Home is Where the Heart is

It's full speed ahead at SGW headquarters, so we thought we'd take a minute to update you on where exactly our headquarters are! 

Earlier this year, we packed up our things and moved into a sweet new office within the historic Grand Traverse Commons campus. The sign is now up, the boxes unpacked, the throw blankets are laid gently over our chairs - we are home! 

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The natural light that spills into our office is such a gift! Not to mention the character of the historic building itself. This new spot is just oozing with inspiration.

Who knew a reincarnated State Hospital could be so incredibly lovely? It makes perfect sense, actually, when you consider Dr. Munson’s philosophy that “Beauty is Therapy.” The Founding Medical Superintendent believed that "if patients were surrounded by a beautiful environment, from the architecture to the campus grounds, their emotional and mental state would be uplifted." This was part of the moral treatment movement, which was revolutionary at the time. 

The history of this Northern Michigan Asylum is quite interesting, and their historic tours are a popular activity if you're looking for something unique to enjoy with family and friends! 

We are truly grateful for the restoration of this Traverse City treasure we now call home. 

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2017: My Word for the Year

Good Morning! Reporting here from my dining room table at 7:00 am. How is your new year going? For me, I definitely feel the renewing energy that comes with January 1st. In the past, I've done every right of passage for the new year. Resolutions, vision boards, letters to my future self, extremely intense goal setting with tracking, a word of the year, and simply defining the values I want to operate from. Clearly, I am big on self development and genuinely find joy in this process. 

Some may say that resolving to make a change or set a goal arbitrarily on January 1st is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure, but I disagree. My personal view is that the tradition of starting a new year is a gift. For a clean slate, fresh start, new page. I don't know about you, but I am always interested in an extra chance to extend grace to myself. 

I usually start thinking about my goals for the new year at my birthday (November 20th). It gives me a trial period for my new goals and gives me a jumpstart on the year. :) A few weeks ago a friend asked if I had any specific goals for the year. For once in my life, I said, "I actually only have one goal! To wake up earlier than my kids every day". If this strikes you as funny, take a look at the below quote. 

"Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become" ---Jim Rohn 

Let's look at that again. Success is something you attract by the person you become. I realized this year more than ever that taking care of myself and devoting TIME to my personal development was the key to the improvement of my business. As a mom of two little guys, time is hard to carve out. A few years ago I resolved to wake up earlier and I loved it. But then, I was pregnant, and tired, and then wedding season, and then, and then... you get the picture. 

My word for 2017 is rise. I want to literally rise, earlier everyday. Figuratively, I want to rise to the person I want to be in every area of my life. What better time that 6:00 am to spend 90 minutes doing things that will directly improve my well being? For the past two weeks I've been rolling out of bed around 6:00, brushing my teeth and heading straight to the coffee grinder. You may remember me posting about The Miracle Morning. More than just a book, it's a program with a simply designed morning routine (the SAVERS). I do not follow this exclusively, but most days I incorporate all six activities. 

Here's what my morning looks like currently. But unlike my prior, my rigid self, I am open to changing this as the morning unfolds. 

1. Brush teeth, get warm clothes on and brew coffee. Drink a giant glass of water. Turn on a playlist on spotify. I can't stand a silent house!

2. Fill out the Five Minute Journal. I write the best things that happened the day before, 3 things I'm grateful for, what would "make the day great", and my personal affirmations. This knocks out "scribing & affirmations" for the Miracle Morning Routine. (p.s. I used to use the 5 minute journal app, but I have a strong preference for the physical journal!)

3. After I do my affirmations, I pour the coffee and get seated for a guided meditation. I currently am using aaptiv, but there are a million guided meditation apps. I only meditate for about 10 minutes. Currently, I suck at this but that clearly means I need to do it! When I put music on, I connect to my bose speaker. When it's time for the meditation I simply switch the app. The simplicity of it makes this much less of a hurdle! 

4. Visualization. Admittedly, this is something I am still getting comfortable with. Visualizing yourself achieving your most coveted goals is scary, actually! Remember this quote? BYE. It's perfect and I am obsessed with it. 

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

5. I read for as long as I want to, or can from a non-fiction book. I love non-fiction so this is so fun for me! Here is what I've been reading lately. :) 

Then, the kids wake up and chaos ensues! No, really. Remy just woke up so I'm going to hit publish and change a diaper. Love and peace to all! 


Holiday Table Feature

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This week I'm spending some time with my in-laws, taking naps, drinking wine, and of course baking my favorite dinner rolls (seriously, so good. from here.) Wanted to pop over to the blog to let you all know about my first television appearance! 

Last week I celebrated my birthday and the next day was invited to share tips and tricks for hosting Thanksgiving. It was so much fun to put together seven affordable projects using natural elements and things you likely already have around the house. Live TV isn't my strong suit, please be gracious. 

Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Grateful for each of you! 


Intern Orientation 2014

Last week, I carved out an evening to officially welcome my summer interns! We celebrated and got to know one another better over dinner at 9 Bean Rows in Suttons Bay (definitely one of my favorites!). Even with only two events behind me this year, my interns are indispensable. 

At our dinner I went over the history of SGW, our brand story, my goals and a huge piece of my heart. It's huge for me that these girls know that they are valued and appreciated. 

More than anything, I wanted these girls to know that their primary "duty" this summer was to learn and ask questions. I can already tell that they will follow through. I'm sure you will see these lovely faces throughout the season! 

My internship with an event planner in college was transformative in my journey. How amazing that I might play a tiny part in someone's path to a meaningful career? 

We definitely had some amazing food and wine. Organic Cabernet? Rabit Ragu? Warm olives marinated in citrus olive oil? Earl Grey Panna Cotta? Oh yes we did. 

I'll end this post with dessert, like most good things, and a huge thank you to my friend Courtney from The Compass Points Here for joining us for dinner! It was amazing having you there to document and share your expertise. We are grateful! 



Hey everyone! Thanks for making the transition with me over to this new platform. There are still lots of kinks that I need to work out, but we are here regardless. Please bear with me as I figure out how to make this space as pretty as it deserves to be. Eventually this will be the site for Sincerely, Ginger with links for service offerings, galleries, and all the info you could ever want to know. I'm still working on developing the content, but will be rolling out phase two sometime this summer! 

So just like this little photo I snapped for Instagram last weekend, I'm embracing the perfect imperfections. The potential. The drive to make things better and more beautiful. I'll be back later this week posting about my post-partum meal plan!



Surprise! A new look for Sincerely, Ginger.

Today I got my final logo proof from Juliet Jones (aka my new BFF) and it looked so stinking amazing that I have decided to re-work my whole launch. Details tomorrow, but for now just enjoy the beauty above....

UPDATE: Good morning, lovelies! As you can tell, I got pretty excited to see my final logo yesterday. I joked about Juliet being my new bestie, but truly honestly I wish I could just hug her. I hired her knowing how beautiful her work was, but feeling pretty anxious and vague about the concept I wanted. Not only was she so open to my ideas, but she made them better than I expected. We're still working on a few final touch-ups, but you guys, Sincerely, Ginger is coming to life. And it's better than I imagined.

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So in honor of being way too excited, not being able to keep anything mysterious or build any type of excitement or hype around anything as a blogger, I'm going to launch my new site early. It's going to be a "soft launch", meaning that I'm going to switch over my blog to my new domain sincerelyginger.com, and start using the new business name. This blog will reroute to the new domain so expect to be redirected! Hopefully monday. :)

I can't wait to share all about the little strawberry, it's significance, and the big story behind the name and why it's so important to me. The small version is that it's my heart & soul in the form of a business. I've spent a lot of time thinking through each little aspect of my brand. By the time it's finished, it's going to be big. I decided early on that I was never going to enter this field and be mediocre. Average isn't for me. If I'm going to do something, I do it full out. It's the reason I've been putting off an official launch for so long! I didn't want to start until everything was just right.

True love is a big deal. Celebrating marriage is important. There is no wayI am going to settle for a so-so planning experience. It has to be amazing, filled with joy, trust, inspiration and encouragement. It needs to be beautiful, better than you'd expect- but somehow exactly what you'd hoped for. Weddings are a big deal. Being a part of the journey to marriage, at least for me, is sacred. It's exhilirating, exciting, and really FUN. Sincerely, Ginger was inspired by natural light, summers along the coast of Lake Michigan, locally sourced & farm fresh food, love letters, putting a spin on tradition, the first blooms of spring, soft & romantic color palettes, gorgeous calligraphy, and of course... a little bit of sparkle. It's a blend of meaningful and beautiful, just like a wedding.

I don't have it all figured out. I'm still working on branding, designing a website and building an office with limited time and a super limited budget. It's worth it though. Some days I wonder if I should just let the business go. I would have more money, more time with my husband and baby (once he gets here), less stress. I could just work my part time job at the flower shop! But then my heart sinks and I think about my long term goals and why they are important to me in the first place.

By planning and designing weddings, I'm fulfilling my calling. My business is worth the time I'm spending right now figuring it all out. Eventually it will get easier and I won't be working 60 hours a week, pregnant, juggling 3 jobs. We won't always be sharing one car, sacrificing food for sleep. I won't be at my full time job forever (even though it feels like it some days). There is a brighter future ahead. It's closer than I realize. So that is why I'm not wasting any time on getting the elements of my brand in place. I'm doing this my own way, taking physical steps to make what matters happen.

Thank you so much for reading and sharing with my in my journey! I can't wait to show you the rest of what I've been working so hard on. Juliet, thank you a million times for the thought and care you put into designing my visual brand. It's simply perfect. Current & past couples, you keep the heart of my business beating. You inspire me daily, and seeing your wedding day come together makes my heart sing. So much love!



On Finding Inspiration as a Wedding Designer

In the past few weeks I've had the privilege of creating design boards for a few of my clients. In doing this I've realized how much the process of gathering inspiration, organizing it, piecing out details and finally presenting it to my clients truly does fire me up! Each stage has been so much fun for me. Color palettes, big blooming florals, perfect paper products... be still my little wedding planner heart.


I wanted to chat a little bit about where I find inspiration. Obviously Pinterest is great. I know for a fact I'm not the only one who spends hours browsing through boards and organizing images to my liking. I'm also a pretty big fan of tumblr, which is where I save images that I'm going to use for this blog. Of course, there are other blogs out there that are regular reads. From fellow event planners & designers to Once Wed100 Layer CakeStyle Me Pretty and you name it, I check them almost daily. Photographers are a great source of inspiration for my work too. Rylee HitchnerJose Villa, & Tec Petaja are easily my top three.

Most of the time, though- I need to get offline to find authentic inspiration. I get inspired when my husband and I take time for dates- away from our iPhones and other distractions. Relationships fire me up. Real conversation spurs real creativity.

I like books and magazines that I can hold in my hands. Exercise clears my mind, especially when I'm outside. A good hike in the woods does wonders for my creativity muscle. Relaxing is vital for me, especially when I take the time to do it right. A bubble bath and a good night's rest leaves me restored for the next day. And everyone knows that the best ideas are concocted in the shower!

Stories inspire me to get inspired. I love hearing love stories. I like telling my own. More often than not, clients inspire me with their own ideas.

Flowers get me fired up. The colors, textures and endless arrangements and opportunities. I also enjoy grocery shopping, my favorite is Oryana (our local co-op) or the farmers market in the summer. Picking and choosing fruits, vegetables and flowers season to season is a blast for me. (Note to self... peonies are coming soon!)

So essentially that's the first stage. Meeting with clients, hearing their ideas, getting out and about in the world to gather authentic inspiration. Once I do that it's easier to refine my ideas and source images to put together a cohesive design board, that's where pinterest comes into play for me. How do you do things? Where do you find your best sources of inspiration?



Wow... Thank You!

Can I just say how good it feels to really put yourself out there? Posting my huge news, being authentic, and working from my core really does what they say it will do. It attracts the right people. It felt amazing to hear your support of Sincerely, Ginger.

I can't wait to learn more about her throughout this process. Currently I'm working on having a new logo designed and getting some housekeeping work done. Changing e-mail, URL and all that is a lot of work! I would love to design my own logo but am having trouble figuring out how to digitize my calligraphy. (If you have insight in this area, please enlighten me!)

Keeping on pace with my 2013 Business Goals, I am planning a brand inspiration shoot for early spring. The goal is to collaborate with other vendors and create something to showcase my work for my website. This will provide a good framework for the other weddings I have to showcase. So excited about this!


Like I said in my previous post, I want to share some memories of Ginger and talk about how they inspire my work. She and my grandpa had always lived on lakes in Northern Minnesota. My sister and I (even before my other brother and sister were born) looked forward to going up north to grandma and grandpa's to swim in the lake and sleep in big beds with fluffy down comfortors. Every summer we looked forward to a real vacation, an escape from our day to day. Ginger always encouraged our creativity. There were mornings spent jumping in the lake and searching for shells, afternoons picking strawberries from their garden and evenings painting and helping her cook dinner. Whatever we did was lovely, because we were together. We also spent a lot of time outside.

The landscape of Nothern Minnesota is a lot like it is here in Traverse City. Beautiful lakes, lots of trees and amazing sunsets. At Ginger's we were encouraged to pick wildflowers and create arrangements for the dinner table. We didn't fight. We focused on loving eachother and creating things together. Summers with grandma and grandpa were my absolute favorite. Of course this is just a peek into some the experiences that shaped who I am and eventually what I envisioned our wedding day to represent. Our tradition is closeness, love, and relaxation. We value fresh flowers and local food. It's the way we lived and what better way to celebrate a lifetime ahead of us than doing those things with our closest family and friends.

Weddings are about stories. They are about tradition and love, and bringing memories to life in a whole new beautiful way. When I meet a couple for the first time, my first question is always tell me your love story. That's the only place I know where to start. I'm so excited about this new future. Thank you for being a part of it!



A Heaping Dose of Huge News!

Once I had the revelation that I was meant to be a wedding planner, an obvious step was choosing a business name. I knew that using my name (Rachel Moger) wasn't the path I wanted to take. It just didn't feel right. I also new that I wanted the name to be timeless, classic, and explain what I was doing! So I settled on Occasions, later Occasions Event Design and just said that's that. It was easy, communicated what I needed to say and also feminine (which is a big component of my brand). I had a logo designed (see above) and thought it was good enough.


It was good enough, but I always had the feeling that it just wasn't me. It didn't explain my brand and my journey- Occasions was too vague and not unique at all. I had an itch to choose something different but nothing came to mind. For MONTHS I prayed about it and thought about it, did research, chose 15 words and tried to combine them into some trendy, girly business name. (Remember when they did that in Julie and Julia, for the book title? It worked for them!) It wasn't a good idea. My "ideas" were a product of my culture and surroundings, just mimicking event planners that I admired with my own special "twist". They were all too trendy, too posh, too something. They were just wrong.

After I attended a webinar hosted by the Making Brands Happen girls (Emily & Lara), the new business name that I'd been working on just hit me, and it was like nothing I had thought of before. Learning more of the importance of building your business from your CORE was so obvious yet extremely tricky to put my finger on.

I started thinking about what I valued about our own wedding (family & friends, flowers, Northern Michigan, local vendors) and what the most important thing of all was. LOVE. Joining in a sacred union with the absolute love of my life, celebrating the day we were joined together in Holy Matrimony so we can love each other and those around us even better. A beautiful marriage. That is what I want to inspire couples to aim for in their wedding planning process.


I mentioned on the blog before that on the day of our rehearsal dinner my sweet Grandpa gave me a letter to read. It was written one week before my Grandparents' wedding. My Grandma Ginger wrote the sweetest note about LOVE, and GIVING, and how exited she was to begin their lives together. It was the sweetest thing. She passed on a beautiful June day from breast cancer when I was in 7th grade. Her life impacted me more than almost anything else, and her legacy is so strong.

In honor of my late grandmother, her beautiful life, her love for family and her love for love, my new business name will be Sincerely, Ginger. The name represents everything I love about wedding planning. It reminds me of what matters. Our memories together are my most cherished. She was so beautiful. Obviously, the exact name of the business I got from the letter I read, which is my most recent experience feeling the depth of her love for me and our family.

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about some of my favorite memories with her and how they relate to my mission as a business. I'm so excited about this news- I could just burst! It's all coming together for me in a big way. I can't wait to share more.



When I Knew I Wanted to be a Wedding Planner

For the past few years, I've been blessed to really find out what my passion is. I knew I was destined to be a wedding planner on a spring day in my third year of college. At that point I hadn't really had any experience with weddings. Isaiah and I were just moving in together, it was a really sweet time in our relationship. I went to Seattle Pacific University to study in the School of Business & Economics, I majored in Business Administration with an emphasis on entrepeneurship. At this point in my college career I was fed up with all the numbers and nonsense and was feeling really burnt out. The creative side of my brain was not being stimulated (at least in the classroom). I felt so confused about what to do but was generally just drifting on, expecting to work for a bigger company in Seattle after I graduated doing something in the field.

Anyway, back to the spring day. We were at Greenlake to get some Starbucks and walk around the lake. It's one of my favorite spots in the city. Isaiah and I always felt so inspired and have great talks while we're walking or hiking. I was day-dreaming about our future wedding (with no ring on my finger, might I add) and thinking about what we should do with our lives after I graduated when it hit me.


Why couldn't I use my degree to start a business that employs my creative and organizational skills? The answer was that I completely could, and it made sense. I've always loved designing gatherings for my friends, entertaining and helping events get planned and organized. Leadership is one of my top strengths but I've got a natural eye for design and color. I thrive on long term projects where I can create meaningful relationships with people, but like to get things done day to day. Honestly I'm pretty good at managing my own time when something is important to me. I love creating something out of nothing and pulling together an event that will leave a memory. Weddings. It was like a huge "duh".

After this all ran through my mind in about 10 seconds outside of Starbucks at Greenlake, I blurted out,"I'm a wedding planner!" and immediately I took ownership of that title. Isaiah essentially just looked at me like I was crazy. His first assumption was that I was going to continue on to another several years of expensive schooling. Once I assured him that that wasn't the case, he was still confused. Haha! It could have been that he thought I was getting wedding crazed myself or who knows what. The important thing is that he has always backed me up 100%.

The next day I went after an internship with one of the top event planners in the city, and joined the team shortly after. I learned a lot really fast about design boards, client meetings, all the phone calls and e-mails it takes, and just how many satin ribbons must be tied into bows. It was three months of bliss for me. What an amazing learning experience. Once my internship ended my mentor helped a lot with shaping my long term goals. She believed that I was entrepreneurial and should start my own wedding planning business. Of course, so did I.


Long story short, we moved to Traverse City, Michigan, I started planning weddings (including my own) and now I'm hooked. I've also had the chance recently to start dabbling in floral design, and had my first full service floral design client booked in September. Wow, life changing. Those flowers rocked my world.

So why am I telling you this story? For one, it helps me process my journey and see how I've always been moving in the direction of my dreams, even when I get side-tracked. This summer I have an amazing wedding booked for May, and I'm not sure what the rest of the season will bring. For one, a baby. After that, not quite sure. All that to say- even if I have one intentionally slow year for the sake of our son it does not mean that I've slowed down momentum toward my ultimate goal of giving my clients a wedding day that will bring the sweetest memories for life. It also doesn't mean I've given up my intention to live a happy, fulfilling life so that I can give happiness to others in my own way. This just makes me so excited.


On a related topic, my next business post will be about my 2013 business goals. I've got some pretty amazing stuff lined up, even for a slow year. Stay tuned!

To Your Dreams,


P.S. Two of my very favorite people to look up to in the wedding industry are hosting a THREE PART Webinar this month! I attended the last one in November and the content was so valuable. More information is on the blog. They really inspired my Making Things Happen movement at the end of last year. I have so much to learn from them! Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Emily & Lara!

OED workspace: part 1

I am so excited to start this mini-series on the blog today! As a new business owner, there are so many challenges to getting "up and running". Theses challenges are varied- from setting up a website, registering an LLC, purchasing business cards and more. One "challenge" that I've been looking forward to is the design of my new home office! This is a huge step for Occasions as a business, and one that will truly mark my humble beginnings. As of right now, my "office" is either my couch, my favorite coffee shop, Morsels, or a kitchen table with hot glue spilling all over the place. We don't pay for internet but rather borrow a spotty signal from some unsuspecting neighbor. So when I tell you I'm on a budget, I mean it. ;)

For my wedding gift, my husband decided to give me the best thing EVER. He decided that we should dedicate an entire room in our little abode to my growing business. I cried. He even told me he was going to build me a desk. So over the last few months we've gone through some trial and error over what the space should look like. First we were going to keep our TV & futon in there too. Our basic idea was that it could be a fusion room: part tv room, part guestroom, and part office. This seemed like a decent compromise to me but when it came down to it, it just wasn't going to work. I needed a space that was fully mine. That I could organize my props and supplies- cut up tissue paper without Isaiah sweeping up after me 24/7. He loves being clean and organized- it's more of an effort for me. :) So this room is small but it's going to pack a big punch. I'm ready for a big desk, bright lights and internet that will acutally load youtube videos in less than 45 minutes. Bring it on!

Here are some pieces that I am using as inspiration for my space...

 These two prints from

Jess LC

are amazing in person.

I ordered them about a month ago while I was dreaming of this space.

Jess Lively

is one of my favorite bloggers and a business owner that I truly look up to. Her shop carries a few motivational prints and I couldn't resist. I'm planning to mat and frame in white against my persimmon colored wall. I hope that I'll be inspired to strike a balance between big dreams and living in the moment. Later on I'll share more of my process of being intentional about my space and about building my business.


West Elm

Okay, please don't yell at me for choosing a white parsons desk. The truth is, I crave a clean space that dirty up a little bit with lots of papers, coffee mugs and paintbrushes. This will be an outward facing desk with two removable chairs for clients. That way, I'll be able to host meetings in my office- a dream! Against the wall I'll have a small dresser for storage space and shelving. This way I can switch back and forth between two (or more) projects at once. I tend to do that.



Isaiah and I bought this shelving unit as one of our first pieces of furniture together. I have to say- it's HUGE. It's been everything from a storage unit to a book shelf. Lately it's been living in our guestroom but I'm taking it out of retirement and into my office. It needs to be spiced up a little bit. Let me know if you have any ideas! I have a few baskets and hope to use a row for each client's props and supplies to keep organized. It's not my favorite piece of furniture but it will be very useful.

I'll be back soon with more on building my office space! I'm so excited about sharing this process with you all. Still working on the smaller details, should I get a desktop computer or stay with my 5-year-old macbook? Pay for internet or stick it out? I think the last one's a no-brainer.

To your success!