Who: Monica Welsh
Does: Owner of Vaux Studio, an inclusive intimate wedding space that opened in April 2018. Also works part-time in finance and is a mother of three.
Where: Philadelphia, PA
Inspiration to create an intimate ceremony space: “I look haggard in my wedding photos because the week before I was running back and forth to the church making centerpieces. My husband and I worked extra jobs to afford a $28,000 wedding after a discount. I still hate it. I really should’ve just gone with my gut and did what I wanted to do. That’s how I felt about having a big wedding when I wanted a small one—I just didn’t want to have a big wedding. It’s not me. We didn’t even eat dinner. We ordered a pizza when we got back to the hotel.
“We could’ve just gone to the courthouse and ordered a pizza.”
Venue aesthetic: “Eclectic minimal? I wanted to create a pretty chic “blank canvas,” if you will. Something that was incredibly beautiful on its own but could be transformed with florals and a few modifications into something different altogether. The bones of the space are inherently stunning: two marble fireplaces, antique chandelier, mahogany pocket doors, old church windows, high ceilings, and so much natural light. I wanted to play up these perfect aspects without overshadowing them. Adding decor to any space is always a balancing act, but I think I found a way to make it appeal to almost everyone, not just one particular ‘style.'”
Advice to venues paring things down due to COVID: “Try new things—now is the time. Couples are getting married and want to get creative as well. It’s difficult to try something for the first time with a 200-person guest list, so why not try it with 20-person guest list? Same goes for the couples. They can explore having fresh fruit place cards, or an elaborate floral wall for photos. It’s time to explore options that weren’t accessible with a larger guest list.”
Advice to couples planning an intimate ceremony: “If the couple has someone whom they want to officate, take advantage of that. If you’re doing an intimate wedding, make every aspect of it intimate. When people bring their own officiant, it’s really beautiful and close.”
Office space: “I have always had a home office, decorated thoughtfully to inspire, and it’s my favorite room in my home. I do calligraphy (alongside Vaux), so my desk is a beautiful draft table, built and gifted to me by my husband. Having an in-home office (especially in the current COVID climate) is noisier and messier than usual, but late-night emailing has become the norm.”
Number of hours dedicated to Vaux each week: “About 35, between emails, weddings, client calls, showings, and coordinating day-of drop off. Vaux averages two weddings a week, and while our packages max out at 1.5 hours (with an option to add time), my time spent in the space averages about 4.5 hours per wedding, not including travel.”
How she juggles Vaux and a job and being a mom: “Um I don’t. I obviously do it because I haven’t been committed yet, but it is hard. I create a daily priority list to help me through the day. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m answering emails from my phone while I feed my one-year-old blueberries for dinner. Once a week I try to go a few (four to six) hours without my phone during the day and just be. I need an assistant (ah!) but have a hard time letting others do things for me. It’s something I know is a problem and needs to be addressed. I do, however, have such an amazing support system with my mother and mother-in-law. They really do so much for me.”
On her desk: “I have a vintage brass lamp that was my grandmother’s, alongside a stack of bills and invoices (because real life). I keep a jewelry dish close by to catch all the baubles that are inevitably removed while I work; a bud vase for aesthetics; and an hour glass to ensure that when I say, ‘Five more minutes,’ that I mean five more minutes. Lastly, three pen cups, filled with nibs, calligraphy pens, and markers.”
Number of drinks on her desk: “Four. ALWAYS a bottle of flat water, one (usually cold) coffee, then when I have DEFINITELY had enough coffee, I make tea (Earl Grey or chai), and finally, a glass of seltzer, never bottled or canned, because we have one of those seltzer machines to help with the planet and all.”
Playlist: “I am an equal opportunity employer when it comes to my jams. Right now, I’m listening to Bon Iver and this band I came across on Spotify called Lake Street Dive. I switch it up to some Lizzo and Biggie when the sun goes down to ensure my blood keeps flowing. All-time favorites to sooth when my anxiety gets the best of me (cause weddings) is classic Chopin. All time faves are your typical basic B play list: A little T Swift, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Johnny Cash, Kenny Chesney, anything that ever played in the 90s … and the list pretty much goes on, forever.”
Outfit: “Winter go-to: Jeans, flat ankle boots, a tee /sweater, and blazer. This all might sound well and wonderful but the boots and jeans are ancient and worn in so perfectly that the comfort level surpasses sweat attire. Summer: Linen everything—pants, tank, shorts. Easy to move in and it breaths. Also, a silk ascot/scarf because a sister is always forgetting her mask.”
To connect with Monica at Vaux Studio, message her via her vendor profile.