Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's A Game!

The team behind a wedding is a very interesting dynamic. There are so many different players who collaborate and may or may not have ever worked together. I guess you can compare it to an “all-star” game that different sports have at the end of the season. The fans are the bride and groom that vote for these players to perform on their wedding day. The coordinator is the coach who insures each player comes together cohesively. This is a very difficult job because you have photographers, videographers, DJs, the banquet captain, the cake/dessert company, the rental company, the officiant, the venue staff, the hair stylist, the makeup artist, the bridal party, and the families of the bride and groom. All the different vendors have their own way of doing things and each and every venue has different policies and service styles. Then you have the bride and groom who want things done a specific way as well. Everyone does a little correspondence ahead of time, but they never get a practice round before game day.

            It is the coordinator’s job to make sure that everyone follows the rules and plays per the requests of the bride and groom as well as proper etiquette and protocol. Sometimes when working with a less professional venue, a coordinator has to step in and start directing their staff!

            A comprehensive timeline is very key to ensuring that everyone is on the same page and communication is at its highest. A second or third string athlete may not be used to playing with the team, but if they know the play, things should run smoothly. It is the coordinator’s job to list every single detail down to the minute on the timeline so that there is no miscommunication and everyone always knows where to be. It also prompts the vendors to arrive and leave on time so that extra charges are not accrued.

            Timelines must be extremely specific with names of where key players are to be at certain times. Listing each individual that is to be present during a certain photo shoot makes certain that no one will be missing or there won’t be any surprise appearances in the shot. I worked at a wedding where the father of the groom jumped into the groomsmen’s pictures, and no one realized it because we didn’t verify the names on the timeline. We ended up having to do extra photos!

On a side note, comparing a wedding to an all-star game, may help get your groom on board ;-)

Excited for a wedding at the beautiful the La Venta Inn!  You wouldn't believe the view of this place! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stress: It's Part of the Job!

It is so important for a wedding planner to always stay calm and collected no matter what during the production of the actual event. The planner must make it seem that everything is running perfectly smooth and under control even if the building is on fire. This can be difficult because there is so much micromanaging and so many elements to control, and it is just a naturally stressful situation. The key thing is to always smile. Even if you are bee-lining it for something, smile and pause to say hi to guests along the way, and just keep an overall collected composure to make everyone feel that everything is just fine. A coordinator is there to keep everything stress free, make sure that the event runs according to plan, and be ready to knock any surprises out of the park.

This is something that I know I will struggle with as a professional. When I get stressed, flustered, frustrated, worried, etc. I tend to lose control of my defense mechanisms, and I raise my voice and my communication becomes very negative and defensive. My dad and I both have this trait. Sometimes when I am handed bad news, I yell at the messenger even if I am just yelling about the situation.

The other day, I was lost and driving aimlessly, my navigation system was not being helpful, and my dad was on the phone trying to help me. He was getting frustrated because he thought I wasn’t listening when I was asking questions in my stressed voice, and we were just yelling at each other for no reason. We weren’t mad; we were just frustrated at the situation and were taking it out on each other.

I was working at a wedding with Constance Curtis Events, and it was one of my first times working with her. I was really self-conscious and stressed about messing up. I was trying to round up a very drunk group of groomsmen in the bar because it was time to line up for the ceremony. I didn’t realize that I was not smiling and was slightly frantic because they just weren’t paying attention and as soon as I thought I had everyone I realized another had wandered off. One told me that I was very intense even though I wasn’t saying much, and it made me realize how much I show stress on my face. I need to just learn to SMILE no matter what!

I have really been trying to teach myself to stop, breath, and think before saying anything. Sometimes this really does work because it can prevent you from saying something you really don’t mean.

Stress can be detrimental if not utilized correctly. We have to learn to steer it in the right direction and exploit it to our benefit. Planners are under stress to make sure everything goes according to plan. The second he or she gets lax, something will go askew. As long as there is a healthy amount of pressure or stress, the show can keep rolling effectively.

Other ways for preventing stressful situations is to prepare for them and be ready to remedy them quickly. Always have a plan B and know that anything can go wrong.

Have a stress free Wednesday!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Doing It All!

It’s hard to believe my last semester of college is quickly coming to a close! As things are finishing up and senioritis has taken over, I have been busy preparing for my graduation party with the ultimate goal of getting it picked up by Hostess With the Mostess (Dream on Chels!). Well that is a goal of mine --to have one of my events in the future featured by one of those blogs! I had the opportunity to work with my other intern advisor, Blair Britt  at an amazing wedding , which was posted on Wedding Chicks!  It was such a beautiful wedding, and Blair’s attention to detail is uncanny. From the ribbon to the tiny blue-painted clothespins on the escort cards that she printed herself, she will cover it all.

I don’t think there is anything that Blair cannot make or spray paint. She has an eye for things like you wouldn’t believe, and her talent runs across the board--from jewelry  making to paper goods  to her new adventure…vinyls to designing and coordinating weddings and so much more. She is always looking for ways to do it bigger and better than before. Her events are far from simple and will come with a carload of 3 Ford Edges and many times with her amazing mom and dad in tow. We have a joke that “We Bring the Edge to Events” (Trademark Pending for that slogan =) )

While working with Blair, you will find us spray painting in my back yard, discount shopping for goodies to refurbish and rent, loading or unloading  her ever-growing inventory storage,  even picking up free furniture tossed in people’s yards, or producing a beautiful wedding, shower, or other events.

Spray painting frames

Dying tags with coffee...the brothers were sad this baking job wasn't edible! 

Admiring our "free" furniture! 

She is currently in the process of planning a wedding (with 2 months notice) running her jewelry and paper goods business, and putting together an inspiration photoshoot! I am so excited for what is to come over the next few months, and I can’t wait to reveal photos of a wedding we did in January captured by the amazing photographer Gabriel Ryan, showered with florals by Bits of Whimsy, and sweetened with desserts by Sweet and Saucy Shop.

It has been such a blessing working with both Blair and Constance and the things that they have taught me are going to go a long way! They have been so gracious to have me in tow as they do their big bad thing! 

Stay tuned for details about last weekend’s beautiful wedding at the La Valencia in La Jolla with Constance, Aaron Young, Sweet and Saucy and some other amazing vendors!! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Life of an Event Planner

Things have been quite eventful in the event planning world for me as of late! I am currently still crafting and working on the design of my graduation party, but I am keeping my creations under wraps until I reveal them at the party!

One of the companies I get to intern with is Constance Curtis Events, and I have learned so much from her. Last week, I had the privilege of working on an inspiration shoot, and was so grateful to have the opportunity to get to work with so many talented people and companies! We collaborated with Ribbons and Rust (If you have never met Stephanie, you have to! She's so much fun!),  Be Inspired,  Momental Designs, David Rich Photography, Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach, and Dolce Design Studio at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey. What a life! =) 

Here are some photos of Stephanie and Constance: 

"Will a ladder in the waterfall hurt the fish?"

Got our shoulder workout in for the day!

The shoot, which I will reveal after it gets published, was unlike anything I had ever seen and included suspending the desserts over a waterfall—talk about an experiment! Every detail of the shoot had careful thought, and it was an exhausting and exciting day! I will remember not to pull an all-nighter studying for a test the night before a photo-shoot in the future  =)

Working side-by-side with Constance has been such an amazing experience. I have seen so many gorgeous venues here in Southern California and learned so much about the details that go into producing an event. I have gotten to assist at the Grand Del Mar, Hotel Maya, and many others and have gotten to work with a number of talented vendors.

Preparing checklists for couples that plan anywhere from a year and a half out to 3 months out, wedding day timelines, and budgets require the use of a fine toothed comb, and you wouldn’t believe the attention to detail that is needed. I can only hope that I can one day analyze these documents at the speed and precision that Constance can!

The actual wedding day is both mentally and physically challenging. It requires extreme micromanaging from making sure everyone is in the right spot at the right time to making sure the napkins are folded correctly.  Rounding groomsmen and lining them up reminds of days I used to help with kindergarten classes in middle school =)

I am excited for this weekend’s wedding in La Jolla at the La Valencia!! Stay tuned for details on that as well as my adventures with Blair Britt Events

Monday, April 4, 2011

Be Mindful

Anything you say, do, how you dress, anything you post online, etc. are all reflections of yourself and allow people to make snap judgments of your character. I have always been wary about things I post online because anything taken out of context can be completely misleading or once something is posted, it is permanent and meanings can be forgotten or changed with time. Something you post may be a joke between you and the other person, but it is out there for the whole world to read, and you never know what kind of conclusions people are going to draw. I am Facebook friends with a lot of people that I don’t ever see or hang out with, but I feel like I know a lot about their character based on the things they say online. I have no idea if my judgments are correct, but their actions are what lead me to assumptions. Pictures are also touchy, especially if they include alcohol. A picture of you holding a glass of wine may be a completely innocent fleeting moment, but the picture is frozen in time, and if there is more than one, then it can be  fabricated into a drunken adventure in an innocent mind.  I’m not sure if I explained the point I am trying to make clearly, but it is still something to think about.

It goes beyond the Internet. The other day I was working out in a t-shirt at school in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes, t-shirt which is a fellowship/leadership organization at my school, and a football coach approached me and said he knew what kind of woman I was because of that shirt. I was flattered, but what if I had been wearing something that sent a different, negative message? He would have most likely made a different snap judgment of my character. Or what if I had tripped and fallen and said something obscene? I could have tainted his vision of me as well as the organization that gave me that t-shirt .

You are a representative of not only yourself, but the business you work for, school you attend, and your family as well. The crowd you swing with is also a representative of you. Surround yourself with positive things and be a positive reflection of those you represent. Character is who you are when no one is watching. Don’t be fake, just be mindful of how you project yourself.