Ask Casey Cassandra Scherrer to describe herself and the first thing she will tell you is, “I am a fan of life.”
A former Montessori teacher who discovered a passion for flowers while teaching botany to her students, Casey made a decision to pursue her dream full-time and create a company she named VEIL Event Design aligned with her authentic values: Value, Empowerment, Inspiration, and Love (VEIL - get it?! Beautiful). I have a set of succulents in the small terrarium in my living room - a small gift from one of Casey’s arrangements for an event - and they are the essence of everlasting love and light.
The power of flowers and plants to heal and comfort is universal. The Japanese have a practice of forest bathing they call Shinrin-yoku (森林浴) which has proven to create calming neuro-psychological effects. After last week’s brutal attacks in Paris, France, a video of Angel Le explaining the inexplicable violence to his young son went viral. At the end of the interview, the child turns to the reporter and says: "The flowers and the candles are here to protect us." So succinctly put: only love can save Paris... and save all of us.
And so, I introduce you to Casey and make a request: fill your social media feed with flowers by following Casey/VEIL on Instagram @VEILeventdesign. Because the flowers are here to protect us.
What and who inspires you? Why?
I'm inspired by people with good souls and loving hearts. These people are almost always strangers to me. I don't have to know them personally, but it's always very powerful when they enter a room. Their souls fill the space with goodness and all I want to do is be close to them. I admire those who can see the light in dark places and have learned how to love others despite major differences. Too often, people shout over one another to have their voices heard. We all want to be heard so badly that we often forget how important it is to listen. When we listen, we begin to understand, and we remember that every one of us is different, yet we are all the same in that we are all entitled to our own beliefs. I'm inspired by those who are able to remove their ego to connect with someone else' differences, if only for just a brief moment. This is how we love. These are the people I want to be around. These are the people who teach us how to co-exist.
What have you witnessed that has strengthened your faith in humanity? How did this change you?
One of the things I look forward to the most about setting up a venue space is getting to know the other workers in the service industry. The more weddings I do, the more familiar I get with loading docks, service elevators, and back routes that often lead through kitchens and scary back hallways. Almost always, these service workers are ready to lend a hand, whether I ask for it or not. They're just generous people. I'll often watch motivational videos or Ted Talks to "re-inspire my fire", but getting to know these workers, if only for a few seconds on a service elevator, constantly reminds me to be better. I shared an elevator with a man named Ricardo for nearly twenty minutes. Ricardo was one of the cooks at a large Chicago hotel, and we were working the same wedding together. As we entered the elevator, he saw my bucket of flowers asked me about calla lilies. I told him everything I knew. A man came on the elevator with another cart, and Ricardo lifted my bucket of calla lilies to make room as said, "You've been working hard tonight. Give your arms a break." Truthfully, I was exhausted, and it was the most generous offer anyone could have presented to me at that moment. It was kind, and something we should always do for one another without thinking. I told him, "I wish there were more people like you. Thank you."
Kind gestures like Ricardo's are always contagious, however small they may be. The most beautiful part of it all was that he was a stranger and I had just met him that night on the elevator. Goodness spreads quickly, and his kindness instantly filled my heart with love. I appreciated him so much in that moment and felt compelled to offer a similar gesture to anyone that needed it. There's power in this sort of action. In fact, I believe there's more power in love than in hate, fear, ignorance, or violence. It's truly the most powerful force of all, and our world needs it everyday.
Are there chances you’ve passed up that you wish you’d have taken?
I believe every moment from my past has led me to where I am today. Actually, I'm sure of it. Moments of regret are interesting to look back on later in life. Regret is something we all have to learn about at some point in our lives. It's a valuable lesson. It teaches us about the unknown, introduces the idea of new possibilities, and over time, allows us to explore our own faith, both in ourselves and in the world. Faith is something I've learned to trust. Having faith that things will work out in all the ways I want them to is something I learned when I decided to take risks and step outside of my comfort zone. I'd often use past experiences or the failures of others as an excuse to not take chances. Then I realized I'd rather take chances and fail as opposed to never taking chances to know the outcome.
How do you incorporate playfulness in your life? What makes you laugh?
I'm a very playful person. I love jokes and games and making light of silly situations. Most importantly, I love seeing others smile. Laughing is the greatest medicine for anything. I love laughing so hard that I cry or snort. It feels good and relieves so much stress from within. Of course there's a time and place, but when I'm stuck in a room full of laughter, I completely go for it. There's certain people who bring a particular kind of laughter to my life, and they probably don't realize how much joy they bring me. I'd be a very different person if I didn't laugh on a regular basis.
I'm a huge fan of jokes. I used to teach early elementary school students, and every Friday at the end of the day, we'd share jokes. The delivery of a joke is everything, and I think that's what I loved most about that part of the day. Watching a 6 year old tell a pirate joke with so much confidence or so much confusion is equally hilarious. I also find humor in small things, and I'm almost always alone when it happens. I sometimes stop into the same coffee shop just because I get to read hilarious animal cards while I wait for my coffee. I have no shame when it comes to laughter, and I honestly think people appreciate it when it's genuine.
What will you never give up on? Why?
Oh, my dreams. I love my dreams. I've always been a multi-passionate person, but recently I chose one specific dream to chase. Since choosing my lane, I've gained momentum and stayed committed to it. I can see where it will go over time, and where it could take me, and it's very exciting. Aside from my career dreams, I've recently reconnected with happiness, and I'll never let it go again. It took me a long time to find it, and when I finally did, it felt like all cylinders clicked into place. It's mine and I've worked hard to have it back. It's a light in me that only I can harvest, grow, and make adjustments to over time. It will continue to evolve with me, so I hold on to it tightly and view it as my most valuable gift.
What is the simplest truth you can say with words?
Love is the most powerful force.
Love yourself in all the right ways so that you grow strong enough to love the world in the way it needs you to. Self love must come before any other kind of love, but it must be genuine and from the depths of your soul. It's the kind of love you don't need validation for. It's the kind of love someone else can't give you. It's the kind of love that makes you strong enough to love others, and truly mean it.
Listen to what [people] have to say, and be interested in what they tell you. Take it in. Learn. I believe we can all learn something new from every single person on the planet. Open your heart to the unknown. It's okay to be outside your comfort zone. In fact, it's almost always the best thing for you.
What does #ClimbYourOwnLadder mean to you?
#ClimbYourOwnLadder is about always striving to be the best version of yourself you can be. We have an obligation to ourselves, to each other, and the world to contribute what we can while we're here. The higher we go on our ladder, the more we are able to give to the world. It's our journey. Sometimes it’s challenging. We get tired, or furious winds try to blow off. Some steps are surely further apart than others. Regardless, our belief that we can reach the top of the ladder is what allows us to continue onward and upward...and is there an end? My ladder is pretty tall and goes up so high I can never seem to see the top. Whether there is or there isn't and end to it, I know I must keep going. From time to time I look back at how far I've climbed, and I remember that it's not actually about reaching the top, it's about making progress along the way. This is how I grow. This is how I become the best person I can be.
Follow Casey and VEIL event design on Instagram @VEILeventdesign
About the Photographer: Lynzie Hazan, owner and photographer at bonphotage, is a UCLA and Northwestern Law School graduate who walked away from a career as an attorney to pursue her passion in photography. She has photographed weddings and other events around the world, including Paris, Phoenix, Istanbul and the Caribbean.