A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design

When I first started the “A (Wedding) Day in the Life of” series, I didn't really know what to expect.  From my days as a wedding planner, I had a pretty good idea of what all went into actually pulling off a wedding without a hitch.  From the makeup artist to the caterer to the photographer to the venue coordinator – I knew each of them worked really hard.  But even I've been surprised at these behind the scenes posts from some of my favorite vendors!  And when I got to read about not just a day but a WEEK in the life of Jody Wimer, CEO and Creative Director of JPC Event Group and Garnish Event Design, I was FLOORED!  You're going to be exhausted just reading this…I know I was.  But hey, anything to make your clients happy, right?  At least if you're Jody.  So grab your coffee, settle in, and get ready to read about a crazy amount of hard work, all in the name of a few satisfied brides and grooms!

From Jody, but first a little quote from a famous Pittsburgher…

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision – the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.  It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
― Andrew Carnegie

Good day, everyone!  I am Jody Wimer and I’m excited to welcome you into a day in my life at Garnish Event Design/JPC Event Group as the CEO and Creative Director!  As I was preparing to bring you along to work with me, I soon realized that in order for you to get an actual glimpse into my completely crazy, (but would-not-change-it-for-the-world) life, I could not just share one day…I had to share my entire week!  Yes, that’s right – one whole week!  A day in the life of a planner would simply not exist without the years, months, weeks, and days leading up to the actual event, but a week is a good micro-capsule of the process culmination.  So hands inside the car please, and get ready, here we go……!

The team at Garnish Event Design/JPC Event Group is comprised of multi-talented people that bring expertise and experience in many fields to our client base.  We are designers, we are florists, we are caterers, we are event planners, and most importantly, we are 100% dedicated to our clients.  We truly do everything possible to make sure that our client’s event or wedding has surpassed their vision and created a memory that will last a lifetime!  It is our job to pay attention to the details and the devil is in those details!  So much of my week revolves around meeting those client goals, motivating my team, and working side-by-side with them.

It is Sunday, and we catered a wedding today at Rustic Acres Farm.  As evening descends, I reflect on the very full week ahead of me.  I give myself a few moments to mentally prepare for the days to come and make strategy lists in my handy Emily Ley Day Planner.  Paper goods, florals, custom art projects, and collaboration will all be in full effect to get ready for this upcoming weekend’s weddings.  Alongside that, I also have a styled photo shoot at Rustic Acres Farm arranged with the sweet and fantastic Eva Lin Photography on Tuesday night.  I am also designing fresh florals for a new professional acquaintance, Bona Fide Photography, for the sunset photo shoot she is coordinating on Sunday to end the week.  I have so very much to do, and little time to do it.  It’s go time!

Monday

  • Starbucks in hand = ready to go.  (Venti Iced Shaken Black Tea, yes please!)
  • 300+ menu cards, escort cards and programs have been custom designed and are back from the printer and ready to be cut and assembled for “Wedding A”.
  • Flowers for our Rustic Acres Farm photo shoot arrive and need to be processed.  (Hello, peonies, white roses, anemones, and lush greens galore!)
  • Dress for photo shoot arrives.  (Thank you, Joanna August & Bella Bridesmaids.  All lace and simply gorgeous!)
  • I spend time authorizing and approving farm orders for food supplies with Rohn, our executive chef, and discussing staff schedule ratios for the next two weeks of events with Joanna.
  • Jena and I discuss upcoming blog topics for our websites and respond to collaboration inquiries.

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

Tuesday

  • 9:30 a.m. – Staff meeting!  I use this time to keep my team focused and prepared for our weekly goals and tasks.
  • A large amount of florals for “Wedding A” arrive for processing.
  • I prepare all the florals for the Rustic Acres Farm photo shoot (bouquet, flower crown, boutonniere, vintage bicycle basket, and ceremony accents)!
  • Set-up at Rustic Acres Farm takes place – all hands on deck.  Literally.
  • Rick takes the vintage boat out on the pond to check for leaks!
  • 5:30 p.m. – The models arrive for hair and makeup.  Caitlyn did a fab job with Ashlee’s braided updo.
  • 7 p.m. – Photo shoot time with Eva and the models!
  • Tear down of all photo shoot floral and décor (and that adorable vintage boat).
  • 10 p.m. – Arrive back at office to clear some emails and my burgeoning stacks of things to look at on my desk.  I also check out the event pack lists from the event planners to double check for equipment overlaps, things that I feel would match the themes best, and just a general once over for back up.

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

Here are a few sneak peeks of Eva’s finished photos!  She sure does know how to work the magic with her camera!

Wednesday

  • More Starbucks please!
  • Florals for “Wedding B” arrive for processing.  (Our floral delivery person has been at the office so many times this week, he is starting to feel like family.)
  • All floral decor and accent equipment is pulled from inventory for both “Wedding A” and “Wedding B”.  (Over 100 assorted items of bowls, vases, birdcages, vintage books, and more!)
  • All equipment necessary for set-up is packed on JPC Event Group box trucks for “Wedding A” at Rustic Acres Farm and “Wedding B” at the The Terrace at Hyatt House.
  • All processed florals for both “Wedding A” and “Wedding B” are sorted based on personal florals, ceremony florals, centerpiece florals, and so on to prepare for arranging tomorrow.
  • A much needed haircut is squeezed into the afternoon (we call this #lifeafterweddings).
  • I work late into the evening catching up on client billing review, new contract generation, and some accounting tasks.  (This is the less glamorous side of business.)

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

Thursday

  • Three more days.  I can do this!
  • Floral day for “Wedding B” – Similar to “Wedding A” in color (shades of soft pinks, blush peach, and whites) but very different in style!  “Wedding B” is styled with a fun, summer feel, and their soft florals coordinate wonderfully with their navy and pink color palette!  Four diverse centerpiece looks for the tables, five bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, mother’s clutches, and more.
  • Pizza lunch from our favorite local place – Guido’s.
  • Succulents and herbs are potted by Rick for adorable centerpiece garnishes.
  • Joanna completed the moss covered table numbers 1-24.
  • Trucks and vans of furniture, chivari chairs, china, and equipment are being loaded out of our stockroom all around us by Ed and his team.
  • Deliveries are being made to Rustic Acres Farm to prepare for event set-up.
  • Food, linen, and the last minute specialty floral items are delivered from our various wholesalers and farms.
  • Uniforms are being pulled by size for each of our events for the weekend and client gifts are being prepared.

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

Friday

  • It’s Friday!  I am in the office bright and early this morning.  Bagel and cream cheese, donuts for the staff, the #GirlBoss Pandora station in tune, and I am ready to go.
  • Floral day for “Wedding A” – This garden glam wedding is going to be nothing short of fabulous! We have designed six different centerpiece looks that are all unique and loved by the soon-to-be Mrs.  From soft Juliet garden roses to statement-making succulents, this wedding will have it all. We also have arranged for custom-made lettering to hang above the couple’s sweetheart table among a bed of florals, and the gracious willow tree at Rustic Acres Farm will be covered in a floral-filled vine.  Romance, romance, romance.  Enough swooning.  I have 12 bouquets, 17 boutonnieres, mother’s wristlets, and other bridal flowers to create!
  • The team comes together in a great way to accomplish a staggering list of floral and décor projects today.
  • Jen and Caity oversee wedding rehearsal at the farm at 6 p.m.
  • I check in with the culinary staff to see how food prep is progressing and get the thumbs up.
  • Jason completes the gorgeous ceremony site signage and the lettering on the rustic wooden “guest book” that inventory manager Ed built.

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

Saturday

  • Happy Wedding{s} Day, everyone!
  • 7 a.m. – At the office bright and early to finish last minute floral touches and two bridal bouquets.
  • 10 a.m. – I ice the “naked-style” wedding cake for Chef Rohn and garnish it with fresh florals for Wedding “A”
A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

Dawn Derbyshire for Sky's the Limit Photography

  • 10 a.m. – Linens are on the tables and Jen has begun Month of Coordination duties at Rustic Acres Farm.
  • 11 a.m. – Bride and bridesmaids arrive at the farm's Bridal Cottage.
  • 11 a.m. – Vendor deliveries have commenced.
  • 12:30 p.m. – All florals loaded in JPC Event Group box trucks and are on their way to the appropriate venue.
  • 1 p.m. – Service staff are loaded with culinary team and headed to The Terrace at Hyatt House with Rick and Chef Logan.
  • 1:30 p.m. – Florals arrive at Rustic Acres Farm and we have begun set up.
  • 2 p.m. – Florals arrive at The Terrace at Hyatt House and the team begins set up.
  • 3 p.m. – midnight – PARTY CENTRAL at both locations, filled with delicious food, beautiful florals and above all…HAPPY CLIENTS!

(A sneak peek of Wedding “A” at Rustic Acres Farm, courtesy of Dawn Derbyshire for Sky’s the Limit Photography.)

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

(A sneak peek of Wedding “B” from Jena’s cell phone.)

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

  • While the teams are out working hard in the heat, I head back to the office to create a floral crown, boutonniere and bouquet with coral charm peonies (MY FAV), and other colorful summer florals for tomorrow’s photo shoot.
  • I take a break from creating to deliver chilled bottled water and popsicles to the team at the farm because I know it is so hot for them out there, and then head back to the office.
  • Next, I complete six table centerpieces and two food display floral pieces for a bridal shower taking place on Sunday at The Terrace at Hyatt House.
  • By midnight, I am cleaning up, sweeping the floor, and excited to see the first of the team members arriving back at our headquarters with the first stories of great events!
  • Man, I am exhausted….but happy.  And proud of our team!

(A sneak peek of the Bona Fide Photography photo shoot.)

A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Garnish Event Design, featured on Burgh Brides

At each week’s end, I am thankful for the blessings of a loyal and dedicated team, gracious clients that believe in us, and the gift of a creative life.  I appreciate you hanging out with me this week.  Come back anytime!

BB here…

(hangs head in shame because the list of things I accomplished in the past week (maybe month?) pales in comparison to what Jody did.  What sort of energy supplement is she taking and where can I get it?)

But for real…let's all bow down to the QUEEN.  There is a reason why Jody and her companies have the reputation that they do.  It is because of this kind of work ethic, their out-of-this-world creativity, and an unyielding devotion to their clients that put Garnish Event Design and JPC Event Group in a class literally all by themselves.  Jody, can I send you and your team a gift???  Donuts?  Coffee?  An all-expenses-paid trip to a remote island for a little R&R?  You all totally deserve it!

Review the A (Wedding) Day in the Life of Series!
Pure Beauty Makeup Artistry
Hannah Conard Beauty

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Introducing Chestnut Ridge Resort & a Giveaway!

Looking for a wedding venue outside the city that offers luxury, beauty, amenities, AND world class service?  Enter Chestnut Ridge Resort.  A hotel, golf course, spa, conference center, and event venue wrapped into one, Chestnut Ridge is versatile and unique.  Head to the Vendor Guide to read more of what they have to offer!

Orrrrr you could just go see for yourself!  Chestnut Ridge is giving away a Stay & Play package to one lucky reader!  You could WIN a one night stay and round of golf for you and your bae…hello weekend away!  Keep reading to find out how to enter!

Want to enter?

Use the tool below!  Contest runs until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 1.  A winner will be chosen and announced via social media on Saturday, July 2.  Good luck!

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A (Wedding) Day in the Life of: Pure Beauty Makeup Artistry

Last summer, some of my favorite friends gave you a behind the scenes look at what a day in their life as a wedding vendor looks like.  (To refresh your memory, head here, here, here, here, and here).  Because that series was wildly popular, it's back!  I'm so excited to team up with five more awesome vendors to let you in on a little secret – they work DAMN hard for you!  I don't think most couples realize how much time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears go into making sure their wedding day is spectacular.  Hopefully, this series will give you not only an idea of just how hard your vendors work for you, but also a new appreciation for them and all they do.

First up is Mandy of Pure Beauty Makeup Artistry!  Whether their look is natural or totally glam, most brides hire a makeup artist to make sure they look smokin' hot on their wedding day.  But a MUA (a good one, anyways) will do SO MUCH MORE than just apply some product to your face.  Keep reading to find out just what I'm talking about.

From Mandy…

This is it!  The hours of emails, phone calls, makeup trials, and emotions all come down to today…your wedding day!  But first, let me back up…

Months before the wedding, I begin my journey with the bride and groom.  I spend time with her over the phone, emails, cards, and texts because I want to get to know her better and I want to understand what her dreams are for the wedding and how she wants to feel.  The makeup trial is one of the best parts for me.  Not only do we get to perfect her look for her wedding day, but I get to really know her, laugh with her, and help her feel at ease.  I love helping the bride realize how beautiful she truly is – inside and out.  I strive to be someone who she will look at and say “Oh good, Mandy’s here!” on the day of the wedding.  I want her to have fun.  I want her to relax.  Most of all, I want her to be worry-free.

The day before any wedding, I make sure to text the bride and encourage her to have a great time at the rehearsal and to take in the moments and emotions she’ll experience.  I love reminding my brides what all the planning, time, and stress are really all about: marrying the love of their life.  Once the message is sent, I review the look and colors used at the makeup trial so I know exactly what needs to be done in the morning. I gather and organize all the makeup and supplies needed, pack up my car, and then settle in for a relaxing evening.  I know it will be a big day tomorrow, so a low key night with my hubby and kiddos is the perfect way to end the day.

I wake up super excited and ready to get the day started.  Usually, it is early.  Very early.  Honestly, I rarely sleep well the night before a wedding.  I’m not sure if it is because of the constant practicing in my head of how the next day will be, or if I just get so darn excited to see the bride and help her start her day off perfectly!  After waking up, saying a quick prayer asking God to allow the day to run smoothly and to be with the bride and groom on their special day, I get ready.  I grab my coffee, two bottles of water, a couple of protein bars (because who has time to eat when there are so many pretty ladies to pamper?!), and tiptoe out the door, hoping to not wake the kiddos on the way out.

The next few hours are usually a blur of excitement, nerves, and joy.  I greet the bride with a hug and we get started.  We all know how important timelines are the day of the wedding, and I feel the pressure, knowing that I am the beginning of that timeline.  If I’m running late, everyone will run late, and that will not happen.  I have allowed a cushion of time for anything unexpected that might – and always does – pop up (the groom needs some covering up of his acne, eczema, or dark circles; the bridesmaids are late because they were lost so we now start late; the one bridesmaid who was going to do her own makeup decided she now wants hers professionally done; the two grandmothers who weren’t expected to be there until later in the day would now like pampered too; the bridesmaids decide they want fake lashes now – all seven of them; and the list goes on and on).  Inevitably, the “pop ups” happen, and my anxiety kicks in because I realize that wiggle room time I had planned on is now gone.  I take a deep breath and focus.  I make sure the bride will not be able to sense my anxiety because this is not her problem; it’s mine.  Her job is to be excited, relaxed, and enjoying her morning, so she will not even sense the time crunch I am feeling.  No matter the situation, I push myself to ensure everyone is relaxed, feeling beautiful, and confident—especially the bride.

Once the bride is completed, I work with the bridesmaids on their looks.  With each one, I discuss what they are comfortable with, what kind of makeup they usually wear, and the overall look the bride is envisioning.  From their answers, we cultivate their perfect look.  There is a rhythm that sets in when I’m working, and before I know it, I’m finishing up the last bridesmaid.  I want so badly for everyone to love their look that it causes me to get butterflies before I show them their completed face.  I love seeing the joy on their faces when they see themselves, especially all put-together with hair and makeup done, dresses and all.  This is when I breathe.  Before I wrap up, I retouch the bride and any of the girls who need it.  That morning, they usually partake in a great breakfast and beverages, and I don’t want them to worry about not eating or drinking because their lipstick might smudge!  Once everyone is completed and happy, I pack up my supplies and give the bride a hug.  I remind her how beautiful she is, and how in a few hours, she’ll be a Mrs.!  I also remind her to take time to look around and soak in the joy and action of the reception – it often goes too fast.

I lug my gear back to the car and thank God that all went well.  I smile at myself because I know how happy the bride was and I feel so grateful to have been included on such an important day.  The girls were so fun to be around and I really can’t believe this is my life and that I get to call something I love doing my “job”.   I realize that I have gained another friend, and I am so blessed.  Once I sit in my car, I realize my back hurts, my feet hurt, and my whole body is exhausted.  Realizing it is way past lunchtime, I open one of my protein bars and head home (unless I’m off to a bridal makeup trial or engagement session), knowing I’ll organize and restock all of my supplies that night to get ready to do it all again.

BB here…

See!  I told you it was way more than just putting some makeup on your face!  Your MUA cares about a lot more than just your foundation and mascara.  Mandy, thanks so much for this BTS look at your life on a wedding day!  Now go take a nap or something…you deserve it!

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Introducing Levana Melamed Photography & A Discount!

The latest talent to join the Burgh Brides Vendor Guide is Levana Melamed Photography!  This Panama-to-Pittsburgh transport has already made a name for herself in the wedding community with her gorgeously lit, breathy, uber romantic images.  Head here to see just what I mean but consider yourself warned: you'll be swooning in no time.

Plus, book before June 30 and mention Burgh Brides for $200 off of a wedding collection!Burgh Brides Vendor Guide Member: Levana Melamed Photography

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Introducing Steven Vance Violin & DJ Music & A Giveaway!

Two of my favorite things?  Live music and weddings.  Combine the two and I'm in my own personal heaven.  That's why I highly recommend you check out Steven Vance Violin & DJ Music.  Pop, rock, country, classical…Steven can play it all.  If your guests are anything like me, they'll be happily entertained.  Hear lots of demos and read more about Steven here.

And enter to win!  Steven is giving away a free Solo Traditional Acoustic Violin performance for a Wedding Ceremony or Cocktail Reception (valued at $275) to one lucky reader!!! Keep scrolling to find how how you can enter!  A winner will be announced on May 19.  Good luck!

PopRock Violin (Electric Violin with backing tracks), sound system, and travel charges outside of Allegheny County would be extra.

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Introducing All Occasions & Marbella Rentals!

Sister companies All Occasions Party Rentals and Marbella Event Furniture & Decor Rentals are taking the Pittsburgh wedding and event scene by storm.  I mean it when I say that literally no one can beat their ingenuity and trendsetting ways.  If you want your wedding to WOW (like a jaws-on-the-floor kind of wow), be sure to visit All Occasions and Marbella Rentals in the Vendor Guide!

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Introducing Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh & An IG Takeover!

If you're still on the prowl for that perfect bridal shower or rehearsal dinner venue, I've got you covered.  Vallozzi's Pittsburgh in the heart of downtown offers traditional, homemade dishes in a cosmopolitan yet relaxed space.  They are also perfectly suited for a cocktail or dinner reception!  Learn more about them here!

If you're hungry or just like to look at food porn, head to my Instagram feed.  Vallozzi's is taking things over.  Let the drooling commence!

Introducing the Union Hall at Bar Marco!

The second floor of a restored, turn-of-the-century firehouse is now home to the Union Hall, the private event space of award-winning Bar Marco.  The windows and ceiling will wow you, the rotating art displays will inspire you, and the locally sourced food and creative cocktails will thrill your taste buds.  For more proof why this venue is perfect for your celebration, head here!

Burgh Brides Vendor Guide Member: The Union Hall at Bar Marco