Bliss & Bespoke | Wedding Planner Retreat




We love time spent with Melissa Bigner, editor of Charleston Weddings Magazine. She is truly a gem and always keeps us laughing. We loved reading through these insights from her world as magazine editor in this great city of ours – rumored to be second only to Vegas in destination weddings each year. Melissa has a great perspective to share with all of us on the industry, on building relationships with editors and putting down roots through collaboration and community. Hear what she has to say about finding balance, her move South, her great affection for Charleston and where she finds bliss…

What’s your bliss?

Oh no! Do I only get one bliss? I am really more a bliss buffet kind of person. The misty morning sun coming in through the oak allée at Hampton Park as horses are lead out of the stable. Being part of a me, Oscar (my pug-Boston), and Wade (my sweetheart) bed-and-sheets sandwich on a Saturday morning. Skype dinner with my D.C. sister and niece. Feeding ducks with my mom on a random Wednesday afternoon. Scooting to Brittlebank Park to catch the sunset over the Ashley River (dolphins!). Getting to go backstage at yet another amazing location for “research” and/or scouting here in Charleston. Sorting through fashion shoot images from Corbin Gurkin—how to choose? And always, stumbling onto yet another outdoor wedding here in town, thus getting to be an inadvertent guest and a witness to others’ bliss. On and on!

How do you find balance in your work and personal life?

See above. Since our focus is Charleston and celebrating what the city has to offer couples and families and the romance herein, the lines are very blurry. We have to be consumers to give consumers what they crave. You walk to the Marion Square farmer’s market on Saturday and ideas for weddings abound (scone and honey bar, anyone? How about a pecan buffet?). And you bump into industry folk everywhere in town; I can’t tell you how many times Leigh Webber has driven by and stopped to chat while I’m walking Oscar in my pajamas. But if you delight in what you do, and whom you do it with, the blur isn’t a bane. Plus, I have to remember living in a place like Charleston offsets the inevitable crazies of work if I open myself to the moment. Luckily, the Lowcountry, with its arresting marsh, beach, and waterway vistas, forces the pauses, and reminds me regularly there is so much more going on than my little missions.

Also? I’m really glad that the magazine is the brand, and not me! I think it’s tough when your name is the brand—you really have to separate the personal and professional then. The effort to make sure you’re living your life for life’s sake and not living it to document or share it has to be a priority.

What’s one pivotal decision you’ve made in your career?

Opting for the flip-flop lifestyle over the skyscraper one. I have worked on staff at big, national magazines and done the corporate thing. I took a side trip here after 9/11, and lived with my mom in an early 1800s house downtown for a few months. When I started interviewing in New York again, Mom asked, “What if you worked from here, freelancing for the same caliber of clients and magazines, but with palm trees and flip flops?” That what-if led to a year’s experiment, and ultimately a lifestyle change. Rocked my little corporate brain in the best possible way. Thanks, Mom!

Stay tuned for more from our inspiring lineup of speakers for Bliss & Bespoke 2014!



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