Monday, October 17, 2011

Being a Guest

As you may have noticed, I was a guest at the wedding I just coordinated. My older brother was the best man, and the groom has been like a son to my parents who were of course there and were there to help me through the whole process. . I have attended more weddings than I can count as a guest, and I have worked at many others. It was a bit of an awkward dynamic because I wasn’t really sure how to act. I knew the majority of the guests so it was impossible to avoid socializing. I kept questioning my own professionalism, as the bride demanded I join her on the dance floor. I wondered what the other vendors thought, but then I realized, I have done so much prep work, and I could see that everyone was doing their job, which allowed for the autonomy. Someone kept asking me when I was going to put my clipboard down and have fun, and my initial reaction was: Are you kidding? This is a blast! It’s what I live for!!

I realized that in coming to this small town, in which I was born and raised, I will be doing dozens of weddings in which I am either a guest or I will know a ton of guests there. I thought this was going to make me nervous at the last wedding, but it was actually comforting because everyone was so incredibly encouraging and supportive. Leading up to the event, I ran into numerous people who were beyond excited for me to reveal my work. The fact that I will always be surrounded by friends, families, and acquaintances is comforting. I feel like if I stayed in the "I'm at work" mode and can't socialize with you, then I wouldn't really be doing my best job to make guests feel comfortable. As long as I can show that there is no stress and I am not under a lot of pressure and have met and exceeded my clients' expectations, then I am showing I am doing and have done my job! 

My Brother, the Best Man, Giving His Speech
Naturally, it’s going to be hard for me to attend any weddings solely as a guest without wanting to step in and help, but I try not to force my help onto my friends. This last weekend I attended one of my best friend’s wedding, and it was hard for me not to jump up and start directing. It was also difficult leading up to it not to drill her with never ending questions to make sure she had everything done. She didn’t need me at all because her wedding was beautiful, and she was radiant as ever. It was held an hour outside of Tucson in the little art colony of Tubac at a BEAUTIFUL resort. Seriously, if you are ever in that area, visiting this town is a must! The town has the neatest atmosphere with friendly people, and the resort is so perfect for a weekend getaway. 

Beautiful Bride and Groom
 I have a broken camera so I am stealing Facebook pictures from everyone!

That brings me back to the questions: Is it okay to be a guest at my own wedding considering I don’t check out and ignore my responsibilities? Will I lose credibility and that sense of professionalism or will it enhance my job and my future in that field with the ability to mingle and market myself? 

Thanks for stopping by and I promise that as soon as I get pictures, I will show off the wedding! Feel free to follow me on Twitter 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Planner in Town!

I did it! I planned and coordinated my first wedding! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now officially a wedding planner!
I Do What It Takes to Make it Beautiful! 
Can I just say that despite a few minor things that I probably only noticed, the wedding went so incredibly well. I have a new found confidence and am ready to take this career by the horns or I guess bouquets? HA! I will say that I plan on demanding constructive criticism from the other vendors, the bride and groom, and their families. I need as much as I can get!

My favorite thing so far about this job? The relationship building! I have gotten to know and grown closer to so many people just through this one wedding! I am also rekindling a friendship of a girl I knew through elementary school when I was in preschool as I am planning her wedding for April. It's been so fun getting to know her all over again!

The bride and groom of Saturday's wedding are two of my brother's best friends. The groom Lance lived with us in college and Laura was always here cooking for him and taking care of him. I've been around these two as the little sister for almost 10 years, and through this project they've become fabulous friends of mine. I even joined them for the bachelorrette/bachelor party which is not common for the wedding planner. I was nervous about the perceived professionalism of the whole thing, but I rekindled friendships, met some great people, and had a wonderful time!

Another funny thing is that the Lance and Laura got a beach house in Laguna for their honeymoon, about 20 minutes from my house in Orange County. She kept telling me she wanted to BBQ with everyone despite the fact that it's her honeymoon. I missed the BBQ but she begged me to stop by on my way to town so I did, and we sat by the beach and fire and chatted about the wedding. I loved that Lance wanted to talk about it with us too and had some really insightful input.

I assumed she was never going to want to hear from me again for a while, but Laura's already planning on doing a styled one-year anniversary shoot, and we have plans to start a supper club beginning with a Halloween party.

I am eagerly waiting for the pictures from the photographer, and then I will do an official re-cap of the whole thing. I have a lot I want to share with you such as being a guest at the wedding you plan, how I set myself up for success, having my family on board...again, things I still need to work on, a re-cap of the wedding and vendors, and others but I want to keep it this short! I will leave you with a little sneak peak....I was bad and brought an uncharged camera so only got a few shots, but I stole some from Facebook :)

For now I am off to another wedding of a very close friend from junior high and high school in the little art town Tubac outside of Tucson. It's going to be such a beautiful wedding! It has definitely been the season of wedding festivities!

I love the signs we made for the flower girls. These girls were extremely proud of their jobs!

The Cigar Lounge..My Favorite Part! I Didn't love that the banner kept falling despite my glue dots, tape, and pins! 

BEAUTIFUL, Happy Bride!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Almost Here!

My first wedding that I will be doing without my intern label is two weeks away! As it gets closer things are getting a little more tense but everything is coming together and Laura (my bride) and I are ready! She may tell you otherwise, but she is such a rockstar. I'm blessed she let me practice on her and learn this process with me. She has taught me so much, and after all is said and done, I will force her to sit down and tell me the things that could have been better and where I could use major improvements. I was one of those students who got mad when a teacher didn't ink up my papers because I felt they didn't read them. I'm not perfect, and I am always seeking for ways to improve.

Lately I have been working on the business side of things and am trying to work out the nitty gritty details. I've got a business license application pending and have been doing a lot of research on other companies and scanning Yuma's market. One of the biggest challenges for me is deciding how much I am worth. During a potential bride meeting, she told me that she wasn't out there to find the best deal and "nickel and dime" the vendors. She realizes that these services are people's livelihoods and just want what's fair. I wanted to give her a hug because it was so refreshing to hear that. You pay people to work for you, and if you want a job well done, then you should pay for a job well done. I would love if I could just say, pay me what's fair, and it was as simple as that but it's not!

No two weddings will ever be the same and some will require more work than others. This job is fun for me, but I have to realize that my work is worth something and that it has to pay the bills too. I am a TJ Maxx deal shopper so I like to find the best deals for people, and I realize that a wedding is an astronomical expense so it's going to be a challenge for me. Unfortunately, there's not really a cookie-cutter equation for finding my worth like there are in other industries. I will get the hang of it and learn to be strong and realize that it is a business!

Along with deciding my service package prices, I've been trying to figure out what my contract should entail. I have found a few that I need to read with a fine-toothed comb. I hate that we live in a world where we have to protect ourselves like this in any industry. I just pray that my naivety about things won't get the best of me!

I'm here to love my career, meet new people, and create a cohesion between clients and vendors, and just have fun. I don't want to make any enemies. This is a small town, and we've got a great little community and I can't wait to dive in because everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging. I can't wait to learn new things and see what opportunities present themselves!

On another note, Laura's wedding has kept both of us busy in the crafting department, which is so much more fun than creating a contract! She's a very DIY bride and the both of us have been scanning discount stores and antique stores to find goodies to decorate with. We have both been creating things, and I am so psyched to see it come together. I don't want to divulge too much, but I will say that her theme is a green, gold, brown, and burlap eco-chic, recycled bottle look.

The pictures of one of my projects were accidentally deleted, but luckily I snapped a phone photo of one of my proudest creations thus far:

Here is the mirror mid-project as I was gluing on the shims. It turned out really beautiful, and I can't wait to display it. I made it following this tutorial. My only suggestion is that the wood be primed before painted because I ended up having to re-do the painting because the wood soaked up the paint.

You may recognize this mirror here when Blair and I painted one for one of her projects. Have you guessed that Laura's wedding  is going to include mirrors yet? ;)

Laura and Lance's wedding is going to be perfect and so much fun! I haven't decided yet if I am more or less nervous about the fact that I will know the majority of the guests! The pressure is most definitely on!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Job Does More Than Pay Bills

One  good aspect about my job is that I learn skills that are very applicable to different things such as maid of honor duties and bridal showers. My parents helped me throw a bridal shower for Emily whose wedding is in November. I have been ZERO, ZIP, NADA help to her with her wedding mostly because we don’t even live in the same state but also because I have failed as a maid of honor and WEDDING PLANNER! I keep asking her to let me help her but she’s being polite and won’t let me know what I can do. She’s extremely low key, but she knows exactly what she wants. She is the dream bride for any planner, and she’s not even using one!

We hosted the shower in our back yard in Orange. It was very small and intimate and turned out to be a beautiful day. I chose pastel orange, yellow, and pink as the color palette because those are the colors I think of when Emily comes to mind. She’s so kind-spirited and sunshiney! <--Yes, I make up my own words. :)

Sunshiney Tea Party! 

I Got to Use My Great-Grandmother's China

I can’t even reiterate how helpful my parents were, along with a few other people.  We decided to do a Saturday morning brunch and tea party. My mom made some fabulous quiches and we served sandwich fixings, a veggie platter, a fruit platter, and Emily’s mom made some amazing cinnamon rolls.  For dessert, I ordered cake pops from a friend who is an up-and-coming baker! We also had coffee, iced tea, tea, and my dad made his famous mimosas.

Food Spread Pre-Quiche

We Had Enough Food To Feed These Handsome Guys...The girls were a little confused when they all appeared in their PJS!! :) 

I learned a lot that morning, namely that I need to take some culinary classes or go shadow a caterer. I don’t know how many times my dad came up behind me to fix the amateur mistakes I was making in displaying the food.
“When you lay out pre-cut, packaged cheese, you want to separate it and re-stack it because it is too stuck together for people to separate when holding a plate of food.”
“When you wash raspberries, you want them to completely dry before setting them out because they smoosh and run together.”
“This is how you make bunches of grapes look nice”
“Crowds are not going to appreciate your healthy food makeovers.”

Don’t even ask me to cut a watermelon nicely to serve. You are better off seeking the help of a two year old. 

I also realized, and feel like we planned really well, that when you have an event that starts at 10:00AM, you need to do as much prep work as possible the day before even if you are waking up a 5am to start working. We spent the whole Friday getting ready and doing as much as possible, and our morning was still pretty busy! 

I also realized that floral design courses are imperative for me. I cannot put an arrangement together for the life of me. Thank goodness my dad is so artsy. We bought flowers from Costco--seriously one of the best resources for flowers--and my dad arranged them into tea pots for me. That was my mom's idea!

Until I learn more about food and flowers, this event planner will be hiring caterers and florists! 

Thanks to both of my parents for thinking of the million things I never thought of! Both my mom and dad worked non-stop. My mom's a little camera-shy, but she's always there being the best mom in the world! 

I'm not  a completely crafter helpless because I made some vases I'm kind of proud of! I got the idea at Tip Junkie It doesn't take a college degree to make them, but one day I will be a master crafter!! 

If I did this again, I would collect more china and make it more mismatched.

As an aspiring business person, I know how hard it is to get your foot in the door, and I love to use people that are in the same boat as me…as long as they are qualified. I noticed Kari, a good friend's cake pop creations on Facebook, and she has made some adorable things! She doesn’t have an official business yet, but she is well on her way, and I was excited to be among her first few clients. It won’t be long before I can’t afford her because she is so talented!

Check out these adorable tea cups she made for the shower: 

I also stole pictures of past work from her Facebook: 

How Cute Are These?? 

School Colors For a Graduation Party
Please let me know if you ever need some fabulous cake pops, and I will put you in touch with Kari and her sister. They not only look cute, they taste fabulous too! I ordered funfetti because it was a neutral flavor, and it was a big hit! 

I also used Emily’s longtime friend for the invitations. She is not sure exactly what direction she wants to go exactly because she has a ton of skills and is going to FIDM this fall, but if you want someone who will put 110% into making beautiful paper goods you have to contact Amanda. I was shocked when I got the invitations from her and how much detail she added. She was also super helpful and offered to do so much for the shower. She brought a giant box of different tea sets to help my very small collection. 

Sorry Amanda, these sideways poor quality phone pictures do not do your work justice! 

Love How She Pulled the Ribbon Through! 

Blair is not going to be able to get away from me--first, in the endless questions I send her and secondly in her designing various aspects of my events. I used the chicken wire frames that she built to display recipe cards that we sent with Emily and she designed and made the adorable banner. She created it after a 5 minute phone call and a few questions. She nailed the whole design perfectly! If you need an event planner, paper goods and decor, event design, unique rentals, and a lot more contact Blair here

Chicken Wire Frame

"All You Need is Love" 

It was a lovely morning, and I think (hope) everyone had a great time! I am excited for the bachelorette festivities and most of all, the wedding!! 

All You Need Is Good Food and Friends! 

I Couldn't Get Over How Beautiful Everyone Made This Party Look! 

Beautiful Bride!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Unintentional Family Affair

Life has been exciting, and I keep up more on a daily basis here. I have never been stuck on a concrete life  plan because I didn’t know what I was going to walk into with moving home and what opportunities would arise. I had a moment where I almost did a complete 180 to go back to school and chase another dream: nutrition and fitness. God had others plans when 4 brides called me and wanted me to plan their weddings. I decided to take it one step at a time and continue chasing both dreams. I plan on pursuing further education whether it be online courses, certifications, conferences, or workshops. I want to become a personal trainer and become either a licensed RD or just get a nutrition and wellness certification. I love the idea of adding training to my bridal packages because what bride doesn’t want to get in shape before her wedding? And I can only imagine the amount of people that take unhealthy and dangerous routes to meet their physical ideal for their special day. I also feel like teaching them healthy ways to manage stress through exercise and a healthy diet would be beneficial. 

I’m going to be honest. There are other reasons I started backpedaling on event planning. It terrifies me doing it on my own and in the market in Yuma. The events here are so different than the events I have experienced in Orange County and will be much harder with so much more to think about. In Orange County I had venues to choose from that all included tables, staff, dinnerware, bathrooms, and most importantly some kind of venue manager to lean on.  I am also speaking as if I didn’t shadow Blair and Constance and had them to follow and simply take orders from…not give orders

 Here, for the most part, it’s a whole different ballgame because there are fewer venues and more outside, backyard-type events. That means you have to take into consideration: where are we going to get power?; how are we going to create a parking lot?; who are we going to hire to help set up all these tables?; who is going to clear the guests plates?; what are we going to do about trash?; how are we going to hang our décor in the trees?; do we need to hire security?; where can the bride go to the bathroom?; will we have enough light?; are we going to bring in catering or are we going to hire people to cook; and so many more. Even though you save on venue usage fees, you end up having to spend it elsewhere.

These questions are all answered by drawing in different resources, and it really depends on whom you know. I don’t have a problem with this, but my issue is that my dad is my #1 resource because he is my connection to every resource, and he is a golden resource! He is pro with all this stuff given he puts events on all the time whether it be for the high school, rhino conservancy fundraisers, events for my brother’s college football team, his company events, and so many others. He has the answers to all my questions and solutions as well. My mom is also another resource especially when it comes to crafting, decorating, logistics, she's a hard-working very assertive helper, and just a seasoned  know-how...seriously this woman knows so much. 

 I think I ask them an event related question at the very LEAST once a day and sometimes hundreds of times a day. I am going to learn the ropes around here ASAP so that I can be big and confident enough to do this on my own. My dad loves this kind of stuff but he has a lot of other responsibilities not to mention a company to run. I will try my hardest to not tempt him into turning his attention to my events. For now, I will need their assistance until my feet are on the ground and will do my best to force them to take my paycheck, but one day I will be just as valuable of a resource.

My parents have not missed  helping me with any dance I have ever planned whether in high school or in college for my sorority. They even showed up at midnight to help me tear down! I am so blessed, but I refuse to take advantage! 

Winter Formal Set-Up Crew 

He decorates too!

Formal on a yacht

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Set An Example

I have a love/hate relationship with social networking. It definitely has its advantages for business and communication, but it also has it’s disadvantages. Don’t get me wrong, I, like the next person, spend way too much time catching up on the Facebook newsfeed rather than the world newsfeed. That’s one problem: it can be a big time-waster and many often spend more time in the social networking world as opposed to the real world. Also, when choosing to have a site such as Facebook, anything you post is on display and more people than you know are watching especially the younger crowd, which looks up to you.
I feel that the tween and teens watch and mimic everything of those a few years older than they are. Facebook and other sites didn't exist when I was in junior high, but I kept a close eye on  my brother in high school and wanted to be just like his girl friends and had big crushes on most of his guy friends. The girls liked to give me advice about boys, do my makeup, and I wanted to copy the way they dressed. 

No, there is nothing wrong with this but if I had actually being a part of their social lives on the weekends I may have been exposed me to things I shouldn’t say or hear at that age, and it could have altered my actions, and I may have tried to grow up too quickly.

Facebook allows this kind of access into our lives depending on how much we put out there. The things we post—comments, pictures, statuses—all are a reflection of who we are and will cause others to make snap judgments of our character. Many things can easily be taken out of context and can be detrimental.  If I had access to something like Facebook in junior high and saw pictures of the things that the cool high school kids did on the weekends, how they acted with their significant others, and was exposed to more than just hanging around them every once and a while, I may have tried to mimic them in my younger junior high days, and my parents would have had their work cut out for them when it came to holding the reigns. 

The older generations have a responsibility to set an example. Junior high kids have elementary aged children watching them and high school kids are watching the college crowd and older. Social networking and the internet in general is exposing kids to things exponentially.

Facebook is virtually permanent and even if things are deleted, you never know how many eyes see something before it is removed. As I said, anything can be taken out of context. Picture of you holding a glass of wine? Someone may turn you into a wild partier in their head. Make a crude inside joke on someone’s wall? You never know who you influenced, what people think of you, or who you offended because it is not a joke said in a small circle for select ears. The entire virtual universe was exposed to it. 

Along with the things we post, how we approach life also sets an example. Our successes of graduating from high school and going to college...then graduating from college and getting a job is a positive example for people to follow. Life hit you hard and you don’t have a Cinderalla  story? How you come out of it and conquer hardships will let the younger crowd know that anything is possible.

Facebook and other social networking sites are amazing, but they have their disadvantages. Don't let these cons outweigh the positive aspects of them and be responsible about what you put out there. You never know who is watching, admiring, and mimicking your every move!
In order to keep it short, I will write another post later on how Facebook can ruin relationships and even marriages.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summery Wedding

I mentioned before  that I was assisting Blair Britt with a wedding with 2 months notice! It happened to be the night after my graduation so the week before the wedding I wasn’t much help!

 Planning a wedding in two months was a first for both of us, and I must say Blair pulled it off with flying colors! And I am not kidding when I say colors because this was a bright, fun, colorful wedding. We themed it “Playful Summer.” The bride and groom had very fun personalities, and Blair used this to create a vibe for the whole wedding. It took place at the beautiful Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, and the setting for the ceremony could not have been more beautiful. The trees there are huge and framed everything perfectly. Blair and our favorite florist Jayne of Bits of Whimsy (seriously, there isn't anything this woman can't do) created some fun décor, which included bright orange and pink flowers and Chinese lanterns. We covered some of the lanterns  with petals to dress them up a bit, and used them throughout the wedding. Blair’s signature piece, ribbon, was also used to adorn the tables and dress up the white linens.

To Whomever I Marry: I am sorry for taking over our future house with wedding projects

Love the Pops of Color! 
These Pomander Balls Are Surprisingly Heavy! It took everything I had to not start a softball game during clean up :) 

The lanterns look much better here than hanging on my pull-up bar!

Table Ribbons: Simple and Fun! 

I love the escort cards in the wheat grass. All the paper goods were created by Blair

Blair Also Comes With An Assortment of Rentals to Use  for Your Events 

Such a Fun Way to Display Anything From Menus to Instructions for Guests

The desserts created by the amazing Sweet and Saucy were to die for as usual. You can always count on those girls to create a fabulous spread. It included mini pies, which is the groom’s favorite dessert, cake pops, desserts in cups, and some other fun goodies. They also had a gorgeous cake. My favorite were the carrot cake pops! 

The country club has a no cell phone policy, which is a staple for us to communicate. We turned to radios and had an interesting experience. We kept intercepting conversations on our channel which included kids that were playing with walkie talkies. Besides the fact that we couldn’t keep the earpiece in our ears, I like using them as opposed to cell phones because it is a little more professional, but I think we still need practice to learn the proper radio etiquette! All in all, it was a very successful wedding!!

Thank you Jeremiah Bonjean for capturing some fabulous images and helping everything go so smoothly! A cohesive vendor team is the key to success! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Little Girl in a Big CIty

One of my many life plans (I take after my dad)  was to attend UNLV’s graduate, hotel administration program after I had graduated from Chapman. I decided that my parents already sent me to a good undergrad school and didn’t need to be spending that much more money. As I spent time in Vegas this past week, I was biting at the bit to apply. What a cool opportunity it would be to experience that side of events. I have been doing weddings, but I have always wanted to learn event production from every angle to make me more valuable. This fall, as I’ve said before, I will hopefully be learning all about nonprofit and fundraising events.

Anyway, a friend of the family, Steve, is the general manager of the equestrian arena at the South Point in Vegas. He was very excited about my career goals and offered to let me shadow him at a concert this past weekend. It was a big event called Junefest that hosted the bands War, Three Dog Night, and The Fixx. He also said that I could shadow his staff anytime I wanted! I am highly considering taking him up on that! He took me on a tour of the arena as well as the stables. Since it is an equestrian arena, they have 1200 very high-class stables to house the horses that come through for rodeos and other similar shows. Next week they will have a jousting competition…pretty intense! I think I'd fit in quite nicely in the equestrian center being the farm girl I am and having grown up raising pigs..wait, what?? Yep, I am a true blood former 4-H member. 

I got to hang out with him as well as the general manager of the hotel (No big deal, right??)  and watch how things were run during the event. He took me back stage and showed me where they put the artists and how they take care of them. He was very relaxed and laid back through the whole thing, which kind of surprised me. He told me that if he did his job ahead of time, that he could just hang out and enjoy the event. As a very successful event planner, all he had to do was press “go” and everything he put together in advance went to work. Any problem that could arise, would quickly be mitigated by his staff whom he has already prepared. For example, the fire alarm went off during the concert and as soon as he got on the radio, he was alerted by an employee that it had already been taken care of and within minutes the alarm was off. I asked my family about it, and they never even noticed it.

Whether it be weddings or other type of events, I aspire for mine to run this smoothly. I want to be able to push “go” and have everything run just as planned without any stress the day-of. 


Horse Stalls 

A-List Horse Stalls 

Watchin' the Concert

Walking around Vegas, I felt very small and intimidated, which is why I would love to intern with Steve. I feel like I would learn so much and realize that I am capable of more than I think. I may just have to take him up on his offer to come anytime! :)