When it comes to planning a wedding, it’s all those tiny details that transform the wedding reception into an affair. Details like table cloths, napkins, chair treatments, pillows and décor paneling might not be the first things that pop into your head when you first start planning your wedding, but these touches create drama and effect the vision you have for your day. Susie Perelman is amazing when it comes to these design details. She, along with her company, Mosaic, deal in “all things fabric” for weddings. Susie started Mosaic 15 years ago after working for a decade in events planning, marketing, and catering, and she gave a me a few minutes to discuss linens, balancing a business with family, and all the items that set the stage for the celebration!
What’s your favorite thing about weddings?
I love that each couple has a vision of what they want their dream day to be, and that we can contribute to making memories that will last a lifetime. And, oh yeah, that moment when the bride and groom first see each other is indescribable.
What’s your least favorite part of a wedding day?
Carrying heavy linens in service entries and through the “back of the house” to get to the ballroom or event space!
Tell me your craziest wedding story:
How about that time when the candlewax set the tabletop on fire during dinner, or that other time when the table legs weren’t locked in and collapsed in the middle of the reception? Or that time when a 15-year-old family member was sneaking drinks and ended up being taken away in an ambulance, or that time when the clear acrylic dance floor suspended over the pool partially collapsed? All true stories. We can laugh now…
Tell me about your favorite wedding ever.
Too many to just select one! How about two? When I first started Mosaic, a family member gave me full control over décor for their daughter’s wedding. How exciting that I could do anything I wanted, especially as I was launching my career! They let me do anything, from a colored aisle runner to overlays I designed and created in India for the tabletops. Between the pride I felt in designing the space, and the love I felt that night (my kids were in the wedding), it was a night to remember forever.
More recently, I helped a dear friend in the industry (someone I consider to be family by choice) in the design of his own wedding décor. Besides the incredible beauty of the space that was brought to life, this wedding had special meaning because of the relationship my family had with the groom and groom! The weight of the reality that in 2015 gay marriage is legal in Pennsylvania made this wedding extra special and profoundly meaningful to me (and to them too, duh!). As this happy couple waited 19 years to get married, with me and my entire family in attendance, and walking down the aisle (at age 50, go figure!) it was a moment to remember forever and always.
What’s one way that you love brides to make their weddings unique?
Make it your own. Think about what makes you, you. Think about how you and your fiancé first found connection and what continues to keep you happy as you face your future. Use these things in your wedding: favorite restaurants, activities, cities or sites… small inside jokes, signature drinks, signature colors, a favorite song. Use them to put your own stamp on your own special day.
Tell me about your family
I’ve been married for 24 years with three incredible daughters who are ages 18, 20 and 22. We have an adorable little puppy. They all keep me going and make me want to do my personal best in all aspects of my life.
How do you mix work and family life?
Well, I would call it a lopsided balance, which sways in different directions depending on what is draining more of my time on any particular day. Squeeze it all in, get it all done, trying not to sweat the few things I miss. I do this all while trying to stay focused on the long-term path. For me, family will always be first. However, I cannot devote such time to them without the stellar staff at Mosaic backing me up. My staff is like family, because I know that they will cover for me and do their best every day at work so that I can be available for my family. Their dedication and talent enable me to devote my time to my family and enjoy that time together. Now my kids are older, so there are fewer conflicts in time management. I want my kids to know that working matters, and making your mark on the world is important, so I lead by example. I work hard, and I play hard. I try to squeeze it all in!
If you could have a wedding again, where would you have it?
Barefoot on the beach at sunset with a dozen of my closest family friends and a reggae band. We would be far, far away somewhere that requires a passport and a full day to get to!
How can photographers best help you?
Photographers are the “boots on the ground” on event day. With all the planning that has taken place, clients want to capture and remember it all. And we do too. Because many of our setups are early in the day, or are ship jobs, we never actually see how things look in the end, even after we have devoted much time to the design with our clients. From a vendor perspective, we work really hard to make everything perfect and we want to see how it looks. We ask the photographers to take “scene setters” for us so that we can use these shots on our website, for reference for other clients to show our work, to get published and for social media. We need the great talent and great eye of the photographers to capture everything for us because we are not there. They help us grow our business every week when they are out “out in the trenches!”
What advice would you give brides when it comes to selecting an event planner or rental house?
Consider all the factors, and make a pros and cons list. There are pluses and minuses to everything, so figure out what is most important to you and go with it. If a space is drop dead gorgeous but has terrible acoustics, decide which matters more to you – hearing the band well or dining in a breathtaking venue?
When selecting a planner, look at their style of work and how they relate to their clients. Ask to speak to previous clients for reference. But honestly, I advise clients to go with their gut. If they like the planner’s design work, and love how they relate to them in conversation, most likely they will be setting themselves up for a win-win situation.
Thank you, Susie, for all of this great information and advice! Visit her at partymosiac.com.