For my second interview with Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Pinehurst wedding vendors I am talking with Southern Pines Wedding Planning and Event expert Patti Ranck of Indigo Earth Events.
Patti is one of the most open-minded and creative people you will ever meet and it was a great time getting to sit down and interview her.
MT: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your Southern Pines wedding planning business, Indigo Earth Designs?
PR: For many years I was a single mom supporting four kids so I worked a lot of different jobs, but I also had this art background. For my kids I used to have these big parties and make these piñatas and playhouses and then people started asking if they could hire me to do things for their kids.
I like to cook a lot so I started with the crazy cakes on my own. I’m very into organic so I always do it that way – organic or vegan – and it kind of evolved from me just trying to get my art out while earning a living and raising kids and then people just seeing it and asking me to do the same for them.
Now, my kids are grown and I’m remarried and my husband asked me what I wanted to do now that I am not supporting the kids anymore? I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it was just to continue with events and especially zero in on weddings.
I don’t know if some people see it as frivolous, because they see it as just decorating, but in my mind it is such a special day for everyone if I can help make that for them, I get so excited. My daughter is planning to get married right now and we are both so excited and having so much fun with planning and researching. I just love events so much. When I’m not doing an event I’m at home on the iPad researching or I’m drawing or in a fabric store. I really feel like it’s a part of me and if I weren’t doing it I just wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now.
MT: We were talking a bit before we started the interview and you were saying how you do a lot of different things. Indigo Earth Events is your event company. Do you have any other businesses or do you do all of these things under your one company?
PR: I do all of it under Indigo Earth Events.
I did for awhile have an organic bakery in Southern Pines where I did primarily event cakes and I would also do dessert tables and whatever decorating they might want and it fanned out from there.
My end goal is to sort of be a one stop shop. If they want I can do some florals for them, paint them custom signs. My big thing is to be sustainable. I paint my signs on barn wood or anything that I can repurpose. The dreamcatchers that I make are almost 100% repurposed or re-made from old curtains or trim or dresses or just any type of fabric that I see.
I still make cakes and I do a lot of the sugar work for flowers or toppers to go on the cakes so if a couple wants a topper to look like them or their dog I can do that for them.
I offer decorating, design, set-up and tear down at events. I also have vintage rentals which are sustainable in themselves.
Pretty much if someone brings something to me that they have seen online or on Pinterest I will try to make some version of it for them. I don’t want to copy identically because we want to put their personality into it as well, but we can find out what they want, give them a detailed sketch, they approve it and then we go from there.
MT: When you are not working on a wedding what are you doing?
PR: I sell some of the dream catchers and things like that just to continue making things. I’m one of those people who is not good at sitting still so I am forever making. Even if I’m sewing pillows or making things for baby showers – which have become a really big thing – I just continue making things.
MT: What is your favorite thing to make?
PR: I like doing the sugar work. I like the challenge of it and the whole sculpture aspect. It almost has to do with waiting to because you have to shade everything and then it is such a challenge to discover how are you going to structure it? How will it be supported? There has to be some sort of armature, how is it going to stand up? The sugar work is my favorite and the dreamcatchers would probably be second.
MT: We all know that weddings are kinda crazy events and that all kinds of things happen on a wedding day. Can you share a story of the craziest thing that you’ve seen happen at a wedding?
PR: Mostly, the vendors around here are all so great that they can really roll with it and when something happens you barely even notice. There was one time, this was out at Rubicon Farm, it was pouring rain and it rained so hard while I was setting up that it filled the top of the tent and it collapsed inward. I was the only one there and I was scrambling for people who could come help me prop it back up! Everyone chipped in and helped, I had a bunch of towels in my car and we dried it all off and we pulled it off. That was probably one of my biggest, “Oh my God, what am I going to do” moments as I was standing there by myself though. Usually I am seen and not heard and I had stayed a little after because of the rain delays and of course, I have curly hair, so it was like Monica on Friends when they go to Jamaica. It was bigger than me so that was kind of a crazy impression that I made, but even with that and all the rain the bride handled it all with such grace.
MT: If I were to ask your close friends to describe you in five words, which five words would they choose?
PR: Creative. This is not going to be one word because I don’t know one word for it off the top of my head, but almost a child like wonder. I’m almost like a tourist everywhere. I get so excited or enthusiastic. I get inspiration from everywhere and I just get so excited when I am doing an event for somebody so I would say maybe over-enthusiastic. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. Ha! I would hope that they would say good hearted. After having gone through a lot on my end with my kids I always look at other people and even if they might be a little grouchy or something I try to think that they might have some story. I don’t know what’s going on with them so I always try to be a little nicer – nice and good hearted. I always try to make an effort because I know it made a difference when people did that for me and I want to pay it forward. I try to teach my kids that as well. Whatever happens in life, remember where you came from and that someone else might be going through their journey and you can help them too.
MT: That feeds into what my next question was going to be which is do you have a quote that you live by or think of often that guides your life?
PR: Yes, in fact I just found it on Instagram and forwarded it to my kids recently. My grandmother always taught us this growing up. She said, “Whatever happens to you today – it could be good or bad, but especially think about the bad – something good will always come of it up ahead.” You might not see it today, you might not see it tomorrow, but one day you’re going to see it and you’re going to know. Every experience makes you the person you’re going to be so no matter what happens to you something good always comes out of it in the end.
MT: We all kind of have our little quirks…
PR: So many!
MT: That make us a little different or special. What would you say is your favorite quirk about yourself and why?
PR: My favorite quirk, sometimes it works against me, but I’m really super detail oriented. Sometimes I really wish that I didn’t always notice that there is something over there that is not quite right. It’s not so much perfectionism because I don’t have to have everything just so but I just really notice all of the details and it helps me with what I do because obviously an event is made up of details that all become one. But every once in a while I get a little to caught up on a detail and I need to take a step back, but overall I thinks it helps me.
MT: What is your favorite thing about weddings or your favorite part of the wedding day?
PR: I really love everything from the planning on but I think when I am able to still begin the vicinity and I get to see their expressions when they see the finished design and I think to myself, “Yes, I did a good thing! I helped make someone’s day.” Really, typically it should be a once in a lifetime day and if I can help make that moment for someone, when I see their expression that is really special.
MT: Do you have an overarching philosophy when it come to planning weddings and how you work with clients?
PR: I always like to work off of a set plan. That is my detail oriented mind again. There is always a sketch and a plan, but you also always know that you need to be flexible because nothing will ever be identical from the sketch to the finished display. You’re taking it from two dimensions to three dimensions and you just never know what’s going to happen. I could walk in and all my candles could be melted or it could rain, like that wedding at Rubicon Farm. You just never know. So, as detail oriented as I am I also know that you have to be flexible.
MT: What do you think is the worst advice people in your industry give to couples?
PR: The only thing that I don’t like is when I hear from brides that someone told them, “Oh, no you can’t do that. There’s no way.” I’m talking from a design perspective here. Maybe you can’t do that identical thing, but there is no reason that you can’t have some version of what it is you want. If it’s because of budget or space or your venue has specific rules or whatever there is no reason that you can’t make a version of what your dream is. Half of what we are doing here is emotion. We’re building emotion, a setting, a feeling. I want somebody to walk into a different world. This is a day unlike any other day they are ever going to have in their life and I want it to be the world that they dreamed of.
MT: Right now it is really trendy to have something other than cake for your wedding dessert. Cupcakes have been really trendy, I’ve seen donuts, pies… What are your feelings about this trend? You make cakes, so obviously you like cakes, but do you like this trend?
PR: As long as someone is happy with what they get I am not a big person for standing on tradition. I don’t try to push people just because I make cakes they have to have a cake. The first thing that I tell people is you have to do what you like. Even with colors. I will meet a person and they are dressed all in bright colors and their car is a bright color and we start to talk about their color scheme for the wedding and they say, “Well I guess that I am supposed to pick pastels…”. You aren’t supposed to do anything. You’re supposed to do what you are a couple like and what you are drawn to. I’m not really a fan of trends because I think that means that it has been done a lot and now people see it and think that is what they are supposed to do and to me, it’s your wedding and it is very personal. It is your day and you should do what speaks to you. I did a day of the dead topper for someone and it had a festival theme and it was very bright and colorful. Whatever somebody picks, it’s your day, just do it. I don’t recommend trends and I don’t stand on tradition. Be yourself that’s the biggest thing.
MT: I think of it a lot like buying art. You can go to a gallery and look at the art on the walls and think a lot of it is pretty, but you don’t want to take them all home.
PR: Exactly! I see a lot of clothes people wear and I think, “Wow, that looks awesome on them.” But they just wouldn’t suit my personality. Even then, making art or buying art, it’s an emotion. When you feel that and you you get that spark and you have that initial excitement, that’s what you should go with. Pretty much for everything across the board in life, except for maybe crazy things like bungee jumping. You might want to give that a second thought. It’s all based on emotion and your personalities and that’s what you need to stick with. People are going to try to give you advice and you have to just smile, say thank you, and go do what you want to do.