St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | vendors
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How to Talk Yourself Out of a Good Wedding Vendor

One thing we hear a lot from brides is “We’ve never done this before, so we don’t know what to expect”.  An awesome vendor will explain their work process so that you know how they operate.  You’ll find that the wedding industry, just like wedding planning, is very different from any experience you’ve encountered.  If you approach it in an us vs. them mentality, you could very well lose out on the best vendors for you.

Here’s how you’ll talk yourself out of a good wedding vendor:

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  1. You make/demand your own terms.  More likely than not, your wedding professional has had several industry leaders and legal teams review or write their contract.  Negotiating is one thing.  Rewriting a vendor’s contract is extremely rude and sets a tone for your relationship that can be hard to overcome.  It’s like you are saying that you don’t trust the vendor or their professionalism.  The same can be said about not wanting to adhere to the vendor’s payment terms. For example, most wedding professionals will require a non-refundable retainer to hold your event date on their calendar. If you cancel, they have likely turned down other couples to work with you.  That retainer helps them recoup that loss, as well as get started on your event.  Additionally, most wedding professionals will require your final payment two to four weeks prior to your event. This allows them to prepare to assign staff, buy food, order flowers, etc.  Believe it or not, there are some shady brides out there who will attempt to pay a vendor the week of the wedding or even the day of the wedding and put a stop payment on the check or dispute the charge with their credit card on the sly.
  2. You try to make them into someone they’re not.  We know you want to do some comparative shopping in order to find the best vendor for you.  However, do not send Vendor A a copy of Vendor B’s proposal or service offering and ask them to match it or give it to you at their rate.   If you like Vendor B’s service, then hire Vendor B.  It’s the equivalent of going into Burger King with a recipe for the Big Mac and asking them to make it.  The industry is extremely close;  we know who offers what, at what rate and how they offer it.  Playing us off each other or trying to make us do someone else’s work will get you left without Vendor A or B.
  3. Do NOT ask for a discount.   I know a lot of brides learn from magazines that it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Remember when your parents would chide you for immediately asking grandma “Where’s my gift?!” or “What did you bring me!?”? This may seem odd, but discounts are like personal gifts. It is up to the discretion of the vendor to extend this courtesy to you.  Your vendor may have other ways of enhancing their service to you by providing a few freebies, but to outright expect it can be extremely annoying. While you are asking for  the 5 star service at a 3 star price, you are also asking that vendor to come up short on their mortgage, paying their staff or their little girl’s dance lessons.  You’re telling the vendor right off the bat that I value price more than your service.  It wouldn’t matter how well they do their job, because you think they shouldn’t be paid the full price for it, but you expect the full benefits.  It puts a sour taste in a vendor’s mouth.  If you have a specific budget that you need to stay in, by all means, tell your vendor.  They will help you find creative ways to get what you need, not just want you want, while keeping you within your financial comfort zone.
  4. You try to play “good cop”/”bad cop” or act like WE owe you something.  Weddings are fun, festive occasions.  To be in the industry, you really have to love what you do, have talent, work well under pressure and have the ability to work well with many different personalities.  If you play nice, but get your mom or fiancé to play enforcer or the bad guy, you are giving us what we believe to be a window into the planning process or wedding day.  If you act this way over coffee, when the weather changes on your wedding day or 5 additional people who didn’t RSVP show up, we do not want to be in your warpath.  I sat down for one consultation where a groom came in late while his fiancée and I chatted over desserts and as he nonchalantly greeted me, he asked “Several of our vendors are giving us discounts.  What are you going to do for us?”  I had another tell me he didn’t need a crucial part of a service collection that was virtually essential to the success of their wedding day and would prefer that I add some other duties that were clearly out of the scope of my service.  I politely referred them to other planners, with the understanding that I was not the planner for them.
  5. You have way too many DIY projects or “friendors”. Don’t get me wrong, here– I have seen some amazing DIY projects that have completely transformed a wedding more than anything we could have bought.  I’ve worked with friends of the couple who have mind-blowing  talents to share for the wedding.  This isn’t speaking to those instances.  This is speaking to those occurrences where couples insist on doing 50% or more of their wedding themselves: making/providing linens, doing their own flowers, an aunt who will make the cake, a friend of a friend who will DJ the wedding reception, etc.  Red flags instantly go up  because we worry about how much you are taking on and how much will actually be done efficiently.  The same can be said with friends who donate services or volunteer to help.  When a vendor has to rely on a bride or her friends to get things done, there is concern about if these things will ultimately get done in a timely and correct manner, especially when it affects their ability to provide their services.  While it’s understood that while DIY projects personalize your wedding and also a way to to save money.  In some instances, though, you end up paying more with your time or out of your pocket to pay a professional to correct any mistakes or implement your ideas.  Be up front with your vendor and they can help you come up with some contingency plans to ensure a beautiful wedding.

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What My Louboutin Manicure Has To Do With Your Wedding

louboutin manicure

I like shopping
I hate going to the grocery store
I hate washing clothes
I like painting my nails
It excites me
You have to work to get this good
— “Diva” by Club 69

Those lyrics are from my favorite song.  They’re very true, by the way.

So you are probably wondering what I am talking about.  Well, every two weeks, I am in the nail salon thinking of ways to make my fabulousness more tangible via my nail and toe polish.  Granted, I typically choose my nail color based on the name of the polish.  Doesn’t matter if it’s in season or not—it’s based on my mood, future outfits, etc.  For example, I really want to go away, so my current color is Caribbean Temptation (it’s a fabulous color, by the way).

Last month, I decided to opt for a “Louboutin Manicure”, which mimics the famous shoe—black on top, red underneath.  Clearly this threw my nail technician for a loop—he didn’t get it, it was out of his comfort zone and he probably thought I was nuts or tacky. I noticed afterwards, there were a few details that were poorly done or off, which might have been caused by his lack of motivation or comprehension to do it correctly.

Which got me to thinking…As a bride:

There may be vendors who do not get your vision.  It’s important to base your selection of vendors on experience and creativity—not just price.  Find someone that gets what you are going for.  If a vendor believes that your vision does not mesh well with their brand, they should be professional enough to decline your wedding and offer another alternative. However,

If the vendor agrees to grant/perform your request, even if they don’t like it, they should do it rightEven with all of the professional advice, suggestions and alternatives from your vendor, if you still choose to go along with your vision and your vendor agrees to assist you, no matter their feelings on it—it should be done correctly.

Why You Should Let Your Wedding Vendors Do Their Jobs

There is nothing like a perfectly executed wedding—seriously, there’s nothing like it.  Everything just flows.  Why does everything flow? Well, look, it’s easy.  I’ll show you:

 

1.  The photographers show up and work with ease knowing the flow of events, allowing them to transition easy and comfortably, resulting in stunning shots.

2.  The DJ/Band, without distraction, can take time to read the crowd and build a plan to keep the party all night.

3.  Your caterer is free to prepare your food, thoughtfully with each guest in mind.

 

What typically happens is that a bride decides to rely on other vendors to fulfill the capacity of another wedding professional.  Most don’t mind.  However, after speaking to many florists, caterers and photographers last week, I will tell you that each and every one said that it takes away from their work.  You didn’t hire this award-winning wedding photojournalist whose fashionable style is to die for to come and pin on boutonnieres or build your timeline.  The same goes for your caterer and DJ.  While they can assist you, they are there to do one job and do it flawlessly, successfully  and basically—the job you hired them for.  Any wedding pro will tell you, that they don’t mind helping, but they absolutely love when they can show up and do what they’ve been paid to do.  It means it is one less shot they didn’t miss, one more song that could’ve been played or flawless service provided by the catering staff.

 

The moral of the story:  get a wedding planner, or at the very least, a month of coordinator.

We Likey: The Bridal Bar

The Bridal Bar in Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta Event and Wedding Resources

 

If you are a bride that lives in Los Angeles, San Diego or Atlanta, you have one of the best resources available to you– The Bridal Bar! The Bridal Bar is a stylish boutique that offers resources for your wedding.  Here, you can get up-close-and-personal with your favorite upscale photographers, view video and DVD of past events, taste the sumptuous cakes of the most dazzling and artistic bakers or listen the tunes of a popular band.  From wedding planners to invitation designers, everything is at your fingertips.  The Bridal Bar provides everything for you in a gorgeous, laid back atmosphere, while researching getting to know your potential wedding vendors intimately.  Due to the extensive and detailed checks done by the Bridal Bar staff, you are sure to be in touch with the best vendors in your area who offer luxury and professional service.

Additionally, the Bridal Bar is the host of several industry wide events—such as cocktail parties, wedding gown trunk shows and tastings. Be sure to visit the Bridal Bar in your area for upcoming events or appointments!

 

atlanta bridal bar for wedding planning and vendors

Jaimi and Rebecca of the Atlanta Bridal Bar by David Murray

Rebecca and Harmony Walton, owner and creator of the Bridal Bar by David Murray

 

Check out Atlanta’s Opening Gala Soiree, too!  Do believe that with the Bridal Bar, you are in good hands.

The Lie the Wedding Magazine Told You…

oxycleanguy

I’m not the Oxy Clean guy.

There is never a “But WAIT!  There’s MORE!” moment with me.

There is no “but if you call right now, we’ll double the offer” moment.

Ever.

Just to clarify, I’m not this guy either:

I sell provide a service that includes my creativity and expertise. It does not consist of discounts.

While that’s not the “lie” that they told you outright, I feel that we should clear up a tragic misconception.  This misconception has been flagrant in the economic climate where the funds that were once set aside for your wedding have been diminished and depleted.  Everyone is looking to save money. I don’t blame you.

So, the thing that really molds my lip gloss is when the glossies and some blogs perpetuate the role of a wedding planner as a walking talking coupon code or Entertainment Book (remember how you had to sell those in school?).  I believe they say things like “A good wedding planner will save you money with her vendor relationships, who in turn will provide you with discounts”.

Oh, really? No. Not quite.

Let me tell you what a good wedding planner will do:

  • A good wedding planner will never publicly or privately purport to you that she can get you exorbitant discounts.  This is something that is never guaranteed.  Unless, she is discounting her own service and pricing.
  • A good wedding planner will save you money by matching you with vendors that fit against his/her stringent wedding budget and event vision criteria.  S/he already knows who to go to—s/he knows which vendors to go to for what it is you need that will be in your price range and maximize your dollar for your event vision. By doing the footwork of research, preliminary and sample orders for you, s/he has saved you time.  Which is almost the same as saving you money.
  • A good wedding planner will always pass along any professional courtesies to his/her clients and refrain from taking kickbacks or markups on the client’s order.
  • A good wedding planner understands that to get “the best deal” or price is relative to each particular client. The best “deal” may be a completely non-traditional workup of the menu that the caterer does not typically do, or a service or product upgrade.
  • A good wedding planner has worked years for his/her vendor relationships, and continues to do so; s/he does not violate, abuse, or manipulate them in such a casual manner,as some of the antiquated wedding advice columns perceive.  S/he knows, not only as a creative professional, but a business owner, the enumerable costs of overhead, taxes, staff salaries, etc. that factors into a vendor’s pricing.  S/he appreciates when discounts are given to her clients, but knows that they are always at the vendor’s discretion, and never guaranteed.

  • A good wedding planner will tell you this.

A good client will not rely on potential discounts, but can plan their wedding on a budget they can actually afford. They understand the ??less is more” concept, understanding that if budget is truly an issue, the guest list may need to be cut, or the vision may need to be scaled back.

Check out other wedding planning myths you can’t afford to believe.

We Were Here.

We had a fantabulous time at the wedding show, yesterday at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Half the fun was had in the set up and break down of the booth. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun on a Sunday– but my girlfriends are awesome!

Abby, Lindsay and Streater– Thank YOU for a fantastic show, your hard work and fabulousness. You are exactly what fabuluxe is 🙂

Getting ready for show time

This is Lindsay ALL day long. She is just hilarious. We forbade her from making ANY predictions for the show. Linds has the ability to say “What if…” or “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” at the rehearsal or setup during the day of the wedding…and it actually happens. Lindsay is uber creative. Just ask her about the bucket of flowers she got during a wedding we had.

Abby Setting Up the Cocktail Tables

Abby is also hilarious. I can’t publicly post what she said on Sunday that made me fall out on the floor laughing…but she is awesome. I can explain an idea to Abby and she makes it happen.

Streater Setting Up the Main Table

This is our new intern, Streater. Cutest name ever. I think we’ve officially found our “sweet one” (because Lord knows it wasn’t me). Streater was great at the show and was able to keep up with us. Prayerfully, we haven’t scared the poor girl.

Fabuluxe Bridal Show Setup

Here we are….all done and ready for show time!

Fabuluxe Bridal Show Setup

Another view of our booth. You couldn’t miss us– as soon as you walked in the convention center, you had our wedding sexy in your face colors right before your eyes. It was great because so many brides said, “We just KNEW it was you because your booth looked just like your ad!”

Our Cocktail Table

One of our cocktail tables, beautiful matching guestbook (a gift from my most special girlfriend, Precious. I owe Precious everything. She listened to me pine and moan over this setup!)

Fabuluxe Setup

Our main table… That candelabra is another sweetie from Precious. It rocks to have friends with awesome taste! Our brochures sat in a tray of crystals 🙂

Fabuluxe Setup

Another view of our main table.

Straton Hall's Booth

This is Straton Hall‘s setup. UBER gorgeous. The food was actually presented BEAUTIFULLY– suspended from their booth. So weddingsexy 🙂

Another view of Straton Hall

Another view of Straton Hall‘s set up.

Straton's Fabulous Food

Here is one of the suspended areas of their booth– this was the best pecan chicken salad ever. How cute are the little bowls?

Jay, Stacy and Terrica

This is me with Jay and Stacy, owners of Straton Hall. Angel of The Beachview Club caught us midlaugh because Stacy was talking MUCH trash.

Stacey and Terrica

My super girlfriend, Stacey, of the Jekyll Island Authority. They handle the rentals for weddings at Faith Chapel, Villa Mariana, The Convention Center, Morgans, and the Beach Deck.

Streater, Fabuluxe Intern

Streater picking the winner of our Fabuluxe Wedding Giveaway.

Lindsay, Assistant Event Coordinator with Fabuluxe

Lindsay doing the “OMG I won!” look.

The Fab Ones

My fabbies. How cute are they!?

James and me

Me with the fabulous James Grella of Image Artisans, Inc. You have heard me talk about how wonderful James is. But here is the sad but true part…James didn’t even recognize me when I was all dressed up. He’s so used to seeing me in “prep mode” for weddings, that he doesn’t see the rockstar come show time.

The Fab Ones

Us playing with the camera.

The

This picture did not come out the way I wanted it to, but still had to post it for sentimental reasons…it’s our “Destination Wedding” picture, right, Lindsay?

Wendy B and Terrica

Me with Wendy of Sea Palms Resort. She is an absolute sweetheart and knows my affinity for good cake.

The Fab Ones

And here we are– the Fabuluxe Family 🙂

Why You Won’t Hire US

I recently outlined several reasons why I would not hire someone– and I thought, well what about vendors? Why wouldn’t a bride hire a certain wedding vendor? Then it came to me….

You won’t hire us because:

1.) We talk too much Brides love talking with people about their weddings. Key word: their. Be respectful of her time– keep your pitch to a minimum and answer her questions concisely. As a professional who has to work with vendors on a daily basis, I meet a lot of vendors who are considerate and some who just won’t shut up. I drink shots of bleach before I have to call them.

2.) We play games. Don’t doubletalk and don’t avoid her questions about pricing. You dodging the “How much is” question will only build mistrust and lack of respect. Give her what she’s asking for, but also clarify your benefits. Don’t quote her a price one day and then something different the next day. Your trust factor just went out the window.

3.) We are indifferent I had one client tell me she did not want to work with a particular vendor because they were not “excited enough” about her wedding. Professionally, it can be hard to exude and gush excitement with every phone call, email and meeting. We’re people too– we have lives, problems, and pains too. But, from a bride’s point of view, this is the most important day in her life. She wants someone that she feels cares about her wedding. So while you can’t be Mary Sunshine with every communication, with the money she’s paying you, you’d better put forth a good effort.

4.) We have no idea what we are talking about This can come from overselling our services to a point that we get into a situation where we underdeliver. This can also come from inexperience and lack of education.

5.) Our presentation is just God awful It’s clear and simple: the eye buys. If our websites, brochures, and emails are of poor quality– literally, no one is buyin’ what we’re sellin’.

6.) We think our stuff doesn’t stink, but the flies are giving us away It doesn’t matter what TV show we’ve been on, how many magazines we’ve been in, or what superstar venue we work for; if we allow our egos to get in the way of providing stellar, non-judgmental service, we’re worthless.

7.) We have no connections We need someone who can vouch for us– who says, “YES! I’ve worked with them before and they are great at what they do”. This adds validity and security to the client, as she can see we’re constantly building our business contacts.

8.)  The only wedding we’ve planned is our own  And that’s all I’ll say about that….before I have the knottie planners burning me in effigy.

9.)  We get caught in a lie, half-truth or controversy  Brides do their research as much as we research them (yes, we research our clients 🙂 ).  It is far better to be honest and communicate effectively any misunderstandings or controversy.

10.)  We are way too aggressive in getting the client  Brides don’t want to bombarded with emails, postal mail and telephone calls everyday.  She’s a big girl. If she wants to hire you– she will.  Don’t shove the concept down her throat.

Hopefully, these are some things that will help brides differentiate the fabulous vendors from the desperate or inexperienced ones.

Happy Planning!

Let Your Vendors Help Choose Your Reception Site

  Yep, it’s true!  Your other vendors can be of great assistance in choosing a reception site after you choose some of your other vendors.  I know some of your books and sites say choose the site first, but there is really some logic to choosing your site perhaps second or third.

 Let’s say you contract a photographer that you have been swooning over for a few weeks or months.  Looking through her portfolio, you might see a  venue that really grasps the vision you are trying to shoot for with your wedding.  You can also seek your vendor’s counsel if you are undecided about a venue or would like some ideas as to where to start.  Your photographer can tell you what venue has wonderful photo opps to add to your photo album.   The same goes with your florist– they can tell you what site is easy to design and decorate.  They can also suggest which sites can be complemented well with minimal design or those that can be “re-concepted” from scratch. 

 There is another reason that this is a good idea– you definitely want your wedding event staff to get along on the day of the wedding.  Contrary to popular belief, your vendors are notsecond class citizsens, nor are they serfs slaving away for the glory of your wedding day. Unfortunately, some venues treat wedding vendors this way, causing a lot of disdain and dislike among professionals in the industry.  So much so, that man vendors actually blacklist venues– they will not work at a specific venue and will not take your wedding if it is scheduled there.

 To spearhead any problems between your vendors and your reception site, when interviewing venues remember to ask additional questions such as:  what type of vendor meals they provide, do they “require” vendors to report to anyone in their staff, are they required to use a certain entrance, etc. Find out as much as you can for your vendors as possible.  Another great resource is your DJ.  He arrives after the setup and is like the “fly on the wall” he sees all and has to interact with the reception site.  Remember to get a successful event, everyone has to work together without ego or any air of superiority.  It should be all about you– not your vendors.