The Engagement was a magical sight. I took a stroll through The Marketplace and scoped out the stunning vendor tables. Full Bloom and Marry Me Productions had an incredible table set to perfection. MDRN Photobooth was doing free headshots for guests. Wishtree Invites had an expansive display of their custom designed invitations and stationary. Nordstrom was giving free makeovers with their beautiful make-up line. Wine Kitz Iris made a special batch of white and red wine just for us. Howard Fine Jewellers was even lettings us try on their diamonds! To top it all of, the crew at the NAC kept a flowing stock of delicious canapes and gin cocktails.
After chatting with all the vendors, pocketing a couple dozen business cards and sampling the food and drink, I headed into the main room and found a seat amongst a table of welcoming and friendly women. More surprises! Gifts scattered all over our place settings, donated from the generous women in that room. I thought they couldn't possibly spoil us any more, but then the food arrived. My God, the food!
But The Engagement wasn't about the food. It wasn't about the gifts either. It wasn't even really about weddings. It was about the most important aspect of what Ladies Who Lunch represents. “The power of women who believe that when we stand together we are stronger than when we stand along.” Julie Beun said it as the lunch kicked off and it's still resonating with me.
I took away a lot from this event. I took away memories of incredible women. They inspired me with their stories. They supported me with keen interest in my story. They offered their support, guidance and even their services to help me get my business launched. I took away incredible gifts. A stunning lip liner and gloss, beautiful earrings, tantalizing scent samples, cookies, popcorn, tickets for other events. I left with a full heart, full mind and full belly!
Most importantly though, I took away many words of wisdom from some tough-ass women. I learned from Julie Beun and Catherine Landry what community is all about and what a community of women can accomplish when working together and supporting each other. I learned from Andrea Marcus to “Accept [my] mistakes as part of a learning process.” She reminded us all to “Be self aware, be accountable, don't be averse and always trust your gut.” Finally, Justina McCaffrey. Where do I start when it comes to this poised, tenacious woman? Strength emanates from her. Resilience. A woman who lost a lot and whose struggles were publicized for the world to read about. She's still standing. She didn't slink away and let everything dissolve. She fought passionately, she adapted and she succeeded. She's back, now Justina Antonia, and she, along with her company Justina's bridal, are stronger than ever.
That's just how these women roll.
- Cait O'Malley, owner of Bourbon & Bloom
Photography by: Throne Photography