This holiday season we are happily ticking off the lessons learned with our focus on an attitude of GRATITUDE!
IT'S BEEN A DOOZY, YA'LL
We don't want to start off this post by bragging, but this has been an amazing year for us, friends.
We have never worked harder, or been prouder of ourselves.
2017 was truly a gargantuan effort and as we put it to rest, and breathe a HUGE sigh of relief, we also feel a little sad that it's over. There's something called "runner's blues" that describes the sadness someone feels after completing a marathon for the first time. After training for months, reconditioning the body and mentally overcoming the obstacle of the race, many people are left feeling like they have nothing else to work towards. Certainly, we have plenty to look forward to in 2018, (get booked now, folks! Our date-card is almost FULL!) but we do feel a twinge of emptiness, perhaps because we aren't running around like chickens with our heads cut off?
As we get ahead of everything, and the dust settles, it almost feels like something is wrong. Now that we've adapted to the insanely busy schedule we set forth for ourselves in setting up this business, (and kicking ass for 26 couples to boot!) it's tough to re-establish some balance. But, we're committed, friends. We're going back to the gym now (we swear). We're going to cook dinner for ourselves (promise). We're going to go to bed at normal times, and sleep in on Sundays (well not Becca, Jojo won't allow that). It's going to make us better, at what we do AND in our personal lives.
I'd like to take a moment here to countdown a couple of the lessons we learned as new business owners and pass on some simple advice to others who are trying to get something started, whether that be in this business, any business, personal goal or a creative project. One of our favorite aspects of the job we have is community involvement and supporting others in pursuing their goals, particularly as it relates to financial freedom and independence (from the MAN!, ha!).
One of our goals for 2018 will be to share more wisdom (see how cocky we've become? We're wise now) on the blog, and in general to share more photos, advice, tip + tricks, and funny stories as we go. When we started, our blog was meant to be a cornerstone of the business, a place where YOU could reliably go to find out about US. We know that we've slipped up, but are recommitted to coming back strong in 2018! Please subscribe for updates, and check back often so we know you're out there.
BE WHO YOU ARE
One of our strengths starting out in 2016 was that we had a good sense of what type of client we would be a good fit for and we tried to make connections with those clients. In the beginning, when we didn't have an extensive portfolio to present, it was tricky to get buy-in, even though we felt confident in our abilities to produce amazing events. Now, we look to be great fits for our clients, but we ensure that our clients are good fits for us as well. We learned that the vendor-client relationship is a two-way street. Acting as middle-men between clients and vendors has shown us that an ideal relationship is one where both the client and then vendor feel grateful for being paired up. Asking questions about how vendors and clients like to work, being clear about expectations and being honest about approach, perspective and boundaries is the only way to ensure a great bond. When everyone is excited about the work and process it is more creative, fun and collaborative, everyone wins!
NO PROMISES WHEN IT COMES To $$$
Many couples want to see an outline of what wedding day will cost at the outset of planning, and that is very dangerous territory for any wedding professional to navigate. If you outline the costs, and you're WAY OFF in several categories, the black and white balance sheet can come back to haunt you. It's very important to be clear along the way that budget line items can shift dramatically as choices are being made by the couple. Setting expectations about what the numbers you are providing really look like in real life is also very important. As we have become more experienced, pricing hypothetical situation has become easier, but now we never make promises. You can never say "this will definitely cost that" because the market changes and vendors shift prices constantly. What you can say is, "I've seen this cost that", which gives a little more wiggle room down the line.
ASSUME THINGs WILL not GO AS
Completly replanning Jess and Law's wedding in two days due to Hurricane Nate certainly taught us this lesson, but in a more general sense, we learned that building in time is always a great idea. Always account for 25% more time than you need, period. It's better to be left with a lull, then to be rushing to the finish line.
VALUE YOUR VENDORS
And speaking of that stormy October day, we were able to shift every vendor we had to new times and days because we have worked to create warm, consistent, reliable and friendly relationships with the vendors in town. We heard over and over from vendors that they were canceling other events, but would make time and space for us because they valued our relationship. Being an advocate for clients is super important, but if you aren't also understanding and upstanding with those behind the scenes you can't make mountains move when you really need it.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
It's hard to know when to push clients toward something better and when to back off. There are times when we knew something wouldn't work and allowed the client to go forward with it (to our detriment) because they really wanted to and other times when we thought something wouldn't work and it turned out great. Moving forward, following our gut and keeping open lines of communication is the only way to ensure we give the best advice possible while continuing to trust that our couple's know themselves and their tribes best. Knowing when to lay down a hard "no" is key, but being open to new scenarios is just as important.
NEVER TAKE IT HOME
This is a personal business and as couples near wedding day, emotions can run high. This past year for us was hard as we established ourselves, made mistakes, fell down, got back up, dusted off and moved forward and that made it difficult to be an impartial sounding board to absorb anxiety from our clients. There were no knock-down, drag-out fights, but moving forward we understand it's our job to be the pinnacle of professional ease, and we strive to keep a little more distance between our feelings and the actual work taking place. At the onset, every event felt loaded for us, with intention, hope, and excitement for what was unfolding. We want to keep that level of energy in the new year but now it's time to anchor it with some good old confidence, know-how, grit, and gratitude.
For reading, and to all of our 2017 couples: this is obvious, but we'd be nothing without you. Keep an eye out for a 2017 recap with photos of all our interesting, thoughtful and MARRIED brides and grooms! Sarah and Marshall are rounding out the year on New Year's Eve, can't wait to share.
Happy Holidays! Love, Becca & Kate