Meet Your Merchant: An event planning star falls upon Tahoe
TAHOE/TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; Scott Corridan glides across a field of freshly dusted snow on his most prized possession, his horse, Duchesse. He gracefully dismounts her, blue eyes beaming, grin stretched across his charming face. The air is crisp and thin; steam evaporates from Corridanandamp;#8217;s breath as he exhales, tuckered out from his afternoon riding session. If he didnandamp;#8217;t look so stylish and well-groomed, youandamp;#8217;d suspect he was a lifelong mountain dweller judging by his easygoing nature.In the three years heandamp;#8217;s lived here, Corridan has made a name for himself in the North Lake Tahoe region, but heandamp;#8217;s still the new kid on his Kings Beach block. andamp;#8220;I wanted to get away from the glitz and away from the insanity of Southern California and I love it up here; this is home now,andamp;#8221; Corridan said while watching Duchesse trot around the enclosed meadow in Truckee. andamp;#8220;Youandamp;#8217;ve got extremely wealthy people here and extremely down-to-earth people, and everyone manages to get together and have a really fantastic time andamp;#8212; you donandamp;#8217;t find that in a lot of places.andamp;#8221;Especially in the world Corridan used to call andamp;#8220;home.andamp;#8221;For more than 20 years, the avid equestrian has built a successful career planning glamorous events and weddings in the Santa Barbara/Los Angeles area. Heandamp;#8217;s been featured in more than 50 magazines and news publications, spearheaded the design process of countless reality television shows, and even launched a wedding gown company andamp;#8212; White Chocolate Label andamp;#8212; which was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus before the economy tanked in 2008.andamp;#8220;A lot of us planners say we love love, and that is true, itandamp;#8217;s really neat to be in the center of this whole energy thatandamp;#8217;s going around about 2 people making a lifelong commitment to one another, but what I think is exciting … are the things that are important to a couple and celebrating those things,andamp;#8221; Corridan said.
After receiving his bachelorandamp;#8217;s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning, Corridan stayed in the chic, Mediterranean town to launch a career in architectural and interior design. However, the laundry list of permitting regulations and liability clauses became tiresome, so Corridan left the field for a new, budding business in the floral industry.andamp;#8220;It became this thing where Iandamp;#8217;d deliver these gorgeous center pieces … and I would start looking at everything in its entirety andamp;#8212; the table scape, props, chinaware, glassware andamp;#8212; and thatandamp;#8217;s what led me to become an event designer,andamp;#8221; he said.In 1994, he left the flower industry to establish Scott Corridan Design where he began implementing his innovative style at events and weddings throughout Southern California. By 2000, the genuine and charismatic stylist had made a name for himself, and he began to see his work highlighted in the pages of national wedding and event publications.andamp;#8220;Thatandamp;#8217;s when the TV stuff started to kick in,andamp;#8221; Corridan said humbly.
The first program to solicit Corridanandamp;#8217;s vision was Bravoandamp;#8217;s andamp;#8220;Queer Eye for the Straight Girlandamp;#8221; andamp;#8212; a spin-off its popular series andamp;#8220;Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,andamp;#8221; which aired in 2005. The design position ultimately went to another auditioner, but the runner-up made an impression on the TV world.That same year, ABCandamp;#8217;s andamp;#8220;Extreme Makeover: Wedding Editionandamp;#8221; cast Corridan as a leading, celebrity wedding expert in the one-time special. The Travel Channel, andamp;#8220;Access Hollywood,andamp;#8221; andamp;#8220;Entertainment Tonight,andamp;#8221; andamp;#8220;The Tyra Banks Show,andamp;#8221; and HGTVandamp;#8217;s andamp;#8220;Design Starandamp;#8221; followed suit, spotlighting Corridanandamp;#8217;s talent in event design. His stint in reality television culminated with the popular VH1 series andamp;#8220;Scott Baio is 46 andamp;#8230; and Pregnantandamp;#8221; where Corridan produced the highly-publicized wedding between the former andamp;#8220;Happy Daysandamp;#8221; actor and his longtime girlfriend, Renee Sloan.andamp;#8220;I didnandamp;#8217;t have any television background, so stepping into that world was definitely trial by fire andamp;#8230; and it was a real eye-opening experience,andamp;#8221; Corridan said, chuckling. andamp;#8220;Through that experience, I just realized that unless I had my own television show and could control the content being produced, I wasnandamp;#8217;t interested in doing it.andamp;#8221;In the midst of multiple television gigs, Corridan was forced to close the door on design projects at home, but discovered he had opened a window to event planning andamp;#8212; a job he could perform from the road.andamp;#8220;I could plan an event or wedding no matter where I was in the country, and I could still be available to them at least for the day of their wedding as a planner,andamp;#8221; Corridan said.
The reality television phase faded, but Corridanandamp;#8217;s newfound job mobility gave him the creative freedom to design a line of couture wedding dresses andamp;#8212; a slice of the fashion industry he was familiar with, having spent years listening to brides harp about their gowns.andamp;#8220;Whether youandamp;#8217;re the florist or the planner, youandamp;#8217;re always where the brides are, seeing their body types and understanding what looks great on them, so Iandamp;#8217;ve always been in a position of making my girls look fantastic,andamp;#8221; Corridan said.In October 2008, Corridan unveiled his collection at the Bridal Market fashion show in New York City and feedback was fierce.andamp;#8220;We had just had the fashion show and it was a huge hit; everyone loved the collection and nobody knew where the world was going, then everything just imploded,andamp;#8221; Corridan said, still slightly baffled by the abrupt recession. andamp;#8220;Being in Manhattan the day they announced Lehman Brothers had gone bankrupt was dumbfounding; people were glazed andamp;#8230; it was intense walking the streets of New York.andamp;#8221;With big buyers backing out of the line, Corridan was forced to dissolve White Chocolate Label, but dreams of dress designing still linger in the back of his visionary mind, he said.
Upon departing New York, Corridan had an epiphany. As a longtime certified ski instructor for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra in Mammoth, the outdoorsman realized it was time to leave sea level for higher elevation, so he relocated to the fresh, alpine air of North Lake Tahoe. The grand opening of the Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe coincided with Corridanandamp;#8217;s move, and the tenacious businessman saw an opportunity to develop a valuable relationship with the luxury venue. andamp;#8220;When the Ritz made me one of their preferred planners at their opening, the word got out and once it got out, I knew this was where I wanted to be,andamp;#8221; he said. andamp;#8220;It was amazing to be received by this community with such open arms.andamp;#8221;Corridan and his partner are in the market for a second residence in the Bay Area, but Corridan is set on making their new home in Kings Beach the primary headquarters. The local-in-training has quickly become involved several philanthropic organizations including Sierra Senior Services, Downtown Truckeeandamp;#8217;s Wine, Walk andamp; Shop and this summerandamp;#8217;s first-ever Chalk Tahoe andamp;#8212; a celebration of the arts hosted by the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. Corridan is the mastermind behind planning the event, which will take place at Northstar California and will benefit art programs and education in the Truckee-Tahoe community. andamp;#8220;Thereandamp;#8217;s a lot of need in this community and with the economy being what itandamp;#8217;s been, that need has just gotten bigger, but on the flip side andamp;#8230; thereandamp;#8217;s a lot of people in this community that can give,andamp;#8221; Corridan said. andamp;#8220;I think this community is incredible in that way; itandamp;#8217;s really impressive.andamp;#8221;