On 2.20.20, my daughter forwarded me an email whose subject line read, "You're Graduating! 100 Days Until Commencement." I was excited. I felt proud. I was ready to attend GRADUATION and bare witness to the successful completion of her undergraduate college career at the school of her dreams. Go #risd2020!
Twenty-one days later . . . students had to completely move out of campus housing for the remainder of the semester; online classes would begin after Spring break; the Seniors' Fashion Show was cancelled; and the graduation ceremony scheduled for 5.30.20 was highly unlikely. (Side bar -- this was also the day that Broadway announced that they were shutting down until April 12th (now it's 6.7.20), so my April 4th tickets to see the Tina Turner Musical with friends and family members for my birthday had to be rescheduled.)
Honestly, I was gut punched. I could not wrap my mind around how graduating seniors would not have a graduation ceremony nor their senior activities. It took me a few days to mourn the loss of these life milestones because we had invested so much and waited so long. I needed a minute to get out of my feelings.
It's here that I want to encourage others to be mindful of the fact that people, young and "older" (not old), have endured a variety of losses as a result of the Coronavirus. People have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses, money, health insurance, access to healthy meals, distance from abusers, freedom to live their best lives, proms, senior trips, college sweatshirt days, graduations and the opportunity to do the things that seniors do to create memories together for the last time in that place.
In the midst of these difficult times, there are people who step forward to help others get through it. I want to thank our front line workers everywhere, in every capacity, who are risking their lives to help us get through this pandemic.
I also want to thank those who are helping others in ways we don't see publicly. Those who are shopping for their neighbors. Those who are providing financial assistance to people who need it. Wives who are lining up their husband's hairline (LOL); and Makeup Artists who are helping brides do their own makeup for their virtual weddings (shout out Meagan J for her work in this area!)
There may be things that don't seem important to you or are not a big deal in your opinion, but it means something to others. Life is still moving forward on many levels and people need help on different frequencies. Let's respect that. Let's honor that and not be so dismissive. "The little things matter a lot." I encourage us all to remember that.
So, I'm excitedly working with some parents "up North" and "down South" who want to celebrate the hard work of their children who are going off to college this fall. What we're creating in honor of these amazing seniors will be "COVID-19 Complient" and so much fun. Tune in on social media to see what happens.
Note that a "reworked" graduation celebration for my daughter & her friends is in the works. We've got to do something. Not just because I'm an Event & Wedding Planner and I do what I love. It's happening because this is what I've been called to do. It is who I am and I won't apologize for it. I've been called to help people #celebratelife. Celebrations help us to see the good in life. Celebrations help us to reconnect with others when time and distance has kept us apart. Celebrations create good memories and make for good stories. Celebrations help us to play harder than we work.
We need some light and joy in the midst of this tough time. So, let's remember the #classof2020 & celebrate!
One of the largest expenses of your wedding will be the venue and catering. Some report that the venue and catering can easily be up to half of your wedding budget. So when couples begin to identify who their wedding vendor team will be, they also look at where they can possibly save money. There are times that this budget review leads some couples to opt out of hiring their own Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator, especially when the venue says that they provide Coordinators/Assistants for all of their brides.
Venues providing a designated Coordinator and/or Assistant for your wedding is a wonderful bonus. I actually serve as a Wedding Ceremony Coordinator for an amazing venue in Brooklyn and assisting brides with the planning of their ceremonies has been an awesome experience. I've had the pleasure of working with some of the sweetest brides ever and I love it!
But one thing couples should note with Wedding Coordinators or Assistants provided with their venue of choice, is that their duties do not include ALL of the bride and groom's wedding planning needs. Venue Coordinators and Assistants add great value to your experience, but couples need additional help. The couples I work with at the venue in Brooklyn have the option of adding on services with me, beyond what's included in their packages, to cover additional needs.
For example, if your wedding ceremony is taking place at a church or another location not connected to the venue, you will have to coordinate the logistics of the ceremony on your own or with the Planner/Coordinator you've invested in for yourself. That Planner/Coordinator you've invested in will help you schedule your wedding rehearsal at the designated location or your home and help to get your family and bridal party all the way together for what they will actually do on your wedding day.
Also note, that if you have out of town guests who need ground transportation to and from the airport, along with hotel reservations while they are in town; the Wedding Planner you've hired to work with the intricate details of your wedding can take care of all of that and make sure that your guests receive the special welcome gift you curated for them.
The Wedding Planner/Coordinator that you invested in as a part of your wedding vendor team will also: (1) brainstorm the perfect "first dance" song(s) with you; (2) offer suggestions on where to find those blinged out sneakers you want for your reception dancing; (3) help you find another makeup artist because the one booked, had an emergency the night before your wedding and can't make it (unfortunate, but true); (4) help coax your flower girl down the aisle, while sprinkling the flower petals from her basket; and (5) work with your photographer to submit your photos for featuring to a wedding industry publication.
Investing in a Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator to work with your venue provided Coordinator will cover you in ways you don't yet know. We bring so much value to your planning and work with your entire wedding vendor team to create an amazing wedding experience for you and your guests. Let's get you married in peace!
I’d like to say, “Congratulations!” to all my couples who are engaged to be married in 2020, 2021 and 2022. You’ve entered a new season in your life that can be both exciting and nerve racking. On one hand, you never get tired of telling others the story of how your fiance proposed, what you were wearing, how you suspected it was coming or not and how for once in your life you were speechless.
But on the other hand, finding a venue that matches your décor style and guest count is about to take you out. And if one more person asks you if you’ve found your dress or what your wedding colors are, you will voluntarily opt to go into the federal witness protection program until you walk down the aisle on your wedding day, IF you’ve even decided on a date.
You have important decisions to make and whether or not you will invest in a relationship with a Wedding Planner or a Day of Coordinator at minimum, is one of them. As you examine your budget and pin inspirational photos to your wedding Pinterest board, you wonder if you can swing the cost of a Wedding Planner (strike cost and put investment). “Can I afford to invest in a Wedding Planner?” you ask. Well, if you respect money, time and quality of experience, you can’t afford NOT to invest in a Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator.
You can’t just have ANY Wedding Planner (remember that you get what you pay for). Having the right Wedding Planner on your Team can save you time and money and protect your reputation. The right Wedding Planner has spent quality time building and nurturing a great network of vendors to service their clients at various price points. The relationship that your Planner has with videographers, photographers, dress designers, chefs, floral designers, DJs and entertainers, along with MUAs and hairstylists, can make or break your wedding planning and wedding day experience.
The Wedding Planner with great vendor relationships can get you meetings with hard to book vendors. The great relationship your Planner has with the catering chef may get you a sweet deal on adding your rehearsal night dinner to your reception package. The amazing MUA that your Wedding Planner has a great relationship might say “Yes” to squeezing in your makeup trial before she hops on a plane to a celebrity shoot. Relationships matter. You can’t put a price on it but you can reap the rewards.
As your Planner, I can’t guarantee you anything from someone else’s business. But what I know for sure is that the wide range of wedding industry vendors that I’ve nurtured great relationships with have done amazing things for my clients because of the relationship. American Express used to say, “membership has its privileges.” Well, so does having great relationships in your business and personal life. Invest in a Wedding Planner for your wedding and watch the return on your investment come back in ways you couldn’t have possibly imagined. Relationships matter!