We’re back with another edition of our beloved, “Meet the Designer” series! This time we’re chatting with the multi-talented Brittanie Ahrens who left her home state of Florida nearly ten years ago with a move to Chicago on a whim. Not fifteen hours later she kicked off her career in the event industry pulling double-duty with an internship at LOLA Event Productions (a planner we still work with to this day!) while working part-time at a beloved bridal shop. Read on to hear more about Brittanie’s foray into design including where she sources her inspiration from and how she beings the daunting task of creating awe-inspiring events.
When did you start with HMR?
I started at Botanicals in May 2010, almost ten years ago! (Editors Note: Botanicals was one of several companies acquired by HMR to form our current iteration).
How did you end up in the event industry?
I moved to Chicago from Florida and within my first few hours of being here I started a wedding planning internship at Lola. It was unpaid, so I got a job selling wedding gowns on the side. It was a great introduction to brides and learning how to work with them. In fact, my first wedding planning gig was a bride I had sold a dress to!
What kind of events do you design?
Both weddings and corporate!
What’s the first thing you do when beginning to design an event?
I like to start with a floorplan. It’s helpful in thinking about the entire flow of the event and seeing how the logistics will play out.
Where do you source decor inspiration from?
I love to pull inspiration from interior design, I’m especially into tile. I could walk around tile stores all day long! I’m obsessed with the mosaics and different grout colors.
What’s your biggest decor challenge?
When clients don’t go for a design I feel very passionate about, it’s a challenge to create something new (but always worth it in the end!)
What’s your favorite design element?
I love trying to incorporate different styles and shapes of dancefloors. It’s such a focal point of the space so finding a fun way to tie that design element in is exciting.
Can you offer readers any decor advice?
If you’re getting married and you’re looking for inspiration, know that you don’t have to get inspiration from other weddings. You could bring in a centerpiece from a fabulous dining room, a color palette from a kitchen, chandeliers from a museum, or a print from a non-wedding dress. You want to make sure your wedding matches your personal style.
How do you spend your free time?
Keeping my two and a half-year-old daughter, Lennon, busy with swimming, soccer, and gymnastics. And I have tremendous help from the best husband in the world, Alex.
Favorite way to relax?
A 90-minute swim at AIRE or cooking for my family.
If you could pick up and move anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Bali or Amsterdam.
I like all the Jen Lancaster books. They keep my mind happy and clear.
What’s the last band you saw live?
Alex, my husband and I, just saw Motion City Soundtrack at the House of Blues on New Year’s Eve. My favorite band in the entire world, The Format, just announced their reunion after 12 long years. We plan to see all 6 shows of their reunion tour in Chicago, New York, and Phoenix in the next few months!
What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work?
With a two and a half-year-old and my two dogs, Lucy and Penny, there’s a lot of commotion and excitement when I get home. The best feeling is just taking off my work clothes, getting comfortable, and hearing about what Lennon did all day.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Mister Parker’s in Palm Springs! The atmosphere is everything.