Archive for June 14th, 2013


For vendors I refer or on 4/5 star hotel preferred vendor lists none of what I am going to say below is applicable to them, they come to a wedding prepared to do their job, bring the right equipment and staff needed, have the savvy to work things out, act professionally, and most importantly have liability insurance and have no problem signing and adhering to the code of conduct forms that some locations require vendors to sign. On my preferred list, I have florists that work out of their homes to top local floral designers, inexpensive but good quality djs who have day jobs to the djs who do this full time, to photographers just starting out where you get a lot of stuff for your money to the seasoned guys who have been around for a long time, to Beverly Hills guys, so just because I refer them does not mean they are expensive/you are spending any more than someone found on line or recommended by a friend.

I am a co-ordinator that offers smaller services where the couples can find their own vendors. Some of my fellow planners will not do these services because of the hassle that comes with working with vendors you don’t know/recommend. Over the years I have definately had some not so fun/great experiences with vendors the couples found, and I have had some great experiences, in fact four vendors on my current preferred list I did not know until I worked with them at the wedding they had been booked at, and they did such a fabulous job I now refer them and work with them a lot, but for all the weddings I do four is not a lot so that is saying something. The first few weddings I did this season I worked with from the beginning and was able to help them select vendors that matched their budget and style, that I knew, and of course those weddings went smoothly from beginning to end on the day. However, I had some weddings in the past few weeks where they booked me short term or they wanted minimum service to adhere to the hotels requirement to have a planner and they had their own vendors on board already or they got them, and things have not gone well.

Vendors –
Don’t – accept to do a wedding at a four or five star hotel if you don’t have liability insurance. Why you don’t have it as a business anyway I don’t understand. I have always had it/$2m coverage and I don’t bring product or anything tangible to the wedding that could cause any danger/challenge/problem. This year the Hyatt Huntington Beach, St Regis Monarch Beach and Ritz-Carlton Laguna, require proof of your insurance and some, to be named on your policy, before the wedding day. They have always required this but this year are really on top of it. If you don’t provide it prior to the wedding date you may not be allowed on property and you definately won’t be allowed a second time.

Don’t – tell a bride after reading the item above, that you have worked there before and didn’t need it. You did, but somehow you managed to get away with not producing it. No more, they are serious.

Don’t – think you can leave your product/rental items overnight at the hotel/location, most of the time you can not. Whether it is a 4 star or 5 star hotel you need to include same night pickup of your items. Thinking you are saving them money by not charging them to come back is not the point, you have inconvenienced them as whoever they designate to collect the items and get them back to you later, is normally gone by the end of the event, and no bride or mom should be in charge of collecting items that belong to you as a vendor and returning them to you the following week, especially when if something is missing or broken by the time they return it to you (which invariably is going to happen), you are going to charge them for whatever that is, just charge the pickup charge from the beginning so all ends well. If doing a 4/5 star location wedding, same night pickup needs to be part of your proposal, taking care of them from A-Z.

Don’t – rent linens to a bride if you are not going to provide delivery/setup/same night pickup. Companies that mail the linens to the hotel or bride are now relying on hotel to work out what goes on what and setup for them (not their job) or worse if the location won’t (and if there is not a planner who realises they need to be put out) they can be forgotton as they did not belong to anyone elses job responsibilities that day, a bride or mom or friend should not be putting these out either. This is a good time for a linen company to realise as they are setting up if something is missing/stained or ripped and get a replacement from the office or wherever. If the linens come for someone else to handle there is no way to rectify these problems and whoever is stuck putting them out is not going to care. Now we are at the end of the event, who is now pulling these linens off tables? Well if not planner, guessing the rental company or hotel staff that want to collect/put their tables away, the linens are being thrown on the floor and who is now picking them up and handling the return of the linen, oh thats right, the bride or her mom, that is not how the event should end for them. Last night mom had got some specialty linens delivered to her for cocktail tables (normal rental company did inside the ballroom normal way), I put these linens on the cocktail tables, no one elses responsibility, so now I am sweating in my wedding suit. After the event was over, I sent mom to her room and I then pulled off and dragged these linens to the box I kept that they came in, and after collecting everything else, 1 hour after everyone was gone, delivered everything to moms room. This was not part of my job and my contract says I will not take on responsibility for a vendors items/product but who else was going to do it. I will not be charging for having to stay so long, some planners or locations would hit the client with overtime (the videographer she had hired & used before decided the day prior to this wedding that they would add a 2nd person, so that now costs the ciient an extra vendor meal, mob did not see the need or want a 2nd person and said no, he demanded, so she gave in, and suggested he may stay later to get a sparkler farewell for the video), he did not stay as that would have meant overtime. Vendors I work with and refer do not work this way, whatever you need/want is what they do to make it happen, our photographer last night kept his 2nd there to get the sparkler pics – their time was up and he had already thrown in extra time. Frank Salas is one of the photographers that went over and above to extremes on the first wedding we did together years ago, and thus he is on my preferred list and many of my brides choose him and he is busy.

Don’t – if you are a photographer and the bride is staying at a four/five star hotel to get ready but not having her wedding there, assume you can walk your bride around and take pictures of her on the grounds. In order to not compromise the exclusivity for the brides that are paying tens of thousands to have their events there the hotels have caught onto this strategy. The bride either needs to get permission which may not be given to her until the week of the wedding and sometimes pay a fee to be able to take photos on the grounds and may be given times and certain locations for those pictures. On a brides wedding day you don’t want to embarrass or upset her by sneaking pics on the grounds and running the risk of being asked to leave.

Don’t – be mad at me when I have to keep asking you if you have got your insurance over to the hotel. The hotels do not know if I referred you or how the couple found you, but this season they are putting it on us to ensure if you are not providing it on your own accord, that we keep on you until it is provided. On the contract the couples sign with any of the above mentioned hotels they have signed that their vendors will have this insurance. Sometimes they forget that in their excitement of meeting/slecting vendors, but consider this your heads up that this insurance is non negoitable and you must have it. This is not going away and I believe more and more locations/hotels are going to start requiring it.

Don’t – make the bride and groom pay for day of insurance for you because you did not charge them enough to cover buying insurance. As mentioned above, as a business you should have this and it should not be the bride & grooms responsibility to cover your business insurance expense for you. Vendors who refuse to buy it and in the last few days leading up to the wedding make the client pay for it because they have a contract with the client and won’t refund any money allowing the couple to find another vendor to provide the same service who has the insurance, cause a lot of stress and financial pressure on the couple that they don’t need at that time.

Don’t – call me mean because I am asking you questions on the day or making sure you know the time. If I am having to do these things, then you aren’t doing what you are supposed to be doing, or the hotel has concerns re your services and is asking me to be on top of things. If I seem frustrated with you it’s because I know the difference between a vendor who is capable and on top of things and one that is not

Don’t – call me annoying, because I call you to go over information and then on the wedding day go over the order of things with you again. That is my job and what I am being paid to do. We are a team on the day, we all have our roles but I am the team leader. I know the big picture and how each vendor plays a part in that, and sometimes the brides ask me to check/go over certain items with their vendors that they may not feel happy about or want to tell you, so they confide in me and I get to communicate whatever that may be. Hotels have brides and grooms have co-ordinators because their past experience is that someone needs to oversee/orchestrate all the elements/vendors in order to ensure all goes smoothly/well and that is not the hotels role. I am on many preferred hotel/location lists because I am very detailed, and I ask lots of questions of everyone, so not only logistically but from an expectation or understanding point of view of the B&G, I know and understand everything and can then orchestrate it. My timelines are very detailed and very clear, and by working with these and the way I do, I never have suprises or things going wrong on a day, so no crying brides. If things aren’t going as planned, it is in the pre-event time when I am having to stop overseeing everything, to micro manage a single vendor who is not as we expect them to be on the day, and my brides never know what we have all been dealing with. The sad thing is, the brides on their day don’t know if a vendor is up to par or not, this is all they experience, I/we deal with multi vendors on multi events over a weekend and we can tell the difference very quickly and very easily. Even with the smaller services I normally know what a bride is paying, and sometimes am very sad that they are getting what they are getting for the money they paid, when I know vendors who would have provided better or same product for less or with less challenges.

Don’t – take on a job at a four or five star hotel, if you are used to working at restaurant or banquet hall locations or homes or three star hotels, if you are not willing to up your game. Meaning bring more workers than you normally do, come prepared – if you are not familiar with the location go ahead of time and look it over so you know where to unload and where the site is – showing up on the day and relying on everyone else to stop what they are doing to assist you because you have no clue where you are going is not right. When you accept a job outside of your normal comfort zone you must adapt, just as when I give a discount off my fees or am doing a wedding at a location that is less than four/five star, I still do my job from A-Z as if it was a five star location and they are paying me full fee.

Don’t – not bring the carts/equipment to get your items from your vehicle to the room. Hotels do not have spare equipment or want you to use their equipment.

Don’t – try to unload at valet at a four or five star hotel. You need to go to the loading dock and if you are not familiar with the hotel, call the hotel prior to the wedding day and ask where the loading dock is. Most of the times the loading docks are busy/many events loading in and out, so you have to be efficient. You can not leave your vehicles at the loading dock, after unloading at most hotels you need to then valet (if no self parking) or park close by, while you go to the cere and reception location and do your setup.

Don’t – suggest candles as part of your centerpieces unless you are willing to go to the local fire department and get the permit that may be needed, if you are a florist who has been in business long enough you know what cities require this. I am quite bothered that the florist for my bride this weekend left it to the bride to present it to the fire dept and get the permit, it’s still pending.

Don’t – accept a job at a four/five star hotel if you are a dj and you don’t have good equipment. Feedback/squealing never happens with the djs I recommend, yet I hear this quite often with vendors brides find (happened three times last Sat night) and when the equipment is bad together with someone who is not able to enunciate properly, the guests start to comment on not being able to understand anything, when all you hear is muffled or someone messing up names or just not smooth/good at mceeing. Mceeing is just as important as the music you play at a wedding.

Don’t – not read the code of conduct form you may have to sign to work at some of the hotels. This gives you a lot of the info re loading docks etc, equipment, acting professionally info that you or your staff show up asking questions about or not doing. Again, the hotels are serious in wanting to maintain a level of vendor that comes on their property and participates in weddings at their locations, why do they care, because just as the hotel has no idea if I referred you to them, the guests have no idea if you are part of the hotel or referred by the hotel, so you have become a reflection of the hotel whether good or bad.

Don’t – send a crew to setup what you have sold to the bride & groom, without making sure they allow driving time (last year a bride booked chivari chairs that she got very inexpensively that were coming from the valley to Huntington Beach) they showed up late and I had to have hotel staff, the dj, and me all start tying the cushions to the chairs because the 2 guys who were delivery and setting up, did not realise there would be so much traffic on the freeway on a Saturday (are you kidding me). Luckily the staff/team were willing to do this, but if I was not there or no planner, the chairs would have not been ready/done and the doors would have been late opening or the guests would have come in while the chairs were still being set up. She got a great price for these chairs and thank goodness for dim lighting as the cushions were quite stained and horrible. In most cases you really do get what you pay for. The bride and the guests had no idea but if it was a daytime wedding, it would have been a different story, hard to hide.

To give you an idea of what caused me to write this (had to get the word out about the insurance and code of conduct anyway) and it has taken me a couple of weeks to think about it as I was so perturbed, a couple of weekends ago I had a Friday and a Sunday wedding. The Friday wedding had a florist who provided a hand written order (I was fine with that but it told me a lot), not very descriptive which if things went wrong would not help the B&G in court. They were late, we were looking for the bouquets for pre cere photos so I called the number and got the florist who told me her people were at the hotel, I told her they weren’t and at this stage they were about 30 mins late. 3 workers arrived at the cere site about 1 1/4 hours later than they should have and bride had been doing all the photography without bouquets until that time, the crew said they got lost/not knowing where to go/what to do/unload etc, they got to the cere site 1 hour before the ceremony time, so I let them know they only have 30 mins to get setup before guests arrived at the cere site. They were not done until 10 minutes before cere time, so of course guests were arriving and watching them. Then while they were in the ballroom setting up for around an hour, three times security came and told them they needed to move their vehicle. Obviously never did, because about an hour later I see a security person looking in my room, I asked what he needed and he said he was looking for the florist as their vehicle was about to be towed. I could see a cart by the cere site with florist items on it but no sign of the two ladies (not sure where the man had gone but these poor 2 ladies were running ragged trying to get centerpieces done and move items from ceremony into ballroom), so I called the florist to tell her I could not see her workers but for the 4th time security had had to come looking for them and it seemed their vehicle may be towed, she started yelling at me that her people were there, and no one was helping them and I was mean. Ridiculous. I was calling to try to help her not get the vehicle towed as I assumed she had cell phone contact with her people. Won’t do that again. Then onto the Sunday wedding, all vendors I had recommended, and guess what, never had to have a word with any of them, they were all on time, doing their thing, everything looked great and ran smoothly, no hassle, no anything. What a difference, and just to prove my point, the evening bride spend about $2500 on flowers and the same on photography, both less than what the Friday bride had spent with her vendors.

This posting is not to beat up vendors I don’t know and portray that they are the only ones that don’t do a good job, I know there are good vendors out there I have not worked with and don’t know, and I have also taken vendors off my list that I have known for years because they have either lost the plot or their quality/service went down/changed and not for the good, but it is time to step up. Competition is a plenty and brides and grooms should not have to get substandard service or product because you know they don’t know the difference or you feel they are getting what they paid for or they didn’t want to pay much so you aren’t giving them much, it’s not okay to think and work that way.

Till next time
714 305 7112

2 comments June 14, 2013

2013 season is off and running

I have already had some really lovely weddings and couples I worked with this year, pre ‘wedding season’, and based on those and the weddings coming up I am really pleased with how they are coming together visually. For some we have spent little and got a big effect, and for others from our budget meeting through the floral/design creating and to the day itself we have stayed on course with what we were wanting to create and with others we have gone bigger (due to someone getting carried away, not me)!!!!

I can’t wait to see the photos and share them with you.
2013 is going to be a beautiful wedding year. Keep checking in.

Till next time
714 305 7112

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