Category Archives: Wedding Consultant

Should you add new services to your business?

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Consultant, Corporate Event Coordinator, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments
A few years ago, I realized that clients constantly needed basic tabletop offerings – candle votives, lanterns, and the like. Due to the expense of sourcing and storing these items, not all florists had robust quantities of them.  I sourced a few different types of votives and frequently rented them out to clients, making some additional pocket change and saving them time, and over-investing in these items.  What would be hard about adding new services to my boutique event planning business?

I thought, maybe something’s there.  I could start a table top rental business! It fills a need, I had storage in my garage, and I had plenty of contacts in the event world.

Then I started thinking:  How would I deliver these items to everyone, along with my day to day business, which if I wasn’t careful, could be all consuming? Wouldn’t delivery cost as much as the item rental fees, due to labor costs?  Also, what if they came back broken? What inventory tracker should I use?

Lanterns add new services to your business bud vases floral linen wedding long table reception decor event design

Photo by Jillian Rose Photography

I realized, it just wasn’t worth doing – better to stay with what I was doing, continue to refine my event planning business, and coast along with that.

It’s so easy to be distracted, to see another opportunity and try to strike out in a new direction. Before you do, check in with yourself:

Run Scenarios.

Think through a typical transaction of your new business. How much time and money would it cost you?  Would you be able to charge enough to cover your cost?

Evaluate your resources – do you have enough to add a new service?

Do you need additional capital?  How much would it cost to source raw materials (if any)?

Does someone else already do it well?

When photobooths were the new thing, there were just a handful or competitors for each region. Now, there are so many!  Is it worth entering a saturated market?

Take time to review all your options and the ripple effects to your business.  If you think it’s a good idea, go for it! Otherwise, nothing wrong with regrouping and making your current business even stronger.

Event Planners: How to Deal when things get Personal

By | Consultant, Corporate Events, Event Planner, Event Planning Education, Event Planning Workshops, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner, Wedding Planning Checklist | No Comments

As a wedding planner, I learned more about diplomacy than a degree in international politics probably ever could!  What helped me deal with situations with extraordinarily irrational elements was developing empathy and being a consummate professional, and event planners can do so easily with a little forethought. Here’s how.

1.  Try to Figure out What’s Going On.

No need to actually ask the person what their problem is (unless you feel it’s appropriate!) – but perhaps you overheard the bride talking about her deceased father, or the party host talk about being laid off recently.  Something could be going on in their lives that while it doesn’t excuse their behavior, it allows you to give them a pass so you don’t overreact.

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This is the end result you want to get for your clients – all smiles after a great evening. You can get there the easy way, or the hard way, depending on how well you set boundaries.

2. Event Planners need to Be Kind but Firm when things get Personal.

For wedding planners especially, it’s important to remember while your clients are in an emotional space, you are not.  You are at work, being a professional. It’s no different than a bank teller or a financial planner – you wouldn’t expose them to the latest fight with your mom or cry on their shoulder, would you?  So your clients should treat you professionalism as well.  It’s as easy as saying, “I understand where you’re coming from, but my job is to create and run a beautiful wedding day.  When you have resolved your personal issues, let me know what your final decision is.  Let’s talk now about the dessert table (change the subject.)

3.  Be Clear in your Legal Agreements about Services.

If a client wants you to research 15 photographers when 5 would suffice, there should be a limitation in your contract where you reserve the right to charge additional when their needs go over and above reasonable limits.  This should be clearly stated BEFORE they hire you, too.

For more information about consultation and education for event planners, click here.  Happy Planning!

So you want to become a wedding planner…

By | Aspiring Event Planners, Aspiring Wedding Planners, Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

By Dee Gaubert | Owner, No Worries Event Planning

Growing up, I wasn’t one of those girls who gushed over weddings or dreamed of being a wedding planner.  I definitely wanted to get married one day, and I loved event design and decor, but it wasn’t a passion of mine to become a planner.  Instead, I worked in both marketing and then television production, and worked on events as part and parcel to both of these careers, and realized I could start my own event planning company. With my husband’s hours intensive and us starting a family, I needed to be able to manage my own schedule and be the ‘lead parent’ most of the time; and thus, No Worries Event Planning was born.

As I became more searchable on the web, I started getting inquiries and notes from a variety of people wanting very badly to be planners and learn more about the business. I was surprised because it’s really hard work, a serious hustle the first few years to find your clientele, and for certain temperaments, being a wedding planner is extremely stressful. But, I really loved doing it and I wanted to educate others.

To that end, here are a few pointers if you want to become a planner, that will help you reach your goal of having your own business or a thriving career in events.

One of the perks of the job? Getting to work in stunning locales.  Photo by Katie Geiberger, venue: Rancho Del Cielo.

One of the perks of the job? Getting to work in stunning locales. Photo by Katie Geiberger, venue: Rancho Del Cielo.  Florals by Peony and Plum.

Get lots of experience before becoming a full time wedding planner.

Working for years in both marketing and TV production, I developed a skill set working both in project management and events that served me well. If you haven’t done a lot of event planning, you will find yourself in unusual situations that you won’t be ready for, unless you start working for other planners right away.  Volunteer for trade organizations (like ABC, WIPA, and EPA) and help them plan and execute events, too – it’s outstanding experience, and you will start to get to know other wedding planners, as well.

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Another pinch-me moment from running No Worries: Our Paris destination weddings. This gorgeous photo is by Yann Audic of Lifestories Weddings photography.

Consult the B2B pros.

As a wedding planner, I’ve run into a lot of gray areas as far as responsibilities of the various parties involved with each element of the event.  But, I got a great lawyer and accountant from the beginning, and since then have developed a team of contractors who help me when needed for IT,  web maintenance, and other needs.  You don’t want to be held up by a last minute issue with your printer or have a contract that leaves you liable, so interview a team of B2B pros when you start your business.

Network.

Networking is the number one way I built my business, by referral from other trusted peers and colleagues. It also helps you build a support system with other planners and pros; it’s really the most fun part of doing what we do!  I love the friends I’ve made in this industry, and treasure our relationships.

For brass-tack advice and personalized consulting on creating a profitable, joyous wedding and event planning business, check out our Aspiring Planners page for thoughtfully crafted workshops and consulting packages, and please call or email me anytime:  310-562-3306 and dee@noworriesep.com.  Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2017!

Calamigos Malibu Wedding:Bright + Beautiful

By | Calamigos Malibu Weddings, Catering, Event Planner, Rustic Wedding, Vox DJS, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

I had the true pleasure of working with this couple for their wedding last year, and I can’t believe it’s been that long!  they chose Calamigos Malibu for their wedding, and their colors were bright and vibrant, as brought to life by McCann Florist.  They were a fun and playful duo, and they and their families and friends made for a heartfelt evening full of stories and levity.  They also provided classy, rustic wood elements such as signage and escort ‘cards’ (of thin wood slices).

True Photography and First Look Films captured the best moments (and then some) and the team at Calamigos worked with Catering By Brenda, who provided the kosher meal.  Continental Bakery provided the delicious cake and Robert Corral of Vox DJs provided lighting and entertainment.

The space at Calamigos Malibu was the Redwood Room, a space that has been renovated in past years and reminds me of a mountain retreat with stone, wood, and other natural elements.

Rabbi Joe Menashe staged the ceremonial elements beautifully and performed a heartfelt ceremony, and La Folia provided classical music before, during, and after the wedding ceremony.

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Calamigos Ranch Oak Room Ballroom Wedding

Beach Wedding: Sea Breezes at Hotel Portofino

By | Hotel Portofino and Yacht Club, Lavender Decor, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

When I first met with Danielle and Jared together, I was struck at how thoughtful and calm they were.  They carefully evaluated each decision about their wedding, but didn’t obsess; they listened to their vendors’ advice and trusted all of us, which was so wonderful.  (And when she showed me her dress from BHLDN, I was smitten!)  I was also excited to work their venue, the Hotel Portofino and Marina, based in Redondo Beach.  It was pretty much a beach wedding – we were just a few feet from the water! In fact, as the couple were getting their photos taken (by the awesome photographer Brady Puryear), a boat passed by in the nearby inlet and the passengers hooted and waved in congratulations.

Danielle had a beautiful aesthetic: clean, pretty lavender colors with touches of greenery and fresh hydrangea.  It worked so well in the space.  We provided design consultation to help flesh out her ideas, and her florist, friend Bea Tran who owns Floral Event Production, came up with beautiful ideas for seamless execution.   The beach wedding feel was set off by the fresh florals and light colors.

Personal touches, such as lavender cones with seeds to toss at the couple during the ceremony, as well as a thoughtful ceremony by a dear friend, made the wedding truly individual and unique.  As the sun set, Danielle and Jared got some great photos by the water, and guests enjoyed cocktails on the patio.  Their DJ, Mike Tinio, spun music all night and got the crowd dancing literally to the very end!

The hotel served outstanding cuisine, wedding cake, and also provided lighting as well. The Portofino became a turnkey solution for many elements of the wedding. It was really one of those smooth, fun experiences that make you want to be come a planner in the first place! Our congrats to the couple and thanks for bringing us along for the journey!

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Rustic Wedding: Beautiful Hues at Mountain Mermaid

By | Fantasy Frostings, Flowers, Uncategorized, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

We’ve worked a lot at Mountain Mermaid, and for good reason – it’s a stunning venue, conveniently located in Los Angeles.  It’s also a very streamlined space logistically considering how unique it is! A perfect place for a rustic wedding. We were fortunate to meet up with a wonderful couple that booked their wedding there that had a really cool perspective on their rustic decor. They wanted artful compositions instead of messy clusters, for a rustic look with a modern execution.  We were happy to be on board as wedding consultants and coordinators, and provide the design and florals as well.

For example, the bride was from the coast and wanted to bring in seashells and driftwood into the mix, without being over the top, so we painted some of the shells and added fern greenery to a shell display for her escort card table.  River rocks, moss, and other natural details were very carefully placed with artistic detail so they looked more like set pieces than randomly placed items.

A soft-hued but no less vibrant palette of peach, lavender, gold, and yellows offset the deep shades of the Mermaid so beautifully. Wood slices from Tire Swing Woodworks added to the look. We also found glass bottles, ceramic goblets, and other unique glassware for the centerpieces and accent pieces.

Our associate Laura Klein has beautiful handwriting and created the custom chalkboard wedding signage, as well, something that also goes well with the rustic wedding aesthetic.  We loved how creative the couple were with their signature cocktails, which were perfectly crafted by their caterer, Huntington Catering Company.

Other vendors included Jillian Rose Photography, who took all of the gorgeous photos you see here; Fantasy Frostings; music by Red Shoe LA; video by Luma House; hair and makeup by Kari Cottom; and lighting by Stage Labs.

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Gold Shell Wedding Ring Box Holder

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Real Wedding: May at Malibu Rocky Oaks

By | Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Malibu, Malibu Rocky Oaks Wedding, Malibu Wedding, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

This last May, el nino threatened our chances of an outdoor wedding, but in the end, love prevailed!  This wedding, with elements of Korean customs, was full of joy, laughter, and tasteful touches of Jackie Combs of Lotus and Lily’s floral and event design. Delicious food and seamless entertainment and beautiful lighting from outstanding vendors made this a hugely successful event, at one of our all-time favorite venues.  The beautiful photos below are from Iris and Light.

 

Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks

Catering:  Amy’s Culinary Adventures

DJ, Paebeck, and some Lighting:  Valentine Entertainment
Rentals and some Lighting:  A Rental Connection

Cake:  Intricakes

Florals:  Lotus and Lily

Linens:  Luxe Linen

Videography:  Peter Yun

Photography: Iris and Light

Hair and Makeup: Yuri Sinata

 

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Cake by Intricakes

Cake by Intricakes

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Valentine Entertainment coordinated the Korean Paebeck ceremony.

Valentine Entertainment coordinated the Korean Paebeck ceremony.

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Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

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Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

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The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths – Myth #4: “I can coordinate my own wedding!”

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Day of Coordinator, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

#4 in our series of the Five Biggest Wedding Planning myths: The risks of not working with a professional wedding coordinator.

Certainly, a bride or groom with common sense, an eye for numbers, and solid time management skills allow him or her to organize a wedding from the ground up. But no matter how on point you are, you need to be present as the guests of honor on your wedding day, not actually ‘working’ the day itself. It’s like a play – the lead actors cannot also serve as the stage managers!

Also there are logistical and permitting issues at play in a variety of cities, that the layperson is not aware of. Having the bare minimum of expertise to guide your wedding will save you from doing the dirty work of brass-tacks logistics.

A few things to keep in mind:

Vendors do not all communicate with each other or the venue. In other words, they often don’t know what they don’t know about each particular wedding until someone shows them a timeline, a scout video, etc. Once they receive that initial information, numerous questions and concerns come to the fore, and a coordinator can then expertly answer them, while the client focuses on more fun things – attending a flower mockup, trying on the dress one more time, and sorting out her guest list.

Most other vendors – like the DJ, onsite banquet captain, or photographer – hate taking over as coordinator. They do not have time to answer multiple questions or perform certain tasks (i.e., repurpose the bridesmaid bouquets to the head table; discuss adjusting the main course service time due to the bride and groom taking last minute sunset shots; coaching the terrified maid of honor through a dry run of her toast, etc.). The DJ is constantly adjusting volume and his or her mixing board, double-checking the speaker system, and prepping for the next toast or announcement. Your photographer is catching the most essential, important moments of one of the biggest days of your life, scanning the room for those special moments. They do not have ample time to circle back with the banquet captain to keep things flowing. The biggest danger here is going seriously off your timeline and running so late that you go into overtime with your vendors or the venue.

Having a chat with a Maid of Honor before the ceremony.  Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Having a chat with a Maid of Honor before the ceremony. Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Experience counts. There is no governing body that declares someone fit to start an event planning or coordination business. No bar exam to pass, or board certification to earn. Anyone an their mother (literally) can sell themselves as a planner, with little to no practical experience.

The assistance that a good, qualified coordinator provides is evident throughout the planning process, as well. Here’s an example of just a small percentage of the work – the tip of the iceberg, really – we recently provided to a coordination client:

  1. Advised on floor plan and gave floor plan changes to the venue manager, who mis-read them twice. That’s about 30 minutes and 4 emails back and forth that we took on, on behalf of the client. This is just a small sample of the hours and number of emails (typically 600-800 per event) that we expend on behalf of a client.
  2. Provided ideas for how to create risers and, thus, more space, on their favor table so there was enough room for their cute but bulky favors.
  3. Consulted with their DJ on a jam-packed timeline to ensure it went smoothly on the day-of. I sent multiple emails back and forth and drafted at least 3 revisions of the timeline, and ran it past multiple other vendors to ensure it worked with their service time frames.
  4. Advised on quantities for dessert bar; myself and my associate sat on hold multiple times with the bakery to discern how long the desserts would be stable at room temp, as well as to confirm delivery time.
  5. On the day of, we dealt with serious issues at the venue on the clients’ behalf. First, we showed the venue manager the contract to ensure everything we and the client originally confirmed with them, was provided accordingly. Then, we asked for a $500 credit at the bar for the client…and got it.

A coordinator protects your best interests and removes a lot of wasted time and guesswork from your planning process. As soon as you hire one, you’ve come the closest to truly guaranteeing your emotional and financial investment in the big day is fully realized.

Our door is always open for a complimentary consultation about the peace of mind and stress savings a coordinator can provide.  We can be reached at dee@noworriesep.com or 310-562-3306.

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #2 – Haggling = Negotiation

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Event Planner, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Vendors, Venues, Wedding Budget, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Vendor Negotiation | No Comments

MYTH #2:  Haggling = Negotiation

Over the past few days, we’ve been breaking down the 5 biggest wedding myths. Today we’re tackling Myth #2: “I can haggle my vendors down to nothing!”

A powerful sign that a wedding vendor is worth every penny is when they don’t offer drastic discounts. That means a) they have experience and know-how, and understand exactly how much they need to charge to make sure you have all the resources (time, labor, materials, etc.) you need from them and b) they are so secure in their reputation and referral base that if you don’t choose them, then they’ll find another client who values them for their actual worth. It’s as if they are saying, “Go ahead – find someone new, inexperienced, and low priced, and best of luck to ya. I’ll wait for the next client who comes along and truly values me.”

Tip:  When negotiating, be reasonable. Fridays and Sundays almost always mean price reductions at venues; Fridays in particular have become very popular in the wedding world, and tend to last as late as Saturday night weddings. Also, meet the vendor in the middle – whether it’s shaving off an hour of the time frame for the photographer’s active time or letting the florist pick more cost effective blooms that still stay in your color scheme.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

Tip:  Also keep in mind the wide swings in pricing from one vendor to another. If Vendor A charges $1800, and Vendor B charges $1500, but Vendor C charges $700, something is way off with Vendor C.   That’s just the economics of supply and demand, simple as that. Vendor C may be a diamond in the rough just starting out and building their clientele – but you better check solid references on them just to be sure. Why? Because they have not established a market value – what the consumer is willing to pay for their services. And they won’t be charging that little for much longer at all, because eventually – no exaggeration – they will make more money slinging lattes.

 

Find a way to make it work, and remember the realities you are working with. Once you understand actual and realistic costs, you can learn to move forward making smart, cost effective decisions!

 

We’re no strangers to negotiation and far, win-win agreements between clients and vendors.  Contact us anytime here or at 310-562-3306.  Happy planning!

 

 

 

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #1 – The Bargain Basement Wedding

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Wedding Budget, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Planner | No Comments

In this blog series, we’re busting the five biggest wedding planning myths, starting with this doozy:   “I can have the wedding of my dreams for a bargain basement price.”

The majority of our clients want a quite formal, high-end affair based on the gorgeous blog photos they see online or in magazines. Thanks to the numerous “10 easy ways to cut your budget!”-type articles out there in the world, many couples think that the average cost of a wedding (close to $30,000 at last survey) is exactly what they’ll spend – or less.

A perfect example of a fun, DIY project that can be done ahead of time - simply using pennies and self-printed escort cards. Photo by White Haute Photography.

A perfect example of a cost effective, DIY project that can be done ahead of time – simply using pennies and self-printed escort cards. Photo by White Haute Photography.

I wish I could say that was the truth in Los Angeles and other big cities. But several factors come into play, along with the metropolitan area you live in: Your personal taste; the venue, and so on. There is a unique formula that needs to be applied to exactly the type of wedding you want. For example, If you choose a hotel, you’ll pay a more inclusive price than a private estate – but at an estate, you can bring in alcohol and save on the bar service. There are a multitude of pros and cons. It’s hard to say exactly what is most cost effective, because no two weddings are the same.

 

A view like this doesn't come cheap.  Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks.  Photographer:  Dave Richards Photography

A view like this doesn’t come cheap. Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks. Photographer: Dave Richards Photography

 

TIP: Ask recently wed friends about realistic costs, hire a wedding consultant for an a la carte budget consultation, even ask for baseline quotes when contacting prospective vendors – do your research before investing one penny into your wedding day. A consultant can build a budget that entails every single cost down to the penny, from risers for the band you want to hire to the generator you’ll need at the state park venue you love so much. The budget may look way higher than you expect, but there will be no surprises. Another tip: ask to see a recently wed friend’s budget and ask about their total costs, if his or her wedding venue and scope is similar to your vision.

Above all, don’t rush your decisions. Look before your leap – and you’ll sleep better at night during the entire wedding planning process.

We offer complimentary consultations for all couples, an informative hour where we can illustrate further how important it is to truly know and research your budget.  Call or email us anytime – we’re happy to help!  310-562-3306  / dee@noworriesep.com