I am a retired event designer with a passion for entertaining!
I established Alianza Celebrations & Events, a wedding consultation & planning firm, in 1997 after many years in corporate and non-profit event planning.
(Click on any image, then click again to enhance/enlarge it for greater detail.)
My first “warehouse” was a guest room walk-in closet in my condominium. I didn’t have a lot of inventory as I was focusing on consulting and coordination only. In this closet were just a few items I thought clients might forget about that I wanted to have handy.
To increase consulting traffic, I began participating in some of the smaller wedding shows in town. I hardly had enough knick-knacks to fill the 10′ x 10′ space! Still, with help from a few friends, I pulled it off. Things started to pick up.
When I married and moved into a larger home, I commandeered the unfinished basement – about 1200 sq. feet – for my office and growing “warehouse” space. Seems that as clients would come to meet with me, they’d admire items in our home and ask to borrow them for their reception. Soon it became evident I was not “just consulting and coordinating” anymore, and I needed a larger space. So my husband and I went looking.
We found a great space (a former house that just needed a little paint and TLC) about a mile from our home, and on January 1, 2000, Alianza Celebrations opened its doors in a public venue.
My satellite company, Something Borrowed Fine Rentals, was created in 2001. Rather than focusing on basic rental needs, my company honed in on uncommon, glitzy elements or “the bling” that makes a table stand out. I slowly began to amass a sizable inventory, and it was all either displayed on the showroom floor or stored in the basement and attic of the shop.
In 2002 I finally had enough money and nerve to sign up for the biggest wedding show in town, the KC Weddings (magazine) Bridal Spectacular. This time my 10′ x 10′ booth had lots of pretty silver, crystal and other specialty items to entice wedding shoppers.
I kept doing bridal shows, building Something Borrowed to a bigger and stronger “Mom & Pop” company while continuing to consult and coordinate some of Kansas City’s premiere weddings.
As business continued to grow, so did the inventory. That meant it was time to upgrade storage space once again. So in addition to the storage at the shop, I acquired several bins at a nearby Storage Mart.
Over time, both Alianza Celebrations and Something Borrowed Fine Rentals received various accolades, and I was occasionally called upon by broadcast and print media to lend my expertise on articles about wedding planning.
I was even written up in the Kansas City Star a couple of times as a kind of “celebrity business owner”, and in 2005, I did a segment about wedding planning on “The Walt Bodine Show” on local KCUR radio. I later did a radio voice-over for “Enchanting Moments, Magical Memories – Creating the Wedding Reception of Your Dreams” with local DJ, Ron Ruth!
In 2006, both Alianza Celebrations and Something Borrowed Fine Rentals were voted among the “Best of the Best” in three categories by readers of The Independent, Kansas City’s only social journal (est. 1899).
In 2008 I participated in my final wedding show. This time I was a co-sponsor of the event and had a massive open booth in the center of the show floor very near the fashion show runway which I decorated that year. This was HUGE (a LONG way from that little closet in the condo! 😉 ), and business was brisk. And then “it” happened. The back pain I’d struggled with for many years got even worse. After a couple of years of intense physical therapy, I decided it was time to hang it up.
Although I retired from the event planning industry in 2010 and (foolishly!) sold the bulk of our inventory, I maintain a fondness for beautifully-crafted special occasions, especially creative tablescapes.
I soon began rebuilding my inventory, this time including a vast array of dishes, stemware, flatware, and linens. It became quickly apparent more space would be needed to accommodate it all. (If you’d like to see my current inventory “warehouse”, click HERE. You might get a good laugh out of it, too!)
I launched Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One in September of 2010 in an effort to reach out to and educate others interested in creating memorable tablescapes for personal events. In 2012 I began teaching “The Art of Tablescaping” through MCC-Longview’s Community Education department.
My tablescape work has been featured on the now-defunct iVillage.com (2012),
KCTV-5 (Kansas City, MO) “Better Kansas City” morning show (2012 – current),
in “Cottages & Bungalows” magazine (April 2013 issue),
in “Kansas City At Home” magazine (January 2015 issue)
and in “EA Bride Magazine“.
My tablescaping expertise has also been covered by one of the nation’s leading linen companies, LinenTablecloth.com.
I am the mother of one, stepmother of two, and a grandmother. I am grateful to have the love and unending support of my parents, Mr. James B. (deceased) and Senator Yvonne S. Wilson (Ret.), who I so deeply admire and adore. I live with my wonderfully patient, supportive, helpful, and handsome husband (who I like to call the Tablescape Whisperer), in a quaintly beautiful suburb of Kansas City, Mo. And though it may be incredibly sappy to do so, I dedicate this blog to him. Without his encouragement, help, critical eye and undying devotion, I would not be able to do what I love.