I have to say that I've been enjoying these interviews just a little too much, and this one is no different! Ever since I've been involved with weddings in the Berkshires, I have been a HUGE fan of Carolyn Valenti's work. Her style is so romantic and flowing, and it NEVER fails to delight! So when I finally got to meet her and realized what a wonderful person she is, it made her work just that much more enjoyable! Here's how Carolyn answered my get-to-know-you questions:
Tara: Tell me how you first got involved with your business.
Carolyn: My business started with some local charity work. You know how you are asked to be on committees for things and you are assigned a position...I was delegated to be in charge of tables and chairs for the Annual Antique Dinner Preview at the Hancock Shaker Village...yes, that's right, tables and chairs. The following year, same committee...I was in charge of decorating the Round Stone Barn for our event. I had a $200 budget. I did it!! I remember cutting and picking in the pouring rain, in swamps and fields in Berkshire County...anything pretty I could get my hands on. The following year I moved up a notch to the Opening Night Gala at Tanglewood. Keep it simple....black, white, gray and pink floral tableclothes (back in the early 90's) with rose bowls of pink and cream roses. We had 1200 roses to condition (cut and clean and prepare) and 65 table centerpieces. Then one day, a lovely lady asked me if she could HIRE me, to decorate her event.....that was the beginning!
Tara: What is the most surprising thing you've had happen on the job?
Carolyn: Most surprising thing???!! oh gosh....I do love to tell the story of my bride whose beautiful Vera Wang gown fell apart as she walked from the church to her limo after the ceremony! It was a Wheatleigh wedding, back in the 90's. I was in the narrow back hallway, when Anne, with her beautiful French accent, came looking for me with a needle and thread kit. She handed it to me and said the Bride was asking for me in her bridal suite! I arrived to find her holding up her gown because the zipper had come apart! She remembered a story I told her about sewing a bridesmaid into her gown and knew I was the one to help her. So...there I sat, sewing this beautiful young bride into her gown, with tiny little stitches as her groom stood in front of her, holding her hands, gazing into her eyes, kissing her on occasion. It was just one of the moments that I'll never forget! The next day, I saw the groom, about mid morning. I had to ask him...."How did you get her out of that gown at the end of the night?" I had taken tiny little stitches, knowing it had to last! He replied...."I used a steak knife" !!!!!!!!!!!
Tara: What is your ideal Friday night?
Carolyn: Friday nights??? its dancing night with my husband! We are ballroom dancers! You know...waltz, foxtrot, rumba, cha cha!! VERY FUN!
Tara: When you travel, what do you like to do?
Carolyn: For traveling we currently enjoy relaxing on a warm sandy beach....but in the past, we have had many great adventures with our sons! Piranha fishing in the Amazon, horseback riding in Costa Rica, zip lining through the jungle, hot springs and volcanos! ....Boys are grown now, we travel alone, so its much calmer!!! But I miss those days!
Tara: What is the last book you read?
Carolyn: The last book I read was Winter's Tale....hated it.
Tara: What is the best advice you've ever received?
Carolyn: Best advice I ever received?? Don't open a regular shop....it takes all the fun out of floral arranging!
Tara: Which movie genre do you prefer?
Carolyn: I always love a good romantic comedy
Tara: What is the last movie you saw in the theaters?
Carolyn: Last movie I saw was Wolf of Wall Street...loved it!
Tara: Which music genre do you prefer?
Carolyn: Music genre.....currently obsessed with ballroom music.....anything I can dance to! I love Andrea Boccelli, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Journey, Rascal Flatts and Bruno Mars!!
Tara: Your idea of adventure is______:
Carolyn: Adventure? my dream is an African Safari.....someday!
Tara: How do you like your steak cooked?
Carolyn: All beef should be medium rare. (side note from Tara...I agree!...give me blood!)
Tara: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?
Carolyn: On a desert island??? Is there internet??? Yikes....can't live without that.... My iPhone full of music, my dance shoes and some vases to arrange all the beautiful tropical flowers in.
Tara: What is one thing you'll do this year to step outside your comfort zone?
Carolyn: Stepping outside my comfort zone.....well.....I have a celebrity wedding this year....and I have a big wedding in Boston! Actually, there is a lot of exciting stuff happening this year! So, I'm looking forward to the best work year of my 20 years!