For Hannah and Elsa, wedding planning is a sister act. Combining their stunning styling skills, fancy for flowers, and servant’s hearts to deliver unforgettable celebrations, the two of them make up the dynamic design duo known as juliet + lou. With an impressive track record of weddings (like Carissa and Daniel’s beautifully woven big day) and styled shoots, it’s safe to say that these sisters will continue to shine in the wedding circuit. Get to know their story.
What sparked your love for event planning and design?
H: It happened so naturally. Growing up, we were both creative kids. We loved fashion, doing crafts, and creating stories. When we were out of high school, we were always the go-to girls for anything decorations related. Whether it was a friend’s wedding or a work party, we were always appointed the party planners. A few summers ago, we did our first wedding together. The couple and family were so happy with everything we did. We thought, “Hey, we’re pretty good at this, maybe we should start a business”.
E: As Hannah mentioned, we’ve always been party-loving, craft-building people. When we started working with brides and families, during one of the biggest events of their lives, I knew that was what I wanted to do. The joy and fulfillment of being able to create an event that celebrates people and the big events in their lives is indescribable.
How do you describe your design approach?
H: I think it’s important to pay attention to trends, but not get swept away by them. If you look at store windows, home furnishing catalogs, fashion magazines, Pinterest, etc.- you’ll see a lot of great ideas, but as a designer you always want to put your own spin on it. When we sit down with a bride, we always try to get to know the couple before we dive into design plans. Then once we’ve established a relationship, we’ll go through their Pinterest and talk about why they like what they like. We usually try to open the couples mind a little bit. When there’s trust involved, the couple is more likely to try something new. Creative freedom goes a long way.
E: Each couple is unique. Our goal is that their wedding aesthetics would represent who they are, while also creating an environment that welcomes their guests. We will often focus on one aspect that the couple requested and base the décor around that. It could be anything from an atmosphere that they desire to attain or finding a way to include the bride’s grandmother’s china for the dinner plates. Hannah and I generally design events that are based around simplicity, natural elements, and encourage gathering.
What has been one of the most memorable or meaningful events you’ve planned?
H: For me, it was my own wedding. It was the grand finale of our 2015 wedding season. I got to be the client AND I got to be in charge and call all the shots so it was a win-win. We wanted to do an intimate backyard wedding on a budget but I had several non-negotiables: lots of flowers, farm tables, a great cocktail hour to set the mood, delicious food (we had DERUmarket cater), and a good dose of dancing. I know I’m biased but I honestly think my wedding was the best wedding I’ve ever been to.
E: I was driving to the rehearsal of one of the first weddings Hannah and I planned together. As I often do, I was listening to the processional music on the way there, imagining each couple walk down the aisle with the bride at the end. I surprised myself as I started crying imagining the couple finally saying their “I Do’s” after several months of planning and preparing for the rest of their lives together. Like many couples in the days leading up to their wedding, they hadn’t been without their relational challenges with each other and family, but they were setting differences aside to come together on this occasion.
What is your vision for juliet and lou?
H/E: It’s constantly developing. We’re still establishing ourselves in the wedding industry and everything is exciting right now. We have so many directions we could go. Our mission has always been to create beautiful events that celebrate people. No matter what the future holds, we still want people to be the focus. That’s really why we do this: to serve people, to bless people, and to make them feel valued.
How do your PNW roots impact your event design?
H/E: We live in the prettiest place in the United States. It makes our job easier because we already have a beautiful backdrop. Not to mention the diversity of scenery- we have beaches, mountains, flower farms, pastures, cities, wineries, and the list goes on.
What’s it like working with your sister?
H: We have so much fun. Most of the time it doesn’t feel like we’re working. Elsa is one of the most hard working people I know – she definitely keeps me on my toes! We’re lucky because not only are we sisters, but we are genuinely great friends. We each have our separate strengths and weaknesses that we are always learning to balance. As in any relationship, communication is key.
E: It’s the best. We laugh a lot, and sometimes that means laughing at the ridiculous fight we just had. We respect each other and take pride in the other’s work. One can bring a concept to the table and the other will run with it, taking it to a level we couldn’t do on our own. Hannah has always been one of my greatest inspirations and motivation; I can’t imagine doing this business without her professionally or personally. She’s incredible.
How do you stay inspired?
H: I love doing styled shoots. They are a great little break from a week full of client meetings and planning sessions. You get to go outside, network with other vendors, try out new ideas, and remind yourself why you love what you do. Sometimes it’s nice to work on a project just for the fun of it.
E: There are few things that don’t inspire me when it comes to this business: fashion, music, fine art, and love stories, other individuals both current and past. Sometimes I have to take a step back and remember that God has gifted us. We do this business to bless Him and other people. That in and of itself is that greatest joy and inspiration for me.
What is your favorite love story (literature, film, or real life)?
H: I am a sucker for anything Jane Austen, but a world without Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice is a sad world indeed.
E: It’s a toss up between Ross and Rachel, Chuck and Blair, and Jim and Pam. There is nothing like falling in love and marrying your best friend.