NJMOMpreneur: Paige VanGombos, Gilded Lily Events

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What started as a love of hosting parties and gatherings for Paige VanGombos, blossomed into a full-service planning and design company called Gilded Lily Events about seven years ago. Paige’s inspiration to build a business came when her very own detail-oriented wedding was featured in the online wedding publication, Style Me Pretty. This #NJMOMpreneur sat down with us to discuss how that feature gave her the push to go out on her own, how teaching for twelve years prepped her for this role, her personal connection to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and her favorite places to spend time with her family around New Jersey, like Historic Long Street Farm and Coco Beans Play Cafe. We also, of course, love hearing her say, “the work will get done, but it just might look a little differently than it did before becoming a mom.”

Creator of Gilded Lily Events & NJMOMpreneur Paige VanGombos

NJMOMPreneur Paige VanGombos, via Love & Light Photographs

NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Paige: Gilded Lily Events is a full-service planning and design company focusing on detail driven weddings. I have been doing what I love for almost 7 years now and truly believe what differentiates us from other companies is that I am both type A and type B. So while I am completely in love with the design of your event and have a creative brain, I am also able to be organized and work collaboratively with all vendors to make the day run seamlessly.

Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should.  My new words to live by!       – Paige VanGombos, creator of Gilded Lily Events

NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Paige: I have always been inspired to host parties. There has always been something about creating a beautiful space for my family and friends to enjoy. It is one of the things in life that brings me the most joy, even when it is stressful. When it came to planning my own wedding in 2010, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and so did my guests. My wedding was featured in Style Me Pretty which gave me the justification that I needed to give it a go as a business.

NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Paige: My favorite part of my business is getting to be a part of so many wonderful families’ lives during such an important life event. I have been so blessed to work with couples that trust me and whom I consider friends even after the wedding is over. I think that there is this rhetoric out there about “bridezillas” but I have been so lucky to work with the sweetest, kindest brides over the years.

Paige and her family celebrating Gilded Lily Events’ first year via Love & Light Photographs

NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Paige: This question stumps me because I do not have any formal training in business or wedding planning. For me, it is innate. I was a teacher for twelve years and I poured my heart into being the best teacher I could be, received my Master’s in Education, and thought I would be a teacher forever. However, starting my own wedding planning business happened and has evolved and I have received on-the-job business expertise through the years. I joke about it but I believe the attributes that made me a good teacher transfer into my role as a wedding planner: patient, organized, good communication skills, creative and able to think on my feet.

NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Paige: I would have to say the fact that without formal training and knowledge of business that I have been able to grow my own business that I am immensely proud of.  I have been able to push through the tough times and keep on growing. As a business owner, you have to wear a lot of hats. That can be overwhelming at times, but I am proud that I have persevered.

NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Paige: I think most people don’t know that I am an introvert. I am able to turn up the energy when planning weddings, networking, and hosting parties, but in reality, I am pretty shy and reserved.

Paige and her son at Bear Creek Herbary via Ashley Mac Photographs

NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Paige: Next year, I am going to continue to juggle running my wedding planning business and being a stay-at-mom home. We are making sacrifices as a family so that I can be at home with my son as much as possible again next year. I am going to be working on the “back end” of the business during the slower times so that I am intentional about the clients that I work with and the kind of work I am producing.

NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Paige: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has always been a cause that I am passionate about. Several years ago when living in Boston, I volunteered as a Big Sister and it was such a rewarding experience. In college, I used to tutor at their center after school. I love how simply spending time with our young people can truly make a lasting impact.

NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Paige: Every working mom is my role model including my own. I am always amazed at how women do it! Whether they are working from home, working in an office, or doing the stay-at-home mom thing, I see you and recognize what it takes to make it all work.

Momma and baby at home via Love & Light Photographs

NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/role model) ever gave to you?
Paige: There are two sayings that I think of when I think of the advice my mom has given me over the years. Number one is the Serenity Prayer.  “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”  For as long as I can remember I have been a worrier. She would try to get me to see that I can not control every little thing and it will be okay if it is not exactly as I had expected. I am still working on that.

The second and truly words to live by are “Kill them with kindness.” This came up so many times through my school years and I hope to pass this along to my son too. You cannot argue with kindness.

NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Paige: My personal motto is…

“When you know better, you do better.”

I find this quote so important and poignant because it accepts that you do not have to be perfect to be good.  We all make mistakes and that is part of life. Yet it is how you learn from those mistakes.  I also like what it says about patience especially as a mother and teaching my son that life is a learning experience.

NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family? 
Paige: We love taking advantage of the low or no cost activities in New Jersey.  We frequent the public libraries in our town and the surrounding towns. They have a variety of programs and are always welcoming to us. The Monmouth Parks System is also amazing. We visit the Historic Longstreet Farm, Deep Cut Gardens, and Thompson Park often.

NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Paige: This is probably the hardest question that I have ever been asked because I am not sure how to put it into words. I think for me the best part of being a mom is just the sense of wonder that I get to experience with him. Each day I am amazed at what he has learned and being able to share those experiences with him is amazing. He has also taught me to slow down. I enjoy reading books, coloring, going for long walks and experiencing the holidays again through his eyes.

Celebrating Gilded Lily Event’s first year via Love & Light Photographs

NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey? 
Paige: We love Sickles Market. We can spend an entire afternoon there between visiting the store, exploring the nursery and grabbing lunch or snacks before heading to the park. Coco Beans Play Cafe is a great play place and where we first learned about Music Together Coastal Melodies, our first music class experience. The Monmouth Museum at Brookdale Community College is another favorite of ours and I can see us taking our son there for years to come. The Herbary at Bear Creek has provided a lot of great moments for us. We love to go visit the animals, grab lunch in the cafe and I hosted the first CAMP MAMAMAMA there in August. It was a day for moms and their kids to enjoy a summer camp-like experience. It was incredible and lots of mompreneurs attended or participated.

NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Paige: I grew up going to the beach every day in Manasquan, New Jersey. About six years ago, we moved to  Red Bank and we love being able to walk into town for just about anything we need. We have not been on many vacations since having our son but we do love weekend trips to Philadelphia, Georgetown, Cape May, and the Catskills.

NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Paige: My advice is to take it one day at a time. Some days, I’m able to tackle my to do list and I’m feeling like I have this whole mompreneur thing figured out and then the next day it is turned on its head. I have learned that the work will get done, but it just might look a little differently than it did before becoming a mom.

NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Paige: Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should. My new words to live by!

For more information on Gilded Lily Events, follow on Instagram and Facebook.

About Author

Erika is a yogi, writer, coffee enthusiast, and world traveler. If she's not at the beach or chasing the sunset, she's looking for the best iced coffee she can find and planning her next adventure. Her favorite NJ spots include The Saint, Island Heights, and Lava Java House.

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