If someone had told me that at the age of 26 I would begin the adventure of becoming not just a small business owner, but a bridal boutique owner, I would hands down have laughed in their face. Seriously. I say this for two reasons. 1. When I was growing up I was determined to never get married. Like, ever. And 2. I got a degree in Theatre Arts from one of the top ten theatre schools in the country, so, naturally, I was destined to become the next Jennifer Anniston.
But just as life hands you lemons when really you want a Grande Mocha Frappuccino with an extra shot, I met the one, fell in love, and then fell in love with weddings. I met this amazing guy who completely and unequivocally stole my heart, and during the process of planning the perfect wedding day I realized I had a different calling. After spending two years of trying to audition in the KC area and falling pretty short I decided I needed to rethink priorities. And pay student loans. Thanks Mohela.
So I did what most college graduates do these days. I daydreamed about my dream job and worked at stepping stone jobs until something good fell in my lap. First there was the internship, then the coffee house, then the call center, then nannying, then the office job, and then finally I got my big break! When Tyler proposed it was like the heavens parted ways, and for the first time I finally saw the fall in the lap opportunity. Wedding planning.
It’s perfect. It’s so perfect anyone can be a wedding planner. Including me! Okay, so that last statement really isn’t true. Not anyone can be a wedding planner. Planning your own wedding is one thing. Taking on the responsibility of planning someone else’s wedding is WAY different ballgame. You are literally responsible for planning something which some people have been dreaming about their whole life. And you better not make any noticeable mistakes otherwise you are screwed.
But, alas, I felt I could take on the responsibility so I asked my engaged girlfriend at the time if I could plan her wedding. For free. And of course she took me up on it. I mean who wouldn’t! So we planned, we prepped, and we got through the day. And I killed it.
So that’s when All My Heart Occasions was formed. Or AMH as I so lovingly referred to it as. I launched in May 2013, and I never looked back. In my first seven months of business I coordinated over ten weddings. Ten. In the first seven months. Wedding planning was the cocaine to my high. The peanut butter to my wheat bread. The Face to my book. Alright, alright. You get it. For the first time I had found something I not only was great at, but that I loved with every inch of my being. Helping these brides plan their days, and then watching it all unfold perfectly, was, and is to this day, some of the best work I have ever done.
And it was this fall in the lap moment that led me to being the Director of Events for a Knot Hall of Fame wedding venue. I got to stretch my planning skills into corporate, small events, and other great adventures I will never forget. I met amazing people along the way, created fantastic relationships with vendors within the wedding community, and helped grow a business into something no one ever thought possible.
But, it still wasn’t enough. How, one might ask, is that not enough? You have your own planning business, run a venue, have the best support from those around you, and your clients are amazing. What could I possibly still want? Good question. Valid. And I wish I knew how to answer that.
Maybe it was a pre-mid life crisis. Maybe it was self doubt. Or perhaps I just have a hard time committing to a professional career. Whatever it was I always had this little voice in my head that kept telling me there was something else out there. I just hadn’t found it yet. So, finally, I listened to that little voice. And I started letting it talk a little bit more and more until finally it became so clear I had no choice but to follow what it was saying.
If you are asking if the voice kept yelling “DRESSES” at the top of its lungs I am sorry to say it did not. It yelled “PIZZA.” Just kidding. That was my stomach. It actually didn’t yell out a specific word or phrase. I guess if I had to give it a word I would call it “Change.” My dad wrote this amazing letter to me when I got married that said, “People change. Things change. And that’s okay.” So I decided I needed one more change, one more big change, in my life. So, now that we have almost gotten to the entire reason of this post, let me ramble just a little more before I tell you how AMH Bridal was formed.
I had a client who was looking for the perfect dress for her perfect day. She was beautiful, tall, great complexion, skin tone I was always jealous of, and she was a size 20. Amazing curves, an ass for days, and the perfect personality to match. The day started out on a great high note. The first store they visited didn’t have any dresses she could physically try on, but she expected that. She said she was used to things not being able to fit on the first try and having to search to find something just right.
So they went to the second store, and the third, and the fourth, and finally, after being able to try on three dresses without resorting to a national chain she refused to visit, she gave up. The confident and outgoing girl who started the day was now the sad and defeated girl I didn’t know existed. She was devastated. I was pissed off at the salons, and her girlfriends who she brought along didn’t know what to do. I could not believe this girl who wanted so desperately to have that “Say yes to the dress!” shopping experience couldn’t. And that is when all the light bulbs turned on in my head. Every girl, no matter who they are, deserves to have the perfect wedding dress that makes her feel confident, sexy, beautiful, and deserving on her wedding day.
And so it began. The adventure of diving into the unknown to make just that happen. My goal isn’t to sell wedding dresses. My goal is to make women feel good about who they are and what they look like. To give them a place where they can be themselves and not be judged by the gowns on the rack. Some people think I am “encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle.” Yes, someone seriously said that to me and I seriously considered punching them right in the face. Some say we don’t need it. So I say fuck ‘em. And this is how All My Heart Bridal came to be.
AMH Bridal is the leading gown gallery in the Kansas City area to specifically service curvy ladies size 14+. All of our designers were handpicked because of the quality of their product, attention to detail, and love of empowering women one dress at a time. I cannot wait to meet you and hear all about your big day. I cannot wait to laugh with you, shed tears of joy with you, and most importantly, pop a bottle of Champagne and say “Yes to the dress!” with you. Cheers!