Give Me One Good Reason I Should Hire a Wedding Planner

I can do better than that, I can give you 5 reason off the top of my head why you should hire a wedding consultant.  The age old question is what do planners actually do and what value add do they bring?

BUDGET ANALYSIS

Do you have trouble budgeting in your day-to-day life?  Well budgeting for your wedding is equally as important.  Planners can work with you first to help you determine your true budget by walking you through all of the elements that should be considered for your wedding.  Although all weddings have some common ground, there may be things specifically for your wedding that would need to be considered.  Most planners have wedding checklists that includes a budget analysis.  A budget will tell you how much you should spend on each major element of your wedding, and it can also help you manage and track what you’ve spent and if you are in jeopardy of going over budget.  I also use the budget to help align my clients with great vendors that fit within their price point.

VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS

Who better than a planner to help you find vendors that fit YOU!  Event planners work with various vendors that all have different pricing, styles, availability, and personalities.  Because a planner works so closely with the bride and groom they understand their wants, needs, personalities, and style.  It is very important to be aligned with the correct vendor.  A planner will be able to take the knowledge they have obtained to pair the couple with just the right vendor.  I want my bride and groom to feel as comfortable with their vendors as they are with me.  The goal is to build an A+ team for my A+ client.

 TIME AND STRESS

Planning a wedding can be a full time job at times.  It takes about 250 hours to plan a wedding.  So add this time, to your already busy schedule of either working, going to school, taking care of family, and did I mention you have to fit sleeping in there somewhere.  If you are having issues trying to juggle everything and stay on task, you should hire a planner.  A planner can remove the stress of planning the wedding.  If only we could quantity the value of having a stress free life, I think we would all be rich.  It is so important for you to enjoy the planning process.  Don’t stress your planning experience away.

MONEY

Planners can help save you money.  Vendors often will give planners special pricing that is passed on to their couple.  Planners are also able to help negotiate fair pricing which can also save money.  I often save my full service clients between $500 and $2,000.

THOSE HIDDEN THINGS

Life happens and planners are experienced in handling sticky situations, as well as, warding off situations that may occur.  Often times, the little things that occur never get to the bride and groom because the planner and his or her team has already resolved it.  Who wouldn’t want the assurance of enjoying their day, knowing that the planner is taking care of all of the details?

These are just a few notes on the value that a planner can bring.  Often clients wished they had hired a planner.  Huffington Post published an article “Why We Didn’t Hire a Wedding Planner..But Wish We Had”  which gives a reflection from a bride on hiring a planner.  I got married 8 years ago, and although I had been a wedding planner for 10 years, I’m sure glad I hired someone to ensure my vision was brought to life.

Take Care,

Erika

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2014 New Year’s Resolution

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Well we are closing in on another year out with the old and in with the new.  I don’t know about you, but this has been a humdinger of a year for me.  I have faced many challenges over the course of the last 12 months, many I would not want to experience again.  I have seen many posts and discussions about New Year’s Resolutions.  I have even been a part of many of those discussions.  Often times, when talking about our resolutions, we want to focus on the things we would like to change in for the New Year or that we want to do differently.

 This year, I am switching the focus a bit.  Of course, there are things that I am working on both personally and professionally.  But there are some things that I am pretty darn happy with and so I want to countdown my top 10 work/life philosophies that I want to carry into the New Year with me.  Are you ready?

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CREATIVITY allows you to dream BIG.  I encourage you to think outside the box.  Some of the best ideas have been birthed by what I call “crazy thinking.”  Often times I’ll have ideas that seem even outlandish to me.  They at times don’t make sense, but when I put all of the elements together those are the times when I have created some of my best pieces of work.

Glitter Gold 9I want to be able to always provide supreme VALUE to my clients.  I believe they deserve the best I have to give whether it’s during a planning session, vendor meeting, or on event day.  I want every encounter we have to add value to their life.

 

 
Glitter Gold 8Paying ATTENTION TO DETAILS is one of the things I strive to improve upon daily for my events.  I love to take a client’s vision and to incorporate one key element into every element of the event, albeit entertainment, design, or décor.  I once had a bride who wanted to be a princess, not only did she dress like a princess, but she was pulled by statesmen to her groom in a white carriage.  She was then transported from the ceremony to the reception site in a horse drawn carriage.  I love finding ways to pull unique elements into my client’s day.

 

Glitter Gold 7GRIT is the same thing as passion, sticking to it, pushing forward even when there are multiple things stacked against you.  This is so important in life.  You never know who you may inspire while you’re pushing your way through.  I have often found at times, I inspired myself.

 

 

Glitter Gold 6PROFESSIONALISM that should be displayed in everything that you do.  Other’s want to know that you take what you do seriously.  This is displayed in how you run meetings, the tone and look of your emails, and even your overall demeanor.

 

 

Glitter Gold 5I believe that we either learn something new every day, or gain insight into things that we already know.  GROWTH is so important.  I never want to stay stagnant.  I love to feed my mind with new things, whether it’s learning a new word, learning something about a new topic, or even learning a new game during my down time.  I can always count on my hubby to help me grow in the news area, he is a LOVES the news and always keeps me abreast of what’s going on in our world.  I truly appreciate him for that because I would spend all my time creating all day :).

 

Glitter Gold 4POSITIVITY can make a difference in how your day goes.  Have you ever been down and then someone came and just started speaking positive thoughts into your life?  Or have you have just started reading some motivational material and it just pulls your inner spirit up.  I’ve learned that life happens, and often times we are dealt lemons, but I am so grateful for the person who came up with the saying “when life hands you lemons make lemonade,” because how you choose to deal with life’s happenings can mean a new opportunity, a new creative idea, or even a new encounter with someone.  Negativity drains so much out of you.  It is said that it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile and I’m all about conserving energy :).

 

Glitter Gold 3 GREAT RELATIONSHIPS is a must for everyone.  I am a firm believer, that EVERY one doesn’t need to know your business, however, it is important to have a close circle of friends who can encourage you, who you can bounce ideas off of, or who can just be there when you need them.  These relationship should be cultivated and they should always be reciprocal.  We often get into relationships that are one sided and one person’s needs aren’t being met.  I’m talking about those times when you both are giving 110%.  And yes, those type of people are out there, and they are just waiting for YOU!

 

Glitter Gold 2INTEGRITY is one of the most important elements of you and your business.  You have to create an environment where your clients and vendors can trust that you will operate in their best interest.  This means meeting deadlines and delivering what you promise.  I was always taught by my parents that if you don’t have your word, you don’t have anything.  This is a philosophy that I currently live by.

 
Glitter Gold 1Lastly I want the LOVE of God to shine so brightly through me that my clients, vendors, and prospects all experience the same love that my family and friends receive.  It is easier to love those who we are in constant relationship with, but I want to be able to love everyone because love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, and it is not proud.

 
Although I placed a numbering system with the items they are ALL important and valuable attributes I think that are important for your mind, body and soul.  I am so happy for all the support you’ve shown me over this past year.  I look forward to growing together in 2015.  Happy New Year.

Let's Do This

Take Care,

Erika

Wedding Invitations 101 – Assembling Your Invitations

Assembling your wedding invitations closes out our series on Wedding Invitations 101.   It’s a simple task right?  All you have to do is put the invitation in the envelope, seal, and send.  Well yes, but keep in mind, your invitation is the first sneak peek your guests see of your wedding day.  Don’t you want it to be the best impression that can be made?  It’s not just about making a good impression, but assembling the invitation wrong defies the laws of nature :).  Well not actually, but it makes it a little easier for your guests when opening the invite.

Assembling your invitation:

  • Lay your invitation down with the wording face up if it is a folded invite, insert the folded edge first, if it is a single card invite, insert the left edge.
  • Next start placing your enclosure cards on top of the invitation in size order with the smallest on top and wording face up.
  • For the response card you will need to tuck it under its envelope flap, also wording face up.
  • If you have tissue paper, then you would put a piece on top of the invitation packet and then slide into the inner envelope.
  • The unsealed inner envelope is then placed in the outer envelope with names facing upward so when the envelope is opened the names of the guest are visible.

Wedding Invitations

But we’re not done.  It is also important to address both the inner and outer envelopes correctly.

Addressing your inner envelope:

The inner envelope lets the bride and groom signify exactly who is invited to the wedding.  If you have a family of four that has two children your envelope would be addressed as such:

Mr. and Mrs. Bowers
Brandon Bowers
Gabrielle Bowers

*It is also appropriate to write names informally such as Uncle Tony and Auntie Erika

Addressing your outer envelope:

The outer envelope is professionally using proper titles, first, middle (optional), and last names.  Titles are abbreviated, however, words in the address are spelled out such as Fourth Street or Begg Boulevard.  Children’s names are not included on the outer envelope, their names would be on the inner envelope if they are invited.

Married Couple:  Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Bowers

Married Couple (wife outranks husband): Dr. Shondalette Adams and Mr. Desmund Adams

Married Couple (both doctors):  The Doctors Adams or Drs. Desmund and Shondalette Adams

Single Woman:  Ms. Kimberly Isaac or Miss Kimberly Isaac (under 18)

Divorced Woman:  Mrs. Willie Mae Owens, Ms. Willie Mae Owens, Ms. Willie Mae Parker

Widowed Woman: Mrs. Charles Owens

Separated Woman:  Mrs. Charles Owens, Mrs. Willie Mae Owens, Ms. Willie Mae Owens

*You should never address an outer envelope with “and guest.”  You should find out the guest’s name and use the unmarried couple living together naming convention if the couple shares a home, if they don’t, you should send the guest a separate invitation.

Hope this helps you on your quest to complete your invitations.  I would love to answer any questions you may have.  Please feel free to contact me.

Have a great day!

Erika

 

Purses and Shoes Rule!!!

I started my blog because I am an event planner who loves everything about events, from the planning process to the décor.  But there are other things that I love as well, that play a big part in shaping my creative mind.

I have always been a girl of fashion.  It started with my mother, she always dressed my sister and I so well.  I even get my friends calling me or texting me today, saying, “girl your mother was sharp today.”  I never knew how she did it, but my mother’s philosophy was to get up every day even on a Saturday, take her bath and get dressed because you never know what the day will bring.  And I don’t mean jogging pants and tennis shoes, she would put on what I call “street cloths.”  But I love her for this because it taught me how to clean up.

Well in addition to being able to clean up, she taught me to have a love for clothes, jewelry and especially purses and shoes!  I love a good purse and an awesome shoe.  I find myself often buying shoes with nothing to wear with them, however, my philosophy is if you have a shoe and a purse throw on a white t-shirt and some jeans and rock your shoe!!!  I have found myself doing this many times.

Some of my favorite designers are Michael Kors (I’ve been told I could be a walking advertisement for him), L.A.M.B., Ralph Lauren, BCBG, Max Studio, and Coach just to name a few.  If I continued, my list would be longer than my blog post :).

I pay a lot of attention to detail when dressing, finding the right shoe, with the right outfit, and the right accessories.  This habit too has bled over into my event planning life which makes it so much fun.  I can coordinate the venue, with just the right accessories whether its linens, a DJ, a photobooth, a place setting, or even a flower arrangement.  I think that’s why I have fun doing both.

Well I wanted to share just a little bit more about who I am and some things that inspire me.

As you can see me having fun with one of my favorite shoe brands.

Take Care,

Erika

Blogging 101 – Say “Hi” to the Neighbors

Over the next few weeks some of my posts won’t deal with wedding and event planning.  Why?  Well I’m attending Blogging University by “The Daily Post” participating in their Blogging 101 challenge and I’m SUPER EXCITED!  I actually started the challenge with Day 3 so this post will be a hybrid that includes Day 1 “Introduce Yourself”, Day 2 “Say Your Name”,  and Day 3 “Say “Hi” to the Neighbors”.

Hi, I’m Erika, now live in Southern California life, but originally a Midwestern gal with a Southern twist – my accent is a mix of Saint Louis, Missouri and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I can thank my mother for that who was born and raised in Louisiana and took us to spend all of our holidays and summers there.  I love my life.  I am moving into my second career phase.  Previously I worked in Corporate American for over 18 years in Accounting and Project Management and loved it.  Now I’m the owner of Erika’s Elegance a Full Wedding and Event Planning Company specializing in planning fun and memorable events such as weddings, birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, wedding and business anniversaries, corporate meetings and events, non-profit events, silent auctions, bridal show, and galas.

I blog because I love what I do and want to share that with the world.  I also want to share my expertise with those who may be planning an event and are looking for ideas and strategies for implementation.  I want to be able to provide inspiration to others…

For Day 2 I toyed with changing my name and in fact did that once before.  I’ll have to mull over that for a while.

Now for the fun part, oh my gosh, Day 3 has been a blast.  I’ve never changed my tags and with adding just one new tag, I found so many awesome blogs.  I literally spent about three hours looking at the wonderful content out there.  I added the tags Event Planner (not sure why I didn’t have that before, only event planning), Florists, Parties, Bride, Bridal Bouquet.  And I have added so many new blog friends, it is amazing.

Going forward I hope to stay caught up so I won’t have to go on and on :).  I am very excited about participating in Blogging 101, I hope for wonderful results not just for myself but for all of y’all who are joining the challenge.

Have a great day!

Erika

 

Wedding Invitations 101 – Recap

Invitations are a very important aspect of any event, especially your wedding. The invitation gives your guest a glimpse into what’s to come on event day. It denotes the style, the formality, and most importantly the color scheme of your wedding.

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We started a series called Wedding Invitations 101 to share what we feel are some important aspects of choosing your invitations.  The first post on Wedding Invitations 101 – Invitation Styles which discussed my three favorite invitation styles, The Wedding Card, The Folded Card, and the Pocket Fold.  In that post, I also discussed the printing options available; Engraving, Thermography, Letterpress, Foil Stamping, Digital Printing.  Check out our post from  May 29th. 

Next we did a post called Wedding Invitations 101 – Etiquette which looked at invitation etiquette answering questions such as “Should invitations be hand delivered?” “Can you put “Wishing Well Wedding” on your wedding invitation?” Well can you? “Can You have two guest lists?” No, no, no.  And one I see all too often, “Is it okay to add “and guest” on your invite?”

We have two more aspects to view for our Wedding Invitations 101 series.  We will next look at Wedding Invitations 101 – Ordering Tips answering questions such as when should you order and even how much you should order.   Then we will look at Wedding Invitations 101 – Assembling Your Invitations looking at things such as which way should the invitations face when placed in the envelope.

We look forward to you stopping back by!  The goal for me at Erika’s Elegance is to breathe life into your dreams….I would love to work with you on any project, be it a wedding, birthday party or event corporate meeting.  I’m your gal!

Take Care and Have a great day!

Take Care,

Erika

 

 

 

It’s Wedding Season

Wow, what a couple of crazy months but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are definitely in the midst of wedding season and I am having so much fun. I’ve spent the past few weeks working with brides and ensuring that their wedding day is every thing they dreamt it would be. I had so much fun with my 4th of July bride. Check out the beautiful bouquet I created for her.

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I think this is going to become an Erika’s Elegance tradition because I had a 4th of July bride last year, what do you think?  If you know a 4th of July bride coming up, send them my way. Well I have a few more weddings this month and I can’t wait. This one coming up this weekend will be a nature theme.

Can’t wait to connect with you again soon and share more details.

Take Care,
Erika

Savoring Saturday

Happy Saturday!  It’s been almost a week and a half since our last post and boy have we been busy.  I missed you guys so much and hope you will enjoy the content over the next few weeks.  So you ask, what has Erika’s Elegance been up to?  Springtime is here and  we just put together a wonderful Springtime Bridal Shower concept that I’ll share next week that I’m sure you’ll love.

I’ve also shared with you that I volunteer as the LA City Coordinator for Brides Against Breast Cancer.  Their Nationwide Gown Tour headed to our area on March 30th at Mount Palomar in the beautiful wine country of Temecula.  We had an awesome turn out with wonderful brides, vendors, and volunteers.  We sold 14 dresses, which is awesome!!!  I love volunteering for such a wonderful organization.  BABC contributes to programs for cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Their “Nationwide Tour of Gowns” bridal shows around the country help ensure that people impacted by cancer have the resources and information they  need in their battle with cancer.

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We’ve also been working with many wonderful brides on wedding design concepts and invitations.  I’m so grateful to be able to work in an industry that I love.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see ya next week!

Take Care,

Erika

 

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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Saint Patrick’s Day is sometimes bitter sweet for me. It was the day my son Brandon was born in 1999 which was one of the sweetest moments in my life. However, Brandon is no longer with us. After battling Myelodysplastic Syndrome for 2 1/2 years God called him home 10 years ago at the age of 4 1/2 which makes this day sad at times because I can no longer celebrate….so I thought.

Well this year I decided to celebrate Saint Patty’s Day by honoring Brandon, as well as, bringing more awareness to his disease.  Brandon was a fun-loving, energetic kid who made everyone who came in contact with him laugh.  He was truly my little angel.

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My Little Man – Brandon

Myelodysplastic Syndrome is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells and there are abnormal (blast) cells in the blood and/or bone marrow. When Brandon was diagnosed, I was informed this was a very rare disease typically found in older people and was even rarer when a child was diagnosed.

Brandon’s only chance was to have a Bone Marrow Transplant. It was a battle finding a match for Brandon because he was a minority and the amount of minority donors on the registry at that time was very low.  The amount of donors has increased since then, however, their is still a need for donors, especially minorities.

There are many people battling diseases that need bone marrow transplants.  Please consider being a donor, you may potentially save a life.  Please visit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or The National Marrow Donor Program for more information.  These are two organizations I worked closely with during Brandon’s illness.

Thanks for helping me honor Brandon!

Take Care,

Erika

It’s Friday!

Friday is here and I have had a full, exciting week.  I met with a lot of clients, attended several vendor meetings and attended the Association of Bridal Consultants Orange County (ABC-OC) Local Networking Meeting.  It has been several months since I have been able to attend and it was simply amazing.  I saw a lot of my old industry peeps and was able to connect with a lot of new industry professionals.

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Photo with my beautiful friend Courtney Urquiza of InStyle Event Company

March’s event was held at the Hotel Menage in Anaheim.

Check out the beautiful waterfall that sits in the Terrace area.

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This month’s meeting focused on the world of APPs.

Who knew there were so many wonderful APPs for the event industry.

The lovely Jessica Bodas of Jessica Bodas Photogaphry

was the facilitator and her presentation was awesome!!!

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I couldn’t wait to get home to try out some of the new finds!

Well that wrapped up my week.  I must admit, I LOVE MY JOB and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  I love exploring, creating and breathing life into the dreams of my clients.  I hope you had a wonderful week and will have an even more fabulous weekend.

Next week will look at finding your bridal gown style and much more!!!  See ya soon!

Take Care,

Erika