With 2016 coming to an end and 2017 right around the corner ..... it makes me reflect on the year, my weddings, clients and every experience in between.
I set a goal for myself to book 20 weddings for the year 2016. I am happy to say I booked 19! I am so beyond proud of myself for almost reaching my goal. Starting a business is not easy. It takes many hours, days, weeks and years to become something big. I started 2016 as a full time wedding planner. I quit my comfortable desk job to seek out something I was passionate about. I dedicated my year to solely building my business and creating relationships with bride & grooms from all over.
Each wedding I planned was so different from one another. Some of those weddings being close to perfect, others having minor hiccups. For every wedding I planned this year it not only taught me something new, but gave me the experience I need in order to be a great wedding planner. I was thrown into situations that many would break under the pressure. However, I found a way to accomplish each road block that stood in my way.
my goal for 2017 is to double my 2016 bookings. It might be ambitious, but I know if I put my mind to it, I can and will create it. "A goal should scare you a little, and excite you A LOT!"
For many, the wedding program is just another piece of wedding stationery. Something that most people don't even acknowledge at a wedding. Black text on white paper. But now is your time to reinvent it! Whether it’s one big chalkboard at the entrance of the ceremony venue or fun fill-in-the-blank handouts, your wedding programs provide you the chance to be as creative and expressive as your hearts desire. Not all ideas are that expensive either! Here are a few great examples of wow-worthy wedding programs:
I was contacted a few months ago by a very special person inquiring about assisting with an engagement. That special person was my soon to be step-dad. I decided I would write about one of the most special engagements I've been able to be apart of...... my moms!
My mom grew up in a home where the norm was to have airplanes in various states of repair adorning the front yard. Her father Robert, founded Columbia Airmotive in 1946; a small family business specializing in war surplus and vintage aircraft parts. My mom and grandpa had a very close relationship..... she was defiantly a "daddy's girl". His pet name for her was simply "Babe".
A 2,000 sq ft. warehouse chocked full of airplane parts top to bottom was right outside her family's front door. My grandpa (who passed away several years ago) was employed by Boeing during WWII as a field engineer to support the B-17 Bombers based in England. After the war, Columbia Airmotive quickly became a major supply source of surplus B-17 aircraft parts. Airplanes were just part of my moms upbringing... something that has always remained dear and close to her heart.
My mom then met Caleb. A man with a vast aviation background, and a business that specialized in advanced jet pilot training. You could say they were a match made in heaven! They immediately hit it off! After 5 years of dating, Caleb reached out to me to help him pop the question to my mom and to help pull off a beautiful surprise engagement dinner.
My mom always said that her father would have loved to have met Caleb and definitely would have approved of him. Caleb understood how important my mom's father was to her and decided to incorporate my grandpa and aviation for the proposal. After planning for months, Caleb found one of the few flying B-17's was coming to San Diego on a national tour. Having worked out details with the crew, shortly after takeoff the pilot handed my mom an old black and white war era photo of her dad standing next to a B-17. A caption above his head in the photo said: "Just say YES babe!" There was Caleb, sitting next to her, ring in hand, asking for her hand in marriage. You could say it was pretty picture perfect!
After many tears, hugs, and an incredible flight home, she was then surprised with a private dinner at one of their favorite restaurants accompanied by the family! Two families became one that day and I gained an incredible step-dad. Congratulations to my mom and Caleb! I love you both dearly! Thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a special day!
Photo credit: Courtney Buffet Photography
The Fire Garden is a venue owned by a local resident of Bonsall, CA. Tony, the owner/creator of this majestic spot decided to take his property and love for art and turn it into a huge canvas. Tony started metalwork for a local fabrication shop, when his welding skills emerged into an artistic form. Tony started to create whimsical garden art from scraps of machines and other items. After the purchase of his property, little did he know that this would set the stage for the next phase of his career.
After clearing, grading and adding his personal touch..... The Fire Garden was created. Chandeliers hanging from trees are lit on fire, metal work of all shapes and sizes are present throughout the venue... most everything containing open flame. If you are looking for the "out of the box" venue, this is the venue for you! With acres of open roaming space, and metal features on fire around every turn... this venue will have your guests talking!
I also love that this venue is private. Tony will only book one wedding per weekend. This allows your wedding vendors plenty of time for delivery and pickup. Be sure to check out this at www.thefiregarden.com
Photography credit: Third Strand Photography
There have been so many events I have worked where the bride & groom have decided to hire a "friend" to help out! Yes, they might have given you a better price on their services, but was their service up to par? The reason I bring this up is because most of the time the fall short on their end.
I recently worked a wedding where the caterer was a friend of the bride & groom. The caterer gave them an incredible deal on their services...... who wouldn't pass up a bargain when feeding 150+ guests? Things add up very quickly when planning a wedding, so I understand the reason for finding a deal. However, from the get go the caterer was very unprofessional, lacked staff members and did a poor job of holding up their end.
I found myself bussing tables, cleaning up around the venue, pushing in chairs, and even had to assist cutting/serving their 4 tier wedding cake! As a cooridnator, my job is to make sure things run smoothly. This has not been the first time that I had to put on yet another hat to make sure my bride & grooms night went perfect!
My advice to anyone planning their wedding, is to do your research! If you have a friend that just got ordained and you want them to marry you.......make sure they practice reading. If your friend is an upcoming DJ, make sure he's gonna be there all night and not be at the bar drinking with friends. This day is such a special day, hiring friends with lack of experience can make or break a wedding!
Being a wedding planner, I meet a lot of different people. People that I form an instant connection with, and others that look at me as just their planner. One bride in particular really has stood out to me lately, and I wanted to take a minute to write about her.
I met Larissa form Thumbtack.com. A current platform that has opened many doors for me and my business. I met Larissa 6 months prior to her wedding to discuss day of wedding coordination. Immediately there was a connection. I felt as if I had known Larissa my entire life. Conversation flowed and we saw eye to eye on pretty much everything. It was like we were meant to meet!
Throughout assisting Larissa, her and I would text back and forth like any friends would do. I caught myself talking to her about other things besides her wedding and because of that her and I had an incredible bride/wedding planner relationship. A relationship that has grown into a friendship.
I am so blessed to have met her, and will forever hold a place for her in my heart! Thank you Larissa for being an amazing person inside and out!
One of the best parts of being a wedding coordinator, is the relationships I build a long the way. The people I meet. The stories I hear. Nothing is more rewarding than meeting new clients and forming a relationship that goes way beyond the norm.
As a wedding planner, I keep my personal life very private from my clients. Many of them would be shocked to know just exactly what I do on the other side of planning their wedding.
Truth be told.... I am a fitness competitor at a National Level. When I'm not planning weddings, I am at gym lifting weights and staying fit.
3 years ago I was extremely unhappy with my body. I hated the way I looked. There wasn't a day I would leave the house without wearing Spanx under my clothes. I ate unhealthy and was in a long term relationship that got too comfortable. My husband and I decided to make a change. We decided to take on a cut throat diet that consisted of protein, veggies and clean carbs. No dressings, no soda, no nothing. The diet was a total of 12 weeks. I learned to weigh my food, and be more conscientious of what I put in my mouth. My husband and I would also work out together and push one another throughout the entire process. At the end of our 12 week diet, my husband lost a total of 35 pounds and I lost 25 pounds. I was so proud of myself. I always blamed myself for being a "big girl" and that I just couldn't lose weight. The only person I was fooling was myself! I never thought I was capable of losing the weight and keeping it off!
3 years later, I am a figure competitor of the NPC ( National Physic Committee ). I eat, breathe and sleep training & clean eating. I make no excuses anymore. I pack my lunches and bring them everywhere with me. I drink a gallon of water per day. If i eat-out, I am cautious as to what I put in my mouth. I indulge, but not over indulge. Everything about my life has changed and it all started with a cautious decision to want to make a change.
Coming full circle, one client took interest in my life outside of helping her plan her wedding. She sent me flowers for an upcoming fitness competition I was a part of. She has followed my training, and journey through preparation for this particular fitness event. I was absolutely blown away by her thoughtfulness!
My clients are not just a client. They are people I build relationships with. People that end up being my friend even after their wedding/event is all said and done. Thank you, Larissa, for thinking of me! It truly meant the world to me!
A bridal showcase is an event jammed packed of a variety of vendors (photographers, videographers, florist etc). The point of these bridal shows is to lure in newly engaged couples looking to pick their vendors. Each vendor sets up a booth to showcase their business and talent. I recently attended my first showcase and while I felt my booth was awesome, the show itself was not!
Not only is a showcase extremely overwhelming for a newly engaged couple..... it's not very personable. As a planner, I take the time to meet with each couple to understand their vision and to learn about who they are and what they like. A showcase is a 5 minute sales pitch about why you should book my services. For me, this is not how I like to do business. While the showcase was a beautiful event and I met a lot of great new contacts and vendors... I would not waste the time and energy to participate in one again. Another learning experience checked off my list!
Advice for both vendors and potential clients; a bridal show is too overwhelming, and not the place you want to "book" your vendor. If you are already confused about wedding decor, ideas, etc..... these shows will make you question every idea you already pinned to your Pinterest board. Take the time to research vendors, listen to those who refer you, and read Yelp reviews.
Hanging with your wedding party could totally be an excuse to wear those impractical fancy lacy things. Plan a day with your girls or plan the perfect lingerie shower to wear sexy lingerie, drink champagne, play games and laugh out loud!
Here are some fun ideas for those brides looking for a good time!
1. Send out Invitations: Whether they're paper invites or an e-vite, make sure you let guests know it's a lingerie party, and to bring a gift for the bride-to-be. Ask the bride for her bra and underwear size in advance, and include the sizes in the invitation. That way all of the guests will get something that actually fits her!
2. Get a Gift: You sent out the invites, now you've got to get a gift yourself! Get a cute sleep set personalized with her love's name, or help her get used to her new title with the "Mrs.." No matter what you pick, make sure it's something that the bride (or groom!) will love and want to wear after her wedding. The goal is to stock her lingerie wardrobe for the honeymoon and the newlywed life.
3. Plan some Games: A lingerie shower is centered around the gifts, but the gifts themselves can be a game!
5. Outfit the Bride:Make sure the bride will be the center of attention, so make sure she looks the part! A cute sexy sash or lace veil will work just fine!
6. Enjoy! Once the party begins, try to relax and enjoy yourself. Just make sure someone is writing down who gives what gifts to the bride so she can write "Thank You" notes later!
If I made a dollar every time I heard a bride say "Our venue comes with a coordinator," I would be rich! Many brides don't understand the difference between the two ..... I mean why would they? They sound like the same thing to me! When in reality, there is a HUGE difference. Below will explain why every bride should hire a Wedding Coordinator regardless if their venue provides one for them!
What most brides don’t quite understand is that the venue coordinator is just there for the VENUE, not you. (Nothing against venue coordinators- I love them and have made great relationships with many.) If they tell you they can handle things on the day of your wedding, it’s true- they can, but it’s only within a certain scope.
A venue coordinator is looking out for the best interest of the venue. A wedding coordinator looks out for the best interest of YOU, the bride. The venue coordinator deals with everything having to do with the venue- food, setup and logistics. A wedding coordinator will deal with aspects of the venue, such as setup, and will make sure everything is to your specifications.
A wedding coordinator stays by your side throughout the day and night. They are there to tell you when things will be occurring throughout the night, such as the cake cutting, bouquet toss, toasts, etc. Every wedding I am apart of, I stay until the very end of the wedding, until all of the guests are gone. A venue coordinator stays until the meal is served, and the majority of the time, leaves after. Some may stay until the cake is cut and served. He or she will not be by your side throughout the day or night. Although the venue coordinator will do their best to keep you happy, he or she likely will not be involved if your bustle breaks, when it comes time to load up your gifts, or tracking down your bridesmaids favorite lipgloss.
Venues are known to have a high turnover rate among the coordinator/sales positions. The person that you book your wedding with may or may not still be there when it comes time for your wedding a year, year and a half later. Your wedding coordinator is hired by YOU, hand selected by YOU, and won’t be going anywhere (unless, God forbid, something horrible happens!). The wedding coordinator is there for your best interest from start to finish!