Lauren O’Shaughnessy is a busy Greenwich Mom of two, who, after running her own wedding planning business, is now focused on using her event planning talents to give back to her community. Her current project? The June 14 fundraiser for REACH Prep, which has an amazing “I Love the ‘90s” theme. Presented by REACH Prep’s Junior Council, Lauren and members of the committee invite you to party like it’s 1994—the year this non-profit, that empowers high-achieving, underserved students to attend top college and become future leaders—was launched. We spoke to Lauren about her life in Greenwich, her go-to entertaining tips and her commitment to REACH Prep.
Can you please tell us about your family and where you live?
My husband, Patrick, and I have been married 10 years this October. We have a 5 year old son, Pierce, and a 3 year old daughter, Maeve, and live in Cos Cob. Pierce is at Greenwich Country Day School and Maeve will be starting Nursery in the fall.
Why did you choose your neighborhood?
We chose Cos Cob for its ample green space, convenience to the beach and town, and proximity to Mianus River Park since we love to hike. And now, it’s becoming a foodie mecca! My husband grew up in Cos Cob and I grew up in Wethersfield, CT (oldest town in the state, woohoo!). We met at Notre Dame and sort of latched onto each other once we realized we were both from CT (at least, that’s how I tell the story). Upon graduation, we lived in NYC until 2014 when Pierce was 9 months old and the NYC apartment living wasn’t keeping up with an active baby.
I co-founded a wedding planning business in 2009, Bellafare, which I sold my half to my business partner to in 2015, while I was pregnant with my daughter. It still exists, except is now headquartered in Charleston, SC.
What inspired you to go into event planning?
I had always planned parties in college during big family weekends, and I realized I could actually make my passion a full time career upon graduating. I started in corporate events, but it didn’t fulfill the creativity aspect that I was craving. I really love the organizational, nitty-gritty details, and love watching the months (sometimes years) of planning come to fruition with the final event(s). The greatest challenge is definitely managing others and making sure the communication between all vendors/clients is happening in a timely fashion in order to make “dreams come true.”
Do you have any go-to dinner party tips?
BE PREPARED. I like to think through and choose vases, glassware, serving pieces, etc. a week prior, allowing me ample time to browse stores (ahem, Homegoods) or online sources. Once my serving pieces are chosen, I put post-it notes on each piece so I know what food goes where. Also, simple is always better – don’t use a dinner party as the first time to try a new recipe. Set timers on your phone, Apple Watch, Alexa …wherever! Just make sure you’re ready to greet guests at the door without an apron on.
Why is giving back and helping nonprofits so important to you?
Because I no longer work full time, it’s important to me to be as involved with our community as possible, and the best way I can do that is by sharing my skills as a planner. I love working with non-profits that are children and education based, as it hits close to home as a mother of two young children. Every child deserves a chance to be the best they can be, and I believe we have some amazing non-profits that help make that dream a reality for children who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.
How did you get involved in REACH Prep?
A dear friend invited me to REACH Prep’s annual luncheon in 2017, which happened to be the same year that REACH began a Junior Council. The timing happened to be perfect, and the luncheon, if you’ve ever been, is the type that really pulls at the heart strings. Watching the young children get on stage to speak about what they want to do in life, and being so well spoken, it’s hard to NOT get involved. The kids across all of the cohorts are incredible, and I could only hope my children are as motivated and engaged as them as they grow older. I am so looking forward to the Junior Council’s very first fundraising event, “I Love the 90’s,” appropriately themed because REACH is celebrating 25 years this year. There are many people in our community with young children that don’t know about REACH, so it’s a great way to introduce a new audience to the cause.
What are you favorite places in Greenwich to:
Spend time together as a family indoors/outdoors: Mianus River Park for family hikes, and on rainy days, we do A LOT of LEGO building.
Shop: I do a lot of online shopping, but when in town I typically hit up Joie and Saks-The Collective for my go-tos. The kids live in Crewcuts and Hanna Andersson.
Grab coffee: Lorca – the best.
More about REACH Prep and its June 14 fundraiser, I Love the ‘90s:
Presented by REACH Prep’s Junior Council, “I Love the ‘90s!” is a ‘90s themed fundraiser featuring Saved By The ‘90s, a live ’90s cover band, great food, cocktails and dancing. Party like it’s “1994”, REACH Prep’s founding year, and remember to sport your favorite ’90s styles and trends!
To buy tickets, click here!
June 14, 2019
7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Arch Street Center
Greenwich, CT 06830
All funds raised at this event will support REACH Prep’s outstanding model of sustained, comprehensive and long-term support that helps our students achieve college success rates that defy trends and national statistics.
What is REACH Prep’s Junior Council?
A group of young professionals & philanthropists promoting REACH Prep’s mission through fundraising, volunteering & networking.
What is REACH Prep?
Our mission: REACH Prep provides access to transformative educational experiences that empower underserved, high-achieving students to graduate from top colleges and emerge as the next generation of leaders. We are a non-profit in Stamford, CT committed to guiding underserved, academically motivated students on a 12-year educational journey from 4th grade through college graduation. Each year REACH Prep serves over 250 students from Westchester & Fairfield counties, and the Bronx. 100% of our Scholars graduate from high school, 100% gain acceptance to college & over 90% graduate college in 4 – 6 years. For more information, visit www.reachprep.org, or call 203.487.0750.