How to Respond To Things Out of Your Control

Kim Sirkin of Blue Satin Bee Wedding Planning shares about environmental sustainability in wedding planning, dealing with life when things are out of control, and the importance of boundaries.

When it comes to weddings, Kim Sirkin knows how to make them fun, festive, and free of stress. Having married her own husband in the middle of a hurricane, and attended over 500 weddings or receptions, she has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Since 2019, Kim and her mom have been making weddings stress free for the bride and groom. At Blue Satin Bee, they offer a variety of plans including Wedding Management and both full and partial wedding planning. In addition to the wonderful packages offered, Kim and her mother are also showing the industry that sustainable events can be gorgeous, classic, and memorable, not just brown and crunchy.

When Kim is not planning a bride's dream wedding, you can find her hanging at the beach or outside with her husband and (almost!) three year old! Fun Fact: Kim has been to 3 continents, which include 12 countries and 38 states!   

Interview Transcription

Ashley Baxter 00:09

Hey, it's Ashley and I am so excited for you to be tuning into this episode with my interview of Kim Sirkin the owner of Blue Satin Bee Wedding Planning in Southeastern North Carolina. We talk about so many things in this episode from how she runs her business, about it being about sustainability and how they try to incorporate that into the wedding business. To them having elopement packages right now which is very popular and important during this time of social distancing. And but throughout it all, regardless if you are a bride, a groom, or even care anything about weddings right now, she constantly throughout the entire interview, drops all these nuggets about valuing yourself, about dealing with hard times and overcoming just things that are out of your control, and so much more. Also near the end, you get to see my fairy goddaughter because in case you didn't know, I'm a fairy godmother, minus the magic. Don't tell her that - but tons of glitter and tons of fairy wings that I have bought along the years. But you get to see her make an appearance when she wakes up from her nap. And you'll get to hear her if you're listening to this. And then the very end is going to tie up the episode with some thoughts I had, from things that she shared that really stuck out to me. So without further ado, here's the episode. I'm here with my friend Kim Sirkin, owner of Blue Satin Bee. Hey, Kim, I'm so excited for you to be here. Hi.

Kim Sirkin 01:39

Yeah, I'm excited to

Ashley Baxter 01:41

Well, how about you give people just a snapshot of your life. Where do you live? Who do you live with all that jazz.

Kim Sirkin 01:47

Yes. So I live in Southport, North Carolina and I live here with my husband and our daughter who is about to turn three in August. And then we have two dogs, Jenny and Jonah. Who if you see us out and about you see us on social media, you are bound to me, because they are definitely our original children. Before Abby. And yeah, I mean, if you're not familiar with the Southport area, we typically tell people "Safe Haven" that kind of comes up in conversation. And it's right here on the, you know, North Carolina coast right for you down in South Carolina.

Ashley Baxter 02:25

It's a very beautiful town. Very beautiful place. And yeah. Well, let's ask a few little lightning round questions to get things started. So Jiffy, or Peter Pan - is that what it's called? Peanut butter?

Kim Sirkin 02:43

Peter Pan.

Ashley Baxter 02:44

Sorry. Good, good. Or is it Jif, not Jiffy? Yeah. Anyway, yeah. But you know what I was going and it just helped me out. So that was right.

Kim Sirkin 02:53

You had a bias.

Ashley Baxter 02:54

Yeah. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Kim Sirkin 02:59

Ha. So my senior year of high school, I wanted to be a wedding planner. Which is funny how, yeah, that comes back around. But I would say originally as a small child, I think I just wanted to be a princess.

Ashley Baxter 03:13

I love it.

Kim Sirkin 03:14

We're still working on that one.

Ashley Baxter 03:16

"Saved By the Bell, "which character would you most likely been of the girls?

Kim Sirkin 03:21

I'm gonna say Kelly just because even before my husband's name was Zach, like I, of course, like I was, you know, pretty into Zach. I would say, Lisa, but I'm not, I'm not a Screech, man.

Ashley Baxter 03:34


Kim Sirkin 03:35


Ashley Baxter 03:35

That's okay.

Kim Sirkin 03:36

Definitely not Jesse. No offense, Jesse if you're listening, but, yeah.

Ashley Baxter 03:40

Yeah, there you go. There you go. Okay. And last question. Is it wrong for vegetarians to eat animal crackers?

Kim Sirkin 03:49

Only if they bite their heads off first.

Ashley Baxter 03:51

Yeah, perfect. I agree with that. And that's a good

Kim Sirkin 03:54

I mean, even that I'm not a vegetarian, but that's how I eat animal crackers.

Ashley Baxter 04:00

I'm gonna reevaluate how I eat them for now on that. Well, how about you share about Blue Satin Bee and what you do?

Kim Sirkin 04:08

Sure, yeah, so Blue Satin Bee is actually pretty new. Um, we officially started Blue Satin Bee back in mid-October of 2019. However, before it was Blue Satin Bee, we sort of just kind of as needed worked with couples. Mostly with day of with wedding direction, things like that. And they were typically couples that my dad was the DJ for. That's kind of how all this evolved. My dad is a wedding DJ has been a DJ my entire life. Um, fun fact, at 15 I DJ my first wedding solo, which is crazy to think that somebody hired a 15 year old to DJ their wedding. The wedding industry was a little different back then. And so you know, it kind of evolved from there. I grew up in the wedding industry, I was pretty familiar with you know, timelines and how things are supposed to flow and for the most part, folks, you know, get married once or twice. But you know, they attend a few friends weddings, and that did however, I had the opportunity to be a part of hundreds if not, you know, thousands of weddings over. We'll say 25 to 30 years and it things that seemed totally like second nature to me weren't second nature to, you know, friends and couples that we worked with until I was kind of like, yeah, sure, I don't mind I can help. Why not? And so over the last 10 to 12 years, my mom and I, you know, worked with lots of couples that my dad worked with, we also were the day of directors for a venue down in the Ocean Isle Beach Area. And then last April, I became a full time stay at home mom. And it took about six months for me to I won't say get bored because you can't get bored with full time stay-at-home mom things - it's it's a lot, a lot of work. But I really wanted to get kind of back into something that was regular and you know, something that I could kind of dive into. And it felt like the right time to take Blue Satin Bee or take what we were doing kind of to that official next level. So I talked to my mom about it, and we had lots of couples calling in for 2020 dates. And she said, "Yep," you know, she'd been retired for a few years, I finally had more time on my hands. And so she was, you know, on board with us kind of making it official. And so I made it official in October, started booking 2020 weddings. And then as everybody knows, COVID happened and things you know, they changed a little we're still tracking, but 2020 does not look like what I thought it was gonna look like, I'll say that.

Ashley Baxter 06:44

Growing up and going to thousands of weddings, like you said, How did that kind of form as you were growing up, like, were you always envisioning, like what you want to do for your wedding or were you just kind of like, you didn't even think about it because you were just around it all the time.

Kim Sirkin 06:59

A little bit of both. I mean, there were definitely things. I learned things and there were things where I was like, oh, okay, I would definitely not do it that way. Not necessarily like style wise, but just you learn things where you're like, "Oh, that's kind of problematic." Um, my mom and I, we would joke, you know, if there was terrible weather for an outdoor wedding. We will joke and say like, "okay, I'll never," I was joking. She was serious. Um, she was, you know, "you can't have an outdoor wedding."

Ashley Baxter 07:26

Well, and I love the fact that your mom said not to have outdoor wedding. Because knowing what happened with your wedding. So how about you share about?

Kim Sirkin 07:35

Yes, she was right. So fortunately, we did not have an outdoor wedding planned. Because we had a hurricane show up as a wedding guest and it made for a wonderful hashtag we Hurricane Joaquin gave us #joaquindowntheaisle. We made the best of it. All of our vendors like showed up and had smiles on their faces and I think they were just kind of like that. Wow, I can't believe Kim is not full on melt, like melting down. But I knew from so much, you know, kind of past experience, especially just you know weather. It's Mother Nature, you can invite her, don't invite her to showing up if she wants to. But there wasn't anything I could do. And we got married at a church there was a couple blocks away. Thankfully, we were super, super close. My husband's family they had to all pile in my sister in law's boyfriend's truck to get there. Thank God he had that truck because the roads the house they stayed in the water was probably two and a half three feet deep. It was craziness. So we all got to the church. We got married and then we got to the venue that didn't have restrooms, but whatever, you know, we may do. There are a few people stay in, like right across the street. So we kind of use the bathrooms that we could. I won't say you know if anyone maybe use the dunes or not, but it was it was a crazy night. It was fun. I couldn't imagine any, at this point imagine any other way. And honestly, like looking back on it, I, the only part that I remember are parts that like now I laugh at. Like, yeah, in the moment, they could have been really stressful. I don't remember that they were stressful. It was just kind of like, oh, okay, the room is flooding and so our DJ has moved from one side of the room to the other, and my brother in law is squeegeeing water out the door. You know, but, you can control the things that you can control, and you can just roll with the ones that you can't. And like I said, it's been almost five years and now I look back I laugh, I think, man, I'm just glad the venue didn't tell us we couldn't have the wedding, you know, reception there. And that everything you know, went on and, you know, we we have lots of crazy stories to tell. And I'm sure that our children's children will be telling them just because of you know, kind of what a crazy event it was.

Ashley Baxter 09:59

Yeah. And I mean, that honestly was one of my most fun weddings I've ever been to and not just because you made my dream come true of being a flower girl at the age of around 35. Legit, like the water was up to my knees crossing the street. It was insane. But I don't, out of everything I remember about that day, like I never remember you being stressed out. And exactly like you were saying like you deal with what was in your control and not. And I think of weddings, I've had a lot less things go wrong or not expected and people are freaking out. So I feel like that's amazing. It shows so much about the type of person you are and I'm sure that is something that is just going to serve you and your clients, your brides and grooms so well and just bringing perspective into things and just being that calm source. I mean, if you can be calm about there being a hurricane.

Kim Sirkin 10:56


Ashley Baxter 10:56

I feel like, you can be calm at pretty much anything life throws your way.

Kim Sirkin 11:00

Yeah, it's definitely helped with all of the, you know, craziness around COVID-19 and folks having to reschedule and all of that. It's totally out of their control. It's totally out of vendors control. I think it's somewhat comforting that we're all in it together, but at the same time, it's like, Oh, God, like we're all in this together. So they're, there's no you know, kind of end like with a hurricane, you know, it's gonna last a few days and you can cross your fingers and, you know, pray that it won't cause you know, damage and destruction. With this we we have really no idea what the future holds. You know, we keep best guess is kind of all we're looking at. But it really it teaches you a lot about what that wedding is all about. You know, it's, it's a celebration of two people getting married, because they love each other. Whether, you know, you end up having to kind of celebrate virtually with your loved ones. They're still there. They're still you know, wrapping their arms around you, even if it's through Zoom You know, they're they're still able to celebrate. It, it prepares you for what marriage looks like, I'm only not quite five years in, but you know, there are - there are amazing times. And then there are rough spots, you know, there are definitely challenges. And it, it's just kind of a reminder that it's not about the party. Now, I love a good party. So for you to say it was one of the best parties. That's amazing. But it's not about the party, you know, the party is to celebrate the marriage, and it's all about the marriage. So you know, just kind of asking one another, what do we want to do? What can we control? What can't we control?

Ashley Baxter 12:39

One thing I love is that Blue Satin Bee offers ultimate packages.

Kim Sirkin 12:43

Yeah. Who knew in February when we officially launched that after me kind of tossing the idea around, like around the holidays, and then in January, who knew that that would be like such a perfect fit for so many of these couples. You know, for anybody who's doing a really really small little bit maybe it's just the two you know the couple themselves or maybe it's them and just a few family members. It's a, it's a great package. It's been really nice to have something to be able to offer and we're working with several couples who they're still planning on having a big party and having everybody there whenever that safe. But for now, they you know, maybe they already have their marriage license, or maybe they just really love that date. It was you know, sentimental to them for whatever reason, and they they didn't want to give that up. And so they decided that instead of, you know, kind of calling it a wash and just waiting, they want to go ahead and get married, and go ahead and kind of start that next chapter their lives. And so the elopement package just it kind of makes all that easy. It has all the vendors and you know, everybody that we love working with here in the area, you know, kind of knowing where to go and what to do and being able to just make it super easy because at this point easy is good.

Ashley Baxter 13:55

One thing I love about Blue Satin Bee is your commitment and strive for sustainability. So can you share a bit about what that looks like with how y'all do weddings?

Kim Sirkin 14:05

Yeah, so the biggest thing is initially kind of when folks are planning on just kind of bringing up ideas, like I mentioned, you know, earlier, like, it could be that you rent things versus buy them or if you're looking around your house, kind of like what your overall extensive style looks like, in you know, instead of just buying decor, that you're not really sure what's gonna happen to it afterwards, think of places that those you know, signs or mirrors or whatever it is, you know, could have a place in your home. That might not seem like it's being sustainable, but it is because you've given it you know, kind of a dual purpose, you know, a second life. And it's really nice to have that as something that when you see it, that it reminds you of that wedding day, you know, so it could be something as simple as that. You could be somebody who says, you know, hey, we want to do totally plastic free, and then that means that any decor or you know, any, you know, kind of like food or beverage items that you're purchasing that you stay away from plastics. If you're renting things from you know rental companies that pretty simple because instead of going for, you know, plastic glassware, you can go with glass. And that in itself makes it more sustainable. There are a few you know, if you still feel like you need to go the disposable are out there a lot of disposable options now that are compostable, you know, either bamboo or some kind of compostable material. And the nice thing is those things used to be expensive, but it's becoming more mainstream. And so the prices of those have dropped as more and more distributors, you know, are offering that kind of thing. It's also it's something that vendors are kind of getting used to, you know, as one person or you know, a couple says hey, can we can we use this, can we do bamboo utensils, then you know, that vendor ends up researching and learning a little bit and then the next couple to ask, then they can be a resource. So you know, as that knowledge is shared, it makes it a lot easier for folks to feel like it's not as hard to be sustainable or eco-friendly. You know, and just being mindful that the things that you're you're purchasing or the things that you're using for your wedding do have some sort of like use or you know, afterlife. There are couples that are going like at all out sustainable, composting, all of the, you know, leftover food waste. We're working with a couple that was supposed to get married this fall and now getting married next spring, but that's one of the things that they were interested in. And so you know, we're working with a company that will pick up or it will drop off containers and then pick up those containers so that all of the you know, like, plates when they're scraped are going into have again a second life. They're not just going you know, to the dump. But you know, just having a plan ahead of time makes all of these things really simple. Knowing you know, where's that leftover food going to get boxed up and taken? If you do floral centerpieces, a lot of, a lot of planners and florist are able to take those floral centerpieces if you don't want them, to like a local nursing home or a church or somewhere that would be able to reuse that. And we're happy to do that, you know, for for any of our local weddings here just because you get to enjoy those flowers for you know, a day, but don't throw them in the trash. It's heartbreaking. And yes, we've done it. So again, we're judgment free. It's It's heartbreaking to have to take them and just toss them have a plan for where those things are going to go at the end of the night and and let somebody else enjoy them for you know, the next week. But there's so many things that are really really simple switches. Sometimes they even save you money. So you know, ask Google Pinterest, your wedding planner and just kind of figure out one or two little things that you could do. You don't have to you know, it doesn't have to be perfect. That's the greatest thing about sustainability, if everybody does just a little bit we'll make a huge impact. We need lots of people doing a little versus a few people doing a lot.

Ashley Baxter 17:59

I love that so much. What are, I know just from knowing you personally and then also I think it's clear to anyone listening, just how you are just a very caring person, and very intentional, and so what are some ways that you strive for your brides and grooms to feel cared for and valued in your business when they're working with you?

Kim Sirkin 18:23

Yeah, I think the thing with wedding planning that folks run into most often is it stressful, you have to make a lot of decisions. A lot of those are fairly expensive decisions. And having a planner that is there to listen and to kind of, you know, just make you feel heard is one of the big things. I mean, we're basically becoming like your bestie for 6, 9, 12 months. We're going to talk a lot we're going to text we're going to see each other we're gonna have coffee. We might even have glass wine or beer - probably will. But you know, just making sure that all of these feelings that you're feeling are validated. And there are all kinds of opinions coming at you from everywhere. And some of those opinions you may have requested and others, maybe you didn't. But you've got two families coming together. And those families both have different dynamics. And you know, there's just a lot going on. There's a lot of personalities, there's a lot in that, you know, that mix. And I think the part of being a planner that is kind of the coolest at times is being able to be totally unbiased, like third party and just be in there to listen, and to kind of go, huh, yeah, oh, really. Or just to be like, Hey, I know that you've got a lot on your plate. And, hey, these are the like the three things that if you work on this week, you'll be able to check those boxes off and I'll kind of work over here behind the scenes. And so being like that, that friend who can listen and not have to have you know, an accent. In one way or another, but also to take some of that like off your plate. I feel like that's where really getting in and supporting those couples.

Ashley Baxter 20:06

So what are some mindsets that have really helped you during this time? I mean, one just starting it is tough, any business, but then like you said, you have had to go through a lot with COVID. And so I'm sure there's been a lot of things you've kind of had to like, regroup and just really be like, "okay, how am I going to frame this? How am I going to think about this?" So can you share some of that?

Kim Sirkin 20:26

I think it's, it's easy when you're passionate for something. So like, kind of remembering, like, why you wanted to do this. And I know you know, the whole, if you can remember that why it'll kind of keep you moving through like hard times in general and that kind of thing. I feel like that's very, very much the case with starting your own business. So make sure that you remember, you either have daily or weekly or whatever it reminders kind of set up so that when things get hard, you can look back, I save happy emails, I have a folder that I just called like happy emails and So if things are if I'm like, why am I here doing this, like this is, I'm struggling, I'm like, you know, spinning my wheels, I have a place that I can kind of go and be reminded of exactly who I'm helping and who I'm serving. And the next thing is family first, and you're probably gonna get to see my family in just a second, because I can hear somebody opening the door behind me. Um, but, you know, the whole reason I left my corporate job was that I could spend more time with my daughter before she, you know, was grown up and off at school. And, you know, being at home with her kind of full time with COVID. There she is, um, you know, that it really just reinforced the fact that this was something that I chose to do. You know, I chose to be at home full time I chose that, you know, we would spend a few years just kind of - "Hey ,wanna sit right here?" We would spend a few years just kind of hanging out and doing our thing. And we you know, wouldn't worry about what life could have looked like. You know, had I stayed in that like corporate role and so I have to pretty constantly remind myself that yes, while I want this business to grow, you know, and I have goals and dreams for it, but it doesn't have to grow at like a super fast pace. You know that I've got a few short years before she goes off to school.

Ashley Baxter 22:17

I love that she came out exactly when you were saying "family first." You are paying her a lot.

Kim Sirkin 22:23

I did. I was like, "just stay asleep until you hear me say the word 'family'." Yeah, so we just started this no work Sundays kind of tradition. And it's, it seems like hey, that's a no brainer. You know, one of the big things that from the start of Blue Satin Bee was I wanted all of the kind of business to be based in you know, my faith and that like, you know, God would kind of show us where to go and lately I've just been feeling like you know, He's put it on my heart that we we we need to rest.

Ashley Baxter 22:56

How has valuing yourself played a part in this whole journey of starti