Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Being Married....Is A Process

As a wedding planner, I see couples all of the time who are about to take the proverbial "leap into da' land of matrimony".  For some people - it's one of the most serious committments they'll ever make.  That's how it should be - saying "I DO' is a big daggone deal and regrettably, a lot of folks don't see it that way

I'm a big fan of "relationship help", since there is no MANUAL that can be given to you on your wedding day that says, "here's how to be married".  But, there's premarital counseling {which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND} and there are programs like the "Art of Marriage" which can help brides & grooms understand, connect and grow together in their relationship.  My friend and industry colleague, Pastor Ken Patterson, Lead Minister at Grace International Church and creator of The Maryland Wedding Officiant is hosting this two day workshop on February 11th & 12th, which allows couples to learn more about the fine "brushstrokes" needed to paint the beautiful picture that is marriage.  This video-based event brings together some of the most respected pastors and experts on marriage and family all in one setting. It also brings a fresh approach to a video event by weaving together some of the following elements to help couples fully experience God’s design for marriage:
engaging stories
real-life testimonies
man-on-the-street interviews
humorous vignettes

The Art of Marriage consists of six video sessions and an accompanying manual that provides couples with projects to help apply the principles taught during each session. The manual is also designed for couples to use after the event by offering articles, date night ideas, and useful tips for continuing to strengthen their marriage.

At $79 per couple - it's a great investment in the health & strength of your relationship.  All materials
are included as well as a catered breakfast & lunch on Saturday.  You can get more details at Grace's website as well as register for the event. 

I look at it this way - people spend a LOT of money on the "trappings" of getting hitched..so why not INVEST in the overall success of your marriage from the jump?  Take the time and exert the effort into the WORK of being married...just don't give it "lip servce". 

You'll thank me later.....I promise.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I'm not even sure how this post will "evolve", so I'm just going to put my "thoughts" out there......

I've been in the wedding planning industry since 1993.  That's 18 years worth of blood, sweat and tears that have been devoted to discovering, learning and honing my "craft."  And yes - the road has been amazing as well as rough.  I came into the business at a time when wedding planners were just starting to "catch on" and the public could see what a real asset we are.  During these years, I've watched people come and go - almost revolving-door like in it's intensity, but that is the nature of the beast.  Someone told them that being a wedding planning was "super fun", "glamourous" and the best one of all - "you can get rich"!  Once they got on the job, they discovered real quick that while indeed, the industry is wonderful..the work of the planner is exceedingly HARD.

In observing the "revolving door" phenomenon, I've noticed that there are a lot of people, spinning through, who have absolutely not one iota of ethical behavior.  NONE.  These are the folks who will do anything to "get a sale" {including slitting your throat if they have to}, these are the folks for whom the term "my word is my bond" does not exist in their limited world view, these are the folks that play the "copycat" game to the hilt, because they have not once ounce of originality {which is KEY to being a success in this business} residing in their core, these are the people who just don't GET IT.

Perhaps you've met one of them in your travels...you know who they are when you meet them.  They talk a great game but regrettably, can't back it up.  They want to suck you dry like a vampire - inhaling all of the knowledge you have, so they can greedily transfuse it into themselves. They will do anything, say anything, become anything...just to get over.  That is so damn sad.  Really.

The wedding business is not a shell game where you can rapidly move the "nuts", thereby forcing your "mark" to guess where the prize is.  We are talking about an event, a milestone occasion that for many people, really does only occur once in their lifetimes.  Our job as purveyors and producers is to ensure that all is flawless and well executed, so that our client's memories are wonderful and everlasting.  Nobody has time for foolishness or for people who cannot be trusted as far as you can throw them.

So I'm saying {because it doesn't appear that any one else will!} - STOP THE MADNESS!  Be about your business..be honest in your dealing with others, stop trying to "con" people, cease the lying about what you've done {the truth will come out eventually}, stop name-dropping {because no one cares - only you do}, in short..commit to being the BEST you can be, within your scope.  Get some ETHICS, will ya?  Grow a backbone and be an ASSET to the industry...not a fungus that grows between it's toes.......

Planes, Trains & Automobiles.....

I readily admit to have racked up some serious airline miles and hotel loyalty points over the years and 2011 will only add to my cache!!  I love speaking, I love sharing what I know and I LOVE "vibing" off of an audience - there's nothing like feeling that energy in the air and running with it!!

January 30th
"Dessert With The DIVA @ The Maryland Bridal Show
Historic Savage Mill Manor/Savage, MD.
I'll be dishing out pure DIVA-style advice for brides/grooms and anyone planning a special event!

February 19th 
"Make That Money" Intensive Workshop
Towson Marriott Conference Center Hotel/Towson, MD.
Back by popular demand, this one day class breaks open the "mystery" behind determining and setting your fees.  Hey....let' face it - unless you are charging properly, you've only got an "expensive hobby" on your hands!!  This fast-paced, information-packed class is for EVERYONE in the wedding industry - not just planners!!

February 20th
"Sign On The Dotted Line" Intensive Workshop
Towson Marriott Conference Center Hotel/Towson, MD.
Have you ever ended up doing too much work because your contract DIDN'T clearly articulate your duties?  Ever had a client whose behavior was so bad you wanted to fire them - but couldn't because you didn't have an "out clause"?  What about client's who bounce checks or are habitually late for appointments? All of these situations can be handled effectively AND in your FAVOR with a well-drafted contract.  Come with an open mind and your old contracts...then leave with a new purpose and new clauses for your legal professional to draft!

February 27th - March 2nd 
The Cosmopolitan Hotel/Las Vegas, NV.
As the official Celebrity Spokesperson for NACE, one of my duties is to go out and meet folks in the event industry, all the while extolling the virtues and benefits of this fine organization!  I'll be with my fellow NACE comrades on the Showroom floor on Tuesday & Wednesday, so if you're planning to attend - please stop by, say "hi" and learn more about how you can be a part of NACE!

April 11-12th
Eventology:  The Science Of A Wedding Business
The Omni Severin Hotel/Indianapolis, IN.
I am so honored to have been asked to return and deliver a workshop for the attendees of Eventology!  Last year, I had the chance to co-host the conference's Opening Session with my planning colleague, Ali Phillips..and was deeply moved by the response my presentation evoked.  This year - I'm gonna take it the the Nth Power and focus on the issue of "Confidence - How To Get What You Want AND Need In The Wedding Industry"!!  I don't pull punches - my plan is to make attendees dig deep and come out empowered and inspired!!!

April 30th
The 3rd Annual "I DO Brunch" For Wedding Planners
Baltimore, MD.
This is my signature event and I can't wait to network with all of my fellow planning colleagues for a day of amazing food, jaw-dropping decor, excellent entertainment, relevant discourse & discussion, SWAG for days and a few surprise thrown in.  On this day - it's all about the PLANNER..it's your chance to be fawned over, pampered and celebrated for all of the hard work you do!!

May 26th
New York City
I'm back to the Big Apple - with one of the best destination programs ever!!  Mexico is an AMAZING location to host weddings, vow renewals, anniversaries or any milestone event - this one day conference will give insight and incredible information on how you can introduce your clients to the wonder that is Mexico!

July 24th -27th
NACE Experience 2011:  Beyond Expectations
The Silver Legacy Resort & Casino/Reno-Lake Tahoe, NV.
NACE Experience! 2011 Reno Tahoe will take you beyond the expected. More than an industry conference, the NACE Experience! conference is four days in which every minute  is a lesson, networking session or professionally prepared meal that you will want to reproduce with clients.

The education program, nationally renowned speakers and hands-on lessons in culinary and design skills will make you better at what you do. The professional networking, our growing tradeshow, Marketplace, and the people you will meet will give you more opportunities to do it!  Experience! attendees are masters of their crafts in every facet of the catering and events world. They are either new to the profession looking for business contacts or veterans will to provide seasoned advice.

The most unexpected feature of the NACE Experience! is the price. It includes ALL of your meals, education and social and networking function.

December 5th - 7th
Riviera Maya/Mexico
This is the BIG ONE!!  I'm headed back for a 3rd year to this absolutely fantastic event which brings destination and romance wedding professionals from all over the world to the sunny beaches of Riviera Maya!  With days full of relevant education and information...and nights dedicated to the fine cuisine and entertainment of Mexico, this is a conference you don't want to miss!!!

There's more to come - but I think this is a great start...don't you????

Monday, January 17, 2011

Paying For Your Wedding

I have a confession to make - I absolutely love the reality tv megaseries known as "The Real Housewives Of Atlanta".  It's my guilty pleasure and judging from my social media comrades on Facebook & Twitter, they can't get enough either!!  Talk about shiggadashery and shiggity (yes, I have a propensity for making up words - don't judge me!) at it's finest - this show has it in spades.

Last night's episode continued the saga of  "supermodel" Cynthia and her supper-club owning fiance', Peter, as they head down the road towards matrimony.  Their journey has been fraught with anger, disagreements, money issues, with the smooth-as-silk-fine-as-wine actor and author Hill Harper even coming on to help them "mediate" (to no avail...in my opinion).  Well - last night, Peter dropped the shoe off his other foot...wait for it...wait for it....and told our bride-to-be that because of "financial issues", he officially CLOSED his business.  Yep - you heard me.  Closed it down.  Shut the doors.  Nothing to see here, folks - let's keep it moving.

Cynthia's response was not unexpected - she lost her mind.  She's been "dreaming" of this wedding and "it's all she had", especially since their relationship was most definitely "strained".  Peter was quite honest in saying that the lavish nuptial shindig she and her sister HAD been planning would more than likely not be able to happen, but (and here's the crazy part), he suggested that she "go and assume like it would".  **blank stare**.

Ok...time for me to shut this nonsense DOWN.  According to Peter and Cynthia, there was an extra $20,000 needed to finish paying for the wedding festivities.  I'm just going to put it out there - POOR PLANNING.  Period.  As a professional planner, I've got clients who come to me with all sort of "financial situations" - but it's my job to work with them and be the one willing to give em' a reality check in the BEGINNING.  Weddings cost money (that's a whole separate topic I'll be covering later) and as such, you need to be on the same page when it comes to shelling out the money for this event.  I know - stuff looks AMAZING when you see it on television, in the magazines, on displays in the store...but you have to be practical with the situation in general.  If you know that your finances are tanking - DON'T PLAN A HUGE WEDDING.  Appearances mean nothing - especially when you can't fund them

And before anyone comes back with the snappy retort of "stuff happens", let me clue you in right now:  I know that.  I've had it happen to clients where one of them got laid off or something else occured that changed the "picture".  But because we were prudent - those things didn't completely blow their event out of the water.  A couple of people decided to postpone their wedding until their financial footing was better - and I totally respected that move. Others scaled back on their plans and relied on my know-how to give them something wonderful to remember, within their new budget.  That's what I do - my job is to make it work..but in order for that to happen, you have to be upfront and honest.

People talk a good talk...but the proof is in the pudding.  Judging from what is shown on the series, it's not like Peter & Cynthia didn't KNOW there was trouble afoot with the supper club.  They did.  And if that's where the funding was coming from, it would have been in their best interest to rethink their celebration.  The economy, while rebounding slowly, is still erratic and mercurial - you have to be cautious and smart.  I always advise potential clients to be extremely realistic about how their event will be paid for and to have backup plans in place "just in case".  Life and it's situations can be extremely fickle...weddings are no exception.

I always tell people that money can be wonderful or a downfall.  It all depends on how you manage it.  For as much as I love a good wedding...I respect it more when a couple starts out on the right foot - able to live after the "I Do's" have been said.  Life starts the next day after the marriage license has been signed - I give you the first "24" to revel in the glow..after that, get ready for the real deal.  But if you are backed into a corner because of trying to finance a "blowout baller party" for everyone else, you're going to end up fighting like rats (amongst yourselves) to get out......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My First Blog Contest

Getting married and you're in the Baltimore/D.C. area?  Here's a way for you to enjoy fabulous food, tour TWO great venues and meet some of the region's top wedding professionals - Putting On The Ritz Caterers is hosting their annual Maryland Bridal Show on Sunday, January 30th at the Great Room At Savage Mill  from noon - 3 p.m. 

And to add a little "sumthin'" extra to the pot, yours truly will be at their sister location, the Historic Savage Mill Manor House, at 1:15 and 2:15 p.m., meeting and greeting...along with dispensing some valuable "tips and tricks" to get you started on the road to matrimony!

Tickets are available for purchase, but.....I'm doing a little contest that will allow you to get two tickets for FREE!!!!!  The rules are simple...however, you gotta follow the directions :)  Here we go:

1) "Like" Premiere Event Management, Putting On The Ritz AND The Maryland Bridal Showon Facebook
2) Post on all of our pages, "I want to have Dessert With The DIVA!!"

That's it - pretty simple, huh?  We'll be monitoring our pages closely and will contact those persons who play along!!!

**Complimentary shuttle service will be provided between locations**

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I Cost So MUCH - The Remix

I'm thoroughly pleased with the response and feedback I received on "Why I Cost So MUCH" - my goal in penning that post was to spark dialogue amongst my fellow industry professionals and to get people THINKING!!!

After chatting with a few folks online and by the good ole' telly..something else came to mind that made me realize I wasn't finished with this topic - not by a long shot!  So, "Why I Cost So MUCH" now has a "remix".  Truth be told - I love it when a song gets the "remix" by a hot shot producer who knows how to amp the music and lyrics up so all you wanna do is dance!  While I may not be a music producer - I do know how to "push buttons"..and my fingers are ready for this one!!

My last post kinda skimmed over the reasons why my fees and prices aren't $500 ( I shudder to think there are still people charging that amount for FULL SERVCE PLANNING, but I digress..), the "REMIX" is about the personal, hard facts:  I run a business and I have a family to supportBottom line.

I'm not in the wedding planning business because it's a fun "hobby" - au contraire..I am a business woman who is out here getting her proverbial hustle ON.  This is my "9 to 5"....this IS my livelihood.  And as such, I've based my fees on factors such as experience, skill, acumen, education and a little something called "profit"....you may have heard of this notion - it's why businesses are in business! 

I have expenses related to my business (that studio of mine has a rent payment due the 1st of each month), I have staffing costs, I have professional costs that come with being a part of this industry..and I also have Visa, a car note, health & life insurance, two kids, an ailing grandmother, a house and a family of cats to feed.  In short, I have a life....just like you.  And this life requires money in order to live it.  I'm not independently wealthy and I can't live off my ascerbic wit.  Maintaining requires dollars..which is why I work.

So..when I say that your fee for services will be $$$$, I'm not talking out of the side of my neck.  It's not an arbitrary number I just came up with...nope, I've told you what I know to be true.  I totally get that some people like to "negotiate", but whoever said that "everything is negotiable" was delusional.  It's not.  You have to pay for what you want.  Good people, excellent people, smart people, stellar people...we cost money.  For a reason.  We're good, excellent, smart & stellar...we are at the top of our game and we know how to get results.  Period.  Would you try to negotiate the fee with your surgeon if you needed work done?  Of course not...you are coming to him/her for their EXPERTISE, therefore - you pay.  So why is it any different  when it comes to paying your wedding professionals what they deserve?  Hmmmmm?????

To add in another flavor to the remix....please also know that when you don't pay me on time - my life still continues.  And the aforementioned Visa, car finance company and landlord still want their money  - from me.  When you bounce a check....the bank will charge me.  And I will charge you.  In effect, you've breached your contract...non payment means that I can walk away or put your event on the shelf until you ante up.  Depending on where you are in the process..that can be a dangerous situation.  Allow me to put it into simple, laymen's terms:  It's payday at your place of employment.  You get your check or advice of deposit, open it up...and there's nothing there.  Or....it's short a few hundred dollars.  What are you going to do?  Oh, I know EXACTLY what will happen - you're gonna march right on down to payroll and give them the "business" about YOUR money.  And you're going to ask your boss "What's up with this - where's my money?"  You know I'm right....you will be HEATED until this is resolved.  Guess what - that's how we feel as professionals when you don't pay us as agreed upon.  Take a moment to digest that.

And for my colleagues and peers in the industry....I'm not letting you off the hook.  You have a responsibility to be unwaveringly clear about your pricing and your policies.  It is what it is.  Stop devaluing your worth, your credibility and your ART by not pricing your services as they should be.  The word "NO' is not a four-letter one, it's not foul...it is the truth.  Learn how to say it more often and when needed.  Every client isn't for you and they are probably better suited for someone else. Let them GO...trust me, someone else will come along who understands and appreciate what you bring to the table without all of the truly unecessary drama and tribulation .   

This is a two-way street. The public needs to undestand that we're not some cheap date...while the industry has go to get a grip on solidifying and clearly enunciating who they are and what they cost.  Now that's a marriage made in heaven........

(See these two? These are my "babies" and my main impetus for being a success......they're also quite expensive, which is one of the reasons I don't work for free..)

Friday, January 7, 2011

I AM????????

This year - I have decided to go ahead and let my "real voice" speak to all of you.  If you've ever met me in person, you'll notice that I am very down-to-earth, I don't do fantasy, I call things the way I see them, I'm quick with a humorous quip and I'm always smiling.  That's my authentic self - "straight shot/no chaser"  so since the whole idea behind this blog was to allow me the opportunity to give my own "musings" on how I see things regarding the industry, I figure I might as well go full throttle.

With that being said, in 2011 you're going to see a lot more "commentary" - I believe that speaking your mind is the best way to encourage intelligent, potent dialogue with your peers and those around you.  Let me be the first to say that I LOVE WEDDINGS.  I love the magic that surrounds them and the fact that it is one of life's "milestone moments".  I love engaging with brides and grooms, carefully discovering what makes their love "tick", then taking that revelation and creating a celebration that wonderfully showcases it to the world around them.  On the other hand..it is what it is.  I refuse to sit here and write about how "fabulous" everything is when the reality is simple.  This stuff is hard work.  I don't care how much Dupioni silk you throw on it...in order to have a successful celebration, you gotta do the process and do it well.  That goes for the couple getting hitched AND the people "behind the scenes" who make it happen.

The title of today's post, "I AM??" harkens to my observation process, which is always in warp mode.  I make my living by watching life happen around me, so over the years - this particular question has always fascinated me as I look at those around me in the industry.  What I am about to say in the next few paragraphs is going to evoke a couple of different reactions from those who read it.  You're either: A) Gonna LOVE every syllable and say "PREACH"!  or  B) You are going to think I have lost my mind.  For me, it doesn't matter.  It's the truth - and on many, many occasions..hearing the facts as they really are can be stinging, to say the least.  I see it as an opportunity to absorb, learn and move forward towards being better....

I AM a creative person.  For me, being the wedding planner has been one of the BEST outlets to showcase how my mind works and the sheer wonder of watching my thoughts play out into action.  I think in terms of color, shape, light, shadow, logistics, numbers - in short, I meld the creative process with the hard reality of thinking to mold someone's vision into an EXPERIENCE.  Over the years, all of that creativity and rational thinking have led to other "talents" which I've been able to grow and define.  They are all symbiotic to my main role and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have discovered and  honed those skills.

Here's the "rub" - I really believe that as individuals, we are all destined to do a series of "things".  But there will be ONE trait, one talent, one skill, that will stand out and shine above the rest.  That "component" is our calling, it is the area where we will excel the most.  It will be the talent that appears to be effortless, we don't even have to think about how we do it...it just gets done.  Now, here's where I drop the shoe off of the other foot..wait for it...wait for it.....

YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING.    I'll repeat that:  YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING.   In the wedding industry, the saying "jack of all trades, master of none" is so evident.   For some odd reason, people are thinking that they can take on a myriad of functions and do them all well.  Well, guess what?  You can't.  There - I said it.  Somebody had to.   Let's get real - you can't be the wedding planner/florist/caterer/limousine service/dj/stationer....all rolled into one being or entity.  All of those capacities require separate skill sets and their relevance needs to be taken into consideration.  There are only 24 hours in a day and most of us are struggling to get by on just those, so it's simply amazing to me when I see situations like these emerge. 

As the wedding planner, I really think that people somehow feel my job is easy.  It's NOT.  Trust me.  And because I make it seem "effortless", they think that it can be added on to whatever they already do (hence my multi-task description in the previous paragraph) and it will generate more money/business for them.  As Ed Lover would say, "C'mon SON!!"  Pardon my slip into the vernacular - but it ain't gonna happen. At some point, something is going to suffer - you can't do 50 million things well.  And with the "suffering" comes a reduction in standards, a loss of creativity and you're nothing more than a hamster on a wheel.  You're running...but going absolutely nowhere.

Want to be successful in this industry?  Know who you ARE.  Understand your strengths AND weaknesses, then make the most of them.  Can you bake like nobody's business?  Great - be a baker!!  Does your food make people just smile for days on end?  Catering is your thing!  When you spin those tunes or ripple your fingers across a keyboard, does it make people want to get up and dance?  You, my friend, are the entertainer.  Bottom line is this:  It's time for people to start being the best at what they are and STOP being greedy.  I know multiple streams of revenue are always key to staying in the black, but when you do too much, your "painting" will be a scribbled, jumbled mess instead of the beautiful art it should be.....

**drops the mic and exits stage left**

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why I Cost So "MUCH"...

Simple title. Complex issue. It's a question I get asked over and over and over again - my response is generally more internal than external. See, wedding planners are are different cup of chicken soup that other industry providers. The services we provide are on another level and at their core, are the REASON someone's dreams and visions can come to stunningly, logistical life. Notice I did use the words "stunning" {for all of the loveliness and BLING BOOM you want} and "logistical", {because there is a method to all of the madness}.

For me, I can tell you without blinking one of these fabulous eyelash extensions of mine WHY my prices are not $500 for over 200 hours worth of work. Now...doesn't just hearing that equation say something? Not to mention almost 20 years of full-fledged experience in the industry, book author, television personality and so on...yep, all of those things ring up to be a pretty extensive work resume and assurance to you, the client, that I'm not somebody who got married last Saturday, thought the whole thing was FABULOUS and hung my shingle out when I returned from my honeymoon. And yes - there are plenty of people in the industry who are doing just that.

I'm a professional. I know what I'm doing. Actually, I know what everyone associated with your wedding is doing AND I make it my business to make sure that we are all on the same page. I'm the good cop/bad cop, I'm the arbiter of style, I'm the accountant and sometimes, I'm the shoulder you cry on when stuff just blew the hell up. I'm the first one in...and the last one out. I hold hands, I wipe tears, I make sure you and your new hubby (or wife) have some quality time together away from the hustle and bustle of it all, when everybody thinks you belong to them. In short, I'm the chica who makes the magic happen and ensures you have the wonderful memories for a lifetime to come.

So don't get price confused with ability. If you are looking to solely hire a planning professional by the dollar signs alone...you are sadly, mistakenly, going down the wrong path. This is your wedding...it's not like television, where I can tell the director "cut - let's do that again". It's a one time shot....and it's gotta be right the first time. If the proverbial dollar signs are clouding your vision, look at it this way {and this is a perfect segue into another hot topic we'll talk about!} - consider what your wedding is really about. Don't get blinded by all the hype and wonder you see in magazines, on blogs, websites and television. Truth of the matter is: WEDDINGS COST MONEY. And no matter what your budget is, you need to spend wisely. Why not bring the one person on board who can make sure that happens...so you can wake up the next morning and not be in the poorhouse, rifling through your wedding envelopes, hoping you can "make enough back" to cover normal expenses post-nuptial shindig? Think about it.

In the meantime, while you're thinking (and I really hope you are!), check out this amazingly insightful article from a dear colleague and friend of mine, Shayna Walker Weddle of Williamsburg Wedding Design. She breaks it down FOR REAL in dollars and cents why a wedding planning PROFESSIONAL costs more than $500. Between my musings and her number crunching, it should make things perfectly clear................

Monday, January 3, 2011

Confessions Of The WeddingDIVA: The 30 Day Rule......

Confessions Of The WeddingDIVA: The 30 Day Rule......: "Happy New Year!!!! Are you one of those lucky people who got engaged over the holiday season? You're not alone - lots of gentlemen got on b..."

The 30 Day Rule......

Happy New Year!!!! Are you one of those lucky people who got engaged over the holiday season? You're not alone - lots of gentlemen got on bended knee to "pop the question" and many ladies said "yes"!! But before you head out to the store to buy a wedding magazine, flip through websites to pick out a flattering color palette or get on the phone to call potential vendors, I'm going to ask you to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N....

Yep - that's right, slow your roll! "Why on earth would I want to do that?", you might ask. Rest assured, I don't just "spew" stuff out...there's always a good reason. And this time it's simple and you'll thank me for it later. Take 30 days and do NOTHING regarding wedding planning. You heard me - absolutely nothing.

Being engaged is a big milestone moment, just like getting married. I find that too many people simply rush into planning without savoring this special time. And yeah, it's pretty darn SPECIAL. Asking someone to spend the rest of their lives with you and saying "yes" to the proposal is life changing. It's also a period of time you cannot get back. So...enjoy the sparkle on your left hand, revel in the fact that you are about to start an amazing journey with the love of your life. Talk about your future - together. Discuss all of the wonderful things you are looking forward to. And don't let any hint of white lace, open bars or stretch limousines enter the conversation. This moment in time is about the two of you....

Trust me - there will be PLENTY of hours to dedicate to the planning of the shindig, and that's where professionals like me come into the picture. But for the next 30 days...it's all about the two of you. Take my advice...enjoy this time. Consider it the first "snapshot" of the new life you've got coming..........