Diverse influences showcased in event planning business
Camden — On Oct. 26, Annie Watson-Moody of Lincolnville was atop a ladder taping hundreds of hand-cut paper bats to a wall in the third-floor gallery of The Camden Opera House. Watson-Moody, who owns the event planning company A. Watson Design, was busy readying the room for a Halloween party in conjunction with Camden restaurant 40 Paper that took place Oct. 27.
On the other side of the space, where blond wood floors were partially obscured by pumpkin-colored rugs, Jocelyn Tracy of Lincolnville was also busy decorating. Though Watson-Moody owns the event planning firm, Tracy came on board to assist with the Halloween party, the women explained.
40 Paper provided the bar for the event and The Vistas, a Camden-based musical act performed.
For Watson-Moody the Halloween party, titled "Something Wicked This Way Comes" provided an opportunity for the type of creative collaboration that catalyzed her decision to start an event planning business. The 29-year-old Brown University graduate said she's always loved planning parties, but in recent years — as friends got married — she began to see a career for herself.
"I've always sort of taken a helping role," she said, describing assisting various friends with planning their weddings. She said it was the 2011 wedding of friend Shelby Hazen that convinced her to move forward with professional event planning.
"Shelby's wedding kind of propelled me into the business," Watson-Moody said. She has been planning and producing events professionally since October 2011, and recently launched A. Watson Design.
Watson-Moody grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts, spending summers in Midcoast Maine with her large family. After graduating from Brown in 2005 with a degree in theater (and minor in costume design) she decided to move to Maine. She met her now-husband Mike Moody, moved to their Lincolnville farm, and began working for the start-up trucking company that the two still operate. Watson-Moody said she has always had an "entrepreneurial spirit" and that starting A. Watson Design has allowed her to "branch out more."
Watson-Moody explained that her mother, Karen Watson, is an interior designer in Boston and was recently recognized by Boston Globe.
"I've grown up around creative people and that has definitely rubbed off on me," she said. "I feel really lucky because I am able to be creative."
Watson-Moody acknowledged her broad range of experiences as hugely informative to her aesthetic choices and resourcefulness. She said she has attended her share of black-tie, urban events, including cotillion. Her background — and passion for production — dovetail nicely with event planning, she said.
She is currently the board president at Northport Music Theater and has worked numerous food service jobs, she said. She credits the diverse influences in her life with feeding her vision for events.
"I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty at all," she said with a laugh.
Watson-Moody said she enjoys the human element of her job, and noted that she has a network of resources in the community.
"I have a great network of people that can help me, and that I can use to bounce ideas off of, that's key, especially in a small town," she said.
Watson-Moody has worked to assist Pen Bay Medical Center in producing its gala and the Pen Bay Challenge. She said A. Watson Design offers a full-spectrum of event planning services, from cocktail and holiday parties to weddings.
"I like to add a personal touch," she explained. "I like crafting."
Watson-Moody said she recently produced a dessert-themed baby shower in Boston, and has several holiday parties on the books. She has been receiving inquiries about weddings during the 2013 season that will be planned during the winter.
"The biggest compliment I've received, from clients and friends, is that I can put them at ease," she said. "I know how important these special days are for people."
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.