Dear 2021…An Open Letter to a Life-Changing Year
Dear 2021, you came with your challenges, but I’ll always cherish you! Yes, you were marked by the global pandemic, mask mandates, vaccines, and event restrictions. You disrupted school schedules, family rhythms, and passion projects. BUT you were also the year that I realized my dream of launching my own brand, Luxe + Love.
You were the year that it all came together. After 20+ years of planning events at distinguished venues around the world, I put my personal stamp on elevating the experience in beautiful Colorado. I get to set the bar for quality, and I couldn’t be happier!
So, with a fresh start and a new year, I want to take a moment to share my reflections on you, 2021:
Matchless Moments: There are moments when time slows down, and you get to soak in every detail. For me, that is getting goosebumps every time I see a bride walk down the aisle. I don't think I'll ever lose that feeling as we continue to build out our brand at Luxe + Love.
Collaboration: Dreaming with my clients and partners is one of the best parts of the job! As an experience designer, I got to listen to and ideate with people who wanted to create an exceptional event experience in 2021. We invented something amazing together, and we will continue to do so.
You Don’t Do It Alone: I'm thankful for all the fantastic professionals I got to work with in 2021. From videographers, photographers, venue coordinators, florists, cake bakers, coaches, communication gurus, and more - you continue to make me a better business owner, partner, and person!
Owning the Experience: I get to set the bar for quality and service standard with my own company. This has been an enormous blessing and a different vibe than working for another company. That's why "Luxe" is in our name: (adjective): luxurious; of supreme quality. This was a guiding principle at launch and will continue to be core to who we are at Luxe + Love.
Gratitude: I’m so grateful for what this year will always mean to me. My heart is so full, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.
So, 2021, you were a year of joy, tears, memories, momentous occasions with clients, and pandemic challenges. I’ll always treasure you for what you gave me despite what you may have taken. Look out 2022, we already have weddings on the books and you’re going to be something really special!!
6 things I learned over 6 years of planning the Angel Gala
Have you ever had a passion project—an activity that draws you in because it uniquely speaks to your heart or brings you joy? For me, that is the annual Angels of America’s Fallen Angel Gala. As one of the most magical events in Colorado, the Angel Gala celebrates the positives and possibilities in the lives of children of America’s fallen military, peace officers, and first responders. Children like my daughter Emma, who has thrived in Angels of America’s Fallen funded dance lessons for 7 years.
After six years of passion-project-planning, I took some time to look back on my fondest memories and cherished lessons from helping to plan this event.
1. Feed Your Heart
Distractions. Commitments. Work. With our busy lives, our heart bucket tends to feel empty over time. The Angel Gala has reminded me that we all need to take time to be inspired….to feel….and connect to something bigger than ourselves. Whether that is the Angel Gala, a wedding or special occasion, remember to fill you heart up as often as you can.
2. Darkness Surrenders to Light
A centerpiece of each Angel Gala is a showstopping series of child performances that astound and inspire. As children of America’s fallen heroes take the stage, the shadows that permeate the room are delightfully overcome by stage lights. This reminds me, much like the children themselves, that light and goodness is more powerful than darkness.
3. Details Matter
Success is often in the details, and details really do matter. In watching thousands of distinct planning points come together in a large-scale event, I am reminded that both the puzzle pieces and the picture on the puzzle box matter. One equals the other.
4. Go Team
Pulling off memorable and heartwarming events takes a small army of people all playing their parts. In having the privilege of working with amazing clients, friends, colleagues and vendors, I have learned that two minds are better than one, and three minds are better than two. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
5. Stay Humble
The Angel Gala has incrementally become one of the most successful Galas in the area. As the event has grown over six years, I have learned the importance of staying true to who ‘we’ are and the vision we set out with when we first started.
6. Go Big or Go Home
Six years is a long time for a passion project. What started out as a small 150-person event has grown well over 600 attendees with major sponsorships. The Angel Gala team has helped me learn that incremental innovation and improvement is what scales an event and keep people coming back for more. Be bold, be wise, and pace yourself.
Has the passion ran out? The short answer is no. Planning is already underway for the 2022 Angel Gala. To find out more about the remarkable organization, Angels of America’s Fallen, or to support their cause, please visit www.aoafallen.org.
Photo credit: Briggs & Early; Jennifer Snyder Photography