A Little About Me

Publicado por Leah Burke en

Hi! Welcome to Pacific Northwest Event Design.

I want to share a little about myself, as a designer and creator, because I don't want to be just another digital store taking up screen time. You should know who you're buying from and that as a consumer you matter.

As a child I watched my mom and grandma make things. They were generational crafters, doing what they loved because they wanted to do those crafts. Sometimes their skills, like sewing, were of a necessity. They learned from their mothers, who learned from their mothers. My grandmother came through the Great Depression and it's rebound. She also learned new skills and occupied herself during WWII filling the needs in her life, and her family's. My mom carried on the crafting skills that she learned from her mother to also provide for her family. There were countless times that my mom made my sisters and I clothes because that's how she stretched her dollar to make ends meet. And I remember one Christmas when she made us DIY Cabbage Patch Kids, because they were the IT toy and she didn't want us to miss out on something that was in her power to create.

What I learned from my maternal family line is that women do everything in their power to meet the needs of their families, make dreams and wishes come true, and you take the little that you have to create what it is you want in life.

You do what you can do to show people that they matter.

When my husband and I got married, we had a relatively small budget. Weddings were easily averaging $20,000 if not more. We had a large guest list of family and friends--either we invited them or they'd crash the wedding anyway. So we invited, looked at our options, and looked for ways to cut the financial corners where we could. We had people gift us items for the wedding (which I highly recommend to anyone who is planning a wedding on a tight budget). And I personally made what I could. Of course there were things I wish I knew how to make back then that I know now, but I am so proud of everything I accomplished to pull off a 350+ guest wedding for under $10,000.

I mention my wedding planning experience, because a few months after we got married I entered the event decorating profession. The company that I worked for at the time gave me the opportunity to learn new skills. I decorated weddings that surpassed even my wildest imagination of things outside of possibility for my wedding. I helped make large corporations dinners and employee celebrations the stuff you talked around the water cooler for days afterward. I was a part of those successes and worked with some amazing people.

After 4 years of working for that company, we parted ways over difference of opinions.

For the last 6 years I have continued to work in the wedding industry (which took a pause with the COVID shut downs) and given birth to three beautiful inside and out boys. And while decorating on my own, I've learned even more things. Number one thing I've learned is that there are families out there who are exactly like me and what my family looked like growing up. Not everyone can afford the $50,000 wedding. Even though we dream about them. And not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars for their children's birthday parties. In fact, for the last two years (since COVID interrupted all of our lives) there is a shift away from these kinds of celebrations and everything has gone back to a small scale events. In fact, I've recently seen more living room weddings recently than I thought I ever would. Below is a picture of my dad's mom with her living room wedding. It really isn't that long ago where intimate celebrations were common place. And so I personally, have a nostalgic feel to these living room weddings that have been imposed on us. Important, long lasting memories can still be had on the small scale.

While I'm currently not decorating weddings in the halls and churches, I have not lost the passion for event decorating. For right now I'm focusing on the small scale. And I'm not heart broken over the comments that I've heard at open houses with examples of my full displays--"I can do that." Once, those words hurt because it made little of the work and expense behind professional decorating. Now, the sting is gone because those people were just like me.

What can I do to cut corners and make my money go further?

So in this season, I've switched gears and started focusing on enabling these customers to actually creating what they can't afford. If this is you, I have your back. I know the pressure of being on budget. I empathize with putting in extra time and personal labor to create something that would otherwise not be an option.

Or maybe you think you are not a crafty person. But you want to make something for your child. Because I tell you what, no other experience in life beats seeing your child's face light up with excitement and feeling loved for what you made them. (That was how the Gorilla Birthday Collection was birthed. My second son, wanted a gorilla birthday, and so that was what I created for him.)

If I'm speaking to you and you know exactly all that I'm saying, than I'm the designer for you. It's my goal to make you look good when you tell someone, "I can do that." I want you to make it. I want you to feel the love as your loved one feel loved from what you do for them.


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