On a hot August afternoon, Emily Waldmann sits on a dark tufted sofa at the Hotel Saint Cecilia. Outfitted in a white dress with black booties, her cropped blonde hair is pinned revealing dimpled cheeks and bright blue eyes. Before moving to Austin in 2012 and becoming the famed hotel’s special events director, Waldmann lived in Seattle and worked in hospitality and events.
“I love making people happy,” she said of her job, which includes planning everything from weddings to SXSW parties. No matter the occasion, events at the Saint Cecilia are always intimate and memorable thanks to the hotel’s lush surroundings and Waldmann’s knack for creating personal yet elegant affairs. The self-proclaimed, “people pleaser” enjoys discovering her clients’ wishes and incorporating special details whenever possible, such as wrapping a bride’s bouquet in a family handkerchief.
Much like the Saint Cecilia, Waldmann’s style is eclectic and effortless, but where the hotel is rich in color, she leans monochromatic. “Everything I wear is black, white or grey,” she said of her neutral closet.
At Waldmann’s home in East Austin, clean lines and white walls are offset by brushstrokes of color, from the living room’s clementine-colored sofa to the scarlet rug beneath the dining room table and the kitchen shelves mixed with copper mugs, silver flutes and glasses wrapped in gold. “The hunt is half the fun,” she said of her affinity for collecting things.