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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Planning Events with Less Stress: My Wedding Venue Already Has A Coordinator

Planning Events with Less Stress: My Wedding Venue Already Has A Coordinator: There’s one assumption that many couples have about their venue when there has been one point person they have been talking to about their w...

My Wedding Venue Already Has A Coordinator

There’s one assumption that many couples have about their venue when there has been one point person they have been talking to about their wedding. Many times they will assume that is the person or another employee who will be there for their wedding to take care of any issues that come up during the wedding and reception. However, that's not the way it works. 

That employee's first responsibilities are to the venue and probably other events that are taking place in the case of a hotel. There's a good chance that they are also responsible for sales which take place any day of the week. While that person might be checking in periodically, they will not be there for the entire wedding and reception. It's more likely that someone will have to search for them if an issue arises. 

This is one of the reasons why couples don't hire a Wedding Planner. They think that they already have someone to take care of them and any unexpected problems. You hope, but there are no guarantees that they will be there to direct vendors who are making deliveries. They won't be lining everyone up before walking down the aisle. That is what a Wedding Planner would be doing. The venue coordinator is there to take care of the basic foundations of the wedding by directing staff to do their jobs for your event. 

To get more information about the assumptions about weddings that can result in headaches, you can read my book "Wedding Planning Unmasked!"

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Planning Events with Less Stress: What Wedding Planners Can Teach Businesses About M...

Planning Events with Less Stress: What Wedding Planners Can Teach Businesses About M...: What Wedding Planners Can Teach Businesses About Millennials? The first thing that comes to my mind is that as Wedding Planners we mark...

What Wedding Planners Can Teach Businesses About Millennials

What Wedding Planners Can Teach Businesses About Millennials?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that as Wedding Planners we market primarily to a group that frightens many businesses. Fear comes from not taking the effort to understand something that we don’t know well. 

I have fallen in love with Millennials as a wedding planner and not out of necessity. I admire their thirst for research, their excellent BS meter, their ability to see a much broader picture, and their love of authenticity.

They have access to more information and more rapidly than any previous generation. Not since the 1960s has there been a generation that is more in tune with the state of the world. The more educated Millennials have a great sense of deciphering what is the truth and what is not. 

Authenticity is a word you will hear often from a millennial. They appreciate the real McCoy. They want someone who talks the talk and walks the walk. They will come right up to you and tell you that they admire something about you. I find that it’s usually about the quality of volunteering to make the world a better place or leadership qualities. They don’t want to be talked at. They want to have a conversation. 

People have tagged Millennials as lazy. Can you think of any generation that hasn’t been accused of such along with the generalization that they don’t show any respect? They might not have the same ambitions as their parents did because they learned from what happened to their parents. They saw them work hard only to be discarded through outsourcing or downsizing. Who would want to duplicate those events for themselves?  This leads to Millennials putting a higher priority on seeking employment that is meaningful in a worker-friendly atmosphere. They also had helicopter parents and were also given awards equally just for participating. Those things alone don’t make anyone feel appreciated or confident and leave something missing within themselves. With most of them coming from families where both parents worked, you see them eager to spend quality time with their kids. It’s something they didn’t have. Their parents were working and they were kept so busy with various activities. The pendulum always swings in the opposite direction from what people experience with the previous generation. Usually, it is about time or money. Two of the most valued commodities of which one is usually scarce. 

Millennials often say that their favorite past time is to just hang out at home. With real the wages being stagnant for decades, sometimes that is their only choice. More of their income is going to necessities and as a rule, they are frugal 

If you want to market to Millennials, make it an experience that contributes to their sense of making the world a better place. Pairing up with a charity that blends in with what your business does. Again, if it looks like you are partnering with the trending cause, but it isn’t congruent with what you do as your business, the BS meter’s dial is reaching its maximum reading.

Janis Flagg of Greatest of Days is available locally to give a presentation on marketing to Millennials to business organizations.

Click the link to peek at or purchase the book "Wedding Planning Unmasked!"

Monday, September 23, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Book is Born! "Wedding Planning Unmasked!"

Introducing "Wedding Planning Unmasked!"

The Story of Why I Wrote a Book on Wedding Planning

Why would I do that when there are already zillions of books on wedding planning?

I wrote "Wedding Planning Unmasked!" because I noticed that there was a knowledge gap between couples planning a wedding and them knowing what wedding vendors could or should do for them. People don't plan a wedding every day. Couples might know someone who has planned a wedding, but it's unlikely that they know 16 professional wedding vendors hired for an average wedding. Even if they did, they couldn't just get their keys, open their offices and do their job. It's not their fault, but not much is out there to guide couples for consulting with each type of vendor.

It helps couples to know what kind of services vendors provide, how they can save them money, and what questions you need to ask each vendor. Friends might give advice but it does not come from the point of planning your wedding. Every couple deserves productive and comfortable consultations to make sure they get what they envision or understand why something might not fit their budget. There is something awkward (but perfectly normal) about a consultation that begins with "What's your budget?" and "How much do you charge?" Information is powerful. Coming from a base of knowledge also gains respect from and for everyone involved.

"Wedding Planning Unmasked!" was written from interviewing many wedding vendors from many types of services. They were kept anonymous so that they could reveal the good, the bad and the ugly that they felt was important for couples planning a wedding to know. It was not written with checklists that pretty much leave you on your own, put you into a box, or make you do things you don't even need to do. There are very useful lists of questions in the book and some pretend conversations to help get through wedding planning to eliminate as much stress as possible.

Take a look here at "Wedding Planning Unmasked!" on Amazon.

Here's to unmasked wedding planning! Get ready to explore the art, science, logistics, and psychology of planning a wedding.

P.S. if you read the book, please leave a review or see even more ways that Greatest of Days can help couples plan a wedding. We will do live workshops, webinars, coaching calls and of course, full planning! 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Get Ready to Rock Your Wedding Planning!

It finally happened! The manuscript for the book has been submitted to the editor! It has been a labor of love with the goal to educate couples about navigating the waters of wedding planning. It's been an effort to enable consultations that won't begin with "What's your price?" or "What's your budget?" Instead, couples will gain a practical base of knowledge grounded in the reality of what vendors do for couples. It explores what happens below the tip of the iceberg which is where the real work takes place. Couples will feel more focused on what their priorities are and feel prepared before they meet with vendors. They won't be afraid to ask for help in the areas where they want to save money, alleviate stress, or gain back some time.

All vendors will remain anonymous as I wanted them to tell the unfettered truth about what they feel couples should know before a consultation. 

The plan is to have the book available in hardcover and on Kindle. Expect something to be popping up for purchase around the beginning of March 2019.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Events You Hope You Never Have To Plan

No matter how you receive bad information, it's not easy. Sometimes you don't even remember where you were or how you received the news.  

That's the situation I found myself in when I found out that a friend of mine had been hit head-on by a drunk driver with the impact of a 100 MPH crash. Her car landed upside down in a ditch where she hung held only by her seatbelt for 45 minutes as first responders extricated her from the vehicle. Hanging upside down actually saved her life. She was not expected to survive. She broke both legs, her hip was shattered and detached from her spine, one wrist and her other arm were broken. She had 3 ribs broken and a broken bone in her sternum (manubrium). They didn't expect her to walk again. Most people don't survive her injuries and she did have three transfusions.

Her job as a hairdresser requires the ability to stand for long periods of time and use of the arms and wrists equally if not more important. Even after six months, the future is uncertain as to when she'll be able to go back to work. 

My efforts alongside those of several of other friends has been focused on planning a fundraiser. It's not like I haven't planned these types of events before. The difference is that there's an added sense of desperation when you know the person who has been hit by a drunk driver. My husband and I were also hit by a drunk driver in 2006. I have an added sense of anger. I don't know where it came from, but it felt like since we were victims that that was enough. That isn't realistic because I'd had friends injured and killed throughout my life by drunk drivers.

The truth is this. We have to get it through people's heads that choosing to drink and then drive is not going to contribute to an accident. In reality, it's contributing to an assault with a deadly weapon. It's contributing to many losses with death being the worst among them. Survivors face losing everything from a job, their health, their finances, relationships and being able to enjoy life as they did before because of pain. It's different for everyone and so much the same.

As for planning events, in Washington State and perhaps other states, a couple getting married are considered hosts of an event. They are financially liable if any of their guests cause harm, injury or death due to them consuming alcohol at a wedding. The same goes for a party at anyone's home. Insurance is available for events, but the biggest price is knowing that someone's life could possibly never be the same again in a very negative way.

There are shuttles, taxis, Uber, Lyft, limousines that take away all excuses for drinking and driving. It's not worth the risk. Many societies have zero tolerance for drinking and driving where they consume even more alcohol. We just have not accepted the responsibility as a society to put a stop to drinking and driving.

As a side note, did you know that a large percentage of people think of a designated driver as someone who has drunk less than themselves? A designated driver is someone who knows from the moment they go out their door that they will not drink any alcoholic beverages at all. If you find it difficult to tell someone not to drive after drinking, remember how much worse it will feel when you've lost a friend or heard that they injured or killed someone. 

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tips to Get You through the Wedding Ceremony

Tips to Get You through the Wedding Ceremony!

Clients will relate various fears or concerns that they have during a consultation for officiating their wedding ceremony.  

You might relate to some of these issues, but never fear!  Your officiant should help you with any of these fears.  Here are some things to remember that can take the edge off of the nervousness. 

1.  I don't like to be the center of attention! I get really nervous speaking in front of people and I don't want to say any more than I have to.  What if someone makes a stupid remark during the ceremony?

Remember where you are!

You are likely in front of the most people who love and care about you more than any other day of your life.  Even the people who might have made it rough on you during the planning stages will get into the moment and might even shed a tear or two.  They will probably treat you better than during the planning because they want to save face!  As far as unwanted remarks, your officiant should be professional and not let anyone else steal from your moment.  An officiant can put themselves in a position of authority just enough to stop the comments depending upon the severity of the comments.


Rehearsals take longer than ceremonies for good reason.  They are designed to make everyone comfortable with what they are supposed to do on the wedding day.  This is the time to make minor ceremony changes, not later!  Use the rehearsal to familiarize yourself with the environment and ask questions.  Put  other members of the bridal party in charge for your wedding day of letting those who weren't able to attend the rehearsal to on what to do.  This would include how everyone who will be standing up with you is supposed to walk in, line up, and walk out before during and after the ceremony. 

A little bit of nervousness is good!

You're expected to be a little nervous.  Chances are that many of your guests have been through the same experience.  They will put themselves in your shoes when recalling their own wedding.  Others might not have had their weddings yet, so they'll get their turn to find out how nervous they might be.  

The most important thing to tell yourself, is that something would be wrong and you might not be taking your marriage seriously enough if you aren't just a little bit nervous. 

A nice deep breath when you begin to feel anxious.  Remember that excitement can give you an adrenaline rush and that's okay.  Cherish every moment of your entire day and have it etched in your memory. 

2.  I just know I'm going to cry, but what if I can't stop laughing either?  If he/she starts crying I know I will, too!

Crying and Laughing   Your officiant should be prepared for tears and provide tissues to give to you and even a member or two of your wedding party.  Nobody will think less of you for crying. Laughter is the best medicine. It also makes your guests relax.  Granted, it might be unplanned humor, but laughing at yourself will help you relax rather than wanting everything to be perfect. The best part is that those moments become some of your most cherished memories.  Remember that crying and laughing are normal and chemically their effects are very similar. They are healthy!

3.  What if I pass out?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  If you plan on drinking a lot after the rehearsal, you might want to reconsider that decision.  It's not usually the heat or nervousness that leads to this particular problem.  Stay hydrated and remember that alcoholic beverages do just the opposite.

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Event Planners Keep Company with Great People, But They Don't Do This!

Yes, annually, we keep good company with those in the top five most stressful jobs.  You can count on us being surrounded by firefighters, airline pilots, enlisted military, police officers and other similar professions.

One thing that each of the other individuals above does not have to keep up with is having a website built as part of their profession.  An independent event planner does.  I found my web designer because they primarily create custom wedding and other event invitations.  I am fortunate enough to have them in my own backyard near Seattle and they aren't very far from the airport.  I would suggest that anyone from Seattle, since you know your way to the airport, make a trip to see them in Burien. They have clients from all over the world.  

Well, if you have ever had a website built, you know how excited you are for the big reveal!  I was surprised how quickly they got it done!  It was amazing!  I would suggest visiting for one of a kind invitations that they make.  I love going to their shop because it is a feast to the eyes to see their vast variety of designs!  You aren't allowed to take pictures in their store either.  It's like a surprise entrance to an abundance of creativity.

So here's my invitation for you to visit our new baby website.  No commas in that last sentence or it would be an entirely different celebration.  I assume no one names their baby Website.  I would certainly hope not.  I guess they could call him Webb.  Here you go!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Planning Events with Less Stress: Plato and Event Planning

Planning Events with Less Stress: Plato and Event Planning: I agree with Plato's observation!  You'll find out what that is and why a little later.  Why do I feel so at home in the events Ind...

Plato and Event Planning

I agree with Plato's observation!  You'll find out what that is and why a little later.  Why do I feel so at home in the events Industry?  To me, my industry represents the opposite of personality traits in people that I prefer not to be around. You won't find me hanging around glass half-full people any more than necessary.  If a person cannot enjoy a good brainstorming session, I'm out of there.  If someone is satisfied with the status quo, I'm not their type of person.  If you can't have fun in whatever you want to endeavor, I'd rather be of help elsewhere.  In the events industry, we take fun very seriously.  Is that similar to an oxymoron? No.  We are all about our clients being able to cash in on the Return on Experience (ROX) as much or more than Return on Investment.  You can read more about experiential marketing being an absolute must if you are marketing to Millennials.


The events industry requires people who:

1.  Believe any idea can come to life!  They will dare you!
2.  Believe that stupid questions are required to come up with the best ideas.
3.  Believe if something has been done before, there has to be a more spectacular way to do it now or next time.
4.  Believe that each event is the most important day in their client's life no matter what the event is.
5.  Can anticipate problems before anyone else even dreams of what can happen.
6.  Thrive on turning on a dime.
7.  Thrive on converting problems into solutions that look intentional with spectacular results that will knock your socks off.

Do I get bored at events I attend for business?  Except for my industry's hosted events and meetings, I cannot even  b e g i n  to tell you how bored I've been sometimes.  If a topic is about the nuts and bolts of business, I can't wait to get out of there and do something creative.  I've found that cut and paste solutions will not work for me.  If I hear the sound of numbers crunching, it's like nails on a chalkboard.  You might ask, "How can you run a business without all of that?"  Here's why those don't matter as much to me.  If I am not in a creative, inspirational, fun space, there will be no numbers to crunch.  

It all boils down to being either right-brained or left-brained.  Creativity, or having a positive outlook come easier for some than others.  We are predominantly right-brained in the events industry.  I think everyone is a bit of right-brained and left left-brained in different situations, but people are predominantly one way or the other.  I have to share this link with you that will also explain right vs. left brain.  (I want you to pay particular attention to the name of the website!)  The current job market seeks people who can be both.  Employers prefer that someone have a degree in the humanities (Arts and Sciences) and then teach them about an industry. They want people who can create, think and solve.  If they have people who can make projects fun, just think of the abundance of ideas that would overflow!

I love it when someone says to me that planning or designing an event gives them nightmares.  Those are my dream jobs.  You know what is even more amazing?  It's showing that same person that they absolutely are creative!  It's my responsibility to bring it out of them.  Granted, it's somewhat like being a mid-wife, but creativity can be born.  "You can do it!  Just breathe. Not too much longer now! Push! Aaaah!  It's beautiful!  I'm so proud of you!  Good job!  What are you going to name it?"  They will never doubt their creativity again and will be rewarded time after time.

As promised, I want to impress upon you this thought.  That guy named Plato summed it up very well (yes, he did that a lot).  He said, "You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation".  So here's to "if you can't have fun doing something, don't do it!"  Aha!  I bet we know why people have been conducting business on golf courses forever!

I get some flack for using too many exclamation marks.  Do I care?  No!  However, I would describe my industry as an exclamation mark industry!  Don't be afraid to put exclamation marks in your life or business.  Your customers will appreciate it and remember you.  Your students will learn and remember more.  Your audience will listen and remember you.  You'll feel better ‼️‼️ Period.  End of sentence! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Event-Changing Event Vendors Who Are Often Overlooked

All too often people who plan their own events are unaware of vendors that could make a huge difference in the success or the stress level of their social or business event.  For weddings, the most common regrets include not hiring a wedding planner or a videographer.  Statistics show that they are also the last vendors to be hired.  In fact, the most common time for people wishing they had hired a wedding planner is the day before the wedding or the day after the wedding.  

I dare say, that the same applies for any type of event.  People avoid hiring event planners because they think it will cost too much money.  In reality, (same with my own clients) people are surprised at how much money event planners actually save them. This happens through connections that the event planner has such as with new venues that are offering deep discounts, knowledge of options that are just as effective but cost less, knowing which questions to ask that can save thousands of dollars, helping people set priorities and stay with a plan.  Even using the wrong word can make all the difference.  Event planners also know what their clients are probably assuming about what is included in a vendor's services and chances are, it is more likely wishful thinking rather than fact.  A mistake not made is money saved.

What does daycare have to do with it?

I want to mention some vendors that people seldom, if ever, think about that would make a huge difference in the stress level on the day of their event.  Most commonly, we think of events as weddings, but I want you to stretch your mind to any event you might be planning. Let's begin with onsite day care.  If you don't think that addition will increase your Rsvp return rate, think again. There are people who will provide licensed day care at your event.  Some of them only work at events!  Some colleges have programs that can also help people out with providing onsite daycare.

Just imagine the gratitude for this service being offered at a client or employee appreciation event!  Literally, any event that involves parents with children.

How in the world are dogs, wedding ceremonies and honeymoons related?

We all know how crazy pet owners are over their furry family members with four feet. Who hasn't seen a picture of a dog playing the role of ring bearer?  Has anyone wondered what the role of the dog is after that or who is going to take care of them? There are pet sitters who will deliver your dog to your wedding and stay long enough to take the dog back to a person's house or at their facility.  This is especially helpful if the dog is going to be boarded there during a couple's honeymoon.  

It might be harder to think of this service being offered in a business setting.  Now that would be one perk many employees would appreciate.  Paying for your employee's pet care while they are on business trips?  A person can dream, can't they?

Who's going to help set up and tear down?

We know that for almost every task a person dreads doing, there is someone who loves doing that same thing, and you can hire them.  Set up and tear down at an event is a big one!  For large events involving family and friends, I have to warn the client that in reality seldom do these people live up to your expectations.  Add alcohol to the mix and you really diminish your odds of having help at the end of any event.  

Think beyond custodial services.  There are companies that will help you set up the tables and chairs, decor and the things that make you exhausted before your event even starts.  If you are saving money on a venue that does not provide those services, these people are worth their weight in gold.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Planning Events with Less Stress: Weddings with Rocks, Roses, Sand, Wine Boxes, Broo...

Planning Events with Less Stress: Weddings with Rocks, Roses, Sand, Wine Boxes, Broo...: In Washington State there are only two statements that have to be included in wedding ceremonies to make the marriage legal as long as the p...

Weddings with Rocks, Roses, Sand, Wine Boxes, Broo...

Planning Events with Less Stress: Weddings with Rocks, Roses, Sand, Wine Boxes, Broo...: In Washington State there are only two statements that have to be included in wedding ceremonies to make the marriage legal as long as the p...

Weddings with Rocks, Roses, Sand, Wine Boxes, Brooms and Cording!

In Washington State there are only two statements that have to be included in wedding ceremonies to make the marriage legal as long as the person marrying them is qualified to perform the ceremony.  The "Do you take" and "Do you take" statements are to prove that neither person is entering the marriage under duress.  The other required statement is simply with them being declared as husband and wife, husband and husband or wife and wife, spouses for life, whatever the case may be.  If these two statements are not recited or duplicated in some manner, Washington State technically, does not recognize the marriage.

Seldom does anyone want a ceremony with only the two required phrases.  At the minimum there are the so-called love, honor, cherish vows and the inclusion of some kind of ring ceremony.  Beyond that, is where the uniqueness that most couples crave comes into play for their own weddings.  So let's talk a bit about how sand, rocks, candles, wine boxes, roses, oathing stones, brooms, and cording accomplish that for a wedding ceremony.  Keep in mind that these are just starting points and that many couples add personalization to personalization!  People often enjoy borrowing customs from other cultures.  As a wedding officiant, this keeps things very interesting!


The Sand Ceremony

The Sand Ceremony involves at least two colors of sand that are usually placed in two glass containers and poured together by a couple or two or more family members into one container signifying that two lives or two families being blended together can never be separated.  

The Rock Ceremony

The Rock Ceremony is unique and includes guest participation.  For example, there would be a rock set on every chair and the guests hold the rock in their hands and make a wish for the happiness of the bride and groom and their life together.  The guests then place their "wish" into a container.  I've seen the bride and groom place the first rocks in the bottom of a box on which they've written faith, hope and love on them representing a good foundation and all the others wishes built upon that.  I suggested this type of ceremony for one couple whose wedding was outdoors and they hadn't thought about the consequences of having programs on each chair.  Obviously, they would not stay on the chairs and needed a paperweight!  It took on a very special meaning because for generations the bride's family had a cabin on Flathead Lake.  That lake is known for the stones there that are flat.  A family member delivered enough rocks from their cabin to be used for the ceremony.  

The Unity Candle Ceremony

This is the ceremony that most people are familiar with, but is not used as often because of most venues banning the use of candles.  Two candles are lit and are either used by the couple getting married or perhaps both of the couple's mothers who then light a single candle signifying the uniting of two families.  

The Wine Box Ceremony

The Wine Box Ceremony has at least a couple of variations as far as its purpose.  The couple will write a letter describing their love for their future spouse and during the ceremony, each will place their letter  into the wine box which has already had a bottle of wine placed in it.  Here's where the purposes can vary.  Some couples open the box on their first anniversary and read the letters to each other and celebrate with a glass of wine.  Other couples will save it for their first fight and read the letters to remind themselves of their love for each other and again relax with a bottle of wine.

The Rose Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is one that can be used in a variety of ways, but the most traditional rose ceremony involves the bride and groom taking a rose during the ceremony and giving it to their now mother-in-law.  Again, it is a symbol of blending two families.

The Oathing Stone Ceremony

The Oathing Stone ceremony originates from Celtic tradition.  A bride and groom would place their hands on a large stone often near a river which would be considered a connection to their ancestors. They would sometimes etch their names in the stone.  This is also how carving initials in trees began.  Today, couples can buy a stone with their initials carved into it.  At their wedding ceremony they both hold together in their hands the stone while the vows are being read.  This would be difficult with vows they had written rather than listening to and responding with short phrases during a ceremony.

The Broomstick Ceremony

The Broomstick ceremony has its origins in parts of Africa.  Over many centuries, the significance of the broom changed in meaning.  However, it was one tradition that survived during slavery.  That in itself made the broom ceremony one which became more of a bad reminder of that era.  After Alex Haley's book and movie Roots, were was made famous in the 1970's, the interest in this tradition was rekindled.  It was and is also common in ancient and modern Celtic wedding ceremonies.  At a wedding, after the couple has been pronounced as a married couple, they both jump over the broom at the same time.  Now it represents the beginning of a new life together.  Ancient African meanings were not so charming in that whomever jumped over the broom the highest was to be the "ruler" of the household.  (I would have said, "Ladies, practice jumping...really high!")

The Handfasting Ceremony

The Handfasting Ceremony in another tradition from the Celtics.  Again there are many variations of this type of ceremony.  A cord or ribbon is used to bind together a couple's hands with the cord or ribbon binding wrapped once more over their hands for each vow that is recited.  This is literally where the expression "tying the knot" originated.

I could go into much more detail on the blending of cultures in wedding ceremonies, but that will have to wait until another time.  Including one of our funniest wedding officiating stories ever! 💝

As always, 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Planning Events with Less Stress: What Does a Wedding Officiant Really Do?

Planning Events with Less Stress: What Does a Wedding Officiant Really Do?: There are many fabulous wedding officiants in the Seattle area.  I have great respect for all of them. In some parts of the country, offici...

What Does a Wedding Officiant Really Do?

There are many fabulous wedding officiants in the Seattle area.  I have great respect for all of them. In some parts of the country, officiants are not even considered to be wedding vendors. Perhaps it's such a foregone conclusion that someone is going to be in that role.  Perhaps it's the seriousness of the role that makes officiants seem different from other vendor choices.  We aren't an optional decision when it comes to weddings.  Someone has to make the marriage legal.

Recently, I was speaking about statistics with someone from a lead site.  They send vendors comparison reports on how much time it takes for the average vendor to respond.  They also will say if your prices are higher and lower than others.  I was concerned and in disagreement with them that I was higher priced than others when I know what industry standards are for Officiants in our area. However, I was very pleased with how our conversation continued.  The vendor service representative then said something that I hope I remember in the future for other business decisions. She said, "Most of the officiants charge less but our best performing officiants are in a higher price range similar to yours".  

We discussed reasons for that.  The first was the introductory response and how well it is written. On this particular lead site, you only have 1,000 characters including spaces to help someone feel comfortable and confident enough to inquire further about hiring you on one of the most important days in their life.  The second contributing factor of success was followup.  Yes, even for wedding officiants followup is as much of an issue as it is for any other type of entrepreneur.

Time is our biggest investment. There's a lot of work that goes into preparing a special ceremony. With the initial consultation (60-90 minutes), the goal is to reach the essence of their relationship. The consultation needs to include topics from how they met, what a typical date is like, their hobbies, interests and how their personalities blend. I want to know who is better at leading and being practical and who is better is a supporting and encouraging role. My favorite clue into what makes them unique is hearing about their marriage proposal.  Many people meet online, and those stories can sometimes seem like a miracle that they even got to know each other.  The goal is to create a ceremony that reflects a couple's personality and hopes for the future.

Then the work begins.  I generally have enough to know what kind of ceremony they would like.  I know if they will be what my husband affectionately termed as "repeaters or non-repeaters".  Non-repeaters are lucky to get the words "I do" out and don't want to remember even the shortest phrases.  Other couples will say, "Why have a wedding ceremony if we aren't going to write our own vows?"  No two weddings are alike just as no two couples are alike.  I can't forget to mention rehearsals! Rehearsals are often very confusing without an officiant. Writing a ceremony is somewhat like writing the first chapter in a book.  The rest of the story is for the couple to compose.

I don't ever want to fall into the class of "cheap officiants".  Putting my heart and soul into getting a glimpse into the heart and soul of my couples is priceless.  It's more than just a legality or a contract to be recognized by a county and state and making sure everyone signs and dates on the right line. Much more!

Yes officiants often are placed in the role of a wedding planner even though it can appear like they are herding rabbits!  Are there really rabbit herders?  Doubt it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Waiting to Officiate a Wedding This Afternoon

Pre-Wedding Ceremony:

I'm still home but my mind is already at the wedding I'm officiating this afternoon.

Unlike the average couple getting married, I'm not nervous as their officiant.  Instead, I find myself in awe of the privilege I have with just the right words, to create a legal bond between two people that is already built on love.  We had the rehearsal yesterday, and I know that today I might not even recognize them because of the hair and makeup on the ladies and with the gents being all dressed up rather than in tank tops and shorts.

I'll finish this after the ceremony and while I still have my day-long smile, I'll have yet another flower girl or adorable ring bearer story to tell.  Until then, I cannot wait to see who I hand out the tissues to.  They are often given to the ones who don't think they'll need them.

Update to come several hours from now!

Post Wedding Ceremony Update!

I predicted correctly that I'd have another flower girl or ring bearer story to tell! In fact there were some firsts for me!  When kids do or don't do their jobs in these roles, it's still cute!  So what were these firsts?  Let's start with the flower girl.  Twice during the ceremony she walked from where the bridesmaids were over to the bride and said, "Just kiss!!"  Who couldn't laugh at that?  I didn't know if the bride was going to be able to compose herself!  

picture from another wedding
Okay, now for the ring bearer. He had a meltdown outside of the building and was face down on the deck drinking milk.  We were a little concerned that he would not want to hang onto a pillow so they tied the rings onto his favorite stuffed toy, Pluto. Someone had to go out to the deck to get Pluto with the rings.  Here's the other first!  The Best Man got to hold Pluto during the wedding ceremony! 

In all these years of officiating weddings, I've only been wrong with one wedding. How's that?  I know that the groom is going to shed the tears first.  Once again, I was right.  I never get tired of seeing tender moments like that.

As always,

Monday, August 1, 2016

Preventing "Are You Ready to Leave Yet?" at Your Events.

For Any Event, Prevent This! "Are You Ready to Leave Yet?"

You might know someone or maybe that someone is yourself who is ready to leave an event before it has even started.  I kind of feel that way about surgery, but some people feel that way about events and weddings.  I don't know if it's the opposite of the way kids can be on a road trip and they are saying, "Are we there, yet?" or maybe they grow up to be adults wanting to leave any event early.  You know who they usually are. Typically it's a husband leaning sideways toward his wife's ear to say, "Are you ready to leave yet?"  If it's really bad he might say, "I'll be out in the car".

When you're hosting an event you've obviously put a lot of time, money, thought and energy into something that will not last nearly as long.  A host will often feel disappointed or like a failure if their guests leave early.  Everyone should host an event to see what that might feel like. For a business event, it can feel like a failure to meet your ROI. (Return on Investment) but it's not really a good measure for that. There are a couple of simple things that will make people stay longer.  

For a social event, I found one thing that works to keep even the most reluctant attendees from leaving early!  In my experience, it's been having an ice cream cart or truck.  Trucks are better in hot weather, obviously.  Ben and Jerry's (my favorite) is only one of similar operations. Dessert trucks are great, too.  Everyone becomes a kid again and will find ways to get in line multiple times to try each flavor in a cone. Then, little justification is needed to try another flavor without a cone.   It reminds me of variables and probability.

Remember the cone holds the ice cream, but the ice cream holds the power!

Music is another key to having people linger. Music affects more areas of the brain and will also make people remember your event. When I'm helping a client plan an event, I frequently go into a science lesson as to why this is the case. 

Remember these simple tricks that will make your guests want to stay longer whether they know the reason or not!

As always,