Monday, January 11, 2016

What Wedding Planners Wish Vendors Knew

In an industry full of high stress, constant emails, phone calls, timelines, packing, unpacking, scheduling, rescheduling, crazy hours, 24 hours a day, vendor pleasing, client pleasing, constant marketing....a wedding planner truly has a lot on their plate. In resent weeks we have encountered a few instances with vendors that I thought I would address to help others understand the craziness a bit better with hopes that there would be more GRACE.

1. If we don't get back to you right away, please know that we have lots of events, vendors, and clients we are managing. We have most likely read the email or listened to the message, but are trying to prioritize replies to make it a bit more manageable.

2. If you are not a part of every event, it is not because we do not want to work with you. Our clients have different budgets and we help them choose the best vendor for their budget. If we could use you all at one event, we would do it. IT'S NOT POSSIBLE.

3. If we do not refer you at all, please understand there is a reason for this. This is not to say that we do not give second chances. We are not always perfect and make mistakes as well, so we get it. Some circumstances or experiences may have have left us unable to give a second chance to protect our clients and our own business integrity.

4. If you are not tagged in every post we share, please know that there are so many vendors involved and we are NOT ever intentionally leaving you out of the post. We value the work that our vendors do for us and our clients and would not maliciously leave you out. We give a lot too that goes unrecognized.

5. Our lives do not revolve around our business, even though we work crazy hours. Some of us have young families we are trying to love and care for. If we are not working, we are home with our families, fighting the urge to answer phone calls and emails.

6. We are not PERFECT and make mistakes just like that rest of you. We do our best to cover the details, to get the job done. We ask for GRACE, just like we extend to you.

7. If you are not reaching out to us to build a relationship, we are not responsible. We would LOVE to go to coffee with all the new and fab vendors in town, but our time is limited. We would love for you to reach out to us via email and tell us about your business and how you feel we could work together to better our client experiences.

8. Most of us speak on behalf of our clients. Do not go behind our backs to communicate with the client, unless they reach out to you first.

9. As vendors we ALL have a preferred vendor list. Again, it was those people that were intentional about building a relationship, that you have things in common with, or perhaps the product or service is out of this world not be offended if you are not on that list. We are not everyone's favorite planner...we get it.

10. Most of us genuinely love our clients and are doing our best to please them, while trying to keep our vendors happy too. We are in the middle and we ask for a little more understanding.

I am sure there are more, but these are the major ones we encounter. As for me, I know that I am not liked by everyone, not everyone agrees with what I do, who I work with or my approach, but I am just fine with that. I can't please everyone, all I can do is my best. That is all any of us can do. I challenge all of us to extend more GRACE this year. I think it will help build stronger relationships and better service for our clients.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tips for Tackling The Wichita Bridal Show! 2016

Congratulations to all of the newly engaged couples! This coming weekend on the 9th and 10th of January, is The Wichita Bridal Show located at Century II. Attending a bridal show can be most helpful in planning your wedding. They are exciting, festive and full of terrific ideas. You will be able to meet and ask questions from many wedding professionals all under one roof. You will want to gather information, compare prices and services, receive discounts, register for prizes, see the latest fashions, get great new ideas and simply just have fun.  The bridal shows are big so go early. Plan to spend a minimum of 4 or 5 hours in order to see all the exhibits. Don't be in a rush to get through! When you first walk into the show it can be very overwhelming, daunting and stressful. I have come up with some tips for the year 2016 that will help you have a productive, enjoyable time!

1. The most important and also the most obvious would be solidifying a wedding date before you go so that as you are talking to vendors you will be able to see if your specific date is even available.

2. Before you go to the show, make a list of the different vendors you need to get information on and some keys questions you have for each one. Some of the the vendors to consider: venue, catering, florist, cake, photographer, videographer, hair and makeup artists. Here are a few questions to ask the vendors as well: How many years experience do they have? What sets that particular company apart from others that do the same thing? What is their basic pricing?

3. Before you start talking to any of the vendors, take a stroll around the show. Sample cake, look at decor, take brochures, watch the runway shows, etc. Take it all in so you see what all is available and are not overwhelmed by getting it all figured out in one instant. After you have been able to look around you are able to better understand your needs and wants and will be able to communicate that better when you talk to each of the vendors.

4. Start a conversation with the people at the booths. Don't be shy. You will know right away if they are someone you would want to work with in planning for your special day. It is very important that you get a long and click with the vendors you choose. 

5. Wedding shows are not supposed to be stressful or overwhelming. There is so much to see and so many vendors. Taking your time to view each exhibit will help reduce the stress. Remember wedding planning is preferably done over time, not in one day. It's one decision at a time.

6. Bring a small notebook and pen. You never know what tips or ideas you'll discover and want to write down. It will also be hard to remember which vendor told you what. 

7. Some vendors offer drawings for prizes. To make this a speedy process, bring address labels to save time in filling out registration blanks.

8. Material swatches that suggest the colors of your wedding are helpful when speaking with florists, bakers, gown shops and other professionals. Know the size of your wedding party, your color scheme, and the location of your reception facility if you have already booked your venue. You may also want to bring pictures of some of the things you have seen that you like for decor to show to the different vendors as well so they have a good understanding of your vision.

9. Have a couple of people attend the show with you so that you have more eyes to see and ears to hear all the things you will be taking in.

10. A lot of vendors give discounts at the show. Take advantage of this if you are able to.

11. Ask lots of questions. The show is filled with wedding professionals, and while you're there you should take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as you can. These vendors want to impress you with their knowledge of their particular specialty...take advantage of it!!!

12. Be confident in what you need and stick to your budget, but also stay true to your tastes, style, personality, so that there are no regrets later on. This is a day in your life that is like no other, you want it to be perfect, so go with your gut!

13. Don't forget the reason you are even there! It is easy to get lost in the details and forget that you are marrying your best friends. Get excited but don't forget to prepare for 24 years and not just for the 24 hours! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Preparing for 24 years, not just 24 hours

As a wedding and event planner, my favorite aspect of the job is the ability I have to help design and implement beauty that is pleasing to the eye. Along with the decorations, I get to see ALL aspects of the wedding planning process, including the way the couple interact with one another and what they find most important in preparing for their marriage and wedding day. 

All to often I see the bride and groom getting lost in the details of planning, and if I am completely being honest, I do to. Recently, I have been more sensitive to this issue and want to take a moment to get more personal. 
Prior to my very own wedding/marriage my expectations were full of fairy tales and lots of loving. I was naïve in thinking that there wouldn't be difficult days and that the key to a long, lasting marriage wouldn't take WORK at all! I expected my husband to allow me to do whatever, whenever and however, without throwing a fit and with complete support. His expectations were different, but also self seeking at times...a barefoot and pregnant wife, home cooked meals and a perfectly cleaned home when he came home from work each day. I thought he would continue to wine and dine me, and he thought I would give him daily love notes that would never cease. 
This was certainly not the case and was almost culture shock upon revelation. Lust quickly became starch reality. No more wine and dining, or cute little notes--go ahead and add kids to this recipe, along with disagreements, kids fighting, careers, long hours, pet peeves, worldly influences, all kinds of kid activities and an enormous amount of other distractions.

I have to admit that after my husband proposed to me in Africa...this was grand(oh man, if he asks me big questions like this all the time, I am going to be the luckiest girl ever!)I came home from that amazing, surprise proposal and quickly got lost in the wedding hype, showers, the decor, and all the ideas I had in creating something unique. I hit the ground running and soon forgot why I even said "yes" to the man of my dreams. I can say without question that most conversations we had as a couple during the 6 months of planning, were quickly "wedding" related. What kind of food, how many tables and chairs, what was our color and theme? We forgot to continue dating. Forgot to continue getting to know what our likes and dislikes were and most certainly forgot to build a strong foundation for the next 24 years of marriage instead of the 24 hours of wedding celebration.

My 7 year marriage has had it's challenges, but I can say that after 7 years, it has truly become about "love" and not lust. Sometimes, love is a daily choice even, but I know God has brought me the man I am suppose to live life's adventures with. I share this in hopes that you will ask more of the hard questions and have more uncomfortable conversations that are not all fun to set the foundation for a strong marriage before your big wedding. 

While we aren't the way we used to be be walking down the aisle, we can still integrate the things we loved about each other during the 'lust" stage; notes, diners out...they just simply mean more now, especially when it is not as common as before the "I Do".
I think it’s important that newlyweds-to-be discuss what is expected in a marriage—what each person hopes for and how they plan to make it work for them. Couples are really doing a disservice to their lives together if they don’t discuss the big issues before they take that final walk down the aisle. Now, let me assure you, I know that there will be conflict even if you do your homework before hand. Preconceived notions and comparing our relationship to other couples; that's what gets us into trouble!
Here are some questions you can ask on your next date that will begin to create open communication between you and your fiancé, all while preparing for a day that honors your life long commitment to each other. 
  • Besides love, what is your main reason for marrying your partner?
  • What are three things other than appearance that you love about your partner?
  • What does the word "compromise" mean to you and how will you apply it to your marriage?
  • Who will do the majority of the household chores?
  • How will they be divided if you both work?
  • If you plan to have children, how many would you want and when would you like to start growing your family?
  • How much of your income would you like to save?
  • Do you save?
  • How do you prefer to spend your free time?
  • Are you impulsive or a planner? 
  • How do you deal with the unexpected?
  • How do you deal with conflict/confrontation?
  • Do you share the same level of religious commitment?
  • How will you resolve disputes?
  • What’s your 5-year plan (both personally and professionally)?

What are some creative ways that you might be preparing for your marriage while planning your wedding? We would LOVE to share with others!