Where wedding websites fall short


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





Print Not Dead! { Digital Magazine Giveaway – Offered by Zinio}

** Free digital magazine giveaway, see below! **

I admit, I am a bit of a clinger when it comes to technology. I cling to my rapidly-aging devices, refusing to let the latest new gadget woo me away from what is tried and true. (I'm typing this on a 2008 MacBook running Leopard, if you must know!) So, no, I do not yet have an iPad, for the above reasons, and also for fear of the havoc it will wreak on my children's minds if they get a hold of it and get too much screen time.

However. I was checking out the Zinio digital newstand recently, and oh! how pretty all the bridal magazines look. And how little office space they would take up! I love a good, glossy bridal or fashion mag – and now there are hundreds of titles available to me if I just break down and get that iPad that I secretly want. (Actually, the issues read just fine on a laptop as well.)

Tons of great bridal titles available, such as The Knot, Grace Ormonde
Wedding Style, and Indian Bride Lookbook.

We'll see. It's enough to break this technology-clinger out of her rut.

You, my readers, are probably not as Luddite as I, so Zinio is currently offering you "Sweet Deals", which means you can save 50% off many of their already-discounted titles. To get the deal, click through to http://bit.ly/ziniosweetdeals and have fun shopping! The promotion ends February 21.

** Oh! AND. I have also been given, by Zinio, ten free subscriptions to give away. To enter the drawing to win a free digital magazine subscription, simply comment anywhere on this blog, as many times as you like, and email me a link to your comment, as well as your real first and last name, and the title you would like, if you are drawn as a winner. Comments must make a reasonable level of sense. Each comment will count as an entry, and I will choose 10 names randomly from all the entries, on or before February 23, 2013. Winners will be notified and be sent redemption instructions by email.**

FTC Disclosure: I haven't been offered any monetary compensation to mention Zinio on my blog, but they have offered me one free subscription in return for posting the link to their deals page.

More fine print: Winners can:

  • choose any title Zinio carries
  • get the full subscription period as indicated on the site (some are 6 months, some are 1 year, etc.)
  • the 10 giveaways must go to 10 different people; thus only one prize per person
  • subscription winners can live anywhere in the world – as Zinio titles are all in digital format


Event Planner Tech Tip of the Day: Reading PDFs in iBooks

For us in the event planning world who use iPhone, iPad, and iOS (which seems to be the majority), we are always looking for that cool new shortcut or hack that will make life easier. While not splashy, using iBooks to read PDFs that are emailed is one that I have found to be a huge time-saver.

Let’s say someone emails you a PDF that is important, but you want to read later. The other day, I received the Splendid Insights Global Study Wedding Report (thank you Liene!). It is 41 pages of wedding marketing goodness that I do not have time to read in one sitting, unfortunately. I also am a compulsive inbox-cleaner, so I can’t leave something like that in my inbox.

Enter iBooks, the Kindle alternative for iOS. The thing is, it’s not just for books, it reads PDFs as well and organizes them elegantly on a nice little bookshelf.

To put your PDFs in iBooks, first tap once on the PDF attachment to make sure it is fully downloaded. Then simply press and hold down down on the attachment in your email. A pop up menu will ask you if you want to “Quick Look”, “Open in iBooks”, or “Open In…”. Select “Open in iBooks”. It’s that simple!

Now your PDF is on the bookshelf ready to read when you are on the train, waiting for your table in the restaurant, or whenever. You can also use this method to save any PDF – such as event plans, event timelines, or diagrams. No more clunky clipboards at the event, just put your phone or iPad in a handy spot!

Find this hint helpful? Know any other quick event tech tips? Please leave a comment below. And if you did find it helpful, please feel free to share or pin.

{ Be a Better Event Planner } Handling client email

Wrapping up a recent corporate event, I noticed that there were 258 emails in the folder I had set aside for this client. I’m sure there will be a few more when you take into account post-event recaps and invoices. Even with the low, conservative estimate of five minutes spent working on each emailed request or action item, that’s almost 21 hours of event planning work based on emails alone. In reality it’s probably far more.

As an event planner, are you accounting for the work you do over email when you are estimating the job for the client and planning out your workflow? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks to Ramberg Media Images for the graphic.

Favorite iPhone apps for Event Planners

Planning an event is so much easier with a smartphone, don’t you agree? While I know there are lots of choices out there, it seems the tool of choice in the special events world is, surprise, surprise — the iPhone from Apple. I thought it would be fun to make a list of the apps I can’t seem to live without, and see if you all agree.

Sunrise, Sunset Does what it says on the box. Calculates sunrise and sunset times. Perfect if your client is wondering if they need additional lighting, or if they’ll get enough use out of their candles or twinkle lights.

TideApp if you’re doing an event on the beach, you need a tide table! Otherwise your wedding ceremony or employee picnic could end up with cold, wet, feet!

SoundLevel Never get busted again, keep the neighbors happy, and stay on the good side of the law. This app is a decibel meter. Simply stand at the borders of your event and check to make sure you are within the legal limits (usually 80 dB within a city).

Google Apps (Calendar, gmail, Tasks, Documents) Not specifically for event planning, but oh so helpful to have your calendar, email, and task list in the cloud so you can check it at any time. You can also share with employees or contractors at different levels of security so everyone has the latest updates.

Bar Stocker I might be cheating a little bit, since this is my own app. But it was so annoying to open Excel every time I wanted to calculate how much liquor, beer, and wine I needed for my upcoming events. Bar Stocker lets you input number of guests, length of event, season, and type of attendees and does all the work for you.

AccuWeather Premium . Critical for your outdoor events, for travel, and just all around good to know weather information. I pay additional for the premium service so I can get a detailed 15-day-forecast.

Tally Counter How many people actually attended the event? Tally Counter lets you stand in the back and click as you count heads.

iHandy Level Is that picture of the retirement party honoree level? Is the arbor you’re setting up perfectly straight? This app makes use of the iPhone accelerometer so you can check.

and of course, what busy event planner could live without…

Chipotle Ordering I’m only half kidding. If it weren’t for Chipotle on those on-the-go days I wonder what I would eat.

What are your favorite special event planning iPhone apps? Do please share!

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.





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!

Find something interesting? Reblog with Typepad & Typepad Micro

If you've been looking for a good microblogging service, or if you already use something like Tumblr or Posterous, you might find this interesting, from SixApart, the makers of Typepad:

This morning we launched TypePad Micro. Micro is a free streamlined blog, powered by TypePad, and optimized for social media.

via everything.typepad.com

You can now microblog any Portland Wedding Coordinator content that you find interesting with your followers on your very own free Micro blogs. Or you can use a Micro blog to save clippings of stuff you find interesting on the web, and share it with your friends and fellow planning buddies. And when you see the "Reblog" button at the bottom of any Typepad blog post, you can easily add that link to your own Typepad Micro or regular blog.

Here are some other wedding and design bloggers on Typepad that you may enjoy: Sparkliatti, Ritzy Bee, The Bride's Cafe, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Always a Blogsmaid, Weddingistas, and Celebrity Wedding Buzz. So you can see, Portland Wedding Coordinator is in great company! (Did I miss anyone? Feel free to shout yourself out in the comments!)

Couples AND wedding professionals:  Are you using microblogging in any form to meet those blogging needs when you have those "in-between" posts that are too long for Facebook or Twitter, but not long enough to merit a "real" post on your main blog? Share your thoughts here.

Email etiquette tip: the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field

Here’s an email etiquette tip some may not know: when you CC: (Carbon Copy) an email to a list of unrelated contacts from your regular account, it is considered to be poor etiquette. This is because all who receive the email will then be able to view each other’s private email addresses. Your contacts may or may not wish to have their personal or work email broadcast far and wide, and it’s safer to assume that they would rather not.

Next time, use the “BCC:” (Blind Carbon Copy) function to send an email like this. Put your own email address in the TO: field, which  sends it to yourself. Put the list of email addresses that you’re sending to in the BCC: field to keep everyone’s email private.

Technorati short code: 6PRGAEPTKZCY

What you can and can’t learn from a vendor’s website


Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/ / CC BY 2.0

So many of you are planning your weddings long-distance. We talk regularly to couples in L.A., San Francisco, Houston, and other locales. Whether you or your family are Portland-based, or you just wanted a destination wedding in the Pacific Northwest, here you are doing your planning from afar.

Because of this, I get lots of questions about how one should pick a vendor or service provider. Some of my own clients tell me, "Oh, you don't need to help me with X or Y service, I found this great one on the internet." Which can be great, but I wanted to put my two cents in about some things to look for when you're wedding shopping on the web.

1. You CAN see photos. You CAN'T see their personality or how they will execute on the wedding day.

We've seen countless examples of vendors with stellar portfolios who in person are um, a little bit hard to deal with in person. I think back to one officiant an East Coast client chose by virtue of website alone, who came out of left field with an impromptu ethnic slur during the ceremony homily.

2. Are the photos representative of the service provider's work?

As a business person, I know I have to have some kind of "eye candy" on my website, and so I try my best to pick the best photographs from the weddings I have coordinated. However, I did not bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or take the pictures! So website photos can only go so far in describing what I do or how well I do it. Clients will get the best picture of what we can do if they interview my team in person, check references around town, and find out what kind of experience they and their guests will have when we are working a wedding.

3. Are the photos actually of their work?

The ease of use of many blogging platforms allows pretty much anyone who can use a WYSIWYG editor to create a wedding blog and rehash content from other websites. The savvy consumer will dig deeper, both online, and face to face, to find out if the business is responsible at in any way for any the pretty photos or written content on the website.

4. You're loving photos of the vendor's real work, but it isn't work that will actually apply to your wedding.

For example, a makeup artist or hair stylist who has countless photos of gorgeous editorial and high-fashion features is obviously a skilled individual. But if you are buying makeup, for example, I recommend that you look at the makeup — not the lighting, photography, visual styling, clothing, or the attractiveness of the models! If you're shopping for wedding makeup…look for wedding makeup.

Similarly, a snappy website design is always pleasing, but unless you are looking at this wedding vendor to design a website for you, it doesn't tell you much about how they will perform at your event.

It's not that websites can't be helpful, it's just that there is so much more to your experience than what you can find on the web. In fact, some wonderful service providers I have worked with have little to no web presence, although this is becoming less and less common. Do your initial research on the web, yes, but there is no substitute for the face-to-face interview, client and vendor references, and other processes relating to your own due diligence.