Get to know the Founders and Owners of High Society Creations, Marita McMillan & Philomena Ashakah

High Society Creations, Marita McMillan & Philomena Ashakah

In previous blogs, the women of High Society Creations told us the story of how all the pieces came together to create the event company they hold dear to their hearts. Now, get to know the ladies who started it all a bit better. In this month’s blog, Marita & Philomena answer some frequently asked questions that explore the what, when and why of their lives both inside and out of the events world.

Why did you choose events as a career?

Philo: It’s the excitement and the action in every experience for me. There are no limits to what you can do when planning an event (budget pending, lol). I think that’s what got me hooked. No event is ever the same. Everything from the theme to the décor and the food. I pretty much live a life of parties and celebrations and who wouldn’t love that? However, what’s most important is making others happy and bringing their dreams to reality which will create memories to last them a lifetime.

Marita: I was working in banquets as a server and I expressed to my then employer my interest in learning more about events. While shadowing one of the event managers, it’s like I was instantly in my comfort zone and I knew that events was something I could see myself doing long term. With the practical knowledge I already had, plus the experience from hosting a few birthday parties and assisting a few industry friends with weddings. I made the decision to go back to school and become an event coordinator. It’s up there with some of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life and I’m loving every minute of it.

What is your favourite event to plan?

Philo: It’s hard to decide between weddings and birthdays but ultimately, I would have to say weddings. Someone’s wedding is so important and its always an honour to be part of something so special. Not only does your couple appreciate you but close family and friends adore you as well for making sure their favourite couple of the day is happy.

Marita: I love doing all events because each one is unique in its own special way and our clients make the experience even more unique and special. It’s hard to pick just one but it’s a toss-up between Weddings and Baby Showers. The reason I love planning these two particular types of events is because of the milestone moment in their lives and I love taking the vision in their head and bringing it to life.

What’s your favourite event trend (Past and Present)?

Philo: I am really loving the bridesmaid pantsuit trend. The girls love them because it's different yet comfortable. I think it’s something everyone can agree on and feel confident wearing. Most importantly they can wear it again and again. Unlike the traditional bridesmaid dress that would have to fit the right future occasion, and sometimes it never makes it back out the closet.

Marita: My favourite event trend would be balloons. I LOVE BALLOONS. Especially how they are incorporated into the décor of events with arches, garlands, backdrops & bouquets. I love it all.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve experienced in your event planning career?

Philo: My first ever Bar-mitzvah was pretty wild. They seriously went all out with the décor, the food and entertainment. At that moment I wish I could have been a 13-year-old again but I fun, nonetheless.

Marita: Turning an event space into a magical forest was…. simply magical LOL. There were swings, indoor trees and plants galore. The décor overall set the bar high, but it was the food and beverage that stole the show for me. The signature drinks were unique, and the food selections went perfectly with the theme.

When you are not busy planning events what are you up to?

Philo: I am a big-time home body, so you can definitely catch me on the couch or in bed watching YouTube or catching up on my reality shows. I am a reality show junkie. However, events do take up majority of my time. So, going out with friends and swapping stories of all the interesting things happening in our personal lives outside of our careers is much needed for me.

Marita: When I’m not busy I am spending time with my family & friends. Having movie nights, playing games or small get away vacations. I also do hair on the side (not as much now due to covid) but normally I’m giving someone a new do. Lastly, I’m a member of my church choir, so rehearsals keep me busy at least once a week.

If not events, what would be your 2nd dream career?

Philo: I’m not sure exactly what, but I know for sure it would be something to do with helping others with a specific service or need. I love interacting with people and every experience is different.

Marita: This is a hard question every-time it gets tossed my way. Most times I don’t know, but then I search within my other talents and I would have to say singing. I love Getting into a zone and just singing from my heart. However, I don’t really like being in the limelight with all eyes on me, so maybe I’d be doing background vocals for other artists.

What’s the best thing about planning events together?

Philo: I love that I have Marita in my corner to bounce ideas off of. It makes the planning much easier. It helps that we both like the same things and share the same brain for the most part. If we come across something that stands out (good or bad), we just look at each other and instantly we know what the other person is thinking lol. We definitely complement each other as Marita loves the logistical side and I love the execution, so both of our strengths stand out and show up when it matters the most.

Marita: The best thing about planning events with Philomena is I have someone to consult with and run new ideas by on a regular basis. It’s also great to have someone that has the same mindset as you and pushes you to try new things. If things ever happen to go wrong but most importantly when things go right, I have someone there next to me on this journey who understands it all. I know I can go to her and say what’s on my mind and then she gives me her feedback and it’s all positive.

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