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Women of the Wedding Industry Wednesday, Heather Spooner of Ampersand Lettering Lab

Somewhere in the process of deciding to focus this years foray into more storytelling about what it is that I do, and what it is that we do as a collective wedding industry, I became really, really excited by the idea of just how wide the wings are that this industry rests on.

Planners and photographers and chefs and venue managers. Videographers and florists and people who make rings and people who sell rings. Dress makers and boutique owners and makeup artists and hairstylists. Musicians and DJs and officiants. Cake bakers and stationers and graphic designers and live painters.

Collectively we are made up of so many roles and responsibilities dedicated to a single event, and I've often wondered, is it really weddings that holds our passion for this together? Or is it something else. Are we really all that connected to love that we are dedicating our lives and our careers to something as ambiguous and ambivalent as it?

And I can't say with certainty we are. Sorry. I'm just not buying that we all fawn and swoon over romantic stuff and weddings enough. But I see some common threads.

We love being around people. We are gifted at serving others. We are attentive to needs. We value experiences. We are artists. And storytellers. And I believe, maybe not so much that we say it out loud, but on some level we believe that love can be exhibited, and put on display, and made to shine. That it does have a presence that can be qualified and quantified. That it can be seen and captured and revealed and eaten and danced to and recognized. That maybe it isn't so elusive after all.

With this mindset, I feel that weddings are simply our chosen medium for believing in love.

But it's not just weddings that inspire us.

I see so many people in this industry spread their talents in unique and interesting ways. They volunteer for community events. They have a personal shop full of things they create for themselves, because they want to. They take on custom projects and commissions. They promote art in their community. They lead workshops and mentor students and hosts events and write and encourage other business owners and entrepreneurs.​

Progressively, the wedding industry has evolved to include more artists, and artisans, and craftspeople. It's part of what I perceive a larger cultural shift of returning to an appreciation of where and how things are made, and who makes them. ​And being willing to invest in that movement and those people.

It's an exciting time to be in the wedding industry, just like it's an exciting time to be an entrepreneur. Where some of these makers haven't exactly intentionally chose the wedding industry as a market, the market has found in them a source for authentic, original, quality, locally made products that their buyers connect to. That are intentional and represent them. Yes, in recent times we have personalized weddings to an almost comedic level. But this sort of attention to the two people getting married - their likes and personalities and interests - has also expanded weddings. It has included more types of people. At different stages of life. With vastly different love stories. It has made their unique story something to celebrate.

The person whose story I think this coalescence of what our industry represents, and where it's going, and why it has so awesomely started to include more small business entrepreneurs and creatives is Heather.

I met Heather last winter when a new friend and I decided to host a winter rafting trip as our antidote to a long Michigan season spent inside and presumably, inactive on the couch. Not only did people come (a surprise we honestly weren't expecting), but Heather came.

Heather is a total babe. So are Emily and Bre of Juniper and Lace Events. So is our photographer Courtney of The Compass Points Here.

Heather was loud. Heather was tall. Heather had amazing sunglasses. Duh.

Heather was intoxicating. Double duh.

Heather gave one of the most memorable hugs of MY LIFE. Duh.

Confident and able to get and hold a crowd's laugh and a rapturous storyteller and fiercely, unmistakably, unapologetic. I immediately felt like I had so so much to learn in the way of being able to deliver my own business story with authority. With passion. Without a tinge of needing your opinion.

Heavens to betsy. How the hell do you even become THAT person. The Heather.

Obviously, watching Heathers won't get you anywhere. To know how she is able to carry herself, to present herself exactly as she is, to have a successful business that puts her personality at the forefront is to understand that somewhere down the road, she made a choice to love. To love others as they were and forgive them as needed. To love herself as she was and forgive herself as needed. To love the person she was destined to love and to forgive the fact that for them, it wasn't a guarantee. To choose love as the antidote to chaos.

You probably won't see Heather at your wedding. Just like you might never meet any of your stationers, calligraphers, or signage makers. But they are there through their work. They care about your story, and because they may never meet you, they become experts at the details. The nuances.They use words, and language, and skilled craft, and prose, and art to convey what they want you to know. This is all so, so temporary. This day and this moment. But love wins. So take good care of yours in the intimate sense, and be generous with it towards everyone else.

K let's do this. I'm emotional. Thank you Heather for leading this month of letterers.

The Interview

Heather Spooner

Photo by Allen-Kent Photography

My theme for February is Letterers of Love. I feel like you are a really good person to start with. Last year, you started creating pieces with the words "All Love Needs is You" on them. Can you talk about what inspired that?

The All Love Needs is You artwork was originally a piece of artwork I designed for an event for Up North Pride. I wanted to take words people were used to seeing and shift them just enough that it made people stop and read them. Love is an action. Love takes work. It takes us to make love work. Loving is a choice. I want people to understand that love doesn’t happen without us. Naturally, after Up North Pride people wanted this phrase on a tangible small object that they could carry with them as a reminder to love one another.

You kind of do it all, a Jane of all hand lettered things. For those who don't know you, tell us about some of the products or projects you work on.

The most popular product I offer through my website is hand lettered globes. I have a collection of found, vintage and unique globes that are available for customization. I also do quite a bit of large scale mural work as well as wedding signage and workshops. A list of upcoming workshops can be found on my website at Those of you who are in Northern Michigan, be sure to snap a photo with my #wearyourwingstc wings that are on the side of The Coin Slot downtown.