Archive for December 5th, 2009

What I can do for you

Okay, so for bride’s who are searching around the web and looking at different co-ordinator web sites because they have to have one (due to the event location’s contract) or because they know they want one, or for the bride who isn’t sure, let me give you some information that I hope helps you have a great experience.

Things have changed in my industry over the past few years thanks to tv shows, brides that got married and enjoyed the process, and an economy that has had people who have lost their jobs think about or have to make a career change, and the internet has become a tool that can be used by brides anytime of the night or day.

So are these changes good or bad.  Well it depends.  I’m not sure if some of the new co-ordinators really understand what their role is or why we need to be part of the bride’s must have vendors.  Going back 15 years or so, normal bride’s did not have a co-ordinator, the dj or photographer or banquet captain or hotel sales person kept things moving on the day, well kind of.  Whoever took that role really did it from a standpoint of their particular role, it was never big picture.  So for those of us in the hotel world we saw what was missing, the conductor of the orchestra, the leader of the team, and having a co-ordinator went from being a wealthy persons vendor to now being either required by a location or being a vendor that a lot of bride’s want and see the need for, and it makes sense.  There is no doubt that tv shows have glamorised what we do, and I think we even manage to make what we do look easy and fun on a wedding day, but it really is a lot of work and a lot of time, and pressure.  The biggest problem probably is the internet though, anyone can pay someone to create a fabulous website and have all the right things written and have great pictures (whether they are theirs or not) and an uneducated bride falls for the music and feelings, but doesn’t understand that the substance may not be there.  I think I will go into this a bit more, so keep reading.

I booked a bride two weeks ago, getting married in February, who came to me with vendors chosen and a lot of questions, and I could tell by what I was being told she had done a lot of work to get to the stage she was at.  However in meeting and chatting with her and then being booked to help her for the rest of the planning time, I found out that I was the third co-ordinator she had hired.  Now I know what you are probably thinking, had to be the bride, well I disagree, unfortunately she made choices for whatever her reasons may have been at the time, but as time went on she realised they weren’t doing anything for her and she was doing all the work.  It also came out, that a good friend of hers whose wedding I had done 5 years ago had told her to call/book me 6 months ago, well she did call and chat with me, but decided to go with someone else who didn’t have anywhere near the experience.  Now I don’t know what the other two charged and if it was relative or not, but  the frustrating part of her experience from my viewpoint is that she had to go through what she has to finally get back to me after spending probably way too much money, and only now has confidence that someone is going to do what they say and give her the comfort that all will be as she expects on her day.  In chatting with her I could tell the other two people may have said they had experience, and maybe they did, but not it seems the experience to understand what they were being paid to do.  One had small children and was never available to meet or chat, and one would take days to get back to her on her questions or calls.  I’m not sure what these ladies thought they were getting paid to do.  When I heard this bride had told her groom that I even had books of thank you letters in my office from past happy couples and neither of the other two had anything, I was shocked.

This season I heard from a lot of the banquet captains at the hotels I am at frequently, that there was a lot of new faces that were working the weddings,  a couple were good, but with most of them, they shook their heads saying ‘we ended up doing most of their work for them, they were either sitting in other rooms or no-where to be found, or left before the event ended’.  Again, I wonder what some of these ladies or gentlemen think they are being paid to do.

Questions must be asked by you of the person you are considering, but maybe until now you didn’t know what the right questions were:

If you have someone in mind, ask the property you are having your event at, if this is someone they know, and if so, would this person match your style/vision etc.  Just as I have vendors that I match to bride’s for style/vision/budget, the hotel people can do the same thing for you regarding a consultant.

If you are starting from scratch and need someone to even help you find the location and then go from there, normal questions should be asked, especially if paying this person thoughsands of dollars –

How long have you been doing this?

Where do you do a lot of your weddings?

How many do you do a year (if the answer is under 10 a year, I don’t know what that tells you, either they don’t get booked by many, or they are doing huge weddings where their fees for those 10 cover their bills/expenses for the year)?

Is this your full time job/career? Or is it a second job/hobby?

How available are you going to be to me, for meetings, phone calls and emails?

Do you have letters from past brides I can see, and if so, how many? (if the answer to this is low or no, yet they make it seem like they do a lot of weddings, wouldn’t that be telling?)

Do you have an office?  Where will our meetings be?  (Now this is a tricky one, I know some of my friends in this industry don’t have outside offices but have a dedicated area in their house where they meet with you, and that works too, but I really feel that someone with a real office gives a sense of ‘this is my job’ and should also be a place where distractions should be few if not none.  It should be all about you when you are meeting).

People come and go in this industry as they do in all, the core group here in Orange County have been doing this for 9 years and longer, and that should  give you confidence that they are in it for the long haul, and not only will they be responsible in their role to you, but also that they have experience and knowledge which should be a huge part of what you are paying for.   We all have different styles and appreciate each other for that, and realise that we all have different brides because of that.

Now I am not saying that there are not some great new ladies out there, there are and each year a few pop up and prove their worth to the industry locally and we are pleased they are here, but unfortunately there are more not so great ones out there that don’t have any kind of tangible backup to their claims and bride’s are hiring them.  You always get what you pay for, and this can really run true here, but I have also been shocked at some of the high fees I have heard brides are paying for people that just don’t have the experience or knowledge to justify their fees, but the bride’s are still booking them.  Hopefully those bride’s really do feel good afterwards, and those ladies are not the ones giving the industry as a whole a bad name, for taking money and not really seeming to do much to assist the bride.  Unfortunately when you only get married once you don’t have the comparisons to know if you did pick a good one or not, so hopefully some of my thoughts above will help you make the right decision to have the best experience.

So how does this relate to my subject title, What I can do for you, let me give you three words – Peace of mind!!

and that should be what you have with whoever you choose to work with from the minute you hire them all the way through until the event has ended.

From the first time we chat by phone or meet, or even by our emails you will feel the strength/ or confidence I have in what I do, that comes from many years of experience and knowledge.  I have 13 years of  hotel background together with nearly 10 years of independently planning weddings with/for couples at many different locations.

I would say that in 50% of my weddings, my couple’s live out of town, state or country, and they have complete comfort in knowing everything has been thought of, taken care of, and will be fine, due to that confidence and experience they found in me.  Some have made trips in and some never see me until their day, yet they are feeling great about their celebration, that is telling.

I offer a variety of service options.  Unlike some co-ordinators that only want to be involved from the beginning, I do those weddings also, but I also have no problem starting with you closer to the date after you have chosen the vendors and have the vision in mind, if that is what you need.  By having this variety I am always on the go and excited about each wedding, as they are always so different, and yes sometimes the smaller services present their challenges that I have to work out/with, but that is what you are paying me to do and if you don’t need to you will never know what those were.  I never lose sight that it is your wedding, so if you want the control it is yours but I am there to guide you as needed, or you can pick a service that still has you in control but not controlling everything.

I have an office that really gets you in the zone, very wedding feeling, and tons of pictures and albums to look at.  A designated spot where there is no computer and I don’t have a phone there that keeps ringing.  This is where all the lovely Thank You letters are kept from past weddings, and they remind me why I love my job.

Obviously the length of time/experience gives me the op to steer you towards the right vendors for you, I know the ones to steer away from that will not work for you, and I have the contacts/knowledge at the hotels that can make a huge difference, an advantage a lot of people miss.

I am not weak, so if looking for someone to yell at or treat badly, I’m not your girl.  I like working WITH my couples, however in saying that I am fully aware that you are paying me and when it comes to vendors I will hold them accountable and will be the leader of the team.

You will have comfort in knowing you have support and knowledge through your planning months, you will see a detailed timeline/order of events that will give you the comfort level you deserve, to know that every moment/detail was thought of and you had options, choosing what was important to you/your event.  It’s your wedding, I do not steer your towards vendors or moments that are not right for you.  I will take as much pressure off you as you want or are willing to pay for.  On your day, you will be a guest at your wedding, getting to eat, and enjoy the whole experience and your guests.  When you leave it will be with your shoes in one hand and your new husbands or wifes hand in the other, no work/ nothing to do.  You will have gone into and through your day knowing I had it under control and you had nothing to worry about, so just enjoyed.

We all attract the right couples and the couples for us/our style.  I am lucky to be known for having nice/lovely couples (meaning not problematic for the location or vendors), so if that sounds like you, then come on in, let’s get this party started.

Until next time, which will be on vendors!


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