She’s the second most important woman in the room and chances are if you’ve been engaged for over a week, she’s probably almost driven you a bit batty with her enthusiasm and thoughts about the wedding! She’s the Mother of the Bride and that’s what mothers are for!!!! I was asked to be on a pretty fabulous panel of experts for Anne Chertoff’s weeks Google+ show From I Will to I Do that included Anja Winnika from The Knot and Mark Ingram from Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier… a group of people who know moms. We’re giving you advice on how to best get along with mom, how to shop for Mom’s dress and all the do’s and don’t you will both want to know. So send this link to your mother and watch it together!
And if you are looking for fabulous advice, Anne’s Google+ Show airs every Wednesday at 3PM and you can check out all of her past shows here.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!! In honor of the holiday of love, I thought we could celebrate RED today! Honestly, as an event designer, Red can actually be a challenging color to work with as it can either seem so Stark (imagine black, white and red) or Valentinesy or worse, Patriotic.. (which has it’s place.. it just isn’t always elegant). I find a lot of inspiration in how to work with colors via interior design, so here are a few fabulous RED home spaces and some great akin interpretations in wedding or tabletop!
LOVE this Indian inspired bedroom.. Makes me want to get romantic! (via Elle Decor)
This was a fun wedding that takes the style a bit more Morrocan, but I love the filmy canopy!
This stunning Asian Inspired red office mixes ethnic patterns to an effect that is utterly modern.. (via Sybartic Fabrics)
This tablescape (via WedLuxe.com) is a great interpretation of this look.. though I would love to have put the whole table on top of an animal print rug !
While this room isn’t “red” per se, it’s pattern upon pattern works and is tied together by the red of the mats in the picture frames. Adore it. Via CasaSugar.
Here is a great way to make that pattern upon pattern floral thing work for you… tied in with red of course. Image via 100 Layer Cake.
Turquoise and Red are two of my favorite color combinations… I was in love with this because it was the cleanness of the cool blue offset by the dense detail of the busy red room filled with artwork (Image via
I love this palette- it was our company’s original logo colors, actually… but I find it too often goes CUTE when it’s interpreted for wedding. It really worked well for this pretty Mexican destination wedding though where they left the aqua tone to the container… and let the red speak for itself in the flowers. (via Destination Mexico)
This was so fabulously captured by Louis Miller Designs in this amazing tablescape. Via Quintessence.
Wishing you the HAPPIEST Valentine’s Day and a weekend filled with Love and inspiration! xoxo
One of my favorite parts of Mean Girls (which is saying a lot, because the entire movie is essentially my favorite part) is when the girls all go to Amy Poehler’s house and she says “I’m not a REGULAR Moms, I’m one of those COOL Moms… I’m like your friend.” I always die laughing because I so remember some of my friends having moms like that, and the trope that it often goes awry… and that the son/ daughter was almost always longing for a bit of discipline and structure. With some distance, most of us come to appreciate the strictness of a MOM, Mom…. my grandmother was a MOM mom, there was nothing cool or friendly about her and looking back I’m grateful for that as my healthy dose of fear kept me from running totally off the rails as a teenager in New York.
There is a lesson here in client relationships for wedding professionals. Most couples are like children when it comes to weddings: experiencing something that they’ve never experienced before and looking to you, expert and professional who has done this before, for guidance. This isn’t to diminish their intelligence or taste… it’s a simple fact that you were hired because you have an expertise (or at the very least, a bit of experience) that they do not possess. You will have more successful long term relationships (in my opinion) being a MOM Planner/photographer/caterer than a COOL Planner/photographer/caterer.
I say this from personal experience. When we first started out we were an average age of 25 and looked about 20. Though we’d been planning events for years already, we really felt we could only win business by leading with our “coolness” and relatability. While this would often work for couples who didn’t think they wanted a MOM planner or designer, in practice, it led to more client anxiety and thus more anxiety for us. Ultimately, they were not buying into our ability to lead the troops, but our ability to execute their plans… except that they didn’t necessarily know what they were doing. So, they felt anxious that no one was really in charge, and we felt frustrated that they didn’t allow us to take the lead.
Selling yourself as a MOM Planner- one who can offer care, guidance and experienced steerage in this uncharted water- ultimately has led to more fruitful, relaxed and enjoyable client relationships for not only us, but our clients too. Just as a young child can benefit from the routine of dinner, playtime, bath, story and bedtime, clients can benefit from structure and process. They can relax into their wedding planning knowing that there is a clear cut route and you are a clear cut captain who knows, more or less, what to expect and help to protect them. Mayra and I are still COOL (or at least we still have Cool taste) and we sell that taste… but we sell taste partnered with expertise. You can be friendly, fun, creative, witty and all the other things you already are, but do this while still being a “Parent” and not a friend, because ultimately that’s what they need right now… and there is always time for friendship after the honeymoon.
So, if you are reading this, you are likely planning a wedding, which means you have a Valentine… but it also means you are about to get married, which means this V-day may want the thought to do the counting, and keep some of your cash in your collective bank account. I present to you a Valentine’s Day Shopping Guide- fun, stylish ideas for your boo that are all $100 and under.
I love gifts that I would never think to buy myself, so I’m particularly digging these stylish phone chargers from J.Crew… $34.50
Because he is the Ultimate Man in your life, why not get him the Ultimate Man Razor from Kiehl’s… a ye olde fashioned way to get a better shave. $85
Because you are secretly tired of him wearing his bummy, Bumming Around sneakers for your strolls on Sunday, these cuties are $100 at Barney’s and just in time for a Spring Wardrobe Refresher.
Because he always lingers at Travis Sylvester’s tie table at the Brooklyn Flea, but never actually buys anything… Why not give hime a reason to experiment with a Kingston 21 Bow Tie? (various prices)
And of course, with all this wedding planning stress, you might want to get him something you both can kick back and enjoy… a really nice Whiskey… this Suntory Hibiki is about $70 and is supposed to be really good!
Happy Heart Day!
There is a sense amongst wedding planners particularly, that we should keep our pricing secret from one another. It’s a strange unspoken thing and when you do tell a colleague (aka “Competitor”) what you charge, it’s usually a major step forward in the friendship- an intimate reveal, if you will. Secrecy from each other is such a “thing” that it has a behavior so lowly and cowardly it has it’s own expression for those in the trade: “they shopped me”. You know… the phone rings, the bride to be has a ton of bogusly vague wedding details and continues the conversation just to hear your rates, etc. It all seems a little fishy and then you google the number or search the IP address or whatever… and realize that you’d just been “shopped’.
Indeed, in all these years that we’ve been in the business only one person has just had the cojones to ask from across a crowded table “So what do you charge?” . That person is Marcy Blum and usually when she asks, the person being asked goes “Um, um” and then Marcy says “NO, come, on, you must know what you charge!” She will always tell you what she’s charging.
I’m going to make the quick case for WHY it’s smart, when at a conference or a networking event, to share with your colleagues and competitors your basic pricing (even if it’s a range). Here’s the scenario:
Bride 2 B: Ring, ring! Hi? Is this AaB? I’m engaged and so excited and I know I want someone creative and wonderful to work on my loft wedding in NYC next year on May 10th!
Me: That’s so wonderful! Congratulations! Fantastic, we are available. I can’t wait to hear more about what you have in mind.
B2B: Many, many things that you have never seen before, it’s going to be amazing and it’s going to be amazing on our budget of 100,000.
Me: It is going to be amazing!!! I just don’t know that we are the right people to make it amazing for you. I feel like our fee would eat up a bit too much of your budget. I have a colleague and he/she seems actually really great and warm and creative and on top it. They charge a bit less than we do, but I know that they’ve worked in your venue and it would be great. Let me refer you to them.
(Weeks later, thank you card from B2B and Colleague because it was a match. I am happy because she wasn’t a good client for me. Bride is happy because she found a planner in her price point and planner is happy because he got a vetted referral from a colleague as well as my insight into her personality before they even spoke.)
This same scenario could go in any number of other ways- they don’t seem a good match for us stylistically or they really needed partial service and we don’t offer that, or we happen to be booked or it’s planning only and we only do design and planning, or it maybe isn’t a good personality fit or whatever. The issue is that we don’t want to send this woman on a wild goose chase, causing her further frustration.. nor do I want to waste my colleague’s time by sending them someone who can’t afford them either. If we refer a bride out, there are a number of different reasons why, and for each unique reason there might be a more appropriate referral to make. I’ve made tons of referrals to colleagues in New York, out of state, even across the country… but it’s always been to someone where I have a basic sense of their price point.
We go to these networking events and conferences and “planner parties”, yes because they are fun, but also because it’s good for business. I’m not making the argument to share the secrets of your business operations with your colleagues, but I am raising the question that perhaps secrecy from each other isn’t actually serving anyone. The more people know about your services and price range, the more colleagues can become potential co-salesmen/woman.
CODA to this post: To the newer planners out there: it can be intimidating to tell people- especially those with more experience- what you are charging for fear that you seem “low end” or you are worried you aren’t charging enough, etc. Don’t be. First, our first contract for full planning went out nearly 10 years ago for $2500 (I’m mortified) so you aren’t stuck at that price point by any means… and Second, it’s good to have other people tell you to charge more! Or that you are crazy and need to charge more! That’s what gets you to stop being afraid to charge more!!!