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Saturday, April 23, 2011

What Happens When You Hire a Wedding Coordinator? Part 2.

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote that you can expect to almost feel like you've never been listened to so much in your life!  It's like a fun interview and the result is going to be a day that you've always dreamed of.

Not every Wedding Coordinator is going to have the exact same process when working for a client.  Just as a bride has her own unique style, so do Coordinators or any wedding vendor for that matter. Part 2 will begin to help you become laser-focused on what is most important to you.

I like to have a bride and groom both write down separately what they most want to remember about their wedding as well as their reception and also how they want their guests to remember both events.  They really are in many ways two separate events.  I like to have the bride and groom both write down what they consider the five most important things to them for their wedding and reception.  This is what I call my "5 + 5 = 6" equation.  From each list for each "event" I ask them to compile a joint list.  Every bride and groom has a list of things that are "must haves".   A bride and groom might think that everybody wants a particular aspect of a wedding, but in reality, people have very different priorities.  They are not alone.  I continue to find it amusing that vendors of any type of category will think that they are automatically what a bride and groom will book first.  What's most important to one couple will not be important at all to another couple.

After a list has been compiled from the "5 + 5 = 6" equation, it's time to talk budget.  This list is a road map to what the budget should be focused on.  If money is tight, I can suggest ways that they might be able to have some aspect of their wedding do double duty.  I love it when there is a  problem to getting some element into a wedding due to budget constraints or limitations at a particular venue.  The reason I love it so much is because that lets creativity come out of its cage and explore the whole world.  There are a million ways to solve problems and they often end up adding a lot of special meaning and wonderful moments that would have otherwise never even existed.  It's not surprising at all that they haven't cost any money or perhaps very little money.

So in summary to Part 2, the framework is set up to creating the big day.  The dreams and reality are just beginning to emerge!  Next thing you know, tasks are going to be checked off of the lists right and left.  The fun is just beginning!

As always, wishing you the greatest of days!

Greatest of Days

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Happens When You Hire a Wedding Coordinator? Part 1.

A wedding Coordinator basically starts out by getting to know what you envision for your wedding after they have determined if they will be available for your wedding day.  You can expect questions that will help them determine what you like, dislike, how you met and get a glimpse of what has brought you to the point where you want to spend the rest of your lives together.  Before you know it, you will have found words or your coordinator has found words to describe exactly what you want your wedding day to be like.   Everything from the look, the feel, the sounds and even the tastes will be put together like a puzzle.

They'll likely want to know what your family backgrounds are such as your parents' marital status or family dynamics are so that awkward moments can be avoided later.  It's always better that finding out this type of information right away long before a seating chart is discussed.

A Wedding Coordinator, like most wedding vendors wants to do the best job possible and establish the parameters of what can be a 6 -16 month relationship in developing the most celebrated day in your adult life.  What a good Wedding Coordinator should do is listen and listen some more.  You should feel like you have found a new friend who is really going to have your back.  From that, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you wedding day is "so you".

My clients are always surprised at the number of emails that will go back and forth even for a Day-of Coordination.  Speaking of that, you should expect to have quick responses to your questions and not feel that any question is a stupid question.  We realize that you probably have not planned a wedding before and even if you have helped someone plan theirs, it's so different when it is your own.

To sum it up, just be prepared to talk about the most anticipated celebration in your life and what it looks like in your mind's eye.  You'll know everything is going well when you end up having  many laughs and probably even develop some inside jokes along the way!  A Wedding Coordinator will spend more time with you than any other vendor for your wedding.  Here's a little secret or why you might think you're seeing your Wedding Coordinator tear up a little bit!  What?  Really? After your wedding, your Wedding Coordinator is probably going to really miss you and will be absolutely thrilled to hear how you're doing and hear about the latest adventures in your life.  We're professionals, but we are people first and develop a warm spot in our hearts for our clients.

As Always, wishing you the greatest of days!

Greatest of Days, Wedding and Event Planning, Designing and Officiating

Next, we'll talk about the unknown ways a Wedding Coordinator can help you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wedding Favors. Are You Doing Your Guest a Favor?

All you have to do is clean-up duties for a few weddings and you will see that there are favors left behind on the tables or left in what might have seemed like an ideal place for everyone to know that these were for guests to take home.  If someone has put a lot of time into them, they will think of all the hours that have kind of gone down the tube! There's always ribbon that is abandoned that was wrapped around a box or some object with or without a personalized message on it.  Also if favors are too much geared to female guests or male guests, a good number of favors will be left behind.

What favors seem to be used or make it home with their guests?  I would say that in general they would fall into these categories.

1.  Something with a little bit of practicality.
2.  Food, if you have something that is prepared to avoid common food allergies and is so noted.
3.  Something that has universal appeal.  Take into account age and gender of your guests.
4.  An object that has the bride and groom pictured in it.  Perhaps they can use the frame for something else later.

Don't count on personalized napkins to be a favor!  Who wants to take home a dirty napkin? No one that I know of!  I'm not saying don't use personalized napkins.  I think they add a nice touch.  It might help people remember your anniversary date if nothing else!

If you have a centerpiece that is a live fish that someone will win at a particular table, that can get interesting.  It's good if you're certain that one out of every 8 guests seated at a table is really going to want to go home with a fish.  Please remember that if you do this, that you provide food and instructions on how to take care of the fish.  If someone doesn't win the fish you want to still make sure that they have something to enjoy as a favor to take home.  There are many creative ways to determine who wins the fish!  It's also okay if someone doesn't want that little fishy and hands it off to someone who does.

Some people set up a candy buffet with containers for people to fill with candy and take home as a favor.  I would suggest that you have some that are set up for diabetics!  This will make them feel like they have taken into consideration rather than just another painful reminder that they can't enjoy candy or sweets anymore.

As always, wishing you the greatest of days!

Janis Flagg, Owner
Greatest of Days
Event Planning and Design
Wedding Officiating
27111 167th PL SE, STE 105-242
Covington WA   98042
"Creating Memories to Bring a Smile to Your Face for Years to Come!" 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Six Reasons Your Clients Might Not Take a Vendor's Advice on Hiring a Wedding Coordinator.

We've all been there when we have a client who says they have a friend who is caterer or a DJ, their brother has his own band, or someone they know will be really good at taking their pictures.  With Day-of Coordinations this is more typical.  You get what you get when it comes to the bride's mixture of vendors.  Nothing is likely to change even though you see the recipe for a disaster and warnings often fall on deaf ears.  (Put this in your contract!)
I cringe when I know there isn't going to be a professional DJ to work with as well as other professionals.  I hear from the professionals all the time that they have told their client that they need a wedding coordinator.  When I recently asked a very talented DJ how often they had a wedding where there was a professional Wedding Coordinator, he said it was about 1 in 10.  He said that usually a mother will take care of all the planning.  These wedding professionals love having a professional Wedding Coordinator as much as we love working with other professionals.  It helps all of us do our jobs the way we prefer to do them and stay within our areas of expertise.  We all want to make each other look good!
So, this is what I get from all of this.  Wedding Coordinators must find ways to help these vendors who know what they're talking about, change their client's mindset to ever be comfortable enough to hire a wedding coordinator.  I see that this task is one that Wedding Coordinators must take on to help other vendors who want to refer us.
I would love it if anyone would add to my list of ideas to help vendors promote a Wedding Coordinator or a list of reasons you believe a wedding coordinator is such a hard concept to "sell".
Possible myths they will run into:
1.  Wedding Coordinators are only for "rich" people.
2.  Wedding Coordinators are snobs!
3.  Wedding Coordinators are just like the ones you see in the movies.
4.  Wedding Coordinators take over your whole wedding.
5.  The person at the venue is taking care of everything.  
6.  You can find all of your vendors at a show.  (Maybe if all vendors participated in every show and you really got to know them in that type of environment.)  What if a bride hates crowds?  
Possible answers to those myths and misconceptions:
1.  Wedding Coordinators save by way of passing on discounts to clients that the vendors give to them knowing that their job is going to be easier than if they didn't have a coordinator.  Coordinators save vendors time!
2.  Most Wedding Coordinators do what they do because they love to help people.
3.  Being a Wedding Coordinator is a lot of really hard work.  There's nothing glamorous about finding out that the city employee didn't open up the restrooms, graffiti appeared overnight, you're going over the floor with a lint roller to pick up confetti or glitter so that the client gets their deposit back.  Like in the movies?  Hardly!
4.  A good Wedding Coordinator will listen above all else to what a bride envisions no matter how hard it is for her to convey her dream wedding.  Wedding Coordinators are thrilled when they hear the words, "This is just the way I saw it in my mind, but I just didn't know how to make it happen!"
5.  People at a venue even like it when a professional Wedding Coordinator is onsite so they can take care of their staff and venue responsibilities.  The venue contact person cannot read a client or be counted to catch the bride's glance in their direction every time she needs something.  If brides only knew how busy these venue coordinators and their staff were for an event, they would understand.
6.  A Wedding Coordinator spends a lot of time getting to know vendors and the quality of their work.  The same is true for studying venues.  We want to know what will match the bride's style, personality and budget.
Most Wedding Coordinators give at least some amount of time in the form of a free consultation.
I never have a consultation without hearing a bride, groom or their family members say, "I never would have thought about that!"  What pains me the most, is knowing that I could be helping people have a much less painful, less time-consuming role in planning their wedding and not be completely tired out on their wedding day, along with their family and friends!
As always, wishing you the greatest of days!