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Women of the Wedding Industry Wednesday with Amanda Orr of Amanda McKey Designs

You know the phrase 'I can't even'? Of course you do. It's 2019 and we live in animal print onesies and hyperbole.

It's basic AF but it describes perfectly how I feel about today's feature for Women of the Wedding Industry.

I can't even handle Amanda's infectious wit and sporadic creativity.

I can't even with her colorful and whimsical watercolor paintings that feel like they were created by Frida Kahlo's less nihilistic blonde, un-unibrowed American twin sister.

I can't even handle how cute Amanda's fiance is. Or her dog is. Or her sister is. Or her mom is. Or her grandma is. Some people just have cute in their DNA.

I can't handle how much I enjoy Insta-stalking Amanda at her art fairs, or Amanda making a bed, or Amanda arranging flowers, or Amanda taking a picture of her bulldog Lucy, or Amanda sharing some new watercolor painting.

Some people are just the bees knees and spread all of that good energy like a honeybalm over all of us.

And it's a given. I can't even that Amanda is one of my brides on The Revel Rose Roster of Love, 2019 Edition.

Yep. I'm interviewing my very first bride for this blog series. You guys. Shivers.

Amanda and James were the first couple to email me in January 2019 and when I opened my inbox after a prolonged little holiday (and a massive attack of my annual NYE flu). I breathed a sigh of relief that there was an inquiry and also had a tinge of panic at the realization that I was still very much self employed and about to enter the start of my second season as a wedding planner based in Northern Michigan.

Booking season is a little bit excruciating.

Getting an inquiry from a couple is a lot like speed dating. We have a set amount of time to determine if my services are a fit for their needs, and if their needs are a fit for my services. We have to have ​compatibility. We have to be able to talk on the phone without it feeling awkward. We have to have some similarities in personality and overlap in what we think a wedding should be or could be. They have to ask themselves "Is she worth it?" and I have to answer with "Are they worth it?"

When Amanda sent an email describing her desire to create and design a bar that feels like the famed Legs Inn of Harbor Springs and Candy Bar located in the Siren Hotel in Detroit had a love child, I knew. This was perf.

And from the minute we hung up the phone on that first call, I was hooked. Line, and sinker. They were just so damn easy. Amanda and James are laid back. They have huge families and care deeply for them. They share a wild friend group and want them all to be there, guest list bar none. They are hosting their wedding at her parent's farm in Ann Arbor and they don't really give a damn about formalities or pomp.

Amanda is an artist and designer who has her own illustration and painting product line through Amanda McKey Designs and is a design associate at Whitetail Farm in Dexter. When I imagine her dual sided creative spirit, I see it skipping on a tightrope high above some coastal city. On one side, the landscape is this airy, breezy, beach at sunrise. Quiet cottages with cozy, contemporary, open air, porches. A plein air painter who strokes like the wind blows. Bright peaches and citrus greens and a hair scarf tied just so on a girl reading a book under an umbrella. And on the other side of the landscape is a wild rumpus. A daytime disco rave. An elephantine scene second line with brass blaring. A hazy revelrous bash in the smelly underbelly of every good city there ever was. A sudsy bar maid calling down off her plant filled balcony to come n' get it. What it is, no one knows except that 'it' is good.

Basically I've never met a more Revel Rose.

Amanda is creating most of her wedding paper good pieces and decor, and carrying her playful, fun-loving design and ethos into everything from her flowers to her food. And of course that bar. She creates beautiful wedding paperie pieces for clients all year round, and is one of the industry's go to artists for custom watercolor portraiture. Holler at her.

I'm so thankful for every couple we serve. For their stories and their personalities and their wedding days. No two are even remotely alike.

And I am majorly excited for this one. I knew it was going to be good when Amanda's response to our final package proposal was,"This sounds perf. Let's do it."

I love the word Perf and Amanda and James love True Detective. We love our dogs most, leather jackets, taxidermy, smoked meat, reading, dive bars and boojie bars, My Morning Jacket, and beautiful art. We don't take life too seriously, but we seriously love it.

There doesn't have to be a ton of commonality in this vendor to couple relationship, but by george there for sure has to be some.

Anyways. Amanda uses words like llamazing and sold her cards in Anthro. Need I say more.

I can't even. Is it September yet?

The Interview

With Amanda Orr

You’re getting married!!! Tell us about you and James. You both are so fun.

We're so excited! James and I went to high school together and have TONS of mutual friends, but never hung out or dated until after college. We ran into each other at a bar downtown Ann Arbor about 5 years ago where James (over-served) tried on, and ripped the lining of, my favorite leather jacket. WHAT a charmer!?

After getting to know him in the daytime, I very quickly learned that he's wonderful. James is endlessly helpful, far more thoughtful than he thinks, and just SO genuine. I am one of the MANY who love him and feel so lucky that I get to claim him, legally and otherwise.

You live kind of between small town Dexter and downtown Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is somewhere I haven’t spent much time, but when I have it’s been centered around music or art. What is it like as a community? What’s it like being a designer in this part of Michigan?

I was born and raised in this area, so the fact that I'm still here is a testament to how much I love it. The community is vibrant, artistic, and most of all, welcoming. There's such a great network of small business owners, artists, designers, and creatives in general who sincerely want to help one another. Collaborating with some of them has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of doing this kind of work. I've learned SO much from other designers who were kind enough to take time out for me. I try to pay it forward by doing the same.

You have one of my many dream jobs! Creating and designing interiors for people! How did you get into this process?

It's my dream job, to