Category: A Lovely Life

Staying Organized

It’s taken me 4 1/2 years of university, 3 years of owning a business, and 3 years of living with Royce to develop an organization system that works for me.  Today I’m sharing that with all of you in case you can take away any tips to make your life more organized!

1. Write it down

I’m a type A person and I have a pretty good memory but when my client list began to grow I started forgetting more than I was comfortable with.  That’s when I started writing it all down.  Every single thing I do work wise in a day gets written down and checked off.  Travel, yoga, and special events get highlighted, and anything missed that day gets circled.  Anything circled gets done first the following day.

Why this works: 
1. Who doesn’t love checking things off their to-do’s?!
2. When your life is crazy with work, it helps you feel a much greater sense of accomplishment for what got done that day as opposed to thinking there’s just so much left to do.
3. If I can’t remember if I sent an email or not, I always have a hard copy reference of when something got done (or what didn’t).

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2. Sync Calendars

My day planner comes with me everywhere, but Royce is much more digital based than I am so now every calendar of ours is synced.  My iPad, MacBook Air, iPhone, and iMac are all synced to the same calendar so I don’t miss a beat.  Royce colour codes all of his weddings in yellow and all of mine are in purple.  We have a joint colour too so we know where the other is expected to be if we forget to tell each other face to face (ahem… if he forgets to tell me… I always tell him.)

Why this works:

1. It’s been a huge lifesaver for financial stress.  I know when he’s working so when money is coming in and vise versa.
2. We were constantly forgetting each other’s schedules.  Small arguements of forgetting to tell the other (ahem) about a meeting or shoot the other was supposed to helping with no longer exist! Happy wife, happy life right?

3. Get a Notebook

I swear by my notebooks.  Again, the write it down tactic.  Every single consultation I do gets dated and written down with all major wedding details.  Ie) Wedding date, wedding venues, estimated ceremony and reception time, booked vendors, wedding colours, bridal party size, and wedding theme.  I can’t tell you how many times I reference back to these pages with brides.  After every consultation I type up my meeting notes and send them back to my bride if she needs them and otherwise keep them for myself in her client folder.

Why this works:

1. It’s easier to remember what needs to get done after the consultation if it’s written down.
2. If your consultation is dated, you can never forget the last time you met with a client and where they were at in their planning stages.
3. I draw ideas and room layouts so often in a consultation, it’s so nice to have a notebook around for your non-visual brides and for yourself to look back on closer to the wedding date.

4. Folders 

Royce nagged me for years to organize my computer better… fine Royce. You win, okay?! My life is now 1000 times easier because of you.  I have all my business folders in dropbox so I can pick it up from any apple device I own.  That way, I never have to worry if my computer dies in a meeting or if I quickly need to reference something.  My folders are labelled as such:

Created Lovely Brides 2014– Folder for each client with every vendor contract, basic wedding schedule, and master schedule
Created Lovely Contracts 2014– Every bride has a number starting from 100 that corresponds with their invoice and receipt number. Example Title: Created Lovely Contract #141- Nicole & Royce
Get Money- Invoices 2014– Example Title: Created Lovely Invoice #141- Nicole & Royce
Got Money- Receipts 2014- Example Title: Created Lovely Receipt #141- Nicole & Royce
Any revisions to invoices or receipts get updated on the original invoice/receipt and saved as a new title so I never send the wrong one.
Example Revision: Created Lovely Receipt #141- Nicole & Royce (revised May 1, 2014)
Taxes 2014– Any workshops, graphic design, domain hosting, etc. receipt I’ve received via email for taxes
Vendor Pricing– Any vendor pricing I’ve been sent
Styled Shoots– A folder for every shoot I do with inspiration board and final images

And then of course a million more to keep my life feeling like it’s organized.

There you have it!  That’s how I attempt to live an organized life.  Hope this is helpful!

 

xonicole

Wedding Place Settings

The topic of conversation with my brides lately is place settings.  What is each seat going to look like?  The way in which you fold your napkins can make a huge difference in how the room looks.  I remember the first wedding I ever did, I refolded 150 napkins 3 different times because I couldn’t decide how the room should look… something I definitely didn’t have the time to be doing but in the end, I’m glad I did!

A few things to consider when choosing your place setting:

1. Formality:  How formal do you want your wedding to be?  Typically the more elaborate the place setting the more formal your reception will feel.  Charger plates, place cards, and printed menus are a great way to bring a unique touch to your place setting.

2. Dinner: What are you serving?
Buffet- plate not on the table (typically)
Family style- plate on the table
Plated dinner: charger plate, no plate on the table
French service: charger plate and plate on the table

3. Napkin Fold: How do you want your napkins to look?
Pocket: great for menu cards or for utensils if you have a basic place setting
Hanging off the charger: simple but perfect for a ribbon or tied place card
In between dinner & side plate: one of my favourite folds and so sophisticated if you change the colour of the napkin to stand out from the dishware.
Accordion fold: also known as the napkin fan.  I’m personally not a fan (pun intended) but it can work if your place settings need a bit of texture.

See some place settings I’ve done below!

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AdrianPhotography.ca AdrianPhotography.ca2014-04-17_0011 2014-04-17_0012

xonicole

Authenticity

Oh my gosh, if my university professors even new I was writing this blog they’d think it was the best thing in the world.  There is no word I hated studying more in my bachelor of Tourism than “authenticity”.  Of course that was because I was prodominently studying what it meant to keep a tourism related aspect authentic to it’s visitors… to which I was usually sitting there thinking, “I just want to create pretty things. Just surround my entire life with coffee dates, flowers, and pretty weddings.” Let’s just say my essays on cultural authenticity didn’t get the highest of marks.  Moving on.

To me, being authentic in regards to being a business owner means to live, act, and share in your truest and most genuine form.  Whether people agree with what you’re saying or not, as long as it’s the most honest form of who you are and what you believe in then I think that’s what it means to be authentic.  I believe it’s important that your clients and fellow vendors trust you and the only way to do that is to be real.

I see businesses taking shortcuts.  Posting work that isn’t theirs.  Liking work to have their name seen.  Commenting on photos to have their name seen.  Connecting with popular people or businesses to grow their exposure.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being creative in your marketing and networking– we’re all guilty of it.  But there’s something to be said about a private message or commenting from your personal account instead of your business account.  I love it.  I have never wanted to network more or share people’s work more than when they’ve taken the time to be genuine with me.

I want to know about the people I work with.  I want to know why they do what they do, what inspires them, what ways I can make doing their job easier, what kind of family life they have.  I want to know my clients on a personal level.  I want to know where they met, how they know their bridal party, why they want a certain type of wedding, why they chose me as their wedding planner.  I want authentic relationships.

I think if we all put in our strongest effort to be authentic in everything we do that we would see drastic changes in our work and our relationships.

P.S.- If any of my past professors are reading this… A+ right?

 

xonicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Why

I’ve spoken in past blogs about how I became a wedding planner kind of on a whim.  I didn’t make a business plan.  I didn’t shadow or mentor anyone.  I’d never planned my own wedding.  I’d never even worked on another wedding before.  And while I feel that gave me a fresh perspective to do everything in my own way with my own systems, I feel like I missed a crucial step in my business process.

My goal really up until this point was to prove to myself that I could make this work.  That my business could succeed if I pushed hard enough, delivered superior customer service, and produced good work.  I don’t think that’s an uncommon goal.  But I’ve spent so much time striving for higher numbers.  Higher bookings.  Higher instagram followers.  Higher Facebook likes.  Higher rates.  Higher numbers of features.  I relied on those numbers to depict how successful Created Lovely was.

However, I find that as those numbers grow I’m finding myself less and less satisfied.  I’ve completely missed the point.  I’ve missed the one crucial question of running a successful business.  I’ve lost my “why”.  I’ve become so focused on how to grow my numbers and make a living that I’ve forgotten the sole purpose of why I do what I do.  I don’t even know if I’ve lost it and much as I’ve never sat down to really think long and hard about it in the first place.

I love “love”.  I love weddings.  I love playing a part in one of the most important days of peoples lives.  I love being creative.  I love decor and pretty things.  But there’s more to it.  And you’ll see that all soon.

So now is a really exciting time for me and Created Lovely.  I’ve hired my first business coach.  Now is truly the time to grow.  I’m so excited to be focussing on getting to the core of who I am, what Created Lovely is and what it’s about to become.  Never again will it be about numbers, income, or competition.  My mind is spinning just thinking about all the things to come.

Starting next week I’ll be taking a huge leap into tearing Created Lovely apart and building it back together to be so much more than I ever thought possible.  Thank-you for following along and supporting me up until this point and I hope you like what you see in the future.

The best is yet to come.

 

xonicole

 

 

A little ‘like’ goes a long way

A couple weeks ago I saw a really important post on instagram that I can’t for the life of me remember who it was from… but I swear it was important.  It was about supporting friend’s businesses and how much it means when you ‘like’ or share something. So here we go…

Marketing is tough.  It’s my favourite part of business but man alive is it ever hard to be good at not only what your business is focused on, but also manage every other aspect of it all.  I whole heartedly believe that if you want people to know you then you have to:

1) Do great work

2) Deliver the best of the best service

3) Get creative

I think it’s your responsibility to market yourself.  It’s your job to ensure you’re pushing and doing as much as you possibly can to get your name out there and grow your business to whatever capacity you’re aiming for in the most professional and kind way possible. (No gimmicks or phoniness please & thanks.)

But this blog is for the rest of you.  I’d like to ask something of all of you Facebookers/Instagrammers/Tweeters/Followers without businesses.  Give us all a break.  If you respect what you see a friend doing by trying to grow their business, please help them out.  Please give them a like.  Give them a share.  Spread some word of mouth.  Anything.  You have no idea how long of a ways that goes and just how much it’s appreciated.  One ‘like” can lead to many more likes on our pages that day.  One share can mean one new potential client comes our way.

This isn’t about asking for handouts.  This is about acknowledging the work you see people put into their businesses and giving a small part back by saying, “hey, I like and support what you do. And I want to see you continuing to do that *like!*”

Most days I write in depth blogs I get private messages or phone calls from people.  And there just aren’t the words to express how much encouragement that brings me.  So please spread that to others you see working hard at their businesses.  It’s hard work being an entrepreneur and a little ‘like’ goes a long way.

xonicole