January 2012 Archive

A Moment For Yourself

We’re back. Mind you we’re a tad sleepy thanks to our 4:00 am return into Rockford early this morning, but we’re back and I can safely say that vacation gave me a much needed new perspective on things. I’m a worrier by nature. A work-a-holic. Staying on top of things, working until I can’t see straight, answering emails as quickly as I can; I can truly admit it’s a tough concept for me to just relax and take a break. But this little five day escape to the Bahamas, graciously gifted to Apb and I by my sweet parents, was the perfect test to my inability to let go. No phone, no Internet, no computer, no camera, no work, no worry about who would have to wait to hear back from me until I returned. And I realized it’s OK not to be doing something big and great all the time because those small moments of the seemingly mundane are so important in the larger picture. It’s OK to reassess and step back from your expectations of yourself. Sometimes it’s OK to just be. Sunburn and all.

I read this little snippet from Self Magazine last night in the Atlanta airport. 2012 has been a little rocky so far despite my best efforts to ring in ‘the best year yet’ as expected. But life is such a blessing. And I needed this: ‘Once upon a time, we believed the world was flat – that beyond a certain point, there would be nowhere to go, And though we now know the world is round, we still fear falling off imaginary edges, too often thinking there’s only so far we can stretch, so hard we can push. The most dangerous limits are those in our own head. When you feel you’re at your edge, look again. You can go farther.’

Happy Monday, everyone. Make today so fabulous xoxo (Ps I did manage to take a few iPhone shots, obviously :)

Fine and Fleurie Giveaway {Hair Accessory}

Silk, sparkle and the perfect amount of sexiness, That’s sort of how I describe this mini bridal hat made by the ridiculously talented Jess of Fine and Fleurie. It was the star performer in our most recent New Year’s Eve inspiration shoot but today I am offering it up for one lucky reader here. All you need to do is leave a comment below and become a fan of Fine and Fleurie over here on facebook. And if you really want this number to be on your pretty little head like now, then you can rack up a few extra entries by tweeting about the giveaway and leaving an extra comment below to let me know. The giveaway will be open until February 1st giving you all tons of time to get your entries in. Next Friday I’ll announce the lucky winner!

Check out the Fine and Fleurie etsy shop for more loveliness over here. Sparkle on, blogettes xoxo

Negotiating With Wedding Vendors

Alright blogettes. It seemed as if last week’s post, you know this one here, generated quite a bit of buzz.

Like close to 6,000 page views kind of buzz. A lot of you tweeted the post. A lot of you shared it via facebook. Some of you included the post in your weekly wrap ups. Many of you sent sweet emails to thank me. One of you sent me a really nasty email. And one of you triggered a healthy conversation about what it means to negotiate in the industry. Let me throw this out there. I meant every single word I said it that post. I think each and every vendor should stand strongly behind their pricing, policies, value and worth. I also think it’s rude for potential clients to expect vendors to give them whatever product/service they want when they can’t afford it. But there is a way to go about seeing if exceptions can be made.

And guess what? If you’re not good at this sort of thing because it’s awkward, a wedding planner can assist. But I digress.

If a vendor says on their website “I believe every bride deserves great _____, so if you can’t afford my prices let’s talk,” then that’s a great indicator that said vendor is open to negotiations. If a vendor has a listed price or the wording “Pricing starts at $setprice” it’s safe to say that negotiating significantly lower than the advertised price will potentially offend or just flat out frustrate the vendor. Typically, wedding vendors consider themselves artists; wedding designers, bakers, photographers, florists, stationery designers, gown designers, etc, all of these people create and design things and work hard to perfect their craft. They spend a lot of time, effort and money to offer a really memorable, beautiful and professional service or product for brides. Someone who tries to really negotiate far too below that original set price can come across as not valuing said vendor’s craft. But aside from that, plain and simple, at the end of the day, wedding vendors need to pay their bills too. We set prices based on not only what we feel we are worth but what’s going to put food on our tables, a roof over our head, etc.

With that being said, sometimes successfully negotiating can be done with phrases like “I really love the design you’ve sketched up for my cake and don’t want to scrap it but perhaps we could scale down the size of the cake to reduce the cost a bit? That way I can still keep all of those gorgeous sugar flowers!” or “I really love peonies but unfortunately am not sure they fit within the budget I’ve allotted for florals. Could you recommend a flower that will give the same look and style as a peony (like a garden rose!)? Or perhaps we could just keep them in my bouquet and find a substitute for the bridesmaids.” or “This dress shape is exactly what I am looking for but I am not sure the price is a fit. Do you offer discounts to brides who pay in full upfront? Or do you offer discounts to brides if their bridesmaids purchase their dresses through you? Or maybe you could recommend a different fabric because I heard Spanish lace is pricey.” The majority of vendors in the industry are willing to work with brides if the negotiating is done in a proactive and respectful way.

Imagine walking into Vera Wang and before you’ve even set an appointment, introduced yourself or scrolled through the salon to look at gowns (and any price tags) you flat out tell the consultant “Hi, I really want a Vera Wang gown. But unfortunately only have $800. What can you do for me?” Imagine how taken aback the consultant would be? If you don’t have a Vera Wang budget, it’s a safe bet not to even inquire about purchasing a Vera Wang gown let alone try and negotiate a ridiculously off price for one. And moving into a bit of a different area that’s still somewhat umbrella-ed under vendor negotiations, if you want to hear my take on the value of a product or a service versus the price, well head over here and read this photographer’s take. Honestly this woman has the most perfect analogy for what it means to get what you pay for.

On a completely different topic, here’s my first 2012 couple, Ash and Dallas. I know, I sort of love them together.

The sweet Beth of Elizabeth in Love will be photographing the big day and to say I am excited is an understatement. Hurry up June and get here so we can all celebrate :) Happy Monday friends. Make today so incredibly wonderful xoxo
Dear Brides

I hope you’ll read this. I hope you’ll read every little last bit of this. And I hope it’ll make you think.

What’s funny is that I didn’t run around as a little girl dreaming of the day I’d be a wedding planner. I always adored crafts and was impressively organized from a young age. But it wasn’t until my wedding day, that I decided I should be a wedding planner. Actually, scratch that. I decided I needed to be a wedding planner. Running around that day trying to get things styled and arranged, meeting and greeting my own vendors to make sure they were taken care of, trying to delegate things to people when I should have been playing bride. And then discovering I hadn’t even remembered to shave my legs on the biggest day of my life; I needed to make sure this didn’t happen to anyone else. Wedding planners are like bras. Sometimes you think you don’t need one until it’s too late. For me it was sort of too late. Because I needed help that day.

I get a lot of emails from potential clients. Newly engaged women. Women who are mere months away from the biggest day of the lives. Women who love pink peonies like I do. Women who have seen my work on Pinterest and can hardly count their lucky stars they’ve found me. Women who need and want my help. Except they always let me know, before I even have a chance to reply to them, that “they don’t have a big budget.”And I always know what that means. It means what I charge (because it’s on my website), what I value my services, time and expertise to be worth, is too much money for them. Either that, or they don’t truly understand what it is they are paying for. Whatever the reason it can be frustrating.

Wedding planning, coordination, consulting, styling, designing; it can be as confusing as tenth grade algebra (which I failed might I add). Because unlike a photographer who sends you your prints and your disk a few months after your wedding with tangible memories of your big day, I can’t possibly send you a boxed up memento of my wedding planning and coordination services. Three weeks, three months, three years and three decades after your big day is over, you can gaze over to your fireplace mantle and lovingly adore a framed portrait of you and your spouse. Unfortunately, next to that frame there won’t be a boxed up Hey Gorgeous Events experience (if there was though, you can bet it would be perfectly wrapped).

But here’s what you can do. You can remember sipping mimosas with your sister the morning of your big day. You can think back to how it felt seeing your reception space for the first time, decorated just the way you always dreamed of. You can remember what it felt like to sit back and enjoy each and every minute of the one day in your entire life that will seem to fly by the fastest. You can do all of these things and so much more, without having to worry about lifting a finger. Because I can guarantee that the metaphorical boxed up Hey Gorgeous Events experience I mentioned above, whether it’s provided by me or someone else, will be the prettiest, most meaningful, non-tangible piece of wedding memorabilia you own.

Brides, please know that a $500 price tag, for a skilled wedding planner to orchestrate your big day is a price tag too low. Please know that a wedding planner or even a coordinator is so worth each and every last penny. Please know that as a wedding planner I absolutely want to make your big day as perfect as possible. And I am flattered when you contact me to do the honors. Please also know that trying to negotiate my prices in your very first email, is as awkward for me as it would be for you to go to a steakhouse and tell your server that you are on a budget and can only afford $20.00 of your $60.00 filet; and well, you get my point. Kind of how you’ll get what you pay for with me.

I hope you’ll read this. I hope you’ll read every little last bit of this. And I hope it’ll make you think. But not this hard :)

You can leave the serious thinking to me. I mean look how good I am at it, ha! xoxo

Hello Friday

Happy Friday, bloggies! It’s been a while since I blogged on a Friday and I have to say it feels good to be back. We finally got hit with a copious amount of snow last night so today I’ll be working form the comfort of my couch, fire cranked up and a working-from-home husband by my side. Tomorrow we are celebrating our dating anniversary (hey, any excuse for a celebration is a good one in my books) and the rest of the weekend will be spent away from work, tidying up this messy house of ours and maybe just maybe, checking out the local tubing slopes for some wintry fun. Photo via Love My Dress.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Tell me what you’re up to below xoxo