From oversized chunky crystal bracelets to a black Helena-style fascinator which was going to be worn to a charity event, Lori Karpow is known as an extravagant person and brings that sparkle to her business, Hollywood Weddings Inc.
Within moments of meeting Karpow, a feeling of comfort envelops you. Her relaxed and breezy personality is likely a contributing factor in her success in a career that involves stress and intense pressure. She is a one-of-a-kind woman filled with compassion, ambition and endless creativity.
Karpow graduated from the University of Western Ontario and began a career in visual display and store merchandising. Her first taste of event planning occurred out of the blue when a friend asked her to do the decorating for her wedding.
“It was new to me,” she said.
“There were people actually looking for someone to stage weddings.”
She accepted the offer, and after 13 hours of hard work at the Transylvania Club, the finished product gave her a feeling of satisfaction like no other. Pretty soon, she was asked again to decorate another wedding. From there, she decided to end her career as a visual merchandiser and dive head first into events and weddings. After two years of careful thought and planning, Lori and husband Mike Karpow created Hollywood Weddings Inc. in 1997.
Karpow said she gets her inspiration for designs and decorations from everything around her. She remembers a powerful quote that states, “A good designer studies some things, and a great designer studies everything.” She strives to be like that. She finds it fascinating to look at things as how they are, and imagine what they can be.
“I look around at everyday objects and see possibilities,” she said.
Although weddings are notorious for bringing out the worst sides of people, Karpow does not let the stress get to her.
“There have never been any bad experiences,” Karpow said.
“Just challenging individuals.”
When Karpow was in her 20s, she lost her mother to cancer. She said the incident helps her put things into perspective and remember that life is too short to stress about small things.
Karpow, who is also a staging and styling instructor for the visual merchandising program at Conestoga College, said no matter what kind of issues are happening at an event, there are always creative solutions to the problems. She believes nothing is detrimental to design. Over the past 15 years, Karpow has learned that even though hours can be spent planning something, the best work is what just happens.
“The best things are born from disaster,” she said.
Although the commotion and pressure can sometimes be overwhelming, the best part of the job is standing back and seeing the last details fall into place. She finds it inspiring and rewarding to help be part of forming memories for people.
“The final product makes everything worth it.”
Karpow and her husband are always busy throughout the year with the business, but have learned to never take on more than they can handle.
“Details have to be looked after so we never book more than our capacity,” she said.
Couples generally come in six to eight months before the day of the event and together they brainstorm and share inspiration.
According to Karpow, Hollywood Weddings Inc., like many independent businesses, took a solid five to seven years to become successful.
“When you see some money in your bank account, that’s when you know you’re good,” she said.
Karpow said her career did not turn out the way she had planned.
“It’s more than I could have ever imagined.”