In the Spotlight : Xochitl Gonzalez


Xochitl (So-Cheel) Gonzalez is a Co-Founder of Always a Bridesmaid Experience Design, a luxury design firm that works with couples seeking to blend modern lifestyle with wedding traditions.  A fine art major and Brown University graduate, Xochitl is the “Director of Dreams” at Always a Bridesmaid and they and their work have been blessed to have been featured in scores of print, online and TV media including the NYTimes, InsideWeddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Uptown Magazine and The Style Network. She is also one half of the no-nonsense blogging duo “Alwaysablogsmaid.com”.

That’s the super-serio bio. But if you must know (and you must), Xochitl is so terribly generous of spirit, fresh, funny, and genuine. She dispels the steel-toe-stilettoed New Yawker vibe the minute she opens her mouth to speak;”hear” more below.

Calder: Best store (online or not) for great reception finds?
XG: I love B & J Floral Supply on 28th Street in Manhattan. They don’t retail online, which is part of why I love it, because they tend to have weird containers, and décor items that you aren’t going to see all over the place. It’s insanely tiny, but PACKED with stuff.

Calder: Secret weapon in your emergency kit/arsenal for your brides?
XG: Nothing that interesting!  A white cotton napkin to rub off city dirt from gown hems, safety pins, lighter, a knife and corsage tape are probably the most FREQUENTLY used items in my kit.

{image by Mayra Castillo}

Calder: What one wedding design element needs to be banished to its grave?
XG: Are fake moustaches a design element?  If so, fake moustaches. Otherwise, birds and all of their accoutrements:  Cages, nests, eggs maybe even veils…

Calder: Your go-to signature drink for entertaining?
XG: In the spring and summer, for large crowds, I usually make what I call a “Mojito Lite”, but it’s fabulous tasting and can be made in bulk. As I made up this recipe, please excuse the crudeness of the measurements:  In a 2 liter large pitcher, squeeze 12 fresh limes, a cup of fresh mint leaves, about 10 shots of Bacardi silver, a liter of diet Sprite and fill the remainder of the pitcher with sodium free Seltzer water.  Stir and serve over ice.

{Image by Roey Yohai Photography}

Calder: What do you really think about the styling trend in our industry . . . the mock shoots, the faux weddings, the propped-out gigs on blogs?
XG: Eh. I think it’s a trend that is either going to die or evolve. First, I actually see “styling” as a completely separate business and skill set from designing a wedding or event.  Having done both, I can tell you that we approach them in completely different ways, from conception to execution.

What works for a photo shoot actually has NO bearing on what would work in reality. Perfectly laid out lattice-worked ribbons on top of a table is great when you have hours to set the shot, but not when you have 20 tables and a 4 hour load in. I always kind of kid around about the name of that popular feature… It’s more like Inspiration to Aspiration. And as much as I think brides enjoy seeing them, most brides want to see actual event work before they hire you, not the photo shoot.

That said, I think that soon spending the time, money and resources that these shoots take is either going to start to feel not worth the return of being on a blog for a day or so OR stylists/ designers who love doing them and are really talented will find ways to monetize this skill and be paid for STYLING.

Calder: What’s one of your favorite blogs, or what interesting blog is in your RSS feed?
XG: Eek, that is hard!  I catch up on all wedding blogs once a week.  But, I more frequently visit Mrs. Lillien (gorgeous), WeMakeMoneyNotArt and Dlisted.

{image by Karen Wise}

Calder: What’s one thing you wish you could say outright to every bride, but you feel like you can’t, out of decorum + propriety?
XG: Your guests won’t give a rat’s behind about your shoes or your centerpieces if they are cold, hungry, stuck standing around, walking long distances or any other number of discomforts caused by scrimping on hospitality and putting the money into details that you’ve seen photographed on blogs.

Calder: Favorite detail of 2010 that you deployed at a wedding?
XG: It was a two part “joke”… It was the wedding of a Rabbi, so needless to say, most of their guests knew what to expect at a Jewish ceremony AND the Horah was going to be bananas.  We decided to print “instructions” on the kippah that men need to wear for the ceremony and then before the Horah, we handed out sweatbands with instructions that replicated those on the kippah. It was pretty adorable and very funny.

{image by Mayra Castillo}

{image by Mayra Castillo}

Calder: Your ideal late night reception bite for guests?

XG: My new thing (though I may be playing it out a bit quickly) is a pizza truck! Yummy!!!

Calder: What one coffee table book would you buy right now for inspiration?
XG: Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks

{image by Karen Wise}

Calder: You’re heading into an 18 hour wedding day- what’s your “fix”?
XG: An everything Flagel with light cream cheese.  It’s a flat bagel and it’s amazing.

Calder: No wedding is complete without . . . (fill in the blank).
XG: A gracious couple to fête.

{image by Roey Yohai Photography}

Chitchat

  1. Katherine

    Loved the question about the mock shoots. I have been debating that one as well then realized Martha Stewart has been doing that for years. We have to just keep telling the brides it is for inspiration, not reality.

  2. Melissa

    Fantastic! I found myself nodding my head in agreement throughout the entire interview…. :)

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