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.