Allure: 14th and 15th Week in Review

Happy Mother's Day!  I am celebrating today with my two-year-old son Joey and I'm writing this as we sit on the couch sharing coffee (chocolate milk) out of my brand spanking new World's Best Mommy mug.  It's the little things, people! On to the week's review!  2 weeks, actually.  Last week I didn't post a Review because I was enjoying a mini vacation in Santa Cruz to ring in my 30th and my husband's 40th.  But a lot of wedding work has happened in the last two weeks...it hasn't all been fun and games!  Here's a peek into the Allure world, what I've been up to and what has been making an impact in this awesome industry:

1.  Obama supports same sex marriage!  Here is my post from Wednesday, with links to the articles I read, and the historic interview video.  This monumental announcement gets double time on the Allure blog.  I know President Obama's official support will mean more weddings, equality and acceptance.  I'm looking forward to a greater shift in this direction and I'm feeling proud and optimistic!

2.  The Power of Pinterest.  I posted about the Sprinkle Wedding Cake that has been making the rounds on Pinterest and to my surprise, that post is my most popular blog post yet!  Pinterest is changing the social media scene at a crazy rate.  More and more brides are pinning away and the site is connecting vendors from all over the world.  The Sprinkle Cake, for example, was made by Birchgrove Bakery in Vermont and it is inspiring brides, moms and bakers EVERYWHERE...the picture is spreading like wild fire!  So, while I have been on the Pinterest train for a while now, I am realizing that I need to focus even more of my social marketing energy on the site.  If you aren't already following me on Pinterest, please do!

3.  Kaella--my illustrious assistant, guest blogger and partner in crime.  Kaella Wilson has finished her Wedding Planning Certification course!  This 5 month program has been keeping Kaella's plate full as she continued to grow her own business, Kaella Lynn Events, and post beautiful Inspiration Boards for this blog as a guest contributor.  Since Kaella and I met last summer, we have been working side by side--I shared experience and knowledge as a wedding planner, and Kaella helped me with branding and social marketing.  She assisted me on wedding days, we partnered up on a styled shoot, and we enjoyed industry events together representing Allure.  Now, since the certification course is over, Kaella will be focused on her own business and we'll continue to collaborate and support each other.  I'm proud of Kaella for completing the course (with flying colors, no doubt) and I'm excited about what's to come!

4.  Iliana Morton, Photographer.  I met Iliana this week to welcome her to the Bay Area and get to know her a little.  She just moved here from San Diego and having moved recently myself, I know how daunting the task of networking in a new place can be.  I was happy to meet Iliana and I hope we can work together this year, or next!

5.  The Dress Right Now.  Remember that time I said I need to focus more on Pinterest and it's impact on social marketing for Allure...well, this week offered a great opportunity!  Kate Middleton wowed the world again in a stunning dress.  This time, it was a vibrant teal number by Jenny Packham.  It fit her like a dream, the delicate lace back...gorgeous.  Kate continues to secure her position as fashion icon.  I pinned this dress as soon as I saw it on Pinterest.  It's blowing up!  I think a dress like this in ivory would be a perfect wedding dress, but I LOVE it in teal for brides too! People.com 

Well, that's it for this Review!  I have lots of work to do this upcoming week--proposals for 2013 (yikes!), and floor plans for my June and July weddings.  Time flies!

 

 

Allure: 12th Week in Review

Hi!  Happy Sunday!  I am actually working on this a little late this week.  I like to draft my posts on Friday or Saturday, but this week has been a whirlwind! 1.  St Francis Yacht Club.  I am working with a bride to plan her wedding this September at the St Francis Yacht Club in SF.  It's my first time to work at the venue and I am really excited!  She and I met up this week in the city to discuss everything--we started with the big picture and then got down to the details and logistics.  I'm busy pinning for this wedding now...check it out!  2.  Planning Planning Planning.  This job hinges on scheduling.  As a full time work-from-home mom, it's all in the planning...and the planning is 90% scheduling.  It's a juggling act, for sure.  Last week wasn't any busier than any other week, in fact it was fairly calm...but I was really busy setting my schedule for the next two weeks.  I have lots of weddings coming up and they all have different packages based on different proposals.  So my 'Month of Coordination' package differs from one wedding to the next.  In order to keep on top of it all, I have to plan ahead--my phone calendar is my lifeline for this job.  It automatically backs up to my google account, a feat that allows me to sleep at night!  I would be lost without my calendar.  Some days I have to put 'shower' or 'sleep' into it.  Those days are particularly hectic!  For now, I am scheduling a tasting with clients at the Presidio Social Club, several design meetings with a couple getting married at the General's Residence in Ft Mason, a trip to Napa for site visits, a rehearsal in Marin for a June wedding at the Marin Art and Garden Center, and a visit with my partner Michelle Martinez when she comes into town.  I thrive on busy...and I might need a few days with 'nap' on the calendar!

3.  Cupcakes!  My favorite cupcake shop is Frost Cupcake Factory in downtown Campbell.  I have clients getting married in September and we've already had a tasting there and put in a big order.  I like to visit from time to time (every week, sometimes twice a week) to do a little quality check...so far so good!  But I'll still check, wink wink.  My favorite cupcake is the toasted almond (pic below).  Now Frost is serving Peets espresso drinks, so I think I might have a new coffee-shop-to-work destination!  Yum!

More to come!  I'm excited to share my styled shoot, my new video, and my pictures and experiences from next week's Rengstorff House Unveiled Event!  I'll keep you posted.  Literally!

Allure: 10th and 11th Week in Review

Hi!  I took a week off from blogging because my family and I flew to the East Coast on short notice last week, so I have lots to share now!  Getting home and trying to catch up has been hectic, but in a good way!  I'm so excited about what's coming up and everything I am looking forward to sharing with you! 1.  Another Video!  I just saw the rough cut of my new video--I am over the moon about how it turned out!  My friend (and former groom), Sean Basaman, produced it for me and it's about my support for gay marriage.  I am in the process of figuring out what to do with it next...it'll definitely be posted on my website and blog, plus my Wedding Wire storefront.  I'll keep you posted and make an announcement when it's up!

2.  Haute Bride.  Kaella and I met up with our friend Julie Jones of Encore Bridal this week to stop by the new Haute Bride studio in Los Gatos and to meet Lindsie Jones--the owner and designer.  The store itself is beautiful and the dresses and accessories are just beyond.  I wanted to put every single cuff on.  I loved all the bling!  I'm looking forward to the opening night party to officially welcome Haute Bride to the South Bay! Kaella, Lindsie, Julie, Me!  (See?  I need a cuff!)

3.  Unveiled at the Rengstorff House.  I am happy to be a part of this year's Unveiled Event at my favorite Victorian house venue!  On April 21, I will be there with my friend Krista Lynch by my side, manning a pretty pink Allure table.  Hopefully, we'll get to talk to lots of engaged couples and book another wedding at the venue!  Krista, a super talented photographer, and I will be offering a discount to couples that book us both--hooray for collaboration!

So that's my week!  I have been busy---I have a weddings coming up soon, and fall weddings I am doing lots of research and brainstorming for now.  I'm booking meetings every week with vendors and venues and meeting new friends in the industry right and left!  I feel grateful to be doing what I love, but I think I need a little help doing it!  I will be looking for a new day-of assistant very soon...if you are interested, or know someone who is, please let me know!

Happy Easter, everyone!  If you missed Kaella's Easter inspiration board this week...here it is.  I love the pastel macaroons--pretty and delicious!

 

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!

 

 

 

Allure: 6th Week in Review

This week flew by!  I can't even believe it is March already!  I was busy with lots of following up, lots of flower and vintage inspiration research and LOTS of proposal drafting. I sent them out like a mama bird pushes her babies out of the nest...I hope that some of them come back to me! Here's a little of what kept this wedding planning mama busy this week:

1.  Flowers Flowers Flowers:  I feel like I am up to my eyes in flowers right now.  Working on the design concepts for two of my couples now, I am constantly adding flowers and information to my lists and pinboards.  Also, I am helping a friend out with the flowers for her wedding at the end of this month and this week the basic plan for this friend-job changed drastically.  I was juggling ideas, research, contact, and budget for these flowers and I learned so much in the process.  I also met a new vendor friend!  Yo, from Array of Flowers, was an amazing contact to make.  His tiny shop is literally across the street from my house and he creates beautiful arrangements in addiction to selling wholesale flowers to businesses like Allure.  I know I will be working with Yo on future projects (so knowledgeable, so helpful!).  And I will also be heading to Yo for my own flowers.  I'm going in today, actually!  I need some hydrangeas on my kitchen table stat.

2.  Office Hours.  I feel like I am working all the time...I have a 2 year old and I have a babysitter that comes once a week to help.  In the 4 hours that she is with Joey, I swear I do a full day's work.  The to-do list I have to catch up on by the time she gets here every week is daunting, to say the least.  Between my son, my husband, my house, my work...you know the rant...I have very little time for anything!  I love my wedding work, I love the business that I am able to have and still be a 'stay-at-home' mom, and I am proud of what I have going on.  But I am on my computer until 2am most nights and weekends don't mean anything anymore.  So I have decided to try to maintain a better balance.  I need to set boundaries for myself and for my clients.  If they see that I am emailing them a response at 2am, I'm afraid they will think I am always available to them, which just isn't possible.  (Or fair, or right, or sane!)  Every profession has 'office' hours in some respect, mine does too!  I just don't adhere to them because I think I can't justify having set office hours since I am working on things all day long...but not 'full time'.  I'm a full time mom, doing my best to do it all.  The only person who can always get a hold of me 'after hours' is Joey.  So, New Allure Hours: 8am-10pm, Monday-Saturday.  Ha!  See, I'm trying, ok?

3.  Styled Shoot!  Allure is teaming up with Kaella Lynn Events and Meg Perotti for a styled shoot.  My first one to produce and coordinate!  My first one to be a part of at all!  I'm super excited about this...Kaella and I have been teasing you for a while about our big 'project' coming up and this is it.  Details are still top secret, but I can tell you it is going to be bright and beautiful and inspiring.  Not just in the pretty details and fun ideas, but also in it's inherent message.  It's been a lot of work to come up with it and set it up, and Kaella is working hard on the styling and design.  I'm so happy with everyone involved.  I can't wait to do it (mid March) and I super duper can't wait to see the final product of Meg's!

Allure: 5th Week in Review

This week has been so busy; I feel like I barely have time to draft this post!  When it rains, it pours...true for work and 'real' life, I guess! Here's a little of what I've been up to this week:

1.  Big Day of Meetings:  On Saturday, my clients from LA came up for a visit and we were a wedding planning A-Team!  We met with Shawna Futagaki of Flower Divas, Kalani Germono for a hair and makeup trial, Gavin Farrington for a photography consultation, and then had a cupcake tasting and planning session at Frost Cupcake Factory in Downtown Campbell.  (Black Velvet = best cupcake ever!)  We got so much accomplished in the wedding-planning-department and had a ton of fun getting it done!  After a long day...I felt really great.  Confident, energized and grateful...it's a nice feeling! One of my favorite engagement shots by Gavin.  Look at that light!

2.  Pinterest!  I am always on the look out for inspiration to add to my Pinterest boards...Pinterest is now pivotal to my job as a wedding planner, and I'm addicted personally as well.  This week, I have posted a ton of pictures w notes for several clients.  My boards serve as a reference when I am talking to vendors, brainstorming design ideas, and planning styled shoots.  Kaella and I LOVE Pinterest.  I'm planning on posting specifically on Pinterest later...but for now, check out my boards and follow me if you want!  I'll see you out there, pinners!  (Tidbit: I coordinated Ben Silbermann's wedding, one of the brilliant founders of Pinterest!  Learn more about Ben and Pinterest here!)

3.  Allure on the Inspired Guide on Engaged & Inspired!  Check out our listing...we are in great company!

Now...on to the Oscars!  If the cable guy makes it out in time to fix our dish...womp womp...

 

 

Allure: Week in Review!

Hiya!  Happy Sunday!  Today I am going to post about this week.  And every Sunday, I am going to do the same thing--an Allure recap of sorts.  The 2012 ball is rolling now and as we start working, I'd like to share our adventures!  Each week is different, that's why I love this job.  A post at the end of the week will be a chance for me to reflect on the work done and recharge for the work ahead.  I envision the posts will be about where we were, who we met, what's inspiring us, and what weddings we are currently working on.  I'm looking forward to sharing!

This Week in Review: 1.  Cake Plate in downtown Napa.  Kaella and I met Paige Smith at The Lab Event on January 14th.  We totally hit it off and planned a visit to see Paige at her gorgeous clothing and accessory store in Napa.  We aren't exactly sure how we will collaborate, but all parties involved hope we do soon!  We'll start the brainstorming off with the fabulous private "shopping parties" that Cake Plate has been known to throw.  Shopping...engagement parties...brides...there's gotta be something in there, right?

2.  Calistoga Ranch.  Allure has been on Calistoga Ranch's preferred vendor list now for a few years, I'm proud to say.  I have planned weddings there before, with Michelle Martinez (the owner of Allure), and I very much look forward to working there again in 2012.  It was really fun to head back up to the resort with Kaella to meet with Mike Moran, the director of sales and marketing there.  The property is simply gorgeous.  The experience of staying at Calistoga Ranch, or having a wedding there, is one of pure luxury -- nestled in wild, beautiful nature.  When I win the lottery, I will definitely book a personal stay.  Until then, I will work for clients getting married there.  And very happily! check out this wine cave--dinner reception inside!!

3.  The Clement Monterey.  Kaella and I drove out to Cannery Row the day after our wine country trip to Napa and Calistoga.  Lots of driving in two days, but totally worth it.  We went to the Clement to visit Nicole Lisane, the new catering sales manager there and old friend of Allure's.  She isn't old, of course!  She and Michelle have been friends for many years and along with 3 other wedding planners in SF, called themselves the Fab 5.  Nicole showed us the hotel and Kaella and I briefly discussed moving in.  (It could never work, how would our husbands eat dinner?)  Right in the heart of one of my favorite little towns, Monterey, this hotel is new and pristine and it smells like a beach and there are fireplaces everywhere and they give you fresh chocolate truffles just for walking through.  I fell in love with it.  And with Nicole!  She was so gracious to take time out and show us around...and Allure is on the Clement's preferred vendors list too...very exciting!

Hope you enjoyed our first Week in Review!  I enjoyed writing it.  I can't promise every post will be this long, but this was a big week for us!  And it's fitting that I would start this new installment after a big week!

In other news--I am almost finished unpacking and I don't need my gps to find my house anymore.  Next week will be filled with lots of research, inspiration hunting and referrals for my newest clients, Kate and AJ.  I'll keep you posted! (Literally.)

photo from calistogaranch.com