Get to know your wedding pro®
podcast transcriptions - Part 1

*Please forgive any spelling or typographical errors.  Episodes listed in the order they were recorded.

Rebecca Grant, New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm joined by a special friend of mine who, uh, except for Dorothy has probably been name dropped on the podcast, the most, uh, as my wedding planner, Rebecca Grant of New Creations. So why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are, what you guys do.

[00:31] Hi everyone. I'm Rebecca Grant. I'm the founder and lead planner for New Creations Wedding Design and Coordination, while I live up in Snohomish. We service the Greater Seattle and Eastern Washington area as well as Hawaii. And I'm sure we'll get into that as well, Reid. Um, but we have been in business now since 2011 and I am lucky enough to have a full time associate planner with me who specializes in south sound weddings. Um, yeah, we've got a great established team and we love what we do.

[01:00] And I had, uh, one of my first summers, uh, I had worked with Rebecca back at what I golf. I can't ever remember the golf course with Edelyn and Pepsi. We worked together and I was very impressed with either I hadn't, I was new and hadn't worked with a lot of planners and so then when Dorothy and I got engaged and I said, you know, we need to do this, and she was not sold on it at all, which I think is a, you know, telling it's a tough, you know, with any kind of video or planning or whatever and you know, we set up the Skype call and getting off that Skype call. She said, all right, I'm sold. She goes, she has checklists on checklists, on checklists, and she said, I'm so impressed. And it was good because I was really terrified about doing the wedding planning without that. Yeah. So, uh, talking about, uh, how's the year going for you? How's the summer? You just came from a venue walkthrough right now. How's it going?

[01:51] I did. So, uh, we're almost done with our season. I have one more officially to go and one pending for New Year's Eve that just reached out. So we'll see about that. And on average, I personally do a little bit more than the average wedding planner in the Seattle area. I actually book anywhere between 30 to 35 weddings a year, which is a little bit on the higher side. Most are doing anywhere between 10 to 15. And the reason why I do that is, one, it's not a hobby for me, it is a full time job, so I do need to pay the bills. Uh, so being able to take on, um, couples that I absolutely adore and ones that I clicked really well with is really important to me. And you know, just kind of on that vein, I have been in business long enough to know the couples that I'll get along with really, really well.

[02:35] And uh, it's really important for me to have that really collaborative effort in the wedding planning process because that's what it's all about. It's really drawing out the couple's personality and their style and being able to tell that in one day, being able to tell their story, you know, to the guests that are there. So, um, yeah, just about wrapping up, enjoying the fall season four, for those of you that are not in the wedding industry, this is kind of the wedding planners spring clean if you will, because now it's the time that we're starting to go through our house and like purge stuff out and do all the decorating and all this stuff that most people do in the spring, but I don't have time. So my, my husband is like watching our bank account dwindle as I'm starting to go through and, and get ready for fall and Christmas decorations.

[03:21] Uh, so, uh, why wedding planning, why was that your calling? How did you find yourself in that? I know that's kind of a broad question

[03:30] story too. So I did life a little bit backwards. So right out of high school I actually got married at the age of 20. Um, I bought my first house when I was 19 and was able to go into a operating for drive through coffee stands on the east side and it just, it was a pretty good life. We were making great money and you know, really had a, I had it all gone for us and then very quickly realized that a 4:00 in the morning was not my calling anymore and so I decided that I wanted to start to pursue other avenues and I'm getting to know your customers over a four to five year span of serving them coffee every morning and you get to know him pretty well. And so one of my customers was the wedding planner and she knew of my interest in floral design and interior design and running businesses and being a people person and she's like, Rebecca, I really think that you might need to look into this like I think this might be your job.

[04:26] And so did a little bit of research. Initially I thought I was going to go to the hotel route of going into catering sales manager position. And so I started looking for schools that offered programs within that. And so at the time, I mean, you have to remember, this was back in 2003. Um, so at the time in the U, s it was Hawaii, New York or Florida that offered programs in that and so, uh, my, my husband at the time was able to move jobs directly over to Hawaii and so, uh, and we moved on New Year's Day with nine suitcases. I'm one of my customers asked us if we needed a place to stay and we said yes, and so he offered his condo at $25 a week, so it was like everything just hit, hit the mark and was totally meant to be. So how I got into the wedding planning to answer your actual question started. Um, and I enrolled in travel industry management at Uah, Manila and uh, went through travel industry management with an emphasis in wedding design and event coordination and then also ended up finding what implanter on island who was actually still in business to this day. And she, um, ended up hiring me as her day of assistant and so I got my feet wet in that and totally hit it off with her and caught the bug and that was it. I was hooked. So yeah,

[05:47] that's fascinating. I don't know if I knew all that. I'm back. Uh, backing up a minute here. Did this drive through coffee stand? I want to start at the beginning here before we get too far down road. What was that like? How did that start out or how did you find yourself often?

[06:00] Yeah. So, um, at the time my husband, he was a year ahead of me in school and so he had already been working for this company and um, so as I was graduating high school and really had zero idea what I wanted to do with my life as most high schoolers don't, he's like, why don't you just come work for this copy stand? And so I ended up doing that and the, and the owner was looking to hire a manager for one of our stands. And so, uh, he and I operated two and then there was two other managers for the other two copies stands and then she wanted out of it. And so we were given the opportunity to purchase the stands from her. So business owner at the age of 20, operating for a coffee stands and Juanita Kirkland, Kenmore, and totem lake.

[06:49] That's awesome. So then did you guys sell those when you moved up and sold the house? Sold the coffee stands and moved to Hawaii. So I know how scary it was for me to leave my job when I, you know, it was starting the business. I mean, what was that? Was that stressful? Is that, what was that?

[07:08] It was definitely a big step, but I also felt like I was young enough, you know, because I was 20 what, 23 at that point where I felt like invincible, you know, as you do in your early twenties, like Oh, I can make anything work, you know, and if you want something bad enough and you have the drive to do it, you'll always find a way to make it work. So even if even if this career hadn't come out of that, it still would have been a pretty awesome experience to live in Hawaii. I mean, what 20 something wouldn't. So, um, it, it just felt like so many things were falling into place that it possibly could go wrong, you know, so like the guy offering us to a place to stay at $100 a month, I mean, that's unheard of and um, being able to just sell the company and be able to afford to move over and just have everything totally lie, not meeting the wedding planner that still to this day as my mentor. I mean just, it was truly my calling and truly meant to be in. So, um, it all, it all worked out and here I am, Gosh, 15 years later.

[08:10] So what was it like living on Hawaii? I mean, they had to have been a dream.

[08:13] It was, yeah, it truly was. I adored it. I'm truly in, prior to moving over, we heard kind of horror stories of, Oh, you know, they hate white people and you're not gonna do very well over there because of the racist undertones, et Cetera, et cetera. It's very weird to be a minority. I can tell you that. But, um, I feel like where people get themselves into trouble is not really embracing the culture and wanting to change it versus wanting to really learn about it and understand the why behind it and understand the history that, you know, realistically the US did take over Hawaii and a very traumatic way and so I where they're coming from. And so just being really respectful of the culture and really wanting to learn about it and embrace it rather than trying to change it because it is a very different environment.

[09:06] Um, I wouldn't trade my experience for the world. The people that I met over there are some of the sweetest, most lifelong friends I will ever have. And not to mention the food was amazing and also being able to go to the beach. So cars. But um, it was very eye opening. You know, you talk about the prices of homes in Seattle, the prices of homes in Hawaii or even higher and the food cost is higher and I'll never forget my first thanksgiving going to the store and trying to purchase stuff for Thanksgiving and the shelves are completely empty. And I was like, oh, what are you guys, are you guys going to get another shipment? No, we have to wait for the barge to come, you know, it's just very, very different living environment. But um, it was, it was amazing and I still get the privilege of working with couples here in the Seattle area that wants to get married in Hawaii and so I get to make, make it back typically between one to two times a year.

[09:58] And then also kind of helped to give you kind of round out your knowledge, right, of being a wedding planner where you kind of get, you learned those specialties. Right? In that you obviously feel like that relates into Seattle too and kind of different cultures coming here. I'm talking about just kind of be like that well rounded wedding planner where you have expertise in multiple fields. Yeah. Yeah.

[10:17] So when I moved back from Hawaii in June of 2008 when I started networking and getting to know other planners here because I knew I wanted to launch my business here. Uh, I very quickly realized that no other planner had experience as much as I did in Asia and wedding customs and culture, uh, just given the geographic region of Hawaii. And also the planner that I was working with on island was Burmese and Chinese and we got a ton of Asian weddings, so Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Samoan, Filipino, Korean, Thai, uh, I am well versed in all of those. And so when I moved back here and realize that nobody else had that background, I started marketing myself as an Asian wedding planner and it's done very, very well for me. It's about 70 to 80 percent of my business is either full Asian or mixed Asian culture and it's, I cannot tell you the relief on my couples faces when they realize they don't have to educate me.

[11:12] Like it's something I just already know and okay, do you want to incorporate x, Y, Z as part of your wedding or are you going to leave that part out? You know, and it's just such a relief for them not to have to think about it. And it's such a cool thing as a fully Caucasian person to be a part of because it's just all this color and all this joy in different cultures and traditions that are brought into the, into the day, like last weekend alone I did a Japanese wedding where we brought in Tyco drummers and then the next day was a Chinese wedding where we did a apple tea ceremony and a barter for the bride and all that type of stuff. So it's done very well for me. And then in addition to that, of course do any other wedding, like I said, I am Caucasian. So, um, you know, do any other wedding that comes our way. We're more than happy to work with different customs and cultures and family traditions that want to be brought in. And I think it makes it a really special too.

[12:04] So when you got back to Seattle and you started your company and you decided like, you know, this is what we're going to do. Were you worried then that now that you're kind of like putting it in stone and putting up, you know, like your, your name and sign and everything and we, what was that like kind of starting informing that?

[12:18] Yeah, so when I worked on, when I moved over to Hawaii, actually I also, in addition to going to school, I was working as a store manager for Starbucks. So after we sold the coffee stands, I needed to find a job to be able to help pay for school. And so Starbucks was on just brand new opening on island in Hawaii and they help pay for school, which is amazing. So I actually came out of school completely debt free, which was such a blessing, but when I moved back, Starbucks transferred me directly across from Hawaii to Seattle. And so I was able to know, just pick right back up where I left off in terms of that. So having that steady paycheck was so, such a relief. I mean, you know, just having that kind of in your back pocket as you're starting your business.

[13:02] Um, I do recommend having a game plan if you are thinking about starting your own business. It's very important. Uh, so I actually, I went through a pretty slowly, so I built my business over two years of continuing to work as a store manager for Starbucks. Um, as I gained more business within, um, you know, under new creations, I slowly demoted myself through Starbucks and then in September of 2011 and I was able to turn in my notice and fully walk away, but I will never forget going from, you know, on a morning shift at Starbucks, you can see easily upwards of 600 people going from 600 people to sitting at my desk with my dog going, now what do I wait for the phone to ring? What am I supposed to do? It's a big, uh, oh crap moment, but you just take it one day at a time and I cannot tell you the importance of networking and the people in this community are amazing and they rally around you. And just getting out there and getting yourself known as is really important. And that's 100 percent on how I've built my business here in Seattle is completely word of mouth. We have been incredibly lucky to not have to advertise in, you know, like I said, I've been full time here for seven years and not one day of advertising. So just being a part of this community and networking and getting out there and sharing with people what I do, especially with my Asian wedding specialty has been a godsend. So yeah, very, very lucky.

[14:30] Yeah, it's tough. You know. Um, I think we were talking even off mic about how starting the business and like, you know, I know like the nine months that I kind of spent transferring was like the longest because you have like, you have this idea and you want to start and you think, you know, whatever. And then, uh, it is, it's, you know, it's a long time kind of waiting and building. And when you finally make that kind of pull that trigger, it is like, I remember, um, I can't remember who I was telling me. Rosie and I used to go on like three hour walks every day that when I, you know, when I started, because it's like filling the time and then now you know, it's a, she still gets good locks, but you know, it's, it's more of trying to find time. I'm talking about kind of those first weddings, you know, back in Seattle now we have new creations. What was that like? Did you feel, you know, you had been working obviously in Hawaii, but now kind of having it on your shoulders. What was that like?

[15:25] Yeah, a big transition for sure. I felt really secure and knowing how to run a wedding just with the mentorship and the planning company that I worked with in Hawaii, but having that responsibility, have you actually been in charge as a completely different thing? I'm also, you know, I really, you know, being 100 percent honest really wasn't making a lot of money at that time either because I just quit Starbucks and I was launching this brand new business and so I asked my husband to come be my day of Assistant. Big Mistake. He and I are probably not the best combination on a wedding day. Um, so he actually was my day of assistant or two years and then he finally looked at me and he's like, Rebecca, you are finally starting to make money, hire someone. So it was a big learning curve, especially over those first two years of running a small business and statistically that's the, you know, the timeframe where most small businesses go under is within that two year span.

[16:21] So just kind of getting that, that feeling of, okay, what am I supposed to do, how am I supposed to drive my business forward? Um, it's a lot of pressure and just kind of knowing where to start. So again, we are incredibly blessed in the Seattle area to really have that mindset of community over competition. I cannot think the wedding planners here in this area enough for really welcoming me and really, you know, basically becoming the second mentor group, uh, to me here and also, you know, not just wedding planners but fellow vendors as well. Just kind of having those conversations and saying, yeah, let's, let's do this and let's make it happen. And so, um, first first couple of years were a little bit bumpy in terms of not feeling super secure in myself. Like I said, now I'm far enough into know the clients that I will be the right fit for at that time. I don't think I have that security and myself. So there was a few bumpy weddings along the wage. Just people that I think would have probably been a better fit for somebody else. And couples need to know that in reality, like if we feel like we're not a good fit and if we say something to speak up, it's truly for your benefit. Uh, it's really important that on a wedding day to make sure you've got a team around you that is going to be absolutely the best fit.

[17:39] Yeah. I think that is a common mistake. Vendors of any kind, you know, where you want to take any work and when you're starting and then yeah, you look back and you're like, that would probably listening. We probably weren't the best fit. Uh, so, and I've talked to other people in the podcast about, you know, kind of the Clo wedding community, you know, it's, it's a pretty rich, thriving like you said, very, um, you know, people are helpful and in the community, uh, what was that like kind of entering into that, you know, versus like having worked in Hawaii, maybe tourism and the law that email people coming in and how, I don't know if they get married. What was it like here?

[18:14] Yeah, well here was, it was where do I start to, I think was the biggest, biggest thing. Uh, so I started just reaching out to wedding organizations. Um, so I happened to fall into getting to know the folks that were running wedding network USA pretty well and of course they learned about my Asian weddings specialty and so they actually asked me to come speak. I'm on Chinese, Japanese and Filipino wedding customs. And from that meeting alone I got five bookings from people that I had never worked with. But they're like, oh my gosh, she knows the Asian weddings. We have couples to refer to her. Um, so it was, that was total stroke of luck and just being at the right place at the right time and being asked to be that speaker and that really gave me confidence and kind of catapulted my business here. Um, yeah. Uh,

[19:09] it's hard, too bad. So either when you were starting a backup here, what, what was your husband's thoughts when you said like, Hey, now we're doing this, like you said he had helped you for the first two years and was he like ever nervous for you or did you, did he just kind of see like the strong, silent, you know, you're going to be good. But yeah,

[19:26] he probably was nervous but he didn't tell me, which is probably a good thing. Uh, he's, he was very, very supportive. He had known that I had done, you know, done that in Hawaii, but now of course it was on my shoulders. Um, and I think having that game plan of having the transition out of Starbucks and into my business really helped with just still that financial stability. Um, we also were lucky enough to start my business completely debt free. Uh, I'm a big proponent on living a debt free life and so we actually currently are except for our home. Um, but at that stage of starting the business, there was no fear of, oh my gosh, we have to make a car payment. Oh my gosh, we have to pay off all these credit cards. That was not our reality. We were able to start the business completely debt free and luckily wedding planning as one of the industries within the wedding field, really little overhead. You can do it out of your office. All you truly need as a website and business cards. But, um, I think that that was a big blessing in our lives to just not have that over, you know, hanging over our head of like, oh my gosh, we have all this debt and now rebecca wants to have this pipe dream of starting your own business. We were able to do it methodically with still having that steady paycheck and then working my way out out of Starbucks and then building my business here in Seattle.

[20:48] Um, so one thing I'm always curious about is how those ones on the wedding day kind of correlate and helped kind of shape them. You know, I feel like I'm a better wedding vendor having kind of been through that process. Uh, do you feel like having gone through and being, you know, being married, that, that kind of helps inform how you work with your couples and kind of how you approach the day?

[21:07] Yeah, most definitely. It, um, you understand what they're going through, you know, it's, it's very much of it. We realized that this is your first time doing this and making sure that we're not getting annoyed with answering the same question thousands of times because it does happen. Um, you know, there are ways that I've tried to curb a little bit of that in terms of I partnered with another wedding planner that her and I were noticing we were starting to get a lot of the same questions. And so it's actually part of my booking process now is once couples have booked with me, we give you a welcome resource guide and it has everything in there from how much alcohol to buy, what size dance floor. Let's talk about rentals, how to change your name. It has all those little questions that we're getting asked over and over.

[21:51] It has all that in there. So hopefully that'll help alleviate, um, a few of the, oh my gosh, I don't know how to do this, but even if even if you forget that it's in the welcome resource guide, I still answer it. I just direct you back to them welcome resource guide. But yeah, it's, it's really important to make sure that we're understanding and you know, to me, the vendors, especially your videographer, photographer and planner, or the three vendors that are with you from start to finish on your wedding day. So it is imperative that you get along really well with those people because those people are going to see you all the way from getting dressed to the sparkler. Send off, you know. So it's um, it's really important that, that couples get along well with their vendors just as much as we get along well with them and, and understanding that we've got you and we're going to have your back and even though we have done hundreds of weddings, it's still the only time for you and just making sure that we're really honing in on, on that and making sure it's a really great experience.

[22:50] So, um, I want to give you a platform now they're kind of talking about, you know, your belief in wedding planning, you know, kind of if you kind of your sales pitch in terms of like, why you think it's important, whether it's you or a different planet, why do you think that that is a necessity kind of for a couple's wedding day?

[23:07] Right. So it's my role as a wedding planner is going to fall on somebody regardless of if it's not me. So what I mean by that is somebody will end up filling that role, whether it be your aunt or your bridesmaid or your cousin or whomever, and they're going to hate your day. Like truly they are going to be working so hard and being so frustrated that they are going to not even remember the wedding and be like, oh my gosh, that was such an annoying day. Um, you know, and just being fully honest about it. So having a, having a wedding planner to help alleviate all those questions, not just on wedding day, but even when I'm developing with my couples, they're like, oh my gosh, I never would have thought about that. You know, who's going to take home the gifts at the end of the night? Who's going to be giving a toast? Uh, does your dress need to be bustled after the ceremony? Who's going to do that? You know, all, all those logistical things that go into a wedding day that couples don't even realize happen. Um, if, if your wedding run smoothly, I have done my job well and people won't even notice I'm there if it did not go well, they will notice. Right? So just making sure that that is, that burden is taking off the of shoulders is really important.

[24:18] No, I mean I really do think it is kind of like one of the most thankless jobs out of the wedding and I do and I've talked with planners at wedding shows and everybody because like you said, if you do your job then it's not even thought of, right? It's just like, oh, everything went well, but they don't realize like you're kind of like behind the scenes like kind of putting out the fires or you know, helping them to where they put out a fire and so, you know, it's just not because like, you know, people get married every day and they don't have a plan there or they don't have a video or they don't have a, you know, they have an ipod and so it stopped. But it is like, I do think like a lot of that burden falls on, you know, it could fall on your photographer and then they could be the one having to coordinate or could fall in the DJ and it's not like you're Dj's job to help kind of figure out how the reception should go.

[25:07] In my school of thought, I feel like everyone should do their job and stay in their own lane and do it really, really well because if like you said, if the photographer ends at being quote unquote the planner, they're missing out on some of those photos that you would have absolutely loved and been like, why didn't you get that photo while I was busy bustling your dress, you know, or whatever that's going to look like. So just really making sure that each vendor category is doing what they're there to do and doing it to the best of their ability. And my job is basically the ringleader, master of ceremonies, if you will, for making sure that that communication is happening between all of the vendors, like making sure the videographer is there and the photographer is there for. Okay, we're going to be doing the cake cutting.

[25:47] Are you all set up? Nope. Okay. Let's delay it a little bit. You know, just really kind of having the what's next in your mind and making sure that the entire vendor team is ready, that the couple knows what they're going to be doing. Q in the Mc to make that announcement so your guests know what's happening. I'm also in communication with the back of the house with your catering team and making sure, okay. Is dinner ready on time or do we need to delay the grand entrance? You know, it's, it's just the entirety of the day, uh, is what we're watching for. And a really good wedding planner will always watch for the what's next because we always have to be about five steps ahead of what the day actually is and making sure that okay, if somebody needs to go to a bathroom break that we're not starting, tell us when they're not even in the room. So

[26:30] yeah, I will say, you know, and when you kind of had put our timeline together for our wedding, I remember like at the beginning of it it was like, you know, Rebecca to have like the details ready to photograph because Dorothy got ready at her parents' house and I was like Bam. Like I would forget like how many times I show up, you know, like we started at 1:00 and I'd spend the first half an hour just trying to figure out, okay, well where's your hanger? Okay, where's the dress again? Where's that? And like just like having like little things like that, like five minutes before everybody gets there. Like that could save, you know, half an hour sort of the time.

[27:03] Yeah, absolutely. And that's exactly what I do when I arrive on site for a wedding day. The very first thing that I do of course is make sure that Brian has eaten. Number two is if she has her dress on a plastic hanger or if it's still in the garment bag, we take that out, we display that and get it ready for the photographer. I also had my one week out prior meeting with my couples, always ask them for a copy of their invitation suite, so that way that the photographers can get detail shots of that. I make sure that the bride has all the rings with her. So we sent those out, we set her shoes out. We also make sure the Flores has delivered her bouquet. That's all the thing a lot of people don't realize is, oh, the Flores is just going to set up the venue. Well remember, you typically have photos beforehand, so you do need all those bouquets and you need all those boot nears beforehand. Um, so getting those delivered to that hotel very first thing in the morning as well.

[27:50] Yeah. And making sure that like the boot and years get on like there's been so many times that we've done, I will be halfway or will be done with groups and photos and oh no, we forgot to put the date nears on, you know, either you have to like Redo everything or you just say like, well, you know, what a shame is that to spend, I don't know how much booton years costs, but to think that you paid all this money for him and you didn't even have him in the photo I'm talking about. I, I think will help set you apart in obviously we're showing to Dorothy the most and we were talking is kind of that preproduction up to the wedding day. You know, we had you for day of, but that it's never a day, uh, you know, it's, it's like three months out and you can talk about that too. But I want, I want to talk about like, uh, you know, timelines, making sure everybody's on the same page. I have a wedding on Friday, I still don't have a timeline for it and that is stressful to me. Uh, so talking about kind of your, and that can be for your where your day of or the full planning, but kind of that pre all that stuff.

[28:54] Yeah. So I'm going to touch on the misnomer of Day of coordinator. So if anyone out there is offering literal, just dab coordinator, that is your first red flag that they are a brand new coordinator. There should never, ever, in my opinion, be a coordinator that literally just shows up on your wedding day. What is that saving you? They're going to have to answer a thousand questions that they don't know the answer to and so they're going to have to go to you anyway. So why have that person in your pain to be there? That doesn't know the answers to anything, right? So in our, what we call final planning and Dab Coordination Service is we actually get unlimited communications with our couples. We give out a customized vendor recommendation list, a customized planning timeline, and then over the span of however long we're working with a couple, our next in person meeting starts up again about three months out prior to the wedding and that's where we do have any walkthrough.

[29:48] It could be a venue that we've been at a thousand times. We do it every single time just to make sure the venue knows that you're working with us to make sure that we know what your layout is going to look like, where that guestbook table's going to be, where the dance floor is going to be. Are you having a band? Are you having a dj where all that stuff is going to be laid out so that way we know what work we're walking into. You guys know what you're walking into, and then we do about two months out, mark a planning timeline meetings, so that's where that big timeline comes into play where we walk through literally the entire details of your wedding day. Do you guys want to book a test? Do you want a garter toss? Who's giving toasts, who's taking home gifts at the end of the night where you were getting ready, uh, what's the transportation situation look like, et Cetera, et cetera. So we really get to know the details, the INS and out of your wedding. And then at about the one week out mark is where I actually come to my couple's home and we finalized that timeline, finalize the vendor list, and then I collect all your personal decor from you. So what that means is I'm taking home everything besides what you're wearing. So it's going to be all of your escort cards, your champagne flutes, your cake knife server, your favors, all of that stuff for the vendors, which is really nice. Yep, exactly.

[30:58] The vendors, which is really nice because otherwise you're chasing down some.

[31:03] Exactly. It's very nice to have the absolute worst thing in my opinion, is to have to come to you at the end of your wedding day and be like, oh, you're the DJ didn't get as chat. Can I get that from you? You know, it's like I don't want my couples dealing with money at all on wedding days. So even though it might feel weird to give, especially if you're providing gratuities, if it feels weird to give it to me, you know, as, as the planner to distribute prior to wedding day, I cannot tell you like you don't have to think about it. You don't have to designate that to somebody getting it out of your mind and just being like, it's done. It's taken care of. Rebecca's got it. Yup. Yeah. And then the next meeting is your rehearsal where I co run your rehearsal with your selected officiant and then myself and my assistant are onsite from start to finish on your wedding day. So my company specifically does not do our hourly limit for wedding days. However, what that typically looks like is showing up about a half hour before a hair and makeup is completed. Setting up all those details that we just talked about and then running all the way through the end of the day where we help pack up all the personal decor that you gave us as well as gifts and cards and put in that into the designated persons car.

[32:09] I do think the, uh, the hourly thing we've had, I've had some. Yeah, we're, it's like, then there's like a gap and then like, that's challenging because like we arrive and we don't know where anything is or where, you know, because the invitation suites in the car and they're on break. So I think that like having that is really nice. It's kind of that um, uh, you know, it kind of start to finish kind of thing. Uh, and I also think making sure that, uh, you know, where you do the final timelines and kind of sending everything, you know, I've had a, I was joking with someone else on the progress. I had a wedding this summer and it was joe's wedding and it was like the day before and I was looking through everything and I was like, oh, they have a planner, like a planner. And I've never, I never heard from them ever. I never heard from them ever. And I've like had I not have looked back on those notes and kind of seen that in like who do we contact or whatever. One of the questions I was like, Huh, that's really interesting. Yeah. And so I just appreciate, you know, the vendors are that the planners to reach out and kind of, you obviously make sure that we're all kind of on that same page.

[33:14] So even with final planning and coordination, um, the first contact that we make with your vendors is that, that two month out mark. So after we have run through your timeline, I've sent off the rough draft to the couple for their review to make sure everything looks good after I get their approval. That is when I start reaching out to your vendor team and saying, Hey, I'm the day of planner for so and so and on. So here's the timeline that was just approved by them. Can you please take a look over and make sure you don't have any concerns? Um, I've written a lot of timelines in my day, but still there's sometimes where a photographer that I've never worked with is like, oh, I would really prefer to have 20 more minutes for family photos or whatever that looks like. So just making sure that I'm playing as a team player and that the vendors have laid eyes on it so they have their buy in to. So on wedding day, it's not this sprung surprise of like, Oh, here's the timeline. Okay, everybody follow it? No, it's, it really is that pre communication before, which I think is one of the ways that sets our company apart as well.

[34:12] Uh, so something that I wanted to talk about and that I was very, uh, thought was a fantastic idea was earlier this year, this big wedding show that you got helped kind of put on with some of the other planners in town. I'm talking about your wedding day. Right? And ensure that. So, uh, I want to talk more about that and you said that it was a great success and they, you guys are thinking about doing something else with that. So can you tell us a little bit about that and talking about that?

[34:34] Absolutely. So, um, I put on a wedding show that was called beyond the dress collective. It has been a brainchild of mine for many, many years. One of the things that I feel like is really my heart is educating couples because again, you've never done this before, you don't know what you don't know, right? So, um, I really wanted to collaborate with some of the top wedding vendors in, in the Seattle area and, um, and really wanted it to be an educational piece. And so how I kind of format of this show and how it actually came to fruition was I was having a meeting with lily young who is the local bridal gown, a designer here in the Seattle area. And I was talking to her, I was like, man, if I were to ever do wedding show, this is what it would be. And she goes, I will partner with you on that.

[35:24] And I was like, really? She's like, yeah, and she, I mean, to the point of in that meeting, pulled out her calendar and said, when can we do this? I actually have to do this step up totally. That completely forced me to start actually making this a reality. And so what I ended up, what it ended up being was a t at the Fairmont Olympic hotel in Seattle, which of course is a very iconic hotel. And they provided the service during our presentation. And then I partnered like, like read said with three other wedding planners. So invisible hostess, perfectly posh and clutch events. Um, in talking about our experiences in planning our own weddings as well as the common pitfalls that we see are couples fall into. So it was really fun because I actually had all the girls bring their wedding gowns with them, including myself.

[36:18] And then I had our participating Flores, John with res style, do a recreation of all of our wedding bouquets and we all brought our albums so attendees actually got to see what our weddings look like because that's probably one of the most common questions we get asked. It's like, oh my gosh, your wedding must've been amazing, you know, I was like, no, actually it was really intimate and really, really very small and here's what it looked like. So they got to see our dresses, they got to see our photo albums and enjoy it as well. And then we did our presentation on common pitfalls. We see our couples fall into, um, mistakes that we made while planning our weddings as well. And then if there was a question about one of our attendees asked, I don't know, I'm having a destination wedding, I don't know how to fly with my wedding gown.

[37:03] Well, because one of our speakers or one of our participants was lily, she actually came up and was able to speak on how to travel with your wedding gown. And so it was really great to have that interaction with all of the vendors that were participating actually be able to answer specific questions to them. But it was no holds bar. I mean, people could ask us anything, how do I go to the bathroom and my wedding dress have, you know, what's the best way to pick a wedding dj or MC? Um, you know, just literally sky was the limit on anything they could ask. And then we ended up wrapping up at the showcase with a debut of lilly spring line, a fashion show. So as a really great experience with high t fashion and what wedding education. Um, so we're looking to go into our second year with that. And the feedback that we got from the attendees was amazing. They're like, I mean, where else are in Seattle? Are you going to get four of the top wedding planners for $39, offering three hours worth of wedding advice? I mean, that is like unheard of. So it was a great experience.

[38:10] Yeah, no, I value is a fantastic when you announced it and I kind of followed the line just because I thought it was just a great idea. What was it like kind of going back and reliving your wedding day and kind of see. I mean, was it, did it, did it hold up or was it, were you like, Oh, I would've done it?

[38:24] Yeah, I definitely would have done a couple of things differently. Um, we actually were one of those couples that did not hire a professional dj or MC. We relied on friends to acoustic guitar for our ceremony and cocktail hour and then we actually took off by a sea plane and see planes can't leave at after dusk. And so our evening was really, really short. So that's, that's why we made that decision of, okay, well we're not going to have this crazy dance party. So we really don't need a DJ or MC looking back, I really wish we would've had one because the guests, you know, kind of are probably wondering of what's next and why isn't there at least a little bit of dancing, you know, because we had a little bit of time after our dinner to get some dancing. And so that was one regret of mine.

[39:10] Um, everything else, like I loved that we brought in personal stuff. Um, my husband and I met at Starbucks and so we brought in coffee beans as the base of all of our bases and that's what we put our escort cards in. Um, he's from Alaska, so we had Alaska amber beer. I am not a heavy drinker. My drink of choice is actually root beer. So we had some of my favorite root beers on site. So we did bring in personal elements that still definitely stand up. Um, there is some things that are as like, oh, the venue chose the color. I, I have given them my color Palette, but I didn't actually see the products that they were actually going to put out on wedding day. And I really wish I would have because the colors that I gave them were not at all what they actually ended up using. I was like, oh, that's a really ugly green. That's not the color I gave you. And that's a really ugly. Like I'm copper color. That's not the color. I guess. So anyway, just a few things. But looking back, you know, of course the, sometimes the mistakes are the best memories of your wedding day. But um, yeah, it was still a good day regardless.

[40:14] I'm not to the ruin the whole talk and spoil it. But what are a couple of common mistakes,

[40:22] pitfalls that you see clients make? Yeah. So one of the biggest I think is just not trusting your vendors. And I see this time and time again of couples wanting to think outside the box, which is in general a really good thing, but if logistically it does not make sense, trust us, you know, we're going to give you that suggestion of no, you should not have one food truck for 500 guests. It's not going to work, you know. So just really we're going to give you our opinion and our best advice and know that we truly have your best interest at heart. So trust us. Um, number two is trying to pack too much into the day, I think is a really common mistake. I'm the day goes by so fast as it is, like let it happen organically and you know, enjoy a longer meal, enjoy longer dance party, don't try and program in.

[41:17] Okay, now we're going to do this photo right here and now we're going to do this game and now we're going to do, um, you know, we're going to have 10 toasters. Really just enjoy the day and let it be a celebration of you and your family and, and not trying to pack the day with so much programming because you're going to be exhausted by the end of it. Especially ladies, I'm sorry, a hair and makeup starts so much earlier than the guys have to get ready. And by the end you're just white. And so just like, I think the less programming and the less. I'm just so, so scheduled of a day the better. Personally,

[41:55] our wedding, two weeks ago, she was getting the hair and makeup and he was like in the golf simulator, like, wow, this is not one of these things. Uh, so talk about, uh, what do you do when you're not doing a million weddings and planning a wedding show and, and educating Brian's, whether you do, what's Rebecca?

[42:17] It doesn't leave much off time, but my husband and I live up in Snohomish, rare kind of animal, little mini farm up there. Um, we've got 11 chickens and three beehives and two dogs and two cats. A, I ride horses. So, um, I'm a huge animal lover. We spend a lot of time with our animals. They are our kids and so a lot of time with the dog parks. A lot of time out in the backyard. I love to garden. Like I said, we're on a couple acres out there, so just putting in new flowers and cleaning up flower beds. And of course the majority of the flowers bloom in the summer when I am crazy. So don't just spend a lot of time out there. But typically that's what I'm doing is just a growing new flowers and I'm weeding a lot of weeding and spending time with the animals and riding horses and um, yeah, that's, that's the life.

[43:09] Uh, I do think I remember following along on Instagram, you're digging out that flower bed out front or something that I remembered that it was quite the process. It must be undertaking a what's with the bees and the, what do you do? Do you just.

[43:23] Yeah. So it was mainly an interest of my husband and I've kind of been along for the ride and it's fascinating. I cannot tell you, it's so cool to learn what bees do on a daily basis. But um, we bought to start her hive. So basically what that means as a queen pod and then a few weeks as an Faq, I say 50,000. So a Phoebe's to start that hive and then they kind of take off and go, um, this year we were actually lucky enough to find a wild swarm which is kinda cool. So my husband had a few extra boxes built and ready to go and one of our neighbors texted us and said, did you lose your bees? And we went out and checked our hives and they were still thriving and doing just fine. And so, um, I said, no, our bees are fine, but let's say we're going to come down and get them.

[44:11] So we came down and knocked him out of the tree and dumped him in the new hive. And so now we have three hives. Um, we do harvest honey, so we do sell it annually. And so we've had quite a few. I actually almost oversold last year. Um, we didn't keep track of how much was going out and I was like, oh shoot, had to open up some jars that we had started for ourselves and dump it into larger jars and be able to fulfill all those orders. But it was just put out on facebook with our family and friends and fellow wedding vendors and people saying, yeah, I'll take them. And um, we also harvest rockome as well. So yeah, it's, it's been a really fun experience. And a big learning experience for sure.

[44:52] I'm talking about, you know, living, I've been Snohomish and I know you work everywhere, but like have you, what do you think of kind of the explosion of kind of the Snohomish wedding community and all the venues and stuff up there?

[45:04] Yeah, it's huge. I actually don't do a lot of weddings up in the Snohomish area. Um, but it's, I mean a stone's throw away from where I live with just half a dozen is that are out there. Um, that's actually my next step is my husband and I are actually currently actively looking for properties to be able to turn into a wedding venue. I've been doing planning for 15 years and so I'm trying to think about my next step in my succession plan. A also why I specifically did not name the company after myself was to be able to sell it eventually. And with my associate planners, I'm hoping that I can hand the company off to them. I'm still probably going to be doing planning for the next five to 10 years. I'm not in a hurry to be done with planning, but um, as I start to age, you know, I'm, I'm also looking at, okay, what, what is the next step?

[45:50] And so a venue ownership has always really, really interested me and I feel like there is a gap between the restiveness of the Snohomish wedding venues and kind of, um, the ballrooms, you know, I, I really want to fulfill that middle gap of really being able to have a beautiful, my, my personal style is very craftsman style, so just a really beautiful kind of farmhouse feel but really upscale. So that's currently what we're, what we're looking at right now. And the explosion of the Snohomish area. It's just crazy. Um, because I have looked into the process of opening up a venue. Um, there's a lot of rules that the county of Snohomish has put into place because so many homes have been turned into wedding venues. They actually have put a block on it. And so, uh, you have to be really, really careful if you think, oh, I have a beautiful home, I'm going to turn it into a wedding venue. There's a lot of roles that come along with that, so just making sure that we're finding the right fit for us and I'm making sure, of course, that the venues that are opening up in Snohomish are also following the rules,

[46:53] kind of round out the conversation here as we approach the end. Talk to me about kind of who is the ideal new creations client, you know, who do you kind of vibe with or who do you find you attract most through your word of mouth and networking?

[47:07] Yeah, absolutely. So, um, typically my, my ideal average client is anywhere between the age of 28 to 35. I'm like I said, I do specialize in Asian weddings, so that tends to be who I attract most is either full Asian or mixed and it's the couples that really will let me run with my creativity I think. And I think that's true for any wedding vendor, uh, especially in the visual side of things such as your florist, but um, it's really, it's really fun when couples let you take them and, and turn that into a wedding day. Um, so I think trust is really, really important. Again, as I've mentioned a few times, we have your back and so having that trust with your, with your wedding planners, really important, um, and being able to know that we're going to walk you through the entire process.

[48:01] So some of the Times I'm the red flags I see with some couples that I'm even interviewing as they try and put the carpet for the horse and it's like we're not even there yet. You don't have a date, you don't have a venue. Let's not even be thinking about that right now. So again, just knowing that I will walk you through the entire process. Um, my, my ideal couple also are animal lovers because uh, as much as I try and lint roll myself, there's always a stray hair from one of my golden retrievers on me. So just having them understand that yep, animals are a part of my life and you know, certainly obviously I'm not a scrap, but just making sure that, that they, um, I think animal lovers also attract fellow animal lovers. We all tend to have, you know, a really outgoing personality and, uh, have that warmth. Um, but we, you know, my, my company, um, main main words are fun, genuine and authentic, and I really feel like that's the couples that we tend to attract are people that no we are not perfect, but we will absolutely do a 100 percent our best and make sure that you're in really good hands and I'm very, very, very lucky to still have couples from weddings many years ago that I am still friends with to this day. And I think that's one of the reasons that we've been so successful.

[49:16] Awesome. Uh, I will say, uh, I told Dorothy last night that you were coming today and even though we have people come quite a bit, she goes, Oh, you need to make sure everything's clean, Rebecca's coming because she does still love and enjoy you. And it was so fun working with you and I will say a candidly, having worked with you earlier in my career and uh, you know, continuing on and working with other planners, like it is not lost on me. Things that we didn't have to worry about that day or the way things were handled. Then, like I said, where I work now with other planners are not planners are day jobs or whatever and like kind of seeing how we had it and then having to kind of look at other stuff and how it is now. We're very appreciative of the work that you did. Uh, so thank you so much for coming in. If People wanna learn more about you, your company planning, what would you have them do and check it out?

[50:04] Absolutely. So our website is the best way to find out all of our information about us. So that's And also we do keep a pretty active instagram page as well. So if you want to follow us on social media, it's @newcreationswed also.

[50:20] Well thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Meredith Mckee Ruth, Meredith McKee Photography

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I am joined today by one of my dear, longterm friends. Uh, Meredith Mckee of Meredith McKee Photography. Thank you so much for coming in today. I was going to say that any week that I get to see you is a good week. And this week I've got to see you twice. So I don't know what that means, but I think it's good. So why don't you say hi and tell us who you are.

[00:38] Yes, that means it's a great week. I love it. I love it. I'm, I'm Meredith. I am the owner founder, sole person of Meredith Mckee photography. Um, I've been in Seattle for six years now. So, um, I started my wedding photography business back in Virginia and have since moved out here and I'm loving. I'm growing my business and the Pacific northwest.

[01:03] Yeah. And Meredith and I met three years ago, I think it was Nicole and Shawn. Uh, I think she just had another baby. Yeah. So I, I enjoy following them and I always remember that fun day. Uh, I'm really glad you got to come in here and uh, this was a great week. Uh, we got to see you on a Tuesday at the launch of your new venture. Uh, so why don't you talk a little bit about that first and kind of what happened this week that was so exciting.

[01:29] Yeah. So I just launched my new business is called Om Mama Co., um, and Reid was so kind to come video the launch party for me. Um, I've been photographing weddings for eight, eight or 10 years now and have just really loved growing my relationship with my couples and have turned that into a lot of family photography as well. So I'm just really thinking about how else I can serve my couples and my families and decided to launch this new business that will connect to the new and expecting moms to other moms in the Seattle area as well as two other photography and wellness businesses.

[02:08] Yeah. And I think it's a great idea, you know, I know that you had emailed me when you were starting this and kind of trying to figure out doing the video and we've talked, you know, I think both online and in person about, you know, you doing the weddings and really kind of segue in that and the, all of these other ventures and I think that's great because there's someone I know I like to like stay in touch with my clients and I'm always like a much less need for me. I always joke about, you know, except like I don't know if you had like a birthday party, but I think it's great with photography then in way can you stay in contact with clients, but then you actually also have useful services that they want. So I do you want to talk just about like, you know, your joy, the joy you find them doing family sessions?

[02:51] Totally. Yeah. I think um, so my goal on a wedding day is to really capture the love and connection between my couples and I think that so easily into shooting families as well. Um, I just love, like I said, getting to follow along with my current wedding clients and see them grow their families, um, but also adding new people along the way, either way, but I'm just getting to capture the connection between mom and dad and new baby or just new wedding couple and their new puppy have you got for babies too, but it's just such a natural fit for me. Um, and I love getting to continue that relationship with my couples.

[03:32] So how was the, the launch party, how did that go for you and how is it going so far now? The first week of being officially live?

[03:40] Yeah, the launch party was great. I had a lot of um, like photography clients and friends and family and other industry professionals there. Um, so it was a great celebration and awesome turnout. We had an amazing raffle where we raffled off all sorts of awesome prizes for the people that were there. Um, and now we're officially live so now it's time to like hit get the tires on the ground running, whatever that freezes and start getting moms on board and getting more businesses on board and start making those connections. So we're gonna have our first mama meet up in October, first vendor meet up in October and also our first workshop in October.

[04:21] And so you're looking for a book vendors that are interested in contributing and signing up and then also, you know, moms and people that are expecting. Right. So kind of all building this collective of like minded kind of people.

[04:36] Exactly. I just really want to build a community around it and just have these resources readily available to new and expecting moms and have just a collective of businesses here to support this community of moms.

[04:49] So when you were talking about like, you know, wedding photography, uh, you know, your families and things like that, how would you describe your style or what do you try to do? What's your goal for that? Or what are you trying to do?

[05:00] So one of my favorite reviews I ever got from a couple is that they, when they looked at their photos, they remembered how they felt in that moment. Um, and that is honestly my goal is whether it's your wedding or your family, is I want you to look at your photos and remember how you felt in that moment. Um, whether that was like crazy or toddler screaming and your newborn is like sleeping. There's just these moments that I want to capture because in your wedding day will go by in the blink of an eye. Um, and it's my job to document it and capture your story. Um, so you can remember it for 20, 30, 40 years from now.

[05:40] So how did you get into photography? What was this like a passion growing up or something you studied or.

[05:45] Yeah, I have honestly always loved photography. Like some of my earliest memories as a child were around like running around photographing my cousins on vacation. And that was when I was like eight or years old. I like to say that. So my dad was in the navy and he would be traveling a lot and on deployment and he would send me postcards from wherever he was and I saved them all, strung them all together and hung them up in my bedroom. And then when I was in eighth grade, my mom and I went on a trip to New York City and I was like, oh, I gotta go buy like a postcard to add to my collection. And I just had this moment where I was like, I don't want to buy somebody else's pictures, I want to take them myself. Um, and it just kind of grew from there.

[06:28] I, my high school had an internship program with other parents of students and one of my classmates' moms was a wedding photographer and I got to second shoot my first wedding when I was 17. It was crazy, honestly, like looking back to like, I've worked with a mentor for four or five years before I started shooting on my own and I can't believe I actually shot anything that would be useful for them. Um, but I was so grateful that they kind of just like took me under their wing. Um, my high school mentor bought me my first real camera, um, and just kind of let me follow along and see if I would be interested in this. And honestly I never looked back. I've never had like a nine to five and this is just what I've done.

[07:12] That's fascinating. Yeah. Uh, so you don't, uh, yeah, I was definitely the opposite where I was trying to escape a job I had. So when you went to college then, uh, that was out in Virginia, right? Yeah. Did you study photography?

[07:26] Yeah, I did. So I went to college and I was like, you know what, I like this whole photography thing. I need to find another mentor, I need to study photography. Um, I had originally thought I wanted to go to college for journalism, but I had an internship at the local newspaper and decided that wasn't really what I wanted to do. Um, so it was kind of interesting. My college program was all film photography, so I am trained as a film photographer, but they were very like art focused. So I had the art background, the journalism background. Neither of those were really what I wanted to do. Um, so I really relied on my outside mentors to kind of show me another way. Um, and yeah, I just grew my portrait business on the side. I founded my first llc in my college dorm room.

[08:15] Uh, what was the motivation behind. I mean, was that scary? Were you excited? What was that? I

[08:21] think it was a little scary. I definitely can think back to the time when I didn't really tell people I was a photographer. I don't know if I was like embarrassed by it or it was just weird, like I didn't know a lot of other people that were doing anything entrepreneurial, at least not as a 20 year old, um, but I just loved it so much and I liked the idea of setting my own schedule. Um, I always, I've had a part time job as well up until the beginning of this year. Actually, I quit my last part time job in December, um, so I've always had kind of like a safety net. So in college it didn't feel too scary to start my photography business because I was in school, like I had a job to be student, um, and I was just doing this on the side so it wasn't too scary at the time. Um, and then when I moved out here, just made it happen while working part time jobs as well.

[09:14] What did your family think about that? I know that, you know, my mom would have loved me to do anything a positive and calm. I can't even think of the word. Anything worthwhile then then hanging out in college. So what was that?

[09:29] Honestly, I, I, it was kind of bizarre, like not I have two older sisters and one, um, as an auditor and one's a doctor. Like I was definitely like this weird creative, like third youngest child. I did like a paper in high school about how birth order affects your personality and I really can see that with my sisters and me. Um, so I think my parents were kind of worried about me. They were like, I'm so this photography thing. Um, I honestly don't know if it was until like the last few years that they were really like, oh yeah, Meredith runs her own business, a photographer. Um, but yeah, because I think when you do start it on the side, it can kind of just seemed like a hobby and it's totally great if you're a photographer as a hobby as well. But I really had a vision for it being my full time career.

[10:18] Yeah, I do think that that's actually a great point there. And even today, you know, you talked to people and they're like, oh, I'm a photographer. Yeah, grab a beer. And I do think that there's like, um,

[10:28] it, it, you know, because I always self critique a lot too, but it is a fine line when you, you know, and you could be the world's best photographer or videographer or anything, but it's a difference when like people are paying you regularly the do it and it's like a self sufficient thing than like, oh yeah, I go shoot a wedding once a year for their friends or whatever. Tunneling. Um, I also think it's interesting. I think we're a similar age. Uh, I think nowadays it's a little more like millennial. Everyone's kind of starting their own thing that you think probably when you were in college, like that was not the norm thing for people or. Right. Did you, you, like you said you were kind of out on an island with that or.

[11:05] Yeah. Um, it was, it was interesting. Like there's definitely a great wedding community in Charlottesville. Um, the town I was in for college, um, but it was small that it's not a huge, a huge city. There's maybe at the time there was like 12 venues that I would shoot at all the time. Um, and so it was really interesting to be like this 20 year old. I also interned with a wedding planner in Charlottesville, so I definitely felt like I was getting kind of ingrained in the wedding network in Charlottesville. So in that way I don't think I, there was a lot of things I didn't necessarily do as like a typical college student because I was already part of this industry that I really saw connecting with. Not necessarily more so than college kids, like my peers. But, um, I was working on the weekends. I was like, not at the football games on Saturday. Like I was shooting a wedding. I couldn't party too hard Friday night because I was shooting a wedding the next day. So yeah,

[12:07] the older cool kids in high school that's got like the leather jacket or like thought it was dorky but mirror that's running around with their camera. Uh, so then, um, how long did you do weddings in Virginia for?

[12:25] So I graduated from College in Twenty 12 and I started shooting weddings on my own and like maybe 2010. Um, and right the summer after I graduated I moved to Seattle, so my boyfriend at the time now my husband was going to go home to Seattle and live with his parents and I just knew a that I wanted to be with him and B, I didn't really want to keep growing my business in Virginia if I was going to move to where he was. So I just decided to pack up my bags, move with him. I had never been to Seattle and we drove cross country. And here we are.

[13:02] You guys met in college or you're from Virginia?

[13:07] Kind of. So Kevin and I are both navy brat so we don't really have a home, but I grew up a lot in Virginia and we both ended up being in college together, um, at Uva.

[13:19] Uh, so what'd you think of Seattle when you got over here?

[13:21] Oh my gosh. Well it was crazy. I, my family again was like, what are you doing? Um, but I was so lucky to be so welcomed by Kevin's parents, um, had we lived with them for the first three months we lived here and just having family here helped me kind of make that transition a little bit easier. Um, that being said, we were living up in Lake Stevens and snohomish, so I hadn't made any friends yet in Seattle. Um, we were living up a little bit out of the city. I was like sleeping in Kevin's little sister's bedroom. We still weren't engaged yet. I was like, what's happening? Um, but pretty quickly in the new year, um, we got engaged. I started doing more photography work. I started networking more and connecting with the community here. Um, and starting to make a spot for myself.

[14:15] Was it tough? Uh, you had said that you felt like a in Virginia that, you know, there it was more of a smaller community. Did you feel like when you got here where you were like the big fish in the small pond to now, like, yeah. Did you feel that or did you feel lost at all?

[14:31] It was totally overwhelming and I was, it's for anybody that has maybe transplanted or moved their business. Um, it's kind of like starting over, like even though I did have a few years of shooting weddings experience, um, I didn't have a portfolio in the Pacific northwest. I didn't have any connections in the industry. I literally knew no one. Um, so even before we moved, I thought about how can I make this transition happen? Um, and my mom actually found this company called George Street photography. Um, that is a national company, um, that has photographers and all the cities and I applied to be a photographer for them. Um, and I spent the first year I'm living here shooting for them. I shot 38 weddings my first year in Seattle. Um, and just honestly tried to make as many connections as I could. It was a great way to explore my new states. Um, I got to see so much of Washington. I'm shooting weddings all over. I haven't got to go up to Alaska for a wedding, which was so cool. Um, so the first year I shot all with George Street. In the second year I did half and half, and then by the third year I was doing all my own.

[15:37] That's great. Yeah, I did A, I did a couple of video. That's actually how I met Julia to one of the members of Obama was a, she and I and Hannah who's another photographer that I've shot with a. We did the George Street one together and that was awesome. Um, yeah, I, I think it would be terrifying. I told Dorothy that, you know, when I was starting because I was, you know, frustrated and I, you know, in TV, like you go maybe like la or New York or whatever and like she doesn't want to move. And so I told her like, well then this is what I'm going to do. And then we can't because I would never, I couldn't imagine having to move because again, like you have your experience like your portfolio that's like, you know, applicable. You can still show whatever. But uh, like I would be like lost. They'd have to start over, like to move to Nebraska or something. We'll start over. So I think that that would have to be scary.

[16:28] Yeah, there's definitely a lot of resources and this is something I like to speak to people about because it is scary to move network, move areas and start over. But um, especially with social media these days, it's really, um, there's a lot of ways to get connected with people and stay connected. Like say I meet a vendor at a wedding and then I can follow up with them on social media and remain instagram friends with them. Um, it's a lot easier to connect in that way. It's not just networking activities like it used to be. There's so many other ways to connect with people and being on things like this. Podcasts, which is awesome.

[17:03] Yeah, I definitely think that this is fine as opposed to like a, I'm not a huge fan of like the networking nights and stuff that is very intimidating to me. Uh, I don't know how that is for anybody else you said, but you know, Dorothy is there. I feel a little more better about it, but it's tough. Um, so transitioning away from George Street and doing stuff yourself, I'm like, did you try to find that voice you have like, you know, capturing those authentic moments in the feelings like did that just come about immediately or was that something you were kind of growing into? You said you had a vision for your company when you started?

[17:38] Yeah. Um, honestly I, it's a lot of what people talk about for just starting any business, listening to your own voice and what you are passionate about and following that I done some like styled shoots which are Super Fun, but I was recognized like why am I not as into this? And I think it's, I know it's because I feed off of the couple's energy. If you're working with models for example, you don't necessarily get that. Um, and so I just really tried to hone in on what I love to shoe and it is capturing joy and emotion and I'm translating that into photographs that people can keep forever.

[18:17] It's so funny. I remember I've done a couple of stylized shoots and having never done one before and you go and it was more because sometimes you can find like a couple that wants to do it, which is better, but he has one and it was like too broad on models and I'm sitting there, I'm like, I can't really be like, all right. Because some now gets them on the, you know what I mean? You could, you give me a kiss on the cheek or something, but you lose that chemistry that you, you know, that is there with most couples. Uh, that's funny. So, um, so you're photographing your, with Kevin, you're here, you guys get engaged. How did your wedding go and how was that, you know, be in the wedding vendor and, and kind of going through that experience?

[18:55] Yeah, it was crazy. Kevin likes to say that it was super easy because I had so many industry friends, so we actually got married back in Virginia because we had basically planned our wedding in my head when we were still in college. Um, we knew pretty early on in our relationship that we would, we were the one for each other, um, so, and my mom was still living in Virginia at the time, so we planned it all in Virginia. Um, and I had people are always like, Oh, who'd you have photograph your wedding? And honestly it was pretty easy. I had one of my best friends in the industry shoot it, Jeff gleason, he's amazing. And my mentor that I worked with all of college, she shot our first look because I wanted her to be a guest. Um, so that was really special to me. Um, it was, I think easier partly because I knew which vendors I wanted to work with. Um, and then also I think I didn't let some of the stressful things bother me as much because I was like, this doesn't matter, this is not something I need to stress over. Or I knew which, like logistical things I needed to really focus on because I knew how wedding days worked. A.

[20:05] was that, did you start to kind of envision your day because you were wedding vendor or were you always kind of like passionate about weddings from a young age or what kind of came first?

[20:14] I think because I was a wedding vendor, I don't think that I was like dreaming of my wedding day as a little girl. Like I hear you. Yeah, I'm sure I did some of that, but I wasn't like super into it, but I just knew from watching a lot of weddings what I, what was important to me in what was a priority and what wasn't.

[20:34] Uh, did you feel any major shift with how you approached the weddings from before getting married to after? Sure,

[20:42] absolutely. I think it's just so easy to relate to the bride after being a bride, I'm being like, I know exactly how you're feeling. Like I'm, that's one thing I like to explain to my couples about. For example, doing a first look. I was really nervous on our wedding day before I saw Kevin and then I loved being able to hang out with him the majority of our wedding day. That's just something I like to explain to people. I totally get the wanting to see each other for the first time down the aisle, but for me, um, it helped alleviate a lot of nerves. I Ha, we could tag team things if we, if anything came up and honestly I just wanted to spend time with him on our wedding day and spend time with our guests. Um, so we didn't have to take a lot of pictures during cocktail hour, like we joined cocktail hour and that was important to me.

[21:28] Um, I also shoot differently. Um, one thing that I noticed from our own wedding photos was how much I loved all of the photos of our guests. Um, so that made it really stand out to me and be like, I really want to capture, if not every single one of your guests like the good majority because you're not gonna see your aunt hanging out with your, like your mom's friend. Like, you know, the, those kinds of moments. Um, you don't even see as the wedding as the couple. Um, so I go out of my way to try to capture little things like that, um, and share those with my couples.

[22:04] That's funny. Yeah, it's, the first thing is tough because I, I definitely get both sides of it but like the wedding and I just sent over this morning, you know, they did a first look and um, he had a very emotional, you know, they had a thing and they made, it was a dog and the trolls. So, but then he also, Brian was like also super like still choked up for the ceremony. She's coming in and like he like kind of did this wave thing and you're like why is he, you know, but like, so you still, because I get it, you know, an ipad like big huge guys like breakdown and stuff. So it's tough and I don't know, but it is really easy to get those photos out of the way. Cause then like for them, we didn't, after they did their first or their grand entrance, like we didn't have to, they'd never left. We did their cake and stuff, but they never exited the reception at all. Uh, so it's, it's tough. I don't know. Um, so do you, so talking about like, you know, capturing like the guests and stuff for the wedding, do you talk about the importance of that? I guess because I do feel like a lot of the time you're drawn to other things when you're, you know, getting married, right? Like, so talk about kind of capturing all those authentic moments

[23:18] really. I mean, I'm not to be morbid or anything but I'll, it's really special when people have, for example, their grandparents there and then I know for myself like my grandfather has passed away and having photos of him on my wedding day is like so amazing and I just know that that's really important. Um, Mike, the cup, the kind of couples I attract are like really devoted to their family and their friends and I know that things like that are important to them. Um, so I mean I just think that and like my niece, my niece and nephew are so tiny, my wedding, like I love having pictures of them so 80 at my wedding and now they're like seven years old. It's awesome. Um, I just think it's those sorts of moments that really make a wedding day yours, the details absolutely are important and I absolutely capture those as well because I think that helps tell the story. Um, but also it's, it's the people that are there to celebrate you. That's one of the main reasons to have a bigger wedding is to have your family and friends there to celebrate with you.

[24:21] So then we're, you know, we're talking about your wedding clients and transitioning that into the families and things. Did that start immediately or was that something that you kind of like figure it out? Moving on like, oh, this is like another source of, you know, a revenue, but also like, you know, a way to connect with people.

[24:35] I think it kind of came naturally a little bit later. Um, I, my nephew is almost eight, which is crazy and he was really the first baby I ever photographed. I had never really interacted with babies. Um, so I honestly practiced on him for like a couple of years before I even really was hired to photograph anybody else's maternity newborn family photos. I'm just like shooting weddings, starting out. It took me a little bit of time to get comfortable and confident in my work. Um, and then I think especially as I honed in on capturing the joy and connection it, once I settled more into that in weddings, it helped me translate that even better to families.

[25:21] Yeah. Talk about the challenges of doing that is actually a great point. Talking about the different challenges of doing like families or newborn and things like that.

[25:29] Totally. I mean it's a totally different ballgame. Just like I say, like if you haven't shot a wedding, like it's totally different game plan, um, but shooting kids, especially with not having a ton of experience with kids in my own life, like just like getting more comfortable, like playing around with them, knowing what will make them smile, make them laugh, being helping the parents be patient with a newborn during a newborn session. I'm honestly that a lot of that comes with experience and just practice and that's exactly how I built my wedding business. Like I've shot probably close to 200 weddings now and I'm so much more able to capture the day, um, in an authentic and true to the couple way because I have all of that experience, I can get thrown whatever ball my way and be able to handle it. And I feel the same now with families as well. So

[26:25] one thing you know, I really like and I had talked to you in research, right, you is, you know, you are really like a personality driven photographer, you know, it's very apparent in like you and your brand and whatever. Does that ever like, are you ever, uh, is that hard to be Meredith and the photographer? I mean, is that a conscious choice or are talking about kind of like putting so much of yourself in your, in your business?

[26:49] Totally. I mean, somebody, it's so funny and one of my couples asked me that recently, they were like, how do you make people feel so comfortable in front of the camera? And I was like, honestly, I'm just being me. Um, I think it is a natural way for me to interact with my clients because I view them as friends. I'm just like, we're hanging out, like what I say when we're doing an engagement session, I'm like, you guys just get to make out for an hour, like we're just hanging out, having fun. Um, and just trying to get. It's hard unless you're like a professional model, you don't know what to do. And when Kevin and I did our engagement photos, I was like, this is so weird. Like I don't know how to hug you. I'm, so I kind of liked to guide my couples and then capture the in between moments as my favorite.

[27:31] Uh, that's a good. That's actually a good, that's a good point, right? Is it's a, you know, you want to get the shot but you are a little more natural kind of when you're just hanging out because it's tough. You know, it's, it's, I think it's a fine line between like trying to get somebody to look good, but then like, okay, well can you tilt your hand two degrees? And you're like, okay, this is the moment. Um, so then in terms of like know how you advertise and brand and like social media, talk about, you know, I guess your thoughts behind like, you know, what goes into your process with that and kind of how you, how you approach that.

[28:07] Yeah, I mean I think we're definitely seeing it a lot with, um, businesses these days is that I'm, there's so many photographers, there's so many. Everything, it's a very saturated market and the only way you're gonna stand out is by being yourself. So I just tried to put as much of myself out there and if people connect with that, that's awesome. If people don't connect with it, there's another photographer that'll be the right fit for you. So honestly it's just me trying to do my best to put myself forward and get the right people, clients coming into the door. And um, it really helps get me get to my ideal client by showing more of myself.

[28:45] We've talked a little bit about this, but who is, who is the ideal client? Like who is some. Meredith Mckee a couple.

[28:51] I mean, honestly, um, it's the couple that wants to enjoy their wedding day. Um, they're so in love with each other and that's like the biggest thing for them. Um, it's getting to celebrate their marriage. Um, I think that's another thing as being a married woman photographing weddings, I kind of put a little bit of my marriage to Juju in every wedding I shoot. Like I really feel invested in supporting not just capturing their wedding day but supporting their marriage. Um, and I think my couples are in the same vein. Like they know this is not just a wedding day, it's their marriage, um, and that they're excited and they have like those sorts of priorities that are like, oh, we want our guests to have a great time and just to have fun.

[29:36] So you had talked about you the first way you shot with 17, uh, with your mentor. When you, uh, I guess maybe out here, uh, talking about when your first early weddings, uh, you know, on your own and what was that experience like?

[29:51] Yeah, it's so funny. So I think it was the actual first sweating I shot here with George Strait, um, it was a winter wedding and they took me to carry park for portraits. It was at night and I'd never been to Kerry park before nor really seen the skyline. And I kind of lost it. I like freaked out. I was like, this is amazing. It's so beautiful. To be honest, Kerry park is not one of my favorite places to shoot now for several reasons, but at the time I was just like, whoa. I think it took me a long time to get used to like the natural beauty of the state, the sound so silly, but like getting to scale up to deception pass and to shooting engagement sessions that Mount Rainier, like I really get so blown away and the variety of the different types of venues and places we can go in the state. I'm just really blows me away. Central Virginia is gorgeous, but it's rolling hills and that's about it. Um, I love that. One weekend I can be shooting a urban wedding and downtown Seattle and the next weekend I can be up on Camino island.

[30:59] Uh, it's, uh, I would just send the video off. Other than that, if you've ever been is a country and lace. It's like down in Toledo. It's like a new, but it's like a homestead that they turned into like a wedding venue. But I was, I had sent the video to the couple of hours just looking at the venue's website and like I was like, this is stupid pretty because it's literally like, it's just their house if it's kind of like turned into, but you know, this is just one of 10,000 places around here. But I'm like, Gosh, you know, you got like these huge meadows with trees and stuff and like you have all these good photographers. So it's like, it's just crazy to think like I was just kinda thinking about that, about how like just beautiful and like it's just, you don't get that in a lot of other places.

[31:40] Totally. It's just like the variety. Like I'll never get bored. And Seattle,

[31:44] uh, where are some of your favorite places to shoot around here?

[31:47] So in a funny way, I'm snohomish is very dear to my heart because it reminds me of Virginia. Um, I love shooting and snohomish. I also love getting up to the San Juan's. Um, I've shot at Roche harbor if several times, um, that's just like a magical little separate piece of the planet that is so beautiful. Um, but just like I said, I love the variety. Um, I've shot at a handful of venues multiple times, but for the most part I might like a different venue every weekend and I kind of love that. You liked the variety of that? Yeah. Everybody's like, Oh, you haven't shot at my venue before, is that going to be an issue? I'm like, actually, I like prefer that because it keeps my creative juices flowing. I'm not thinking about the couple I posed here last weekend. I get to think focus on you guys and you and your surrounding and your day. Um, rather than comparing and like thinking about what else I've shot there.

[32:43] That is tough because yeah, if you do, especially like, you know, not that you wanted to compare like days or whatever, but that you are like, and even it could just be like a lighting situation. You wouldn't even necessarily be like the couple or the way. You Bet man who was really better here when it was cloudy and last time I was here because I've had that I've done like golf courses where, you know, like nothing in anybody did. It just was the way it was.

[33:07] Yeah, I'm sure. Yeah. People are just like, Oh, do you need to like see the lighting? I'm like, honestly it could be totally different day of. So I mean I do usually get to like a wedding day, a little early and scout around, but um, the difference in lighting and time of day, um, and Seattle is pretty dramatic with our weather and the rain can totally change everything. So, um, I think by having shot like 200 weddings, I'm more capable of adapting quickly and I'm, I capable of scouting around quickly and figuring it out.

[33:38] I do think that every wedding I've done with a photographer that left during getting ready and said, I'm going to go like scout right now for like lighting for the first, like every time. Then when we go out for the first look, it's like, oh, this was not how it was an hour ago. Yeah, I know, man. That's why we got to do this.

[33:54] Yeah, totally. I do have this app called Sun Seeker though, that shows you where the sun will be at, what time of the day. So like you'll know which direction it's going and where the shadows will be. So that is actually very helpful. Dark sky is also helpful app that is like very weirdly accurate with the rain. Weather. Little tricks of the trade.

[34:13] Yeah. Right. Uh, so when you're not photographing weddings or families or starting a, a mama's collective, what do you do in your free time? What do you do with Kevin and what do you do with your little furry baby?

[34:27] I love it. Um, we love getting to explore around. We love going to breweries. We live in Ballard. We can, we love to go. Try out new places, go back to our old places and take lemon there and lemon and loves to go to the breweries. We love to go hiking. I practice yoga almost every day. I'm a 6:00 AM or got my, got my workout in this morning already. Um, and then honestly now, so Kevin's little sister, Kevin's parents and my mom all live in the area now so I love getting to spend time with my family and all my friends. So whether that is like going on a hike, going out to a brewery or like just having a game night at home. Being with my people is awesome.

[35:09] Yeah. Talk about lemon a little bit because I know that lemon is a big part of, uh, of your brand and your life and talk about it.

[35:16] I love and is the best. So we, Kevin, I got married for four years ago in April and I had very not aggressively pursued this breeder to get lemon is a cavalier king. Charles and I was very set on this breed of dog. I wanted a small dog. We lived in a 650 square foot apartment at the time. I wanted small dog that would just cuddle me all day while I worked from home. And Kevin's parents had a cavalier as well. Um, and so I sent my deposit to the breeder before our wedding and it was kind of like a nice out at because even at our wedding people already were asking us when we were going to have kids and I was like, Hey, like we just got married, but I would say we're getting our puppy in August. So we got lemon right after we got married and um, it was great, like eventual parenting practice raising us puppy. Um, I'd never really done that before myself. And she is just endless entertainment. She's a total spazz. Um, I wish she were quiet or sometimes, but she, we just say she has a zest for life and she just loves everything and everyone.

[36:26] Uh, and so you guys always say care about and hang out?

[36:29] Yeah, sometimes we'll, we'll leave her at home if we want to have like a quiet evening out. But, um, she loves to swim. She loves the snow, she will like, loves to romp around in the snow in the winter time, which is awesome. Kevin and I love to snowboard. So, um, if we go up to whistler for Christmas then we'll bring her out and she just says in her element.

[36:51] Meanwhile, Rosie sitting here, she sits in the bed for a good 14 hours a day. Maybe we, I just hired her out of there. We're there with the walk, but she seems a little less active. Um, did you, uh, get a studio space?

[37:07] I have, I had a studio space last year. Um, I am. I was liking the idea of having a space to meet my couples for consultations, um, and then also use it to shoot. I do, I'm like holiday mini sessions for families. Um, the space was awesome, but it ended up not being quite the right fit at the time, so I only had it for a year. Um, I also just really recognized that I love shooting in people's homes for newborns especially. Um, I know I have a lot of photographer friends that do studio newborn sessions and part of me, a part of it for me is capturing people in their homes where they brought their baby home. Um, I think that's an important part of the story to tell. Um, so I feel really good about focusing on in home newborn photography, but I do still rent a studio from my photographer friends for things like holiday mini sessions, um, and I have am now a member of the collective and Seattle for meeting up with my couples, which is a super cool space where we had the alumni launch party.

[38:12] Yeah, that was a really cool downtown. They're, like I said, I used to work when king five was there, which is not anymore a across the street there. It's a big hole now. But uh, that's a pretty cool. So you use that as a workspace as well?

[38:24] Yeah, so I, I do love working from home, like I'm a major home body. Like I wear yoga pants all day and hang out with lemon and so I don't, I'm love going to coffee shops and working on my laptop because editing and such as, like on a laptop just does not work for me. Um, but I like getting to meet clients there or hanging out with other industry people there because they have a full restaurant and bar and you can grab a drink or coffee, um, and just be in that really cool space.

[38:56] Uh, talk about, uh, working through, uh, the wedding day process with you and kind of like what would a couple of expect in terms of like kind of the process with you?

[39:06] Yeah. So, um, I love to keep in communication with my couples as factor they book me. So, um, I check in often with like some questionnaires to kind of see how the wedding planning process is going. Um, I, like I've said, I've shot so many weddings. It is my passion to share my knowledge with them. So I have like a 70 page magazine I give to all of my couples talking about, um, how to get the most out of their wedding photography. Um, so yeah, I, I play a big part in helping them plan their timeline because I think having a well planned timeline is essential for a smoothly running wedding day. Um, so I try to help ahead of time as much as I can so that when it comes to the wedding day, um, you feel ready to go. Um, that's another reason I love doing engagement sessions is I think it's really important to get to hang out together, feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Um, so when it comes to your wedding day, you're like, oh yeah, that's Meredith. She was just hanging out.

[40:10] Are there common pitfalls or things that you wish that more couples knew that would, you know, whether it's specifically about photography, about their wedding day, you know, things that you find yourself, like letting people know that you wish more people knew?

[40:24] Yeah, I think, um, like I said, planning the timeline, adding in buffer time and like wedding planners are so amazing at helping with that. Um, but not all of my couples have a planner, so I try to communicate that to them. Um, say like I need this x amount of time for family photos, this amount of time for wedding party photos. Um, and just communicating with them, I'm being like, I would love to steal you at Golden Hour for some sunset pictures. Um, I think communication is key. Um, so I try to help out with that. Um, other things I try to tell my communicate to my couples is having like a backup plan for rain. So, um, or just being aware that that's an option like could happen and especially here in Seattle. Um, I don't, I would hate to see my couple like totally derailed by whether I'm like, it's okay, you can't control it, but here let's have a backup plan just in case.

[41:20] Yeah, it is getting tough. We're getting into that time of year, year and a September. And uh, we have been lucky, uh, both a two weekends ago at Semi Amo, uh, it was raining and it stopped and an hour the ceremony and then last weekend we were at Cedar Brook and it was the same thing at port when we were trying to hang the dress. And then it, uh, is, is that challenging in Seattle and the weather or what do you find like dealing with the elements are that you like.

[41:46] Yeah, I mean honestly it's again kind of the variety thing. Um, I follow like a lot of southern California photographers on like instagram or whatever. And I'm like, well that's really my portfolio is going to look because I, I edit true to life. Like I want to tell the story of your day and if it was overcast, you're not going to have like glowy sunset. He pictures and that is okay. And it's awesome. And that was your day. So, um, I mean I've definitely had to grow a lot as a photographer living here. Um, I in some places in the country or the world, you can be like only natural light outdoor photography. But here you really have to be able to adapt to a ballroom reception or it's raining and I've gotten like really awesome waterproof shoes now I'm like, can't like a sleeve to cover my camera for if it's raining and I can still be out in the elements. Like just really embracing that and I think me actively embracing the weather and the elements here helps my couples do the same.

[42:51] Uh, Seattle continues to grow and uh, you know, with more photographers and all sorts of different things. Do you, do you enjoy the competition? Does that, is that scary? Do you worry about, you know, growing. I mean, I think everyone is kind of thinking that, you know, no matter what you do, what, what do you think about that?

[43:10] Totally. I mean, I think it's again, like I was saying earlier, like, just focus on you and doing what makes you happy and translating that into your art and your work and at the end of the day they're booking you and you just got to show up in your best self and be unique to you. Um, and even if there are $100, million other photographers, no one is going to be you. So I'm just pursuing your goals and your dreams and I'm just kind of seeing all of the fantastic like millennial photographers coming up as inspiration and motivation to keep growing and honing your craft and being a better version of yourself.

[43:52] Uh, so this has been a busy week for you. It seems like you always have a, you know, a lot of projects in the works. Uh, what is, what's the goal now both for Om Mama Co. and then for you as a, as a photography brand, you know, where do you try to, are you continuing to grow here in the next six months to two years or.

[44:11] Yeah, absolutely. Um, I really love having the variety of things. I'm never one to just stick with one thing. Um, so I really do love having each piece of my puzzle. Um, I'm excited to keep booking weddings for 2019. Um, I, I've gotten to a kind of, be very specific about my schedule. Um, I don't book double headers, for example. Um, one, I put so much creative and emotional energy into a wedding day that I don't have quite enough to do two weddings in a row. Um, and also spending time with Kevin is really important to me. Um, so setting those boundaries has been an exciting step in my photography career. Um, so that I am looking forward to book in my awesome couples for 2019 and I'm seeing where all mama grows. I'm really excited to give more back to the community and embrace this new chapter.

[45:19] Perfect. Well thank you so much for coming in today. I really appreciate it. It's been fun getting to correspond with you kind of in advance of the event and then setting this up and thank you for coming in and talking. If there was a, if you wanted, if someone wanted to learn more about you, your photography, any and all of the above, what would you have them do?

[45:40] Absolutely. Um, I hang out on instagram a lot. I'm, I'm at Meredith Mckee, M-E-R-E-D-I-T-H Mckee. Um, and then you can find Om Mama Co. through there as well. Um, if you're a new or expecting moms, definitely check that out. Um, and then I, uh, I am still a blogger. I blog pretty regularly, so all that jazz is on

[46:01] When you say you're still a blogger, do you think that that is going away?

[46:05] I think it might be maybe coming back, whether that's just for like SEO purposes, but I really love sharing my work with the Internet world. Um, I honestly like spending time with my images, um, which sounds weird, but um, I like sharing that and honestly I use it a lot as a referral to send to potential clients. Like, Oh yeah, I shot a wedding at your venue. You can see it on my blog here. I think it's like a really valuable resource and um, I also share a lot of like wedding tips there. Um, and like what to wear to your family session. Um, a lot of it is kind of like Faq that I get and trying to consolidate that and share that with even more people.

[46:49] I do think that doing the blogs in a given context to things, because I'll look at like, you know, if I'm working with a photographer and I'm like, I'm going to do my blog and I'll see whatever, look at things and like giving that context and like letting people know like more of the story of the day. I do think it's really important both for like vendors and clients and everybody. Right? Yeah,

[47:09] for sure. For sure. And like instagram is amazing, but it's only like one little square with a caption and um, I have more, more things to save them that

[47:20] well. Perfect. Well thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much Reid.

Matthew Pacheco, Pacheco's Weddings and Events

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by Matthew Pacheco of Pacheco’s Weddings and Events. And I have. This is someone that I've kind of seen and we've worked together and I know I've seen you with advance. Uh, so glad to get you in here. I think you have an interesting story that I think you have a great company and a great idea. So I just wanted to say thank you for coming in. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

[00:40] First of all, thank you. Thank you. Really appreciate the opportunity. Uh, so my name is Matt Pacheco. I'm born in White Center raised in Federal Way. I'm the owner of Pacheco’s Weddings and Events, we help with, set up, clean up, tear down and special requests to Seattle in the surrounding area. And uh, next month in October will be our four year anniversary. So yeah, I'm excited about that.

[01:07] That's awesome. And so, uh, talk to me about like, how did this come about or you know, why, why do you know, why get into weddings and why do you know staffing and break up and tear down and all that.

[01:18] A good questions. So I'm about four and a half years ago. I started out as a car detailing company and uh, was just, I had this strong desire in my heart to just do my own thing and uh, what I knew or what I felt I knew at the time was cleaning a. So cleaning cars, cleaning houses and um, you know, I, I started the company, it was actually originally called the neighborhood clean. I don't know if you remember that, those called the neighborhood clean. And so, uh, you know, right away it's, it wasn't the norm in my family, the enrollments to just to get a job and, you know, work your way up. So I had a little bit of pushback from my family, which is all good, but I just decided to, you know, I wanted to follow my heart. And so with that being said, I would hustle and try to get, try to clean people's cars and, uh, clean the interior of people's cars and in my mind at the time, there so many car detailing companies, it's hard for me to compete or stand out.

[02:31] A lady from my church, a shout out to Janice asked if I could help clean up her friend's wedding. Um, and so in my mind I was like, yeah, sure, let's do it. I got two friends at the time to help clean up and uh, we had to haul a bunch of stuff from to the uncle's house or something like that. And at the end of the day I had fun because I felt like an adventure. I had to meet, I got to meet New People, I got to do physical activity and um, I got to work alongside, you know, good people. And um, was that being said, I googled if there was a wedding cleanup company, if there was any wedding cleanup or tear down company in Seattle. There was none. And so in my mind at the time I was like, let me do this and pick it as my niche. Um, so I don't. Yeah, it was a, I believe it was a god thing. I couldn't think of that, you know, I wouldn't have thought about that. But then that's when I started. I was, that was the path to Pacheco's Weddings and Events. And it's been good. It's been good.

[03:45] So coming up on four years in, uh, in the kind of the questionnaire I had sent out before the podcast, you said up to 103 last year, not including this year. What did it just kind of come rolling or how did it, how did that start? You know, they go from just picking up a church, ladies. I know, right?

[04:05] Yeah. So in the beginning, I'm, Gary Vaynerchuk was in huge inspiration in my life at the origins of my company. And uh, he would always talk about hustle, etc. In my mind, I, I received like a wedding and event packet with all the information to people in the industry for years ago. And the thought was to lIterally call everybody in that book and tell them about Pacheco's Weddings and Events. This is what we do. And so, um, yeah, I called mainly wedding planners and wedding vendors and winning and people who had wedding venues and so that's kinda how I grew and I would email like crazy to people say, hey, thIs is matt, we help wIth this, let us know how we could help you. And um, yeah, so with that being said, it kind of built from that. And just by making mistakes I would learn a lot. I learned a lot on how to perfect the company. Um, so yeah, I don't even know how I got to where I got to be honest with you. I'm really thankful, really thankful. I'm really thankful for my company and how much value we bring to our clients. Um, yeah, it's not something that I would have imagined starting out in my mind. I just thought we'd go to a wedding, we cleaned it up, we make some money. Um, right now it's like, it's, it's grown so much. So,

[05:43] uh, so how, how busy are you guys, you know, like how many different events or you do it now or do you, is it like do you go out or do you kind of manage, you know, or how, how does that kind of work?

[05:54] Good question. Um, so last we had 103 events total and last year was the first year where I've kind of managed the company and hired employees through an accountant and all that, all that fun stuff. Um, but before the first, I think the first two and a half years I would do it with other people, not necessarily employees, but uh, yeah, so now we, it's, everything is structured right now. We have an accountant and we have payroll systems and everything like that. Um, so

[06:31] I think it's awesome. I mean I think that a lot of people, you know, start, you know, wanting to start a business or are wanting to do this or have an idea. And I mean it's always about hustle, right? And it's about, you know, kind of, it's always hustle, you know, no matter if you've been doing that for one year or 10 years or 20 years, you know, like I always thought, oh, at some point, like I'll just be able to, I don't know, like not every email this afternoon I got to go where you're always, you're always doing something to try to do it. And I think it's excellent, but I think it's great and I think it's a good story and I think it kind of encapsulate, you kind of encapsulate what, you know, a lot of people are trying to do for whatever engine, you know, whether you're a dj or you're trying to restore the soccer. yeah. So how do you stay motivated to do that or you know, did you have any setbacks early on or was it just kind of done?

[07:25] Yeah, I had setbacks. My friend, I had set back so many, so many, a few setbacks. I think one of the earliest stages of my company is I had a huge project that I wanted to do. It wAs called project elvanto. Um, my mindset was we clean everybody's bathroom inside, you know, at, in federal way, and my goal was to clean the bathrooms and get, get money off of that and, you know, take turns doing it a couple of days. And so I like went in federal way. I would like hang flyers up, hang posters a week before and the day of. I only got one customer and in the beginning I'm thankful that that happened because it helped me to learn to face rejection even though you put your heart into something. And so that was one of the big things in, I believe it helped me become emotionally stronger because of it. Um, another, there are so many setbacks. There's so many. like one time we had a bartender who was working under the table kind of break my car break, you know, he broke the, broke the rear window of my car and he was a little bit tipsy. And um, there's just, there's so much, there's so much. But I learned, I learned to perfect these little ends ins and outs of accompany on what to say on proper etiquette. I guess to answer your second question about what keeps me motivated, um, I guess,

[09:12] um, in the beginning what kept me motivated

[09:17] was, um, I believe looking at my growing up, I was born in a middle class, a middle class family where everything was just all right, you know, everything was just all right. Um, and so I think one of the things that compelled me was to be, um, so just break that break, that average cycle, you know, I really believe that I'm going to be a millionaire at 30, 30 years old. And just that whole mindset, I'm really hungry to learn, uh, for um, what keeps me motivated. Um, I guess for me is that this idea didn't come from me and I'm honored to be a part of it because I believe it's god's idea that, that I'm in. Um, so I dunno just the value of my company, uh, the clients that we serve and the value that we bring.

[10:16] Um, so talk about, you know, I was never someone that, you know, I never dreamed it being like a wedding vendor or wedding videographer, you know, I went, I was just doing like any sort of video and I started doing magic shows and then you found that, you know, and so going from, you know, someone that was, you know, doing card deal, uh, you know, detailing or cleaning to like be another wedding, like what is that like, you know, what it was, you know, I don't think you had never thought that you were going to wind uP being every weekend of the wedding and they're like, I walk into like these nice venues and what are we doing here? Like, do you ever think about that?

[10:53] Um, at the beginning think of how to answer this. But, uh, yeah, in the beginning, um, I guess my mindset was, you know, I was, I dunno, I was, I don't really, I mean I think about it, I'm honored to be a part of these nice venues around, uh, you know, nice, elegant people. Um, I don't know. What do you mean by that? What do you mean?

[11:28] Oh, just like a, just not expected, you know, like I didn't ever expect to be like hanging in a dress and like worried about like, fluffy, like you guys have to like the attention to detail and stuff. Like I jusT never thought that was where my life was going to be made either. To be honest with you, I didn't, I didn't

[11:43] think it was going to be in that, in that realm either. Um, like I said, I didn't think about this, this idea in working with significantly a lot of women are predominantly, predominantly I learned so much and uh, yeah, you know, I don't know. It's cool.

[12:04] Um, so how do you now, uh, you know, you told me eArlier you started to where you were calling people and you know, like you have a book of names or whatever now obviously like, you know, social media and facebook and stuff. I mean, how do you guys attract new clients and grow and how does that work?

[12:22] In the beginning I would, uh, I would just call, call every vendor who I felt was significant. I would even call people who weren't, didn't do the same things like bakeries, wedding people who sold wedding gowns and, um, just other, other small companies and big companies as well in the beginning talking to big companies. It was a little bit of a challenge, um, just because of my mindset back back then, like kind of who am I sort of thing. Um, so right now I've gotten to a point where people are reaching out to me, could consistently to where I don't really do the outbound sales and it's just coming to me. Um, and we're dealing with big companies now like rei, amazon, um, I think microsoft and then j, crew. Um, so those, those, um, yeah, some learning in this season about sales. So there's a, there's an interesting mindset to that which I'm hungry to learn for and I want to learn.

[13:29] Where are you, what are you learning now?

[13:31] So I'm learning about, um, in the beginning, in the beginning, um, I in my mindset, you know, I felt like I gotta I gotta, I gotta, I gotta sell myself cheap, you know, we give discounts, you know, we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll throw in this deal and you make money. But it's like in the grand scheme of things, um, you know, there has to be a value, I believe, that you have to have in your mindset in order to grow. Um, and so like I remember at the beginning of the year there was this magazine company, a huge magazine company who wanted to exchange services, um, to put my business in their, in their magazine, in exchange for services and I would be losing out on a lot of profit. Um, and so there was just a negotiation hazard that went wrong. And at the end of it I learned that with big companies, there has to be a different mindset than with just a, you know, smaller, smaller companies. There's just a different mindset I believe you have to have. Um, so yeah, I'm learning, I'm just learning about sales. I'm learning about sales. There's a mindset to it, so

[14:56] and just valuing your time and

[14:58] valuing your time and valuing your company because if you think your company's worth is, you're going to just charge everything cheap. Like, hey, we'll give you this deal. We'll do it for this much instead of this is what we do. We take care of all the stress and you're tearing down so that you don't have. Your family doesn't have to do it at the end of the night. You Know, and everybody just had fun. Everybody's maybe kind of tipsy and they don't really want to thInk about working as what we come in with a fresh crew to help you tear down. Of course we do a whole bunch of other stuff, but I mean we bring value. We really do.

[15:29] Yeah. Talk about, and I don't know if we, you know, kind of outlined these, you know, because I think you, I think of you as kind of a jack of all trades. You know, I see a lot of stuff online that yeah, you guys can be applicable for that you might be right for. So what do you see kind of, what are your main focuses and what do you guys try to spend your time focusing on performing what tasks?

[15:50] Good question. Um, I guess what we mainly focus is set up setting up of the event, um, and cleanup, predominantly bus busing, tables, serving food, a kind of a staffing of the wedding. Then, you know, the day of the wedding. So those are our three main categories because that's the number one people reach out for us, tear down, tear down the services. So I, yeah, I remember I tried to be a day of coordinator, like twice. First time it was fun a second time I did it because I wanted to make extra money and the day of coordinator that a second time it was kind of chaotic and so I've decided, I was like, I just want to stick with my niche, you know, so yeah.

[16:36] And you guys, you know, get a lot of, you know, I seem like venues and planners and things either reach out to you guys and say like, hey, we need to set it up, all this stuff or, or is it more the clients reaching out? Or

[16:48] the number one clientele is wedding planners. Um, that's the number one because they usually have to tear up or tear down at the end of the night and they, in many cases they don't want to do that. And so that's when they call us and then we give them the, you know, we've given them rates and we help them out. So yeah,

[17:11] talk about being, um, you know, part of that, you know, I think, you know, from, for a lot of people getting married, you know, wedding this, you know, one of the top three or four or five days of their life, you know, maybe like a birth of a child, things like that. But you know, talking about like kind of being in a part of that like, do you, do you place, do you find value in that? And being in a part of that that day or is it, is it more just like, wow. Do you find value in that?

[17:37] Hm, yes. I, um, yeah, I do find, I find great value in being a part of the weddings that I, that I attend because I think about my future wife in a way and I'm really, it touches my heart many times want to go to the weddings and you know, and just the love between the man and the woman and just the, this, the thought, the thoughts in the love between the, you know, the husband and the groom. I mean the husband and the wife and uh, yeah, it just touches my heart every time. Um, so yeah, I mean it, it, it, yeah. It means a lot to be a part of the part of the weddings that I attend. So yeah. And you're in the family, you know, what they have to say about the wife would they have to say about the, just the family dynamic to have come coming together. So it's honor, it's really honored to be a part of the weddings.

[18:41] Yeah, because you're probably working, you know, when you're working long after the bride and groom or whoever have gone and you know, you're with those people helping to break down, you know, it's like you kind of wrapping up the day, um, but also, you know, interacting with unum, various maybe family members and things I'm talking about, you know, you do a lot of like social media and stuff. Uh, you know, I see you, you know, promoting and stuff. Talk about like the importance you place in that or what you kind of think in terms of like attracting business or marketing or what do you think about that? Like instagram and facebook and things like that. Facebook and instagram I believe are

[19:18] for vital to, to accompany. Well not like I said when I first started out, gary vaynerchuk was a huge inspiration so he would always push that, you know, instagram and all that jazz. So I would always take photos of all the weddings and events that I went to. Um, so I believe that helped me create leverage and I would like, there's a hashtag seattle wedding. So starting out, I would literally literally like all the photos in the seattle wedding community and if I liked the photo, it's a hey, you know, I would add a comment, you know, I think it was p and w wedding, seattle wedding and all, all these hashtags relevant to the wedding industry, our dislike, how it spent hours doing that in the beginning of my company. Uh, so I believe it's really important. Um, and uh, yeah, I believe it's super important, but at the same time, um, you know, in my mindset, you know, I don't know everything, but at my mindset you could have a great marketing, you could have great photos and everything, but I believe there's a sale of dynamic as well that should be learned as a ceo, as the owner of a company because you can have. Yeah, I don't know, I just believe you can have photos, nice photos. Everything's looking nice, you know, and you could still not scale your company so to speak. So.

[20:39] Hi, how are you now doing that? How are you trying to scale a scale bigger now?

[20:46] Hm.

[20:48] I don't know. I don't want to say that I'm trying to scale, so to speak. I believe it's truly have organically happening. Um, yeah, or I believe it's just organically happening. I can feel, I can feel it rising, so to speak. I don't know if that makes sense, but

[21:05] do you have a, do you interact a lot with like other business owners or do you see like, you know, when I look at you, I see like a lot of hustle, you the right and someone that's really like to say going through like the hashtags and so do you interact a lot with like other business owners and do you, do you see that same hustle with other people or do you, is that something you take pride in your ability to take this from the ground up or what do you think about that?

[21:31] Are you saying, am I connected with other people in the wedding industry here?

[21:34] Yeah. And what do you say? I just am trying to equate where I see a lot of people trying to start businesses and I don't see necessarily everybody with the same hustle that I hear your voice.

[21:45] Yeah. Um, I try to learn from everybody, every, every person I work with in the wedding industry, you know, I tried to ask questions on people who I really respect in the wedding industry and I try to just learn from every everybody, especially people who have gone, you know, who have successful companies in the wedding industry. So, um, I don't know if that kinda answers your question.

[22:11] Yeah. And the, I just know, I just see, I see a lot of good ideas that don't work or bad ideas that don't work. And here I say good idea the good work and so I'm trying to figure out like how did you find success in that? in something that in filling that niche that other people that I don't see or that are struggling. She and I mean it, like I said, I think a lot of it comes down to like hard work and determination, but I'm just trying to like, you know, if you can bottle that or if you could give that pill that somebody else, what would that be? Or what would you say, you know, what was the difference between you and somebody else?

[22:51] Um,

[22:55] really, can I tell you, man, I really don't have a secret formula. ThAt's the thing I was in. I dunno, I just don't. I would have to give credit to god, you know, he gave this idea to me. I, like I said before, I couldn't think of this. There's no way I could have thought of this myself. So I believe it was a god thing, the way everything kind of lined up. Um, so I mean she's, I don't know, I, I couldn't answer that. I couldn't answer that. I don't believe I did it myself. Um, so yeah, I don't know because I know when I first started there was like little set up companies that were trying to pop up on the side and that would kind of deter me and I would get a little worried back then, like a year or two years ago, but what was advised was just focused on my company and not really pay attention to the other companies that will start to spring up. Um, so yeah, I don't know,

[23:52] do you have people that you can talk to and to get ideas, talkIng about that, where do you get advice from and where do you really? Good question. So I have a whole slew of people,

[24:01] um, some are mainly from my church, my pastor, I'm tracy armstrong. He's really good with business and uh, so he would advise me, he would give me some wisdom here and there. Um, I also have, I asked him, yeah, I have some good people. A mentor is a little bit. I have a business coach. I'm so I have, I have a few people who I could trust to talk about business. So,

[24:28] um, so I wanted to talk about, because I do think that you guys, you know, you see a lot of different aspects of a wedding that maybe, you know, like the guests certainly don't see, right. You kind of see the more nitty gritty and while keeping this, you know, a pg 13 podcasts, do you have any fun stories or interesting stories or um, you know, odds and ends, you guys. I mean, I'm sure you have,

[24:50] you know, seeing. Oh yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, uh, yeah, there's, there's, um, there's too much. There's so much my friend. Sure. Yeah. Especially, I mean when you, uh, when you add the component of alcohol to an event or a wedding and I think many times there's always going to be, there's always going to be that, that dynamic. Um, I remember, yeah, like I said, you know, I had one guy smashed my car one time and I guess that was an interesting moment. We have to wait for the cops to come for like an hour or something until the cops came and kind of did a report and all that and all that fun stuff. And uh, I mean there is, there was a, uh, there was a time where we work this event. It was a halloween event, I think it was two years ago. Yeah, it was two years ago at fremont studios and um, it was like a lot of, a lot of people from wsu and uh, yeah, at the end of the night we're doing coat check, like taking people's coats and at the end of the night this drunk, uh, his guest who was drunk literally, uh, you know, what, that is private in a, in front of us.

[26:22] And so it was a little bit odd, you know, I, I had to automatically, my reaction was to call securIty, you know, in front of all my crew was there and we were like, what in the world? And so that was kind of a funny moment. Um, but I mean, yeah, there's, there's a lot, there's a lot. So that was, those are the two that stand out to me. So yeah.

[26:42] Uh, so I have your flyer

[26:44] in front of me here. I'm looking at the tagline is your party are cleaned up. I liked that. I think that's cute. Where'd you come up with that? Um, yeah, I didn't come up with that myself. I would have to give a shout out to sierra hilarity. She's uh, she also goes to my church and she works at a company called fInny bishop I think, or something like that. So she's a really. She's an expert at marketing. She was actually the one who made my flyer and uh, you know, I didn't think of that myself, but that was her idea. Shout out to sierra.

[27:20] Um, do you see yourself transitioning more, continue to growth in weddings or do you see like more the corporate clients and events and things like that where, where do you want your focus to be moving forward or if it's a split?

[27:33] hmm, good question. I see myself more in the btb, like the corporate, a corporate world, like big companies. And I also see myself, uh, doing weddings and events inside. Matt mentIons, one of my goals is to do an event inside bill gates, his house. I'm in medina, I believe. And so I really have a strong desire to just do an event inside his insight, his mansion just because. And uh, yeah, so

[28:04] I have a, I have a funny, a tangent side. No, they'll shoot if you don't mind. When I was a kid, I went to school over in bellevue, uh, and we were in the cub scouts and we were, had to do something together, you know, merit or whatever it's called. And um, you had to go visit a construction site that was like the thing, you know, one of the qualifications you had to go visit the construction site. And so my mom and jean or whoever was, you know, they were like the co moms. She said, well, why don't we, uh, bill gates has built in this house here in medina, kinda away. She said, well, why don't we, we should go to her, see if we can tour his house. And my mom was like, there is no way, like ever that, like, that is the worst idea ever.

[28:57] And she goes, well, I'm just gonna I'm going to call him. I'm going to call, figure it out. and so whenever the construction site was, um, you know, the company that was kind of like handling the construction, so she called their front desk, not my mom, the other woman. And she said, hi. He goes, hi, who is this? What can I do for her? She said, oh, hi. I was calling to see if we could schedule a tour of bill gates, his house. He says, you know how many people I have called in here, you know, the New York times wants to come in and wash in dc. We'll talk, you know, the, the, the construction company. He, we have all these people, you know, people from all over the world wanting to come and tour the site. He goes, who are you, what company are you with?

[29:39] And she said, oh, I'm just a, I'm jean. We're, I'm the den mom of, you know, whatever it we, where he goes, all. I was a boy scout too. He's like, come on, I'll sketch. That's crazy. And so it was just because we were like a boy scout or I think we were, I think we were a cub scouts still, but we, it was under construction, you know, bill, nobody was there. It was empty, but we got to go through and see that when it was under construction. But my mom always tells that story, um, that, uh, because we were a boy scout troop or a cub scout troop that we got to, he could relate to you. That's again, that's cool. And then the other, just to further delay this, um, our friends used to be members of the overlake, a golf and country club.

[30:23] okay. And bill and melinda, remember other than that, they still are, but they were members. And so we would always go with our friends that were members. And uh, my mom was there with, uh, my brother who's seven years younger, so he was a baby and he's sitting there playing with the buckets and the water and this woman sitting next to my mom and she goes, oh, hi. You know, my, my daughter played with your son's old toys. My mom said, oh sure, no problem. It's melinda gates. No way. My mom comes home that night and she goes, uh, richest woman in the world. No pool toys at the pool. Crazy man. It's cool. It's just funny. But no, I mean, it sounds like you have big goals and aspirations. Mean where, where does that come from to keep kind of striving to come up with stuff?

[31:12] Um, I dunno man. Like I said, you know, I don't, I don't really have a secret formula like I have to give credit to god for giving me this desire. Um, I believe all the dreams that I have come from god and this strength to uh, just to push, you know, that's the foundation. But I mean we have one life to live, right. So it's like, might as well do something big, you know, take risks and just think big, think big. So that's how I like to be remembered by, you know, just big, big things and of course helping people. Um, so yeah.

[31:57] Where were you, how did you find yourself into the car detailing? What were you doing before that to make money?

[32:02] Um, she's, I actually got fired from like three jobs in the past because I always had this mindset of doing my own thing kind of thing, uh, just to, just to, just to kind of do my own thing. So I got fired, I got fired for, for a kind of thing. I feel like being more independent and, yoU know, it was. Yeah. So I was, I, I agree. I think we're ira. Before I was a, I worked at this house cleaning company before. Um, I also worked at posable rv as a photographer kind of thing. Before that I worked at beecher's handmade cheese in the seatac airport. I don't know if you've heard of that. What was that like? It was a, it was good because they gave me my independence, which I appreciated a lot. Um, so I was an inventory steward so I had to like make sure everything's clean and everything is restocked.

[32:55] And I was also the social media guy, a social media assistant for beatrice animate yeast under, um, under someone named matt long men and uh, that was kinda cool. I think that's kind of helped me with the whole social media thing, just to have that experIential knowledge. Um, and so yeah, those were the, those were all the jobs and I got, yeah, I got fired from the beaches, handmade cheese. um, but I still love beaches. Handmade cheese. No, no, no, no. Nothing bad. They would, they're all amazing people. I got nothing bad to say. I got a fire from pulse ball, got nothing bad to say about them. Um, and the green or almost at the company, but the cleaning company, they kind of let me go as well. So, but it all worked out, man. It all worked out.

[33:44] Yeah. Adversity. Yeah, it's tough times, right? No, but I understand that and I understand that, you know, the independent, main mentality. I mean that was one of the reasons to kind of, you know, lead me out of the news and when I was doing coming into my own thing was, you know, just always feeling like, you know, maybe you can make better decisions on a. So one thing, you know, I, I have um, uh, made lightly made fun of you before about Israel, like a website, but you do because you do everything on social media. Right? And so, uh, my point is, is that, it sounds to me like a lot of your business is driven from social media, word of mouth referrals or repeat business, things like that. So, uh, talking about that and not having to spend money on like, I'm going to spend $10,000 a year on the website, but instead focusing on like building quality relationships with planners and menus and things like that.

[34:46] Good questIon. So when I first started my company, I believe the top a strengths to have a strong social media presence. Facebook, instagram, like a, you know, my mindset was, I guess I'd never saw the value in having a website in the beginning. Um, for the first. I mean I still don't have website but uh, I dunno, I just kinda always worked out for me. Um, right now though, I, I do say there's a huge event coming up in october and I am talking with someone. How is, uh, going to be making my website just a basic website I guess. So yeah, it's coming, it's coming,

[35:33] but stay tuned but 20, 19. But I think that that is important to point out that in 2018 now and in 2019 that you still can't build a company on the back of some referrals and word of mouth and things like that.

[35:52] Yeah, I mean, yeah, for sure, that's, it's, it's kind of corny, but I think anything is possible. But uh, yeah, I was just my mindset. That's what I really believed in the beginnings. I don't really need a website right now. And then, uh, you know, even the business cards, like at one point I didn't think business cards are important. I mean business cards are important, but it's like I'm a year, I'm 27 years old and uh, everything is digital. Everything is online and personally is, it might sound bad, but personally when people gave me business cards, if I don't really need it, you know, I kinda, I don't really, I kind of taught some way to be honest with you because it's like, okay, I don't know, I just don't. Was in the beginning I would accumulate a whole bunch of business cards. It just get stacked and uh, it's like, yeah, I just throw them away unless I really need them. I mean, I know where they're at on the website and everything. I still have yoUr card 10 know now, but. Yeah.

[36:51] But do you think you're pretty good in terms of like the digital and marketing that way?

[36:54] I mean, I don't want to say I've reached a point. I know there's always so much to learn. Um, I mean I believe I have a solid presence in the social media community. Um, but I mean, is there more to learn? I mean, yeah, there's a whole bunch that I need to know about branding and there's so much that I could learn. So

[37:17] what specifically I think, you know, we've talked about your strengths, you know, um, hardworking determination, you know, things like that, uh, where, where would you like to improve? Where would you like to grow? Where do you think that?

[37:31] Yeah, good question. So in the beginning, um, of my company, I'm, my speech would be a little bit different. I would just, my speech would be different. I would just say a lot of stuff, just a lot of stuff to just, you know, what I felt was funny, what I felt was funny to me. And so in the beginning it would kind of rubbed people wrong a little bit. And so now I would say I've gone a whole lot better about choosing the right words to say to people and just being wise with my words and considerate with my words instead of just spilling out a whole bunch of stuff. Um, so yeah, I would say that is this, that was a weakness that I believe is solid, more solid today. Um, so yeah, I mean that's one. I mean everybody has strengths and weaknesses. That's just one of that stand out to me. So

[38:39] what do you wish more people knew about you or your company or what you guys do? Because you had said, you know, in, in the kind of the email I had sent to you, you know, obviously we want you, you want to come on and talk about your story and kind of what, you know, get people, get the word out. But what do you, what do you want more people to know about, you know, Pacheco's Weddings and Events? We set up, clean up, tear down while I clean up after your wedding. I mean, or the go to guys.

[39:04] And, uh, actually, um, we actually, many times I outsource my labor through a company called Praisealujah and they take people off the street and I'm kind of take them through a step by step program to get them back on their feet again, people who are formally formerly and formerly a maybe homeless or drug addicts or people off the street and they take them through a program in many times. I outsourced labor from this company and uh, I find in most cases those people work 10 times harder than people who are actually on who will actually pay, you know, employees. And so we're a nonprofit. but, uh, I mean, that's one incentive that we do not to say, you know, I mean, it's one incentive that we do and the money goes to the nonprofit and they pay for their food, toiletries, everything to just house them.

[40:02] Um, so, I mean, that's one thing that I could throw out there. That's fascinating. yeah. How did that come about? Um, I guess in the beginning of the, of the company, um, I don't even know how I stumbled. I think, I don't even know how I found out about the company, I think it was through my church, but, uh, I dunno, I guess I found I could find out that uh, you know, I could hire the people you know and pay them and so the people don't get paid that people that helped me, they don't get paid. It's through the company. And so as of late, um, I've just been thinking of creative ideas on how to partner with this with this nonprofit organization and uh, you know, we're really, I believe we're, that Pacheco's Weddings and Events is helping them kinda get experience and get back into the. And it's an honor for people who have been on the street to being like a wedding venue or a nice home helping out serving food. I mean, it's a, it's really a blessing. Um, it's really a blessing for them and I liked seeing that I'm personally and uh, yeah, they're under personnel who have experienced with that and who could kind of train them and facilitate them. Um, so yeah, it's pretty, it's pretty, it's pretty good.

[41:17] Let me, I think that speaks to you. I mean, I don't know if ever everybody would do that. right? I think that speaks to you and kind of, you know, giving people that chance and partnering with them. I mean, I think that, I mean that to me is super interesting, right? Giving these people that chance, you know, I mean,

[41:35] you don't have to do that. So, you know what I mean? The, I mean, do you feel rewarded? I mean, do you mean, I guess, I don't know, I just, it's a cool thing. I'm really, it's a cool thing. Um, because I see the testimonies, you know what I mean? After the end of the program, people getting married, people are more healthy, they're back on their feet, they'll work in working at a job and I see the testimonies at the end of the program. um, so, it, and it does bring it, honor it, it brings a smile to my face to see that and they're happy. They like working. A lot of times it is, I don't know what's in their mindset, but they liked doing the work. So yeah, it's uh, it's uh, it makes me happy. Um, and that kind of came about organically too. It's like, yeah, I kind of came about organically too. So.

[42:31] And you want to continue to grow that partnership it sounds like.

[42:34] Yes. So,

[42:36] and do you continue to give more people an opportunity? Yeah, yeah, I think that that's like, I don't know, I think it's super interesting to like have somebody, like you said, that's like down on their luck and giving them an opportunity to work, um, you know, still like manual labor, but like night, you know, good manual labor. I mean, you know, you could be out like doing a lot of worse things then, you know, hanging out at the wedding right now. Right, exactly. So where do you, you said you want to be a successful life 30, uh, where do you see the next three years taking you guys

[43:12] partnering with huge, uh, businesses year, long year long businesses, recurring, recurring, recurring business through big organizations. And I believe I have not even scratched the surface because I had a, I just recently had a pretty significant, huge deal with a big company and I believe it's just going to leverage and take off from there. You know, having business year around, even in the off season right now, wedding planners I believe are kind of the business is slowing down and so they're thinking of different outlets like, you know, I got to go back to this job or I got to do this full time. But I believe Pacheco's is, will be here around, you know, so

[43:58] it's tough, especially in seattle where it says seasonal, you know, I mean it's, you get, you get four or five good months of a year if that, you know. And you really have to focus on a lot of the corporate stuff. Are you guys building up for the winter now? Like winter weather or not winter weddinGs but like winter, like parties and things like that?

[44:14] Yes sir. We are. Um, like I said, I believe the summer, which is mainly focused on the weddings, but the, the rest of the season is focused on the corporate corporate events. Um, yeah, corporate events, so we already got many lined up so it's nothing but, uh, nothing but bright in the future. I, but brightness in the future when you're not hustling like me, uh, what do you do in your free time? Um, she, I mean, my mindset sometimes I feel like I just think business every day, you know what I mean? I mean, uh, I uh, you know, I hang out, I hang out on sundays. I, that's kinda my breakdown, kind of chill out and that day go to church, hang out with my friends and uh, yeah, just kind of chill out so to speak. But I'm mainly what I like to do for fun.

[45:11] I play racquetball, I go to the gym every week, de la fitness. I like to play racquetball, I like to workout every day. That's kind of fun. I like to, I like to be active, I like to do a lot of active stUff, active things. Um, yeah, I mean there's a lot. I play drums, I play piano. Uh, so far the piano's been on pause. I've been playing at this freemont abbey. It's like open mic because I have a few songs on youtube. I'm no way. Yeah, it's an open mic thing so it's pretty cool. Um, do you enjoy that? Oh yeah, I love, I love that it's worship. It's mainly worship. I don't like playing songs just to throw a songs, but it's worth it. Mainly worship songs now and then I played drums and uh, yeah, I mean you play for your church. Yeah.

[46:00] Play for my church. So yeah, that's pretty cool. Uh, what got you into doing the music? I mean, my dad, my father was a, my father was a drummer growing up and so I don't know how that can have carried on. I think in junior high I started playing like percussion drums in a band in band class. So I know that kind of stuck with me because I believe, you know, your father has plays, you know, as an, as an influence on you. It could have an influence on you. And uh, yeah, I mean that kinda, that kind of influence me and I kind of took it to a drum set and yeah, I mean, I don't know, I can't, I feel like I've always been musically inclined. I'm really heavily into hip hop and a metal, hardcore music sometimes and of course worship music.

[46:52] But, uh, I feel like we're just scratching the surface here. Now you, uh, you have a musical background, your father played heavy metal? No, my dad didn't play heavy metal. I like, I like hardcore music, kind of like, um, some bands off the top of my head. There's this band called for today, it has been called the chariot a norma jean. Um, there's probably a whole bunch, but yeah, he's, you know, he still listened to a lot like high school, high school onward. It's kind of always stuck with me. It, and I feel like it's good hustle music, like hip hop and the hardcore. It's like, you know, when you're doing emails and you're doing all this, it's like, I feel like it helps you a little bit, you know, sometimes I feel like I need that to do emails, you know, to just. Yeah. So yeah. Yeah.

[47:48] Are you somebody that enjoys the management side of running the business or do you like more being out and working?

[47:55] I like the things that I disliked are doIng the accounting. I don't do the accounting, but just the numbers, counting, adding the mileage, keeping track of, you know, just all the, all that stuff. I don't really particularly like that. One of my favorite parts is the social media. I really feel like I'm strong in that are outlined, joined, doing it. One of the things that I've been challenged to deal with the management side, like you said last year was the first year I had people, um, actual employees and uh, it was not my strong suit. I'm not comfortable with that, but I had to break out of that to grow in my company. Like I had to fire someone, I had to fire a few people. So that's not always the easiest thing to do for me, at least in the beginning, um, I had to communicate with a group of people that's not, that's something that, you know, I'm not comfortable with that it had to learn how to be comfortable with. So, um, yeah, I mean those are management side that I've learned to like it I've learned to, I've learned to like it. So

[49:01] yeah, I just, you know, speaking with you here, it seems like you're a little reserved sometimes, you know, and I wouldn't think that it would be challenging to lead the team and have your face and your name and everything kind of be in the forefront.

[49:17] Yeah, I guess. Yeah. I don't know. I guess I'm selective. I wouldn't say I'm reserved. I'm selective who I opened my life with, who open, who I just quite talked with. I'm really, I'm really selective with the people who are, who I would like close to me. Um, so I picked those people wisely, which I think everybody should, um, you know, I don't just take everybody. So yeah, I'm, I'm really selective with who I went to. Wait quite associated with. So

[49:52] yeah, I think when you're talking about, uh, you know, the management, I think a lot goes into it. That's not like, I think people think like, oh, like break down like, okay, but like you said, you know, you've got to deal with like, you know, time, you know, time cards and like mileage, you know, like, like I have like jeff, right? Like my assistant, I can manage jeff. Like it's easy, right? But like you, but you know, you have it, you have to have a wider kind of viewpoint.

[50:22] Yeah, man. Yeah. In the beginning, um, I don't know if this kind of answers your question, but in the beginning I've had people let trying to penny pinch like, hey, I worked, I worked five minutes over. I should get compensated for that, you know, I worked this much or I've worked this and this though, don't penny pinch. Right. So a lot of times the solution for that is to communicate and say, hey, you're starting at this time and you're ending at this time. The responsibility as the lead is to give the client a 15 minute heads up and say, hey, we're drawing near to the end time of the contract. Would you like us to go further or would you like us to stop? And that's when they kind of, you know, that's when they build on that, uh, regarding the hours. So, Um, yeah, I mean, yeah. So that's, is that okay?

[51:08] but it's dealing with a lot of different people and personnel. Yeah, you're right, man. Situation.

[51:13] I've had a whole slew of personalities. Um, but I find that sometimes when I don't like I find that sometimes in some cases I don't like a certain person's personality, but performance, they would excel to my standard. Right. So sometimes that is going to put what I like aside and kind of let them do their thing here. she'd do the thing. So yeah. Do you have a high standard? Yeah, talk about that. I believe I have a high standard in, in, in life right now, just with everything. Um, yeah, I dunno, I, uh, I really think detailed in, in many, many, in many cases I have a detailed mind. Um, I always try to go above and beyond of the norm. Um, and uh, yeah, I really want my leads to have that standard so they can communicate that vision to the workers. Did the other helpers. So yeah, I, uh, I remember when I first started I would like, I would take photo, I would offer people say, hey, can I take photos of you guys, you know, people that are trying to take selfies. So I said, hey, would you like me to do that? I would just go above and beyond just doing just the norm and that I feel like helps you to stand out, you know, even In a, as an employee or as a business owner. So

[52:44] that's a great answer. uh, well this has been really fascinating. Really interesting to talk to you. I really, I feel like in terms of like

[52:54] hustle and, you know, trajectory, I think I'm a four, four and a half years, but I mean I feel like we're not too far off in terms of like, you know, timeline, I'm learning things, right? Like kind of figuring it out what we're good at and what we're not on. It's been really interesting talking to you. I really appreciate you coming in. Thank you. Appreciate the opportunity and, and hearing your story and I do truly appreciate somebody that hustles and, and you know, kind of understands that, you know, like living the kind of living the work. Like I feel like I do sometimes if people want to learn more about you, your company, you know, all the services you provide, like we said, set up cleanup, bussers, parking attendant servers, ticket check in. Uh, what would you have them do? Where would you want them to check out?

[53:43] Two, five, three, three, three, four, five, eight. One eight. That's my cell phone. You can contact me directly. You can also check me on facebook. I'm @ you can. Oh, you can also check me out on instagram. I'm pachecosweddingsandevents and uh, yeah,

[54:02] and I will say that going even before trying to schedule this interview, um, you know, to, to interacting with you online, you're very speedy and attentive. And if, if, uh, my experience is anything like your clients in terms of like getting a hold of you and working with things, I do feel like they're in good hands in terms of finding somebody that's going to be responsive. Appreciate you. Thank you. Well, thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding venue interview.

[54:30] Thank you so much. Thank you.

Ben Lucas, NOM Creative

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm here today with one of my good friends, Ben Lucas of NOM Creative and Ben was so nice to come after hours today from work, uh, to the house in West Seattle. And Ben, thanks so much for being here. And why don't you say hi and tell us who you are and what you do. Well, hi. And thanks for having me. So I'm Ben Lucas. I'm a photographer based in Seattle and I shoot everything portrait. So weddings, portraits, seniors, families, boudoir, and then a bunch of cosplay stuff too. Yeah. Ben, I definitely want to talk about the cosplay too. I've been following Ben's launch of his Star Wars pinup calendar on Facebook and Kickstarter for awhile and that finally kicked off the ground, right?

[00:56] Yes, it actually just came in, uh, last Friday and I have been swimming in boxes so I'm trying to get those mailed out to all the kickstarter backers right now actually a. So they go on a tangent right off the bat. What was that about the Star Wars calendar that really kind of gravitated towards the. Yes. So, um, I am a little bit of nerd. Um, me and my friends all have a Star Wars costumes. Um, I actually first saw retire fighter pilot, but, uh, I know everybody else that has a everything basically. And so October of last year, uh, I got this idea, hey, why don't we do a pinup calendar? Um, so I got everyone together and came up with all these fun ideas and so I've been working on it. The very first shoot happened last January, it was January fourth, um, I bribed a friend of mine who's an interior decorator to keep their Christmas decorations up for an extra two weeks.

[01:53] And so we went into the Christmas shoot at his house and yes, I had been working on it all year long, galactic pinups. And so it's all of these hilarious kind of like classic, a lot of inspiration pull from Elf grant and those classic pinups but with a Star Wars twists. So they're nerdy and fun and just kind of hilarious. What I like so much about you and, and kind of following you online is, you know, you do weddings and things, but it's, there's a lot, you have a lot of different stuff going on, which I think I really appreciate as someone that's trying to do this podcast and you know, with the kickstarter and with the video tutorials and showing people how to do camera tricks and stuff. I mean, is that something you're always thinking about are kind of whether it's that thought process? Yeah. So I primarily do portraits, but portraits can be so many different things.

[02:44] So of course there's the creative portraits during the wedding day. Um, there's this pinup calendar I've been doing. Um, I run a photo booth so that people who don't want to pay for a full hour long session can get a good photos of them in their costumes at comicon conventions and the tutorials of course, since I do portraits, I love sharing knowledge. And I used to work for, um, a company that did online, written articles, tutorials. Um, and I, I was just having so much more fun doing videos rather than the written article and even though the video was more work, they're like, yeah, if you want to do video, do video. Um, but it's been a couple of years since I do that and did that and that's something that I wanted to do more of. So I've been really focusing on doing the online tutorials.

[03:30] So that's another thing I've been working on. So yeah, between, between the photographer tutorials and all the portrait stuff and photo booth. Um, yeah, there's definitely a lot of different things going on. Yeah. And so, you know, when we had talked to him, I saw you at a networking event a couple of weeks ago is how we, I say, man, you got to come and be on the podcast because, you know, I've known you now for a couple of years. Um, I'm also really excited we'll finally get to shoot our first wedding together next summer. Coming up a long time waiting anxiously. But, um, you, you talked about how, you know, one of the things that you're proud of is, is you've always kind of worked for yourself and being a photographer kind of out of college. Um, talk about that. Talk about kind of how you got into it, you know, starting in school and going from there.

[04:17] Sure. So, uh, I picked up my very first camera. I'm in college when I was taking a class, um, I walked into a graphic design class and they said if you do not own any Dslr, you will not pass this class. Um, so I went to Costco and I bought my super, super fancy $500 a canon rebel. And uh, when I showed up to class the next day, everyone was like, Ooh, look at that fancy camera, Scott. 12 megapixels. Oh, it's so fancy. Um, which of course, you know, to, not the camera that makes it. But uh, for, um, I didn't do very well in that graphic design class because frankly the teachers didn't like my design chops that much. But when it came to the photography assignments, um, what they would do is there was a picture of a bench and uh, they, they put up a picture of a bench and they said this is the picture of the bench that is fantastic and it's well thought out and well composed and if you're gonna take a picture of a boring banal objects, it should be this picture.

[05:28] Um, and then everyone in class, because we have small quiz sections, it was 140 people and they all kind of knew it was my photo even though the professors didn't say it. So 140 heads, I'll just turn and look at me. Um, and then actually I met my wife in that same class a and she was waiting in office hours to talk to the professor about something and they put up their 10 favorite photos from the week. Seven of those 10 photos were mine and the person she was sitting next to, it's like, yeah, that Ben Guy, I hate that guy. This is your wife or not at the time. But yeah, exactly. Um, so yeah, that was, that was kinda how I got started in photography. So then when they didn't like anything I did in design, it was like, you know, what, maybe there's something to this photography thing.

[06:16] Uh, so for the next two years, um, I took the easiest darn classes I could besides photography so I could 100 percent focus on it. Um, I did like intro to philosophy and all those, you know, they're fun, but they're, they're low effort. Um, and then for 20 hours a day I just, I just great breathed photography. Um, and so I tell anyone else there's like, oh, how do I get as good as you. I'm like, well, just do nothing else but photography for two years and you can meet as good as me. Like that's, that's really all it came down to. It was just reading books and going to workshops and doing everything I could. Um, one of my favorite quotes, actually mark Twain's, I never let schooling get in the way of my education, uh, because I technically have a degree in photography, but everything I learned was, um, sought out or you know, online workshops in person, workshops, learning from people who knew more than me practice practice, practice and just doing it a million times over figuring out, oh, that didn't work, why didn't that work?

[07:16] So that was kind of how I got into being a photographer and then as soon as I graduated I didn't really look for other jobs because like, well, um, I did all that training and I'm good at exactly one thing. So, so a straight from there. My parents are attorneys. My Dad set me up with an LLC and he said, you're good to go run a business. Of course we laugh now because that's not how you run a business. But, uh, I didn't know any better back then. So yeah, I ever since I left school, um, I've been going in as a photographer. Um, at first I was doing literally anything, anything people would pay me for, you know, kids, birthday parties, photos, other cats, you know, whatever, it didn't matter. Um, I tried shooting Roller Derby, I tried shooting automotive sports, I tried shooting anything people would pay me for, um, and I very quickly found out I'm very good at this.

[08:12] I'm very bad at that. I'm very good at this. I'm very bad at that. So now I basically have narrowed it down to people. So the thing that I am best at is my interaction with people in the many forms that takes, like I mentioned, like the silly cosplay pinup stuff to the very serious epic romantic wedding stuff and everything in between. But uh, yeah, so I'm really good at shooting with people and that is kind of primarily what I focus my business around. But because I spent all those years living in breathing a camera, um, and just studying and focusing, what are all the things that this technical box in front of me can do. That is kind of branching out of why I'm doing so many tutorials as well. So, um, so we're kind of going through and, you know, taking photos of

[08:56] a bunch of different things, you know, cats and whatnot. Uh, you know, you said you really gravitated towards weddings and people in portraits, you know, talk to me about maybe when you first went into your shot.

[09:05] Yeah. So the first wedding that I shot was a friend of a friend. It was someone who like knew it was like friend of a friend of my mom or something, just like someone that I had never met before, but heard that I owned a camera, therefore I must be a photographer because you know, how that goes. Um, and they said, well, if you don't shoot our wedding, no one's going to be shooting our wedding. So it. And I was like, well, I've never done one before, so I don't know if it's that good. And they were like, well, if you don't shoot it, no one will so it doesn't matter, just do your best. And I'm like, Whoa, okay. Then, um, so I charge them the cost of the lens that I needed to be able to shoot telephoto indoors and low light, whopping thousand dollars.

[09:48] Woo. Um, yeah, so that first one, like I had studied, I looked up workshops, I did some online classes and tried to prepare myself as myself as much as humanly possible for that first wedding. And then when we get to it, the whole weddings going good. Except, you know, things run late as weddings do. But I'm like, oh no, things are 10 minutes late. This is a disaster. Which now it's like if things are less than an hour late, I'm like, oh cool, we're good, we're good. Um, yeah, things were slowly getting off track 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. So suddenly it's snowballing and it's getting very late. And so the church lady was very mean, Church lady saying this wedding is happening with or without them. And I'm like, I don't think you understand how weddings work. Um, but I was young and naive and I'm like, oh, okay, well we'll try and get it.

[10:42] And then it's like, okay, so formal portraits. And they're like, you have to get it in here now. And I'm like, can I have like four minutes? She's like, you're four minutes. And so I set the timer on my phone. I had exactly four minutes to capture all of their formal portraits for the day. That was the most stressful portrait session I've ever had my entire life. It's only gotten easier from there. That's a lot. Um, I mean, I still got them. They still happens. They, uh, they were happy with the photos at the time. I was happy with the photos of your later I look at them and go home

[11:15] too hard to make them go away,

[11:18] but you know, that's just part of learning and growing and getting better. So

[11:22] you're a, you're far more better than I am. My first wedding and I was just kind of winged it and they said we're getting ready for the first look. And I said, um, as I know what that is. So that, that goes to show your hard work and dedication and studying the online tutorials, getting ready for the wedding. And yeah, we didn't do it

[11:42] because I didn't know that was the thing my first time either. But um, yeah it was, it was good except for the fact that I shot it on my freaking Canon rebel and where the image quality false part of like 800 ISO and so I had to like underexpose everything

[11:59] or stop so it wouldn't turn out blurry and then in photoshop just crank it. And so like if you actually look the actual technical quality of that first wedding, it was atrociously bad from just pure cameras standards, but you know, it had some artistic merit and it was all right. Especially for, you know, a college Grad, I'd say it's really hard even in you know, 3:45 years kind of looking back at like kind of how far, you know, kind of the technical stuff and you know, whether it's video or photo or whatever. I mean, like, you know, I'm getting to the point where I get some anniversaries now and I'm looking back and it's like, ah, you know, just because the equipment wasn't there, I was running, you know, so many like dean noise filters because it was just so dark and, you know, trying to clean up all this stuff. Facebook does like to remind you how bad you used to be. So you just have to take that as like, oh, look at how much better I've gotten and try not to cry. When you say seven years ago you were awful. Um, so when you got out of college and your dad helped you kind of started the business, were you just like joyfully optimistic or were you scared or what was kind of your thought process of starting this business? Like what did that mean to you?

[13:13] Uh, I think it was a little bit of both. Um, part of it was just like, you're in business now. You can do anything you want. You can wake up when you want, you can work when you want, you can work where you want. The possibilities are endless. But also what that means is you have to get people to hire you, you have to build a website, you have to make people know your name, you need a portfolio, you need to get your face in front of clients. And I didn't know how to do any of those things, so I have sense learned to do all of those things. And uh, yeah, you definitely have to be able to do all of those things. But, uh, when I was first starting out, I think the most exciting thing for me, it was like, oh, I get to come up with a business name, and now it's like, you know what?

[14:00] People don't really care that much what your business name is. You can be like beautiful moments or you know, my case, now I'm creative. No one cares. It's just, do good work. Make your client happy, be able to take care of their needs. I didn't know any of that back then. I'm like, no, I must have 18 iterations of the website until it's perfect. Well, guess what, your website's never done either. I still have a huge update that I have to do for the next round of wedding shows. Happens for all the new stuff I've done this season. But that's life.

[14:33] Yeah. I used to freak out when my web. I've someone help with some stuff and then there would be like a, a period out of place and I would email them and go, no, we need to fix this. And everybody's looking right now. Everyone's in it. It doesn't,

[14:48] it doesn't matter. It just, it doesn't matter. So this is the lesson to everyone out there. If you're not quite ready with your website, done is better than perfect. Just do it because people don't really care. Um, so you met your wife in college, right? Yes. In that very first graphic design class. Uh, so when did you guys get married? We got married coming up on six years ago. And what was that? What was that kind of process like where you. Were you doing a lot of weddings at that point? I, yeah. So I had started getting into a lot of weddings before we actually got married, which was awesome because I was actually the one that planned our wedding. I told her deal with your dress and the flowers and I'll take care of everything else. So, um, I had graduated before her, so I had a little more time than cheated with her studies.

[15:39] Plus I had all of these contacts inside the industry of people that I knew. Um, you know, I already had a DJ, Alan, you've already interviewed him. We Love Allen. Um, so yeah, he, he did our wedding and I had all these people that I'm the florists. I traded a photo shoot for their website, for the flowers for the day. Um, and then the cake, I did their kids' birthday parties for three years. Uh, every single year. She's still paying off the web. No, no, I finished that one. But uh, yeah, I did their kids first, second and third birthdays for in exchange for all of the desserts and cakes for a wedding. But yeah, there were all these kinds of industry contacts that I already knew and I kind of already knew all the things that went into doing a wedding and making the day happens. So I obviously owned a bunch of photo gear.

[16:34] I did set up the photo booth and had a photographer friend of mine just make sure that if a trigger gets unplugged or a flash goes down, that they can just put it back up. So, uh, yeah, I, I did all the work and who boy was it a lot of work. Um, there's definitely a ton of stuff that goes into it. Um, but I really think the easiest thing for someone planning their wedding is just like what are things that are the most important to you? Make those things awesome. And then the rest will be okay because like if you pick the things that are important to you and those are awesome, but you only get your second or third choice for the 10th down the list. Okay. It wasn't your top priority anyway, you'll live, it'll be fine. Um, and that really made planting a lot less stressful.

[17:16] Um, especially since I was doing it solo and she was a, she actually did a study abroad in Italy for a couple of months, pre wedding, so she wasn't even here. So it was a, yeah, I was making all the decisions myself and if it wasn't the dresser to the flowers, I just did it. Have you been married now? Do you feel like, or did you before feel, did you get emotionally wrapped up in weddings? Do you get, has been married kind of help, you know, improve like you get more emotional now or less or what your thoughts about being a married wedding vendor? Yeah, so I think, I think being in a relationship, not necessarily the like threshold of I am dating versus I'm married, but I think being in that relationship has really helped because um, I do understand the love between these two people.

[18:05] Um, and there are definitely times where I get emotional at a client sweating. Um, I all, I have a bunch of friends that hire me to shoot their weddings. I feel like actually this summer was the summer of friend weddings because I have so many friends this summer that we're getting married and saying Ben, uh, well, you're either in the bridal party, you're shooting it. I guess we'll have you shoot it. So, um, no. Yeah, I definitely get emotional because, you know, I think about, I think about this, this person that I love so much and then I see the two of them and, and you know, they definitely love each other and it's really great to see that. Um, and I think that it's really great also just to see how everyone shows that differently because you'll have one people that like, there'll be really sweet and you know, he'll have the single tier and they'll have another people have just like, we're so excited and giddy and can't wait for the I do.

[18:58] And then you'll have other people that are cracking jokes in the middle and you know, it's just so great to see how everyone expresses that same emotion, that same word love, but completely different. And there's a whole spectrum of how you show it. And I think that's Kinda awesome. Um, do you enjoy shooting weddings? Most of what you do or do you like doing kind of some more of that editorial or more creative stuff or were you really kind of get your creative juices? Yeah, so I think the three main things that are really shoot our commercial portraits, editorial and weddings. So the commercial portraits are your real estate agents, your lawyers, your psychiatrist, anyone who needs a good headshot for business. Um, those, those are fun. And of course the clients are fun, but they're standard, like there is a thing they're expecting. Um, there's the thing they're looking for.

[19:49] There's not too much creativity to it. You just need to make them look good. You're not going to do anything crazy. It's, it's all pretty simple. Headshot work, um, and then you get the more editorial stuff. And if it's something, uh, I did a thing for a wedding dress boutique where they said, here are the eight dresses that we need to show off this year. That can be fun and it can be stressful. But it's, a lot of that stuff is again, standard. Like we want this type of catalog work, we have this beautiful dress, beautiful model, beautiful location, and of course every single one is different, but it's still, you know, standard. I'm the other half. The editorial part is like, Hey, do you have a crazy idea? Go make that idea possible. So I did a shoot for a magician and he wanted a holiday card.

[20:39] Well you put magician and me in the same room. I'm going to get all kinds of crazy ideas. So what I did is, and the photo is completely in camera. People that are going to scream like, all right, that's a bunch of photoshop. No completely in camera. Um, I went to goodwill and got a bed sheet and uh, what was it, like eight decks of cards or something. And I built a backdrop of playing cards. Um, and then I built another prop for him to hold on. I'll try and describe this since you can't see my hand motions, but the, when you're, when you're doing the bridge thing and you pull your hands apart and the cards in between the hands. I wanted to capture that emotion, but an insanely long one that is, you know, four or five feet of like no, no one can possibly shoot cards that far.

[21:27] So, um, I poked holes in all of these cards and ran a string and I made this prop that you can hold four feet apart and it has all the cards in that static position so I could shoot it for the photo. And so it's this crazy one in the magician doing this crazy thing with cards, but it's all in camera. And so it looks really cool. He loved it. He uses it for his card. And so that type of things like super over the top creative. And I love that. Here's the thing that I love about weddings though with when you have an editorial content, they'll say, this is my company, this is my brand dean. You got to do something like this. Go and you're kind of stuck in this box and you have to do that with a wedding. They say, I don't know.

[22:07] You're the artist. Make us look good. Make us look cool, do something awesome. Let's do something awesome so I can, I can, you know, take those ideas and I can do something crazy. There was a, a shot that I did where um, a rings drops into an aquarium and so that was something that I thought of and wanted to do. Um, they were having a nautical themed wedding because he lived on his boat and you know, they love the water. And so I was thinking, okay, nautical themed wedding. He lives on his boat. The engagement session he took us around the harbor was something really special that I can do. And so I got this shot with the aquarium and I figured out the week before we got an assistant and I set it up. I figured out how the lights all work, we've got our timing with the ring dropdown and I made something that just looked really cool that they had not seen before.

[22:59] And I think the cool thing about weddings is because I'm not putting in a little box, I can do anything I want. So I get to know the couple and I'm like, all right, what's something crazy I can do? Some of my best photos, her, I have a crazy idea. Do you want to try it? So those are the things that I really liked doing it. That's actually one of the reasons that are really love weddings. The whole rest of the day is beautiful too and I definitely love, you know, seeing that couple and capturing that for them. But I think the creative part and making them look really awesome and seeing what can I do for you that hasn't been done before. I think that's the part that I get most excited about. Yeah. And the couple

[23:33] of things on that one, you know, the nice thing about the weddings is, is it's like everyday is a new canvas, right? So you can like, you know, tailored to each wedding and client and Kinda like you said, the nautical thing. I'm like really do that for them versus you know, the next week it's like totally different and you can do something totally unique in that way. And one of the reasons like, I am really excited to Kinda shoot with you next year is because I did watch your, um, like a building your wedding expo booth and you were talking about the ring shot and then you had emailed me a two and like, yeah, you had spent like a week, like getting all the timing down slight the day I've been only took you like, just like a day of it,

[24:08] just a couple minutes. Um, so I had it in this. I handed the assistant my notebook who had helped me out and so they had all the notes of the flash settings and where everything needed to go. And so they were setting it all up on the dance floor while we were signing the wedding documents after the ceremony. And salty guests are kind of looking at them like what is going on over there? And then. So when we get out to the reception, um, it's Mr and Mrs. You may now come in, I say, May I please borrow your rings? And then I walk over, we drop it in the tank three times. I dry him off, hand them back and then the assistant tears down. That was, it took just a couple of minutes on the wedding day, but it was like all the prep work and all the things that go into making it look like it was so simple and so easy. But I mean, but that speaks here

[24:54] craft. I mean I think that like, you know, and, and I always feel like for like, you know, a couple other wedding day, like, you know, whether they, you know, someone gets tired or, or the day goes along, like they're always going to like tap out before you are right. Or like I am in terms of like trying to think of new stuff to do or like, Hey, oh yeah, let's go like the sunset looks cool, let's go do that. Oh It's good to your rings or let's go do this. Or like, you know, you're always going to keep going. Am I, you know, I just think that that's like an important trait to have and that's something that like, you know, I respect. But I think that like, you know, those like crazy ideas you have or like the, you had sent the photo of like the post office, right where it was like, oh yeah man, but he was like illegal to shoot in front of it or something. Right. I can

[25:36] tell that story. So you mentioned the post office. So that is a wedding that I did in Mexico. And so architecture here in the US for the most part is pretty modern cookie cutter built to not last per se, a architecture in other countries. Oh my God. So this photo, it's this big beautiful building with kind of a gothic baroque interior and then everything is gilded in gold. There's another page of their album where the couple couples just like laughing. I had like the bridal party just get together and then I have some tricks to get them to giggle. Um, but there's this beautiful gold gilded gate with these like Florida Lees and everything and that's just normal. That's like standard down there. So, uh, this wedding was in Mexico downtown like four miles from the airport. It was, it was very low budget, almost nothing wedding, one of their shots there in front of a construction site, but you can't tell because there's one of those big sheet metal things, but it just looks like this big beautiful piece of sheet metal, like so.

[26:46] So finding those greater things. But yeah. So this post office, there's these two huge, beautiful ionic pillars. Um, uh, with where they ionic might've been. Corinthian? No, they were ionic. Yeah. Ionic pillars and, and so, uh, I, I had got down there a week early. Um, and actually I did engage with a session with them the day I got there and then hung out for the week and then the day after their wedding I was going to fly out. Um, but I found this post office, I'm like, Oh guys, I got to do this shot with you. And so I had the shot planned out and so on the wedding day, I'm like, all right guys, so what I'm going to have you do is I'm going to have you stand there, flip out the veil. The groomsmen will come with the light stand. Are you ready? And Go, stood there, flipped out the veil. Grimson comes on the lights and security guard says, Hey, no photos. Okay, sorry, click. And then we're done. So that was like a very gorilla one shot thing. And the funny thing about that is there's 18 tourists next me all taking photos of the building. Now security guard doesn't care about them. That's just me because I have a professional camera. But um, yeah, that was very much like, hey guys, we literally have one shot to make this happen.

[28:00] So in the email that you sent me, you of doing the pre production for this podcast, you had talked about how a lot of photographers capture memories and you do that, but you're, you're really kind of focusing on creating that art forum. So what is that philosophy or had you kind of bring that in and I know we've talked a little bit about the creative step. Like what do you mean when you're talking about like creating art on the wedding day? Yeah,

[28:20] sure. So I mean two different things by that. The first one is, I literally want to create the art for your wall. I want to create the statement piece that people are going to talk about. Um, and if it's just you in your wedding dress and you know him and his Tux, then what's going to happen is that once you have kids, once you start having those family photos, 10 years down the line, 20 years down the line, that will become less relevant and it doesn't make sense to have, you know, a four foot print of your wedding day in the middle of your living room. So what I really want to do is I want to create something that is, that is so kind of artistic and matches your design philosophies and your interior decor that it is an amazing piece of art that won't be replaced when the kids come around or you know, when you go on vacations together and get, get new pieces of art.

[29:14] Um, I really want to create the artwork for the wall. So I mean that in the most literal sense. But the second thing that I mean by that is that if your wedding is a movie, I see the photographer as the director. So think about any movie that you've seen recently. Good. One or bad one. Bad ones are sometimes better examples. Actually, you can have a, uh, actually, uh, I just last year I was talking to someone about the difference between a thor Ragnarok and justice league. Both of them have good scripts, have good actors, have a good editors, but one of them is a very good movie. And the other one is two hours of wonder woman babysitting. So what is the difference between these movies? Well, for a lot of it it's the director because the director sets the tone, the directors and chooses how those things get edited together.

[30:11] I'm the director has a huge influence on the finished product. So like Henry cavill could have been a great superman, but all of the directorial choices meant that no, we don't really like this version of Superman. So all of that to say of if the photographer is the director of for the movie that is your wedding, then by being hands on and I'm creating these kinds of statement choices and doing this over the top epic artwork, um, it just is going to be a very different feel than someone who's just like, oh no, I'm a fly on the wall. I create memories. I just document. I'm not going to meddle. I'm not gonna do anything. I'm. That person isn't going to get some of the moments that I'm going to get the. They're definitely not going to see the artwork the same way. But sometimes there's things like, let's take getting ready at the beginning of the day.

[31:07] For example, the bride, again, your honor dress, and let's say dad walks into the room. Well, if dad walks into the room, he'll stand there awkwardly in the doorway because he doesn't know if anyone's getting dressed and he doesn't want to, you know, just barge in. But then he'll be like, oh. And then she'll turn around and go, oh, and you have this beautiful moment. But they're both on opposite sides of the room. She's under a fluorescent light. He's hiding in the doorway, and a candid photographer isn't going to see that. So the director should have thought about this moment beforehand and then made it a better moment. So one of the things that I might do is if I know dad's about to come into the room, I can have her stand over there. And then before dad, Co next to the window and before dad comes into the room, say like, hey, why don't you go tell your daughter how beautiful she is.

[31:55] So instead of standing there awkwardly gawking in the doorway, he walks up to her, tells her she looks beautiful. You have this beautiful moment of the two of them together, not on opposite sides of the room. The exact same thing happened. It's not like I was meddling, I wasn't being obtrusive, but I was directing the moment and making that candid moment possible. So, so between that, uh, for the majority of the day of just these small nudges to make these things happen and make them more photogenic and more memorable, that is one way. I mean art. And then the other one is the actual stuff you put up on the wall. Um, two things. Yeah. Yeah. I do think it's important that, you know, not meddling because I think the, like a lot of the people that hire me are, you know, photographers

[32:40] and stuff that I work with too. Like yeah, they don't want to feel like their day is like totally being like stage rised videography. And like a lot of people will ask like, oh, are you going to stage a lot of stuff? It's like, no, it's about like this kind of guiding these moments to happen in a better way, you know, because it's, it isn't. You don't want to feel like you're like, you know, shifting around, but it's, you want to like get people to have it be the, you know, the most authentic and so photogenic kind of thing. I think it's like an important kind of balanced to, to, to have, uh, and also, you know, in terms of like the photographer being the director, like I do really believe that um, the way that we work, I usually just kind of deferred to the photographer in terms of like kind of, you know, the pace and kind of tone of the day and we just had a wedding.

[33:28] I'm somewhat recently at a venue that I've shot at a time and like always had really great. It's always been good and like, you know, for whatever reason, like that day, like it wasn't directed. Right. Right. And it was like still and like the couples grades and like I'm really happy with the video and like, you know, it was like I made it and it was really good. But in terms of like how that direction could have gone like throughout numerous science stuff that damn, I like, we could be doing this like so much better. You know, like it's so great. Like it's still going to be awesome and they're going to be, you know,

[34:01] they're going to like it. But I know from past experiences this could have been better. Yeah. I get that from the venues that I shoot multiple times.

[34:09] Sure. Yeah. And so like it just was like, um, you know, it wasn't, I mean frustrating I think is too harsh of a word. I mean it was still like an awesome day and they're really happy. But like, yeah, I mean just little things I think you can like make those changes. They kind of, you know, elevated I guess elevating, you know, trying to make it better than it could be naturally. Yeah.

[34:30] Like something as simple as um, if the DJ is doing like an open mic instead of instead of walking around the room and handing those people, the Mike, having them come forward because having them come forward. Now I have this one photo of them interacting with the couple or I have a photo of the couple and a photo of them on the room and they're not the same photo and you don't really know which one they were laughing at. And you know, it's, it's a small directorial choices from all of the players. And all of the people, uh, that are, uh, helping you, all your vendors, we all make these little choices throughout the day that help direct and shape. Um, and kind of how I feel about it is of course you have the coordinator, the coordinator did all of their work beforehand. They made sure everyone's, everyone's going to be there, everyone's going to show up on time.

[35:21] They're kind of like, they're kind of like the stage producer. Um, and then once you actually show up on set, um, they're more like the, uh, more like the assistant director, the one who bosses everyone around and make sure the trains run on time, which is great in a super part to have absolutely. Um, but for the beginning of the day, from when the bride starts getting ready until she gets announced to the, uh, to the reception. Thank you. Um, I really feel like the photographer is the one that's kind of running into the day and, and pushing and making sure the trains run on time. Because if I take too long with my photos, I just made someone late. I will never do that. I will never make up late, in fact, what usually happens, everyone else runs late and I'm the one who ends up making up the time.

[36:09] So being able to work fast and efficiently and think three steps ahead on how to direct these things so I'm still getting everything I need. But making sure that the trains run on time, I really feel like the photographer is an essential part of that because you definitely have times where there's three of you in the room, the couple and do you and everyone else is running around and doing something else. And so it's, the photographers just like their shadow, they're just following them. And so if the photographer is the director, making sure that everything happens and everything gets there until it gets to the reception. And I'm like, all right Dj, my job's done. Take it away.

[36:48] Which is, is a nice human. I do think, uh, but his stuff, I think like it's an under reported a challenge I think as a photographer or you know, I, I like to feel like I help out somewhat, you know, if I was there with you. But like, um, to, to have, to, to manage, you know, you're managing time, you're managing personalities of everybody, right? That couldn't be other vendors that could be the bride and groom that could be a sister of the bride or mom or Mama, you know, so you're managing, you know, time, personality, you know, logistics, you know, getting people or we need to do this and then that. But then also like needing to be creative, you know, and so it's really hard because like, you know, you could do x, y and Z, but then you also have to have a creative eye on top of that. Right. And so it's a lot of different balls, you know, and like when I come home from weddings, like I'm exhausted because it's like, you know, there's just so many different. Right?

[37:49] Yeah. The, um, for a photographer who's listening to this and does not shoot weddings, there is something very, very different about shooting for 10 hours and shooting a wedding for 10 hours. Um, because when you're shooting a thing for 10 hours, you can shoot the thing, you can refine it, you can, you know, take a minute to look at things. There is no slowing down. There is no stopping. You can't take a minute on a wedding day. Really? I'm, so, you're absolutely right. You're juggling 15 different things and you have to juggle those 15 different things. Um, and so many times on the wedding day, at first I thought this was hilarious because I was like, guys, you don't understand what you're saying. You haven't seen it, but people would tell me, Oh, you're such a great photographer. Thank you so much for today. And I'm like, you don't know I'm a good photographer

[38:40] for you. Haven't seen the photos. Are you talking about? He did a great job. You did a really good many times. They're like, oh, you did such great job. Thank you so much for coming out today. I'm like, photos can be horrible. You don't know, like the, the first 20 times I heard that I didn't understand it. And then it finally clicked. Oh, right. There's these a hundred other things that you're doing and managing for the day and they've been to weddings, they've seen people try and manage those things and fail. So the fact that you're managing all of those things means you've already done a great job before the photos even get transferred to your computer. That happens a lot. When Jeff, my assistant, when like [inaudible], I always just dropped him with the groom and then like, you know, they show up like an hour or two for the first load.

[39:22] Yeah, for sure. Whatever. They'll come out and be like, Jeff did such a good job. And you're like, you know that in law he just stood here with the camera. But they assume because he seems competent and helped you kind of. It's because he's managing all those other expectations for the day and all the people and the personalities and the timeline. Yeah. It's, there's so many other things besides the photos. That's really funny. Uh, so I want to talk about, because I do think you're a pretty personality driven photographer. We talked a little bit about the Star Wars and stuff. Uh, you know, when you got here, uh, I want to talk a little bit more about, you know, when you're not taking photos or maybe when you are taking photos but more for pleasure or things. So, uh, first off, so you're married and you guys have a dog?

[40:07] Yes. His name is bjorn. He has his own facebook page if you want to look it up where it's nothing but cute photos of our big fluffy mountain dog. When a rosy attacked you and you came and you said that Rosie could ride your dog like a yes. Yes. So Rosie is your dog and she can definitely ride like a horse because he's almost 120 pounds and he will claim you like a lap dog. Uh, so, uh, talk to me about what you and your wife do and what. Yeah, what do you do in spare time? And that can be with it, with the camera without.

[40:39] Yeah, sure. So, uh, she is a seamstress so she is very involved in making costumes for other people. Um, we are in the 501st, which is a Star Wars costume in organization that is licensed by Lucas Films, um, where you have everyone in that organization has a screen accurate costume, so it's very high level of effort and work and craftsmanship that goes into this and the people that build some of these things are freaking talented. It's just absolutely incredible. The things they can make. I can't do that. It's, um, I do have one and it took me 200 hours, so it was forever. But, um, no. So, uh, we're in our off time. Uh, she is always thinking of what's the next costume I want to make for myself. Um, and then sometimes I take of her costumes, um, or uh, for this last comecon she wanted you, Ramona flowers from Scott Pilgrim. I'm not a fan of Scott's character. I think he's kind of boring. Uh, so I looked through that movie. I'm like, who's interesting, todd to Ingram, boyfriend number evil x number three, the Vegan.

[41:54] We have lost a lot of you for a lot of people. A lot of people just, just stopped listening. Uh, so no doing, doing couple's costume

[42:01] is like that. Um, and so we have several of them we can, we can name, but uh, the Star Wars organization, we do things like, uh, going to children's hospital, uh, walking through and you know, when the kids see a storm trooper and a Java walking around, they're just like, that's so cool. Um, it's just the most incredible things watching kids like are they real, real? So we love doing that. Um, she loves making costumes and I love taking photos of her costumes and so we spent a lot of time doing that. Um, when we're not doing that, I'm like playing games, hanging out with friends. There's not a whole lot other like interesting to hobbies besides the costuming, hobbies. Um, but then obviously when I show up to a costuming group and say I'm a photographer, I instantly become the most popular person in the room because everyone's like, oh, I made this amazing thing. It took me 400 hours cost a thousand dollars and all, I have her cell phone photos, can I please get photos of it? So I spent a lot of time taking photos of all those peoples really talented, incredible work.

[43:11] Do you guys travel a lot to go to the different like comma constant staff? I know you went down to Portland. I went down to Portland this last weekend.

[43:18] Um, I'd say anything in between. Everett and Olympia is pretty standard fair game for where it will go on any given weekend. Um, but yeah, she has some family in Portland so that makes it a pretty easy trip.

[43:32] I do think in, in talking with you and you know we've met now quite frequently, you know, kind of in person and face to face. I do think like anything that you do, whether it'd be like photography or like, you know, the costume me like you really do it like a million percent. Right. And like the passion kind of like it's a very tangible passion I think like, and I, I hope it comes across in audio form of me. I can see it when you talk about it, I mean, do you feel that, do you feel like you kind of go like, full throttle and figure out? Like I, I'm, I'm laughing because. Yes, absolutely. I do it to a fault.

[44:10] I'm going to do anything. I'm going to do it 100 percent with all my heart. I won't pick up a new project unless I'm going to absolutely kill it and do it the best I can. I'm the worst feeling in the world for me is starting something and going on. But it could have been so much better, which we already talked about websites a little bit earlier when I was talking about background, which is the worst because your website is never done and it always can be better. So that one I just had to get lax on. But um, no, anything I do, I just absolutely throw myself 100 percent into it. Um, I have a little bit of an addictive personality, but that has actually been a huge benefit for me because like when I first started learning, I'm like, all right, cameras, let's do this.

[45:00] I'm gonna learn everything I know about the camera, I'm going to memorize the manual, I'm going to know what all these things are going to have all my f stops and the exposure triangle and have that all memorized so when I actually have in front of a person and can do that, I can just really quick get that, doing exactly what I want it to do. And then I don't have to, I don't have to think about the technical, I can do all the creative stuff. So that's actually something that I, when I'm working with other photographers, I'm. One of the things I'm doing in just a couple of weeks actually is the worldwide photo walk. It's something put on by a Kelby training. Kelby one, if anyone wants to look them up. They're a cool online training source and is actually where I learned a lot of the stuff that I know, but um, they host a worldwide um, photo walks.

[45:52] So photographers internationally get together for one day this year. It's October six and they walk around and they take photos of things and just see what happens. Um, and there's a big competition, um, but I have one won the prize for that several times for the Seattle photo walks. Um, and I've let it several times, I'll be leading it again here in a couple of weeks. Um, but when I see photographers, they're the ones who think they know everything but don't understand the really basic technicals are their camera. That's, that kind of gets under my skin just a little bit because again, I have that full throttle, addictive personality. I'm like, no. Like, why would you do this if you're not going to learn how it works? Um, so now that's very long winded explanation of saying, yeah, whatever I'm going to do, I'm gonna do it. It's gonna happen. No,

[46:48] that's great. And I also think, you know, just being comedy that like we've talked about with like weddings or like even if you're doing like editorial stuff, like either you, you need to be competent and like more like overly overly overly carbonated to like, because you only maybe have one shot to do something. Oh yeah. You know. So it's like, because in my price point, not so much with weddings, but with like other events like I might like work with photographers that like are not as competent. Right. And then you're spending the whole day like trying to figure out what to do and like I'm just like, I'm running there. If you're looking

[47:22] down at a camera setting. Yeah, you just missed what happens. And at a wedding you don't get that back on a music video. Sure. You can say, hey guys, I missed that. Let's try it again.

[47:33] So I didn't want to talk about, you know, we talked about kind of your approach to weddings and kind of the art form white. So what kinds of couples in do you feel like you attract or what kinds of people you know seek you out? And like, like we were talking off air about, you know, like if you're at a wedding show and like people come up and talk to you, obviously if they've either seen it online and then they're meeting you or they see your work there and they come up, like what kinds of couples are drawn to your energy in the work that you do?

[48:00] Absolutely. Um, I have two different answers for that. The first answer is they're both good. I hope so too. A, the first answer is if you describe your wedding as a vintage rustic barn door, burlap mason jar. I'm the exact opposite of that guy. So, so, um, anyone who's looking for the vintage faded instagram type effect, um, they're going to the person across from me, not from me. And that's totally fine because that's not my vibe, but anyone who loves that kind of over the top dramatic fashion flare, um, that's, that's the type of couple I'm going for. I'm currently the headline on my website, so as I'm want to look like a movie star because on your wedding day you're the celebrity. So that's kind of the kind of the thing I'm going for. So like I will ask my couples like, what are your favorite movies or your favorite actors, what magazines do you read?

[48:59] Because those are the things that inform me of like, oh, you read vogue or Harper's bizarre of like, yes, you are the type of person that is going to really love the style of work that I do. Um, so that is the first answer. The second answer for what kinds of couples a hire me because at my price point that people who they want photography first. So they're getting their date, they're getting their venue, and then the very first thing they're looking for is there a photographer? So when I mentioned a little bit earlier when I was planning my own wedding, what are the top three things that are important to you get the best for you? Of those three things? So for me it was a venue, photography and DJ entertainment. I would say those, that for me, my personal philosophy on it was that that is kind of the most important things of a wedding day.

[50:00] It needs to be a good space that works with all your people. Um, I want to have beautiful photos of it and I want everyone to have a good time. So for me, as long as those three things were good, the rest of the day it will be okay. And so the people who say photography is the most important thing. I want the best photographer for me because the best photographer for you might not be the best photographer for me if you prefer the vintage fade, like that's not me. That's fine. Um, so the type of people who photography is first, those are the people who I'm looking for because they say I want someone who can make me look good. Um, to particular brands come to mind. One said, I don't care if I get married under a freeway, you're shooting my wedding and that is the best compliment I could possibly get.

[50:47] 'Em they were saving up for an adoption. And so they wanted, instead of putting all the money towards the wedding, put the money towards the adoption. So they had a really small intimate ceremony. I'm at a park with close family and friends and it was, it was beautiful, but they still wanted me to make it look as majestic as possible so that, that was a really awesome experience. And the second one I can think of was someone who said, hey, I was actually a Disney princess at one of the Disney parks. I've had my taken photo taken tons of times and I'm super self conscious. I don't like having my photo taken. You look, you make people look awesome. I want you to make me look this awesome. So the type of person who is either super self conscious or I'm very particular and picky and they're like, I know what I like and I want that.

[51:39] So demanding might be one word for it, but that's fine. Like you know what you like and I want to make that happen for you. The people who say like, Oh yeah, so we have literally everything covered. The last thing on our checklist as a photographer. Hey, do you want to do it? Well yeah, but here are my prices. And then the person next door's probably like half the price and they're like, oh, okay cool. I'll go with the person next door. Like, like you got to really want the best. And so those are kind of the people that I'm looking for and the people that hire me. And that's actually another reason why my clients are awesome. I have never had a bridezilla not once. I don't think any other photographers to say that if you shoot 50 weddings a year, you're going to have it. We used to whine.

[52:30] No, but I think it's important. I think knowing, knowing your clientele and knowing your brand, you know like every day, like there's posts online and like hey I'm looking for whatever. And there's like a video too. And colleagues, people come and like, oh we have all these packages that fit in any range and we can do whatever you need. And whenever you were there, whatever you want, we can do in like it's, you know, getting in, everyone has to start somewhere. But like getting, being able to get past that I think is like so important. Like just for like business mind and being of sound mind and like knowing who your brand is and whether it's, you know, your brand or my rare, whoever's like being able to get past the like, oh, I'll do anything you need to. We have anything that you need that day that I can fit it. Started there. Yeah, everyone does it. But you know, being able to like not have to do that. I think it's great because then like you said, like you get to shoe, you know what you want a shoe and you get the clients that you want to get and the people that hire you are happy because you want, you know, you don't want someone to hire you and then not be happy.

[53:34] So actually when I first got started I was there, I was the, I was the, Hey, I'm super affordable, please hire me. Um, and uh, I was getting a bunch of contracts from another production company that was like the week before the wedding, they were like, Hey, are you available Saturday? And it was, it was like I would show up and be like, alright, or Brian and Susan here, like, hello, you're a photographer. And those weddings didn't quite go as well as they could have because there none of the planning was involved. I wasn't the friendly face. That was the weird guy who was standing next to them all day. Um, so now we all start somewhere and I definitely started there. But once I realized, hey, you know what, I'm not for everybody. And that's okay. And then once I won, genuinely got good because there's a difference between thinking you're good and charging a lot and genuinely being good.

[54:33] But once I got good and realized like, Hey, no, I, I'm pretty good at this, then I can, I don't need everyone. And that's okay. Um, things really turned around from the business side. But one thing I can say for other artists is, I'm sure you felt this. If you don't feel it now you felt it before. Um, but as an artist you get that imposter syndrome of like, oh wow. Like, like the very first one I did, I'm like, oh, they're actually going to pay me a thousand dollars to do this for just a couple of hours. Like, that's crazy to me. Um, and you don't really think you're good enough and you always second guess yourself and you see like, Oh, you know what? I took 100 shots and only 20 of them are any good. Yeah, that's what happens. But this imposter syndrome, like as artists and creatives in any field, like I know what design nurse and painters who all do this and they second guess themselves and they say, well I was charging $20 an hour and I feel Kinda bad about charging 25 because I don't know if I'm worth it.

[55:37] I'm like, can you even eat on that? Like, so yeah, there's definitely this kind of imposter syndrome that's in the back of our heads. But once you come to terms with like, no, I'm actually really good at what I do and I've worked really hard to get here and that's okay. Like I'm doing something really wonderful for the couples. They are happy to pay me money because I make them look amazing and so as long as I'm making them happy, like that's, that's all I really care about. And then the rest just kind of falls in.

[56:09] Right? Uh, I think that's a good positive note to end on at that. I really, uh, I really appreciate you finding the time and coming down here and know we connected. I just saw you in person a couple of weeks ago and I said you definitely somewhere they, I want to have to come on here and kind of give your take and I think it's awesome and um, I think you're great in terms of photography but then also like, you know, all these other facets like we've talked about with the calendar and like the tutorials and just kind of everything and always trying new things. So I really appreciate you coming in. If people want to learn more about you and your photography and what you do or follow your dog, I guess, but more specifically your photography, what would you have them do and check out?

[56:50] Yeah, sure. So my name is Ben Lucas, my company is NOM Creative. That is N, O, M as in Om nom nom, nom, nom know the sound that cookie monster makes when he's opening the cookie jar. A, I chose that name before I got into weddings. I probably wouldn't choose it again today. I don't think I'd be that brave, but people love my business card because it has a bite taken out of the corner. And so you know what you remember it sticks. So it is NOM Creative on any platform of your choice. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest even, uh, just whatever, wherever you want to find me And my dog's Facebook page is Saga of Bjorn. So because he's adorable and you know, you need more dogs in your facebook feed. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me.

Holly Goodman, Sablewood Paper Company

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I'm up here today in Lynnwood, Washington at the home of Holly Goodman with Sablewood Paper Company. Holly, thank you so much for allowing me to come visit you in your home office. Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you guys do.

[00:31] Oh, thanks for uh, thanks for having me. I'm Holly. I'm the owner, designer a creative force behind Sablewood Paper Company. We are a boutique invitation and calligraphy studio. Uh, I do custom designs for my clients who really enjoy personalizing their wedding, uh, everything from invitations to signage to day of pieces. Anything that you can really dream up that you can put on paper.

[01:00] Uh, and we were talking just a little bit off mic about how, you know, kind of in recent years that really the personalization has really come on strong in terms of couples. Even though with the, you know, the pieces for their wedding. Do you want to talk about maybe kind of the trend that you've seen or how that's grown?

[01:14] Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so I was just saying to Reid when, when I got married and when the time that we got married, uh, there wasn't any personalization in weddings really was, it was more about focus on the colors and the flowers and what is your dress look like and your hair and things like that. But we've seen a shift in the last couple of years that a couples really want to involve their pets in their wedding days. We have a lot of pets, you know, as ring bearers, walking down the aisle. Um, I do a lot of pet illustrations for my clients for their signature drinks that they need after their pets. Um, there's a lot of wedding crests that get designed or venue illustrations that I put onto wedding invitations or signage or things. I think, I just think it's really great that couples want to involve all of their special moments, special places, special people in their lives, in their, their wedding paper. Uh, it's, it's a great shift. It's making weddings more fun and, and you and unique and I'm glad I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

[02:22] Uh, this is as I'm playing with your cat underneath the desk. Who is this that I'm seeing here? His name is Benson. Benson. Yeah. That's awesome. Do you guys just have one cat? We have to. The other one is probably hiding from you. I'm just as a quick note about the personalization of our wedding on Labor Day. So this was just last Saturday was like, so country western, like everybody dressed up, like she had a, like a denim jacket over her dress for the reception. Like he had tweeted that. I mean I'm talking like to the nines, like, you know, not just like the mason jars, but all the guests came. They're like, oh, it's Halloween, you know, I'd be all out like as her whole side of the family was Chinese. So it was like either really, it was very, like very personalized in a way that even as we're talking about kind of this trend, like I had never seen that before where like, I mean we're talking costumes, you have the whole night and so, but, you know, that was what they wanted to have and so it's, you know, I just, it's interesting because then it, it, it further makes it that every day is kind of different.

[03:33] Right. I'm talking about your client base, you know, you said you work with people all over. I mean, how, how does that work for like a stationary calligraphy designer

[03:45] personally have you do that? So the great thing about what I do is it's, it's not like a florist company or, um, or a planner or a videographer. I'm in that I don't have to have sit down face to face meetings with my client to provide my service to them. Oftentimes I don't ever meet my clients, uh, they contact me via instagram or email or facebook or through my website and they just share their vision for their wedding day with me and I send them a couple ideas for, you know, how I plan to interpret that. And then it's usually good to go and we just create it. I ship it off to them, then it's, it's done. It's, it's a very bizarre experience actually to know that you played such an important role in somebody's wedding day but you never met them.

[04:34] Yeah, we, I mentioned that we didn't do a lot for our wedding, but the one thing that we really did care about was the invites and we had a couple like chalkboards and things because it really is, you know, from the invite on. I mean, I know my wife, even though she's very popular and gets a lot of wedding invitation for her friends and that's always the first thing that you know, that you are able to comment on. You know, our friends got married in Italy and she got the invite and she was like, wow, this is like really nice. And it was, I mean, it was more intricate than anything I ever seen. Um, talk about like maybe some of the different things that you work on or ideas that you. I don't, um, I guess I'm losing my train of thought here, but like what different services I guess you offer? Have we talked about that?

[05:20] Oh Wow. Um, I, I think I'm kind of unique in the community here in that I pretty much offer everything. Um, the only thing I don't really do as chalkboards, uh, do what signage acrylic, um, you know, police cards, programs, escort cards, menus, you know, all those pieces. But my primary focus is invitations. I cater to a more high end client who's looking to provide an experience for her guests. Not somebody that necessarily wants to just get it out of the way, mail it out, you know, think about other things. This, this client that I mostly work with is super into paper. They love getting things in the mail and they love getting their friend's invitations and they love looking at them and saying how this paper's really thick. I love this. This feels fancy. I want to go to this wedding. Um, so I do a lot of foil invitations, a letter press, a lot of unique materials, like 100 percent cotton paper, recycled paper. Uh, you know, everything. There are so many options out there that people can choose from now. It's not just, you know, Crane's paper or you know, uh, what our parents had where you're just engraving. There's just a lot of different options and I pretty much do it all. I kind of pride myself on that.

[06:46] Uh, as someone who's father was in marketing and advertising, my flyers are always like

[06:52] when a notch thicker on the paper. Yeah.

[06:55] Am I do have some of the biggest business cards that you've seen because I do believe in that value and that, you know, the tangibleness. Um, so how did you kind of find your way into this? You said you used still live in Florida. Is that where this started? Where did the journey kind of began? And

[07:10] so that's actually an interesting journey for me. Um, I went to school at the University of Central Florida for my first degree. I was hospitality management, so I wanted to be a wedding planner and I graduated in 2008 right when the market crashed and if you can believe it, there weren't even any jobs in Orlando and that's the tourist capital of the United States easily. So I had to move back home with my parents about an hour and a half south of that little cute little beach town. And I hung out there doing work in a wellness center at a, at a gym. And they asked me to start doing some flyers for them and I thought, oh, well this is kind of fun. I kind of liked this and I really, really love learning. I love school. I know it's kind of strange. Um, but I love learning in school and so I thought I'm just going to go get another degree.

[08:01] It's not going to do me any good to just have a hospitality degree. And I went back to college. I got my second bachelor degree in a year and a half in graphic design with a minor in web design. And then from there I just kind of experimented with a bunch of things. I got a job at an agency in my tiny little town, um, did some invitation design for them, uh, and found my niche really, um, and of course design my own wedding invitations. But it wasn't until that moment that I remembered that I had taken a calligraphy class, uh, when I was seven and found all my pens, uh, and started teaching myself a calligraphy and thought I can marry these two together. I never wanted to work in weddings after the whole wedding planner degree to Bach, all of 2008. Um, but it just, it kind of clicked it, it just felt like that was the right direction for me to go in it.

[09:00] It wasn't necessarily commercial design, it was, it was weddings, it was making people feel special and happy, not marketing to a, a huge audience. Um, and I really like having the relationships with my clients and I didn't, I didn't. What wasn't really getting that in my studio job. So yeah, it was kind of an interesting transition, but it felt a little full circle. Like I went to school to be a wedding planner and I still ended up in weddings anyway. So I don't know. I think it, I think it all worked out for the best.

[09:33] No, I think that's fascinating. As someone that also graduated in that way. I know where I'm all of that. Uh, what was it about weddings, danger. You went in the first place back to get that original degree.

[09:45] Um, I think it was just my love of organization. I'm not like most creatives out there and that I'm very organized. I'm pretty type A, a. and when we used to go on family vacations, I would write out little itineraries for us and design them and print them. So, um, I, that felt like a natural fit for me. Um, I didn't want to do any, any other degrees. I mean I started out, uh, doing micro molecular biology. So that was a huge shift from realizing that I wasn't like a science geek or in a math geek. I was more into service and, and having relationships with people. So I think that that's, that's where that ended up coming from. And so you did a little bit of design for corporate kind of before and you said you really didn't like that. I did really like it, but it just didn't feel personal enough for me. Um, I, my mentor at my job, my studio job before I made the transition to, um, invitation design just changed my life completely. I would not be the designer that I am today if it were not for him pushing me and teaching me and training me to really value my work and really believe in the relationships that we have with our, with our clients and our customers. So yeah, it just, it was a great, um, was a great experience. I just felt the calling in weddings. I think.

[11:19] So then how did a paper come about? First off, what could you explain the name of the town? I'm always curious.

[11:28] So I'm also a writer. I write fiction and I was wondering if you were going to ask, but most people do a, there's this really great community called national novel Writing Month and you actually are supposed to write 30,000 words in the month of November. I did that about four or five years ago and I wrote 58,000 words and it was my first novel and I loved it. Um, and my main character's name was Sable. Um, and so when I was developing an idea for the business I was mostly doing with signs and so I knew that would or something had to be in my name and uh, the book wasn't really going anywhere. So I just thought, you know, this, this name means something to me. I'm going to put these two together and that's just going to be, that's going to be the name and it flows and it sounds really nice.

[12:19] And if people asked, when I've got a story, I can tell them, you know, these other things about me that I'm not just a designer and not just too creative. I also write and I think that it's good to incorporate all aspects of your personality as much as possible into your work. So do you still write? I do, yeah. Whether you enjoy writing the most or I read a lot of young adult fiction. Um, I, I really enjoy that kind of like coming of age story. It usually has a little bit of a, not fantasy but kind of Dystopian, um, themes in there, a lot of, a lot of nods towards politics and you know, the, the culture of um, today very like 1984 reminiscent of how it works nowadays. Do you publish it or are they, do you put them on Amazon or how does that work or haven't gotten that far yet?

[13:16] I'm terrified to put it out there. Um, I've had a few friends and family read and they all are very encouraging things that I should pursue it. But um, the whole process of getting published is, is difficult. You know, I want to go through a real publishing agency, not just do it myself. So it's a lot of work, but it's a good creative outlet. So when did you start the civil war? In 2015, right? Like the week after I got married, which has said, let's go for it. Let's do this. Uh, so what was the why right there? What was the moment of that? Um, I was. So, uh, right after we got married, my husband got a job in Seattle, so he moved out to Seattle. I was still in Florida and I thought, you know, I have too much time on my hands now.

[14:06] I don't have anybody to entertain. I have my full time Gig. My mom and I were running a paint and sip studio where you paint paintings and drink wine, but I needed more creativity as if that wasn't enough. So I came up with this, let's sell some of my what signs or let's sell some little lettered quotes or something like that and just became an llc right off the bat. Um, my family are all in entrepreneurs, so, you know, that was pretty natural for me to do and just went from there. It just, it kind of grew overnight, I think. Was that scary pursuing that or did you ever have any doubts or. I didn't because I was not afraid to go. Um, and that's one of the biggest pieces of advice that I've ever gotten from anybody or best pieces of advice I've ever gotten from anyone is just don't be afraid to just grow naturally.

[15:01] You don't have to grow overnight, you don't have to sell a million things to be successful. And I also had the security of my full time job to pay the bills. So while it was a little scary to put myself in my creativity out there, it wasn't really that scary business wise. So I think, I think that, uh, you know, for the people that are listening that have this passion on the side, um, you know, you're a side hustler, you have a full time job, keep doing that, just grow it organically and one day it'll just, it'll feel so right to transition and it'll feel good and you'll have so much work for your side hustle that you'll just, it'll just happen naturally.

[15:41] Yeah, I think that's great advice. I know that, you know, it was similar where I was working in, in transitioning and I know that, you know, my wife has a friend and you know, like they

[15:53] really kind of jumped on it and so I'm going to start this and it's like you really do need to like get the training wheels and then get them off and then get rolling and then you get the helmet and right, like you can't just, it isn't just an overnight thing. I think a lot of the people think badly or are they also like under value, like the word or underestimate the amount of work, you know, like I think even still now, like some of my white friends are like, oh that's good, you know, but it's like they don't know, like all the work that goes into it. Uh, so do you still. So then you moved out here. So are you just say avoid now? Do you do any of the paint stuff anymore? I don't.

[16:28] My mom was diagnosed with cancer and we knew that we just couldn't continue the business. We were planning to expand out here once I moved out here, but um, you know, it was a, it was a duo thing. It wasn't going to work with just one of us. So we closed the business and when I transitioned out here I could not find a job. I was overqualified for everything that I applied for and I didn't understand because I felt in this market, like I'm under qualified for all of these great designers and creatives out there. So, uh, same kind of was an accidental fulltime job. My husband told me, you know, just keep looking. Um, but, you know, grow your business, go to networking, get to know the wedding people here in the community because I've heard that they're great and that's what happened and it just kind of after a few months, you know, the job's never worked out so it just became this full time thing and it's, it's been, um, a little over a year now that I've been going at it full time and it's fantastic. It's going really well.

[17:31] Talk about we, I think when I got here, we're talking a little bit about the Seattle wedding community and kind of growing out here, what are your thoughts on that and talk about that in your experience where you have kind of relocated out here and are kind of growing into that.

[17:46] So where I'm from in Florida, uh, this tiny little town, we have like three photographers, one wedding planner, we have, I think maybe three wedding venues. So the community is really small and uh, you know, you kind of grow up knowing everybody anyway. Um, I know a lot of these people from just other jobs. Um, so when I came out here it was really overwhelming to not only have just seattle wedding vendors, but then you've got, you know, snohomish county, you know, the guild there and, and all of those things. So I struggle a lot with networking as an, as an introvert. Um, but within the first month that I was here I was, I had already gone to three networking events. I force myself to say hi to people, even though I was terrified and everybody just kind of embraced me. Uh, this Seattle freeze that I kept hearing about did not happen and maybe it's just the wedding community, but they were all so sweet and helpful and kind and um, it really made me feel like I'd found my people like, these are the people that you want to surround yourself with.

[18:56] These are the people that are going to lift you up and make your business better. And I just never thought that it was going to be that way in weddings. It always seems like a very superficial community, you know, everybody's kind of out to do whatever they can to get ahead but not here. Everybody's just fantastic, just great and sweet.

[19:17] And so it's been fun. It has. Yeah. Uh, and then obviously continuing to grow now, or do you mostly service yellow clients are, like you said you do a lot of online sale. How does that balance work?

[19:29] About half and half. Uh, I do get a lot of work from, you know, local planners are florists. Um, some clients find me through some wedding shows that I've done or just my website in general or Instagram, but um, I have, uh, I've been building my online presence over the last almost four years. Um, so I get a really good majority of my clients through my etsy shop or just searching through Google to find me. Um, and again, you know, it, it is so easy to get clients. I'm all over the country to work with you because they don't really need to work face to face with a stationer, which is really fantastic. Great.

[20:05] Is that um, I have to imagine on the other side that that's a very difficult process. I know that I have a guy that I used to do like my business cards and stuff and like I'm like the worst about, um, say, well I do want, but then when I see it I definitely know what I don't want a is that challenging sometimes because it's almost like you're a sketch for this where someone gives you like, right. And talking about just that process, like what is that like?

[20:34] So I actually have, most of my clients don't really know what they want. Um, I do have a couple that, you know, send me pictures from pinterest and say I kind of like this field design something that looks, has a similar field of that and that's great. But most of my clients are, you know, they don't know how to explain what they want. They don't know what they want until they see it. Um, so I actually draw on my graphic design background to kind of make that easier for them. We don't do any designs until we've sketched things out for them. Um, I usually send them two or three different options, you know, is this kind of what you're looking for or is it something more like this? Because when I read what you're saying, this is what I'm thinking, but I could also see you meaning this.

[21:21] And once we get to that point, uh, we've usually had hours of conversation. We've spent 15 or 20 emails to each other. We usually do a skype session or something like that, so I can actually hold things up and show them. Um, and, and that makes it a lot easier for people who aren't designed, inclined, uh, that maybe look at a thousand different photos on pinterest every day and can't weed out what they really want a. and I think that a lot of creative struggle with that even, you know, florists are planners, the, it's difficult for our client to communicate all of these things that they've been seeing and consolidate it into one vision, one, one theme for their wedding. You want all the themes?

[22:07] Yeah, we, uh, I just like in my mind flashing back now, your mirror's with my wife, like looking at, you know, God bless molly doing our invites in like, oh, we don't like the law. And she probably spent like a day doing that and if you really, you really shouldn't look at it from more than three seconds, you'd be like, oh, I hate that. I'm. So in the questionnaire I had sent, you know, to, to come on the podcast here, you had mentioned a lot about, you know, different clients expectations and things in terms like invitations and you know, when to do things or how things work. And in the process, so, uh, on that note, you know, what, what do you think about like kind of what expectations clients have now for like when things need to be done or when they should work on things?

[22:51] So I think that this question, I mean if you ask any wedding professional, they're just going to say, book me as soon as possible. Um, and I think that that's true. You should get them as soon as you know that you want to use them, but it's a little different for stationary because there is a longer timeframe that's needed in advance. Um, you know, if you're booking a makeup artist, they basically just need to work with their schedule to make sure that they're free that day. Uh, with stationary and calligraphy, um, you know, doing 100 envelopes takes me at least a week. Um, you know, so if you're contacting me, I just had somebody contact me a couple of days ago and say, Hey, I have a clicker emergency. My clients getting married this weekend, she needs 300 police cards. Um, you know, and I'm like, I'm sorry I can't help you.

[23:37] You know, I need more time than that. I know that, that this is probably like a last minute thing for you, but you know, this isn't something that calligraphers are stationers can just kind of pull out of nowhere. So timelines are really important in my line of work. We usually like to send out save the dates that I like to send them out at least 10 months in advance. So that means we need a couple months to work on those. So, you know, a year out from your wedding, we're already talking about paper. Um, I usually work with my clients on their invitations, about seven to eight months out because depending on what they want, um, you know, the, the timeline could, could take longer than you think it would a letter press in foil or specialty printing styles. They usually take about three or four weeks, um, especially during wedding season when all the printers are getting just bombarded with all of these invitations that they're creating for people.

[24:31] So, um, you know, knowing what you want is important. Going into a meeting but also knowing when to contact your calligrapher a stationer calligraphy is a totally separate thing, uh, that, that usually requires, you know, a couple of weeks of work at least so you know, in advance as early as possible. Um, I'm already working on weddings for next summer, you know, so that's, that's at least a couple months out of my, my year that I can't take on anymore work and you know, that's, those are some on the ball brides, but that's what we like. And then two, I think it's also like people don't necessarily know all the different things that they need in the envelope and to save the day am like the return or the RSVP card and then like menus and table and we talk about kind of just even just for like we were even talking just like a normal wedding, not over the top when we talk about the, of different things to people.

[25:32] So there's a lot of moving parts with invitations. You obviously want an invitation to tell people you know what to wear, where to go, when to be there, who's getting married. Um, but it's also really important to have, you know, a reply card with an envelope with prepaid postage. You don't want your guest to pay for postage or you're never going to get your rsvps back. Um, but a lot of couples have either consolidated or shied away from traditional details cards instead of back in the day where, you know, your parents were engraving their invitations and they were doing detailed cards with registry information and things like that. Now people are kind of saying, you know, just include a card with our wedding website and that's cutting down on the amount of pieces that go into your, your invitation suite, which is great because it saves on postage, but also because you're not overwhelming your guests with a bunch of different pieces.

[26:25] Um, but instead of having all those pieces to, or as separate details card people are kind of shifting towards that personalization and doing custom map cards to show guests what special locations are around them. Um, I just did a map for a client that she really wanted Mount Rainier in there. Um, she really wanted the University of Washington in there. And then she also wanted downtown Seattle, like here's the pier where you can get on the ferris wheel and you can have some fun touristy time. And her guests really loved that because you know, they're not from here. All of them were from out of town. So that I would say is a typical invitation suite for most couples. Place cards and menus are pretty standard for day of pieces. If you're having like a Catholic mass or a very lengthy religious ceremony of some kind, maybe you're having a Jewish ceremony and most of your guests are not Jewish. Then having a program is really helpful because they might not know what's going on. Maybe you can give them background on, on what these, these customs mean. And signage is also pretty much a, you know, a staple in weddings. Now, if you don't have like a signature drink sign or like a welcome sign, you know, it's probably a pretty low key wedding. Where are we?

[27:52] Uh, I do laugh when we'll get the, the save the dates where ever the return card. And they'll put that the website on the thing that the people mail back and then, uh, and I feel like we were going to do bad in our person tied to sap, but like we've definitely like gotten mail a lot. And then so we have was your website again, a question I do have is um, I see a lot of people now posting about, you know, digital only sending out whenever and like I kind of think that's a terrible idea because I know that like, even at my age, like we had elderly people or not everybody was like on to like Rsvp online and stuff. Do you see that happening where people are getting away from the traditional mailing? And what are your thoughts on that?

[28:41] My clients don't, don't do stuff like that. Um, my clients typically want that paper experience. I have heard that there are some brides that want to go the digital route, but I think that's bad for two reasons. And one is, um, you know, your elderly guests, your grandparents, your great aunts and uncles, you know, they still might not be checking their email or getting emails. Um, but, uh, another big reason is in today's digital world, we're all inundated with email after email and I don't know about you, but my inbox is just overwhelmed, like flowing with junk and I don't even look at it, you know, and you don't want your special wedding invitation getting lost in that, that clutter or let's say they open it because they do see it's your wedding invitation, but then they don't do anything about it. They don't Rsvp, they forget it's lost now.

[29:33] Maybe they accidentally move it to their junk folder or trash it. How are they going to know to let you know if they're coming to your wedding or not. They could miss the RSVP deadline and then you're frantically calling them, trying to figure out if they're coming or not. And you know, I know that it works well for budget couples. That doesn't mean that it's a bad thing at all. Um, I think that it works better for save the dates because you're sending followup after that saying like, Hey, this is official. Now we're actually getting married. Here's your invitation. And it's something they can tack on their fridge or you know, keep on their desk and remind them daily, I have to do this, I have to respond to this person. But yeah, I have, I have actually had a couple of clients that wanted just refused to not let me put the wedding website on their RSVP cards. I just don't think it's a good idea. Can we put it somewhere else?

[30:25] Yes, please. Yeah, I think I just, I think we put ours. Well no, because it was because she didn't want our designers didn't want to put it on the actual invite because her rationale was you have the timelessness of it. And so we put it on the back. So then, you know, you could still like, I don't know if we would ever. Dorothy would probably. Yeah, I would not, but then it was on the back. So people have it still. Um, in terms of like your clients you work with or the clients you see, I always like to ask like, you know, the biggest misconceptions people have or pitfalls that you see time and time again. People can learn from what in your field and your expertise, where do you see for that

[31:14] price? One hundred percent. Um, there are so many wedding blogs and magazines out there that tell you that your invitations are only going to cost you $300. That's not true. Your postage is probably going to cost you $300. Even if you go with one of those big box online invitation retailers, you're still for 100 people. You're still looking at at least six or $700. And that's without any customization. That's even without any address printing. You're not even like writing your guest names down in your envelopes. So, uh, one of my biggest things, my biggest, I guess, issues with the wedding community just in general around the world is a stationary, isn't, uh, isn't well represented in people's budgets. They're reading magazines like the not that tells them, you know, only one person of your budget should be spent on your paper goods. And I know that every wedding professional things that, you know, they're leery of expertise is most important and should obviously have the most money spent on it.

[32:19] But uh, I just, I think it's unrealistic to expect to go to a stationer or a calligrapher and say my budget's three to $500 and I'm inviting 200 people in my wedding so, you know, what can you do? I mean, that's, that basically doesn't even cover my design fee. So price is huge. It's a huge misconception in the industry. And I, I, I've made it my personal mission to educate as many people as possible about that. I, I have a huge blog post, a four part blog series that I wrote all about it and it's a passion project of mine.

[32:57] And you think that comes from like places like the not, not educating properly?

[33:01] I do, yeah. I think that, you know, they've probably, when they send out their interviews or their questionnaires for couples who have just gotten married, I think that the people who filled them out are probably the ones that make, like printed them themselves or went to Kinko's or something. And you know, they're not factoring in all of the costs. They're not saying, well, we bought envelopes, we have about postage. We bought paper, all of that stuff. They're just saying this is what printing costs and yeah, I think that that's kind of a problem. Uh, we were the couple that had, um,

[33:34] we have like 115 people and we ordered like 200 invites because we didn't realize that, not that we needed it work. Oh, we never went. That would be my biggest lesson from ours. What other kind of issues do you see constantly coming up when you work with clients?

[33:55] The timeline thing is, is a really big deal. Lots of clients come to me and say, you know, I want foil and I want handmade paper and oh, I need it in two weeks and that's not really doable. Um, we can't really work around that kind of schedule even with rush times. Um, another, I guess misconception about stationary is that stationary is created equal. Um, it's, it's not, um, there are different levels of paper that you can buy that increase the, you know, the value of it, the way that your guests will feel when they touch it, when they look at it. Um, and you know, you need to talk to your stationery, your clicker for about that. You need to go over the options with them. Um, what they offer is a stock option may not be what you want for your, for your invites and add.

[34:48] Another big thing is to make sure that who you're working with knows what they're doing. Um, I'm all for supporting people that have just started out in the industry. Um, but you know, just ask some, ask a bunch of questions, probe, you know, make sure that, that they know, uh, that you know, what's going to happen if something goes wrong with your order. If, if a piece goes missing a while while the printer is assembling everything, you know, you need to have like a contract in place and you need to be able to get somebody on the phone, um, should you need it. And I think that, you know, working with somebody who has a lot of experience, that's the only way that you're going to get that. Um, so in terms of like, and I'm looking at, you know, some of the woods and the other thing I, do you do you that in contract

[35:38] that out or how does that work on assembling like the more grandiose p or like the foil and all those things?

[35:45] So all of my signage I do in house, um, I'm a big woodworker. My dad builds countertops and cabinets so he gave me a hammer when I was three years old, so I'm no stranger to working in a shop and I do all of the wood signs on the acrylic signs and mirrors myself. Um, but it, when it comes to foil, I have to send that out. I don't have a foil press, um, but all of the design work is done in house and I actually have a letter press now. Uh, so I will be able to do in house letter press for my clients, which is a service that I am just so excited to provide because it does take so long to do it. But if I have control over it, then you know, it's much, it's much easier and it satisfies my ocd a little bit.

[36:29] Do you enjoy the, the hand working more with the woods and things or do you the design process where it is you're kind of,

[36:36] that's a tough question. Um, some days, yes, some days I hate would, I just can't, I just want to sit in front of a computer, um, other days I don't want to be out in the sun standing for hours and staining and painting, um, because it is pretty labor intensive. But um, both of them are, are kind of a freeing, you know, in different ways. The design on a computer you get to really like let loose and make mistakes and have fun. But when you're working with would you have to be pretty precise if you cut something the wrong way, then you can't just like control or command z to undo it, you know, it's, it's permanent. And so, um, it really just depends on my frame of mind I guess. And, and what I'm working on currently. And is that, do you do that stuff here? Do you have a shop, do you work at my husband and I have a two car garage that we've kind of translated to the workshop. Is he handy at all to, or in very handy. Yeah. He, um, I was, I was, like I was saying earlier, he has done all of the remodeling of our house. He did all of the, um, the baseboards and the, the window frames and all of that. He's extremely handy. Very, very thankful to have him. That's funny.

[37:51] In terms of kind of, you know, goals moving forward now, you know, now that you're establishing here in Seattle, you know, where do you kind of see this going in the next two to three years? Yeah. Yeah.

[38:03] Um, I would like to have my own space. I'd love to have a retail space that, that's, you know, goals, um, a place that I can set up my letter press and it's not just in my office taking up a bunch of space. Um, I would also love to provide some sort of educational resources for people. Do webinars. Do you know other podcasts where I'm teaching people how to, how to be the best at being a stationer I'm really, I want to stay a one woman shop, but I don't mind adding on some extra pair of hands to help with invitation assembly, which is a very tedious task. Brides, if you're listening and you want to assemble your own invitations, it's going to take you hours. Just let us do it. Um, and, and basically just growing slowly just taking it one day at a time growing into the retail space, growing into my products, offering more products that people can buy that isn't necessarily custom. Um, and I do have a semi custom invitations sweet line that I'm launching, so it'll be a little more affordable than custom invitations, but brides will still be able to, you know, change pieces about it, you know, update a monogram or um, changed the printing a style from foil to just digital printing or something like that. So just more options really.

[39:26] So that's something you've been working on for you for your own. How does that work then? Or whether it was the thought process behind.

[39:32] So, uh, what I primarily do right now is custom invitations. That's from scratch. It's like baking a cake from scratch. We start with the paper, we pick envelope colors. We say, you know, do you want a monogram, do you want a venue illustration, do you just want calligraphy, you know, what do you, what kind of pieces do you want in your invitation? But with a semi custom line, you're actually given sort of a template with a couple pieces that are movable. So if this template has a venue illustration, for example, like you're getting married at the space needle, um, and it's you want that drawn on your invitation, that would be a piece that could be removable, put into your invitation and then it's like it was made for you. Um, but because a lot of pieces in that invitation or are unmovable, there's, they're just staying put. I'm, the cost goes down a lot because there's not a lot more, a lot of design that goes into it. Unlike custom invitation. So I'm trying to hit a little bit of a different price point bride with that rather than someone who's looking to spend, you know, 20 percent of their wedding budget, somebody that only wants to spend 10 and uh, you really catering my invitations towards them.

[40:47] Somebody that I'm always curious about, you know, someone like you that provides these things for the day of a. obviously people that are going to you for high end invitations are probably going to hire like high end photographers and things to capture all of that. Do you ever have issue in terms of marketing and getting, you know, like stuff for online and things for your website and social media and stuff. Do you. What are your thoughts? I'm just always curious where like I generate my own content, right? And like you generate this thing that then you are relying on other people unless you're setting that. Maybe you are assessing that details here. That shoot that. I do actually.

[41:23] She a lot of my own stationary here. Um, I've been training myself for many years to do that. But there's nothing better than getting photos back from actual wedding. Um, a lot of my clients don't send those to me though. It's like Christmas morning when I get a, a gallery. So I rely a lot on editorials. I, last year I think I did 20 styled shoots, um, which is insane. I don't know how I did all that. I was exhausted I guess. Um, but you know, you, you make sure to work with some other creatives who have the same goals in mind as you. And that's how a lot of my content has been generated. Um, because like I said, I, I don't get that day I've experienced with my bride so I can't just go to their wedding and say, oh, I'd like to photograph my sign that I made for you. So it's really important to do those editorial shoots and to put together my own in my house with just going to pick up some flowers from the market and setting up a little corner that I can do a flat lay of my invitation suite. And you know, that's just been invaluable to have. And, and another way that I've gotten to know a lot of people in the wedding community is just through editorial shoots and building those relationships that way.

[42:40] So when you're not in your shop woodworking there in front of your computer writing, you know, what, whether you do for free time or do you do with your husband? What are your other interests? Whether you're good?

[42:51] Um, it's a, we do a lot of home improvement projects because we are renovating the house right now. Um, but we also really enjoy like thrift shopping. Will you do a lot of that? Uh, we also just drive around a lot to see new things. We drive to Mt. Rainier. Check that out. It's just gorgeous down there. Um, and then we're pretty new to this, you know, the north Seattle area. So we kind of drive around and check out cute shops and, and other like nature areas. We're not really, I'm not really big into hiking. I think that he would probably go hiking if he, if he could get me to, but um, you know, just kind of checking out the beauty of the area. Um, I write a lot and I'd watch more TV than I should probably, um, but, you know, if I'm not creating in my office, I'm probably creating on my ipad somewhere. I'm always doing something to push my boundaries and further myself in some way.

[43:57] Where do you, do you take inspiration from nature and going out or where do you get new ideas to incorporate into your designs?

[44:04] Travel? Um, I spent a summer abroad in Italy and that just totally inspired me to, um, to create my semi custom line. Uh, it's, it's based on a very, like, Tuscan theme, um, and just traveling to anywhere really. We, we go to Mexico every year for our anniversary. We, we just went up to Vancouver for a concert and we'd never been up there before. So just new things is really what inspires me most. It has to be new. I'm, I'm a Gemini, so I kind of thrive on all of that new experience, new experiences and things. So the newer, the better. Anything, a new foods, new new, uh, new places to go, new books, new TV shows, um, new people. Really. Anything to just broaden horizons, do you find with wedding trends and things in terms of designing and staying on trend, do you find difficulties in that or are you kind of able to, to grow with that or it's sometimes difficult.

[45:08] Um, it's only because a lot of the trends might not be like my taste. Um, so it's more difficult to design for clients if it's, if it's challenging to like taste wise, um, I've seen a big shift in the amount of calligraphy that people are using in their weddings. A lot of people have gone like a more traditional route rather than this modern calligraphy, like very fun lettering style that has been so popular for the last few years and even more so. A lot of trend or a lot of shift in the wedding industry is to do spot calligraphy, which is basically just like on an invitation. It would just be your names in calligraphy and the rest would just be in a computer font, you know, minimalist style. So it's, it's an interesting shift and I'm really enjoying it because even with all the personalization that's, that's being incorporated into weddings, there's still this element of like toning it down a little bit in, in stationary itself.

[46:09] I was going to ask you, and I forgot earlier about how you said you designed the, the, um, did the calligraphy for your own wedding. And I wanted to hear how that went.

[46:17] Yeah, that was fun. I didn't do any place cards or anything like that, but I did address my own envelopes and I did my own wood signs. Um, and I can't even. Why did I do it the way that I did? It's terrible. I'm just, I, I looked back on the pictures that I took from that that day and I'm like, wow, I've come so far. Um, you know, I was, I was up until 1:00 in the morning like three nights before the wedding, tracing these letters onto wood and then hand painting them with the brush, like painstakingly. Um, and it's, I mean, things have just changed so much. You know, we have pens now that they can do that. We don't have to use a brush and it doesn't have to take hours to do something. Um, and you know, the calligraphy for my envelopes. I remember printing in like 10 percent gray scale on the envelope itself, the calligraphy style that I wanted and then tracing over that. Just embarrassing. I wish I still had some of those.

[47:18] Uh, yeah, because I always wonder like, and even with the trends thing, you know, like things like for maybe our parents wedding years ago and, and in aging. Right. Do you think the designs of today are going to age or do you think that it's going to be there? Our kids are going to look back in 30 years and be like, wow, this is really scary.

[47:37] Well, that's, that's an interesting question because I found my parents invitation from their wedding and I've seen people designed similar styles today. So I think that it's like fashion. It's very cyclical. Um, and you know, I actually designed an invitation myself just like that before I saw there. So it's really strange. It's, it's popular again what my parents did for their weddings. But yeah, to answer your question, even invitations that were created two years ago, we're all looking back on it now and saying like, Whoa, that was really bad. We should, we should update that a little bit. Uh, so I think they, some things will go out of style, but I don't think the personalization ever will because it's, you, it's, it was your wedding. Your invitations mirrored you perfectly. How is that ever going out of style? How is that? How has that ever going to be something that you look back on and say, oh, that's cringeworthy, you know, it's, it's you.

[48:36] Oh, perfect. Thank you so much for uh, allowing me to come in today and kind of see your office and learn and meet you and learn about your process. Um, if people want to learn more about you, your company, how to get in contact and work with you, what would you have them do?

[48:52] Uh, you can visit my website. It's I'm also huge on instagram. Um, my tag is @Sablewoodpaperco and you can always email me at

[49:05] Perfect. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Jen Owens, Jen Leslie Events

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and today I'm joined by one of my good friends, Jen Owens of, Jen Leslie Events and they are wedding coordination and planning company and thank you so much for coming by. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

[00:31] Yeah, thanks for having me. My name is Jen and I'm the owner and creative director of Jen Leslie Events and we do wedding planning, design and florals and we primarily focus on full service and partial planning and then we also take on some what we call final coordination, some people for to it as day of coordination, but some final planning clients and then we offer floral services exclusively to our planning clients and take on a small handful of those each year. Not every single client is kind of booking everything.

[01:06] And Jen and I actually met for the first time, uh, last September. My good friend Ryan from high school got married. And you guys did Ryan and Rachel's wedding up at Suncadia and that was pretty chaotic because of the fires that were going on, which are also kind of going on this time of year. But uh, do you have any insights in the bat? I don't know if we ever talked about that...

[01:27] That was a wild experience and something that is a planner, you know, you can't prepare for wildfires but you always have plan b and you always are troubleshooting anything that's going to be thrown your way. So about maybe it was a week and a half before the wedding. We were constantly watching the fire reports, weather reports, the news I'm Brian Groom actually ended up driving an hour and a half to the venue to check on it and kind of see how the smoke was doing. But anyways, we prepared to completely relocate the wedding to Seattle. They had, I can't remember now, maybe it was like 250 I guess, it was a lot of people. And so, and most people were from out of town. They had picked a venue that had lodging on site. So it was a lot of logistics to coordinate and it was one of those moments where I was so proud of our wedding industry community because I shot off all these emails to people in a panic and just explain to them I'm like here's the situation and what's happening. And they were amazing in terms of being sympathetic to the couple, understanding what was happening, you know, bending over backwards to see if we can make it work. And we kind of had this go-no-go moment where we finally decided that we were going to move forward with the existing venue, that I'm still had some smoke in the air of the day of the wedding. But you know, what ended up being a little breezy, blew it away. We had the whole resort to ourselves and it, it turned out perfect. It was um, it was a good challenge

[03:02] week before it was crazy because like I said, you're right. And I went to high school and my, he had messaged me like a year before, Hey Rachel likes your work, lets in. So we booked up and like, you know, he's was so easy. I mean, they're really nice people. I like, I didn't hear from him and tell him then it was like all this chaos and are my wife's a, I guess it's her, someone's someone that is related to my wife was also having a wedding that day, uh, like 10 miles from them and it was kind of thing because Ryan told me like, you know, they were just like outside of whatever, the evacuation or, or, you know, the warning zone or whatever. And she was like, just on that other side and they had to relocate. They did everything at Ray's, like it ended up being fine over in like inner bay. But like that's how close it was because I knew too, because we were going to do that wedding also and then they ended up not having a videographer but like, it just amazed me that like two weddings, like literally within the same, like both at quote unquote, like the Suncadia area. And then, um, have you guys, have you ever dealt with anything like that before?

[04:10] I never had. It was. I mean, we've had smoky summers like we're experiencing right now. Um, you know, inclement weather, whether it's a crazy flashed downpour and other issues like that, but never imagining relocating. So it was great. I kind of sat down after that initial phone call and just made a list of, okay, what do we need to do first, how do we attack this problem? And just started powering through and um, I'm fortunate to have some really good friends that are also wedding planners and so I called them and said, here's my situation, this is my approach, you know, do you have any advice, am I approaching this in the way that you would, is, does this sound normal? And they're like, here, try this. And so it was great. I had a lot of help, which was awesome.

[04:56] Well, that's good. So, uh, you know, hopefully not everybody needs to be kind of a stressful as that. But um, so talk kind of a bell about you guys. Um, you, you said you were doing corporate stuff kind of before you got into wedding and how did you kind of find yourself now as an owner of a wedding?

[05:13] Yeah, so I graduated from college in 2008, which was not a terrific time to graduate and was really fortunate to just get a job. Um, I actually was answering the phones at the front desk for a consulting company and after spending some time there they put on a lot of events for their employees just because they're consultants would be working out at different clients and they wanted to build an ensure a sense of community kind of with the home company. And then we would also do events for our clients. And so what started off as me getting assigned to work the name tag table or you know, help with set up eventually grew to, um, and, and this is over seven years, this is a, this was not an overnight thing, but, um, eventually grew to managing over half a million dollars in grant money that we spent every year.

[06:06] I had a team of, I think five and we planned over 35 events a year. So I just dove in and fell more and more in love with it and kept kind of raising my hand for more responsibility. And events, um, but then after probably about year five, I started to realize that a lot of the corporate events were exactly the same. Some of the nuances would change, but it was really missing the creativity that I longed for. And I think by this time I had gotten married and maybe helped with a couple of friends' weddings. Just, you know, they figured, Oh, you've done events for work, maybe you can help out with mine. And loved it. And I grew up with parents who owned their own business for a majority of my life. They owned a, a hallmark store actually. And so I always knew I would own something.

[06:59] I thought it was gonna be. I thought it would be a bakery actually I'm not a baker, but I wanted to just own the bakery and eat the pastries. Hence my coffee right now from a bakery. So I thought it would be like a brick and mortar shop. And then when I kind of started to think about a service based career and events and just how much I enjoy them, it was something I started to pursue really aggressively. And I actually worked both jobs for just about two years so that, you know, it's hard with in a seasonal based business that you really have to be working all year long to build that up and it's not something I think that you can just start one day and, you know, quit your nice, secure, a good paying job with insurance and all those things. So I was um, you know, it took a long time, but I'm really grateful for that time because I learned a lot. I was able to network a ton and it, it held, it kept me sharp actually for both jobs because it benefited the corporate events. I was continuing to plan and then opened me up to a lot of the wedding specific vendors that I hadn't worked with earlier. So yeah, it was a, it was a good, nice, long, slow road.

[08:15] No, that's interesting. It's funny how similar our stories are. I also graduated in no way a terrible time. I was in news, which was even worse and everybody was laid off. Um, and I also did kind of that dual role even though it took me, I think I was like nine or 10 months to kind of transition out. But it is true, like I hear about people all the time like, oh, I'm starting to, you know, wedding, whatever company and you know, they'll start at like in June and it's like, no, no, no, you really need to start that like in January or, or at least either have that year to kind of build out because yeah, especially if you're doing wedding planning, like couples are looking hopefully for a in gun, you know, they're looking for one or maybe not for the next Gen but not like, oh I need one in the month, you know?

[09:01] Um, uh, it's also funny. Uh, I just did a corporate event yesterday and it's funny how like accustomed I get to like having like good planners now at weddings and like have everything taken care of and then like I go do like a corporate event. It's also planned and like nothing has thought through the way that like a wedding would be, you know, like they had like a TV that didn't work and the audio didn't work. All this stuff. And you're like, if that was a, whether you like, that wouldn't be that way. Right. Or you would have somebody that was kind of um, so what kind of lessons do you, did you take from that corporate world into now? Just like the managing the people or what, what kinds of things?

[09:38] Gosh, so many. I, I was really lucky that the consulting company I worked for put on a lot of creative events that, or at least gave me a lot of freedom to be creative. So not only were we addressing very high demanding client needs, working within a budget, managing vendors, I mean all the things that are applicable to weddings, but how to be creative with the resources, um, and, and execute well, which transferred great. Two weddings. So I would say some, some big lessons we learned to be really scrappy and do things in house. Um, I don't think they would be mad if I said this, but they were very frugal company and so we just knew how to negotiate where we could again, make things in house or build them in house if we needed to, um, and, and then really work with those vendors to make sure that what the clients were wanting or even if it was the GM or executives that were overseeing the um, employee event that all of their needs and expectations were getting met as well.

[10:51] I mean, even simple things is I was responsible for running a lot of the Avi and tech for some of our more business focused meetings. And I remember some days my poems just sweating because I, you know, maybe just had to press a button a couple times. It wasn't a big deal. But at the time you're like, Gosh, I better not screw this up in front of 300 people. This is a lot of pressure. And so even simple things about knowing how to work Mike's and powerpoint decks and some minor eve equipment totally comes in Handy and fluke situations at weddings where something occurs. And I at least have a lot more confidence now in how to address those then I would have, if I'd never experienced that. So that's kind of a long roundabout way to answer it.

[11:35] Questions. And then talk about your wedding. What was that like

[11:39] my wedding. So, you know, if I'm being really honest, I probably had more fun at my sister's wedding, my wedding, my husband and I had a really short engagement. I'm not, well, he waited a long time to propose and I really wanted to get married outdoors. So he proposed Memorial Day weekend and we ended up getting married October 15th. We had about a four and a half month engagement. Meanwhile, I was also planning my biggest event, uh, for work of the year right before my wedding. So it was a very stressful time. It was, I was my own planner. I did have a day of coordinator, which was wonderful. She's a dear friend of mine and I ended up being the day of coordinator for her wedding. So that was really special. Um, but it was a little challenging, you know, you get exposed to a lot of beautiful weddings, you know, what is gorgeous from a design aesthetic, but then when it's your own and you have to shell out the money for that, it's like, oh man, I really need to decide, do I want to invest in a really nice photographer or better chairs at the venue.

[12:47] So it's like, well, okay, I would rather have great photos at the end of the day even if they are of these not so pretty chairs. So my biggest takeaway is that I didn't do a very good job relaxing leading up to my wedding because I was the planner and so involved and I had a hard time letting go. And so that's actually something that I have incorporated now into my process with my own clients is guiding them on how to start relaxing again, whether we're doing full service planning, our day of. And it's not just relaxing in terms of letting go of the details and letting us take over because hopefully they're, that's why they've hired a planner and hopefully they're doing that no matter what. But just personally like getting prepared for family to come into town, you know, you have a lot of beauty appointments and just really enjoying the moment because it goes so fast. And I love, I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved my wedding. It was a great day, but it felt more like just a very busy event as opposed to like, oh my gosh, it's this one magical day. Whereas at my sister's not being the center of attention, I was able to relax a little bit more. I'm going to still planned it. I did her flowers. I was still very involved, but I was able to kind of kick back a little bit more than when my husband and I were on the spotlight.

[14:06] No, I was the same way. I was very involved with like the videography and everything. And uh, we were trying to get a live stream. Um, my grandpa was in like a nursing home down in Oregon, so I was trying to like get the live stream and so like we roll in and like, if, you know, of course it's not working and I had my buddy who had come up from California to like help, like monitor that and we're trying to get it set up and Rebecca grant did our wedding and then she was like, you need to come sign your marriage certificate. Like right now we're getting ready to walk down the aisle. And I'm like, and so, yeah, you definitely want to be like president on your day. And not like, that was my big takeaway too is like, you know, I probably could have been a little more present, you know. Uh, I also got an email and booked a wedding on wedding day. I probably have like a terrible example around. But um,

[14:56] and we'll say, sorry, I'm going to real quick. I will say the one cool thing, um, my husband Brett and I did, and I can't remember if this was his idea or if we heard it from somebody, but we decided to, and it sounds cheesy, but we decided to hold hands the whole reception. We had over 200 guests at our wedding. It was a very casual kind of cocktail style reception and by actually physically holding hands, it allowed us to stay together the whole night. So we actually experienced it together. I mean, of course we were like hugging people and saying hi and things, but we stayed with each other as we went around and said hi to people and I think had we not done that, I probably would have not seen him for half the night. We would have been off in our own corners. And um, that was something that was now looking back, like really special and I'm glad that we kind of again, took that time to be present and together because it would not be as fun if I was like off by myself.

[15:54] No, I love that. I think that that's so funny. I've never, I've never heard of that. I think that's awesome. You should get like a, like a like a hand and cover something, but that might be a bad idea. I'd be no, I think that's an awesome idea because yeah, like people get bombarded and then you're kind of separated and then. Or maybe you're talking to somebody you don't want to talk to.

[16:13] You can nudge them and be like, come on last call.

[16:16] I'm so busy. He's so relaxation, being present. That's kind of what you've taken now because I always think it's interesting what people learn from their own wedding now that they incorporated into,

[16:27] you know, so that, that's the big. That would be a big one and I would have given myself a little bit more time to kind of plan and organize it and we were moving. I mean it was all sorts of life things happening all at once. It was just too much. Looking back

[16:41] it is. A lot of couples that I'm emailing with like are also like, Oh hey, we just bought a house so we'll get to their senior. Wow. You're really doing a lot. Like right now, that's a lot. Um, so then, uh, talk a little bit about your husband and your family. I know you just had a little baby a little while ago.

[16:58] We did or I did. I guess I never know what to say without, by the way, do you say we are. So Brett and I have been married for almost seven years now and we actually met in high school so I met him when I was 14 but we didn't start dating till both of us were done with college and in January we had our son Blake and being a full time mom and a full time business owner is a really fun new challenge. It is super hard and I'm not gonna lie but it's amazing and we got really lucky with a very chill, easy going baby. So luckily it's been pretty smooth sailing so far.

[17:38] There was probably a good time January if you know, at the time that out.

[17:42] Yeah, we had trouble getting pregnant. So we tried for over a year and at a certain point, you know, at beginning we thought, oh, let's, let's coordinated around wedding season and then as time went on and we weren't getting pregnant and weren't getting pregnant, I was like, you know, forget this, we're just family's more important. We're going to have the kid when we have the kid. And then I'm like, oh, such a perfect God's timing thing because then at the end it worked out that I had him in the off season and was able to still work all of my weddings in 2017 while being pregnant and then do all of them this year and having him at grandma's and lots of good help to help me out.

[18:21] Uh, where did you go to school for? I went to school. I had to think about that. I went to school for marketing. So has that played a role? Obviously I went to

[18:30] small liberal arts school in California called Azusa Pacific University. And so while my marketing degree has been very useful, marketing has changed so much since I graduated. Um, you know, the huge influx in social media and I would be curious as to what a marketing degree or what they would be teaching for a marketing degree today as opposed to when I was going to school, so some things don't feel as applicable, but I was glad to get a really good foundation of business and marketing from my college experience.

[19:08] I'm talking about what, uh, what kinds of things do you do when you're not raising the family and just fell away? Free time reading. I don't know. Well, what I want to be doing, I'm hanging out.

[19:22] My girlfriends. I love going wine tasting and Woodenville. We're pretty active family so we like to go hiking or beyond the water. Um, in the winter. I love to snow ski in the summer. Yeah. Pretty much being on the water or on a boat at anytime is a okay in my book. So yeah, just trying to be outside. Um, and I also enjoy reading, but it's turned into one of those things that I kind of power read on vacation and read as many books as I can because I love just kind of being lazy and enjoying that in my downtime. But it's a little bit harder throughout the rest of the year.

[19:58] Is it a tough a work life balance right now in the summer? How do you kind of deal with, I mean, that's obvious question, but how do you deal with that work life and I try to be

[20:08] as organized and scheduled as I can. So now with a family, you know, coordinating childcare is kind of something we look at, like let's say we're going to look at the week my husband and I and kind of talk about what we have coming up. I mean that's first and foremost and then yeah, making sure I have time to prepare and work on all my client work as well as the business side of things. Obviously client work takes priority in the height of the season. And then in the office he said, I like to focus a lot more on some of our business projects, but it is a constant balance and it's never perfect and it's something that, what I've been learning with the growing child is that as soon as I think I've figured it out, he is onto the next developmental challenge or thing. And so then I've got to refigure everything out already. Like we're getting ready to baby proof for example. So now I'm thinking, okay, I can't have him in his little play area content while I respond to some emails because he's going to crawl away and I need to be paying attention to that. So it's an ever evolving process.

[21:16] Uh, I will say though, I think you guys are good about kind of that communication and that planning, right? At least from the vendor side when it comes to like weddings, both you and Stephanie, your associate that. Yeah, we've had weddings this summer. Like Joe has one. I was out of town and like I like literally didn't even know they had a plan there until it was like the day before. And that was just kind of looking over everything and it was like one of my questions is like, oh, best person to contact day off. And they're like, oh our wedding planner. And I was like, how have we never heard from them? And we booked with. I mean I'm talking like nine months of like that we'd been booked way, but I mean it's like you guys like it, you know, it's always keeping people apprised and like you do have to have that organization, right? I mean do you want to talk about that a little bit? Sure,

[22:01] definitely. So I am proud to say we definitely have some very strong processes in place, especially those last couple of months leading up to the wedding. I'm not only finalizing things with our couple but getting all of the vendors up to speed and then there's kind of this fine balance too because you typically have some outstanding items with the bride and groom as it's getting closer to the wedding, but you want to start notifying the vendors of the timeline, key elements that are occurring. But you also don't want to have to go back to them because you have so many outstanding issues. We want to make sure it's current and relevant as possible. So yeah, we try to follow our process, um, from the day that they book, whether that's a full service client and we're kind of helping them with everything from start to finish or if it's a final coordination client and we start working with them about three months before the wedding and we walk them through, this is our process.

[23:02] If this is what we're going to do, this is when we're going to communicate out to the vendors. And then, you know, my hope is that for vendors that we're continuing to work with over and over, they get used to that familiar. They come to expect it and know that yes, we are going to reach out with that timeline and we'll have specific questions for you. We will have already reviewed your contract that you signed with a couple ahead of time. So we're not walking in the dark to the situation. Like, wow, we're prepared and ready and excited to execute a really fun wedding day.

[23:35] What kinds of clients do you find that are attracted to you guys or that you tend to work with a lot? What kinds of people or aesthetics or however you want to kind of take that? We've been really

[23:46] fortunate that we've attracted some really great clients and then friends of their siblings of theirs have been interested in us as well, so that's been amazing. But overall I would say our clients are very much in love. They really want to be married. This is like the next step in their relationship there. Uh, they understand the seriousness, I guess, of, of what it means to make that lifelong commitment to someone. At least that's really important to me to work with a couple who recognizes that. And then outside of that I would say they definitely have a good eye for design and at least if they're not exactly sure what they want their wedding to look like, they have a small vision or are they know what they don't like. Maybe that can be just as helpful as knowing what you do like and they are usually professionals, um, with, with busy careers, successful, they like to have a lot of fun.

[24:47] I, I hear a lot of times when I'm interviewing potential clients, you know, describe your ideal wedding and how you want it to be. And they always like, fun. I want to fund wedding. I'm like, okay, well let's dive into that. What does fun mean to you? So, uh, they, they liked it and that doesn't just mean party either. I mean that can be fun in the food that can be fun and in the decor and it can also be, you know, awesome cocktails in a really fun band or things like that. So yeah. Um, how else would I describe them? We've just been really lucky to get some off. Some. I tell people that I'm a wedding planner and they're like, oh, you must have braids. No, I've, I've never had one. And I really think that speaks to our sales process. I mean, we, we interview each potential client, they interview us when we're having that consultation.

[25:40] We've said no sometimes when we don't feel like it's a good fit, whether from a personality or design aspect and we try to make the experience really enjoyable for them. Wedding planning can be extremely overwhelming, so it's important to approach it step by step and kind of compartmentalized pieces so that you know day one, you're not picking the color of your Napkins. That's 20 steps down there. I mean probably more than that, but that's really far down the road and a lot of times couples come to us feeling overwhelmed like they need to know all of that, so we try to be that expert, that guide for them, walk them through the process and just make it a really fun and enjoyable experience because this is hopefully a once in a lifetime season that you're in when you're engaged. Sometimes it's for a year, sometimes it's just a handful of months and you should not have the experience that I have and be stressed. You should enjoy it and love it and you know, really treasure that time because it's kind of unlike any other time in your dating or a relationship with your significant other.

[26:49] It is a, it's funny, I get a Brian's work in the other deck right now outside and he always, whenever he sees me he's like, oh, tell me like, you know, what? Crazy story or of like you said like we don't generally. Right. If you're a professional and doing that then like you're able to, you know, you work with people that you feel like you're going to kind of Mesh with. Right. And so you know, you're not, it's not like a peg in the square hole or whatever that saying is, you know, that you're finding someone that you mesh with. Right.

[27:17] I think the crazy stories come from the guests usually towards the end of the evening, but that's normally when, I don't know, the funniest situations come up that you laugh about later.

[27:28] Talk to me. I was curious with different vendors, you know, whether it's planning or florist or whatever, a common pitfalls you see or things that you're constantly like you see clients like they are easy fixes or things that you can educate them about. Like whether some common things that you are finding that you wish more couples knew are avoided or did.

[27:49] Oh, that's a good one. Creating your budget and at least attempting to stick to it is probably one of the hardest pieces of planning a wedding and we spend a lot of time, especially with our full service clients, educating around what does an average Dj cost and what can I expect for x, Y, z decor that they have maybe be described to us a lot of times and I'm A. I fall into this too sometimes where you see something beautiful on Pinterest or in a magazine or on instagram and think, okay, like I could totally recreate that at my wedding and I wish sometimes there was a button that showed the price tag sticker because I think we would all be shocked at what those things cost. So we work a lot of times on not only creating the budget, but like I said, sticking to it and making sure that we're checking in throughout the planning process.

[28:46] If for some reason priorities have changed and they're interested in adding something else, then we'll talk about, okay, well where are we going to pull from in order to make that happen? Or if you want to do both then you know this is how much your budget's going to increase by. And then let's kind of talk about that. Another thing that we experienced a lot is couples who have booked their venue before they've hired us and I'm not completely opposed to that, but I think having a planner to walk you through that booking process. There's been a lot of times where we've talked later on and the clients have been surprised that the venue's going to nickel and dime them for things that in their sales meeting. You know, we're like, oh yeah, we can do that for you. We can do that for you.

[29:32] And they were just falling in love with the venue. They weren't thinking specifically that actually that lighting that's hanging up in that draping around the area is all additional and so we like to be there with them to walk them through that portion. Um, sometimes they also don't realize that if your contract says that you're done by midnight, that usually means that the wedding actually needs to be done at 11 and all of your vendors need to be out by midnight. So sometimes having someone at the very beginning to help clarify that just makes it easier down the line because I would hate for them to then let's say book a Dj or a band that's going to play till midnight and then we find out, okay, no, actually they can only play until 11 and then you know, you've paid for additional time that you're not going to need. So those two things are what we see that our clients are needing help with most often or it's like thousands of other things in between that we can help them with.

[30:33] Yeah. I was, uh, one of our weddings over the weekend. I think I was talking to, I can't remember. It was a photographer or another one of the bridesmaids about a lot of couples now finally, like newer venues or places that are, you know, they're trying to book and they're like, yeah, like kind of promise to stars. Like, Oh yeah, we can do all this stuff. And then when it comes time, like maybe they've gotten more popular or it just now the actual monies coming in and like they got to figure out like, okay, how are we going to break even this summer? And then it's like, oh, you know, these extra chairs or tables and extra $50 or whatever, you know, where it's like you said that having that planner to Kinda like ask those questions that they don't know because he don't know, like, didn't know what to ask.

[31:14] Like, uh, you know, I mean Rebecca helped me, you know, we didn't tell it to us. And then the other thing, yeah, it's like what things cost and like people have no idea and it's, it's funny because like um, I think, I don't know, like, I don't know if it's wedding specific or whatever, but like people like have this idea of like what they think things are going to cost and then like maybe that's correct or it's way off, but like, I don't know, like we're working on our deck right now and we need to put this under rain, I don't know, something to catch the water. And our contractor was like, oh it's like really expensive and something. And like it's like a thousand dollars, it's $2,500 for this thing, right? Like, like we don't know, you don't know what that costs. Right. And it's the same thing with like a videographer or like what is it, you know, what is a wedding coordinator costs like I have no idea. And then you find out, you know, this is a range or whatever. But like yeah, it's people like trying to educate, you know, or thinking that they know what it's going to be. And then trying to educate them, I mean, I imagine that's kind of like a constant. You're constantly kind of trying to educate people on,

[32:13] yes, education is a huge part of our job and we're educating on sometimes similar things or different things with each couple that we're working with. Um, because when you, you're like a great example by saying expensive in the contractor world that means one thing to him and to you something totally different. So yeah, we deal with that a lot. And you know, I sometimes feel like I'm the Debbie Downer of the group and sometimes in some of our planning meetings, but I like to be a little bit more of that practical voice of reason that's going to come in and give you the options because it is all about options. And that's what makes wedding planning tricky is you have to make a thousand decisions and you're making them with someone else who could have very different ideas of what they want the data look like. And so we can help eliminate the thousands of options down to 100 options or whatever. And then continue down that path with guidance and um, you know, peppering in our opinion on specific vendors that we've worked with and experiences. And so that is, I think really invaluable

[33:24] when Reverend Ray was on the podcast, he was talking about like how important he thinks it is for that couple to kind of go through that experience together, like you said, of like having to, you have to like meld everything together on that day. The like make it be a thing, whether it's, you know, aesthetics or personalities or families or budgets, you know, it's like all these, you know, 100 different things to different people kind of coming together now. That was interesting. You know, that you're kind of like having to guide that ship and it's like these things converge. I mean, it's a lot. It's a lot to don. Um, talk about your first wedding that you, uh, helped coordinate what you're, what kind of once you were Jim Leslie events. Oh, okay. You know, not like the friend that,

[34:08] you know, that was just like the church wedding. My first wedding I got really lucky you. And it's funny now because at the time I didn't realize what a list vendors I was working with for this particular wedding, but it was, um, a friend of her coworkers and it was a wedding at Soto Park. I worked with Laura Mcconnell photography. I worked at finch and thistle for florals. I mean, it was a stunning wedding. Amazing details. And you know, here I am, a little naive thinking, oh, all my weddings are gonna be like this with fantastic vendors, great details. Um, and, you know, that's not always the case, but I loved it. I actually had my sister come and help me. She was actually my assistant for I think the first, like two years and was awesome and had her come and help me. We did all the setup and oversaw the logistics of that day. Um, I would probably cringe if I looked at the timeline that I created back then compared to where it is now. I mean, it's definitely a, this job is a continuous learning curve, which is one of the reasons I really enjoy it. But it went off very smoothly, which I was excited about. And um, the couple now has two beautiful kids, they live here in Seattle and it's fun to stay in touch with them a little bit even. I think that was back in 2012 or 2013. It was a handful of years now.

[35:34] Yeah. I love being able to keep in contact with everybody. I know that's one of the, I do think it's one of the best things about like social media and everything nowadays is like being able to stay connected with all these people and see like um, one of my couples, you know, she just had a baby from whatever, you know, and you're like, it's just really cool to see. And I think it, there are a lot of people that, you know, say bad things about social media, you know, a lot of different opinions. But I think that is one of the coolest things is kind of having this living world that you're kind of growing, you know, in terms of like clients and relationships. Um, does your husband help you out at all or are you, does he helped carry?

[36:14] I have a rule that I am all and I made this real app, this is not him at all, but I have a rule that I'm only allowed to ask him for help for two events for the whole year because I don't want him to resent it. I mean he has a fantastic full time job. He works really hard for our family, so I don't feel like he should be burdened having to help with my stuff. Plus I have a team for that and that's what they're there for. So every now and then, like last season, my last wedding of the year I was super pregnant and we had to install this hipaa and I just didn't want to be up on a ladder, you know, drilling the hole but together. So he was amazing and came and helped me for that. So he, uh, definitely jumps in every now and then, but I don't want it to be a regular thing.

[36:57] Yeah. I dragged Dorothy to the wedding shows and they're always like, oh, are you a husband and wife team? And now she's working. She and I can't ask that much. I talk a little bit more about your team and kind of how you guys approach, uh, you know, kind of the, the INS and the couples.

[37:12] Yeah. So I have one part time employees, Stephanie and we have four subcontractors that split their time assisting Stephanie's weddings and my weddings. So I primarily focus on our full service and partial planning clients and Stephanie focuses on our final coordination clients and then she'll assist me with a couple of our really big weddings of the year and then I am looking to hire another part time planner for next year. So if anyone is listening and interested, give me a call.

[37:44] Talk about having the, you know, I know it's difficult, you know, kind of managing the team like that. Do you find it's easy? Do you find the same challenges? I do,

[37:53] yeah. You know when this just happened last weekend when one of your team members has a wedding that you're not there physically for, there's a little bit of, Oh, you know, I hope everything's going great, but I consider it a great success when I don't get any phone calls. You know, of, of what do we do with this or what's happening and then when we sync up maybe the Monday after the Tuesday after and just hear all the updates good and bad, you know, behind the scenes things that happened. It's a feeling of like I get really proud of my team and how, how well they did and tackling certain issues and we spend a lot of time in training and we, you know, one of the tricky things about being a service based business where it's solely reliable on you. I get asked this question a lot, like what happens if you get sick or you break your leg or something like that.

[38:46] So it's amazing to have someone that, you know, in all of our monthly, one on one meetings, we are cross training each other on the specifics of each of our wedding. So just in case something terrible was to happen, you know, knock on wood that we're both prepped and ready. We both know where all of our files are for each of our clients. You know, we have that structure in place, which I didn't have a few years ago and it's really nice to have now. So I really love having a team. I had missed working with quote unquote coworkers. I missed the collaboration element of that and I would love to have more down the line. It's um, so we'll just, we'll see what happens.

[39:27] Yeah, it's always kind of scary to go back and look at like Canada, your past, like I think about like the first couple, we just had one, the second wedding I ever had, they just had their anniversary like last week and uh, you know, I think back and it's like I didn't even know, like I think I knew like where it was and like what time to show up and I didn't know anything. And like nowadays it's like email vendor list and what's your social media and who is your Hashtag and website and where the this and that and kind of all the specifics and like, do you, do you ever like think about like you got really lucky sometimes. Yes,

[40:01] definitely. I totally believe in the fake it till you make it, but even beyond that, I think you have to just show confidence and especially as a planner, you are going to get thrown a number of crazy nuances in situations like, you know, fires in eastern Washington or guests the haven't been cut off that aren't leaving the bar. Like they should be. You know, I've had party crashers, there's all sorts of things so you just have to be confident in yourself and what you're doing and go for it. Even if on the inside you're freaking out and I have no idea, you know, it just, you, you learn from every wedding that you're a part of. And I think being in this industry longer and longer, I feel more and more comfortable doing that and it just, it takes time and I'm grateful for the clients. That took a chance on me at the beginning for sure.

[40:55] Uh, I would like to hear a little bit more about some of these close calls or is interested. Is there maybe one or two of the that you could share? Kind of a funny, funny tidbits.

[41:07] We've had two, one, two that come to mind. There was a Greek wedding that I did a couple years ago and they really wanted to smash plates on the ground and had these specific plates either purchased or flown in or something like that. And I knew that the venue was not going to be pleased with ceramic plates being on their beautiful hardwood floors. And I luckily wasn't made aware of it until I think the day of or the day before because if I was, I would've needed to notify the venue. I mean I need to do my due diligence in that. So anyways, it was kind of one of those crazy situations where we talked about the repercussions. I made them aware like this is what's going to happen and they did it anyways and venue got really upset and we had to kind of address that. Um, and it put me in a tough place to be honest, because you want to do what's right for the client and you want to come through for them.

[42:11] And this was something that was very important to them, both culturally and just traditionally from other family members weddings that they had done. But I also want to maintain amazing relationships with all of our vendors, especially venues. And so, uh, that one was tricky and we had some good phone calls and emails afterwards to kind of resolve that as best we could. And they ended up paying the fine to fix the floor and all of that. And then another one was last year. It was right before Halloween weekend, so we were actually at Sodo Park and there must've been some Halloween parties nearby because this guy tried to come in and use the restroom and we had security out front. Um, but somehow he had, like, the security guard had let him come, at least up to the upper stairs, which I still to this day don't understand why, because he was clearly in a costume, like he's not a wedding guest.

[43:05] And so I was kind of the next line of defense. He was this bigger guy and I just had to kind of stand my ground. And he was not saying very nice things in a, not in a clear state of mind, shall we say, and it was just one of those situations where I knew that if I let it get to me emotionally and got angry or frustrated or even just pissed off that he was being so rude to me personally and the things that I was saying, I knew that I wasn't going to get anywhere and that he wasn't actually mad at me. He was just trying to get in to go to the bathroom. And anyways, just funny things that you never know what the day or night it's going to bring to you, but you just got to be prepared and keep your cool and um, addressed party crashers whenever they come up.

[43:59] Uh, we just had a couple of back in June, I, it wasn't as big as the floor, but they had um, they did like, you know, this answer on the imd people pour the sand in the jar like this paint. And they wanted to like pour it on this canvas. It was like the sickest paint ever. Like it wasn't like, oh, we like toss him and this was like Goo and they pour it on and it was like, it was like a gray, like blue. It was like weird, like weird colors, but it looks kind of cool. But then like it just, you just see it like pouring down the thing and like all over this table cloth. But like they were, I guess they were supposed to put like some paper or something then they had. And so, and then they had it hanging above their cake and then it was all dripping and like, no, it was like behind it. But that like drip day had hung it on the wall and then drip down the wall. It was with uh, Betty Glover was there. And so they have like all of these, like really nice photos that she had taken them like printed and then they have like this, uh, you know, the,

[45:03] the sand painting, whatever. And it was just dripping and dripping and all. It was like, didn't you guys want to try that out over, you know that you guys have already been planning this for two years? Uh, what, what's, uh, what is your biggest success or, or whatever your favorite weddings maybe of this? Uh, it could be this season or it could be a

[45:25] this season. I can think of two, one in the past and then one this season. The one that I'm really proud of, I guess from this year is one that we just did a few weeks ago. We had I think 15 or 18 vendors. It was a huge team that I was helping oversee and it was only a four hour wedding. It was extremely short from the start of the ceremony to the end of it. Um, for, for a number of reasons I won't get into. But. So I, you know, we're always sticking to our timeline as best as possible, but we were huffing it for that one. There was just no downtime in between what was occurring. We unfortunately had some catering setbacks, not because of the caterer but the oven at the venue growth down. So dinner was delayed, I mean, just everything that could have happened did happen and yet we still had a great wedding at the end of the night.

[46:26] The family was so appreciative. Um, they had had a great time. It was all family members do and the best moment was I was helping them load their, um, lawn games into the car that the and like leftover booze and stuff like that at the end of the night. And there were a couple of family members in the car and they were going off to an after party and at the end they were like jen, Jen, Jen. They just started chanting and just put a huge smile on my face that we, we did what we needed to do. We came through for the family, which is what we always want to make sure it happens. And it just went off really smooth considering all the logistical bumps that came up. Um, and then the other one I'm thinking about in the past was up at Rosario on Orcas island. We've done a lot of weddings up there and I love island weddings in many destination weddings. I grew up on Bainbridge island, so I'm very comfortable with ferry schedules and kind of the logistics around all of that, but this one was on fourth of. We had a really large wedding, a group as well as what wedding party as well as the number of guests. And we had a lot of transitions, the ceremony, cocktail hour reception and dancing or in four different locations. So to get everybody moved. Um, we had I think a 10 piece band for that one.

[47:51] I don't have time to go into everything, but there was just a lot that happened. And again, a favorite moment of that night was at one point the groom is hoisted up like on the shoulders of his buddies in the middle of the dance floor wearing his white button down shirt from his tux and American flag shorts has an American flag around his shoulders. Or maybe at one point he was like twirling it in the air. And it was just one of those hilarious moments. Like he's having the best night of his life and I'm so happy that we were able to make this happen for them. On a holiday that them and their friends are never going to forget. It was, it was a really fun one

[48:33] Yeah July 4th that would have to be a tricky date to plan and with schedules and ferries too. I couldn't imagine that. I know we did a one on memorial day and there was a ferry and it was like, you know, you don't necessarily always think about that and then that's what you have to have a plan there that can kind of figure that out. So we had talked a little bit off camera or off a microphone and I guess about, you know, we're kind of midway through the season right now. Uh, do you want to talk a little bit about Kinda how your season shaping up and then kind of how you try to build your seasonality in terms of weddings and the number of clients you guys take on?

[49:06] Sure. So I take on 10 weddings a year and in fact next year I'm going to be reducing that a little bit just to have more bandwidth to help with my growing staff. And then our team members take on anywhere from five to 10 weddings as well, just based on bookings and kind of how many people are interested. So I love that we are busy, we have, you know, a full schedule, but we're also not killing ourselves and we're not experiencing burnout. That's been something that's been really important to me from the beginning. This is a very physically demanding job on wedding days. It's a very mental, mentally demanding job leading up to it and the planning process all year long and it's a lot of nights meeting with clients as well as the wedding weekend. So I want to make sure that I'm giving 100 percent to each of my clients and I just can't do that to 20, 30 couples that I would. I would be crazy and it would be a disservice to them. So I like that we're a little more boutique in that aspect and I'm excited as we bring on more wedding planners that they will be able to devote that time and attention to a smaller group of clients as well and kind of continue the model that we've created.

[50:24] Yeah, I, you know, we just had Rebecca for the three month, you know, kind of thing. I couldn't imagine she was sick of us after three months. I mean you really are with them through kind of like every step of that. I mean I just like, I know we were a lot to deal with and I couldn't imagine, you know, obviously like probably not all couples are as crazy as we are, but you know, it's nice but like you get to a, you really get to Kinda like go on that journey with them. Right?

[50:50] Yeah. And kind of to what you were talking about earlier, the end of wedding season is always a little bittersweet for me. I'm very excited to see the weddings executed, you know, everything that we've talked about finally coming together. But I get sad at the end of the night that I'm no longer going to be talking with them once a month or on the phone or getting emails from them. And I've definitely built some great relationships with some of my clients. So I, I always tell them that I think the planner is one of the luckiest in terms of vendors because we get to spend the most amount of time with the couple and I'm always really honored to be there to witness their wedding and kind of that special occasion because I do know them and I do feel a little bit more like a friend attending then, um, you know, just, just someone that you're, you're showing up for on the day of.

[51:42] Yeah. I like legit went through like withdrawal last year. I really did and I was like sitting around and I was like, I don't know what to do with my time. Uh, well cool. Well thank you so much for coming into the hand and we've known each other for awhile. I really appreciate you coming in and sitting down so we could chat if people want to learn more about you guys and your planning and what you guys do and what you offer, what would you have them do.

[52:07] Yeah. So two best places to find us. Instagram, number one, we're @JenLeslieEvents and that's Jen with one end. And Leslie L E S L I E and events is plural, I get asked that a lot. Um, and then on our website if you are interested in learning more, we have a ton of information about our services. You can even fill out our contact form which will shoot an email over to me and then I'll follow up with our service packet that has even more good details. Um, and our website's just So instagram and online are definitely the best places. And then we'd love to set up coffee or drinks and get to know you a little better.

[52:52] Perfect. Well thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thanks.

Jessica Vann-Campbell, Jessica Vann-Campbell Flowers

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®, we are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I'm joined by Jessica Vann-Campbell of Jessica Vann-Campbell Flowers. And I want to say thank you so much for coming in today. And why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. 

[00:29] Okay, great. Thanks for having me Reid. So, um, my name is Jessica and I am a boutique wedding floral designer. I work out of a studio in my home in Lynnwood, but I basically go all over Washington state and I work just myself. I have assistants that will come in with big projects, um, or they'll help me, you know, assemble or deliver or set up. But really when you work with me you work with me. So. 

[00:58] And do you like that? Do you like knowing that you kind of have your hands on everything that comes out? 

[01:01] Yeah, I'm kind of a type A personality and um, so it is important to me that you're getting my design. Um, and if someone else's arranging any of your arrangements, you know, I'm there in the room with them, talking them through it and when you kind of work in an assembly line, but that's really for the larger events usually it's just me doing it. Yeah. 

[01:21] And so you, uh, what kinds of weddings mostly do you focus on or what's kind of your main focus? 

[01:27] So I would say my style is sort of the natural pacific northwest, like locally sourced, organic feel. I'm, I can do the very perfectly domed arrangements that are all red roses, um, but I, I don't really jive with that style is match. Um, if a couple of really wants that and we're a really good fit for each of their personality wise, I'm happy to take those kind of styles on. But I would say, I mean, people come to me a lot for that Boho, unstructured, cascading, lots of natural greenery, unexpected, um, you know, fresh cotton or pine cones or succulents, air plants, things that are not, you know, roses are peonies. 

[02:11] Yeah. I've noticed that recently. You know, I mean I'm a guy, I don't, flowers isn't like, you know, we do do a lot of shots of the bouquet and stuff and details and kind of gave me like, even I've noticed that, but like it does kind of seem like that trend is it scaling them that way, right. Like a little bit more natural and like you said, not that like perfectly domed. Um, is that, do you agree with that? Is that how you kind of see it? Absolutely. 

[02:34] Well, you know, I noticed that my wedding bookings each year definitely have to do with what is most popular on Pinterest, you know, that's definitely a thing. And so, um, we work a lot of times with our clients, um, from their pinterest boards, so they'll pull them up during our consultation and I'll listen to them and actually like set up a design based on what their pinterest is. And I always try to tell couples, you know, you guys, you're paying for my artists so you can give me a picture and I can get close, but it's not going to be exact if you're looking for a florist who can copy the exact picture, that's probably not me because it's really stressful to try to mimic someone else's artistry. You know, I just, I almost feel like it's, it's not as personal that way. So while I can get really close, it's still Jessica flavored. Yeah. 

[03:26] Well No. And I think that, that, I think that's like it kind of in any of the wedding vendors where it is more of that, like artistic. Like I get couples to email and it's like, hey, we liked this video but we like, your reviews are your price and you're like, well, but like, that's great, you know, then you should maybe talk to them or we can figure out, like you said, kind of marry the two together. Right. But uh, I mean that is tough, right? To kind of

[03:50] Taylor, all those expectations or whatever. Right. And I really want them to know I want to be able to meet people's expectations is so important to me that the bride and groom are the two brides are the two grooms or however the couple of structured are able to see my work and be like, oh, it's better than I imagined it. That is really, that's what I'm going for. And so I don't want to set people up for an expectation that I can't meet or that's not realistic. 

[04:17] So you're the first floor. So he found on a talk about kind of where you see, you know, the florals and the arrangements and that whole aesthetic kind of in the place of a wedding. Right? Like, why you do that, you know, why do you do weddings and of how important do you see like the bouquet and all those things in the arrangements in the wedding day. 

[04:37] Oh, so my, my philosophy is that I don't want couples to spend so much money on their florals that they can't put money on the things that really, really last. So the video that, um, pictures of the guest experience, you know, the catering, the music, their honeymoon, the down payment on their first home, you know, I, I know some of my colleagues have like a minimum package amount that, you know, unless you're going to spend 2,500 with us, we're probably not the right florist for you, for me, if you're going to spend 175 on a perfect bridal bouquet and that's all you order from me, that's what I care about. So, um, I always tell couples making sure that, you know, that I'm, I mean, I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I was charging $4,000 for services for flowers, [inaudible], they're going to die. 

[05:27] They're already dead when I give them to, you know. So the way I see it as like, um, the icing on the cake of your whole event that you have pops of color are pops of natural, you know, bringing the natural indoors. Um, especially with all the greenery trends right now, being able to do the long, lush garlands on the table, just making things fancier. I see flowers is fancying up the day. I think the day is about the couple. It's about the fellowship. Um, it's about the tradition. It doesn't need to be about a $10,000 a floral installation. So I mostly work with couples who, um, whose budget is limited in the floral space and um, I'm happy with that. I think that really fulfills my Michigan. I've been able to provide beautiful flowers to people. Any budget. 

[06:19] Well that was like when Dorothy and I got married, like obviously we knew we needed flowers and a bootcamp, but yeah, like it was like, you know, that second tier of priorities. Right. You know, and it's, it's still important. I mean like the center pieces that we had for our ceremony, we're like, you know, it's the centerpiece of the frickin ceremony and people are looking at it. So yeah, you definitely don't want to like, skip, you want to find the right fit and you don't have to find somebody that's going to work with your budget. Do you see what are some of the biggest, like misconceptions that people may have nowadays are like when you're talking to brides and grooms are like questions you're always answering or things that people think like, oh, it's $20 for a thing and they don't realize or uh, do you see a lot of the misconceptions? 

[07:02] So I think one of the misconceptions, and I see a lot on the facebook groups, I'm a part of, or you know, other vendor groups that I've gotten to know, um, florists will often share that they have the same observation. So, um, couples will say, Oh, well I'm going to do it myself, do my flowers myself. Does anybody know a good wholesale or that will sell to the public so I can pick my flyers up the day before my wedding and do everything myself or I'm just going to go down to Pike Street market and get my bouquets. So recently I had a wedding who had me do all of that centerpieces and I'll arrangements and the welcome sign and the Arbor, but they wanted to get their bouquets at Pike Street. Um, so number one, I wasn't able to make sure that the colors they told me we're going to be in the bouquets, I didn't know what flowers they were going to get and when I saw their pictures come back, all the bouquets by the end of the night, we're dead. 

[07:57] I mean, you could literally see all the orchids falling apart. All the lilies were well teen, but my pieces were beautiful and um, I was really disappointed for the bride and, and even in those situations I say to the couple, okay, listen, I will discount your bridal party arrangements. At least we have cohesion and you get what you want and you know, it's going to last and look beautiful. Your entire event. So the whole diy thing, I've seen brides try it. Um, I can't tell you how many brides have called me like 12 hours before they get married and they're like, is there any way you can come help me? Can you do my book? I don't know what to do. I've got all these floods. So I feel like it's one of those things that people think they can diy. I would've thought the same thing. In fact I did when I got married, I was wrong. There were so many tips and tricks that you learn after a few years in this industry that, you know, today's couples don't necessarily know unless they're doing a lot of research about it. 

[08:55] Yeah. I've told this story before where I did the video for my good high school friend and they thought that they, you know, they were trying to save where they could and they did their flowers and I saw him that morning and then I knew because I was helping them plan and then they decided to have me do the video and so I kind of knew all of this and I saw him that morning and I was like, hey man, like, how's it going? He goes, well, we were up to 4:00 AM last night time bouquets and they still don't look the way that we want them to. Finally, like, you know, we gotta we gotta get married. She has to go on a talk to me about your wedding. What was that like? 

[09:28] Okay. So I have been married twice. Um, so I was married when I was 21 and we were together for 10 years. We're still awesome friends. Um, that's when I learned how to do the flowers, so I actually wanted to diy and my aunt happened to be a florist for like 25 years on Capital Hill and so she taught me, um, and so I was actually able to do and all the bridesmaids bouquets and that really actually helped me center myself on my wedding day, but it was because I had a lot of training from my aunt and I had her assistance. I had someone else do my bridal bouquet because I just knew I wanted something special that I hadn't created. So, um, it was sort of like a masquerade ball type thing we did up on Camino island and it was really fun. It was a great memory. 

[10:14] I'm 10 years later, I guess. Um, I met my current husband and we got married at Taser valley farms in Stanwood, which I don't think they're doing weddings up there anymore, but yeah, I was up there a couple years. Yeah, it's like a, they don't anyone, but it was beautiful. So we did the whole barn thing and again, I had a Nisha from flourish, floral in Seattle. She did my bouquet for me, but I did the rest of the flowers and even in five years my style has changed so much. When I look back I'm like, wow, I would do things so differently. Um, but our wedding was really fun. You know, we did a lot of do it yourself stuff, but we definitely called them. The pros were we needed, I would have done a little bit different in terms of, um, I probably would have hired a different Dj. We hired someone who was sort of starting out and I felt like that's something that at first I was like, wow, that's really expensive. You want what? For what? And now I have great respect for Djs. They absolutely keep that party going, you know, they, they're the masters of ceremonies and I would do that differently for sure. But my flowers were pretty. 

[11:20] Having gone through that and the emotions and everything, does that help you connect with brides and grooms when you kind of. 

[11:25] Oh sure, absolutely. And I, I always understand that the brides are going to be a little bit more particular the closer to the day, so a lot of times I'll book a year in advance. That's really common. And um, when the bride books with me, they're like, oh, I'm super passive, I don't really care. And then I say that's probably gonna change and it's okay if it does. And so one of the things I do that I think maybe it's surprising to some people is that I'll take changes even up to about a week advance because I can, I have a little bit more flexibility and I think people are going to change their mind if they're engaged for a year, they're going to see a lot of things within that year that maybe makes them want to go a different direction. So

[12:06] yeah, Dorothy was the same way that we, um, we had Katrina with love blooms and just because I had worked with her, I just worked with her right before we got engaged and so does beautiful work. She's great. And so, um, dorothy like, just couldn't, you know, she's a client now and I wouldn't say we're at least gonna pay Katrina deposit here because we've got to figure this thing out because it was like, oh, like she almost didn't care enough and then it was like Vinci care the lot right before. And that was like, okay, I'm glad that we got this squared away so that we can, you know, have somebody. Because I was thinking like, yeah, we're not going to book her and then we're not going to have anybody and then we're going to be like one of those people online like, you know, neither Flores. Uh, so talk about your aunt and this kind of origin story about you becoming the floral designer. 

[12:53] Oh Man. Read. So, um, I have a master's in psychology and I was a executive clinical director at compass health. Um, and I oversaw five counties of psychologists that actually go out and do involuntary detentions for mental health patients. Um, so I did that for about 10 years and uh, also did it on the floor myself. Like I would go out and we were like mental health police, so I would handcuff people, read them their rights. I wore a flak jacket, like it was big, big, big time. Um, my husband and I decided that we wanted to adopt and so we adopted our daughter last September and before then I did about 15 weddings a year or so over about 20 years mostly for friends or friends of friends. I advertise a little bit on thumbtack, which I wouldn't recommend, um, at all, um, and craigslist, which is like totally old school. 

[13:52] Um, and so I just did a part time real part time here or there. And um, someone from big fake wedding contacted me right before we knew we were going to Mississippi to Dr Daughter. And she said, can you do, can you be a part? Can you be one of our floral designers for our event? And they had it in within Sodo. Have you heard of big fake wedding? Okay. So for anybody who hasn't, um, it's a company that goes around to all the big cities in the United States and they put on a fake wedding usually for a couple who's doing a vow renewal and then the, the, the guests of the wedding and I have quotation fingers up. They are the ones that are actually coming to the wedding show. And so you really get to see like the dress in action, the bouquet inaction, the centerpieces inaction. 

[14:39] So that allowed me to showcase my work and be seen by ruffled blog and Seattle magazine Saddle Bryden. Um, we were featured in white make and some of my centerpieces actually got to the, you know, got selected, which was awesome. I did this really cool installation out of an antique typewriter. Um, so people call me all the time, like, tell me more about the typewriter, can we have that at our wedding? Um, and so after that wedding wire reached out to me and said, you know, why don't you finally take the leap and put some money into your marketing and, you know, it's time now. And I did, um, so now I do like the, the professional marketing through weddingwire and I was booked for 2018 the second week of January. So it was like this huge blessing that I was able to stay home with my daughter and also be able to do this full time. And so now I do about 50 weddings a year. 

[15:35] And so that was back in 2017. Yeah. Yeah. Just on a side note, I've always had a craigslist ad going for the last five years. I love it. I love it still. And now it's like, I think $5 a month. I still have. You never know. It's true. Yeah. I booked a, a, a thing last year that was going to be the next facebook and they did this retreat on Bainbridge island and like we went and it was like insane. Like what you would think it would be like the new, like the, and it was crazy, but they've, I mean it was great money and they went into this whole like launch and I'm strongly craigslist that's not around anymore. The social network. If it does surprise you at all. Shocked. So, uh, so you got your degree in psychology. Where'd you go to school? Seattle Pacific University. 

[16:24] And so then talk to me, this is fascinating, this mental health thing because I think we'd like in that story, which is great. I think we skipped a lot. So we're going to go back here. Okay. So talk about that and what led you into psychology. They begin with. So I mean, my mom is a psychologist. She did substance use disorders though, so totally out of my wheel house. But um, I used to sit on her abnormal psychology books to get up to the table. Like I was raised with Freud and Jung and gestalt theory. And

[16:52] so, um, I knew, you know, my mom called me doc, you know, so I knew from a young age what I was going to do, I'm getting into emergency mental health wasn't the plan, but I am an adrenaline junkie and there's something about being chased by someone high on meth around in an emergency room that like, you can't, I can't trade that memory read. No, I can't, I can't. So I had by exciting career I was able to become um, what a lot of people wait their whole career to get to early on and walking away from it was really hard. But I knew that I wanted to focus on my daughter because we're only doing this once. The adoption process was so heart wrenching and so crazy that I knew I really needed to do something different. I, I couldn't be doing the high stress, you know, I carried the 19 nineties Pedro for 10 years and still I have like a pub lobbying and response when a pager goes off on a movie. I can't watch the wire. Like there's none of that. So, um, yeah, emergency mental health has been huge in my formation and I would love to, um, I mean I continue, I have my license still is a mental health professional. I am still do clinical work with teenagers but just one day a week out of an office with a water feature, so I'm not talking people off train trestles anymore and that has made my life a lot less stressful. 

[18:23] Um, so you were doing the psychology while you were kind of doing the right? She was, it was my outlet for sure. Yeah. Was it, 

[18:32] oh my gosh, I'm. So I would take the Friday's off before my weekend weddings and I just, I had a lot of flexibility because I was the boss and if I got my work done on my people were safe, I could kind of do what I wanted and I would go to the market early in the morning and get my coffee and I just became kind of this zen ritual for me. Um, I have, I'm sort of suspicious I guess, or um, but I will play two different records while I arrange the flowers and I feel like if I don't play those records that like the bride and groom aren't gonna like what I do definitely have some obsessive compulsive records. So 1989 by Taylor swift and the hosier hosers record take me to church, right? Oh yeah. 

[19:19] Uh, that's funny. My, uh, my wife just went to a Taylor swift show back in. So we have, we have that 22 point for like weeks here. We're getting ready for that. Uh, so you play the two records, you're kind of ocd when doing your bouquet, so why? But so starting for, to begin with, right? You talked about your aunt on Cabo, so like what made you start, say like, I'm going to start doing like wedding florals

[19:44] because I enjoy doing my own so much and I found it so therapeutic and they turned out pretty good for a newbie. And so, um, some of my friends asked me then, well, can you do ours? And in graduate school I did a few people's weddings and note that turned out well. Um, and then I, I told myself I would get into it and start advertising a little bit more professionally. I'm going to get my business license if I could pull off this one wedding. My friend, she got married at Woodland Park Zoo and then they had their reception at Safeco field and so they had a baseball themed wedding. So we actually, she sent me baseball roses, roses made out of baseballs to incorporate in all of her. It was crazy. It was like trying to utilize that in my head, like you saw my eyes totally not my style, but it was so far out of my comfort zone that I really enjoyed it. And it was a huge wedding, um, lots and lots of people. And transporting the florals from the zoo to the field and just making sure everything fresh and managing my inventory. I said to myself, if you can pull this off, you can start this. And I did. And I started. So when was that? When was that? Two thousand and nine is probably when I started officially have kinda like doing the 15 to 20 weddings a year. 

[21:08] What was that process like? Was that nervous then or do you feel like you had it after the SAFECO thing? 

[21:14] No, no, I was nervous. I'm still nervous. My, my, the poor lady at northwest wholesale that works with me. I need to give her like a steak dinner or something at this point. But um, I have learned that there's a lot, like I said earlier, there's a lot of tips and tricks that the lay person wouldn't necessarily know and you can be in the field for 15 years and realize, okay, I should have been ordering this foam or this wire or this clue. And so I've had some mishaps along the way, like hot glue doesn't work for flowers. Ladies and gentlemen, I can attest to that. So you know, when you were a kid and you'd get the toysrus catalog in the mail or the sears catalog, you know, the really thick one. I'm like that with the floral supplies syndicate catalog because I have learned that there are so many mechanics behind a good floral installation and different ways to treat different types of flowers and how do you keep things fresh in certain ways and what is the weather going to be like and how does it affect what's going to come in and where to go to source certain things. 

[22:23] And I just, I didn't know any of that. Even in the SAFECO field wedding days, I didn't know any of that. I would say the last three years I've really gotten my footing. 

[22:33] Finally it took. No, but it's, it's, uh, I think that is important and I think it is like the things that you knew back, you know, or you think that you knew or whatever. And then it's funny. Um, you know, like I'll see new companies and stuff started up and you're like, man, that was like, was a lot of time that it's gone from here than now. And like, you know, you got a long road ahead just trying to figure it out. But, um, what, uh, what's your favorite tip or trick or a thing that you're most proud of that you've figured out that's kind of in your repertoire, 

[23:10] including unexpected things in a, in a bouquet. So being able to grow, grow and wire the airplanes and the succulents appropriately so that the bride and groom can then take those and use those in their home. So a lot of people will replant the succulents that I use. I grow everything I use succulent wise, that's the only thing I can keep alive. And then the air plants, you know, they can take those out of their arrangements and I usually do have um, people who send me pictures after their wedding and say, look what I'm doing with the succulents. They thrive on neglect, so they're perfect for a busy newlywed couple. And then I always give folks that option of having something incorporated from their family. So I do a lot of lockets dog tags, you know, my grandmother's turquoise ring, maybe a pendant that my grandmother had. I will incorporate that into a boot near, um, you know, put lace around the bridal bouquet handle. That was from someone's mother's dress and I really try to make sure that I'm helping them incorporate their traditions into their floral bouquets. 

[24:18] Yeah, I think that, I mean the, I see that a lot now. I mean just our wedding on Saturday had the, it was like a war medallian kind of not on the. I'm touching my chest on the boots are on the bouquet. Okay. Now and then I know that Joe had just done the wedding and then she had a incorporated with the bouquet. So I mean that's, I think it's a really cool way to kind of carry. Right? 

[24:40] Yeah. It's like you're something borrowed or something old on your floral. 

[24:45] Yeah. And especially if it's like, you know, your mother is lock it or maybe your grandmother isn't there anymore or something, you know. Yeah. Um, so do you have some favorite, like examples of kind of like super customized things you've done or where you've incorporated into. 

[25:01] I have a scary one that I turned down because it just made me so nervous and then I have like a really happy one. So I'll share both. We'll start with the bad news, bad news. Okay. So the bride couldn't decide between her grandfather's dog tags with his picture on him. I'm wrapped around the handle of her bouquet or a necklace with his cremains in them and the family was thinking of dropping those things off to me the day before the event so that I can incorporate them as I always arranging. And I have a necklace with my grandmother's cremains that is probably the only thing besides my child I would take out of a fire. And so for me, I just knew there's no please, I don't even want to have this on my possession, like God forbid something should happen. So, um, she ended up going with the dog tags and I appreciated that she understood where I was coming from. 

[25:54] And then the really exciting one that I did I think was, um, one of the very first weddings I did after I decided to go full throttle was that Januik Winery in Woodenville. Her parents had an ivy plant that they incorporated into their arrangements 35 years ago. They had planted in their back yard and it had grown all of the bride's live. Her mom cut off the ivory or the Ivy brought it to me and I incorporated it and all of her arrangements. Did she know that was going to happen. Think about that. It was the best part of all of her florals. Laurel Mcconnell was the photographer for that and she captured it beautifully. 

[26:35] Yeah. It's uh, it just kind of made me think I'm talking about the dog tags and things. We had our wedding on Saturday that Joe had, that they've misplaced, I think one of the, the, it was like a handkerchief or something, but, you know, but he was like, he's a, you know, texting me like, Hey, can you look at the footage and kind of see when it, you know, cause we took videos and so I'm just kind of literally downloading it right now as we speak. But um, I think, yeah, I mean this is stressful, you know? Yeah. I mean, it's a great, you know, it, you just need to be careful about that sort of thing because it is really important that like, have involved in your day, but you do, I don't know, it's just the lesson to keep track of it, you know, like have a planner or somebody that's kind of keeping an eye on those things. Um, so then what was it like kind of stepping away from your professional career to go into the year? You know, not to step away from psychology. It's really, really hard read. 

[27:33] Yeah. It's weird to have a supervisor now. I always forget to ask him what I need to be asking him. Like he has to remind me, like you probably should check in with me every once in a while. Um, you, you need support too. I'm used to having everyone come to me. Um, so knowing how to balance being. I'm just a therapist. I don't know how to explain that because that sounds to me when I say it, it sounds conceited, but I think what I mean is just, there's so much more pressure on leadership that you don't have necessarily at the clinical level. And so going between the two was really hard. Um, and I knew I wanted to stay in the field, so I do still work for an agency and I work with teens and their families and it's really fulfilling for me. 

[28:28] Um, and on the other hand, I think the flowers have allowed me to do something. I don't, I don't want to say it's less stress. I think it's actually just as much because there's a lot riding on someone's wedding day and I am really committed to making sure that at least my small part is perfect so it's not less stressed, it's just a different kind of stressed. Um, obviously I was dealing with life or death situations in emergency mental health that I don't have to worry about in the floral business. Hopefully knock on wood. Um, and then sort of, I'm almost 40 and I'm, we're just starting out as new parents with an infant and so redefining myself as not the executive as not the teacher, the leader. I'm a wife and a mother and a florist. Those are things I never saw. I was always really high powered career track woman, Independent. 

[29:32] Um, those are all great. But for me this transition has been life changing. Really do want me to talk about, uh, your family now and how that's going and Gosh, it's so fun. So we did an open adoption. Um, Chloe, Catherine is from Mississippi. I'm on the golf. So we actually drove her birth mother to the hospital when she went into labor and we were in the room when clay was born. Um, I got to hold her for the first time and I'm, Chloe has an older sister and an older brother and we are in contact multiple times a week with them. Um, her birth mother is one of my best friends. A CLO is African American. And so it took a lot of trust from her birth mother to make the decision to place with us because we live in Lynnwood and while it's fairly diverse in the area we live in, we've actually been looking around your area because we really want to make sure that Chloe is not the only black child in her school and in her daycare and, and her playgrounds. 

[30:41] We want her to have cultural mirrors. And I think especially now in our society being a white couple that has adopted a black child comes with so much. And so we've pulled in a lot of our community and our friends and family to help us. Um, we do have quite a few black members of our family and I have a lot of um, African American friends and they've all volunteered to teach me how to do her hair and you know, they come alongside and really support me and, you know, they're the ones buying her, the black cabbage patches and just making sure that she has what she needs culturally. And so, um, so as her mother, but you know, African American culture in Washington is very different than African American culture and you know, rural Mississippi as well. And so we've been learning a lot of how to incorporate both of those sides and Chloe will always know that she's adopted from, from now until when she understands and she will always have access to her birth mother and it's nice to know I can pick up the phone and say, here your daughter has a question, you know, I, I'm sharing this experience with someone else. 

[31:45] And I was really scared about open adoption. I was worried I would be really feeling threatened or like she's not really my child and all these fears that I see now. It was about her and her best experience. And I think having her know her identity and where she comes from and not having to search or question or be secretive, that really matters because she's black and we're white and it's obvious she. So she will always know there's something about her that's different and I want her to understand why that is. So it's going well. I mean, it's scary. Um, she just learned how to say, uh, oh, and thank you. And um, she turns one on the 13th of September. Yeah. Yeah. I mean I've just, I've heard it's just such a process to kind of go through that, you know, do the adoption. It's not for the faint of heart rate for your tough. I. 

[32:40] So that was your next step on that. Uh, so now, uh, is it a good balance work balance between family and doing your forest and everything? 

[32:48] Yeah, we call Chloe Chloe the closer because people love her when I come over for consults. Um, I'm happy to meet couples wherever they're at for their consults, but one of the things I really enjoy is having them to my home because they get to see my style and my flare and sort of being mined vironment. And I believe that my interior design and the way that I've set my home up helps couple see my style and then that helps us connect on a personal level. And when Chloe's around, I mean I have couples that rock her to sleep while they're talking to you about their flowers. And um, so it's been nice. I mean I just strapped to my back and she goes, I mean, she takes naps in floral boxes, honestly. Like she's just, she's out in the studio with me playing and trying to eat things she's not supposed to be eating. And um, you know, I have a little wagon that I put my flowers in to load them from the car to the venue for the setup and I just stick her in the wagon and she comes along with me. And so ever since she came back from Mississippi, she's been going to a wedding shows with me and meeting couples and going to the flower market. 

[33:56] Talk about the, you, you're talking a, you know, a client's coming over to your house and being really involved talking about that philosophy, how you're running your business of kind of that really intimate. Because we had spoken to earlier, you know, it's just you doing this. But I mean, that is like, I think an extra step, right in terms of really putting yourself with your clients, what is the thought behind now they're talking about that. 

[34:20] Um, so I think my clients can attest, you know, usually they're going to get a facebook request or a follow from me. I like to have them see what I'm doing and I'm, I see what they're doing and what's going on with them in building more of a personal connection. Some of my best friends are the people that I've done their weddings and that's how we met. And some of them are really cute, like very formal. Like, so could we be friends now? Well, let's shake on it. And then others have just evolved sort of organically. Um, I love hearing people's stories. My favorite moment is when I hand the bouquet to the bride. And so many times I arrive at a venue for a delivery and the wedding planner will come and, and a friend will come and say, oh, I can take that to her. 

[35:06] And I'm like, could I please like that moment matters so much because she and I have sat across from, you know, a cup of coffee together for hours on end talking about what their vision is and then to see it come alive to life and see it in their eyes, you know, like, wow, that's exactly what I, that matters so much to me. So yeah, that personal element, I know that as a photographer, a videographer, you know, that's also a really intimate time because oftentimes you'll get to know the, through an engagement session or boudoir pictures or something of that nature. And Florists don't really get that as much. And if you go to a larger florist, it's more of a corporate type setup. That's fine. They do beautiful work. It's very uniform, it's very fresh, it's very, you know what to expect, but you don't get that personal like tell me about your engagement story from that corporate. And so that's where I look at myself as more of a boutique florist

[36:08] two things. Yeah. One totally like dropping the flowers off or whatever, you know, like will. I think it is really important to have that kind of one on one where you're delivering it because yeah, a lot of the times we're like, oh crap, we need to go get the boot nears is anybody know, oh, they're in the box down in the freezer at the hotel restaurant or wherever we're at a. and I do think they kind of having that personal delivery and all of that. But then also, yeah, like seeing their face, like I didn't get to see like my couples when like they watched her video. Right? Like, I know you like and you know, like some photographers will do like in studio I'm showing or whatever so that they get that. But yeah, I do think that like that's a really unique thing that you get to do a. 

[36:50] and I think that that's got to be cool kind for everybody. Uh, also with the online thing, I totally agree with that. I don't have a lot of friends, but I have a lot of like wedding clients now that I think are my friends because I would not have my wife. So it was acquired so many people like in, I'm like, well that's my friend, there are my friends. But um, what is the process like for working with you? What do you, kind of, how do you welcome in couples and have you kind of walked through that process with them? What's your kind of a workflow? 

[37:21] Um, so usually a couple couples will contact me and we'll say, you know, this is what we're looking for. We saw you on wedding wire or instagram or whatever, or friend of a friend. We went to their wedding and now we're getting married and we love what you did or just whatever means they found me and then I'll have them send me their pinterest board or any inspiration pictures and give me sort of an idea of the order they need. Um, I do do multiple weddings in a weekend, which sometimes is great. Sometimes it's bad. I did five weddings, one weekend, Father's Day weekend actually this year. And I broke these two fingers. 

[38:00] She's holding her two index and middle fingers...

[38:04] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so, um, my husband had cut like 300 roses that weekend? I wasn't able to squeeze two pies. You break your fingers. I fell with um, bouquets in my hands against a door coming in from my studio. And um, I wasn't, I think, I think I knocked myself out. Actually my daughter's screaming and I woke up and all I really cared about was, were the bouquets. Okay. Um, and yeah, I was doing all the wrapping with like splint, you know, um, but, and that was after the second wedding, so I had three more weddings I had to, it was wild, but the brides were really supportive and I think sympathetic to my, my problem, 

[38:51] what we did. I mean it is life, it's real life happened, you know, when you like, you know, we all try to put on like the vendor front and like whatever, but like, you know, get front with me. Right. So then they'll usually say

[39:06] set up some sort of, a consult with me either video chat or on the phone. Um, I work with couples who do destination in Seattle. So, you know, recently I worked with a couple who lived in Italy and then went in Japan who were in the military that were coming back and then I'm working with a wedding planner in Charleston right now, the couple's coming during Christmas time to get married in Seattle. So, um, I've been able to work with some distance couples that way, um, or invite them to come over for a cup of coffee. So. And then once we sit down for our console, I type up what I like to call a floral agreement. It's a working document. It's not a contract that sentence stone because like I said earlier, I know things can change. Um, and then basically once that's signed and the deposit is made that they're booked, 

[39:58] that is something that we, I didn't know until we kind of went through. That was like the whole formal thing. It really, it does kind of need to be flexible because you don't necessarily know like what exactly is going to be available or in stock or like you find like you know, it's going to be really close

[40:14] or how many rsvps did you get? A lot of times people will need more or less centerpieces and they asked for originally, 

[40:20] do you do other events and just weddings? 

[40:23] Um, I've done several memorials, which I think is, I mean, it's such a huge honor. Um, I've done a few bridal showers and baby showers. I was asked to do a 50th wedding anniversary party the other day, but I was booked. I wasn't able to. So I do occasionally get asked for things like that. I do a lot of styled shoots with local vendors, which is one of my favorites and a lot of maternity shoots. A lot of times moms will want some sort of a floral shaw or a floral crown to go with their maternity photo shoot. 

[40:55] So with, you know, 18 years here, 200 plus events. How do you keep things fresh? I mean, no pun intended with how do you know how you keep being inspired and keep, you know, keep doing that. 

[41:10] So I guess my competition, you know, it's funny because I have so much respect for other people's visions and I know it's not really about competition because it's about finding the right vendor for, you know, who clicks with you, who's style matches and what you might love about me, wouldn't love it, but another vendor, one man's trash is another man's treasure. That's kind of extreme, but, but that idea of, um, you've gotta find the right fit. So anyway, um, my competition, you know, people that are doing this alongside of me in the area who's instagrams are so rich, whose websites are beautiful, whose client feedback is excellent, um, and who are always doing new things and inspiring. They, they inspire me. Um, and people like Nisha Flourish. She knows, she really made my wedding day special and every year on Valentine's Day my husband has her remake my wedding bouquet for me. And so, um, I've been able to keep in touch with her as her business has grown. And so I have people in the, in the business that are able to keep me inspired and, um, my daughter inspires me a lot. Um, she helps me see the world a little bit differently than I did before to, which sounds sort of hokey and cliche, but it's so true. 

[42:28] Uh, what are your next steps in terms of a number one family and then also kind of the business and where do you see everything progressing in the next couple of years? 

[42:38] So I haven't been really honored to do some weddings that are distance weddings. I've done one in Alaska, Florida, Maui almost in the YP in Michigan, but ended up that wedding was canceled. Very Sad. I'm all over Idaho and Oregon. Um, so being able to travel a little bit and do some weddings would be fun. I'm not sure how easy that is. The law, that logistics of working out of state with my license and having access to storage and refrigeration is a little bit tricky in those instances. But I would love to do a little bit more travel. I'm work. I'm also trying to professionalize myself a little bit more. So I've got my website that I created and manage, thank God for Squarespace and um, my little, uh, business cards, but I don't have a whole lot of um, like I don't have a logo right now and I don't have like branding. 

[43:41] Um, so that's one thing I want to be working on this year is to kind of brand a little bit more of my documents and things like that. Um, and then I also want to start doing something that a Torry Wahl from Raise a Glass Wedding suggested and Jeff and Rebecca photography, they, um, they both do something really cool where they have the couples that have booked with them throughout that year, come over to their home for like Taco night or um, you know, Torry will do, do it yourself nights where all her brides will come over and do a craft for their wedding. I think that is so cool. And with how personalized I want to be. This is definitely something I want to work on in the next year is to really create something for my couples that's special that maybe is unexpected that they could participate in. 

[44:27] Yeah, it's a, I mean, it's Kinda the whole impetous, the podcast, right? It's like, it's so easy nowadays for people to get in contact with you or kind of know who everybody is and like, you know, whether it's on social media or on your website or whatever. And so like, I do think that that's a really cool. I have heard of a couple of different vendors they do that and I think that that's a really cool, uh, I'm not a self confidence and self confident enough to think that anybody would want to hang out with me, but uh, I could see, you know, somebody like you having great success kind of in that, especially with kind of the way that you're managing your business with kind of that more personal feel. Um, does your husband help you out at all or what was his role in this and besides the flower and the Rose, 

[45:12] right? Yeah, he's um, he will go on flower market runs for me. Um, he will watch our daughter. He comes with me to events strapped her to his back and then we'll sort of like, hold the letter. Um, a few weekends ago I did a wedding at court in the square and pioneer square and the bride I think had envisioned the arbor being a little bit different in terms of hanging it, like the logistics behind hanging it. What ended up happening is I had to climb a 22 foot ladder to like the top of one of the arches in the square over concrete floor and a marble pool of like water. Luckily my husband was there to help with the logistics of the ladder and my daughter and steadying and handing me wire. And so he oftentimes is my second pair of hands. And then he's just my biggest fan. I mean everything. I show him as beautiful. I could show him a dead flower and be like, this is the new trend. And He'd be like, Oh my God, you're a genius. So yeah, 

[46:15] it's funny with back and all their production that goes behind, you know, like the more upscale wetlands. And we did one last year at the four seasons. Beautiful. They will, they'll be. And the goal was like, you know, white, a literal like floor to ceiling. And it's a huge room, like for the ceiling, a white, you know, dre in the ballroom. Oh my God, boy. Around. But so you're like, you walk in and you all the flowers and everything were great and you're like, wow, this is like incredible blake. I was there 45 minutes earlier when they're like screaming at each other like bedding and like the drapes or even though we've had a, also at the four seasons, the bride's dress, different wedding, almost a pole, one of the flowers over, you know, walking down the aisle. Because I have noticed nowadays, and maybe you can speak on this, a couple of different weddings I've done recently that one included, um, you like you get the aisle and you get the flowers and you get like whatever. But they don't do the math of like how wide everything needs to be like, well you're like, well, okay, well my dress is like six feet wide and then I'm going to be walking with my dad. Like we had a bride that it was her, her mom and dad. So there's three of 'em and the flowers and her address. You know, there's not enough room, I mean, do you, I don't know, have you seen anything like that? 

[47:32] I always ask the bride the shape of her dress. It's really important not only in styling the shape of the bouquet, but also how is this going to work with your aisle decor brides are going for simple and minimalist, um, weddings right now. So the only times I really do a lot of aisle work is when we do double duty. So this is the other thing I think maybe is unique to me or maybe not, but I always suggest that brides maximize their budget by having an opportunity to say unclip one of their arbor pieces and place it on there sweetheart table during the flip so that they can have that, uh, two times and they save hundreds of dollars. I'll also, you know, you could have every other aisle have one of your centerpieces depending on what it looks like and then during the flip your wedding planner or myself or someone can transfer them to your reception table. So, um, I find that a lot of times I worry that if it's used for the aisle and then transported, it's going to be damaged. So those are logistics that I try to think of as as well, especially when we do the double duty arrangements. 

[48:44] Yeah, we did the same thing. I think we had to like senator pieces for the ceremony and yeah, it was like our ceremony just like seven minutes. So we really got to get more time out of this. So yeah, we did that. We had won by like, I don't know, buy the cake or something. I don't, I'd have to go back and look, I don't actually remember that

[49:07] uh, as well. So any other trends or anything else you see a kind of going, like you said, kind of the more naturalistic, the more is more local. You know, a lot of couples really want, you know, we live in the Pacific northwest, I want something grown in the Pacific northwest. Um, which is challenging for me actually, believe it or not because a lot of the stuff that's sourced is sourced through California, especially depending on the time of year. So, uh, I, I love Seattle growers market because they have sort of a co op of growers from all over this region that will bring their flowers and greenery. So I see more of that. The locale being, um, taken advantage of just because we live in such an incredible setting. And then I also see, um, like I said, more minimalist. I do a lot of ice creams, Greens and like light colors and I'm not seeing a lot of dark colors for weddings anymore. I do have an orange in dark blue wedding in October that I'm excited about just because it's very different than what I do normally, but definitely more of those light. And then the family experience. So a lot of people are doing the long family style tables where everybody sits together. They don't have a formal place setting and everybody kind of just congregates. And I really like that trend and it has allowed me to be creative with how I do my flowers too. 

[50:37] We have the flower girls. I guess there was like two or three and then bring bearer. And so I'll have like a big. It was like a garland thing. They all. Do you see the know? I'd never seen that before. On Saturday. They all carried it. Like, yeah, they all like locked down like a, like a rope or something. I don't know, they don't carry that, but it was like, it's like 10 feet long. It was, it was really, really neat. I haven't seen that before. They had some florists came out. They had this whole literal, like a whole room of the hotel, like a whole suite, like was just the flowers. And he's like sitting there like, oh, that's really cool. Yeah, I've done that before. Right

[51:13] on the floor, somewhere hiding so that the photographer take a picture of me. I did a wedding on Saturday at the Ballard Bay club, um, where the bride had the ring bearer carry down the collar of her late dog who had just passed from cancer and I had decorated the color with flowers and greenery, so to honor the dog. That's rough. It was, it was, it was rough. We all cried, but it was really a special moment. So, 

[51:42] uh, last question I want to hear about your favorite wedding memory ever that you felt participating in my gosh, that is really hard. Or, or it could be, it could be one or you can have a couple. 

[51:53] Let me think. Um, oh my gosh, there's so many. I think, I think recently, I think this one I'm talking to you about right now, last Saturday, the bride and I, this is one of those situations where I think we're going to be friends maybe even for the rest of our lives, like we really connected. Um, I spent a lot more time with her than I normally do with couples. I'm doing venue walkthroughs and I came over to her house and got. She did driftwoods centerpieces that she had collected and then I put flowers, greenery, and succulents on them and that was one of the most unique centerpieces I have ever done and she was able to send them home with her friends and family, which was really neat. I think that being able to really do something incredibly unique. I mean I went on like a three months search for Pampas grass and ostrich feathers for her to give her the look she wanted. 

[52:50] I've spent hundreds of dollars on feathers in the last month. And so, um, being able to really be a part of her planning has been really unique and it was a very personalized do it yourself type event. I think the only other favorite wedding memory I have, I've been doing more often lately is making sure that any leftover flowers that the bride and groom don't want. We source them to local senior centers or hospice houses and being able to go and deliver afterward and sort of, um, give new life to that arrangement a way is really special to me. 

[53:27] That's awesome. Yeah, I have seen that. I think that's awesome. I think that yeah, because otherwise it's like here today gone tomorrow. 

[53:33] Totally. Yeah. 

[53:36] Well I want to thank you so much for coming in today and taking some time to talk with us. I hope this was adrenaline for, you know, I don't have handcuffs if people want to know about who you are, what you do and where to find you, what would you have them do? 

[53:50] So, um, instagram is really good to see sort of what I do on a daily basis or a weekly basis. It's @JVCFLOWERS and then my website is really good. It's a little bit more curated but you can see each wedding is partinioned out and so I talk about each arrangement I did and you can see the full compliment of each weddings arrangement. So you're not seeing just my bouquets. You're also seeing exactly what I did for each wedding and that's 

[54:21] Yeah. No, it's great. It's a great site and I think that really helps. Like you said, kind of being able to see the whole picture of everything. 

[54:27] Yeah. You get to experience the wedding. And what it would be like if it was yours.

[54:30] Because I mean like seeing the bouquet is nice, but how does that compliment everything else? Well thank you so much for coming in. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Stefanie Wright, Forever Events Wedding & Event Coordination

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I am joined today by Stefanie Wright of Forever Events Wedding & Event Coordination, and Stefanie, thank you so much for coming in. Uh, why don't you tell us who you are and a little bit about what you guys do.

[00:28] Sure. Well, first, thank you very much for inviting me to participate in your podcast. I appreciate it. Um, so yes, my business is forever events, wedding and event coordination. I, I'm a full service wedding and event planner. I am located in Bothell and I go all over Washington State, all over the country, all over the world, wherever parties and events might take me. I've had my business in Washington for about eight and a half years and before that I worked and lived in southern California and I have been married for 10 years myself. This year my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary and we also celebrated 20 years together as a couple. So I got to plan my own vow renewal this year and um, we also now have a three year old son.

[01:18] Well, that's very exciting. Well, congratulations on the anniversary. And uh, so uh, when you got married before how did that go? How did that work?

[01:28] I know so I, it's funny because I was never growing up. Someone who dreamt about planning my own wedding. I really didn't give it much of a thought until my husband decided to propose to me after we'd been dating for nine years he proposed and so then I was tasked with planning my own wedding. So my wedding planning story is a little interesting because I actually planned two weddings for myself. So first we got engaged in Jamaica in June and we had planned to get married in April of the following year. We were in our scuba divers, so we love Catalina islands. We were living in southern California at the time, so we were going to get married on Catalina. So I planned our entire wedding to take place on Catalina Island. And then due to circumstances beyond our control, that plan had to change. So I'm in October of that year, we had to scrap the whole Catalina, the plan, and then we planned our wedding, uh, for January and Long Beach, so I actually planned my wedding in three months, so I planned two weddings in six months. And so it ended up being a very different than what our original plan was. But we ended up getting married on a Thursday night in Long Beach. I'm the at a venue on the shore is next door to the queen, the Queen Mary. And then, um, my, my entire family that had traveled for the wedding ended up all taking a cruise together. So, um, it was a little bit of an interesting experience, but it showed me that I can plan a wedding in three months.

[03:07] It was kind of cool. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but, um, it, it ended up being great. Our wedding was wonderful. So were you, uh, do you play any at the time that you guys got engaged or. I was doing event planning, um, at the time that we got engaged. I was doing more nonprofit work and some private parties and I had a little bit of experience with weddings, but I wasn't at that time 10 years ago, what I would consider an, have a wedding planner like I, I do now. Um, I so, and again, because I didn't really have much of an idea of what I'd wanted for my wedding, it was, um, I didn't feel a lot of pressure as a wedding planner or to, you know, have any kind of expectation for my family. Um, as they're happy with the way our wedding turned out, but it wasn't coming from the idea of like, I'm a wedding planner and so let me plan my wedding.

[03:57] It was a little bit. It was, it was a little different. Um, my experience with events at that point had been like corporate and nonprofit and fundraisers and things like that. So, which you get a little bit of, you know, it's definitely wedding, excuse me, event planning as in logistics and decor and ideas. But, um, I didn't become what I would consider to be officially wedding planner until I moved to Washington a couple of years later. The wedding went off successfully. It was successful. One of the reasons is because I had a day of coordinator, so even though I was experienced with event planning, um, I knew myself enough to know that I needed to hand the day off to someone else. So the day actually went off wonderfully. It was, um, it's funny because we got married in January, which is something that doesn't really happen in Washington, but because we were in so cal, we got married outdoors at night in January and had a wonderful cocktail party reception.

[04:53] And um, I had a friend of mine who had actually taken an event planning courses with me, who was my day of coordinator. So she handled everything and made sure I was able to enjoy being a bride and instead of shift into event planning, planner mode, which is what I always do, I'm so, she let me kind of relax and she took the day. So it was, it was successful. It was a good experience. Uh, so you guys were down in so cal scuba dive in talking about that, talking about scuba diving. So, uh, yeah, my and my hubby and I had been together for 20 years, so we've had a lot of adventures along the way. So one of the things we decided to do together was to become certified as scuba divers. So, um, we learned how to dive off of the shores of La beaches and we took a couple trips to catalina.

[05:46] Um, we've gone diving in, I think Mexico in the Caribbean, uh, in Costa Rica, so it's something that we can enjoy doing together and kind of can incorporate into our travels, um, which is really cool. So when you can kind of come from a perspective of, Oh, let's go to this place so that we can see what the timing is like, like it's just, it's kind of a cool way to be able to experience things. Scuba diving is amazing. The certification process was a little scary. Um, the first time that we went to get certified, our dive master was an old, I think he had been like an ex navy seal or something, so he was kind of like really kind of grizzled and hardcore and on the first day he talked about all the different ways that we could die. And I was like, yeah, I'm not going to do this.

[06:28] But then we switched instructors and he was much more like cool and laid back and let me know much less scary. So then I was really fun and enjoyable and it's something that um, we really still enjoy doing together. So you guys still dive in? Yeah, Yep. Definitely. Next on the bucket list for that, for diving, um, you know, we have actually never gone diving in Hawaii. We've been to Hawaii multiple times. We honeymooned on Hawaii, we just did are vowel renewals in Maui, um, but we've never gone diving there. So. And it's such the perfect place for it. We, we snorkeled but still haven't gone scuba diving. So I think I is definitely, we've been there like six times and have never gone in there so next time for sure, every time we leave we're like, we really should have gotten diabetes. So next time I think we're, we definitely need to make the diving happen.

[07:13] How did you meet your husband? So there's two stories we used to tell people that we met at Knott's berry farm, but that wasn't true. We actually met online, so I met my husband when I was 16 on America Online. So this is back in the nineties when we were paying per minute to be online and you get the disc, say yes, you get the cds of like, you know, 500 free minutes and all that stuff. So we actually met randomly in a Beatles chat room. So we had a shared love of the Beatles at the time and we were just online friends and we eventually started talking on the phone and we eventually met in person and we eventually became a couple. So, um, it was funny because at the time the online thing was just kind of reserved for like nerds. So we didn't really tell people that we met online because that wasn't really a thing back in the nineties.

[08:07] It's, you know, way before like and all that. Um, so yeah, we, we officially met on America Online in a Beatles chat room as well because I was, when you said all we met online and I thought well, because I met Dorothy and I met on match 20 years ago. I said I don't think matches around. No. Wow, that's wild. Uh, and then he did it for 10 years before you got engaged. Did for 10, almost 10 years before we got engaged. Jump. And then, um, yeah, it just, it just was time when it was time. So we got engaged in Jamaica, my husband proposed and I was still surprised like we've been together for 10 years and um, he wrote me a song and um, got down on one knee and proposed and I was in tears and it was a lovely experience. We got my engagement ring in and then incorporated all of the things that we had, you know, that we're us as a couple into our wedding. So there's lots of Beatles music at our wedding. We met because of the bills. Yeah.

[09:06] Funny. Uh, and then talk about this vow renewal. So then 10 years.

[09:11] Yeah. So, um, we did our vow renewal actually on the anniversary of the day. We started dating 20 years ago, so March 6th of this year was 20 years for us to. So um, we had decided that, you know, it was 10 years married 20 years together and really wanted to mark the occasion like we weren't, I wasn't just going to let it come and go and not like acknowledged that it's pretty significant to not only been married for 10 years but to have been together for 20 years. So, um, we planned our vow renewal on the beach in Maui and we went to Maui for the first time two years ago and absolutely fell in love with it. So, um, we had, um, my husband's aunt traveled with us to help us with our Kiddo because he came, he's three, so it's just the two of us and our son and his aunt. And um, we found, I found an amazing, efficient who was a native Hawaiian and he performed our vow renewal and kind of incorporated native Hawaiian song and some culture and wording and we had bare feet in the sand at sunset and it was amazing.

[10:20] Sounds awesome. Yeah. And that's going to be your son could be there and yeah, it was great. Can we get the whole gang together? Uh, so was it stressful planning that. I mean, it sounds like it was a little. Did you feel like you had standards now that you are like a wedding planner and then expert and all that? Or did you just kind of just want to make it a special?

[10:39] I definitely wanted it to be special. I wanted it to feel, um, appropriate for us as a couple. You know, I didn't really have any expectation on what other people were going to think. It was much more about what was going to resonate with us as a couple. So, um, I wanted to find an efficient that felt like a good match. Um, my husband and I are both, are really interested in, um, kind of native cultures, you know, wherever we travel, we'll definitely interested in getting kind of the local native experience in history. So we wanted to honor that I'm in Hawaii by getting someone who was a really a part of that culture, um, and I know that are efficient, could trace his Hawaiian roots back to one of the first queens in Hawaii, which is really cool. So we wanted to incorporate that and then we just kind of wrote our vows to each other and talked about what our journey has been over the 20 years we've been together.

[11:33] And um, it really, I was, it was pretty easy to put together because it was just the four of us and um, then he and I just went to dinner afterwards and I'm relaxed and, and just, you know, walk to the beach and enjoyed each other's company. Um, but the ceremony itself was really what was important to me. Like I, I wanted it to reflect us even more so now, you know, our wedding ceremony was definitely a reflection of who we were as a couple then. And so I wanted our vow renewal to be the same.

[12:04] Um, one thing I'm always interested in, I always say like I became a better, um, wedding vendor, whatever. Having gone through that process now, having been with your husband 20 years, you know, planned the wedding, got married, uh, you know, raising the family. Do you, do you think that that helps you, you know, resonate with couples or this, that talk about kind of how that relates now they're working with clients and things like that?

[12:26] Sure. I think being a bride definitely helped me appreciate what my brides and couples go through. Um, I think that the challenges of being a bride were, for me, we're all about kind of the interpersonal experience of, of what was to plan a wedding and everybody had opinions. And in our case we had to change our plans mainly because of unavailability of family. So family had a big impact on my experience of being a bride and planning my wedding. So, um, and I think if I hadn't had that, I wouldn't necessarily have an appreciation for what couples go through as far as the, you know, the logistics of a wedding are no art easy for me. I can plan. I always say complainant wedding in my sleep. I planned my wedding in three months. The logistics are not what the challenges for me, the challenge was, and I think the challenge is for ladder couples and they may not even realize it until they get into planning a wedding is not only do you have to figure out who you are as a couple and what you want your wedding day to look like, but then you have all these other thoughts and opinions coming from friends and family and your parents might have one idea of what you should do when your friends have another idea.

[13:38] So being able to kind of juggle it, incorporate everybody's opinion into this one day can be a lot of what stresses people out. I think so, um, my experience on my wedding day, I think it's definitely helped me to appreciate what it is to plan your own personal wedding and then I've planned a lot of personal parties and family weddings since then. Um, and that's still all comes into play. So, uh, yeah, having a real kind of hands on experience and really be able to understand what it is from their side, not just from logistics but from the point of view of the couple in the center of this wedding. Madness's been really helpful. I think.

[14:17] Interesting. You know, when Dorothy and I got engaged, I mean her parents are like pretty easy going, you know, and they've always just been really kind of whatever. And then, you know, we had talked about like, oh we'll do like a destination wedding down in Mexico, like we'll just, because we used to go down to a resort down there and you know, when I went and met with them and was like, Hey, you know, I'm going marry Dorothy and the way you guys think. And they're like, hey, you know some about that, like wedding in Mexico. And I, you know, I could see, I told Dorothy, I said I saw the tears in your mom's, I, you know, said like, we didn't know that that was such a thing for them. Then obviously like you have to incorporate them, like you said, like all these other things that are even bigger than what you want necessarily. So, so before you got into, you know, your wedding company now and February events, what were you doing before in terms of event planning and things like that you mentioned?

[15:08] So I kind of had been involved with party planning or event planning ever since the first job that I had in 15, um, which was, which was, I was in the marketing department, have an auto auction in Las Vegas, which is my hometown. So, um, I worked in marketing and a couple of, for a couple of different companies and a couple of different jobs because originally when I graduated high school and it's going to go to college, um, I thought that that's where I it to be and kind of marketing and advertising. But I realized as I kind of went through a couple of those jobs that what I was really drawn to was the event planning aspect of marketing and advertising. I worked for a PR department for Awhile and what I loved about that more than the PR was the event planning that we got to do for product launches and client promos and things.

[16:00] So, um, I eventually, in my mid twenties, started working for a nonprofit organization that was a nonprofit botanic garden in southern California and I was in their development and membership department and what we did in addition to development and membership and kind of, um, procuring members to support the garden as we did all the event planning for those departments. Um, and that is really where I, I realized that events was where I wanted to be. I was simultaneously going to college and uh, I kind of took my time because I put myself through school. So I took a little bit longer than most people because I had to work and live and pay for a place to live in and in school at the same time. So when I was going to college, I had started first majoring in communications with an emphasis in marketing and then I shifted into a little bit of pr.

[16:56] They got that experience and then when I started working for the botanic garden and really getting my hands on events, I shifted my focus again into a special event planning. Um, so by the time I graduated I was kind of fully on board with a development department in implementing all of their major fundraising events and member events and I graduated with a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations and special event planning and a minor in journalism. Um, and so I eventually became the event planner for the botanic garden. Out of that experience, I got certification as an event specialist, which was in both corporate events and meetings management as well as weddings and social events. And, um, I started working independently. It was event planner at the same as I was working for the garden. So it kind of just developed organically as I had different jobs and different experiences and really honed in on what I was interested in.

[17:59] Um, but the event planning was definitely what kind of sparked my passion and I was like, yeah, this is, this is what I want to do. I really enjoyed the creativity of it. Um, I really enjoyed the logistics and just everything that was involved in having to make an event happen. Um, so it started as kind of nonprofit events is where I consider my official start to be a because I was working on the big annual gala fundraisers and the higher directors level events for the nonprofits. And then when I moved from southern California after my husband and I got married, we moved up to Washington, um, in 2009 and I got connected to the snohomish wedding guilt. I'm really early on just by happenstance. I met them at a wedding show and they invited me to come check it out and I joined and that brought me fully into the wedding world.

[18:51] So I had already been working independently as an event planner for nonprofits and kind of private parties, smaller events. And then once I moved to Washington I was like, okay, I really love weddings. I'd had a little bit of experience with weddings and so cal, so joining the guild just kind of moved me fully into that. And so I um, became wedding and event planner, so I was doing all of the above and still do, uh, what brought you guys up to Washington? So it was kind of a funny way that had happened. Um, so my family is from Las Vegas. My family's been in Las Vegas for almost 50 years. Um, so we're old school like old vegas before, you know, had all the Disneyland type stuff that it has now. So my um, one of my aunts decided to move up to Washington with her husband hurt his job, I think brought him up here.

[19:43] And so they moved about 20 years ago and so the rest of the family would come up in the summers. They moved to Marysville and we'd come up and visit them. And then when Vegas kind of crashed in, oh, oh, seven. Oh, eight. More of my family decided that they wanted to take that opportunity to make the move. So my sister, my mom, my cousins just kind of slowly started migrating up to Washington at the same time. Totally coincidentally, my husband, who is an it consultant, got assigned to Boeing on a temporary assignment which ended up being two years. So he ended up just happening to work at the Everett location and for Boeing, he ended up renting an apartment in bothell as my family was moving out here. So when we got married, um, it came time for us to buy a house and we tried and failed three times to buy a house in La. Um, so then he said, what about Washington?

[20:38] And at first I was like, no, I like the sun, I'm from the deserts, I'm not doing that. Um, but then we started looking and more of my family was up here. I said, okay, let's start looking. And I found our house in bothell and fell in love. And I said, okay, let's do it. So we made the move and have not regretted it at all. Um, we love Washington. He's a snowboarder. Um, I have definitely acclimated. I was just in Vegas yesterday actually. We traveled down, we have a cabinet in Utah, I was 117 degrees. So I'm like, yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm okay here now. I'm kind of, I've got the desert heat out of my system and we love being here now. So glad to have made the most. What was it like growing up in Vegas? Being the local? Um, it's funny because I think a lot of people have this idea of vegas is like very, you know, Vegas Casino based experience, but um, other than the things that are a little different about having the strip be a thing, um, and having casino, you know, like a slot machines in the grocery stores, it's pretty normal.

[21:40] Like it's pretty much a traditional experience. You know, Vegas is kind of a small town. Um, which is funny because when I was growing up it was a town of about a million people, but we, everybody kind of knew everybody. It was kind of weird. Um, my dad was a salesman and he knew kind of everybody all over town and you know, we would occasionally you'd get comped to go to a show or we would go eat at the buffets, but other than that it was just kind of life as usual. Um, but I wasn't really aware of certain things, like it's such a 24 hour town that when I moved to California I was like, why did things close here? Like I wasn't experience of like, oh, there's not like a grocery stores open like all hours of the day and night and I can't walk around with a drink and like stuff like that. So, um, but it was. But I, I love Vegas, um, you know, it, it has changed a lot and it's really hot and I don't think I could ever live there again. Um, mainly because I'm not like a lizard person anymore. But um, you know, it's my hometown so it has a special place in my heart.

[22:35] So then when you move to you move the. So cal for

[22:38] high school I moved to so cal for my husband. So when we met online, I was in Vegas and he is in California, so, um, I eventually ended up moving there because of him and I ended up going to school there too. I started, I did one year at unlb in Vegas and then I moved and ended up graduating from cal poly in California. What was that like? Um, it was, it was great. I mean, um, it was close enough to where I could drive back and see my family a lot, but then I was living independently and kind of figuring out what I wanted to do, you know, in my different jobs and school and I'm just being a young person can kind of trying to figure out what I was about and what I wanted to do and um, you know, he and I were madly in love and just young broke kids trying to make it happen. So it was great.

[23:30] Uh, so, and I, you had mentioned that I saw on your site about being a certified uh, events specialists. Talking about that and what was that experience like and what does that mean?

[23:41] So really what it meant at the time was I went through as I kind of got the feeling for the events being what I really wanted to pursue, um, I had had some experience being able to do hands on because of the jobs that I'd had and because of my position at the botanic garden, but I really wanted to study and see, you know, what it was that I was missing that I was missing. Um, so, uh, there was a certification coursework actually through a program at my, at my university, um, that was specifically about gaining more knowledge and hands on planning and events. So, um, it was coursework in corporate events and meetings management. So we really focused on the, what that is all about and where corporate events look like and the logistics involved with that. And then the other aspect was weddings and social events.

[24:33] So it was the goal was to kind of give an overall view of these different types of events out there. These are the different elements, the different logistics and kind of create this overall program of once you've gone through all this coursework and certification, now you are an event specialist. So it was really helpful. I think that the most helpful thing though was my hands on experience, like as I did more events as I was exposed to different types of events and any level of schooling can't really make up for hands on experience. Um, so I definitely credits my, you know, even from 15 when I was able to do events for the marketing department and have that experience and exposure. I think that that was part and parcel of what gave me the real idea of what it is to be an event planner. Um, I liked this going, but Hanson was definitely, that's, you can't really can't really know what it is until you do it.

[25:32] Um, do you want to talk anymore about your 15 year old job? I mean, when I was, I was uh, you know, doing the Fryer at Arby's, so just seems like maybe a little bit more. What was that like working at such a young age like that? So,

[25:45] um, my mom actually was the one who brought me into that job. She was the marketing department manager at the, um, auto auction. And so when I was looking to work, she offered me a job and I said, yeah, that's great. So I worked in marketing, we did some of the event planning for the department. We did kind of dealer focused weekly and monthly events, um, promotional events. And then I also, it was an auto auction, so I worked the block, I was a black clerk and got to meet, know the dealers and see the cars come through and be a part of the auto auction, which is really cool. Um, and then I worked for a blue moon communications, which was a marketing and advertising company and I got to do marketing and promotional events for new home builders because that's who their clientele was. Um, I worked for Japan Travel Bureau for Awhile as an early job because I majored in Japanese in high school. So I got that experience. So yeah, I kinda got to the whole, like fast food industry, early teenage job thing and it was always in like administration or marketing or kind of office type things and then, and I'll pretty much every job also happened to have an event aspect to it as well. So it kind of was lucky that it organically happened that way.

[26:59] That's fascinating. Do you retain any of that, like automobile knowledge or did you kind of categorize the Japanese? Do you kind of have all this now in your back pocket?

[27:09] I have a little bit of Japanese in my back pocket. I took it in college too and then I kind of didn't pursue it after that I wish I had because now I'll watch like a movie that's in Japanese and I was like, oh, I kind of know what they're saying but I wish I. So I don't know, I have this dream someday that'll get back into it and read up on my Japanese training. Um, and the, the, the auto auction experience was just kind of a cool thing to see, you know, um, any kind of live auction is really, it's really fast paced. It's really fun to witness. It's just kind of a unique experience. So, um, I have seen a couple of shows that do kind of live auction stuff. And what's funny is that now I do auctions in a completely different way because I do nonprofit events where we're doing actual live like silent and live auctions. So the word auction has been in my repertoire for awhile, just in different capacities. It's kind of funny.

[27:56] Yeah, it's a, I do enjoy what we do, you know, I'll go film, whatever it is. Fun. You come in, at least up here, there's a couple of regular email auction colors I guess or whatever. And you kind of see him and uh, it's Kinda fine, you know, it's fun. Like if you're even like dorothy school have that, you know, in the auction, and we got to go and, you know, she did the thing where I'm a, it's like the last person that put up the $50 gift certificate, but she didn't realize that when they did wasn't her, that they were still charging. So it was about the third time and I was like, you know, that's $20 every time. I think she's like, oh, I just thought it was. I got nothing. Know that's how they, that's how that works. Uh, so you're up in Washington talking about joining the guild more?

[28:42] Yeah. Um, so I met, I attended, um, one of the wedding shows in the spring of 2010. Right when we first moved up. I knew that I wanted to bring my business up to Washington and I knew that I wanted to continue in events and I kind of had an inkling that I was interested in weddings as well. Um, I actually planned, helped plan my cousin's wedding. I'm the month that I moved to Washington is the month that she got married. So I kind of, my very first introduction to Washington was through her wedding, she got married at hidden meadows and I was heard damn coordinator essentially. Um, and as I, when I met the guild, it just so happened that hidden meadows was one of the guilds venues and, um, it was just a really good opportunity for me to step fully into the event and wedding world in Washington.

[29:34] You know, there's a definitely a learning curve coming from a different state and the La event world is different than Seattle and I'm in snohomish. And so the joining the guild really helped me get to know not only what the venues were in the area, uh, but who the vendors were, get to make personal connections with people, really brought me fully into the world of weddings and events in general. And it was kind of instrumental in what. Let me bring my business up here so early, um, and kind of hit the ground running so quickly and successfully is that I had the guild as a resource and I went to all the meetings and I was getting to know all the people. And um, so in, in the guild has really been instrumental in, in, in supporting my business. Um, so it's been great. I've been in the guild now for eight years and I know a lot of people and we worked together a ton and um, you know, I, I've branched out to the other organizations as well and nice and alien and all of that.

[30:34] But on the guild was kind of my first introduction to what it is to be a wedding in Washington, um, which again is different, you know, there's a lot less attitude in Washington and Seattle than there wasn't southern California, which I appreciate and vendors we're a lot more friendly and easy to work with and definitely interested in the couple, you know, there can be a lot of ego and attitude and La and it's more about the vendor than it is about the client. And up here, especially in the world of weddings, um, it tends to me, it's much more about the couple, like that's what everybody's there for. And um, most everybody that I've met has really been on the same page as far as they do it because they love it. They do it because they have the right intentions. They want to have to have the help. The couple have a good day. Um, so it, it's, I've met a lot of great people and vendors and have had a lot of good experiences because of the guilty.

[31:29] Yeah, I'm with the worst guild members. I think I've been to one meeting in like two years. It's time to come to an end and I know Dan Manny and always messages me, I think every month before you were saved, man, I'm looking forward to seeing you. I go, yeah, we live in west Seattle and at 6:00 to our community. That is interesting. You talk about the vendors. I remember when I went to the wedding mba last year, like you a lot of videographers, we're doing all these talks and stuff. Talking about, kind of like you said, like the egos and like, you know, fighting with the photographers and like I'm in like a nation wide, you know, a wedding videographer groups too. And like they're always talking about that, you know, like, oh, I was fighting with the photographer. Like it's really not that way here at all. It really is, like you said, it really is kind of about the couple and like, I mean maybe one out of 100 there might be, I don't know, but for the most part there's never really any issue. And I think that's interesting. Was there any other big differences between the La Scene in here?

[32:31] You know, another thing that I noticed and especially 10 years ago when I moved up here, um, the, there was a bit of a learning curve as far as educating couples as to what a wedding planner was all about. Um, the idea of a party planner or an event planner or wedding planner has been around in La for a long time. Um, but coming up here, there were, I definitely encountered, especially in my first couple of years of business, a lot of couples who really didn't understand what we did. Like what does that mean? What is a wedding planner even do like, why do I need you like the, so, um, and it's gotten, it's changed over over the 10 years. I'd say there's been a lot more education, um, for couples, um, about what wedding planners all about. But when I first moved up here, um, I kind of had an expectation of, you know, everyone would know what an event planner is and I'm just like, oh no, not, not necessarily like people, you know, you know, what a wedding is and you know that you need a venue and you need a photographer.

[33:24] But the idea that there's a person that can actually help you plan wasn't known as much I would say at that time. So that was another difference that I had noticed between. So callan and up here, your eye

[33:38] said that planners before, like I already seen it, that's probably the hardest job for you to try to educate people. Like, because you know, people do get married like without a planner or videographer, but you know, but like uh, just because like you got married at the end of the day does doesn't mean that that could not have gotten a lot better or gotten a lot better. Right. You know, we had the reception on Friday and you know, their sister was the coordinator, you know, just kind of dubbed that and we were an hour and a half late. No the entire night. Everything, everything, you know, like standing, waiting to cut the cake, standing, trying to figure out who's giving, you know. Finally they got, you know, they got married and it was in me and we were there and food and people dance, but that did not mean that. Like if they did not have somebody that was much more qualified in that position, that that couldn't have gone a lot smoother for everybody.

[34:31] Yeah, definitely. I always tell couples, you know, of course you can get married without a planner. You certainly can. People do all the time people do every day. People did, you know, 20 years ago before it was really a thing, weddings happen every day, um, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it because it's going to be the difference in not only the experience of the couple not having to worry about anything on the day, you know, when there's an absence of a planner or a day of coordinator, that means that anything that comes up, um, someone has to deal with either it's the bride or the groom or the couple or it's the wedding party or it's the parents, you know, having a, having a planner means that hopefully everybody that's supposed to be enjoying the day gets to enjoy the day and that things run on time and that those transitions are smooth and that your guest's experiences is more comfortable because everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing. So, uh, yeah, for sure. Weddings can happen without it, but I wouldn't, I wouldn't recommend,

[35:29] uh, it's interesting your timing coming up to Washington with the guild and also with kind of the snohomish county kind of weddings like you really kind of in the empathy or the beginning of that whatever thing, right? Because like Snell mish wedding community, you know, even just outside of the guild, you know, just in terms of like the venues and kind of the culture up there and you know, all the different places and stuff. I mean, have you talked about just kind of that growth that you've seen, you know, from everything up there. I mean that's like a destination place now that people got to get married.

[36:00] Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think when I joined the guild and it only been around for a couple of years, I think, um, and so, and I know that it was essentially started by the venues to try to let people know that there were wedding venues in snohomish. No, I have to kind of educate the, the, the community and couples in the area that, hey, there's a lot of options up here. It doesn't just have to be Seattle, it doesn't just have to be, you know, um, what had always been known as a traditional venues. And so over the 10 years that I've been a part of it, I'm definitely done a great job in promoting snohomish as the premier wedding destination. And um, we've gained a lot more venues. We've gained a lot more vendors. I appreciate the guilds because it, it's, is a good resource for me as a planner to be able to refer a vendors that I know, you know, I get to meet them face to face and um, the more vendors that we have, hopefully the more opportunity that I get to meet people and get to know their personalities and what they're all about.

[37:05] Um, but it has been interesting to see the change, you know, just the number of venues. I think in Snohomish, I think that there's like something like 25 or 30, I'm not even sure of the number, but there's so many venues when 10 years ago there was like 10. So, um, and as you know, areas in kind of that northern area have been growing and expanding and general much has just so much come into its own as a wonderful wedding destination. There's so many different types of venues. It's not just barns, you know, there's Ballrooms, there's mansions, there's so many different venues and so many different options. And I definitely, you know, I don't work exclusively in snohomish. Um, I've gone all over the place and I'm really is all over the state. But um, it's been, it's been pretty cool to watch the growth of snohomish over the years and get to know so many more businesses that have joined the guild and to kind of know the history of where it's been. And I'm excited for kind of where it's going.

[38:08] Yeah, it's our good friends got married at a Thomas Family farm which is now at crossroads and like they had just, you know, I think kind of we're getting that going and there was one of the first weddings I had done because Dorothy was a bridesmaid. I like, so, you know, even just kind of peripherally, I can never say that word, but for me like uh, to kind of see that growth, it's just been cool, you know, just to kind of that we have that here in the state and I think that that's kind of interesting. Um, so in terms now of forever events, um, and it Kinda talk about your approach to working with couples and clients and kind of how you try to stay on the part or what your philosophy is in terms of planning weddings. Sure.

[38:48] So my philosophy really is I believe and um, customization as much as possible from a planning point of view. So I am not really into kind of the cookie cutter packages have, you know, choose wedding planning package a, B or c and you know, that's it. I'm very much about customizing the service and support that. I offered a couples as much as I possibly can, so I always do a face to face meeting is as much as possible or to escape if we're in different areas. But I always do a consultation to get to know not only what their vision is, but who they are as a couple, what's important to them in the day, what's going on in their life, you know, that's going to affect the planning process. So, um, if it's a couple who feels really comfortable with planning and they really are just wanting a little bit of guidance and then somebody on the day, I will definitely do that if it's a couple of who, um, you know, I've had couples who are doctors, I've had couples who are going through law school, uh, couples who don't have the time to plan a wedding.

[39:48] And so if they need more support, that's what I offer them. So I really want to get to know them as a couple so I can help them build a wedding that's going to reflect them and their personalities. Um, but it also what's going on in their lives. It's going to affect your planning process. So I'm all about making things as custom as I possibly can to give them the level of support that they want need. Um, and that is really across the board, you know, I, I tell couples I can do as much or as little as you want need me to do, I can just be there to do day off and which is, you know, month to month of um, or you can hand me the wedding and just show up and everything in between. Um, which I've done a couple of times, which is actually kind of cool. You know, some couples are really like I really don't have the capacity to plan this. I want to get married, like we want to get married but I can't do it, so please do it and I'm happy to do that. And the more that I know of who they are, the more than I could be their advocate and represent them and the decisions that are made and make sure that day is what they want it to be. Yeah. I think it's.

[40:52] Well you said it's about customization. Like really everybody really does like approach their wedding planning differently, right? That's because people ask me like, oh, well, like how does this work or how do we. Do we talk on the phone everyday or I, you know, it's really up to you, right? Like that's having gotten married and like you, you know, I know how we planned our wedding and then I know then obviously other people would probably do it differently and like, I know, you know, how stressful or time crunch it was, you know, for us to try to make decisions or respond to people or figuring out stuff. And so like, I totally like empathize now it's like couples where they're like, you know, sorry we couldn't get back to you. And you're like, dude, I totally understand. You know, like we got married and salty is, which was like a mile from our house at the time when we lived up there.

[41:36] And I remember, uh, the lady that was doing the helping us with the coordination, she said, well, you know, I just, it's so interesting. It's so hard to get for you guys to find time to come in like you're so close. Like it shouldn't be that hard. And I was like freaking know what were the enroll. I mean, we're doing our best here. And they try to do it. So I do think I kind of giving people that, you know, it's not a one size fits all and it's Kinda like, uh, what, uh, in terms of like the types of clients that you attract, like do you, like, what kinds of words would you use to describe them or what kind of couples do you look for or couples that Mesh well with you? I think

[42:17] the couples that Mesh well with me are couples who are, I'm definitely looking for a planning partner that wants to get to know them that is interested in really meeting their needs as them as a unique individual couple. Um, but also who's not necessarily looking for someone to bark orders and be like a taskmaster. Like, I'm, I'm definitely organized, I believe in, um, you know, kind of timelines and planning, you know, I'm a planner, but, um, I believe in being friendly and approachable and flexible and I'm really trying to listen to what it is that my couple of saying that they need and really being available as much as possible sometimes to a fault because, um, I kind of available for my couples as much as I can be in, you know, if that means that I have to be emailing them at three in the morning because there's a crisis, then I will do that.

[43:16] I'm, I probably shouldn't say that, but, um, because I have to have a boundary somewhere, but I really want to do the best that I can to support them and be friendly and form a relationship with them. You know, I think that it's important to like your planner. It's important to like your vendors. Um, it's important to have a good rapport with them that way through the planning process we can be, you know, we can communicate, we can be open and honest. They feel comfortable to tell me what's going on with them. If something's come up in their lives that is requiring their time away from planning, they can tell me, hey, this is happening. Can you please step in and do this in my lap? So they do it because I, again, I want to be friends as much as possible. And I think that helps throughout the planning process all up through wedding day that they feel like they have someone who really knows them.

[44:04] They can trust, they can be shared this very personal day with um, and so I believe in being, you know, professional, friendly, knowledgeable, flexible, accessible, and I think that, you know, in my personality that tends to come through when I talk to people and that's why I do face to face meetings because I think it's important to click with the couple and that we're on the same page. And that's the vibe that they're looking for. Again, if they're wanting someone with a headset and a clipboard to minute by minute bark orders at them, that's probably not me. Um, I definitely believe in being a little bit more relaxed and organic and um, you know, I believe in planning as much as possible and then on the day you got to go with the flow because you know, stuff happens, life happens. So those are the kinds of couples that I tend to attract and tend to see gap couples who are into the planning and you know, really excited to make a custom and personal and put all this energy into it and be excited about the planning process and then on the day, um, where you've planned it all as much as possible and then they can kind of let it go and just enjoy and trust that myself and the team that we've put together are going to make that day happen to the best of our ability and they can enjoy whatever may happen.

[45:19] It is a tough balance I think between, you know, trying to plan too much and you know, Kinda like all do phone with some planners. Like they'll call and like we're trying to suck. Okay. So at 4:57, 4:59 and you're like, alright, that's cool, you know, whatever. It's like, all right, we'll do it. Um, what, uh, are there some common mistakes or things that you find couples making that are easy fixes or things like easy, like lessons that you've learned that couples kind of mistakes that they make or things that they could learn?

[45:54] I think one of the lessons that I have definitely learned over my years of planning is, um, and I know that other planners say this all the time, a higher professionals like that's, it's, we're such a diy world right now with pinterest and the Internet and there's so much information about, oh, you can just do it this way or you know, have a friend do that. And there are, there's a time and a place for that where you have an uncle with the camera who can maybe shoot your engagement party. But when it comes to wedding day, I am very much an advocate for have the professionals onboard that you connect with that are in the style that you want, that are the personality that you want, that are professional, uh, people experienced, people who are going to be able to make the day happen for you.

[46:45] I think, um, it's so tempting to want to do everything yourself. Um, but then I think that those are the weddings were you were, you know, things happen and you're stressed, or maybe you had your uncle take your pictures and then he didn't come out. And then this is like a lifelong thing you have to deal with because you're upset. Like it's just, I'm letting you know, trusting the professionals to do the job that you're hiring them to do. Um, and of course that comes along with knowing what your budget is and how to make that happen. You know, a lot of things, a lot of what I do for couples when I meet them early in the process is to talk about what's your priority? Where do we want to put, you know, what, let's build a budget that makes sense for you. Um, and then let's find the professionals that are gonna fit within whatever that is.

[47:29] So, um, you know, my tip is always have a planner and then, um, you know, let's really figure out what's important to you. You know, it's really tempting to get swept into, into the swept up into the world of pinterest and the world of instagram and to the world of this expectation of what your wedding should quote unquote should look like or should be. And I think it's important for couples, whether they're working with a planner or not, to really identify what's important to them. Like it doesn't really matter what instagram tells you is important. It's about what's actually important to you as a couple. So really kind of being honest about what do you want this day to be, what's really important to you, what are your priorities? And then having the professionals be able to execute that for you I think is, is important because again, pinterest is great, but um, it's kind of a black hole and it will kind of swallow couples up and then they get lost in, you know, I've got 500 pins of flowers that I don't know what to do and it's kind of have to step away from it and figure out really what do you want, like not what the Internet tells you to watch, like what do you want, what's important to you.

[48:46] Um, so that's why I'd see a lot. Like I kind of tell couples, you know, yes, it's you, it's really easy to get swept up into the world of planning and it can be really fun and exciting, but it can also be really overwhelming and really stressful. So let's kind of take a step back and figure out really what do you want to do? Who are you as a couple? And let's make that day happen.

[49:07] It's tough. We have a bride that she, it was, there were stresses, but I remember the photographer was telling me like they're, her pinterest board was like all these like water scenes and like lakes and rivers and stuff and like, you know, they were getting married that like the church in federal way, like there's no, you know, and she's like, I don't even know like what, you know, I mean there, there does have to be a little bit of education of like, you know, this is great. And then do we want to go to a park or do we want to try to make this be a thing because, you know, in this field here it's not, you know, when we can get beautiful pictures here too, you know, it's just not what you're looking for. Whatever. Um, and also with the diy thing, I, yeah, I do see like a lot of like couples online and stuff like, oh, we're gonna do you know how, what's the best way? And it's like, and you're going to spend like three weeks trying to get these centerpieces or you could just, you know. And like I said, it's time or money and it's which one you want to spend and some people have more time and some people have more money, but it's, it's a tough balance. It's

[50:09] definitely, there's definitely a place for diy, you know? Um, I just think that it's identifying. Yeah. How much is your time worth? How much time do you have? If you are a couple who is, you know, finishing law school, if you're a couple who's buying a house, you probably don't have as much time to do a bunch of diy. Maybe pick one or two that are manageable that are going to feel really special and personal. Um, and then again, let's find the vendor. That's fine. The pro that can make the other stuff happen for you. So I don't have anything against any. It's just being realistic about, you know, what you're signing on, what you're signing onto to take on. Because people have a life, you know, it's not like you get to just devote a year, you know, I'm not doing anything in planning my wedding.

[50:51] That's what I do. Like that's my job. That's why I exist. But as a couple, you have a life and you have school and work and home and family and whatever it is. So I'm being realistic about what you can take on and diy and then what you want to let go and let professionals do is it's um, it can be tricky to let go of some things and let go of the urge to want to doi everything. But I think it's gonna it helps distress a lot of this situation to be realistic about what a couple can take on.

[51:18] Yeah. The example, I always use a in my friend Dominick you have, you know, he's fine, but he, uh, he got married and I did the video and uh, they wanted to do their own flowers and like they, you know, he was up till four in the morning and doing them and they did it and it worked and flowers and they were great, but you know, he was really tired on his wedding day and they didn't, you know, it wasn't right. And it's like. And they did it. I mean it was fine and it worked. But I think he would even say like me, you know, maybe if we had gone back, we were trying to figure out, you know, a different or have friends trying to do with or something, then that's try to be up till four in the morning, you know, time booton years and neither of our.

[51:53] Yeah. And what, what'd you don't want is to look back on your wedding day and regrets, you know, the way that your time was spent. And that can be a little hard because you don't necessarily know until it's already done. Um, but I think that's why it's important at the beginning to, to kind of be realistic about what you can take on. Um, flowers is one of those things that is so tempting to want a diy or let's just go to Pike's market and do it. And I'm always like, yes, but the reality of what it's going to be to do that, the day before your wedding or on wedding day, I had one bride who was like, Oh yeah, I'm just going to do my flowers myself. I have a little experience and it'll be really fun. It'll be me and my girls and we'll spend the day before putting them together and I'm like, I know you think that's what's going to happen, but trust me, you're going to be busy with a ton of other things that it's not going to go the way you think it's going to go.

[52:41] So I was finally able to convince her to bring in, um, a, a pro who I had an existing relationship with to come in and oversee that process and help and guide. And her experience was, it was that she got to have our hand on the flowers for like 10 minutes and like give a little touch. And then of course she was busy. She was abroad and doing everything else and she got to enjoy wedding day instead of being up until four in the morning. Um, so yeah, the flowers are one of those things that always gets me. I'm like, I know you think it's gonna go that way, but let's please talk to your pro and understand like what you're agreeing to. So

I talked Dorothy out of doing the Pike Place flowers. Dorothy thought we were going to do that and I said, I don't think you're going to be driving them, are there in the morning, now I have to go

[53:27] flowers and as someone who's done flowers before. So that's something else that I kind of started doing for couples who wanted to do more diy. Um, I've done kind of flowers for them and it's not something that I am certainly not a florist, but in certain situations I've done that a lot of work. It's a lot more work than you think that it's gonna be. Um, and I, even, I, you know, I enjoy it. It's part of the design that I enjoyed doing that. I don't want to be a florist, I want to be your planner and I don't want you to be a florist. I want you to be, you know, a couple on your wedding day. So

[54:02] talk about your favorite part of the wedding process, whether it's, you know, seeing the ceremony or meeting new couples or what, what is your favorite part of that? The whole nine months or a year, whatever.

[54:13] I have a couple of favorites. I love getting to know the couples, I love getting to know their individual stories and meeting their families and just being able to be in part of such a special experience. Um, and especially on the day, you know, at the time that I spend with couples throughout the planning process really helps me feel connected to them and get to know them as friends. And so when I get to see their day and full day and the emotions that come up been the wonderful experiences that they're having, a memories that they're making feels really special. And um, I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I also really enjoy their creativity of it. I think that that's when the, the other big things that drew me into events in general is the opportunity to get really creative and do design and, um, figure out how you can customize things to make them feel like they represent the couple.

[55:08] Um, so design and creativity is a huge part of what I love about weddings. It's different than the corporate World and the nonprofit worlds and they all offer different opportunities to get creative. But weddings are so personal, like it's kind of the most personal thing that you can plan is, you know, designing the different aspects of your wedding. So, um, that's, that's another one of my favorites. And then I, I, um, I'm a little bossy so just being able to like be in control of logistics and feel, you know, be exercise, kind of my organizing skills and all of that. It's just kind of suits me personality wise. Um, I was the girl who was organizing plays as a kid and like ramming up my, my cousins and sisters and neighborhood kids and making them like organize things. So it kind of plays well for me now as a planner.

[55:56] Perfect. Well Stefanie, this has been so much fun getting to know you and having you come in. Thank you so much for your time. If people want to learn more about you and your company, what would you have them do andcheck out?

[56:09] I would say come check out my website You can also find me on Facebook and on Instagram and yeah, come check me out. Send me a a reach out in whatever way works for you. Perfect. Thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Jennifer Vandeventer, Elements NW Events & Weddings

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm down here today in Kent, Washington at the offices of Jennifer Vandeventer with Elements Northwest Events & Weddings. And Jennifer, thank you so much for having me in today. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about who you are and what you guys do.

[00:33] Great. I am Jennifer with Elements Northwest Events & Weddings. We opened the company about six years ago. I do have a background in marketing and we did do corporate events, fundraisers. Oh, community events, fashion shows, all kinds of things. So I've just always felt that this was my calling and I finally kind of walked away from the corporate side of things because I thought there was a better way to treat clients. And um, so we opened the elements, events and it's been pretty successful within the, it opened as an event company and then within a year the weddings just took off. So we added the weddings to the end and we do about 80 to 90 percent on average every year of weddings, but we also do corporate events, fundraisers and we've done quite a few fundraisers in the last couple of years. Uh, and really the background just comes from a lot a history with my own family. Even as a young age, everyone seemed to be involved in large scale events somewhere. So that plus the fashion industry, I think just it became innate and I always wanted to do it and finally took that leap of faith about six years ago and it's been great.

[01:43] Oh, that's awesome. So we're down here in Kent and your space is awesome. Showroom meeting space. Where are we at? What is this place?

[01:51] This place is my home office away from home office, so I still work out of our home base and Covington, Maple Valley area. We do travel all over Washington state and beyond. Um, the Kent studio opened up in February and the sole purpose of it was really to get clients a nice quiet meeting space, one where we're not having this, you know, the grinders in the background at the coffee shop when it comes to styling. It's fantastic to be able to just throw a linen on the table and start pulling stuff off the shelves and really play with things so that it's kind of a try before you buy it. Oh, when clients go out there and it just breaks my heart when they spend half their budget on a bunch of crazy decorations that they may or may not need. And here's a great way to come see what it will actually look like and then decide how you want to move forward.

[02:44] Yeah, I think it is really unique. You, you know, you have this kind of awesome display shelf here. Um, like you say where people can really grab things, visualize, is that, is that tough? Do you find clients have a tough time visualizing that? Maybe they see it like instagram or pinterest or whatever, but then like actually seeing the space to talk about that.

[03:04] Well, pinterest, that's an interesting topic to bring up and I'm sure most planners and other vendors will say it to pinterest has this fantastic tool to kind of help define what your style is and what you like. And I often ask clients what is your pinterest page so that we can take a look and I can get a sense of style. However, even that becomes very eclectic. So how the studio helps with that is we can kind of nail it down and hammer down and they can see that some of those pinterest pictures are styled shoots or they are very dolled up and it's not practical like the table settings. So we show them what an actual table setting. I have some plates here and things. Um, so they can get a sense that this really does fill up your table. You maybe don't need anything that elaborate in the center.

[03:50] And kind of one of the emo of our company is to help one of our taglines and fact is, um, help you do more for less. So my goal is not to go out there and spend a big budget if you have it, great. Doesn't mean we have to spend it and vice versa. Um, I work with clients at all different price points. So we really work with them to find what, what's gonna add the biggest value to their event, what really captures and embodies what the look is going to be. And that's where the styling part of it of being able to actually see reality versus a pinterest picture comes into play.

[04:27] I do think it's funny the whole pinterest and like you said, were a lot of that stuff is stylized shoots. Two quick notes. I, we did do a wedding one time. That was the only time it really did look like Algorithmic pinterest board where they have like fake moss on the table and like leather bound books. And like, I mean it was, but they also spent like 10 hours that day. And it was the bride's mom. I was Brian's idea, but you know, her mom and everybody's sitting in a setting this up and it was very impressive though, but it did take all day. Uh, the other thing is, it is funny when you do talk about the practicality of it, because I remember we had a wedding at the four seasons and they have like these big, like the color scheme was black, right? Like it was new year's.

[05:10] It was this black like black on white and this very contrasty and they have these big vases and they wouldn't stand up with the flowers because, you know, it's like, oh, this is great and we're going to put this thing in this vase and it's going to look awesome. But like none of them, it wouldn't even stand up for us to get a photo of it, let alone, you know, for everyone to kind of enjoy during dinner. So do you find that your, um, educating clients on that sort of thing or like you said, you're kind of like helping put that into reality? Yeah,

[05:40] absolutely. I think, um, education, you nailed it right there. It's the industry is ever evolving. It's not quite honestly, weddings are not repeat business or at least you hope not until the baby becomes their daughters or whatnot down the road or a friend referrals. It's just not repeat business. Um, and so yes, it's constant reeducation. So many of the facebook groups out there, for example, you see it time and time again is the same questions as they came up. They don't know, they've never done this before. This is their first time. So you treat it like that. And um, yes, definitely education, everything from helping them understand the vendor contracts, understanding what they're really signing and getting into balancing that. Even if it's not a planning service. That's kind of what sets us apart, is our coordination service has a little bit of planning built into it on purpose.

[06:34] I would rather make sure that their day goes smooth. I, I'm not here to save your day. I will be if I have to be, but we don't want that. What do you want a great day, right? Um, so educating them on here, here's the reality of what you're looking at. And, and also I think it's a true service to the other vendors out there as well because that's kind of our job is we kind of advocate for everyone. And um, as a planner, you're, you're pulling the pieces together of you have to have a little bit of knowledge. A kid certainly could never shoot a video, but I can't even take a picture straight. But you know, that's where I rely on, you know, vendor talent and I say, you know, it's worth it. This is what's important to you. Let's readjust things like, you know, that fancy little centerpiece is fantastic if flowers are all that you want, but if you're really looking for that videography or photography or that's what's going to capture those memories that go on forever, let's readjust the budget a little bit and educate you that way.

[07:28] And here's where we can tackle the, um, you don't need five appetizer. I see you don't need this. Um, you know, and really just kind of scaling things down so that they get the big picture comes into true focus. And with that, that extends into the big day as well because then you've got a relationship with the vendors. Everyone's working cohesively. I work really hard to make sure that a timelines and whatnot are very streamlined so everybody has the exact same information because, God forbid one person can't show up or they're stuck on [inaudible] or whatever the case may be. Um, everybody knows what needs to happen. So I think it's just really a team thing and educating clients on how that really works on when it comes to the big day is so important.

[08:16] Yeah. And it is tough. It is tough about like picking and choosing. I just had a planner yesterday emailed me that she was, had referred me to a client and she said, you know, they're not, they're not going to go ahead with videography because their event or their rental budget skyrocketed. And you know, it's understandable. But I just responded to her and Kinda joking. But like, well I'm, that'll really help them capture the day. So I'm glad that they, you know, those chair that, you know, the chair budget's going to go, but it is tough, right, because you do have in like, you know, you think you want all these things and you don't know whether it's going to cost and then you see what it's going to cost. So they mean it is like a constant, like you said, they've never. People never got married before. So it's like you think, oh my budget's $20,000. Well you don't maybe don't know your venue is going to cost $6,000 or you know, I mean you don't know until you kind of. So it is tough and I think it's like a planner like you are. You are like the forefront of like having to educate kind of every step of the way.

[09:11] Yeah. And there is um, I, I can give you a recent example. Actually. The brides will get very excited and I have one client currently that kind of happened to, she ended up getting, um, uh, her. Her mom is helping her pay for quite a bit of it and her mom is the perfect mother of the bride who's not too involved. In other words, she's letting the bride make the decisions and the couple, but at the same time she's helping with the bill and one thing that the brightest, sweetest girl ever and just does not ask for a thing and mom's ready to go all out. Um, and the situation came up exactly what you said. She went out there and she hired a photographer and also the hair and makeup team, um, and didn't quite understand the contract she was getting into, especially with hair and makeup.

[09:58] And so now she's about $500 over budget on that and that was something she wanted to do out of her own pocket. So she's kind of beating yourself up over it. It's like, no, no, no, it's fine. It's all gonna be fine in the end. But those are the things that happen when you kind of jumped again. So it is really nice. You know, a course, I always hope it's me, but whatever person you choose, finding a good coordinator actually saves you a lot of money in the long run coordination, planning, whatever level you're at, just to be able to go out there and have that advocate for you, that understands what the vendors needs are as well as what their contracts say and to really guide them. It's just priceless in the end.

[10:36] Yeah. I remember when we got married, Rebecca with new creations was our, uh, our planner and um, you know, we needed I think like a basket for the flower girl and like some for cards and a couple other things and we're like, got you. And do we gotta go buy these are white. And like Rebecca said, well no, let's go ask Katrina that's doing your flowers because I know that she has these rentals and things and you can do it. So that ended up saving us not only the money from trying to hire somebody else but also time and you know, because that's where, you know, right? Like, oh well maybe this person can also do that. Or, you know, this person, you know, your Dj can also provide, you know, the light or whatever. Right? As opposed to like me, just level. We need to go find the basket provider and will now,

[11:19] I would say soon as you bucked down, don't go out and buy anything. Let's talk first.

[11:24] Yeah. Uh, so talk about you kind of are you, when you view yourself as kind of your company, are you kind of a handholding throughout? Do you kind of let them take the radio? How do you see yourself fitting into the clients kind of the process of planning and getting married?

[11:40] Great question. And that actually is again, kind of the core of our business is we say weddings and events designed around you and we mean that it's not just talking about design and the is talking about every, every wedding is just as different as every personality and different. So handholding. Yes, there are some clients that they need me every step of the way. I had a recent fried who absolutely needed me in the bridal room for no other reason than she needed comfort. Um, you know, she was just nervous and then you'll have others that really want to just be hands on and get very involved. So our packages are really designed for those, for the different styles of personalities as well as every single client is, is, I don't want to say treated differently, but we work with them with what best suits their personality and, and how involved they want to be in the process. Even at the coordination level, it's, you know, some people want to be very, very, very involved and other people want to just kind of, here you go, I'm done. Please take the ball and run.

[12:50] But I think it's important. That's what I tell clients. So you know, everybody plans are wedding differently so if you want to talk on the phone or you might not ever want to, you might just want to text or meet a bunch of like, have you been married? It's like everybody does it differently. So I just kind of. But I think that that's smart, right?

[13:06] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I have a lot of, Atta the wedding yesterday, they're both out of state. Um, but what the bride's family lives here in this local and that's what drew her back and I get a lot of that. I've had clients from all over the world and it's really kind of fun to see also they have their own cultural aspects added in and their own style that way. So just really, I think that that's where my background is a strong suit. I'm originally from California so I was in that San Francisco heavy metro, very diverse environment and in management and event production and everything else in between and just knowing how to talk to different personalities, different cultures and really be able to relate with them in a positive productive way that's gold. So it really helps and I think it's really helped to get the reviews that we have and to really just connect with them. Even when you're skyping

[14:05] what was going to. I did want to ask you about your wedding yesterday because Jen, we've had this on the books for quite some time and then I called you today that, you know, just wanted to make sure we're good and you said, you know, I just had this awesome wedding yesterday. I'm going to be there. Tell me about it. What was going on?

[14:19] Oh my God, it's fantastic. These couple. Um, he's actually a coach for university out in Montana and uh, she did some stuff within the university as well and has recently taken on another job to go move to Montana. So everything has been kind of in and out and um, a lot of phone communication. Um, she had like a 36 hour turnaround to come try on a dress, you know, things like that. So it's been a lot. And then of course they have to travel here and their friend's happened to be a on Sunday before there. So it's like they've got a lot going on. Um, and this is the coolest guy I have to say. This is one of the most fun weddings I've done this year. There had been a lot of great clients, a lot of fun. I had, if anyone ever says you can't do classy with the kickback laid back atmosphere, they're crazy.

[15:14] This is the [inaudible] group of people you will ever meet. And they had so much fun and we're talking. We brought in, this is a thorn wood castle and we brought in raw cheese pizza because I was like, no, you have to have their pizza. Of course they did the tasting and bought like every pizza they're tasting because it was so good. So they're awesome if you need one. But yeah, it's the first time I've ever done wood fired pizza at the castle, which was crazy. But knowing that their world is football and sports and all of that, it made sense for them and you know, the decorations were minimal because the venue is, is fantastic. And um, you know, just. Oh Gosh, I, so I think I described you this morning, I'm on a little bit of a wedding hangover. It's a real thing people. So, um, you know, it's a 15 hour, 12 to 15 hour days.

[16:04] It's running like crazy foreign woods when those venues where there are no elevators, it's the gardens on one side of the property in the back of the castles where they had their reception and then it's running upstairs and of course they had the Lord Byron Suite, which is amazing and you know, so all the behind the work behind the scenes things that people don't think about, that's what we're taking care of. And so as much fun as it was to orchestrate everything, we had like David Seder there, he did a fantastic job with Dj DJs and then I'm actually party. I know, you know Claire really well, um, party on the rocks service to bar there. So that was great. And they had it. We had a hostess with them as well. Um, yeah, just a really fantastic day. A lot of fun. I don't know what else to say. It was just amazing. It was a great day.

[16:52] Yeah. You talked about, you know, their background and with football and stuff, because I have, and we've talked on the podcast about like, that is kind of the new trend now is like really like specific, you know, it could be like, oh, you know, my fiance really likes to golf so we're going to get married to the golf course to like, you know, we really love football and stuff. We want to have wood fired pizza. I mean, do you talk about like kind of those unique things that you see couples really wanting to infuse their day with now?

[17:21] Absolutely, and that's, that gets me so excited is when I'm a firm advocate of make it personal because your guests know you and if you try to do this uppity, pretentious type of wedding and here not uppity and pretentious, they're going to know, and I have to say that the wedding yesterday, there's always a naysayer in the group, right? Always somebody who says, well, you know, not a one, not a one. Everyone had a great time. At least I didn't hear it. And you hear it. I don't know. People just think you're invisible and a big talk right in front of you. It's Larry's. So you really do here at all. But um, yeah, as far as the specialties, I think like this couple, yes. Football was very special to them and um, I can't go into too many details for privacy reasons, but they uh, you know, they did have during the ceremony they had a football, you know, how you do the ring blessing maybe people have heard of that.

[18:14] Um, I've had someone do a piece of wood before, but this time it was fun. We had a football go through and then they had everybody sign the football later in the day, um, dad built a Jenga set that they had the couple sign because for them it was really in my mind looking back, I want to call it like a high class tailgate party. But it wasn't. I mean, you know, I don't know how to describe it. It was fantastic. But I think that that's what makes it very real. Like we have one coming up here that it's a nod to Harry Potter and they're doing a complete twist on everything. They have plenty of food throughout that. They have like three phases of food and they're doing that cocktail party style. They're like, I want my friends to kick back and relax. I think that that's a trend industry wide that we're seeing couples are really getting away from the norm.

[19:03] I mean you just don't see. Okay, Garter tosses as much. Although the one yesterday, let me tell you, you got to see the video. It'll be up on facebook soon. As soon as I get a couple hours sleep. It is, oh my gosh. It was hilarious. But those traditions or we're seeing them go away. They're starting their own traditions or people are really doing their own thing, which I think is incredibly awesome. It makes it a much more like an event, but they have those wedding elements into it and let's be real. The ceremony itself sweat 20 minutes tops, so really making the day all about you and celebrating and even though a lot of this is going there, I'm seeing a lot more of shying away from hotels and those kinds of things. They're going to the public venues, they're going to beaches or parks or even families backyard. But you and I both know that when it comes to the day of, that's where it takes a lot of planning because they're not set up to be a venue. And so there's, it's a whole new level of, of um, planning that's coming into things, but I think a lot more couples are coming into the game with a very clear sense of who they are and what they want. Realizing it is their day and just going for it. And that's so exciting to see is when they really go for their day.

[20:17] Yeah. The one of the favorite wedding we've ever had was down in Portland for new years. And like, you know, the holiday weddings are kind of tough because you're human. You are asking people to uh, you know, like spend new year's with you. But he was the same thing, like it was set up, you know, I mean they did their ceremony and I think like they did do their first dances, but other than that, like it was just like tons of food, tons of drinking, you know, everybody stayed at the hotel and I mean they partied till two in the morning or whatever. But like it was cool because they were able to like have just a really fun New Year's party where like, they also happened to get married that. And I thought that that was like, and I told him like, I thought that that was like the perfect tone of that where you guys got to kind of have your, you know, a couple of hours of spotlight. But then it was really about kind of everybody having fun. And so I thought that that was neat.

[21:09] Yeah. Yeah. And I think funds the key. You've got to keep it fun for you and your guest. Otherwise, what's the point?

[21:16] Uh, so I wanted to talk a little bit about your background and kind of how you got into this. Uh, so you've talked about, you know, doing the events in the past, you know, fashion, things like that. So how did you, what were you, what was your life before? Kind of where we are now?

[21:29] The funny part is I've always loved the aspect of marketing, but I didn't quite know what that was, but even young age, junior high, high school growing up in the eighties era, um, you know, you watch shows like who's the boss? I was like, I'm going to be here one day, but what I found over the years, and I think you kind of mentioned something about that earlier maybe before we started, um, about how, you know, life kind of leads you to where you go and, or where you ended up. And for me it was knowing that I really enjoyed marketing in that aspect. But what I found is I was always doing, always found myself in promotions. I was always doing something that was event related and um, no matter what job I had or title it was, it seemed like I was always the one.

[22:17] I don't know if I created it myself or they asked me to want to share anymore, but I'm actually going out there and creating events. So it, it was. I attended, my first degree was at the Fashion Institute of design and merchandising, so I also had a passion for fashion and, but what we studied there was way beyond just fashion. And so with that working within the fashion industry in San Francisco, um, different companies that I worked for, even though I was in more of a management role, uh, we would put on community fashion shows and I segwayed into a promotional company where a marketing and promotional company where we ended up putting on like home shows, like the big home shows show. I have that level of expertise in terms of knowing how to orchestrate and get those big huge, massive events done. But then I always loved the little small ones.

[23:10] I mean even growing up, I remember my aunt and my mom, my aunt was really big in the church and it was everything from we would have full. It was large church and so it was a full scale community events and of course you kind of, you kind of always have to help out, right. When is your parents doing it? Um, so we would do, I remember fourth of July and there would be the community bike parade and then we'd have a full scale carnival and it was so fun. We've been put on cheerleading champions or competitions, which was kinda cool at the church, which was weird, but it was a lot of fun. So I think all of those things. And then as I got older, I've lived in a few different states and each job has had different elements that brought in. And when you think of the fat or the wedding industry, you have to have fashion.

[23:58] Even in events, there's fashion, there's the food, there's the beverage. I've worked in restaurants, I've worked in, I've worked for many different industries. I think the marketing promotional company is really melded. Um, that's again, dealing with a lot of different personalities and a lot of things on the fly. And those were all things that I think is what made the wedding side of the business take off like crazy because those details are everything. I mean, business events, corporate events is great. You know, here you go, this is my budget, run with it, get it done. It's fun, it's great if it's an annual event, ah, well we'll do it again next year and we'll make it better. And that's the goal is to get better, better, better with a wedding. You get one shot, you don't get a do over, so you better have it. Right.

[24:44] And um, you know, so my history is just, it really is. It's marketing and its events and its management. And so all of those three pieces together I think is really what has added to the success because I'm able to just connect. And I think that's everything. Just being able to connect with the different personalities. Obviously you build a relationship with your client and maybe their parents, if they're sitting in on those meetings, sometimes the bridal party. But when you get to the day of, you're dealing with their extended families and their friends. And that's a whole new ball. Um, so I guess that's it and that just kinda know. So that's great. So did you, you went to school in San Francisco? Uh, for, um, that's where I got my aa and then I went back to school. I thought, oh my career is flourishing and this is great.

[25:34] And we ran the mail order division of a maternity manufacturer of all things in my twenties, which was crazy. So I, that entailed to date myself here. Um, we worked on putting the first company website together. So the first company website and we were selling nationally. I'm Barbie White, was the owner of that company and she's, you know, she's incredible designer and just working again working a lot of phone cell. So again, that plane into the role of here with what I do now. It's technology. People are all over the country, all over the world. You're talking on the phone, you're skyping, all of that. So I got a skill set from that, but it also involved on the shipping and logistics, right. And packaging and how do we make it look pretty so that when they opened that box that's been tossed every direction, it's pretty when they opened it up and then of course shows and we did the big fashion shows there in the San Francisco fashion district market is what it's called.

[26:32] So I'd go to market and do those. Um. Oh Gosh. Oh, all sorts of things. Um, so anyway, that's, that's where I went to school then, um, but my career was flourishing. Um, I got married and then I ended up my then husband, we moved to eastern Washington, then Montana, and now we're in Seattle. So Seattle has been my home for coming up on about 15 years now. And I love it. So I'm definitely the Pacific northwest. Is Home. What led you into that kind of fashion direction to begin with? Back in school? Um, honestly I think it was happenstance. Um, I did, I did Deca in high school and of course marketing. I knew from a young age I wanted to do marketing and I started competing in that deck. Delta Upsilon Chi, which is. Oh no, sorry, that's the college level of it. I did that too.

[27:35] Um, but DECA, distributive education clubs of America. It's um, it's in the high schools and it's a competitive club where you actually execute marketing strategy. So what are the competition would look like is you walk in, you're given 15. It depends on what you do. Um, but I was in the apparel and accessory division and I think only because I was working retail at the time is why I went into that and I didn't know I loved it until I did it the first year. Um, and you might get 15 minutes to look over a packet and then you have to pretty much on the fly, uh, build a marketing plan for that kind of. Or here's a, I remember one in particular was a swimsuit and it said there's a swimsuit line for a certain body build. How are you going to market this and present it and merchandise it in the store?

[28:26] And then you sit in front of a panel of three judges and they, it's not really about getting the answers right or wrong, it's about how you handle yourself and if it would be a viable solution. Um, and then from there you advance. And I was fortunate enough, um, between high school and college to place in the top 10 in the nation three years in a row. Um, and so that was, and then I moved on with my life. But, um, but out of, you know, over 4,000 competitors, that's pretty fascinating. Yeah. So it's something I'm pretty proud of, but that's, I think how I got into fashion. And also I'm not gonna lie, I didn't want to take my sat and I can attend the fashion institute which has fully accredited without having to take my sats, which is ironic because then I realized a little bit later in life I was like, you know what, I really want to finish my goal, which was to have a master's in marketing.

[29:17] And I actually just finished it up this last year so I know how to. Yeah. So, um, people are like, why you have a company and it has nothing to do with that. I'm like, yeah, well it was a goal. It was a goal and so it feels good and uh, yeah. So that's, that's how I kind of got into fashion and again, it was kind of, I think just life has a way, I believe life has a way of just making a path for you if you want to listen to it. And there's just been so many blessings along the way to just every step of the way get me to where I'm at now and I, it's so rewarding. I mean especially like I love the diversity of the business events and fundraisers, but I to say that there's a special place in my heart for weddings because with weddings it's so personal and that opportunity to not have a do over makes it more intense and I love that thrill, the comp competitive thrill of it I guess. Um, yeah. So

[30:15] no, I totally, I was just thinking about kind of speaking the, when you were talking about but it is personally, you know, that we, I just blogged today, one of our weddings from um, I guess it was a June 23rd and like they were just like to like normal people, you know, like because sometimes you get clients that are like really, I'm either really like fashion focused or really, really wild real high end or have allies, you know like, and that wasn't like Dorothy and I like when we got married to like we just, it's like we just are, you're kind of doing this. But like they were just like two of the most down to earth people. But like he was so good because like I helped refer their photographer and they hired me and him and like just to give them like a day like that that they'll have, you know.

[31:02] And not that like, I mean obviously everyone deserves it. Like some people spend 30 years like planning their wedding in their, had in all this and some people don't, but like, it just felt so good just to be like, that was like the best day that like the Africa they had, you know, and then you have that forever either like they had that they always existed. Um, so, uh, talk about meeting your husband and getting married because I always like to relate, you know, your own wedding into kind of what we do now. So first off, where did you guys meet?

[31:31] Okay, so MSA, it's my ex husband. My. I'm remarried happily very heavily. Um, but my first husband, he was, we met in high school, didn't care for him. Then we met in college. Um, again, we just kind of crossed paths and we started dating his friends and um, so on and so forth. And we got married in Monterey, California, which is where I was born and it was fantastic. Um, and I can tell you back then that was before day of coordinators were a thing and we had the beautiful Castleman Russ hotel and we did the whole ceremony on the beach, that experience alone implanting virtually, I mean it was only three hours away from where we lived. So, but it was still destination on purpose. We both have insanely large families. He was, it. He's Italian and German and my site has its, goes on forever, so we didn't want a 350 person wedding and we were um, it worked out.

[32:36] We love our family but we don't see you. So it's a lot of money. So a destination wedding really helped. That's a tip for everyone out there. Um, so we had that, but what I can say is the logistics in it and who's delivering your final payment sinker intuitively at the end of the night, I felt so uncomfortable at the end of the night handing it out when I should have just been able to leave. And um, you know, things like if there was a little, there was a little hiccup with the food and um, you know, I think it was all just a learning experience and nothing major. It was a beautiful day. It was fantastic and, you know, but there were a little hiccups. There were things I didn't want to be bothered about that day of. So I think that was kind of, I kind of knew them without knowing until it was a thing that, that is such a needed resource.

[33:22] And so my second marriage, uh, was actually about six years ago by the time I opened the business. I had a lot going on, but it was fantastic. Um, you know, this gave me the opportunity to really experience the blended family coming together and we had a much smaller one. Again, I can't, I'm sorry. I'm a Cali girl. I was at the beach, but we went to sunset beach with tastic. I'm just beautiful, true to it's name. And there's, I will tell a little personal story here because it, it share it with clients all the time. I can appreciate the unplugged wedding very much. We only had about 35 people at this wedding that again, kind of on purpose. We want a small intimate wedding that was really about us coming together and it was pretty smooth, but of course my husband would rather socialize instead of the arch and I really wish I had hired someone to do that, but I think the kicker was, and you'll appreciate this as a video for were at sunset beach, true to its name.

[34:30] We got married intentionally when the sun would be setting and here's my husband's sister right behind between the officiant had stepped out of the way and there she was. So the photographer got a shot of us at sunset for that kiss with her right there in the middle. So I tell people, you know, maybe an unplugged announcement or let's be vigilant of that and you know, things like that. So I don't know, it's just a funny little story that I remember that were like, wow, can we photoshop or out, can we get that sunset in the background? It was, it was kind of. Because I've seen things like that happen, you know, or the the mean well meaning guests or usually a family member has their new fancy camera or their cell phone. They stepped right in front. They're like, they see where the photographer is.

[35:23] They step right in front of them because they figured they got the shot. That's right. People, they have the shot and you'll get that quality shot if you ask the couple, you know. Um, so I think it's really just being in the moment and we would have so appreciated her to just be the moment and experience the whole thing with that stuff. That was a real stepping stone learning point for me. And so here I am, a planner myself by trade and to weddings and I didn't have a coordinator or planner and I will tell you hands down I will not be doing this again. But if I were I would absolutely hire somebody. And I think, you know, like we mentioned, um, you know, like party on the rocks was at the one yesterday. But you know, and, and like poor girls has a great one.

Jan linky has a great team there as well and I am seeing a lot more of that with the clients focusing more on being in that moment and special and I think that's why it is so important to me and I get excited when I see couples doing that because I wish I had had someone to take the reins. I'm seeing a lot more of that. There they are now co wedding couples are really realizing the value of what we do and as a coordinator and then I think they're also valuing the fact like, you know what it is okay to hire a professional bartending service. Your, your best friend may be fantastic at it and do a great job, but at the end of the day they want to party too, you know? Um, there's things like that. And so we're seeing a lot more of that and you know, really when you start scaling down then they can have those other things that are kind of the afterthought, the photography or this or that or whatnot or a videography and things like that. And I think that's exciting too, is you're actually getting a bigger bang for your buck when you do keep things a little bit more simple.

[37:13] Uh, I wouldn't have to bring up a wedding now that twice, twice as inspired me first to be unplugged the same wedding for both. Um, we did a private residence out on Bainbridge island and it was same kind of deal. It was like, I don't know, 40 people. Right. And so they, uh, it was February and it rained and so they had, um, you know, just these big umbrella. So they're all standing there. Um, you know, because there was no seating, right. I guess it was going to be, this was early in my career. They hired me off craigslist like three days before. So like, you know, I didn't really know the whole story, but uh, you know, they're kind of standing there and there's a tab that says beautiful backyard and like you can kind of see Seattle around the band and you know, kind of the view from Bainbridge.

[37:56] And I had just gotten all this new equipment and so that was why I took the wedding just because I thought, oh, well this is like a great Friday, I can go kind of, you know, it's still do a good job, but kinda like see how all this new equipment kind of works and everything. And uh, same kind of deal, you know, first kiss and they're sitting there and keep them, you know, there's only like 20 people in the audience. Right. And I'm sitting there and uh, it was like the uncle or the grandpa or something phone out with the light, with the light on shiny and shooting the video. Like it's three in the afternoon. They had a big umbrella the whole time behind them, like as they're kissing and he's like a, you know, a 90 degree like around them. And I just thought, you know, I've got probably $10,000 worth of video equipment planner that this couple right now the correct way. You know what I mean? And I was just like, you're absolutely, you know what I mean? It killing me. Because like,

[38:55] you know, you're just trying to, they're not getting the shots that they paid for that's still on my site. If you ever want to go look at that is the, the, the bay bridge one, but also to, to a point, uh, there, bartending service also hired off Craig's list was not professional, you know, they were, I don't know, like hired, hey, we'll do whatever. And the one was blacked out in the closet by 5:00 because um, you know, they were not licensed and insured and you know, it did not have a reputable business. And so they also realize, you know, you can find some diamonds in the rough on craigslist, like the photographer they had was really good too because I think we were all on craigslist. But then sometimes you do find people like, you know, that bartending service. Uh, so do you think like having been my point when I asked people like, so have you been married now and kind of going through that, do you, you do get caught up in those emotions and everything? Right. Talk about that.

[39:51] Um, I think the corporate side of me is still there where I can filter my emotions fairly well, but there are some weddings and some couples when it is truly that you can just see the love between them or they're having that moment during the ceremony that just, I will tear up, but they got the emotions really come into it because again, you're, you're meeting with these people quite a bit phone or in person. You really start to get to know them and they start to really trust and rely on you and when you have that kind of personal connection and then to see their union coming together. Um, it's just, it's something you can't really describe. You just have to experience it I think. And um, I don't know that's a, that's a hard one for me to put into words because it's a, it's emotional and you just feel you can actually feel, you know them enough that you can kind of almost feel what they're feeling in that moment.

[40:58] And, you know, when you're engaged and um, you know, kind of the downfall, the unglamorous side of my job is that oftentimes I get them down the aisle and I often have to run off to make sure the cater and everyone's in. So I might only get that last moment at the end of the ceremony or whatnot. So that's another thing is it's just so much more special. Like yesterday's wedding, I had to be there to help pass the football, cross the aisle if need be. And you know, I get back to see a lot more. And um, you know, that that's amazing. But then it's also fun to see the crazy quirky side. Like again, I'll just relate yesterday's wedding because it's so fresh in my mind. This bride was nervous. I mean everything is fine, but in the beginning, you know, we're trying to set up play or a traffic controller and whatnot.

[41:47] And I keep getting phone calls from her. Can you come upstairs? I go upstairs. She did need anything. She, you know, she was just very nervous to groom was also very nervous. Um, and it was hysterical. We get her, she starts to go down the aisle and she's still very tense. As soon as she got to the top of the steps and she went to go down, she started volleying it all the way down the aisle. It was so hilarious and so fun. And so her and it just, you know, again, is that meaningful draw, um, you know, and I guess I don't relate it to my wedding so much because to me it's, it's their wedding, it's their day and I, yes, I have my special moments, but they're making their own and I think that for me is just exciting to see. That gets me excited. That's what makes me want to do more and more weddings and more and more events and just to see the excitement that they have.

[42:44] That answers your question, but that's the truth. So then you were kind of doing corporate then, right? So you come back to Seattle, I mean, do you want to talk about Kinda transitioning into starting your own business is kind of where I'm trying to.

[42:57] Oh, I see. Okay. Um, yeah. So okay. Kind of circling back a little bit, so I've, I've had the career where no matter what role I was in, there was always some kind of event that went with it and I think it really wasn't until there was a period when I was back in California before I had children that I thought maybe I'll open up an event company and it, the tickler was there and then circumstances happened. Um, my then husband, we, like I said, we moved out of state and I also had the kids at that point. Um, so life was a little different. And my job right before I started the company was an event marketing company and we actually did in store promotions and we were executing, oh, on average about 300 small events a month. But it entailed everything from the management within it.

[43:55] Um, you know, my, my job, I would have 30 to 40 direct reports. I have to train them in. I'm like, we were talking about stepping stones for things. I can't cook. It comes out of a microwave. No, just kidding. I do a little bit. But um, it was ironic because here I am working where they had to do a lot of food sampling as well, so I had to get food manager certified, which is not just your food handler card. That is like I could open a restaurant if I wanted to, not going to happen, but I was learning that and all the aspects that gave it came into it really opened my eyes and appreciated that. Once I did open this, this company and I started really paying attention to what caters did. I had a whole respect for it. Um, same thing with, we were dealing.

[44:43] Confidentiality is huge. I've worked for Disney, I've worked for a lot of companies were just zip it, you know, you're not allowed to discuss certain things. And same with this company, we would have, our corporate team would go in and have, you know, Nabisco and Kellogg's or whatever, or Cora, you know, and have some weird hearing with a mattress. She company, I don't know, just weird stuff. And you'd have two or three big companies that you're our national international brands that you now had to train somebody to go out there and for eight hours promote. Um, so it was the management, it was the food service, it was the, it was the making sure that our pr there are appearance matched. I mean like if, uh, if Disney paired with, uh, you know, maybe snack products that would pair well with the lion king coming out, you know, we might be sent a special uniform to wear with that.

[45:39] That has nothing to do with fashion. It was just kind of quirky and fun. Um, so the nice part about that job was that we got to, in a sense, be our own boss. It was our job to get the cells however you want it to. So we got to have fun. You could dress up the carts, you could create the booth, you could partner with the store that you were in too. We did a big super bowl party, which was awesome. So we brought in, um, obviously we had to execute the event and we had to maintain all the safety standards, but we worked with the store and in partnership with that and I'm working in tandem. We were able to literally take display furniture and you know, play real sweet and nice and the z inbox and they were willing to move all this stuff into, set it up.

[46:26] And, and um, I remember this one in the big, like kind of the Deli area, the score store. Anyway, they moved stuff out of the way to actually make it. We brought it a big screen TV. There was a couch and stuff and the best part was it's all about experience and even our taglines are, you know, about experience, you know, we want you to have an amazing experience. And so that job really kind of laid the groundwork for what I wanted. What I didn't like. The ugly side of it is that it was corporate, it was so many rules and regulations and yes I worked for this company, but whatever store we were in, we were working with their management team to. Same thing when you're dealing with clients, right? You're dealing with lots of different entities. How do you bridge that? How do you make a get well in a corporate structure, you have rules and policies for a reason. They're there. There's a reason by having the freedom to step away from all that and really speak to it wasn't a cookie cutter template for how we spoke about that a little bit before about how, how you work with clients. This gives me the freedom to match my style to their personality and I think that just, it just makes me excited. I get all excited.

[47:40] That's, that's kind of it. So was it scary making that trip?

[47:46] I'm very lucky that my husband owns his own company too. So. And they've been in business for, I can't even count how many years. Um, I think it's like 15 or something. Um, but 30 collectively in the industry. And he had to go through those struggles of when you first start up, you don't have a client base yet and you're figuring it out. So he put up with those months of no income and he put up with a lot, can see where I was with a full salary, salary and benefits knew he understood and I'm so blessed to have a husband said, you know what, go for it because we talked about I really want to do this and I've wanted to do this. And I think I'm finally realizing this is the part of marketing that I love is the execution side of it and the event side of it, I really want to do this.

[48:35] And he's like, well, do it. He's like the mellow b personality. I'm like this eight personality out there all the time. He's like, just do it. I'm like, really? Like, that's simple. And he goes, I understand. And then you know, there were, there were tears the first year or so just trying to figure it all out and build a, build a company and you're not so sure at that point. So how far do you want to take it? What do you want to invest in is very hard and you know, at least I had a career to fall back on, but it was so excited because it just worked out and it happened. I had excellent support and you know, we were turning a profit by the, by the second year. So I was pretty excited about that and you know, it's grown and it's grown. I only take on a certain number of events a year so that I can keep it personal. I'm not looking to be the company that has 150 coordinator is out there doing whatever I want to be a part of it. This is why I stopped doing what I was doing to be a part of it. I don't want to be a manager. I want to be in the. I want to be there with them and experienced it with them.

[49:36] That's funny. I always said when, when I, the first year when I, because I kinda did that transition and then when I started in quit, uh, you know, there were a lot of days where it was really long dog walk, you know, a lot of like really, you know, like watch tv or you know, you Kinda, you're trying to fill the time. And it's like now like, you know, God, I asked my wife to do that, you know what I mean, but it, but it is. But um, you know, and I do think to a lot of people start or especially like with the weddings, like they'll do a wedding and there'll be like, well this is what I'm going to do. Like this is it. And it's like, it does take time, you know, and even, you know, with the podcast because like I'll talk to people that have been doing it for years and I'll talk to people that had been doing that, you know, and it's, it takes awhile and it's, you know, you kind of, you can't mix. Thankfully your husband kind of went through that. Like, you know, my wife's friend, uh, she's starting her own business

[50:39] and I said, okay, you know, like this, this will be kind of interesting because you don't know, right? And you don't know until, you don't know and then. But so yeah. And, and you know, like you think you're the expert and you're like, well, I'm going to go do this. And then like five years. So like I didn't know anything. So I thought I was so um, so talk to me about when it comes to planning and things with go. I always like to ask. So when you see clients now, what are some of the biggest like mistakes or that you could tell people? Like these are the biggest pitfalls that I see, you know, client, like they are like easy fixes,

[51:22] a few pitfalls when would be like the obvious would be favors people favors hands down. I've seen that there's a ton of threads on facebook right now about favors and it's so true. Um, there was one client it, oh gosh, it was I think five years ago now. And I remember it broke my heart to see that she put, she poured the couple as a whole, they created a little playlist and they put a slideshow together on a cd for all their guests and it was like a custom logo, a custom picture, the custom packaging. And I said okay, well you probably know this is average wedding, $150 or whatever. And I said okay, we'll probably do about half that because you figure most weddings and keep this in mind when you're doing invitations too. You don't need an invitation for every guest that you don't need a favor.

[52:15] I guess the same thing, like we legit or because I think we have 115 and we ordered like 200 is still have. And then it was like, no, we actually needed like 70 or 65 or whatever we did. We did the whole same thing. Rebecca didn't help us on that one. We just went over, we're going to order these and we have so many. Like we still have, we still dislike my wife, like puts them on the fridge just to like look at the photo or something. Sorry to interrupt.

[52:44] That's awesome. That's exactly it. And it is funny because he kicked a start kicking yourself when you get to the end and you're looking at those last little few thousand dollars and oh yeah, I have to do gratuities at the end too. Um, you know, so that's some of the pitfalls I see would be definitely, you know, keep in mind keeping in perspective and you no favors at best. Do Half your guest count. Um, just because it's not going to happen at the end of the day. Um, the other thing is cake and food. People always think the cake that rather they do cakes or desserts. Well, I'm just going to add two dozen or two dozen more of like, okay. People at a point, people are just full and you know, they're dancing and they're drinking. There's only so many sweets you can handle. I, you know, and there's a lot of amazing bakeries out there and the food is good.

[53:36] It's no reflection on them. They're just full or they're just done, and I can say that yesterday was the first time ever. I'm molly Corrina's, Corrina's bakery. She did the naked cake and it was the first time going off tangent here a little bit, but it was the first time I've ever seen all the cake Eaton and they only had 93 as their guest count and it was a three tier naked cake and we did cut heavier slices. Of course it was a lot of ballplayers, let me just put it that way, but it was the first time ever that literally after I cut a little slice of wheat or actually a big slice of cake for each, uh, for the couple to take back to their room. There was at the end of the night, there were literally like, I think seven pieces of cake on the table. That was it.

[54:23] And they ate all the little desserts with it. So it was fantastic. But that's not normal. Unless you have a big group of ballplayers, you're probably not going to go through all of that cake for 93 people. Three tiers is way too much. So I see people always worried about running out of food, trust your vendors. If you're hiring a pro, trust them, they know what they're talking about. If they've been doing this, they know what they're doing, you know? Um, so I think that's it favors invitations. I'm trusting your vendors. Uh, alcohol is the big one that comes up. Again, they overbuy but at least nobody really worried about that one because you can always use it later. That's not too big. Um, another pitfall I think is assuming that a flashy website or um, or their package rates reflect the quality of the vendor.

[55:17] I'm a firm believer like you were talking about craigslist. I'm, I'm a, I'm a firm believer that there are great people at all price points. I know I market myself a little bit. It, it's not to be, I'm not a budget planner, but I'm kind of in the middle and I do it on purpose and I have some strategies that keep my costs down so I can. Um, but that doesn't negate. There's, there are some out there that if they charge $700, odds are they're probably new on the, on the, on the thing. That doesn't mean they're bad, but they're learning and like you said, you can't walk in. You need to have a little humility because you don't know it all. And every single, every single event, I learned something new. I think that's important, but I see a lot of people spending that.

[56:03] Um, the other thing is, and don't hate me, but the photography packages, they'll, uh, some photographers now, I think it's fantastic that they offer kind of an all in package. A lot of DJs are doing that now. That's very helpful. And then some have kind of the more classic package where six hours hours, whatever. I haven't seen some brides get into like 12 hours shoots and a lot of my, um, Chinese couples will do that because it's a big tradition in their country and that makes sense. And they're doing like six dress changes and things like that. But when it comes to the kind of normal wedding, if you will, there is a limit to how much photography in the beginning you really need, otherwise you're just exhausted and a hot mess before you even walk into the ceremony. So I think that that's the other pitfall I see.

[56:52] But there again, it really comes in. Maybe that's their priority to. So photography is a priority then that's what we focus on. Um, and the other thing I think is really good is really do your homework with venues, make sure you're not just jumping on the venue because it's the lowest price one, because you may be spending a lot more money in tables and chairs and rentals and decorations just to get it to the look you want. Um, depending on what your budget is, if you can get into a venue that already has kind of these static you're looking for and then you're not spending nearly as much like, you know, when thornwood yesterday, I've, I've seen that dressed up every different way or not dressed up at all. And it's beautiful. So if flowers are your thing, we had one bride, Julia Julia's floral, she's now retired ish, but open to her rosary one, but she did a wedding out there and I think it was when it was all said and done, it was like over 3000 in the garden.

[57:48] Why? Because that's what she wanted and it was beautiful. It was this big aerial shot and they did this amazing aisle and it was stunning and that was important to her. So then yes, it's okay to spend that money. It's your wedding, but when you're trying to fit within a budget, my biggest advice would be focus on pieces of eye candy. Maybe it's the head table or a photo backdrop or something like that. Because at the end of the day your guests are going to remember if they had a great time, if it made sense for you. And if you had a, you know, if it basically good food, good music, right? And they're not going to remember the teeny tiny little details that you put into it. Like three people out of your guests won't even notice, you know? And it's fantastic. And it looks great on pinterest later, but at the end of the day, if you're, if you really get into a budgets savvy situation, that's a quick way to save a lot of money.

[58:42] Oh, I think the, like you said, looking at what's offered that goes for venue, photo, video, DJ everything. The price. Because yeah, you do see like, oh well you know, this photographer starts at 3000 and this one starts at a thousand and one I'm going to go at that one. But then you might have to add on, you know, an extra shooter and you know, to get your album and get your things in. It's the same like you said with the venue, like, well this venue is, you know, a thousand dollars. But then you have to add tables and chairs and rentals and all that stuff. That's

[59:14] those tables and chairs that some have them. But who's setting them up? Well there's an added cost or your family and friends are now doing that when they need to get in the shower, hair and makeup and photography it, you know. And, and so, yeah, definitely. Those are a lot of things and. Okay.

[59:30] Two things, uh, what happened with the cds I.

[59:33] Oh, sorry. Oh yes. The CDS. So it broke my heart because she, they felt so passionately that everyone was going. I mean because it was so personal to them that everybody would want their own copy instead of one per household maybe. Um, and they. And then they, of course they did like you did with the invitations and got a few extras just in case. And I had told them this is a personal experience and I had a cousin that got married and she did something kind of similar to that. And I mentioned to her that, you know, they gave me one, my husband, one and everybody else in a lot. I saw a lot left behind and I can tell you to this day I've never actually listened to it and maybe I wasn't that close to my cousin. I don't know. But I mean it was meaningful and great and I'm not trying to share away from that. I mean, it was actually, I did watch her as it was very beautiful, but she, the look on her face and her, her parents face when we boxed up and almost an entire. Yeah, but I mean they just looked heartbroken because they put so much passion into it and I, you know, like we always say we can always advise but we can't make them do it.

[01:00:49] No, and that's fair. We just got back, our friends just got married in Italy at like this. It was really quite over the top. It was really nice. And I, yeah, I attended as a guest and so we, we partook in the food and drink, but they have um, we stayed in Italy, you know, after the wedding and like one day we're, I don't know, we were walking over, my wife's eating this kind of stuff. I go away and she goes, oh, it was from the desert thing that favors it. Roxy and Zach's wedding. And so what are you talking about? She goes, oh, there was this whole like to go, not the cake table. Like there was a whole like, take it with you stuff. I said, oh, I never even saw that. No clue. Right. And I know that they had some sort of favor or something on their table that we didn't take. You know what I mean?

[01:01:39] A lot of times it's not even intentional. They forget they, they leave their purse, their or they get up, they dance, they drink, they have fun, and then they grabbed their bags and go because they see that you're packing up and it's just an afterthought. Yeah, absolutely.

[01:01:54] That was all the time. So if somebody in the industry, you know, I didn't even know. I'm like, yeah, how much did they spend?

[01:02:01] Yeah. Well one thing I love to do is, especially if that little flower girls and ring bearers, let's face it, by 9:00, these kids are getting squirrelly. They are bored. They don't know what to do with themselves. If you're going to have favors or something, save it. It doesn't need to be at the place setting. Save some money, put them together, have flower girl and ring bearer. They are over the moon. Excited to pass stuff out at the end of the night and everyone thinks it's so cute and then they, and then they feel inclined to take that and put it in their purse. Or um, we also will pack up everything that's left over on the tables and kind of before the guest leaves, we'll put it right by the door. Just hoping a few more edibles will usually go. Um, but anything else cozies cozies might be a good one to invest in. I've seen those goal. If you've got a drinking crowd of beer crowd and you're serving that, not glassware, those work nice.

[01:02:53] Uh, from the, from the same said couple from her bridal shower still on our kitchen island, a heart shaped a t, a dipper and Canada t and it says, you know, bruce some lab or something, but we've never used it. Sits there.

[01:03:12] Yeah. Well, yeah. And then kind of just on that topic of pitfalls and staff, you know, I did want to say that, you know, when you kind of goes with that and also looking at the packages and really plan it out, like don't just instinctually knee jerk book, that one. Um, first off you want to know that you're going to connect with them. Well, so talk to talk to your vendors, but also, um, when we were talking about like ven venues and really looking at those packets, do they provide table and chairs and how much is that always keep in mind even when you've got basic decorating, even if the florist, you know, as the floors to actually setting it up or are they just dropping them off or a lot of couples want to save a few extra bucks and pick it up themselves who's actually placing this stuff?

[01:03:58] Um, that's one thing. Like we offer a setup and tear down crew for example. Um, we do have that service, but ask about that because when it comes, push comes to shove, you've only got what the whole event itself is on average about six hours. Do you really want to spend all your time messing with that stuff? It's worth it. And again, I think coming back into, you know, those service companies that offer bartending, hosting those kinds of things and like even as we have an add on package or we'll refer you to great people, that's not my bread and butter, so we have it as a service, but I know great people who can do it just as well and, and again, playing with those packages and looking at what they have and what you said, the deejay packages for example, that's a big one.

[01:04:41] A lot of the DJs I enjoy working with, they now offer kind of, you know what it's all in. This is my price, this is what you get. And it seems a little high. In fact, I just went through that with a client that's coming up here in August. They actually didn't want to go with a DJ and um, this was first time I've actually heard it, but it was exciting to hear. They said, you know, we see how hard you work. And then we think about a Dj who's only there for a few hours and we look at the cost and we're thinking what? And it was really funny because when we sat down and I got them, I set them up with meetings with three different price points for DJs, three different price points. We had one day we met with them, they ended up going with one of the higher priced ones because he had experienced at the venue.

[01:05:26] He, um, in fact it's like a second home. And He, uh, you know, and he was an all in kind of DJ where it was you getting the biggest bang for your buck. So on the fly, you know, I'm sure you get that with videography to at the last minute. They're like, oh, can we add this? You know? And it's like, oh, well that's an extra in. They're like, oh, can we work out a deal because we don't have it. Well, you know, a, just like, you know what, I don't want him wanting to deal with it. I have the extra mic, I have the extra lapel, I have the extra. You want some lights, great. We'll throw in some lights and it's all just done. And I think that that's really working well with it. And I can't remember which planner it was. I think it was windy, but um, I was talking to the venue manager over at Pan Pacific and we're having a chat that one day and she's, you know, they said clients are now looking to do that.

[01:06:17] Amazon shopping, they want the package, they just want to click the button. That's it. That's what they want. That's what they want. And it's true and they're finding that in the hotels and stuff, they don't. The liquor packages, they want just, I want to know it's there and done. So in the same respect, you know, we're actually seeing that on both sides of the aisle, if you will, you know, the vendor side in the client side, they just kind of went all in packaging and that actually saves a lot of money in the long run too I think because then they don't get to the end of their budget and want something that they can't have because they're just tapped out.

[01:06:50] No. And I think that um, if you're, if you're upfront with me and you book, you book a reasonable time and if your event happened, your timeline, it happens to go half an hour over. But you know, like if you come up and you're like well okay, we need you from 4:46 and then okay, well then we're going to be on that, you know. But yeah, I think that a lot of couples wanted to just kind of like book it. No, it's taken care of. And that you said if it's a couple hundred dollars more and it's somebody that's been at the venue or knows the photographer, knows the planner knows whatever, you know. I think it speaks volumes, I think.

[01:07:29] Yeah, and I find that to light, just like what you said a lot. I mean we're already there. A lot of us, you know, the little, little 15, 20, 30 extra minutes or really not much. It's just added service. Added value. Yeah, but it's, it's a good thing for them to think about when they're trying to really maximize their budget is don't just look at price, look at what you're getting for that price. I think the best way it was explained to me in a different fashion is wearability, right? You have a $10 tee shirt that you're going to wear once or twice a week. Okay. Well, hopefully not twice a week unless you're watching that, you're going to wear it at least once a week, right? Or you have the $30 tee shirt that you're going to wear because it's so specialized. You're not going to want to be seen in all the time, so you're only going to wear that maybe two or three times a year. Well, where's your cost value? It's the same thing. It really is. It's like, what are you getting for your money and how much of that are you going to actually be using? I think that that speaks volumes, but you know, when you've got a pro, it's been doing it and especially, you know, we're all pretty kind out there and well, we all understand that you're on a budget. Um, you know, we make a living too, but we have hearts to a point.

[01:08:49] It's just true to it.

[01:08:51] Well, this has been such a good conversation. I really enjoyed getting to know you today and I think it's been awesome to get to see your showroom and I really appreciate your time and having me come in here. Uh, if people wanted to learn more about you, your company, your services, what you guys offer, what would you have them do?

[01:09:12] You can call me anytime we are a 24 hour operation. I always answer my phone within 24 hours or if I don't answer my phone immediately, it'll be within 24 hours. But you're also welcome to go online. We have two websites, is our parent site and then we have one that is just focused on weddings and wedding packages and that's

[01:09:38] Perfect. Well thank you so much. This has been so joyful. I really appreciate your time and your enthusiasm for this and I think it's really going to shine through and I thank you very much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Korrine Claxton, Korrine C. Makeup and Esthetician

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I am joined today by a very good friend of mine, Korrine Claxton of Korrine C Makeup Artist and Esthetician and Korrine, why don't you say hi and tell us a little bit about who you are, what you guys do.

Hi Reid. So I am a makeup artist based out of Bonney Lake Washington. Um, I freelance all over the Pacific northwest. I work with, I'm a hairstylist so we can provide hair and makeup onsite. Um, we are two separate businesses but we've been working together for five seasons and she's kind of my go to hairstylists. Her name's Brenda. Um, and other than that, that's basically kind of what we do.

So, and I think Korrine, when I first launched the podcast and I sent everything out, I think you were one of the first people that reached out and said I want it to be a part of this. And so I really appreciate that. And I think that shows kind of your devotion to like, I think you were the first person and then I just feel so bad it's been so long

[01:17] now. Kids being sick and life happens. So um, you know, my brother got into his accident so we've just been kind of taking care of family. So I'm really excited to be here and getting a chance to kind of share what goes on during the morning of the weddings and bridal hair and makeup because I think that a lot of people don't really know the ins and outs of what goes into the makeup inhersight of your wedding day.

[01:44] No, I don't think so at all. And a credit and I actually met, we were talking to a couple of years ago with a stylized shoot that we did a, which is, you know, kind of where you set it up like a fake wedding to, to showcase. And it was a new venue out in Redmond. And it was so funny. Um, so the May, I was asking you off camera, did we know a ray who was the male model for that? And it was so funny because after we did that, um, thing, uh, I had just gotten on instagram and I have like five people, you know, it was like, yeah, I was going to get followers after a style issue and I was paying attention, you know, I was really able to like pay attention to who, um, you know, all I got for likes on this or whatever and this user Ray Bay Bay with like every single one of my posts and I couldn't figure out.

[02:33] And I was talking with Jeff and Jeff was at the stylized shoot and I was like, who is this guy? Like I would, I would post something and I'd be like, Ray Bay Bay is like in it. And Jeff, like that whole summer we would every time like, oh, did Ray like it? Did Ray like it?. And we find it took us like six months to realize that it was ray from the stylized shoot. So I thought I was getting like this notoriety. It, it turns out it was just a friend that I had, but I didn't. That is funny. Uh, so talk to me a little bit about Kinda what you guys do, like you said you the ins and outs and I think that when people think of light hair and makeup, maybe they don't know how in depth it needs to go or talked to me about kind of what, what you're thinking.

[03:12] Yeah. So first and foremost, I think that the biggest part of our industry is education and I think continuing education and what you need to have to know what you're doing for makeup and hair is super important. So you want to make sure that you're working with a licensed cosmetologist. Somebody who has gone to school for hair and has gotten licensed from the state of Washington to do hair is super important. Makeup you don't necessarily need to have that. I have my aesthetics license, which I went through school at Clover Park to do skincare, so I specialize in facials, waxing, peels, all of that stuff that goes into prepping your face for your wedding day, which I think is super important. And then I also do continuing education with other artists in the area, um, to kind of keep up on my color theory and keep up on the new trends that are coming out.

[04:20] I mean, makeup is always changing and to keep up on my product knowledge. So I think that first and foremost, that is the first thing that a bride needs to look for is do they have the education to back them up? Are they licensed with the state of Washington? Do they have all their business licensing to work and are they insured? So for me that's like first and foremost, if you don't have those things then you probably shouldn't be practicing on people because it's super important to. You could mess up, you can get an allergic reaction. We're working with products we're not working with, you know, just picking up a cameron, you know, taking pictures. We're working on people's skin. So I think you need to have the knowledge to back that up. So I'm first and foremost, I think that's most important. And then what I do with my bride specifically as once they book, we meet for a consultation and we go over what the details of their wedding is going to be.

[05:18] So I like to know is it going to be rustic, is it going to be Bohemian, are you going to be wearing your hair down curls? What's your dress look like? Because all of those details are super important to create a customized look for each bride and bride. Every bride is going to be the same. So after that we then set up a pinterest board. And pinterest is super important. It's a great tool to have. Um, I do more natural makeup, so I'm not really a total transformation makeup artist. I tend to just want to bring out my brides natural beauty. So if I start seeing pins that kind of have like winged eyeliner or super dramatic lips, then I'll kind of be like, are we really on the same page? And then we meet for a trial run and trial runs are about two hours.

[06:08] Can we go through and we do the whole look for the wedding party and if they want to make any changes for the date of then we can make those changes at the trial run. I take pictures, I write down everything. I'm make sure that the products, you know, stayed on their face for a long time and then the wedding day happened. So that's just what I do just to get to the wedding day. So it's about a six hour process, you know, working with me prior to just doing the trial run and the wedding day. So

[06:42] yeah. But I think that that's so important because, you know, and I've talked to you I think in the past about like, you know, I see so many posts online and you know, inquiries on the wedding community itself. Like you know, my makeup person cancelled or you know, somebody flaked out or they were supposed to show and it's because they're not, you know, people are finding, you know, friends or somebody that does it on the side or live do it, you know, once a year. And you know, when it's somebody that has a business that's licensed and insured, right? I mean, it's not trustworthy. Seriously. I take my job very seriously,

[07:14] actually. I went through a aesthetic school because I wanted to become a better makeup artist. Um, how I got my start was working with a photographer. I was doing headshots for an agency. And so I realized that's not like a full time paint and Gig that's only every once in a while. And so I went into skincare and in aesthetic school we learned color theory. We learn face shapes, we learn how to highlight and contour to match people's face shapes, not just, you know, painting by numbers. And um, so I think that's very important to have the education and to, you know, make sure that you are licensed and insured and you're not just doing it as a hobby because you are touching people's faces and you have to make sure that you know what you're doing because anything can happen.

[08:09] So when you talk about like face shaping and things like that, so you can like look at somebody's face and kind of.

[08:16] Yeah. See where they need to have like so highlighting means that I'm going to be bringing your features forwards. So usually when I highlight somebody's face I want to highlight where the sun is going to naturally hit. So I do that with like a little bit of Bronzer, just on the cheeks. I do a little bit of lightning with like a little bit of a lighter foundation color and then I can contour with a little bit of a darker foundation color. So I'm, the trend right now is to just apply wherever they want to like on their face. So a lot of makeup artists we'll just supply like oh I do it here so I'm going to do it on my other clients here, you know, on cheek bones and stuff. I'm realizing that people can't see what I'm doing a good job. And so I want to look at some of these features and I want to bring out their best features.

[09:07] So you know, if that's me talking to my clients and saying, what do you like about your face? What don't you like about your face? What is something that do you like your eye color? Let's bring out your eyes because certain colors, like if you have blue eyes then you're going to want to tend to go to like the more purples and Greens and bring your eichler out that way. So there's just a lot. That's where color theory comes in because color theory super important when I do my job. So. And it's not just matching a foundation color, it's matching the undertones to a person's face color, you know? So it, there's a lot to it

[09:47] but it's not a one size fits all thing is what you're saying that I think some people are or especially like where you do like a trial run and in the photos and going through that. But like, I mean I'm sure you could just show up and do somebody makeup you wouldn't prefer, you know, I mean a lot more should go into that than just oh I need somebody next Tuesday to do.

[10:08] Exactly. So. And when, especially like if I'm doing boudoir or if I'm doing working with clients that are getting like senior pictures done than I do just go to their house and just work with them once and then we're done. But with brides, I want to know what I'm doing the wedding day because it makes the wedding day morning go so much more smoothly because I already have the products listed that I used. I already know what works. We've already talked and said, hey, did your foundation hold up? Do we need to add a little bit more airbrush? Do we need a little add a little bit more setting powder, setting spray. So um, I have all of that information before the wedding day so, and I tend to make sure that my weddings the morning of run super smoothly and I don't want to be sitting there and messing with products and trying to figure out what's gonna work bridesmaids. So it's a little different because we don't get to work with them prior to. But we can still make a really pretty pallet based off of what we've talked with the bright about.

[11:14] Logistically, I mean that's difficult to coordinate that, but you know, and like you said like you're doing like the senior portrait, like you could have an extra 10 minutes if you need to, like, you know, it's not this like a wedding day, you know, you've got 45 minutes or like. And so I mean as a, as a videographer. And I know I speak for photographers as well, like that is one of the most challenging parts of the day is you know, making sure all that's done on time because, you know, like we had a, we had a bride where um, we ended up not like really we ended up, we had to do was she ended up wanting to like reschedule with their photographer laser to do portraits another day because we didn't have enough time. They felt like they have, you know, because you know, the hair took an hour or two long and then the makeup, you know, and then it was like, it pushes everything all day and then, you know, if we're there for eight hours in your makeup goes in our over 30 minutes. I mean you need to be like on the ball.

[12:15] Yeah. So and how I solve that problem is I create a timeline with my bride a month prior to working with them. So I get the list of bridesmaids, I figured out if I need to bring on extra people. If I do that makes the wedding day, you know, because my bridal parties are about 12 people on average. So I usually am working with, for artists plus an assistant. So in order to do that I need to have a very coordinated timeline and it also helps because we go on site. So brides are not coming to us. We go to them, which I think is super helpful. I've worked with bridal parties where they're getting their hair done at a salon and working with a salon who isn't really specializing in bridal. They are dealing with other clients. They're not solely focused on the bride and the bridal party and it just, they usually are running behind. So I prefer my brides to work with my team because we've worked together for about five seasons than we can get you guys done in. You know, we tend to stay with the bride for an hour each and then the bridesmaids are 45 minutes and we usually are working, starting at like six in the morning and then. But yeah, we usually run on time.

[13:38] Well it's tough because, I mean even lately, you know, there's weddings I've shot where it's like they don't have that um, that grid kind of that plan. And they'll be like, oh, who else needs it? Or are like the big, well, you know, my mom really needs some and it really needs some and could we do this and you know, and then it's like, or you know, we've had them where like even they're like, well, you know, not like the bride's like, well shit, I start right now. And they're like, well we uh, we can wait a not like, don't like I would much rather have the bride be able to relax for five minutes with their makeup done then to be half an hour behind because it wasn't.

[14:15] Exactly. And when I know my makeup last, I mean I know from brides who, you know, past experience and they're like, oh man, it lasted the whole morning until 10:00 AM at 10:00 PM at night. And so when I get a bride who's like, well, will it really last? I'm like, yes it will. And I provided a touch up kit to get you through the day. I was like, but when I coordinate my timelines, I go based on the bridesmaids names. So a lot of makeup artists, they'll just put like, bridesmaid one rise me to bridesmaid three bridesmaids for where I go based on your name. So it's an appointment and if you're late for your appointment then you're making the entire bridal party late in it. They have to sign my contract stating that everybody will be on time. And if they're not on time then they don't, they get shortchanged. So I, I run a really tight ship because I don't want to be, I don't want to be blamed to have whole Brecho party running late.

[15:16] So. So I mean if you talk with people they will say like, hair and makeup. I mean it makes or breaks a day and totally bad timing. Plus, I mean besides that, like the emotion behind, you know, you want everyone to be happy and you don't want them to feel rushed

[15:32] and it is hard because you know, when you're wrangling bridesmaids and they're just waking up because we're your first vendor that you see. Usually they were drinking the night before. Now they're waking up and they're having to wake up at around seven, 8:00 AM and they don't want to and they're wanting their coffee there and wanting to eat breakfast. They are wanting to just relax and I'm like, you're sitting down because you're the first person in the chair and if you weren't an early person you should have said, hey, I don't want to go first. So you're sitting down, you're getting your makeup and your hair done and that's just how it's going to be. So. And I have no problem saying that and I think my brides appreciate that and I tend to have my brides go in the middle. I don't want them to be at the first and I don't want them to be last because the last there's always rushing out the door, getting their dresses. It's usually pretty chaotic, so I want her to be able to relax and enjoy her morning. So

[16:31] yeah, and that's what we had done when my wife's friend emily is a makeup artist and she had offered to do the services for my wife and like I think that was the same thing that she had five or six. We didn't do bridal parties but she had know friends that got it and it was like one, two. She did it because we could go do some other stuff. You know, we did our first look and whatever wall other people. It's like not everyone needs to be.

[16:56] And that's what I explained to them too is if you need to have your first look done at 1:00, well we'll have you done by 11. You will not feel rushed. You'll still get to have your lunch. You get to leave, go and take your pictures. Like you don't have to wait around for your entire bridal party to be done because usually they have their pictures done a little bit later so. And photographers need that time to get those really amazing, stunning pictures. So I mean you have to have a well coordinated schedule and I think that that is one of the things that kind of differentiates my business to other businesses because I do take that time and I scheduled a month before and I really want the wedding day to go smoothly. So

[17:48] yeah, I mean in understanding that you're, you know, you're. And we're all kind of in this piece together, right? That it's not like a separate, you know, the year, you know, it's, it's your vendor team. And so, um, one day I wanted to ask, I've noticed lately I'm grooms getting touch ups. Is that, is that. I don't know, is that a new thing? Is that.

[18:10] Well actually it's funny. So I just got contacted on wedding wire from a barber who is wanting to do male grooming on site, just like the bridal party. He comes, he shaves, he cuts, he trends. I don't really know, I've, you know, I mean they did it at our style, a shoe, um, when. Yeah, so the dress somewhere so, um, I mean it is kind of becoming more popular and I actually, I like it because I get, you know, these images back and the brides are looking beautiful and fantastic and then the groom's hair is messy or he just is not as put together. So I can't say I hate it because I think it's kind of cool.

[18:54] I know. Or like if you have like some ball grooms or you know, they might get a little bit. Okay.

[18:59] Shiny. They don't want that shine. Exactly. So I think it's important and I think, you know, for men I don't think that, you know, having makeup to cover as it or you know, I don't think that it's such a stigma anymore. So I think that, you know, I've gotten asked plenty of times from grooms, Hey, I have some acne showing. Can you cover it? Yeah, you want to look good for pictures.

[19:25] So remember we had the wedding a couple weeks ago and they did, um, some rituals where the bride and groom were Chinese and you know, he came in and they had to answer a q and a about like, you know, how did they meet or anything like he probably didn't know a lot. Like it was really funny. But for every question to groom got wrong, the bridesmaids put like lipstick and foundation and so this is not, you know, we're talking a lot more refined but I can't get the image of Jason and his men with blue wash and stuff. I'm hilarious. It was funny. Uh, so I wanted to talk about you. I want to talk about Kinda how you got your start. You said you started with a photographer.

[20:10] So way back when I'm 11 years ago, I was in high school and I wanted to be an actress. And so in order to become an actress you have to get your head shots done. And anyway, the photographer that was doing my head shots really liked how I did my makeup and he wanted me to work with him to do all the other kids that came in and got their head shots done because he said they just don't have any direction. And like I said, my look is a lot more natural. I don't want to mask anyone's natural features. I to bring them out and showcase them. And so honestly that was how I got my start. He really took a chance on me and he got me into the industry. I had no desire to do makeup artistry but I really fell in love with it and I really fell in love with making people feel good about themselves and seeing them in a different light and just talking to them and hearing their story.

[21:09] And so I ended up getting my aesthetics license in 2007 from Clover Park Technical College. And I worked in the salon and spa industry for about five years. And it was really sad because both spas that I worked at ended up not making it. They closed down and so I needed a place to have my clients come and so I decided to work out of my home. My husband and I in 2011, bought our house in Bonney Lake and we had all these extra spaces like our. We had four bedrooms planning for a family, so it was just like, I'm just doing it. I'm just starting my business and I'm just going to do facials and that's where I thought it was gonna be is just facials, waxing. And then I met a photographer who needed a makeup artist for a shoe and it was a vintage 19 forties shoe.

[22:06] And so I offered my services and I just got back into makeup again. I mean skincare and makeup, they go together but they're so different and when you are in the facial and peel and waxing world, you're really not focusing on, you know, makeup, artistry. So it was really fun and it got me back into the game and I was like, okay, I can do this. And the hairstylist I work with, she worked at gene whereas, and she was like, I need to make artist for weddings, do you want to help me out? And I was like, yeah, heck yeah. So I didn't really at that point in time because again, doing weddings in a salon and spa is completely different than doing weddings onsite. So on spa the bridal party comes to you, you're using testers, you're not using your own kit. So I mean you're just, you don't have a lot of access to a lot of pro products at that time.

[23:10] So I, you know, a lot of trial and error went into the business I'm writing now and um, I would say I had my kids, um, 2013 in 2014 and there 10 and a half months apart. So candidate the baby thing for awhile and focused on them. And then probably about three years ago, four years ago when I, you know, was able to get, you know, a good stylist to work with me and I really just kind of took it off and ran with it. Did a lot of research, you know, what products to use for, um, photography when you're in the spot industry, you're using mineral makeup, so mineral makeup, it's just a powder makeup that you just slush on and put on with a brush and it's not the best. It's not the best for photography. It's not the best for weddings, it's not very long lasting. So, um, it took a lot of trial and error to figure out what products I wanted in my kit and a lot of that I did classes with Shin modally from Pacific brides and she, you know, she's amazing and has a lot of knowledge and so learned how to airbrush and I mean that was really how my business kind of got going. So

[24:35] yeah. Um, it is fascinating because he would make them with technology and photography and video like I know from working in TV and like with airbrushing and stuff, but like, you know, when um, everything was standard, you know, and really poor quality. Like you could get a lay away with a lot more. And then like once all the news stations. Yeah. That it was like, because I have been, and I'm sure it's not the case anymore or maybe it is, but like I remembered that they would sell like, you know, hd TV makeup that like all these reporters would buy and kind of do themselves in the back because now we're like, I mean follow those and stuff like you see

[25:11] everything. Yeah. And that's super important and that's partially why I am. I love working with photographers. I love doing the stylized shoots because I need to see not just on a bride's wedding day, but I need to see how my products work. Usually with a styled shoot, I'm onsite, I'm seeing how they work with the sun, work with the topography exposure when I'm working with photographers for a wedding day, I don't leave until I see a picture. So I literally am like walking around being like, Hey, have you taken a picture of them yet? Because I need to see it. So I need to see if I need to fix anything. And um, there's a big, I don't know if you know anything about like the sparkly highlighters that a lot of brides are, you know, they're like super, super sparkly. They have a lot of um, iridescent pigments in it.

[26:05] And so basically what happens is when these brides get their pictures taken, it creates like a big white like mark because they're highlighted to the point where it kind of, the citizen is bouncing off of them. So I make sure that when I use highlighting and contouring, it's just a matte finish. It's not anything with iridescent sparkliness um, because it looks better in photography. So that's one of the things that, you know, you learn over time and the sparkly pigments are always so pretty. But I'm in what brides gravitate towards, but that doesn't necessarily work for photography.

[26:45] Yeah. I've seen a lot of makeup artists, you know, what, when we're getting ready to, you know, do as a photographer, like hey, you know, snap a couple photos and then look at it. Because it is, it's like on your phone or to the eye. It's not the same as a nice, you know, high pixel camera taking, seeing the light. I'm talking about going to a consensus dietitian school. Yes. I want to hear about that. I want to hear about the motivations behind that to do that.

[27:11] So, you know, honestly it was just makeup artists street and I, you when you're working with a bunch of different skin types, skin tones and acne, skin, oily skin, dry skin, mature skin, you just, your brain starts to think and your brain is like, what can I do differently or better? And that was my motivation for a static school. I needed a steady income. I really, I didn't ever. I got one facial before I went to aesthetic school. My husband bought me a date at gene whereas. And I really, I really liked it and I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what these machines were doing to me and like the drive behind these warm towel compresses that got put on my face. Have you ever had a facial before? No. Oh, well, it's super relaxing. You may like it. Um, so any way I really fell in love with the industry and I wanted to know more so I went through the esthetics program.

[28:17] I mean, and honestly it's like a big party for six months. Like girls just are getting waxed and getting body treatments and getting facials in. You Do, you learn a lot. You have to learn all about the skin anatomy. So the DERMIS and Epidermis, how hair grows. Like I mean it, there's a lot that you learn in that time frame to help you figure out how. Why does acne, you know, why were to see them come from, where does acne come from, why are certain people oily, why are certain people dry? So you learn a lot and I got really fascinated with the skin anatomy, skin types and figuring out, you know, what products will work best. And I really loved helping people with acne, specifically teenagers. So when I was doing my skin practicing practice, I was working with a lot of teenagers to their self concept. Their self conscious, they have acne, they don't, they don't want to be in high school with acne. So I learned a lot about how to help them and do extractions safely and to where there's no scarring, you know, learning about peels, learning about led light. I mean the skin industry changes rapidly so there's always something to learn and I still love to do continuing education. So

[29:41] no, it's interesting that we had a moment yesterday and I wouldn't, I don't know if the bride, like, she's not like a super make, it'd be person. I mean she, you know, but like she was so happy with, you know, she had a professional makeup artist even though it was an ultimate, which was great because, you know, it's great. And um, you know, she was so happy because, you know, I think when you know, somebody that's professional, like you know what you're doing obviously, but like, you know, kind of how the highlight people and there's certain, you know, like, you know, like my wife Dorothy does the same makeup everyday. Right. And like, and it's good, you know, and I'm sure it's great, but like when you know exactly like, well these things, this is what your skin tone needs and skin type. And um, you know, to make it look the best, right?

[30:27] Yeah, you do. And you learn that and it's also not only that, like you said, Dorothy, she wears her makeup the same way every day and it's actually a lot more scary for a woman to go to a makeup artist and they're in their routine, they know what they feel like, looks good for their features. And so it's finding a balance of what still will make them feel comfortable, feel like themselves and bring out what I feel like is best for their features. And that comes with getting to know my clients and getting to know, you know, what their skincare routine is. Are they a minimalist, do they wear a lot of makeup, are they full coverage? What exactly goes into their beauty routine? And I tend to gravitate towards more of the, Oh, I usually just do a little bit of foundation blush and Mascara.

[31:23] And you know, where when I get a girl that is like, oh, I, I do full coverage and knows like all of the brands. I'm like, Oh, I'm like okay, we can work with this. But it's still, you know, I prefer to have somebody because I feel like I'm not going to be battling with them and I feel like I'm not going to be having to explain my process and my products are all pro products, so that means like I'm working with like hd foundations, I'm working with Airbrush, so it's not what you're going to get at Ulta or Sephora. And so when you have a girl that's obsessed with like brand obsessed, she doesn't understand what our CMA foundation is and the benefits of a wax foundation compared to like a cream, you know? So yeah. So that's just.

[32:14] No, but I get what you mean that were like, we tried the same kind of couples that was like, you know, just like a severe weather day where like if I have like a Hollywood producer come in and you'd be like, if you want, you know, it's, it's, you know, what you're doing. Yeah,

[32:30] exactly. And not every bride is going to be gravitating towards me. And even if they do, we may still not, you know, we still may have, you know, issues to work out. And that's totally okay because that's what's great about the wedding industry is there so many vendors and I know so many makeup artists who do a fantastic job at that total transpiration, full beauty, full coverage and I can refer it out. So I, that's partially why I do the consultations and take the time to get to know my clients because I really do want to make sure that we're a good fit. And I mean it's your wedding day, you want to make sure you like your vendors, you don't want to make sure that you're just hiring them because they're available or they're in the right budget. So I really do take that time to get to know them.

[33:21] No. And it's, you know, we've, I've had weddings, I do like the more natural, I mean it, I've shot some brides where you're like, that doesn't even look like you anymore, which is fine. And then they look beautiful photos and separate like, you know, I've had some brides were like, I've spent the day with them and then like I'll go back and look at like the getting ready or them like pre, you know, like maybe there's one show, you know, we don't try to shoot a lot of like pre makeup where you're like, oh, like that's not even the same.

[33:52] Well we'll see. And that's the other thing is I also tell my brides like you're seeing your guests who hopefully you've known for a long time. Hopefully you just inviting people because you want a big wedding. Hopefully you're inviting people who are family and know you and they know you a certain way and they want to see you shine. And you're also going to be seeing people. So yes, you want your pictures, you know your pictures to look amazing. You want your makeup to look amazing in pictures, but you also want to make your makeup look amazing when you're seeing people in person

[34:29] well and you'd like, you know, your husband or wife or whoever to.

[34:33] Exactly. And so many times when a bride is like, oh my husband doesn't like it when I wear makeup and oh, it means like the full coverage, like the Glam, the lashes and everything. And it's like, okay, yeah, I totally get that, you know, because they don't, they don't want to surprise walking down the aisle. So yeah, exactly. So, and that's something I do reiterate to my brides is that you, yes, you want to look gorgeous and pictures and a lot of, for a lot of brides that means you got to put on a lot of makeup. And for me I'm like that's not necessarily true with a little color correcting a little airbrush foundation, just a little, you know, lashes. I use cluster lashes, I don't use like the strips and you will still look gorgeous in pictures but you will feel more comfortable because you look like you and your guests will see you and they're not going to be seeing a ton of makeup on your face, you know? So I think that that's super important and that's a fine balance. And I prefer to have my skin look like skin. So there is a fine balance between that I've had and I'm not saying that either, either way is bad, you know, both ways are gorgeous. It's just, you know, I tend to attract more natural. Right?

[35:51] Yeah. I, I've shot some, you know, where you're like through the lens are you shooting at a distance and it's you know, and then like Europe, you know, two feet away talking to them and you're like oh there's a lot of that. Like you can really see the makeup thing. Exactly. So, and I mean I don't know

[36:05] if you've ever done, I think this might be a girl thing, but like celebrities, makeup and then you can zoom in on the pictures and see like, or it could be a makeup artist thing. I don't know. But I like to zoom in and I can totally like if I see a ton of makeup kicked on, I'm like, oh, like that's what people. Because when people are with you, they're like this close to you, they're hugging you and like that's what people see as the zoomed in picture of you

[36:29] like two.

[36:31] Exactly. So I, you know, and I think a lot of that has to do with my knowledge and skincare, skin prep. We get your skin prepped before the wedding. Um, we take care of things prior to so that way on the wedding day your skin will be beautiful, flawless and we don't have to do a lot of covering up. So

[36:52] talk to me. So when you decided to kind of go back into weddings and kind of launch, you know this now with your makeup, uh, any challenges, any being like any difficulties early on? So

[37:05] because I am a licensed esthetician, I'm not a licensed cosmetologist. I'm one of the biggest hurdles was finding hair stylists because I do want, I mean eventually my goal for the future is to do work with the team and be able to provide more. Um, and so really it's just finding a reliable stylist and preferably it's one that will give up their saturdays in a salon one that will, you know, come with me on site. And it was funny. I met Brenda at a wedding five, five seasons ago and it just, it just so happens we were working the same wedding, never met each other prior, found out she lives in Bonney Lake and you just meshed. And I, she contacted me for some skincare services and I started trading for skincare, for make hair, so she cuts my hair and we just, we hit it off.

[38:06] She was really interested in doing bridal hair and we just kind of, I call her my partner in hair. I mean we're two separate businesses so our billing systems are a little different but we make it work and it's nice to be able to provide brides both hair and makeup so they're not scrambling and I know who I'm working with. So I would say that was probably one of the biggest hurdles. And then also I kind of did a name change so I wanted to. My business name prior was Koreans facial and waxing studio and I was like, that's not gonna work. So, you know, having to restructure your business and then, you know, if I do work with teams eventually in the future, I'm going to have to restructure again. But um, that was another business hurdle because I was like, do I put like, you know, do I create a cute business name and, or do I just kind of keep it simple and I'm gina from the ground up floral. One of her comments when she saw my logo was she liked the fact that it has currency, makeup artists and esthetician because it shows that I did go to school and I do know what I'm doing and it kind of makes me stand out than from other makeup artists because I don't treat this as a hobby. This is my full time job besides taking care of my kids. So I, you know, take it very, very seriously.

[39:44] Yeah. Whenever I hear about like other vendors, you know, if they've done a name change or a whatever, I'm always like, I would just be a nightmare. Like I couldn't imagine it.

[39:54] Yeah. It was not fun and I was just like, you know, so I decided to keep it simple, but get you to, you get a new logo, you get, you know, your business website, you had to, you know,

[40:05] it's everything. It's wire, it's your business cards, your every email. It's everything. Yeah.

[40:12] So it was, yeah. So it was not fun. It took me awhile, but I was, you know, I'm glad I did it because it kind of shows what I do more and um, where my business is heading. So, which I am very grateful for.

[40:30] Talk to me about the first wedding that you were paid to do makeup or hair and makeup and you know, in a, in a professional setting, there wasn't like a, like a friend.

[40:40] So the first Gig that I got paid, it was probably in like 2012 and um, I was working with my friend missy who worked at gene whereas, and I charge $50 a person, which I don't anymore. I learned my lesson. Weddings are hard work. You deserve to get paid what you're worth. Um, and actually it went really well. Um, the bridesmaids were great, I didn't have a timeline, I was just a free for all I was, I was pregnant, so I was, you know, it was very different than how I run things now, but it taught me a lot. Um, the products that we're using was probably not what I would have chosen now. Um, but you know, when you're not really in that industry as long as you should be and you're like, you think you can do it. So, but it lasted. She gave me a great review. She was super sweet. She loved everything. We got them done a little behind. I was that artist that got them done, you know, half hour, 45 minutes late. And I learned my lesson from that too. And Yeah. But overall I'd say it was a really good first wedding for sure.

[42:09] It is, yeah. Funny. They'll look back and be like, what? Like all of the things like I didn't know or like email you to like I, my first wedding, like I don't have a timeline. Like I know I just knew the venue and you're going to go shoot. Yeah. So that's fine.

[42:24] Yeah, it's um, you do, you learn a lot. And I learned a lot about different skin types in. I mean, in my kit now I have cream foundations, I have airbrushed foundations, I have a liquid foundation. So like I have foundations that work with every single skin type and skin tone or before I just had the liquid foundation as good to go. I got at Sally's beauty supply and I thought, you know, and I was like, I can do this, you know, I had no idea what I was doing so I brushes, had no idea that, you know, I needed, you know, I got my brushes at Sally's beauty supply. So I mean now my kid is like insane. But um, yeah, I had no idea what was at that time, you know, even though you went through aesthetic school, like the brushes they give you, like the makeup they give you is just mineral makeup and it's, you know, what salons use in the brushes are so great. And so I had to learn all of that on my own. Um, what are some common

[43:32] mistakes, you know, education moments with, you know, brides or bridal parties or groups or whatever, but like things that you see a lot right now in the industry that you know are like easy corrections or are things, you know, words of advice that way.

[43:46] So I would say for the most part, trial runs usually when a bride does a trial run, they expect it to be perfect with no tweaking and I think that's a very unrealistic expectation because usually after a trial run I am taking their pictures in with my makeup light. I'm taking pictures in natural light. I'm taking pictures in daylight and so I think that and then I see things I want to tweak. So I think that brides have to realize that they need open communication with their makeup artist and hairstylist in that it's just makeup, like it can be taken off, it can be, you know, we can, you know, if we have to Redo a line, an eyeliner line if you want it sicker. I mean, these aren't make or break type of situations, but I had a bride who got a five trial runs prior to me and she was just unsatisfied with all of them and I'm like, at what point do you have to realize that it's probably either a, you're not hiring the right people or b, you're not communicating well and her looks that she was wanting.

[45:00] Whereas completely different from what she is. So like when I refer breads to Pinterest, I say choose people that look like you have similar face shape. Have some real eye color, you know, don't be just choosing pictures because you think they're pretty. So like if I have a girl who has red hair and freckles dimes didn't own, she comes in with like a Kim Kardashian picture that she wants recreate it and I'm like, that's just not realistic. That's not what you look like in any way, shape or form. Look at people with red hair and freckles and it'll will be a little bit more realistic. And so I feel like brides also have to realize that as makeup artists, we all specialize in different areas. And that not every, just because you're hiring a makeup artist doesn't mean that we all are specializing in that super high glam or that the super high glam artists are specializing in natural looks. We all specialize in different things. And you have to go with somebody who you're attracted to their portfolio first.

[46:03] Yeah, that's two points. One, I'm totally like knowing what your route is. Like I've had people that like have emailed me like, hey, we need to do this or like we want to do like a whiteboard animation video and then like, that's not like, you know, I just can't. Like, I could probably figure it out, but I don't think you want that be. I think it's a great point about it is like a trial because I do think like, even dorothy when she was doing, she had trouble finding the hair to get her hair done and you know, because you go in and you give it and she'd be like, oh, I hate this. Like that's how it's going to be. It's like, well no, that's not like. It doesn't need to be that way. Like you need to

[46:43] communicate and just say, hey, we like, we had a bride who she chose a sale that was like super, super curly in the back and it was really, really pretty. But her dress was super structured and it was very, very modern and I kept telling her, I was like, you know, it's like, I really think that you should do something sleek. Something that super, you know, modern, not necessarily just a really pretty curly up do. And so any way she did it and she's like, you know, it just didn't work with my dress. I really was not what I was expecting you. So she came back in for another hair trial. We did the super sleek, modern update. She cried, she loved it so much. She was like, I should have just listened to you, but I saw this picture. I thought it was really pretty.

[47:31] And that's the other thing is like you can go based off of a picture, but what you're seeing on pinterest is usually like a lot of extensions. I mean, there's a lot more work to it than just putting your hair back and curly if it's like a super thick up. Do like the braids that are really popular that are super thick like it. That takes time and that takes extensions and that takes, you know, a lot longer to figure out then just let's curl your hair and pull it back in a braid. So I think that comes with again, communication because if I can meet with them ahead of time and they show me what they're wanting and I can see their hair type and be like, are you prepared to spend about $400 in extensions prior to getting your hair done? And either a.

[48:21] they're like, heck yeah, or b. they're like, let's find a new look. So there's a lot more to it and that's why you need to find somebody who knows what they're doing and not just, Oh, I found this girl. She's super cheap, or my friend can do it. And we've done bridal parties where some of the bridesmaids don't want their hair done and they're doing it themselves and it's like bobby pins are sticking out. It just doesn't look as structured and it doesn't match the breast of the bridal party. So, you know. And I think that's something that brides need to take into consideration too.

[48:56] Yeah. Cause I saw a, I think just recently on online, somebody had posted like, oh I had my hair or my makeup trial and it was a disaster and I need somebody else. And I even people were commenting on, they're like, well, you know, have you have, you had this conversation and it might, like you said, it might just be like a gel, you know, they didn't gel with them but it could just be that you, you know, that they would thought they would do is. I mean people you do what you think. And then if it didn't work out, you know, it's nice.

[49:23] Something like they want like a lighter shimmer color on the inner lid or the liner wasn't as thick as what they want. I mean, these are like super minuscule, easy changes to make and usually it's because they're afraid to hurt people's feelings. Like I had a bride, I think it was three seasons ago, who she was really stuck on like that. Kim Kardashians look, and she really wanted the highlighting and contouring and so we, you know, are doing it and it just wasn't right. And so I think I added more blush and bronzer and she really wanted a bronzy or luck and so instead of telling me that she told her mom while thankfully I'm good friends with her mom because her mom called me and she was like, Hey, can she come in and just get more bronzer? And I was like, yeah, did more bronzer?

[50:13] She's like, yeah, I didn't think you could do this. I didn't want to hurt your feelings. I'm so sorry. I should have trusted you. And the day of her wedding, her other attendance went someplace else to get their makeup done and any way they come in and Shimmer, shimmer highlight that looks super white. They're really super dark contour line that you can still see. That looks like almost gray, I don't know if you've seen I. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And like the really Matt Dry Lips and I was like, so when you're talking highlighting and contouring to a makeup artist like that will be what you get when you're wanting just your facial structure just to be a little bit more sculpted with a little bit more bronzer. This is what you get. She's like, oh my gosh, I'm so glad. Because she's like, that's who I was going to go to if I couldn't figure it out too. And so it's like, it's super easy. Changes in communicate communication is key.

[51:09] Yeah. I mean we're, you know, people were professionals and they get it and you know, it's a job and I think like, you know, early on, I don't know, I know I personally like struggled with that a little bit where, you know, I'm doing what I think and if somebody does isn't happy and like you get your feelings a little bit, you get a little upset. But like people that do this for Olivia and, and Kinda know and like you give it. And I'm like, I do what I think and if you don't like it, and it's like, it doesn't, you know, you, it's ultimately like you're the client

[51:39] decision and yeah. So I mean, and I'm super flexible and like I tell my brides you're not gonna hurt my feelings. It's not my face, it's not my wedding day. Like you're not gonna hurt my feelings if you want something changed. And so when I work with my brides, I also have them sitting in front of a mirror, which a lot of other places don't. They usually have them off to the side, but that's because I want them to see the process too. And so I want them to see like if they're noticing something that I'm doing and they're like, oh, that's not really how I do it. Or I usually like it like this. Like, okay, let's fix it, you know. So I feel like there's just more transparency and I'm personally okay with my trial runs going a little bit longer if it means that we're going to be on the same page for the wedding day. So that to me is not like a big deal. I feel like that's part of my job is to figure it out and to get, you know, the look that you want. And so I feel like, you know, communication with that and looking in the mirror and seeing yourself while you're getting ready I think is very important.

[52:44] I think that's great. I think that I do see a lot like I like makeup artists like to have that big reveal, you know, and they get to do that. But I think like you might lose that two second thing that doesn't really matter anyway, but you get a lot more seeing them and

[52:59] there's more trash, like there's more transparency. So. And I especially because I also don't want to put a full face on them, see themselves and then then like, Oh I where I could solve that problem. Well ahead of fixed it. Exactly. So that's kind of how I run things and it, to me it doesn't make any difference. Like the big reveal. It's, that's not what the trial runs for the trail runs for. To figure out what you want to look like on your wedding day. The big reveal can be when you put your wedding dress on and you know that's the big reveal and I also recommend my brides to try on wedding dresses on the trial run and I do that because then they can see because when you have a full face on and your hair's up and then you're in plain clothes, it's just different. Like you're just like, I feel awkward. I don't feel like myself. I still feel weird, but I'm like, go home, put your dress on, go to your bridal shop, put your dress on, schedule your trial and run when you can do your fitting and it makes sense. Like they're like, oh my gosh. Like it looked beautiful. Everything worked out and I thought it was maybe a little bit too much or not enough, but it was perfect. And so that is what I recommend to my bride.

[54:18] Yeah. I also do lots of things in your dress, like a sit down dance. Like I have a bride, a weird [inaudible]. She's like, Oh, I've never. I don't even know if I can sit in this dress like you're going to sit, like sit, put your makeup on, like, you know, be in it for more than 30 seconds. Let's see. See if it's uncomfortable. Dorothy, you didn't try the dance before our wedding. And she's like, well I never, I go, you didn't even just like just do a circle. Like they don't try it, you know, live in address for years.

[54:53] Good point because yeah, no I didn't do that and I was so uncomfortable on my wedding day like it was. Yes, it was super hot. We got married August first and it was like a 93 degree day and my dress was long and I wanted a short dress but the ladies at the shop like talked me into a long dress and I was suffocating. So definitely try on your dress for longer than like walk around the store, like sit down in the store.

[55:23] Who did your makeup?

[55:24] I did, yeah. I did my entire bridal party too. So I, yeah. Well, when, like I said before we started this, when we got married, my husband got laid off so, um, our wedding budget kind of took a dive so we ended up getting married at my aunt's property. We got married in the church, had the reception at my aunt's property. It was a potluck. It was super duper fun. Big Family party. But yeah, it just, we just couldn't afford the hair and makeup and I did it and my cousin worked at generous so she did our hair. So

[56:02] did that work out? Were you able to get everything done?

[56:04] And I was 21 so I was young when I got married. So. And weddings. No, well we're going on nine years weddings, nine years ago were so different from weddings today, so it wasn't as important. Like I didn't know anybody who got hair and makeup done at their wedding. So for one cousin and so it just wasn't like that big of a deal to me. I think. So,

[56:31] um, one last thing I want to make sure we touch on before I let you go, because I see it all the time with makeup people, uh, talking about making sure people book ahead of time, you know, this isn't like a one month out, oh, I need to book this, this is like a year out with all your people. The feelings on that.

[56:48] Um, so I suggest brides to book out at least six to nine months in advance. Um, I am already starting to book for 2019. So, um, I always say it's better to kind of have your vendors than not have your vendors. So I say six to nine months because I feel bad. I really do when I get a bride contacting me and she's like, and I have like one weekend open a month that I haven't booked a wedding and it's like that, you know, I take those, I take those and I breathe. So, you know, it's sad when they come in, they're like, I, you know, messed up, I should've booked from hair and makeup a month ago or it just didn't, you know. So yeah, six to nine months at least, and I'd say that's probably par for the course for like most hair and makeup vendors.

[57:42] Yeah, there's nothing more uh, frustrated but sad when I'll get the email, like a, you know, we were thinking about like potentially maybe having a videographer on June 30th and you're like, yeah, that's been booked for your other, you know, and they're like, just broaching the idea of it or like just reaching out.

[58:02] You get it. I see it all the time. Oh my fiance and I, we decided to finally get a videographer. So who's open? Oh, also we have like a $400 budget, like, you know. Okay, thanks. So I don't know what that's about, but that's something I've been seeing a lot lately. And that's the same with hair and makeup. Oh, I'm looking for last minute hair and makeup. I think one girl she just posted, I forgot about myself and I have two weeks before my wedding and who's open, who's open for hair and makeup and it's like a, well maybe like.

[58:40] And it's always a really busy day too. It's always like, depending on the bridal party size, I can maybe swing it, you know, and you know, usually they are also lower. They want a lower budget. They want, you know. Yeah. They asked for a lot so which there's nothing wrong with that, but yeah, it's good.

[59:01] This has been so nice to chat with you. I really appreciate it. Uh, I feel like the, the, the wait was worth it. Uh, I think this was been a very educational talk. If people want to learn more about you and your company and hair and makeup services, what would you have for them?

Go to So thanks Reid. Thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Tony Schwartz, Tony Schwartz MC and DJ

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and today I think we're in for quite a treat. I know the royal wedding was a few months ago at this point, but we are joined, in fact today by royalty, the King of Puyallup himself, Tony Schwartz. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself, Tony, and tell us who you are, what you do.

[00:33] Thank you very much. Glad to be here. My name's Tony Schwartz. I am a entrepreneur in the wedding and private events industry, DJ weddings. I run a photo booth rental company and I also run an ab rental company. A more importantly though, I am known as Hashtag Puyallup's most eligible bachelor. Um, I am a Red Sox fan, a Seahawks fan. I love sports. I'm a amateur chef, if you've probably seen a few of my food gram photos I throw out there too. I'm just all around. Awesome dude.

[01:06] And uh, Tony is, is. This is an after hours podcasts right now. I've been rude and had to reschedule with Tony a couple of times and so he was fortunate enough to come to the house after hours. I said, I'll have a beer for you. What do you want? He said Blue Moon with a slice of orange and so I think we're going to try to do a, a pop there. Yeah, let's pop it. There we go next, right? Yeah. 16. Then my mom's not listening. Don't worry about it. So we got Dorothy working downstairs and we're upstairs and this should be good. When Tony filled out this questionnaire, I said, uh, yeah, what is the name of Your Business? And you said, well, which one are we going to talk about? Because Tony is quite the, uh, you've got quite the reach here, right?

[01:49] Yeah. With being. I mean I've always had the entrepreneurial mindset and just found myself in the private events field.

[01:55] Uh, so how did that come about? You said 10 years plus in the wedding industry? Uh, yes. So

[01:59] let's start. If we go on at the college, which was when I kinda got the starting into Dj and I was working, I did, I was fascinated by the DJ culture. I listen to a DJ scene on cube 93 back way back when I was in high school. Like always. I really got turned on when I heard him play on the next episode, Acapella over ACDC, back in black. And I was like, I have to learn how to do this because that is awesome. Come to find out later, years later it was actually a premade mash up that he didn't even do a. But that's part of the secret of Dj and a lot of it's preproduced stuff. Um, so fast forward to college, we go to over redoing radio down with a university of puget sound in the 90 point one the sounds, a k ups called signals.

[02:46] Well, and I did a show on Friday and Saturday nights from 12:00 until 2:00 AM, we call it the past hour. And they were basically at that time was you're playing hip hop. And so I played an old school in nineties, hip hop and we had just a ball down the studio. They play in the, across the hallway was the pizza seller where everybody would come out, they've got their pizza before they go back to the dorms and pass out. And we were playing nothing but hip hop. And we opened up the doors to the studio. We had people coming in and having their own dance party. The only rule is just don't hotbox it, um, which I don't smoke or anything like that, but we may or may not have alcohol in their fcc violation, possibly a 10 months station on a clear night. The, the port of Tacoma with hear us and they'd be having a ball to the overnight shift.

[03:36] And the cranes, everything listen to a show. They'd be like, what a bunch of idiots college students. Uh, so if we did that in one night, I started after probably a couple drinks. We had some turntables down there and a mixer. And I was like, well, I'm just going to throw on some records. I'm saying on the radio or playing in the cellar pizza seller and I just talked on some records and somebody came in and he goes, do you want learn how to do that for real? And I said, yeah, I definitely do. Um, so he said, all right, call me in or not teach you what to do. And then pretty much the rest is history at that point. Who was that? Um, his name was billy and he basically, he was a DJ, he was also on our baseball team and he goes, you know, he had two turntables and he had a buddy named Ileka, uh, who was also a Dj in the area.

[04:22] And he basically, they showed me the ropes. He gave me my first two vinyl records that had learned how to beat match, which is fifty cent in the club, which isn't the easiest song to beat match because they have a little database kick before where the actual what's called the one song because difficult one for occurs. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. There's an extra little bit drum kick in there before that one. So it took me awhile to figure that out and then learn how to drop the other song on the one you've matched up to records, um, the same record and then eventually you graduate to a different record and you start learning to beat, mix those two in together so you can do it all by ear. This was pre a Mac book, pros and Serrato and all those. We actually do it on vinyl records. Someone how to do it the hard way.

[05:06] Yeah, because that was going to say, um, to this day, and I've, I've filmed a lot of Djs and the same spinning circle on the screen. I Might Assistant Jeff is filmed at our insurance. We all filmed that screen and then I stared at it for five years. I couldn't tell you what it means or whether it ties,

[05:23] it is what it is. It just an interest of virtual wave form, but it's not always as accurate as your ear. And that's what I liked. Just being able to use my year as much as possible. So you also don't have Serrato face where this morning apply to a podcast because it does some visual, but you're staring at a computer screen the entire time.

[05:42] Um, so what did you go to school for? That and then Tacoma.

[05:44] So I went as a, uh, my major was math finance, which was absolutely perfect timing for 2008. Um, and then the miners were in business and economics.

[05:56] So what year you graduate in? Two

[05:58] thousand eight us to wear the exact same age for some reason I didn't, I don't know. He just seemed a lot more knowledgeable than idea so that I look older. It's the extra weight a couple of years. Oh No, Dorothy was asking me, I said, well, I think he's got a lot of these companies. He's got to be old, you know, so that's good. Yeah. No, I literally, when you graduate in 2008 with a finance degree, um, there no jobs. I'm pretty much everywhere I called. They're like, we're still firing people. Um, which isn't great. I did get one temp to hire job in Seattle down to Queensland for a guardianship from my position was called assistant to the finance financial manager. You might as well just call it, write letters and transcribed voicemails from angry clients to have special needs or something like that.

[06:40] So I mean, it's a good job that they need it because there are people that can't manage their own finances. They need, they came and do a balance, simple things balanced with checkbook, so someone's got to do it, but there's no path to the corner office. I'm your pay raise would be 4,000 more per year than what you were going to make. And for someone that I didn't, it was definitely not going to be like, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Um, and so the day that they said, hey, we can't afford to bring you on because of the economy and whatnot to was turned out to be the happiest day of my life. In retrospect, despite the fact that the same time I was trying to buy my first house and told that you don't have a job anymore, it was not good for getting that financing financing secured. Um, so through another little wrinkle plan, I think you'll find that my story timing is not my forte in life.

[07:34] Well, no, I mean that's fascinating because I graduated at the same time and I went into TV news and it was the same thing, like, you know, I got hired and they laid off like how the newsroom. But it is really interesting to think of how much that shapes kind of your life, you know, when you enter the job market, like versus people now or whatever. So, uh, were you still dj and stuff on the side while you were doing that or was that kind of on the back burner? I was

[07:56] deejaying the entire time when I was in college. Um, at one point it was Tuesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday nights, which was awesome because I was making money and it was able to apply towards student loans to where when I graduated I didn't really have much left in student loans that I needed to knock out, but you could also make the sacrifice so you don't really see, you know, the friends and whatnot on to, um, but when we were doing around campus, we're doing frat parties, which was great because then I got to be cool. I'm socially cool. I think a lot of Djs do it because they want to be cool and acceptable. Something because a lot of them were kind of socially awkward or just kind of we stick to ourselves. We listened to our music, we have headphones on all the time.

[08:40] Um, so yeah, I was doing that. And then during the summer it was doing a wedding. They got into weddings real quick. I think my sophomore year I did my first one for a friend back in 2005 and then was booking them out the following year to where when I got out of school senior year I had a full summer of weddings look forward to when I was making more doing weddings and I was at the temp to hire job, so I was like, well, when they got no let go. I was basic like the system that we can do with this and see what we can grow and if it doesn't work out it's maybe the economy comes back and by then we can find something else in the finance sector. And I've never had a real job since I have a blank resume.

[09:20] Do you enjoy that? Do you enjoy it? I know that uh, people I did that guy that does drone piloting for me as well, like he holds that I'm very proud that he's never had like a real paycheck. Right. That he's kind of done a lot of this. So do you enjoy that?

[09:34] I like that. I mean there's pros and cons to it. And then there's, I liked the risk, I like the fact that I'm my own boss, I get to do, you know, I'm in control if I don't want to work in the morning for work in the morning, it means. Is that the same for you? You're.

[09:50] Yeah, I mean, but I'm a workaholic.

[09:52] I am too. I'm in. I get like my zones where I like to work all day and work all night and then and then go to bed and then do it all over again the next day and it becomes obsessive. But I think as I've gotten out of my twenties and now into my thirties, I don't want to do that as much. So trying to find ways I can more leverage my time and really focus. You get into that equation of, you know, is this worth my time or is this something I can delegate out? That's what I've kind of been learning more in my thirties is what can I delegate to someone else? What can I, what is my skills, what are my strengths, what are my weaknesses and I can give to and let someone else take care of my weaknesses. Graphic design, terrible at it.

[10:33] Not gonna lie. It's just not my, it's not my forte, but I will be more than happy to look for somebody and I'm looking for somebody to do an epk. So if you're listening and you want to put together and you can hit me up some Edm, I'm or I'm, you know, I have a couple of different. EPA has I want to do one for weddings, one for private performances. But to answer the question, yeah, I mean I don't, I, my dad had asked me this the other day on father's day and he goes, if you had to go to a corporate job, would you want to, you know, would you enjoy it? I go, no. He goes, I don't think he would either. I think you literally want to jump out the window and kill yourself. I'm like, well that's drastic, but I just don't.

[11:12] I don't want to put on that suit and tie. And I think it's because I had that little taste when I, you know, going from pr, but you get to the sounder and I was doing this when I was still dj too. I do a Thursday night at bed in the grass. We Dj until 2:00 AM. You get home about 2:30 in the morning and then I'd wake up three hours later, throw on a suit and tie, catch you get on the train. I fell asleep somewhere on the train between Auburn and Seattle. Didn't matter. Where would it be woken up by the conductor. Hey. Uh, you got to. Got The train your last one on. Do that walk of shame and then try to catch the bus to a clean end. Usually miss the first one, which means no coffee at starbucks on the corner. The second one puts you there three minutes for run up the stairs, get in the elevator and try to sneak into the office. Typically two minutes late. And I hate being late to anything because I think it's disrespect.

[12:00] He was on the 10 minutes early texts.

[12:02] Exactly. It's part of that sports background. When you're growing up, you learned that, you know, tend to, if you're not 10 minutes early, you're late. So I hated doing that and then trying to sneak in and say no, I was on time and you know, I can show up when I needed to show up, but when I show up I can get it, you know, I get to start working and get to going on why I need to do.

[12:20] Yeah, it's A. I don't think I could either. I actually today on Facebook, it reminded me that seven years ago, today was my first day at q 13, which was seen over the last job I had before this. It seems like a really long time ago and like, I don't know, I don't know if I could go back. I mean I just feel like once you're kind of out in the wild, it's like trying to like get a gorilla back in the cage or something.

[12:41] We are, we're untamed. I don't know how you could like telling me to actually follow all these rules or handbooks. I would looked at half a handbook and go, I can't do this.

[12:53] Yeah, we had a uh, but at the podcast last week came over and I had done corporate stuff all week, which I don't, it's not, you know, usually like all day every day for the week, and I have my John Seeing the Jersey on and like basketball shorts. I said this is what we got today because I've been too dressed up all week to era of Johnson as well. This was the old school back when it was just his high school football number, 54 on the business when he was the wrapping John Cena. I was like, word life and all the thug life. Yeah, yeah, that's good. It was again then and then we turned on them for about 10 years, but yeah, it was fun. It was fun back in.

[13:30] But dr a thug, he was dropped off some lines. Uh, you know, the battle with a rock or whatever.

[13:36] If you're a nice. I will show you my spinner belt later on that I have in my office. You Still Watch the WWE? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we go. We just went to Wrestlemania in New Orleans back in April. Some that's fun.

[13:49] Where were you close or distant for?

[13:52] Um, we have the best seats that we've ever had there. We were the second row off the floor on the riser. So it was good. It was a lot, but it was fun. Awesome. Yeah,

[14:01] I've never gone to Wrestlemania. We go when it comes to secure in a of there for Daniel Bryan's retirement. I was as well if you can actually see me on the TV because I always get somehow I get lucky. I get these, the hard cam tickets. Um, and I think it's just, um, can you just pop because I go on stage, just sent you an email, like literally five minutes really going. So hey ww tickets are on sale at tenderloin. You're like, it's 9:56. So you hop on there and it was a Pi for despite only go to so sell the other two. And when the last time I went I sold the two that were on the aisle that uh, the shield girls walk around the, a Roman rams would come down some of the bottom of. Yeah. They wanted to bond just so they could get thrown in a fist bump or whatever. I hate that person. What about. I'm back on the Monday night wars. Were you a WCW or wwf guy?

Oh, I was WWF all the way. I've never watched. That was never. I was always stone cold, stone cold. We were always. We were

[14:51] WCW and maybe because my mom was like, she was like downturn that wrestling stuff on. We'd watch it anyways, so whatever. Every Monday night and we were begging the Goldberg and I was big into video. I would love to heal the bad guy.

[15:02] Yeah, you got to do that. You. You strike me as a. As a likable heal as somebody that people applied out of respect but still booming. They're supposed to.

[15:11] Yeah. I think it's. It's a. it's a character. It's a performance and I think it's a lot harder to be a really good bad guy than it is to be a really good, good guy.

[15:21] Do you find a lot of your personality makes its way into how the way you interact during the events and things like that? Do you enjoy that?

[15:28] Some more of my personality. So I think it's a switch and it gets kinda turned on because if you go. If I go to an event just as a guest, like I just want to chill and have a good time and relax and it's not, I'm not working. I don't care if there's a Dj and what he's doing. I don't really want to critique. Um, I don't like when people come up to me and go, what do you think is dj? I'm like, please don't get me into that mode. Um, because it's. Sometimes it's not fair because I dj does what they do and that's fine. Everyone has different styles. So when I perform this light switch that goes on because as we just did that wedding a couple weeks ago, you have to step out in the middle of the dance floor and you have to command a room, 200 people or you have to have the confidence.

[16:16] You stand in front of a bunch of people and play the music that's going to get to them to dance or be able to interact or get to a desired atmosphere or whatever that goal, that particular event that particular client has. You have to figure it out at the end. I will start from the end, what's our end goal and everything I'm doing leading up to that even hours before it comes to that conclusion. Where would that client wants to be? How am I going to get there and get one step closer and then you have to be outgoing and charismatic. You Ha. I mean no one wants to hear a boring Dj and I try and there's a fine line between when you crossover and you become ringmaster of a circus and you become that cheese ball dj that everyone kind of you. What I found is just be authentic and be who you are, but turn it up to 11.

[17:02] Yeah, it is a fine line. And there was a DJ or two, a couple of times last year and I can't remember his name, but yeah, he was like the shushing the people kind of Dj and that to me like steps over that line, you know, if you're trying to like get people's attention for, for the speech or whatever. But then, you know, there are kind of those wallflower ones too. They just stay in, uh, you know, you don't even know like, you know, I usually try to talk to the Dj, you know, because most of the time I'm using part of your equipment or you know, we're putting stuff together with everything. So like, yeah, I think you need to be, like you said, at least somewhat outgoing. And if not then 11.

[17:34] Well I think there's, you know, I don't want to push anybody or go, I'll wait till I have your attention. Like who? Who the hell are you to say something like that. I think the thing is, is just if you structure what going to say and you put it on the back half of what you're about to say, that first half is pretty much meaningless fill to get everybody to basically bluntly shut up. This is a real podcast. We talk authentically here. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. I don't sugar coat it for my clients. Um, I told you I was bringing your personality, you know,

[18:09] he said that, uh, briefly describe where you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, on the questionnaire you said I bring personality and listens.

[18:18] Oh yeah, you'll get some lessons. So don't worry about that. Um, I want to promote you and help you out because I think you're doing a good job and you know, that's gonna get you more exposure and you deserve it. If you're going to work hard, you know, usually get what you reap. Um, but yeah, I mean just don't go out there and you can't say your announcement when nobody's listening because then all it does is create more confusion, but you have to get their attention. And there's some people that are going in the back so that they don't care what you have to say at all and you don't want engage with them, you just ignore them. You let them be who they are, um, and then you just get what you need to say and turn your speakers up more if you need to.

[18:54] Have you found. I've found. I'll answer my own question first, but that it seems like more and more people are in their own world kind of on their own phones or in their own conversations, like during speeches and stuff like that. Have you noticed that lately?

[19:08] I have. And basically it's like everybody is on their own agenda no matter what the event is. I mean, I do weddings a lot, but unit providence, everyone has their own agenda and they want to do it, you know, they're ready when they're ready. And there's not this. I think it's reflective of our society is we're not coming. Everything's coming together as a collective group where everything's about, just the experience and the over everyone coming together. It's everyone wants to kind of do what they want to do. It's like if I'm trying to clear out, I'm a lobby and get everybody into a room so I can bring a wedding party up to your grand entrance and people are still getting their beer and they're not like, guys, let me just give you five minutes. And because where you're probably sitting in the room, you're probably going to be late to your, a good 20 minutes for you and send you to dinner.

[19:59] You can sneak out, grab a beer, come back, probably got to, at the rape. This is Colin. I just need to get this up because there's a lot of things I'm doing behind the scenes that they don't realize and you know, ignorance or it's out there. They don't know what's going on. Um, but just like, just help me out so I can get this done and then we can move forth and I. because if you don't, it just delays everything back. It's the same thing. I think, you know, there's always that technology is. I get them that curse and although there's always that old photographer argument about should my wedding be unplugged or not? And I can see both ways. Um, what about, what do you feel about that because of the videographer. Do you care if people have their ipads out as you're trying to film or

[20:37] I'm not, if it's not in my way. We had one the day before, it was the Saturday of Memorial Day and it was a Chinese wedding and so just culturally there's a lot more, you know, photo taking and um, cell phones and ipads and stuff and like, I mean, I do think it is kind of a cool shop when the bride is coming down the aisle and I'm like, everybody has their phones out as long as you can still see down there was the lady in the front row because I'm shooting, coming down the aisle. She was like in the middle of the aisle shooting and I had to tell her, you know, ma'am, you know, just just because like I do my job. Like, I mean, that doesn't bother me. I know it really does bother some people. Uh, I mean I think you want people to be present and I think a lot of couples have really made that clear lately that they want their guests and stuff to be president because, you know, they want people to pay attention to them and not, you know, their cell phone. Yeah.

[21:27] But I think there's this, like the double sided thing. I mean, one, you go to concerts, everyone's got their phones out. I literally hate my phone out at a concert. I want to be in that moment. Um, especially when you paint as much money as you are for good seats, you want to be there that grab your one photo to put the phone. But that's my personal preference. Um, I can understand why some people want to film it and they want their youtube clips and they want to document that they were there and you know, that's fine, but you don't ever hear. I never hear concert photographers complained about people got their cell phones up and when their shots, because they get their, they get their access to where they need to be in a wedding. Yet it's a little bit tighter, um, but you know, I think that grandma and mom and aunt, you know, they want that shot for a reason and that photo is important to them even though it's probably just a cell phone photo.

[22:18] Um, it's probably not that great to begin with. Most of their phone's been updated in the last 10 years, which it's not, but it's important to them. It's the same thing. Why that Selfie is important. I'm trying to move somebody from the cake to the dance floor cake back to their sweet idea for the toast. It's an important photo for them. Um, so I think, you know, you have to find that balance between is it in the wind and obstructive or is it just something that you had let him have it and that's the moment it is. I mean, it's a moment in time and when people look back at those photos, I go back in 2018, it's store, looked at ceremonies through there. I've watched as they filmed it.

[22:55] It is funny though because um, I had a corporate event today and it was a luncheon in one of the key points was, you know, they wanted to, besides everything they wanted to make sure you've got the CEO is going to do a keynote, a bunch of other stuff and so, you know, I got two cameras, I'm plugged into their board, you know, have a professional audio going on the Tascam and then I have my two cameras and whether they're people working, you know, was standing next to me and were far back because I'm shooting over the people and she's cut her fogo and like the whole time he's doing his speech and I'm like, you guys are getting all of this for me. I got about 10 grand whether that this guy right now, like we got it covered, but people want to know that they got it. You know, they want to know that they

[23:39] care. Um, were they never see the video?

[23:42] Yeah. If

[23:44] they don't ever look in the photos, look at once. I mean, if you think about it is if, um, so for my brother, he got married last year. Um, I've never seen their photo gallery or their video. I know that there was a photographer there. Um, there was a videographer there. I've never seen it. I don't know, maybe they just don't like me or they don't want me to see it. No, they have it, but they haven't, like, yes. And they couldn't. They even made it to where, um, because my mom got in trouble for posting some of her favorite photos and they're like, no, we just want to keep the ones that they want to post it publicly, which is fine. That's their right. But yeah, it's like I didn't get to see a lot of the photos are the ones I got tagged in which is me. And I'm like, cool, I'll make that my profile photos. I look damn good and the Tuxedo that day. But yeah, I mean I didn't, I haven't seen the video. I mean, but you know, what I have seen that video is something that either I've captured real quick or a friend captured. Um, so I think that may be the case. You have some people go, well I'm in never see the video, so I want to get what, you know, what I want to have captured. I mean that could be a perspective as well.

[24:50] Yeah, no I agree with that. They want to know they have it. But I mean most. I also like, I think the photographer is like traditionally like it would do, you'd have to buy your photos afterwards were like a lot of people now like if you pay your three grand or five grand, like you didn't get all the photos where they used to not be. I think where people, like my neighbor always talks about how like, you know, they had to like get their stuff developed and really, you know, he's old but we just, you know, like our wedding, we just got everything settled on that USB. But um, so you're doing the DJ thing. I'm trying to figure out where this event rental also now we're doing the photo booth and they, like you said, it's that like serial entrepreneurial ship. I can never say that word. I can't spell it. No, I definitely can't. Um, so how long have you been doing the DJ thing before kind of these other ideas can indeed. The thing was

[25:38] the first thing. Um, and then the AB rentals was the second thing that was born. And that came because one of my clients, Josh and Katrina, who both worked for me, the photo book company, they're a, I think Katrina's mom. It could be wrong on that and I apologize if I'm, if she hears this and I got it wrong. She asked me about doing a sound system for an event that she was hosting. She just want to play in. I thought she didn't need a DJ. She was like, Can I rent your speakers? And that became an instant moment to me. There might be other people that have ipods and don't need a DJ. This one sound system. And I created a company called ID j rental systems. I was terrified the entire time, like getting sued by Apple. Um, just because I was young and I used the I dj and I didn't, I don't know, maybe it's bad.

[26:29] Probably isn't. See all kinds of different brands out there. So I think I was okay. And I at one point I have a tendency of systems. And mind you, I don't have an office at this point. I'm running. The Avi runs are coming. You can't run it out of your house. What were you? I would. Okay. So have you ever seen breaking bad Saul Goodman? Right. And then you had. Did you ever watch a spinoff called better call Saul? I'm behind. I only watched the first season and I just got, I get dizzy. That's, I don't watch TV. I'm a binge watcher in the winter and then during the summer and spring I don't even watch much divorce. So my tonight why I ate dinner before you came, uh, I was watching westworld on my laptop and Dorothy Dorothy's like, oh yeah, well you are however you want you to west orange.

[27:11] I said, yeah. I said it's Wednesday. I've, I've got 28 minutes into the show this week because it's like, you know, five minutes here and five, that's my TV watching this yard have to do in the winter. I have to binge watch it and I will watch a season at one point there was last night all the way up and I was so glad I didn't have to sit through seven years of waiting for that pay so that at the end of Friday night lights was another one that I watched binge watched every season to season a day and got completed and I was sort of sad for that one because that was a great movie. Anyway, back to your question, right? So what I did is I said if you watched live knew saul goodman, because it plays in nicely. It was. I would go to my local Fred Meyer and I'd sit in the back of my suv with a newspaper and I was renting systems out of the back of my suv at the time and people would be like, how come you go?

[28:04] And it was an excuse each week like, oh, we're painting the walls and the offer. He didn't like his assistant, his voice. He was trying to fake an assistant. Why he wasn't even in the air. And so come up with all these different excuses. Why I couldn't bring people to the office to either collect or return the rentals. It was probably the most ghetto thing I've ever done in my life. Eventually then I got an office. I'm the Aba rental company. The problem that we ran into was the we have these little dark systems with a mixer and you would a lit retired into an old school late noon. I'm the lightning that I eventually they started changing the dark and I was like, this is not good because then you couldn't keep up with everything, so we actually switched over to. We just plugged into your headphone Jack so then we could stay more.

[28:52] Now. You don't even have anymore. No, I know those. We still. Yeah. Now we're having that issue now. People call and they're like, what are we doing? I'm like, here's a light mean to a half millimeter dongle. It's going to cost you $3 to rent. You can go buy it for nine or rent it from us for three and save yourself the gas and triple going through target to get it. So it's a nice little money maker. They're small things that add up, it just, it's lunch money, come on, let's be real. It's not as bad as what you would go if you went to a hotel and they're like, Hey, we need a $25 essentially cable, a surge protector and a cost of $95. That literally just happened at the Ab rental. I just did because they canceled us when these one or screen and they had to use another company. I'm not going to interrupt. Um, I don't want to namedrop know that if you're in the, if you're in the industry, you know who they are. Uh, the $95 for a 25 foot extension cable. Oh, that was like,

[29:42] we're always at the wedding show and you know, they always say like you get out of 51 amps or watts or I don't know, power you give whatever and then you have to pay if you want extra. And so like we always sort of the TV and stuff and so, you know, it ends up being like 350 bucks. So like I, this year I emailed the woman and I'm like, there's no possible way with, there's like 500 booths that you could possibly monitor what each booth is pulling from. Oh, we walk like, we know.

[30:09] You'd be surprised how they get that. They probably can really know. What's cool though, is that Howard's cool enough to make sure that that supply, that your booth, because I've done other wedding shows, you have to order it in and it's expensive. All of a sudden that booth that you thought you were getting a great bargain for isn't really a bargain at the end of the day. Yeah. Can you show up? And it's like here's your space. It's taped with concrete and it's like there's no carpet. It's like Howard shows and he runs it really well and he takes care of. I mean you still have to get bringing in carpet or something for about three booth, but I mean he's still, you're taking care of the world. You don't have to worry about something as silly as power for most vendors. Do they even need that much power? I mean,

[30:49] well that's why I just couldn't figure, I mean, and it's fine, but I just, the fact that like they could monitor that. She's like, well, if you're using between 100, 100, it was very specific. I grandkids. I'm like, there's no way you know exactly how much power I'm pulling that this booth.

[31:01] They may, they may not even know it was called a bluff. See what happens. Just taken there and take a bunch of really high end stuff. Bringing like a toaster with Michael. What else you got in here? You could bring it up.

[31:12] Yeah, we got a blend tech. You don't cook much here. What do you guys eat out? And we love smoothies. Protein. Yeah.

[31:19] Birth you. Have you ever done the juice diet or anything like that or where do you. So do you. You're in here. Moscow. I'm not gonna name of your street or anything. People come here. Let me give it starts with three. So you guys eat out a lot here or.

[31:36] Okay. I say a Turkey sandwich over the little man. You're thin and I'm. So you're doing the DJ rental of the SUV?

[31:48] Yep. So I'm doing that and then that eventually grows into,

[31:51] I think we're about six months in your career right now. If I'm 32 minutes and we

[31:57] just don't want to talk about it so much. No. So I did that. That involves into what became puget sound pro audio rental. That's a mouthful. Too many words. It was great for Seo, terrible for branding and everything else eventually evolved into play at that rentals because I moved from the office. That was just a little cracker box office that a slanted wall in any of my guests I've ever been there before. I in my past clients that we're going to a meeting, they know exactly what the office looked like and I think it was 92 square feet. Still would rent stuff out of the back of my van. We just went down to the parking lot and get it. The hard part was if I had to add to do add ons, which is a great way to make money, especially at the point of purchase, Hey, I know you've got these speakers and you're gonna, you know, do you want it, some lights and solly 50 bucks.

[32:47] I don't know why the package, which is what any entrepreneur would do you want to do an add on? Um, the problem becomes if two people bought that out on and someone else wanted it, the third one, you have to go back to your house and get everything and be like, hold on one second. I'm going to go. I to go back to my warehouse, which doesn't exist. It's just my garage which was in my parents' garage. So my, which was filling up with more and more gear as I was building this brand. Um, so eventually we switched it to um, I found, uh, my mom works for corn, Ford, Paul corn corners a part. So we do pretty much two things. A, we have a fair, which isn't even ours anymore now. So Washington state, they're all crap. And then the other part is we sell a lot of cars and trucks.

[33:35] If you ever see the Jabian are pitching for northwest motorsports trucks, trucks and more trucks, they're down there in peolpe. And so it was corp, I mean those are the big two players. And we have a couple of other dealerships. A Kia, I have to make sure I out Kia this front of photo booth from us every year for the holiday party. Ryan is awesome. So Ryan, if you're listening, don't forget you've done book written this next upcoming holiday party. Um, so she's there and they own a building called the 1416 east main attractions, which is where my office currently is. And it was like the perfect space because there was a garage door up front next to the office door. So I have a bunch. All my stuff is there in that garage shop. And I have of course my office in the very back, it's called the dungeon because there's no windows.

[34:20] And then we have a recording studio, which we do podcast studio rentals out of. Um, I also do, um, you know, do some other recording voiceover projects for clients that come in. Uh, the one who do different things for their weddings are different special events. They want to record a special message over the first dance, which not a lot of them do and I wish more than wood because it's such a cool emotional moment that really gets a tear jerker in the room, even cater. I've seen caterers cry over some of these before and then we have our, which right now is our photo booth junk room, which is just stuff with photo booths and it's usually a mess when you walk in there. Right now the, the love seat is hosting the easy chair, um, because I'm trying to sell that. So if you're looking for a nice leather chair and a love seats, please send me a DM. I'd be more than happy to sell that to you. It's from the old cannery that's done in summer. It's great furniture if you're into the furniture game. I'm so pleased by that. For me. Can I hocked my product? So anything else? I got a lot of stuff I could sell on facebook. Marketplace is just like, is this available? Yeah, it is. Otherwise, why I listed. Let's see, what else can I say? I got some old photos for self. Anybody's looking for that. Can you see the entrepreneurial spirit come down here? Read.

[35:31] Okay. I always wonder when people, Djs with a lot of equipment and stuff, like how do you handle the liability with that? This sounds like a lot of

[35:38] insurance. Our insurance I've learned. I mean, everything's a learning process on this. Uh, do your due diligence when someone comes to rent something out, you know, make sure you get their id. That's a big one. They don't have their id. That's probably a first step. If they say they're coming on someone's behalf, that's probably also something to be a little bit wary about. Um, [inaudible], I mean, we've done hit with fraud before. Uh, and we found that the hard way a insurance doesn't cover a fraud. She went that, that sucks. Um, so you kind of learned that, I mean something that you've learned the hard way. Um, because they're always trying to be smarter than you and they're always trying to outsmart you and now we have a pretty good system in place where everybody can make their online orders on play event and they have to at least pay a 25 percent deposit through their card and strike this cool enough that they tell you on the back end, yeah, this is no risk or this might be a risk.

[36:41] Or even if they're renting, you know, three days later is probably gonna come up on the stolen cards statements online. Then people are going to go, that's not my order. It's fraudulent. That's going to give you a warning sign. This is possibly a purchase order. You also, you know, you get their id, we can, they can submit that online. You have a credit card authorization form. And so if they don't complete that within before they pick it up, we cancel the order because if you can't submit, you know, we're not going to take it at the pickup. So you're trying to get everything in advance and then you're making sure that everything is consistent. And it all looks the same. I'm also probably isn't a good idea to fall for something if it's not email, Yahoo, hotmail, or their own company website or a, you know, that you can visit and looks at.

[37:33] You might be a little suspicious of that. But the key is, I think this is, comes down to, as I started watching even gone down the youtube rabbit hole. Yeah, everyone, every entrepreneur does. It's a great little way to get a break, right? Um, I went down, there was a show on there called the real hustle on youtube and you go down, I went and there's like 11 seasons of it. And I went down that rabbit hole and I learned everything about what good scam artists does. Not that I want to pull scams on anybody to look at it too, but you start to learn that they act on time, emotion and everything's going to be quick and hurry. And they want the emotion to be in there so that you overlook the logical steps. And once I learned that I learned everything we did wrong and the ones that, you know, when we did get a fraudulent theft, you start, you look back and go, yeah, that's exactly what I felt for. And then you get smart, so you have to kind of educate yourself to what for a rental company is what they're doing. And some people just don't rent to end users like just any Joe Schmo off. We do a

[38:36] lot, some people will only rental company is or they'll be production where they'll bring everything and it's an, you know, legit festival or something like that. And that's not where our models, our model is a lot of people that are doing it for weddings, diy weddings. I'm memorials. We get those. What else? We have outdoor movie nights. People taking their backyard. So just, you know, random people that are looking to rent.

[38:59] Uh, I'm going to take this opportunity to, as he. I'm going to tell you a story here. I want to hear what you're a scam scam radar would say. Okay, because see if I'm good. Well No, I'm just, I'm genuinely curious about what you would do here. So, uh, early on in my career I got hired to do a video, a shark tank audition video for a car dealership down in university place and so I went down and filled it and the guy is pretty eccentric and you know, kind of crazy and it's great, like it's just this really funny video and send it to him and so he disappears. And so then like nine months later he calls me up and he's like, hey man, I'm. So I went down and like I got on the show and like I was there and um, they, I was going to sell the sharks the car because he's a car salesman and so he said, you know, they needed to like bring in the car and like the production didn't work so like they needed to do it the next day and stuff and then he got bumped.

[39:54] So that's man, they're really. He goes, yeah, you know, he was in depression about it, whatever. And the simple that stinks. He goes, but he goes, I want to hire you again because I want to do, um, like, uh, uh, on the road, kind of like car buying and selling, kind of like American pickers, but like cars, right? So he goes, I want you to come down to my shop. And then he goes, eventually we're going to, I'm going to sell this car. I got these European car buyers, am going to sell this car to a guy in Dubai. So eventually we're going to fly to Dubai and we're going to sell. I'm going to shift this car on this container to this guy. So I go down like every other Friday for like months and we're filming this stuff and he's paying me cash and it's, you know, it's great because, um, it's my day off and I'm trying to build this company and I'm wondering, you know, maybe I'll be a reality, you know, whatever.

[40:39] Like we buy a bunch of equipment and Gopros and like we filmed just like hours and hours and hours and like he's just crazy. So, um, it's getting ready to go and I'm still working the acute care team and I know that we're going to be gone for like three weeks or something, like it's going to be too much. And so he's bought the plane ticket and I see the like, um, you know, the itinerary since, you know, it's like $1,800 bucks or whatever, the flight to Dubai, the fly all of us because it was like me and him and his assistant were all going to go and they were always kind of like not um, they would butt heads and stuff. It was kind of funny. So a, I literally go into queue 13 and I tell them like, hey, you know, I'm gonna have to take like a month off, you know, and you know, get that kind of time and news and so sure I kind of decided like, well.

[41:26] And I ended up quitting right afterward anyway because they kind of knew and it was just kind of him to be done. So I literally was like a Thursday, Friday. Like I give them whatever they have to take my leave. And then like that next Monday, Sean's assistant calls me and he's like, hey man, like what, how are you doing? Like, Oh yeah, I'm good. Like, just getting ready. He goes, I'm us. So Sean's and Rehab and I'm like, what are you talking about? He goes to, he's been on cocaine like for two years. So I drove, but like, like a, you know, not seeing this family, like not leaving the house, like not, you know. And like, I don't know, um, because I only know the, you know, I only know him as I know him. I don't know I'm missing any other things. Business acquaintances essentially.

[42:14] Yeah. But I mean like, I don't know what he's like, that's just how I know him. And so he, um, he says, um, well he's a rehab, like I had the plane tickets, like we're still going to go because I gotta I gotta sell this car or like, are you going to go? And I said, I really know. And so, uh, like two days later sean gets out of Rehab or whatever. And we have way too quick to like that that would happen. And uh, he goes, yeah man, I'm like, I fired my assistant, like I'm going to hire somebody else and we're going to Dubai. And at that point I was like, pulled the trigger. It was like canceled, put the brakes on hold and like I call my mom and I was like, I don't think I can go. And she's like, oh, like, you know, I didn't know what to do. So, um, I, I mean it ended up kind of coming out. Like we don't even know if he was on shark tank. Like we don't even know if, like, he, he was always saying like he was getting these calls about this reality TV show. Is that crazy? Does that.

[43:15] It's like one. Oh, I know what rehab he went to. It was like the Lindsay Lohan style rehab or something like that.

[43:21] Like he escaped, there was like 48 hours later. Like, that's not

[43:24] your rehab. They put you behind a locked door so you can't come out to your cleanse already. Then you can just leave whenever you want. Um, but it's, yeah, it's just, it's a weird story. If he was now see

[43:37] can see, I don't even know that he used

[43:39] a used car dealership or new.

[43:41] He would buy and sell used cars used. Yeah. It was his own like, so my first question then

[43:46] the why were the shark worth hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions by used car when these guys are buying, they can buy whatever car they want brand new.

[43:57] Exactly. And so that's my thing is I think like I filmed this audition for him and I don't think he was ever called, right. Like I think you could send it in for all, you know. Yeah, yeah. I mean I'm sure you sent it in but like I mean this was like a year and a half of this lot. I mean I or not lie or whatever, but like he was trying to catch fish, you or anything. I know. But then they ended up going to Dubai because I saw like apparently he went and charged surrender the Ferrari to drive around the desert and then like his car got declined because he didn't tell anybody that, you know, like you have to call your bank and be like him when they go to the new buyer and spend on the Ferrari. But like,

[44:32] so they went. But it was just the weirdest thing because I felt the whole time like I was being scammed. But then I was never ended up being scammed and like they went to Dubai, Ms Dot and Dubai. I did miss out on Dubai, I don't know, was like two things in the world. You can't fix stupid and crazy and I wouldn't want to get involved with it. Well, so we found a snack break. Tony's got some pretzel chips here and a leaf. Pretzels are making me thirsty. What else did she? Uh, so your wife comes up and she's super nice and very. It has amazing hospitality. Um, she gave me some Salami. Yeah, I'll just very good Turkey. Pepperoni. I thought this was so long. That's why I'm an amateur chef and not a real chef. And then these pretzel chips, which are great, and I'll make him want to noise on your podcast. Sorry. She of course brought me another beer and I couldn't tell her no. So we might have to crash on the couch. I'm kidding. Uh, you said you're going to Boston tomorrow? Uh, yeah. But what about some of them don't take this too much?

[45:28] Let's see. So five weeks ago I went to Boston with his errors. How is it? I don't know. Let's, let's pretend I went and I'm going to tell you how it was without. Before I go to the sox. Went more compare. Well, they're playing the mirrors, which we just play those six weeks ago. This recording notes bring us up to date real quick. Um, so as of the recording date of this podcast, I'm going to Boston where I'm taking my mom for mother's Day gift. She's never been. My Dad and I had been for a good solid. We've been three times before, maybe four, I can't remember. Um, so we're going to go. She's going to have got three games, southern park against the mariners who we just played last weekend and do a split. So it's a mini seven gate seven game series over two weeks since title to two right now. Um, my brother's a big matter. Understand that I'm the red sox fan and the family. So, uh, now I'm looking forward to that. Uh, my mom sent me an itinerary of eight things that she wants to do and she goes, oh, I forgot we have to do lobster. This is number nine. So I had to put this all together and I am going to finalize on the plane because it's six hours in the middle seat because I'm a nice boy and she's going to get the window seat.

[46:37] I couldn't afford first class. It was like a thousand dollars a piece. But uh, yeah, we're pretty close. My Dad too, so we're real close relationship with my parents, which is cool. So like, and I live like five minutes across town, so I get to go there a lot to outsource their for father's day. We cooked them some big old stakes. Did you see that photo on facebook now? I liked it. I think I like everything. That doesn't mean I've noticed that I just was sending you invites earlier. This random companies. They are like, this was the play event rentals. Yeah. No, no, sorry, I was giving you a hard time. I looked into this question of like, I think that's one of his companies, grilled some cowboy steaks and for my dad and we watch the red sox game at home because I really didn't want to go sit in a crowded stadium in the middle of the day and absolutely get sunburnt so.

[47:28] So we're going tomorrow. So she's got a bunch of things that she wants to do and she wants to eat lobster. She wants to go the north end and get Italian food. She's not a big fan of, but I think if anyone that's ever been in Mike's, they know that they're making the best countries in the world and that may change her mind. She's going to go to fenway park and she has. I've got really good seats for all three games. Didn't get three different views a Sunday before we go home. We're going to be in the right fill in the first row. So if you're watching, you may have saw me in the front row. We had armor and preferably the red sox. Then, um, it's a different style of baseball, different type of town over there. Um, so she's going to get a different field versus going to a game and Safeco with the hometown fans, which just going to kind of find itself.

[48:12] We've had some cool stories from fenway park. What do you mean this is more rowdy? Yeah. You get more of the Boston blue car offend. I'll give you a quick story. I'll give term to one. Um, the first time we went, me and my dad went, they were playing the Cleveland Indians is just a random game. Um, and Josh Beckett got pissed off at the other team because I guess he, apparently he hit a batter, but anything before and so the Indians retaliate. And if one of the Red Sox, I can't remember who this caused a baseball Bra bench clearing and my dad's dad check out the fight. Check out the fight in the field and he's going, what about the fight behind this as there was a red sox fan and the Indian fan just going to town on each other. Um, and then, and we were the next game.

[48:59] We're out in right field next to the Indians bullpen where they were born with their pitchers and Chris Perez was warming up to go into the game. Middle of six things. I'm thing somewhere in there. And there's this one red sox fan. He's just drunk in a wife beater. This is your typical Boston masshole. Uh, and he's out there and he's like, Hey, Perez is a major league hitters out there, Perez. And then press would like accidentally dropped the ball and the catcher throw it backwards. Woman a bullpen and then you'd get like kicked it. And he goes, Perez, this isn't Soka. This is Major League Baseball Perez. You better be ready. And he's a major league hit us. So press goes out and gets called in the game, goes out there and not even two pitches into the game gets taken over the monster for a home run. And this guy, as soon as it all dies down, if everyone's done clapping, he goes to all do Perez, I told you these are major. She's got the whole Boston accent, everything can't pronounce her rs. Hilarious out there. And that's what all those fans out there do it. It's just, just, it's cool as their toe. They know what the line is. And the ushers, make sure that they know line you can't verbally attack them, but you can have fun to an extent. We will tell you when it's too much.

[50:15] Well, and that's, you know, I'm the same way. We go to a lot of live wrestling events and one of our friends and our friend circle is always um,

[50:24] worried that we're going to take it too far.

[50:26] And I've, you know, I've sat front

[50:28] row with the security guard three feet away from me and like if we're, if we were good in that situation, like we're always good because it is, you know, it's fun and it's just, you know, making, making funny noises or yelling names or whatever. Probably yelling more than that. But you know that it's you, it's fun when you know, kind of what the limit is. So, you know, I think the performers or the athletes, whichever, you know, depending on whatever you're going to wwe or they can hear you, they just can't acknowledge you, but they know how to secretly acknowledge you if you did something really funny or really clever that they'll let you know. Um, they heard something they haven't heard before and it's awesome.

[51:06] We got a, when we were at Wrestlemania, we got more than the slides, acknowledgment from a local and talent and that was very exciting for us to get more, more than, more than a slight acknowledgement that he was very unhappy with what we were, what we were saying. Uh, my friend Paul also handed, uh, one of the chair that he was sitting in over the security barrier and the Eddie Edwards used it in the pile of chairs that he threw Sammy Callaghan into it. So that was also kind of fun.

[51:33] What's the appeal for you for wwe wrestling?

[51:36] Um, I've always watched it. Um, it's something for us to do. I don't watch it. I mean, I, I listened to wrestling podcast every week, I don't really keep up with the show except through that, but I can't keep up with it either. There's too much. It's like eight hours a week. It's too much. But um, you know, it's something for us to go do, like when you go to Vegas and do it or we go know we don't, I can't travel a lot during the summer. So like Wrestlemania is a really good time of year for us to travel in the spring. Dorothy was on her spring break so she came down to New Orleans and we all, we had a couple of things and then she, we ended up staying, you know, through the week then. So like that. It's good for that. But um, that's why we still watch a watch.

[52:16] You just something along. Yeah. So it's, yeah, it's not a real sport, which is the first thing everyone says,

[52:22] but it's like grey's anatomy, but 52 weeks a year, every single week. No days off. But I mean that's the Degas. It's like

[52:29] they do their own stones and for me, I love the production value of it when you're, especially when they're live and um, you know, I always, I've watched like the entrances and how especially when you kind of get behind the scenes a little bit and the term Kayfabe which has been completely broken and you start to really kind of see, you know, what all goes into them doing that show that night, watch on tv day and like especially for Wrestlemania, watched the mindset stuff and they're doing their entrances and they're practicing it and they're working with the stage crew and the lighting crew to make sure that they hit everything they need to hit. So it all comes together. And for me, being able to watch that and understand how much work and effort goes into just that entrance and that timing and that ability to use all the different magic and the lighting and everything. The sound. Even like the music which I tell all my clients, my wedding clients when they're doing an entrance ago. Wait until this particular point in the song. You know, even for the ceremony, processional is, you hit that first part like for example, um, you know it when they were. I'm skipping my God, we played a bit Julian time, thousand years. I don't know why I forgot that songs. We play it every weekend, last year go. So Dj's laugh at me. I don't care. Um,

[53:44] either side. Is it amazing to you that, that slime is still as popular? I mean it's been 10 years since that movie came out. Twilight. I never watched it but I mean did it still. I still get bright because I can use that. We can license that for a wedding video, right? Like not all songs that people like, you know, Britain Alaras but like Maroon five a year. Christina period. Like we can, like I can pay him license said put it in your video and it's totally legal either, which is fine, but like it still amazes me the like I had a bride last summer, I'm like it's 2017, you know, Dallas and years.

[54:16] I think it's [inaudible] letting music moves slower. In terms of next precessional song. I mean, ed sheeren can only put one of those out every single year that can be used for one thing, but I mean regardless, you know, thousand years it's got that soft intro and I tried to tell them, my brides let milk fat don't come around the corner, don't enter until you hear that actual verse starts because it looks so much better. Versus when you come down and you're almost down the island, the versus just starting. You don't get to the hook. Use that hooked where you get to the hook, you get down the aisle, the hook finishes, and then you're efficient. Starts and that music phase all the way down behind the production of it. That's the ceremony is so when people come in and willing to sound for the ceremony, you're also looking at, I'm going to give you production value of it because I want that entrance with when you come into a room for a grand entrance, I'm working with them of why this is the point when you should enter into the room because I'm going to hit you know, I'm going to loop that instrumental.

[55:18] Don't come in yet. I'm looping that to build the anticipation. Then as soon as I introduce you to the hook's going to hit, whether it's t I bring them out or whatever song you select, we're going to sit there and listen to it and that's for me the fun part about wedding Dj is sitting there with clients and going, don't look at these lists of here's the top 50 grand, which songs are cake cutting or first dance or don't even look at that. Go through your itunes, sit down together and go, what songs, what would be a cool grand entrance song for us because now you create something that personal, unique and also sit there with you and go listen to it and go, here's how I think we could do this. Enter and then I'll do the live demo for them and go, does that sound good?

[55:57] And they'll be like, that's better than where we are. Just coming in to the song started the song, which hasn't been the best part. You want that hope. You want that highest energy peak of song. Some people do some stuff for that. It might be the course doesn't have a beat behind it. I need that part of that. But you need that beat. You need that base running through that system. That's all part of that entrance, not production. So using a lot of stuff I learned was watching. When did they enter, how they, you know, Daniel Bryan doesn't come out the second that you hear the first part of either the boundaries he comes out he gets yet because I beat him and then he's doing the chance all the way down the ramp. Um, you know, that kind of thing. Snow cold. And it was like, okay, you know, what's that sound effect either. Then he comes and once you hear that sound effect, you know who's coming. So undertaker Gong how slow. Imagine him coming out. Like any speed other than slow as molasses.

[56:48] Well I actually was raised in the, a limp biscuit, a American Badass version that was in kindergarten. So I'm glad you went back. Reasonable. Um, no it is. And that's a good point about the insurances and stuff because a filming ceremonies in, you know, we'll, we'll overlay stuff for like the edited versions, but you know, I'll put all that stuff in the private, you know, their whole ceremony and yeah, like you said, it's really funny that like sometimes you don't even know what the song is because yeah, like that slow intro a player like or like the grill walks down the island six seconds in the slumps done because they didn't think like, oh we should have six people locked to the song so we get to enjoy it or whatever. But you're like, hey, I guess they did pick that song and it was like 12 seconds.

[57:33] And to me it's like they don't know they've never done this. But yeah, I've done this whole line. So. And for me, and this is what I hope other vendors can pick up as far as what a Dj can do to bring to the table is I'm trying to, when I'm putting together a presentation of a wedding and I'm putting together entertainment script, I'm trying to look through the photographer's camera lens. I'm trying to look through your video lens and where do you, where do I think you're going to try to want to capture and how are you going to capture it and try to set it up with you, um, and my photographer in a way that they're going to be able to do their best possible work and set everything up. So letting them know here's what I want to do. And I mean we had that conversation back when we're doing Asia and Jessica's wedding as a couple of things that, you know, here's where I want to place this. Here is what to do lighting wise. I know I had to um, you know, with our photographer, we have to talk about lighting and she was like asking me a couple questions about that. So yeah, we're gonna do this and she had to send somebody in that the buyers some time. So there's all this kind of coordination behind the scenes I'm trying to do. So I can look basically through your guys's Lens.

[58:34] Well it is the most successful when the DJ is, you know, is we're all kind of on the same page because you can do it where we're all because we are all on the same team. Right. Even if we haven't worked together before, which we had already been talking about the podcasts and stuff, so like at least we were familiar, but it is nice when you kind of know everybody and then you can, like you said kind of time with all of them, get it all and the reaction and kind of everything together and then you

[58:55] build a sense of chemistry between vendors and I understand how you work in which, how you want to work. Because that's kind of the question is no. What do you want to capture? How you want to do this? Do you want to just to kind of free flow it or do you want stuff that's a little bit more second? I can set something up for you as well to essentially marine master this whole thing and I'm standing in front of a bunch of people with a mic and I need to make sure. I don't look like a dumb ass, that's pretty much my approach to this. So

[59:22] I care. Um, and that's when I tried to work with wedding clients. I tried to do the same thing to go bring me into this conversation so I can at least say here's what I'm trying to do and then we'll all come to a consensus of what's best for that event.

[59:36] Um, I want to talk. I find it interesting. So weddings for you. So like I said, probably a dozen times on this packet, it's like I feel like I'm a better vendor now having been married and having gone through with those emotions, how do you feel doing weddings and things. So what is it that draws to you to, to that and through that world to keep doing that every week.

[59:58] Do you want the 22 year old response? So the 32 year old we can do both the 22 zero responses, cash money of course. And if you do a good job and you know, the wedding industry is, you can, you get paid more doing a wedding and you were doing a club night, that's a pretty obvious. Um, but you have to assumption there's a lot more work that goes into behind the scenes leading up to that five or six hours. Um, you also, you want me to Dj about you only really Dj and about two or three hours of a typical reception,

[01:00:30] which is amazing if you actually think about it, right? Like an actual dance for nowadays. The

[01:00:35] one thing I got into the most, I do the least. Yeah, right. Which, you know, I would rather we come from, but my certain dj was doing bar scenes in fraternity unites fraternities. We'd go as long as we possibly could until everybody just eventually passed out. Bars. You would be going from about 9:00 until two and, or clubs the same thing. And you would learn how to pace and that, you know, that first hour to hour and a half to two hours, you're just kind of playing more chill lounge. You can play some new tracks. You try to what's called breaking records to corroborate time to play some new stuff out there. We're the most noticeable is everyone's Katy Perry, California girls and we've gotten it the day it came out. We knew it was gonna be a hit. It took six months where I was going to be a hit, but we were still playing in turning that first hour in too.

[01:01:21] Just to throw it out there because you can start to kind of learn how to play songs as well too, and how to what mixes with what. That's a great. There's not a lot of people there. Suddenly magically 11:00 it's party time and then you start to throw on a really great two to two and a half hour party set where you really go to town, you play your bangers and then that last half hour depending on the establishment, some wanted you to go all the way until two. Just absolutely crush it. That last half hour you could be where you just kind of go and you just start to slowly wind down the night to where the last 15 to 10 minutes you're just playing like really dope R and b songs that everybody can come to grind and you're setting the mood for something else later. Wink, wink. So you know that, but you only get paid so much when clubs, um, weddings, you could get paid a lot more, but you had to work a lot more.

[01:02:11] So there's that element as well too. So, you know, 22 year old Tony that would say, yeah, cash money, of course he's hungry, he's just got to college, got to pay a mortgage and bills and everything else. Welcome to the real world. I'm 32 years old, still single. Tony, if you have any friends out there, ladies, most eligible bachelor shops, most eligible, bachelor to Hashtag [inaudible]. You can look it up. It's there. I still can't spell eligible. I can't spell entrepreneur. Um, I think once computers came out I just gave up on spelling. It was like, what's the point? Spellcheck will fix everything for me. I'm random aside there, um, at this point, as I started to get better at emc and a Dj and I'm learning what I wanted I wanted to accomplish as a wedding dj. What do I want my, what did I want my brand to be?

[01:03:01] Um, all those business terms you throw out kind of became, you know, what's important to me. Um, and for me the biggest thing is that emotional connection and yeah, I've never gotten married, never had to walk down the aisle, never got to experience it firsthand, be kind of start to pick it up, like secondhand smoke essentially. And that emotional connection that you can make 'em you don't do them that much anymore, especially because of fishing and started doing them. But like when you did love stories, I still like to ask every single couple I met with, I met a couple of today and how'd you meet? And then for me, the fun part is because they'd be there, told the story of bunch or they haven't told it a lot and they're about to tell a lot is asking the questions and becoming the interviewer essentially your role and finding out the details and stuff they left out.

[01:03:50] And that's kind of important to me to show dog. Don't worry about it. I'm sure dorothy assist belly rubbing or something like that. Um, you know, those are the kind of the, the emotional details and finding out that. And then at the end. But you know, what I've kind of found with most of my clients is they just want to party at the end of the night and it's not a big stuffy event. It's not something that's overly too formal. It's just a great party. And what I've found that I've tried to really market towards because I don't want to do mostly destinations type weddings where people are traveling in and they're getting there on Friday and they're not going home until Sunday. Um, because they're just better events. They're better parties. There's more meaning. People are like, where? This is the climax of the weekend is this wedding reception. They don't have to worry about going home at 10 and worrying about Duis.

[01:04:43] They have to worry about if they walk to the right hotel room or not. Um, and eventually that becomes an adventure for them themselves. Um, I like those weddings a lot more because people come to celebrate versus the ones where you get 250 people. But most of the people are, the parents were, I call it, like the showcase guests. Their parents are showcasing the wedding for their friends and they're not. They don't have that emotional attachment. As much as you try to create that emotional attachment, you try to create that one big giant family. It's not. Some people just aren't gonna. They're just coming to get their free mail. They're gonna say hi, they're gonna talk to the parents and then eventually they're good. They're going to just go. And that's fine. Um, as long as you understand that it's going to happen. But it's for those different key moments that you can kind of create that first dance and you can make it magical. And you can set it up properly or a father bride dance where you can, you'll find out why did you select the song, what's the importance of it? So I think it's becoming a lot of it for me now is finding out the lies and asking those questions about listenings and just file it away and if I can use it, great. And if I can't, I'm not gonna. Um, it just depends on the moment.

[01:05:54] No, I think that's a great point. The destinations versus. Yeah, I mean a lot of them are weddings lately. It is, it's like, you know, and, and we use the book like a 10 hour a day, you know, some were a but like by the time you get ready and do the photos and get married and do cocktail hour and do the, you know, like that by the time you're actually like dance open dancing, like it might be 45 minutes, it might be an hour. Right. I mean, it's that frustrating that like, like you said, like kind of like what you love to do now is it's like, you know, 10 percent of the day

[01:06:23] I remember, I remember one wedding venue doesn't exist anymore. Um, eventually one, they put a venue and a residential code five area years asking for trouble with neighbors. Um, you're going to get shut down eventually. Um, despite the fact that they were like, you can't play above 85 decibels. I don't care what decibel reader says I'm going to play for the crowd. Um, I'll try to light that thing up like a high score, a video game. Um, but you, you get there and you're like, this one, we only had 25 minutes, a dance floor time for a predominantly group of friends of their friends. And so you just start. The fortunate part is with a background of doing clubs and bars. You just go right into that bar club mentality, quick mix, everything. And you turn a 25 minutes set into what seems like it was an hour or so.

[01:07:12] You just try to make your cramming so many songs on there. It's basically reverse hook mixed. Drop into another hook, drop into another hook. Top 40 songs was popular right now. Play the verse Hook, let it run, let it breathe hooked. Just start slamming hooks and intros and have fun with it. DMX party up. You don't really need to play a verse. Just play the chorus. Move on. Nobody wants. Plus, it's so explain. It's just awkward sometimes you sit there and you're like, did he just say what I think he did? And even edited. You're like, well that's just weird. So I'm not in high school. It's you can, you know, you get older and you're like, it just feels weird to hear. So um, yeah. I mean you get some old but there's a balance in a wedding between social and dance for a time and you have to have some, a little bit of both.

[01:08:00] You can't just go purely dancing. There's not. Everybody is coming there to dance. Sorry, I'm not going to tell anybody. Hey, you have 175 guests in all. They're all going to the dance floor maybe for the first night that can possibly the rest of the night. It's never gonna happen again. Um, especially in this area. It can happen in different areas of the country where weddings or approach differently. They do them differently. Um, I don't want him to California, you do weddings in the Midwest, east coast. There's a different approach to these different areas, so structure, weddings differently. So it's nice to have that perspective of you don't have to do a wedding. It's a certain style. You don't have to be cookie cutter. You can say we can do this and then you can do a grand entrance to go into your first dance.

[01:08:45] Everyone's standing, it works really great. Um, and then you can switch things up. You can move cake cutting to the very end or some weddings you can do. They come in, they do their branch. If they cut their takens it's for dinner and then they dance with everybody on the dance floor. I've done east coast, I'll weddings where they come in and everybody's on the dance floor. As soon as that first dance is done, you go for 10 minutes, you do your salad course, you have to toast and then you have open dancing slow and then you do the next, the sorbet course, and then you have open dancing slow and then the next one is the entree course and then you have your formal toast and then that leads into typical next up is to kick cutting and then it was open dancing for two hours and that was a four hour reception.

[01:09:25] That's it. You can still get a lot of dance floor time in a four hour reception. It just depends how you structure the night, so how you structure and how you put everything together matters. It just depends on the goal, but they also had time they could socialize during dinner with their friends, which is important because I went to a wedding one time or for a when Brad was my high school friend that I know and the groom since we were like four years old, we just hang out all the time and I never got to say even higher. We went to the church. We sat in the church, it's hot, we listened to their vows and, and how they were going to give each other range rovers and all this other stuff, but it's like, okay, uh, and then we went to the reception in their backyard and we sat down, we, they entered, they did dinner and then about 30 minutes later they did toasts and they open up the dance floor.

[01:10:19] We never even got to say hi, we left after 10 minutes. I was like, what's the point? We're not going to get this item. So when, you know, we, we didn't feel attached to it. So I think being able to emotionally attached to them and you don't need to. If people want to dance. I got that. Some of my brides are like, we want to ask for three hours. Are you still in your club stamina? Do you still have that stamina to do that? Um, to the beginning, yeah, we can do that. That's your goal. But we cannot make sure you socialize too because some of your guests didn't come dance. So they just came and say hi. They came and take that Selfie with you, put it on their social media document that day, which their toll in right to do and then they're going to eventually, they'll stay as long as they can. That's my goal is, are they enjoying themselves and they say as long as they can not leave because they have to. So you couldn't atmosphere and maybe they're just going to drink and they want to play lawn games. Cool. We had that available for you. Stay. Enjoy it. If you have to go, you have to go. That's fine. Uh, what are some common

[01:11:14] things that you help couples kind of things that they misunderstand or common mistakes. I guess I couldn't figure out whether I wanted to say but like did you find that like, like you said, like maybe somebody wants to dance for five hours or whatever, but like what are some common things that you, that people will see anywhere they're prepared to learn, you know, real common stuff that people.

[01:11:34] My first one isn't for my couples. It's more for guest. Anyone that ever attended a wedding and it's at the end of the night and this drives me absolutely insane. It drives my clients and saying, I think you know where you're going. They stopped out that little.

[01:11:46] No, I'm just excited that I'm anxiously awaiting. Okay,

[01:11:50] you're ever going to be a guest at a wedding. This is super important. If you're leaving early and you're not staying till the night, just go. You don't need to give a hug to my bride or to the groom on the dance floor while they're dancing. Don't interrupt them. Dancing and having fun so you can say how much fun you had and that you're taking off because if you're still have, if you were having so much fun, you would stay. If you're going to leave, just leave. If you want to give them a hug at the end of the night, stay till 10 at night because what's more than likely going to happen is in 15 minutes, 30 minutes from that moment, we're going to wrap everything up and you're going to be able to give them a hug and go and you're going to be able to stay there for the end of the night.

[01:12:29] Um, but when they come on and my brides dancing with her girlfriends and they come up to the month dance floor and they stop them. You're not only just stopping her from dancing, you're kind of stopping the entire dance floor. Um, so if you want to go, just go. And if you want to give them a hug it, then the night stay to the end. It's, it's, it's just a simple thing. But because I've seen dance floors where I've had my bride had requested a bunch of really rigorous a lot of songs that she really wanted an answer and to that point in the network and plan. So now I'm playing them. But all of the guests that are leaving early or coming up and instead of her getting to dance and she was a punk songs and they wanted to do this mosh pit of the all the elder guests that didn't want to listen to it.

[01:13:12] So I've like gone inside or just leaving. Stopped. Literally stopped her Matt Marsh pit that she wanted to do and she literally, her husband really word this is a big thing they want to do. We put these songs together for this reason and I played the entire set of songs and they never got a to longer than 30 seconds before they were doing hugs and goodbyes and it sucked. I felt so bad for them. So as a guest, the biggest mistake is just if you want to leave, just leave. It's fine. You can know you left them a card, you can say, you know, the next day on facebook or send them a text message to say how much fun yet? That's great. You don't need to say it, you know, give them a hug. Goodbye. Unless you want to stay till the end, the night when you can, because there's plenty of time to do that. Um, biggest mistakes that bing crosby on the spot here.

[01:13:58] I don't even. I think it just depends on each wedding and I think the biggest thing is time and how much they think things are going to take. They'll kill people. They'll put like, oh, we're going to anticipate the cake cutting taken 15 minutes because like three minutes and you're done. Um, I think, I mean most everyone, or at least I missed my couples today. I mean we, I train them well in events. And what do you mean by that is I give them basically a binder that I've designed over this 10 years plus years of doing this and there's ideas in there and there's a reception primer and there's a ceremony. Music Primer. I give them all the tools. I don't want to sound like a commercial, but I give them all the tools so that they can basically come to our planning meeting and within two hours we can pretty much put together an awesome script. Um, and then we just have to make sure we communicated with it all the other vendors especially, you know, there's the doc a day of coordinator or planner just to make sure that we're on the same page. Um, and then just conference call. That's a big thing. So

[01:15:10] you've heard it here first folks, Tony Schwartz gives you all the tools needed to help your day go off successfully.

[01:15:16] I'm not trying, I'm trying, I'm not trying to make this a commercial or anything. Read them just that's just what I do and that's what I've designed and it works for me. It for others, they may have something else that works for them. That's just what works for me and it works for my couples and I mean when I'm at that, you know, when, when you sit down with a couple of, are you evaluating them just as they're evaluating you for a consultation or do you even do consultations or.

[01:15:39] Yeah. Uh, I mean we're pretty good about working with anybody. I mean we're for the most part.

[01:15:47] So if a couple of calls and they want to book, do you want to meet with them or do you just book them on the spot?

[01:15:51] Uh, I haven't been married. Um, I let everybody play on their wedding differently and I tell people that I have videos on our site. They talk about our booking process, you know, when you book with us, I send out emails and videos and stuff. Like everybody does it differently. Some people want to people the email every other week, some people you don't want to talk every week. Some people we like we book and then we don't talk until, you know, I have like my stuff that I sent out six weeks before, three weeks before and the week before. But yeah, I mean I, I require, you know, I can go anywhere from the bare minimum to, to all the way up.

[01:16:26] Do you find those certain people that a couples you work best with?

[01:16:30] Um, I like it. I like, I think our, I think our style and our price point a attracts couples that are usually pretty fun to work with. Um, I think that we're pretty much all on the same level. Uh, I remember, uh, we do the get hitched, give hope. Um, it, it folded now, but we did the charity auction for a couple of years and uh, last year, um, are the couple that bought it, was doing there really, really, really high end wedding at the four seasons. I'm a zero. Was their photographer Chris Graves was the DJ, you know, a posh events. Was there a wedding planner? And so, you know, I Tonya that photographer, I looked at Tanya and they said, you know, um, I feel uncomfortable here, you know, I mean, we, I can do high end, you know, we can do a high end weddings and we've, you know, we did new port golf course, you know, six or seven times last year.

[01:17:29] Like I can, we can do high end, but like a lot of our couples are just kinda like me, you know, or rag younger, just excited to get married. I'm usually paying for it themselves or even appearance with limited resources. And so like, I think we, especially in the way that like we put the videos together like we attracted, I've just, you know, doing going island if this our fifth or sixth season, but like, you know, we, we attract this as kind of a, a, a good trajectory. Now we've got kind of a good base level of client that we attract so I can meet with them if they want or not

[01:18:07] when you have a tangible product that you can show them where they can watch on their website and they can get it and they can immediately go, this is our style of this or not. And then just comes down to the personalities and the chemistry with Dj and it's a little, it's a little harder to show. Yeah,

[01:18:27] it is. Yeah.

[01:18:28] Um, I mean I've found, you know, doing mixes online. I really slacked off and I'm trying to make a, considered a better effort to really work on it for a podcast. Do a podcast where once a month, if I could even do once a month, I'd be a fantastic goal at this point. Um, with everything that's going on. Because you can know what I mean. I have a photo of company, I can, I can put photos up and people can, you know, we can do quick video content. People can get an idea. Okay, this is what the booth looks like. This then product. I get this is what the four by the printout of the two by six. By six. The four by six print. Yeah. I can see that. That's an easier sell. A Ab rentals. You just show your, the products we have that fit my needs.

[01:19:10] I need a sound system. They really don't care what it looks like from that point. Is this going to work for my advance? So making, that's an easy. So when you get to the DJ, you're selling the invisible essentially because they don't know what they're going to get until it's done. And so for me and for any Djs are listening to this, I know there's lots. I'm going to promote this for you guys. Um, both of my group. Um, so you're getting a lot. Listen system. Probably one off, sorry. Um, maybe you should sell some ad space to a DJ retailer for this one. Um, just because there was going to get a lot of people don't listen to this lady js

[01:19:42] tell him you said he brings personality and listen.

[01:19:44] Yes. Tiebacks nice. Um, I mean we have that. I run a grip if you're a DJ, listen, there's an ultimate mobile dj group, ribs at this moment, 6,900 plus Djs in there. Um, and then, um, so, you know, here's the thing is I try to find a bride and grooms I want to work with and have a good chemistry with. And that's really when I say, Hey, I just want to get a chance to meet you in person or, or over zoom video conferencing. I just want to make sure that we have a good personalities that work because if we don't, I don't. I get that awkward feeling that you kind of got when you were at that one wedding is did the person. If I have great personalities that I can work with couples and now I'm down in Peolpe. I'm not in Seattle proper and I'm not at the Seattle kind of mindset where did a little bit different down the dirty south.

[01:20:36] Uh, we don't take our, uh, you know, we have fun. Everything's fun for us. I know I'm on facebook. I don't take a social media seriously at all. I mean, I created a Hashtag called cups and saucers, bachelor. Come on. Um, my mom hates that. I don't care. It's just fun for me, but I want a couple of just wanna have fun. And when I find those couples, I find that those weddings are just so much better than the ones where we don't quite meet personality West. So I think going back to that question, what's the biggest mistake that prizing grooms could make when they planned the wedding? Not Meeting with your Dj and just booking them based off a referral or silencing. Because I've had clients, there are like my favorite clients in the world. They refer me to their friends and we just don't have the personalities and they may book me.

[01:21:20] Um, but we don't have that connection with that person. I mean, because a lot of my clients are my friends where I see them all the time, not just, you know, we communicate on facebook. I wish them happy birthday on their birthday because facebook tells me it's their birthday and I had no idea. Um, but we go, we go get beer and have know, just be able to, you know, shoot the crap, um, and have a good time. I told you I'd keep this pg for you. I don't want you to put on that explicit tag. You know, I think you'd get so many more listeners if we had an explicit tag on this. People will be like, what do you say? Where is it? Where is it, where you can make it a drinking game. But I think that's the biggest thing is if for personality wise, and that may be the case with videography a little bit, is if you have personalities that Mitch

[01:22:02] would you say like you said, I mean where I know necessarily, you know, we meet but like you know, our communication and I think the way that you run and I run, you know, if you're a like a wedding bedroom, like my personality is out there like you know who I am, you know now with the podcast. But like even just with instagram with like I'm very open about like who I am, what I do. And so I think that we do enough interactions that way. I mean I've had brides, I'm like my brides for this August. I don't know when we booked, you know, nine months ago. And like, I mean she is looked in like every single thing I've posted ever since, you know, we've booked in. I mean it's remarkable. The thing that like somebody cares that much about because like you know, we're, I can't, I think it was unfair.

[01:22:50] We were talking about the order in which people book videography and like sometimes it's last or oh we have an extra couple of thousand bucks or can you fit within my budget? And so to find somebody like that that like not only his sheep in grades about and stuff like literally views every single story I am, I post a lot of the dumb, you know, where other conference today, but like she's invested, right. And like that's what I want. I mean I can work with anything and I can, you know, I can, you know, in, in, in new, when I worked in TV, I mean my job was basically that go out and interview strangers, right? Like hey there's a twenty five cent gas like today, you know, go talk to 10 people on the street and figure out what they have to say. Right. That's not fun. Right. But I can do it. So I mean I can make any day work, but yeah, I mean obviously having somebody that's more invested or excited, you know, with personalities is good.

[01:23:43] Right? And I think you get that person, you, you get that chemistry and that, and they also become your biggest fan and then you can take that big span and they can become your best salesman for you down the line as well too if they make a referrals because that's what you mean. Your past clients become your salesforce, which was nice. When are you going to cut that pit bull wristband off?

[01:24:03] Oh, these are, uh, these are uh, a rubber.

[01:24:06] Oh, they did. I thought you'd just been more than that ever. Like it's like the one straps on you just never cut it off.

[01:24:11] I, uh, so my story, I have Dorothy and I've gone twice now that the pitbull to Miami, Miami to the Bahamas cruise. And um, I thought we said when I ran my own business that I was going to get sleeve tattoos because I've, I've, I've just a couple of tattoos, but they're mostly, you know, they're easily either bowl if I'm close. And I always say when I ran my own business, I was going to get sleeves and I ended up going into like weddings and I don't know, I like to, not that you can't, I mean I think you can have tattoos and I think yeah,

[01:24:43] there's a Dj, New Jersey has lots of text.

[01:24:45] Oh. And I don't. And there's plenty of vendors, you know, steven dangerfield photographer here and he's covered from head to toe. And that's awesome. I just, and now I don't have the time or the.

[01:24:54] No. One of my photo with host, how's that sleeve of tattoos. And I told her, I go, you can cover it up these just because it's your mostly weddings and corporate. Just I'd rather play it safe, but the bride has asleep with that dude is. You're totally cool to do it. So here. Okay. So I'm not a tattoo guy. I'm, I'm of the mindset and this is, I'm totally like, here's a minor hole, punch everything in life. People can do wherever they want to do, as long as it doesn't peed on my life. I don't care. I'm so. I'm of the mindset of my body is I'm a Ferrari and I wouldn't put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari. Okay. Um, I'm uh, out of shape. Ferrari at the moment. I'm out of tune and eat some work. Um, and you paint job Ferrari. That's what I am.

[01:25:33] Um, so here's what I love to ask people about their tattoos and the significance or the meaning of what they put on their body. Like sometimes I have people go, I don't know, I just like it and I'm like, you have this tattoo of a skeleton girl holding daisies and you have no idea why you belong there and it like it. So you have flames on your shoulder is and that's all fine. There's nothing else that Tattoo, right? Yeah. Okay. So what's the excision of anxieties? The Goldberg like it's gone wrong or a. So I also have on something like that. Yeah,

[01:26:04] we're going to do anything that's going. Give the tattoos on your back or anything. Okay. We'll get there.

[01:26:09] A 20 your tattoos. I liked the flames because as somebody I just liked the idea of I'm covered skin. So like in high school, and I just draw on my hands and stuff and so blood can kill, you know. Well, okay. I think we're all young, dumb and stupid at one point. And so I um, I was always cover myself and so when it came to tattoos, like I'm not very mad. I shoot video, I don't paint, right? Like I'm not bad. My creativity goes the other way. And so when I found out that they could just kind of freehand sketch flames and the Tattoo, um, and that was like, oh great. So we can design it in like 30 seconds and be done with it. That was kind of my thing,

[01:26:55] sort of flooding have nothing else. No other meaning to it. That's fine. I'm just curious to find out. I know, I mean I asked everyone that has tattoos, I just go, what's the, what's the meaning behind [inaudible]? Like some people would tell stories about different parts of their life or something like that. And so I'm fascinated and interested by stuff like that. Stupid. No.

[01:27:14] Uh, yeah. And then, uh, to, to finish up, I have happiness written on my back, which I was going to get the Chinese symbol for happiness and hope it says happiness. And so then I decided just to get happiness in English. Um, I have a, like a spinal thing that will kind of looks like your spine. That was kind of like the rain mysterio kind of like my thing. Let me get you a luchador mask for Christmas. And then, uh, and then I have the iron may then album cover for killers, which was a, at the time that I got that, I mean, it's still an amazing city, but that was like my favorite cd at that time. And uh, just being in a big metal fan with iron maiden, uh, Eddie, the Zombie is like a really iconic. And that to me is like the most iconic at the. So, so it was metal. Your music of choice, you know. Um, nowadays it Kinda depends. It, uh, I got the apple music subscription and so we kind of, uh, kind of comes in waves a sabaton losing tail and a couple months ago they're a Swedish heavy metal band that sings about like world war two and um, soon as kind of deal as crusades and stuff. They're all their, all their songs are about battles, like historical battles.

[01:28:27] They're Swedish, right? Yeah. In Swedish language. Which language? While I'm stupid.

[01:28:32] Yeah. Um, it's mostly English. They have a couple native tongue songs and uh, so we saw them, but, you know, new found cory. I'll always go see what's the best concert you've ever been to. The best concert I ever went to was when I was in high school and it was the pledge of allegiance tour and it had, um, Mudvayne who is at the height with dig. That was. Okay. So they were at their peak. It had rob Stein coming off of do Haas. It had a slipknot coming off of the Iowa album and they had a system of a demo coming off of toxicity. Okay. So it was like, it was like the peak of that period of music. Yeah, it was pretty good. And it was at the Tacoma Dome, which is a terrible venue.

[01:29:16] Yeah, it's terrible. For some thing I, I did, I went to a rascal flatts concert with Darius Rucker was the opener and the sound engineer class. That guy's heart did the, I don't know how he came up with this idea to do this, but he basically, at one point in the song they were doing Mr Doris does a version of purple rain, which is the best version of purple rain. Never heard next to prints. So that rascal flatts comes up and at one point they do a drunk, like a drum hit. And it was the only instrument that was hit at that particular time. And the guy somehow figured out how to bounce it around the entire dome. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen in the tacoma dome or hurt and the Tacoma dome. Um, and that was pretty much my ticket. I'm sorry. Other than that, it's not limited to garth brooks. And it was great when we got moved down to the, like the first row of the second section on the floor to calm me down. And just basically, if you're not in front of the sound engineer on the floor, you're not going to have a good time at all.

[01:30:17] Uh, well as, as I think a signify about my wife coming up to check on us. I do think it's time we're been to do for tonight. Make part two so we can, we can definitely set up a time for a part two. Um, if anyone still listening at this point, who knows? Oh, I think it will be good. I have a, I was having the little bit tomorrow morning that the committee, the island. We're going to get ready for a Tony. You have about 10,000 businesses here. If anyone wants to figure out what you're doing when you're not podcasting, going to red sox games, listening to Garth Brooks, what would you do?

[01:30:46] Ah, go to start. Just go to the first page. Just go to is It was about nine different links that will take you to whatever you're probably looking for, and if you're listening to this podcast, please subscribe or unsubscribe. Give them a five star rating and then resubscribed unsubscribed and resubscribe. Again, that should definitely move them up. The podcast ranking charts. That's what I've learned from pmt apartment I take, which is one of the best part podcasts around. So I'm going to help get you up there.

[01:31:13] Uh, well, as always, this has been, I wouldn't say a. The last two episodes of gets at your wedding pro. This has been a long one. This has been good. Thank you Tony. I really appreciate you coming up here and spending some time with us. Thank you so much for having me Reid. I really appreciate it. It's been fun. This has been another episode of the Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor going to be with. Thanks so much.

[01:31:32] Bye guys.

Ray Van Winkle, Ray Van Winkle and Associates

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by a very long time friend, Ray Van Winkle of Reverend Ray Van Winkle and Associates. And I wanted to thank you so much for coming by. And why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you guys do.

[00:30] Well, thank you much. I'm Reverend Ray Van Winkle and Associates. We are freelance wedding officiants. We've been in business since 2003 and have performed a little over 1500 weddings in the past 15 years. We serve the greater puget sound region, performing secular ceremonies, religious ceremonies, serious, lighthearted, whatever you want.

[01:00] And uh, I'm going to, I don't know if this is a surprise to you or not, but you actually performed the ceremony at the first wedding that I ever shot. Really? And it was Andrew and Bridgette at Pickering Barn back in 2014. I just pulled it up this morning to make sure I have the date because I remember them in the venue. And you. Yeah, but it was I think July, 22nd and it was a really hot day. We were out in the lawn area in the back. No shade, very sunny, but it's funny just to take a. I didn't know what I was doing it all the time, but I remember I remember you were tripping over your equipment and everything. It was terrible. Uh, so it, it, that's why I say when it's been a long time friend, it really has, in terms of like people that I recognize in the wedding industry, you are certainly one of the longest that I remember it. So, uh, you guys really are, you know, you and maybe just a handful of others in the Seattle area are I think the longest tenured and most kind of well known. I mean, do you have, how has that, how have you built that over the years and how has that been? I mean, I think you guys are like one of the top.

[02:09] Yeah, well part of it, part of it is just longevity, just slogging away at the, at the business and the reputation and everything. And there have been other officiants who have retired over the years. Um, a lot of it I think has to do with, uh, various and sundry industry awards. Uh, we've been king five evening magazine, Best of western Washington for about the past 10 years. I'm always a finalist with Seattle brides. Best of awards programs. Um, there is uh, being established with a lot of venues and wedding planners. Um, we are currently on the recommended vendor list for about, I think 25 to 30 of the more popular venues here in the region as well as working a lot with, uh, some very big heavy hitters in the wedding planning and coordination industry.

[03:13] Is that something that you had, I mean obviously when you started the business he wanted it to be successful, but did you guys ever really kind of think, I mean, did you ever think longterm like that you would be one of. I kind of,

[03:26] not really, not really, I just, I just wanted to do something that I loved. I'm to the point to where, uh, much to my wife's Chagrin, I used to, uh, used to tell people that, you know, I would, I would do this for free and I would, I would, I love being a wedding officiant. It does pay the rent and the bills and everything though. But, um, no, never, never had a quote unquote business plan or a goal that we aimed towards except, uh, just performing as many weddings as we possibly could.

[04:04] It wasn't about weddings in general. They kind of drew you to that in the first place.

[04:07] Well, it's, I, I've been in other incarnations in the wedding industry for a long, long time. I'm back in the late eighties down in San Francisco. My wife and I owned a small catering company, so we did wedding receptions as part of that. Uh, my wife is a retired floral designer and I worked with her as a floral assistant. She taught me how to make bouquets and boot nears and, and whatnot. Uh, which is why which came in handy because typically when I get to the ceremony, the florist is delivered all the flowers they take off and there's people standing around holding a boot near in one hand and pins in the other saying, what, what, what do I do? And I invariably end up pinning all the guys and sometimes the ladies.

[05:00] That's fantastic. That's a great point. I'm sure that comes in very handy. I've, yes, I've learned that the Taco technique or whatever, I've done the videos. So you guys had done a lot of weddings. When you fill out my questionnaire it said, uh, it was very specific. It said 1,347 that you had done. I've done personally, yes. That is an astronomical number. Uh, I'm sure that that's gone up now even since you filled this out a couple of weeks ago. Um, does it ever get old, is it still exciting and talk about that. It is still still,

[05:33] it is still exciting. Um, I wouldn't say it gets old because I'm very conscientious about approaching every wedding and every wedding rehearsal as if it were brand new to me because it's brand new to the bride and groom and, and, um, the wedding party, the parents, the, so you, you, you, you make that little mental adjustment and that keeps things fresh.

[06:03] Yeah. And I have noticed that we were talking off air when you got here. We had just worked a wedding together over Memorial Day weekend and you know, it really struck me and I emailed you after the about, you know, how personal and I knew you knew them, I think through work or.

[06:18] Yes, yes. I knew Stephanie of the bride. I, I knew her. Yeah.

[06:22] Yeah. But it's still, you know, it just struck me that it just, it felt like although you were, you know, a professional and, and you know, and hired to do, but it felt like you were their friend, that you were somebody that the way that ceremony was constructed a, is that intentional. Talk about that.

[06:37] That's, that's just my style. Everybody, everybody is, is treated by me as if they were a dear friend, whether I've just met them the day before or it's a family wedding where I've, I've known them for years.

[06:56] I'm talking about the do couples, uhw, , w, what is their reaction to that, you know, to the ceremony and to kind of after you do everything. I mean, what do they, what is their feedback? I guess

[07:09] to be perfectly honest, at least directly, right after the ceremony, most couples, brides and grooms both have reported to me when we're done and we're signing the documents. They don't remember anything I said. They remember the feeling and how it felt and how comfortable they were up there and, and appreciative that they were being directed during the ceremony by a professional, efficient. Um, the further reactions usually don't come until after awhile after the ceremony you get back from honeymoon. I get a very nice card or an email or other people who were guests at the wedding or getting married and they contact me because they, they saw what a wonderful job we did. And I say we, because I've got three associates and the all trained in what I call my style of officiating.

[08:07] Do you have to have any sort of a training any way? What kinds of talk about the you that you guys had? Any sort of professional things like that?

[08:18] There are, there are some organizations I am told that do seminars and training for officiant. I think they're mainly back east. I'm of the probably 40 to 50 professional officiants here in the puget sound area. I think there are probably only a couple who have actually gotten formal training. It's um, it's basically a ojt on the job training. I'm learning a, uh, learning how to write a ceremony was probably the thing I had to work at the most. I have stage experience. I was a stage actor down in, in California growing up. And so I'm very comfortable in front of people and speaking and have those techniques. We were just talking about that. A ceremony we just did together the other day and we are on top of the roof at bell tower and the microphone crapped out and so it's okay. You're on stage 3000 seat theater.

[09:30] They don't give you a microphone, you take a deep breath, support your voice and project. And that's, that's what I did a talk about that. Talk about your stage background. That's fascinating. Down in California. Yeah. That uh, I was, I was bit by the acting bug when I was in high school. We all know our, our high school cliques, the nerds, the jocks, the politicians. I was one of the theater geeks and um, took drama all four years in high school, uh, did a couple of the high school plays but wrapped by the time I was 17. I was auditioning at and working at community theaters in the bay area and um, did, uh, did a lot of performing a stage managing costume work, lighting sets about. The only thing I've never done it in the theater is actually direct a play. I've actually even written some stuff before.

[10:30] Um, and so I was doing that up until about age 30 and then it just, you know, a lot of my friends in the theater because they do it all their life for me, it a fulfilled its, its purpose, um, acceptance, responsibility, things that I wasn't getting at home and at school, uh, were provided in the theater. So then I, you had said that you and your wife ran a catering company, so when you met her, were you still acting? That's how we met was a, was performing. I was the master of ceremonies in a Vaudeville style musical review. And my wife Stephanie was one of the lead singers. It was kind of a wild west Vaudeville revue actually. She squeezed into a green velvet plunging neckline dress and sat on an upright piano and saying hardhearted in the vamp of Savannah. And My job, my job was to go onstage, introduce acts, get ax off the stage, tell bad jokes, keep things rolling.

[11:49] And she was one of the acts and that was, did it for ya? Yep. That was in, that was summer of 1976. I just graduated from high school and a her in the, we're rehearsing in an elementary school and uh, met her during a cigarette break. Its back when everybody smoked. Even when you were a singer. Met Her, uh, during a break. She was, uh, complaining about her boyfriend and that was in 76 and we were good, good friends for a couple of five or six years actually. And uh, things got serious in 80 and we married in 81.

[12:30] I'm talking about your wedding and then talk about, uh, who did the ceremony, how did that work

[12:35] when you were married in the Catholic Church? My wife is Catholic. I'm not, which means we didn't get to have a nuptial mass or as I tell people, I avoided having to eat the Jesus cookie. Uh, we did get married in a little chapel next to the church by a priest. It was a 15, 20 minute ceremony. Kind of like what we do here. I'm very low pressure though. The priest was actually a personal friend of ours. We knew this fellow for a long, long time. Little Short Irish priest, Father Joe. And so it was a very comfortable thing. I was in the military at the time, I was in the Coast Guard and my, uh, my whole input to my wedding was, where's it going to be? When's it going to be? What do you want me to, where I'll be there. Ironic considering the business I'm in now. Uh, I'm married the youngest of three daughters though, so my wife didn't. It was not really into all the wedding planning and stuff. So my mother in law, uh, went to the Rolodex. Everybody remembers what a Rolodex is. Don't think a good flipped out the Rolodex and when the church, the reception hall, the food, the band, et Cetera, et Cetera, et cetera.

[13:57] I'm being married now. Do you feel like that gives you, you know, I'm always fascinated. I think I became a better wedding vendor having been married to Kinda got, not that you can't the other way, but having gone through the process and, you know, obviously being married and in love, does that kind of help inform how you approach the day or what would you. What's your thoughts on that?

[14:16] All right, thanks. So not so much how I approach the day more so though, uh, the, one of the things that we offer but don't require as premarital counseling. Um, I do that myself, my associates don't just me and uh, I'm finding more and more that while I use a formal system for premarital counseling, it's called prepare enrich that uh, a lot of what I'm talking to people about is just based on 37 years of me being married about that premarital

[14:52] counseling.

[14:53] Yeah. Yeah. I use, I use the prepare enrich system. It's about a 250 questions survey. It used to be done on paper and mailed in, but now it's on the Internet. Like everything is, it's not counseling like g Ray, we've got a problem. We need you to fix it. It's more getting all the issues out on the table before you get married. So there's no surprises. We talk about a family backgrounds, children, money, sex or politics, religion, everything under the sun. Um, I equate it probably kind of crudely, but I equate it to when you buy a used car, you want to take that car to your mechanic and have them check under the hood and make sure everything's copacetic. So I'm the mechanic. Your marriage is the car and again, we're just looking at are there any issues that you guys are in, in conflict about?

[15:53] Um, I think that's fascinating. I just had a Tory, a wall on a last week on the podcast and she has a psychology degree and she's a wedding planner and she was talking about similar, being able to just kind of read people a little bit better when it comes to planning and kind of seeing people's motivations. How often do you guys do the premarital? Is that like a one in 10? Couple thing is to have the one in 50.

[16:18] Oh, I would probably say it's about a one in 25. I do. I do roughly 100 weddings a year and probably four couples want to do the premarital counseling.

[16:31] Is that successful? Obviously. I mean what is, what is their reaction to it?

[16:36] It's, um, for the most part, um, and I warn my couples about this, you know, for the most part you're going to discover things that you already know, but it's formalized and codified and yes, we knew we were going to have these answers occasionally. Every once in a while there'll be something kind of a surprise, oh my God, I didn't know you felt this way about this subject. And then we kind of dig in, dig into it a little further and discuss. And that's where a lot of my experience being an old married guy comes in. [inaudible] seen it all. It's like, like the, like the, the, the allstate commercials, you know, I've seen it, I've done it.

[17:21] Yeah, that's a great point. I, and I mean, that's a great just to know his customers. Not all state farmer's been there, done that, the car in the tree or whatever. Um, do you? Uh, I think that's a nice bonus, I guess for people that have right where they don't feel like they're obligated that they have to sign up for that. But that's like an extra thing. Exactly. So going back to now you're married, you're in California still. Um, so you guys started a catering company. Yup. So talk about that and kind of getting into the wedding industry even though

[17:55] it was, um, uh, that was uh, an idea that my wife had. She's very much an entrepreneur as it were and um, we had, uh, we had worked as catering assistance for other catering companies just as kind of a side thing. I'm, do they call it these days? It's a side hustle. Yup. Yup. And she decided that she wanted to have her own company. It was very small. It was basically the two of us and we'd hire on a couple of assistants when we needed, needed it. Um, we didn't have a commercial kitchen back in those days in California. You didn't have to have a commercial kitchen to be a caterer as long as you did all your, your food prep and cooking on site, which is what we did. We were small. We were mobile. That lasted, I think just a couple of years. It's catering is a young person's, especially when you're doing the, uh, the onsite stuff, it's a young person's job, you're hauling heavy stuff and food and ice. And

[19:03] so, uh, you guys did that for a couple of years. Uh, and then did that lead into the floral or was that.

[19:09] Nope, floral was totally a totally unrelated to that. My wife, uh, had been working an office job office managers I recall for a baby clothes manufacturing company here in town and she left that work and wanted again in the entrepreneurial spirit to open up or at least become a florist there are no longer open, but at the time there was a company in pioneer square that did a very intensive, like I think three or four month courses on floral design in the floral business. And she took those and originally was going to just go out to a try to get a job in a florist a was unable to. Nobody wanted to hire brand new, inexperienced florist. So she said, well, we're just going to open up our own shop. And uh, she, her first shop was in Ferndale village in admins. And she was there for a number of years and then moved over to country village in bothell. So that was up here, right? Either Washington near the coast guard, military. My last duty station was, uh, was here in Seattle. And uh, we just stayed.

[20:33] So you guys are up here now. She's doing the formal thing. How did then the idea of becoming an officiant come about

[20:41] that again? God bless her. Was My wife her? Yeah. See I. Everything I do is because of her. Um, she had a notion that we were going to buy some property out on the coast. I think we had recently maybe been out there on vacation or something that we were going to buy some property out on the coast and make it into a wedding venue and I was going to be the inhouse wedding officiant. The real estate portion fell through, but I had by that time, uh, gotten myself ordained online universal life church. Nothing wrong with that. Most efficient ants around here are um, online, ordained. Got Myself ordained. And there was, I remember specifically a Saturday afternoon, or I was watching steffes shop for her, I was at the front register, she was in one of the other rooms doing a floral consult for a bride, the bride and the bride's mother was there and I happened to overhear the bride complaining to my wife that they really didn't like the fellow that they hired to perform the wedding and they were thinking about letting him go and getting somebody else.

[22:05] And so I just kind of shoehorned myself into that situation. I'm ordained. I'd be more than happy to do your wedding ceremony. I'll charge you. I'm not going to say how much it was because it was a ridiculously low amount because I was starting out and I wanted to make sure because she was going to lose her deposit with this other fella. And, but a long story short, that was in March of 2003, a very first wedding ceremony. I did a, had one of those clouds parted. Come to Jesus moments. This is what you were put on earth to do. And just took off from there. Uh, so how did that first wedding ceremony Gal, you know, it's, it was, it was interesting. I, I, uh, performed the number one rookie mistake for an officiant. I'm standing up on the altar, groom standing next to me. I ask everyone to rise. Dad Walks the bride in, gives her a hug and a kiss and the groom goes up and Shakes Dad's hand, takes his fiance, his bride to be, takes her up to me and I start the ceremony and about two minutes later I noticed the mother of the groom looking at me trying to subtly wave her hand, motion her hand down, and I looked around and went, oh, everybody's still stands, please, please be seated. Sorry about that. And that. Yeah, that's kind

[23:46] of a common, uh, if you ever have like, yeah, like a friend do the ceremony, like we'll remind them like 80 times picture everyone city and made sure everyone say because people, it's like a wedding. It's like sheep, they just kind of walk and they do what they're told. Don't, don't get me started on friends doing ceremonies. Um, so, uh, well I do, I do. I'm talking about that. I do too, but, so, uh, so the ceremony goes well though. You have a come to come to Jesus moment. That's what were you nervous? Uh, I mean, you the obviously stage acting and things like that.

[24:19] Funny thing I, I was, I was. And it's very perceptive of you to, to catch that because they're the main difference. I mean, I, I've been on, you know earlier I mentioned 3000 seat theater. I've been on stage with 3000 seats. Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but it's not me up there. It's whoever I'm playing. So that first I'd say probably the first three to four to five weddings, it was a little bit nervous because it was, it was me, um, but got very, very quickly. Got into the swing of the thing, the comfort level increased. Um, and every year I add on another 100 some odd weddings. Uh, I tell people these days you could wake me up at three in the morning, give me a posted note with a couple of people's names on it and I can stand up and, and, and improvise a 15 minute wedding ceremony.

[25:21] Yeah, if you need to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, so, so you're going along, man, you know, you've got a couple under your belt. Um, when did then kind of this, you know, Ray Van Winkle and associates, how did that kind of grow and come about?

[25:35] That came about? I'm around, let me see. Probably around 2010 I was, I was just by myself up until then. Um, I had actually, just as a sidebar, I had actually been working a full time day job when I started doing weddings. So the, the wedding thing was my side hustle, uh, in [inaudible] eight I got laid off during the great recession. I was in my fifties, nobody was going to hire, you know, that just wasn't the way it was. And so I was able to spin that off into full time. So from Oh, eight wedding officiant full time in 2010 though I was contacted by a very good friend of mine who has always been fascinated with my business and how an officiate works and everything and he kind of introduced me to the end associates concept mainly because this fellow is a business attorney and that's how law firms usually run right around the time he started talking to me about this.

[26:46] I was realizing that I was turning away a lot of business, a referring over to other colleagues that we, you and I both know, but I was sending a lot of business out to other people, but I wasn't getting a lot of referrals back the other way. So when my friend bill introduced me to the and associates concept, I took him on, trained him in how I do things and how I like to see things done. So whenever I was contacted by a couple who I could not help, I could refer them over to Reverend Bill and that his schedule filled up. The next year. Later I brought on my second associate. A couple of years later. I brought on my third,

[27:32] uh, so I want to get back to, to, uh, you being no layoff or corporate in the way you did before, but I, I don't want to forget to ask. So when you talk about, and I think it's important, uh, you know, you hired bill, like how you wanted to see a ceremony, you know, be performed, go off, like if you had to verbalize that, you know, in terms of like what, what is your vision for that or what is the ideal vision? How would you describe that?

[27:59] Oh boy, interesting question. Um, first things first. What I visualize is, um, it's not my way or the highway. We don't dictate the wedding couple. They are our boss. It's like we're a taxi cab driver or uber driver. The bride and groom there are fair. We will take you where you want to go, the way that you want to go. Um, I've also insured and kind of what the vision for the company is both myself and all of my associates. Um, we're very lighthearted. We're not terribly serious. We are gathered here today kind of kind of people. So we're fun, we're lighthearted. Um, our job is to, is to serve. So, um,

[29:02] you were working, you said you were working full time while you're doing your officiant. Uh, what were you doing or if you wanted to talk about it?

[29:08] Sure, sure. I was a, a sales administrator for a marine manufacturing company in the u district. Was there for 19 years. I'm one of these, uh, just a desk job jockey. It was in the sales department. It was basically the sales manager and myself and then we managed a whole network of dealers and distributors and international distributors, etc. So phone work, computer work, doing the occasional a boat show, that kind of thing.

[29:42] So. And you're doing weddings on the side, right? And so then like use it. So then when you got laid off, like that had to have been really scary, right?

[29:51] Yeah. When you look at how much cobra is for your health insurance, that was scary and it was a against smartest thing I ever did was be in the military by a weird quirk of my timing. I was able to get va healthcare. I still pay copays for everything, um, that the va does not give healthcare to everybody. who is, was in the military, you have to be a war time vet. And I was in from 79 to 84 and in [inaudible] 81 or 82 is when reagan invaded Grenada. And that's, that was, that was a declaration of war by congress. Uh, I was up in Alaska at the time, but it doesn't matter. We're at war. I was in the service so I get my healthcare through them and that freed me up to be able to do the wedding officiating full time and not have to worry about getting another job and get insurance, etc. Etc.

[31:01] Uh, this is probably terrible to me. I should have asked before. why, why did you get into the coast guard? What was that? What inspired you to do that?

[31:08] You know, what inspired me to do that is I was living at the time in a little farm town in southwest Iowa population 100. I'd moved out there from san francisco, so it was quite the culture shock. Uh, but I had family out there and uh, just wanted to try something new, different. I was there for I think about nine months and just no job prospects, nothing really going. I wanted to head back to the coast. I felt very landlocked. The only water was the Missouri river, a little muddy river that ran nearby and I was used to being near the pacific ocean. So I went to omaha, Nebraska once in one of those multi branch recruiting services. And I'm considered my options, no offense to anybody who might've been in the army, but back then at least anybody could sign an x on a piece of paper, went into the army. So I said, no, no, I can do better than that marine corps to tough navy. Don't know why I didn't consider the navy, but I didn't. But I was, I was going back and forth between the air force and the coast guard and decided on the coast guard. And they Sent me right back to the bay area. The, A bootcamp at that time was in alameda, California. And uh, the first ship I was on was based out of alameda and the second ship I was on, it was based here in seattle.

[32:37] So yeah. So then you got sent back to san francisco

[32:40] and how many years were you in the coast guard? I was in for four years and nine months. It was a four year enlistment, but by the time I figured out what service school I wanted to go to, it was a nine month long school and they required that I have at least two years doing that job once I got out of school. So I had to add an extra nine months into my enlistment. So what was that experience like? I mean, did you like it? I did, I did. It was, um, I'd recommend it for anybody actually. Uh, what I also recommend though is a lot of the people I was in joined the service when they were 17 or 18. I waited until I was 21. And I think that helped a lot having a couple of years out of school and living on my own before going into the service.

[33:29] But in general it was a, it was a real wake up call, it was kind of a pick me up, slap me across the head, you know, grow up, get a job, be a man, that kind of stuff. It was your wife helping you out at all or was this kind of year venture then? Uh, As far as the officiating, um, it was, it was pretty much my kind of thing, my though, but my wife has a lot more business experience than I do. She's really savvy as far as advertising and connecting with people and whatnot. And she would often turn to her for advice that I would sometimes take in sometimes not much to her chagrin. Um, in regards to the business matters, do you find that there's specific issues in terms of being an efficient company that are unique to you in terms of like other businesses or other wedding vendors?

[34:24] I mean, that might be a broad question, but it is, but, but specifically in regards to other wedding vendors and what I have found over the years is unlike a videographer or photographer or a dj, um, I find that actually paying for advertising or more importantly paying to be in a wedding show really doesn't get a lot of result for people in the efficient business. And I think it'S not part of it is because some people are getting married at a church, other people are having their cousin fred do the wedding. Um, but unlike a lot of other vendors, officiant don't charge all that terribly much. I mean there are a couple people around her are doing like the 800 to a thousand, but for the most part it's like anywhere from three to $500. And so you're putting out a lot of money to do a show. It, it just doesn't, uh, you know, for example, in your business, you book one wedding and you've, you're making. For me,

[35:38] I need to book a couple of weddings just to break even. Yeah. And then that's a great point because we were in the wedding show this year, we had just kinda upped our, you know, our, we're going to be a sponsor for videography and, and we had said like, well now, you know, we got a book at this number of weddings to break even. but yeah, like I said, I'm sure it's a lot less and we're not in the business to break even.

[35:57] You want more than that.

[36:00] Um, and then so talk about your, your thoughts, uh, about, you know, hiring a professional versus doing that. Friends or family and, and, and I know it's, you know, and I'm sure it's a deer, a topic, you know. and the same with me, you in terms of people that say they don't need a videographer, whatever, but you know what, let's talk about the pros and what do you feel like, you know, the pros are to bring in our professional versus, you know, rely on the family and friend. Years ago, years ago,

[36:27] and I used to have this on an older version of my website years ago, I tried to make my website more of an educational kind of thing and I would talk about how, um, about why you hire a professional in general. You don't give your cousin mechanics book and some tools and say, hey, fix my car. You don't go to your sorority sister, would you need open heart surgery? Granted, nothing that You or I are doing is open heart surgery. But I, I've, I've subsequently kind of tapered off on that over the years because I do understand and acknowledge that a lot of people feel that their ceremony is going to be more personal if it's somebody they know standing up there. And sometimes it is sometimes the, uh, the nonprofessional efficient. We'll do a good job. A lot of times, and I know you've seen this yourself and wedding planners and photographers will, will tell you that a lot of times they don't.

[37:37] I'm to the point to where I'm. Dave don't remember to hold the microphone up in front of their face. They don't move off to the side when the bride and groom are kissing, and so their photo bombing the, the picture, they forget how to fill out the paperwork properly and then you're not legally married until that gets all rectified. The miCrophone craps out and the person just can't speak in front of lots of people like that. Uh, but again, I've, I've kind of mellowed on that because I have, I have met couples who have said, well, you know, it, it did feel like more personal in our guide. Did a really good job. God bless him. That's great. Um, I, however, I also feel that part of the, part of the reason we have ceremony in anything, a funerals, weddings, baptisms, anything we have ceremony to make something different and more outstanding from the rest of our lives.

[38:46] and that's why we, that's why we celebrate the ceremony. And as you discussed earlier, you were talking that I'm the weddings that we've done together, even when I don't actually know the people very, very well. They're not like dear friends forever. The ceremony can still have that personal, heartfelt, wow, that guy really knows this couple feeling without actually having known this couple for all those years. That's part of being a professional. And to get back though onto the, uh, the ceremony and why it's special is that a lot of times, and I would ask anybody who's, who's been to a ceremony of wedding ceremony where they know the efficient, you know, that's, that's my cousin joe doing that. It doesn't, it doesn't bring the ceremony up to the level to my mind that it should, by having somebody that here's somebody up there, we don't know them, but they stayed. They speak with respect and dignity and then fun and humor and a more of a sense of gravitas I think is the word.

[40:05] Uh, and I mean and, and to be fair, you know what I mean, you're speaking to me too. I mean we, we had had my wife's a brother in law, you know, perform our ceremony, you know, for the same reason. Right? Oh, read, read, read, read. I'm leaving now. How did, how did that work out? But it was good. I mean, he and we specifically, she had actually had a couple of friends that had volunteered to do it. Then I had specifically said, you know, we're not goIng to have, you know, your sorority sister do the wedding, you know, he, he's a lawyer and he wears a suit and looks and speaks with words. Yup. Yup. But, uh, but no, I mean, but that's with words as opposed to american side. Uh, but, you know, but I mean, I do think that that is a really great thing that, you know, you can be, have it be personal habit, be heartfelt, haven't had that connection with bringing in that professional. I mean, I think that that is a really great point to make, right? Yup. Yeah. I can't, I can't tell you how many the

[41:02] weddings I've done where I arrived at the rehearsal and the wedding planner sees me coming in and you just see this sense of relief and the shoulders drop. Oh ray, thank god it's you. Um, last week I did this wedding and I tell you I had to stand there and hold this guy's hand and, and you know, having, having a professional fill in the blank makes everybody else's job easier. I'm going to make your job easier because you don't have to coach me and what's going on. The dj, the photographer, the planner, everybody, um, with the exception of the caterers probably doesn't have much effect but it makes everybody else's job easier.

[41:55] well, and I would agree with that and I would agree also like you said with that during the rehearsals and things where you know, like our friends got married, my wife's friends and like I showed up at the rehearsal and you know, they didn't have a planner in their officiant was. I can't even remember who it was. But like I'm sitting there like, and luckily I was doing the video and like I have a brain, but like I was trying to figure out like, okay, where are people going to stand in the order? And things like that's not something that I did. I. And they had no, I mean they wouldn't have known. I told dorothy, I said they wouldn't have known, they wouldn't have known. Like if I wasn't there, they still be standing. That's,

[42:28] that's, that's another aspect of that goes toward a professional officiant is I'd say probably about 75 percent of the weddings we do. There is no wedding planner or a coordinator. So we run the rehearsal. Um, so you're not, again, having to have some people standing there going, okay, what do we do? Well, I don't know, how do you think we want to do it? Et cetera, et cetera. Uh, we come in at the rehearsal and just like a day of coordinator, we take over line everybody up and do a proper and thorough rehearsal

[43:11] because I think that that is a great point because I don't think that people like, I think you think like, oh, we're going to get married in like, we're going to stand up there. But like they don't think about the 1800 things that lead to that in terms of like, well, where are we going to line up? What order? Where are we going to stand?

[43:28] A lot of that I think is due to movies and tv. You watch movies, especially hallmark, but anybody you, you watch a wedding in a ceremony or wedding ceremony and a movie and it's usually like 90 seconds. They don't even show you naturally. They don't even show you the entire ceremony and people get in the mind that like you said, it's just kind of magic, oh, we're just going to appear here and we're going to stand here. Then we're going to turn out and face face the audience is going to look just like it. It does in the movies, but there's all that other stuff that, that contributes.

[44:09] Yeah. I remember even rebecca, our planner was like, you know, you're going to need to rebecca, granted and you know, hold your hands in this, you know, I didn't even think about all that stuff. You just think out we're going to get married and you don't think. Yeah, like the actual, like, functional, getting up there and the mechanics. Uh,

[44:28] yeah. It's, it's a, it's like thinking that, okay, I want, I want this beautiful painting hanging on my wall and not being given some oils and brushes. And where do you go from there?

[44:45] Um, so in terms of you've done a lot of ceremonies, we talked about that. Are there some that really resonate with you even now years later or months later? Like I know that we did matthew and alex last year up russell's loft and I mean that was like heavy really vows and the ceremony and I mean they were email a lot of stuff. I mean whether what resonates with you now or what keeps going, we'll,

[45:13] we'll, we'll see these days. It's funny you mentioned matthew, the knowledge these days pretty much any same sex marriage I do still resonates me with me mainly because all the work everybody had to go through and struggle to get where we are today. So, um, in addition to that though, um, I think specifically of a wedding I did, it's bear creek golf and country club, I think it was a number of years ago, the groom, a unbeknownst to his wife, taught himself to play the guitar, wrote a song for her and had the guitar waiting behind his line of groomsmen. So the bride didn't see it and in the middle of the ceremony drops to one knee. The best man gives him the guitar and he serenades his bride. It's got. Yes. That's. Yeah, I didn't do anything like that. I mean either meaning here, go for it now.

[46:24] No, I was going to say, uh, I mean there are ceremonies that are memorable for those kinds of reasons. There are ceremonies that are memorable for when something goes wrong or unexpected. I officiated a wedding once with a catholic deacon. We're at a masonic hall in burean and deacon teddy walks his daughter down the aisle. I stopped them. I usually don't do this, but they wanted me to ask the question, if anyone sees any reason why this man and woman should not be married, et cetera, et cetera, and I asked the question and this fellow stands up and raises his hand and he says, I object big gasp. Everybody's, oh my god. What's going on? Number two, guy number three. Number four, by the time guy number five, standing to object. The pork room. He Is doing one of those face plants just standing there and the altar shaking his head. Deacon teddy turns around, points to each one of those five guys and says, you guys just sit down and shut up and thank god your sister's getting married. Wow. Everybody breaks into laughter. It was insane. Uh, the, uh, the groom I guess knew he was getting married into a family of practical jokers. The saving grace to the story was that she told me right before the wedding they were going to do that.

[48:03] Oh yeah. I know. I would've been. I would've been standing there and going, oh, uh, no, no.

[48:10] can I ask you nets? I would say maybe two out of 20, 25 they ask that anymore. Is that just kind of passe, that skiing that people have jack? Oh yeah.

[48:20] No, that, that, that only comes up once or twice a year. Yeah. Yeah. The, the and people avoid that. Not. Well first off, the people who do want it, they want it just because it is quote traditional unquote. It's what you've seen in the movies in a church, et cetera. Most people stay away from that. Not so much because they seriously think anybody's gonna object because who's going to invite that person, but invariably the groom will be thinking of some groomsmen. He's got up there who's going to want to be a smart ass and say something just to be funny and that's why we stay away from that.

[49:02] Yeah. Cause I, the only times I've seen it is it's always played for jokes. Like they'll be like. And if you have anything to say like, get outta here.

[49:11] Yeah. Yeah. And I've done that also on the few times I've done that question. I've had people who want me to say speak, you know, if anybody objects sit down and shut up, they're getting married anyway, but that would be the bride or groom would ask you. Right? Oh yeah. You know, I do not. Um, I do not go awful. How can I put it? I normally don't go off off script. I'm not gonna improvise. Say anything. They don't want me to say unless something goes wrong. if, if the bride is having a hard time getting that ring shoved on his finger, I'm going to say something. I can't help it. But you're trying to ease kinda. Exactly. Exactly. Knowing people, people welcomed that and enjoy that. And if something like that happens early in the ceremony, it's really great because you see the tension. If the bride or groom or tense or nervous, you see that once, once everybody laughs and that tension just kind of melts away and the shoulders drop down a little bit and they're good to go.

[50:20] Yeah. We got married at salty is and as we were doing the rings this boat, like a, like single engine fishing boat, it was like, I think one guy had his shirt off and the other guy had a bright orange vest, you know lifevest on. Yup. Yup. Big beer guts drinking beer and like 10 feet offering the salty dog going by. So I had the wherewithal because I. And I was like, well I think we should wait here for a minute, but you know, we didn't have a friend that was like, you know, should we keep going? And I said, well no, we should stop and wait.

[50:53] That kind of thing happens on the scan. Sony up here a lot on the, on lake union. you're in the middle of the ceremony and somebody going by in a kayak and occasionally it's usually applause and whooping it up. Every once in a while he gets somebody going down to run. It's not too late.

[51:14] Uh, I was happy that the last wedding we did with the cruise ship, there was some people that they got married as defining. And jason got me, or stephanie and jason got married at the bell harbor and there was a cruise ship. They're big, big norwegian. It hadn't, it was, I guess it was supposed to depart like an hour before and it wasn't and I really was worried because we were getting set up and there were some people that were making yelling from the ship, scott, the dj, you know, we were talking and then maybe you were, you know, we were all kind of getting ready and I thought, man, I'm really going to be. And luckily they didn't win. The actual ceremony was there, you know, because that is tough. I mean, you don't want somebody, I don't know, trying to make a joke and be the star. Is there common mistakes that you see couples make in terms of approaching the wedding with the officiant or things that you wish more people would know? Like easy stuff that you're like this, that you see time and time again? Interesting. Besides like relying on you uncle bob.

[52:13] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's, let's, let's take that off the table right now. Boy, you know, believe it or not, and I talked to people about this when we have our initial consultation, the big thing is remember to get your darn marriage license. Um, I can't tell you how many times I'll arrive at the ceremony and asked for the marriage license and they look at me and go, weren't you supposed to get that? And I did a wedding recently for a, actually somebody who is a professional in the wedding business who will remain unnamed, I'll tell you when we're done. And he did not have a marriage license.

[53:03] Well, and for people that don't know, I mean, you, you, it is an official thing. You hAve to go in with your, you can't just pick one up when you want to do. And they'd say you physIcally can't get their marriage certificate.

[53:16] Yeah, yeah. No, the bride and groom or bride and bride or groom and groom as the case may be. You've got to go to the county anytime within 60 days of the wedding date, but not within three days because there's a little waiting period. They post your documents. No, no. Los vegas weddings. Here. You don't want to meet on a wednesday night and get married thursday morning kind of thing. Um, but yeah, that is the most important aspect. Without that, there's no marriage. And, and like I said before, when we were, uh, talking about the nonprofessional officiant, if it's not, paperwork's not done properly. There's no marriage. Um, yeah. So that's, that's, that's the big thing. That's the big thing.

[54:02] Uh, I, we did have a wedding that joe my associates shot and it was a quote unquote professional officiant who will remain nameless, but I, joe rode for about 20 minutes of footage in the back with him trying to explain to them how he forgot the certificate, but that it was okay that like, they were still married and oh, well I'll just meet up with you guys tomorrow at starbucks. And I'm like, no, but that's not like, you know, he was trying to explain to them, oh, you are still married. And it's like, well, not until tomorrow. Then it starbucks. Right, right.

[54:35] Well, you know though, I mean for first off in these circumstances, we go ahead and do the ceremony naturally and we do get together afterwards. Sometimes what happens is they've left the paperwork at the hotel and the hotel is like an hour away. Sometimes they just haven't applied for it. Um, if it's a case of the paperwork's been left in the hotel again, that paperwork's good for 60 days depending on how far back you got it. In addition, the officiant has 30 days after the date that it's signed to get those documents back to the county. So there is some, there is some slop time there. If it is a case that you just forgot to get the paperwork, then yes, indeed. You are not actually officially married until that date that that document is signed. Um, there is a keepsake certificate though is you'll recall, which is not a legal documents. So you can put whatever you want on it. If you want to put that original date that you had the ceremony, you're perfectly welcome to do that.

[55:43] I'm moving forward here. What do you have any longterm goals or any. What does the future hold for,

[55:52] for well, you know, longterm goal number one is actually to increase the business mainly because, uh, for me at least, and I think for some of my other fellow, a wedding vendors, uh, this past couple of years had been kind of slow. There's been a lot more diy, do it yourself, both in officiants video, djs, et cetera. Uh, I don't know if it's for economic reasons, political reasons, you know, we're all worried that we're all going to be nuked and you don't want to spend all that money anymore. So short term goal, get business back up the way it was a couple of years ago, longer term. I'm actually had been branching out lately and, uh, doing some funerals. Uh, I was actually back in [inaudible] nine, I think it was. I was trained in writing and performing funeral services. Uh, that is one of the things that is kind of diy proof. Most people don't want to deal with speaking at a funeral. I'm beyond that. It's simply a matter of just keeping on, keeping on,

[57:16] keep on the hustle. That's it. Well, I want to thank you so much for coming in today. It's been a really fun and insightful. I feel like I've learned a lot about you just in terms of personally because you know, you see these vendors, you know, I see you at weddings, but it's not like we have hours to kill.

[57:34] You had said when I got, when I got here today, there's just, this is the first time you've seen me out of a suit and tie. I am wearing clothing. Everybody just not in a suit and tie

[57:44] and uh, so they, you so much. If people want to learn more about, you know, you, your associates, what you guys do, your philosophy in regards to weddings, what would you have them do at checkout?

[57:54] Yep. They're going to want to go to You can also find us on Facebook if you search for Reverend Ray Van Winkle and Associates

[58:08] and that it is a Good easy name to remember. I always remember that Ray Van Winkle.

[58:13] When I, when I was a little kid growing up, I wanted to be a Smith or Jones or a Williams like everybody else. As soon as I got into a business where name recognition was a plus everyday, it's thank god I'm a Van Winkle.

[58:26] Okay, that sounds awesome. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Torry Wahl, Raise a Glass Wedding and Event Planning

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm here today with Torry Wahl of Raise a Glass Wedding. They are a local wedding planning company. And Torry, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you guys do.

Okay. Hi Reid. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you inviting me over. Um, so Raise a Glass Wedding is a small boutique wedding planning business. So I do about um, 12 to 20 weddings a year so nothing extravagant but I like to keep it small. I still like to have a social life, hang out with my husband sometimes, but we are based out of Snohomish, Washington, but I go all over Washington state. It's predominantly me. Um, I run the business so if you're booking with me, uh, we're having all of our consultations together, we're having all of our meetings together. I'm there for the full 12 hours of your wedding and then also there to assist with the reception and ceremony. So in rehearsal, so I'm pretty much there the whole entire day just to make sure everything runs smoothly and then I also have some assistants that help me, but if you're hiring me or working with me and that's kind of what I like is I keep it very personal and then it's just a really relaxed, fun business.

Talk about what kind of drew you into weddings in the first place.

[01:37] Um, I've always been super interested in like weddings and the ceremony and the ritual of getting married and so that's kind of what I went to school for. Um, so that's kind of what drew me there, but I never anticipated owning my own business or being a wedding planner by any means. So I love planning, I love organizing things. Um, I'm really into like the service industry. I love pleasing people, making sure that their expectations are met and that everything that they have envisioned or worked hard for just gets executed. So it's kind of selfish in a way. Like I, it really makes me happy and I enjoy it and people pay me to do it. So

[02:17] that is good though when you find something that you like. I mean I could shoot video all day and it's not, you know, you do feel like, well I'm, yeah, I get paid for them.

[02:24] Yeah. Like it's crazy sometimes when I'm like, people are giving me money to do this real life. Uh, so would you go to school for. I went to school for psychology and then marriage and family studies. So, um, I got my, a double degree in marriage and family studies, so I love the culture of marriage and like why people get married and the different ceremonies and traditions that people get married with and things like that. So that's kind of what drew me in, but

[02:52] I didn't even know that that kind of degree existed.

[02:55] Marriage and family studies. Yeah. So where was that at? Central Washington. So I don't know Berg. So

[03:01] yeah, I definitely do a tour that when I did I, I went to school in state too. So that was part of my, part of my tour through across to spokane where I ended up, uh, what drew you to that degree? I mean, that's not, I don't know if that's a typical undergraduate that someone would be drawn to.

[03:17] Um, so since high school I've always wanted to do psychology. My grandpa had Alzheimer's when I was younger and so I lived with him and helped him. And so, um, I went to school to do psychology. I want to do geo, the study of like Alzheimer's and how that developed and that's kind of what triggered me to do that. And then once I got in there, um, I was really, really drawn to marriage and culture and um, I started taking all these classes and based on like why people get married and psychology of marriage and um, I started studying a lot about John Gottman and things like that, so I'm Kinda just fell into it and I never thought that I'd be a wedding planner. And then people were like, hey, you should help plan these weddings. And so family and friends were asking me to help plan weddings and that's kind of how I fell into it. So it's Kinda all pieced together really well. I wanted to go to school to be a marriage family therapist after that, and then it evolved to I don't want to go to school anymore,

[04:16] so why do people get married?

So nowadays it's a lot different than why people got married and so before people got married for um, you know, when we're cave men and women, I guess it wasn't, you weren't getting married, but common partnerships for survival to continue on procreating and um, things like that. So it's evolved now where it's not so much like you need a man and a woman to run a household. It is evolved in so many different ways of having a family and that's what, that's what I love about it. It's a constantly growing and evolving. So now people get married for security reasons, financial reasons, health insurance reasons. I'm just the tradition of it all. So it really depends.

[05:03] Uh, so then you said you kind of learned a lot about different marriages and cultures and things like that. Does that make you feel more prepared now in terms of like the clients that you guys can look after and help out?

[05:15] Um, not necessarily, like I'm not counseling them or saying like, what you're doing is not correct. Like I'll notice things with couples where I'm like, oh, they're going to make it, like how they're communicating is really, really effective. Like that's going to work. And other times I'm like, oh, maybe I need to work on that a little bit. But for the most part it's a way for me. Like I love incorporating family traditions. I'm into weddings and I love that clients like to incorporate like what their grandmothers wore, what their grandfathers war or they rings or the style of their wedding that they had. So I really enjoy incorporating all these different elements to a wedding that have to do with past marriages and past traditions and things like that.

[06:01] Yeah, I do think that that's a common trend now that I just had on um, um, well there. So with a hey sweets and she was talking about, you know, desserts and just kind of all aspects of the day, right? That the clients really want to make it their own, you know, and whether it's like a, you know, my grandmother is part of their, her dress is sewn into my dress or I mean, are you finding that, you know, a lot more customization and a lot more like be a brides and grooms, like really want their hands on everything.

[06:30] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So, um, I've noticed with a lot of my couples that they want to plan their own thing so they want to find the vendors themselves for the most part, um, seek out or at least get my advice with some things, but they like to find ones that match their style really well and they like to find vendors that work really well with them and what they're looking for. So I've noticed that that couples now are generally moving towards planning their own thing, incorporating their own family traditions and not being so traditional in that sense. Um, but making it more of their own, which I love that. I love clients that do that. Like a couples that make their wedding their own, I think are the more intimate and more personal and they feel it a lot more. So I love that.

[07:15] Uh, what's your favorite part in terms of that planning process with a couple way? Is it kind of that initial getting everything going? Is it seeing the finished product? Is it somewhere in between?

[07:25] And the finished product for me. So when they come out from like getting their pictures done or getting ready and it's their first time seeing the venue and they're like, oh my gosh, this is what it looks like. This is amazing. This is exactly how I envisioned it. This is how I thought it was going to look. Or like this is above what I had expected. That for me is like the spot where I'm like, Oh yeah, I'm like, I can leave home or go home like the end of the night with like crazy sore feet and being hungry for not eating anything whole day, which probably isn't good for me, but I can go home feeling satisfied and happy after knowing like, oh, like everything that they had worked so hard for an envisioned was executed. That's, that's like perfect for me.

[08:06] Uh, so you're married, uh, talking about your wedding experience, what was that like?

[08:10] I'm at my wedding experience was different, so I was in the midst of my second year of wedding planning as a business. So I gave that to my husband to do. I had like 13 weddings last summer. So, um, and that's when we got married, was in September. And so we had a really short engagement. It was like maybe three or four months that we had planned everything. And so I was like, I'm busy. I've got stuff to do. If you want to get married on this date then you're going to have to figure it out. And he did such a good Jew. Uh, there were obviously some hiccups, like we didn't hire a photographer, we didn't hire a Dj, we didn't hire her. I'm like, I didn't have a traditional wedding dress like we didn't hire. Like it was just us in my brother's backyard with our family and friends. We had some catering come in, which was really nice. We had a food truck that was perfect. And um, so it was really simple. There was a lot of things where I was like, man, I probably should've done that. Probably should have put some effort into that. That didn't turn out okay. But we had all our family and friends there. We had great food. The weather was perfect. So we got married. That's all that mattered.

[09:21] Must set a high bar now, you know, in my experience the groom is, is not always the most involved. You know, some are, some are, but some aren't. And so, you know, your husband really taken that on, but you must look at guys now and be like, come on, you can, you can get it together.

[09:37] But I have noticed a lot more than now the men are feeling a little left out where they're like, I have an opinion to like and like, and it's been suppressed in them for so long. Like you are not supposed to care about your wedding day. Like it's not your day, it's about the bride, it's not about you, but that's not the case. Like it's about both families coming together and a lot of times too, like there's same couples, same sex marriages, so the men in those cases are probably planning, envisioning their wedding their whole life and not leaving it up to a bride. So it's, for me, I love incorporating the groom's opinion into things as much as possible because my husband had a lot of opinions. He's like, this is the food I want, this is like the time of the year I want. And I was like, okay dude, if you want to do it then do it. But I don't have the time for this.

[10:26] Yeah. That was. We got married in August too and it was similar. I ended up doing a lot of the planning and my wife wasn't as helpful. I mean, she was helpful but not as involved. It was probably be the bad word. I'm going to cut this part out. I don't want to get in trouble. Um, so, uh, anyway, uh, you guys got married in September, having been married now, do you feel like that gives you extra insights now into working with your clients or what do you think about that? Yeah, definitely. So I think going through the whole experience also,

[11:00] there were things where I was like, oh, like I really should have hired a planner, like things did not get done that hurdle gotten done and um, so I definitely learned that was a huge learning lesson for me is to like play it and it was embarrassing to in a sense where I had all my family and friends there and they probably are expecting some high bar crazy thing and I was like go out into the yard and like hang out, here's food and stuff. Like for me it was kind of like, Ooh, I'm sorry this didn't turn out. Probably how you envisioned it, but for me it was a learning experience of like this is what has to get done to have a successful wedding. You really need to, if you want to plan it in that short amount of time, you really need to stick to like a really great timeline and great vendors and um, don't get me wrong. We had an amazing day. It was great for us, but it was definitely learning whereas like we didn't hire a DJ so the music didn't turn on at the right time. Like little things like that where it's like if couples are spending so much money on an event, then you want to get the right vendors and the right people there. So those was a learning experience.

[12:06] Yeah, it is always something we try to educate too, you know, like you don't know until it's too late kind of thing. Exactly. It's the same with videography. Like, you know, that's like a regret people have, but it's like you can't, you can only tell people so much ahead of time and then people are going to plan a. What do you find is some easy things that you see the couples like, pitfalls that they, like you said, like the Dj thing or like what are some pitfalls now that like are easy ones that you see that you can kind of help couples with?

[12:38] Um, so relying on family and friends to do things, that's probably the main thing that I see where I'm like, hm, I don't know. Like I, I know they are very reliable in real life and on your wedding day they have to go get ready themselves. They have other stuff they're doing. So um, that's kind of the main thing is relying on family and friends to do stuff after a couple of drinks they might forget that they are supposed to put the cheese board out or whatever it is that they're supposed to do or put the presence in the car, whatever little tasks. So the fact that I'm there to either remind people or to just take over those tasks myself, um, is a really good, um, like comfort for them. It's a great comfort for them knowing like my mom's not the most reliable, like my sister is not the most reliable. So things like that I think is like the biggest pitfall.

[13:26] Uh, I do have one quick story, the interject, um, couple of years ago we had it, it was more of a diy wedding and the bride and groom, when we had met had talked about how they were going to incorporate it in like a lot of tabletop games and like Legos and they're big into, you know, all that kind of stuff. And I think it was like the ceremony was supposed to be 4:45 and it was like 4:15, 4:20. We're at the venue over in Bellevue. She's no hair done, no makeup done, no dress on, but they had had legos that they accustom, made Lego's for. There was like 70 people there. So each person had it custom made like hat face, you know, this whole Lego made to look like them. And then they all had signs on them that have like, you know, the person's name and that that was going to be like where you were sitting at the table and I'm sitting there, you know, we're, we, I get in and I see her and she's, the flags had come undone in the box and so they're sitting there at the venue like trying to figure out like, you know, it was like a that a guests who were that pop up game, you know, where it's like I'm wearing a mustache or whatever, but they're trying to figure out.

[14:32] And I'm sitting there with Steve and the photographer and I'm like, I'm having a meltdown. So, you know, that's kind of thing that like if you had a plan or you know, she was trying to do all of that where if you had somebody that was there, right? Because it was like her and her sister were trying to put it together. So

[14:45] yeah. And they're probably trying to go get ready themselves or at least experienced that day with their sister or daughter and people to see them getting ready or half a glass of champagne with them or whatever it is. And yeah, I can be there to be like, okay, you guys go, I'll take care of this. You guys go worry about, you know, what you need to worry about and this will get done. So just that reassurance I think is really, really a, a confidence booster for a lot of couples.

[15:10] What kinds of couples do you find are attracted to you or that you attract to yourself to work with?

[15:16] Um, I feel like I attract a lot of really laid back couples. I'm myself, I'm really laid back myself and I'm really organized and I'm really on top of things. But I'm not someone that's like, oh my God, you got to go get this done. We gotta do this now. It's like, it's fine will work itself out. I'm really go with the flow. And so I think those are a lot of the couples that I, um, that I attract and vice versa. And then also for traditional Pacific northwest kind of couples, like I love the outdoors, I love family traditions and vintage and um, just anything like that makes couples happy and I have such a vast, um, price range of people that I work with that it, it, I don't narrow it down just to certain couples. Like I feel like I'm a chameleon when it comes to, um, a lot of things and a lot of styles. I listened to tons of different music. Um, my style is different all the time. So I think that I, I work really well with a vast array of people. I have a, a really vast background of different like races in my family and different people and friends and it's not just a very specific group of people that I, I usually work with which is really nice. I love it. It's always been entertaining and it's always something different and I feel really passionate about what I do all the time.

[16:35] Yeah, I definitely have, you know, if my wife asks me when I come home, you know, you have a lot more to talk about when it's, you know, a really personalized wedding, you know, with whether it's the ceremony or the venue or you know, details. Then it's like, oh, that was fine. You know what I mean? It's great and like, but yeah, it is like having those touches and those, you know, like the different ceremonies and the different kinds of things. Do you work with a lot of different wedding ceremonies you talked about kind of your background and knowledge in that regard?

[17:01] Yeah, I love it when people incorporate their own little ceremony ceremonies, like my husband and I, we did a tree planting ceremony. Um, it's nothing religious or anything like that, so it's just something that unites us. So our trees growing in our yard right now, it has an apples on it. So it's not dead. It hasn't. We were worried for a minute during spring where like it's a dying. I hope it's not dying, but it's live, it's cooking, it's good. But little things like that, I love when couples incorporate in their ceremony, in their ceremonies or like I have a couple getting married this summer that's getting married in Kirkland and they're doing a ceremony in the little arbor area that they have there and then they're taking their guests on a cruise around like Washington. And I was like, that's so cool. It's so different, like really fun and very personal to them. And that's the kind of thing like kind of couples that I love working with.

[17:53] So, uh, so you go to school for psychology and in the very complicated sounding marriage degree, it's escaping me now. Uh, so then how did that evolve in into where we are now? So, you know, you graduate, are you, is it immediately working with them?

[18:09] No, no. So I graduated college in 2011, so it's been a while now. And then I immediately started working at a massage school. So actually it wasn't a school, I apologize, it was massage envy, so I worked there at the front desk doing sales. And so I did that for a couple years and um, was manager doing sales there, so I'm got to talk to people and you know, I feel like I learned a lot about um, people in just communicating and talking and things like that. And then after that I moved on to doing some nanny work. I was like, I'm just want to be outside, I want to have fun. So I did that for about five years and that's what I'm currently doing. I'm on the side, is some nanny stuff, which I love my little little girl a nanny for. I've watched her since she's three months and she's three now.

[19:00] And so she goes on venue tours with me. She goes to tastings with me. I feel like people hire me because she's so cute and she's so well behaved. They're like, you could take care of that kid that well. Like he'll be fine. So she's awesome. It's really fun. So, but I go full time in September. Is that exciting? Yeah, it's really exciting. Talk about that now. Yeah. So full time in September. So I um, after I kind of did a couple weddings for friends and family, I was like, I had just met my husband and I was like, I want to do this, and he was like one of the only people that I've ever met in my life that's like, you can do, like, you can do this, everybody else in my family and my, my life is very hesitant. Like, well maybe you should think about that. Like maybe that's not the good idea. You should, you know, very hesitant and scared where like for me, like for him to be like, you can do this, go do it. Like I just immediately started my business and I did it and it went really well. So

[19:55] were there some, you know, obviously learning lessons early on, anything that sticks out?

[20:00] Yeah, because I had never like planned weddings professionally before. I, like I'm never had done that. So it was something that I was like, I thought that I could do it. I believed in myself that I could do it. I had done a couple for friends and family, but to start a full business was, was a huge leap for me. Um, but I'm sorry, what was your question now I'm just talking,

[20:22] talking about you, anything you, you learned early on. I mean like, you know, for me it was like, I always say like getting the business license and like figuring out like the legalities of Seattle and King County. Like, I mean, what were something.

[20:35] Yeah. So, um, things like that he didn't really have, I didn't struggle with stuff like that. I really struggled getting my website up so I had to hire someone to do my website or maybe because I just didn't have that skill of doing computer stuff that wasn't just, that's just not my skill, that's what my skillset. So I had to hire someone else out to do things like that. So, um, marketing, advertising, learning where to put my money, I'm learning how to best serve my clients. Um, I'm very old fashion. Like I keep everything in notebooks and binders. Like it's not all on my laptop or anything, so I'm super old fashioned in that sense. Um, and then also, um, just just the learning of how to run a business and how to juggle being a business owner. Also working full time also, you know, in a new relationship. So things like that was what I was like grasping, but I feel like I really have a hold of everything now and have a really good sense of, of um, time management and you know, my, my sense of clients then also making enough time for myself and my husband and my family and friends. So that balance has, I've learned a lot to balance.

[21:47] Uh, as you were talking I was going through and analyzing your website and it is, it is very good and I could not have done that. So Kudos to that. No, but it is important to talk about the name, Raise a Glass Wedding and Event Planning.

[22:01] Yeah. So, um, I told my friends that I wanted to start a business and I've been friends with my best friend since preschool and my other friend since elementary school. And so like, we really know each other and I feel like we have such a great bond, but I was brainstorming some ideas and they, that's kind of like what we came up with and it's based on, um, like having just a nice intimate dinner with people around a table and cherishing those people and celebrating those people and that's kind of the basis of what, you know, my brand and how I, how I want to be seen as like, you know, just to celebrate each other and be appreciative. And that's what it's about.

[22:42] No, I love it. I love the name. I liked the logo with the, uh, it's like the Martini glasses or cocktail wherever it goes. Just like uniting my best friend did it actually. So I love that. I think that's good. Is that the friend that got married this weekend? She got married this weekend. So talk to me about that. When Torry came in, she had said that you had just gotten back from your friend's wedding. Uh, so what was that like? It was wonderful. It was absolutely down pouring on Saturday. So like we were in Snohomish, it was clear for the ceremony, it was absolutely beautiful and we were at the lookout lodge out in Snohomish. I don't know if you've ever been there before, but it's really cool. Um, cricket is the owner and she put out like all these tents and it was super cozy with heaters

[23:22] and my friend that did my logo, um, she does graphic design for Nordstrom, so she did all of the graphic design for the logo or for, I'm sorry, for the table settings and all that stuff. It was just really cool. She did such like an artistic cool job and all the vendors were, were really great and it was just a really wonderful day and for her, like she was just dancing in the like totally happy content and I've seen other brides where it's like not ideal weather and it kind of ruins the day for, for people. And I loved that she was just able to be like, I'm going to have a few drinks. That's fine. It was really, really fun.

[24:00] Yeah. I was trying to, in my head, remember back in, it's like, wait, what was that? We had the same. They had gotten, we were done at five, so they had gotten married but they were fearful of the rain and so it was sunny and they came out. We had gotten ready at her house, like a, a kind of Indian ceremony kind of coming out and then um, they had posted later on that day on Instagram, like the same view from their porch and it was just like, oh man, we're really, that would have been really bad, like exit into the Limo. Um, you know, a couple of hours later. Uh, so that was you. You were the best or a maid of honor. So that had to be kind of unique. Now going back, you know, be in the wedding planner, it's like when I attended the wedding and if I'm not filming that, you know, like, what was that like?

[24:45] Um, it was interesting. So luckily they, I was doing some of the planning, so it's helping out with some of the little tasks, but I'm at the lookout lodge. They have a planner, like a built in planner there, Jamie, and so she ran around and did all the stuff that I would have been normally doing, so it was really nice actually, like being able to like sit back and not worry about a lot of stuff for a while and especially with writing, so it's like, thank God I'm not having to deal with this right now. Um, so I was just able to sit and enjoy my dinner and eat and talk with my friends, but I was still running around and felt as though I had to do certain tasks and get things done. Like even though it wasn't my job necessarily, still from Jamie probably was like, get out my way. Um, I still felt as though, you know, it's kind of just ingrained in you I think to.

[25:32] Yeah, you're eyes relaxed. Yeah. No, I agree with that. I'm talking about the first wedding that you did, a not friends and family. Like your first year

[25:41] someone paid me, I'll give you money for the one to hear about that. So my first wedding was in April 2016 and that was, um, Taylor and Andy and they were at the Georgetown ballroom and it was really beautiful. It was really cool. It was a great wedding. Um, I was nervous, but I felt really, really competent. Her mom and her parents were like this sweetest people ever. And so, um, they really helped me out a lot with um, she, they were really organized. They knew what they wanted. Um, it was really nice, but they also had the Seattle seahawks band, I don't know what they're called, blue sanders blue under came in late. That was their entrance. So it was really, really cool and there were no hiccups. It was really wonderful. I got some really kind words afterwards so it really solidified to me like I'm on my right path. Like, this is what I'm passionate about. I know what I'm doing. Like, uh, it really kind of set the tone I feel like for me to feel confident about continuing on.

[26:43] And so

[26:44] you're based in snohomish, do you do a lot of weddings up there now? It's kind of that booming. It's growing, it's crazy. So I prefer to be snohomish, skagit, Bellingham. I love working on the islands. Um, things like that. I hit a bicyclist in Seattle when I was driving one day, so I prefer not to drive. It wasn't for a wedding or anything, so it's just me out and about running over bicyclist so nobody got hurt. It wasn't anything serious, but I try to stay off the roads in Seattle as much as possible.

[27:16] Is this a, I'm looking at your website. Is that the, the Georgetown wonderful photo in front of Georgetown ballroom. So do you find, um, are, are you excited about the growing snohomish and you know that the barn wedding trend and kind of that rustic look, I mean, do you see that trend continuing? Do you enjoy that? What are your thoughts on.

[27:38] No, it's a love hate relationship with it. Growing up in my area, I grew up in Lake Stevens, snohomish area and it was very like small town idealistic. Now I'm in stuck in traffic a lot, so that part is a downfall. But um, I love that it is growing in the sense like I love the Rustic, I'm like industrial kind of look and I feel like I'm snohomish in the area up north is like, there are barns, there's definitely lots of barns, but I think that it's going to be more of like a trendy. I'm not just rustic, not just barn or you know, there's lots of other options out there for have like a classic classic wedding or to have more of like an industrial field wedding. I think that it's really growing and I love it. I love all the vendors and I, I, I love, um, I'm part of the snohomish wedding guild and so I love being able to meet all of these different vendors and collaborate and that's like one of my favorite parts is a, being a wedding planners to be able to collaborate with people and have a community of people.

[28:39] And that's really important to me.

[28:41] Yeah. I was going to ask you about that. This will air later than them right now, but talking about, you know, how much wedding tour were were you out and what'd you think about that?

I was at the feather ballroom, so that is a historic venue. It's like right in, like on first street, I believe it's like right in downtown. Um, so it's really cool. It's perfect for all year round weddings. And so I enjoyed myself. I like meeting people. It was a, um, like a under the stars galactic kind of theme. So it turned out really cool. I had a great time and I think that so many couples get a lot from attending it. It's free and they meet so many different vendors and they meet, they get to tour the venues, they get some inspiration. Um, there's, there's just so many talented people that are part of the guild that for them to be able to go out and meet them without having to set up all these appointments and just get a feel of, of their work and who they are as individuals. I think that's really, really important. So

[29:41] I, do you enjoy the networking and building your own web and kind of you are there certain vendors and stuff, do you like kind of building that, that roster that you have that when clients come to you you can recommend people?

[29:53] Yes, I love it. I, they really enjoy it and I love being able to point them to the people that I think fit them the best and to be like, you know, I have a couple different people that I have stored in my arsenal for you to be able to pick from and you can pick and choose who you feel fits your personality best and where your price range or the field of the venue or whatever it is. So, um, I love that and I just love promoting like small businesses. Um, I shop a lot of small businesses. I love promoting like farm to table kind of foods, catering, drinks, things like that. So, um, I love when there's veteran owned businesses, women owned businesses, things like that, um, where I can promote people who definitely don't get the majority of promotion normally anyways. Probably so love the small businesses. I'm all about that community, that's Kinda like my main thing. I love being part of a community and supporting people. And

[30:53] what in terms of writing a small business, what are some of the biggest challenges today that you're facing or that you're trying to, you know, work through or it could be like day to day stuff or it could be, you know, kind of more of a longterm stuff.

[31:06] I'm so small business wise it's like for me just trying to figure out where I'm putting my money, what's the best way to put my, put my money in, how do I, um, how do I treat my couples like in having little parties for them and investing in things like that. The best way. Um, I'm not good in the business aspect of it. My husband does a lot of that so I luckily he's a lot smarter than me, so he does like all of the taxes and all of that little stuff that I don't really have any kind of knowledge and he's really great at doing all of that. So I get a lot of help from him. Um, so I'm learning and growing and in a lot of fields.

[31:42] Yeah. What is your. I was going to ask that too. What does your husband do?

[31:45] And he was in the navy, so he worked on submarines on nuclear submarines. Um, so he was like under water and summary Living for months at a time. So now he works through, um, Microsoft has contracted, his business is contracted through Microsoft, so he does like engineering type things I think. I don't really know. They'll tell me stuff and I'm like, oh yeah, okay, cool. I don't know what that means.

[32:14] That is the one benefit of having like a tangible, like, you know, my wife like understands like a wedding and so I can show her back here is like, you know, and it's, it's way more tangible but it's something like that. But you find, he gives you a lot of help in terms of. I mean, do you obviously appreciate that?

[32:30] Oh yeah. I wouldn't be able to do anything without him. I'm like, I need you to build me a giant moon out of a six foot piece of plywood. Please. Could you just go do that? And he's like, Yep, got it. Doing it. Like he's just on top of her. Anytime we take them to a wedding, everybody's like, he's so nice. I love it so much. He's so sweet. How did you get a guy like that? I'm like, what? Excuse me. Like I have qualities too, but everybody just loves ray. He just was so sweet. Where'd you guys meet? We met online, so we met in the good old fashioned way of online dating. Okay cupid or match couple preceded the whole like tinder and all that now. Isn't it funny? I think like eventually when we, like if you guys decide to have kids or you know, my husband and I have kids, like our love story that we tell to them is going to be able to. It's just, it's interesting to think like it's such a time stamped way of meeting I feel like.

[33:23] Yeah. And she's got a good, you know, we have, uh, our friends who got married a couple of years ago, like I think it was like he had been on for like two years and it was like literally like her first match and Dorothy and I were similar and that, uh, I think I had been on significantly longer than she had, but she was, she tells the story of how that summer that she was on, like she didn't buy like groceries for a month because she would do like a lunch date and then a dinner dance about it. Yeah. I mean she doesn't eat a lot anyway, but she's like, oh yeah, like I didn't buy groceries for like four months ago. It was awesome. It was like, oh, I always like taking girls every week. You know, this was like expensive. Uh, so, um, but he helps you with the business now. So, uh, talk to me about Kinda, you know, how you envision your business model and what you stand for in terms of like, well,

[34:17] business. So being a small business and it's just me. I really have like, um, a few key terms or words or things that I like to portray to my couples to make them feel, you know, comfortable, and this is what my business is about, is transparency. I'm really transparent with my, my couples and like, this is, this is who I am. I love to get to know you. Like my day of coordinating. It's not a day of, it's not month of. They'll hire me nine months in advance and we go through this process together, like they email me throughout the day. We have parties, we go do stuff together. Like it's a really, um, uh, building relationships so they, they get to know me and vice versa. So I know their families. I've met a lot of couples, their mothers and their sisters and I get to know them and so they're having that transparency of like, this is what my life is like, this is what your life is like.

[35:10] We're kind of working together to make this day perfect. I love having that. And then also, um, clarity. I love to provide as much clarity to my couples as possible. So when the timeline should be done, when vendors should be there, what's important, what's not important, things like that, as much clarity that I can provide to my couples is really important to me. Um, so I'm available all the time so I'll respond to emails like at 9:00 at night before I go to bed. Like this is my passion, this is what's important to me. So I make it work as much as possible. But um, yeah. So the clarity of making sure people know what's happening on their wedding day is really important.

[35:53] No, I think it is important because I think that like, uh, and I've gotten to that point to where I think early on, um, you know, you're just trying to kind of get work and, and you know, you kind of take it as it is and yeah, I mean like knowing kind of who you are, what you stand for, your business, but then also being really realistic with people and being like, that timeline is not going to work. We need to do this or like, you know, that's just like the way it is, you know. And so I, I think that that's important. I think the clarity and I do think, like you said, talking about like getting to know your couples, like that's kind of the whole reason I'm doing the podcasts right. It's like, you know, like I am my couple, they got married Saturday, like I'm emo scene meme on Instagram, like on their honeymoon now. And like I think that like, you know, it's so important like you know, as, as I'm working on, you know, their video, like you know, that connection and you know, that you had that connection with your clients, right? I mean you really get to know them and their families and stuff. Talking about kind of that whole process.

[36:50] Yeah, it's really fun. Um, that's kind of a lot of like why do it. And I think that's where my background comes in is that the marriage and family therapy aspect of it is like families are dynamic. There's so many different dynamics that come with family that come with traditions that come with marriage, come with family relations. And I love how messy it is. Like I love all of that. And that's really fun to me and it's just to make sure everybody has a great time and that they are experiencing phenomenal day. And that's kind of like, what's the most important thing, like I want to make sure that the moms get heard. I want to make sure that the dads get heard and that the grandparents feel like they have a say in things even though like obviously it's not their wedding, but they have envisioned it for these people for so long. So just to incorporate or make them feel as though they are, whether it's to bring them an extra drink and be like, hey, how are you doing? Can I get you anything? What can I do to make you relax and have a great time? That's, that's kind of like where my enjoyment. Like, like I've said before, it's kind of selfish where it's like, I do things like to make other people feel better and feel good. But really it's more of like a selfish thing.

[37:59] Uh, and you know, obviously with your psychology degree not built. Like, I always kinda think about it like Keanu reeves in the matrix. Like you're kind of like thinking outside of like the people as they exist for them mean you really are able to kind of see like what these people's motivations are, where they're coming from, what they're looking for. I mean, and you know this to help them and facilitate value. I mean that's gotta be a really helpful skill as a, as a wedding planner.

[38:23] Yeah. Well, and I'm also like probably more empathetic than what's appropriate. Like I'm extremely empathetic. I'm always putting myself in other people's shoes of like how would I feel if, you know, so I try to come at people and also we don't want to boss people around. Like, I mean I do, but I don't want to boss people around in the sense like showing up he places and be like, I'm running the show. This is all about me running the show. Everybody needs to listen to me. It's more like what can we all do together to make this such a great day? Like it's not about me, it's about the couple and it's about the family. So that's kind of like where I come from in the sense of like, I just want the data to be great and I think that's the same for the families too.

[39:02] Uh, so as you're continuing now and you're going full time, uh, you, you're talking about you have a video blog now and kind of talk about that and kind of expanding and, and other things you're kind of putting your fingers into.

[39:13] Yeah. So, um, I'm not confident in my writing skills. I feel like my personality might be portrayed a little bit more clearly and effectively via video. So I do a video blog and it's just a, it's called Raise a Glass Wedding, presents Washington Weddings and you can find it on like youtube and things like that, but it's just a way for couples in Washington state to be able to gain some clarity in their wedding planning process. Um, so I start from the beginning, um, so locations then use planners. I just filmed an episode doing planner pod, so, um, it is, or a planner panel. So there's me and three other wedding planners in the area that are getting together. And talking about wedding planning. So it's not just how my opinion, what my opinion is, it's just not how I feel about wedding planning. It's a community effort. It's a group effort. I want people to. I'm not the only wedding planner around. I want other people to be able to get, you know, just as much exposure as me. So

[40:14] what's, uh, what's the reception been like for that?

[40:17] I'm good. It's going really well. I'm excited and I'm the, the Gal that helps me, Ashley with Ashley. I'll productions. She's just killing it. She's doing a great job without her being my partner. Like I wouldn't have been able to do anything. Like she just, she does such a wonderful job putting it all together. So I'm like so appreciative of her work and everything that she's done. So, um, I think that hopefully it's getting out to couples and they're seeing it and they were able to. We just toured three new venues and so they're getting to see and access new venues that they might not have seen before or known of him before. And then, um, I'm going to do a photographer plant panel and then a videographer panels. So you might have to come and do that. No pressure. No, exactly. So, um, things like that is kind of what it's based on is like the start to finish of what vendors you have, tips, trends, um, things like that that's happening in Washington state. So

[41:14] is it a, and this is a question I'm like where you're getting to like talk with people now outside of weddings and see venues and stuff. Um, I would think that it would be beneficial, you know, like a lot of the vendors and stuff that I know, you know, when it's the wedding day, you have maybe a five minutes to be like, hey, how's it going? You're like, but you know, you're really in that work mode. Don't like in terms of like seeing venues, talking to other planners, stuff like, is it nice to be able to do that outside of the realm of like an actual wedding?

[41:43] Oh yeah. It just um, kind of alleviates the pressure a little bit. So you're not stuck on a specific time frame. You can just enjoy having a conversation with someone like after the planner panel with the girls that I met up with, we were like, we should do this more often. Like it was super fun. We got a lot of great insights. We just like sat down with like a cheeseboard and wine and just talked and it was like really, really fun and it was a great way for us to. We had never, like I hadn't met any of them before, so, um, it was a great way for us to, you know, meet each other and if I don't, if I'm booked for a wedding and that somebody is asking for a specific date, then it's easy for me to say I know these, these people, they do a great job. They can refer you to them and they'll take care of you. So I love having that kind of comradery and like being able to meet people on a different level where it's not just like wedding. We can talk about a wedding for like five minutes really quick. Like you said, it's, it's more in depth. You get to know someone's personality and, and what they're about. So I like that.

[42:40] Walk me through the process. If a couple comes to you, you know, to work with you for, you know, their wedding day.

[42:47] Yeah. So generally, um, I get messages through my website. Um, I wish Brian to people within 24 hours we'll set up a consultation for an hour and talk about your wedding, what you guys are about as a couple, um, what you envision your day to be and what my expectations are. Um, so things that you expect of me, what is needed of me and then we go over, I'm pricing, stuff like that. And then if they want to book me, they booked me. Sometimes it takes couples a couple, you know, they need to figure out um, their budget, things like that. And then they'll email me and we'll link up again. And then from there we start the planning process. So whether they're hiring me for full planning, partial planning or day of coordinating really depends on where we go from there.

[43:36] Yeah. And it is nice kinda how you have it laid out where you can be as much involved as they would like. Right? It can be that day off or full on, you know? Do you like, is there one that you prefer more? Do you like doing the whole day or the whole Shebang because you get to know them like a lot, lot more.

[43:52] Yeah. Um, I actually really liked the partial planning so it is more in depth than this the day of. But um, I love seeing couples work together to put something together to work on a wedding. I'm not just having somebody else necessarily like come through and do everything, but more of like it's a, it's a good way for them to bond and to um, learn pretty much what it's like to be married. You're going to have to compromise, you're gonna have to say, okay, maybe the things that you don't want and um, you're gonna have to like roll with the punches. And there's little things with planning a wedding that I think really set the tone for a marriage. And if you can get that right, think it makes a huge difference when going into the rest of, of your marriage.

[44:36] I completely agree with that. Can you. I don't have a more eloquent way. Can you expand on that, that, that idea that you know, the choices in, in, in that give and take and kind of going through that. I mean especially with your psychology degree and how you. I mean, do you feel like a therapist, like you're walking, you're observing them maybe or.

[44:55] Yeah, so it's, it's nice to see, like I said before, see some couples how they communicate like Oh that communication might not work for the rest of the 50 years. You guys want to stay together. And then I'll see other couples where I'm like, oh my gosh, that is the sweetest thing ever. So I really like being able to work together on creating something that's going to be a final piece of, of work I think. Or like a final event I think is a great building. I'm building block for couples and they can really get to know each other on a different level that they might not have, like having to deal with budget. A lot of times couples don't talk about budget or they don't talk about how much money they make necessarily or finances before, before they get married. And so to set that up and be like, okay, this is our budget, this is what we're working with.

[45:43] This is how, you know, setting boundaries and limitations. And I think that's super healthy for relationships. I'm not an expert, don't quote me on things. Um, I just have a bachelor's degree. That doesn't really mean much anymore. But from my experience I think that I can really see where. Or like if a couple is having a problem and they face each other and they're like, okay, well let's work this out. Like that might not be what you want, or that might not be what I want, but we can compromise and we'll make it work together. And then that's really important than just showing up on a, on a wedding day and being like, we're getting married. I just don't think that is the full spectrum of the process. It's really, I just think I love couples enjoy the whole process.

[46:27] Well and I think it is more than just the day, you know, like you said it is kind of that like two parties kind of coming together, you know, merging families and in different, you know, ideas and wants and stuff that like, you know what I mean. I know like Dorothy's got friends that had been together for 10 years and just never gotten married and you know, and that's fine and they're committed and whatever. But I do think that there is a benefit to having to kind of merge together and you know, and like when I film a wedding, like it's more than just like, you know, documenting the day, but it is like that couple's story. Right. And like that day is kind of, you know, not necessarily like the conclusion by the good starting point then for the next chapter. Right? Yeah, yeah,

[47:09] exactly. And weddings are stressful. Like if they're not like the easiest things to do, like they're stressful. There's a lot of work that goes into it, a lot of planning, there's a lot of emotion from family members and things like that, so if they can work through that and have that as like the basis of like foundation of what, you know, there were from the foundation of where they're starting for their marriage and I think that's a good step is like we didn't agree on everything. We had a lot of stress working through this and like dealing with each other's families, like nothing, like life's not ideal. Marriage is not ideal. There's challenges and there's hiccups and I think that if you can work through one of the most stressful days getting married, then I think then people should be pretty good.

[47:54] Well perfect. Well I appreciate you so much for coming by today to chat. It's been really great getting to know you and, and I think it's fascinating your background in

[48:04] just adding that extra. Like I said, that Keanu reeves in the matrix, but kind of seeing outside the box on that. If people want to learn more about you and your company and your approach to wedding planning, what would they do?

[48:17] My website is I also have an instagram account, Raise a Glass Wedding, and then facebook, same thing. So pretty easy. Um, contact me. We can set up a consultation and chat. Talk about your wedding day, but yeah, I've had so much fun. Thank you for having me on here.

[48:35] Awesome. Well thank you. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Come back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much story. Thank you.

Candi Block, Thrifty Events and Yeti Yard Games

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and today I'm joined by a true double threat Candi Block, of Thrifty Events and Yeti Yard Games. So thank you so much for coming by. Why don't you say hi and tell us a little bit about who you are.

[00:29] Yeah. Hello. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I'm really excited to be here. Um, so yeah, so we actually own two wedding industry businesses. Um, so I started Thrifty Events and 2015 and we primarily focus on wedding day of coordination and wedding planning. And then in July of 2017 we launched Yeti Yard Games and we provide all sorts of yard game rentals or weddings and other private events. So

Super Fun because if you're running your own small business wasn't hard.

[01:05] Yeah. Let's add a second one, add on a whole second one there. Yeah.

[01:09] But it sounds like, and I was doing a little reading on your website, it sounds like hopefully you have a good support staff and you have a husband that's helping out.

[01:16] Yeah, I do. Yeah. So my husband is definitely my right hand man. He actually builds all of the yard games, so he's really hands on with that business. And then, uh, this summer I have an assistant that helps me with wedding day of coordination. So I also kind of have a team there as well.

[01:35] Yeah. I've mentioned before on the podcast, my wife's a teacher and you know, works and it's all I can do to get her to, you know, come for four hours for a wedding show and here you have, you know, manual labor that's coming out.

[01:46] He had. Yeah, I mean before I had my assistant and my husband was helping me at almost every wedding. I mean he's a great extra set of hands to move tables, moved chairs can help with set up and tear down. Um, so I think he's pretty excited that I have an assistant handle that this year.

[02:04] Yeah, he can go. And what does he do?

[02:06] Yeah. So he's a project manager for Shin Mechanical. Um, so he does a lot of mechanical contract type of work and construction. So yeah, he also has a full day job as well. So yeah.

[02:20] Um, cool. So let's, uh, let's start off here with Thrifty Events since that was where, you know, kind of the start and we'll go from there. Tell me a little bit about, I was reading on the side about how you guys were planning, I think it was you and your younger sister were planning your older sister's wedding. How many years ago was that? And walk me through that.

[02:38] Yeah. So my oldest sister got married in 2012. Um, and so kind of during that process, so my family's all from Indiana. Um, and so at that time when she was engaged, I was still in Indiana and college and then had moved out here to Seattle. So during the, her wedding planning process, I was here but I was helping with the bridal shower, um, and like bachelor party things like that. But it was all from a distance. So I was really relying on my younger sister to help me and you know, I thought that we're both enjoying that process and like keeping track of details and it really wasn't until a few years later when my older sister and her husband were having their first child and we started planning their baby shower that my younger sister like I don't want to do this. And I'm like, wait, you're my like local person, you're there.

[03:32] And then she was just like, yeah, I don't really like this at all. Like I don't like, she just didn't enjoy like tracking the RSVPS and budget and coming up with decorations or anything. She's like, yeah, was pretty forward. And so that's kind of when I realized that not everybody enjoys the process of planning events as much as I did. So yeah, I mean even if somebody, you know, uh, that I was in the wedding industry when we got married, like I think I literally like blacked out that whole summer in my mind in terms of like, you know, meetings and problem that we needed. So a lot of work and I'm sure people that are listening that are going through it, but like even, you know, having spent a lot of time with events and weddings, like it's a lot of work. Do you find that the clients that you get, are they receptive to obviously your planning style and you are happy that you kind of take that weight off their shoulders?

[04:25] Yeah, it's definitely a little bit of both. Um, so we have some clients that, you know, they come to me and they are really overwhelmed with the process and are looking for someone to kind of take the lead on that. Um, and I think especially for day of coordination, that's by far our most popular package and I think it's because people enjoy planning, they really enjoy picking out their vendors. But then once you have everybody booked, there are still a lot of details that need to fall into place and it need to be tracked and managed. And so that's really where the overwhelm starts to kick in. Yeah. Because I think a lot of people will think, oh, you know, my mom will do it or you know, I mean talk about how that generally might fall apart or might not always work out. Yeah.

[05:13] Yeah. Um, so I think it's all kind of even give our own wedding as an example. So my husband and I got married in 2016 after we had started the business and we really wanted a coordinator on our own wedding day just because we knew how much work that was going to be. And one thing that Eli said was that he did not want to be setting up tables and chairs on his own wedding day. And so there's just a lot of pieces that I think couples don't realize have to happen behind the scenes to make for a really smooth wedding day. And then it's also really time consuming. So, so often we're setting up from the moment we have access to the venue all the way up through maybe like 30 minutes before the ceremony. And if you're trying to assign that task to your parents or your wedding party members, they don't have as much time because they have to get their hair and makeup done. They have to change, they have to start taking photos. And so it really is a lot when you try to assign all of that to family.

[06:18] So you guys got married in 2016? Yes. When did you start at Thrifty Events?

[06:22] I started it in 2015, around March of 2015.

[06:25] So what were you doing before kind of making that leap into that?

[06:29] Yeah. So I was actually working full time at the University of Washington. I was um, working in the office of admissions for undergraduate students and there I was actually planning a lot of on campus events for them. So we did a counselor fly ins where we actually brought high school counselors and from around the country and we would host them on campus and in the Seattle area. So almost like a conference style event. Um, I would plan a lot of incoming student preview days and campus tours and things like that. Um, so even when I was working full time as a day job, it was still in the events industry.

[07:08] So then in terms of that transition was really scary. Or were you, did you feel confident than the other? What was that whole transition process like?

[07:16] Yeah. So, so I know, um, I've talked to a lot of other people in the wedding industry or any small business owners and it's different for everybody. Um, I think I was really, um, calculated about it. Um, so I actually worked full time for almost a year running Thrifty Events, um, and then moved to a part time position on campus and the visitors center, which has freed up a lot more time for me to kind of dedicate towards my business and I was in that position for almost a year and then I jumped into full time with Thrifty Events. So it was a really slow process. I mean it is a leap still, but for me it felt more like I was just taking steps to get there and kind of consistently growing my business throughout. I don't think I would have had the courage to just like up and quit my day job without knowing that had like clients in a well established business.

[08:14] No, but I think that that's a good point. I mean, I do think that like, and I even hear, you know, like people like get an idea or you know, maybe they're unhappy and they think like, well, and you know, that was my own case. I mean I was really unhappy at my job for three and a half years before I even figured out what I wanted to do and then it was still another year of kind of doing so. I mean it is a process and I think that like doing that, calculated like you did this probably the best way to go. Oh, so when was the final kind of full leap that you made?

[08:42] Yeah. Um, so it was um, probably around February of 2017, so just last year. So I've been full time with Thrifty Events for a year now and talk about,

[08:56] you know, the sense of, not relief but like flexibility maybe that you have and talking about kind of that, how your workflow process is maybe changed since then.

[09:06] Yeah. Um, I mean it's changed a lot and you know, I just remember even when I was working part time at the University of Washington, um, there's always that thought in your mind that like, oh, I can be doing so much more if I could just dedicate like all of my day to my business. Um, and then, you know, making that transition, I suddenly really learned that without all of that structure there and without having to sit down for a very limited hours and get as much done as possible, that I really wasn't as productive as I thought I would be. And so it's actually been a huge learning curve of just how to manage my schedule. Working from home and I'm working from home is amazing. But there are definitely struggles to that too. If you don't have some kind of structure set up on your own.

[09:57] Yeah, I mean there's definitely an overlooked, you know, that you really do have to be a self starter and somebody that, you know, you could, you know, dorothy gets up at six in the morning than I could sleep till noon if I wanted to, you know, you really do have to. Um, but, you know, I think that speaks to kind of in your work ethic in terms of like everything, right, you know, in, in clients and all that. Yeah. So you had started thrifty. You guys are kind of planning your own wedding. Did you, were there any specific things you guys learned, like planning your wedding and besides the fact that your husband didn't wanna, you know, setting up tables, but like what, what tricks or tips did you learn that you learn to do better afterwards?

[10:36] Yeah. Um, so the one thing, the biggest, biggest lesson that I learned, um, is that planning your own wedding is so much different than being a wedding planner. So even having like all of the skills and resources and knowledge to put together a well organized day, um, it's still really emotional. Like planning your own wedding, uh, I mean there, there were definitely times that we were getting rsvps back from friends and you know, you're getting the yeses and nos and so you go from like being really excited to being like bummed when somebody can't make it. I'm at one point in time we had a friend officiate for us and he wasn't sure if you'd be able to fly in for our wedding because of like work complications and so, you know, there's just a lot of wrenches that still get thrown into the mix. Um, and so, so that was definitely something that I learned is that it sometimes feels like there's two parts to wedding planning, you know, the, the detailed pieces where you're staying organized and tracking your vendors and your budget and those logistical items. But then you also still have like the stress management and dealing with emotions and family and opinions coming from everyone. And so it is both sides. Um, yeah, to whole process.

[11:54] Yeah. I think, you know, and having a coordinator or planner, you know, like your company, you know, it's nice to have like an objective opinion. You know, like you said, there's a lot of emotions and stuff and like it is really helpful just to like have kind of like a, not a blank slate, but somebody that can like totally like look at like what should be done. You, you can be emotional, but yet you can hire somebody that be right. Do you find that that, that is a good clients appreciate that? Yes.

[12:21] And it's so much easier. You know, when I'm working with other clients I can just say, you know, this is what I've seen work really well and this is what I would recommend that you do because I am just far enough removed that I'm not hearing, you know, all of the opinions and emotions from all of the family and friends that is kind of weighing on the couple shoulders when they're making those decisions. And then sometimes it's nice for them to just say like, okay, you know what, that makes sense. We're going to go with what you decided. Um, and sometimes there's even that little bit of like a scapegoat or they can tell their parents like, you know, what, our wedding coordinator has seen this happen like hundreds of times and this is what she recommends. And so that's what we're going to go with. And then parents will like, okay, then that's fine too, you know. And so, um, so that can be really helpful for people.

[13:10] Yeah, I love that. We had our own wedding planner and yeah, you can definitely kind of throw them under the past. It's like, Hey, you know, we really wished, but, you know, and like you said in the meantime, like, you know, when we planned our wedding we had specific things and like I would have to go to rebecca and be like, this is how it's got to be, you know, because I had had five hours of conversations on my hand and said either you, you just have to execute that vision sometimes and you don't have to get caught up kind of in all that minutiae. Yeah. Um, talk about, I'm looking on the site, you know, so you guys offer, you know, not only the day of coordination, the full wedding planning, which I think, you know, is maybe self explanatory or maybe not. Why don't you tell me, explain to me kind of what your vision for a day of coordinator is and then what your vision is for a complete wedding planning package.

[13:57] Yeah. Um, so I'll start with day of coordination because that really does tend to be kind of our most popular package and usually that's couples that no, they want to handle the majority of planning on their own. They're really excited to plan their wedding. They have lots of ideas. Um, and so usually they're coming to us once they have, you know, their venue books, they've got a date, maybe they've started booking some other vendors, um, but they know that on the day of the wedding they want to be pretty hands off. They want someone there making decisions, managing the timeline. And a lot of my couples also come to me because they want their family and friends to relax as well. Um, and that can go both ways, so sometimes they're, you know, transplants to Seattle so all of their family and friends are flying in and they just don't have that option for them to be really hands on or they might have somebody that's really overbearing and they want us to kind of be that buffer for them and make sure that it's handled so that person does feel like they can kind of step back and enjoy the day as well.

[15:06] Um, so for, for day of coordination we really help the bulk of the work happens, you know, you know, about like two to three months before the wedding where we'll make sure there's a well established timeline. We go to the venue together and talk through the layout and decorations and I'll reach out to all the vendors and confirmed timeline in details. Um, and then of course manage everything the day of. And we also help with the rehearsal as well, which I think is really helpful. So I can actually meet the parents and the wedding party before the day of the wedding and they can put a face to a name and know they can come to me on the wedding day as well. Um, and so, uh, even though the bulk of the work happens, you know, two to three months before the wedding day, we still, you know, I think it's so important that couples have a resource and a person they can go to when they have questions.

[16:00] So from the moment they book me, you know, they can always ask me questions along the way if they have something come up or they just need like an extra opinion on something. Um, and then for full planning we actually have two different options. So I have the traditional kind of full planning package where couples are working with me in person and that's from like the moment they're engaged through their wedding day. So I'm actually helping them find a venue and locked down a date. I'm, I'm creating and managing their entire budget. We really talk about priorities and what they're wanting and looking for on their wedding day. And then I'll help them find the right vendors to make all of that happen. Um, and then of course it includes everything that day of coordination includes as well. Um, and then this year I launched something new, which is an online wedding planning course and it's, it provides, kind of all have that same guidance that I would give to my couples that booked me for full wedding planning. Um, but it's all online, so it's great for kind of the diy couple or maybe anyone that doesn't have the budget for a full wedding planner, but they still want to know what steps they should be taking. Um, kind of throughout the whole process.

[17:19] Yeah. Target about kind of the idea behind that because I think it's a really good idea, you know, and obviously that's something unique that you guys offer. So talk to me about why you decided to do that and maybe the challenges of getting that off the ground.

[17:32] Yeah. Um, so I mean, one of the biggest reasons I thought to create the course was just because I was taking other courses from other people about how to manage instagram. And I was doing a lot of the online courses, um, when it came to like running a business, so they were all kind of like marketing based or business based, um, and I really just thought like this same format would work really well for couples. Like there's no reason that this couldn't be applied directly to the wedding planning process. Um, and so, uh, it was really kind of during the off season last year and the fall, um, that I just sat down and kind of wrote out the entire outline for it, um, which once I got going that like, it almost just like flowed out of me so easily just because it's the work that I'd been doing with so many couples. Um, and then, you know, the hardest part was actually like sitting down and filming it because that is not my background. But learning how to like film and edit and I'm actually get all of it posted was kind of the most challenging part.

[18:38] So you've done all that yourself? Yes. Well that's a tremendous feat. Thank you. Talk about just, I mean, I didn't even know if, you know the sheer number, I mean like do you know how many videos it was and how much time it took. I mean that's just, it's a lot.

[18:52] Um, so, so the course itself is 10 chapters, so it really starts with like you're engaged and um, you know, the first chapter is really all about like just kind of settling into that moment of like we're engaged and enjoying it and not jumping into planning too soon because that's usually the biggest mistake that couples make is that they just start booking things and then need to like backtrack when they realize maybe they don't have the budget they thought or maybe that doesn't really align with their vision of what they're wanting on their wedding day. Um, so it kind of starts from there and then it goes all the way through. I'm like prioritizing what's most important to you. Um, there's a whole chapter on establishing a budget and actually provide the budget template that I use with my couples and walk through that. So along the way there are downloadable worksheets and templates that they can use.

[19:48] Um, we talk about booking vendors and you know, some of the different questions to ask and then the latter portion of the course does kind of talk about how to create a timeline and keep track of those details. And then the very last chapter goes over coordination and really talks through what the wedding day looks like from the perspective of you as the couple versus the coordinator. So I really do try to make sure a couples are clear if they decide not to hire a coordinator, what the day is gonna look like for their family and friends and what kind of tasks they're going to need and that way hopefully they can make that decision. Then now they plan their whole wedding, okay, do we need a coordinator or do we want to choose to diy this?

[20:36] And I do think that nowadays, I think with millennials or whatever you want to call it, I do think there's a lot of like we can do things and figure out how to do. Um, and I had just interviewed Danielle, a vanity photo bus in like, you know, they did their whole figure that how this star the bus in the photo booth, you know, just through like online videos and stuff and we're like, you know, I just think that's like a new thing that people are, you know, and obviously that would relate to wedding planning this, well, you know, if you can, if you can teach somebody to do something you can teach them to be a wedding coordinator.

[21:08] Right. Um, and, and I think that's kind of always been even my, my own personality. I mean I definitely did not study business in school, so everything that I've done to launch, you know, both of our businesses has been me like taking courses online or listening to podcasts. There's courses I've taken at our local community college and so I just am always focusing on like learning and educating myself and there are, you know, a ton of wedding resources available. But the one thing that the online course offers is still kind of that a one point person. So they can still come to me with any questions. There's a facebook group that goes along with the course so that way if they are, you know, in the middle of a chapter or in their wedding planning process and you know, have these questions, they can still come to me because one of the, you know, the biggest issues I think a lot of couples have is going online and trying to find information and you're just reading blog posts like back and forth and one's going to tell you one thing and then the very next post is going to tell you the complete opposite thing.

[22:13] And so sometimes it's still nice to just have somebody to kind of talk through those things with.

[22:18] No. And I agree with that and I think that, you know, going through the site and everything, I think it's, it's a pretty accessible tone. Right? I think that like even kind of in the wording that you use to describe like, you know, your day of coordination package and things like, I think it is very accessible because I do think it's very overwhelming and I do think that it's Kinda the best of both worlds, like you said, where you get kind of a online resource, you know, on demand whenever you need it, but you also get kind of the personality, right, that the couples that hire you for that full process. Um, you know, we get right. What has been the reception of bad? I mean, has it, has it taken off like you've expected or hoped it would?

[22:54] Yeah. Um, so, so it's kind of, it's been fun to kind of see it all unfold this year. Um, I think, you know, with a lot of projects when you're trying something new, there's definitely gonna be a learning curve. Um, so we actually did a lot of the wedding shows this winter. Um, and I think there was like a little bit of confusion just with couples that are like, I've never heard of this before. Like, what is this really? Um, and so, uh, so that's kind of been been new for me just to kind of explain like what this is because there's really not a lot of like online courses for wedding planning or if there are, they're teaching people how to actually become a wedding coordinator, not necessarily geared for the couple themselves to plan their own wedding. Um, so, so that's been really interesting just to get feedback from, from individuals. Um, I've also had a lot of feedback where people are kind of in the middle of the wedding planning process and so I think probably the next course two point, oh, that version, um, my actually split the course. So kind of the first section where you're starting from the very beginning, but maybe have a second course that can kind of start where couples might be at after they have their venue booked already. They have their date, they have quite a few vendors and they kind of want to focus on those latter pieces.

[24:15] Yeah, I think it's a good price point, you know, I think it's a good introduction like you said, and obviously there's going to be, you know, a learning curve involved with like any sort of new idea, but I think that like the fact of having the new idea right is, is a success in and of itself. And then like you said, so it comes with a facebook group. I mean I assume that's beneficial, right? For people.

[24:36] Yeah, definitely. Yeah, they can ask questions there. So that's been super fun. So we have a handful of students enrolled in the course. Um, and, and yeah, we've had great feedback so far when students are in there. Um, it's kind of fun. One of my students in the course has booked me for their wedding in August and so it's Kinda been cool as a coordinator to see her, like shared documents with me and I'm like, oh, these are like all of my documents, like my templates. And so it's really easy for me to kind of just like jump right in to where they're at and planning because they've kind of followed all of, um, you know, the steps that I've laid out as if I were planning with them as like a full planning client. What are,

[25:20] uh, maybe some common mistakes you see couples make early on or maybe you know, some things that you've come in and Kinda help them that they maybe could do better than maybe somebody that's listening to kind of learn from.

[25:33] Yeah. Um, I think, you know, one of the things that I mentioned where couples get engaged and they're really excited to start planning and they really just kind of immediately jump into it. And I think the first thing you know, everybody does is just start looking at venues right away without really having any kind of understanding of how much venues very just in what they include, what their capacities are going to look like, what their price points are. Um, how choosing a venue location can drastically impact, you know, the logistics of your wedding day. Um, and so I think oftentimes couples, you know, find their venue and they get that booked and that's usually a pretty big piece of the budget too. Um, and, you know, and then maybe they run into problems with like, oh, it's not quite the capacity we needed, or maybe we spent too much of our budget on that or are they didn't realize that it didn't include something that now they have to rent.

[26:31] And so, um, so there's a whole chapter in our course that just talks about venues and things to consider and like a worksheet that couples can bring with them to site visits to kind of compare, um, the different, um, you know, items that are included at all of the venues. Uh, and so I think that that's a huge piece to understand because there are venues that, you know, definitely cost a little bit more, but they might include a lot of the items that it's going to save you some money down the road versus booking a venue that's maybe like the state or city parks where they are less expensive but couples may not realize that that means they have to bring in everything on their own which can cost a lot more down the road.

[27:17] So yeah, I think, you know, we talked with a lot of the couples that the wedding shows and stuff too, and at least, and maybe you can either echo this or disagree, but I think the biggest thing that I've seen recently is we're a couples pick a date and they don't have anything else. And so, you know, we'll be talking about, hey, congrats or you know, the couples will come by the wedding show and like, Oh, when you get married at like, oh, September first. It's like, oh, you know, where you get married at all? We don't have a venue yet. Well, I, you know, I think the venues gather confers because you know, you can pick whatever date you want, but if wherever and wanting to get married, do you, do you see that? Do you run into that?

[27:54] Yeah. Um, and that's where, you know, if a, if a couple is really firm on the date that they want, then they have to be flexible in the venue options that they have. Um, whereas if, you know, if they have some flexibility, they have even, you know, two or three dates that are preferred or even just opening that up to like we know what month maybe we want to get married and um, or even a season, you know, that can be helpful because then when you're going to the venue and you're asking what's your availability like, um, you're kind of giving that venue some options, a few different dates. Um, and yeah, and then usually that's the best way to, to find a good, good location.

[28:36] Yeah, I think you're like, when we had gotten engaged it was like, I think we made a list of like, you know, what things can the person only do one, you know, on the one day. Right. So like, you know, your venue can only be on, you know, it's got to be on your day, you know, your photographer going to be available, you know, and then there's other things like if you're renting like linens or a florist or whatever, right. I mean, do you, do you help kind of break that down in categories of like, you know, these things, you know, be able to, you know, accommodate.

[29:03] Yeah, definitely. Um, and, and right along those lines, I think one of the things that um, a lot of couples don't understand, and I think most people don't until you're actually in the wedding industry out here in Seattle, is that it is very, very seasonal. And especially in Seattle, we have such a short peak season that's really from like July to August with a little bit of a shoulder until like June and September. Um, and so it's really important that couples understand when they get engaged at, you know, to just say like, oh I want to get married September first of this year is going to be much, much harder to find a venue than if they had picked September first of 2019 or things like that. So just finding, you know, the right amount of time that they need to plan and understanding the seasonality of that.

[29:59] I also tried to do, you know, a little bit more education with my clients of understanding like when the best times to do tastings will be and when, you know, vendors are going to have a lot of availability to sit down and do consultations and you know, be able to get back to them right away because it is a slower season versus you know, if you're sending your vendors and email on a weekend in August, you're probably not going to get a response until the weekday and just making sure they understand just how, how much that seasonality affects the work that wedding vendors do.

[30:32] So I wanted to talk a little bit about, besides the online course that you provide a lot of the other resources that you have available on your site, you know, so I was perusing through some of the blogs or Vlogs I guess earlier today, the blogs and then now I'm was just kind of browsing here while we were chatting about this diy challenge and these different challenges on there. Uh, so maybe do you want to start with the challenges and then we can work back.

[30:57] So we have a whole page on my website called freebies and one of them is the diy challenge and it's a seven day email sequence and each day kind of talks about a different topic. And so, um, I created this after the wedding shows and so I had actually sent an email out to everyone. I had talked about the wedding shows and a lot of the upcoming clients and just ask them like, what are you planning to diy and what areas do you want the most help with? Um, and then I took all of those responses and created this diy challenge. Um, and so it ended up being seven days just because the responses were so overwhelming with what people are wanting information on. Um, and so, uh, each one includes either a video or an interview with another wedding professional, kind of in that realm. I'm giving tips and advice. There's some key takeaways there. Um, but it's really just kind of helping people get started and avoid some of those common pitfalls when it comes to taking on a, a piece of the wedding to diy.