Viewing posts categorised under: Event Planning Advice

Wine Country Experiences | Vineyard Yoga: A Meditation of Movement

Blog, Event Planning Advice / 04.23.20172 comments

As a third generation Santa Barbaran and one whose business has largely been centered in wine country, I am always trying to stay aware of unique experiences for my clients and their guests when they visit my hometown.  Vineyard Yoga SYV (Santa Ynez Valley) is an experience that you simply won’t get at any yoga studio and if you come to Santa Barbara and /or its wine country (The Santa Ynez Valley), this is a must.

Founded by Certified Yoga Instructor Cori Crawford Lassahn, Vineyard Yoga SYV offers guests a relaxing setting at some of Santa Barbara wine country’s most beautiful wineries surrounded by vineyards and panoramic views. Instructor Cori graciously welcomes guests of all abilities and her presence as she guides students through all the moves and the experiences is one of the main differentials between this and other yoga classes.  She continually rotates her teaching position so that students on all sides of the class have equal opportunity to hear her and see her examples;  her music playlist songs are carefully chosen to relax, inspire (and even, in a few cases, boogie – as I found myself bopping slightly to the beat during warrior pose, which was fun).  Every movement had a purpose as a “meditation”, as we were all invited to be present with the feeling of

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Mark & Cristina Enjoy Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for 2 and Find Their Dream Wedding Location

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Industry Shenanigans, Innovations / 04.11.20170 comments

Photo by Jose Villa

The Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for Two is perfect for couples just like Mark and Cristina who knew without a doubt they wanted to get married in Santa Barbara, but a) did not know where to start and b) were not sure they wanted to invest in a full-service wedding planner  and c) had a limited spending plan  (aka “budget”).

One of the biggest mistakes I see newly-engaged couples make is to spend weeks or months researching venues in an area on their own, and then when they find their dream venue, often fall so in love with it that they do whatever it takes to book it and sometimes a site fee alone can eat up almost half  (or a good portion) of their spending plan, if they aren’t careful.  They then find themselves over-committed financially and sacrificing on the other absolutely-crucial elements necessary for a lovely, memorable event for themselves and their guests.  All of this could be avoided with coming into the whole planning experience with an overall spending plan and a professional to guide them up front.

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Our Live Broadcast Day of Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for Mark & Cristina

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Innovations / 04.09.20170 comments

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When A Wedding Planner Weds | Part I : The Single Most Important Event Partner For Our Wedding

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Real Weddings / 09.04.20162 comments

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Kiss in front of St. Francis Cathedral | Photo: Melanie West

I recently got married.  Everything that my wedding planning clients go through, I got to experience first-hand myself.

After producing over 600 weddings in my career, I decided I wanted to do something different for my own wedding. I’m a bit of a rebel at heart and knew that I wanted to make everything fresh, different, perhaps a bit unorthodox, and above all – it had to represent an aspect of my soul, and that of my husband-to-be, Darrel.  I’m a vintage girl at heart and I’ve always been fascinated by the courthouse-style weddings that took place in the 1940’s and 1950’s and think they are incredibly romantic.  This is Part One of two blogs I have coming up under When A Wedding Planner Weds on planning my own secret destination wedding elopement.

We planned a secret destination wedding to one of my favorite locations on earth: Santa Fe, New Mexico. I will share more about the decision behind this in Part Two of this series. But for now, I want to share the single most important event partner for our wedding and how I went about choosing her.

Since our wedding was a top secret and in an incredibly beautiful destination, I knew I wanted memories to look back on that would last a lifetime. I also knew that we would want to share these images with those back home when we returned.

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Our Commitment to Professional Conduct & Its Relation of Core Value to Our Services

Event Planning Advice / 05.29.20160 comments

Photo: MiBelle Photography

Photo Credit: MiBelle Photography

When one interviews potential wedding and event supply partners, checks out their credentials, referrals and work and finally “clicks” with them and is ready to hire them, there is one final gauntlet I suggest the interviewee complete.  I suggest that you have a conversation about the event supplier’s  belief structure in professional conduct the day of the wedding or event.  This includes the individual you are hiring as well as their volunteers and staff.  These particular items are rarely  – if ever – included in service contracts and yet, they are paramount to being at the core center of the caliber of service you are contracting and should expect.   Here are some items for discussion, followed by our own Code of Conduct to all Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events clientele:

  1.   What will you and your staff be wearing the day of my event?
  2.   How many breaks do you take and when?
  3.   Where do you take your breaks and meals?
  4.   What is your philosophy on vendors taking their meals – should they go before guests or after?
  5.   Where do you or your staff smoke?
  6.    What do you do if you see another event service provider dining or smoking in front of guests?
  7.    How do you handle conflict with guests , should drama arise?
  8.    Do you or your staff feel it is alright to partake in the bar or alcohol while working – or on breaks during your contracted time?
  9.   How do you communicate with your fellow staff members during an event?  (example:  do you use two way radios, text, ear piece two way radios, etc.)
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The Reality of “Day-of” Coordination | Why I Won’t Be Your “Day-of” Coordinator

Event Planning Advice / 05.26.20160 comments

ART Caitlin 1With Santa Barbara going from about 5 or 6 leading professional wedding planners a few years ago to about 52 now (last count), couples getting married in this area who are either required by their venue to have a professional event coordinator or simply those knowing the invaluable investment a professional provides,  find themselves in a quandary with the overwhelming amount of choices listed for them now in our area.

The individual wedding coordinators who make up that (approximate) 52 count range from long-time, well-established professionals who are educated, experienced, work continually and are referred by venues and event partners alike, to those who moonlight on the side as a hobby to those who are simply in love with the idea of being a wedding planner (perhaps they planned their own wedding or a friend’s) and think it’s either about pointing people around day-of and/or just hiring vendors who do “pretty” things and services. 

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When Your Caterer, DJ or Venue Manager Says They Will “Coordinate” | Defining “Coordination”

Event Planning Advice / 04.29.20160 comments

Photo Credit: Emily Merrill

Photo Credit:  Emily Merrill

Something new has been emerging in the event and hospitality industry these last several years and it is confusing wedding and event clientele, as well as fellow event supply partners and worst of all: causing communication breakdowns in event execution and expectations. In the end, the event client is paying the price for a substandard quality event because of it.  Let’s address this once and for all, head on:   it is the misuse of the term “event coordinator“.

Below, we take the three most common industry positions who misuse this term (some perhaps unintentionally), or have decided that they are going to gain additional revenue stream and figure they can do what a professional coordinator does and help save the client some money.  What many “day of” professional coordinators charge (around $1200-$3K), they will charge a nominal $500 or so.  To an inexperienced first-time bride, this monetary difference is extremely attractive.  But in the end, one truly gets what they pay for.

Below is a job description that fits 99.999% of the services who say that they do “Coordination” and what that really translates to:

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Top Planning Secrets to Know When Booking A Santa Ynez Valley Outdoor Event

Event Planning Advice / 04.18.20160 comments

Escort "cards" -river rocks with guest's names & table numbers on a bed of moss.

A wind-proof idea: Escort “cards” -river rocks with guest’s names & table numbers on a bed of moss.

Chances are you’ve put a lot of thought into your special event or wedding.  From inspiration boards on Pinterest, bridal shows, magazines and much more.  So, when you found your dream location and booked it, it was like finding “the one” you would marry. It just clicked.  Santa Barbara’s own wine country, The Santa Ynez Valley (made up of five towns: Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Ballard) are filled with epic outdoor event gorgeousness and charming rustic chic glamour.  No wonder so many decide to get married in our wine country.  That said, there are some items that , if known in advance, will not only help you manage your spending plan (budget), but contribute to a seamless event and help ensure the details that you put into all your planning and special touches is actually realized and that your guests are having a great time.  Here are our top highlights of the most common items clients are not told or are overlooked when booking an outdoor special event venue in the Santa Ynez Valley.

“Gone With The Wind”

Pretty much without exception, the wind kicks up in Santa Ynez Valley around 2pm each day and continues until about 7pm.  Whether it’s a hot or cold day, the valley is almost always dusty and it is windy – religiously.  How does this translate to your event?   

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Using Local Event Supply Partners for Your Wedding : Top 4 Benefits

Blog, Event Planning Advice / 04.16.20160 comments

Photo by Dia Rao: Location: Foley Winery

Photo by Dia Rao: Location: Foley Winery | Lighting by SPARK Creative Events

Throughout my years as a Santa Barbara wedding planner, I am always intrigued why some clients choose to hire event supply partners (vendors) outside our area when we have world-class providers right here.  99.9% of all my clients are from outside Santa Barbara.  I’ve observed that that about 1% of clients hire outside-of-the-area vendors because they have a friend who is in the business and will provide the service at no charge; about 5% are from the Los Angeles area and are drawn to a service in their hometown that they can access more easily for appointments and are led to think that no service in Santa Barbara would be able to provide what they are getting in Los Angeles (in extremely rare cases, the latter may be true, depending on the detail of what the client is searching for).  But the majority of Santa Barbara wedding clients will save up to 75% by hiring a world-class local event supply partner.  F

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Wedding Spending Planning Advice: 3 Reasons Not to Re-Use Ceremony Chairs for the Reception

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Rants / 03.17.20162 comments

Bacara Resort Wedding | Photo: Michael Costa

Bacara Resort Wedding | Photo: Michael Costa

When I first started out as a wedding planner,  I saw it all the time and to this day, I understand why it is done, but I do not understand why, with all the options available to manage a budget, couples want to aggravate guests, create a clumsy flow and above all: not actually save that much money in the long run (read on).  We are talking about the use of the same chairs for the ceremony as the reception.  There are other ways to maximize your spending plan (budget) than re-using your ceremony chairs for your reception.  I never, ever recommend this be done, and here are my top reasons why:

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