To Vendors (& Myself)

May 19, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  13 Comments

I’ve come across two types of vendors. Those that love their job and those that simply do their job.

Last Friday, I spent the day with Courtney Dellafiora, who shot the new collection (photos soon!) We chatted about how lucky we are to do what we do. Courtney is definitely one of those vendors who loves their job and oozes passion for her clients and work. It’s quite contagious.

This past weekend, I also did a wedding for Molly and Per with a team of vendors I’ve never worked with before because the wedding was in Baton Rouge. I was at first a bit concerned they’d think I was a fly by night wedding planner or someone just dipping my toe in the wedding industry…and subsequently, treat me that way. Instead, every single vendor was enthusiastic to chat with me and so excited for the wedding. These were professional vendors who do this multiple times every week. Why were they so enthusiastic?? Because they truly love their job!

Getting jaded CAN happen if you’ve been doing this long enough. You may start to feel you know more than the newbies. Or that brides are all demanding based on a few bad apples. Don’t let that affect your relationships with new, nice : ) brides and vendors.

Vendors, I cannot tell you how at ease, excited, and thankful I was for the team we worked with this weekend. I kept telling Molly, “You’re wedding is going to be amazing because your vendors are so amazing.” And it was. That night at the wedding, while guest were dancing and the bride was visiting with friends, Per, the groom told us that he and Molly agreed Southern Fete was the best value/money they spent on the whole wedding. I was so blown away and honored. I truly believe this was because with the great team of vendors we had, we were able to COORDINATE. We weren’t bussing tables, or refilling bars or taking care of anyone else’s work as we sometimes must do. We were catering to the bride and groom. I don’t think that the enthusiasm that greeted me earlier in the week is unrelated to the work the team did on the wedding day. EACH WEDDING is important to them. Vendors, I’m challenging y’all as well as myself to make sure our clients feel this way.

If BRIDES get that same feeling I got last week, from their own vendors, I can only imagine what a difference that makes to them on their wedding day. A big thanks to the amazing team:

Rehearsal Dinner Location: Shaw Center – Ashley

Reception Location: Lousiana State Museum – Ashley Pierce

Caterer: Heirloom Cuisine – Caryn and Crew

Cake Ball Cakes: Brew Ha Ha – Gabby Loubiere  (225) 923-1923

Photography: Ashleigh Jayne Photography – Ashley and Paul

Bus Service: River Parish Limousines

St. James Episcopal Church – Sue and Kakki

And a few sneak peeks from Saturday! Gorgeous work Ashleigh, can’t wait to see the rest!

Over the Pond

April 27, 2011  |  Color Me Inspired  |  No Comments

…Kate and William are getting married Friday! While I’m not buying any souvenirs or waking up before the sun to watch it, I am still excited to see how they stray from tradition. Since their relationship has been a bit different than their predecessors (ok I had to watch the Dateline special to find that out ; ) I’m assuming their wedding will have the same feel though still paying respect to many traditions.

Today’s inspiration board has a touch of tradition with a navy base for the palette, then I punched it up a bit with strawberry pink and camel to add some soft, whimsical tones. Enjoy!!

1. Daydream Lily 2. Bella Figura 3. Green Wedding Shoes 4. & 5. Unknown 6. In the Now

Cajun Wedding Photo Shoot

April 14, 2011  |  Inspiration  |  2 Comments

Hello hello! Wedding season is definitely in full swing! So far, we’ve created a yarn themed yellow, gray and orange wedding, blush and bashful vintage Southern wedding and backyard Secret Garden wedding. Many more fun weddings to come too!

I’m hoping to be posting more in the next few weeks. First up, a photo shoot I created with an AMAZING team last October.

Our theme was Cajun wedding with a spin. We wanted to capture the traditions and culture without going too kitchy. No crawfish or bayous here.

Cajun families are about traditions and great cooking. We focused on incorporating everyday kitchen items into our theme.

I’ll let the photos by Trent Bailey do the talking!

A few everyday items like cheese cloth, clothes pins and garlic.

A “chandelier” made from a three tiered basket that many grandmothers down South use for holding onions and garlic. And of course, we incorporated sweet tea! We had six different flavors.

Gorgeous ruffle cake and mini pecan pies. And black and white invitation set with kraft envelopes

Amazing old chapel at Acadian Village. My parents were married here 30 years ago!

We created a spice bar for the take-home favor. Guest could create their spice and take home a wooden spoon.

Black pots are must!

Dinner and Dancing…

The after party…

And quaint honeymoon suite!

Vendors:

Photographer: Trent Bailey Photography

Event Design: Southern Fete

Venue: Acadian Villiage

Makeup & Hair : Kiki’s Consulting

Cake/Desserts: Social Bites

Groom’s Attire: Billy Reid

Stationery: Southern Fete Creative

Dress: courtesy of A-Net’s Enchanted Dream

Hair Pieces: Preston and Olivia

The Ideal Bride

March 25, 2011  |  Wedding Tips  |  No Comments

What are vendors looking for when they meet with a new potential client?

It’s not really discussed. For the most part, that first consult is seen as a time when brides pick whether they want to work with a vendor but vendors are also looking for qualities in clients they feel they will work best with. Every vendors is different but there are a few basic things all vendors look for:

Positive attitude

Appreciative of their work instead of demanding

Trusting of their knowledge and experience

Open to suggestion and ideas

Easy to work with

Patient

I work with lots of vendors that offer my brides service above and beyond what’s expected and even paid for. Why is that?? Because I’ve built relationships with them. How can you receive that kind of service?

Be there ideal client.

*This isn’t a magic potion but it will make things more likely.*

Vendors, what are brides looking for in their ideal vendor?  Someone who:

Communicates quickly

Is Accommodating

Doesn’t make brides feel like a number

Offers great value

I’ve got a wedding today that I’m about to head out to and just wanted to give a few tips to help you plan for the wedding day. If you’d like to learn more about this, feel free to sign up for our next Fete Connection, taking place April 30.

Here are a few questions to ask:

Who is taking home presents? Decor? Food?

Who is cutting the cake?

Who is orchestrating the rehearsal and ceremony?

What will the flow of the reception be?

Are there any balances that need to be paid on the wedding day?

If you don’t have a wedding planner, go over these things with family members and see if you can delegate some of these roles. If it’s planned out beforehand, the day will run smoother and you can spend more time on the dance floor and less time facilitating logistic.

Brides, I hope this week’s tips have been helpful! Best of luck on all your planning!

Putting Out Fires

March 24, 2011  |  Wedding Tips  |  1 Comment

In case you’ve never heard this before, I’ll be there bearer of bad news. Something won’t go according to plan on your wedding day. Now breathe…There is no reason to panic.

The big question is: HOW WILL YOU HANDLE IT?

This fact alone dictates whether your wedding day will be the happiest of days or  a let down. Not what happens.

Here are a few scenarios of problems you could face:

FAMILY DRAMA – everyone has some. It could be with your mother or new-in-laws, your critical uncle or overbearing sister.

If it’s still in the planning process, the best way to handle this is to hear them out calmly BUT in the end make your own decisions. Keep in mind, if it’s a small battle, letting your MIL pick the song the parents come down the aisle to is small potatoes. Know when to hold your ground and when to appease people. In the case of family, you will be seeing these people long after your tantrum about not wanting a blue pin for the sign in table. Pick your battles. And always to do so respectfully.

If it’s the wedding day, do what you can to create a buffer. I’ve told a few of my clients “Let me know if I need to come pull someone out of the room.” I’ll be the bad guy if it means the bride gets to have a wedding not filled with drama. My heart breaks when I hear stories of outrageous family problems on the wedding day. Surround yourself with people you love and people that can keep you calm.

A note to family members: Keep in mind the power you have in making the wedding day a magical one or stressful one. It boggles my mind sometimes what relatives will nickpick on the wedding day TO THE BRIDE. It’s her wedding day! Don’t add any unneccesary stress about something that most of the time, doesn’t even matter to the bride. It’s incredibly selfish and rude to want something badly enough to be willing to ruin the bride’s (and consequentially the groom’s) wedding day.

VENDOR MISHAP – everyone has some of these too!

If it’s still the planning process, make sure both parties involved share the same expectations. Your shade of purple may not be what the florist is picturing. Your idea of heavy weight paper for your stationery may not be their definition. Ironing these things out ahead of time should help. Also, (as mentioned this week) make sure to give your vendor permission to do their best. If the poppies you wanted, don’t come in in the right shade, she can use a similar flower instead to get the same affect instead of throwing off the whole color scheme. Nature is unpredictable, so a rigid approach, may have the opposite affect that you want.

If it’s the wedding day, have someone in charge of making sure everything goes according to plan, and if it doesn’t, they can fix it without you every hearing about it. As I’ve said, some things on your wedding day won’t go according to plan. The venue may be short a table they promised. A bridesmaid may leave her bouquet at the house. The weather may change your ceremony. You need someone there who can act fast to make these little issues unnoticeable. For some  weddings, I put out more fires than others. On these days, I wonder what would have happened if they didn’t hire a wedding planner. *HOPPING ON SOAPBOX* Brides, if you are spending 15, 20, or 40 thousand dollars on your wedding day, make the decision to invest 1 thousand of that to make sure all those details you spent so much on are actually executed on the wedding day. I don’t recommend the full-service planning for every bride but I do recommend the day-of package because, even though you may be able to redo invitations, your hair trial, move your venue location or switch your DJ after you heard him botch another wedding, you can’t redo your wedding day or your memories. *HOPPING OFF SOAPBOX* : )

A note to vendors: If you know before the wedding day, you can’t meet what you guaranteed, tell them before the wedding day. If they know ahead of time, they can adjust to the idea or a backup plan they are comfortable with can be created. Don’t hope they just won’t notice, if it’s big. Obviously, don’t cause panic if you are a photographer and had to switch your second shooter from the person you mentioned to the client. This normally doesn’t worry the bride.

Brides, I hope these tips have been helpful! Tomorrow, I’ll give a few tips on preparing for the wedding day.

Communicating

March 23, 2011  |  Wedding Tips  |  1 Comment

Tips today about how to communicate best with vendors!

1. Ask them the best WAY to communicate with them.

For me, some days, I’m in meetings back to back. I may get a few minutes to return an email but it’s much harder to return a call because I don’t want to cut them short if another client walks in. This means, for me atleast, it generally takes me longer to respond to some phone calls unless it’s an emergency. Also, I can tell you that I loove getting details, changes, special request by email.  I also love sending the same to other vendors for my brides.  In the case where there is a discrepancy on what was agreed upon, we have that to look at and be able to have something solid to stand on.

2. Ask them the best TIME to communicate with them.

What’s their work schedule? If they are off every Monday and you happen to call every Monday and keep missing them (and not leave a voicemail), it can be very frustrating as a bride. Knowing their office hours can ensure you call when they are near their desk. Emails are a bit different. You can send them anytime you like as long as you understand they are probably away from their computer on wedding days or Sundays or their particular off day.

And a few general things

1. Show respect to their personal/vacation time.

I’ve heard one wedding industry pro say there are very few actual wedding emergencies, aside from a venue burning or a death in the family. For the most part, there is nothing that has to be done at midnight or while your vendor is on vacation for a few days. This goes along with knowing when the best time to communicate is but goes a bit farther. Even as a bride myself, I remember that feeling creeping up that yea, yea I get it, but this is just one exception and  “We have to take care of this now” or “It’s my wedding day we’re talking about.” Save this for real emergencies and vendors will jump to respond to you. Cry wolf often and real emergencies can get neglected.

2. Allow several days for them to respond to your call/email, etc.

I work with vendors all the time and even the best vendors take a little while to return calls. I give them a few days and sometimes even a week to respond because the wedding industry operates on such a different schedule. If your wedding is a year away and they having to respond to one call in between meetings, it’s most likely going to be the more immediate request. Also, their days off can vary: some photographers are off on Thursday and some cake bakers off on Mondays. That means if you call on Wednesday at 4:55, the earliest you may get a response from that photography is Monday morning. Don’t call them for a second time if they haven’t returned your call in 20 hours (which in some cases is technically only 3 business hours if the call/email was made toward the end of the day). This goes back to working with great vendors. If they are reliable, trust that they know they need to call you and will return your call shortly.

A quick note for vendors:

Respect your brides time. If she has to call more than once even with the above guideline, working with you is taking more energy than it needs to. You’ll book more weddings with brides by referrals and find yourself on a wedding planner’s referral list, by returning calls in a reasonable amount of time. If you do find yourself behind, send a quick email to say you received their request and will get to them by (insert exact date). This will keep them from growing frustrated.

Any other times for communicating with vendors?