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A Toast to Life Full of Small Celebrations

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Monday morning started out like any other Monday morning – quiet. As much as I wanted to stay in bed for just a bit longer, I had so much to do.  I was just about to leave the house when I received a phone call from my mom. Her noticeable grim tone worried me.

My sweet niece had passed away during the night at a young age of 29. I felt an overwhelming feeling of shock and disbelief. I remain devastated.

Her name was Tiffani. I always thought of her as my sweet Tiffani. She was my number one fan, always intrigued by the photographs in the magazine and often asked me to sign a copy for her when a new issue would come out.

Despite a number of serious health conditions that she battled with all her life, if you ever met Tiffani in person, her diminishing health would not be the first thing you would notice. Instead, you would be immediately drawn to her bubbling personality and warm radiant demeanor as she would welcome friends, family and strangers alike. Even though she was a young lady, Tiffani was a child at heart.

Just as how no one who met her could forget her exuberant laughs, she never forgot anyone’s face. Even after years of meeting someone, Tiffani would ask me how he or she was doing. Her sincere concern for others, despite her own ailing health, displayed her selflessness and inner resilience.

In spite of her young age, Tiffani wisely taught me, without really having to put it into words, the imperativeness to live for the present. As a person who probably knew from the very beginning that she had less sand in her hourglass, Tiffani took delight in every minute milestone, even if they had no significance.

On Facebook, I always see inspirational quotes passed around to revel the moment and to seize the day. However, it is easy to neglect such simple wisdom. In Tiffani’s memory, her beautiful smile etched in my mind, serves as a reminder not to mourn her death, but to celebrate her life … and mine as well. Therefore, I will take a respite from the daily “to do” list and enjoy something simple like this beautiful New England summer day, first by blowing away my gray clouds.

A toast to life full of small celebrations,

Grace Ormonde

P.S. This is a photo of Tiffani and my goat Socrates. When she first placed eyes on him, Tiffani ran to Socrates and hugged him unconditionally as she would all those that she loved.

tiffani and socrates

oxo

Thoughts on The Royal Wedding

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The Royal Wedding
This week marks the culmination of the preparations for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In less than 24 hours, the anticipation that has been building since the announcement of their engagement will be rewarded with what will certainly be a milestone event that will influence weddings for years to come.

For the past several weeks, every media outlet has provided some sort of coverage of The Royal Wedding event. Reports range from facts to speculation and predictions. To say that this much-anticipated wedding has created a media frenzy would be an understatement. My office has been inundated with press releases, article submissions and everything imaginable and unimaginable that has some take, twist or twirl on The Royal Wedding. Even some of my editors couldn’t resist partaking in the predictions and suggestions.

In addition to the media coverage, there are a number of parties hosted to celebrate this wedding. It was at one such party last week, hosted at The Pierre (a Taj hotel) in New York by friend and lifestyle aficionado, Colin Cowie, where he predicted a return to Royal Elegance for weddings. I chatted with him about all that has been unfolding around The Royal Wedding.

“The world is fascinated by celebrity,” noted Colin, adding: “and there is no greater celebrity than her royal majesty the Queen and the royal family at large.” He conjured that Kate’s choices for her wedding gown, the flowers, the cake and every single other element of this event will have an enormous impact on the wedding industry. In a recent interview, David Reiss, of the Reiss fashion chain noted that after Kate appeared in that blue dress for the engagement announcement, they were selling about one dress every minute for the next two days. And that was only the engagement dress.

The marketing opportunities and the merchandising value of this event will continue to be enormous. But setting all that aside, this wedding shares a common thread with every other wedding. At its core, it is the manifestation of love between the couple and a celebration of that love. Prince William and Kate share the same excitement, enthusiasm, anticipation and exhilaration as any other couple getting married. Their wedding has certainly drawn more attention and the magnitude of its impact is substantially more significant, but fundamentally it remains a celebration of that ancient ritual of hope and promise bringing two people together for a lifetime of creating and sharing experiences and enriching each other through the power of love.

Each of us, for our own reasons, will watch or not watch The Royal Wedding unfold. However, everyone will relate to the feeling of love that made it possible. Personally, I wish the royal couple harmony and happiness in their journey through life. And in case you are wondering, rest assured, I’ll be up watching at 4 a.m. … with coffee in hand and possibly wearing a hat as a nod to the bride-to-be. — Grace Ormonde

Tiara: Cartier, Paris, 1905, platinum, seven pear-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 17 carats in total, old and rose-cut diamonds, millegrain setting. Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection, © Cartier 30/03/10

oxo

Celebrating Love

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Yanni and Grace

In celebration of “love month” Grace wanted to share with you the story of how her and Yanni met and fell in love.

My friend Ann insisted that I go with her to Newport for a Greek festival. I wasn’t feeling up to it, but I figured what the hell. Eventually, we were dancing, eating roasted lamb and baklava and playing roulette. After some wine, I was trying to do Greek line dancing when Yanni came out of nowhere and said: “You look like you want to dance, do you want me to show you how?”

Eventually I was able to follow along and appreciated his willingness to help. As we were talking, he mentioned how he was worried about his car because he had parked it illegally. I thought to myself, “Oh god, this guy is trying to pick me up and wants to show me his fancy car.” But when we got there, he walked toward a blue Honda Civic and I asked if that was his car. When he said “yes, why?” I figured I can trust him. We ended up going for a walk and got a drink at the Newport Marriott (now the Newport Hyatt). Looking out the windows at the water, Frank Sinatra was playing and Yanni asked if I wanted to dance. So we did and then he kissed me. Eventually, I had to go back to meet my friend and Yanni asked for my number.

Living in a strict Portuguese household, I would normally never give my number out, but I thought he was harmless and gave it to him. A few days went by and he finally called. He started taking me to concerts and festivals and we saw each other more and more. Although we spent a lot of time together, he was younger than I was and I kept trying to fix him up with younger friends, but he kept insisting that he was interested in me.

That winter, he asked if I wanted to go to Montreal for New Year’s. In order to go, I had to lie to my parents and told my mom I was going skiing with friends (which I ended up getting in big trouble for later). Yanni knew I loved Placido Domingo. On the drive home, going through snowy Vermont on a beautiful clear day, he stopped at a small plaza that had a record store. He asked me to wait in the car and returned with a Placido Domingo tape. We listened to it the whole drive home. I fell in love with him at that moment. He just did things that touched my heart.

Four years later, Yanni proposed, they got married in Newport, RI and the rest is history.

Now we want to hear your love story. Submissions should be sent to info@weddingstylemagazine.com about how you and your fiancé met and fell in love. They are due by Wednesday, February 9th and on Valentine’s Day the three most romantic and compelling stories will be selected as winners and will be announced on our website WeddingStyleMagazine.com Each of the three winners will receive a signed copy of Grace’s hardcover book: Grace Ormonde Weddings – “being in love never goes out of style.”

Additionally, for a limited time only, for all of you that are engaged or get engaged on Valentine’s Day, Grace Ormonde Weddings – “being in love never goes out of style.” will be available for a very special price of $89 February 7th-17th only. Visit www.graceormondestore.com to order your copy.

Stay tuned over the weeks to come to hear how Grace got started in this business, favorite photos, weddings and more. PS – the photo shown was taken quite some time ago by Cheryl Richards.

oxo

A Magical Evening at The Plaza Hotel in New York

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

My journey started in April. 18 cities later, I found myself in New York hosting the last party of the season for my new book Grace Ormonde Weddings- being in love never goes out of style. It turned out to be a magical evening.

New York is one of my favorite cities. During the day you get the sense that so much is happening that affects the whole world: The UN, Wall Street, business deals, commerce. And then at night, as the sun sets and the lights start twinkling, the city transforms itself into something totally different and a new kind of energy emerges. Its captivating.

So on the evening of October 15th, one of the city’s landmarks, The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel, was transformed into what I can only describe as an amazing setting. The transformation was a testament to what happens through the collaboration of talented professionals. The decor, food, entertainment and presence of my guests, created an evening I will always remember.

I would like to extend a heart-felt thank you namely to the talented professionals who created that magical evening at The Palm Court:

The Plaza Hotel
CPS Events at The Plaza
Harriette Rose Katz and Gourmet Advisory Services
Ed Libby & Co.
Sylvia Weinstock Cakes
Roberta Karsch / Resource One Inc.
Luxe Event Rentals
Golf at Tantawan Bloom
Nuage Designs
Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging
Elan Artists
Hank Lane Music
The Oak Room
The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English
Okomoto Studio
Kleinfeld Men
Vermont Vodka
Elegant Occassions
Cafe a la Carte and
and James Chung of Ichiban Modern Asian Cuisine.

I have so many things to be thankful for in my life. One of the most rewarding ones is the relationships I have built over the years. This book tour afforded me the opportunity to see so many of you in a social setting and for that I am grateful. I truly appreciate your support and all your kind words.

with my warmest regards,

Grace Ormonde

photography by Lawrence Chan-Tofurious /Chance Yeh/PatrickMcMullan

oxo

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I read an interesting tweet by Lawrence Chan of Tofurious

“believe six impossible things before breakfast” counsels Alice [In Wonderland]

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the words resonate with me very well. I have been in the wedding business for 24 years now. There were times when light at the end of the tunnel seemed bleak. Responses from family members and friends were all the same – impossible.

In hindsight, Wedding Style Magazine is now available in all major book and magazine outlets, The Grand Bridal Show always won warm cheers and my local magazine still brings awareness for amazing New England wedding events.

The whole point of this is to exercise creativity and choice. The moment we embrace impossibility, we automatically inhibit ourselves. This is applicable for both business and craft – photography, cinematography, floral, cake, etc.

So once in a while on a quiet day, rather than thinking logistically (such as a SWOT analysis), think creatively. In Yanni’s context, if you were to cast a fishing pole, just how impossibly big of a fish can you catch? Dream big! Here’s the cool part – it’s okay to not achieve every goal. Just enjoy the process as it unfolds.

Quiet Moment

So while at WPPI, I met this handsomely tall Asian photographer – Jason Huang. I told him that he should be a male model, but he’s already committed to wedding photography.

quiet wedding ceremony

Sincerely,

Grace Ormonde

oxo

WPPI Recap and Cover Submission

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

As I compose this post, I am currently in San Francisco at an event called Wedding 360 where some of the nation’s top wedding coordinators and event designers are meeting. Days before that, I was in Los Angeles doing some planning with my publicists regarding television appearances. However, let’s turn the clock back just a little bit more.

One week ago, I was in Las Vegas at a convention called WPPI (Wedding Portrait Photographers International). Since I was in the area shooting table-tops and foods from all of the 5-star resorts, Lawrence Chan of Tofurious and Mike Colon invited me to speak at their booth and seminar respectively.

My schedule is…just a bit crazy! While on this note, I would like to apologize for my attempt at a daily post – you can say that I was a bit ambitious – haha!

Anyway, I just wanted to express my appreciation for everyone who came out and shared their wonderful work. Simply amazing! The following are a few images that Mike Larson took.

wppi grace ormonde

wppi grace ormonde

wppi grace ormonde

wppi grace ormonde

Boy, I love Las Vegas! The restaurants are divine! However, I must admit that there were some pretentious places that the quality was so poor that I even had difficulty choosing an entree… (no names).

Cover Submissions

I talked about picking one image for my next cover at WPPI. If you’re interested in submitting an image, please submit it here and title it “COVER” so that I will know.

For those who were there, I like images that move me – especially ones of sexy couples!

Thanks and talk soon,

Grace Ormonde

oxo