Where wedding websites fall short

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Photo credit: Madeline Ball, licensed by Creative Commons

Newly engaged? If you've started planning, that likely means heading to the computer. What you’ll come across are many websites that provide some of the same things a coordinator does: a to-do list, a list of vendors, and hundreds of articles about anything and everything wedding related. If you're not sure if wedding coordinator is in your budget, or you want to take on the planning yourself, these websites are amazing resources. However, there are several things a website can’t do:

  1. Tailor a plan unique to you and your partner. A coordinator can sit with you and your partner—and your families if they are involved—and go over each individual detail of what you would (and really wouldn’t) like to see on your big day.
  2. Give you advice from years of experience. A wedding coordinator that has been at this for a while has seen a lot of weddings, and this means they can pass all of this knowledge along to you as a bride or groom.
  3. Provide day-of coordination. This is one thing that couples often forget. While some feel they can handle the preparation ahead of time, it’s easy to overlook how many things need managing on the big day. Hiring a coordinator means someone is assigned to this, and you and your family and friends can focus on enjoying yourselves.

If you have experience with planning your wedding over wedding websites, good or bad, let us know in the comments! 

— Malia Robinson-Exo and Emee Pumarega, May 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

Excited to join the content team at New York Institute of Art and Design!

Fun news! Through a partnership with Movable Media and the New York Institute of Art and Design, I will be regularly writing for NYIAD’s design blog on various topics related to event planning.

The first post went live this week and is called, “How to find out what your event planning client really wants.” Like the content here, our NYIAD content is written for and about the event industry professional and corporate event consumer. (For the bridal style blog, please visit The Portland Wedding Coordinator!)

How to Find Out What Your Event Planning Client Really Wants

I am very excited about this partnership and hope you enjoy the articles too. Feel free to share and comment both here and over at NYIAD. Also, if you have an event planning, event design, or event industry topic you’d like me to cover, please feel free to email me directly at info@ejpevents.com.

–Emee

Quick Poll: How are you finding your wedding vendors?

I’m curious as to how you all have been finding success in getting a great vendor team together for your wedding.

Please take this one-question poll! Once we start getting votes, the results will appear here in real-time.

Are you having any difficulties in finding the right people to work with? Please share in the comments – I’ll answer any questions that I can.

 


{ Portland Wedding Planning } What is a “kick-off” consultation?

Sometimes the terms that are bounced around in the wedding planning process can be confusing.

In our {Wedding Planning Definitions} series, I’ll examine some different terms and products that come up often in discussions of wedding planning.

Today’s definition is:

“kick-off consult”.

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This is a program for clients who would like assistance from a wedding planner in the early stages of their engagement, but perhaps have not committed fully to using a planner for full services. The “kick-off consult” usually includes a design component, where the planner talks with you about your overall vision for the wedding in everything from colors and sounds to the food and drink, all the way to what the attendants will be wearing.  You can ask questions about the pros and cons of different sites, and also get ideas for sites you may not have thought of on your own.  Budget will be discussed, and vendor matches will be suggested. You should also get a wedding planning checklist with a list of to-do items for wedding planning and the dates the tasks should be completed.

The bride and groom-to-be leave this meeting armed with a great deal of information to make sound, educated decisions for the initial wedding planning process.  Time involvement varies from planner to planner, and is usually around 90 minutes to 2 hours, often with an email follow-up included. There is usually a flat or hourly fee for this meeting.

If you are having a hard time getting your wedding planning process off the ground (perhaps you are stuck without a date or venue and getting stressed), a one-time, “kick-off” consult could be just the thing you need.

A version of this blog post appeared on The Portland Wedding Coordinator on May 9, 2009.

Photo: Oliver M. P. Miller

My Portland Photographer – a valuable resource for finding quality wedding photography

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We worked with Bethany and Patrick for their wedding in Bend, Oregon. Photo by Altura Studio.

With so many national resources and wedding directories out there, it's sometimes hard to find a directly, truly local resource for information on Portland wedding photography. Thankfully you only need one – and we have a great one in My Portland Photographer. Run entirely by a savvy group of local Portland wedding photographers, the site serves up almost daily wedding inspiration, photography advice, and just good old fashioned wedding eye candy. You can even check availability and book your photographer straight from the site. The best part is that I have personally worked with many of the photogs on this site, so I know you'll find someone you'll love!

 

 

What are the different kinds of wedding planning services, and how much do they cost?

Portland-oregon-wedding-planner-costs-reviewsMy assistant and I at a wedding in Boston in 2003. Many thanks to Craig Strong (yes, the Lensbaby inventor) for the photo.

Today's big question: "What are the different kinds of wedding planning services, and how much do they cost?" I can only answer this for my own business, and please know there are MANY fantastic business models out there. This is just what has worked for me for the past 14 years:

I offer three main types of planning, all with set, flat fees. After I meet with my client, I am able to create a customized proposal for them – sometimes all with one type of planning; but many times using elements of several, to get them exactly what they need.

Hourly consulting: We meet at my office, or at a specific place (e.g., invitation store, venue tours) and work on a specific project. Typically, after the project is complete (I find them a venue, we co-create decor designs or themes), I do not work on-site at the wedding.

Wedding month-of coordination (Also called "Day-Of Coordination"): The client leads all the planning themselves, but comes back to me about two months before the wedding and shows me all vendors booked, and explains how they would like the site to be laid out, how they want the day to flow. My assistants and I then take it from there and create/distribute the event plan communications, and coordinate at the rehearsal and at the event.

Full planning and design: The client is in creative control, but I lead the planning process, in that I push action items to the client. (e.g. "It's time to book your caterer"; "It's time to create your overall reception design".) This is our most popular program of service.

Planner-led vs. client-led is a spectrum; ask your coordinator what options are available to you based on your preference and budget.

You can read more in detail about these planning types and get pricing information over on the business website: ejpevents.com

I hope this info is helpful to you – please leave any questions in the comments, or email me! Are you a couple who has found the perfect wedding planner? Tell us about him or her!  Or – are you a wedding planner, who has found success in a different business model? I would love to hear your ideas.

Event Design Series: Day 2 – Trends

Continuing our discussion of event design (and please, make it a discussion by commenting)…

More about our Event Design Series here at Day 1, and where the questions came from

Day 2: Trends: What are some new trends in event design and how can an event planner keep current? What new color combinations are requested by clients? What are the most popular themes for parties, galas, and corporate events? What themes are overused?

New Trends (2012-2013): The idea of un-themes is big. “Unconferences” with informal agenda-setting sessions and crowdplanning such as WordCamp are influencing the way even traditional corporate and sales events are being planned.  Rapid-fire presentation events such as Pecha-Kucha nights, Ignite, TED and TEDx talks; and storytelling events such The Moth, Backfence, and Portland Storytelling Theater have become wildly popular.

Photo by Kirby Urner via Flickr

These events’ success show that in either a corporate or social setting, attendees want to create the agenda, tell their own story, or have an upfront, personal connection to others’ stories. I’m seeing this reflected in the continued use of performance in special events, whether it’s having dancers from the bride’s culture during a wedding; or using a speaker with an incredible story to uplift and motivate a corporate event audience.

Photo: Craig Strong.

How can I stay current on trends? I think it’s more important for event planners to be creators of new designs, not necessarily followers of trends. At the same time “there is nothing new under the sun” – or is there? I love pop culture from every corner of the globe, and that keeps me on my toes. Online resources are always popping up with something fresh and inspiring all the time. Just a year ago, nobody was using Pinterest, now it’s everywhere. Tumblr seems to be under the radar for mainstream use, but is widely used by fashion brands and designers. Anyone can easily create a Tumblr blog (a mini-blogging platform) to follow and curate their own favorite content from around the web in a mini-blog format. I have several Tumblrs and my main one for event and design inspiration is here. Travel is the best for seeing firsthand what is hot in other places, and then you can bring that back to your home base and reinterpret it.

New color combinations: Fashion and retail are always pushing color in new directions, and of course there are always the color gods at Pantone. The good old-fashioned color wheel never hurt anyone. Right now I’m really loving multicolored event palettes. Take a look at online storefront Hello Holiday to see what I mean. Multicolor doesn’t have to mean garish or childish. You can have smaller swaths of multicolor paired up with a neutral like grey to keep the look balanced.

Photo by Aubrey Trinnaman for Anthology Magazine

Popular and most overused themes? The panel found straight-up “time era” themes to be the most overused. A Fifties sock-hop for example, feels dated right now, not retro in a fun way. But if you want to do an era event, change it up by focusing on something a very narrow topic from that time – maybe one celebrity – and go from there. Call me crazy, but when I think of the 50s I think of Che Guevara. Or  Marilyn Monroe. Social events are still using vintage and shabby-chic looks; bold and preppy graphics and stripes are still big.

Hope you’ve found “Day 2” of our Event Design Series helpful. For background on this series, go here. As always, I appreciate your comments!

{ Meet and Greet } Join us at The Bridal Loft open house – March 14, 2012

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Have you met our family at The Bridal Loft yet? I am grateful to have had the "Lofties"'s friendship, camaraderie, and business support since I joined in June of 2002. We are doing our yearly open house to welcome the upcoming 2012 and 2013 wedding clients, as well as renew friendships / make new ones in the community of artists, artisans, and designers that make up Portland's wedding businesses.

Please join us on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 from 4pm to 8pm and enjoy a fun evening out with the wedding professionals of The Bridal Loft, Portland’s original bridal collective. Light hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served as you view the 2012 collections from August Veils and beadALEX, as well as getting your opportunity to meet in person with:

Bridal beauty educator Katherine Sealy of Event Cosmetics

Wedding planner Emee Pumarega of EJP Events (that's me!)

Photographer Paul Rich

Calligrapher Alesia Zorn

The cinematography team of Scott and Amanda Shama of Ambient Sky Couture Wedding Films

Master seamstress Kim Trickey of Sewing Solutions

and designer Andrea Hoyt of August Veils

Bring your wedding questions and be ready to enjoy the atmosphere of The Bridal Loft. We’ll see you there!

RSVP here for best service.

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: Holland Studios, Holland Studios, Holland Studios, Craig Strong, The Bridal Loft, Craig Strong

An Oregon Garden Wedding Inspiration for a Stylish Manhattan Bride

I was so excited to be contacted by another out-of-towner this week who will be planning her Oregon summer wedding, working long-distance from Manhattan. Her big priorities are food and photography. She sent along a few photos of her intended style and I thought I would go through our past event file to put together a few photos to  convey my initial thought process for site selection and other possible details. Here goes:

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Oregon-foodie-wedding-inspi

All photos are from real weddings coordinated and planned by EJP Events.

Full size photos and photographer credits after the cut.

Continue reading “An Oregon Garden Wedding Inspiration for a Stylish Manhattan Bride”

BarStocker – the iPhone app that calculates liquor needs for your party or wedding

Many of our clients are in turnkey venues where they can provide their own caterer and bar. But figuring out how much liquor, beer, and wine to order is always a challenge. Order too much and it's a bit of a waste. Order too little and you risk running out during the event, and having to send a wedding party member to the nearest 7-11.

EJP Events is pleased to unveil our own iPhone app to tackle this continuing problem. Based on an algorithm developed over our 13 years in the event planning, catering, hotel, and wedding planning businesses, BarStocker will save you time and prevent a waste of money or alcohol by helping you figure the perfect amount to order.

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Customize your order based on length of party in hours, time of year, types of alcohol being served, and how much your guests like to party :-)  It's available right now on the iTunes store. Please let me know what you think!