Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What I’m Loving!

Celebrations by Amy Bacon was recently featured in The Wedding Chronicle for local wedding planners.  
We were asked to share what we're in love with right now ... colors, flowers, and details. 

They quoted a section of our submission but we wanted to share the entire piece with our readers. 

Colors:        As a general preference, I LOVE the color pink so of course when a client says that they want to use it in their wedding, I automatically agree with them. Pink is such a fun, love-inspiring color that can be taken many different ways. Hot pink shades can show off the couple’s rebellious side when used with black and white; blushes and peaches can add to the feel-good nature of the reception; and coral can be mixed with so many other colors to add an element to the design that otherwise would have been missed. Sure, some guys feel that pink isn’t manly so they may not be keen on having it be used (after all, it’s their day, too!) but because of my experience with planning events, I make sure I point out how pink can be paired with masculine colors (i.e. navy blue, charcoal grey) so that they don’t feel left out of their own event. Regardless of when in the planning process a bride tells me her color scheme (start of brainstorming or even as soon as a month before the Big Day), I love being able to help couple’s achieve their wedding dreams, and colors, especially pink, are an easy way to accomplish this.

Flowers:      Being in a business where knowing all different shapes, types, and varieties of flowers makes it difficult to be able to pick just one that I love. Okay, I’ll be honest, I can’t pick just one! However, I do prefer working with flowers that possess unique textures. Going against the grain and using flowers that don’t stick to the norm of being smooth, contained blossoms adds in a little extra “oomph” to the design to make it distinctive and stand out in pictures. While peonies are temperamental and finicky to work with, the fluffiness of their many petals fill the space of any arrangement they are in, and aid to the beauty of a glowing bride. Working with flowers like hybrid tea roses can always add elegance to any event, but why not bring in a whole new element by featuring dahlias instead? I don’t like the idea of planning and coordinating the same event over and over again. A great way to help my brides have their wedding be special and distinctive is by encouraging them to pick textured and individualistic blooms for their wedding arrangements. Every bride is different; so should their wedding!

Details:        Many people focus on making sure they have a family heirloom, a friend’s cake, or any other personal elements they covet at their wedding. I agree that all of these are great to have, but a detail that I think that must be present at a wedding is a theme. The theme doesn’t have to be specific like Winter Wonderland but a couple (and their planner) needs to know what the theme is so that they stay on track with the look and feel they desire the event to exude. Celebrations by Amy Bacon is working with a wonderful couple right now whose wedding will be this upcoming February and they are pros at bringing this detail into everything about their ‘I Do’s. The bride and her Maid of Honor came up with the fantastic theme of Vintage Glam that they always have in mind when deciding what to use and what to leave out. From the beautiful multi-sized lanterns on the tables to the amazing sequins, chevron linen for the cake table, they’re matching the sophistication of times now passed with the contemporary pops that are in vogue today. Knowing what you want for your wedding and being able to voice this to others can be the difference between missing the mark of what you had pictured and getting more than you had ever imagined when all is said and done. Even if a couple does not know how to voice specific ideas for their wedding, as I work with them I am able to develop a concrete phrase for all involved to cling to throughout the process so as to bring their vision to life. My team and I pride ourselves on being able to see a couple’s vision and knowing just how to make this must-have detail shine as much as their love for one another as they start their new life together, as long as they both shall live.

Name of Planner: Amy Bacon

Business Name: Celebrations by Amy Bacon

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Client’s Perspective: Lynn, Mother of the Bride

Erin called me on Easter Saturday 2011 and told me that Shane had proposed at the Tucson Reid Park Zoo, that she had accepted, and that she was a "hot mess"!  We knew it was coming, though, as Shane and Erin had recently visited us in Hawaii.  Ron and Shane went deep sea fishing one day, and Shane was gentleman enough to have "The Talk" with the father of his intended bride about a month before the actual proposal. At first, they planned on a two year engagement.  Six months after becoming engaged, they realized they wanted to get married sooner than that and so they decided over Thanksgiving 2011 to get married in May 2012.  Then we jumped into planning mode!

My daughter Erin was a full time nursing student in the months preceding the wedding, while I was a stay-at-home mom with a lot of flexibility in my schedule.  As a result, it made sense for me to step in and do a lot of the wedding planning and tasks for her. My husband is an Army officer, and so I often see things from a military perspective after having been an Army wife for 18 years.  In the military, there is the role of an "XO", an executive officer, who is in charge of executing the decisions made by his or her commanding officer. When it came to planning Erin and Shane's wedding, I regarded my role as being Erin's XO.  I looked at everything I did as a service to her, and hopefully I didn't overstep too badly! Today's technology (especially the internet) made planning from afar very feasible! Possible but difficult.  

The overall vision of the wedding - a morning wedding followed by a brunch - came solely from Erin.  I like planning and organizing things, and was fairly comfortable in finding the major vendors and reception space. It probably helped that I grew up in Scottsdale and was familiar with many of the potential reception venues. When Erin and Shane toured the Scottsdale Plaza and saw the gazebo area, they both fell in love with the setting.  Shane said immediately afterwards that it was the first place they had toured where he could picture them getting married. Erin and Shane liked the idea of having the ceremony and reception at the same location, and having it at a hotel where our out-of-town guests could stay for maximum convenience. Having the reception at Remington's was perfect, because they don't open until 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and we all really liked the idea of having an exclusive reception space versus mingling with the general public. The brunch menu was one that appealed to all of us, and in fact the quality of the food truly surpassed our expectations.  Finally, the Scottsdale Plaza charged a reasonable price for their upscale brunch; the cost of the ceremony site itself was particularly economical.

I definitely shared opinions and suggestions with Erin; I'm a pretty normal mother in that regard!  Many choices were determined or modified by our budget limitations, but I can honestly say that she made all the final decisions, particularly the major decisions. Despite having much of the key details decided and squared away, I began to worry about the many tasks that go on during the actual wedding day.  I knew I didn't want to be running around like the proverbial headless chicken when I should be focusing on the importance and joy of the day. My brother got married about a year before we started planning Erin's wedding, and he and my sister-in-law used a wedding coordinator.  At first, I didn't understand why they felt the need to hire help, but they too were planning from long distance, and it quickly became apparent just how many details and tasks that their coordinator was handling for them.  Their wedding went beautifully, and they attributed the success of their day, in part, to their coordinator.

One of my specific anxieties about the wedding was that our wedding officiant really didn't want to do a rehearsal.  We love the minister who did Erin's wedding, and he makes a very eloquent argument as to why he has found rehearsals to be pointless.  But all I could do was recall my brother's wedding just a year earlier, and the fact that all of us in the wedding party had regarded the rehearsal as being the key reason the actual ceremony went so beautifully the next day.  So I really loved the idea of having a day-of coordinator who embraced the idea of a rehearsal and treated it with the importance we thought it deserved.

Erin was very open to the idea of hiring a day-of coordinator, and when we were together over Christmas break, we agreed to explore the possibility. She and I called Amy together and spent about an hour getting to know each other over the phone. Amy asked such intelligent and insightful questions that both Erin and I were quite impressed; it became obvious that Amy was professional and extremely experienced in her field.  By the end of the conversation, Erin and I just nodded at other to verify what we were both thinking:  that this was the right person to help us with our day-of coordination! We hired Amy on the spot.

Amy proved to be a tireless sounding board for our many questions and concerns, both big and small.  It was a blessing to be able to call her, or e-mail her, and consistently get a prompt response. There are two things about our experience with Amy for which I am especially grateful.  First, she truly became our advocate, working tirelessly and passionately to coordinate Erin's wedding to the very best of her ability.  Second, she always maintained a sense of joy, enthusiasm, and confidence about the wedding. Erin also verbalized how much her stress level decreased once we hired Amy.  We knew that one of the important jobs of a day-of coordinator is to handle the unexpected emergencies or surprises that come up during the day.  By definition, these challenges are almost always unexpected, and have the potential of derailing a very important event. Erin said that she felt like we had an "insurance policy" for the wedding once we hired Amy, because we were both confident that she could handle, to the extent reasonably possible, any surprises that arose on the day of the wedding.  Even better, we felt like her careful planning and timeline coordination would itself prevent some of these challenges from arising in the first place. The timeline itself coordinated all the countless details of a wedding into a logical and useful format – and provided, for example, contact information so that the vendors, the family members, and the wedding party could all reach one another if needed.

Image provide by http://www.ClassicDigitalPhotography.com

Amy and her team seemed to be everywhere on the day of the wedding, taking care of the numerous details that the rest of us were too busy to do. They were the ones: who ran to Starbucks for the wedding party; who offered to get medicine for a sick flower girl; who ran to Men's Warehouse to pick up shoes that had been left out of an order; who placed the wedding programs on each guest's seat; who pinned on the corsages and boutonnieres; who provided ice water to our vendors on a hot day; who made sure the bride and groom had something to eat; who prevented my daughter's wedding cake from getting accidentally contaminated with an allergen. In fact, I am positive that I don't even know everything they did on our daughter's wedding day, but I know that they worked tirelessly to make sure things went as smoothly as humanly possible.

I would encourage parents to enjoy their very special and unique role as parents of the bride or groom.  It is likely to be an emotionally intense day, not only because you are watching your precious child get married, but because you are surrounded by a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of loved ones from across the country. My husband and I were able to better enjoy the day, spend more time with our guests, and experience less stress as a direct result of hiring Amy and her team to help us with the process.  There are just too many moving parts involved in a wedding for even an organized and detailed-oriented bride (or mother of the bride) to supervise and manage singlehandedly!  So even if the concept of hiring a wedding planner is a new one for parents, I would encourage them to keep an open mind on the subject and see the many potential benefits of hiring some degree of wedding coordination help.

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                   Blog Written by Patrice Klaum | Planner and Writer for Celebrations by Amy Bacon