Friday, July 30, 2010

Fabulous Friday: Its Almost August?

Has anyone else noticed that 2010 is completely whipping by? I'd love to know where the brakes are on this calendar. I have so many goals for 2010 that I haven't even begun to work on simply because there hasn't been enough time to really dig into them.

Anyways, there are some good things floating around this week that I wanted to point out:

Southern Magazines has put up some breathtaking images that you can vote on for inclusion in the next magazine. They are also looking for image submissions for the IT LIST. The photos up there really are beautiful.

Charelene at Sweet Chic Events in Chicago wrote a fabulous post on what your venue coordinator is not, a must read for brides!

Chelsea Clinton gets married tomorrow ~ love this quote found on The Huffington Post: "Who Cares if Chelsea Clinton Is Getting Married?". Check out all their articles here if you do care.

We've got a beautiful wedding to coordinate tomorrow: Congratulations Patty & Joe!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Keeping Ego's in Check

Somewhere along the path of planning your wedding, its inevitable that ego's will collide ... I've found in my experience that traditionally those with the largest ego's are the ones who are pretty set in their ways of how a wedding should proceed and are slightly resistant to change. Ok, I lied, they are probably very resistant to change. So what can you do as a bride and groom to work peacefully with the unchecked ego?

Firstly, kill them with kindness. Chances are you're going to get frustrated, upset and angry but the best course of action is to treat this dinosaur with kindness. Don't get short with them, or say snarky comments. Be the adult in this situation. And secondly, explain as rationally as possible that while you appreciate their expertise, you've always envisioned your wedding day as x,y and z and therefore are they willing to bend and be flexible? What you don't want to do is show weakness and let them trample you. You want them to come around the bend in a thoughtful manner ~ at the end of the day, this entire day wouldn't be happening if you weren't getting married here at this place with these vendors, so make sure that the ego-maniac is reminded of this.

And as I always say "good luck"!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hiring a Wedding Vendor {Part 9}

You've reviewed the proposal and you either see the value of this vendor or you don't ... so you either want to hire them or you don't. Either way, please use common courtesy and notify the wedding vendor even if it's to say no. Leaving a consultation and proposal open and undecided {at least on the vendor's end} isn't nice.

If you want to move forward with them ~ let them know ASAP! Share your excitement with them and ask what you need to do to move forward. Chances are you'll need a non-refundable deposit to hold the date and to sign a contract. They should send this over in a timely fashion. Once you receive the contract, take the time to review it but keep in mind the following: a wedding vendor's contract is to protect the wedding vendor, not the client. If you don't understand a clause, ask for clarification. What you shouldn't do is mock up the contract in a way that benefits you, the client. The first thing I do when a prospective client calls me to clarify or change the contract, I go through their questions. Nine out of ten times, the changes they want would grossly change my contract in ways that as a business owner, I am just not comfortable with. So I always suggest purchasing wedding insurance. I've found that most concerns clients have with the contract can be dealt with by purchasing insurance in order to protect themselves. If that doesn't solve the issues they have with your contract, as a vendor, take them to your attorney. Hopefully the concerns / questions can be clarified but on rare occasions, what the client is asking for just isn't possible. If that turns out to be the case, be willing to work with the vendor and understand why their contract is the way it is. Aim to reach a contract version that ALL parties are happy with.

Next week: begin working together!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who Died And Made You God?

This question was posed to me this morning during a session with my life guru. We were discussing my business and how I like everyone to act in a manner that I find acceptable ~ which is basically beyond wrong as an outlook on life. Everyone is different, has different perspective and because of that, I shouldn't try and stuff the entire population into my 'box' of how things should be done. Its such a simple thought, but seriously, I am sure that most of us act this way in some form at some point in our lives. It literally begs the question "who died and made you god"? What gives me the right to want everyone to act in a manner that I think is appropriate when they can certainly can act however they know how. Its going to be a shift in thinking, but one that is going to make me a better person.

So how in the world is this vaguely related to wedding planning? Simple. Your vendors are working to the best of their ability using their knowledge base. They aren't gods {unfortunately} and maybe sometimes the way you {bride / client} wants things to be dealt with just isn't the way this vendor works. Everyone has their work style, their flow, and while flexibility is a big plus, don't expect a vendor to change their process simply because you signed a contract and are paying them. The same holds true to clients ~ vendors have to be mindful that a first time bride doesn't know everything and needs help. As a wedding vendor we can't just expect that a woman gets engaged and poof, ten seconds later the wedding fairy has given her all the wedding planning education she needs to be the best bride. This process is about give and take for all involved and we have to be respectful of that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Musings

Folks, the new imac is here and let's just say the learning curve is going to be huge!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Importance of Thank You Notes

If anyone ever tells you that thank you notes can be sent via email - immediately cease communication with this person! A Thank You note is a timeless tradition that needs to be handwritten and actually taken to the post office or post box and mailed. I'm pretty old school about this, so bare with me.

One of the first things you should purchase once you've gotten engaged is thank you notes. You are going to need them. If at first they don't match the rest of your invitation suite, don't fret, you can get matching ones later. It's more important to have a nice card stock that you can handwrite on early on in this wedding planning process because people will be giving you gifts, parties or generally doing nice things for you that desrved to be recognized and thanked. While different rules of etiquette apply to the wedding thank you note ~ here are my rules of thumb:

It doesn't need to be an eloquent novel, address whomever purchased the gift, say thank you, include a note on how you'll use it and sign. And regarding when to send them out: ASAP. I find that thank you notes are oft forgotten the longer time passes so instead of waiting for three months ~ sit down once a week and get them done.

{via Minted}

{via Wiley Valentine}

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hiring a Wedding Planner {Part 9}

Now you've had your consultation, received the proposal and ultimately you have to decide if you want to work with this person or not. Is this someone who are you are going to be beyond excited to meet with? Is this someone who you value and respect their opinion, advice, honesty and experience? Is this someone who you are confident will bring your wedding day to life in a manner that fits your vision?

In the best of all worlds, you'd meet, you'd love each other and you'd love the package. You'd work together, have a fabulous experience and the wedding day would be awesome. Not all relationships are fairy tales unfortunately, so spend a moment weighing the value of their services and your needs. If there's an ounce of doubt, perhaps this person isn't for you. If there isn't any doubt, move forward with them!

Keep in mind that this wedding planner or any wedding vendor for instance, may be receiving inquiries for your same wedding date, so it's only common courtesy to give them an answer {yay or nay} within one to two weeks of your meeting / receiving your proposal. Even if you do not want to work with them ~ let them know.

Next week: that's a wrap on this series + other morsels of info!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Your Wedding Day Taste & Your Budget

Remember that show "lifestyles of the rich & famous"? Their tag line was 'Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams' ... a tag line that could to varying degree's describe a bride's taste for their wedding day. But what does one do when their taste and their budget don't exactly see eye to eye?

Firstly, sit down with your groom and go through each aspect of the wedding day and really take note of your priorities. If you are a foodie couple, spend more on the food, less on the decor. If you are into design, spend more on the decor and photography, less on transportation and music. Do you get my drift? Make your top 3 priorities and then weight them - #1 = highest priority of them all, you'd rather not get married if you can't make this the most important, #2 = it would be fabulous if you could spend more on this aspect and #3 = important but if it came down to it, you'd be fine with not having the creme de la creme in this category. Once you've gotten your wish list together, take a good hard look at your budget and see where you've spent or what you've allocated. For your #1 and #2, the bulk of your budget should be put towards these items. If you have to re-work the budget to fit them, do so. I've found over the years that couples who overlook their #1 and #2 because they allocated their money elsewhere have pangs of regret after the wedding day.

What sort of things are high priority for your wedding day?

********Please note, starting this coming Monday, July 26th, we will have new hours: Mondays: closed, will be responding only to time sensitive emails

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Musings

One of the loves of my life:

{Courtesy of my mother in law}

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fabulous Friday: Bridal Event Not to Miss

My awesome nutritionist guru, Sarah Jenks is holding an intimate evening for brides on July 27th at Gabriella New York Bridal Salon called: Breathtaking Bride Master Class: “How to feel centered, confident and drop dead gorgeous in your wedding dress without crash diets, deprivation or turning into bridezilla”.

This master class will show you a completely different way of losing weight for your wedding. A way that doesn’t involve starving yourself, counting calories or giving up chocolate {um, seriously, having your cake and eating it too literally while shedding pounds - hello, this is awesome news}.

This incredibly helpful evening is on Tuesday, July 27th from 6:30-8:30, and the class is limited to TEN BRIDES, which will allow Sarah to give each participant the kind of one-on-one support she, until this point, has been reserved for her full-time clients.

Sarah’s philosophy is truly a life changing in this culture of crash dieting. I hope you will read more about the master class and Sarah on her website.

A sampling of what you will learn in the master class:
• The three letter word that is the ultimate catalyst for weight loss
• Why most wedding weight loss programs are actually causing you to gain weight
• Why trying to use “willpower” and “discipline” is a complete waste of time and what to do instead that actually works
• The 3 fool proof steps to stop emotional eating FOREVER
• How to be the same weight you are at your wedding, for years after you say “I do”
• The exact step-by-step plan to losing weight, feeling centered and having clarity on your wedding day

There's still availability, so click here to sign up!

Happy Weekend y'all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hiring a Wedding Planner {Part 8A}

Yesterday we discussed receiving a proposal from a wedding vendor {in a timely fashion} ... today I wanted to flip the coin on its side and discuss what to do when a wedding vendor hasn't gotten you a proposal in a timely fashion ...

You had the consultation and hopefully sometime during that meeting there was discussion of when to expect the proposal. Now, let's say that due date has passed by and still no proposal ... as a client service provider that's one of the biggest pet peeves of mine! Deliver your deliverables! In my experience in working with clients, the longer time has passed between the meeting and the eventual proposal arriving, the positive impression has likely begun to wane. If you were truly interested in working with this vendor, call or email and ask when to expect the proposal. Stress that you had a great meeting and you're interested in seeing a proposal. If the wedding vendor has any brains, they'll get you a proposal faster than you can say "bridezilla", if they don't hurry it up, then you have to decide if you should wait for them or move on.

Anyone who has ever met me can probably answer what my decision would be, but this is a decision that the bride and the groom need to make. Does this person seem like they are going to deliver once you've finally gotten the ever-delayed proposal? Are you willing to take that risk with your wedding day?

So I propose this to you dear reader: Would you proceed with a wedding vendor if they took weeks and weeks to get you a proposal?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hiring a Wedding Planner {Part 8}

Once you receive the proposal, don't do what we all inherently want to do: look for the bottom line. Instead, use willpower and start at the top ~ go through the proposal line by line, taking in each detail and description. If something in that line or description doesn't make sense to you: write down your question. The last thing that any wedding vendor wants is for you to need clarity but not ask for it ~ we are here with a wealth of information and want to share it with you!

Ultimately, you'll get to the bottom line of the proposal, its just inevitable. Now three things can happen with the $ figure on there ~ you think its reasonable, you think its absurd or you think its too cheap. None of those choices are the right answer. That proposal amount is about value. Do you think there is value to this vendor and therefore they are worth the amount that they are charging? Remember the old saying: quality versus quantity? Its totally applicable when it comes to hiring a wedding vendor. If you value their expertise and the services they offer, then regardless of what the $ on the proposal is, chances are slim that you'll get sticker shock. {Note: some proposal's you can with work with the vendor to tweak which may bring down the cost ~ but that doesn't take away from the value of their services}. Don't get me wrong: you are working within a budget and don't want to go hog wild, but in the end ~ if you value a wedding vendor's services chances are you that number on the proposal won't scare the pants off of you.

Next week: proposal received, now how to act?

Catch up on Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Guests Just Won't Reply

I know I've talked a lot about the guests who won't send in their RSVP ... seriously, its pre-stamped, pre-addressed people! But I feel like this is a topic that we can always talk about, so here goes it.

Rarely will your entire guest list respond by the due date, if it does, count yourself lucky for having such responsible people in your life. Chances are, you'll have to start calling and emailing the non responders to wean a decision out of them. Make it clear that you'd love them to be at the wedding but you need a firm decision. A wedding isn't like a backyard BBQ open house where you invite 150 and count on 75 showing up at some point. The venue and your vendors need a final and accurate guest count in order to accommodate everyone. Its as simple as that.

So say what you will to convince these folk that they need to give you a yes or a no. It could be as simple as telling them that if they want to receive a meal, they need to provide a response.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Musings

"Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself" - Rumi

I wish you the very best this week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Hired "A Life Coach"

OK I have a confession to make. I hired a life coach. She's not entirely a life coach, she's actually more of a nutritionist / therapist / going to be spending a ton of time with me over the next 6 months person.

Now, what did I do this and why am I telling you {the world}?

Simply because I want to. I am so excited at the possibility of fundamentally becoming healthier in mind and body that I've been telling lots of people {including my dermatologist} about my journey to becoming a better version of myself. Not that I think anything is wrong with my past / current self, but everyone needs a system upgrade, right? {i.e. the recent launch of the Iphone 4} Owning and running your own business is stressful even when you love what you do. Trying to run a household and a business + attempt a social life can cause stress. Stress = No Good. Essentially, my nutritionist / life coach is going to be bringing order to my diet, my routine and my life so that I am an even more fabulous wife, daughter, frenchie mama, business owner, friend and wedding planner. See, a win win for everyone!

As I begin this journey, I will share my insights with you all ~ especially the ones that relate to wedding planning. Your first lesson: breath. Sometimes stopping to let some oxygen deep down into your lungs can relax you and de-stress you. Go ahead and try it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hiring a Wedding Planner {Part 7}

You met, you talked, you thought and now ... the post wedding planner consultation de-brief must occur. Keep in mind that your consultation was a two-way interview. While you were sizing up this potential wedding coordinator, they were sizing up you, the potential client.

Unless the coordinator gave you a price during the consultation ~ you should expect a proposal from them within a reasonable time frame. The proposal should outline the services that you discussed during the meeting as well as what the wedding planner is going to offer you as a client. It should also include a clear price and any other terms that the wedding planner would like for you to be aware of {i.e. if the proposal has a deadline for committing etc}. Essentially, this proposal should be transparent in the services being offered for your wedding. If you need clarity, just ask.

You'll also need to process your overall feeling about this person. Did you like them? Do you think you clicked? Do you get the impression that you'll work well together? Did they get your vision? Do you get their vision? Is this someone you want to work with closely and intimately for the next x amount of months? Are you confident that this person is going to exceed your expectations?

While yes price is always a factor ~ you can't live with just price. You will be working closely with this person for the duration of your wedding planning process ~ are you 100% cool with them?

Up Next ~ proposal received, what to think?

Catch up on Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VI

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When Wedding Inspiration Drives You Crazy

I am a huge fan of wedding blogs, I love the knowledge and advice that wedding industry professionals share so freely in order to help educate the engaged. Its remarkable really if you think about it, knowledge and inspiration being shared freely, I love it!

What I am not a huge fan of is multi-fold: when a bride falls in love with a table scape or idea seen on a blog that really is a photo shoot that costs $1000+ to replicate and I have to be the one to essentially crush their dreams that this $1800 table just isn't possible to replicate for their 200+ person wedding when their budget is sub $500,000. I am also not a fan of when brides see so much amazingly beautiful inspiration that they are constantly changing their minds on decor, design, layout, ideas etc.

At some point, you need to stop checking things out on blogs. Or, do what I have been doing since about 4 months before my wedding ~ I bookmark things I find inspiring that I can use for a vow renewal, dinner party, holiday cocktails, outdoor BBQ, birthday, nesting, eventual baby shower and obviously, inspiration for my clients. Basically, I tuck these awesome ideas away for a rainy day; because seriously, you can't keep changing your mind about things with your wedding day getting closer and closer. You will eventually drive yourself and your vendors nuts.

Be firm in your decisions. Stop the madness by constantly changing everything.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Musings: Lake Michigan

{Via city data website}

Mr. G, the frenchies and I are off to my in-law's cottage on Lake Michigan for a week!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Have a wonderful holiday, whatever you do!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trusting Your Vendors

Everyone has different perceptions of trust. One can be overly trusting, others can be fearful of trust and some have just the right amount of trust. When it comes to pulling together your wedding vendors, having trust in them is key.

You should have gotten a sense of trust when you met with them. Here are three rules to live by with trusting your wedding vendors:

1) Trust that they will perform to the best of their ability
2) Trust that they will ensure that your wedding day is simply lovely
3) Trust that they have the knowledge and expertise to get YOU through your wedding day

As a planner who deals predominantly with couples who are engaged and wedding planning for the first time, I see rule #3 broken more times than I can count. You've hired these professionals for a specific reason: they are the professionals. They've been working in / around the wedding industry for long enough to know what is going on. They've got an awesome skill base, they have more knowledge about their niche than most people. They are experienced.

If you hired them, you must trust them {at least theoretically}, so listen to them. Listen to their expertise. Trust in their experience, advice and knowledge. Chances are, they know what they are talking about. If you disagree, trust in them that they will steer you right.

Trust in your wedding vendors, their insight is invaluable.