Wedding Wisdom

Olive & Belle on Styled Shoots

Happy Monday Timeline Geniuses!

Whether referred to as Inspiration Shoots or Styled Shoots, you’ve seen them on every popular wedding blog. The vendors involved are usually not getting paid for this work, but do it to display their creativity and inspire their community. If you’ve never put together a styled shoot but are considering it, here are the gals from Olive & Belle Events, sharing some insight from the set of one of their beautiful shoots.
jenna-mcelroy-oliveandbelle-37
TG: Styled shoots look like a lot of work! What are some things that make it all worthwhile?

Styled Shoots are a great opportunity to connect with vendors and showcase your style. By showcasing your style, you better attract the type of brides and clients that resonate with your style and will be overall more satisfied with your work for them. Creative Vendors are appreciative of a professional planner organizing a Styled Shoot and pulling together a cohesive vision because it makes it more successful for all parties involved. Building those symbiotic vendor relationships are the cornerstone to a healthy wedding planning business.  
jenna-mcelroy-oliveandbelle-7
TG: What are some of the biggest challenges in putting together a Styled Shoot?

One of the most difficult parts, and the most common pitfall, of a Styled Shoot is thinking through an end-to-end marketing and submission plan. You can have the most beautiful images, but if you don’t have a locked-in publication and thought-out marketing plan, the images will be lost in the wedding industry clutter. Creating a marketing plan is difficult and time consuming, but worth it to get the best return on your time and money (a lot of both are put into a Styled Shoot). Plus, your contributing vendors will be that much more thankful and eager to work with you again.
jenna-mcelroy-oliveandbelle-41
TG: How do you start the process of planning something like this?

 
This varies shoot-to-shoot, but usually it starts with an inspiration or a concept. For example, this Styled Shoot was inspired by Eliana Bernard’s Marbled Collection plates. The rest of the shoot came to life around her artistic vision. It is also a good idea to consider Seasonality. If you are shooting a summer Inspiration shoot in August, you may have less likelihood to be featured because most blogs are preparing for the Fall Season. Timing is everything. 
jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-106
TG: What was the concept behind this shoot?

 
The concept behind this shoot was Contemporary Italian Romance. The initial idea for this shoot started with the venue. I mean, what is not to be inspired by at The Contemporary at Laguna Gloria?! The whole property is piece of old history romance tucked away in the middle of central Austin, Texas. In my own styling, I like mixing bold colors with neutral space, and southern charm with a dash of modern minimalism. We played with the gold, grey, and navy palette. Like anything “styled”, a vision can easily change with each new piece you find. And that was definitely the case when we stumbled across Eliana Bernard’s beautiful Marbled Plates Collection on Instagram. She is a local artist, and an insanely talented one at that. When we came across her collection, we knew we had to incorporate it into the shoot. It was just too perfect. Her bold navy marbled plates slightly changed the direction of flowers, so we chose a more neutral palette for floral with those pops of giant golden roses. I am convinced the Gypsy Floral team are magicians because the flowers looked painted, they were so perfect. Anyway, when all is said and done, inspiration evolves and couldn’t have come to life without each of the contributing vendors showcasing their amazing talents.
jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-119
jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-134
TG: What are your favorite elements about this shoot?

Impossible to choose. We are obsessed with the whole vendor team in this shoot. The vintage rentals, the stunning venue, the marbled plates, the floral artistry, the film photography…missing any one of these pieces, the shoot would not have been nearly as gorgeous.
jenna-mcelroy-oliveandbelle-44
TG: What advice do you have for planners who might be intimidated by taking on a Styled Shoot?

Practice makes perfect. Even this Styled Shoot, we learned things we want to do differently next time. Just jump in and enjoy the opportunity to let your creativity flow. 
jenna-mcelroy-oliveandbelle-48

 

We think the whole team knocked it out of the park with this shoot, and with their answers! We hope you’ve picked up some useful tips for your next styled shoot – in the meantime, here are more images from Olive and Belle’s shoot to feast your eyes on:

 

jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-101

 

jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-83

 

jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-131

 

 

jenna-mcelroy-laguna-gloria-102

 

Venue:  The Contemporary at Laguna Gloria   @contemporaryatx
Design/Planning: Olive & Belle Events @oliveandbelle
Photography: Jenna McElroy  @jennabmcelroy
Florals: Gypsy Floral  @gypsyfloral
Videography: Sharpshooters Video
MUAH: Lola Beauty @lolabeautyatx
Wedding Dress: Saint Isabel Bridal @saintisabelbridal
Rentals: Bee Lavish @beelavishvintage
Plates: Eliana Bernard @elianabernard
Cake: Sweet Treets Bakery @sweettreetsbakery
Vow Booklets: Reed Written @reedwritten
Invitations: Wondrous Whimsy @wondrous_whimsy
Scans: Photovision  @photovisionprints
Model: Kierstan Lynn @kierstanechhade

Wedding Wisdom

What To Do When You Oops…

Wedding planners are seen as the people who have everything under control. We’re expected to perform like clockwork, keep track of every detail, and take on everyone’s emotional baggage without getting bogged down. We’re expected to be perfect.

But alas, even wedding planners are human and make mistakes!

107h

We got a question recently from a planner who said:

“I’ve been working with a client who wanted a lot, so I expanded my package for her and signed on to do some tasks I don’t usually do. As a result, I’ve been overwhelmed and have messed up a couple times! They’re small mistakes (typos or emailing her later than she expected), but she always points them out, and I’m pretty sure she’s unhappy with me. How do I move forward with this client relationship?”

The number one Most Important piece of advice that must be said over and over is:

Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes.

This is counterproductive and leads to burnout. Take note of mistakes, try to avoid them in the future, and apologize for them. But know that we ALL make mistakes, no matter how seasoned. Don’t internalize criticism and feel bad about yourself as a professional or as a person. Now that the pep talk is done, here are steps to handle those oops moments:

  • Do take responsibility: Try to bring up your mistakes before your client can, so they can see that you are indeed paying attention, and do know where your performance has been lacking.
  • Do explain why these things happened: Maybe it’s that you’ve gotten an incredible amount of demand this month, or that there’s a huge wedding coming up. This is not to be used as an excuse, but as an explanation for why a slip like this would happen, and why they can trust you not to make the same mistake again.
  • Do offer a solution: Perhaps you’re bringing on another person to help with their wedding, or creating a better system for communication. Whatever the solution is, make sure it addresses what happened and makes your client feel heard and taken care of.
  • Do act humble: Expressing a desire to want to improve, learn, and make the experience better for your client should dissolve any tension.
  • Don’t let it affect your manners: Sometimes when a relationship sours, it can be tempting to act colder. Don’t let criticism from your client affect the way you treat them. The phrase “kill em with kindness” can apply here. People ultimately want to be happy with who they’ve hired for their wedding, so try to make that as easy as possible for them.

The best way to avoid this kind of tension in the first place is to avoid taking on too much, and set expectations. Set yourself up for success, but don’t despair if you slip here and there.

Want advice from the planners at Timeline Genius? Send them our way!
Email tria@timelinegenius.com

Wedding Wisdom

The Big Day: Not Just About the Newlyweds

By Jennifer Taylor, Taylor’d Events Group

Historically, the Big Day has always been about the pair saying ‘I do’ at the end of the aisle. While that still rings true, couples are devoting more of their planning efforts to providing guests with an unforgettable experience that they’ll remember as more than just a wedding night.

There are plenty of ways to ensure that guests have the best time ever, so let’s look at a few popular options.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

example-squarespace-wedding-website-11-780x656

One of the most stressful things about attending a wedding isn’t about what to wear or what gift to get – it’s making sure you’re available for the event date, booking accommodations and hiring childcare if necessary. Couples can make it easier on their friends and family by finalizing the event’s details well in advance so they can send out all of the important information. Creating a wedding website can be a great solution as couples can send out a link that leads to all of the relevant details that a guest may need.

BE ACCOMMODATING

how-to-upgrade-your-hotel-room-for-free-1

Literally! Couples can ease the burden on guests by procuring a room block for them to reserve their own room. When picking accommodations, they should keep in mind the proximity to the wedding venue as well as how well the hotel meets the guests’ needs. Is there a shuttle that can take them to the venue? Are there handicap rooms, if necessary? Is there a restaurant onsite for other meals?

A WARM WELCOME

img_0755

Chances are the couple will be too busy to greet each guest individually, at least until the reception rolls around. That’s not to say they can’t welcome them with a thoughtful touch that thanks them for being there. Destination weddings have put custom welcome bags in the spotlight, but these fun assortments of goodies can be used for at-home weddings when placed in hotel rooms for out-of- town guests. Couples can also greet guests at the ceremony with flavored water, small bites or other treats to keep them refreshed until the moment they’ve all been waiting for.

CREATE A WEDDING EXPERIENCE

screen-shot-2009-12-02-at-10-16-43-am1

Who’s to say a wedding is strictly limited to a six- to eight-hour period of fun and festivities? Extend the celebration by planning local experiences for guests, like walking tours or a scavenger hunt. Out-of- town guests will love the opportunity to explore the area, while local guests will also enjoy joining in on the fun! It can be as formal as scheduling a tour guide or an excursion for the group or as simple as providing maps marked with suggested visitor spots for a self-guided experience. The sky is the limit!

BE THOUGHTFUL WITH FAVORS

541d808296-rs_768

Most people have gone to at least a few weddings where they left with the standard personalized swag to remember the celebration. But do they really need a mug with the couple’s faces on it or a coaster with their names on it? Personalization is a sweet touch, but customizing favors with the guests’ names on it can be an extra special touch. Not only will they get much more use out of it, but couples can also double up by using them as escort cards too! An alternative for a winning favor is anything edible – it may not last as a forever reminder, but that’s the point! Guests will be happy to enjoy a late night snack as they head out for the evening.

Oftentimes, couples can get caught up in the little details of planning their wedding but that is no reason to forget about the reason they’re having the wedding – to enjoy the celebration with their friends and families!

Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.

Wedding Wisdom

Take Note: Making the Most Out of Educational Events

Today’s post is brought to us by Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting, and comes at a perfect time for us as we head to Wedding MBA next week! We hope to see you there too, and will let Meghan tell you how to prepare in the meantime:

Whether you’ve been to your fair share of conferences or this is your first time taking in a local workshop, educational events can be a great way to meet new people and expand your industry knowledge. With that said, attending events can be quite the investment in both time and money, so it’s essential that you are making the most of the ones that you do choose to attend.

tgblog1

MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

Start out by setting your goals – what do you hope to get out of this event? Are you looking to make new connections and build your network or are you going for the education side of things? Your goals will help you decide on the event that is best suited for your needs. For example, if you want to get more involved in your area market, a local workshop may be just the fit for you, whereas a national conference would be better for someone who wants to build their brand recognition in different regions.

photo from bizbash.com
photo from bizbash.com

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Once you know where you’re headed, research is what will help you take full advantage of everything the event has to offer. Get a good idea of the educational topics that are being covered and how you can best schedule your time there. Take a look at those who are speaking on the topics – is there anyone that you’d love to hear? Make them a priority! Remember: topics are certainly important, but the quality of the information derives from the expertise of the speaker.

In addition to the event’s components itself, put out your feelers and get an idea of who else will be there. Take a look at recaps from past events to see if you can figure out the make-up of attendees and determine if it’s the right group of people for you. Chances are you’ll walk away from the event with some extra connections, so do what you can to ensure that they’re valuable!

 

tgblogpost5

COME PREPARED

When headed to an event, I follow my own rule of threes: show up early, bring water and wear good shoes. If you truly want to take in as much as possible, you want to ensure that you’re comfortable and engaged. That’s not so easy when your feet are protesting your cute heels or you have to sneak into the back of a session because you’re late.

On the same note, be sure to bring a pad of paper and a pen for taking notes, as well as your business cards. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never forgotten my business cards at a major national conference, but they really are quite important when confronted with new faces around every corner.

photo from notonthehighstreet
photo from notonthehighstreet

MAKE IT ACTIONABLE

This is the biggie – you need to make your takeaways actionable. If you take in a workshop and don’t put those skills or new connections to use afterwards, the experience will have been a waste of time and money. While at the event, keep any new business cards in one spot so you can batch the follow up. Once you’re home, set aside time to reach out to all of the people you met and review all of your notes from your time there. Reflect on the experience and what you’ve learned so that you can implement it into your work.

If a certain educational event has caught your eye, do your research to see if it’s a fit. If you like what you see, find a way to make it out. In addition to being a great investment for business development, they can also be quite fun – so pack your bags and get educated!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

Wedding Wisdom

Managing Client Expectations and Setting Boundaries

By Jennifer Taylor, Taylor’d Events Group

As a business owner, it can be difficult to manage the needs of all of your clients as well as those of yourself. However, finding a satisfying balance is the key to a successful work-life balance and ensures that all of your clients are treated fairly. Easier said than done, right?

If you find yourself stressed out by the demands of your clients, it’s time to set boundaries to ensure that nobody holds you to unrealistic expectations and you don’t find yourself burnt out down the line.

The best way to set boundaries for your clients is to present them upfront after the contract has been signed. While it’s perfectly normal for them to hold certain expectations and visions of their event, it’s essential that everyone is on the same page so that each party involved is well aware of their responsibilities.

Startup Stock Photos

While it may seem that covering boundaries from the get-go may be aggressive, it can actually foster a positive relationship as nobody will be left feeling alienated. Your client wants (and deserves) the best you have to offer and you should also have limitations to keep your sanity intact – that means no panicked calls at two in the morning or emergency weekend meetings!

Discuss your business hours, the best ways to reach you, your response time, and the levels of involvement expected from everyone – this prevents any disagreements later in the planning process because the policies have been set from the beginning. It also gives you way out if a client continues to cross the line; in fact, it may make sense to include clauses in your contract that outline your boundaries and the repercussions of breaking them repeatedly.

refe_54dbc2e9f1034_16318077309_f8e94d7569_o

Keep in mind that this doesn’t just mean working out expectations with the couple – it could very well involve family members and friends that are also involved in the event. Try to identify the key decision-maker early on, as this will save you from going through hoops and hurdles. Once you know who is calling the shots, they can be your primary contact which simplifies the process for everyone.

With that said, do your best to stay impartial during family meetings – things can often get heated with many opinionated individuals, so it’s best to stay out of the drama and keep everyone focused on what matters. Avoid promising things in the heat of the moment. Take the time to think things through before telling your client that you can do something; otherwise, you may find yourself over-promising something you can’t necessarily meet.

If a client continues to push you, don’t be afraid to let them win even it means walking away from the agreement. Sometimes, the argument just isn’t worth it – ending a difficult contract can even save your peace of mind and your company from the unrealistic pressure of difficult clients.

taylord
by Laura Marchbanks Photography

Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.

Wedding Wisdom

2016 Lighting and Event Trends

By Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services

From Pinterest to wedding blogs and magazines, trends reign supreme in the events industry. Couples are always looking for inspiration for what’s new and fresh, but wedding professionals should be up-to-date as well. For this reason, it’s essential to stay on top of what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ in order to anticipate and prepare for your client’s needs.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends in 2016.

Dana Todd Photography
Dana Todd Photography

Going Green
With every year that goes by, couples are increasingly motivated to reduce their environmental footprint and with good reason. Luckily, that’s a much easier feat these days with easy access to LED lights, recyclable décor and locally sourced food and beverages.

Precious Metals
Metallic hues are at their prime this year, with unique shades like rose gold and gunmetal in the spotlight. Gold and copper are still ever-present, but there has been a decline in silver accents. Couples are also incorporating anything that sparkles into their wedding celebration. Prepare for much more shimmer to come!

Tyler Vu Photography
Tyler Vu Photography

Hanging Lighting
Wedding lighting is a major aspect of the event design – it does, of course, illuminate all of your other gorgeous décor! Couples are embracing hanging lighting in their weddings – from Edison bulbs to chandeliers, there’s nothing quite as breathtaking as a beautifully lit space. Not to mention, hanging lighting is great for adding an intimate, romantic ambience to the venue!

Prints and Patterns
The sky is the limit when it comes to incorporating prints and patterns into an event design. Geometric shapes are huge, with angles making an impact. Floral prints and plaid are also in, giving 2016 weddings a bold vibe. On the other hand, past pattern trends like chevron are becoming outdated and are on their way out of the industry.

JUL_4141
Danny Dong Photography

Back to Basics
The push for rustic continues as couples are bringing in even more natural elements to their celebrations. This year’s weddings are seeing pieces that are au natural, like wood, slate, stone and agate. Indeed, Mother Nature is the ultimate inspiration!

Keep your eye out for up-and-coming trends, as they’ll often predict the style of events that you’ll be planning in months to come, and it is certainly worth building your expertise. Your clients will surely be grateful for your knowledge!

 Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.

 

Wedding Wisdom

The Art of Upselling: Meeting your clients’ needs (and making more money while you’re at it)

By Audrey Isaac, 100Candles.com

GREEN-635
Mackensey Alexander Photography

Have you ever wondered how you could make more money in your day-to- day operations, but can’t seem to figure out when you’d make the time to start a side project or build in more services?

Look no further than upselling for your answer – this simple solution takes relatively little time to put into place and, once it’s all set up, you can start increasing your revenue immediately. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also beneficial for your clients?

The essence of upselling is to build additional products, like lighting and décor pieces, into your services so your clients are able to skip the brick-and- mortar store and buy their event needs directly from you at a discounted rate. Today, millennials expect instant gratification and, more often than not, will pick the convenient option, so it makes sense to be the one to provide them with the best offer.

GREEN-758

What products should you get? It really depends on your clientele. Take a look at past and current clients to see what kind of products they are frequently having to buy or rent from an outside retailer – it could be linens, candles, vases, or chalkboards. Just be sure that the add-on products that you do choose are relevant to your company and desired by your clients. Once you determine what would be a good investment in your company, it’s time to find the right wholesaler.

As usual, the process of finding a wholesaler that is the right fit for your brand starts with some good old research. While an Internet search can certainly turn up some great options, you may also want to review the advertisements in trade magazines or reach out to other trusted event professionals for suggestions. However, keep in mind that every experience is different, so take recommendations with a grain of salt and always look for reviews online before sealing the deal.

GREEN-531

After you’ve found the best fit, it’s time to start building a relationship with your wholesaler. In addition to the savings that you’ll get from buying in bulk, you may also get some benefits from a well-established partnership – from extra savings to quality customer services, a great wholesaler will ensure that your relationship is a mutually beneficial one. If you’re looking to push your company to the next level, consider adding a wholesale component to your business to increase your bottom line. You’ll be shocked at how simple it is to set up and maintain!

Audrey Isaac is the spokesperson for 100 Candles, a wholesale market for candles and lights. Since 2002, thousands of wedding and event professionals have entrusted 100 Candles with their wholesale candle accounts. For more information, please visit http://www.100candles.com/.

Wedding Wisdom

Wedding PR: Tips and Tricks for Getting Published

By Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting

 

A great feature can do wonders for your business, so if you’re looking to boost your public relations efforts, getting published is a major step in the right direction. While the bulk of the work falls on the killer content that you’ve produced, there are a handful of things that you can do to expedite the process and push your pitch to the top of the pile.

Credit: DestinationWeddings.com as seen on the Travel Channel Blog Photography by Nina Henderson Photography
Credit: DestinationWeddings.com as seen on the Travel Channel Blog
Photography by Nina Henderson Photography

 

DO YOUR RESEARCH
There’s no use putting yourself out there until you know exactly what you want out of your PR efforts. You should be going into the process with goals so that you can determine what media outlets best fit your target audience. Once you have a good idea of where you want to be featured, you’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure your pitch ends up in the right hands (or inbox). Find out who your point of contact should be and whether there’s an editorial calendar that can help guide your submission. By doing your research in advance, you’ll come across as a genuine and valuable resource, rather than someone who canvassed the media with a generic pitch.

Credit: 100Candles.com as seen on Tidewater & Tulle Photography by Sarah Street Photography (http://www.sarahstreetphotography.com/)
Credit: 100Candles.com as seen on Tidewater & Tulle
Photography by Sarah Street Photography (http://www.sarahstreetphotography.com/)

 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PR TOOLS
Nowadays technology has changed the world of PR, making it an accessible feat even for those who can’t afford to outsource the efforts. From building your media list to finding the right opportunities for your brand, there’s surely an app or program out there to simplify the process! One of my personal favorites is HARO, a free-to- use program that sends journalists’ inquiries straight to your inbox, giving you the opportunity to help with (and be quoted in!) their articles. If real wedding submissions are more your thing, Two Bright Lights is an invaluable tool for streamlining the submission process and is well worth the investment.

 

KEEP IT BRIEF
Fun fact: For every journalist, there are at least six pitches coming in to their inbox. If you can imagine how many emails they must sort through to get to the good stuff, you’ll understand why it’s essential to keep it brief and straight to the point. Chances are the journalist you’re trying to reach will only have few minutes, if not seconds, to look at your pitch. Introduce yourself, share your idea and offer any resources that can help them with the piece. The key is to be succinct, but friendly.

Credit: Magdalene Photography as see on H&H Weddings
Credit: Magdalene Photography as see on H&H Weddings

BE VALUABLE
This goes back to doing your research and having a good idea of what kind of content a media outlet publishes before pitching to them. You wouldn’t submit a local wedding to a destination wedding blog, so keep that rationale in mind with other publications as well. Come up with story angles that will be of use to their target audience that is both fresh and newsworthy. On the same note, keep in mind that not every pitch will be picked up. Don’t be discouraged if your great idea wasn’t a fit; instead, offer yourself as a continued resource that is open to helping out with future angles. Just because it didn’t work out once doesn’t mean it won’t in the future! Press is great for many reasons,  especially if you’re looking to boost your brand recognition and build your reputation as an industry expert. With a bit of careful thought, your business will be in the limelight before you know it!

 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting, which specializes in getting wedding professionals their brides. She is a highly sought after industry speaker and serves as a Public Relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University.

Planning Tips

3 Father’s Day Party Ideas We Love

Hello Timeline Geniuses!

Got plans for Father’s Day? We’ve been scouting, and found 3 easy to implement ideas we love, to help you celebrate the fathers in your life with some extra special details.

1. Pop-corn

popcorn

I don’t know about your dad, but mine loves nothing more than to relax on Father’s Day. And what better way to kick back than to enjoy a summer blockbuster together? Just don’t forget this adorable snack to really get the party poppin’!

 

2. Tie Napkin Fold

tiefold

This adorable method of napkin folding will set the mood and the table perfectly. See the step by step instructions from One King’s Lane here.

 

3. Father’s Day Labels

labels

Grab that label-maker and go crazy! If you have some time, try designing some of your own creative labels. If you’re short on time but have $5 to spare, download this complete set from Lia Griffith.

Happy planning and happy celebrating!

With love,
Your Timeline Genius Team