Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weekend Class For Wedding Planners

(April 2008 Power Course participants)

(class is in session!)

I love sharing what I know with those who want to learn more about my industry. At least twice a year, I take a weekend and teach my "Power Course" for aspiring, new or seasoned wedding planning professionals. I believe that knowledge is power - and to be good as a planner, you've got to have all of your ducks lined up in a row. Participating in various classes, seminars and workshops is one of the ways to make that happen - and to expand your veritable horizons.

So if you are passionate about this field we call wedding planing, if you want to learn more about how to craft and manage a successful business, if you want to "up your ante" and really bring the game home - join me and a bunch of other like minded folks on October 11 -12, here in Baltimore!!

The Power Course
10 W. Burke Avenue
Towson, Maryland
Registration includes:
2 days of relevant topics
All materials
Continental breakfast, buffet lunch and breaks each day
Pre-Class assignments
Hands on decor experience
Certificate of Participation

Day 1: Focuses on the "business" intracacies of the wedding planning industry
Day 2: Focuses on basic wedding design & decor techniques
Before September 5th : $395
After September 5th: $495 (based on availability)
Payment plans are available
Workshop registration begins June 1st - forms and other details can be found at The Business Of Matrimony's website.

*****Please note*****
The demand for this course is very high, so I decided to start registration early. I strongly encourage anyone who wishes to attend, please sign up early in the game to assure a seat in the class. I LOVE giving my students every ounce of my attention - so I do limit the amount of attendees per session. The same holds true for hotel rooms - we always sell out early, so don't wait to make your reservation!!!

Hotel Accommodations
$129 per night (one bedroom suite)
$149 per night (2 bedroom suite)
The Burkshire Marriott is an all-suite hotel, combining luxurious rooms with the convenience and functionality of a personal living space. Each suite contains a spacious living room/dining area, full kitchen, washer & dryer and separate bedroom.

Room reservations can be made starting June 1st by calling the hotel at (410) 324-8100 and asking for the Power Course (DIVA Enterprises, LLC.) special rate.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

All Guns Blazin'

(Dr. Thomas Whitten & his assistant, Bridgette)

(My physical therapist, Jeff Jones, and me after one of our sessions)
Don't let the smile on my face fool you!!!!

Seven long months later - I can finally say that I've recovered from my knee replacement surgery. SEVEN MONTHS!!! There are truly no words to describe this experience - but let's just say I don't regret having it done. Before the operation -I could barely walk. I'm serious about that - I did a wedding 3 days prior and it took all I had not just to burst out in tears at any given moment from the sheer amount of pain I was in. God bless my team - even though I was on a cane and hardly moving, they helped me pull off a simply exquisite event which thrilled my clients and their guests.

Joint replacement surgery is MAJOR and recovery depends on the patient. I was a notoriously bad patient - just ask the nurses and rehab specialists at the hospital!! But, I perserved because I HAD to walk again - not doing it simply wasn't an option for me. Through the walker, the cane, the long hours of physical therapy, the drugs, the tears.....and with a big heaping dose of God's mercy and grace - I can stand here and tell you that I feel so, so much better!!! So - the Manolos, Jimmy Choos and Stuart Weitzmans have all been placed back into service with the permission of my doctor. Although - I have to wear them in moderation, it's just good to put em' back on my feet and prance around a little - with no pain!

And speaking of my doctor, I have to give many, many props and the biggest shout out to my fabulous surgeon, Dr. Thomas Whitten, his wonderful P.A., Bridgette, and the incredible surgical/nursing staff at Mercy Medical Center. They were all truly angels to me during my surgery and recovery afterwards. I HAVE to give praise to my therapist, Jeff Jones, at Kernan Physical Therapy - that man had the patience of a saint. For every time I bitched, whined , moaned and complained - he would simply look at me and smile..then say, "let's try that motion again". While Dr. Whitten made me the "Bionic Woman", it was Jeff who taught me how to walk again and regain my sense of self.

I'm not going to say that I miss those daily, 2 hour PT sessions or the constant hum of doctors and nurses around me. Let's leave it at I'm truly grateful and very blessed to have had those fine individuals taking care of me and getting me back to my old self again :) In the words of one of my favorite comedians, J. Anthony Brown (of the Tom Joyner Morning Show), "y'all better watch out now!!!"

Wedding On The Grand Strand

(The Destination Wedding Road Crew)
r- Kiasha & Percy/l - Tia (friend of the bride) and yours truly

(Croissants Bakery = yummy wedding cake!)

(Kim @ Dandelion Florists - she doesn't like taking pictures!)

(this is the view guests will have at dinner)

(this is the Ballroom - BEFORE the transformation!)

I am very fortunate to be working with Kiasha & Percy on their destination wedding weekend next month in gorgeous Myrtle Beach, SC. Destination weddings, both stateside and abroad are becoming more common than ever - and allowing couples to celebrate their nuptials someplace other than home!

We took a "scouting trip" down South back in March, so here are a few pics to show you exactly how one of these expeditions work. Note - in a 3 day trip, we covered the venue, florist, cake, photographer, welcome party and gift bags for guests..not to mention got a better feel for this jewel of the South!!!

I'll post updates after the wedding!!!


Yes - I've changed the "look" of my blog. It has a lot to do with the design implementations I'm doing within the boundaries of my business - for the longest time, everything of mine has been green. Green is actually my favorite color BUT for business purposes, I've been transitioning towards something a little more hot, a little more spicy, a little more - ME!

So during the next few months, you'll see this wonderfully warm color palette feautured in many things associated with Premiere Event Management including the expansion of my offices and the launch of my new website which are scheduled for August 1st! Many props go out to my fabulous webmaster and my talented stationery designer who are both putting up with me and managing my ever-changing whims...however - the end result will be just "fabulous"

Stay tuned!


(Some of the crew at our May 3rd wedding event)

People always comment to me at weddings about the size of my staff - I suppose that they are used to seeing just "the wedding planner" running hither and yon around the event...literally. When I started out in business all those years ago - it was just "moi". I was the one who was all over the map, attending to the rehearsal, the ceremony, doing the setup at the reception - you name it, it was me. But one day, the proverbial "lightbulb" came on and I realized that if I kept that pace up - I'd be done and burnt out in no time (just so you know - the "lightbulb moment" happened at the second year of my business), so I had to find a way to manage things differently.

I started out by getting a couple of my friends as well as my ex-husband to help out. ALL of them made the same comment at the end of the day - "Are you freakin' kidding me? There is no way I can do this with you every weekend? I'm exhausted!" See - that's why you don't hire people you know..especially spouses! I readily admit that the pace is not for the timid, it's the kind of thing that will have you babbling as you drive home..and your feet and legs will be calling you all kinds of names over the next few days. But - it's a part of the game, so I am used to it. It took me a minute to find some folks who actually wanted to do this - but when I did, it was like manna sent from heaven!! One of my first "helpers" was someone I knew from high school and like me, she loved weddings and did other small events on her own. We became like the Lone Ranger and Tonto - actually those are our nicknames for each other - to this day. I'd hit one end of the spectrum and she'd take the other. Did it work? You bet!!! But as my business expanded, I knew that I needed more hands.

When I started teaching workshops and doing conferences, they became a source for me to find people who were willing to "intern" under me for the experience - and some of those folks are now a part of my senior staff...helping me to bring all of those many wedding visions to life. There are times when I am already booked for a wedding, but I take great pride in offering one of my seasoned associates to help clients with the planning process. We all work well together because our thought patterns are similar - not exact, but similar. At this point in my career, I am proud of the internship program I offer each wedding season - it's has been a wonderful thing, watching people who are new to the industry come in, eyes open wide and expectations high. Oh, don't get it twisted - we WORK all of the time. But I am a firm believer in real-world experience, so this gives them the opportunity to really see what a wedding planner does - from the beginning of concept to the end of execution.

So, when I show up at a wedding - it's me and Team DIVA. Pretty much you will see no less than 8 people - average is 12, and we cover everything from making sure that the wedding party is dressed and in the limo on time to ensuring that the ceremony site is ready to accept guests AND that the reception will blow you away when you walk in the door. Simply put, I cannot be in 5 places at once and by managing personnel in this fashion, I make sure that all i's are dotted and each t is crossed. I realize that not all wedding planners may have this concept going - but I believe in doing what works for me and the overall success of the events I am tasked to produce.

Oh, by the way - it's about 30 of us total. Do all 30 show up at an event? In some cases, the answer is a resounding YES! When the installation on an event will take upwards of 8 hours and you are managing multiple locations, a wedding party of 40, a guest list of 350+ - then yeah, I'm gonna say you'll see ALL of our faces in the place!! I believe in efficiency and logistics as well as making things we do what we have to in order to make this work. You'll know who we are - just look for the ladies (and gents) in the black suits, clipboards in hand (yes - we do carry them!) and smiles on our faces - ready to make this occasion wonderful!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm Going Green

Sorta kinda anyway :) I'm pleased to announce that I've been tapped as the Event Planner for the's annual Market Party in the Baltimore metro region! This fabulous little shindig is for industry pro's only AND is a great networking opportunity as well as a heck of a party for all of us in the biz.

"Going Green" is the core schematic for this year's event, scheduled for Wednesday, September 24th. I am being tasked with creating a get-together which highlights the continuous "green" philosophy that is permeating our society AND pulling off something that will make my colleagues go "WOW".

I think I'm up to the challenge - I'll keep y'all posted :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Planners Than You Can Shake A Stick At....

Odd title - I know. But this post has a lot to do with what I'll call the "saturation" of wedding planners in the marketplace. Not just in my neck of the woods - but everywhere.

Somewhere along the way - folks got the groovy idea that being a wedding planner must be the THING to do. Gee - on television it looks like fun, you get to go to parties (for free), you get to look at pretty flowers, eat great food, walk around with a clipboard and look important - yada, yada. So now, I can take off one of my Manolo's and throw it - and guarantee that I'll "hit" a "wedding planner/coordinator/producer/designer" in passing. The hardcore truth of the matter is this - it ain't like it is on television or in print. I wish it were - but it's not. I've reiterated this theory to many folks in the past - so humor me if you've heard it is something that definitely bears repeating.

1) It's a's a profession. IT IS NOT A HOBBY
My hobbies are reading trashy romance novels and watching television. Planning a wedding for someone does not qualify as a "little something for me to do". Weddings are investments, both financially and emotionally - so the planner's mindset has to concur and understand that statement. This is how I earn my living, pay for tuition, drive my car, pay for the outrageous gas that goes into my get the drift. Which leads me to number 2..

2) I charge for my services
And you are not going to get them for free - or for cheap. The price I quote you for service covers a myriad of facets and as such, they have to be taken care of. And that 3 pounds of grey matter residing in my head is worth a's a little piece of anatomy which causes me to think and create an event that is unlike any other - and that event will belong to you and your beloved. Nope - I'm not the most expensive game in town , but I'm not the cheapest either. I can never say this enough - in the wedding business, you DO get what you pay for. Like the kids say (mine especially) - "Don't get it twisted".

3) Experience matters
Yep - it sure does. I've got almost 16 years under my belt as a planner and trust me, I have been baptized by fire, brimstone and a few other things to get me where I am now. The road has not been easy...but I honestly wouldn't trade a thing for what I've learned along the way. Those 15+ years? They make a difference between being able to assertively think on your feet - or stand there looking like a deer caught in the headlights....

4) cheap.
It's nothing else. Not even remotely. Yes..there are many, many, many "wedding planners" out there who will quote you a fee of $250 to provide "day of" coordination services (actually, there is no such thing as "day of" - any true planner worth their salt will be happy to give you more details on that), but please......don't expect a lot of work for $250. If you really sit down and do a few computations, for the amount of work a coordinator does prior to the wedding (yes - we must work before the event, because we CANNOT just come in the day before and make things happen!) as well as on the day of.....let's just say for $250 - you'd be better off working in a retail store or a fast food joint..and let your employee discount be the "perk".

5) Think About It
When you make the decision to hire a wedding planner - it's a pretty big one. This is the ONE person who will know everything about your event, all of it's machinations, quirks, complexities...the planner has the eagle eye on it all. So you want to mesh with someone who can see eye to eye with you AND beyond the realm of what most people think about. Your wedding is YOUR wedding and as such, should reflect who you are as a couple. Your relationship, your "love style" are all things which should be ever present on this day...the planner is the person who takes it all and makes it happen in wonderful, glorious form.

It's okay to interview a few planners - after all, next to the photographer, this is the person you'll be spending the most time with. Ask hard questions, see how the planner's overall persona and personality is - and does it vibe with yours? Don't let price be your only criteria for selection - 'cause honestly, that WILL be your undoing. Ask me how I know........

Seriously, everybody and their mama is jumping on the wedding planning bandwagon. Make sure that whomever you select is not a follower...but a leader. This is a decision that if made correctly and with thought - will net you a day that you've only dreamed of.....