I’m a strong believer in one team, one dream. Although I am the face of my company I have a very strong support system that ensures my visions come to life. FUN FACT: I conceptually design all events myself but the execution is completely a team effort. My family is also my rock. Without my family I would not be able to do what I do.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Guerdy Abraira, event designer & wedding planner extraordinaire. Abraira is based in Miami and New York, planning weddings worldwide. Her event designs weigh heavily on her clients’ desires, but she always goes above and beyond creating stunning, creative experiences. She has planned weddings for famed basketball player Chris Bosh, Arielle Nachmani of Something Navy and Victor Azria, partner & brother of Max Azria of BCBG, to name a few.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born in Haiti and at the tender age of one, my family decided to seek better opportunities and moved to Paris, France. At nine years old, my parents then decided that the United States, known as the land of opportunity, would be the best fit for the family and, thus, they moved to Miami, Florida.
As a persistent and confident girl who faced language barriers in my new home country, I knew I would have to make the most of the situation. Despite initially aspiring to become a news anchor, I soon realized that I was great at hosting parties. But, upon realizing I reveled in multi-tasking and organizing plans of action in order to effectively execute projects, I shifted my focus and began pursuing a career as an event planner. Living and traveling throughout the world as I grew up, expanded my palette in fashion and design, which also helped me develop an eye for details and aesthetics.
My first job was as a catering manager at a hotel, where I came to be known as the woman that could “sell water to a well” after I played a key role in tripling their projected catering budget. Soon after, I garnered a position in the events department at Fisher Island. It was an eye-opener with its luxurious amenities and international top affluent movers & shakers of the world. Through my love of the experience, I turned the events department into one of the most revenue-generating sources on the island. I then received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which allowed me to start my own company as a full-time independent wedding planner, as well as floral designer of my own events, giving me full scope of the hands-on experience.
I owned the floral & events studio on Fisher Island for 7 years, and then decided to move the floral company to Miami proper, due to the growing demand of clients in Florida. Today, my company Ocean Flowers & Events has become one of the top 5 event design firms in Florida. I have taken my talents to international destinations such as the Bahamas, Mexico, France, New Zealand and Turks & Caicos and due to high demand, I have now expanded my presence in New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Hamptons.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
It’s not so much funny, but the most interesting was when a groom said “No” at the altar. That really happened. My initial instinct was to be sure to remove all of the monogrammed decoratives at the wedding! The crowd was gasping for air — as was I!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My global palette and aesthetic is what truly makes my style stand out. I’ve developed the ability to connect with any type of client. I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients who have very specific cultural and/or religious needs, which has enabled me to be able to curate custom event experiences that can’t be duplicated.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m a strong believer in one team, one dream. Although I am the face of my company I have a very strong support system that ensures my visions come to life. FUN FACT: I conceptually design all events myself but the execution is completely a team effort.
My family is also my rock. Without my family I would not be able to do what I do.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes! I recently announced that due to high demand, I expanded my presence and services in New York including Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Hamptons. I’m collaborating with some of the City’s most beloved wedding experts and vendors such as Ron Ben-Israel, Ceci New York, Epic Road, and Randi Rahm.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
In this day and age where there are so many sad events around the world, it’s nice to know that I am able to bring joy by creating priceless lifetime memories.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Don Quixote: Because he dreamt big and he was limitless.
Even though he was delusional, he thought of himself as limitless. For me, that similar feeling of confidence enables me do bold things that many others wouldn’t even attempt.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. You will lose endless amounts of sleep. Just accept it!
2. Patience is a virtue is NOT just a saying…
3. I alone cannot do everything. Delegation is critical to success.
4. Stay humble. Don’t get caught up in the success. Focus on the work for each and every event. Your success today is not guaranteed tomorrow.
5. Innovate. Innovate. Innovate. Always work on yourself to expand your horizon and growth.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast with Oprah!
I love that her success and recognition didn’t come from a learned talent — it was something that came naturally through her words and wisdom. She has been able to achieve success through her life-changing charisma. Her personality surpasses any visible talent that someone might have — it’s something that is natural instead of learned.
Her own knowledge has helped her to achieve her success.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Originally published at medium.com