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November 2014 Archive

Showcasing the Sparkle Part II: Megan & Jillian, Senior KOWE Coordinators

Today is a very special day for Katie O' Weddings & Events, we are celebrating 5 amazing years in business!! #koweturns5.  I am so excited to highlight two very important people who have helped me grow my business from day one.  Megan and Jillian have been part of TEAM KOWE for all 5 years and as you will read below, are funny, smart and passionate for what they do!  I am blessed to have their constant support, love and sparkle!

First up, Megan Wolszczak, in her own words…

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My degree is in communications with minors in business and journalism. Aren’t those the 3 pillars of a successful business? Just kidding! My degree has helped me the most working for KOWE by leading me to Katie, quite literally. I met Katie while attending the University at Albany and the rest is history. It certainly has also provided me with every day skills, like public speaking. I’m not afraid to grab a rowdy bridal party’s attention!

When I'm not working, spending time with family, friends, and my boyfriend is how I occupy my time! That’s a pretty standard response, right? But it’s true! There’s nothing I enjoy more in my down time than spending it with the ones I love. Going out to eat, cooking at home, watching a movie or favorite TV show together, doing something active and outdoors, shopping, etc.

While there are so many amazing moments every wedding, for me, the Father / Daughter dance wins, hands down. Maybe this is because I am so close with my Dad and can’t wait to share this moment with him some day or maybe it’s the emotion that suddenly takes over the room during parent dances when everyone is touched directly by one of the dances. Whether they knew the bride or groom first, they likely knew or heard about their family and understand what that person means to them. It’s just special, there’s nothing else really comparable to it for me. I do enjoy beautiful, thoughtful ceremonies but there’s something about later in the night when all nerves have left the couple and they’re at such ease that makes me smile.

In addition to my work and my spending time with friends and family, I love to cook / eat. Cured meats and cheeses (particularly brie and prosciutto), really good thin crust wood-fired pizza with previous items mentioned as toppings, French fries, and pickles. Those are the top ones but I’m a total foodie and love trying anything! Except no olives. Blah! (Ironically, Katie’s favorite!)

After four years with KOWE, what I love most about this job is the relationships and connections made. At KOWE, we get to work with some pretty amazing families and vendor friends (or friendors) and they make everything about a wedding day hardly seem like work. The connections created between a coordinator and a couple through the planning process can run really deep. We stay in touch with most of our KOWE alumni through social media but there are some that truly become friends and we always enjoy spending time with them and seeing their lives and families grow. Friendors are awesome, fun, energetic, and enthusiastic about their profession – just like us – so they add to our passion and excitement.

I love football through and through. Let’s go Buffalo! Of course, my Yankees too. Favorite sport to play? More recently, I’m a Crossfit newbie and totally hooked. Don’t worry I won’t get anyone to try and join the “cult” but if asked, I will attest to how awesome it is.

Family means and is everything, to me. My Mom, my Dad, and my brother build up my immediate family. Over time, it has expanded and every person plays a unique, important role. I’m fortunate enough to have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins and to have known all four of my grandparents in my lifetime.

When I try and define sparkle I automatically think that it means making dreams come true. Sparkle is the extra mile. It’s the added touch, the special sentiment, the perfect moment that everything comes together for a couple and they forever look back on their special day with fond memories.

When I started with KOWE, I was 19; I couldn’t wrap my head around college graduation yet, let alone my future wedding so my love for weddings wasn't, umm, organic. But Katie and I met and she saw I had a knack for planning and events – enter the wedding world – and then my passion quickly grew as I saw all these incredible events unfold right in front of me. I love seeing different ideas and styles which is where the blogs and Pinterest come in. You can never run out of ideas with those and, as I get older, both blogs and Pinterest feed my love for weddings!

I have the ability to add humor to a situation and put someone at ease or help them see the bigger picture. Sometimes very useful on an event day! My knack for being organized makes my life a lot easier so I guess I love that too.

Wedding day necessities include: phone charger, rain boots, extra clothes, PRINTED itinerary, coffee and snacks. Those are the critical elements to a happy planner and smooth day.

After so many events together, it’s really hard to pick just one. I’d say our trip to California for a breathtaking wedding tops the list though. This couple is special to us in many ways but they also provided Katie and I with a once in lifetime opportunity to experience some pretty glamorous venues and beyond. This was also probably the defining moment of our friendship when Katie went from a boss to a friend.

When I was little I was loud, energetic, talkative, and passionate from the start. So, I guess not much has changed.

When it comes to a first look, I’m forever stumped on this one. Fall/winter, I say yes. It provides a lot more opportunity and ease for lots of photos before the sun goes down. Spring/summer, maybe pass on it! It’s a special moment but there’s nothing like seeing a bride or groom walk down the aisle to their other half and their reactions are just priceless.

My favorite hashtag? #TeamKOWE. Does that make me kind of corny? Yeah, but we really are a team through thick and thin!

Next up, Jillian Casler in her own words…

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I love TV. I find nothing more relaxing than getting cozy on the couch or being a loaf in bed and catching up on my shows. You see, my husband and I have our shows we watch together, and then I have my shows that I watch on my own time. True story. Most recently, I was asked if Once Upon a Time could be moved to the “On my own time” zone because he felt he could no longer tolerate this season. (Not going to lie, it is pretty bad this season, but I’ll hold out hope that they’ll turn it around). Oh, and I cannot forget to mention my affinity for the Hallmark Channel – I could (and have) watched Hallmark movies all day long.

My favorite moment at a wedding…that's a tough one. One moment that planners have the luxury of experiencing that most wedding guests will not – is a first look. And I'm not talking about the bride and grooms first look. One of my favorite moments of the day is when a father sees his little girl, hair and make up complete, dressed in the most beautiful gown he's ever seen. That one moment when his face glows with pride and love and loss, because today he will be giving away his daughter to the man of her dreams. Gets me every time. 

I have a love of fine foods and by “fine foods” I mean McDonalds. Ha. A number 2 makes me happy any day. I also enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, pizza and my Grandma Flo’s sauce.

When I’m assisting Katie, I really just enjoy spending time with my friend. When the wedding season is crazy, if I have the opportunity to spend the day making someone’s wedding sparkle and on top of that I get to do it with Katie – it’s a win-win. When there’s downtime in the day/night we get to catch up – it’s lovely. I also love meeting all of the wonderful families we work with. I love people and getting to meet so many wonderful people on a day that is so important to them and to share that with them is really awesome.

I don't have a favorite sport…unless you consider sleeping and/or napping a sport…

Family is love. It’s an amazing group of people that have helped raise you to become the person you are, who have to love you no matter what, who share in your happiness and pain. Who get you through everything – just by supporting and loving you. Family can be your blood, but also extends much deeper than that. I have some amazing friends and their families that I would also consider to be my family.

I have a Communications degree with a concentration in advertising. I think a communications degree lends to so many things, especially working for KOWE where clear communication is key!

Sparkle is KOWE and KOWE is sparkle. Sparkle is trying to find a way to bring 8 coffees from Starbucks to your bride without spilling a drop, just to make sure she has her very own “Bride” cup. Sparkle is always having a genuine love for what we are doing, and having it show through our work. Sparkle is holding an umbrella in the rain so your wedding guests and/or bridal party stays dry (and doing it with a smile). Sparkle is the small stuff you might not see, and the overall essence of what we do.

I take everything in stride. My eyelashes are pretty sweet. And all in all I’m pretty damn fun to be around. On a wedding day, I must gave coffee. I’m no coffee snob. Give me Cumberland Farms, Dunkin, Stewarts or Starbucks. And keep it coming ALL DAY. Funny story, Kelly and I were on our way to a final meeting in Lenox when I picked her up for the trip. She looked down and saw that I had purchased two large iced coffees for the trip. I’m telling you – I always come prepared.

Some of my favorite KOWE memories have to be when Katie and I communicate in our special way. It’s also pretty entertaining to watch someone new, whether it be another KOWE assistant or one of our vendors, discover that although we may not be saying anything at all or we are speaking in short random phrases – we in fact are having full-on conversations with one another.

When I was a little girl I was a tom boy. I loved playing football with the boys and hanging with my cousins. It wasn’t until an intervention in middle school when my best friends brought to my attention that I needed stop buying boys jeans and that I should get on the bell bottom band wagon that I really started embracing my girly-side.

I adamantly support the first look. Yes and yes.

My Favorite hashtags: #gooniesneversaydie #heyyouguys #happilyevercasler

I have enjoyed highlighting the ladies of KOWE and feel so lucky to have the BEST team in the area to help make so many wedding day dreams come true.  I am excited to see what the next 5 years holds for us all!

Keep sparkling–

Showcasing the Sparkle: Norah and Kelly, Senior KOWE Coordinators

As we quickly approach our 5th year in business I wanted to take some blog time and dedicate it to my amazing Senior Coordinators (or SeCo's as we like to call them).  Wihtout these talented, smart and hard working women…#teamkowe would not be as successful as we are today.  So sit back, relax and enjoy learning more about these sparkly ladies…

Today we're showcasing two of the ladies who have majored in sparkle and bring their unique skills and personalities to every KOWE event!  They are our “newest” SeCo's and have had an awesome seaon running weddings and events this year.

First up, meet Senior Coordinator Norah (in her own words)…

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Although my master's degree is in Organizational Management, it really comes in handy on the wedding day because my education allows me to see how people react and interact differently than most folks; this helps in a handful of situations that may arise during a wedding. But in addition to my formal education, I feel like my passion and committement towards people has helped me find so much joy in my work with Katie O' Weddings and Events.

By far, my most favorite part of the day is when the bride and groom see eachother for the first time–whether this is during a first look or coming down the aisle, it's an incredible sight to see and the energy is tangible.

Family means everything to me; my brother has been by my side since the day I was born. He's my compass and I wouldn't be the person I am today without his love and guidance. My love for weddings really stemmed from the amazing experience I had during my own wedding. Having everyone in one room was incredible and you really can't fully appreciate the gravity of the experience until you've had it.

My favorite food may seem a little plain Jane, but it's certainly fitting for the time of year–I LOVE turkey sandwiches. Which is why I love Thanksgiving…I could eat leftovers for weeks–not days, weeks!

My wedding day essentials include a sense of humor and comfy shoes–these things are absolutely critical during a 12 hour (sometimes more) day…

When I try to define sparkle, I think of it more as a state of being than something physical or tangible. Sparkle is a state of wit, brilliance, and livliness.

What I love about working for KOWE is the energy of the day…there is a buzz and everyone is (usually) pysched to be there and I really like being around that positivity. And first looks are a MUST!

Favorite hashtag: #SIL (I am also Katie O's Sister In Law so it seems right!)

And now onto Senior Coordinator Kelly (in her own words)…

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Outside of working I like to spend my time kicking ass in fantasy football.  If my fantasy league isn't doing so great, I just cheer for the Giants.  When football is not on, I spend time with my fantastic hound mix, Cooper. I also like to listen to music (Andrew McMahon is my favorite artist, followed closely by Jason Mraz).  

Not to get all 27 Dresses on you, but my favorite moment at any wedding is when the couple first sees each other.  It's the ultimate build-up moment and the excitement and the relief and the joy is practically tangible in that moment. 

My favorite food is moonshine wings and twisted tea. Having a rough day? It's cool. Juniors has got you. I recently attended a wedding shower, and you were supposed to share a recipe with the bride. I gave her the phone number for Juniors. If you haven't tried them, you need to.

What I love most about working for KOWE is hands down all of the people that I get to meet. I get to work with some of the most well-known and respected vendors in the area. And on top of that, I truly feel that I have made some long-lasting friendships with some of the brides and grooms that I have met. Fostering relationships creates the foundation for any business, no matter what you are doing.  That is something that Katie has taught me right from the beginning, and it's something that I will take with me no matter where I go in life.  

To me, Sparkle is that secret element that really makes a good day extraordinary. In cooking, I believe it was Rachel Ray that said that nutmeg is an ingredient that makes you say “hmm…what is that??” To me, that's exactly what the Sparkle of Katie O' Weddings and Events does. It's not always obvious and it's certainly not always pretty, but it's truly what makes us unique, and it keeps us unified. To answer Zach Brown Band, “Whatever It Is” – it's Sparkle.  Duh.

 Some of my favorite traits about myself – if we're looking for physical traits, I like my naturally curly hair (which you can't see here on account of my serious blowout). Correction: I like my naturally curly hair *most* days.  I also really like my left wrist. It carries my favorite tattoo – the anchor!  I went to school in Rhode Island and lived there for a few years after. The anchor is the state symbol for RI and it also signifies “hope.” I love both of those facts about the anchor and so I decided it would be a good idea to carry it around with me forever.  

I love to laugh. That's why I do it so easily. I feel like a good laugh can make a bad day good, and a good day better. If you can make me laugh, we can be friends. More importantly – if you laugh when I'm being hilarious, we can stay friends.

There is one wedding day necessity – 5 hour energy. I have two on me at all times. One for me, one for Katie. One of my favorite memories of Katie was when I was working a wedding with her and we had a little bit of downtime so we went to Starbucks. She said to me, “I'm not sure I should have anything here; I 've already had two lattes and a 5-hour energy.” That was the one and only time in my life when I had to cut Katie off.  

I am a HUGE fan of the first look!! I think it has become such a great tradition.  And I love when a couple has that moment just to themselves. I firmly believe that if Carrie and Big had had a first look, the first Sex and the City movie would have been really short and boring, but would also have featured a spectacular wedding.

My favorite hashtags include:  #fightforkowemvp #proudofyou

AHHH! I LOVE these ladies SO. MUCH! Thank you for all that you do, Norah and Kelly!!! Stayed tuned for more SeCo blogs coming up!

Keep sparkling–

Sharing the Sparkle with Bake For You

If you live in Albany or around the immediate Capital Region, odds are you have heard or tasted some of the incredible baked goods from Bake For You. Established in 2009 by owner and baker extraordinaire, Linda Kindlon, Bake For You is a boutique bakery that focuses on small batches of baked goods to ensure quality and freshness.

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As an Albany native, Linda is committed to keeping her business local AND she utilizes locally sourced butter, eggs, etc. whenever she can with a focus on organic ingredients. Bake For You most recently found a home in the emerging “DelSo” neighborhood in Albany (Delware Ave) near other local favorites like New World Bistro Bar; the Spectrum; and Fort Orange General Store.

In addition, Linda is an all around awesome person and I couldn't be happier or more proud of the success she has found with following her passion for baking (yay, women who follow their dreams)! Needless to say, Linda is a super sparkler and a dear friend.  We follwed one another on Instagram long before we met in person and once we did we immediately hit it off.

To celebrate my 5 years in business Linda was awesome enough to make a Katie O' Cupcake! (OMG I HAVE MY OWN CUPCAKE!) and it is beyond amazing! She took all the little details of KOWE and created a customized cupcake! From the touch of Katie O' green, the coconut frosting (I heart coconut),  and a little gold sparkle on top she made me and my team feel extra special! 

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Bake For You is also available for special orders of their wide variety of unique cookie flavors, cakes for the everyday occasion and even wedding cakes! Linda has created some amazing bespoke cookies for bridal showers that were the perfect sweet treat for guests! Her creativity knows no bounds! 

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Keep sparkling–

Celebrating 5…Treat Yourself

Our goal at Katie O' Weddings and Events is to make your wedding or event the most stressfree and relaxing day. I think we do a great job in doing so, but I'll be honest–it can be hard work. I know my team and I don't show it all the time, but sometimes we are majorly stressed (and not always sparkly!) It comes with the territory and, truthfully, I think we sort of thrive in that environment. But everyone needs some downtime and some rest and relaxation…

This is why last month I enlisted the help of some of my vendor friends (“friendors” as I like to call them) to help create an extra special day for my awesome senior coordinators. KOWE turns 5 in just 3 weeks and I wanted these amazing women to know how grateful I am for their hard work, dedication, love, sparkle and support in helping make my dreams come true!

We set the day off at one of my favorite places–Strut Spalontique–where the ladies from Strut brought the sparkle for the ladies (and Nate) of Katie O'! I wanted the girls to get the attention and care that our brides experience on their wedding day! It was a lot of fun getting all dolled up. We sipped champagne and generally just hung out. It was awesome. I gifted the girls their very own “sparkle” shirt from Lola and Darla.

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I asked Tiffany Wayne, of Tiffany Wayne Photography  to join us as we shared the sparkle with my Senior team. I LOVED having Tiffany capture some planned and unplanned moments.

After being spoiled at Strut we boarded the amazing PINK limo from Today's Limosuine and we were off to KOWE headquarters in Troy!  This limo is SO awesome inside and we had a lot of fun with our awesome driver John (he is the best!) 

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 We took some fun photos in and around the office- love this shot below of the Senior Team having fun!   After fun times at the office we then we piled into the limo again to our “final” destination!

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We arrived at Normanside Country Club and took some more amazing photos with our awesome set up.  HUGE thank you to all the friendors who helped make this day sparkle. There are so many fun pictures that I have to share some of my favorites!!

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Clearly there had to be lots of glitter and sparkle for us!

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5 years is a pretty big milestone for a small business so of course there was a cupcake from Bake4You (more on this amazing creation in a blog post soon!) and sparkle candle to make a wish on!

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I was so excited that we had an amazing team of women owned and operated businesses that worked on this shoot: Tiffany Wayne Photography, Jenny C Design, Megan Druckman of Lola Accessory Boutique, Styled by Randi, Kris Ann Elario of Fleurtacious Designs, Stella & Dot stylist Chelsea Baratto and Linda Kindlon of Bake for You. And a huge thanks to Dave at Normanside Country Club for his support, extra help and making us feel right at home during the shoot!

I had a blast sharing the day with my amazing senior coordinators and was so thankful for all of the support from my friendors, too!

Where do you see yourself in five years? Let me know in the comments!

Keep sparkling–