As we enter into the second feature of our weddings across New England series (see the first installment here), we are stopping at Beautiful Things, where you are sure to finds some of the East coast’s most unique treasures.
Planning a wedding can be the best time of your life, however, sometimes a helping hand can be more than welcome. Maybe you need help customizing your decorations or want to say thank you to your guests with the perfect favor. No need to worry, Engaged has you covered as we travel to nearby Westport, Mass.
Beautiful Things, located in the Central Village just minutes from white sandy beaches, will do just the trick. The coastal boutique is not called “Beautiful,” for nothing: as soon as you enter the door not only will you be greeted with a smiling face, but unique pieces that will turn anyone’s “I do,” into “Oh, yes.”
Madeleine Whitley, the boutique’s owner, works hard to uncover the most perfect treasures and fill her boutique with one of a kind items. Her bridal services date back fourteen years to when she initially worked with calligraphy.
“I started out offering hand-lettered calligraphy for envelopes and place cards, and it just took off from there.” says Whitley.
Nowadays, Whitley focuses on helping local brides make the day they’ve always dreamed of become a reality.
“Everything we do is custom. This is so important because no two of my events are ever the same and we make sure your wedding is what you envisioned,” says Whitley. “My job as a designer is to take your thoughts and ideas and create a beautiful, cohesive design, from the entrance right down to the tiniest detail.”
So what exactly does Whitley do to achieve such perfection? Her various services and packages include:
- Design: “This includes sitting with you and first discussing what you envision your wedding to be like, what you want to happen that day, what you would like the room or tent to look like and determining your style and preferences. The design plan can include all or any of these design elements: the total look of the space, tablescapes, stationery, floor plans, favors and pretty much anything you can think of. Since what we do is custom to you and your wedding, the sky and budget are the limit. Your input and ideas are key to this design and I always welcome calls, emails and texts. I will then develop a design plan that will detail everything we will be doing. Since what we do is custom to you and your wedding we have lots of flexibility, many times creating just what you need to complete your design.”
- Setup: “This refers to the implementation of the design plan on the day of the wedding. I have a small team that helps with this. I am very involved in the setup and it’s important to me that what we create is what you have dreamed about.”
- Day of Coordination – Basic: “Day of coordination involves creating a timeline for your wedding day. I will also coordinate your rehearsal. We will be there from the beginning to the end of your event and will make sure everything happens the way you envision it. I will be your contact person during your actual wedding and reception, freeing you up to enjoy your day and not worry about the details.”
- “Day of Coordination – Total: This service includes the above mentioned “Basic” and more. I would take over the coordination of your wedding a few months before the actual day and introduce myself to all of your vendors. At this point I become the contact person and deal with all of the communication, details and problems. You only need to call me and I will take care of everything from there on in. You are still very much involved with everything, the only difference is that you no longer have to make all the phone calls and follow up on hundreds of details. It’s called “Day of Coordination”, but it really should be called “Months of Coordination” because of all that is involved in the months and weeks leading up to your wedding.”
However, that is not all Whitley has to offer. She also gives brides the option of custom services which helps to bring out the originality of your day.
“Our Custom Services can include stationery design, tablescapes, favors, card holders, centerpieces, linen rentals, rental of cake stands and other items… Pretty much anything related to a wedding,” says Whitley.
But what inspires the designer when she’s helping the bride plan her special day?
“Her vision of what she wants her day to be like. I love designing and planning weddings because they are such personal events,” says Whitley. “I encourage my brides to incorporate both hers and her husband-to-be’s personality, things that are special to both of the them.”
Coming from New England and a coastal town, you can already guess what her most popular themes are…the beach and all things nautical. But no matter what the theme may be, she can make magic happen with her specialties in design and tented weddings.
“They are much different than a typical celebration held in a facility. They have different issues,” says Whitley. “But I actually love doing a tented event because this is where my specialty really comes into play. A tent is a blank canvas just waiting for you to fill in with your vision.”
Inspiration and ideas can come from all over, and one way to keep up-to-date is to keep your eyes open.
“I am constantly on the lookout for ideas, from magazines to Pinterest to everyday life. I do try to keep up with the trends and having a boutique really helps with that,” says Whitley. “I encourage my brides to start a Pinterest page, if they haven’t already, and to start pinning everything that appeals to them. It doesn’t matter if an idea is out of the budget, just keep pinning. This helps me to get an idea of what they like and that helps give me a direction to go in for their design.”
Then it’s only natural that while working hand-in-hand with the bride-to-be and watching her grow from the start of the prep work, you become a piece of her big day.
“I love being a part of this very special process, it’s a privilege really. This is such an exciting time in a bride’s life and sharing it with her in my own little way makes me feel special too,” says Whitley. “I really do have the best job.”
And as for the process itself, Whitley explains,”When I first meet with a bride it’s months or a year or two before their wedding. They are excited and are just starting their planning. They have so many ideas and things they want to do. Their stress level is low, but the closer their big day gets the more stress there is. By this time we are at the end of the process and just need to implement the plan. This is where they are happy that they have me to coordinate and setup.”
But nothing is as telling as a glowing review. As one of Whitley’s former brides put it, ‘Madeleine and her crew are the greatest. She coordinated and helped design my wedding. I wanted my day to be perfect and it literally was; everything about it. Through the planning process, any questions I had, she was right on top of it. Any little idea I had for design, she ran with it. Any detail I forgot, she remembered. It got to the point where I said, ‘I don’t care anymore, you take care of it,’ and she did.”
With your big day quickly approaching, Whitley leaves brides with a bit of inspiration to enjoy the prep work of planning your momentous day.
“Relax and enjoy the process. Decide what is most important to you and your husband-to-be and make sure that, whatever that is, plays a big part in your wedding,” says Whitley. “Don’t try to include every idea you like and don’t worry if not everything goes the way you planned. Life happens, even in the best planned weddings. Be flexible and just enjoy your day.”
If you are looking for any other type of event planning, Whitley also does wedding showers, birthdays, Christmas parties, corporate parties, christenings and more. For more information you can visit Beautiful Things’ website or call (508)-636-3300.