Courtney & Joshua found me on Facebook, reached out for a consultation and when we met in-person it was almost love at first sight. The two of them are quirky, funny and beautiful together and I they also have the cutest little person that I ever did see. His hair gives me all the feels and I just loved their lively and vivacious spirits throughout our wedding planning experience!

Even moreso, Courtney’s parents – Mr. & Mrs. Pamela & Delbert – were SO much fun to work with and continuously had me in giggles all of the time. I believe by the end of the night I wasn’t sure who I would miss more – Courtney & Joshua or her parents!

Courtney & Joshua held their special day at 8 Chains North Winery, a quaint winery located in Waterford, VA – a town a few miles north of Leesburg. Some of my favorite details from their day include a rocking photobooth, pink & green china, and gold dot accessory dishes (what?!!). I also had the pleasure of working with some AMAZING vendors – including Windows Catering and Camille Catherine Photography!

What’s even better – Courtney was one of my interns for 2016 and she worked a wedding with me the weekend AFTER her very own wedding! Either she’s crazy, or she just wanted to be in the wedding scene just a little while longer. Either way, I’m so grateful for these two and the happiness that they brought into my life. Enjoy these amazing images and be sure to take a peek at the vendor team below! xx

View More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-weddingView More: http://camillecatherine.pass.us/courtney-josh-wedding

 

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If you are in the wedding industry and have not made the leap to activate an auto-responder for your email account – stop reading this now and go do it. This blog post will be here upon your return. Trust me! I will, most likely, make a future blog post showcasing my love for the auto-responder that I’ve been using for my own business for the past few months now!

Back to the meat – one of my main frustrations with Gmail (there actually aren’t a lot – I am in LOVE with Gmail, so please understand I’m nowhere near a disgrunted customer) is that they do not have a dedicated auto-responder setting. They do, however, have the option to create an “out-of-office” auto-responder, which is what I use to basically create a never-ending “out-of-the-office, but not really (okay maybe, but regardless), I just don’t check my email every minute of every day, BUT thank you – I did receive your email and will respond as soon as possible!” auto-responder. The only downside to this setting is that it’s meant to be just the opposite: a “temporary” auto-responder – thus, there really aren’t many customizable options to ensure that this function works exactly the way that you want it to in the sense of a general auto-responder.

One of customizable options that I would love to be able to set manually is to not have the auto-responder message saved to the “Sent” folder every time it is sent out to someone. I receive several messages per day, and eventually, this clutters my “Sent” folder and whenever I go there to search for something that I actually manually sent to someone else, it is extremely difficult to find because the entire box is cluttered with auto-responder messages that have been previously sent out. UGH! I had been searching Google’s most innerthoughts trying to locate a solution for this annoying issue to no avail – there was nothing!!!

UNTIL YESTERDAY! I was tinkering around and found the ultimate Gmail hack. The solution to all of my problems! No longer will those messages pile up and clutter my Sent folder! They are now deleted upon arrival and will vanish into thin air. Want to find out how? Read on! (P.S. – I love you, too!)

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STEP 1 – Locate one of the auto-responder messages inside of your ‘Sent’ Inbox. Click it to open it in full view.

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STEP 2 – Click on the ‘More’ Button to access the drop-down menu. Select “Filter messages like these”.

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STEP 4 – A new window pops up attached to the ‘Search’ box. The “From” field should be auto-populated with your email address. Now copy/paste the subject line from YOUR autoresponder into the ‘Subject’ Field. If you don’t remember it, feel free to go and check! This line must be accurate or this will not work correctly. Once completed, select the “Create filter with this search” button.

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STEP 5 – A new window appears. Here, select the ‘delete’ option. Also, select the option next to the ‘Create filter’ button that will delete all CURRENT auto-responder messages.

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This gmail hack will not only delete the future auto-responder messages being sent to your Sent inbox, but it will also take care of those already bogging you down. YAY! You can finally go to your Sent folder and not be totally overwhelmed by the amount of auto-responder messages that are backing up in that folder! Go ahead and start searching for those long lost emails that you just sent YESTERDAY! I promise you it will be a breeze from now on! I hope this was a helpful post for y’all. It’s the little things, right?

Happy Tuesday, friends! xx – Lacoya

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  • Christina l forbes - YAY!!! Oh my goodness! You’re a lifesaver!!! I was just complaining about this on Friday because I was trying to catch up on emails since I had been out of the office due to my Grandfather passing and it was BEYOND overwhelming. So THANK YOU!!! XOXOReplyCancel

    • hellolove - YES!!!! So happy this post was as helpful to you as it was for me when I discovered it. OH GOSH! You’re welcome, girlfriend! xxReplyCancel

As a wedding planner, I am constantly on the search for tools and apps that make my business better. Whether that be regarding the way that I communicate with my clients and track our wedding planning progress, or moreso for the backend of my company with finances and marketing. I am constantly sharing these applications with all of my mentees and/or wedding planner friends that I thought it would be a great idea to compile all of this information into an easy-to-access blog post!

If you have wound up here from one of my social media platforms OR by way of a direct link that I’ve shared with you – I hope that this information is helpful and that at least one of these is a game-changer in your business!

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Basecamp

basecamp
I literally would not be able to function without this software. When I first started my business a little under 5 years ago, all of my client communication and file storage took place via Gmail. Any wedding planners out there? Can you imagine how long it took for me to crack? A planner friend of mine dropped the name and I decided to do more research and, honestly, have never looked back. That was about 2 years ago. Currently, all of my client communication takes places via this wonderful app. It allows me to keep EVERYTHING related to each client (discussions, files, action items, to-do’s, calendar items, deadlines, etc.) all in one place AND organized. It may not have the prettiest interface as some of my other client management applications out there, but I’ve tried quite a few out and I always come back to this one. Unfortunately, (don’t be too mad with me!) I’m not sure if Basecamp is still offering Basecamp 2, which is the platform that I currently use. It seems as though they have transitioned to Basecamp 3, which is a bit pricier and more complex than my current platform. But who knows – give it a try and see if it will work for you!


17Hats

17hats
17Hats is what I use to handle my client contracts & payments. I started off my business by requiring my clients to physically print their contracts, sign them and snail mail them to me. I also required all payments to be made my check. Since we are in the 20th century (haha!), I now give my clients the ability to e-sign contracts and submit e-payments – all via 17Hats. I also use 17Hats to house all of my client questionnaires and I use a BIT of the email when confirming initial consultations, linking contracts and payment invoices and reminders. It’s been a total lifesaver AND it allows the financial side of my business stay separate from my client-relationship side of things, which I love!

Planoly

planolyI became hip to Planoly via The Rising Tide Society’s founder, Natalie Franke, and I LOVE IT! What I struggled with so much prior to finding an app like this is preplanning the aesthetic of my instagram feed, which all of know – those of us creative business owners who use instagram as a marketing tool – is important! Not only that – but having an app that allows you to schedule posts in advance AND look at your weeks posting schedule, view analytics, etc. is PRICELESS when it comes to achieving some sort of work/life balance. I dedicate one day per week to pre-scheduling as much of my social media marketing as possible – including instagram and blog posts! The only drawback is that it IS a bit pricey. Since I use Planoly for both HLE and The Mor Community – it rounds out to about $45/month. I’ve heard some great things about Unmu and Later, though, so I will definitely be looking into those, soon!

Quickbooks

quickbooks
Whenever I heard ‘quickbooks’ in the past, I always got stressed out. I used to think of super technical, financial numbers that made my head hurt. I just “knew” it was only for official accountants and I immediately tried to avoid it at all costs. After a couple of years of painful tax seasons, waiting until the last minute to compile all of my financial information and just KNOWING that I did not want to work with fickle spreadsheets – I took the plunge. I’m so happy I did because once I shared that I had started using it – so many other creative business owners shared that they did, too! While I am still getting the hang of quickbooks and all of its features, I am already loving the gaps that it is exposing in my finances and the organizational features that I know will come in handy when tax season rolls around AND when financially planning for next year’s activities. If you have been on the fence about it, do it now! While it won’t necessarily take away the necessity of a real bookkeeper when your income begins to increase and you begin to handle more and more transactions, it does allow you to get the hang of your own financial stability and the tasking that you, as the business owner, will always have! And – your future bookkeeper will be grateful. Trust me. 

Those are my life-saving apps that I will probably be using for quite sometime until something better and more efficient comes along. I hope I helped some of you with this information! Are there any apps/softwares out there that you think I may need to check out? Please feel free to drop them in the comments and I will be too excited to do so and let you know how I like them! Here to utilizing tools that creating more efficient, thriving businesses!

xx – Lacoya

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  • Christina l forbes - I’ve been desperately needing Quickbooks….I’m just so beyond nervous because I just know it’s going to be way over my head! But I’m really needing and wanting to know my financial information and gaps so much better. I’d love for you to share come tips on using Quickbooks!!ReplyCancel

    • hellolove - Hey, Christina!
      AH! It is a bit overwhelming as I’m learning it, so I have to take breaks at times, BUT – it is helping me SO much in getting my business finances together! Feel free to send me an email anytime if you have more questions! Although I’m no expert, I will help in any way that I actually can! XOReplyCancel

I absolutely love multi-cultural weddings. I love witnessing their traditions – usually incorporating pieces that are so outside the norm of “traditional” here in the states. Pasaihou & Heyab celebrated their multicultural wedding reception at Woodlawn Manor, a “Georgian-style manor house that includes a Gazebo Garden, expansive lawns, historic boxwoods and several outbuildings that speak to the agricultural operations at Woodlawn during the 19th century: the stone springhouse/meathouse, the log building/possibly slave housing and the board-and-batten tenant house.”

The two families came together as one and showered these two with love, tradition, and one heck of a good time! It was one of those moments that I will always remember at the end of the night when Heyab’s mom came and hugged me in tears expressing her gratitude regarding my small, but mighty part in the day. I was (and still am) so grateful.

I wish you two many, many more! Enjoy a peak into their beautiful reception – photos courtesy of Kristi Odom Photography!

xo – Lacoya

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VENDOR TEAM

Venue: Woodlawn Manor

Photography: Kristi Odom Photography

Coordination/Styling: Hello Love Events

Catering: Lebanese Taverna

Makeup Artist: Phenomenal Faces

DJ/MC: DJ Reese

Florals: DeeDee Floristry

Bakery: Passion Bakery Cafe

 

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  • Kathleen - Beautiful! The sunset peeking through with the light flashes and the silhouette with the garment blowing. Stunning!! Great job!ReplyCancel

    • hellolove - Hi, Kathleen! Thanks so much for the kind words – Heyab was easily one of the most beautiful brides I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with! XOReplyCancel

Are you a budding wedding planner desiring to know the ins-and-outs of creating a wedding day timeline to ensure that your finished product is impressive and thorough?

Or perhaps you are a wedding vendor and a couple has asked your opinion on their timeline and you have no idea what to say and need some reference points!

Oh, no wait – I totally bet you’re the Type A DIY bride who already has a draft timeline, but is just doing some reasearch to make sure that all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed?

Regardless of how you ended up here and/or why you’ve chosen to read along – here are a few ways to ensure that your wedding day timeline is as thorough as possible and ensure clear communication on all ends for everyone involved!

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  • CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE

Prior to drafting up a draft timeline, consider who will be actually using it and how much. Your key audience will most likely be participating wedding vendors. In this case, be sure to include the events in which they will need guidance and/or timing information for. There is no need to include personal information such as what time you will be waking up to get dressed for the day, what time you’ve scheduled to send your assistant to the restroom for a potty break, or what time you plan to check the bathrooms to make sure they are still clean throughout the evening – vendors don’t care. Focus on including wedding-specific events that will let vendors know where they need to be at what time and for what purpose.

If I want to be more specific and include items that pertain to me and only me as the planner, I generate one to send to the bride/groom and vendors, as well as one for my personal use (and sometimes even one specifically for the bride and groom so that they remember personal items such as gifts, attire, and wedding day accessories).

  • BE REALISTIC 

Creating timelines is not just about listing the order of events and the respective timing. It’s also about being realistic about the timing of things and what will and won’t work. Experience is HUGE when it comes to this aspect because the more weddings you are a part of, the more you realize how long (or short) things actually take. Assigning 30 minutes for a seated meal – from the end of the prayer until the start of the next event (dancing, etc. etc.) MAY be a bit ambitious. Not only do caterers have to serve every single guest (which takes some time in and of itself), but they also have to wait until the majority of the guests are done eating before removing them and placing the next course. Since wedding guests are usually socializing while eating, they tend not to eat as fast as they normally would elsewhere. I have seen meal durations that last upwards of 1.5 hours! Alloting appropriate times for portions is CRUCIAL to ensure that things don’t get behind and there is room for everything that the bride/groom desires.

From another perspective – we have to be realistic about what will and won’t fit! Inserting a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception while also submitting a list of 50 ‘must-have’ family formal groupings to your photography is setting the timeline up to FAIL. Starting hair/makeup for a bridal party of 6 at noon for a 3:00pm ceremony (with only 1 hair & makeup artist) – no. Just no. Both of these are extreme situations, but even the lesser extremes will create a stressful day, so keep that in mind. Which brings me to my next tip…

  • ADD WIGGLE ROOM

Yes. Yes. and Yes. Now, I do tend to add more wiggle room in some places than others (*ahem* toasts *ahem*), but for the most part, I do try to add in some time for all events – esp. those where it is a bit uncertain as to how long they can last (e.g. dinner service, toasts, transportation schedules, etc.). This way – you are always prepared in the event that something goes longer than what is normally expected. If things end earlier than what is listed on the timeline, most of the time no harm is involved (and if there is the possiblity for that – plan for it), but you never want to skimp on time and then end up running behind schedule for more time-sensitive portions of the schedule (HELLO, SUNSET PORTRAITS! haha!)

  • ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITY

Nothing causes more confusion and annoyance than vendors scanning through a detailed timeline and trying to figure out what events specifically involve them and what they need to be on the lookout for. A simply column addition that outline who is responsible and/or involved in each line item decreases on the amount of clarification that you will have to provide during the feedback process and, ultimately, on the day of the wedding.

  • COLLABORATE

Most likely my favorite piece of advice! I consider myself to be extremely Type A, however, I am still only one person and after looking at a timeline 1000 times, some things may be overlooked. Once I work along with the bride and groom to create a draft timeline, I then send this to the entire vendor team and give them a 1-2 week period to review and provide feedback prior to sending out a finalized version for the day. This allows vendors to view and confirm all of their specific event items and let me know if something doesn’t match what they have on their end and/or even offer feedback for the flow based on their prior experience. I also like the fact that it allows me to show my vendor team that I am humble and know that the success of a wedding day is not based solely on me as the planner, but the effectiveness of the entire team who will be working their butts off the entire day. I have receive some amazing feedback (and been made aware of silly errors, too!) from vendors who have taken the time to review the drafts that I send out. It just makes for a better, well-rounded timeline for sure!

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/justin-and-megan-wedding


Did this help you in your wedding day timeline effort? I’d love to hear what you think I may have left off and/or could add to make a future post even better! Thanks so much for taking the time to hang with me, today! XO

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