Get to Know Our Owner

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Happy weekend! Are you currently quarantined at home and in need of some light reading? Today I wanted to get in with some personal ~feels~ and introduce our Owner — me, Leda!

Nicole Clarey Photography

First off, I admittedly hate writing about myself. I was telling Anna only a little while ago that keeping up with blogging can be A LOT. You small business owners know the struggle! It takes a lot of time to continually post new content and education! But, I’d almost rather be doing that right now than writing about me. You would think this would be easier! Nahhh.

About Me

I’m from Columbus, and plan on being here a long, long time. I love this city, love being close to my family and am a Buckeye at heart. I grew up in Columbus, but moved around to different cities in Michigan and Kansas City when I was younger. I’m clearly very biased, but I really do think Columbus is a fantastic, fun and wonderful city!

I’m the nerd in the KC hat.

We made our way back here to Ohio, which is great because it’s where my parents are originally from. I grew up loving to be outside, drawing and painting and playing sports. In high school, I was extremely active and social, playing both soccer and lacrosse. I quite literally miss playing lacrosse every day. No joke, I had a dream about it just the other night! I even almost went to play at the collegiate level, but ultimately decided I wanted to stay in Columbus and become a Buckeye.

Well, I went to OSU for about two years and didn’t finish. I always thought I might go back, but never did. At the time, I struggled with some severe anxiety and depression and it hit hard. Thankfully, counseling, medication and prayer got me through it, but it really was a difficult time in my life. I felt like a failure, and truly had no idea what I wanted my future to look like. I worked some odd jobs those years: A barista, a nurse’s aide in hospice and then finally, a receptionist at a doctor’s office.

While OSU might not have resulted in a diploma, but it did bring me Zac, my husband! It also brought me many of my lifelong friends that I still have today.

My Partner

Zac and I dated throughout our time at OSU, and were together for about five years. After that, we tied the knot at Jorgensen Farms! He’s the best person for me, hands down. He cared for me through those tough college years when I struggled with depression, supported me (after some convincing, honestly) when I really started pursuing this business full time, and is the hardest working guy I know. He works as a CPA at a local tax firm and I am so thankful for his business and tax knowledge!

In our free time, you can find us hanging at home together, binge-watching the newest hot tv series and spending time with friends. I’m also constantly cuddling with our pup. If you know me, you know I LOVE dogs, and our Boston Terrier, Fitz, is my best little buddy.

Photo: Jeni’s

I Love…

What else about me? I love people and being around people. Working from home is actually not my favorite, but in the years to come we hope to have a studio space! I love to read and go on runs, spend time outside and I love a good glass of red wine 😉 I love to dance (not well), a good cry and if you’re into it, I’m an Enneagram 2! My line of work makes sense once you read all about 2’s and how we operate!

I also love that this spring (next month) we’re expecting our first baby together! We’re having a little boy, and we could not be more excited.

Nicole Clarey Photography

Our Wedding

Leigh Elizabeth Photography

I could do a whole post about our wedding, because to this day I still love it so much! That hot July day is exactly what opened my eyes to event planning. It’s where I felt I finally found a career where I could not only be creative, but care for people while doing so.

We had a big 230 person wedding (hindsight: don’t invite anyone and everyone, HA). I had so much fun hiring my vendors and coming up with my suuuuuuper trendy vintage eclectic style. It was so popular at the time!

Our day truly was the best, and a HUGE reason why Events Held Dear exists today! Yep, we’re one of those cliches: Girl gets married. Girl thinks she can plan weddings. Girl starts a business planning weddings for others. But in my defense, it’s been super successful!

A big part of why we started EHD and wanted to help alleviate the stress for others is because I didn’t make sure there was a point person for my big day, and because of that my family and friends had to do so much. My parents were wonderful in hiding the day-of “oopsies” from me, and I’m thankful for that. But, I do look back now and know that they did not enjoy the day as much as I did. Your family is just as much a part of the celebration as you are, and they deserve to have a wonderful time as well.

How We Started

I started Events Held Dear in 2015, the year after I got married, with my best friend. We started out small, offering services like making signage, setting up and tearing down decor and there wasn’t a whole lot of ‘real’ Planning and Design in the beginning. We were still figuring out who we were and what we wanted to offer. As great as it was, if I could go back in time, I would 100% invest in a business coach, marketing, courses that taught me about the industry, etc. It all ultimately ended up where we are today, but I wish my younger self had spent a little less time trying to book every client, and more time educating myself on the industry as a whole.

It eventually grew into who we are now: we leave making signage to the REAL professionals, and focus our time and talent on Planning and Design, our true passion.

Jenna Greenawalt Photography

As any small business owner will tell you, those first few years were hard. I was a newlywed working a full-time job, who all of the sudden had this side gig that just kept growing and growing! It was exciting, confusing and hands down, THE hardest thing I have ever done. The beginning took a toll on my marriage for a time, and there were months on end where I was waking up at 5:00 am to do emails, working 8:00am-5:00pm at an office job, squeezing in meetings and phone calls in the evenings, and then catching up on emails and general to-do’s again until midnight or later. It was exhausting. But so, so worth it now that we’re here.

Why I Love this Job

If you didn’t know, in 2019 ‘Event Coordinator’ was listed as the 6th most stressful job one can have. So why do I do this job, when the playing field is tough, emotions run high, stress runs even higher, and to be transparent, the pay is not that great nor guaranteed?

Although I do have a real, heartfelt passion for this job, it is just that at the end of the day: A job. I’m not in it to have an expensive hobby. But I knew pretty early on in life that I liked a challenge, I liked caring for people and loving them in an intentional way through my work, and also liked being in charge of my professional life. Taking care of my clients, their families and their loved ones while navigating planning a huge party that is a HUGE investment (!!!) is something that is such a reward for me.

The Carrs Photography

I often get asked what my favorite part of a wedding day is. It’s really hard to narrow down, but I’d probably say the moment late at night, when bride(s), groom(s) and all of their loved ones are carefree on the dance floor having an amazing time with their favorite people. I totally love the first kiss, the first dances and the moment a couple sees their reception design for the first time. It all feels so very worth it in those moments.

“We helped make them this happy. We made this happen” is a thought that always crosses my mind in the late hours of their celebration, though. Wedding planning is no small gig – did you know the average person spends 300-400 hours planning their wedding?! We love that we get to make this a full time job, taking that weight off of our client’s shoulders and giving them the time to enjoy the process.

Tracy Burch Photography

My Joy

I also love that this job is always bringing something new to the table. I like rhythm in my life, but I also like keeping things interesting, and events/weddings sure do that for me. Meeting new couples and taking their designs to the next level is the best feeling in the world. Getting to be creative in my job is something I always wanted, and while the hours are long being a business owner and there are SO many other non-creative aspects to it, it’s always so fun!

Tracy Burch Photography

It brings me a lot of joy to be able to care for others. It also brings me joy knowing I’m helping contribute to my family financially! Another great aspect to Events Held Dear is constantly building our team and training future event planners under us. Our team is always evolving, and I love bringing a new face to our business and to the event industry in general.

Hope this helps give you a better idea of who I am as a person! I personally love businesses where I get to connect to the people behind them, and we hope you feel that way about us, too.

Cheers!

  1. Anne Smith says:

    Beautifully written about a beautiful person who makes beautiful weddings happen. We loved being a guest at one of your weddings (Cynthia & Paul’s) at Juniper!!

    • Showit User says:

      Oh Anne, thank you!! That was a great one, and one we will always treasure 🙂 So glad you could be there to enjoy it, too!

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