point, especially when owning a small business and even more so as a wedding planner, when you realize you’ll never be good enough for some people. And maybe that’s your problem but maybe, just maybe, it’s theirs. And do you know who thinks I’m a pretty rad wedding planner despite my faults and shortcomings? Southern freaking Living Magazine.

xoxo, Priscilla
Behind the Tat

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Priscilla Kylee - Lifestyle Blogger

I never imagined myself with a tattoo and certainly didn’t think I would add more ink after the first. But it’s true that you can use your body as a journal – with each tattoo becoming an entry. And each tattoo has layers. The first being the where, who, what and when story. Where did you get this one? Who were you with? What did you do and when did you do it? Every time I look at either of mine, I can instantaneously rattle off those answers. And 100% of the time, those answers make me smile.

The next layer is the why. And for meaningful, purposeful tattoos like mine, the why is a proclamation. My first tattoo was in remembrance of my Meme. If you’re interested in the backstory, feel free to read an old post here. The newest ink was acquired in November last year. And sure, you could look at it and say, “Oh. It’s an arrow with a date in the middle. Cool. Basic.” But every line, dot and stroke tells a far deeper story each time I glance down at my arm.

The short version: an arrow with Coven’s birthday. The below surface level version: goes a little something like this.

the date

3am. Strange bodily fluid wake up call. Stumble to bathroom hunched over. Blood. Why am I bleeding? Call doctor. Nothing to be alarmed about. Due date still days away. It’s all natural. Back to bed. Google everything flying in and out of my brain. Up again. And again. 6am. Lying in silence next to my husband. Watching him sleep. Telepathically trying to wake him up to tell him it’s time. 7am. He’s finally awake. First words. “I think I’m in labor.” Call doctor. Prepare to go in to be checked. Try to get ready in between contractions. Grab pre-packed bags. Kiss Scottie goodbye. Drive to hospital is filled with phone calls preparing family. “I think they’ll send us back home once we get here but just wanted to let you know.” Famous last words.

Doctor checks cervix and says “You’re having a baby today.” Head to hospital to be admitted. Waiting for a bed is like waiting for St. Peter to open the pearly gates. Pace. Puke. Fetal position in the chair. Repeat. An hour passes. Finally a bed. Usual fear of needles has vanished as the contractions have intensified. Nine months of hyperemesis has reached a pinnacle. Give me drugs. Hospital room. IVs. Wires. Monitor. Settle in. Watching heartbeats in sync.

Room begins to fill with loved ones. Dad. Andrew. Mom. Ah, Mom. She’s here. Almost as relieving as the epidural. Back rubs. Cold washcloth. Ice cubes. Hair ties. Pillar of support statued next to my bed. Thumb increases the medicine drip as the pain escalates. Lay this way. Lay that way. Exercise ball between the knees. Check dilation. More waiting. Vitals are good. We’re ready when you are baby boy.

Friends pour in. Donuts. Hand holding. Silent prayers over the process. Laughter. Another check. Time to push. Reality rushes in. Game face on. Long delivery projected. They were wrong. Mom on one side. Chase on the other. Encouragement leaves every mouth. Worship music enters every ear. “Holy Spirit, you are welcome here.” Doctor says “We can see his head. Want to feel?” First touch of the human I’ve watched grow inside my stomach. The top of his hairy head. Motivation to push harder. Be stronger. I am desperate to meet him. Push. Breathe. Push. Breathe. Push. Unmistakable cry. Perfection from within me now being held above me. My arms extended. Skin to skin. Laying on my chest. Our eyes lock. 8:57pm. We pushed the pause button on life. And when we pressed play, nothing was ever the same. Coven Taylor Erwin, welcome to your world. I’m your mom. It’s an honor to meet you.

the arrow

An arrow can only be released by first pulling it back. And sometimes back can be a very long way. 9 years. There were few arguments. Maybe the problem. Maybe if we had been fighting it would have meant there was something to fight harder for. The silence resulted in compounded resentment. Lies guarded with lock and key. Broken vows. Misguided hearts. We watched the life we built burn to smoldering ashes in the hot August sun. Instant strangers with a baby.

Showers are optional. Tears are not. Go to bed together. Wake up alone. Feet on the floor. Straight to the knees. Praying for a miracle. Praying for a change of heart. Praying for a revelation. Praying for forgiveness. Praying for the boy in the next room. The days begin and end with confusion. And regret. Ashamed. Sweep up fragmented heart pieces. Realize every other weekend one piece is missing.

One little boy can only be in one place at one time. The silence is deafening. The void is all consuming. Unable to turn off ‘Mom Mode.’ Leave the handprints on the glass. The toys scattered. Mental note to memorize sounds. Pitter pattering feet up and down the hall. Sing one more lullaby. Read one more story. Rock and told tight just a little longer.

The old life is extinguished. The future envisioned is torched. A new reality sets in. One revolving around color coordinated calendars and pick up/drop off times. Stripped of the spouse titled. Given one of single mom. Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for acceptance. Pray for the boy who is always separated from someone he loves.

An arrow can only be released by first pulling it back. And when life pulls you back, it simply means you’re launching into something amazing. Hardly seems amazing. It’s a mindset. No-one actively chooses to become a statistic. Mutual selfishness has a way of rearing its ugly head and cashing in its karma chips. The daily prognosis is determined completely on how you perceive it and what you make of it. Maybe this is the part of the story you find out who you really are. A situation such as this forces the now. Shifts focus from the past and anchors it to today. I trust through experienced faithfulness that mountains are being moved while I wander the valley. A prayer hasn’t been answered the way I hoped but that doesn’t mean it isn’t being heard. This is us today. Now. And we’ll figure it out as a family unit. Broken together. With grace.

My arrow is permanently pointing in a forward direction. The allowance for looking back is over. And that date nestled in between the beginning and end is a reminder that even in the midst of trails and tribulations, there’s a immeasurable reason to keep straight ahead. My life can be summed up in one sentence. It didn’t turn out how I planned and that’s okay.

tattoo by: Paradise Tattoo

xoxo, Priscilla
Hello, 2018

Orangerie Events NC Wedding Planner


As I stayed awake for the first time in years and watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, I welcomed 2018 with open arms and a gigantic, warm embrace. I was happy to see it like a long lost friend. I then crawled into bed next to my baby boy, wrapped my arms around his sleeping body and whispered in his ear, “I believe in you.” And every night since then, right before he dozes off or while he’s bouncing up and down on the bed trying to avoid sleep, I say those same words. I want him to always have affirmation that I believe in who he is – whoever that is and whatever he decides to become. I’ll support him wholeheartedly and despite not being able to give him the life I had envisioned, the life I will give him will still be beautiful.

I’ve decided I should repeat those same words to myself this year. I should break off a little bit of that confidence I have for him and snag some for myself. These last couple years haven’t been my finest. In fact, I’ll just say it, they’ve been the absolute crappiest possible. Now don’t start feeling sorry for me. I’m not saying that to label myself a victim or garner sympathy. I’m simply saying because I’ve had a really tough couple of years in my personal life and with my business and with my self-confidence, 2018 is an opportunity for me to grow through those experiences and come out a better version of myself.

In order to make those improvements, I’ve set 5 realistic goals for myself this year. In the past I’ve adapted the “set it and forget it” philosophy to resolutions. I documented them but that’s about has far as I got. So this year I really spent time reflecting on what areas I want to change and what realistic expectations I could set for myself so these goals become a part of my daily routine and not just words buried in a blog. The 5 goals I’ve set for myself for 2018 are all rooted in making the choice to take the chance to change my life.


  1. Spend Wisely
    This goal has two parts – time and money.
    Spend my time wisely and with people who value and appreciate it. Spend my time doing things that are adventurous and challenging and motivating. Spend my time feeding my soul and my emotional health. Time is non-refundable so I plan to use it with intention.
    I’m a spender and definitely not a saver. I’m reckless and thoughtless with money. This is a huge goal for me this year. Pay off all of my debt. Invest in my future. Save for Coven. Live within my means. Focus on needs and not wants. Make a budget, stick to said budget and put in the time and effort to maintain it.
  2. Be a Joy Seeker
    Aren’t we surrounded by enough negatively on a daily basis? With the 24-hour news channels and the Facebook rants and the blowing horns and the constant whining over this or that, negativity penetrates us from all angles at all hours of the day. I’m electing this year to train my mind to see the good in every situation. Maybe this means I have to spend less time on social media or maybe it means I have to unfollow certain people who make me feel inadequate. I have enough Prince Johns in my life trying to rob me of joy that I don’t need to willingly subscribe to negatively through social media or friends. Your vibe attracts your tribe and mine is going to powerfully positive.
  3. 250-Day Challenge
    I started routinely working out in September of last year. I quickly became addicted and discovered it was a pleasant escape for me. Let’s face it, I’ve known my entire life the benefits to working out. But there’s something more convincing when a lady in a white lab coat with a stethoscope highly recommends it for your mental well-being. I’m challenging myself this year to work out at least 250 days out of the year. It’s roughly 4 – 5 times a week which is completely doable. There’s something really exciting and challenging about seeing the number 250 as a high yet obtainable goal.
  4. Practice Discipline
    Gross. Who likes discipline? Coven surely doesn’t. Hence the tantrums he throws when he’s told he can’t walk on top of my laptop. In addition to the items listed above, it was very easy for me to identify the areas I need to exert discipline.Waking with Intention
    This means I wake myself up and it isn’t Coven waking me. I wake up and drink water to hydrate. I wake up and don’t immediately check my phone. I wake up with a prayer of gratitude. I wake up setting up my day for success.
    Blog + Social Media
    Social media is a necessary evil for running a business. I did a really poor job of keeping it updated last year. Maintaining my social accounts doesn’t mean I use the outlets as ways to kill time or fill voids. It doesn’t mean I’m on my phone during a conversation with a friend or while playing with Coven. It does mean I schedule posts and keep followers up to speed on what’s going on in my life regularly.
    Emails + Voicemails
    Another necessary evil. And a rat race. Just when you feel like you’ve caught up, you get behind. I’m making a conservative effort this year to stay on top of my emails and improve my response time. I won’t compromise my family time or mental health over it, but I will try to do better. And I’ll listen to voicemails even though I despise them.
    Church + Prayers
    I started going to a new church last August and thoroughly enjoyed each and every service. I want Coven to grow up in church like I did so this year is all about continuing those habits I started last year and growing on them. Morning prayers, prayers before meals and bedtime prayers are all set to become second nature this year as I work really hard to instill values and build positive character traits within Coven and myself.
    Drink More Water and Less Soda
    I’m not a fool. I know I will never give up soda completely. But my goal is to cut back. And where I cut back, replenish with water. This is another habit I started late last year and I hope to improve. I’ve given myself an allowance of three sodas per week. I removed the entire supply of Sun Drop from my fridge and only left three with a sticky note of the date. I’ve vowed to order water at restaurants instead of soda and then put the money I would have spent on soda into savings. (Killing two birds with one stone!) Instead of drinking soda regularly, I’ll now use it a reward for accomplishing some of the above goals.
  5. Do Good
    I am so blessed. Even when in the valley of life, I am fortunate. I am breathing. I have a beautiful, healthy son. I have a business that didn’t crash and burn even though I neglected it. I have my health and I know that today, I won’t go without my basic needs. I don’t have a game plan for how or when I’ll volunteer or what good deeds I’ll complete. I just know it’s an important avenue I need to explore this year in order to feel like a contributing member to society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my career. I love helping people plan their wedding and then watch those plans come to fruition on their special day. But my heart and soul is yearning for something deeper and something more meaningful and impactful.

I’m ready to make some magic this year and evolve from my stage as a hibernating caterpillar and emerge a butterfly. 2018, bring it on.

xoxo, Priscilla