Bliss & Bespoke 2017!!!

Tomorrow is the BIG day! We are opening registration to the next Bliss & Bespoke! Katie and I are so happy to finally open registration (we’ve been waiting all year for this one!), and we couldn’t be happier with the direction of this one!

This is our seventh Bliss retreat (fourth Bliss & Bespoke), and with every one, we learn so much about what motivates, inspires and encourages all of you. This year, we’ve decided to change our typical structure a bit, and we believe it’s going to add so much value and really elevate the experience for our attendees!

Rather than many brief speaker presentations which sometimes leads to a fast paced day and an overload of information, we are offering more quality time with a more intimate group of contributors. One of our favorite moments from past retreats is always seeing a bunch of attendees gathered around one of our speakers during our downtime, listening so intently as she answers questions and offers resources, lending her experience to a myriad of struggles all of you face. With that as our inspiration, we decided to create a retreat that would move at a much slower pace, offering more time and space to dig deeper and get beyond the surface level presentations. We are being very intentional to encourage and create an atmosphere of transparency, meaningful interactions and confidence boosting experiences that will help you achieve tremendous success going forward!

We are confident this will be our best retreat yet, and we hope you will join us in January!! If you’re still on the fence, just ask one of our alumni…  💗

“I’m heading home from Charleston with a full head and full heart. @blissandbespokeretreat was beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m so thankful for the last four days. Not only did I get the opportunity to learn from the best in the business, but I also made new friends along the way. Thank you, Betsy and Katie for putting on an amazing retreat! I can’t wait to come back!” – Denae Brennan

“Not only did I walk away with more knowledge of our amazing industry, but I also walked away with a sense of community that sometimes we don’t always get the opportunity to be a part of in this industry. Each and every one of you truly touched my heart in more ways than you will ever know…so thank you for that. And thank you to Katie and Betsy for the most wonderful southern hospitality. Truly at its finest. You two ladies have created an amazing thing here and you both did such a phenomenal job on making us feel so welcome and comfortable, in every aspect, event and process along the way. So thank you, you two rock stars!” – Anna Lucia

“Words cannot describe how excited I am to be returning to #blissandbespoke in Charleston next February. Two years ago, I registered for this retreat – my first one ever! – not knowing a soul and not knowing how much change I would experience in the months to follow. I thought I’d sign up for a workshop at the suggestion of a planner I greatly admired (heyyy, @sapphireevents!)… I never anticipated how much that experience would shape the course of not only my business, but my heart. I’ve not only learned more than I ever thought possible from the amazing speakers, but I’ve met a network of incredibly talented friends who I can lean on at any time! Katie & Betsy have put together a truly dynamic experience for planners at all stages of their business…you don’t want to miss this, y’all!” Ashley Cash



Bliss & Bespoke | Wedding Planner Retreat


Earlier this week, we asked all of you what one thing you would love to outsource, either personally or professionally. For me, the list is long, but I find it so difficult to pull the trigger. Typically, handing that task off to another comes at a cost, but it’s proven time and time again that the small cost of outsourcing means a significant increase in revenue as we are able to focus less on the tasks we dread and more on what we do best!

To inspire us all, we’re looking to our incredible team of Bliss & Bespoke speakers for feedback! We love their suggestions and think you will, too!

What is one thing you’ve chosen to outsource, either personally or professionally, that has given you the ability to focus on what you do best?

Abby Capalbo: Professionally, I think the one thing I’ve outsourced and never looked back was hiring an accountant for my husband and I. It takes away SO much stress in so many ways. I also use Freshbooks for invoicing and that really helps consolidate everything in an organized fashion. Personally, we have a cleaning lady come once a month to really deep clean our house. We are big on the value of our time – and spending 4+ hours cleaning the house could be spent in more profitable ways.

Kristin Polhemus: I outsource most of the ‘making’ of things to my team; craft projects, alphabetizing, folding, stuffing, flower processing and much of the flower arranging.  Since I’m also the wedding planner during the wedding week, I have to ensure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed on the planning side, and that requires me to delegate tasks to those I trust most.

Anna Lucia Richardson: I actually have two things…personally is our Nanny Brittany…by knowing my son in in great hands, I am able to focus on work specifically during that time and then when I am home with him, he gets 100% of my attention!  Professionally are my employees and my Accountant.  Without them, I wouldn’t be able to focus on the bigger picture items of growing my business. There certainly comes a financial cost with all of these, but in the end, it has paid of tenfold for me and has actually allowed my company to be more profitable!

Lynn Easton + Augusta Cole: For our destination weddings we fly in a transportation manager who liases with local transport company!! Totally outsource Transpo!

Melissa Bigner: It’s not officially outsourcing (since we do so little of that), but having Della tackle social media and oversee blog direction/sales (even if i edit most all posts) has been a huge boon. HUGE. Otherwise, we rely on interns for a lot of things like fact-checking, scouting, and other routine office tasks. Being “in”terns, this, too, isn’t outsourcing per se…

Della MacNicholas: We don’t outsource but when interns can collect, curate, and export data, it’s a big help.

Emily Thomas + Lisa Kirk: The Southern Weddings Shop has grown steadily since it launched in 2013, especially with the introduction of the Southern Weddings Planner. For the first two and a half years, we cobbled together an in-house system to ship thousands of orders out the door, but just a few months ago we decided to move our shipping to a fulfillment house. It was a hard decision, as a huge hallmark of our brand has always been a scrappy, personal, bootstraps kind of vibe, but we finally realized that outsourcing something as mechanical as shipping would give us the time to focus on what we do best: connecting with our brides and creating meaningful content. Also, fewer paper cuts. So far, so good!

Jacin Fitzgerald: I don’t know if this is considered “outsourcing”, but when I made the decision to to limit my services to full service planning + design only, vs. partial or day-of, I found that I was able to really focus on my clients’ experience from start to finish vs. feeling pulled in multiple directions with way too much on my calendar. This not only made me proud of the service I was providing, but it also gave my clients an experience that was as celebratory as the big day and allowed me to focus back on my personal life again too. I’m a huge fan of outsourcing whenever possible – whether it’s welcome bag collation or paper goods design – the more I can hand off to other creatives, the more I can focus on making my business a success.

Caroline Lima-Benusa: This year I started outsourcing my blog writing and it’s working great! I always procrastinated the writing part, English is not my first language, it took forever for me to write a mediocre post. I think it is nice to talk about the couple’s story…and at some point I even stopped writing anything at all and I only posted photos. Anyway, I think it is important to talk about the wedding day, the kind of couple I love to work with, etc…so I hired a freelancer writer, I send her the info about the wedding/couple, the tone I would like the post to have, the things I liked the most about their day, etc. And she writes the most beautiful blog posts for me. Recently the mother of the groom came to me at the wedding and said that she copied the text from the couple’s engagement blog post to her scrapbook because she loved it! My writer also helps me with brochures and any kind of writing I have to do. Soon I want her to re-do my entire website.

Oh, and OUR all time favorite outsource? Handing over the creation of our welcome gifts to the amazing gals behind A Signature Welcome! We are so excited about the gifts they’re putting together for everyone attending our next retreat!

What do you think? Are you feeling as inspired as we are?


Announcing our next Bliss & Bespoke!

instagrammosaicgold10We could not be more excited to announce our next Bliss & Bespoke retreat for women wedding planners! This experience and community has grown to be more than we ever could have imagined! We hope you’ll join us Monday to Thursday, October 26-29 for a week you will never forget! Head over  to our registration site to get all of the details and secure your spot to BLISS! Register!

See you in October!


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!



Bliss & Bespoke | Wedding Planner Retreat


Getting to know Jacin Fitzgerald…

We love our speakers. We have been blessed with an amazing group of creative and inspiring women who have embraced this community and are excited to share their talent and wisdom with all of you here in Charleston! Can you believe Bliss & Bespoke is just weeks away?1 Six weeks, to be exact, and we can’t wait!

One of those speakers we adore is Jacin Fitzgerald of lovely little details. Jacin has poured her heart and soul into her brand, and she has so much to share with all of us! As evidenced by her beautiful Christmas gifts, few have perfected the client experience like Jacin! We loved our time getting to know Jacin, and we’re thrilled to see her again soon! We’re sure you will adore her just as much as we do! Hear what Jacin has to say about being authentic and where she finds her bliss…

What’s your bliss?
spending quality time with the people i love, or doing what i love. afternoons without the phone in hand hiking with my husband and dog, memories recollected by stories and not necessarily captured on camera, early mornings at the farmers market, lending a helping hand to an unsuspecting person in need, seeing the look on my clients’ faces when they see their wedding venue all set up or their bouquets for the first time. those are all tiny pieces of my bliss.

What’s one piece of advice that’s guided you in growing your business or life in general?
be authentically you and always let your conscience be your guide. if you follow your gut instinct, whether in business or life, you will always go in the right direction. being authentically you means that you might not always take the same path that was blazed by another, but your path will lead you where you need to go as long as you are true to yourself.


{images by Jessica Burke}

Check back as we share more from a few of our other speakers, and if you haven’t registered to join us in February, we still have a few spots open. Head over to Eventbrite to secure yours!


Bliss & Bespoke | February 10-13, 2014




We are over the moon excited to introduce you all to this one of a kind luxury retreat, exclusively for women wedding planners. While we couldn’t keep the details to ourselves and made our announcements over the last couple of weeks, there’s nothing quite like seeing it all displayed on this pretty new site! It’s truly blissful! We’ve been dreaming of this retreat for months now, and it’s incredibly exciting to already have an amazing group of women registered to join us! We’re so grateful to Katelyn Brooke for our beautiful new site! Katelyn has been wonderful to work with, and we can’t say enough good things about her work! If you’re looking for a web designer, you’ll adore Katelyn! A huge thank you, too, to KT Merry for the gorgeous images that grace the pages of our site! KT Merry’s work never ceases to inspire us, and we are so excited she’ll be joining us for Bliss & Bespoke! To those who’ve registered, you will love having her behind the lens to shoot your gorgeous new headshot!

We have been overwhelmed by the response from all of you! Your emails, comments, and inquiries have been a true blessing! A huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who have already made the commitment to attend! We were so surprised to have registration almost halfway full after only one week! Y’all are simply amazing, and we love your enthusiasm for this experience! You won’t regret your investment or time spent with these inspiring and talented women! With only a total of 24 spots available, they won’t last long! If you haven’t secured your spot, we urge you to do so soon!

February can’t get here soon enough! See you then!