Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Evolution of the Fairy GodMothers Closet

Once all the dust settled from Kerrys wedding, the cameras were no longer around and life just went suddenly back to normal - we had all this 'stuff' that had been donated for the wedding. We had gowns, candles, linens, candles, vases, candles, and oh yes, we had a few choices for, yes you guessed it - candles!

We had a bride who got married just 2 weeks before Kerry who literally loaned us her entire reception if we wanted it. We returned her stuff to her, but told her if she decided to sell it to please let us know so we had first dibs at buying it and shared our vision for moving forward - pretty simple we thought.... build up a resource where brides could go to rent or borrow basics at little or no cost - so that no one ever had to go without again.

Kerry eventually moved on to other things, but has always been incredibly supportive. The other bride Toni joined forces with me for a short period of time before life happened, and ultimately sold me her items for an amazing price. I frequently scoured craigslist for brides wanting to get rid of leftover items they'd purchased and snatched it up with a devlish grin, knowing that 'someone' would want this!

Our goal was to be able to provide basic items - to date we have floor length linens in four different colors, overlays in 10 different colors, chair sashes and covers, gowns, glassware you name it! We started getting word out about what we had, telling people that they can rent it for literally pennies on the dollar and if they just had no money, they could simply borrow it - check it out like a library book - the cost? Add something to it when they bring it back. As the concept caught, on we had more 'stuff' than we knew what to do with it. One shelf quickly became one Unit, then two, four - and we had to put it somewhere.

Along came the most amazing, quaint little office. (the Closet)!!

525 square feet of magic we call it. Seemed big when we moved in November 1st - six months later we have grown so much we are rearranging and the once conference room is now the storage room and the once storage room is now my office. As this amazing pay it forward movement continues, I see needing more space! Already told the landlord that I want the next office over that connects with mine - that will definitely get us through a few more years! Only problem is that it's still occupied =D

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Where does the Fairy GodMother go for help?

Seems like a rhetorical question, doesn't it? Where does a FGM go when she needs help? (besides Craigslist for sale ads) - isn't there a book or something out there somewhere that tells you how to grant wishes for those who really want it?

My help is in the form of a group of amazing women. My mom is the worlds greatest (and fastest) napkin folder, is creative beyond words, my sister who has become not only my personal assistant but a great wedding planner!, all four of my amazing daughters who all do whatever they can to help out anytime it's needed and my friend Sharon, who mentors and inspires me with her knowledge, challenges me to grow in ways I didn't think possible and isn't afraid to tell me when I'm being just plain dumb! Then there's Kerry who just keeps telling people about what we're doing and calls me with monster huge donations!

We have hoped that word of our works would get out - it seems to work have happened.
It appears that I have somehow created a bit of a reputation for myself - or the FGM anyway. Just an hour ago I made a phone call to a potential new vendor - she rents Chiavari chairs - the omigosh delicious chair that every bride would LOVE to have at her wedding, but just can't swallow the rental costs. I introduced myself and she said - I kid you not here - I was wondering when we would meet! I know all about you and the amazing things you're doing for young couples! I want to be part of it - we need to meet soon! How cool is that?

And then there are our Angel Brides....more to come on that


The Beginning... have to start somewhere, right?

Much thought and energy has gone into creating this blog about my angel brides - many months of encouragement from the brides, the families and the friends of those who've been touched by the 'Fairy GodMother' I like to call her.

Who is the Fairy GodMother (FGM)?? a ficticious little creature that I have created, my scapegoat of sorts - okay yes, everyone knows it's me, but how crass would that be to go around referring to myself as THE Fairy GodMother - I'm just a mom, a wife, an event planner and a woman with a heart the size of the USA that will do whatever I can to make wedding dreams come true.

It started with Kerry and Kurt - the first couple that experienced my magic wand and pixie dust. Want to hear? GREAT! thanks for asking - our family was ready to leave California, the land of the prevailing money for the (hopefully) greener pastures, slower and less expensive life of Michigan - reading through Craigslist last July looking at properties, I decided to take a look at the barter section and found an ad that said it all - I want to get married and I need help - there was more (three pages long to be exact), but those 9 words captured my attention! She was willing to work it off, barter for any and all services rendered - they just wanted a nice wedding. I contacted her - it took a couple of days to get through because to my surprise, the Register has published her story and she was being interviewed by CBS and KCAL was waiting their turn! How crazy is that? I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Becka (her bestie) and got some background on what was going on and who Kerry is as a person. I fell in love with this gal and I'd never even met her! Little did I know she would become the Angel of Inspiration that would change not only my life, but the lives of so many others...

We got to work immediately - having been a planner for then 26 years, I had many many contacts and was able to tick off two-thirds of the list of items she needed before we'd ever met - I contacted the vendors I've worked with and asked them first if they would like to be involved in this amazing wedding. Once we knew what we still needed it was time to reach out to others - of course I used Craigslist for this! How many 'mom and pop shops' like mine, are just trying to make a name for themselves? For every items we needed, I contacted five or six hoping that one would want to participate, and much to my amazement - there were actually very FEW who didn't want to be part of this magical experience. Not one wanted payment or bartering, just wanted to be involved in paying it forward.... what was up with that? People wanting nothing more than to simply help other people! It was pretty amazing, and humbling to be able to call Kerry for our lunchtime update and say - oh yeah, that's taken care of now too... (the magic of pixie dust).

Of course there were lumps, bumps, bruises - vendors dropping out, cars breaking down and some actual flakes - go figure - and some hurt feelings, but when you plan something this huge in such a short period of time and it all comes together - everyone wants to be involved and along with involvement comes feelings and opinions, etc. I always knew that it wasn't about me, and when you stay focused on the bigger picture it's easy to just hold your head up high and keep moving. (Important to note here that while I knew it wasn't about me, I did know that it was me that made it happen).

Some 52 vendors later, a documentary team from Maryland watching it all unfold, this amazing wedding day took place. The ceremony was on board the Tall Ship Pilgrim docked at the Ocean Institute and the reception was hosted by Pete Truxall and his amazing team at the Salt Creek Grille in Dana Point - The press was there, John and Terri were there filming it all, and I was happy to be quietly in the background watching it happen - knowing full well that the day was never about me, my involvement or being given credit for it. When the happy newly married couple took the microphone and made their speaches in front of the 150 or so friends and family members, vendors (and even the nay-sayers) and offered such heartfelt thanks for my efforts, that was just a moment of monumental proportion for me! Their young daughter came and took my hand and walked me down to the center of the floor where they both opened their arms and did this huge group hug. We all bawled like babies, and it was just such a moment! come the tears again remembering that amazing moment!

Once we all recovered from the massive amount of energy spent on making that day happen, I knew we had to continue making those kinds of moments happen for other couples.

The story of Kerry and Kurt can be found all over the place,, Facebook, OC Register, the Event Planners Association website is still running the piece on their homepage (, it was the official start of what we now very fondly refer to as my Angel Brides. This will be their stories - their moments to shine and know that for this one day in their lives, the rest of the troubles don't matter.

More to come....