CREATING HER OWN FAIRYTALE

Written on the 15 May 2015 by Jenna Rathbone

DECINDA MacDonald, affectionately known as Cinderella, has been working around the clock since 2010 to create fairytale endings for her clients.

The wedding stylist and events coordinator, who founded Sugar & Spice events in 2010, was recently highlighted as one of the top 25 wedding stylists in Australia.

Only last year she was working out of a small room in her house and using her father's shed as a stock inventory. 

Now she operates from a glamorous loft-inspired office with a team of two full time staff, one part timer and 10 subcontractors.

Fresh from a business trip to New York where she was commended by industry heavyweight Preston Bailey, whose client base includes Oprah and Donald Trump, MacDonald is seeing the world through different eyes.

"It was a huge deal for me to meet Preston without him my business wouldn't exist as it is," she says. 

"We had an organic, heartfelt conversation where I bared my soul and talked about everything from success addiction to tall poppy syndrome, as well as my big goals for the future.

"I told him I wanted to change the world by creating charity events that raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and I am starting this year to honour a friend who recently passed away from bowel cancer.

"I also told him that I feel really lonely in my head because I know where I'm heading but don't feel like anyone gets it."

At least MacDonald has plenty to keep her occupied.

"This is not just a job for my team we live and breathe weddings and events, relishing the opportunity to take a space and transform it into something magical," she says.

"Our style is lavish, glamorous and theatrical trapeze artists throwing out rose petals as guests dance the night away, whimsical stilt-walking fairies seating guests it's all about events that break the mould through out-of-the-box creativity."

MacDonald feels like this has always been her calling. When she was young, she distinctly remembers table setting being a matter of her fulfilling a passion rather than running a chore.  

Growing up with acting and dance, she grew to love all things theatrical and spent nine years with an entertainment production company, working her way up to managing director and a partnership.

But something was missing, she says.

"It was soon after my 30th birthday that I had a light bulb moment and realised I couldn't live the life I wanted while being employed by someone else," says MacDonald.

"The problem was that I had big dreams and empty pockets from a crippling mortgage and piles of debt.

"I would spend every spare moment researching events and saving opulent images to an 'ideas' album on my phone, but I was frustrated all the time due to having so many ideas and not being able to act on them."

MacDonald says it took two years, lots of sweat and tears to turn her life around, selling her house in the process a necessary goodbye in her eyes to elbow her way into a well-established market. 

"In the beginning I would take hours and hours and hours to set up events, with the help of a begrudging but loving husband, and would walk away with $100 profit on a good day," she says.

"It was and continues to be a labour of love, and four years on, I am just as passionate as I was the day I registered the business name."

It's not all weddings, corporate balls and high-end children's birthday parties for Sugar & Spice Events, and MacDonald says her vision for the company is to produce charity events, the "likes of which the Gold Coast has never seen before".

The first of these large-scale events, which MacDonald is hoping to host once or twice a year, was Feast for Paul Freeman which was held this month.

The event was dedicated to MacDonald's friend who passed away from bowel cancer earlier in the year with proceeds going towards Cancer Council Australia.


Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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