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Wedding Trends -April WPIC Get Together

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.Avenue-Photo.ca

On Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 WPIC held a get together on Wedding Trends for 2014 at the beautiful St. George’s Golf & Country Club.

The entire event was planned and executed by WPIC’s intern, Urszula Matczak. This is no easy task, as one might imagine, and she did it with flair and grace. (Especially considering her target audience and attendees were fifty wedding planners…)

*A special thank you to our WPIC volunteers, Cindy He and Nazreen Faiz, who managed the registration table and the raffle draw.

Some of the highlights of the evening were a strolling fashion show, a trade show to meet and greet all of the vendors who particpated at the event, musical talent by the wonderful harpist Joanna Jordan, and a panel discussion about 2014 wedding trends.

The entire evening was captured on film by Enrique DeCordova Photography.

We had amazing food and service provided by St. George’s Golf & Country Club. Guess what?  The Catering and Events Manager, Jacqueline Lambert, just happens to be WPICC.  Go figure ;)

Some highlights of St. George’s Golf & Country Club:

  • Ample free parking
  • Award winning cuisine fom the Chef and his culinary team
  • Sommelier to suggest wine pairings for your courses
  • A large selection of late night stations
  • Beautiful views of the Award Winning Golf Course and the historic 1920’s Club House is stunning

 

 

www.wpic.ca

www.decordova.ca   Our wonderful volunteers, Cindy and Nazreen

 

 

 

 

Contributing Awesome Vendors:

Venue: St. George’s Golf and Country Club
Photography: Enrique Decordova Photography
Tuxedos: Andrew’s Formals
Wedding Cakes: Le Dolci
Linens & Florals: Susan Murray Luxury Linen and Decor Reatals
Harpist: Joanna Jordan Electric Harpist
Wedding Dresses: She’s So Beautiful Bridal Boutique
Hair & Makeup: Aglow By Joan – Hair And Makeup

Thank you to everyone who participated in the trade show and panel, and thank you to our wonderful WPIC Alumni  who came out to network & learn.

We hope that enjoyed the evening!

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WPIC Planner of the Month -Bernadette Sousa

Interviewed by: Tracey Manailescu
WPIC Planner of the Month: Bernadette Sousa of Serendipity & Co. Inc.
Photo: jcpimentel.com

Photo: jcpimentel.com

We are so proud and happy to share Bernadette Sousa’s story with you.  Bernadette is a WPIC graduate and has some incredibly exciting news to share.  She is celebrating her 100th wedding with her company,  Serendipity & Co. Inc.
A huge and heartfelt congratulations to you and your team, Bernadette :)
Most challenging aspect of starting your business?

The most challenging aspect  I had to overcome in starting up my business was the fact that I had been suffering from fibromyalgia for quite some time and was unsure on the toll this business would take on me.  I had been a stay at home mom for about 18 years and starting this  hobby business, balancing out family and clients was definitely going to be a new challenge for me. Thankfully with the help of my awesome assistants and having the flexibility with the hours and days that I work, I have found the way to balance it all.

Bernadette single
When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?
I measure ” success” by my client base and not by profit margin, after all I was about to launch into this business for the passion of it. I also realize that success can come and go, some years you may have many weddings on the books yet the following year not so much. I live by the motto of ” you’re only as good as your last wedding” However, with that being said, there’s been a few key moments where it sinks in that Serendipity & Co really has become a recognizable wedding planning company.  First in January 2013 when two of my weddings were featured in Elegant Wedding Magazine! Last November when I realized that 2014 would be the year I would celebrate 100 weddings and launched my ” Who will be our 100th Bride” contest.  Most recently during a wedding show, while standing at my booth, several Brides-to-be approaching me and asking me if I was Bernadette of Serendipity, followed by the ” oh my god! I have to have you at my wedding!”
 
How many staff do you currently have?
I now have 8 girls on staff. 6 fully trained, 2 interns and 4 out of the 8 are WPIC certified. Ideally I will be working towards having all my assistants  become WPICC!
Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?
I have truly been blessed with so many wonderful memories over the course of the past 7 years. But a few that stand out. The wedding of Sarah and Victor in August 2012. Portuguese Songstress ( as I like to call her) with California boy! Sarah very well known in the Portuguese community with a wedding that would be covered by the Portuguese media  The whole day was pretty much a dream. Despite how many weddings I had already planned or coordinated, I was wowed by the hour. Her special Tribute to her deceased Father. Standing in the middle of the dance floor, holding her mother’s hand while listening to a song she recorded as a little girl with her mother and looking over at each of the 4  projection screens where images of her Father looped. Then dancing with 4 key male figures in her life.  That moment was spectacular!
Another moment where I just felt so proud to be a part of it was when another one of my Bride’s who is a performer, wrote and performed a song to her ailing father as he sat is his wheelchair. The amount of love felt in that room, not a dry eye to be found.
As a whole, every one of my weddings has had an ” unforgettable moment” be it with their vows, their first dance as the Groom serenades his Bride…Speeches…All I can say is I love my job and wouldn’t change anything!
Photo: JulianMoniz.com

Photo: JulianMoniz.com

Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?
Although my tag line says ” Close your eyes, tell us what you see” I can never say ” I can do a wedding with my eyes closed”! Each and every wedding is a blank canvas. No matter how much experience you have, I look at every wedding as my first. I learn that you can never be too cocky  and that  you are certainly as good as your team, not only with your assistants but with the vendors you network with.
I try very hard to make conferences but with my busy schedule, it is very hard. I look to my ” wedding bibles” , professionals that have been in the business longer than I have to keep me grounded and informed of trends. I also have my mentors within the WPIC alumni and thank God for them as sometimes I send them a ” help” message or email and they are always there to help me out with advise or referrals!
 
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My new 5 year plan is to celebrate my 200th wedding sometime before 2019 while still rocking my stilettos!
On a serious note, having to deal with a major life crisis last year and suddenly becoming a single Mother, life took quite the turn. The business suffered tremendously and the fate of Serendipity & Co Inc was uncertain. However, Serendipity is like my child. I gave birth to it 7 years ago, I have nurtured it and just like any Mom, you don’t abandon your children.  When in crisis, you just pull up your socks and work harder. Once again, realizing that we were on the brink of coordinating our 100th wedding, I knew that Serendipity & Co’s fate was to continue well into the future, to grow and be stronger than ever before! With a fresh attitude, lots of ambition , a passion for weddings and a fabulous group of assistants, Serendipity & Co looks forward to a fabulous 2014 season and to our 100th wedding on June 28, 2014!
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WPIC Kickoff 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.AvenuePhoto.ca

“Fearless in 2014″ was the theme!

Our WPIC Representatives really out did themselves with this event.  Kudos and a HUGE thank you to Meagan Eagles, Dawn Fillion and Amy Stevenson.  These ladies worked their butts off to make this even a memorable night for all of us. We truly appreciate all of the details, relaxed atmosphere and the thoughtfulness that went into it all.

*The Eaton Chelsea pulled it off without a glitch. Great staff and a great location.

www.wpic.ca

Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

We had a gigantic list of sponsors that helped make this night so wonderful. Whether it was the entertainment, venue, sweets, decor, florals, games, slo-mo photo booth, snow cones, chip station, fortune teller, fascinators, swag bag items, prizes or speakers, we appreciate it all, and thank you!

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Carnival games?  You betcha ;)

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Here are some photos of our amazing WPIC alumni. We were so happy to see everyone who came out to network, learn and just unwind.

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

The Eaton Chelsea did an amazing job of keeping us fed with vintage circus themed food such as a pretzel station, pulled pork station, mini corn dogs, hot dogs, vegetarian chile, reuben sandwiches, chick pea curry, mushroom ragout, bacon ragout, freshly made hot yukon gold potato roasti and a dessert station.

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Our keynote speakers of the evening were WPIC’ers Michael Coombs and Jennifer Maxwell.

Mike spoke on the subject, “Pride. Perseverance and Fear.” He gave some insight into where he came from , how he turned around negatives and how it all helped him be who is is now. Support from family and believing in yourself will get you, and keep you on track. Personal anecdotes always endear the audience, and Mike’s speech was just that.

www.wpic.ca

Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Jennifer spoke about, “Standing in the Face of Fear”. A funny & warm hearted discussion about not being afraid to change things up in your career to get you on the path you are supposed to be on.  Lists, lists and more lists will keep you organized and on the straight and narrow. Never be afriad to amke mistakes as that is how we learn. Never give up!

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Oh yes, we had entertainment.  The incrdibly talented team from A2D2 gave two performances, a strolling cupcake station,and a clown that stole my popcorn and brought back even more then I had lost, got to love that;)

www.wpic.ca

Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Below are photos of some wild, whacky and gorgeous fascinatiors created by WPIC Alumni, Aimee Alabaster of With Abandon. I loved that we were able to pre select the fascinators that we wanted to wear for the evening.  Danielle bought hers right after the night ended, and I have 2 orders on the go right now!

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

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Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

Photos are all courtesy of the dynamic duo: Jono & Laynie. You both were so easy to work with and we happily recommend you to all of our Alumni and their couples!

www.wpic.ca

Photo: www.jonoandlaynie.com

 

 

 

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Professional Head Shots- Why Every Wedding Planner Needs One

By: Tracey Manailescu

The good, the bad, and the just plain ol’ ugly. (Yes, I will share some of mine…)  Since I am sharing mine, I might as well drag Danielle into this, too :)

You all know what I am talking about…Don’t be embarrassed. I have some REAL doozies from the not so distant past.  One thing I am famous for, is wearing an elastic on my wrist. Somehow, I always forget to take the darned things off before I am photographed at events, and for impromptu head shots (See a few of Danielle’s and mine below.)  The really bad ones won’t make it here, I am afraid…LOL!

Tracey ManailescuBrightroom Traceytracey yuck

114117-003-018hiPhoto.appdanny

Professional business head shots are important for many reasons:

  • Shows potential clients that you take your wedding planning business seriously, and have invested in your marketing as well as your brand. You ARE your brand!
  • Shows potential clients a little bit about you, and your personality, by the way you choose to present yourself. Don’t be afraid to show your true self in your head shots. If you are going to wear jeans and a blazer, with an amazing pair of shoes in your client meetings, then wear THAT for your photo. If you can rock a business suit, and still show your amazing sense of style, then do it!
  • Shows how you will probably represent yourself at their wedding. Makeup done, hair under control (speaking for myself, here) and an outfit you feel confident in.
  • Shows potential clients if your style matches their expectations of a wedding planner. if not, they will move on.

Here are some that I have liked over the past few years:
www.michellelawsonphotography.comTracey ManailescuTracey ManailescuTracey Manailescu

Here are some of Danielle’s:
REF_4396Danielle_06B247343_10150634579885720_841535719_18853221_4871612_n016_16_2

Where can you get professional head shots taken?

  • Book a head shot session with your favourite wedding photographer.
  • Scope out, and contact a photography company that you admire, and are hoping to work with in the future. Hire them!
  • Ask other wedding professionals where they had theirs done (WPIC Alumni Association would be a great place to ask).  If someone is happy with their head shot, then they will most likely happily refer you to the photographer that made it happen for them.
  • WPIC has held 2 professional working head shot events for WPIC Alumni with some of Toronto’s most talented photographers. (My photo in the top left hand corner, is from the last event in September at Paletta Mansion.)
  • Networking events
  • FAM trips
  • Conferences and Trade Shows

 Tips to get good head shots:

  • Bring a change of clothing for two different looks.  Be comfortable in what you will be wearing. Yes, go out and buy yourself a new outfit for it if you can!
  • Make sure that you are comfortable with the photographer to ensure real smiles and photogenic poses.
  • Tell the photographer if you are uncomfortable with anything about yourself that may interfere with the photos and your comfort level.  ie. You look way better photographed from your left side, you hate your mole, double chin, etc.
  • Make your eyes smile.  Think happy thoughts and even giggle if you want in the photos.
  • Avoid clothing that wrinkles easily.  It will look messy in the photos.
  • Avoid skin coloured clothing (it’ll look like your naked and/or washed out). This means if you have light skin then avoid tans, pale yellow, pale peach, etc.  If you have dark skin then avoid dark or muted colours. Do the opposite of your skin colour.
  • ***TIP***Apparently, jeweled tones look good on every shade of skin.
  • If you wear glasses 99% of the time, then wear glasses in your head shot. Your photographer can work around the glare.
  • Avoid wearing shiny or sparkly makeup. It will stress out the photographer with the lighting on your face.
  • Avoid large or chunky jewelry. (It will be distracting, and take the viewer away from your face.)
  • Drink lots of water the week before.
  • Get a good sleep the night before.
  • Avoid red wine and heavy foods the night before.
  • Invest in a teeth whitening product.
  • Have enough time scheduled for your session.  Typically an hour works well.

listerinewhiteningstripsNo red winewater bottlejewel toned

How much will it cost?

  • Anywhere from $150-$400+ with a professional photographer.
  • If that stresses you out at the moment, then department stores like Sears and Walmart are also there for you, if you are in a pinch, and can provide a much cheaper alternative to get you going.

Working Shots:
Working shots are a great way to show what you will look like on their wedding day.  It shows clients what they can expect from you appearance wise when you are working at their wedding. (FYI- Flip flops, tank tops, cut-off jean shorts, gym outfits, micro mini-skirts, etc. should not be an option).

***TIP***Ask the couple and the photographer to take a photo of you, with the couple. This is a great for future blogs, your portfolio, and memories!

Danielle Andrews Sunkel andTracey Manailescu

So really, there are just no excuses for selfies, passport photos, and night out with the friends photos as your professional head shot. Invest in yourself (this is just one of the ways to do so) and clients will appreciate it, and invest in you!

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5 Tools for Wedding Planners

5 tools for wedding planners title pic
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Here are some tools that every wedding planner should have in their arsenal:

1. Pantone Color Guide
Get the exact shade your couple is looking for. Where to buy

pantone color fan

2.Miss A Kit
This multi-tool has everything: screwdriver, knife, scissors, bottle opener, nail file, corkscrew, needle and thread, safety pin, perfume vial, etc. Where to buy

Miss A Kit Multitoolmiss a multitool open

3. Mini e-kit
When your regular Emergency Kit is too big or inappropriate, place it nearby and grab this little In a Pikle kit to have all the essentials at hand.

in a pikle e kit in a pikle contents
items for in a pikle ekit

4. Spray Paint
I did a blog just on the many uses of spray paint for wedding planners.  Every paintable item in our office has been at least three different colors.  Never pass up the perfect item because it is the wrong color, just change the color!
krylon spray paint

5. Evian Spray
The item in my emergency kit that I use at every single wedding!  Buy the 3-packs, they are the perfect size, then mist away.  Spray the couple and their attendants during the photoshoot, before the reception, after they have been dancing.  It revives their makeup, cools them down and refreshes them.
3-pack of evian spray

 

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So You’ve Planned Your Wedding and Now you Want to Become a Wedding Planner

Photo of WPIC Alum Karen Spagel of When Sparks Flyby Karen Sagle, WPICC, GWC of When Sparks Fly Wedding & Events

Recently I’ve been contacted by a number of different brides who have planned their weddings and then considered getting into wedding planning themselves. While it may be a great idea for some, it’s not the right fit for everyone. Here are some things I tell them:

Planning someone else’s wedding isn’t the same as planning yours. You don’t always get a say in the style or the design of the wedding, and it isn’t always the same taste as yours. You have to be able to work just as hard on a wedding that you love as you would on a wedding that isn’t styled in a way that you like.

It’s not an easy business to get into. I had one bride tell me that she was planning to quit her job and become a wedding planner full time, right off the bat! There are a TON of small wedding planning businesses, and it takes time to build a client base. In most businesses, your goal is to find clients and retain them, but in the wedding business you’re constantly looking for new clients as (you hope!) you’ll probably never have the same clients twice. It takes time to build a portfolio and gain the contacts you need, and this is usually done on the side of another job, at least for a while. That often means you’re working full time during the day and then on this business in the evenings and weekends. Even then, there are very few wedding planners who do this full time. On average, for a day-of coordination (which are typically the bulk of your business) most planners charge somewhere between $900 and 1200. Once your business is established, you’ll be more likely to get bigger contracts and the luxury market, while small, can be more lucrative. But in the beginning at least, even if you work on a wedding every single Saturday of the year (which is unlikely), you would still only make about $50,000 and this isn’t even taking into account all the expenses you will have, like marketing, supplies, etc.

It’s not all glamorous, (read real wedding planner tales here) and it’s not the same as the Jennifer Lopez movie! (Hahaha – an actual common misconception!) Weddings are intense business. When it’s your wedding, it can be a lot of fun and you get to do with it whatever you want! When it’s someone else’s, you hold the responsibility for one of the most important days in someone else’s life and it’s your job to make sure it’s perfect. Wedding days are long (usually 10-14 hours) and hectic and often involve getting your hands dirty. You frequently deal with people who are very stressed and anxious and you often have to play the mediator between multiple people who don’t see eye to eye.

WPIC students in class

You need credentials! Just deciding to become a wedding planner isn’t enough. I have a graduate certificate in Event Management, and I’m certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, as well as by the 14 Stories Gay Weddings Institute, and I’m planning on taking others as well! There are lots of certifications and conferences out there that will really further your knowledge and your credibility, but they’re not cheap – they are in investment! Make sure it’s something you really want to do before you jump in and spend lots of money.

These warnings aren’t meant to scare my brides away from wedding planning, but more so to give a reality check to some who think it’s all luxurious and easy. Ask any Wedding Planner out there – ITS NOT! Having said all that…. I LOVE being a wedding planner. I love working with people on the happiest days of their lives, and I thrive under the stress and the pressure. No 2 weddings are ever the same, and I love that. I love pulling together someone’s vision and seeing how excited they get when they walk in and see it. I love the craziness of running around to make sure everything gets done properly and I’m the type of person who works well with deadlines and pressure. I’m good with logistics and budgets, and I can think on my feet and come up with quick solutions.

If you’re willing to put in the work, wedding planning can be an awesome career path! Just make sure you know what you’re getting into so that if you do decide to go ahead, you’ll be well informed and ready to rock it!

Karen Sagle is the owner of When Sparks Fly Weddings & Events, a wedding and event planning company based  in Ottawa, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University, an Event Management graduate certificate from Algonquin College and is certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada and the 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute. Karen is also a competitive curler and loves playing sports, travelling and spending time with family and friends. 

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Can I be of “Assistants”?

Jaxx Swadi of One Sweet DayWritten by Jaxx Swadi, WPICC, GWIC – Creative Director of One Sweet Day Wedding & Event Coordination

See what I did there?  No, it isn’t a spelling error.  The word is intentionally incorrect.  The topic of discussion for today – How to be an Assistant, and more importantly how to TREAT your assistants.

With 2013 winding down to an abrupt close (I am really not sure where the year went!), I wanted to touch on some things I have learned over the four years I have been doing weddings.  Both from personal experience, observation and information that has been shared with me along the way.

Now, let’s be clear.  This is whether you are a paid assistant OR a volunteer.  The information isn’t applicable to one over the other.

I have had the opportunity to be both a volunteer and a paid assistant in the time I have been doing weddings.  I have also had many assistants over the years, and was lucky enough to have the chance to mentor some of them.  An honour I take VERY seriously.

Here’s what I have learned:

As an assistant, you should (again, paid or volunteer):

  1. Always, always, always….sign a contract.  This protects both you and the planner hiring you.  You have all of the expectations out on the table in black and white.  The where, what, why, how’s and who’s.  Where is the wedding taking place?  What is the compensation?  How should I dress?  Who are the couple?
  2. You should always have a copy of the itinerary.  It not only gives you the play by play of what you can expect on the day, but it should also outline what duties are expected of you as an assistant.  If it doesn’t…it SHOULD!  Don’t hesitate to ask your lead planner what is expected of you.  Honestly?  Every wedding is different, every couple has different expectations of how they want things done.  You should never be expected to assume what your duties should be.  Nor do you want to be repeating tasks that have already been completed.
  3. You should always be fed if you are staying during the mealtime.  Now,  I have personally done weddings where I can’t eat the food they have.  Most of the time, you will find that venues are quite accommodating if they know in advance.  However, when there are times that you are not offered a meal as a team (and believe me, this has happened as well) – it is the responsibility of the planner who hired you to ensure you are fed, so you can better complete the duties in store for you.
  4. Take initiative.  Look around, see what needs to get done.  If you have something you aren’t sure of, your lead planner should always make themselves approachable so you can ask if A, B & C can be done in such and such a way.  I know I personally appreciate an extra pair of eyes looking around at the finer details – because I’m busy too!
  5. Dress professionally.  You would think this is a given, but I have had assistants show up in less than appropriate attire.  Put your stiletto heels, leopard print pants and heavy makeup away.  They have no place in a place of worship or a wedding reception.  For the most part, it is safe to assume a pant suit with a professional blouse is best.  If you are unsure, ask your lead planner for guidance.  One thing is for sure, if you don’t have one – invest in a black blazer.  It’s definitely a constant go to item.
  6. Keep the personal talk to a minimum, when there are things that need to get done.  There is a time and  a place to talk about your sick cat, boyfriend troubles, BFF, etc.  When you are swept off of your feet busy preparing for a ceremony or reception – it is clearly not the forum for it.  During downtime is best.

Leads!  How to TREAT your assistants:

  1. Again, I reiterate the above.  Provide a contract for your assistants.  It’s to protect you both so there are no uncertainties after the fact.  Friendship and business are separate.  You don’t want a strained relationship afterwards if there is any confusion about the finer details.  Trust me!
  2. Provide your assistant with their duties.  Whether it’s in your itinerary, in the contract, or on a separate  sheet, it doesn’t matter!  You can’t expect your assistant/s to play guessing games with YOUR clients wedding.  It isn’t fair to you, your assistant/s, and most importantly – your client.  Put everything out on the table so there are no misunderstandings.
  3. FEED THEM!!!  Make sure they are able to eat the meal being provided.  For whatever reason, allergies, illness, whatever – they may not be able to.  But you are still obligated to make sure they eat so they can function well!  I don’t care if you send them out for McDonalds or Subway, it doesn’t have to be fine dining.  But they  must have something to eat, and a place to eat it.
  4. Be a mentor.  You are the lead!  In many cases, the assistants working with you are new to the industry.  They are looking to you for guidance and support.  Don’t go on a power trip because you ‘re in charge.  Assistants have taken time away from their usual lives, to help you, and learn from you.  They left their families and/or responsibilities at home to spend 10 hours with you.  So don’t make them regret it, or resent the industry or the people in it.  There’s nothing worse than when I have been an assistant at a wedding, and someone newer to the industry comes to ME for advice and support because the lead has made themselves unapproachable.  NOT COOL!  You aren’t invincible, trust me…and for God’s sake, don’t gossip about them.  I’ve seen it happen, and it’s happened to me.   Word travels fast, and not in a good way.
  5. Respect your assistants!  They are your team.  They are the reason that things will go smoothly or terribly at your event.  Introduce them to your vendors – in your itinerary email, and in person on the day.  It isn’t a very nice feeling to be treated as though you are ”just the help”, and have random strangers that you have to approach and introduce yourself to because you as the lead didn’t have the courtesy to do it.
  6. Show them appreciation!  Thank you goes a LONG way.  After a rehearsal dinner, or the night before a wedding, I always take my team out for dinner.  It’s an opportunity for everyone to meet and get comfortable with each other, and a way to discuss any items the assistants need to be aware of that could come up on the day of. It’s also a chance to get to know each other, unwind and create new friendships and relationships. At the very least, give them a thank you card, a small gift or token of appreciation.  This is something I always make a point of doing, because it is ME that can make or break their impression of this industry and the people in it.
  7. Stand by your word.  If you are paying them, make sure you stand by your agreement.  I always have an EMT sent out the day after the wedding.   If you promised recommendation letters or photos,  stay on top of making that happen.  We all know that some photos take longer than others to get back to us, but it’s up to us to stay on top of it AND let our assistants know that we haven’t forgotten about them, and are still waiting on things.
  8. If you have had a great volunteer assistant, give them a paid job in the future.  Nothing says thank you and great job, like asking them to return to work for you in a paid capacity.

I hope planners new and veteran, found this blog informative and helpful.  I think given what we’ve all experienced, it felt like it was about time that someone spelled it all out.

Wishing you all much success and a very prosperous 2014! 

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Fake it, till You Make it? I Think Not

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Lately, I have heard a lot of people give the advice, “Fake it till you make it.”

I’m all for “dressing for the job you want, not the job you have,” but I just can’t get on board with pretending to be successful and experienced, when you are not.  It is not fair to potential clients, they think they are hiring a wedding guru, when in fact you are flubbing every step of the way. It’s not fair to colleagues, you are putting undue stress on them, either trying to figure out why they aren’t achieving your level of success or by duping their potential clients.  It’s not fair to yourself, if you create an image that you must try to live up to everyday, there is no way to go back gracefully, it would be exhausting and terrifying to live a lie day in and day out.

Instead, I offer this advice: Be the best you, you can be.   A true professional has substance, expertise, training, education and experience.

Here are some keys to being successful in the Wedding Industry:

  • Work Hard
  • Be Authentic
  • Get Educated (and keep getting educated)
  • Seek Experience
  • Be Unique
  • Network
  • Play Nicely
  • Market Yourself, Truthfully
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Goals are Dreams with Deadlines

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

As most wedding business owners wind down after the 2013 wedding season, the smart ones are starting to plan their 2014 season.   The break between wedding seasons is a time to assess this year and set goals for yourself and your business for next.

Everyone has a dream of what they want their wedding business to be, goals are just dreams with deadlines.  Setting and achieving your goals is a wonderful exercise that’s builds your confidence and helps you appreciate yourself and your efforts.  It is a very empowering task.

Assess
In order to set goals, you need to assess your needs and skill set:

  • What worked for you this year, what did not?
  • Did you enjoy working with all of your clients?  If not, why not?
  • Did you have time for loved ones?
  • Did your systems and policies work for you, or do you need to tweak them?
  • Did you feel you were paid appropriately for the services you provided?
  • Is there a skill you feel you are lacking?
  • Do you feel you have all the business tools you need to be truly successful?
  • What marketing avenues were most successful for you?
  • Did you network and meet other vendors that will improve your business?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?

SMART formula written on a chalkboard

Setting goals
Put your goals down on paper and make sure the goals you set are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific
Saying, “I want to grow my business” is way too vague.  You need to narrow your goal and make it specific.  How do you want to grow your business; Do you want to work with more couples? Larger budgets? Make more of a name for yourself? Add personnel? Move into a commercial office?

Measurable
Great satisfaction comes from achieving one’s goals. Your goals need to be concrete and measurable so you know if you have achieved it, whether or not it is achievable or if you need to do more work in order to achieve said goal.

Achievable
Establish at the outset whether or not your goal is even attainable or just a pipe dream.  Is it reasonable that you can attain this goal with determination and hard work, or would this goal only be attainable with luck or a miracle?  If your goal is not something you could ever reasonably attain, it is going to hurt you and zap your momentum and confidence rather than bolster you.

Relevant
Why did you set this goal?  Is it going to help you or your company in the grand scheme of things, or is it just something that would be fun?

Timely
How are you going to be accountable for this goal?  How long are you going to give yourself to achieve it?  Will it take many steps, should it be broken down into smaller goals?  How will you know that you have achieved said goal?

Accountability
In order to truly work at your goals you need to be accountable.  Make sure you write your goals down on paper (or print it off), don’t just save it in a file on your computer or Smartphone.  Give yourself milestones and deadlines and reward yourself when you have achieved your goals.

At the end of the year, look at your goals and reassess them, are they still relevant, how did achieving those goals make your business better.  And then start all over again.

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The Truth About Wedding Planners

By Denise Georgiou, WPICC of Weddings Jubilee

The Truth About Wedding Planners

One of the first things I do when an engaged couple contacts me is ask them some screening questions. Questions like: What date are they hoping for? how many guests they are hoping to invite? what city they want to have their wedding in? and; what is their budget? Contrary to some beliefs, I don’t ask these questions because I want to know how much to charge them, I ask because it let’s me gage how realistic they are about their budget. In other words, if my couple wants a Saturday July Wedding for 150 guests in downtown Toronto for a budget of $15,000.00, I know that I need to put on my ‘reality check’ hat to educate them of some real costs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a lower budget wedding in downtown Toronto is impossible, I’m saying that they first need to understand how much things cost. They need to know the compromises & cuts that must be made in order to make that happen. Compromises like: a smaller guest list, different reception time and type, choosing a less popular day of the week etc.

Many couples tend to wrongly think that hiring a Wedding Planner will automatically mean negotiations with vendors to get them better deals. Sometimes we can get some added value with vendors and on occasion a discount or two, but nobody works for free. Think of it this way, if your boss came to you and said “I’m on a tight budget and can only pay you 1/2 of your pay for the same amount of work”, how would you feel? I bet that it would not bode well and you’d think your boss didn’t appreciate you; it would be unacceptable. You, rightfully, want to get paid for your hard work. Same goes with your Toronto Wedding vendors including your wedding planner.

Remember that your wedding planner will spend countless of hours researching all your needs, emailing, calling and visiting venues and vendor’s to find ones that are perfect for your wedding; create and manage your budget, produce your timeline, fully develop the wedding theme or vision you have, handle confirmations, follow-up calls and visits with your vendors, create your itinerary for you and your vendors, attend, manage and even direct your rehearsal and wedding ceremony, if you need it and coordinate and manage your wedding day. By the way, that’s just the condensed list.

A common misconception that couples (and sometimes their wedding party and family has) is that we wedding planners will pick up ALL the slack that you either didn’t have time to do or forgot to do all free of charge because we want to make you happy and give you a stress-free day. Although it’s true that we are there to make your day exceptional and as low-maintenance as can be, and it’s also true we do whatever is in our power to solve and divert any last minute issues, we are not miracle workers. We cannot make your delivered $50 centrepieces look identical to the photo you printed off Pinterest of the $300.00 one you asked your florist to scale down to save costs. We cannot simply add in unordered champagne for your guests on the day-of because your ‘fave uncle’ decided he wants to make a toast. If you didn’t purchase the champagne, the venue likely would not have it kicking around. We cannot challenge signed contractual agreements or coerce your wedding vendors to do things you did not agree to prior to your wedding day. For example: I can’t guarantee that your photographer will be convinced to stay later at no cost because you were late to your ceremony and everything is running late. Likewise, I can’t convince your venue to keep the bar open later just because your guests are having a great time. As a planner it is my job to help plan your wedding based on your budget and try to make it work with your vision in some way. My job is to help on the day to manage your event to have it all run smoothy and hopefully without incident. It’s my job to direct the wedding and troubleshoot any situations or problems that may arise. So, if your ‘fave uncle’ did want to make a toast, I could instead ask that a wine or sparkling cider be provided for your guests for an extra fee by your venue; although there are never guarantees, it would be a more likely scenario to expedite.

Although I can’t guarantee or promise perfection, I can promise that my team and I will do a perfect job in putting our best foot forward every step of the way and providing prompt, quality service during your planning and wedding day; I can promise that I will always advise you of all your options; the upsides and downsides to all your wedding ideas; I can also promise that I will be your eyes and ears on your wedding day to make it a beautiful experience for you and your loved ones.

Keep in mind that hiring a planner, even for just a series of consults will help. Regardless of your budget, it is important to meet with a professional coordinator to, at the very least, help get you organized and on the right track.

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