Grand Rapids, I love you.

Image by Marissa Boswell for Blackbird x Kenley Almost Holiday Party

Image by Marissa Boswell for Blackbird x Kenley Almost Holiday Party

I never wanted to be one who lived in the same town where I grew up. And yet, to my surprise, I found myself falling in love with Grand Rapids and its people, again and again.

It was here, where I was raised at my Grandma's house near the intersection of Cutler and Division, a beautiful diverse neighborhood with grit. A neighborhood known to many as unsafe, but to me, one that remains near and dear to my heart. Where, during my late teens and early twenties, I felt like I didn't belong. Didn't share the same beliefs as many of my peers. Couldn't voice my opinions, in fear of being excluded. And then. Finally finding a community of people who shared my values, vision, and having conversations for hours on end about our dreams, goals, and ideas. Grand Rapids is where I started this very business. Where I made so many connections to (now) friends in the wedding industry and creative community. Where I married my love, an incredible man.

A city where my husband and I have our first house. Where we frequent our favorite locally-owned restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries. Where people know our name. As someone who constantly craves spontaneity and a little bit of chaos, I also find comfort in familiarity. To me, Grand Rapids has always been home. I've seen people come to my home, fall in love, and put down their roots, with no intentions of leaving.

However, with mixed emotions, we'll be doing the complete opposite. This November, we'll be packing our bags to start a new life in Chicago.

We've gotten much support and shared excitement from our friends and family, which is so encouraging. And the reality is, we're not young twenty-somethings anymore. We eventually want to start a family, so this decision wasn't made lightly, knowing that we will be raising our little ones in Chicago (you can laugh at us 5 years down the road when I post about temper tantrums on the L). We'll both be building our clientele from the ground up in a new city and a new market. We know that we'll have a lot of challenges ahead, but with challenges comes personal growth, and that's so important to us. We're excited for this opportunity, but my heart aches when we think about leaving a community we care about so deeply. But hopefully, it won't be long before we build a new community in our new city, and thankfully, we're just a train ride away from friends, family and loved ones. Now, onto the questions. 


WHEN? November 2017


WHY? In short, we didn't want to look back at our 30 year-old selves at the age of 60 and have any regrets. We've become pretty comfortable in Grand Rapids, which is wonderful, but don't want to become complacent. We felt like we needed a new challenge. A change. 


WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING? Lance is in the fitness industry, and he accepted a new position at Equinox. He will be working at their location in the Loop. We are so excited for the opportunities that he'll have, working for a world-class company. I will be taking on a limited number of weddings each year.


HOW WILL THIS AFFECT KENLEY'S FUTURE CLIENTS? For any clients who have already booked their weddings in 2018, this move will not affect your wedding one bit! I will still be readily available via phone or email, as usual, however, in person meetings will just need to be scheduled a little further in advance. For anyone still looking to inquire about booking 2018 & 2019 services, I will be taking on just 2 more full-planning clients and a select number of floral events in Michigan for next year, and 3 full-planning clients for 2019.


Any other questions? Just shoot me a note. This has definitely been a bittersweet decision, but for us, change was necessary. Although we'll have a new address in Chicago, Grand Rapids will always be home.