Tag: Wedding Planner

Raise the Bar

Wedding season is in full swing and I’ve been MIA from my blog.  Today has been the first time in over a month I’ve actually had enough energy and contentment to sit quietly on our patio and just write.

This season feels so different from last year it’s hard to even comprehend where I was at a year ago today.  I had just finished up as campaign assistant to Minister Terry Lake in the provincial election, I was in the process of finishing up a contract planning job at the YMCA, I just finished planning my sister’s June 28th wedding, I had 9 other weddings on top of my own to plan, and we were packing our basement suite for a move to Kelowna.  Last year all I kept saying to myself was to put my head down and get through it.  When it came to leaving for our honeymoon in late September, I was so exhausted I bawled my eyes out for an entire hour before we left.  A tantrum that resembled something of a 2 year old needing a nap crossed with feeling like you were being tortured with the worst hangover of your life.

Something had to give this year.  If I wanted to be a full-time wedding planner I was going to have to make a lot of changes.  It started with the move to the Okanagan but that was just the beginning.  I attended a one-on-one workshop with one of California’s top wedding planners, I hired a business coach, I got creative with behind the scenes branding, I paid close attention to what blogs and magazines were looking for and got featured 11 times, I networked and marketed, and studied business books every spare hour I had time for.  And when all of that was done, I raised my rates. Significantly.  After 10 months of living in Kelowna, I have increased my average booking rate by 500%.  Though it was really never about the money. I just wanted to raise the bar for myself. Really raise it.  Enough that my brides saw and felt value in my new pricing and that I felt creative and inspired enough to make this my full-time career.

There’s no doubt I feel exhausted this season but it’s definitely different.  For the first time since becoming a wedding planner I feel like every extra hour I put in and every detail I obsess over  is being recognized and valued. Every lost hour of sleep and every painful step with sore feet after a wedding day is worth it.  My clients are worth it.

I’m so excited to get to wake up and live my dream job every single day.  I’ll be attending a styling workshop this October in Whistler with one of the most talented stylists in the US, Joy Thigpen.  And I hope to continue to push to be a better entrepreneur and planner every single year.

Here’s to an amazing summer full of the most beautiful weddings.

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 Best is Yet to Come

I have a really strong sense of intuition.  Not in a way that I should have my own Charmed tv show or grown up as Matilda or anything, but I get really strong gut instincts.  I’m pretty sure I get it from my mom.  I actually base a lot of my life and business decisions off intuition… even sometimes down to where I submit weddings for features.  And I don’t think very hard about business decisions… which actually made me laugh out loud as I typed this.  I’m not telling you not to think, but perhaps stop thinking so much and start doing more.  When you feel that gut instinct that you want more in your business or more in your life just do it.  What bigger of a nudge are you looking for?  It’s the gut instincts that tell you not to do something that you need to really listen to.

Some call it intuition, some call it fate, some call it coincidence, and others call it God.  I believe God knows our life path long before we ever do and that he pulls on our heart strings when we need it most. But!  To each their own of what they want to call it.

Yesterday, I was in yoga and could not focus for the life of me.  I swear I must have been a second behind everyone else because I just wasn’t processing what I was supposed to be doing.  I looked over at Royce so annoyingly content in his practice and didn’t understand why this class was challenging me so hard.  All I could think about was business.  Was I doing everything I needed to be doing? Was I pushing hard enough? What should I be doing differently?  Am I going in the right direction? I laid down at the end of practice in savasana and felt defeated and angry for not clearing my head during the 1 hour I had dedicated to me.  I always pray in the last 5 minutes of class, usually thanking God for many aspects of my life then praying for guidance in the areas I feel I really need it.  So I began to pray and then the instructor said, “The best is yet to come.” I literally almost cried.  Out of all the classes I’ve been to I’ve never heard an instructor say that.  It was the very line from my new Created Lovely Bride website that I’ve been stressing about for the last month.  The line I’m using for all of my new bride branding.  Call it whatever you want, but it was everything I needed to hear in that moment.  The little nudge I needed to keep doing what I’m doing.

 

thebest

 

 

“Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs

 

xonicole

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas!

I’m the worst holiday partier. For real guys. New Year’s Eve? I’m pumped to have a wedding booked that day. St.Patrick’s Day? I’ll probably dye my sugar and milk green like my mom used to do and call it a party. But Valentine’s Day, that’s a day to get creative and share some love people!!

I say get creative, because I loathe red roses, expensive dinners, and choc… okay I love chocolate. But the other two can go.

Here’s some date ideas worth doing this year:

1. Theme Night!– I got this from a past bride on her upcoming Valentine’s Day plans. To commemorate their honeymoon travelling thorough Asia, they’re having an all things Thai night.

2. Skating & Cocoa (spiked of course)– One of my current brides loves celebrating Valentine’s Day with her now fiance by cooking dinner at home then grabbing their skates and a thermos full of hot chocolate and Beileys for an old fashioned adorable date night.

3. Wine & Appy Night– Get a group of your couple friends together or non-couples (Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the dating & married) and have everyone bring one bottle of wine and one appy to the host’s house. Pull out the board games and make an evening of it. Valentine’s Day is to be shared with those you love, and I love my friends!

4. Photo Scavenger Hunt– One of my faves for sure. Have a friend make a list of 10-20 photos you need to get together and put it in an envelope. When you’re ready for your date, rip it open, hop in your car and go! I did this for Royce’s birthday yesterday. The list included: a coffee cup, a place you’ve never been, a present, a selfie, and many others. Suggestion for Valentine’s Day: shameless selfie, photo of a couple on a date, photo of a heart, dessert, something you love.

5. Chopped– Go to the grocery store and stock your fridge with fresh veggies, a couple meat options, and dessert ingredients. Choose which of you is going to make dinner and who is going to make dessert. If your hubby is on dinner, write down 3 ingredients he has to use. If you’re making dessert, have him write down 3 ingredients you have to use. And just like the show Chopped, get cookin’! 30 minutes to make your dinner and dessert and you have to include the 3 listed ingredients in your dish. (You could do this with couple friends too where you compete with appys, dinner, or dessert items.)

6. Fort Night– Need I say more? I love building forts!! Set some ground rules though. Fort building will not commence until all parties are in pajamas. No access to the fort without a glass of wine (or bottle). Board games, card games, or movies are encouraged while visiting the fort. All forts need photographic evidence of their awesomeness.

7. Breakfast in Bed– This is a must-do at some point in your relationship. But who says it’s just for the morning? Make mimosas, pancakes, peaches, whipped cream, bacon, and hash browns in the evening and bring it to bed (or if you’re really awesome, in the fort!!). Make this even better with pjs & movies.

8. Bowling- Oh yeah, bringin’ it back to grade 5 birthday parties. Grab your favourite friends and book a lane at your local bowling alley. Bonus points if you have team uniforms and names. After you’re done, head to one of your places for nacho and sangria night.

9. Pizza Night– I make the best homemade pizza. It’s one of the only things I’m actually good a cooking, so last year Royce and I made homemade heart shaped pizza and drank wine on our living room floor with movies. This could also be changed to homemade Blizzard night, fondue night, appy night, or anything else involving eating at home…

10. Just Drive– I love car rides. Spontaneous ones. Hop in the car and take turns saying “left, right, or straight” and see where it takes you! It’s a great way to explore new areas of the city you live in, it’s cheap, and it’s surprisingly fun. We usually grab McDonald’s sundaes or a Starbucks when we do this and end up taking pictures or going for a walk when we find an area worth stopping.

And if you realllly can’t decide on date night, put some of your top favourite dates in a jar and pull from it on Valentine’s Day morning.

xonicole

Goal Setting

This past weekend, Royce and I had the chance to escape to Sparkling Hill Resort. Two days of bliss in white robes, slippers, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubbing, infinity pools… I could go on and on about how great it was (minus the food… not so good).  Our intention wasn’t to go as a break from life or work, it was just to regain focus on what matters to us.  Number one was our relationship.  I can honestly say I love Royce more today than the day we got married.  And that was just two and a half months ago.  We’re learning each day small ways to nurture our relationship.  We have an unspoken rule that when the other person comes home we always take a moment to pause from what we’re doing to greet each other at the door.  That may seem odd but it’s amazing how much of a change you’ll see in your relationship.

Our second focus was business inspiration.  When we did a tour at Sparkling Hill a couple weeks ago I saw this amazing white room with comfy lounge chairs, a beautiful view, and hot tea and I was dying to grab a business book and just read for the day.  So when we packed for our trip we each grabbed our favourite books and our notepads and were ready to be inspired.  The Tea Room and Serenity Room did not disappoint.  Though I can’t tell you how many times I turned to Royce and whispered, “You know what this place is missing? Hot chocolate. That’s all I want right now.” Their damn cleanse mentality really sucks the fun out of being in a robe with a good book.  Anyhow, while I sipped my unsatisfying cucumber & lemon water Royce and I got so excited about what we were reading and learning about; quickly bouncing ideas back and forth about what we can change with our businesses to grow into what we want them to become.

So with 2014 just a mere 2 weeks away, goal setting has become my sole focus.  My PowerSheets from Lara Casey are in the mail, my hot yoga membership for January is purchased (thanks to Royce’s surprise Christmas gift), and my mind is buzzing with inspiration. I’m creating 3 personal goals, 3 business goals and 2 financial goals for 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.  Without a goal how do you know if you’re on the right track?

So far my personal goals for 2014 include:

1) Do hot yoga a minimum of 3 days a week for 1 year (I really love yoga and I have lumbar spine instability so my body actually needs it)

2) Eat gluten free for all of January 2014 (I’ve tried it out today and so far I’m feeling better than any other morning)

3) TBD

My business goals are private but hopefully you’ll see visible changes and growth in Created Lovely in 2014!  I think it’s so important to set goals and really stick to them.  Make sure they’re SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

Example:

Bad: Lose weight

Better: Lose 5lbs by March 2014.

Example 2:

Bad: Spend less money on myself

Better: Create a budget of $50 a month for personal spending in 2014

I write them down in a pretty notebook to feel more concrete and I’m going to frame them on my wall in our office to hold myself accountable.

Are you working on any goals for 2014?  I’d love to hear them so that others can be inspired too!

xonicole