Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Who Really Needs a Wedding Planner- 2

The response from the last interview with a bridal client was HUGE and I am SO glad because I think this might be my favorite series.  I'm really interested in hearing from brides that used other planners, so if you did use a planner (not me) send me your answers so I can post it on the blog in the next edition of "Who Really Needs a Planner." 
To follow up with the series I have an interview with a bride that was referred to me through At Last Event Planning.  Here are a few photos from her wedding.

Photos are all courtesy of the great and wonderful people at Z Media.  

Q: What made you decide to hire a wedding planner? 
A: I hired a planner within the last month of the wedding planning because the details of the day became overwhelming. It was reassuring to know that she would be there to oversee everything that needed to be done on my day so I didnt have to worry about it.

Q: What types of things attracted you to each planner that you interviewed?
A: I didnt interview planners, only Brandi, and she seemed very organized and professional.


Q: What was the best thing your wedding planner did for you? 
A: EVERYTHING!!! Basically, handling the little details that I couldn't do on my actual wedding day and coordinating with each of the vendors to make sure they were where they were suppose to be that day!!

Q: What was something your planner did that you would never have thought of doing?
A: At dinner, she came to the head table, asked the bridal party if we needed anything, and offered to get us drinks!

Q: Did you feel that your wedding planner was worth the cost?
A: Definitely!!

Q: Was there anything you would have changed about your experience with your wedding planner?
A: No.

Q: What was something you wish you would have known before hiring your planner?
A: I only wish that I would of hired Brandi sooner! It would of alleviated a lot of stress on my part.

Q: Is there any situation where you could see why a bride would NOT want a wedding planner?
A: Only if she could not afford it.

The best part of Christine's last answer is that most planners can work with a bride on any budget.  You cut back the areas you don't need more service and you only use a planner during the most important aspects of your wedding planning.  That way anyone, on any budget can still enjoy the expertise and knowledge of a very skilled planner.  I don't ever suggest hiring a less experienced planner because they are "cheaper" unless you are prepared to work with someone, with, well, less experience.  

Bride's send me your interviews, I want to hear about other planners as well!  

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Interview on Planner Wire

Check out my interview with Serenity Knutson, Editor in Chief of Planner Wire.

Click Here

What do you think of the interview, have any feedback or even better/different answers, let me know!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What does a "Day Of" Do?

I will follow up on this subject matter throughout the course of the blog, but I thought these were some good perspectives from, all of vendors, photographers! 

Ask the Experts: What Does a Day of Coordinator Coordinate?

by Marta
Forward to a friend Love it!
Ask the Experts is your chance to get wedding advice from a panel of wedding professionals. If you have a question for our panel write
Dear Ask the Experts,
I see a lot of articles suggesting that I get a Day of Coordinator. But, I’m a little confused about what exactly a Day of Coordinator does. What does she coordinate? I’d love to hear from some caterers/florists/photographers/musicians if they prefer it if a bride has a day of coordinator.
Possibly Uncoordianted
Mark at VideoMagic Productions says:
Strangely enough, one of the first questions I ask my prospects when meeting with them (even before they reserve our services) is who they hired as their coordinator. Too often the response is "nobody", and I highly encourage them to consider hiring a "Day of Coordinator". The reason for this is simple. You are planning the biggest event of your entire lives and (probably) not only with no experience, but without the ability to ensure things run smoothly. When you host a party at your house, I don't imagine you mingle around like a guest. Typically a host will make sure drinks are filled, food trays don't go empty, things are organized and much more. Thus, although your wedding is different than a house party, it is MUCH bigger in scale. You want the comfort and knowledge that someone is with you throughout the entire day to ensure things run smoothly, particularly if things deviate from the original plan…and believe me, most weddings encounter issues that need to be handled. Good luck in your planning!
Rebecca Enslein of the Studio B Photography:
First off, I think the name “Day of Coordinator” is a misnomer of sorts. For anyone to have an idea of what is going on the day of your wedding, they need to be involved in the plans before that day so everything can run smoothly. They typically spend about 10-20 hours before the wedding day getting all the necessary information together like getting in touch with the other vendors, visiting the venue, and speaking with you about your vision for the day. The day of coordinator is basically there to make sure that you don’t have to worry about a thing when your wedding day rolls around. There are so many behind the scene things that have to happen to prepare for a wedding like accepting delivery of the cake, setting up all the chairs for the ceremony, setting the tables for the reception, helping the florist with decorations, etc. that if you had to do them on your own, you’d never have the time to get ready!
As a photographer, I LOVE to work with brides who have coordinators. We both like to keep things running on schedule, and when the bride isn’t stressed about all the tiny details, she’s able to be much more relaxed and that makes for better pictures. If you are getting married somewhere that has a person that acts like a coordinator (for example, country clubs usually have very helpful and able staff in this department) you might not have to hire an outside person to handle things. However, if you are getting married in a park or another location that doesn’t traditionally do weddings, you’re better off hiring a coordinator to make sure everything goes according to plan.
About the Experts:
Mark Salloum is the owner of VideoMagic Productions based in Canton, MIchigan. He has traveled the country producing weddings for nearly 2 decades while earning countless awards for the quality and creativity of his cutting-edge wedding movies.
Rebecca is the owner of The Studio B Photography in the Atlanta, Georgia area. As a recent bride herself, Rebecca is able to better understand what her clients need and enjoys providing them with images that capture the joy of their wedding day.

Secrets Behind a DJ/Entertainment Service

The "Secrets Behind" series has been a huge success and I have really enjoyed learning new things from different vendors.  Certainly a vendor that everyone has looked into at some point, is the DJ.  The stereotype has long passed, hopefully, but I will still say that there are some stragglers holding strong to the DJ image.  I'm grateful to have an interview from someone who has never had the stereotype and has been around long enough to have proven how good a DJ Service really can be. 
Without further delay I present:
Secrets Behind DJ Service by Rich Siebert of Beach Boyz Entertainment

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry? 
A: That all DJs are cheesy, they play music too loud and that all we do is just press play on an
i pod or CD player.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides make when choosing a DJ? 
A: They only worry about their music interest, forgetting about the 150 other guests attending the reception. Also many brides don’t dance & that’s big no-no.  Guest take the lead of the bride and groom and if they dance their guests will too but if they don't, well then you'll end up with an empty dance floor. 

Q: What things should a bride look for when hiring a DJ? 
A: First and foremost look for professionalism. Look for a DJ who will give the bride and groom exactly what they want, not what the DJ thinks is best.  Find a DJ who is not going to try to steal the show and who knows who’s day it ultimately is!  

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you? 
A: Lighting has come a long way and uplighting that can transorm any room into a glowing room with style or a monogram light with the brides initials or names projected on the dancefloor.

Q: What is one of the worst things that can happen when booking a DJ?  
A: I hear it all the time, the DJ overbooked and cannot do the wedding.  This not only causes the bride and groom undo panic, it is totally irresponsible of the DJ service.

Q: What is the worst mistake a DJ can make? 
A: Not properly training their DJs.  Weddings are the hardest events to DJ and while it is the DJs job to juggle the bride and grooms requests along with their guests, they need to make sure the timing is flawless and that everyone is fully entertained while communicating with bride, groom and parents so everyone is on the same page.  Several DJ services don’t properly train their DJ and this greatly effects the reception.  Proper training with scripts, troubleshooting, music knowledge, and overall flow of a wedding reception are crucial elements any DJ should be well aware of.

Q: If a client had endless funds what unique idea/service or products would you offer them? 
A: I would offer them a LED dance floor for their first dance.    This floor like the one at the Union Club in Downtown Cleveland is amazing and as soon as it’s turned on, all the guests gasp in amazement.  Every hall needs one of these.

Q: What is the one thing bridal clients should Review in contracts with their DJ? 
A: What the DJ is wearing, setup time, extra fees for overtime, really there are an endless amount of details to cover in a contract with your DJ.

Q: What is the one thing you wish all of your clients knew when working with you?
A: I wish all my clients knew how important the DJ is to the success of the wedding.  Several brides and grooms will spend more money on a cheese and veggie tray than they will on entertainment for their entire event.  While food is important, dinner only lasts about an hour.  Your entertainment can lasts for about 5 hours, so you should have wonderful music and a DJ who handles all the details.  That way everyone leaves the reception hall saying “That was one of the best receptions I’ve ever been to!"  That is priceless!  I would also wish that brides would consider this:  your choice of entertainer is an insurance policy against bad memories of a disappointing occasion. (that you will remember for a lifetime)

Thank you again to Rich Siebert of Beach Boyz Entertainment.  Check out their website here.

I hope that my readers are starting to understand that while some aspects of a wedding don't seem to be fun and glamorous to plan, all aspects are important to the success of your wedding day.  Having a planner who knows that and respects vendors for their services is crucial to a wonderful wedding day.  Even without a planner, remember that if even the smallest detail goes wrong, it will be the one detail you will always remember. 

Look forward to more in the secrets series in 2010 and of course, contact your favorite vendor so they can be featured on the series. 

Happy Planning!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just Turn on the Lights!

I can say, in all honesty, nothing is worse (not even a screaming bride) than staff on-site that do not enjoy working with a wedding coordinator.  Since I came from a background of event planning and do know more aspects than that of just a coordinator (banquets, service staff, management, bartender) I understand their thought process from time to time, but when they make my job difficult, that's when I no longer understand where they are coming from.  
My experience has been that if you go in and help with things, as opposed to demand things, you will always have a better experience for yourself and for the bride.  I have the utmost respect for every single person that works at an event site because even without just one of them, things would go off as well as they should.  Now, with all that being said here is my conversation with an "angry bartender" last evening, that actually gave me a chuckle.
BACKGROUND- Site is beautiful and is decorated (of course) in a Christmas theme with red, golds, ivory and even a little silver.  There are twinkle lights in very strategic places so that the room is evenly and perfectly lit.  However, the bar lights don't seem to be working, so I approach the bartender.
ME- "Is there anyway we can get the lights on before guests start arriving?  I want everything to be ready to go so I can show the bride the room."
BAR- "What lights?" "Oh, these lights around the bar, ya, they don't work" (he walks away)
ME- (when he returns) "Hi, okay, well if those lights don't work, I have LOTS of extra lights I brought just in case, so I'd be happy to set those up in the garland around the bar, I'll even just leave them here so you can have working lights."
BAR- "Okay, no, I just said they don't work." (walks away again)
ME- (now following him) "Well, I have lights that DO work, so I can put them up, you don't have to help or anything, I'll just get them situated myself, just show me the plug."
BAR- (now back at the bar) "Listen, the lights don't work, there is no plug back here for the lights."
ME- (pointing to the lights attached to the extension cord) "Well, here is the extension cord, that should help, right?  If it isn't long enough, I've brought extra extension cords."
BAR- (visibly annoyed) "Okay, I already told you, they don't work, there isn't anywhere for me to plug them in back here."
ME- (smiling, BIG smile) "Well, why is there an extension cord connected to them, if they can't be plugged in, in the first place." 
BAR- (putting closed sign on bar and leaving the bar) "I don't know but I told you they don't work."
WOW, all that time, that whole conversation and he could have just plugged them in for me, but no, it goes on.  Of course, at this point, I'm certainly not allowing this attitude to be acceptable, I hadn't done anything to this man and my job is to make everything perfect for the bride, I can't have anyone get in the way of that.
I approach Banquet Manager to discuss.
ME- "Hi, I know we've talked and everything is great, I just need the bar lit up, everything is light strategically and without those lit, the room doesn't look right."
BANQUET- (rolling her eyes) "Oh yes, I can see it doesn't look right, just let the bartender know."
ME- (totally understanding her eye roll) "I know, I know, I'm being a pain but my job is to make everything exactly as the bride request, so I have to get these lit."
BANQUET- (feeling badly for eye roll) "No, you are fine, you certainly aren't as bad as most of the planners we get in here."  "I'll talk to the bartender for you."
ME- (thankful but still annoyed ALL this had to happen to get lights on a bar turned on) "Thank you SO much, you know I wouldn't be worth what they pay me, if I couldn't manage to get the bar twinkle lights turned on."
At this point the Banquet Manager and Bartender discuss the lighting situation and then the Banquet Manager leaves and comes back with the Utility Manager who goes behind the bar and, yes, plugs in the lights.
I am not posting this to focus on people sometimes having a poor attitude.  My job isn't to worry about anything like that, it is only to make things go well for the bride.  My point is to show, those of you who don't believe in coordinators, how some of the most mundane, ridiculous and absolutely simple task can turn into 20 minutes of work, for no reason other than people like to be difficult.  Which in turn, is why it is sometimes good to have a planner so that you don't have to deal with them, because once you add this in to the hundred other things I do, it is a long and exhausting day. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wedding Trends for 2010 by get married

Every wedding element is an opportunity for brides to personalize and express their unique style
ATLANTA, December 7, 2009 – The holiday season—between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day—is the most popular time of year for engagements with approximately 35-40 percent (550,000-650,000) couples getting engaged to be married over the next 12 to 18 months, according to The Wedding Report*. With an estimated 2.2 million weddings projected in 2010*, more than 1.1 million brides will discover their unique bridal style as they plan every moment of their celebration. Get Married offers these brides a sneak peek of the top 10 bridal trends for 2010. From runway fashions and edible passions to techie automations and color saturations, the new bridal trends are all about personalization and expressing your unique bridal style.

“Bringing your unique wedding inspirations to life is as exciting as it is essential when creating the ‘wow’-factor,” said Stacie Francombe, founder and CEO of Get Married, a tri-media wedding  lifestyle platform for passionate brides. “We encourage brides to be bold and adventurous, infusing the elements and styles that excite them in life in this momentous lifecycle occasion.”

Following is a look at the top 10 bridal trends for 2010 as determined by Get Married’s editorial and production teams as well as leading industry experts:
  1. 1. Non-linear aisle: Brides are personalizing the procession by altering the traditional aisle with a circle or a triangular double aisle, enabling the couple to enter from multiple spots with a central meeting point. Stephanie Davis, Get Married magazine editor-in-chief and new bride, wedded lake-side on a circular dock from which she and her groom entered. “Our family no longer has two sides, so everyone sat together and, as an added bonus, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house!”
  2. 2. Comfort foods with a kick: Chef Wolfgang Puck believes that comfort foods have become more popular in the current economy. Think burgers, pizza, ribs, pot pie, and risotto—but comfort does not have to mean pedestrian. “Upgrade ingredients and prepare them with great expertise. Serve hors d’oeuvres like Kobe burgers, wild mushroom risotto, smoked salmon pizzas, slow-braised short ribs or a simple chicken pot pie with lobster,” advises Puck.
  3. 3. Gifting techie gadgetry: Registries and wedding gifts  have increasingly become more high tech. Brides want electronic recipe finders, books and charging plates, and matching his-and-hers PDA cases—all examples of great gadgets for the couple as well as thank-you gifts for parents and the wedding party.
  4. 4. Texture-inspired invitations: Top bridal designer Monique Lhuillier shares inspirations and details from her various collections: “A lot of fabric details from the dresses translate into the invitations. We use techniques of embossing to mimic textures and incorporate the same colors from the gowns into the invitations.” Look for details you would see on the runway on your wedding invitations. .
  5. 5. Old, new, borrowed and cobalt blue: From hints of blue in bridal fashion  to saturated color throughout the wedding décor, “blues will be the most requested color in 2010,” according to Shane Murray of The Wedding Report. Bright cobalt blue is a hot hue for 2010, offering fresh, bold and atmospheric twist on the bluesy tradition.
  6. 6. Wear-again bridesmaid dresses: The urban legend of wearing a bridesmaids dress  by choice after the wedding is a reality with the new silhouettes that mirror what is happening on the runway. Gorgeous and glamorous dresses with drop waists, bubble skirts and ruffles add an additional sense of style for bridesmaids to wear—and wear again.
  7. 7. Three-dimensional save-the-dates: Inform your friends and family of your wedding day with a twist. Three-dimensional elements on the save-the-dates, like a paper umbrella (signifying a destination wedding), adds character, humor and relevance.
  8. 8. Old Hollywood glam, for men!: A return to Cary Grant’s sense of style is making a comeback this year for grooms, looking charming and dapper in a white tuxedo with black-rimmed lapels. This cool old-school look brings back the sharp-looking vest and nostalgic pocket watch.
  9. 9. Blogger brides abound: Now more than ever, Get Married is seeing brides enjoy sharing snippets of surprises, ideas and images throughout their wedding planning experience. Personal blogs offer a space for brides to share, gather inspirations and explore. Check out Get Married’s robust and newly-skinned wedding blog.
  10. 10 Personalized plus: From the décor designs and inspirational invites to a great gifts and super-fab favors, Get Married is observing brides’ aspiration for distinctly personalized wedding details. Designing invitations, save-the-dates and thank-you cards and adding monograms to guest books, aisle runners and gifts (like cosmetic and travel bags) offers a hint of personal bridal style. An assortment of personalized décor, invitations, gifts and favors are available at
Get Married offers a bridal style quiz for brides to discover their bridal personalities and express it—available on the homepage at and reflected on the new season of Get Married’s show on WE tv. The series will include real brides learning about their bridal style by partaking in fun wedding planning challenges and activities with expert wedding professionals.

More details and images about Get Married’s top 10 bridal trends for 2010—and additional hot wedding ideas for the coming year—will be showcased in the second issue of Get Married magazine  available January 2010 on newsstands, online, by subscription and as a free first issue.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Blog Series- Who REALLY Needs a Wedding Planner?

Something new I've come up with after working on a few ideas and a few different approaches will now become a new series on the blog.
What I've been working on doing is somehow conveying to those unbelievers, why they should hire a planner.  To the furthest extent, even trying to explain to those who have limited (to no) respect for the Wedding Planner career, why, they should in fact have the utmost respect for one of the hardest and most stressful career paths in the even industry. 
What I've come up with, in another interview process but this time it will be with brides who have utilized the services of a Wedding Planner.  These don't have to be bridal clients of mine, they can be from anyone who would like to submit an interview.  We will start off with one of my most organized bridal clients, who was, of course the first bride to get the interview back to me. Here are a few photos from her wedding.

Q: What made you decide to hire a wedding planner?
A: I felt like I was overwhelmed and needed reassurance. It also dawned on me that if something happened the day of, I was the only one that could handle it because I got ZERO help from anyone.

Q: What types of things attracted you to each planner that you interviewed? 
A: For Brandi- I felt she understood our situation and didn’t just shake her head and pretend. For the other- not too much, as nothing comes to mind.

Q: What was something that made you NOT want to hire a particular planner and on the same note what was something you found that made you WANT to hire a certain planner? 
A: Showing up in khaki cargo pants with Converse All Star shoes and then telling me that he really didn’t plan the amazing wedding I heard so much about, but simply organized what the bride wanted. Yep, pretty much crossed him off my list from there.
Also, although I might think it is cool that you are a personal assistant to Super Nanny, it isn’t going the get you hired as my wedding planner.

Q: What was the best thing your wedding planner did for you? 
A: Took everything to the hotel from the reception. Couldn’t have imagined doing it ourselves that night all dressed up and being utterly exhausted

Q: What was something your planner did that you would never have thought of doing?
A: I have no idea? She was on top of everything and I’m sure there were things but I never had to know.

Q: Did you feel that your wedding planner was worth the cost?
A: Absolutely! She earned every penny of it!

Q: Was there anything you would have changed about your experience with your wedding planner?
A: None.

Q: What was something you wish you would have known before hiring your planner OR what was something you wish you would have hired your wedding planner to do?  
A: RSVP Management from the get go, including them being mailed directly to her.

Q: Is there any situation where you could see why a bride would NOT want a wedding planner?
A: Only because she needed her head examined!?  One will never fully understand unless you have a smooth wedding and have brief updates about it throughout the day vs. attempting to micro manage everything the day of.

And there you have the unedited answers from an actual bride.  I'd love to hear more from any bride that hired a Wedding Planner for their wedding.  You can email me or contact me through my site and I'll send you the interview to fill out.  I think this is a great series to show all brides, why they need a planner and also to give up and coming planners an idea of what brides expect from a Wedding Planner.   

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wedding Expert Advice

Check out my expert advice here- Expert Wedding Advice

Secrets Behind- Videography by red Bicycle Media

One of the most underutilized vendors in the wedding industry is the videographer.  Somehow the perception is that you'll end up with a grainy, 3 hour long video of every single minute of your wedding day, that you'll never watch again and that no one will want to see in the future.  That might have been the case before (a special thanks to America's Funniest Home Videos for proof of how bad wedding videos can be) but that is not the case now.  Videographers offer amazing work and artistic, funny, fun and even journalistic styles of videos.  After seeing some of the work of the videographers in the industry, I wish I would have hired one to capture my day.  

So, of course the following interview is with, yes, a videographer.  I've had the honor of talking with a few people at this company and their vision, their work and their dedication is definitely something to be impressed by, but if you don't believe me, you can just check out their site.

And now I present you with- Secrets Behind- Videography by

Q:What is the biggest misconception about your industry?    

A: In our particular branch of videography, which is cinematography, people may think that creativity is "dead" and that all we do is "record" the event.
Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their videographer?
A: Brides may falter in their choice because of financial constraints and go for the company that charges less and produces a "recording" of the most important day of her life.                                                                                                                                       Brides spend more on other elements of her wedding such as a $2000 cake and fail to see that her wedding film will last for generations.                                                          

Brides need to find vendors who are willing to work with her in terms of payment plans, especially in these trying times.
Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a videographer?
A: She needs to look for clear verbiage and accurate description of their work and examples of their work.
Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: Their savings will be in getting more quality work than what they will actually be paying for.
Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: Booking our company will actually be splurging, she will appreciate all the face time she will get with us in our effort to get to know the bride and groom and what is important to them and their story.
Q: What is the worst mistake a person in your industry can make?
A: Professionals should never get into disagreements with the client or members of the wedding party, this is often a product of miscommunication .  This is where clear verbiage is essential both on what is expected of the client/bride and the vendor.                      
Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
We have been in beautiful locations abroad and if funds are not a factor for the client, destination weddings are always fun.  
Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their videographer?
A: Again, clear verbiage of what is expected from both parties before , during, and after the event.
Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: Be themselves.  They have to know that their love for each other is what led them to this special occasion.  They should remember that they have special traits and qualities that their partner sees in them and knowing this should encourage them to be themselves and enjoy their special day.  That is what we will be there to capture, and that is why we take on fewer events so that we are able to spend a lot of time getting to know them and focus on the process of weaving together their unique love story.  

And with that, we now know a little more about what to expect when booking a videographer, so maybe it is something you can feel confident and comfortable looking into for your wedding.  As they said, this video can last for generations to come and if done well, will be something everyone, through each generation will cherish. 

Do you know of any good videographers?  Anyone have any feedback on their experience with a videographer?  This is definitely a subject that I'd like to continue posting about, since I'm very interested in seeing more videographer work done with the weddings I am working on.  All that work and money dedicated to the special day, why not always have the video for memories.

Email me or visit my site to leave your suggestions!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Secrets Behind- Lighting

Well, I hope that everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving.  I will say that I have so much to be thankful for and one of them is definitely this interview!  RCS Corporation was kind enough to get me this interview before Thanksgiving but like most of you, I took a little break from business to spend time with my family and friends.

Now that we are back on track and back to business, here is a great interview, along with some incredible photos for our series- Secrets Behind- LIGHTING & EVENT PRODUCTION by RCS

RCS has been an Event Production company and a leader in Audio, Video, Lighting and Staging since 1988.

And now for their Secrets Behind- Wedding Lighting, Setup and Event Production.  

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?  
A: That the cost is too much or that the idea of decorative/environmental lighting is beyond their reality.  For most people it is uncharted waters, they have no idea of what lighting can do.  That’s why photos are great to reference. When you think about it, the average individual’s reference when it comes to lighting is concert lighting and DJ lighting. This lighting is not that.  This is creating a mood, accenting or creating a focus, and visual magic for a special day.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their vendor/site? 
A: Power- lighting requires power.  If the bride wants to incorporate lighting in the wedding design or décor as an element, not having the power will limit what we can do.  There is an option of providing a generator at an additional cost, but can be done.  

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor/site?
A: 1. Venue contract with their production providers- some venues will have in their contract that you must use their production in house.  You have the right to use whoever you want.  You can always cross it off the contract, then initial.  I have seen clients waste thousands of dollars because they signed a contract not realizing that they just committed to using the in house, which charged them a lot for services they wanted.  Sometimes, the venue will also charge you a fee if you bring in your own contractor.  Again, in this economy, they want your business.  Protect you ability to bring in who you want.
2. Power charges- some venue will charge you for what you will use and add a service charge on top of that.  So the question is – how do you know how much power you will need or use?  That is where your lighting company can help you out.  We know exactly what we need when it comes to power and will confirm with the venue what we need and ultimately when you get your bill, you know it will be correct.

3. Difficulty loading in and out- that will cost you in labor.

4. Little or no rigging points- that gives us the ability to hang equipment verses ground support, which can cause site line issues.

5. Coordination of logistics and schedules when an event is booked in the same room as yours.  You need to make sure the lighting company has the time they need to set up the equipment that you paid for.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: The DJ- let them provide dance floor lighting.  That is usually included in their packages.  If not, RCS Corporation can design for you.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: Their imagination.  Let’s create a memory. Lighting photographs beautifully.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. 

This is a roof collapse where the rigging, load bearing specifications were not adhered to or even addressed.  Whenever you hang something in the air over people’s heads, not knowing what you are doing can result in injury and death.

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them? 
A: A turn key package – video, lighting, audio, scenic elements as in fabric designs which make great surfaces to light.

For lighting, I would light their entrance; project a custom pattern with the bride and groom’s names.  This could be on the entrance floor, any blank wall or area.  We could also put that into a moving light and pan throughout the room all evening. 
I would also highlight the table center pieces and cake. 
When the bride and groom enter the room, I would have them in lights- great entrance also when toasts are given, I would spot light the best man or whoever is giving a toast. 
Other unique idea is to have a theme to your wedding and use lighting patterns that would move and color change slowly throughout the room.  In a nut shell- you can highlight or fully transform a room with lighting.  

- I would light the building with the wedding colors.  I could also put their name in lights.

For other production elements
- I would have a video of the bride and groom from baby to now, including them as couples when they first got together. On wedding day, camera work that records and projects live images on screens. I would get the wedding party as they enter, parents, toasts, the kisses- a lot of fun.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their vendor/site?
A: Mentioned above- you can negotiate.  

Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier? 
A: Bring us in, early in the planning process, so we can work with them on their plans.  It is  more cost effective in the long run.  

The other service we offer which I did not mention earlier is pipe and drape.  We have the presidential blue, white and black. You can get creative with lighting the ceiling or installing fabric swags.

Tent lighting is also something we provide.  That would include food station and bar lighting, again accenting the center pieces and cake and chandeliers.

Thanks for the opportunity to share. Please visit our website for more examples of our work!

I would love to hear your feedback on the interview.  This is one area where I was very excited to learn more about and see their "secrets" behind lighting and setup.  I'm hoping to do a few more interviews with underused vendors in the wedding industry.  I have been working with a great videography company on the next interview, so keep your web pages ready!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to be a Planner by Successful Wedding Planners

This post is for all of you up and coming Wedding Professionals.  I know that I get at least one email a day, asking me how to become a Wedding Planner and I'd like to have a post to direct everyone to, so here it is.  I sent out an email to some of the top Wedding Planners in the Northeast Ohio and while I was disappointed at the lack of response I received, I can say that the quality of the responses was quite good.  Quality over quantity, right?  See for yourselves. 

"I always share the following advice-
"If you want to be successful at owing an event planning business, I recommend starting out working for an event facility - Hotel, Country Clubs, Catering Companies, Party Centers can teach such valuable lessons on Food and Beverage, Event coordination, contracts, great vendors, and so much more.  Starting out at a facility allows one to build up a relationship with vendors and to learn from the bottom up many valuable tools!"

Valarie Kirkbride-Falvey from Kirkbrides 
"I got started by being an intern/training for free with a wedding planner in LA.  After I trained for about 6-8 months she started giving me weddings of my own.  I've learned that creativity comes naturally and helps immensely with the job (through not only design ideas but creative problem solving as well).  I also recommend to people still in college to take advantage of any business courses they can.  My marketing, economics, accounting and management classes help me the most with my job now.  I also think that my past sales experience helps me run my own business as well.  As a planner you always have to be selling yourself and networking, maintaining relationships with vendors and location managers."

"Kirkbrides will be offering an internship program soon.  We are ironing out the details now and I already have people waiting for me to send to them.  If people are interested they can check my site or e-mail for more information."

Amy Nixon from Amy Nixon Events

"My advice to aspiring planners/coordinators would be to participate in an internship where you are actually able to assist in the process. It’s how I got started myself, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to break into the wedding planning business. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of working with several interns at my weddings and other events. They have been a range of ages (from 18 to 44), some pursuing event planning in college, others looking to make a major mid-life career change. They have been quite a diverse group of ladies, and yet at the end of their internships they all had the exact same thing to say…..the hands-on experience was absolutely invaluable. Some decided they loved wedding planning and have continued on the path, and some others decided it’s not what they really had in mind. While formal education and classes are always a great thing, all the classroom hours in the world can’t prepare you for coordinating a 400 guest wedding, wrangling an excited bridal party of 22 people, directing 12 vendors going in all different directions, and preparing for a 45 minute room-flip between ceremony and reception all at the same time. It’s always fast-paced and sometimes high-stress, and the best way to ease yourself into that atmosphere without being overwhelmed is by observing and assisting a seasoned wedding professional"

Here is what I tell my assistants/interns.  I also did an article on "Why you need a Planner" for a local paper/column.  (That article can be viewed here.)

  1. Take the time to be trained via an Association/Certification Program. Shadow a seasoned planner with an actual events.
  2. Learn the business inside and out ( how to charge your customer, how to handle vendors, programs, your money, advertising...etc). Read the books, magazines and research, research research.  
  3. Do not assume anything. ALWAYS get signed contract for your services and the vendors that the client chooses. 
  4. Obtain legal advice as well as a tax person.
  5. Spend time shadowing or observing  vendors (i.e. florist, bakers, photographer). See the perspective of an event from through their eyes. Understanding your vendors need/goals and over all expectations for a successful event. This is SO valuable to the success of a planner/event.  
  6. Always have an assistant. You can never be in 2 places at the same time. Make sure the assistant is capable and knowledgeable. This is a great opp for a up & coming planner. You are more professional when you are prepared and pro active. Visit the sites for the ceremony/reception why a head of time.
  7. Always be proActive not reActive.
  8. Control what you can. By keeping ahead of the tact( i.e. people will be late so plan for it).  
  9. Remember to always keep it classy and professional (i.e. your attire, attitude). Have fun but continue to do your job. Be accountable, reliable, dependable and integritity.
  10. Most important...remember this a relationship building profession. Keep in mind that this relationship can lead to other working relationships/events.
  11. Work as if the world is watching because one never knows.

    So, that was definitely quality in responses.  I will do a post to follow up on my tips & secrets on how to become a successful wedding planner next.  Although,
    I think these ladies just about covered it!

    If you have any other advice or would like more information, feel free to email me or give me a call,
    I'm always happy to help!  I
    wish all of you the best of luck in becoming an
    amazing & successful Wedding Planner.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Expert Advice from other Experts

I have received emails from many people, who have asked "How can I become a wedding planner?"  While there really isn't any clear cut answer, I found this article to be helpful since the advice was coming from other vendors in the wedding industry.  If you have any advice for all of the startup planners, email me or post a comment.  There will be lots of grateful readers, I'm sure!  If no answers get posted, I'll be posting a session with fellow planners in the area with their answers!

Ask the Experts: Becoming a Wedding Professional

by Marta
Forward to a friend Love it!
Ask the Experts is your chance to tap into a panel of wedding experts to get your most pressing wedding questions answered. If you have a question for the panel write
Dear Ask the Experts,
I got married last year and LOVED planning my wedding. I’ve helped with the weddings of a few friends as well and now I’m considering looking into doing this as a career. I’ve worked in a florist shop before and am considering either wedding planning, or becoming a florist for weddings. How do I go from being someone who loves to help with weddings to a wedding professional? What are some of the most common misunderstandings people have about working in weddings? Am I silly for thinking that just because I was good at my wedding, I’d be good at doing someone else’s?
Would-Be Wedding Professional

Rebecca of Studio B Photography says:
Being a wedding professional of any type requires building a network of trusted colleagues. Weddings are a group effort and require the coordination of several vendors to make the day go off without a hitch. You need to be able to have a firm grasp on every part that goes into a wedding, even the not so glamorous parts (like who cleans up after all the guests are gone?) You need a TON of patience, and thick skin. Weddings are VERY stressful so be prepared for mothers, brides, and even bridesmaids to snap at you and make outrageous demands.
Get in touch with a planner in your area and sit down and chat with them. Ask them what the hardest part of their job is, and also what is the most rewarding. Start getting acquainted with others in the floral business or other types vendors so you can understand how they all work together to achieve a wonderful wedding.
Thea of Rose of Sharon says:
The wedding industry is full of unexpected hard work. As a florist, you don't just design pretty arrangements. You also have to clean buckets, flowers, work tools, containers, work-space, coolers; carry buckets of flowers and water (sometimes in heels); and work on a tight schedule--you can't be late for a wedding! And don't forget, you're designing for a customer, not yourself. By working for someone else first, you can learn the ins and outs of the industry and see if this is something you really want. The wedding industry is a LOT of hard work, but it's also very rewarding.
Melissa of Stylish Blooms says:
Believe it or not this is a very common question. Planning your wedding gives you the opportunity to think outside the box, get creative and see something you imagined come to life. It’s not silly to want to pursue something you truly enjoyed.
I hear on a daily basis “working with flowers must be so fun” or “ You have such a great job, your so lucky” and yes these statements are true, but it is a lot of work and at times can be stressful. There is a lot that goes in to floral designing other than pretty flowers. Planning and time management is most important. Then you'll need to be able to identify flowers, know when they are in season, the longevity and care of each flower and how many stems are per bunch for each flower type so that you can order and price out your weddings carefully. Mechanics are a big part of design as well, From bouquet holders to floral foam, wire and tape you want to make sure you know how to use them and when. Knowing floral terminology is just as important, knowing the difference between a cascade bouquet and a biedermeier bouquet will help you help a bride decide what bouquet works best with her dress.
See if you can shadow another planner or florist, learn the ins and outs, the ups and downs and then see if you still feel the same way you did after planning your wedding. I wish you the best of luck!
About our experts:
Rebecca Enslein is the owner of Studio B Photography in the Atlanta, Georgia area. As a recent bride herself, Rebecca is able to better understand what her clients need and enjoys providing them with images that capture the joy of their wedding day.
Melissa Bonoffksi is the creative force behind Stylish Blooms in Bristol, Ct. She holds an A.A.S. in floriculture and has over 13 years of design experience.
Thea Daniel, owner of Rose of Sharon Event Florist in Fayeteville, Arkansas, has been designing floral arrangements for events for 15 years.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Secrets from a Wedding Planner (not me)

There aren't many other planners that I would be happy to lose business to, but Tricia Dever of Always Eventful is one of them.  She has the background, skill and experience to be considered a "real" wedding planner. (and if you read my blog, you know I don't use that term on many people in my industry.

Not only am I lucky enough to be associated with Tricia but I've actually been able to work on a few weddings with her as well.  That's right "dual wedding planners" on one single "Day Of" wedding event.  I like to think that concept is best reserved for very special occasions and very special brides!

You can visit Tricia's site at  Of course, if you find yourself in search of another coordinator, I am always happy to recommend the few others out there that I have the utmost respect for as well. 

Well, enough promoting other planners, here are some Secrets Behind- Wedding Planning from Tricia Dever. 

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: That hiring a wedding coordinator will save you lots of money....If you are hiring a reputable, well trained coordinator, you will probably pay a fair price.  They may not save you the equivalent in discounts from other vendors but they should save you countless hours and lots of stress....and in the end, that is much more valuable!

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their vendor/site?
A: When choosing a site for weddings, many brides don't correctly calculate 2 things - their guestlist and their budget.  If you have not properly compiled an accurate guestlist, there is no way to pick a reception facility.  And if you have not completed a budget - no matter how small or large that budget is - it is difficult to pick a site.  It is important to add in all the little costs of a wedding - transportation, favors, breakfast for bridesmaids.... as they add up.

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a reception site?
A: Cost, obviously....but all the hidden costs as well - security fees, taxes, service charges, cake cutting fees, etc....

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor for her wedding?

A: Service - will your wedding be handled by kind, caring and professional planners?

Q: What is the one thing a bride will save on when booking with you?
A: Stress!  

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking?
A: Lighting - I think lighting makes all the difference in the overall decor and feeling of a wedding!

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. 

A: I used to religiously watch "Whose Wedding is it anyway!"  And to prove that even "famous" coordinators can make a mistake....I watched one that the coordinator sent the bride down the aisle without her bridal bouquet....and then to make it worse, she went up to the alter and handed it to one of the bridesmaids to hand to the bride!

But overall, one of the biggest mistakes I believe coordinators make is universal...they forget that the wedding is not theirs, and it is not about them.  It is the Brides day.  For the most part, coordinators should stay in the background.  There is no need for name tags, flashy monogrammed shirts and other such advertisements.  It is the brides day, give them the credit!

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?

A: I try to offer all of my clients unique ideas and vendors that can make their wedding special.  Obviously, if there is a large budget, the number of special touches can be increased.  I believe in a lot of paper products - menus', programs, favor tags, valet tags, beautiful paper products with lots of enhancements. 
Lighting is key and something that I encourage in some part for all budgets.  Transportation for guests is also a nice added touch. 
For the meal - additional courses such as a sorbet course or an amuse.  Also adding special touches to the champagne glass (raspberries, champagne grapes) and the cake plate (chocolate covered strawberries, painted plates) are fantastic! 

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their vendor/site?
With hotels - please watch the attrition clause...many hotels have a clause saying that you will be responsible for "say 80%" of the rooms that are blocked....could result in a lot of money if rooms are not picked up.  Watch for hidden fees. 

Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: I have wonderful clients.  I wish they all could see the end product prior to booking as sometimes I can visualize.  After the weddings, I often hear, "this is the best money we have spent...." but in the booking phase, it is sometimes difficult for brides to realize how essential a good coordinator really is!

Well that about sums it up for my very first interview with a fellow coordinator!  I hope these answers were insightful for a few of you brides out there!  If you are a vendor or you want to see an interview with your favorite vendor, just send over an email.  If you haven't yet done so, take a look at the new site for All Events Planned as well. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Our Blog is Nationally Recognized with Award!

A Day in the Life of a Planner has won an award from Get Married magazine!  How very exciting!  Here is the email that we received!!


As you already know, Get Married is a huge fan of your blog. We enjoy reading your posts and love your enthusiasm for Get Married.

We are very excited to award you the first Get Married Sassy Site Award! Your blog is Smart, Awesome, Savvy, Stylish, uniquely You, exuding SASSY! We applaud you for the variety of your posts, your expert insight, and overall fun attitude.

With this award comes outstanding benefits to you and your readers. As a sassy site award recipient you will be placed on a preferred blogger list giving you premier access to Get Married news before anyone else. In addition, having our award on your site will further your site’s sass (no pun intended)". 

And there you have it!  I am beyond proud and so thrilled to be awarded by such a great magazine!  To be recognized for great wedding writing is definitely exciting since, over the past 10 years, I've only been recognized for great planning!!  Writing, planning, I say "Anything wedding is good with me!"