Not sure where to even begin with this. As an event professional who has devoted her entire career to creating beautiful experiences for couples in love and all of their loved ones, and celebrations for every occasion under the stars, “social distancing” is like, SAY WHAT? To add insult to injury, our amazing couples are heartbroken. This unprecedented event has confronted many of us to do some serious soul searching. You know that saying “It’s not personal, it’s just business”? It makes me cringe to even write out the words on this page, because this is so very personal, and it’s also our business. And if it weren’t personal, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, do it well, and be so fulfilled by the work. It is, every-which-way, personal. And…wait for it…it’s also our business.
COVID-19 has side swiped the event industry and all of our incredible clients. It’s an industry which is solely devoted to social gatherings. Imagine what it takes and all of the professionals who are needed: Venues, Caterers, Event Planners, Florists, Cake Designers, Photographers, Entertainers, Lighting Designers, Rental Companies, Hair and Make Up Artists, Hotels, and so many more. The majority of us are small “mom & pop” businesses, who employ hard-working, passionate creatives who, as much as they deserve it, are not here making 6-figure salaries, with swelling 401k’s. Rather they are moved by the creative work, and the soul-filling rewards that result from their physical work on the job! They have tired muscles and work long hours on their feet, but they are the most passionate, caring people I know!
2020 was looking bright. Our first two quarters were filled nicely with weddings and celebrations of all kinds! Flowers were being ordered, staff was getting hired and clients were filling with excitement as their big day (and in most cases, many months of planning) was approaching. Sadly, as of last week every wedding and event for the next 8-weeks was canceled. And given the “unknown” of how long this crisis will last, we are bracing for worse. I spent this past week speaking with clients who were either tearfully heartbroken or scrambling for refunds and the emotions were running very high. Please know, we have shed our own tears, we are all trying to wrap our heads around the surreal nature of what’s going on, and we are all impacted by it.
But here’s the thing, we WILL get through this. Your celebration WILL happen. These chairs will not remain empty! And just think of the stories you can tell your grandchildren of how you got married on the heels of a pandemic!! Too soon? Ok, let’s walk it back. This crisis is an opportunity to reach into all of our hearts and tap into the compassion and love we all have inside of us. Do not cancel your wedding, postpone it. Do not ask for refunds, rather offer to make another installment in your already contracted event, to help your vendors weather this storm. Because here’s what will happen…when your new event date arrives, that vendor is going to strap on their super-hero cape, rally their army of forces, and take on an unimaginable level of strength and determination to make sure your celebration surpasses everything you ever dreamed possible. Because of the personal investment they have in you, and the trust you’ve instilled in us, and the entire story surrounding getting us to this day, there will be no stopping us!
And oh yah, let’s remember why we’re here in the first place: LOVE. Whether it’s uniting two people in marriage, celebrating a new baby’s arrival, a birthday, a shower, and yes even a memorial, it’s all inspired by love. The sappiest, most sentimental, mushy people you will ever meet are the ones you hired as your event professionals.
Let us finish the job.
XO -Toby Kassoy (Founder, Lilla Bello)
Photo credits: Cover image: Maya Myers Photography 1.) Caroline Tran 2.) Maya Myers Photography 3.) M. Hart Photography
Event Producer Credits: 1.) Trisha Haner 2.) Percy Sales Events 3.) Tessa Lyn Events
Venue Credits: 1.) Bel Air Bay Club 2.) Hotel Figueroa 3.) Casa Del Mar
Toby Kassoy, was born and raised in Southern California. In her college years she went up to Eugene Oregon, where she first fell in love with floristry. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she spent 8 years working in the Entertainment industry, while all along, flowers were always tugging on her heartstrings. In 2004 she decided to leave her corporate job and open Lilla Bello, aptly named after the beautiful lilac bushes she remembers outside her kitchen window in Oregon.