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7 Mistakes Couples Make That Can Ruin Their Wedding Budget

By | Biggest Wedding Planning Mistakes, Wedding Budget, Wedding Budget Tips, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Cost, Wedding Planner | No Comments

Engaged couple meeting with their wedding plannerPlanning well ahead of your wedding can help you avoid some of the most common budget mistakes couples make that can ruin their special day. Many couples hire a wedding and event manager to take on the hard tasks, but not everyone has the money to do that, so if you can’t, you’re not alone. As a couple, you should sit down and work out how much you have to spend, what you want to spend it on, and how you want your ceremony and reception to proceed. Do you want a band or a DJ? Banners and bunting? What about the catering, wedding cars, the bride and bridesmaids dresses, the groom and groomsmen, the photographer? What will it all cost?  Should you have an extra 10 per cent in case of cost averages?

Wedding planners advise couples to begin with an attitude of ‘how much can we spend?’ Rather than ‘how far can we stretch our budget?’ You can learn from the professionals, so do your research on wedding and event planner websites for tips, and read the following information on how to avoid budget pitfalls and remember, failing to plan means you plan on failing.

1. Don’t Skip Over the Fine Print

Carefully read all the contracts related to your wedding before you sign them because this is where your costs can blow out unless you read the fine print. You could be up for surcharges and extra fees if things don’t go according to plan. You could be charged for staying at the venue over the time agreed upon. The band or DJ might be kept back as well, or the flowers might not be available, so they have to be swapped at the last minute for more expensive bouquets. So take the time to fully understand the terms and conditions before you commit to a service or product.

2. Do Your Research

Couples need a clear understanding of the vendors they will need to hire and what they will charge. Do your research to find the right photographer who will capture all those special moments. What about the venue? Do you want a big church wedding with the reception at a different venue, a relaxed ceremony on the beautiful beach where you met, or something in between? Call the venues and churches etc. and find out what they charge, then create a rough budget out of the costs.

Engaged couple making key decisions about budget with their wedding planner3. Don’t Go Overboard

The biggest mistakes many couples make are borrowing from the wrong lender and overdoing it on the amount. These days, it’s a lot for a young couple to come up with the expenses of a wedding. Many couples are financing their wedding with a personal loan. The way to avoid borrowing too much is by having a repayment plan within your budget and shop around for lenders who are in tune with your financial situation. That doesn’t mean the bride has to skimp on areas such as hiring a professional makeup artist and hair stylist or wearing a less than gorgeous wedding dress. If you need to cut corners, try doing without some of the smaller things, so the major necessities are covered.

4. Keep Track of Your Spending

Keep an eye on what you spend, especially the small purchases which have a habit of creeping up on you. Every dollar adds up, and before you know it, you’re in the red trying to work out where all the money went. So keep tabs on every cent, not just the major expenses, so your budget stays on track. You could set up a spreadsheet or other tool to track every cent that you spend throughout your wedding planning process. Also, be sure to understand the total price, including additional fees and taxes, before you sign a contract.

 

Engaged Couple planning their wedding

5. Make Spending Decisions With Head Not Heart

Weddings are emotional experiences, there’s no doubting that. But in the planning stage, try to make spending decisions with your head rather than your heart, especially if you haven’t finalised the date, location, and the number of guests. You might change your mind and won’t need whatever you have bought, so it’s money wasted.

6. Don’t Spend Too Much Too Soon on DIY

If you’re planning to take charge of some of the wedding details yourself rather than hiring a vendor – such as asking Mum to make the wedding cake or Aunt Doris to take care of the flowers – do a road test on them before the big day. Also, test out whatever part of the day you want to design yourself, in case you decide to do something different or find that what you had in mind won’t work so you don’t buy supplies you won’t need.

7. Don’t Make Invitation Mistakes

Make sure you have a firm idea of who you are going to invite before you order the wedding invitations. It might seem like a small thing, but every cent counts, and you don’t want to be left with a box of expensive invitation cards that won’t be used. Another invitation mistake is getting the names and addresses wrong and having to resend them. Stamps and envelopes cost money, and it’s another area where it seems like a small thing, but it will matter.

To save all the hassle, the stress, and the mistakes, Dee Gaubert of No Worries Event Planning and Design can coach you through the all important tasks of developing a concise, realty-checked budget with her Budget Consulting services. Email dee@noworriesep.com today!

 

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Alex Morrison has been a SEO Expert for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, business consultant and health care.

Summer is Here! | Financially Surviving Wedding Season as a Guest

By | Charlie Blog, Financial Tips for Wedding Planning, Money Saving Tips for Wedding Guests, Wedding Guest Tips, Wedding Guests, Wedding Planner, Wedding Toast Tips | No Comments

From Dee:  Financial foundations are so important, for both wedding-related business owners and engaged couples counting every penny as they build their budget.  But, what about wedding guests?  Having been one myself, it adds up!  Our friends at Charlie have some excellent tips for wedding guests struggling to get by this summer without breaking the bank.  And, be sure to check out their website for timely, easy-to-follow financial advice.  Enjoy!

According to the New York Times, the average wedding guest spends nearly $900 to partake in the festivities. That price tag can make your wallet want to say, “I don’t!” — especially if your wedding season dance card is full.

But don’t worry. Charlie knows a bunch of money-saving hacks so you can catch the bouquet without breaking the bank!

Set a Budget and Prioritize

Take a peek at your finances and determine exactly how much you can spend on the occasion without wreaking havoc on your budget. Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to create a spending plan.

You can stay near the venue in style, rival the bride for beauty, or be the best gift giver ever — but you may not be able to afford to do it all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to make some trade-offs to stay within your set limits. For example, if you want to give a lavish gift, that could mean forgoing the expensive salon visit the morning of the ceremony.

Tip: Charlie can help you plan ahead by starting a new savings goal called “wedding.”

Photo by Brady Puryear

Pool Resources

Try going in on wedding attendance expenses with family and friends. You can split the cost of lodging, transportation, and even the gift. That way, everyone saves some cash and can still fully take part in the experience.

Beautify Yourself (or Find a Deal)

If you’ve got the skills, skip the pricey salon and do your own hair, makeup, and mani-pedi. DIY’ing your beauty regimen will save you some serious cash. (You may even already have the supplies on hand!) Afraid of looking like Elizabeth Holmes? Ask a friend to help paint your face and braid their hair in trade.

If you really want to be pampered, check Groupon to score a deal on the service. You can also reach out to local beauty schools. Often, their students will gussy you up for much less dough than a pro.

Re-wear or Rent Attire

There is zero shame in wearing a killer dress (or suit) twice. So save your wallet and rock that outfit again! You can also raid a friend’s closet to wear something that’s new to you. But — if you must wear something brand new, consider renting your ensemble for a fraction of the price of buying it off the rack.

Surviving weddings financially as a guest

Photo by Courtney Lindberg Photography

Make Your Gift

If you’ve got the talent, why not use it to make something heartfelt and budget friendly? Your newlyweds will appreciate the gesture and will likely cherish it over another set of wine glasses.

Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Sing a song at the reception
  • Make the centerpieces on the dinner tables
  • Offer to photograph the event
  • Create a scrapbook about their relationship
  • Knit a blanket for their couch or bed
  • Paint their new family portrait

Still feeling uninspired? Pinterest has got you covered!

Just Say No

Although it hurts to check “will not attend” on the RSVP card, remember: an invitation to a wedding is a request, not a requirement. Sometimes your wallet just can’t swing it and that’s OK. If that happens, confidently decline with your regrets and send a little (perhaps homemade) gift in your place.

Final Thoughts

Being a wedding guest can be crazy expensive — but it doesn’t have to be. Every element of the experience can be optimized to fit your budget. So go ahead and feel the love while enjoying your fatter bank account.

 

 

Advice for the New or Prospective Real Estate Investor

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Financial Planning, Passive Income, Real Estate Investment, Revenue Streams | No Comments
I know this site is all about weddings – business stips for wedding pros, and planning tips for engaged couples.  But a big part of my life is being a “mini” real estate investor – one of those many landlords of one or two small pieces of property as a side source of revenue or retirement investment.  It served to offset taxes (somewhat) while I built my business, and also allowed me to miss a few years of retirement savings while I built my business (since you’re not exactly making a killing the first 2-4 years).  So, having my condo really helped provide stability during my business, and I thought this post would assist small business owners and also, for engaged couples planning their long term finances. THus 0 this post! I hope you enjoy it and please ask me any questions – dee@noworriesep.com

How I bought my first property

First of all, I’m only just now onto my SECOND piece of property – a house that we are moving into shortly, as a family.  In 2005, I bought a condo, lived in it until 2009, and since then have rented it and officially became a real estate investor. The housing market was insane at that time; cash investors were swooping in and multiple (like 10..15…20) offers were coming in on houses hot and heavy, as people were taking advantage of the downswing of the economy. Given I was pregnant and wanting to have the option to work part time, start a business (natch :) ) or stay home with the baby for about a year, we figured best to rent.  And that was a good call. (It’s not always a good time to buy – don’t be hard on yourself if you rent.  Buying and owning is expensive in many markets, like ours here in L.A.)
So, now that you know the backstory, my first purchase in 2005 was way too easy.  It was during the housing boom. My FICO score was very good, and I got a ‘stated income’ loan where I literally didn’t have to provide any proof of income. And I only had to put down a 3% deposit.  The condo was $240k for a grand total of 842 square feet.  (By the way, the value soared in 6 months to a peak of $300kI! Yeah, those were crazy days.) I wanted very badly to have real estate investment, and even considered buying cheaper property out of state to add to our portfolio, as a long term piece of side revenue and side hustle.

A Real Estate Investor for The Long Term

In this specific market – the housing bubble of 2004-2008 – you had to carefully play the market to flip a house for 6 figures overnight.  If you were an everyday “Jane” like me, you had to be patient, and make it a long game.  It wasn’t until recently that I could raise the rent to pay for the mortgage – I basically put the amount of a proper down payment into the condo after the fact, in small bits, month by month.  In this case, the cost was wildly overinflated, and at odds with the current low rent I could charge.
But, I refinanced 2 more times to a nice low interest rate, looked at increasing rent once the market increased, finally found a property manager, and now the condo will pay for itself.  Also, interest is a write off, as you probably already know (though beware of the new tax reform that has limited how much can be written off for some homeowners).

Passive Rental Income During Retirement

When it’s paid off, right before my husband and I retire, we will likely earn $30k-45k a year, depending on rents, how often it’s vacant, and maintenance. (Basically, our ‘backup fund’ in case our investments go haywire, have high medical copays, etc.  Of course we are diligently saving as much as we can to retirement and long term investment accounts. it isn’t always easy, but we do our best.  CVS Coupons add up, haha!) We strive to charge middle-market rent – we want to be fair, find responsible tenants, and have enhancements throughout – granite countertops, hardwood floors, neutral paint, and consistently updated appliances.

Advice for Working With Tenants

Before I bought the condo, I met with a real estate attorney, and it was the best thing I could have done.  Laws vary from state to state, and the attorney was able prepare me for the best and worst case scenarios.  This advice helped manage my expectations and allow me to make excellent decisions during tough situations.
Overall, I’m so glad I invested in the condo, and I recommend it for those with a strong stomach for calculated risk and mild stress (i.e., wedding planners!).  And again – any questions, shoot me a note anytime at dee@noworriesep.com!

Increase SEO: How to Make Blogging A Regular Habit

By | Blogging for Wedding Planners, Blogging Tips, Business Consulting for Creatives, Business Development, Finding Time to Blog, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

How many times have you been told to calendar your marketing activities, just as if they were client appointments?  “Then THAT way I’ll actually blog/social post/network on a regular basis, like I’m supposed to!”, you keep thinking.  Well, as someone who worked in the events industry, thus with a mutable, ever-changing schedule, this just wasn’t working.  What did work? Making it a habit. I didn’t set a perfect schedule – but still managed to blog every 7 to 10 days for the majority of my business, creating a valuable niche audience and consistent engagement and SEO.  Read below to find out how I made blogging a regular part of my business, with a minimum of effort.

Make blogging a weekly habit

There’s a difference between scheduled activities and habitual activities.  For example, I now workout about 5 times a week.  In my head, I know that I will probably not workout 1x over the weekend due to famliy activities, and probably 1x during the week depending on what networking event or other work-related activities may pop up.  I simply then workout the other evenings when I’m free.  I started this routine for 2-3 weeks, and now, it’s like clockwork.  Every night that I arrive home and don’t have somewhere else to go to, I simply change into my workout gear, and once my son is done with his homework and dinner, I … work out. I don’t calendar it, I just do it.  I have a WEEKLY quota – i.e., “Workout regularly” is my weekly task, not a daily one.

The same has to happen for your blogging.  Make a note at the beginning of every week:  “Write one blog post.”  Every time you sit down to your computer, think, “Do I have time to work on my blog?”  Take 5 minutes if you can to add to your list of ideas, to shoot an email to a photographer to get photos of your latest wedding, or to log into the backend of your website to draft the first few words of your blog.  If that’s all you can handle, no problem.  Next time you sit down to your computer, ask yourself again if you have time to work on the blog. Even better, stick a post it on your computer that always says, “Blog!” and you’ll find yourself tackling your posts once you’re done with the main business of the day.

The reason why I suggest this for event planners, is because if we try to calendar in these regular marketing tasks, these appointments with ourselves nearly ALWAYS get kicked of the calendar by a last minute errand for a client, a meeting that FINALLY came together for a site inspection, etc. etc.  Our work is not desk-based- we’re running around all over the place, so it’s harder to lock in times and dates for this type of computer-based work since we’re not always sitting at a laptop.  These tasks have to surround our other work, and slot into our schedule once we find we have a free moment.

For me, the best time was always late afternoon or early evening, when everything was done for the day. I would find myself with about 20 minutes left to work on social media or blogging.  After awhile, it became such a habit, that I automatically would start to work on blogging once my day was complete – I didn’t have to look at a checklist to remind myself. It became…a habit.

Paris wedding destination planner Blogging

Blogging about my first Paris wedding led to other online inquiries, and, you guessed it, more Paris weddings! Photo by Yann Audic of Lifestories Wedding, dress by Vera Wang.

Small tasks lead to big momentum

It’s proven that starting small on an initiative leads to larger tasks being completed. So, say you have a stolen 5 minutes as you wait for a client to arrive for a meeting – that’s a great time to add blog ideas to your Notes app on your phone. Or, you find yourself done with a timeline draft earlier than you thought, and have a few minutes before tackling your next to-do of the day.  Take that stolen 20 minutes and upload some photos to your website for a ‘real wedding’ inspiration post.  By the end of the week, you will likely have a completed blog post.  Using these small slots in your day for mini-tasks, pays off in a big way.

Ask for help, if needed, to maintain your blogging calendar

There are also people who just don’t enjoy writing, unlike me (I liked it better than the actual wedding planning, believe it or not!) – and there are so many resources on the web for assisting your blog creation. Search Instagram, sites like Fiverr, Facebook, and other portals to find cost effective bloggers to assist you in pulling photos, drafting posts, even writing entire posts.  Interns and assistants can also make big progress for you behind the scenes, so you feel a sense of momentum without the struggle of putting pen to paper (or rather, finger to key).

Is blogging really that important these days?

Yes! It is.  Google is still a hungry beast for keywords (learn more about a key shift in their algorithms here, and the latest update here), and if you feed the beast, your SEO will increase, and you’ll start getting inquiries and collaboration requests from related brands that will even further increase your visibility.  Due to my solid SEO, I was able to branch out into corporate events, for example, as well as draw in wedding inquiries.  And, aside from a small investment into freelancers or your assistant, should you go that route, it’s a very low cost enterprise – with rich returns.

With this advice, you’ll be well on your way to making blogging a regular part of your work week.

Need any more tips or insight into your social media strategy?  Email me at dee@noworriesep.com and I’ll be happy to help!

Former Client Referrals : The Foundation of a Wedding Planner’s Business

By | Client Referrals Wedding Planning, Event Planning Business Advice, Event Planning Education, Event Planning Workshops, Generating Wedding Referrals, Referrals, Wedding Planner, Wedding Planner Pricing | No Comments

When I was a wedding planner, one of my top sources of referrals were, of course, past clients.  The market has evolved quite a bit already in the past two years since I’ve wound down my business, now that more and more ‘gig’ coordinators and planners are showcasing their services for well below market rate.  Securing client referrals is important for any event planner.  Here’s some tips for how to encourage and increase these referrals. First:

Why do I need client referrals?

Number one reason: They are qualified referrals!  The couple referring you can already vouch that you are what you’re worth (i.e. your price is right), and that you are invaluable to the wedding planning process.  They have already convinced the couple that they need you – that they SHOULDN’T DIY their wedding, or rely on their second cousin to run the big day.  Half the battle is already fought in convincing them of your worth, because former clients have referred you.  This is why client referrals are often the foundation of any quality wedding planning business.

Wedding Planner Client Referrals with Favors

Don’t forget, your couples may need you for baby showers in a few years, too! Photo by Mibelle.

How do I encourage referrals?

Upon closing the event, after you’ve sent your thank you and made a tasteful request for an online review, you can finish your message letting the couple know that you have special incentives and rewards for any referral they send to you that results in closed business. Maybe it’s a $20 Starbucks card, or gift card at a store they featured on their registry.

Should you be friends with your clients?

Another way to connect with clients is to connect with them on social media (I highly recommend AFTER the event, when you truly know you will be comfortable being friends with them on all your social channels).  Then, you can post on social media from time to time a call to action (“the holidays are coming up!  I’m happy to chat with your newly engaged friends or relatives about their wedding plans!” etc.).  I have actually booked closed business this way, and you will too – by gradually adding past clients to your social media network, you stay connected and have that crucial opportunity to advertise to an audience that already knows and trusts you.

 

Tips for Wedding Gifting: Bridal Party, Family, Vendors, and More!

By | Bridal Party, Bridal Party Gifts, Groovy Groomsmen Gifts | No Comments

From Dee:  One of the questions I was asked most as a  wedding planner was, “What do I get my guys??” Groovy Groomsmen Gifts is one of the best sources out there for groomsmen presents, and has become a go-to for many wedding planners.  We asked our friends there for more good advice for buying gifts not just for groomsmen, but all members of the bridal party. Read on!

Taking the time to find the right gift for your loved ones on your wedding day is a no brainer.  It has actually become an expected tradition.  Of course, right?  These folks made an effort to be there, not only on your special day, but supporting you every step of the way.  I’d say that’s more than enough to earn them a thank you gift!  There are general wedding favors for your entire guestlist, but there are also specific people, like the ones in your wedding party, who have played a larger role than most.  These integral people cannot be missed when it comes to gift giving.

Here’s a helpful guide to pinpoint who should be at the top of the bride and groom’s gift list:

Get a Gift for Each Other

The simplest ideas are often forgotten.  The most obvious person you should gift to is the one you are about to spend the rest of your life with.  Thank them for making the lifelong commitment to you.  You’re about to start your new life together, and the best way to celebrate that is by giving each other a gift.  It doesn’t need to break the bank, as you can choose to give sweet tokens that express your love and commitment from this day forward.  The best gifts are the ones that come with a secret engraved message. It could be a piece of jewelry, a journal, a memory box, or even a simple card expressing your love for each other. Think back to the places you’ve visited and the adventures you’ve had.  Find small tokens that remind your future spouse that you appreciate the time you spend together.  Simply thank each other for the success of your first major step together as a couple – your wedding day!

Purchase a Gift for Your Parents

Bridesmaids in Blush and nude bridesmaid gowns

Photo by Sally Pinera

Where would you both be without your parents?  The unconditional support they have given through the years is priceless.  Give honor to whom honor is due by spending the time and money to thank them for their enduring commitment to you.  Your wedding day is an ideal time to honor your parents for raising you to be the loving person you are today. Let your thank you gift express all the gratitude that is in your heart.  If you have a difficult time thinking of an item your parents may enjoy, check out a retirement gift site that will have many ideas.  You may also include in this list, grandparents, siblings,and anyone considered as close family. It doesn’t need to be a physical gift wrapped in a box, as a special meal at their favorite restaurant can be just as appreciated as any present.

Find a Gift for Your Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids

Your besties!  The ladies who have done so much to help make you the woman you are today.  Through good times and bad, they have been with you every step of the way.  They have also played a major role in making your wedding a success. Your best friends deserve no less than the best thank you gifts.

The gift you carefully choose for these ladies must be from the heart.  Let your gift speak of the special connection you share by giving a personalized piece of jewelry, a gift card for a spa day, or even a weekend get-away to a favorite destination. Creative gifts, like custom wine labels to gift your girls with their favorite cabernet, or elegant engraved jewelry, will make an impact and feel truly personalized.  Also consider finding something they can all wear on your wedding day morning as you’re drinking Mimosas getting ready for the festivities – getting-ready robes, pashmina scarves, studs, necklace or even shoes! Your gift will show your appreciation for the important role they play and also leave them with a lasting memory of your wedding every time they wear these items.

Customized Wine Bottle for Wedding Bridesmaid GiftsGrab a Gift for Your Best Man and Groomsmen

They have helped the groom in so many ways. Just for the wedding they’ve probably arranged the bachelor party, prepared their wedding toast, ran errands, and made sure everything goes as planned on the big day.  Thanking these men with a gift is the best way to show how much they mean to both of you.

For your best man, get him a gift that will leave a lasting impression – like a day at the golf course or a trip to a favorite destination. You can also go for classic gifts like a wristwatch or a flask, and have them personalized with his name or initials.  Or, find something cool they can all wear on your wedding day- like cufflinks, a tie that has the same color for each one, or even customized sneakers for the party.

Customizable Watches for Wedding Groomsmen Gifts

 

Give a Gift to Your Flower Girls and Ring Bearer

Your wedding entourage comes in all sizes and ages.  These are the kids who will bring the “Ahhs” and “Ohhs” at your wedding.  From walking down the aisle on their way to performing their jobs, to cutting a rug on the dance floor, these little ones truly making lasting memories at your wedding and bring a little comic relief.  Depending on their age, prepare something that will keep them busy for long events. This can be anything like board games, crafts, sticker books, toys, and other fun gifts.  You may also give them something they can wear on your wedding day like a piece of jewelry, a nicely designed bag, or a themed shirt they can throw on during the reception.

Provide a Gift to Your Close Friends

Depending on the size of your wedding party, unfortunately everyone can’t make the cut.  There are certain functions in your wedding that you choose close friends to do but they are not part of your wedding party – these are the candle lighters, ushers, guest book attendants, readers, guitar player for the ceremony, a friend rendering a song for the reception.  A small token of thanks will go a long way for these friends who have gone out of their way to help make your day that much more special.  Don’t forget to slip a personal note of thanks in your gift because it will surely go a long way.  It can be a book, a journal, a bottle of wine, and so much more.

Pick Up a Gift for Your Wedding Planners and Suppliers, Helpers, and Other Important People

These men and women worked hard and put in their best effort in order to make your wedding the success it became. While many consider it to be optional to give them a gift, consider giving a token of thanks to your officiant, wedding coordinator, venue provider, caterer, and those who have played a vital role in ensuring that your wedding ceremony and reception will flow smoothly. A generous tip or leaving a good review of their business online would also go a long way to showing your appreciation.

Also under this category would be people who have helped you and played a special part in your wedding journey.  The cousin who gave you advice and helped take away your wedding jitters, the aunt who went dress shopping with you, and all other important people who volunteered to do a function or render a performance on your wedding day.

Showing gratitude to your spouse, parents, wedding party, close friends, and important people playing a special part on your wedding is always a welcome gesture.  Remember that your thank you gift need not cost you a fortune.  We’ve discussed several ways to say thanks that won’t break the bank.  You can always go for handmade gifts, a gift basket, a letter of appreciation, a poem- be as creative as you can be. To make the most impact, be sure to remember that your gift should have a personal touch. Aside from your thank you gifts, everyone’s presence in your wedding is important and deserves to be acknowledged. Don’t forget to distribute your unique wedding favors and make sure you don’t miss out on any of your guests.

No matter how big or small the gift, what makes the most impact is that you have made the occasion memorable for all the people who supported, made time, and exerted effort in making your wedding a magnificent event.

Rose Gold Wedding at Hummingbird Nest Ranch

By | Hummingbird Nest Ranch, Hummingbird Nest Ranch Wedding, Pivotal Media Productions, Real Genius Entertainment, Rose Gold, Zoom Theory | No Comments

If you’ve been in the wedding world in Los Angeles for any amount of time, then you know how legendary the Hummingbird Nest Ranch is.  It has several stunning areas for celebrating weddings, large and small. For this rose gold wedding, the couple choose a beautiful October weekend to celebrate their marriage. McCann Florist took the client’s inventive vision of roses, greenery, and rose gold and created a beautiful bouquet and centerpieces.  Photographer Meredith Gradishar from Zoom Theory captured it all on camera, and our good friend Shawn Tanowitz of Pivotal Media Productions filmed it all.  Another dear fellow colleague, DJ Randy Lehrman of Real Genius Entertainment, provided the perfect atmosphere with both lighting and a great set list.

Engagement and wedding ring photo on mosaic tile

Hummingbird Nest is famous for its mosaic tile, found throughout the Villa structure on property.

Pink rose and greenery bouquet with rose gold

Hummingbird Nest Ceremony area Villa Venue

Hummingbird nest ceremony venue with white chairs

Hummingbird wedding ceremony with drapes and wood chuppah

The Santa Ana winds kicked up big time the day of the wedding, and rentals vendor A Rental Connection made sure the arbor they provided for the chuppah was well-anchored and stabilized.  The wedding ceremony went without a hitch, with the stunning Santa Susana mountains in the distance.

Sunset wedding couple photo at hummingbird nest ranch

I cannot get over how beautiful this couple photo is.  Perfectly timed during the golden hour prior to sunset, and so wonderfully composed.  The setting of Hummingbird Nest Ranch is so perfect for capturing moments like these.

Sunset wedding reception at Villa at Hummigbird Nest Ranch for rose gold wedding

Rose Gold wedding cake

Can you believe this cake?  Baked and decorated by the bride’s cousin, it turned out perfectly and most ideal for a rose gold wedding! This is one of my favorite wedding cakes, ever.

Wedding floral centerpiece with rose gold and greenery

Villa wedding reception at Hummingbird Nest Ranch with white linens

Grand Entrance at Villa Hummingbird Nest Ranch with pink uplightingThe lighting, provided by Real Genius Entertainment, added visual impact to the grand entrance from the steps of the villa.

 

VENDORS:

Venue:  Hummingbird Nest Ranch

Photographer: Zoom Theory

Videographer: Pivotal Media Productions

Coordinator: No Worries Event Planning

DJ and Lighting: Real Genius Entertainment

Catering:  Command Performance

Rentals and Overhead Lighting:  A Rental Connection

Cake: Bride’s Cousin, Jessie :)

 

6 Ways to Ensure You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

By | For hers, Goal Setting, hers, New Year's Resolutions, Self Care, Tips for Setting Goals | No Comments

From Dee:  For you engaged couples out there, you’re counting down the days to your wedding day. For you business owners, it’s already the end of Q1.  Either way, time is flying!  Those New Years resolutions might already be fading – maybe your resolution to work out 5 days a week shrank to 3, or your goal to hire an assistant by February has been pushed off indefinitely. Regardless of your situation, I’ve become a big fan of hers because they’re all about promoting health and wellness in women, by not just providing carefully formulated products, but making it easy to source them. Check them out and read on for concrete advice to get your resolutions back on track.

Set Realistic Goals

Although it is okay to set high expectations for yourself, be careful not to aim too high or attempt to reach unrealistic objectives in the short-term. Don’t attempt to lose too much weight all at once, or expect your salary to double overnight. It takes time and a lot of effort to better yourself, so don’t fear the process and instead look forward to the finish line. Set clear and concise short-term goals that will eventually allow you to meet a long-term objective.
Setting Goals for New Years resolutions
Write It Down

Once you’ve decided on a short-term and/or long-term goal, make sure to write it down. Putting your objective on paper will help you better plan how you will reach it. You can break it down into manageable objectives or smaller accomplishments. Reaching each of these will give you a sense of pride in yourself and keep you on track. It could be as simple as saving money each week, or only eating 3 healthy meals every day. Prep by making an outline of how you will make this happen and what you can do to better yourself every day.

Set a Time-Frame

One of the keys to keeping you motivated to reach your goals is setting a reasonable time-frame. Sometimes that can mean a few weeks, months, or even the whole year, depending on what your goal is. Many will even set 10-year goals for themselves, with the hope to reach a certain financial or another life goal. Maybe you want to own a home by the time you’re 30, or want a new car. Saving takes time so plan for these goals to be accomplished over time. Adding tasks and major milestones to your phone calendar can help you keep track, as well as keep on task.

Setting Successful Fitness Goals
Get Into A Routine

Although you may have your mind set on reaching your desired goals, it can be hard to actually follow through. For those who plan their days by the hour and are self-sufficient, it can be easy to accomplish a lot during the day. But for those whose schedules may vary greatly throughout the week or month, finding time for your personal objectives is difficult. This can especially occur with those looking to start working out to stay fit. Finding reasons to not go to the gym can be easier than carving out an hour to exercise. The key is to create a workout regimen — there are several great gym routine resources online that can help with this. Getting a planner or scheduling each activity during your week will make the process much easier, no matter your end goal.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Support

There will be many times that you will temporarily lose track of your goals or believe you can’t reach the objective you’ve set. For this reason, make sure you have a solid support system around you consisting of family and friends that will keep you going. Pick those who you can trust and have a positive attitude. When times get tough, don’t be afraid to turn to them for motivation. During the hard times, it’s good to know there are people who are there for you.
Setting successful new years resolutions that last
Never Give Up

Keep in mind that there will be times where you neglect your goals, or want to give up completely. Don’t let that discourage you, and if you keep on track even with the occasional slip-up, you will reach your objectives. It may be something as simple as trying to improve the quality of your skin, or stop excess spending on non-essentials. Even if you aren’t seeing immediate results, don’t give up! You have to stay motivated and know that with time, you will see progress. Never doubt yourself and stay positive, that’s the best way to overcome adversity and accomplish anything!

Keep Those Clients Coming: How To Build Your Referral Business

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting for Creatives, Business Development, Getting More Clients, Networking, Oscar Party Tips | No Comments

After I wound down my wedding planning company, I started working in venue sales.  When I interviewed with prospective employers, they always asked me what my approach would be to selling.  All I had to say was, when I first started my company, I had to start from nothing, and at first, nearly every single piece of business, every client, I earned was from an outbound lead.  It was all about attracting clients in any way possible – a huge hustle.

In other words, unlike a big, well known company or name brand – like Four Seasons, say, or The Gap – I had no brand awareness, not even many contacts, in either the wedding industry or the world at large. I had to hustle.  But, it worked; my first year, I booked 16 weddings, and by year 3, I had a fully booked calendar, almost purely from referral (the small percentage that weren’t, were booked off my website). Here are a few tips on how I did it.

Meme wedding planning clients

Be a Diplomat – and Venues will Refer You To Clients

A major problem venues run into with their wedding planner colleagues are how biased they can be towards their clients. Now, of course, your client comes first.  But, clients are always right.  Yet, some event planners will take their clients’ completely unrealistic and unfair requests to the hotel or venue and make foolish and rude demands on their behalf.  Instead, the planner should lovingly and calmly educate their clients on how to modulate their request to be reasonable and realistic.  Wedding planners who do this not only have clients who appreciate their expertise and credibility, but they immediately rise to the top of most venues’ lists for referrals.  The majority of my referral business came from venues.

Beach Wedding Los Angeles With Tent

It’s all about your network! For this wedding, the hotel (Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach) referred me to the couple; then I referred them to the tent vendor (LM Productions), the DJ (Vox DJs), and the florist (Lotus and Lily). Photo by Nicole Caldwell Photography.

How do you promote your wedding planning business?

Good question – it’s different for everyone.  AND – for every region. I’m just gonna come out and say it, but here in L.A., using web platforms to advertise businesses really don’t seem to work enough for vendors out here, enough to achieve a meaningful ROI, anyways.  But, in other regions, these web platforms may work like gangbusters.  In my experience, clients here are investing a lot of money in we vendors (because we live in a big, expensive city, so we have to charge more, natch), and they don’t just want to grab a few names on line – they want someone they can trust.  Perhaps a DJ or even a caterer can be found online, but a wedding planner? That person is holding the keys to your entire event, and they know a lot of personal and financial information about you.  And you can ‘fake’ your portfolio – or at least embellish it- pretty easily.  Crazily enough, some wedding vendors and planners out here don’t even have websites. (Obviously that’s not best practice, but it shows you how powerful word of mouth is out here.)

That said, there are a lot of free websites and online portals where you can advertise for free – and you never know.  All you invest with these outlets is time, so it’s worth a try.  But tread carefully, ask lots of questions, and secure case studies from your niche and region before paying big bucks to advertise your wedding planning business.

Tie Up Those Loose Ends

Clients are more likely to refer you if you have no loose ends left with them after their event. Sometimes, clients will have lots of questions or issues with the end of their event unless you pre-empt the situation.  For example, always point out to multiple people, not just the couple, where their gift cards are in person to them before you leave, and take photos of where they are safely stored (I learned to do this after a 2am phone call from a mother of the bride who panicked because the bride and groom didn’t show them where they were when they gave them all their gifts at the end of the night).  If a vendor showed up late or you had an issue with timing due to circumstances beyond your control, be sure to calmly alert them in a friendly follow up email. If they feel you did a thorough job with concise follow-up, they’ll be more likely to refer you.

Network, Network, Network!

Go to as many networking events in and out of your industry as possible.  The fun of being a wedding planner means lots of wining, dining, and schmoozing.  Strike friendly and warm conversations; followup the next day or two with an email, and follow your new connections on social channels.  Often an event will clash with another one (they always seem to be on the same night!) so strategize wisely to stop by as many as you can.  Forming bonds and supportive connections means more referrals – and most of all, those connections mean warm friendships and support in an often demanding industry.

Have any questions?  Email me anytime at dee@noworriesep.com!

Managing Expectations with Wedding Planning Clients

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Contract Verbiage for Wedding Planners, Contracts for Wedding Planners, Manage Expectations, Profitable Wedding Planning Business, Stress Relief, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

One of my favorite sayings is, “You can’t please everyone.”  So true. And yet, as event planners, we want to so badly.  Or, we are tired of having these expectations thrust upon us but wearily try to do so anyways; regardless, what needs to be done in these situations is to manage expectations with wedding planning clients. And that means from the very beginning.

Have a rock solid contract to help manage expectations from the start

I know it’s pricey to hire a lawyer to write your contract, but DO IT!  A solid contract will protect you from litigious people who may overreact and point their finger at you if a mishap occurs, even if it’s not your fault.  Not only does it manage expectations, it can save you from negative reviews and even foolhardy attempts at litigation. And compare notes with other planners and wedding vendors, too!  Be sure you know what pitfalls you need to pre-empt, what verbiage is appropriate, and what lingo is required in your state.  (And while I’ll give some contractual advice here in the blog, always run everything past a legal expert first!)

Manage expectations with wedding planning clients memeEnsure your duties are listed clearly and discuss them with wedding planning clients

In your proposal, enumerate EXACTLY what you do.  For example, a moderately priced full wedding planner should not be going to every single wedding dress shopping trip – that could take days!  I noted on my proposal that I attended one FITTING to learn how to bustle the dress.  Be as crisp as possible, and discuss with your prospective clients so you can get off on the right foot from before they even book you.

Often, clients are so overwhelmed with paperwork and contracts from vendors, they don’t read everything.  So be sure to discuss with them first, at the proposal phase; again, at your first meeting; and remind them along the way – in an emotionally intelligent fashion – what you do and don’t do.  At your final meeting, it’s really smart to ask them to send someone to you at the wedding to discuss anything they want fixed or addressed at the wedding.  Tell them that you need to be empowered with knowledge at the event to do your job to its best – you are not a mind reader.  (This allows you to avoid the passive-aggressive list of complaints on the following Tuesday. I got one of those once – with ridiculous ‘issues’ that had nothing to do with me – and vowed, never again!)

How do I keep Pinterest from warping my client’s expectations?

Don’t let Pinterest highjack your work!  In person, discuss with wedding planning clients how fantastical and ornate design vignettes they see on Pinterest can take hours to setup.  In your contract, you’ll have verbiage that states you handle standard set up only – and list them: “escort cards, ceremony programs, and guest book” – finite, crisp, clear.  Do they have a few family photos they want set out? Fine.  What about menus at each table setting?  Maybe – possibly the caterer can do it, one way or another, you can figure that out.  But set up multiple levels, platters, and 5 different desserts? Nope!  In your contract (I’ve done this – but again, check with your lawyer), you can alert the couple that you reserve the right to elect to bring on board another assistant or designer to implement their setup if you decide it’s beyond your contracted duties.

Remember, you’re not all things to all people…You’re providing ONE service and can’t stretch like Elastigirl to do the jobs of many!  Having crisp paperwork to set the tone will easily manage expectations.

Need a sounding board?  Have a difficult situation on your hands? Struggling with cash flow? I can help with all these issues and more and provide a complementary 20-minute intake call.  Contact me anytime at dee@noworriesep.com!