WPW: What’s the Difference Between Planners and Designers Anyway?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in Blog | 2 Comments

Anyone in this industry – in any capacity- knows that there are wedding planners  (or “party planners” as they are sometimes called) and there are event designers… but there are so few people (including those who provide both of those services) who truly understand the difference between the two and, even more rare, properly make the distinction.

For the last couple of years, as we’ve been transitioning away from being a “planning firm” to being a “design firm”, we’ve been wrestling with this ourselves- nothing really changed between thank we had been doing and what we are doing now except that we decided to CALL OURSELVES something different… but does that mean all planners are designers or does it just mean we weren’t properly identifying ourselves before.

So, we’re having a first time experience right now that has been interesting and enlightening and really not only helped crystalize what the difference between designing and planning is but also how we need to manage those services differently.

For the first time ever we were hired to design but the client had already hired another planner (who is very good at her job).  Here is what I’ve deciphered (and it might not make some of you happy).

To liken this to housing (a great analogy)- a great planner is like an architect.  They understand the client’s needs and desires and they translate that into something that has all the structure (and infrastructure ) to maximize the living experience for the client.

The event designer is more like the interior decorator… They take the base structure that was there and they infuse it with personality and warmth to make the structure more personal and pleasing.

Both jobs are valid, both involve logistics and production, both jobs are important, but they are simply… Different jobs. Some architects and designers make magic together- just as some planners and designers do. Others prefer to perform all the roles- also a valid choice- but as the lines get blurred and we need to clarify our validity to clients more and more, it’s important to know the distinction.

WPW: What we can all learn from the Kardashians

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Blog, Industry Advice | One Comment

Anyone who knows us knows about our obsession with the Kardashians. I must admit that I was the one that dragged Xochitl into this guilty pleasure. They were just too fabulous for me to watch alone! I think I have always been obsessed with them because in so many ways they are just like my family…only with a whole lot more money! They are obsessed with each other, masterfully use guilt as an emotional tool, and are always bickering….yet still always on top of each other.

The other reason that I am obsessed is because I respect their business hustle. Say what you will, they have turned a leaked “home video” into an empire. They may seem ditzy on camera, but these women have business smarts that we can all learn from. Don’t believe me?

1. Look for the Silver Lining- Who would have ever thought that a personal home video with Brandy’s brother would turn her into a household name. Rather than hide under a rock like most people would have, she and her mother parlayed that into a TV show. Sleazy? Maybe, but she could have also gone down as someone in a sex tape, PERIOD. We can all relate to this. I mean, not the video part of this (or maybe you can, to each their own!) but which of us hasn’t been in a bad place? We should always look to turn our negatives into a positive. I guarantee you that your negative is not quite as bad as having the world watch you in such an intimate setting.   Kardashian Lesson: If she can move on, so can you!

2. Know your strengths AND your weaknesses-  Now technically, this should have only been about Kim. However, if you watch the show you know that what makes her compelling is her dynamic with her family. As insane as her body is, and as amazing as those extensions and her make-up artists make her look, she is at her best when surrounded by her sisters. It is their bond that makes her America relate. Momager Kris Jenner is no fool, and I believe that she knew that as far as Kim could get alone, she would go further with her sisters along for the ride. Yet, that couldn’t have been easy on Kim’s ego. She has had to share the limelight, despite having been the one to suffer the humiliation of the tape that got them there in the first place. Yet sometimes it is important to put our ego away for the potential growth of your brand.  Kardashian Lesson: Be honest about your best path to success and put your ego away in order to follow that path.

3. There isn’t a Success Pie- The best thing about this family is that they really do try to bring everyone around for the ride. Every person in their immediate family has benefitted from Kim’s success. Kendell, who is even more stunning than Kim has used the show to launch a modeling career. Also, together with Kylie they have served as brand ambassadors for Seventeen Magazine and have an exclusive clothing collection with PacSun, which is perfect for their age demo. Not to mention Kris Jenner, who this week premiered her talk show Kris which is off to a solid start according to the Hollywood Reporter. Kardashian Lesson: The success of others doesn’t take away from your shine! Help others if you can.

4. You aren’t always a Magician- Try as they might, these ladies just can’t seem to rub their magic off on the men in their lives. It doesn’t matter how many times they try, Scott and Rob just can’t make anything stick. Every season we are tortured as they dabble from one business venture into another. Now, don’t get me wrong! I think Scott has talent, he is by far the best “actor” on this series.  Xochitl and I always shout “For your consideration, Scott Disiac” when we enters the scene. He makes everything better and is also the most likely to go off script, so he always makes things interesting. Yet, it seems that every season has him pursuing a new dream; Scott the restauranteur, the fashion designer, the race car driver. Not to mention Rob. I mean, I can’t even get started here. Yet the ladies seem to, for the most part, have a great attitude about it. They help, but other than help them with social media and encouragement they seem to stay out of the mix.  Kardashian Lesson: Everyone needs to play a role in their own success. Learn that your help with only do exactly that, help. Don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t maximize your help. They just may know how to do so. You did your part!

5. Not everything is a hit- Do you remember the Kardashian Kard? What about the Kardashian collaboration with Bebe? Ever purchase any jewelry from their Armenian inspired Virgin, Saint’s, & Angels collection? Nope? Yeah, you’re not alone. All of these three ventures (and frankly so many others I just don’t have the time to mention) were busts. On their road to their multi-million dollar brand in several niche markets, not every move has been a good fit. However, they are not afraid to throw themselves into new arenas and take their chances with products. I know that sometimes it is hard to stay positive when you feel that you are failing as often as you are succeeding, but it is important to know that the failures will only make you stronger and smarter. Something doesn’t work? You’ll know how to make it better the next time. The most important part is to never stop trying!  Kardashian Lesson: Don’t let a failure get in your way! We all win some and lose some. Just focus on getting back up and playing your best for the next W!


It takes a Village

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Blog, Industry Advice | No Comments

One of the most exciting things that we talk about with new clients is their venue. Before a venue is selected, your wedding feels a little lost. There is no set date, there are no parameters for a “look”, and there are no capacity issues. So while it is exciting that it can be whatever they want it to be, it is usually also stressful for the same reasons.

The one thing that people are always looking for (at least the people that talk to us:) is something that will feel different. They want their guests to join in their love, but they also want to provide their guests with their experience. For this reason Xochitl and I are always on the hunt for new venues.

So how excited was I when I sat down with our friends at Outstanding Italia, who specialize in Italian venues, and they showed me Matera? Very. I mean, we’ve all seen the typical Italian venues and villas (which by the way, are amazing) but they showed me a preserved historical village, located on top of the Apennine mountains, that rocked my world! I mean, can you imagine renting an entire preserved village? Now, I promise you that none of your guests would ever forget!

The village is divided into 18 rooms, as well as a common area and church. The photos speak for themselves.

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This courtyard is amazing! What a perfect backdrop for one of your events!Village courtyard

The hotel rooms are built in amongst the caves, and will certainly be a special treat for your friends and family! It’s not every day that you get to be Batman like and sleep in a cave:)Hotel RoomNow, that is not to say that I don’t LOVE the more traditional Italian venues! I just wanted to share something that you might not find in other places. We try to bring you the new hotness:)


Greetings from The St. Regis Monarch Bay

Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in Blog | No Comments

The blog has been silent this week, but mainly because The Blogsmaid has just been very, very busy as this Sunday is the Brides Live Wedding.  Though I’ve written about it before, I will offer you up a recap: Brides ran a contest where one lucky couple won an amazing wedding planned and designed by US at the St. Regis Monarch Bay.  The entire thing has been crowdsourced on Facebook – the decor scheme, her gown, the cake.  And now it’s finally happening!  The theme has been Beach Chic and it’s coming along FABULOUSLY.  We have been spray painting, napkin folding and…. pre-taping… because the whole thing will run live (with some behind the scenes elements) on on Sunday (April 7th) at 4PM PST/ 7PM EST.  There will be live musical performances, inspiring decor and, of course, true love!  Of course, we’ll be tweeting and instagraming behind the scenes pics under the hash tag #brideslivewedding and I’ll be recaping all of our amazing vendor partners like Nuage, Luxe Event Rentals, Laura Hooper Calligraphy and Classic Party Rentals. xoxox

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We Support Marriage Equality

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Blog | No Comments

Here’s hoping our Supreme Court will as well.

“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”- Aristotle