On Sunday, September 19th a creative canvas was painted to celebrate the success of Darling Magazine’s Issue No. 1.

The event space was filled with life and laughter as captivating eyes glistened, thought provoking conversations were had, and guests enjoyed an autumn inspired menu. Hearts were warmed at the very essence of the mission of the Darling movement. And of course like any good party, there was lots and lots of dancing.

As the producer for the Darling Magazine launch party, I had the sincere pleasure of orchestrating a spectacular evening that translated the heart and mission of Darling Magazine Issue No. 1 in a real and tangible way.

What a joy it was when Sarah Dubbledam, Darling’s Editor in Chief, asked me to help lead a team of incredible designers and thoughtful creators to share in the success of Issue No. 1 back in August. It was as if she gave me the keys to a beautiful vehicle and simply said, “Now go. Create. And translate the mission of Darling.” I immediately knew to pull off an evening of this magnitude – it couldn’t be done alone. I assembled a core team of designers and fellow event planners.

The Darling Launch Creative Team met a month before the event and brainstormed ideas and together answered the question: How do we share the Darling mission in a way that captures the essence of this unique and collaborative movement? Our initial meeting took place in The Hall event space where the team shared the vision of creating two main designs concepts in the space:

1) “A Darling’s Nest”
This was the first room guests enter into. We wanted guests to feel like they were in a Darling’s room. We wanted guests to understand who a Darling woman is. What fuels her, inspires her, what would she create? Our hope was to leave guest’s thinking “I want to know more about this unique and darling woman.”

2) “Wonder in the Wilderness:
Many of the event collaborators were inspired by creation and the beauty of the outdoors. We wanted to bring the outside in and create a magical and ethereal place where guests felt like they were embarking on an adventure as they wondered through the space.

At the initial design meeting we decided to help educate our guests of the essence of who this Darling woman was, by creating interactive stations focusing on the 8 Darling personas. Nicole Villanueva and Sarah Shreves helped create persona experiences (shown below) where guests were able participate in live artwork. Explaining the joy she found in creating the personas Villanueva said, “From the moment you stepped into the room, Darling’s vision of exceptional beauty, a welcoming invitation to come as you are, and an intentional heart was woven throughout all of the evenings’ elements. My favorite moment was when I silently stood at the Explorer persona and witnessed two people share about their travels. I felt most overjoyed to see people participate and connect. It was magical.”

Like our guests, please enjoy the eight Darling persona experiences:

The Achiever:
“Remember: you are an active participant and a valuable commodity in changing the world for good. Share with Darling whom they should connect with to grow this positive movement in society…”

The Beautician:
“You are lovely. You are Darling. Your spirit radiates beauty from the inside out. Look in the mirror and be reminded of this truth by giving yourself a compliment.”

The Confidant:
“Every relationship we have is a gift. Live intentionally by example with grace, kind words, and a love for others that is simply contagious. Take a moment to be grateful and write a note to the confidant in your life. Remember to bring it with you to mail…”

The Dreamer:
“Imagination and creativity are intrinsically valuable gifts given to all of us. Join in this paint by number piece to revive your inner artist.”

The Explorer:
“Travel expands our perspectives and helps us understand and love those different from us, also prompting us to serve others in need. Share your discoveries by pinning a country that holds your heart.”

The Hostess:
“No matter your past, there is an entirely new story for you to write—one of what you want your home to be like, feel like, look like, sound and smell like. Share what makes you feel most “at home.”

The Intellectual:
“A sharp mind, quick wit and a wise soul will never fail to intrigue others. Share with us your opinion of what intellectual topics about the world or culture that Darling should cover next.”

The Stylist:
“You are invited to come fully into who you are, a walking work of art. Express your personal style, strike a pose, and snap a memory. #darlinglaunch”

Many Google Hangouts, conference calls, bullet pointed e-mails, excel manifests, Pinterest hunts, and creative dreams later we took our coffee infused ideas to divide and conquer this event. Our core team reached out to our network of contacts to borrow items, line up volunteers, pull in additional collaborators, find furniture, and work together as a team to accomplish our vision. To say it was a labor of love and a joint effort is an under statement. There are simply too many people to thank that helped make this event so captivating.

Tasked with creating an intimate celebration on a budget, we knew we’d have to come up with cost savings especially when it came to catering. Our “Official Hostess” Courtney Clevenger designed a fall inspired vegetarian menu where each guest contributed a dish. Clevenger shared, “At the event, I LOVED how everyone ‘brought something to the table’ for the evening meal. Asking people to contribute was critical for the event to be all that we were hoping it would be, but when the night of the event came and people started placing their dishes on the table, it took on a life of it’s own that no one had anticipated. It was beautiful to see this menu I had help create had caused people to come together and share a meal as a family. Seeing the guests commune over the food was a way for each person to bring a little piece of home with them.”

Two equally important collaborators were filmmakers Dawn LaMattina Asher of production company Tribe of Asher and director Austin Flack. They approached Darling to film the launch for the Tribe of Asher’s documentary project “Good Taste & Gatherings,” a celebration of everyday foodies who translate their passion for hospitality and cuisine into extraordinary community experiences. There was a beautiful story to be found and told within this Darling community. With cameras and recording gear in hand, they captured the creative details of the meal, music, and Darling personas; more importantly they fully captured the voice of this magazine through the Darling supporters. Though they were meant to experience Darling Magazine behind the scenes, the filmmakers were overwhelmed with gratitude to be welcomed into the community and take part in the celebration as well, a rare and cherished experience when working as documentarians.

All guests were invited by a custom designed paperless post invitation (another cost savings initiative.) The purpose of this event was to thank our Darling collaborators and Kickstarter supporters, while at the same time recruit supporters to help spread the Darling Movement. We were overwhelmed when over 250 guests showed up to help echo the heart of Darling.

At the event guests were greeted with warm smiles, hopeful hearts, and a desire to help others fall in love with Darling. When asked what her favorite part of the event was Tayler Bemis answered, “Being able to collaborate with a variety of talented artists, meeting new people, and creating a space for the Darling community to come together and celebrate the opportunity of being apart of something much larger than them selves. It was beautiful to see people in their element…seeing them embrace who they were created to be.”

At the Darling Launch Sarah Dubbeldam painted the future for Darling Issue No. 1, but this is only the beginning. As Darling currently works on Issue No. 2, they hope to continue with a quarterly publication. Future goals include intentional retreats for women of all ages, inspiring curriculum, and several other ventures under the Darling publishing umbrella.

To view more photos of the event check out #darlinglaunch on Instagram, as well as our Facebook album.

A humble and heart felt thanks to…
Core Event Team:Emily Gallentine, Nicole Villanueva, & Tayler Marie Bemis

Darling Launch Creative Team: Dawn LaMattina Asher, Courtney Clevenger, Saralyn Critchlow, Sarah & Steve Dubbeldam, Nicole Moser, and Sarah Shreves

Darling Launch Contributors:
Becky Shannon with The Hall
Austin Flack and the Good Taste & Gatherings Team
The Floral Lab
Sarah Shreves Photography
Signage: Mike Hill with Aosa
Musicians: Wendy Wang
Alex Lilly with Touche
Emily Spurgin with Pistol & Stamen
Scott Andrews
Courtney Dasher
Alise Davis
Tracy Le
Rachel Meadows
Rosalie Rhine
Kassi Sandstrom
Emily Spencer
Aly Tate
Renee Tyler
Matt Vaughan
Jennah Walls
Kylie Watson
Taylor Roy

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