My team suggested that I introduce myself. “People want to know who’s behind Simon Says…” they said. I responded, “They just want wedding inspiration.”…..”I need a new photo of myself first.” How vain of me. So instead of dragging my feet and making excuses, I finally sat down and started writing. You’re going to have to wait on the fancy headshot. Don’t hold your breath.
I’m Lisa. I’m the founder and CEO of Simon Says Design. Simon Says wasn’t always Simon Says. What we do now as a business started out as a personal hobby, something I enjoyed doing to help friends that were getting married and donating my time to help with various church and charity events. I loved being able to help people celebrate their life events and fully, completely enjoy the time rather than stress about the details. This hobby quickly turned into Lisa Cristea Weddings when more and more people were interested in hiring me to design and coordinate their events. That was ok because wedding and event planning was the perfect mix that satisfied my need for creativity while using skills in strategic planning and leading. I loved it all but I was primarily doing it alone. I never imagined that someday I would leave my career after almost 11 years to pursue wedding and event planning full time with a team beside me, helping grow a successful business. It didn’t seemed like a possibility and to be honest, I didn’t have the faith to take the leap. I LOVED my fulltime job at the time, working in a creative role for the largest furniture retailer in the world; who wouldn’t?! So how did we end up jumping in with both feet and launching Simon Says?
Almost two years ago, I had two dear friends start pushing me to do more. One was a former bride turned dear friend and the other a longtime life friend (you know, the type that you can be completely raw with. no secrets. hold back nothing). They both knew I was overwhelmed in my current life stage. They had confidence in me to take the business up a notch or two or three but knew what it would take. And the best part? They were both behind me 100% wanting to help me lead us there. They continued to prod me. In fact, I think we could call it harassment if I didn’t know they loved me. We started talking about the possibilities and our dreams for the business. We talked about our mutual desire to help people through some of the biggest days of their lives and how we could gift people with the time they needed to focus on the occasion and the reason for the celebration. We talked about what we would each contribute. Slowly, we started transitioning from Lisa Cristea Weddings to Simon Says Design. The name Simon Says is was inspired by the fact that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we like to have a good time and even better, our Operations Manager’s last name is Simon; our official namesake. We did a few events together and dreamed about when we’d be able to start investing more time to grow the business like we were eager to pursue. It all seemed so far off.
About 8 months later, I was being pulled in a million directions. I was overcommitting myself and my anxiety was out of control. I had two small children. My husband and I were both working full time outside the home, I was TRYING to grow a business, I had involved myself in too many projects and as my father would say I was “spinning too many plates“. And while this was all happening, I continued to have multiple people in addition to my team, firmly prod me to take that BIG leap.
That winter I read a book by Lysa TerKeurst called “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands”. It was the best thing I could have read during that season of life. The two lines in the book that I will never forget.
“A women who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule
will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul."
That was me! She was speaking to me! (and probably more than half the women in America). After reading her book, my husband and I started seriously considering what it would look like for me to stay home with my two young girls, care for my family in a way I hadn’t been able to before and start investing more time into this “hobby”. My husband was 100% supportive and knew it would be best for our family and my health. We worked like hell to pay off the stupid debt we had from when we first married and crunched the numbers to make sure we didn’t end up homeless.
Five month later, it was time to meet with my long-time boss and friend to tell her the decision we had made. And then… I fell apart. I cried. A lot. It was scary. It was going to be a huge transition. What had I done? Well, I answered my own question when I made the announcement to my design team the next morning. They are a fantastic group of creative and driven people that I had spent more hours with than anyone else in my life. I had learned an incredible amount from the people and experiences at that company. I had grown up in that office. When I told them the news, I talked about the book I had read and shared,
"I’ve said yes to too many things in my life and the result is that everyone
gets pieces of me rather than wholes. I’ve decided that my family gets
my first BEST YES and we’ll see what happens beyond that.”
I made a commitment to put my faith, my husband and my family first. To give them my “best yes”. And my hope was that doing that, it would also allow myself enough space to pursue my love for wedding & event planning in the way that my clients deserved, knowing that I had an army of people behind and beside me. I needed to give them my best yes also or not at all.
So this is the crazy behind Simon Says. Built on the love of love, the commitment to our families and our clients to give our “best yes”. Our hope is that by taking on the details of the day for you, you and your future spouse can enjoy your engagement, focusing on the purpose of the gathering and give each other your “best yeses” as well. We believe in marriage and celebrating life and we love working with people that stand behind those same values. We feel so fortunate to be trusted with such intimate moments in peoples lives and love that our clients often become friends.
Thank you for reading my story. I’m so excited to get to share this journey with you all and am so appreciative of the people that have and continue to support us along the way. If you are feeling like an overwhelmed schedule is weighing you down and leaving you with and underwhelmed soul, without room for discovering the thing that makes you come alive, I would strongly suggest you order a copy of Lysa’s book here.