The MNY Spotlight

Janell Hickman, A Digital Communications Strategist Shares Covid-19 Wedding Planning Tips

Meet Janell Hickman, a Brooklyn based editor and digital communications strategist with a sharp eye for sophisticated silhouettes.
Janell answered all of our burning questions regarding her September nuptials: how she and her partner scaled down to an intimate rooftop ceremony, her commitment to supporting bridal vendors of color, and her Mestiza must haves for a magical celebration of love.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Janell M. Hickman and I’m an editor based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota, but I have been in New York for about 12 years now. I love my “job” or career rather because I get the opportunity to tell stories, problem solve, and of course, test amazing beauty products/services/treatments daily.
How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
Since I have been working from home since March, it is very cozy. I was never a really big sweatpant person before, but getting dressed just to sit in my living room felt pretty overzealous. I placed a HUGE order of various Hanes sweat sets in fun colors — they are appropriate enough for Zoom calls but also chic for grocery store runs.
  Janell Hickman Brooklyn NY blogger
What is your process for curating content?
Before I sit down to write, I either burn sage or light a candle. Creating a little bit of ambiance gets me in the zone. Music also plays a big role — it helps me focus, puts me in a good mood, and keeps me company. I rarely (if ever) write with the TV on and unfortunately, I get too engrossed in podcasts to actually do my work. LOL.
When did you get engaged? Location of the wedding?
I got on July 7, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. We were originally planning on getting married at Los Poblanos in Albuquerque, New Mexico but COVID-19 had other plans.
Janell Hickman Brooklyn NY blogger 
How has wedding planning been throughout COVID-19?
Very stop and go. My fiance and I slightly paused on planning from March until May to see what would happen. Since we were planning a destination wedding, we stayed in contact with our venue and vendors every few weeks via email to stay updated.
Did you have to make any significant changes like date/location changes? Any tips on how to navigate this process?
For the safety of us, our guests, and the staff, our wedding venue made the difficult decision to cancel all 2020 and 2021 weddings. At this point, my fiancé and I have been together for 11 years so we were anxious to start our new chapter. We ultimately decided to plan an alternative, smaller ceremony with 30 close friends and family members. Our remaining guests (and thankfully some additions) will join us virtually! 
What are some sources of inspiration when planning your wedding? 
To be honest, I am leaving it in the hands of my amazing planner, Fallon Carter. Since I was originally planning a 120+ person wedding and getting into the tiniest details, I didn’t have the creative bandwidth to do it all over again! Our venue is a rooftop farm that overlooks the city. Hopefully we can pull over some elements we loved from New Mexico but still make it feel very Brooklyn too.
 What do you believe are some wedding must-haves?
Individuality! If this period taught me anything it’s that there are no rules. We are all navigating through a new (and sometimes difficult) chapter. Other than that, do you because that will make you happiest! It’s only one day so make it memorable. My only must-have is surrounding myself with people who love and support me. 
How do you plan to incorporate your creativity into your special day?
My goal is to support as many bridal vendors of color (particularly Black women) as possible. There is so much discussion around #BuyingBlack, so I wanted to put my money where my mouth was and really show up for these talented creatives. The wedding industry generates close to $60 billion in revenue, and I want to make sure people who look like me positively profit. 
 What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
I love the simple elegance of all the dresses but there’s always a special twist — a show stopping pattern, subtle details, or a fabulous fit. It’s also amazing to see how the founders embrace their Filipino-American heritage and really infuse it into the collection. 
What are some of your favorite Mestiza NY pieces for brides and wedding guests? 
Liza Crepe Jumpsuit — This is so perfect for a rehearsal dinner or even a virtual ceremony. It’s very chic and sophisticated. 
Sintra Mini — I’m melting over these details. This is so flirty and a little festive too! I’d wear this for my civil ceremony for sure. 

Stephanie Bow Dress — Whenever we can attend in-person events again this will be the first thing I put on! I love the bow detail and pattern that pops.
Claudia Tuxedo Dress — Can we say sexy? I love this because it can be worn multiple ways, either alone or over jeans once it gets cooler. 
Janell Hickman Brooklyn NY blogger
What’s next for you?! What are you working on?
So many things! People are starting to really embrace working remotely so freelance projects have picked up. Right now I have a mix of copywriting, branding, consulting, and editorial stories to tackle in the upcoming months. I’m excited to dabble in various things and stretch myself creatively.

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1 comment

  • Author image
    Susan: April 29, 2021

    Sage advice on planning a wedding, especially during a pandemic. Make it a happy day even if you scale it down, can still be wonderful.

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