Guild of St. Mary Prelude set for Nov. 30
Monique Kraft (left) and Stephanie Knight are co-chairs of this year's Guild of St. Mary Christmas Prelude on Friday, Nov. 30.
Friday, Nov. 30
Lincolnshire Marriott Resort
10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
Boutique: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.; Free and open to the public
Luncheon & Fashion Show: 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.; $65 and open to the public
More information and tickets: firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 232-3999
Updated: December 3, 2012 3:59PM
LAKE FOREST — Friendship, service and spirituality. These are the words on the crest of the Guild of St. Mary and they are words its members live by.
Established in 1934, the Guild is a way for women of the parish to get to know each other better and raise money to support and aid the parish.
Women join any one of 17 “circles” that are smaller groups of members who convene loosely based on their ages or the different stage of life they are in.
Raising money for the parish is the focus of the Guild’s upcoming Christmas Prelude, an annual tradition that has been in existence for at least the last 35 years, according to Guild President Julie Conway.
This year’s boutique, fashion show and luncheon will be bigger and better than ever, said co-chairs Monique Kraft and Stephanie Knight. Kraft is a self-employed interior decorator and Knight is a former event planner. As such, the two worked together well to plan the large gathering at which 500 attendees are expected.
Knight stressed the collaborative nature of the preparations that go into the Prelude.
“Monique and I have a great team behind us,” she said, referring to the event committee.
Indeed, modesty is a trait all Guild members embody, Conway explained.
“We are a group of humble and reluctant leaders,” she said. “No one is seeking any kind of personal glory and no one volunteers themselves for a leadership position.”
While there’s nothing wrong with raising money, the Guild’s aims are higher than that, Conway said.
Kraft and Knight agree that making new friends and feeling closer to the church and the community were the aspects they enjoyed most about Guild membership and planning the Prelude.
“It’s not a fundraiser,” Kraft said of the event. “It’s a friendraiser.”
Conway also noted the intergenerational attendance at the event. She said it’s not uncommon to have three generations of Guild members from the same family.
Knight, who has lived in Lake Forest only two years, has been involved with the Guild from the beginning. Planning the Prelude has taken her participation to a new level.
“I’ve made so many new friends and learned so much about area businesses,” she said. Many local shops are vendors in the shopping boutique, which kicks off the Prelude.
For the first time, vendors from as far away as New York and Los Angeles will participate.
Kraft says she hopes this fresh, new approach will attract more attendees and distinguish the Prelude’s boutique from others during the holiday season.
New this year will be a “Deck Your Halls” wreath silent auction. Kraft said about 15 designers and retailers submitted one-of-a-kind wreaths to auction off at the event.
One might think that Kraft and Knight would be tired of all the work needed to pull off the Prelude. But Knight said that isn’t the case.
“I’m actually going to miss it when it’s over,” she laughed. “I’m going to look around and say, ‘What am I going to do now?’”