Category Archives: Wedding Coordinator

Be A More Assertive Event Planner : Practice Makes Perfect

By | Corporate Event Coordinator, Corporate Event Planner, Event Planner, Event Planning Business Advice, Event Planning Workshops, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

Have you ever worked at venue, and heard from management that you the most calm event planner (or one of) that they’ve worked with? When I’ve asked what they’ve experienced from other planners, I’ve heard stories of drunk planners, planners that have caused major drama, got into fights with vendors, etc.  Now mind you, I have a wide network of planners here in L.A. and know none of my compadres would ever act like this, but, as the years wore on and I bore the brunt of bad behavior from clients, guests and vendors, I could understand why planners get aggressive, reactive, and, well, un-calm.

I never let myself ‘lose it,’ but one thing I learned to do was be more assertive. I.e., stay calm, but not passive.  A couple times, I even raised my voice, but only when necessary. I do think that it’s great to be calm, but it can’t be at the expense of your well-being and the quality of your client’s event or of your business (when a client needs some boundaries set).  I will say, it gets easier the more you practice. Here’s some tips.

Call a company and negotiate, even if it’s not as an event planner.

Why not? It can be your wifi, your office rent lease renewal, or shoot, just call your credit card company and ask for a better APR. Use measured approach and validate it with a good reason (“I did some research, and an office building next door is charging less than what I’m paying now – so my rent needs to stay the same for the next year.”). These lower-level negotiations will prepare you to be tougher in more tense situations.

Strengthen your contract and stick to it.

If I had a nickel for every time a client innocently started involving me in rehearsal dinner plans (when I’ve been clearly hired just to work the wedding)…  I finally added in italics that these events are clearly additional services, just to reinforce what exactly my contract covered. Then I felt more comfortable telling the client they’d have to pay extra for these services.  The first time, I had butterflies in my stomach; after that, I didn’t blink.  And the clients were grateful for my honesty, and some even hired me to help with their additional events.

Let ‘er rip – when you really need to.

I’ve only raised my voice 3 times in nearly 200 events. Twice, it was towards staff or vendors’ staff that were not listening. I politely and firmly asked for something several times – no response. (Was it because I was a *female* event planner? I wonder.). Finally, I raised my voice a shout.  And it worked! I know we shouldn’t have to do it, but a) if there are no guests around and b) it’s a vital, time sensitive issue, than IMO, it’s okay to raise your voice.  (The third time was to an inebriated, aggressive guest who was harassing me – raising my voice stunned him so much, he scurried away!)

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.

fun bridal party photos bus party bus event planners

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!

Wedding MBA 2017 Recap

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Destination Wedding, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding MBA, Wedding MBA 2017, Wedding Planner | No Comments

For the third year in a row, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Wedding MBA conference, this time for two sessions – in addition to discussing destination weddings, I also spoke about appearing on television and managing on-camera opportunities.  The best benefit about attending the conference is seeing my colleagues, meeting new ones, and enjoying the city of Las Vegas.

When I woke up that morning, I had an iPhone news alert about the tragic shooting in Las Vegas the day prior – a stunning development that shocked us all.  The conference was still going to move forward – as it should – and my friend Summer Newman of Summer Newman Events, who traveled with me, wanted to help as best we could.  When we tried to donate blood, the drive that was taking place across the street from our hotel had already closed down because so many people showed up. By a day or two after the event, the local blood supply was sufficient for at least a few days. However, it reminded me how important it is to give blood and I’m now going to donate once a year.  Meantime, I donated to the Go Fund Me page to help support the victims and their families.

Wedding Display Wedding MBA Wedding Balloon Vendors

This balloon display as soon as attendees entered the conference space was a hit.

With the Wedding MBA well underway upon our arrival, I carefully chose the sessions I wanted to attend.  I had a massive head cold by the time we arrived, so I couldn’t hit as many as I wanted, so I specifically chose sessions that relate to my newer role as a freelance marketing and event consultant.  It’s so important to understand how the Internet, Google, Facebook, and SEO and SEM in general can enhance a business’ marketing.  I carefully chose two sessions about these topics, and they were extremely helpful.  The speakers were very generous with their knowledge and one even sent slides to us, Mark Chapman of Everett Andrew Marketing.

I also met some vendors on the convention floor, exploring new ideas in lighting, stationary, photo booths, and others.  Overall, it was a productive trip and it was fantastic to see the conference get bigger every year – it’s a fantastic opportunity for wedding vendors to help each other grow stronger, together.  Hope to see you there next year!

 

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.

Wedding planner destination wedding photography Paris

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.

Calamigos white folding chairs ceremony space

Ceremony Malibu Calamigos Chair Aisle Decor

Ceremony Under Chuppah Calamigos Ranch

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Escort card table wood slices

Sushi Cocktail Appetizer Wedding

Jewish Wedding Ceremony Elements

Purple Orange Flowers White Wedding cake

Round Wood Wedding Signage

Calamigos Oak Room Ballroom Wedding

ballroom white chairs calamigos malibu framed table number

Calamigos Ranch Oak Room Ballroom Wedding

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.

Boutonnieres peach greenery silver tray

Gold Shell Wedding Ring Box Holder

escort card table conch shell rustic wedding fern greenery

escort card mermaid shell fern display

vase shell coral ranunculus

sweetheart table fern rocks coral lavendar lisianthus

banquet tables ivory linen napkin place setting wedding

kiss on stairs mountain mermaid los angeles wedding

dancing mountain mermaid

Tips for Wedding Toasts: A Must Read!

By | Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Toast Tips | No Comments

The first rule of Toasting:  Do not go over five minutes.

The second rule of Toasting:  Do not go over five minutes.

Get the point?

At one of the first weddings I ever coordinated, the Best Man went on for seemingly forever. We checked the videographer’s time code:  It was at 34 minutes. Thirty. Four. Minutes.  Do you know what that was? That was a band set. The band the bride and groom paid thousands for – one whole set, cut.

I get that money isn’t everything – but the thing is, the best man wasn’t a professional comedian.  He wasn’t a brilliant speaker. He was fine, but after five minutes, he was repetitive and not covering new ground. Few people can.  5 minutes is fantastic. After that, you have to be a phenomenal speaker to make an audience spellbound.  Guests have already been around for about 2 hours; they are waiting for the next course and are probably hungry; and they can’t wait to go back to the bar and eventually, get up and dance and mingle. Be respectful and keep it short. You can also throw the entire evening’s schedule off – including food service – leading to disaster all because you wanted to tell one more childhood story about your good friend the bride.

Unless, of course, you are a professional performer, or just that good. We’ve witnessed amazing speeches by professional performers and comedians, but even they knew not to go over 15 minutes- like this best man, Jareb Dauplais, who kept it funny and raucous and just long enough.  Jareb is a professional actor and it shows –  his toast was outrageous, sentimental, sweet, and totally seemingly unscripted – and just as long as it needed to be. Take heart, toasters!   (Video by Juice Box Media)

 

 

Real Wedding: Romance, Beverly Hills-Style

By | Beverly Hills Hotel, Brady Puryear Photography, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Sky Event Productions, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

We had the opportunity to work at one of the most romantic getaways in the city, the Beverly Hills Hotel, for this gorgeous August wedding. The clients were a dashing, intelligent couple with excellent taste; the wedding had Persian elements celebrating their culture and lush florals from one of our favorite vendors, Sky Event ProductionsAfsaneh Sargordan designed the sofreh, and the cake came from Joanie and Leigh’s Cakes.  Rounding out the A-plus team of vendors are Golnar Djahanbani (officiant),  TMMPro (lighting) and Vidicam (videography), and of course, photos by Brady Puryear, whose work you see below.

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo By Brady Puryear

Photo By Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

MorshedWedding417

Lighting by TMMPro; photo by Brady Puryear

Lighting by TMMPro; photo by Brady Puryear

Cake by Joanie and Leigh; photo by Brady Puryear

Cake by Joanie and Leigh; photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear.

Photo by Brady Puryear.

Lighting by TMMPro; photo by Brady Puryear.

Lighting by TMMPro; photo by Brady Puryear.

Photo by Brady Puryear, florals by Sky Productions

Photo by Brady Puryear, florals by Sky Productions

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

Photo by Brady Puryear

MorshedWedding396

Photo by Brady Puryear, florals by Sky Productions

Photo by Brady Puryear, florals by Sky Productions

 

 

 

The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #5 – “I can DIY my entire wedding!”

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Budget Weddings, DIY, Jackie Combs Lotus and Lily, Katie Robertson Photography, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Wedding Budget, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

Over the past few days, we’ve been breaking down the 5 biggest wedding myths. Today we’re tackling Myth 5: DIY/”Friend-or” weddings.

The DIY movement enpowers brides and grooms to add personal elements to their event, and fold in their buddies to the big day, as well.  We’ve had friends play guitar for the ceremony, or brides bake a grooms cake – small contributions make up for big, heartfelt gestures. But totally replacing a major vendor with a friend or your own DIY efforts? That’s flirting with – or hurtling headlong into – disaster.

One of the best examples of this myth is the “FRIEND DJ.” (Settle in kids – I’ve got a few fun stories for ya.)

Here’s the thing: music is inescapable. If the music is suddenly off, the WHOLE crowd notices. It’s also the international sign for, “Show’s over, Folks! Time to leave!” Unlike a drink that is a little too strong for one particular guest, or one centerpiece that is a bit wilty on a table of twelve, the music is everywhere and affects everyone, not just a handful of guests. Thus, your wedding tunes have a huge impact on the success of your event. At the end of the day, how much are you really saving?

A bride wisely provided her own lovely and easy to assemble candle centerpieces, but hired a professional florist (Lotus and Lily) for the more complex bouquets.

A bride wisely provided her own lovely and easy to assemble candle centerpieces, but hired a professional florist (Lotus and Lily) for the more complex bouquets. Photo by Katie Robertson Photography.

We no longer work events where a “friend is managing an Ipod,” and per our contract, all non-professional vendors are SOLELY responsible for the integrity of their work. For example, we’ve had a “friend-DJ” space out and not immediately turn the music back on after the bouquet toss, causing confusion and guests to start leaving. After our urging to get the music on, he panicked and had a hard time finding the next song – and by then, in just that minute or two that passed, we lost a dozen guests at a wedding that already had a low guest count. The wedding died out shortly thereafter.

At another event, a “friend DJ” did not know at all how to work the rental equipment, and had to use the one speaker on the venue’s property. This speaker was a low-quality piece of equipment that was typically used for the less complicated ceremony sound. So, it sounded muffled – like it was underwater: in a word, terrible. Even worse, this DJ started using an online song source ON HIS PHONE. The music stopped every time his phone buffered!

I mean it: Get a professional DJ, florist, officiant, – the whole nine yards. Also, most venues now require every vendor to have insurance, so right off the bat that takes away the option to involve an amateur.  Reserve friends’ talents for small touches, like providing the ingredients and recipe for their special signature cocktail, or to craft a lovely gift card box for you. Otherwise, let the pros safeguard your beautiful day with their savvy services.

Apply your talents to DIY touches you can do well before the event – like namecards, table numbers, or other printed goods.  Definitely don’t try florals – honestly, that’s a whole other blog post – unless you’re pre-building tissue or paper florals.

Make sure your vendors know your tastes and preferences so that the day is still all about you and your fiance’s personality – and then you, and your friends, can just relax and enjoy the day.  Happy planning!