One thing that I truly believe the world needs more of (aside from love and weddings, of course) are Thank You's and acknowledgements of those who have shaped us and moved us along in out journey.
It is in the spirit of this gratitude, and in wishing Mr. Gary McCreary a very Happy Birthday, thank him for all that he taught me throughout our years working together.
When I sat across from Gary the first time, I was a barely 22 year old Wedding Coordinator looking to learn more about catering, timelines, execution and organization. Not only did Gary give me a job, but he gave me an extraordinary opportunity to learn from a master as I shared his office for the first six months of my employment. Sitting in that chair taught me more than any classroom ever could have. Beyond the basics of how staying organized, monitoring vendors, and all of the mechanical components of that go along with running catering event, Gary gave me permission to draw inspiration from anything and everything. He encouraged me to look to food, art, pop culture and more so that my events would be infused with history, meaning, passion, and personality.
And while he often mocked me with a rolling of the eye or a flustered nickname, I know that that Gary appreciated my irreverent attitude and desire to consistently move against the grain of whatever trend was taking hold at that moment.
By the time of my departure, Gary and I had become virtually inseparable. And unlikely team made up of a girl from New York, a man from Texas, and a shared love creating events unlike anything guests had seen before. I look back on some of what you allowed me to be a part of, I see parts of you, parts of me, and a million memories come rushing back as I remain shocked, awed, and inspired.
And so today, Gary McCreary, I salute you, I thank you, and I wish you the Happiest Birthday you could want for.
I will forever remain your very own "Andrea Grace Ann."
Photos courtesy of Andrea Eppolito and Gary McCreary.