What We Do: Month of Wedding Coordination

Day of Wedding Coordination.  Month of Coordination.  Partial Planning, Full Planning, Custom Proposals and Agreements, Wedding Designer, Wedding Planner, Wedding Consultant...  What's what?! Allure is here to help.  Literally, that's the business of Allure...helping couples have amazing weddings, and doing the work so they can enjoy every second of them!

I don't believe in "Day of Wedding Coordination".  The whole concept is flawed...it sounds nice, but it's a unicorn as far as I'm concerned...not real.  Not possible.  Not a good idea.  To simply show up at a wedding and 'take over' is unrealistic.  I am getting anxious just thinking about how unprepared I would feel in that case.  Sure, I can direct vendors and I know the most basic timeline for the average wedding...but there would still be a lot of guess work involved.  And who wants an average wedding??  There are so many boxes that need to be checked in order for an event to run well and look effortless in the process.      If a planner is willing to show up on the day-of with little or no work before hand, those boxes are not getting checked, bottom line.  It's a risk to hire someone offering this service and I question that planner's training and experience if they are willing to take on a true "Day-of" job. What we do for you: Allure's "Month of Coordination" package is our version of the Day-of deal.  Allure specializes in Month-of packages, and custom drafts each proposal for each and every inquiring potential client.  The proposals start with this:  The Month-of Breakdown.  From here, we add in other services such as design assistance, vendor research and referrals, and production--which can all add up to a Partial or even Full Planning package.  We start working with you, at the very latest, 1 month before your wedding.  We take over at this point as the main vendor and venue contact, and act as a liaison between you and your wedding 'team' from this point forward.  40-50 hours on average go into a Month-of package on our end.  We create a full day-of schedule and do all the prep necessary to execute it on your wedding day.  Allure has been in business for 9 years; we have systems and templates in place so that our weddings are coordinated and come together in that last month to ensure a flawless day.

Here is what Bernadette of 14 Stories in NYC posted about Day-of/Month-of service.  Allure is recommended on her page of national wedding planners that specialize in Month of Wedding Coordination (and are educated in LGBT weddings).

Basically, Allure is an event planning firm.  I am a Certified Wedding Consultant.  I specialize in Month of Wedding packages.  I can be hired to plan your wedding from the very beginning of the planning process, to coordinate your wedding day, and to assist with design ideas and implementation.  I call myself a wedding planner, that term seems most recognizable and more all-encompassing than the others for what I do.

Hiring a wedding planner is a huge part of wedding planning.  A wedding planner can save a couple lots of money by negotiating with vendors and by working with vendors they know and trust.  A wedding planner is an expert in the industry--who to hire, and for what exactly, is an important decision for couples.  Here is an article from Sunday's Style section of the SF Chronicle--Allure is mentioned because we are professionals certified by the program featured.  Finding a planner that is experienced, professional, certified, connected and awesome to work with* may not be easy, but is absolutely worth it.  I'm not just saying that because I am a wedding planner!  I wish every couple could hire a "Month of" planner, I hate that it's often a cost-prohibitive decision.  It truly does make the process easier and more enjoyable.

* This is important.   I always tell couples inquiring about Allure that they should like (if not love!) their wedding planner.  We work so closely on such an important day, and the days leading up to it.  Being friends makes the whole thing a better deal for all of us!




Wedding Planner Certificate: First Exam

In our first class session, Joyce advised we spend 24 hours studying the class material for the each subsequent exam. That doesn’t even include the time necessary to prepare the Staging Guide project. It may seem like a lot of hours, but you'd understand why after just one hour in the class. Joyce goes over a ton of information. However, having no indication of the exam format, it was almost impossible to know where to start. Taking from my college days, I pulled out all the stops, including flash cards, rewriting my notes, teaching the material to unsuspecting bystanders (mainly my husband, who was quite the sport though I'm sure he was thinking about the Super Bowl), rewarding myself with treats for correct answers, coming up with crazy acronyms… you name it. And it all payed off - I aced the quiz! Having applied wedding planning experience prior to the class sure helped me remember a lot of the info, but there are so many details based on Joyce's 17 years in the business - truly indispensable knowledge for anyone in the industry. So far we’ve gone over the history of wedding planning, market trends, wedding and event management disciplines, budget management, negotiations, contracts, liability, site selection and photography. It feels like an MBA program. And similar to an MBA, it’s not that a person can’t run a business, i.e. wedding planning, without it, but the knowledge gained provides the base for managing a successful business and providing optimal service to clients. And the client is what it’s all about, right?

One of the things I’ve found most interesting is the costly mistakes many couples make when signing their contracts. Not knowing what to look for in the contracts, couples may sign too soon. Once signed, you lose your bargaining power. And speaking of bargaining power, having a wedding planner is a good way to get some. Wedding planners also help couples avoid expensive oversights. Contracts are tedious to read through, but they should be read thoroughly. There may be items missing that are crucial to your unique wedding vision or rules outlined that could result it hefty fines. Without expert knowledge of contract verbiage, it will be hard to pinpoint these specifics. Planners should be skilled at reading all contracts, from venues to photographers, and provide feedback and/or negotiate for you.

Even for a “Day-Of” package, it is imperative that the planner reviews all contracts from your vendors prior to the wedding. After all, your planner is in charge of making sure all the services and details outlined in the agreements proceed as planned. This is why reviewing contracts is included in Allure’s 'Month Of' Package. We want to make sure you get what you signed up for, and have a flawless wedding day.

Signing out.



Allure: 2nd Week in Review

I'm writing this weeks 'Week in Review' as the delicious smell of chorizo queso fills the room.  It's Super Bowl Sunday and we have traditions around here, folks!  My husband considers Super Bowl Sunday an important national holiday, and I consider it a day to eat lots and lots of bacon.  The party we'll be heading off to soon has an annual appetizer contest and 90% of the food entered in will have pork as the first ingredient.  My Quesizo will have to compete against (among others) my husband's famous spicy mac and cheese, homemade sausage stuffed jalapeno poppers, and the ever popular sausage-roll-wrapped-in-bacon-basted-in-it's-own-fat.  Disgusting, I know.  Please don't judge me.

While extremely interesting, Super Bowl Sunday is not actually what this post is about.  This post is my second Week in Review for Allure.  And we had another fabulous and productive week!  So here goes!

1. Baby's Breath.  This week, I was doing lots of research for my full-planning clients; getting married in September at the Rengstorff House.  I love this historic Victorian house venue...the ceremony and reception will be outside on tailored lawns and brick patios, and the land around the house is lush and wild and just beautiful.  I was thinking of some decor and floral ideas that would complement the natural setting and fit in with my client's wedding vision, and speak to their personal style.  I've always liked the way that baby's breath looks when it's bunched together tightly, so I started with that.  I loooove what I found and I sent a description of my preliminary plan (line the aisle with baby's breath on the grass, possibly use baby's breath to decorate the cake and escort card table) over to my clients and they jumped for joy and celebrated my brilliance over champagne and caviar!  (They talked about it and decided they liked the idea, and told me to proceed.)  Here's an example of what I am talking about.  I'll post pictures of my creation in September, of course!

Flowers by Heavenly BloomsI love this topic so much, I might just post more on it later!

2.  Kaella.  This week, Kaella (my assistant, mentoree, and friend!) had her second class at Cal State Hayward's Wedding Planner Certification Course.  She aced the quiz and will post about the class later this week!  This is the same certification course that Michelle Martinez and I both took, so we are so proud of Kaella and can't wait for her to be certified!

3.  Allure's first styled shoot.  I'm thrilled to announce that a special project is in the works for Allure right now.  We are planning our very first styled shoot.  Kaella and I are putting together the details right now and we'll shoot in late March.  I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that the reason I am so very excited about this is because we will be styling and shooting vingettes for a wedding with two grooms.  Another super exciting thing about this shoot?  Our friend Meg Perotti will be shooting it.  She is ridiculously talented--here's her site, you want to take a look, trust me!  Here's an example of a styled shoot that Kaella did last month with Edyta Szyszlo.  It was featured in Style Me Pretty! 

That's it for now!  I have to taste this queso...

Wedding Planner Certificate Program: My first day of class

I have two degrees. A business. A fantastic job at Allure. Experience. And industry connections. So why get my wedding planning certificate, you ask? I truly believe one can and should never stop learning. I come from a family of educators. My father is a Chemical Engineering professor & researcher at Stanford University. My stepmother taught and researched Chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard before taking on the role of SLAC director at Stanford University. Brainy, I know. But growing up among these high level educators and scientists taught me that one can always learn more in their field. When I first decided to work in the wedding and event planning industry, I knew that I would eventually go back to school, and probably would continue to take courses throughout my career to ensure I am always offering my clients and colleagues the very best. It was meeting Christy and learning of her and Michelle’s experience in Joyce Scardina Becker’s Wedding Planner Certificate class that showed me the time was now. Not only an award winning wedding planner with 25 years under her belt, she is a successful business woman, a wife, a speaker, an author, an innovator (she founded the Wedding Planner Certificate program and WIPA, the Wedding Industry Professionals Association). I couldn’t think of a better person to learn from, than someone who embodies so much of what I hope to achieve.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous leading up to my first day of class. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school and had homework. But I was also excited because of the amazing things Christy told me about the program. The people I would meet, the detail of information provided, the semester long project that is based on a real-life wedding. And in the end, the pride I will feel to stand among my Allure colleagues and mentors, Christy and Michelle, and say “We are certified wedding planners” is the consummate feeling.

Once class began, my nerves were settled, which is ironic because we learned the amount of work and studying required for the class. I suppose it didn’t overwhelm me, as I like school (the dose of nerd in me) and I’m passionate about the work. What I’m most looking forward to is the project, a “Staging Guide.” A staging guide is essentially the binder every planner should have for each wedding. As a former project manager in the marketing industry, I also used binders to keep all the information for each project. It holds everything related to the event or project, from objectives and background information to timelines and vendor contracts. You bring it will you to meetings and events, so your information is with you at all times. As a project manager, I referred to this as “the bible, ” and it’s no different in wedding planning. I plan to use a real wedding for my project… I just need to decide which one.

9 hours and no breaks later, my hand hurt from taking so many notes, but my brain was swimming with information and ideas. A I drove home on the 880 freeway, I received a call from my Father with great news that my brother just proposed to his girlfriend in Costa Rica and she said yes! My first thought was Yay! She is so darling and I was hoping he was going to pop the question soon. My second thought was, oh! another potential couple for my project... *wink*

Until next time!