Working with a Planner {Business Series} | North Carolina Event Planner

Usually here on the blog, you can find me sharing planninadvice, snaps of our events, and other news speaking mostly to clientele. But in addition to my lovely clients, a large part of my blog readership is actually other wedding and event professionals. In person, I love discussing industry trends, the best business practices, marketing, and the like with my colleagues — so why not put pen to paper (so to speak) and start a event business focused series on the blog! I am really excited about the content to come and would love any feedback on topics you are interested in hearing about.

Today’s post is something that I do not feel has been addressed very much online. However, I find myself discussing it pretty frequently with other planners and it is a top question I am asked by fellow vendors: how can vendors work better with a wedding or event planner? If you are a non-planner event professional (think photographer, rental provider, venue manager, caterer, DJ, etc.), the following tips are crucial in getting repeat business with a planner. Being added to a planner’s recommended vendor list takes more than just executing your contract to the client:

View More: http://alisandraphotography.pass.us/katieanddoug

Alisandra Photography

Be on time: This is so crucial and sets the tone for your working relationship. Professionalism is being on time (read: exactly on time or five minutes early) for in person meetings and conference calls during planning. Even more important is your arrival time on event day. If you confirm with the planner you will arrive at 2 PM and do not show up until 3:45 PM, you will most likely throw off the rest of the event schedule. Other vendors are relying on your part in the event before performing their part. Alternatively, being too early can also be bad. For example, if you are providing florals and show up extremely early, staff may still be placinlinens or even waiting for them to arrive. Planners love that you arrived early and are happy to see you, but please do not try to rush the process because you need to be at your next event.

Understand our job: Every planner is different, just like every <insert your job title here> is different. We have common practices but the way we perform our jobs and curate our client experiences all vary. When you begin working with a planner, ask them about what services the client rendered from them (day of coordination, full service, etc.). Also, ask them how your role in the event fits in with their overall planning time line and process. For example, all LPW clients receive a full service experience meaning we handle every detail from planning to design to coordination. So if you are a DJ, for example, I will handle the contracting, sharing of information, sending time lines, etc. There will be little to no need to communicate with our clients unless a face to face meeting is requested. Knowing this process then calling the client anyway to ask questions and not reading the detailed information sent over to you will quickly create frustration for the planner.

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Perry Vaile Photography

Appreciate the the planner’s perspective: We have the whole picture of the event in our mind as well the complex knowledge of our clients, their family dynamics, budget constraints, and so on. If you disagree with a planner on a point, of course let them know. We encourage you to share your expertise with us! But do so respectively and in a constructive way. We may not be a DJ, to continue the example, but we have a great deal of knowledge on how your role in the event works and may have made a plan for you based on that. It is always better to talk it out before jumping to conclusions and especially before contacting the client.

Be a great communicator: Emails and phone calls should always be answered within 2 business days. Period. Even if you do not have a proper answer to return, at minimum send a note saying that the email was received and you will get back to them by a certain date. And stick to the date! It will build trust in your planner and thus, the client. Extremely delayed email responses that say something to the effect of “Sorry I am just so busy” or “I’m sorry! It is wedding season!” are not valid excuses. Sending this type of a response shows that you do not manage your time well and creates doubt in your planner about your management skills. Most importantly, after understanding what role the planner plays in the process, do not contact the client for any reason without connecting with the planner first. In the eyes of the client, it either makes you look bad because they expected you to contact the planner OR it makes the planner look bad because the client thinks the planner did not communicate with you.

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Alisha Silver Photography

Be kind and honest: So simple and so important. We are all here to work for the same goal which is to provide our clients with the absolute best experience possible. If you look at your vendor partners for an event as a team, everyone, including the client, wins.  Another way to ensure honesty is giving credit where credit is due. Make sure to tag and reference vendors associated with an event (not just the planner!) on social media. This continues the teamwork mentality and showcases everyone’s hard work. Lastly, keep in mind the way you represent yourself online. Your language, quality of work, and brand should always shine through. Nothing is more disappointing than realizing that all the photos a vendor shares on Instagram actually do not belong to them and were found on Pinterest. Share your own work and represent yourself in an honest way.

Be informed + proactive: Set aside time to thoroughly read the time lines and information we email you. Nothing is more frustrating to a planner than for a vendor to show up to an event or meeting and be uninformed. If you have an adjustment or recommendation, please share! Planners are all about changes and being flexible, but also do not try to change or question every single detail. Furthermore, be prepared! Print out the information you have been sent. I cannot tell you how many times vendors have shown up to events and expected me to have the information that was sent to them in advance printed out for them. Lastly, look at your process. Forms and questionnaires serve a great purpose when a client does not have a planner. However, do not expect a planner to fill out a tedious worksheet that answers the same questions as our time line and other information you have been sent. This goes back to doing your homework and reading the information sent over.

Cultivating a great planner/vendor relationship is so important. We all work so hard to create a wonderful experience for our clients and joining forces can only make us all better.

Kind words from the mother of the bride | Winston-Salem Wedding Planner

I absolutely loved planning with Lauren and her mom, Lili! These two ladies are so sweet and made me feel right at home with them. Lili was so kind to share a few words with me the day after the wedding:

Thanks a million times over for your outstanding management of the wedding.  With you in charge, the stress level for us plummeted.  Awesome job. When Taylor makes the big announcement you will be the first person we call (after her grandmother of course). Thanks again for a superb job. We will sing your praises all over Winston!

 

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Lauren + Lili on wedding day!

Samantha Laffoon Photography

Winmock at Kinderton Wedding {Anna + Jack} | Winston-Salem Wedding Planner

Almost a year ago, Anna and Jack tied the knot on a perfect summer day in Winston-Salem. I adore these two and planning with them and Anna’s mom, Mary, was so much fun. Their wedding was the perfect blend of classic elegance while keeping their florals and accents loose and natural to fit in with their upscale barn venue. And just WAIT until you see Anna’s wedding dress. It is hands down my favorite LPW bridal gown ever!

Thanks so much to Every Last Detail for featuring their big day this week! You can see it here {{link}} if you missed it.

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Per usual, Amy Lynne Originals created the most perfect floral designs for Anna and her maids. The textured hand tied bouquets were a mix of peonies, garden roses, tuberroses, veronica, salal, and Italian ruskus.

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I love the JOY between Anna and Jack during their first look in front of the church.

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This is such a sweet moment between Anna and her maids. And, as always, expertly captured by Alexa.

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Remember me saying how Anna’s dress is my favorite of all time? This photo is perfectly sums up why — the off the shoulder scalloped necklace, the lace bolero, the delicate buttons, and the piece de resistance: a wide sash tied into a perfect bow.

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Now this is my kind of barn venue — elegant, true to its history, clean lines, and just the right amount of rustic. Winmock at Kinderton was the ideal backdrop for Anna and Jack’s reception!

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Upon arrival guests enjoyed signature sips (a French 75 for her and a Whiskey Sour for him) and passed hors doeuvres on the terrace at Winmock. Guests sampled small bites of sweet potato biscuits with black forest ham and maple butter; gourmet nacho bites with grilled strip steak, black beans, and jalepenos; and, my personal favorite, Holly’s signature pimento cheese deviled eggs that are to die for.

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After cocktails, guests found their way upstairs to their assigned tables for a family style feast. The dinner started a light salad of baby spinach, fresh strawberries, goat cheese, candied pecans, and a strawberry vinaigrette followed by a summer menu of grilled Tuscan chicken served with lemon buerre blanc, mushrooms, and fresh herbs; jumbo lump crab cakes with roasted red pepper rouille; three cheese baked macaroni and cheese that will change your life; heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil drizzled with olive oil and balsamic; and, of course, a platter filled to the brim with beautiful grilled summer vegetables. For my reception design, I kept with the feel of the venue and incorporated mahogany chairs and natural, organic floral designs (expertly designed by Amy!). Those elements paired beautiful with the elegant patterned satin linens, mercury glass votives, and silver rimmed china for a classic yet fresh look.

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One of my favorite moments of any wedding day is the moment I get to share my reception design with my clients. We do not always have the opportunity because of photo schedules, but when I can squeeze it in, it is totally worth it. After months and months of planning, it is such a joy to see my clients enjoy their reception that was planned and designed especially for them. They get to admire the florals, touch their linens, smell their dinner wafting from the kitchen .. all the things that they may miss in the excitement of greeting their guests, eating dinner, and dancing to their amazing band. Seeing the expression on Jack and Anna’s faces when they walked in the doors truly made my day.

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A beautifully designed cake and cake table is always high on my priority list. I feel that the photo of the bride and groom cutting their cake is so iconic and should be respected. My goal is to always create a display that perfectly sums up the wedding in one sweet (literally and figuratively) snap.
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What is more classic than a bird seed toss exit? We tray passed tiny Love Birds envelopes filled with bird seed for guests to shower the newlyweds with. The perfect end to the perfect day for a truly wonderful couple!

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Planning + Design: Leigh Pearce Weddings | Photography: Alexa’s Photography | Ceremony Venue: Highland Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue: Winmock at Kinderton | Floral Design: Amy Lynne Originals | Catering: Holly Tate Fine Catering | Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Carole | Rentals: Party Reflections | Bridal Gown Designer: WattersWtoo | Bridal Bolero Designer: San Patrick  | Bridesmaid dresses: Jenny Yoo | Band: The Company Band | Bakery: Cakes by Manfred | Hair + Makeup: Carla White

Featured on Every Last Detail | Winston-Salem Wedding Planner

What a treat to see Anna and Jack’s beautiful and classic Winston-Salem wedding on Every Last Detail today! These two sweethearts tied the knot last August on the perfect summer day. Pop over to ELD to see the feature here and stay tuned for my full recap tomorrow!

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Kind Words from the Bride | Charlotte, NC Wedding Planner

Some clients you just know are going to be like family and Lauren, Thomas, and their families are no exception. Their May wedding was such a joy to plan and design and I could not be happier for these two wonderful people to start their lives together. Lauren was so sweet to share these sweet words when sharing her beautiful images from Sam Laffoon (more to come soon!):

We got our photos back from Sam last night and I am swooning as I’m going through them all.  Every single detail was so absolutely perfect.  My parents both noticed how joyful everyone looks in all of these photos, especially at the reception.  What a fun party it was!!  I’m having so much fun reliving every moment, and experiencing for the first time many moments that I wasn’t a part of!  Thank you so, so, so much for everything that you did to make our day everything we hoped it would be and more.  xoxo times a million, Lauren

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Lauren + Thomas on their wedding day!

Samantha Laffoon Photography

Featured on Wells Fargo | Charlotte Wedding Planner

Wells Fargo reached out recently to ask my expert opinion for keeping your wedding budget on track. You can check out my tips in the article here

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Private Estate Wedding {Caroline + Chris} | Charlotte, NC Wedding Planner

Words cannot describe the beauty that was Caroline and Chris’s wedding day! But even more beautiful than the details is the love that Caroline and Chris share for each other and their family and friends. It was such a heartwarming environment and they truly cared about the guest experience at every touch point. From their luxe letterpress invitations to our extensive transportation schedules to the delectable culinary experience to the flawless floral designs created in family silver pieces to the late night snacks of Bojangles chicken biscuits … every detail was meticulously considered by Caroline, Chris, and their families. The result was the ultimate event in celebration of their marriage and gathering of their nearest and dearest. It was my pleasure to design and plan with them, but even more so to know them and play a small part in their love story! Thanks Style Me Pretty for sharing their beautiful wedding last week! You can see the full feature here. Now without further ado, feast your eyes on every stunning detail captured perfectly by my sweet friend Alexa of Alexa’s Photography!

Caroline and her family spend their summers and holidays at their beautiful lake home on Badin Lake. It is the meeting place for Caroline, her five siblings, and her parents and will continue to be their home away from home as their families continue to grow. When it came time to decide where to host the wedding, there was no question — it would be at the lake. Caroline’s parents designed the house after the Dickens Village and for the wedding, we continued the Old English style with a few rustic touches throughout the property.

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After Caroline and I had our initial chat on invitations, I knew Smitten On Paper would be the perfect fit to create the first touch point for guests. They were able to deliver on our must haves — a luxurious extra thick paper for letterpress and an elegant yet laid back design — while perfectly sharing all of the information guests needed to know about.

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Caroline’s wedding gown was the epitome of casual yet refined elegance. It was beautiful yet breezy and she was able to dance the night away without being weighed down in the summer heat with layers of fabric. The only person that that came close to Caroline in beauty on her wedding day was her sweet grandmother, Lee Lee, in her stunning gold gown.

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The wedding ceremony took place behind their home with a beautiful, unobstructed view of the lake. Sweet summer bouquets accented the aisle while a greenery garland and lush over the top floral designs flanked the spot where Caroline and Chris said I do.

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These three lovey ladies were the perfect flower girls to set the stage for their Aunt Caroline in their floral crowns, petit bouquet, and silver bell.  The ceremony that followed was so heartfelt and intimate. I just love the way that Chris looked at Caroline and the pride on Caroline’s father’s face as he gave his daughter away.

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After the ceremony, guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, a seafood station, champagne, and cocktails on the terrace adjacent to the ceremony site and inside the house. Party Reflections created a custom circular bar that perfectly matched the interior of the Cummings’ home.

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Alexa never ceases to amaze me. I know you will swoon over the next few images as much as I do!!

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When cocktail hour concluded, guests were lead from the terrace down this secret garden-esque pathway to find their seating assignment.

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The MVP award of our event team, hands down, goes to Jay at In Bloom, Ltd. Jay created the most beautiful floral designs and they were truly the cornerstone to our event design. From the over the top designs in front of the house and at the ceremony to the stunning arrangements he created in family silver for the dining tables, each piece was unique and elegant, exactly what Caroline envisioned.

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It is no secret that I am a sucker for a chandelier (#LPWchandylove) so you can imagine my delight when all five of these beauties were installed.

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I am still all heart eyes for this cake. For Goodness Cakes took the vine design found on our Smitten On Paper invitations and translated it into this classic yet unique cake design.

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I love this capture of Caroline and Chris entering their dinner tent for the first time to see all of their family and friends enjoying a delicious four course meal. The culinary experience was a top priority for Caroline and Chris — they are both is foodies and enjoy all the cuisine NYC has to offer on a regular basis. Caroline also has an amazing food blog, Yolo-sole, and recently just started culinary school. Family friend and French Chef, Sylvain Rivet created a remarkable dining experience for Caroline, Chris, and their guests. Dinner started with a mixed green salad wrapped in a cucumber ribbon and dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The next course, served family style, consisted of roasted sea bass with lemon butter, seared petit filet mignon with a duo of bernaise and bordelaise sauces, roasted rosemary potatoes, and grilled seasonal vegetables with a balsamic reduction. Next to cleanse the palette, and because, well, everyone loves cheese, each table was presented with a stunning cheese board. Manchengo. brie, and smoked gouda were paired with fresh grapes, fig jam, and slices of French baguette. To end dinner on a sweet note, guests were served a trio of French macarons, creme brulee, and chocolate mousse.

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During dinner, my team along with the amazing Party Reflections team turned the ceremony space into the reception space. Ceremony chairs were replaced by a rustic cedar dance floor, cocktail tables, soft seating, and party band. After dinner, Caroline and Chris lead their guests back to the party space for a night of dancing under the stars. Their wedding cake was served alongside some more delicious desserts and ice cream from Chef Sylvain’s bakery.

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As the evening started to wind down, Caroline and Chris wanted to treat their guests to a North Carolina delicacy, Cajun Chicken Biscuits from Bojangles!

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Thank you to Caroline, Chris, your parents, families and friends for making us feel so at home! The LPW team and I were so honored to play a part in your wedding day and it could not have been more perfect. Cheers to your first year of marriage and many more to come!!!

Event Planning + Design: Leigh Pearce Weddings | Photography: Alexa’s Photography | Floral Design: In Bloom, Ltd. | Wedding Dress: Mira Zwillinger | Cake: For Goodness Cakes | Invitations: Smitten on Paper | Catering: Sylvian Rivet | Hair + Makeup: Carla White | Band: EastCoast Entertainment | Officiant: Patrick Maloy | Ceremony Music: Carolina Classic Strings | Transportation: Holiday Tours | Transportation: Park Inc. | Power + Lighting: Sound Illusions | Rentals: Party Reflections