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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Common Questions Received by an Event Planner

Common Questions Received by an Event Planner

Do you plan other types of events?
I plan many types of events, but primarily I've planned weddings.  I've planned reunions, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, small business events, seminars, surprise parties, "Silly Suppers", client appreciation events and of course my monthly networking group meetings.  Celebration of Life Events are extra special just to be able to help a family in their grief.

Do you already have a vendor for ____?
Vendors will come up to me and say, "I suppose you already have a fill in the blank so you probably don't need to know about another fill in the blank.  The truth is, I need to know as many as possible and to know as much as I can about the style and quality of their work.  The reason for this is that every client has a different style, personality and budget and I want to match clients and vendors alike with those whom they will work well. That is the hardest part for me when I do a Day-of-Coordination.  Often I'm not familiar with the other "vendor's" work, style or personality if they aren't a wedding/event professional.

 Do you get bridezillas?
I spoke with one wedding expert who is an author and she said that  bridezillas are probably the same girl who at her 4th birthday was allowed to act like a brat and everyone caved into her every wish and demand.  I think she might be right to some degree.  But, honestly, I think zillas can come in any gender, age or role.  Bridezillas don't have the corner on undesirable behavior.  I fully expect that a bride is capable of losing her composure at some point and I give them a lot of slack.  I generally weed out the bridezillas without them even knowing it.  Hint:  Look at my About Page on my website!

How long have you been planning events?
I wasn't even 30 when I planned my first reunion and I was younger than that when I planned my own wedding.  Let's just say that my planning social events of one form or another spanned 20+ years before I even thought about creating a business in the wedding industry.  People will say, "At least now you're getting paid for it!"  I break it to them gently that it is like any other business.  You put in a lot of hard work building it, but it is so true that when you are able to do what you love to do, it doesn't feel like work.  Tiring maybe, but it really has to be your passion to be able to keep up with it.  I love it!  I started this adventure of entrepreneurship in 2007. As a child my favorite times were when we had guests over.  Almost every weekend, I'd ask if we could invite another family over for dinner or just get together to enjoy games or music.  

What is the hardest part about being an Event Coordinator?
Again, I know it's going to sound corny, but the hardest part for me is saying good-bye to your clients and wondering if you're ever going to see them again! As a Wedding Coordinator you spend so much time developing one of if not the most important days of their lives.  You can't help but get attached.  I compare it to teachers who always remember some students and wonder how they're doing. 

Another hard part about being a Wedding Coordinator is the Monday-morning quarterbacking. It can be especially prevalent in the wedding industry.  I think that part of it is that everyone is going through a let-down after the wedding and part of it is that no day is guaranteed to be perfect.  If anyone promises 110% perfection, I'd say run!  I think that the vendors and the clients all go through this Monday QB-ing to a certain extent.  We can be very tough on ourselves, but we soon learn how to recognize it when someone is being unreasonable and/or they were completely unaware of the total surroundings and circumstances taking place. Usually it is the latter.  We get a lot tougher as we go!

What is your favorite type of event to plan?
That's hard to say!  I really like each type of event as far as planning them goes.  Weddings are the most complex and the most fun.  I really enjoy all of the events because at that particular point in someone's life, their particular celebration is usually what is constantly on their mind for a period of time.  It's impossible not to love seeing their vision become a reality.  I have always liked a variety and there isn't any event that I don't get to meet wonderful and interesting people.  I can get bored easily, but varying the types of events that I plan can help that.  

As always...

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Planning Weddings and Events with Less Stress: Dispel Myths About a Day of Wedding Coordinator

Planning Weddings and Events with Less Stress: Dispel Myths About a Day of Wedding Coordinator: Dispelling Myths about Day-of-Coordinator for Weddings! What is A Day-of-Coordinator and What Does A Day-of-Coordinator Do?   Wh...

Dispel Myths About a Day of Wedding Coordinator

Dispelling Myths about Day-of-Coordinator for Weddings!

What is A Day-of-Coordinator and What Does A Day-of-Coordinator Do? 

When I speak to people outside of the wedding industry, the look on their faces says it all when I ask them if they are familiar with what a Day-of-Coordinator (DOC) is.  It's usually a combination of a blank stare or I see in their eyes that "inquiring minds want to know" expression.

More Wedding Coordinators actually find themselves being hired for DOC's than for the Full-Planning of a weddings.  Every Coordinator is different yet similar in what they offer in this type of package.  It's many a Wedding Coordinator's dream to only do Full-Planning in comparison.  Don't get me wrong!  I do both!

Let's dispel some myths!

Myth #1:  A Day-of-Coordinator is a miracle worker!  According to some!
My mouth about dropped to the floor when I read somewhere that a person should hire a Day-of-Coordinator because they would keep people from getting drunk at a wedding!  Okay!  I'd hate to inform that person that that does not fall within a DOC's responsibility or capability.  Even bartenders can only try their best on this one.  Weddings are so unpredictable when it comes to guests' behavior.   I often say, "Only at weddings and funerals are people so unpredictable!"

Myth #2:  A Day-of-Coordinator only works on the day of the wedding.
Whether it is a request from a lead list or speaking to a bride in person for the first time, the most common misconception is that a Day-of-Coordination (DOC) is only for the day of the wedding.   Usually a bride wants to really make it clear that a Coordinator understands that it is only for the wedding day.  It isn't a case that they wouldn't like to have a Full-Planning package, but it is more of a statement of being afraid of spending the money, but they realize they need some help.  Contrary to the popular opinion, there really is no such thing as a "Day-of" anything for a wedding professional.  For instance, an average of 40-80 hours of work goes into a DOC before the wedding day! 

Myth #3:  A Day-of-Coordinator will find all the vendors you still need.
Seldom is this the case.  This is actually more in line with a Full-Planning option.  For this reason, many Coordinators have a planning package that falls somewhere in between the two options.  It is part of the reason I don't list my price.  No two brides are alike and neither are their weddings.  

Myth #4:  No Coordinator can possibly help a bride within a month of the wedding! 
Wrong!  We can.  The fact is, that we often get requests for DOC's within 3-6 months before a wedding. The closest I've had is about 6 weeks.  It's usually when a bride begins to feel overwhelmed and is honest with herself to realize she needs some help and wants to be able to enjoy her wedding day.  Depending on how deeply she has involved her family to help on the wedding day, many of them can also relax instead of work on the wedding day, too.  Sometimes life situations change and it really is important to hire someone to help.

So What Does A Day-of-Coordinator Do? 

1.  A DOC (from hereon out referred to as a Coordinator) will have a consultation with the bride and groom and really get to know them and their vision of their wedding.

2.  A Coordinator will get all of the contact information for the vendors, professional and non-professional alike and begin communicating with them almost immediately.  A Coordinator cannot do a legal review of vendor or venue contracts but can look for trouble spots or see if what the bride and groom want can happen within the parameters of the contract.

3.  A Coordinator will get the contact information of the bridal party so that they can be reached at any time to make sure everyone knows what they will be doing and they know to contact the Coordinator if they have any questions of problems.

4.  A Coordinator will get the contact information of the family members on both sides.  It is important to know right from the beginning any of the family dynamics such as divorces, step-parents, to prevent any awkward moments later on!  

5.  A Coordinator will almost immediately take a tour of the venue because this is where the biggest surprises can come up.  Assumptions are made that can lead to a lot of trouble.  Also, a layout will be developed for the space as it will be used for the wedding/reception or both.  One instance will stay in my mind forever.  A bride hired me for a DOC and upon visiting the venue, I knew that there wasn't a chair cover on the market at that time that would cover the black chairs at the venue.  Keep in mind that it was culturally undesirable to have black in the wedding.  She had ordered $600 worth of chair covers and sashes to rent.  Fortunately, she got her money back and we found a solution with wooden chairs with seat cushions that matched one of her wedding colors.  The best part is that this solution cost less that the chair covers and sashes.

6.  A Coordinator will create a timeline that will give everyone involved a clear picture of what will be happening and when.  These can vary from one Coordinator to the next as far how detailed they are, but they will allow for cushions of time to help things go according to plan as much as possible.

7.  A Coordinator will be able to handle the disasters and more often than not, in such a way that the bride will not even know that anything happened.  Lets say it depends on the magnitude of the disaster!   A venue I worked at often one summer will not be one that I will work at for a wedding any time soon unless changes are made.  Let's leave it at an electrical fire and 3 weddings with backed up plumbing!  

8.  A Coordinator will pay special attention to guests that she is informed of that might need some extra attention.  It can be as simple as attending to someone who is unable to walk through the buffet line.

9.  A Coordinator will act as the liaison between the client and the venue and any one working the wedding.  They will also be on the lookout for anything that might potentially keep a client from getting their damage deposit back.

10.  A Coordinator will be available first thing in the day to receive all deliveries until the very end.

One more thing to note.  Rehearsals are not always included in DOC packages.  So be sure to ask if that is included or if it will be a separate cost.

So there you have it!  A glimpse into the life of a Day-of-Coordinator!