St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | wedding vendors
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See Terrica in Golden Isles Magazine at the Ocean Lodge

st. simons wedding planner jekyll island wedding planner photographer and wedding caterer

Photo by Chris Moncus Photography

Some people love their jobs because it instills a  greater purpose or some philanthropic ideal.  I think that’s great.

image

I love my job because I get to dress up, handed a martini and laugh with co-workers for a magazine spread. Trust me, that’s great, too.

The above photo is from the Swinging Summit feature in Golden Isles Magazine’s January/February issue (p. 49) on the area’s local wedding professionals.  It was an ode to the Oceans 11-Frank Sinatra Rat Pack era and was absolute, unadulterated fun!  At the second shoot, I was able to clink it up with other female wedding pros—the culinary creative Laura Justice of Tasteful Temptations Catering and uber-sweet photographer Sarah DeShaw at the gorgeous Ocean Lodge. Somehow, it looks like I played the femme fatale, but you know what they say about life imitating art, yes?

st. simons jekyll island wedding planner coordinator, caterer, reception, ceremony, resort, florist, photographer, DJ

If you’d like to hear more about the wonderful wedding photographers, caterers, DJs, and wedding planners in the St. Simons and Jekyll Island area, definitely check the article out.  It’s a great read with insight into our creative minds and collaborative dynamic of working together as a cohesive unit.

How To Work Well With Your Wedding Coordinator: Vendor Edition

I’ve offered advice for how brides can get the most of their relationship with their wedding coordinator, and I realized that I needed to share a “vendor” edition as well.  Every wedding planner goes through this at some point, whether s/he has been planning the wedding from the beginning or is coming in to execute and produce the day. How this relationship works differently from that of the client/planner is that this could be a mutually beneficial relationship after an event.  Having a great working relationship makes for great event flow and future event production. Brides (and grooms!):  here are some things that we as planners love that you might be able to facilitate:

Answer (or at least CHECK) your email. You cannot send a timeline through a phone call and I strongly doubt anyone is going to snail mail you one.  A few times I’ve heard of vendors coming to a wedding without a clue of what was to happen at the wedding because they did not receive the timeline or event packet.  Inexcusable.  Even though we put out a few of these every weekend, and know the general pieces of a wedding day,  we cannot do a wedding over. A  prepared wedding professional is a better wedding professional. If you have not received a timeline or communication by 2 weeks prior to the wedding, contact your client’s wedding planner or client.

Insufficient Funds.  It is really best that you handle all financial transactions prior to the wedding; I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job, but it makes it so much easier on the planner and client when this is handled prior to the event.  The Mother of the Bride is not scrambling to find a checkbook and as a planner, I’m not forced to chase my bride down during her wedding to handle your income.  That sounds harsh, and I’m sorry—but I’m a wedding planner, not a hostage negotiator.  Let me explain.  This happens more often that not: a couple finds a few things wrong with your service and decide to withhold payment and decide how they should be remedied.  The vendor and client appeals to the wedding planner, who is then stuck in the middle.  Note to brides: Make a point to have all of your final payments to your vendors two weeks prior to your wedding day.

There Is Only One Diva Allowed…And It’s Not You.  Once again, harsh, but you didn’t come here for puppies and rainbows.  We (as planners) totally get that your job is important.  Other vendors think their job is equally important as well.  Each has its argument as to why they rank higher on the totem pole: photographers produce the images that will last far beyond the wedding day once everything else has faded away; the floral designer produces the floral designs that create the ambience and experience during the event; the caterer provides the food for guests to enjoy at the heart of the event, and the DJ provides the entertainment to get everyone moving and excited.  I get it. I hear it often.  I, however, am not moved. If it makes you feel better, it’s my job to “be in charge” of all of you in your infinite importance, your contribution and the event.  I’m like a mother with her children: you’re all important, and I don’t deal well with temper tantrums.  We’re here as a team.  Let’s make it fabulous.  There is only one diva, and that’s the one in the white dress.

Chow Time.  If you require a hot meal, please put it in your contract.  I’ve seen vendors throw fits (please see above to ascertain how you think that was received) over being presented with a box lunch from the venue.  If this is a topic that is of major importance for you, please revisit it when you conduct any final meetings/consultations with the client.  Please never assume that the client has made arrangements for you or knows what you want, and please don’t assume that a meal will be a hot one.  Note to brides:  Please check the type of meal you are ordering with your caterer or venue.  Some venues will “offer” a vendor meal to you at a “discounted” rate, but it is not what the rest of your guests are eating, it’s a $20 sandwich, apple and a bag of chips.  If one of your vendors requires a hot meal, it is good etiquette to provide hot meals for all of your vendors.

If You Make Changes or Have Needs, Please Let Us Know…Please. It is not enough to tell the client. They will forget. I promise you—they have other things to deal with and that is the reason why they hire their wedding planner. If you find out that they have a wedding planner, it is common, professional courtesy that you update us with changes or needs in addition to (or at best, in lieu of) the client.  If you have things you need returned, moved, etc. during or after the event, please let us know ahead of time.  We want to maximize and enhance your service, but please recognize you are one of many vendors that will assist with the wedding day.  We are all but a thread in the fabric of the event, and one snag can cause the entire garment to fray.  Please let us know of any changes so that we can see how that will affect other vendors and the event as a whole.

These are just some ways that you can work best with your client’s wedding coordinator? Have great experiences to share?  I’d love to hear them…leave a comment!

You Are Not Being Nickeled and Dimed. You Are Having A Wedding

 

 

Weddings are highly emotional events.  Even planning one can bring out the very best and worst of some people.  While this is an important and sensitive event that you plan, you come up against elements of event planning and business that you may have not encountered before in everyday life.  It can be hard making the distinction between your event and “business”. 

Understand, that your vendors know this is an important day for you.  It is an important day for us, too—as we truly want to bring out the best of your event.  And we do so by using the best of our talents and resources.  This is what you pay for.  All too often, sometimes the lines are blurred between the bridal couple and their wedding professionals.  When lines are blurred, couples assume that since they are such great friends with members of their event team, that they (the professionals) are more than happy to do small mundane tasks.  No, honey.  Those cost.  And it’s not a matter of you being nickeled and dimed, it’s a matter of paying for and respecting your wedding professionals’ time.

I understand that since this is a monumental, and at most occasions, a one time event, couples do not know protocol.  Here are some helpful hints:

  • Be sure your vendor’s service information is detailed.  If you have something specific you want or need done in your vendor’s capacity, ask if it is included. Typically, if it is not listed, it’s not included and you should be prepared to pay. This includes additional setup, consultation hours, etc.
  • Not only are you paying for quality, you are also paying for convenience.  No, you don’t want to be stuck the day (or day before) your wedding fluffing 80 tissue paper pom poms or picking up your liquor from a wholesaler.  True, you could do it yourself, but you would add stress and a time suck to your schedule.  The little things you don’t want to or have time to do?  Pay someone to do it, or don’t be upset when you are charged.  So when you pay your wedding planner or caterer to do these things, you are paying to make sure it is done correctly as well as your own convenience.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome.  That sounds harsh, but that is not the case.  On your contract, your wedding professional outlines the times of their service for you.  You aren’t renting a person, you’re paying for a service.  If you go over, be prepared to pay for any overtime outside of your contract.  We had a wedding that was scheduled to end at 8 PM.  I kid you not, no one danced the entire evening, until 7:55PM.  They were ready to get the party going, but the DJ’s contract was up at 8PM.  They ended up paying overtime, and surprisingly, didn’t dance again for the the rest of the night.  Situations like this are rare, but you should prepare for them nonetheless.
  • Don’t confuse line items with being nickeled and dimed.  This is a way for your vendor to ensure you understand what you are getting, you are being charged correctly and they haven’t left anything out.  It’s for your mutual benefit.  Some vendors can get overly detailed, but take it with a grain of salt and credit it to their business savvy.

 

These are just some tips to help you as you start your planning!  What have been your experiences been when working with vendors and their pricing?

What to Do When Your Wedding Vendor Has Bad Online Reviews

 

With sites like Wedding Wire, Project Wedding, Yelp and message boards on The Knot, it is easy for brides to do research on their potential wedding vendors before ever meeting them.  But what happens when you’ve fallen in love with a wedding vendor or a wedding vendor has been referred to you, only to find that they have a negative review about them. It can be potentially devastating to your plans—but be sure that you are considering everything in context.  Here are some tips on dealing with bad reviews. 

 

  • Remember that one’s perception is their reality. Sometimes reviews can leave out a lot of context. What may be important to the reviewer may be something that would not really bother you.
  • Ask current and potential wedding vendors.  As I’ve said before, the wedding professional community is a tight knit one. We all work together and have seen each other at various stages of planning and execution of a wedding day.  One thing to consider when choosing your wedding vendor is their ability to work and play well with others.  Check with vendors you have already hired and those you are considering about the vendor with the unfavorable reviews. Ask of their experience—they can share an opinion from a professional’s point of view.
  • Ask other brides about their experience with the vendor.  Contact the reviewer about the vendor—ask detailed questions about their review and any others that might pertain to your wedding planning or event.   Ask the vendor for references and ask questions about their experience, basing them around things that have concerned you from the disparaging review. This will give you a better clue if problems are specific to that client/event or if there is a problem with the vendor’s work process.
  • Ask the vendor. If you have specific concerns, definitely contact your vendor personally.  Some vendors will not get into an online tit-for-tat on review sites with former clients, which makes the argument very one-sided.  Ask your vendor about anything specifically bothering you.  They will be able to give you more clarity into the bad review, and with having both sides you can make a better decision.

 

Additionally, one thing to take into consideration is your experience with the vendor at question.  Hiring vendors can be a very time consuming and draining process.  If anything becomes too overwhelming, take a break and start at it again after you’ve given yourself some time to decompress. 

 

 

:: Photo ~ Craig Jewell ::

More Lies: “Ssshhhh….Don’t Tell Them It’s A Wedding!”

Somebody’s going to be mad.

I’ve heard it all at this point.  There are a lot of “arrognorant” (the lethal mix of arrogance and ignorance plaguing the world) advice going around now that it is wedding season.  Once again, I feel it is prevalent because of the horrible economic tides we are trying to tame as well as the overall lack of public trust in any practically any business (Thanks, AIG, Freddie, Fannie, Madoff and countless others!  You’re a swell bunch).

What’s (the lie) going around now is that it’s smarter to tell your vendors that you are planning a “big party!”  rather than a wedding, because everyone knows that entertainment/event vendors are out to rip everyone off the minute they say “The W word”.  So to combat that, and to make sure you protect what’s left of your 401K, you decide to lie to everyone.

It’s like going to the doctor, tell the staff that you have a terrible stomach ache.  Once you’ve been whisked back into the doctor’s examining room, you reveal “Just kidding. I’m really pregnant and in labor right now. I know when you guys hear the word ‘maternity’,  the prices double”.

Great way to start a relationship. (That was sarcasm)

Trust is a two way street.   Your wedding vendors are trusting that you will pay them on time.  So that, in turn, they can pay their staff, mortgages and gas and electric bills on time. They are also trusting that you will keep your date and follow-through with an actual event.  More likely than not,they have turned down other events so that they could show you exemplary client service and attention.  When you lie to them from the beginning (because they will find out that it’s an actual wedding, and not some “big party”), they have no incentive to trust you, let alone like you.  It will make your vendor feel as if you questioned their integrity without communicating any concerns, and decided to deceive them for your own benefit (a little pot calling the kettle black, eh?).

In case this piece of info isn’t printed in anyone’s wedding magazine or allowed to run rampant on a wedding message board, I’ll say it here:  wedding vendors are a tight community. If you feel the need to try to get over on any of your wedding vendors with lies and deception, you had better believe that other wedding vendors will hear about it, too.  It could  make it a lot harder for you to find other vendors that will want to work with you once they have heard about your antics.   A wedding is not just a big party.  It’s your wedding. Don’t take anything away from that by calling it something that it isn’t. If it were really just “one big party”, then why not go to the courthouse and rock out at Chuck E. Cheese?  There very well may be some unscrupulous vendors out there who mark their prices up because it’s a wedding, and some may feel warranted in doing so due to the expectations and other details they will have to deal with.   For the rest of us that run our businesses honestly, we have set our prices for the amount of work we do.  As a wedding planner, it is my job to make sure that brides and grooms get what they are looking for and that any wedding day related charges are services are legitimate.  If you run into several mark ups with venues or vendors that you have dreamt of using, it may be time to find vendors you can actually afford to use. If you find someone who is less than honest about their fees—do not book them!

But remember, a stomach ache is not the same thing as being in labor 😉

I’m sure my other wedding planner and vendor friends will be able to offer so much more insight, so let’s keep the conversation going.

:: Photo ~ Bjorn de Leeuw ::