WPW: Going with your Gut

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Industry Advice | No Comments

I recently was invited to go somewhere, and when I received the invitation I was less than elated.  Everything in me said that I should just decline the invite, mainly because my heart wasn’t in it and attending required quite a bit of effort.  Yet, I paused because I didn’t want to hurt the hosts feelings and many friends and colleagues would expect that they would see me there and I didn’t have the energy/guts/desire to be honest about why I didn’t want to go, nor did I have the energy/guts desire to make up half-truths either (don’t they just feel awful coming out of your mouth?).

So, I mustered up some gusto, sent my affirmative reply and before you know it there I was.   This is where I’m now supposed to tell you “and boy was I glad that I was a trooper and showed up because it turned out to be a wonderful experience!”… except that it didn’t.  In fact, my dread upon receiving the invite was sort of unidentified ambiguous malaise, but by the time I left it was honestly irritation, mild frustration and anger- not at my host, but at myself, for not listening to my gut that this was not a good idea for me.

I read a pretty awesome Thought Catalogue piece on 10 ways we make our lives unnecessarily harder and one of them- the one that stuck with me- was not allowing people to rob you of your time.  I have historically been most guilty of this- largely because my people pleasing manifests in taking meetings and accepting invitations that my gut instinct tells me aren’t essential.    It dawned on me that this most recent invite was just an extreme manifestation of something that’s been playing out for me personally for years.. I suspect I am not alone.

In this age of Push, Push, Push and Round the Clock Living and Living Your Best Life, we have become conditioned to interpreting an aversion to doing something as being lazy, or “not going for it!” or worse, “succumbing to fears” … when in actuality all that we are doing is ignoring our gut.  “Bad Feelings” about potential clients doesn’t always equal a fear or being challenged that needs to be overcome…. it can also mean just say no to the job.   A sense of hesitation about attending an industry event because it’s going to throw your entire weeks’ production schedule out of whack doesn’t mean that you need to get over your shy-ness or are being too lazy to network… it means your better instinct knows this will create more anxiety for you in the long run.

If you aren’t sure that you know the difference, my intuitive advisor/psychic friend Gemma has a good rule of thumb for knowing the difference:  anxiety and fear responses to experiences, invitations, situations are more immediate feeling and out of control while a bad gut feels a bit more like a pit the drops you down an octave or two… like the blah sense of malaise I described feeling above (if only I heeded my own words!).

As business owners, listening to our gut can help us manage our time better in so many ways: avoiding future difficult customer service situations or bad business partnerings.  Going with our gut can help us get that precious time back with our kids/husbands/friends/ourselves that we always wish we had more of by helping us to edit our calendars and decline more useless invites/meetings/etc.  And it can generally go a long way to keeping you on a focused path towards where you want to be.

Happy Wednesday!!!! xoxox


Inspired By: Fall Couture

I’m always super inspired by the Paris Couture shows… Not so much by the clothes (which, of course, are inspiring) but the Couture shows always really bring it in the Set Design department, which can be really helpful sources for inspiration when it comes to event design.

A few years ago I was totally obsessed with this structure at the top of the runway at the Dolce and Gabbana Couture show.
Dolce and Gabbana Couture
So much so that it inspired this chuppah structure from a wedding that we did this past May.
Chuppah Inspired by Dolce and Gabbana show
With that in mind, here are a few of the set “looks” from the fall couture shows that I found particularly inspiring!
How fabulous is this Black and White with the lush and dramatic greenery? From the Valentino collection.
White, Black and Green from Valentino
Loved this Baby blue, white and Gilded mirror look at Chanel… especially with the pastel pops and tons of white! Chanel Couture
If you love the drama, how tremendous is the Atelier Versace with the deep plum rug and black with just a hint of gold?
Atelier Versace

What shows are inspiring you these days?

WPW: Taking Charge of Client Relationships

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Industry Advice | 2 Comments

I’m finally getting back in the swing of things after a few weeks of non-stop events and travel that started at the top of April. It’s nice to be back in Brooklyn and have a rare wedding industry lull during the start of summer. It’s particularly enjoyable after winding things down at Engage! in Beaver Creek Colorado, where I was honored to have spoken about managing challenging clients.

If you’ve never been to an Engage!, I will tell you what Marcy Blum told me, which is “Save your pennies and go.” There have been some equally awesome and thorough recaps of our latest (and in my opinion) greatest Engage!, but speaking in generalizations, the main power of Engage! is that you are surrounded by other motivated creative professionals in an intimate and fun environment where everyone is focused on the same thing: being better. Some of the content is inspiring, some practically useful and some simply fun, but the real magic happens in the conversations out of the session rooms and sharing of ideas with not only your peers, but professionals you admire. Learning is happening everywhere and it’s truly rejuvenating.

In fact, learning happens even from the stage, as I had a lightbulb moment while I was giving my breakout session talk during the Q & A. During my talk about different types of challenging clients, one theme that emerged was the fact that a lot of the time these relationships run off the rails because we (the professionals) don’t fully take charge of client relationships. We don’t always appreciate (and sometimes don’t sell) what our true value in the process is: we actually DO know better and if the client didn’t want someone how knew better they likely wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. I proposed a radical idea, which I will share with you here:

Delivering excellent customer service and being a doormat are not the same things. In fact, giving into your clients’ every whim is a passive aggressive way of doing a bad job.

Being in charge can come with big responsibilities: making judgement calls, deciding when no one else will, standing by recommendations, potentially disagreeing with the client’s desires. I was surprised and not surprised by some of the apprehension in the room about suffering the consequences of taking charge: being blamed, avoiding momentary conflict or being temporarily disliked being chief amongst them. But I propose that when we don’t take charge you’re being blamed anyway- for the client feeling out of control.

Sell your services like the expert that you are and direct the process like the expert that you are. After all, your clients came to you seeking out that expertise to steward their day to awesomeness!

*** If all of this is getting you jazzed about working on your business and you can’t wait until the next Engage to get your juices flowing, join us at the Be Sage Conference this August 3-5 in Chicago. A tactically bent gathering, the Sage Wedding Pros have organized 3 days packed with practical workshops and talks dealing with the things we ALL think about like expanding revenue sources, retirement and media relations. Mayra and I will be taking the stage to talk about starting our second brand, the pros and cons of partnership and more. Hope you can join us!!*****

Orange is the New Awesome

So, I have been resisting the Orange is the New Black phenomenon mainly because I just hate getting into new TV shows.  It’s such a commitment and what with the weather getting so nice and all this stuff we have going on, I don’t need one more thing to obsess about .  Yet, after my friend Caryn went on and on about how she pulled a college style all nighter watching the show and waxed poetic like a Film student about it’s comedic, yet poignant take on class and race and privilege in America, I found myself watching 4 straight hours last night and fixated by, what else?  The color tangerine.

So then this morning, when my favorite Wall Paper company (Designer Wall Coverings) sent me their weekly newsletter and it was entitled Orange is Back, I realized I was not the only one with Citrus colors on the brain.   In many ways, Orange is the new black because it’s remarkably versatile- changing mood depending on what it’s paired up with.   Orange is such a versatile color because in it’s softest iterations- like peach, or paired with white and grey, it can be romantic and light or modern and crisp and in it’s bolder iterations it can be warm or fiery.  It’s quite literally a color that can go year round and is often surprising.  Some of the gorgeous patterns Designer Wall Coverings showed included these great panels.

Orange and Grey Panels from Designer Wall Coverings

Of course, Orange can also be quite bold and graphic.  Love how by pairing it with blue, this dining room is eclectic, yet bold, but not overly modern. (Via Style Estate)

Orange with Blue Accents

And of course, Orange pairs so well with Pink.  Here are these delightful invites from Ceci New York that are romantic, but modern with a lot of “heat” perfect for a summer or destination wedding. (Via The Bridal Circle)

Ceci New York Orange and Pink Invitations

And of course it pairs so well with Metallics.  Here our “ribbon wall” from Mayra’s wedding.

MAYRA & AJA  Wedding Cake via Dave Robbins Photography

And it also heats up nicely for fall or a cozier, bolder more masculine look. I loved this Brown and multi-toned orange living room via DecoHolic.

3 tone orange living room
What about you? Do you think you could embrace Orange at your next special event?

A Very Kardashian Take on Royal Wedding Trends.

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Entertaining & Inspirations | No Comments

I am like a moth to a flame and when a Kardashian gets married I WANT so badly to not care or pay attention, but I JUST CAN’T STOP.  I need help.

Everyone goes on and on how much Kim is obsessed with Liz Taylor… but I can’t help but feel that it’s actually a Dutchess who most inspires KK.   Yes, I know it seems like the Royal wedding was years ago, but Kim hasn’t had a wedding in a few years and she didn’t have time to properly pay Homage at her last one…. of course in a very Kardashian way.. meaning overdone, over the top and usually a wee bit tacky. Here 4 (oops, make that 5) regal influences seen in all things Kimye Wedding.

1.  White Bridesmaids’ Attire.  As I’ve documented here, I have been, until now, a fan of the all white wedding party.  It’s soft and elegant and was boho and chic when I first saw this at one of my clients’ weddings in 2010. Revolutionary when it was done at the Royal Wedding back in April of 2011….less so when it was done for Kim Kardashian’s last wedding back in August 2011 and frankly, down right tired when Kim decided to not just play out the trend, but simply murder it through exhaustion by having her bridal party and her mother in white… again. (Ladies who had already selected all white bridesmaids gowns… don’t worry, I’m not talking to you… how would you have known that she would do it a 2nd time!?  Essentially now co-opting the Dutchess’ iconic choice and polluting it with Kimye-ness)

All White at Kim's 2011 Wedding

I realized that Kim’s sartorial selections for her maids’ back in 2011 were clearly inspired by the Dutchess of Cambridge, but for her 2014 nuptials, Kim had enough time to plan to incorporate even MORE ideas from the Royal wedding… but with her own Keeping Up with the Kardashian Spin.

Khloe's White bridesmaids' dress for Kim's 2014 Wedding

2. A “Modest” Gown.  Kate Middleton did for the sleeved wedding dress what Marilyn Monroe did for the White Halter Dress and Katherine Hepburn did for the LBD… instant iconic status.  After a tyrannic rule of a decade of strapless gowns, suddenly sleeves are everywhere.  Seemingly almost refreshing in their modest-ness. So of COURSE Kim’s most recent wedding dress was a sleeved Givenchy… with sheer back and waist…

Screenshot 2014-05-27 17.04.14 The Dutchess seems to have inspired Kim K's latest wedding dress

3.  Regal Locations.  Of course the Prince and his bride needed to marry in the land of which they are Sovereign.  Kimye need not be bound by nations, so they instead chose to up the ante by renting iconic national locales of not one, but TWO European countries.  A “casual” rehearsal dinner at Versailles followed by a wedding reception at the Forte de Belvedere in Florence- a fort once owned by the Medicis.

4.  Statement Ceremony Decor.  The Dutchess had blooming trees lining the aisle of Westminster Abbey- trees that would later be re-planted around their country.  Kimye had two walls  of over the top statement flowers inspired by his mother’s day gift to her… which are presumably dead. Stunning never the less.

Westminster Abbey With Statement Trees for 2011 Royal WeddingKimye Statement Decor(UPDATED) 5.  A Friggin’ Horse Drawn Carriage.  This one is so painfully obvious, I can’t waste sentences talking about it.  Pic of Carriage below.

Kimye's carriage

One thing that the Royal Wedding DID NOT have that Kimye’s did was an Epic episode of Fat Shaming between bride and sibling… (and if some stuff did go down between Pipa and Kate, we didn’t find out about it.  Because that’s not how real Royals roll.)