Welcome to another RWN Vendor Spotlight! This post will be featuring long time member, Michael Barbour. Michael is the proud owner of Hand Tied Creations & Planning, LLC and is a Lead Coordinator and Managing Partner at Top Shelf Event Services, LLC! Check out his interview below!

Q - When did you start your business?

A - My very first wedding was in 2006 and I got the wedding bug! I began doing weddings for family and friends and then started working at The Plantation on Sunnybrook learning even more about the wedding industry and the tips and tricks of the trade. In about 2016 I joined forces with Natashia and Top Shelf Event Services and the company flourished into the award winning company it is today! My role as florist grew out of assisting the lead floral designer at Sunnybrook and then assisting our Top Shelf Brides with their floral needs. Then in January of 2021, I officially began my own floral business, Hand Tied Creations & Planning, in addition to working for a local florist. I absolutely love floral design and helping couples make their big day even more special with flowers!

Q - Tell us about one of your favorite parts about your job.

A - I have so many favorite parts of my job that I am not sure where to begin! I love the initial consultation with couples and learning and exploring their style and personalities in order to create the perfect wedding design. I love composing the perfect floral recipe with unique florals and I always try to incorporate locally farmed flowers in my design. I love the moment when it's all finished and I can have that deep sigh of relief from a job done well. I think my absolute favorite part is when I am the first person in the venue on wedding day and can take it all in as the sun is rising and really center my energy before making the wedding day magic happen!

Q - What would you say is your biggest strength?

A - I would say my biggest strength is that I work well under pressure. I always look at events from not only the beginning to end but also from the end to the beginning. I try to give the necessary information to everyone and not cloud people's minds with information they don't really need. The number one thing a bride needs is a smile and to know things are under control even if they are falling apart behind the scenes.

Q - What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your business?

A - Don't undervalue yourself or the services you provide! There are going to be people who are going to be mean to you, they think their 30+ years of experience makes them the Grand Supreme of the wedding industry. My number one word of advice is, if you don't love chaos and love weddings, rethink your business plan! The wedding industry is a 24/7 job!

Q - What would you/I do differently?

A - I would have more confidence in myself and recognize my talent and self worth sooner! The biggest enemy for any new business is one's own self doubt! A relevant world is created from a variety of perspectives, talents, and creative minds!

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Welcome to our next RWN Vendor Spotlight! In this post we will be featuring Casey Anderson! Casey is a wedding officiant in Southwest Virginia, who specializes in bringing couples together in a meaningful and memorable way. Casey can also design personalized ceremonies for his couples! Check out his interview below!

Q - When did you start your business?

A - This will be my tenth anniversary year!

Q - What made you start

A - It was practically accidental.

Q - Describe a typical wedding day for you.

A - I do some social media work. I arrive at the venue about an hour to forty-five minutes before the ceremony. I get the paperwork and go over the ring exchange with the bride. I go over the ring exchange with the groom. I hang out until it is time. We do the thing. I get a selfie with the B&G. I go home, fill out the paperwork, put it in the mail and text the B&G it is done. I do the post ceremony social media work. Have a beer (2) and go to bed.

Q - How do you stay motivated?

A - When I see how pleased my clients are, it motivates me to be better.

Q - What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the wedding business?

A - Be open and flexible. Learn from your mistakes and mishaps. Set up a process: Marketing Calendar management Execution Follow up, and be disciplined with that process.

Q - If it all ended tomorrow (my being an officiant not my being) how would you feel.

A - I would miss it terribly. I would try to hold on to the Dr. Seuss quote, “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.”

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Hello and welcome to our next RWN Vendor Spotlight! Joanna Morris is the owner of the amazing Blush Baking Co. which is a Roanoke, VA bakery specializing in custom wedding cakes, custom birthday cakes, smash cakes, decorated cookies and much more. Here is our interview with Joanna!

Q - When did you start your business? A - Blush Baking Co. officially started in January of 2017 after almost a decade of working in the industry as a professional pastry chef.

Q - Describe a typical wedding day for you. A - Wedding days typically start for me around 6am. I love to get up early & get any last minute baking done, put finishing touches on the cakes, and organize all of my supplies, boxes, and rentals for the day. Once it's time to head to the venue, the cake & any accessories like stands, other desserts, and decor get loaded into the car. Typically I am arriving on site about 1.5-2 hours before start time depending on weather conditions & location. Once on site, I do any necessary assembly, add finishing touches like fresh flowers & snap a few pictures before saying hi to the vendor team & heading out! Set up is one of my favorites moments because it's when the full vision comes together & everyone's hard work comes to life!

Q - How do you stay motivated? A - Seeing my clients' faces light up when I deliver their cake is the best feeling & keeps my motivation going! I love when I am able to capture their vision & bring it to life in cake form.

Q - Tell us one of your favorite parts of your job. A - Like the previous question, I absolutely love seeing my clients' reactions when they see their cake, but I also really enjoy the creativity. Whether it's creating a new flavor combination & testing recipes until each component is perfect or designing a cake that is completely unique to the couple with fun techniques, there is so much creativity within my job & I love that!

Q - What made you start a baking business? Was it an experience that happened to you or was it a life dream? A - I have always had a passion for baking & knew it would be a part of my life since I was young. Growing up, I would spend time with my mom baking in the kitchen & eventually that grew into something that I knew would be my career. In high school I figured out that this is what I wanted to do as a career & began taking the steps to get in the right direction.

Headshot credit: Tara Lilly Photo Product photo: Sydney Biggs

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