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!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Other Planners

I really have had the most wonderful client appointments lately.  I've also been given the great opportunity to hear more about my "competition" than most planners get to.  The best appointments are the ones where they tell me all about the other planners they met with but decide to go with me instead, for whatever reason.  Of course, that doesn't always happen, but it does happen more times than I'll admit. (for modesty's sake)

Truth be told, I like what I do, I've been doing it long enough to be very good at what I do and I'm very comfortable working with people.  That about sums up why someone would want to hire me.  Outside of that, I think that all planners have something "special" they offer to a bride.  There really is no way you can "steal" a client from another planner if the other planner is good at what they do.  The bridal clients always buys, YOU, they buy the person they are meeting, that they want to plan the most important day of their lives.

There is no sales course to teach you that technique, you either have it or you don't.  You are either a good fit for a client or you are not.  With that being said, I am referencing ONLY planners who are good at what they do, experienced and qualified to handle wedding events.  That is what will make the difference in how you view "competition" in this industry.

Tonight I had a meeting with a potential bridal client.  She was a wonderful women who I had a great time meeting.  When I asked who else she had met, she told me the name of the planner, she told me about their appointment, the pricing structure and where they stood with their planning process.  It seems to me, if I ask, brides will tell.  Sometimes, I'm surprised at how much they tell, but I'm always glad they tell.  I always wonder what a bridal client says about our appointment?!?  

Anyhow, I could tell that the bridal client liked the other planner and that she might actually still be leaning towards booking her.  I knew there wasn't much I could do beyond giving her the facts, the pricing, my experience and my abilities, to get her to book with me instead.  I could even tell in her style and personality that maybe the other planner was a better fit for her.  That's when I started thinking about the whole process of "sales" for a wedding planner and that's how this blog post came about.

I don't know who she will book with.  I sent her over all the information she requested as soon as I got to a computer, but I will definitely look forward to hearing her feedback on our meeting.  If she does end up booking with the other planner, I won't blame her, sometimes having a style and matching personality matter more than all the experience in the world.   


A Day in the Life readers,
We are working on a brand new site and would love some feedback.  Email me- or leave comments and let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What does a "Day Of" do- UPDATE

We received such an amazing response from the last post that I wanted to share comments and feedback with all the readers.

"Wedding planning is a difficult task for everyone. Unless you have done it before, you don't know all the answers. But, you can find them! By far the most important thing to remember about wedding planning is that it should be enjoyable."
Posted by Fun Films
"Dear Brandi
I loved you list and I have to agree there is no real job description for a wedding planner it is amazing exactly what you managed to get involved in at the most unlikely time. But all things considered I would not want to do anything else I think it would just be boring!"

Toni x
Posted by Toni Davey  "One of the main things a wedding planner can do on the day of the wedding is watch the bride's back and make sure the ebb and flow of the day is in harmony and the vendors are doing their job. Particularly making sure that photographer and videographer do not miss anything meaningful"
Posted by Brian Lawrence "Hi Brandi! I just recently planned and attended my wedding! We were married October 24th. As a planner I found from my experiences that it's easier than you may think. Just ask the questions, even if they are hard and you will at least be aware of what you are going to run into. We were both very happy with the outcome of our wedding, but noticed a couple of areas that could have been organized a little more.

1. Running through introductions with the DJ- I had sent a list of names and how we new the participant- but pronunciations are also important to your wedding party, so if you can take a couple of minutes to discuss how to pronounce the name it's easy and quick, but also important to those involved.
2. Create a lineup for the night and hand it out at the rehearsal. Those involved will understand what comes where and roughly at what time. Don't be too detailed, it may be overwhelming for the wedding party, but it also helps establish some union in what is being accomplished through out the weekend
3. Establish ques for the music during the ceremony- this will help transition from one song to the next. We did this and it went very nicely.
Anyway, hope this is informational."

Posted by Alisa Buseth
"As a wedding videographer, I have seen first hand the value in a good wedding planner and the hassles of a bad wedding planner. It takes a lot of work to handle all of the details of a wedding - from giving input to the venue to the scheduling of the limo to whisk the couple away to the honeymoon destination. Anyone thinking that the wedding planner is a waste of money hasn't grasped all of the details the planner does in the course of their work.
A good/great wedding planner can take so much of the stress and strain off the bride/groom and family as well. In a recent wedding shoot, the mother of the bride let a "friend" act as the WP and there was chaos and confusion during the rehearsal to the reception.
So, if anyone doubts the value of a good/great WP, just ask anyone who has tried to pull it off themselves and you will se the pain in their eyes."

Posted by David Whisel

"From spilled wine on wedding dresses to lipsticks dropped, I found my "wedding bag" a blessing so many times. From smelling salts, instant camara, threads, needles, florist tape for extra corsages etc....we really have to pull off some miracles at a moments notice. Judith Moore,"

Posted by Judith Rivers-Moore  "I have been a wedding photographer for 21 years. From my experience this is what I strongly suggest:
Make sure to ride the hair and makeup people. They almost always cause the bride to be late. I would instruct the bride to add a bare minimum of one extra hour of time for hair and makeup. In other words if she wants to be done with hair and makeup by 3:00, tell the salon that they must be finished by 2:00 at the latest. That way she'll probably be on time!"

Ambassador Video and Photography
Posted by Lawrence Maskin
Now, those are just a few of the responses I've received and I just posted the information a few days ago.  If this feedback keeps up, I'm going to post an update on the update with more feedback.  I love getting so many different views on the concept of Day Of and even Wedding Planners! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What does a "Day Of" do?

You have to sometimes wonder what could possibly come up during your wedding day to justify the hiring of a wedding planner.  
Well, just for you, here are a few things that have come up in the past 10 years in my wedding world.  These are just a few and without a planner, some of them could have turned into minor catastrophes! 


  Purchasing sheet cakes for backup wedding cake when, after cutting, it was realized they were short almost 100 pieces of cake

  Pinning and sewing torn dresses, straps and even shoe buckles
  Giving directions to reception site to lost vendors
  Quickly moving indoor ceremony, outdoors due to rain and then with only 20 minutes to spare, moving ceremony BACK outside at bride’s request

  Reviewing setup to find that certain tables were missing chairs, silverware and napkins BEFORE any guest noticed
  Setup of “Kid’s Area” for children who attended the reception and became bored with the long process of a 6 course meal
  Setting up DVD/TV player for a surprise video provided by sister of bride, who forgot to mention to anyone that she wanted this viewed at the reception
  Locating last minute seating for elderly parent who realizes they are unable to stand for entire service
  Speeding up slow service and organizing an unorganized staff at reception site
  Curl and updo of bride’s hair when salon was unable to create the look she had wanted (I'm not a hairstylist, I am only to be utilized in emergencies)
  Placing wood pieces underneath food tables when (because of excessive mud and weight of food) the tables began to sink into ground
  Guiding lost and or slightly intoxicated guests to the site, back to their seat or to a cab (without anyone noticing, including said guest)
  Last minute call to Limo Company who had provided wrong vehicle and wrong driver
  Waiting at the hotel to escort 2 sets of great grandparents to transportation to the ceremony as well as the reception (after all other transportation methods had left and were unavailable)
  Removing of an intoxicated/disruptive guests without any type of disruption the the Bride or Groom (yes, this is a different example beyond the assistance with slightly intoxicated guest)
  Purchasing specific bread (alcohol, napkins, dessert, appetizer) that Bride/Groom had requested that was found to be not available at the reception site
  Pinning down table linens when an unexpected wind storm occurred (wind was strong enough that linens were blowing off, as well as centerpieces, which were then breaking)   

  Arriving at site to find set up/linen colors wrong and then fixing the entire site before bride, groom OR guests noticed

  Organizing last minute song lists for wedding when groom “forgot” to handle (you'd be surprised how often the groom "forgets" to do things for the wedding)
  Delivery of special items to bride/groom and placement of surprise/secret items and gifts for some of the special people involved

  Calming jittery brides, grooms, family members (this happens every single time)

Do you have any examples to add?  Leave a comment or email All Events Planned.  

Sunday, November 8, 2009


This interview is thanks to everyone at Millers Party Rental in Akron, Ohio.  While I try not to "promote" certain companies over others, I do have to give a little feedback on my relationship with Miller's. 

I have worked with Miller's over the past 10 years of my career and I can honestly say I would continue working with them for the next hundred.  Miller's has been in business for 60 years and that longevity in the wedding industry is certainly due to their hard work and dedication to success. 
In the essence of this series being about complete honesty, I will say over the past 10 years, I have had issues come up with Miller's.  The times that I have had them (and this is what makes them so good) they are always, always available to fix them problem, whatever it may be, the week, the day and sometimes even the minute I need them.  All rental companies rent equipment, but you will be very lucky if you find another company with the quality of customer service (thank you to Nancy Stevens) that Miller's has to offer. 

With all of that being said I know present you with- Secrets Behind- RENTAL COMPANIES

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: I think one of the biggest misconceptions is a “tent” event is a cheaper way to have an event.  People seem to think they will save money by doing “their own work”.  What they are not thinking about is they are building their event from the ground up.  What a tented event is though is an individual’s highly unique way of expressing their tastes in that they are capable as a customer to rent almost “anything”.  
People believe that the majority of items for an event need to be purchased and don’t have the realization of the rental opportunity and the vast array and variety of items that are available to rent.
What makes the rental industry great are the experience and the service capabilities that are available to the customer as well.  When planning the event we can offer with new ideas, suggestions to make things easier or contacts to bring in that can offer additional products or services. 
Once the event date comes around we can set up the event, stay on site to make sure everything flows smoothly and then knock it down and take it away.  Many times a customer will come to us after the event and ask how everything went, because they were busy supervising other details and were not part of the set up or tear down.   

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their vendor/site?
A: One of the biggest mistakes in choosing a site is “What is plan B”.  This is especially true of an outdoor event.  A person needs to factor in that plan A is the “perfect” day weather wise.  Plan B is “What can I do if plan A is not really working. 
In addition to having a Plan B, we stress looking at the fine print and the details of the event.  The who, what, when, where and how are the things that need to be understood by all parties involved.  All the vendors involved should have a understanding of the logistics of the event.  The mistakes can be lessened when everyone is on the same page with the details of an event.   

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor/site?
A: When first selecting the site from a general list I would suggest going off referrals from friends, family, and already hired vendors; as well as the reputation of the vendor/site.
In the final stages of the site selection, start with looks of the site. 
Do you like the look?   
Is it pleasing how it is or do you plan to put money into your décor to “cover up” areas you do not like? 
Are there trees in the way of where your tent is going to be? Do they need trimmed? 
When it comes to a Tent event some of the other questions and points we look for when we spec a location for a tent are:

•    Gas lines, water lines, underground electric.  Driving a tent stake into one of those is not only costly but also dangerous.
•    Power lines … look up… look down… look around…
•    Is your piece of land flat?  Or will the tent company have to adjust a flooring to the piece of land
•    Is there electric? Or will you need generators.
•    Go to your site AFTER it rains. What is the land like…How many days, weeks, months does it take to “dry it out”
•    Is there parking close by?
•    Handicapped accessible? This does not always mean wheelchairs, it can mean elderly, baby strollers, etc… think about HOW your guests are getting to your site.  You may even need to think about a “trolley” or golf carts to get people to where they need to go.
•    Restroom facilities?
•    Outdoor lighting.  When it gets dark, can your guests get to the restroom or do you need to light the way?
•    What way does the wind and rain come from on the chosen property?  This will tell you where you may need possible sidewall.
•    Is the property a “dust bowl”?  Is it so dry and dusty that everything you put on your tables will be dirty before the guests even arrive?

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?

A: Brides should decide what the most IMPORTANT aspect of their event is.  Actually, make a list. Whatever is on the bottom of that list is what I would “save” on. 
One of the common saving items we encounter are brides purchasing centerpieces or other equipment compared to renting it.  The price to purchase an item combined with the hassle to resell it, store it, or give it away or borrow it out; far out weigh the cost to rent it from a company and let them handle the set-up and removal.   

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: First and fore most splurge on what is on the top of your IMPORTANT list.  After that, I would suggest splurging on three things.
Have a viable Plan B and Plan C.  Some times things just won’t go perfectly to plan at an event.  When a back up plan is involved, that hiccup in the original plan is less likely to create a disaster. 
A bride should splurge on that little something extra that will make her wedding date that much more memorable, whether its favors, food, or fireworks; what sets her wedding apart from the wedding last weekend or 2 years from now?

Pay for Labor to setup, install, decorate, clean, organize, test, and pickup the entire amount of equipment.  Enjoy your wedding to the very last minute and pay to make sure someone else is around to clean up.  It’s never fun for a bride and groom to clear linens from a table or knock down and stack chairs at the end of the night.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever.
A: The worst thing(s) that I know of that has happened is when a company, who had been warned or knew better then what they did, set up a tent (and a rather large tent at that) in a field and did not secure it properly only to have it fly away and collapse during the event.
The worst mistake a company can make is not knowing the details of the event.  When a company knows the details, they can react timely and correctly if something happens, if they don’t know the details then the situation can be made worse.

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: I would let my customer tell me their dream event and then make it happen. There is no limit.  We would start with on-site labor, decorations, lighting and accenting linens and build from there.  
I have yet to see a private concert by the couple’s favorite band or a fireworks show to end the evening.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their vendor/site?

A: The exact details on times and dates of occupation of the site and the included services/labor/products with the agreement as well as the costs of the “extras.” 
Those costs can add up quickly when “extra time”, “extra seats”, and “extra people” are needed.

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: They should come in with an idea of how they want the event to flow, an idea of a budget, allow enough time to make the things that they want happen. 
After that, the biggest thing is communication.  If a bride doesn’t like something let me know.  We will do whatever it takes; to accommodate the bride’s needs or get to a solution that will please everyone. 
I think that even without my initial recommendation of Miller's, the interview speaks for itself.
Another one of my favorite concepts is their Gallery of Ideas- check it out
Miller's Party Rental Center Gallery of Ideas Miller's Party Rental Center Gallery of Ideas Miller's Party Rental Center Gallery of Ideas

As always, would love to hear your feedback, ideas and if you are interested in sharing some "secrets" with the readers, please send me over your information and we can get you featured in the series.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Get Married is making BIG moves!


Get Married's Founder and CEO To Host New TV Season On New Network

“This year is full of bold moves for Get Married, and the fresh approach we are taking with the show is consistent with our bride-centric focus,” said Francombe. “Brides are at the epicenter of everything we do, and I am incredibly honored to be immersed in their wedding planning as we share captivating moments and inspirations with a national audience.”

Check out the rest of the exciting news here!

And be on the lookout for All Events Planned in one of their future editions!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chosen Expert for One Wed AGAIN

If you are interested in free expert wedding advice you can always check out the OneWed Blog for my answers to wedding questions or you can email me and I can give you personalized answers, FREE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Get Married

Well, you certainly didn't think I would fall madly in love with a new wedding magazine and then NOT advertise with them.
Here is my new online profile, look for my ad in the Get Married magazine, coming out soon!

Fox 8 Reviews

When asking people to vote for me, I have never thought to ask them to review me as well but they have and even I'm impressed.  A friend from college has left the one I like the most, especially because I know that she does not have tons of free time to do this anyhow, but that I never mentioned a review to her in the first place.  Thank you!

I have known Brandi since she was getting her degree at Pennsylvania Culinary a decade ago. She is a real class act. She knows the event business inside and out. I am also in the event business (I manage a large hotel in Pittsburgh- wish I could tell you which one, but corporate policy does not allow me to use the name in endorsements) and I have met many wedding planners, but none that are as great as Brandi. She gets along well with vendors, is detail oriented, and really works hard. Unfortunately anyone can set up a website, read a few wedding magazines, and call themselves a wedding planner- so it is important to do your research. If you are looking for a wedding planner, I encourage you to talk to Brandi- learn about her experience, check her references. If you meet her, I am sure you will book her (if she is available!)f

While I'm at it I should say- go on and vote too!

Check out MY interview here!

After interviewing vendors throughout my blog, I was thrilled to be able to answer some interview questions myself.
Check out my interview here.  Let me know your thoughts and feedback on my answers.  I'm definitely interested in what other planners have to say and what their answers might have been. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

New secrets from WEDDING DRESS SHOP...

The following interview is thanks to Bobbie at All Brides Beautiful in Hudson.
Some information regarding their store and services.  

All Brides Beautiful is located in the historic district of Hudson, Ohio, a delightful destination of unique shops and gourmet restaurants.

Our salon continues the historic elegance of Hudson as you walk through the carved doors of our 1832 “Wooden Farrar” building and into our welcoming Victorian style rooms.
You will be greeted by friendly, knowledgeable bridal consultants who look forward to creating with you the bridal ensemble of your dreams.  Our exceptional, detailed customer service will continue throughout all your fittings, on-premise alterations, and final pressing and bagging of your precious wedding gown.
The expertly crafted and creatively designed couture gowns that we offer are true designer styles and not “copies”.  We feature fine silk fabrics, unique laces, as well as detailed hand-stitching and beading.  Many of our accessory designers offer customization, making yours a one-of-a-kind look.  Brides come from all over the country searching for the unique designers that we carry.

And now for Secrets Behind- Wedding Dress Shops/Boutiques  
Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: The biggest misconception when searching for the perfect wedding dress is to try on as many gowns as possible.  Doing so actually overwhelms most brides and tends to confuse the selection process.   Finding the silhouette that best compliments the bride-to-be’s body architecture is paramount.  The vision that the bride-to-be has of herself on her wedding day, as well as the venue for her wedding, must also be taken into consideration when selecting the dress of her dreams. Finally, setting a flexible budget and communicating that to your sales associate, will narrow the search and make the process much more enjoyable.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their wedding gown vendor? What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a bridal salon?
A: When selecting a bridal boutique, it is best to find a salon that is full-service with an experienced staff and alterations department.  This will ensure that the bride-to-be will have the best fit for the most important dress of her life.  A meticulously altered strapless gown, for example, will stay put on the bride, eliminating the need to pull it up during the day-long event.  A reputable bridal salon will know what style changes can be made to their gowns and offer alterations at a competitive rate.  The bride-to-be and her family need to know that an experienced seamstress is like a reliable auto mechanic: talent and experience deserve time and compensation.
Making an appointment at the bridal salon lets the staff prepare a room, and a consultant, to assist the bride-to-be with her wedding gown selection and coordinating accessories.  A full-service bridal salon will have an appealing collection of veils, shoes & jewelry, as well as trained staff that can create a complete bridal look.  With that in mind, one of the biggest mistakes we have seen is when a bride-to-be purchases her gown at a chain store, or on-line, and then tries to find accessories to match without her gown.   In order for her to achieve the correct style of veil, or complimentary jewelry, the bride-to-be would need to drag her dress with her, risking possible damage to her precious gown.  Bridal salons could ask for a consultation fee for this service, so it is best to select a salon that has all that the bride-to-be needs.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: The bride-to-be should take advantage of any promotions that are available at our salon.  Trunk shows are a smart way to shop for your wedding gown.  There is a larger selection of the featured designer’s newest styles shipped to the salon and a 10% discount is offered when a gown is ordered during the trunk show. 
We have a fall veil promotion that offers the bride-to-be a free veil of her choice with the order of a new gown.  When a gown is purchased from our salon, the bridal party receives a 10% discount on their dresses.  A couple of our bridesmaid designers also advertise a fall promotion with an additional 10% off.  These designers boast fashion forward styles that are recycled by bridesmaids as party apparel for future occasions.  This is quite an appealing prospect for a woman investing in a bridesmaid dress.For the bride-to-be that has a lower wedding gown budget, but still wants a quality wedding gown from a personal boutique, it is appropriate to ask if the salon has sample gowns for sale at a discount.  We have discontinued couture designer gowns available to purchase off-the-rack for up 75% off their retail value.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: We love to carry unique and elegant fabrics.  So, splurging on a lush, dreamy fabric will make the bride-to-be feel and look magnificent on her wedding day.  Our gowns are crafted luxuriously inside and out, with smooth silk against her skin, the bride-to-be will not want to take her gown off!  For full figured brides, splurging on the appropriate undergarments is essential.  She will want not only comfort and support, but expertise on how her bustier will incorporate into her gown for a seamless and precise fit.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. Alternatively, you can answer to what is the worst mistake a person in your industry can make?
A: The worst mistake a bridal salon can make is to ignore a potential client.  We have heard many stories about salons that get disgruntled by future brides that just walk-in to have fun trying on gowns.  Yes, it does cost the salon a good deal of money in consultant salaries to work with a client for an hour, or more, who has no intention of purchasing from their store.  Some sales associates become frustrated, and even annoyed, at a bride-to-be who does not bring her mother to try on gowns ~ they do not take her seriously. 

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: For the professional woman who is planning her wedding, while juggling a full time career and other responsibilities, All Brides Beautiful pampers her with comfortable, private fitting rooms and a knowledgeable consultant that will find an answer to any question or concern the bride-to-be might have.  We go out of our way to look for that special accessory, or coordinating flower girl dress, even if it is not part of our inventory.  We work closely with our select designers to have each item tailored to the bride-to-be’s individuality.  We can customize many of our gowns and accessories to become truly unique masterpieces of fashion design.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their bridal salon?
A: When signing a wedding gown contract it is wise to understand the timing schedule for the manufacturing of the gown, along with the time needed for fittings and alterations.  Allowing ample time between fittings will save the bride-to-be money on rush alterations.  Other questions a savvy bride-to-be asks:  Does the bridal salon charge extra for storage of the gown once it arrives?  Are there additional fees for bagging and pressing of the gown? What is the best way to transport my gown?

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: Our favorite clients are excited to be getting married!  These happy brides-to-be have researched our salon on-line, made an appointment, are thrilled to tell us about their upcoming wedding, and are open to style suggestions.  Personal attention and quality selection are what our sophisticated brides know they will find at All Brides Beautiful.

A sincere thank you to Bobbie for all the wonderful insight into the world of bridal gowns.  If you have any comments or feedback, don't hesitate to email.  Also, a big thank you to everyone for their feedback on the last installment, I received well over 20 emails, as well as several comments regarding the brides POV.  Something to remember though, it is all from just one person's point of view.  If you don't agree, or if you see a better or different way to approach things, email me and offer YOUR answers to the interview.  Visit our website at and check out our services.