Grit & Grace Inc.
You know you’re doing something right when you’re getting paid to throw glorious parties that leave everyone talking about them for weeks on end. Christie Yerks, Brittany Hagaman, and Laura Ritchie are the founders and owners of Grit & Grace Inc., an event designing company that does extensive event design planning and production for major large scale events, primarily weddings.
Grit & Grace Inc. puts about 12-15 events together every year, some taken on individually between the girls, but most collaborated on. We see so many event planning companies design the same event over and over because it’s their “signature,” but not Grit & Grace. “We want a client that is interested in weaving themselves, like them as a couple or their family traditions, into their event, and pushing the envelope a little bit,” declares Christie. Every event is done with outstanding quality, but it’s all done based off of who the clients are.
These ladies have been throwing parties together for ten years, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that they rebranded themselves as Grit & Grace Inc. to broadcast to their clients the level of grit underneath all the grace they offer in their final product. Christie feels that “everyone envisions perfectly made up, beautifully dressed wedding planners casually floating through the day, and that’s what we want you to think the day of. In reality, behind the scenes, it was not like that. It was probably covered in mud and had bugs all over it when we were setting up your tent earlier.” They feel that their business has really been catapulted into success ever since they rebranded themselves because it has given them a brand identity that rings very true to who they are and what they go through, which enables their clients to embrace their genuine selves as well. “Being gritty and hungry and strong and all of those things that are superlatives to that…you know, it’s really what makes us successful, and the grace is just the outward last piece that ties it all together,” says Laura.
Building the Dream Team
Laura has always known that she wanted to be an event designer. “I was the bossy kid on the playground,” she recollects. “I always planned prom and homecoming…just that type of chick.” She went into design in college and felt right at home with the concept of event planning as a career. Her team refers to her as the “make it happen captain,” an original thinker, and a woman who is unapologetically herself that designs to the beat of her own drum. She feels lucky to have found a couple of other like-minded girls, Brittany and Christie, who she was able to go into business with and continue to learn and grow from.
Christie and Laura met in 2010 working a huge nonprofit event at the Smithsonian that Laura and her team were way in over their heads for. Christie was sent down to the event like an angel from heaven and basically memorized all 500 of the guests names and faces and was just on top of everything. “She just knew innately what she was doing, and I think this job is good for people who innately have those pieces,” says Laura. “You can’t really learn this job. It’s just a gift.” Christie caught the event bug at this event, decided she thrived on the chaos and possessed the talent to turn it into organized chaos, and hasn’t looked back since. Her team sees her as a checklist guru, spreadsheet wizard, and master of tying the perfect bow.
Brittany entered into their lives two years later with a background in catering. After college, she took a job in IT, but found that it really wasn’t what she wanted to be doing, so she quit and took an internship with the same event planning company that Christie and Laura worked for. “We’ve been so thankful for Brittany,” Laura expresses. “She’s what keeps us glued and together and with it and on top of it and doing some of the things that aren’t as enjoyable for us to do, or maybe don’t assume to our strengths, and when you can find someone that does that stuff better than you…I don’t have to explain anything to her. I just say, ‘Hey can you help me with this?’ and she’s already done it and better than I expected. You have to hold on to people like that.” Her team describes her as self-motivated, naturally and annoyingly beautiful on the inside and out, and a connoisseur of Mexican food.
Taking Event Design to the Next Level
If you’re looking for basic elegance, Grit & Grace Inc. is probably not for you. They are geared more towards pushing the creative envelope and making fresh, unique ideas that are reflective of their clients’ personalities and cultures come to life. The girls refer to this as reflective event design, where they take the story of who their clients are, who their families are and what they’re trying to emote, and they reflect that story into the essence of the event itself. Each event is so much more than a time and a place; it’s an expression of everything worth celebrating about individuals who love each other that is staged to capture the extent of emotion that exists between them.
One such event was a wedding for a Persian groom and a bride from Napa. The event planning dream team put together a ceremony runner made entirely of beautifully woven Persian rugs. The centerpieces were composed of artichokes, pomegranates, and grapes from Napa, all woven into the floral arrangements. “That’s what makes an event make you feel like you’re spending more time with the bride and groom than you actually are,” says Christie.
Book Grit & Grace Inc. for your next big event before they’re all booked up! You can check out their portfolio and learn more about what these ladies are all about at www.gritandgraceinc.com or simply gawk over their flawless designs on their Instagram.