The first annual State of the Santa Barbara Wedding Industry Summit: Define. Design. Evolve. was founded in 2018 with the goal of bringing together an entire industry at a critical transition point in our niche business nationally, as well as in our unique hub of Santa Barbara. It sold out 3 months in advance.
Based on the feedback we received from last year, as well as continual industry polls, we devised 4 base items as the priority for the 2019 Summit: 1) Length: participants wanted to go all day long 2) Longer breaks for conversations and networking and 3) Investment price: 90% were comfortable paying $300-$375 for an all-day session.
For 2019, we re-imagined the entire Summit to a whole new level, and decided to curate it to a very specific audience: the leaders of the Santa Barbara wedding and hospitality industry. And by “leaders” it does not necessarily mean business owners- it can be anyone who is passionate about our industry and unique destination wedding & tourism location of Santa Barbara and committed to evolution, ethics, integrity, progress and community. Therefore, we are allowing only 60 seats – less than half of last year’s sold out attendance. This is so every participant can receive almost personalized coaching and connection with speakers and each other all day long.Read More >>
This article was featured on Special Events Magazine and made it to the top of Google News.
Many wedding planners (or their clients) may have seen (thank you, Pinterest) how charming it is to share the general event time line for guests to see—either on custom-crafted framed signs, in the wedding program, or on the couple’s wedding website. While many ideas are appealing in photos, they do not translate well in reality. For the inexperienced wedding planner and for the couple, who is triply more inexperienced, this can look like a charming touch—or if really naive—a way to keep guests “informed,” or a way to keep the event on track because “everyone” will now know the time line and be in sync.Read More >>
The historic Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort has been serving generations of families. What few don’t realize is that it’s not a typical resort: it is almost like a time-share where families have certain dates they traditionally come and stay every year, their favorite dining table and other unique aspects that don’t allow someone outside their regular clientele to typically just pick up and stay at the ranch on a whim for a quick overnight like a regular hotel. But when you’ve had the opportunity to stay at the ranch, you’ll understand why. And staying any shorter than 2 nights isn’t worth doing, truly.Read More >>
There is no doubt one of the best parts of being a wedding planner is that clients arrive strangers and depart friends. I was so fortunate to have been the wedding planner for Katharine’s sister only two years ago, so I was especially honored when I received her call to be a part of her wedding in the “city by the bay”. I adore Katharine and her family (and now her new husband Alex and his sweet family, too) and being a part of this destination nuptial celebration was one of the highlights of my career.Read More >>
Our Fireside Series continues with another “chat workshop”; but this is not your typical wedding business workshop. Edgy and sassy, we are really going to go “there” and get things going with some kicking content.
A Pro Mixologist will coach us while we craft two specialty cocktails to sip and savor while we dive into some pot-stirring content. With inspiration from Leadership in Heels, we will tackle some of the most controversial topics facing our industry and community. This session is guaranteed to get you fired up for your own evolution, as well as help foster some radical authenticity much needed in our industry at a crucial time.Read More >>
Part of the Fireside “Chat Workshop” Series, continuing from 2018, the inaugurual one for 2019 brings fresh content that will have you contemplating how you approach your wedding business this year.
Join us at the charming downtown Santa Barbara vacation cottage La Maison for a “power happy hour” with fireside wine (non-alcoholic options also available) and light appetizers and take a look at some invaluable relevant content to get you revved up for doing business differently this year. Highlights include:Read More >>
When I get to be involved from the beginning of the planning process, it’s my absolute favorite! After our initial meeting and reviewing the design planning worksheet I have my clients fill out, I went to work, and the planning months following were filled with lots of adventure and detail implementing Kate’s dream of “woodland rustic elegance”.
One of the benefits to hiring a professional planner is that he/she knows exactly the perfect event partners to make up the dream team who will implement the client’s vision .Read More >>
On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, an entire industry came together in the Santa Barbara region for the first ever State of the Santa Barbara Wedding Industry Fireside Summit “Define. Design. Evolve.”
The event, which was sold out 3 months in advance, was described as “the leading industry event of our area of all time” by one of the attendees. After 20 years in the Santa Barbara wedding industry as an event planner, trainer and speaker, I witnessed many changes over the years, but none so rapid and dramatic as the last 5-7 years. And what was happening on a national level was compounded ten fold in the unique niche of the American Riviera: Santa Barbara, CA with the recent Thomas Fire and Flood , plus the challenges in our area with private estates hosting events. After observing numerous industry social media groups’ conversations, I noticed there was an incredible opportunity to help colleagues define what was going on so they could custom design a plan best for them, and most importantly: evolve. In order to evolve, however, a foundation of understanding had to happen.Read More >>
Sometimes we have clients who contact us stating that they “just” need us to do what they “tell” us to do and all we need to do is “show up” on the wedding day and “direct”. There’s a problem with that. Most do not know what needs to be done… let alone on the level it needs to be done.
While there are some coordinators who may be willing to take this kind of client on, we do not. Pointing people and services around with no advance prep is all about putting fires out that could have been prevented in the first place. And ultimately is costly to the couple. You may save $2000 by hiring a day of coordinator who will only charge $300, but the potential disasters that could happen could end up costing tens of thousands of dollars in the end.Read More >>
Whether you are a fellow event partner (vendor), or a wedding/event client, the ethics and integrity with which your chosen professional wedding consultant approaches his/her work can make all the difference in the outcome of the wedding/event. We adhere to some standards that some may call “old-fashioned”, but in the end, we are referred by many of our fellow event partners and chosen over some planners because our commitment to integrity and ethics benefits them, as well as our clients. Here are top most commonly-violated ethics in the wedding industry and how we handle them:
- Accepting kick-backs or incentives. While some event partners offer kick-backs or monetary incentives to wedding coordinators who book their services, we refuse to accept them or offer them. Why? If we accepted personal gain from an event partner for referring them, our allegiance then shifts from our paying client (who is paying us to look out after their best interest) to the event partner providing the best incentive (or any incentive at all over another vendor who may not offer it). We promise our clients that we will provide them referrals to the event partners who are the best for them: this includes their spending plan, style, vision, and more. If we are accepting any kick-backs from event partners, our allegiance will then not be with our client who is paying us and will shift to the event partner we prefer to get the best kick-back from. “But everyone does it,” a Hotel GM told me one time. I still politely declined. One very prominent event partner in our area openly offers the choice of kick-backs to event planners or the choice of passing on the savings to their clients. I choose the latter and my clients love me for it. They are confident that I have their best interest at heart and then the bidding “game” truly becomes about the event partner seeking my client’s business and not my business.