We're thrilled to spotlight another one of our fabulous Coterie members today. Meet Coretta. She's a business-savvy attorney turned Event Planner and also a Stella & Dot Independent Jewelry Stylist. In this week's vendor spotlight, you'll get to learn more about Coretta, her aspirations for her company, and some sound advice for future brides. In addition, she's sharing a stunning vintage inspiration shoot she helped style. Get to know Coretta, and don't forget to check out her listing here.
I'm an attorney who discovered my love of creating elegant events in high school. I was the kid (before pinterest) who kept inspiration folders of beautiful people, places and things. I started hosting dinner parties, then gradually moved to helping friends and family with weddings, birthdays and other social events. After receiving more and more clients through referrals and with the advice and encouragement of my ex-husband, I stopped working my business as a hobby and started working it as a business. I've loved almost every minute of it! One of the best decisions I made was adding to my repertoire being an Independent Jewelry Stylist with Stella & Dot. Combined with my training as an attorney, that venture has come in handy on numerous occasions. I see myself as one stop shopping for my clients.
What did you do before Wedding Planning?
My training is as a trial attorney in the United States Air Force.
What are your dreams for your company?
I admire the way entrepreneurs like Diann Valentine, Colin Cowie & David Tutera have expanded their event planning empires to include other services & products such as coffee table books, stationery, china, gowns & television. I envision following a similar model of success.
What do you love most about your job?
Dr. Maya Angelou has a saying. "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I whole heartedly agree. There is nothing like orchestrating an event that people are still talking about long after it is over.
Plus, I live for the "big reveal." It is the best feeling when you know you've given your clients more than they expected.
In your area what are some of your favorite venues and why?
- Josephine Butler Parks Center - It's a historic mansion, it has lovely architecture, it has reasonable rates and supporting it also supports the community. It's a win-win.
- B. Smith's Restaurant - This business is the brainchild of another "sisterpreneur." The soaring location in Union Station is amazing. Plus, they serve some of the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten.
- W Hotel - The view overlooking the White House phenomenal. The decor is sublime.
What trends are you seeing with 2012 and 2013 brides?
I love the continuing variety of gowns with sleeves & straps rather than all strapless gowns. I'm seeing surprisingly smaller wedding parties amongst my southern girls. More use of strong, saturated color (another trend I love). More personalized vs traditional details. And more vow renewal ceremonies.
What would you say to brides-to-be who are on the fence about hiring a wedding planner?
Be realistic about how much reducing the "hassle factor" is worth to you. It's very hard to fondly look back over the wedding experience when all you recall is stress & irritability. This is supposed to be an exciting time of your life! A planner who handles your needs within your budget is so worth it. Ask for referrals. People are happy to share which professionals will give you the best bang for your buck.
Why should brides choose you as a planner?
I am that planner who masterfully handles your needs within your budget. Plus, I have a passion for what I do and an eye for details. Believe me, you want me on your team. :)
We also noticed that you are a Stella & Dot Stylist. Tell us more about that and how you can help brides-to-be?
I'm passionate about planning weddings & events, building businesses & styling clients with the greatest jewelry & accessory company in the world, Stella & Dot. As an Independent Stella & Dot Stylist, I lead a team of motivated businesswomen who give ladies a break form the hustle & bustle of life to hang out with their friends, drink something sparkly and get styled in fabulous jewels. Wearing these pieces guarantees that you feel like a million bucks, plus they are the perfect gifts for your wedding party.
What are your favorite Stella & Dot pieces?
I find that many of my brides love a fabulous statement piece. It's one of the things that attracted me to the company. Plus, anything with pearls or sparkle are up for consideration, although some brides are dabbling in color. Right now, I'm obsessed with my Limited Edition couture Virginia Bib Necklace; as well as the Isadora and Tempest statement necklaces. For those who like to keep it simple and stunning, the sparkly Glint Flower necklace & matching earrings (featured in Instyle Magazine) are style for a steal.
Anything new that we can expect from your company in 2013?
I'm very excited about the Presidential Inauguration events I am coordinating! It only happens once every four years and only in DC. I'm super excited to be in the right place at the right time!
What's in your handbag right now?Receipts that need to be filed, a mini Moleskin notebook (I'm weaning myself from sticky notes), MAC lipstick, a stretchy headband, cash, credit card & ID iphone, blackberry or android? Android Mac or pc? MacBook If you could travel to any location right now, where would it be? Paris Favorite song? book? tv show? "I Love The Lord" by Whitney Houston from The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack. The Bible is the book I read the most. Scandal, of course! But I love watching "The Wire" on DVD. Guilty pleasure? Warm bread pudding served with caramel sauce & ice cream. Yes ma'am!
This was an inspirational wedding shoot held in the fall at Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C. Organized and shot by Karina Djijo of Djijo Studios. I called on my fellow professionals from Coretta's Elegant Events and Behind the Beauty to come out and collaborate on this mini project. Miss Coretta Johnson Gray came out and arranged a fabulous sweetheart table in the middle of the park complete with crystal candle holders and delicious cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes. She also provided goreous Stella & Dot Jewelry for our shoot. Tanyeka and Anika of Behind the Beauty were responsible for hair, make-up wardrobe and styling. The wardrobe and accesories were a combined effort of Djijo Studios and Behind the Beauty.It was a beautiful afternoon even though the temperature seemed to drop by the minute that day. The creative minds got together to style, accessorize and execute a vintage and fall inspired photoshoot. We managed to photograph three gorgeous vintage dresses, which any fashion-forward bride with a taste for pure chic vintage would appreciate.Special thanks goes out to our fabulous model for braving the weather and making it look like it was 75 degrees out on that rather cool fall afternoon : ) This was an opportunity for us creative collaborators to try something different. I think we succeeded. Enjoy! - Karina
Photography and Styling/Wardrobe: Djijo Studios:
Make-up, Styling and Wardrobe: Behind the Beauty: Hair
Event Design/Styling: Coretta's Elegant Events:
Fabulous Model: Mintyce Sarae
Dresses, purse and birdcage veil: Vintage (Djijo Studios/Behind the Beauty)
Jewelry: Coretta Johnson Gray, Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot