Friday, March 26, 2010

Everyone's a Wedding Planner....

So, you planned your own wedding, it was a success and now, well, of course, NOW you want to be a Wedding Planner.  Since you did plan your own wedding, you have plenty of experience in working in the wedding industry, so great, let's go! 

NO, no sorry to tell you, that isn't how it works.  I know that everyone who ever watched The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez, has decided that just watching the movie, made them experienced enough to become a Wedding Planner, but I'm here to tell you it just isn't true.  I'll even go so far as to say that the people who spent that $500 to become "certified" as a planner, that doesn't always cut it either.

Before everyone gets worked up about the discussion (these days "New Planners" is a hot topic) let me review my thoughts.

So, you planned your own wedding...
The biggest issue here is that you were the BRIDE and you weren't involved in any part of the process that allowed you to see the major issues that a planner handles.  When working directly with the vendor it is a one time deal.  You do your meetings and find the person who you decided would work best for you.  That's not going to help everytime.  The vendor that worked best for you and with you, won't be the BEST vendor for  all of your clients.  The vendors you might not have liked, they might be the vendors that would work best with some of your clients.  So that part of your exeprience is thrown out the door.

Now onto the ceremony.  This might seem like a small part, but to a good planner, this is a BIG deal.  Handling the family, friends and bridal party through the ceremony is a scary process.  You want everyone to be on their best behavior, do the right thing but still have fun.  All the while you have this very limited timeline to get everything, exactly right.  All eyes are on the ceremony, if the music is off, the bridal party too slow or too fast or if the bride doesn't come out at just the right time, that's all on YOU.  When you were the bride, you were in that moment, YOU were the one walking down the aisle, ready to get married.  That left you out of a huge chunk of that stress/mess.  So there goes your ceremony experience.

Reception issues/drama/problems, those you were either not paying attention to, drinking during or so personally involved in, that you didn't get to process them the way someone who is "working" an event does.  How a Wedding Planner handles your drunk brother is going to be different than how you, as the Bride, handle your drunk brother.  Learning to focus on weddings from a business standpoint and to take yourself out of the equation is the biggest part of being successful in the industry.  Your job, as a planner, is NOT to have an opinion or any emotional attachement to the situation, it is to make sure the wedding goes off as smoothly as possibly and that the Bride knows NOTHING of ANY issue.  As a Bride, you knew about all of it and didn't have to work through it because, well, you were the Bride.

The key is, you weren't working with a Bride, you WERE the Bride.    That's the point, that's what is the difference.

NOW, with that being said, everyone starts somewhere.  Every Wedding Planner that is giving you a hard time because you are a "new" wedding planner, started out as a "NEW" Wedding Planner.  No one starts out with 10 years of experience, that's just the black and white of it.  The issue isn't the experience, it is coming in without "knowing" enough, not having not done enough.What should you know- (write this down)
-Know that the people that plan weddings, take this very seriously.  This is a real career and they have invested money, time and their life into doing and being the absolute best.  If that isn't your interest, then maybe rethink becoming a Wedding Planner.
-Know that the people that plan weddings, dedicate their social time, personal time and "work" time, to wedding planning.  This isn't something they do in their "free" time, this is typically ALL they do with their time.  Ready for that aspect of planning?
-Know that pricing for planners is based on experience and experience is what matters.  It isn't to say that you can't be a good "new" planner but you should understand that trying to undercut other planners on pricing, isn't doing anyone any favors.  You are basically keeping the price expectations for a Wedding Planner down so low, that when you are ready to raise your pricing, you have setup a market to expect "cheap" pricing and now your stuck doing Day of for $300. 
-Know that (most) other wedding planners WILL help you along the way.  I'm more than happy to give advice, have meetings and give feedback on your process through becoming a planner.  You just have to be honest.  I would absolutely appreciate an email that said "I want to become a planner, can you help?" More than I would anything else.
-Know that "fibbing" to make yourself look better or more experienced is not okay, ever.  You are who you are right now and accept your level of experience and work with it.  Don't try to compare yourself to more experienced planners because you can't. 
-Know that being "sneaky" or getting a bad reputation with other wedding planners won't work out for you in the long run.  No one Wedding Planner has control of the market in any region but if enough people dislike you or don't trust you, you aren't going to get any assistance along the way and eventually that will hurt your ability to grow.
-Know that you will eventually be contacted by another "new" planner that wants to start Wedding Planning.  Think about what you would like them to say/do/be when talking with you.  How would you like your "new" competition to handle themselves?  Set the bar HIGH, so that it stays HIGH for all of us.

There is my feedback on "new" planners.  I think the more good planner the better the industry becomes.  I must seriously emphasize the word GOOD in reference to planners. 

What do you think?  "New" planners, how tired are you of hearing the gripes from experienced planners?  What do you wish everyone that is learning about your "new" interest in planning would know? 

Happy Planning!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Feedback from Posting

One of my favorite post and to date, one of the most popular post that I've done "You don't want to hire me?" has generated some of the best feedback I've had.  One of the latest comments was from a bride who is planning her wedding and it really captures the very reason I wrote the post and I thought it would be fun to share that.

Lynn has left a new comment on your post "You Don't Want to Hire Me?!?":
"As a bride-to-be who googled "How do I tell a wedding planner I don't want them" this post was very helpful.
You'll be glad to know that I emailed all the people I contacted (even the ones with whom I only exchanged one email) and let them know that I "clicked" with someone else. They were all very professional and responded with a "Thanks for letting me know".
As a bride, this post was very helpful because those emails were hard! It was a little bit like breaking up with someone. It's nice to know that they are appreciated on the other end."

I was so happy that a bride really "got it" and understood where I was coming from.  It isn't about making anyone uncomfortable but it was more the let client's know that your business/feedback do matter to the vendor, whether you book them or not.

Thank you Lynn for being an AWESOME bride!!!

Happy Planning,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Secrets Behind Photography- Spencer Photography

This isn't the first submission by a photographer and it won't be the last.  The idea has been to show a range of photographers and their opinions.  This will give everyone the chance to see that all photographers from all areas and skill level are really interested in giving you the best work they have to offer.  There are enough skilled photographers in this industry that you don't have to settle nor do you have to turn to a "friend" to do the work.

Spencer Photography has won the following awards/honors--Approved as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)-Approved as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) by the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO)
-2009 Professional Photographers of Ohio Fall Conference - 1st and 2nd place in the "Wedding" category. 1st Place in the "Creative Open" category
-2009 - Winner of the Akron/Canton Fox 8 Hotlist for "Best Photographer"
-Chosen by The Knot Magazine "Best Of Weddings 2008-2009"
-2009 - Wedding image chosen for the cover of the Akron/Canton "Today's Bride Magazine"
-2008 - "Sunrise on Bryce Canyon" chosen by the Professional Photographers of America for their prestigious International Loan Collection
-2007 - Chosen by Akron Life & Leisure Magazine "Best Wedding Photographer"

-2005 - Awarded the prestigious Fuji Masterpiece Award by the Fuji Corporation

f the list of awards isn't enough to give you an idea of the quality of his work, his answers to the interview questions will.  Spencer Photography offers high quality products & service.  See for yourself Larry's feelings on all things wedding photography.

And now Secrets Behind Wedding Photography by Spencer Photography

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
With the advent of digital photography anyone who owns a camera believes they are a “photographer”. It is a misconception to believe that the camera makes the photographer. The camera is a tool just as a wrench or screwdriver is to the mechanic. It takes years of practice and study for someone to attain a level that makes them a true professional. Organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America enable the true professional to advance their knowledge and skills thru seminars, conventions and educational opportunities. They offer a certification program that once completed, helps the professional separate themselves by reinforcing their technical expertise thru testing and review by their peers.
Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their photographer?
When it comes to wedding photography the old adage absolutely holds true: you get what you pay for. It would be a mistake to eliminate the possibility of hiring a particular photographer based solely on price. What would one think if they saw a brand new Mercedes Benz priced at $5,000? I know that I would think “What is wrong with that car?” In the same vain, what would one think if they saw a 10 year old clunker for $100,000. We all would probably have the same reaction: “Are you kidding me?!!” The same thing needs to be considered when looking for a wedding photographer. There is a reason some photographers are more expensive than others. They give the best customer service; help your wedding day run as smoothly as it possibly can; and they provide the absolute best quality images and products.
Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor/site?
Originality and creativity. This is the number one thing that separates photographers. Also, how well does the photographer handle color and lighting. If you really make an effort to notice these things you will see a profound difference in many photographers and it will help you select only the best.
Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A larger album. The album will tell the story of your day, not only to you, but to your future generations. A good album should flow and not be overstuffed with images.
Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made?
A professional, no matter what industry, should never EVER drink alcohol while working. A professional should act like one.
Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
I try to provide every one of my clients with the absolute best service and give them the most awesome wedding images regardless of their budget.

What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their photographer?
A: Make sure to pay attention to deadlines. Be sure that the pricing that is offered at booking is locked in regardless of the wedding date. Also, make sure that you have recourse if the vendor does not fulfill their end of the contracted agreement. That should be in the contract.

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?
Just allow enough time to get the images that you want without interrupting the flow of the day.

I have to say that most of Larry's answers are answers that I would have given myself on the interview.  If you agree, great, if not, tell me why or submit the interview with your own answers!  Would love to hear from any vendor in the wedding industry, even other wedding planners!  You can check out Larry's work at

Happy Planning,

PS- Don't forget to check out my news segment on Channel 5- WEWS, THIS Friday between 5pm-6pm. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Check me out on TV!

You did read that right, I was interviewed by Lee Jordan of WEWS- Channel 5 for a special wedding segment to air this coming Friday, March 5th between 5pm-6pm. 
Lee Jordan chose to interview me after reviewing all of the area planners because she saw my advice and wedding information being used by all types of companies all over the web!  I am honored to say the least! 

I have these amazing vendors to thank for their last minute assistance in making in a great segment. 


White Flower

The Perfect Bride

Lowe's Greenhouse

C Studios

The Lounging Gourmet

Duet Catering
Thanks to all of your for providing ideas and props for the segment! 

Can't wait!  And I'll be signing autographs (kidding about the autographs but they will be having a give away for a bridal gown designed by celebrity David Tutera) this Sunday at Signature of Solon for the Bridal & Beyond Wedding Show from 11am-3pm, see you there!

Happy Planning