We were just named one of the top planners in the nation by Martha Stewart Weddings. A very Merry Christmas to me! To be named one of the best is always a big deal but to be named it by the best is an absolute pinch me moment. The issue will be out on news stands at the end of the week or you can click through the online article here.
In the spirit of the holidays, let’s talk about hostess gifts (because you’ve been invited to all these parties! To wear all these dresses to!) – I know that a lot of invites say “don’t bring anything!”…but for some odd reason, I feel awful if I don’t show my appreciation with the smallest, little token. So if you’re anything like me, here are a few of the cutest hostess gifts that aren’t that standard-bottle-of -wine……. and these won’t break the bank, either.
Occasions magazine interviewed me recently for their event expert series and they asked so many insightful questions about my design approach and business philosophies. Here are a few of my favorites:
What sets you apart from the rest in your field?
We really focus on creating refined and luxurious environments, but the entire time want to ensure we are creating a guest experience that makes every attendee feel honored to be a part of the day. We focus on every guest touch point to ensure approachability and warmth is communicated no matter how formal the affair is.
Spill the beans…how do you stay on the cutting edge of this ever changing industry?
I’m not sure that I do. I actually spend very little time watching other designers in our industry as it can wear your confidence down. Instead, I’m inspired by my travels and my day to day experiences. I use every minute of my day looking for design ideas, from a lighting fixture in a new restaurant, to linens I see in a local flea market. It all inspires how I create the look and feel of the day.
Best advice you can share with someone planning an upcoming occasion.
Keep the “planning committee” very small. If possible to keep all decisions between you and your fiancé, that will lead to the least amount of stress. The more parents, friends and siblings get involved, the more people you have to make happy which takes away from the fun of the planning process.
How do you overcome objections brought to you by a potential client? (i.e. Why do you charge so much for 1 day shooting/a cake/food/flowers, etc.?)
In regards to our pricing, we simply focus on the fact that we are a boutique company and have chosen this model so we can give our full attention to the clients we bring on board. Because of this, we have a price point that is not only fair market value for our skill set and experience, but it is one that allows us to limit the number of clients we take, meaning we are always available to our couples as needed. If we lower our prices, it means we have to take on more clients and no one wins in that scenario.
What is your deal breaker/breaking point? Is there anything that when a client asks you say no to/won’t take them as a client? (i.e. ridiculous low budget, extreme/outrageous demand, etc.)
A lot of the reasons we say no to clients has to do with pure intuition. Of course, there are budget parameters that come into play and if their budget and vision do not add up, we have to say no, but most of the time when we turn away a client it is simply because we don’t think we are the right fit or sense we wouldn’t meet their expectations. We are designers first and foremost, so an example would be, if a bride comes in wanting someone extremely type A and values that more than a creative person, I know five other planners that would be a better fit. Or, if the couple is more concerned about creating a wedding that is super flashy and focused on impressing the guests rather than creating an environment that instead focuses on the art of entertaining and taking care of the guests, they are probably not the right fit for me. I appreciate an over the top wedding, but those are not the ones guests leave saying “that’s the best wedding I’ve ever been to.” There are plenty of other planners that focus on flash and less on taking care of the guests. In those instances, I simply refer my associates that excel in those situations.
If you want to read more about trends, my must-haves, etc, please visit Occasions to see the full interview. Or come back soon where I’ll share more planning tips.
If you’re like me, you’re probably preparing for a house guest or two over the holiday season. Here’s just a peek at what I have waiting in my guest room when friends and family arrive:
1. Fresh flowers. Both in their room and throughout the house. Even the simplest jar of flowers make every space more welcoming.
2. Hand selected books for their nightstand. Sometimes houseguests just need a little time to themselves. Including a book or two in their room not only is inviting, but hints to them that it’s okay to retire to your room for a read every now and then.
3. Mini toiletries. We all forget things. All the time. For me, I have a stash of hotel sized toiletries on hand including shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap and toothbrush, just in case. I like to also include a rubber ducky or some other cute bath toy for added charm.
4. Welcome gift of local snacks. I love my city and want my guests to be introduced to it properly. This being said, I always give a little basket of my favorite locally made snacks making sure to include something salty, something sweet, something healthy, etc. Also, water is always a must.
5. Handwritten note. For me a handwritten note will never ever go out of fashion. They are so rare that even if the content isn’t that involved, the recipient will be touched.
Ever since I was a little girl, there was nothing a warm bowl of soup couldn’t fix. And until today, it’s my go-to meal for comfort. Down with a cold? Soup. Bad day? Soup. Heartbreak? Soup. (Okay, maybe soup and some wine, here.)
Call me crazy, but drinking soup is kind of like a big, warm hug from Mom. And making soup is so easy, and the simmering and stirring motions are so therapeutic, as well. Good thing the weather is finally cooling down over here – I’m getting ready for a long season of dedicated soup drinking.
Above are a few delicious recipes from around that web that I’ve tried, and loved. Do you have any favorites? I’d love to hear….