Wedding season is almost understand and I have been taking some time to clean up the backend of Hello Love Events before diving into some beautiful weddings for this year! Here are some things that I have been re-assessing, revamping, and updating in order to ensure that Hello Love Events continues to provide exemplary service and care to our clients and our vendor relationships!

1. Contracts

You’ve had an entire year of weddings to experience a brand new plethora of items that worked well and, more importantly, didn’t work at all. Be sure to take notes and reflect on any lessons learned after each wedding so that you are able to incorporate updated terms into your client contracts to ensure that the year ahead is smoother and more pleasant for all parties involved. Once you’ve incorporated these updates, pass them by your legal office to confirm that they are worded correctly and will hold up in court in the case of any arising disputes.

2. Website

Take this time to update anything that is out-of-date, including pricing, brochures, galleries, and links. If you have changed up your offerings at any point, be sure that all of the information aligns with those changes so that clients are up-to-date on the specific packages that you offer along with starting rates and/or recommended budget amounts.

3. Online Portfolio

More than likely, you’ve gained some pretty amazing wedding albums from your wedding clients and photographers and are now ready to incorporate your favorites into your online portfolio (website, social media platforms, marketing websites – e.g. Wedding Wire or The Knot). Remove photos that no longer fit your brand and update them with some of your favorites from the past year. Try your best to represent a consistent body of work from over the years (or months, even) that lets clients get a feel of your unique style and aesthetic.

4. Workflow, Documents & Questionnaires

As with #1, you may have experienced many situations that call for an update to your process workflow, documents, and/or questionnaire templates. Take a few moments to make sure that your current workflow still works for you and your clients and that the wording and questions on any documents that you use throughout the process reflect you, your workflow and your voice.

5. Bookkeeping

Hopefully, we keep up with this on a more frequent basis throughout the year, but now is the time to prepare for tax season! Having an effective management process throughout the year will make this one less painful, but there is still work to do. Categorize any remaining unidentified transactions, run any necessary reports, compile and submit all of your receipts (or at least store them away), and print off that profit/loss statement for your tax preparer. Assess your bookkeeping process and see if there are any changes that need to be made. If all worked well for you and your workflow, great! If not, this is the time to troubleshoot and correct it before wedding season is underway.


As a wedding/event professional, have you tackled any of these items in your business over the past few months? What are some other things that you have been assessing and updating to ensure that your business is running smoothly?

XO – Lacoya

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Happy Tuesday, friends! The topic of wedding websites ALWAYS come up with my clients throughout the process of planning & designing the guest experience for their special day and I love sharing helpful advice with them to guide them on creating the perfect website for them (or simply handling it all on our end), so I thought it would be sweet to share all of the insider tips here on the blog, as well! Here are my pieces of advice when it comes to creating a beautiful and effective wedding website!


Choose a provider that matches your wedding style.

If you both have a specific color palette or style that you’d like to keep consistent and bold throughout the guest experience, this is definitely one of the places to execute that concept. There are a TON of reputable wedding website platforms out there (Wedding Wire, The Knot, Minted, Appy Couple, etc.) – just make sure your selection includes all of the features you want before committing.

Upgrade to a custom URL & keep it short & simple.

One of the main purposes of creating a website for your wedding is to provide an accessible venue to obtain any and all helpful information and reminders regarding your wedding day. But it’s not helpful at all if they cannot even remember the URL because it’s super clunky and/or long. Consider not only upgrading to a custom URL (nixing the john&emily.xxxxxx.com and just being able to use john&emily.com), but also consider keeping the length to a minimum, unless your names are naturally long (alexander&katherine is perfectly fine since it will be easy for guests to remember than some shortened form). If you’d rather not use your names OR the URL is unavailable, choose a cute and simple phrase that you can easily advertise through word-of-mouth and/or on the information insert within the formal invitation (e.g. www.twobecomeone.com). You can upgrade to these type of capabilities from anywhere between a one-time fee of $25-50 – which is a worthy investment, in my opinion.

Share your story.

This one is often underrated simply because a lot of couples don’t realize how many of their guests (esp. if you have a large wedding) have no idea how the two of you came together. Take a few minutes to share the details of how you met, the proposal, and any other special information that you don’t mind sharing that will help your friends and family get to know the COUPLE better. Most know one or the other, but actually have very few facts about the relationship, itself. Don’t go overboard here – they don’t need to know the details of your first time past first base if you know what I mean. Keep it classy and informative.

Share your wedding party.

This is totally optional and it all depends on how you do it. I find that, although the background information regarding the names of the party members and how they are related to the bride is very sentimental and sweet, the usual accompanying photo throws everything off of the style and vibe. Unless you all have one unique photo session that allows for consistent lighting, attire, environment, etc. (which is definitely over the top, but I love the thought anyway), it can be a bit awkward and may not fit within the theme. However, this may not be the case. You may have beautiful photos of everyone that fit perfectly together, and that’s great, too! At the end of the day, this is totally an optional piece to your website. It’s inclusion or exclusion is a personal preference and will not detract from the value of the website itself either way.

Share all wedding logistics and details.

Here are some high-level details that all wedding websites should include, ensuring that guests have all of the required information to make sure that they are well prepared for your wedding day.

  • Ceremony Location & Time (If it is a large venue, be sure to specific the specific room, etc.)
  • Cocktail Hour Location & Time
  • Reception Location & Time
  • Room Accommodations + Pricing Options
  • Transportation Itinerary

This is also a great place to place a general FAQ regarding your wedding day including information regarding attire, children attending the wedding, unplugged wedding information, bar details (open, cash or hybrid), etc. These are pieces of information that may not be in good taste to insert on a formal invitation but guests would find super helpful when planning for the day(s).

Share registry information.

Less is more here, in my opinion. You want to give your guests options of what they could gift you for your special day, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them with a ton of stores, either (and who wants to create the registries for a ton of stores, anyway?). Stick with 2-3 locations – OR – even better, choose an online “catch-all” registry that allows you to choose registry items from ANYWHERE (e.g. MyRegistry, Zola, etc.). You can also choose alternative options such as Honeyfund, Heartful.ly, or Upon Our Star!

Share a map along with local attractions.

For those guests with the tourist/sight-seeing bug, share with them what’s in the area with an app like AroundMe, Google Maps, or Trip Advisor. This can also be helpful for guests searching for nearby evening activities such as sports bars or happy hours.

Share the weather forecast. 

Share a weather app to assist guests in packing and/or simply dressing for the day. They can always simply pull up an app on their phone, but some may not have access to one or be tech-savvy, so this helps for anyone who at least knows how to use a computer to navigate to a URL. Online RSVP or no?

Share online RSVP option.

Here’s a big one. To go the online RSVP route or not? Some say it’s tacky, some say whatever works. I’m a fan of….it depends. It depends on the wedding couple, the wedding formality, and the culture of the wedding guests. Super formal weddings may err on the “no” side and stick to traditional RSVP cards within the formal invite while super intimate, laid back weddings may provide both options and allow guests to choose which route to take. Personally, I’m not a fan of the 100% online RSVP route, as some online tracking systems are dysfunctional and cause more pain than relief. Either way, choose whichever route fits your wedding and your guests best.


I hope these pieces of advice are helpful to you during your wedding planning process! Here’s to creating a beautiful AND useful piece of the experience for your guests. Happy planning! XO

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  • Melissa Klusek - Yay! I love this post! Working on our wedding website has been one of my favorite parts of the process. I actually started working on it before we had a lot of details finalized! haha 🙂 http://happily-ever-hansen.com/ReplyCancel

    • hellolove - Melissa,
      YAY! I am so glad you enjoyed it – especially as a current bride! Your website is INCREDIBLE! I so enjoyed browsing – esp. your engagement photos – LOVE! XOReplyCancel

I’m back today with Part II of the styled shoot 101 series! I hope you all found value in yesterday’s post and are super excited to round that out with today’s tips! Here goes!

 


6. Don’t Dominate. Collaborate.

This is your vision that you have worked so hard to create and put into action – absolutely. But you wouldn’t be able to successfully execute it without amazing professionals who connect and invest in that vision. Be considerate throughout the planning process and inquire of them as to whether they have any ideas and/or thoughts to contribute to the vision of the shoot. Is there something that they have desired to do for quite some time that fits your established vision? Consider making a place for these elements and communicate to them that you value their thoughts and ideas, as well. By no means go overboard and add things that take away from the integrity of the vision that you have, but also be receptive to your vendor team’s ideas and suggestions. You never know – an added element that you hadn’t thought of may be just what you need to take your shoot to the next level!

Quick Tip: Request a list of desired photos from all of your participating vendors. This way, you can work together with your photographer to make sure that you not only receive a great compilation from the styled shoot, overall, but that you also keep your vendors in mind and are able to provide them with some specific portfolio pieces showcasing their individual contributions. Depending on the timeframe for shooting, you may not be able to capture every single desired photo, but you can try to get as many as possible!

Styled Shoot Team
Venue: Private Residence // Photographer: Natalie Franke Photography // Coordination & Styling: Hello Love Events // Florals: Eight Tree Street Floral // Hair & Makeup: BobbyPins & Blush // Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy // Vintage Rentals: XOXO Vintage Rentals // Cake: The Cake Courtesan // Mini Pies: Cakes by Rachael

7. Plan Logistics.

Once your vendor team has been successfully established and a source has been assigned for all of the elements contained within your vision, it’s time to plan out the logistics. Put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard – whatever works) and figure out how and when you plan to obtain all of the items for the shoot and who/where they are coming from. Be sure to touch base with everyone to make sure you are all on the same page. Take the time to create a layout for the shoot – where is everything going to be located, specifically? This can be in the form of a drawing, a diagram, etc. Essentially a floorplan. This may require a site visit to brainstorm – schedule this with the venue.

Last but not least, a styled shoot timeline will need to be produced. What time will you gain access to the venue? What is your ideal time to begin shooting (photographers normally favor sunrise/sunset times). From the time you gain access to the time you begin shooting – how much time will you need for setup? What time will vendors need to arrive to provide/setup their items? Will the hair/makeup be done on or off-site? How much time will be needed will determine what time models need to arrive and where. The bottom line is – there needs to be a timeline that explains what is happening where that you can distribute to vendors to let them know their part AND that you can use for yourself to keep everything on track on the actual day of the shoot.

Quick Tip: In addition to all of this, be sure to touch base with your photographer to ensure that you are both on the same page regarding photo turnaround time, who will be responsible for submitting the shoot for feature, who you will be submitting it to, etc. This ensures that you can act as quickly as possible following the completion of the shoot and maximize unity and awareness. Too often I see bitterness and broken vendor relationships as a result of poor communication and set expectations. Get on the same page and it will prevent the types of issues from happening!

8. Lead.

On the day of the shoot, everyone will be looking to you for ultimate direction. This is your styled shoot and your vision and they will need leadership in order to make that happen with order and accuracy. Having a good timeline, floor plan and checklist of required items will assist you in this role. As all participants arrive, you will be able to direct them to exactly they need to go to drop-off and/or items, perform services (i.e. hair/makeup), begin/end shooting, etc.

Be confident and sure of yourself. You’ve put a lot of planning and hard work into this and now it simply needs to be executed.

Quick Tip: Be sure to account for backup plans in case of rain, venue-issues, etc. If possible, agree on a backup date with the venue in case, for any reason, the shoot needs to be rescheduled. Just be sure to keep in mind that if the backup date is not 2-3 days after the original date, then flowers and other items with an expiration date may need to be reordered. 

Styled Shoot Team:
Photographer: Terri Baskin Photographer // Venue: Harbor View Events // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Paper Goods/Calligrapher: Laura Hooper Calligraphy // Bridal Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Hair & Makeup: Enlightened Styles // Cakes: Sweets by E // Sequin Linens: Candy Crush Shop

9. Take Action ASAP.

Based on the turnaround time agreed on between you and the photographer – submit the shoot as soon as possible. Publications want inspiration that is as fresh as possible! Some publications have quite a hefty response time, as well, so you want to be as diligent as possible on your end so as not to keep your vendor team waiting forever.

Whether or not you choose to share the vendor gallery with the team prior to your actual feature is up to you and the photographer, but keep in mind that some publications are VERY picky as to the exclusivity of the shoots that they share and may not be too fond of them being shared across social media prior to being featured on their blog/magazine. Personally, I do not share the entire gallery, but I do distribute a sneak peek to the vendors to share while we are working through the submission process. This gets them excited and lowers the anticipation JUST a tad.

Styled Shoot Team
Venue: Private Residence // Photographer: Natalie Franke Photography // Coordination & Styling: Hello Love Events // Florals: Eight Tree Street Floral // Hair & Makeup: BobbyPins & Blush // Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy // Vintage Rentals: XOXO Vintage Rentals // Cake: The Cake Courtesan // Mini Pies: Cakes by Rachael

10. Keep Everyone Informed.

Be sure to update the team as to how the submission process is going, occasionally. This is especially helpful when there is a long response time involved (some magazine publications take months to respond!). Once you have received notification of a successful feature, be sure to let the team know, along with as many details as possible (website, feature URL, date of feature, vendor team details – websites and social media tags, etc.) so that they can prepare to share the feature on their social media platforms.

Once the feature has gone live, be sure to share it EVERYWHERE you can! The more you share, the better. Take advantage of this achievement and be sure to let as many people within the industry know about it as possible! You did it! Your hard work has paid off! Once the feature has gone live, feel free to share the entire gallery with your vendor team if you have not done so already. Request that, whenever they share photos from the shoot, that they are sure tag and credit the entire vendor team and share their contributions. Styled shoots are for EVERYONE’s exposure and benefit – not just one person. Remember, it’s just as much about building vendor relationships than it is about increasing your portfolio. Crediting participants when you share their work is simply good etiquette, in general.


I hope that everyone enjoyed this 2-part series all about styled shoots! Please let me know if you review everything and have any other tips and/or insight to add! I’m looking forward to cheering on those of you who use this process and these tips to achieve styled shoot success! You can do it and I’m so excited for you! Here’s to 2017 and lots of payoff to all of your hard work! XO

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One of the most popular topics that I come across all of the time as a wedding & event planner is styled shoots. How do you start planning one? How do you get vendors involved? What if you don’t have any connections? What if you don’t have any money? Rather than continuing to repeat this information over and over again – I figured, why not make a blog post out of it? I’m super excited to be able to refer all questions regarding styled shoots and how to use them successfully to not only increase the versatility and aesthetic of your portfolio but to also create lasting vendor relationships! Here we go!

Styled Shoot Team:
Photographer: Terri Baskin Photographer // Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Paper Goods & Florals: Amanda Day Rose // Bridal Attire: Gossamer // Hair & Makeup: BobbyPins & Blush // Cakes: Sorby Sweet // Vintage Rentals: Paisley & Jade // Ring Boxes: The Mrs Box

1. Start with a Consistent, Shareable Vision

What exactly are you wishing to accomplish with your styled shoot? Are you trying to increase your portfolio? Introduce some new elements and/or alternatives to the industry? Stretch your creative imagination? Either way, one of your first steps towards executing a styled shoot successfully is to accurately depict your vision in a visual, shareable way. I highly recommend doing this by either creating an actual drawing (if you illustrate well and are going for something more unique and rare), or by creating an inspiration board compiled of images and/or elements that combine to create a consistent vision. This will help once you move towards building your vendor team!

Styled Shoot Team
Photographer: Megan Chase Photography // Venue: Bristow Manor Golf Club // Coordination & Styling: Hello Love Events // Florals: Love Blooms // Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Just Write Studios // Bridal Attire: Formal Envy // Hair Stylist: Styled by Anna Fazio // Makeup: Carolyn Thombs // Cakes: Fat Girl Cakes // Linens: Candy Crush Events

2. Be Specific.

This is where you put vision to paper in terms of logistics and will assist you in the next step (budgeting). If this is for a wedding-inspirational shoot, are you looking to have a tablescape? If so, how many place settings do you wish to have? How many centerpieces would you like to be displayed? Will there be models? How many and what will their roles be? Be as specific as possible so that you can ensure that all items are planned for during the research/planning phase for the shoot. Be sure to make note of the decor vision that you have in mind for each element. You will use these notes to explain vision and logistics to vendors and make it easier for them to understand their part and, also, connect with your vision.

3. Budget Wisely.

For each element of your styled shoot – is there a cost involved? Will you require the participating vendors to cover the cost or will you be contributing to the bill? Keep in mind that depending on the scale of your vision, costs can add up quickly and may require some investment on your part in order to bring that vision to life in a justifiable way. Sometimes vendors are willing to cover the some or all of the costs – it really depends on where they are in their business and if they feel as though your end goal is worth their responsible cost. In most situations where experienced vendors are concerned, the more you are willing to invest in covering the costs of your desired elements, the more willing they are going to be to participate!

Be sure to keep in mind that some elements are more costly than others (i.e. – flowers – an item that will need to be ordered fresh and will die shortly after and be unusable – will be more costly than furniture rentals – items that the vendor already HAS and can be returned and used over and over again).

Styled Shoot Team
Photographer: Brandilynn Aines Photography // Venue: Leesylvania State Park // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Florals: The Proper Petal // Bridal Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Hair & Makeup: Bridal Beauty Associates // Cake: Sorby Sweets // Rentals & Linens: Cre8tive Touch Events & Rentals // Artisan Welcome Basket: Marigold & Grey // TeePee: Aggie & Francois // Dreamcatcher: The Foraging Fairy

4. Answer the question: “What’s in it for Us”?

Be prepared – gone are the days of tempting vendors with the promise of online publication in return for their participation. Again, it depends on who you are desiring to join your vendor team. Start-up businesses and those who do not have a huge portfolio may see this as an excellent opportunity. However, if you desire to reach out to more established businesses (those with an extensive portfolio, tons of online/magazine publication features, or who are already booked up for the year), please be prepared to offer something more than the *possibility* of a feature. I always recommend simply asking what would interest them! Perhaps they are needing something that you can possibly provide/connect them with – OR – they may simply come out and request you to cover the cost of the item/service. Either way – the worst that they can say is NO. Don’t be afraid to jump out and test the waters.

Styled Shoot Team
Photographer: For the Joy Photography // Venue: Arbor Haven Weddings // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Florals: Ginger & Bloom // Bridal Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Hair & Makeup: Bridal Beauty Associates // Cake: Sorby Sweets //  Artisan Welcome Basket: Marigold & Grey

5. Build Your Vendor Team.

At this point, you’ve put a bit of time into solidifying your vision, the specifics and how you are going to market yourself to possible vendor team members. It’s time to put this plan into action! The first vendor I recommend starting with is: Venue. This one is normally the piece in the puzzle that is the most difficult to solidify simply because they are the least flexible. Most have very limited dates and times in which you can execute your styled shoot. Some also can provide a LOT of furniture and utensils if this is something that you are looking for – even possibly, decor items that you can use. It will also help you to solidify the date/time of the styled shoot that you can pass by the remaining vendors when you reach out – as this will probably be one of the first questions they will ask. Once you have booked your venue, then you can jump to the next!

I recommend moving in order of importance to you. If florals are a huge element in your styled shoot, reach out to your florist contacts next! I also recommend that you only reach out to ONE vendor at a time. You never want to be caught in a situation where two (or more!) vendors desire to join the team and then you have to explain why you no longer need one (or more) of them. Be polite, professional, and respect people’s time. One last recommendation – please research the vendors you are reaching out to. Don’t simply google florists in your area and mass email all of them in the hopes that at least one of them respond and join your cause. This is in bad taste and reflects poorly on you. You are attempting to build relationships in the midst of this process and this means putting a pause on the hustle and being intentional about reaching out to the hardworking professionals and letting them know that they are not just a person whom you *need* something from but that you are actually desiring to build an actual working (and sometimes even personal) relationship with!


 

YAY for Part I! I hope this blog post was super helpful for all of you out there desiring to make styled shoot-magic happen! Stay tuned for Part II coming to the blog on tomorrow! See you, soon! XO

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Kristina and I crossed paths during my very first Pursuit Community gathering a little over 2 years ago. She shared that she was a wedding photographer who, one day, desired to transition into becoming a wedding planner, herself! We agreed that we would schedule a time to chat about her coming onto my team of wedding day assistants to gain some experience and to learn whatever that she could while working with me.

Fast forward to 2017, and I’m not so sure her dreams are still the same. 🙂 Enjoy reading all about her and her fiance, Joshua, who is also a very kind, handsome young man. I sorely enjoyed standing alongside them on their wedding day as they said, “I do”!


Venue: Rounton Farm (Orange, Virginia) // Photographer: Vanessa Smith Photography //Videographer: Message Media
Wedding Coordination: Hello Love Events //Hair Styling: Event Hair by Lauren //Florals: Courtney Inghram Events
Catering: A Taste of Elegance // Bakery: Frosted Cakes Galore


Describe how you two met.
Josh and I met on the first day of our first job, at Funland.

How long had you both been dating prior to the proposal?
We dated for 7 years before he proposed and 8 years before we got married

Describe the proposal.
We took a trip to New Mexico to visit my Grandpa and to attend the Hot Air Balloom Festival. I had an idea that it was coming but every time I expected it to happen, it didn’t. I thought for sure it would happen at the hot air balloon festival, but it didn’t. I thought it would happen while we were at White Sands National Park. nope, didn’t happen there. I thought for sure it would happen while we were at the top of a mountain at sunset. But nope it didn’t happen there either. The last night we were there, we went to dinner with my grandpa and my aunt. Josh was so quiet and wasn’t eating much. I thought he had gotten sick from traveling. My grandpa said to him “Josh, every time I’ve seen you, you sure like to eat. Are you feeling alright? Why aren’t you eating?” Josh told him he was fine, that he was just feeling tired. As we approached the end of dinner, the server was getting dessert for us. That’s when Josh pushed his chair back and got down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! He did it so quickly I almost didn’t know it was happening. Everything about our proposal was truly us. I was impatient and very plan oriented and Josh was nervous but very caring. He waited until my grandpa could be there to watch him propose. He knows how special my grandpa is to me and he wanted to do it with my Grandpa there. I was so concerned about having a pretty location but Joshua knew better. He knew that I would forever be grateful that my grandpa got to be apart of our special moment. I won’t have many more moments with him and Josh wanted me to have that memory for the rest of our lives. It was perfect!

Give a 2-3 sentence summary describing your wedding day vision?
We really wanted a fun day filled with our loved ones. That was a priority for us. We envisioned it as colorful, romantic, with a hint of whimsy.

Bride: What do you like most about your fiancé?
I love his sense of humor and his caring heart.

Groom: What do you like most about your fiance?
I am grateful that Kristina loves me even when we have different opinions on things.

What is a favorite hobby that you enjoy together?
We love watching football and playing with our pup Archer.

A fun fact about the bride…
I am a wedding photographer

A fun fact about the groom…
He loves to coach. His dream job is to be a high school football coach. He currently coaches soccer, basketball and football.

Bride’s Favorite Wedding Detail:
My grandmas Turquoise bracelet and the Eucalyptus table runners.

Groom’s Favorite Wedding Detail:
The food! Specifically the appetizers.

 

Hello Love Events sold us with…
Her attention to the little details, professionalism, and experience in the wedding industry.

 

Favorite memory from working with us?
Our favorite thing was that we knew the day of, everything would be just fine. I had ZERO stress on my wedding day because I knew that you and Latisha would take care of it!

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  • Tammie Sorrow - I love this. My Nephew and his beautiful bride. They couldn’t of had a more perfect wedding.ReplyCancel

    • hellolove - Hi, Tammie!
      I absolutely agree! Thank you so much for stopping by – have a wonderful day! 🙂ReplyCancel

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