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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wedding Day Tour Guide.

Hello to all couples getting married within the next 12 months or so!  Yes in Washington State..we are past the one year mark of same-sex marriages being legal.  Time flies!  I want to bring everyone on board to what we offer for services.  

One product has taken a lot of time to develop and we have it included in our wedding planning packages in our "The Inquiring:  Wedding Day Tour Guide"  When I create the "Tour Guide" for a wedding, I always make copies for all of the people who have a role in the wedding.  That would include the venues, vendors, wedding party and participating family members.  Pretty much anyone who is working the wedding or if you think about who is going to be in the pictures taken that day.  The benefit is not having to herd wedding rabbits nearly as much when it is time for toasts, pictures, lining up for the ceremony and so much more.

Due to not wanting other vendors to see exactly what my timeline looks like unless they participate in a wedding I plan, I can't show you what it looks like but I'll do my best to describe it.  The "Wedding Day Tour Guide" provides information on all activities from 8:00 AM - midnight in 15 minute increments or less from setup time to breakdown.  All of the vendors (including those who might not actually be at the wedding) are listed with all of their contact information.  I refer to it as the "Who are ya goin' to call...?" section.  If there are any troubles at all, with one glance you've got all of the information you need.  Each vendor is given a color and the activities that they are involved are shaded with that particular vendor's color in a particular time slot.  It shows how long a vendor is going to be there and also when there's an important moment for them to be aware of.  A bartender wants to know well ahead of time when the toasts are going to take place.  A family member might want to know when he/she needs to be at a particular location for a picture.  I could go on and on.

You might think that you can do this easily enough, but what you don't know can and most probably will hurt you.  We have had years of experience planning weddings, know what needs to be set up first and when a vendor needs to be there so that the cake won't melt by the time the reception is well enough along to start serving cake.  We see trouble spots as we are preparing a timeline.  We even look at contracts to see that what you are expecting is actually in the contract.  

Basically, with the "Wedding Day Tour Guide" you are as close to having a 'Day-of"Coordinator as possible.  If you were to hire a "Day-of" Coordinator for $500.00 you are probably getting someone who is inexperienced.

Our clients are asked to have all of the planning finalized 30 days prior to their wedding day.  If there are changes within the last 30 days, additional charges will be applied.  Each week the "change fees" will be doubled starting at $25.00 per change.  

Here's something that really surprised me when I did my first independent wedding timeline when I was not the actual planner for the wedding.  Every time I looked up at the clock, I found myself thinking, "Now they're cutting the cake" or "Now they're having their first dance!"  That's how much we really get into knowing your wedding day like the back of our hands!  I didn't expect that, but it made me feel good that we had all of the bases covered.

Since I am not actually there on the wedding day, I do have a disclaimer that even with a "Wedding Day Tour Guide", I cannot guarantee how well the wedding day will go.  Everything needs to be executed and I cannot possibly know if there is going to be a power outage or when an unruly little ring bearer is going to send the wedding cake flying!  It is a wedding and you know how they can be sometimes.  They can take on a life of their own!

As always...

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Contact Greatest of Days

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Planning Weddings and Events with Less Stress: The Media is Walking Down the Wrong Aisle When it ...

Planning Weddings and Events with Less Stress: The Media is Walking Down the Wrong Aisle When it ...: In a perfect world, there comes a point in time after the news media repeatedly paints an industry with a broad brush (with old dried up pai...

The Media is Walking Down the Wrong Aisle When it Comes to Weddings!

In a perfect world, there comes a point in time after the news media repeatedly paints an industry with a broad brush (with old dried up paint), that one of two things happens.  They either realize it's ineffective and unhelpful or they finally revisit their medium to be able to paint something that ends up as a beautiful or informative piece of work.  I'm talking about the "news" media as in the "reports" from the major networks and those that piggyback on those reports about the wedding industry.  I really don't want to call them reports because they aren't supporting fact!  Their concerns are for creating a story, not stating facts or helping consumers that they are preying upon.  Those consumers happen to be the same people that the wedding industry serves.  The media is doing a great disservice to these consumers.

One major point that the media won't point out, is that when a couple is planning a wedding for hopefully the first and only time, there is going to be a huge revelation that is bigger and it comes before sticker shock.  It's the fact that there are so many more details involved in a wedding than they imagined.  Of course, they wouldn't realize that the typical wedding employs from beginning to end (including after the wedding) a total of 16-20 vendors and sometimes more!  This shock is as big as any shock they'll get but when you add dollars to each of those categories of services, a couple very likely is going to be overwhelmed. However, it needs to be remembered to not blame the messenger.

It's time that the wedding industry was represented in a way that truly would help those seeking their services.  It's not even yesterday's news that the media sensationalizes the cost of weddings without analyzing the costs associated with each wedding vendor's services.  Let's remember that people are not forced to seek vendors for any more services than they want.  Want and need can be different to every couple when they envision their wedding.  Dare I be the one to say that this generation of typical brides and grooms has never been taught the difference between want and need?  They tend to want something as if they were entitled to it whether it fits into their budget or not...after all it is their wedding day!  Shouldn't everyone just want to provide their services below cost so that they can have the type of wedding day they want?  Well, welcome to the real world!  You can't have it both ways.  If you want cheap, you can get cheap, but if you want perfection (which is different for every couple) more attention and/or staffing is necessary.   Yes, for those reporters who can probably afford anything they want, this is the world that we and our clients deal with in reality.  FYI!  Not many wedding vendors are living high off the hog.

It goes against most couples' judgment to hire a Wedding Planner to help them work within their budget and help the couple set their priorities.  I'm talking about professional planners who come closest to knowing the wedding industry like the backs of their hands as much as anyone.  For heaven's sake "Media", don't pretend that you know your stuff when you don't!  Wedding Planners live, eat and breathe weddings and have to know a great deal about ALL of the variants of the many vendor categories.

When the media talks about services for a wedding and reception they don't know the difference between apples from oranges.  We're not talking about a holiday dinner nor a nice dinner out.  There's no comparison in the level of service which is required for a wedding.  Do you have a lengthy consultation with the chef or restaurant owner before you dine at their establishment?  Do you have special linens ordered for a dinner out?  Do you request that the background music be adjusted to only the music that you like.  Do you insist that your table have a centerpiece that only matches your favorite colors?  Do you want a deluxe invitation to inform your guests for your dinner out?  Do you insist on place cards being at everyone's special place at the table?Do you basically want the restaurant to not have any other guests there that you don't know?  Do you ask them to replace the chairs with ones that are more to your liking or ask them to cover them up?  Do you have to have a reservation or not?  Do you have to select from the menu or request everything in the kitchen that day to be just what you want?  Caterers are not operating like a grocery store or a restaurant.  It's neither a la carte style nor is it just ordering what you feel like at that moment from a short order cook.  A caterers worst nightmare is to run out of food, but I'll bet you've heard it more than once at a regular restaurant that they ran out of the special for the day. 

I think instead of the media blasting the wedding industry, they should spend 6 months prior and during the wedding season working alongside a wedding vendor and then find time for marketing and taking care of the financial responsibilities for that vendor to see what keeps them working long after the open signed has been turned around or has been shut off.  And while they're at it, don't make any plans for weekends during the entire summer.  Also don't look puzzled when you ask that particular wedding vendor "Why in the heck do you do this?" and their response is "Because I love it!"

As always...

Wishing you the greatest of Days!

Janis Flagg opened and co-owns Greatest of Days in 2007 when asked by guests at a wedding reception if she planned weddings for a living.  This was after she kept excusing herself from the guests' table to go to the kitchen, speak with the bride and groom or check on the delay of the champagne toasts.  She had done numerous events and weddings for friends and families for over 20 years prior to that day, but a light bulb turned on due to that one question.  Greatest of Days still plans weddings on a case-by-case basis, teaches event planning classes to engaged couples, small businesses and organizations hosting events.  Janis founded and organized a wedding and vendors networking group and also officiates for non-denominational weddings.  Greatest of Days has also expanded to planning Celebration of Life events and finds it most rewarding.  Greatest of Days was one of the first Wedding Planners in Washington State to be interviewed and accepted to be listed as a vendor on the site.  All submissions have to be approved and can be edited before appearing on this wedding resource for the LGBTQ community.

Next on the list is finishing a book! 

Where you'll find Greatest of Days.