We had the good fortune of connecting with Holly Gray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Holly, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
If you were to ask me, ‘what’s one thing about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of’ my answer would be how close-knit the special events and wedding industry really is. It always seems to surprise people that within the Los Angeles market, most seasoned industry professionals know, respect, and get along with each other! More and more, especially in our current harsh reality of a worldwide pandemic and the overall suffering of the special events industry, the concept of ‘Community over Competition’ has risen to the surface and has become the beacon of light from which we follow. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we are an industry that has come together in ways we never have before to support, console, and cheer on each other on through this incredibly challenging time. Instead of knocking each other down, as traditional business sense tells us today, we are building each other up and are reminded that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. The only way we are going to come out of this pandemic (stronger) on the other side is to work together, to achieve our overalls goals of surviving and thriving. Long gone are the days of ‘tooth and nail competition’ that not only wreak havoc on an industry based in hospitality, but serve to disconnect us as a whole. What we are left with is a powerhouse community of wedding and event professionals who are making their mark, creating waves, and continuing to spread the message of community over competition as we move forward for the better, TOGETHER.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Probably the most recognizable difference in my work is my use of COLOR. There was a very good reason I named my business, Anything But Gray Events. With a last name like Gray, I always felt like the color attached to my name didn’t suited my big, bold, and colorful style and personality. Hence, Anything BUT Gray! Focusing on using color is a staple and at the forefront of my business branding and designs. It helps me to stand out of the crowd and continues to attract my ideal clients. Lovingly referred to as my, “Wackadoos”, my ideal clients are colorful creatives are who prefer the ‘totally us’ to the traditional. We welcome all loving couples who are looking to think outside the box and create a wedding experience that is as unique as they are.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, as a Los Angeles native, I adore my city. One of my favorite things to be is to be a tourist in my own city. If I was bringing a friend along for the ride, it would go a little something like this. While I love the fancier things in life, when it comes to LA, I truly like to experience the local, LA terroir. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it is always fabulous! An early (6 am) trek to the DTLA Flower Mart is one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning. Strolling through the not yet bustling flower mart, you are overtaken by the floral smells, interesting sights, and natural beauty of Flower Mart city within the city! Head right on outside the mart to the Saturday farmer’s market for a fresh-baked, warm almond croissant and iced cold watermelon aqua fresca from one of the local street vendors. LA is a melting pot of food, people, and culture. Soak up everything you can! You aren’t too far away from Los Feliz (pronounced as Las Veliss to locals) to head over to my favorite hole in the wall fish taco joint, appropriately named, The Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada. They serve two things – shrimp tacos and fish tacos. Simple but oh so good! Need to walk it off? As you head back up to the valley, stop at Fryman Canyon for an easy hike up the hill to check out the view of Hollywood in all its glory. After a Saturday afternoon nap, head over to Descanso Gardens for a sunset walk in their lush gardens. Oh, and there is a See’s Candy just a couple blocks away. The official chocolate of California, their peanut brittle is not to be missed. Finish off the day with dinner at Yang Chow’s, a true, LA staple. I highly recommend you order the Three Musketeers and the Slippery Shrimp. If you have any more energy left, end the evening at the Los Angeles Observatory where you can see the city from a whole new perspective.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
For the last five years, I have been one of the leaders of Tuesdays Together Los Angeles. A non-profit and free organization that builds community and offers gratis education and professional resources to creative entrepreneurs. This nationwide organization, Rising Tide. With over 500 Tuesdays Together chapters all over the US and abroad Rising Tide that supports, inspires, and celebrates creative entrepreneurs who are designing their own path, making waves of positivity in their cities, and creating a sense of ‘community over competition’ with everything they do. Although our monthly meetings have now transitioned to virtual with the pandemic, our membership is still 3000 strong in LA and growing. Over the last 6 months, we have added virtual small group discussions on human rights issues, the Black Lives Matter movement, and casual, community chats to support members who are soloprenuers or live alone. Our mission is to continue to raise the tide and create a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming community spirit for creatives in Los Angeles. You can check our more on Tuesdays Together Los Angeles at www.losangeles.therisingtidesociety.com
1. Ribbon Exit – Jenn Emerling Weddings
2. Balloon Art and Couple- Mary Costa Photography
3. Cake and Couple – Aurelia D’Amore Photography
4. Two Brides – Monica Linda Photography
5. Flamingo – Jenn Emerling Weddings
6. Car and Couple – Peterson Design & Photography
7. Yellow Wall and Couple – Aurelia D’Amore Photography
8. Stained Glass and Table – Mary Costa Photography
9. Two Grooms – N/A