I'm a graphic designer born, raised, and currently residing in beautiful Northern Michigan. My husband Andrew, a directional driller, and I have been married since 2011 and have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, Kendyl. I have a background in advertising (8 years) and graduated from Northwestern Michigan College's fantastic visual communications program.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
In 2008, I had just finished college when one of my best friends asked me to design her wedding invitations. She saw a format she liked - these neat little all-in-one invites that didn't require envelopes and had a detachable RSVP postcard. I came up with my own version of that and designed it to match her wedding vision. I worked with a local printer on an offset printing press to choose paper and pantone inks and voila! Invitation number one was born!
From that moment on I began pursuing what I knew would be the ultimate goal - starting my own business. Some light advertising, a website, and a Facebook page later and my little side business began to take flight!
As luck would have it, a "wedding boom" would hit my group of friends (and their friends...and their friends...) that would keep me busy for the next 5 years. (Fun fact - I've been a bridesmaid 8 times!) They were all wonderful enough to have me design their invitations while also promoting me to other couples in the area.
I made the decision to go full time with Holly Thomas Design in the fall of 2014. With the encouragement and support of my amazing husband, I left my eight-year position at a local, prestigious marketing company to spend more time at home and focus on taking my side gig to the next level. I have gone from working on seven weddings in 2014 to twenty-five in 2015, as well as having many other on-going clients and design projects. I work with local printers as much as possible and strive to create a bond with everyone I collaborate with. I mold my custom design packages to fit my clients needs. It has been one heck of a ride and I wouldn't change it for anything. The knowledge I have gained from this first year as a full-time business owner, wife, and mother has inspired me to push forward into the future.
How would you describe your style?
My style is pretty eclectic - inspired by my mood and the season. Mainly graphic, bold, strong colors and patterns. But I can do from bohemian-chic to woodland/rustic to soft and romantic with ease. There really isn't a style I don't like!
What is your favorite part of a wedding?
That moment when everything comes together. When all those little details that have taken months to design and prepare are finally executed/displayed. I always joke with my clients that I'll be stalking their wedding hashtag all weekend to get a glimpse of the escort cards, signs, menus, programs, and other wonderful little goodies I had the opportunity to design for their big day!
And of course, when the bride walks down the aisle and suddenly nothing else matters except for the person standing in front of her. And the groom's reaction. Always the groom's reaction!
What are some of your favorite trends from this wedding season?
Wedding hashtags are pretty much the bomb and I wish they would've existed when Andrew and I had our wedding (the same feeling I have about pinterest <sigh>). It's so cool to see a wedding from the guest's point of view!
Soft, loose floral design (I drool over SGW, BLOOM & Stems and Sprigs' Instagram posts!) and monochromatic color palettes - without all that matchy-matchy! This is actually funny to me because when I was planning our wedding I was obsessed with matching all the colors perfectly - oh how I've grown!
I'm also really digging the alternative guest book ideas I've seen!
What advice do you have for couples about choosing a designer?
Connecting on a personal level is very important! While it's crucial for the designer to be professional, it's also great to connect with them on a friendly/relaxing level so that they get a feel for your ideas and vision.
It's important to find someone who will be honest even when it comes to designed paper good that maybe you just don't need. Especially if you're trying to stay within a budget or are in a time crunch. I've had many brides come to be who are just so stressed out about whether or not they must send Save the Dates when it's only five months before the wedding and their invites will be going out at the 6-8 week mark. I say no, absolutely not! Put that money toward something else you really need. The most important people in your life already know when your wedding is.
How far in advance should a couple look into booking your services?
Ideally, Save the Dates are discussed around 9-12 months prior and wedding invitations services are discussed no later than the 6 month mark. Day-of services are usually completed 2-4 weeks prior to the event since many of these items are dependent on number of guests attending. I understand that some engagements are shorter than others and I pride myself on being flexible with my clients.
What advice do you have for couples about the planning process?
Have fun with it! Don't take anything too seriously. While weddings are absolutely important and often costly, it's not worth your sanity to nit-pick every little detail. As long as you stay organized, you're golden! If you don't have time or are not capable of remaining organized - hire an awesome planner! And remember why you are getting married.
What do you love about living and working in Northern Michigan?
I love wedding destination that Northern Michigan has become. I love that we have four beautiful seasons and, no matter which season you choose to get married in, you will always have a spectacularly gorgeous view. I love working with local vendors and find it very important to support local businesses in our area. I love the planning, I love designing and I love love!