TLC’s Extreme I Do’s and AaB Creates

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Blog | One Comment

Don’t forget to set your DVR as we are getting ready to take over your TV (or you DVR) at 10PM this Thursday (July 30th) when Mayra and I appear on Extreme I Do’s!  The 1 hour special follows three couples and their wedding planners trying to have the most extreme destination weddings they can imagine all across american. From a mountain top to an Alaska Glacier to, you guessed it, a Hawaiian volcano, check out our adventure this Thursday.  Preview below!

Drafting a Strong Destination Wedding Contract

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Blog, Business Advice | 3 Comments

Hmmm. At the tender age of 22, I somehow found myself as the Director of Special Events at the Clio Awards. My charmingly cantankerous former boss made a big show of presenting me with a present (wrapped as such) that turned out to be a giant, spiral bound tomb with the un-sexy title of “The Essential Guide to Hotel and Venue Contract Negotiations”. I remember being so disappointed, having hoped it was a real “gift”, and instead it being a B2B textbook with one of the least sexy titles ever read. 5 years later it was the most used thing on my desk, so highlighted and dog-eared and post-it-ed (is that a phrase?) that it barely resembled it’s former self. I not only loved this book, I cherished it.

So, while Drafting a Strong Destination Wedding Contract may not sound like a sexy blog post, I’m hoping this will prove as lovingly utilitarian for you, fellow wedding vendor! As destination weddings become increasingly more popular (and with good reason, 5 days of gorgeous events can cost as much as 1 night of festivities in some of the more expensive US markets!) more of us planners, florists, photogs, even bands are getting called upon to “do destination”. Since, in my experience, the strongest contracts are written by a hundred unfortunate stories, I’m compiling here some points to be sure to include in your Destination Wedding Contract… derived over the years from our own experience, passed on to us by generous colleagues and some learned just this past weekend while we were out of the country working on a wedding. PLEASE, please, if you have any great tips or pointers to add to this, please add below!

1. Be VERY specific as to HOW you will travel. Coach? Business? Direct? How many lay-overs are you OK with? We learned this the hard way when stuck in Boston on a lay-over in the middle of the night.

2. Either book your travel yourself or REQUIRE APPROVAL RIGHTS before client books your travel. Clients often want the best talent to work at their weddings regardless of where the talent is and where the wedding is, but often they start to get squirmish at the cost of transporting said talent. So, while I don’t begrudge people using points or miles to book vendor travel, I do have preferences for airports and times etc, as you probably do as well, and you should retain your right to approve when and how you and your team move.

3. For Planners/Photographers, Express Your Desire to Stay at the Headquarters Property. For planners, there are early mornings and late nights, for photographers, it’s less about the late nights than it is about capturing the vibe around the key events. Both require access and staying anywhere but your main property (unless it’s a private home) is less than ideal and overall not worth the savings to your client as it compromises your ability to perform your job to the maximum of your ability.

4. Include a Per Diem. A lot of people may feel “Well, I’m eating where ever I am and I don’t want to seem nit picky.” But if you are on a resort (and especially a Luxury property) you might not have chosen to have 5 star dining for every meal had you been at home, so you should include a per diem based on the cost of the food at whatever location you will be required to spend most of your time in based on the job.

5. Specify how many people can stay in a room with you… and who. A photographer friend once told us a story of being put up for the night in a room with 4 bridesmaids and having to sleep on a sofa. No Bueno. For some clients this clause might seem obvious, but for others you are saving yourself from an awkward nightmare later on.

6. Buffer in time before and after for you to do your best job! While it might seem that you are attempting to squeeze in free R & R, we all know how much work is needed (depending on our specific job function) to properly do your job both in the advance and the wrap up. So the client might want to cheap out on room nights, but it’s important to hold your ground and get there in the time in advance and stay for the time afterwards that enables you to do best what you were paid to do.

7. Specify the hours (in advance) that you are “on duty” and “off duty”. I sometimes think this is most important for photographers because people can often impose and say “please just stay a little longer to get more images…” but you need rest too, and you can’t be seen as being on call 24/7 (unless you charged for that) so be sure to establish your schedule and availability in advance.

OK! Please, please add more tips that you’ve learned to be good clauses for destination weddings! So appreciate and I’ll add some into a revised version of this post with your social handle! THANKS (oh and here is a pic from this weekend’s event!)
AAB Creates Destination Wedding In Mexico

WPW: What we can all learn from the Kardashians

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Blog, Business 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, Business 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:)


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