In the middle of March 2013, Emily McCollum, Founder and Creative Director of Emily Grace Design, found herself in a situation less than ideal for her industry. She was tending to her usual weekend activity of bringing to life a wedding and reception that involved many previous months of design and creation, when Mother Nature decided to step in and shake things up. McCollum said, “Everything imaginable that could possibly go wrong was. The back up plans for back up plans was falling short. Tents were broken in half; decorations were smashed, generators were brought in to keep the music going. Thankfully, our persistence and quick thinking each time something went wrong helped us ride out the unbelievable storm. But more than anything, my bride, her now husband and their family were completely wonderful.” McCollum explains, “The attitude this family exemplified was one of complete beauty and grace.” This exact scenario is what keeps McCollum moving forward from one planning to the next. With approximately 20 weddings and a variety of other styling occasions brought to fruition this far, the only place to go from here for EGD, as Emily refers to her company in short, is to the craft store to retrieve supplies for the next event in motion.
McCollum was born in 1987 in Ocala, Fla. She has always appreciated creative processes and thrived for events planning. By the time McCollum was in college at the University of Miami, she was actively bringing life to concepts for numerous opportunities. As the Vice President of her sorority, McCollum orchestrated celebratory moments consistently. There was no opportunity too small to be planned for. After working with Sirius Radio in a Public Relations position in the later part of college, McCollum helped with events for celebrities like LL Cool J, Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. McCollum knew her passion for styling occasions was growing and she was excited to see where it might take her.
Upon graduating from “UM” with a bachelors in Communication and Public Relations with a focus in Event Management, McCollum headed north to New York City. Once there, McCollum joined the team of Curtain Up Events as an Associate Planner and Designer. This opportunity brought practical understanding and a clear realization that she was doing what she loved to do as her job. Once McCollum decided to venture back south after nearly a year and a half in the city, she was not planning to launch her own business initially. As life would have it, sometimes an idea comes from simple conversation. When a family acquaintance reached out to her in September 2010 asking for assistance to plan her wedding, the launch of Emily Grade Design transpired. As McCollum states “Once I received that phone call, the first package was created.”
Now, entering its third year, EGD has several packages to choose from and a very invested coordinator ready to bring each client’s vision for their special event to fulfillment. McCollum works hand in hand with all clients “to take their idea and mold it to bring a clear vision to their dream.” Baby showers, children’s birthday parties, and weddings are just some examples of events McCollum can do. As far as weddings, McCollum is prepared to be as much a part of what any client desires. From engagement parties and bridal showers to day of event duties, McCollum provides a diligent array of planning and support. McCollum’s explanation is, “I am available to make sure you are not missing out on any specific details in the planning process. From the dreaming stage, to the making it happen moments, I am there.”
There seems to be many more years to come for this design company, just telling from the recognition EGD has received this far. To name a few accomplishments, McCollum’s business has been nationally recognized through websites and blogs such as Every Last Detail and Style Me Pretty. This year already, EGD met a new milestone of success by being featured for the first time in print with Weddings Illustrated for their 2013 spring/summer issue.
McCollum says the main inspiration behind what she does is simple. The people she interacts with make EGD everything it aims to be and what she wants to offer. “I wouldn’t do this without the satisfaction of helping not a client, but a friend, meet their dream.” As for where McCollum would love to see her vision go, she is all about building a brand that offers numerous ways to assist with coordinating events. McCollum also plans to keep bringing her abilities, talents, smile and emergency moment toolboxes to each and every opportunity she has. If she can take burdens off anyone who enlists her help to create his or her ideal event, McCollum will gladly keep doing what she’s doing.