Owner Lady Sarah NtouskasWhile I’ve always strived to be a lady, I acquired the title Lady on June 1, 2012. The day Nik and I got married. Likewise, he acquired the title Laird. No, that’s not a misprint. Lord is for England Laird is for Scotland. So how can a Southern girl and a Greek guy be Laird and Lady of Chaol Ghleann?
One of my very best friends (who is from England) bought us each one square foot of property on the grounds of Dunans Castle as part of its conservation plan. Meant to be a fun tongue in cheek wedding present, it has been the one we’ve gotten the most enjoyment out of because it’s given us a great story and amazing deeds of entitlement to hang on our walls. One day we’ll plan to go see the castle in person and maybe buy a piece or Tartan to go with our deeds!! When I’m not busy being a lady or Lady I enjoy spending time with my family which consists of my Husband Nik, our dog Buster and our two gorgeous girls Lily and Mira. We love being on the water, going to the beach, boating, kayaking and sailing. I have a new found passion in photography, which admittedly makes me a better event planner because I design for things to be most appealing in your event’s photos. We also love bike riding, walks, history, a good drink, good food, and good company. Most of all we enjoy TRAVELLING!! That is the fun part of my job. I get to travel to the most amazing destinations meeting the greatest people. I plan events all up and down the East Coast but really specialize in DC, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and International events. Having lived in multiple other countries for most of my youth; I just adore the traditions other areas instill in their events.
The most common question I receive from potential clients: “How did you become a planner and how long have you been doing it?” Event design for me began in infancy. I come from a very traditional Southern family, apart from my “Yankee” father as my nana affectionately called him. He’s been a Virginia resident for so long I think we can hardly call him a Northerner! He wasn’t born here but he certainly got her as quick as he could! To understand my passion for events let me introduce you to my nana who instilled in me my passion for entertaining. She taught me trends come and go but entertaining and etiquette NEVER goes out of style. As a young child I watched my nana host weekly “meetings” after church. Officially intended to be bible study, they were really a fact finding mission among the ladies of the community. Recipes were shared and gossip dominated the conversation. I learned how important it is to “set a good table”. White gloves (although impractical) add a certain formality and femininity.
If you’re going to wear white, make sure it’s as blindingly white as possibleJaqueline KennedyHats are a statement piece and convey everything about what you are feeling. Most importantly nothing matters more than good manners. She taught me how to entertain with certain fluidity. If you watched her closely I swear that she didn’t walk, but glided! While hosting anything can be unnerving, I learned through practice to glide through my events as well, to take everything in stride and create a relaxed atmosphere no matter the formality of the event. No event is perfect, but presentation is everything. While things go awry sometimes, because I present it well no one is the wiser. In college I was the go-to party girl, and not in the way you expect of most college girls. I was involved in planning sorority functions, alumni gatherings, reunions, graduation parties… and in my last year… my first wedding!! It was a traditional Southern Wedding in June. A white wedding held at a Plantation. It was very 90’s and walked straight out of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. I don’t know what we were thinking. It all seems ridiculous to me now. Think Sunday hats, lots and lots of lace, puffy sleeves and awkwardly placed bows. But that was before we knew any better!! I’ve come a long way since then. While I pursued a career in the corporate world, I gained experience in corporate and political events, project management and banquet entertaining and then I got engaged. That was baptism by fire for sure. I loved it though and this time I had a much better sense of style. Several the girls in my office were getting engaged at the same time as we were. Before I knew it I was planning six weddings instead of just my own and voila! I had found my niche. I was hooked.
The best thing to hold onto in life is each otherAudrey HepburnThose five weddings brought me clients for other events until I decided it was time I make this a venture and not a hobby. I’ve made it a career and a business and couldn’t be happier. It truly is a blessing to do what you love. I love that this affords me an opportunity to be creative and be involved in life’s most memorable moments. I get to share in the wedding bliss, witness first kisses and love in its purest form. I get to celebrate 50 years of marriage, the miracle of birth (not the yucky part) of babies, businesses and political careers. I love seeing our community come together to support charitable causes. I thank my nana every day for my introduction to entertaining and for teaching me there is nothing more special than the coming together of people. When I’m not planning events for others I’m hosting at our home and am admittedly a little obsessed, which in the last few years has been readily fueled by Pinterest. I’ve planned countless affairs and each one special to me. Read Less