Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Organization and Planning equal success

By: Jessica Robinson

We've designed nearly 450 weddings over the last 15 years and believe me when I tell you we've pretty much seen it all.  We've learned from our mistakes, become some what of a marriage counselor and know what works and what doesn't.

Life is busy, we understand that.  Planning a wedding can be stressful and absorb much of your valuable time.  When you are organized and keep checklists on what needs to be done you can keep most of your sanity.  A good note binder can keep all of your contracts in order as well for you to refer back to.  Contracts are something that need to get read more thoroughly.  State sales tax is ALWAYS something that has been additional in our contract since the very beginning, but yet each season there always seems to be a certain number of clients who forget to read that part and want to know why there is an additional charge.  (initially we do not know where your final number will fall- so how can we estimate sales tax when we don't know what your total costs will be??)  When you add additional items to your order, the costs will go up.   You cannot go to the grocery store and put your items on the belt then realize you need 4 gallons of milk and think the total will stay the same. Sometimes I'm completely dumfounded by this!!?
                                                          (photo by: Alucinarte Films)

A couple of things we've learned over the last few years: people are stressed at trying to maintain jobs, home life, a home and sometimes even small children.  We understand and empathize with you.  We as well have a home, which always seems some sort of maintenance or the lawn mowed.  Two small kids that need our attention and to be carted around to everything possible.  We help on my parent's farm too, so we juggle it all along with a very successful wedding business and six books in the works.  We've come to learn, even though we LOVE our clients (really, they've made us become who we are) we need to make time for family too.  So we spend as much family time as we can.  We have to enjoy our children while they are young or we will literally miss them growing up and they'll be adults.  YOU make time for family and we need that as well. 

Understand that we cannot do our job if you do not let us do it.  You hire some of the very best in the industry and need to let them do their job.  Having mutual respect is a big thing.  We respect that you are a very busy person, seems like the world just revolves that way right now.  YOU need to understand we are busy too.  We want you to feel like you are our only client, but you are not.  We're juggling all sorts of unique clients at all times.  We are artists and designers, we're NOT your backyard "florist."  We take on all sorts of design tasks far beyond flowers.  Don't call or text us at 8 or 9 pm on a Saturday during wedding season- I'm probably designing a wedding.  Don't be irritated when I don't return your phone call or email when you know I'm out of state designing a wedding. YOU are important to me so I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  BUT the client who's wedding I'm designing is important too.  You wouldn't want me to be answering my cell for another client while I was designing your wedding, would you??!

Weddings aren't simple anymore.  There are thousands of details that put together a beautiful wedding. It can take us an entire week to set up one wedding.  We install fabric draping, chandeliers or other lighting, fix ladies room essential kits, select items and assemble out of town guest bags, design all aspects of your florals and even lend a hand on stationery item design down to the details of flatware, china, tables/chairs and favors.

Emails can be confusing.  Although I do like emails, since they help us keep lists in order and everything else organized.  What we prefer to do is meet you in person, several times prior to your wedding and discuss everything at great length.  As an experienced designer, I keep extremely detailed notes on things you love, hate and want for your wedding.  AND the design ideas flow from there.  Of course, I make a word document with everything spelled out for you and our staff so everyone understands what we're providing and all of the locations and times organized.  Seriously, most people cannot read my version of short hand!

At the end of the day, you need to connect with the wedding professionals you hire.  It's a lot of time planning so you should make sure you are comfortable with whom you choose to work with.  Frustration can be eliminated if you are organized and hire professionals.  We always discourage couples from taking on too many tasks themselves and hiring "family friends" for major vendors.  This is one of the most important days of your life.  The entire process should be relatively peaceful, but understand that sometimes you do have bumps in the road.  It's all on how you handle them.  Breath and enjoy.

By: Jessica Robinson

We've been so very blessed to have traveled to the gorgeous Southern state of Georgia last week to design one of the prettiest weddings ever.  One of the newest (and really breathtaking) venues in Newnan, Georgia is Vinewood Events.  Jamie & Tra will take care of your every little desire and need. 
(photo by:  Alucinarte Films)

We had the pleasure of working with some of the very best in the industry which included: Funky Shack Art Studio, Sean & Amanda Photography, Alucinarte Films, Jamie from Vinewood Events, I Do Linens, The Vintage Chicks, Southern Vintage, Bash Factory, Lush Cakery, Moore Custom Creations, The Blue Envelope, Go Against the Grain, Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta (who totally saved the entire wedding!!) Lamothe's Sugar House and Savannah Candy Company.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

By: Jessica Robinson

Weddings are a big thing.  It's no doubt it's one of the most important days of your life.  I've watched weddings evolve over the last 10-12 years and it's becoming overly complicated. 

It seems that couples are more overwhelmed with huge costs, too worried about what others care/think and forget that they are getting married.  It's more about the wedding than the actual marriage.  With all of these reality TV shows and interacting online it's no wonder people are stressed.  You can get pretty engrossed with everything that other vendors say and past clients of vendors are chatting about.  Remember and focus on the true meaning of why you are getting married.

A wedding should reflect you, your style and your budget.  It should NOT reflect what a reality TV shows say or what everyone else is doing.  When did we become so concerned with what everyone else was doing??!  I've always been the type of individual who stood her feet square on the ground, marched to her own beat and didn't give a crap what anyone said or thought about me.  AND I still don't.  I've made a wonderful company out of nothing and my designs have graced the pages of numerous magazines and wedding blogs.  I've always used the freshest blooms, flowers that others couldn't get and set the bar high on style.
Okay, yes weddings can be a HUGE expense.  But why should they?  Do you really need to have 200 guests?  Is that really necessary?  Do you really need to have the exotic orchids in tall vases you saw on some wedding reality show?  Perhaps it's time we take a reality check and get down to basics.  When we got married we wrote up a list of names of our immediate family and very close friends.  In some cases, we are closer with friends than family.  Our list came to about 100 people and we ended up having 80 guests attend.  That was comfortable and didn't cost us an arm and a leg.

If I was to do it again today, I'd probably limit myself to a max of 50-75 guests.  It's not about how many gifts you can collect or who got invited to who's wedding.  It's about the love of your life becoming your husband or wife and sharing that moment with your loved ones.  Period.  Make a list of priorities and try to limit the fuss of overdoing it.  Simplify.  Meaning, have less guests, choose a venue that doesn't require a million guests just to reserve it, simplify the menu and everything else.  The end result will be a wonderful, relaxed wedding with people who you love and a wonderful experience.

Contracts with your vendors are very important.  They protect you as well as the vendor.  They should spell out everything you are getting from that said vendor, wedding date, locations, times and anything you feel is important to that vendor.  Note: most wedding vendors only book a certain amount of events each weekend, so once you reserve their services they turn away business.

If you have concerns or questions, be upfront from the very beginning and ASK those questions.  Compare vendors and interview at least three per category.  Ask how long they've been in business, how many weddings they've designed, ask to see pictures from those real weddings they've done and get your facts straight.  A wedding takes time to plan, so those relationships with the people who will be a part of creating your wedding are really important.  At any point in  your working relationship with a vendor, if you have questions or concerns reach out to them.  If you keep them in the dark, they cannot help you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dream Weding Giveaway!

By: Jessica Robinson
We are looking for a couple of our Dream wedding giveaway (Deserving couple).  We are looking for a couple who has experienced financial hardship and yet still gives back.  We're networking with some of the best in the industry to giveback to this wonderful couple.   
To enter or nominate someone a couple, simply fill out our "Be in touch" form on our web site and tell us why that couple deserves to win.  The couple will win an over the top wedding, designed by JCF Events and Pink Chic Events and other prizes, including a photographer, custom invitations, rentals, favors, wedding gown and many more.  The wedding will be hosted at The West Monitor Barn in Richmond, Vermont (October 27, 2012) and photographed by Candace Jeffery Photography.  

We have networked with some of the very best wedding professionals including Rick at Emily's Catering Group for the most incredible wedding menu!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall-inspired shoot

By: Jessica Robinson
We styled the most gorgeous fall-inspired shoot yesterday at the Connecticut River Valley Inn, in Glastonbury, Connecticut.  The Inn is so pretty.  They have five suites for guests to stay and can accomodate an intimate wedding of 20 or a tented affair for larger parties.  Their grounds are stunning and the hospitality, incredible!

Thanks to Renata from Lovely Cakes, Jennifer from Cookie Creatives, Candace and Josh from Candace Jeffery Photography, Sean from Harborview Studios, Pat and Wayne from The Connecticut River Valley Inn, Larissa and Stephanie from Larissa Lake Make-up, Sarah from Parrott Design Studio, Gabriella New York Bridal Salon and Lamothe's Sugar House

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Emily's Catering Group

By: Jessica Robinson

My mother was turning 60th this October and we decided we should host a big Birthday celebration on my parents farm (Lamothe's Sugar House).  So I went and saw Rick from Emily's Catering Group in Forestville, Connecticut.

Rick and Cheryl at Emily's Catering Group were phenomenal....almost beyond what I could ever put into words. From the beginning I asked Rick to create a menu for my Mother's 60th Birthday party. His ideas blew me away! He is truly an artist in the kitchen. The man is a genius with food, presentation and style/service.

From the incredible salad (baby greens, candied chestnuts, smoked bacon, bleu cheese, fresh figs w/champagne vinaigrette dressing) which was served with mini cups (individiual) of wild mushroom soup.... to the barbeque beef brisket and chicken with cranberry salsa. OMG!! Pure Yummy!

Guests could NOT stop talking about how delicious the food was. AND the wait staff, perfect. They were extremely professional and kept telling me to stop helping. (since I design wedding flowers, I always feel like it's my job to unload and set up)!! So great. I would recommend Emily's to ANYONE! Every little detail was PERFECT! They made our "Autumn in New England" dinner party beyond incredible!

AND my last minute request the day of the event, for cornbread to be added. Cheryl said absolutely no problem. The cornbread was melt in your mouth fabulous. (Most guests insisted I ask for the recipe!)

Call Rick for your next event. You will be just as impressed as we are!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Well Wed 2011 Magazine feature

By: Jessica Robinson

We did the most amazing shoot (with the most amazing group of industry leaders) back in May at the Collinsville Axe Factory.  Thanks to some pretty fabulous people!

Cookie Creatives by Jennifer/Candace Jeffery Photography/Larissa Lake Make-up/Camille's Bridal/DL Video Productions/Lovely Cakes/Lamothe's Sugar House/Go Against the Grain