A quick chat with local wedding planner, Caroline Ott of Milly & Grace Weddings.
N MAGAZINE: Tell us a little about your background and what made you decide to get into wedding planning.
OTT: My infatuation with weddings has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I used to sketch wedding dresses on a notepad while my mom fixed my hair; I dressed up as a bride more than once for Halloween; and I started collecting every single issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine (55 issues and counting!) But, it wasn’t until I was a freshman in college, after following the advice of a wise professor, that I realized I could turn this passion of mine into a career. I haven’t looked back since!
N MAGAZINE: What do you think makes a Nantucket wedding so special?
OTT: There is no place in the world like Nantucket. For that reason alone, a Nantucket wedding is special. The island just has a way of creeping into the hearts of those who visit her!
N MAGAZINE: Where do you draw your inspiration?
OTT: I am inspired by anything and everything. But, my main source of inspiration is found within my couples and their stories. It’s about discovering who they are as individuals – favorite foods, favorite music, favorite pastimes – and as a couple – the first glances, the first dates, the engagement, the traditions. Those details tell a story – the same story I strive to tell through my designs. So, for example, if the couple met for drinks on their first date, I would suggest serving the drinks ordered that evening as the signature cocktails at their wedding reception. If the couple has a tradition of celebrating Taco Tuesday every week, I would consider serving tacos at their welcome party, along with gazpacho shooters and Mexican street corn for passed hors d’oeuvres. As I listen to my couple’s love story, my wheels start turning, my heart beats a little faster, and the creative juices start flowing.
N MAGAZINE: What do you love most about your job?
OTT: That everything I do for my job is in the name of love. There really isn’t anything better!
N MAGAZINE: What tips do you have for brides planning a wedding?
OTT: I could write a long list here with suggestions such as this one – it’s important to consider your overall budget, vision, and guest list before signing on any dotted line. But, the most important tip I could share with couples is this… stay focused on the meaning behind the wedding planning decisions you’ll be making. All that truly matters is that you’ve found your person. When you really think about it, the hardest part is already over. There are billions of people in the world, yet you both managed to find your other half! Suddenly, the difference between this font and that font for your wedding invitation doesn’t seem so challenging anymore. This is a really special time. Too special to get to get frustrated over fonts or any other wedding details. So, really soak it up and cherish this time together!
OTT: I am really drawn to the way floral bouquets and centerpieces are arranged more organically and asymmetrically these days. This less structured approach brings about beautiful movement and gentle whimsy that I simply adore.
N MAGAZINE: What would you say to a couple on the fence about hiring a wedding planner?
OTT: I would say that I don’t think you could ever regret investing in some peace of mind, which is exactly what a wedding planner can offer you. But, it’s possible you could regret not doing so.
N MAGAZINE: What are the various levels at which clients can hire your services?
OTT: My business offers a range of services that fall into four packages, differing in my level of involvement throughout the wedding planning process to suit my client’s needs. From full service planning & design or design & planning, down to month-of or consultation, I cover all the bases.
N MAGAZINE: Tell us a little about your history on Nantucket.
OTT: When I first met Nantucket, I was only a baby! Since then, I’ve spent almost every birthday and Christmas here with my family. Essentially, I have grown up here. It’s where I practiced how to walk as a toddler and how to swim as I grew a little older. It’s where I got my first job and began to learn the ins and outs of running a business at my sister’s shop – Milly & Grace. It’s where I’ve been able to begin building my own business. It’s where my fiancé and I plan to get married and start a family someday. My heart and soul feel most at home here and I have no intention of ever leaving! (Except to travel during the winter months)
N MAGAZINE: What 5 words would you use to describe your life on Nantucket?
OTT: It’s my dream come true!
OTT: I would start my day with a yoga class. Then, I would enjoy an iced coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Provisions – my absolute favorite. I’d plan on spending the rest of the day at the beach dipping in the ocean and reading wedding magazines. Then, I would pull out a packed cheese plate picnic and pop some champagne just in time to watch the sun set. And, of course, I would end the evening with Juice Bar ice cream for dessert. Toffee Crunch in a waffle cone, pretty please!
N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite Nantucket beach?
OTT: Galley Beach – where my fiancé asked me to marry him!
N MAGAZINE: If you weren’t a wedding planner living on Nantucket, you would be…
OTT: …somewhere wishing I were a wedding planner living on Nantucket!
N MAGAZINE: If you were to create a time capsule with 5 items that most represent Nantucket to you, what would they be?
OTT: Nantucket family photos; a cobblestone; a bouquet of dried flowers from all over the island – daffodils, hydrangeas, climbing roses; a bottle filled with Nantucket sand; and a grey shingle.