A Mini Farewell to Danielle

Our lovely production director Danielle De Marco Smith is about to start an exciting new chapter in her life. She and her husband have a new baby on the way and she’ll be focused on lots of play time, sleep, and maneuvering the new mazes of parenthood. We’ll undoubtedly miss her while she is gone, so we discussed her work at Vanity Affair and her incoming bundle of joy before she’s off on maternity leave. 

What are you most excited about for the new baby?
To find out the gender (we didn't find out, so it will be a big surprise!), to hug it and squeeze it, and to put little baby clothes on it! 

What are you most excited about for maternity leave?
I am taking 3 months off–I’ve never had three months off of work in my entire life! That's pretty rad in itself. My husband works for Nike and he gets two months of leave. Having leave in general and having it with my husband so we can learn to be new parents together is the most amazing thing. In my head I picture us taking long fall walks, grabbing coffee, going wine tasting and having lots of family and friends, but I'm sure in reality it’s going to be us lying on our couch in sweats with dirty hair, hungry and tired. That will still be OK though!

What are you going to miss most about your time away from Vanity Affair?
There is no greater joy than expanding your family and watching a baby grow inside of you, but when you absolutely love your job it is so hard to step away. The biggest challenge has been planning our fall weddings and not being able to physically be there on the day of. As a wedding planner, you build personal relationships with clients and the best part of the planning is seeing it all come together for their big day. I am very sad to miss these weddings. 

What is one or two things you’ve learned while working as a production director that you didn’t expect?
Coming into this career I didn't think that what one client needs would differ so greatly from another. Every client is so different and their needs from their planner are as well. You have to cater to many different types of people and it’s our job to meet those needs (and even figure out what they are at times).  

What advice do you have for couples as more engagements occur and they start planning their weddings?
Don't wait until summer to get married! Summer is beautiful, but so is winter and spring. Those months get left out and guests love to attend weddings in the off season when they have little planned. You'll be surprised at how ready people are to party in May vs. September!!  

What is your favorite part of helping during the wedding day? Most complicated?
My favorite part is truly watching a couple and their guests enjoy the day. Nothing fills me with greater joy than seeing the love that surrounds a couple on their wedding day–the happiness and love is palpable. And of course seeing the design come together. The most complicated is managing all the requests (maybe this is good practice for being a mom!). People are coming at you from all angles and you are supposed to know the answer to everything from bridesmaids to guests to every single vendor on-site! 

What are you looking forward to most upon your return? 
I am just excited to get into our weddings for 2018! We have some incredible ones on the books and I'll be excited to meet those clients and start planning their day!

What are you most hesitant about returning to work after a baby?
Daycare is a huge stress. I’m sure all new parents feel this way, but it’s so scary to think about being away from your little one. You worry, you try to plan the best you can, but in the end it’s just going to be sad to leave this person to go to work. I think it makes it much more doable when you love your job though so I'm really grateful for that!  

We’ll miss you Danielle, but we can’t wait to see you and the new baby in a few short months!

Warmly,
Melissa