As we’re nearing the close of 2015, I was doing a bit of thinking and mindless rambling on how I can improve the Hello Love Events brand, the client experience and also do some real good with other heart projects that I have planned. While thinking and thinking, and writing things down and scratching stuff out – I came to realize something.
I realized that I’m actually really good at a LOT of things – which is great, however, it definitely doesn’t mean that I should try anything and everything.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing in our industry and sometimes, we feel as though if we don’t pedal to the metal and work, work, work and chase after our dream by doing everything under the sun that we feel will help us (book more clients), then we will fail.
Well, I’ve actually discovered that that’s not true. It’s actually the opposite. If we attempt to try our hand at everything that we see others doing “just to see” or because “maybe I might like it” – whatever we ‘think’ it takes to book more clients (or gain more followers on instagram or any other social media platform), we dilute (and perhaps even bury, if we haven’t discovered them yet) those things that we are REALLY good at and truly passionate about. We can’t improve the quality of those things because we are too focused on things that are not at the heart and center of what we are really about. This is why there are tons of articles, workshops, and other educational resources out there that speak on the importance of finding your WHY. We, as business owners, need to really make it a necessity to take out the time to figure this out, because once we do, once we discover what it is that sets our heart on fire and really drives us – we can truly feel confident and okay with saying no to everything else even if they worked fabulously for that other person we are/were so focused on! You can invest more time, training, mentoring, etc. on making your WHY happen! Anddddd making it profitable.
I say all of that to say – 2016 will be full of my whys, and devoid of much else. I’ve truly made a commitment to put my blinders on, step outside of the muddy waters that are comparison and saying yes to everything, and really put my all into what truly matters – to ME. Ah, I feel lighter already.
Won’t you do the same with me? What REALLY matters? What REALLY makes you happiest and makes you want to dig deep and make the world a better place? What have you been doing that, after thinking about it, you were only doing because you thought it might bring you more clients or make you more money? Let it go. Replace it with what matters. Fill your life with fire, not a long to-do list that makes you feel ‘busy’ and, therefore, more successful. True success in business is chasing your WHY and finding a way to make that chase profitable.
I’m SO excited about 2016 and chasing my WHY. I never made it a goal to truly do that, and I’m realizing now that when I do – it easily sets me apart from the crowd. Why? Because I am unique and my WHY combined with my unique set of passions and abilities give me the opportunity to chase a dream unlike any other.
Here’s to 2016 – and succeeding at what matters.
I am reeling from a weekend filled with family, friends – and CHRISTMAS PARTIES! Haha – It seems like everyone wanted to throw this year’s Christmas gatherings all on one weekend – this one!
On Saturday, I actually bunkered down at home during the day to get some Christmas gifts wrapped up for some sweet friends of mine that will be going out this week, along with trying to get some housework done before heading up to Maryland with my husband to attend a holiday party thrown by my sweet friend Jamie of Marigold & Grey! Man, do the Wynne’s know how to throw a party! We had an absolutely fabulous time meeting some of Jamie’s neighbors, some of the gals from the Bethesda Tuesday’s Together, and even saw another good friend of mine – Terri Baskin! Once we headed back, we figured it was rare that we get a night out alone, so we extended the night a few more hours by checking out a new spot here in downtown Fredericksburg – Sedona Taphouse. It literally had a bible of bottled beers, along with a great selection of beers on tap – which my husband LOVED (I don’t drink beer – sorry, it all tastes the same to me. haha)
I loved the spot so much, that I quickly changed the location for our Pursuit Fredericksburg Christmas gathering/gift exchange to Sedona Taphouse! YES! I definitely splurge on my eating, so will be pedaling to the metal on my treadmill this week. But it was SO worth it – steak, succotash, roasted brussel sprouts, and a crab cake that was out of this world! It was great to hang out with some of my favorite ladies – Kristina (also one of my 2015 wedding day assistants, and now an #hlebride!!! YAY) and her fiance – Josh, Gracie, and Brandilynn! So grateful for my little Pursuit family!
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend – let’s do this, Monday!
Bye, Loves! XO, Coya
Ah – the dreaded budget discussion. (Is it really dreaded? I don’t know, but I know it’s one of my favorite topics!) I love this portion of planning with my clients simply because it sets the stage for SO many of our planning decisions moving forward! Once the budget has been determined for a wedding, it makes decision-making for my couples that much easier, simply because we are able to be realistic about what we can and can’t afford when it comes to executing the vision that they have for their wedding day!
SO! With all of that being said, I figured I would jump on here and share with you guys…
The key word there is REALISTIC. Any couple can draw up a budget – and you can actually find thousands of “budget calculators” on the internet that will allow you to enter in an overall number that you’d like to spend and have it generate the amount that you ‘should’ allocate to the top ticket items involved in weddings. I’m not too much of a fan of these, as there are SO many moving pieces and complexities and prioritizing that go into creating a wedding budget and, sometimes, those computerized calculators can’t see those and end up spitting out some really crazy calculations….haha.
SO – I figured I would share my top 5 steps for creating a REALISTIC wedding budget! By realistic, I mean one that will work for each couple, no matter what the budget – but also taking into account the realities that not every wedding can afford ‘everything’. There comes a point in budget planning that each couple have to be ‘realistic’ with themselves and prioritize what they REALLY want and can REALLY afford – and let go of the rest and realize that not having those items will not make or break the fact that they will be marrying their best friends and loves of their lives – the only thing that TRULY matters. Okay – let’s go!
1. Prioritize the VISION
This is really important, you guys. Without a vision, there is really no way that you can make a realistic budget that will really enable you to create a wedding day that truly reflects your values and personalities and the vision without 1) sending your budget spiraling out of control near the end because you allocate dollars to things that don’t even matter to you both and in the end, you try to fit the important things on TOP or 2) you both create a budget-friendly wedding day that has absolutely no significance to either of you, because you didn’t prioritize the things that mattered – you simply allocated to whatever you could afford and didn’t think about anything else – both sad situations!
Once you have your vision laid out and broken into different elements (vendors, gifts/favors, centerpieces, etc.), and begin to prioritize what’s really important – that makes the downsizing at the end and deciding what things to keep and spend the money on a MUCH easier process! Don’t skip this step!
2. Start a Budget Spreadsheet
In order to keep yourself sane and be able to have a one-stop shop for all things budget-related, start a simple spreadsheet that you can allocate those numbers to. All of those elements that you listed out in step 1 – insert a line item for them in the spreadsheet. Feel free to customize the spreadsheet to even add more details that help keep you organized in your wedding finances (payment amounts and due dates, deposits, receipt records, etc.) If you have no idea of where to start, there are plenty of online resources that can provide you with a basic budget spreadsheet template, as well!
3. Use Your CURRENT Finances
I would highly recommend only allocating an overall number that you both are comfortable spending on your wedding. When I say ‘comfortable’, I don’t mean how you feel on the inside about that number, although that’s important, too. I’m also referring to how ‘comfortable’ your bank account and credit profile will be after spending that amount – based on your current financial situation. This will ensure that, IF you stick to this number and follow the rest of these steps, once your wedding day has past, you can fully enjoy the bliss of what just happened and be confident and totally comfortable stepping into those first few months of your marriage, and not start off on a rocky path due to realizing that you just spent so much money (that you couldn’t afford) on one day, and become frustrated with one another or just add an item of frustration so early in your marriage.
4. Research Average Pricing in Your Area
In order to be able to realistically allocate dollars to certain categories based on their importance to you, you must actually know the financial health and status of the wedding industry in your area! Average costs of vendors and other wedding professionals vary SO much from state to state (even from city to city, sometimes!) and doing a bit of research on how much the ‘average’ vendor costs will help you more accurately list a realistic number for your budget. Of course, if a certain category is more important to you and you have a very specific vision and want a very high-quality service in that area, then you’d want to allocate more to that item to ensure that you can ‘splurge’ a bit in that area (hello, KJ Brides!).
5. Allocate 10-15% to ‘OH!’ Items
OH! items? Yes, these smaller items are things that pop up at/near the end of the wedding planning process that you’ve somehow forgotten and/or not allocated to, but are SO important to you and the vision that you have for your wedding. Gifts for the wedding party? Socks for the groomsmen? Oh no – the guestroom for Grammy that you want to cover since she’s traveling in from such a long way! Instead of panicking when these things pop up because you’ve already stretched yourself too thin, take comfort in knowing that you have a cushion of sorts to take care of these surprises. If you end up not using it because you 1) hired a wedding planner that had you covered from the beginning or 2) you are Type A and scrubbed this budget from head to toe in the beginning and forgot nothing – feel free to either save it, use it for spending on your honeymoon or whatever else your sweet hearts desire!
Using these 5 steps when creating your wedding budget will save you (and your bank account) SO much pain and heartache, while allowing you to still be able to be true to yourselves and the vision that you have for the day you commit yourselves to one another for LIFE. You should be able to focus on the reality that THAT is happening – and not on how you’re going to recover from bankruptcy afterwards. No bueno!
Did you have any other great tips for creating a realistic wedding budget? Share them with me – I’d love to hear them! Happy Friday!
Bye, Loves – Coya
Earlier this year, shortly after joining the Fredericksburg Pursuit group – my (now) amazing co-leader, Brandilynn, reached out to me and asked if I wanted to teach a mini calligraphy workshop for one of our monthly gatherings. I was totally stumped and shocked because, at this point, I had only really done calligraphy as a hobby in my spare time (wedding planners have spare time? Fancy that…). However, I agreed, and a couple of months later, I taught my first calligraphy workshop! It was so amazing and throughout the day, I posted little behind-the-scenes on Instagram of some of the worksheets and other cute iPhone snaps.
Well, lo and behind – shortly after, I received an Insta-message from none other than one of my own calligraphy fangirl idols – Amy with Sincerely Amy Designs! It simply said, “Umm…we need to collaborate”. WHAT?! My heart literally stopped – this talented woman, whose hand-lettering I adored was reaching out to me to collaborate?! So crazy. I was way too giddy and had to take a moment to just breathe and come back to the normal me.
What ensued from there over the next several months was a slew of emails, ideas, pretty pictures, and brainstorming on how to host to make this the best event EVER and we are finally ready to share it with you! Sincerely Amy Designs is bringing her amazing calligraphy workshop here to Fredericksburg! YAY! *pops confetti and champagne*
I am absolutely honored and ecstatic to be her host, coordinator, and stylist for the workshop and we have SO many great things in store for all of the sweet attendees! This workshop will be held this upcoming January 23, 2016 at the super gorgeous Stevenson Ridge and we are so looking forward to the attendees learning loads about the art of pointed-pen calligraphy from Amy, mingling with other attendees while enjoying light refreshments, and also walking away with some amazing goodies from our workshop sponsors!
If you have been waiting for a calligraphy course taught by one of the best, this is one that you’ll want to sign up for! It’s a GREAT Christmas gift for those looking for something to gift to a creative friend, spouse, or bride! We have very limited space, as we want to ensure that we provide an intimate environment for the attendees to ask questions and then practice what they’ve learned – so please sign up as soon as possible if you want to be in attendance!
And to make things VERY exciting – we have early bird tickets available for 10% off until December 25! Yay for savings, right?! We are so excited to host this workshop for you all, as we have so many industry friends and brides out there who have begged for a calligraphy workshop to come to this area and it’s finally here! I can’t wait to see your sweet faces next year!
To get more specific details regarding the workshop AND to grab your seat, please head over to Sincerely Amy Design’s workshop page here, and you’ll find everything you need to know!
SPONSORS: We are still actively seeking sponsors for the event, so if you are interested in sharing your services and/or products with our sweet attendees, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com and I’d love to chat with you!
All of the heart-eye emoji’s over here people! Happy Wednesday!
XO – Lacoya
This past weekend was one for the books! I enjoyed it so much because it combined two of my favorite things – family and friends! The first portion of Saturday was spent with my church family as we had a Christmas + Cookie party while packaging gifts for our local nursing home. I really enjoyed it, as they allowed the children to have a heavy hand in it as they placed the toiletries, socks, and other goods into the bags and place the tissue paper inside at the end. The kids had a blast – Olivia helped a LOT as her eyes were glued to Minnie Mouse on my phone for most of the time. *side-eye*
Afterwards, my husband and I dropped the kids off with my mother-in-law and we both headed for the local gun range – yay! It’s SO scary, yet SO much fun! It takes a moment for us to get warmed up, but once we both have shot a few range, we are actually REALLY good with accuracy! Here’s the hubby preparing to have another go!
On Sunday, I had the honor of attending my dear friend Katie Durski’s (of Ribbon and Ink) launch party at the Loft at 600F in Washington, DC! I also was SO excited when she asked me to Periscope the event for her! Her vendor team did an absolutely fantastic job with everything – the decor, hors d’0euvres, cocktails, and the oh so fun inspiration board bar! As a fun little activity and Instagram challenge, Katie had her guests create an inspiration board the best reflected their brand! The winner of the challenge won a hand-crafted gift basket from the lovely Jamie of Marigold & Grey!
I met SO many new fabulous ladies and also had a blast catching up with a few others! I was able to FINALLY meet one of my social media besties – Charlotte of Charlotte Jarrett Events! She is just as fabulous in person and she is on social media! I love you, dear friend! I was also able to catch up with Sarah of Intrigue Designs, Grace of Bridal Bellhop (AH – loved her baby bump!), and Renee of Renee Hollingshead Photography! Check out some of my iphone snapshots! 😉
Katie, everything turned out so fabulous! Congratulations on your new brand and the merging of your two loves into one, consistent and amazing company – here’s to all that awaits Ribbon and Ink in 2016! Love you much, friend and thank you for having me!
Have a wonderful week, friends!