We Are Family!

January 22, 2010 Weddings Unlimited, Inc.

Right after the first of this year, the life partner of one of our Cincinnati wedding industry’s finest, passed away suddenly. Luisa Amelia Alvarez McLean, better known as Lu,  was Patti Needham’s “dream come true”.  They were partners for twelve years, and she will be sorely missed in this industry, community and life as we know it.

Because of circumstances beyond  Patti’s control, it was not possible for her to say the needed goodbyes and have closure. We were in constant contact during those first days and I suggested that she allow me to plan a Life Celebration party for Lu. One would have to really know Lu to see that the celebration was a perfect way to say goodbye. Lu loved life and everyone that met her sensed that. When she walked into a room, it lite up with her dazzling smile. She never met a stranger and always had a big hug for everyone.   

The news of Lu’s passing had already hit facebook, and there had been so many in the wedding industry showering Patti with sympathy and condolences. But, when I sent out an invitation to join us for this celebration of life..the response was  something that I truly have never witnessed in this industry. We became a genuine family for Patti!

 Oh, we have networked and attended a lot of meetings, seminars,  conferences and social gathering together, but there always appeared to be more of a reserved approach to these gatherings. This celebration brought out the best in all. We became brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, nieces and nephews. 

I had less than two weeks to pull it together. It was such a joy to have so many in the industry step up to the plate and offer their services. Diana Herman of PWG and Nidhi Bedi at the Elements Conference Center became my right and left hand. In no time we had all the necessary tools to pull this celebration off.  It was so amazing that many of the industry just stepped forward before we could even make a phone call.    

In the end, over 125 of the wedding and event industry attended Lu’s final goodbye. In keeping with her love of life, a theme emerged including those things she loved best: We drank pomegranate martinis, ate Latin food, learned to salsa and kept the topic of conversation on just how lucky we were to be a intregal  part of a huge family. Elisa MacKenzie commented that she observed a “true and honest out-going of concern that filled the room”. 

I want to personally thank the following Cincinnati service providers for their help in making the evening a wonderful tribute to Lu:

Everlasting Sounds, Fassler Florist (www.fasslerworldwideflst.com), PWG (www.perfectweddingguide.com), Elements Conference Center (www.elementseventcentre.com), Letter Heads, A Savannah Nite, Your Dream Day (www.yourdreamday.com), The Silver Spoon, Heritage Hall (www.heritagebanquetcenter.com), My Personal Gourmet, Maribelle (www.maribellecakerycincinnati.com), Patricia’s Cakes (www.patriciasweddings.com), Tres Belle, David Ziser (www.ziser.com), Matt Pine (www.lifetime-video.com), Ice Sculptures by Ramon (www.iceman4hire.com), Kevin Ford (ford-ellington.com), On Target, Jan Elliott, Tina Gutierrez, Karen Addie, Ron Shuller and Judy Burroughs.

Patti, my dear friend…I pray that we were able to help you find the closure you were seeking.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patti Needham  |  January 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    As I sit here with tears streaming down my face after reading Joyce’s words I will be forever in everyone’s debt who stepped up to the plate for Lu’s Celebration of Life. I always knew that we had a lot of friends & family here but the outpouring of love & support has overwhelmed me. My heart has been broken in two but all of you have reached in and held it in your hands that are connected to your own hearts. I know that you my friends have no idea how deeply I carry emotions and how very long a hurt stays with me so please remain close as my spark for living is very dim right now. It will eventually return little by little have no fear.

    I still have some very difficult issues to deal with concern my home and studio. Knowing you are all here in support and love will allow me to be as strong as I can and push forward.

    I have some strong advice to all of you now. If you do not have a will PLEASE get one right away!
    You have no idea how not having one can change your life around 180 degrees with absolutely no input from you. Things can be done by people who do exactly what they want to do and don’t really care about what the person who has passed away would have requested. All you can do is sit and cry as you are helpless and have no legal rights under the law.

    Again, bless all of you for being here by my side!

    Much love & respect forever,

    Patti Needham

  • 2. Tweets that mention We Ar&hellip  |  January 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carlo Catering Too, Consumer Advocate. Consumer Advocate said: We Are Family! « Wedsrus's Weblog http://url4.eu/1CBhs […]

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