We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Dwight and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Our reputation and high touch service are intertwined in the success of our brand. As a company our reputation and brand are of utmost importance to us and why we have been able to be in business for 18 seasons now. Running a business for the long haul takes dedication. You could compare it to a yoga practice or training for a marathon. It takes practice, repetition and most of all patience and deep breathing. One of my favorite things about yoga is when the teacher asks you at the beginning of each class to set an intention. It could be a word, a person, or someone or something you are dedicating your practice to. Your intention is your “why” and at Calluna, we come back to our “why” over and over again. Our why is of course our clients but it’s also bigger than that. As a team we all have our individual “why’s” and that drives our team mentality but our collective why is to provide the highest touch service, influential design and an authentic experience for our couples. If their wedding weekend is a true reflection of them and a seamless process, then we’ve done our job well. Staying true to your brand – in this ever-changing wedding world we all are in is intimately tied to your reputation and therefore success. We need to be adaptable and fluid while staying true and authentic to who you are. In our industry, brands are different and they should be, just as your core values and purpose will be different. We try to come back to our core values each year and identify our ideal clients. By doing this we feel we are able to provide the best possible service to our clients – they see themselves in our work and ultimately we are able to deliver on their expectations because we are aligned with their vision!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
One of the things that sets Calluna apart is the number of years we’ve been in business and our team. Collectively there are 10 of us and we bring a unique and diverse set of experiences and perspectives. We are able to share with each other and grow through our challenges and successes but also our weddings are handled by professionals who have literally seen and done it all! This is our 18th seasons in business and we bring that long-standing experience to the table when navigating client needs and their vision. Over 18 seasons we’ve encountered many many challenges, honestly too many to outline here – but what I will say is your challenges are what help you to grown and be better as a person. You can allow setbacks to defeat you or use them as inspiration! There is so much learning in adversity and challenges and those are what helped propel me and invigorate me to be the business woman I am today!
There are so many weddings and events I am proud of, but honestly, I’m most proud of the way we as a company and team got through 2020. It’s not over yet and we still have 2021 to contend with but we were able to navigate this unprecedented year and all the changes to gatherings and regulations with calm and ease. We supported our couples and vendor teams with their postponements and still had some weddings and smaller gatherings. We learned a lot about resiliency and tenacity and also just going with the flow, which is something that is hard for planners. I’m always inspired by the incredible team at Calluna, but this year more than ever they really came together to support our couples and they are a large part of why we got through this year! Planning someone’s wedding is very personal and we often develop a close bond with our couples that when we get to the wedding day, it’s like watching a friend get married. The emotional connection and intimacy we have with our couples is one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process. The trust we develop with them fills my soul and heart! I love that each and every one of our couples is different and relish the challenge of planning a wedding that is uniquely them. I feel truly grateful that our clients entrust us with the biggest day of their lives. I’m also inspired by the collaboration we have with our creative partners and love that I have inspiring friends colleagues who I look up to adore our industry I’ve been so fortunate to work with and meet throughout the years! There’s no industry I’d rather be in!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve lived in Colorado since 1998 and I obviously love it here for a reason. I live in Boulder but spend time all over our state! Because I live in Boulder I’m a little biased about what Boulder has to offer. We have world class restaurants, hiking, biking and over 300 days of sunshine a year!
I’d start off with a coffee at one of Boulders coffee shops. There are so many to choose from but some favorites are Spruce Confections, Boxcar, Ozo, Trident, or Alpine Modern Cafe. I’d follow that with a hike near Chautauqua since it’s an iconic spot to view Boulder’s flatirons. I’d follow my hike with a trip to Wonder Press, Boulders’ organic juice bar, for a green juice. I’d then head to Cured for a picnic lunch of the best bread, cheese and charcuterie! Cured is a food lovers market and it’s hard to not sample everything! In the afternoon I’d take in a yoga class at one of our many studios or go see a show at the Dairy Center for the Arts, walk along the Pearl Street Mall or ride my bike north of town on many of the dirt roads. I’d then head to one of Boulders iconic restaurants and there are many – Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder is a must for fine dining and hospitality experience but I also love Blackbelly, Santo, Flagstaff House, The Kitchen, Oak, Mateo, Pizzeria Locale, Arcana, Jax or the West End Tavern, Black Cat or Corrida. The rest of Colorado is a must see and even after living here for 23 years there are still places I am discovering. Denver has so much to offer from food, art, culture and music. Denver may not have the appeal of bigger cities like New York, San Francisco or Chicago but it’s food scene has exploded. Take in Union Station, Denver Art Museum, RINO, Central Market, Denver Botanic Gardens, Cherry Creek Shopping District, or a Rockies game at Coors Field. Heading into the mountains is an absolute must and I’d send a friend to Devils Thumb Ranch in Tabernash which is beautiful in winter or summer. Head to any of the mountain towns to ski in winter, my favorites are Vail, Crested Butte, Steamboat, Aspen and Beaver Creek. And equally lovely are our mountain towns in summer, head south to Telluride and be sure to stop by Dunton Hot Springs for an unforgettable experience! Grand Junction and Fruita are a mountain bikers oasis and I’ve done many winter hut trips throughout the state in the 10th Mountain Huts.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our team – first off I will say I’ve been extremely lucky with the ladies who have chosen to work with Calluna. Right now there are 10 of us, including me. I feel like we have the best team we’ve ever had and I’m so proud that each of these ladies represent Calluna. I have to say my biggest learning has come from being a leader – I’ve made so many mistakes and continue to learn and be inspired by the ladies who work for Calluna Events. Growing our business and our team is the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done – far harder than planning weddings.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you and collaborate with them to develop a brand in your events. Surround yourself with creative partners. I always say Calluna is only as good as our vendors. Our vendors make us look good. We work hard so they look good and vice versa. And I know 100% if there’s a problem or an issue the community we’ve created and we work with over and over again will have our back. I’ve been so inspired working alongside some of the people in this industry. I know that our weddings are executed well and look the way they do because it’s a team effort. Sure we are the glue – or the general contractor so to say – but find your team and it will become a dream team. So find the creative partners you want to work with and be intentional about it, lean on your community. Jill Livingston of Eclectic Hive, Cindy Ollig of The Perfect Petal, my business coach Sam Jacobson of Ideaction Consulting as well as many wedding planners in Colorado and across the country are sounding boards for me. I can call on these individuals at any time and ask them their honest opinion about anything. I trust them inherently and if I’m making big decisions or changes I ask them. Talk to planners or other people who do what you do. Ask questions. Get real with them.
Dennis Kwan Photography – head shot Alp & Isle Laura Murray Photography James x Schulze Ashley Sawtelle Photography Rachel Gomez Photography Cassie Rosch Photography