Friday, October 30, 2009

Notes from the Future Mrs - Are Your Vendors the Right Fit?

Choosing the right vendors. This may be one of the most important decisions for a bride. And a difficult one, to say the least. My friends always tell me, "Planning your wedding must be so easy because you work in the industry", and "You're so lucky you work for a wedding planner". Well, to be honest, it's not so easy. And it doesn't always feel so lucky. Only being able to choose a few vendors from the sea of talented people that I have met in the past year is hard. Really hard. And to be perfectly frank, I have hit points where I just want other people to make the choices for me so I don't have to.

Here is the honest truth. Having every vendor I know be a part of my big day would be like a dream come true. That's impossible, yes, but the truth. Is that greedy? Maybe a tad. Alright, alright, maybe a lot...I know. But the arts that people master in this industry blow my mind every single day. You can't really blame me for wanting them all there, can you?

At the end of the day though, it's important for me as a bride to remember a couple things. One, I simply cannot afford everyone's service (I do have a budget after all). And two, just because I like someone's work, it doesn't mean it's the right match for my wedding.

So what's my point to this whole rant? My point is that this is true for any bride, not just me. No bride should go into debt trying to afford certain vendors. No bride should get sucked into hiring a vendor that they know is not the best fit either.

Being on both ends of the wedding planning spectrum {vendor and client}, I learned something. Vendors should not bend their entire business trying to fit with the wrong client. Nor should the clients bend themselves to fit a specific vendor. The results are never pretty and no one walks away feeling good. Either you fit, or you don't. And it's okay if you don't. It's being able to identify what works for you that really matters.

Here's to hoping brides {and vendors} keep these thoughts in mind when making tough decisions. I know I'm not the only one out there facing these challenges.

Good luck,
~ Jillian

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Debut of Gwyneth Paige

It's up. It's up. The blog is up! That's right everyone. The Gwyneth Paige blog went live this morning. And she's real pretty, if I do say so myself!

Please swing by and take a look at her. She's been a labor of love for Andrea, Jillian and myself. And we're pretty proud of our newest addition.

There's a whole lot to come in the weeks and months ahead so be sure to become a follower of Gwyneth Paige's blog and keep track of her on Twitter, too!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Monster Mash!

In the spirit of love and the celebration of Halloween, my lovely brother Jeff created this masterpiece on JibJab in honor of my family. Please make note. My husband is the 'vampire' and my sister's husband is the 'werewolf'.' Our son Seth is the 'mad scientist,' Gretchen is 'frankenstein,' and I, well, I'm not quite sure who I am but I've got some awfully fantastic hair!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Husband vs. Deer

Last night/9:00pm
'Jodi, bad news. I just hit a deer.'
'Are you kidding me? You know that's not funny. I just got the car back from the body shop on Thursday fixing the damage from the lady who rear-ended me!'
'No, I'm not kidding. Can you call the police and tell them I'm at 76th and Hanna Lake?'
'Crap. You're not kidding!'
'No, I'm not.'
'Are you okay?''I'm fine but your car isn't. And it's leaking fluid everywhere. We need to take it right over to the body shop.'

'Towne and Country Auto Body, this is Alden.'
'Hi Alden, it's Jodi Bos.'
'Why Jodi! Long time no see! I loved all the fur on your front bumper! Fantastic work.'
'I swear, Alden. This one was my husband's fault!'
'Well, we're looking at about 2 to 3 weeks in the shop to repair all the damage. And it just might be totaled.'

Fantastic. Just fantastic. This is exactly how I like to start a week!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - Engagement Photo Teaser

Recently, I have been on a little blogging "vacation". Saying that these past few months were busy would be an understatement of the century. But now that we're through all the incredible events that we've participated in this fall, I am back on track! And my wedding planning hiatus has come to a end. Finally.

Below is sneak preview of my most recent accomplishment. I can now proudly announce that I have checked "engagement photos" off of my to-do list! Chris and I spent last Saturday exploring downtown Grand Rapids with the extremely talented Jen Kroll of Jen Kroll Photography. Anyone who follows In Any Event's blog is no stranger to the fact that Jen photographs most of the events for In Any Event. Jodi actually has a long-standing joke that "Jesus lives in her lens". It's true. Her work is unbelievable, and I am thrilled we are able to have her as our photographer.

For the shoot, we went to various spots including Rosa Parks Circle, St. Cecilia Music Center, and Jen's own studio space. Our day, although a little chilly, turned out great. And I think Chris actually enjoyed himself, which is a big "wow" because you couldn't hand-pick two people that are more uncomfortable in front of the camera than us. But Jen managed to handle it all with grace.

Many thanks to you, Jen, for spending your Saturday with us and making the whole process a fun (and painless) experience!

Hope you all enjoy these!

~ Jillian

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fox 17 News Wedding Special on the Morning Show

Last week on Wednesday, Jodi was able to team up with Kelly Stroburg, from the Grand Rapids Bride, to appear on the morning show for Fox 17 News. They got to dish about weddings and highlight the all-too-fantastic bridal show, Grand Rapids Wedding Affair.

If you missed the show on Wednesday, be sure to check out Kelly and Jodi as they discuss their thoughts on wedding trends and give all the details on West Michigan's most elegant bridal show.

It was honor for In Any Event to be invited along on this segment and a fantastic experience. Many thanks to Kelly and Fox 17!

~ Jillian

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Baby Brother's Wedding

It seems like a lifetime ago. My brother Jason's wedding, that is. But it was only a short month and a half ago. A lot has taken place between then and now. Many events have filled our calendar. But this event was a special one because it was for my baby brother.

There were so many amazing vendors who worked on Jason and Jen's wedding. Modern Day Floral blew us out of the water with their amazing interpretation of 'Orchard Chic.' Special Events Rental rocked out the tent, custom fabric draping, chandeliers, and the china/stemware/flatware. And Jen Kroll captured the day perfectly as only she could.

Please enjoy the amazing slide show put together by the uber fabulous Jen Kroll!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gwyneth Paige

Remember the post a couple of months ago about our new letterpress company, Gwyneth Paige? Well, some exciting things are happening. First, we'll soon launch a blog dedicated to Gwyneth Paige and all the things we love about her. The blog site is in the hands of the designer right now and our goal is to issue the first post mid to late next week.

We're also putting the finishing touches on our first set of designs. I couldn't be more excited about them. Our Creative Director, Andrea, has done an amazing job capturing the look and feel I dreamed for Gwyneth Paige.

So, you're probably wondering about the photo above. Well, this is the sign that has been lovingly designed and hand painted for our booth at the National Stationery Show by Paula of Castle and Cottage Designs. Seriously, don't you love it? It makes me so incredibly happy!

So, stay tuned for more on Gwyneth Paige. And be sure to follow the new blog!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ten Things You Need to Know

I receive emails and phone calls on a daily basis from girls who want to explore the possibility of becoming a wedding and event planner. Many want to meet with me over coffee to discuss the path I took that got me to the place I am today.

Unfortunately, I'm rarely able to fulfill these requests. Not because I don't want to. But because I have a precious family, a demanding business, and girlfriends I don't get to spend enough time with. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

That brings me to the point of this post. The requests for internships, shadow appointments and coffee dates seem to be at an all-time high these days. And as I was laying in bed a few nights ago, the idea of putting together a post for prospective event planners came to me.

So, for all of those wonderful girls who have contacted us, sent your resume, and tried to make an appointment to meet us, please know that I appreciate you all and your enthusiasm for this amazing line of work. This post is written just for you in hopes of inspiring, encouraging and educating.

Ten Things You Need to Know if You Want to be an Event Planner

  1. This is tough work. Not just physically but also mentally. Be prepared to blow the sweat dry from your hair with a blow dryer 15 minutes before your guests walk in. And be prepared to deal with clients that you will never make happy. No matter how hard you try. You need tough skin in this line of work. You need to be able to set healthy work boundaries. And you need to be willing to walk away from the wrong client when your gut tells you something is not right.
  2. You don't get to where we are overnight. Don't expect to graduate from college and land the event planning job of your dreams. You must be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up. Nothing good in life ever happens without blood, sweat, and tears. This year marks 16 years in the industry for me. My first couple of years out of college I was a copy writer at an advertising agency. I learned all about design, production, printing, and account management. Those years were immensely valuable to me and laid a crucial foundation. The bulk of my career was spent at a private college, first in the special events office managing space around campus and facilitating events. Then as the sole event planner to the President of the college and the myriad of events he hosted at his home and across the country. There I learned the nuts and bolts. I learned how to squeeze blood from a turnip when it came to stretching a design dollar. I wasn't given a lot of money to work with but I created magic with what I had. During those years I dreamed of having my very own event planning firm. But, I knew then that I wanted to do the big, fancy stuff. And I was willing to wait until I had the experience I needed and the established reputation to become a viable competitor in the market. All this to say, please establish yourself before you hang your shingle out. Nothing irritates me more than an individual with an entitlement attitude. It's not attractive and it says to me that you're not in it for the long haul. If you're not willing to perfect your skills doing jobs that aren't so glamorous but necessary for the knowledge bank, then you only bring the industry that I love down. And that's not fair to those of us who have worked so incredibly hard.
  3. Can you solve 10 issues in 30 seconds without second-guessing yourself? If your answer is 'yes,' then you're on your way. This work is not for an indecisive individual. You need to be able to make a decision and move on without a second thought. This skill is crucial to your success.
  4. Organization is King. Enough said.
  5. Know your limitations. You may be a fantastic details-person with execution skills like no other but struggle in the area of event design. Be sure to find someone to work with who's got an eye for design then. I happen to have been blessed with an innate sense of design and the ability to execute details. But this isn't the case for everyone. So, be sure to celebrate what you're good at and ask for help at what doesn't come as easy.
  6. Volunteer. Volunteer. Volunteer. There are so many amazing non-profits out there who do fundraisers and are dying for assistance. Find an organization that you're passionate about and work your tail off for them. Turn your energy into a grass-roots effort to build your skills, knowledge and resume.
  7. Learn to write. You're going to be doing it all the time in this business. There are proposals to get the job. Invitations to pen. Speeches to craft. Thank you letters to send out. And the list goes on. If this is something you struggle with then take a business writing class.
  8. Align yourself with the best. One of my dearest girlfriends often says, 'If you lie with dogs, you're bound to get fleas.' I love this quote! Surround yourself daily with the greatest in the industry. Read all the books out there. Follow the amazing people on Twitter and read great blogs. But don't just limit yourself to event specific literature. Read and study anything that's of interest to you. Chances are, it will translate itself into one of your events.
  9. Always persevere. When the chips are down and you're feeling like you're never going to reach your desired goal, stay positive and remember that slow and steady wins the race. Keep your chin up and remember why you're doing what you're doing. And don't lose sight of that goal.
  10. Passion is not something that can ever be taught. It needs to burn in your belly. Integrity can't be learned either. You need to have both to be a success in this industry.

Best wishes to each one of you who dreams of becoming a successful event planner. The work is hard but so rewarding!