So far, 2019 has been a big year for us. As most of you know, for over 20 years now Gracious Garlands has operated as a holiday greenery business, providing wreaths, garlands and Christmas trees for our beloved Austin and Nashville communities. Though our holiday operations will always be near and dear to our hearts, we saw a need among people in these communities to have year-round access to a user-friendly, trustworthy greenery provider that would supply only the most beautiful greens for events across all seasons. That’s why we’ve taken the leap to operating throughout the year! With four new seasonal collections of greenery, designed exclusively by Gracious Garlands, we’re prepared to deck the halls of every wedding, shower, dinner party, photoshoot, corporate event, etc. that comes our way. Okay, plug over.
At Gracious Garlands, our goal is to gather people around. This gathering might be around a table, around a couple celebrating a new covenant, or around a highly-anticipated unborn child. Perhaps it’s around a panel of experts, around a warm hearth, around a rising musician, or around a cause greater than ourselves. No matter what it is that’s bringing us together, we want to capture these gatherings and share them with the world. Gracious Garlands Storyshare is intended to do just that. In our new Storyshare series, we’ve partnered with a variety of individuals in our communities to tell their stories of celebration and how they used Gracious Garlands to encourage others to gather around. Our hope for this campaign is to spark creativity in the hearts of others, provide insight on how to practically decorate with greenery for any occasion, relay creative tips for installation and celebrate what’s currently worth being celebrated in the lives of each of our featured Storyshare guests!
To kick off our Storyshare campaign, we’ll be featuring the story of a role that many of us often find ourselves in – The Host/Hostess! Our dear friend and local Austinite, Kaelyn Terry partnered with us to tell her story of gathering others and using Gracious Garlands greenery as the hostess of her “galentine’s”-themed birthday dinner party. We’re not over our slight obsession with that idea yet.
Throughout our sharing of stories, Kaelyn expressed time and time again her love for people and connection. Her gifting is intentionality – trying to know people well and love them right where they are. In addition to leading intentional and purposeful relationships, our hostess might also be found climbing rocks, scouting out Austin’s best coffee or leading college-aged women through her UT Young Life small group.
Kaelyn’s love for her community was reflected in the essence of her birthday celebration. Organized by her besties, the dinner party was planned according to Kaelyn’s specific wishes and requests, making the celebration truly personal to who she is. Her request for one long table with one cohesive conversation was telling of her inclusive personality, not leaving a single soul on the outskirts. Twenty-one women, each deeply invested in by Kaelyn herself, would surround this table and celebrate another year of life for their cherished friend. “We didn’t have enough chairs for all of us — we ended up having to sit on throw pillows and blankets!” What a beautiful problem to stumble upon. A paint drop cloth served as a makeshift tablecloth for the night, with our 25-foot Silver Dollar Eucalyptus + Baby Eucalyptus + Olive Garland strung all the way from one end to the other. “It transformed everything,” says Kaelyn, “we were sitting on the floor with a paint drop cloth but the beautiful earthy simplicity of the garland changed everything.” Long tables and garland = soulmates. Tablescapes are the archetypal setting for garland. They’re the garland’s first love. Arguably the simplest way to use greenery, Kaelyn can testify to the fact that installing a tablescape requires just two tools – your hands. “We simply laid it out on the table with no need for additional materials” Though our greenery typically speaks for itself, we love watching customers use their creativity to add their own flare. Per the “galentine’s” theme of the dinner, Kaelyn opted to add a touch of floral with dahlias, baby’s breath, privet berries and pink wax flowers, tying the whole look together using red/pink hues that perfectly complemented the sage hues in the garland. After scattering a handful of dreamy candlesticks across the length of the garland, the tablescape was complete. Side note: Kaelyn wanted to extra-love on her guests by serving dinner on *real plates*. We’ve all been guilty of whipping out the “that’s-too-many-dishes-to-do-later” excuse for using paper plates, but our hostess wanted her best girls to know they were worth it. All in all, the final product showed intention and care towards the people that would attend, and reflected Kaelyn’s desire for intentionality to permeate the celebration.
With endless inspiration on social media and wide access to creative options all around Austin, we’re always deeply grateful when our customers choose Gracious Garlands to help with the aesthetic of their event. “Greenery is so easy, but it makes the biggest statement” said Kaelyn, “a bouquet of roses doesn’t create the same effect as having a garland stretching across the entire space; it’s so effective and fills every space so easily.” We may be a bit biased, but our hostess declared it “the most cost-effective and simplistic way to decorate a room without sacrificing any beauty”, and we agree!
Kaelyn admitted to having mild expectations for her birthday dinner, but came out on the other end with a full heart and an overflow of memories-made. The intentionality behind every detail made it feel like so much more than a simple dinner party. “That’s what Gracious Garlands does. Y’all create an atmosphere that calms and allows us to feel like there’s purpose behind this dinner. It’s not just a fancy dinner to be a fancy dinner. It’s intentional, it’s meaningful, and that’s what made it so special.” The real plates, the lit candles, the lush greenery – every thoughtful detail made the moment so authentic for her guests. Everyone left knowing they were spent time on, thought of, appreciated. What more could a hostess ask for?
While our goal is to gather people around, our mission is to make life’s moments more beautiful and less stressful. We strive to simplify the task of decorating by providing user-friendly greenery that brings life to the occasion, and equipping our customers with the knowledge they need to make it look beautiful. It’s a gift to be able to go above and beyond for individuals like Kaelyn, who are out to change their community through love and togetherness. “It was the perfect moment, and the most beautiful birthday I’ve ever had”.
So here’s to our hostess, Kaelyn Terry. Cheers to the love and life she brings to the souls that surround her. Cheers to the courage she exhibits in being intentional and kind. Cheers to her generosity in offering up her table as a place to gather and connect. And to the community of people in her life, the people who keep showing up, supporting and celebrating her well — cheers to you all!