When discussing the process of providing and scheduling wedding day vendor meals with HLE couples, most of their questions include the who, what, when, where and why of things. I absolutely LOVE having this discussion with clients because more often than not, they actually DO want to make sure that the professionals they have hired to provide them with high quality services on their wedding day are taken very good care of! However, without a planner – this area of planning sometimes goes unnoticed and vendors are left with but a hope and a prayer (except for those of you who have added that little piece in your contract – I see you).

 

I decided to write this little post to do my part for the education of wedding couples who do want to make sure that their wedding vendors are taken care of, but aren’t quite sure what to consider and/or how to go about making sure that the proper process is used to accomplish such. Here we go!

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1. Who Do We Feed?

Anyone who you have hired to be present during your reception. This could be wedding coordinators, photographers/videographers, musicians, photobooth attendants, etc. If they are “on-the-clock” while dinner is being served, chances are they will be for the entirety of your reception and this is possibly a 4-5 hour event in which they are (hopefully) working super hard to provide you both with the best.

2. What Exactly Do We Serve?

I would HIGHLY recommend serving them a HOT meal. While it doesn’t have to be exactly what the guests are being served (filet mignon with a side of crab crake, anyone?), please don’t serve your hard working team a (most likely) soggy deli sandwich with an almost empty bag of chips (which is what a LOT of caterers offer as the “vendor meal” option, unfortunately). In the case of a planner, photographer, or videographer team – we have more than likely been running around ALL. DAY. LONG ensuring that we are delivering the absolute best to you on your wedding day (because you deserve nothing less!) While we could be more worried about bringing our own snacks and eating here and there and such – most of the time we just don’t have time. We are in the zone ensuring that we deliver exactly what we have committed to.

Also, PLEASE be sure to ask for any applicable dietary restrictions. Some of your vendors may be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. and while these food considerations cannot ALWAYS be accommodated by your caterer (“I don’t eat anything but farm-raised catfish….” – …NO), it doesn’t hurt to ask – most common restrictions can, and it’s always a super nice gesture!

3. When is the BEST Time?

My favorite! We have to be very strategic about this because there is a LOT going on during a reception and we are most likely (hopefully) working with a timeline. While most caterers recommend that all vendors eat AFTER all of the guests have been served – I beg to differ from a logistics standpoint. Hear me out, hear me out! By the time all of your guests have been served (whether it be plated meal or buffet) and the vendors finally receive their meal, the majority of your guests are done eating and I’m pretty sure your timeline will say it’s time to head into the next event – which will most likely need to be:

  1. Coordinated… (Planners)
  2. Photographed & Videographed… (Photographers/Videographers)
  3. Serenaded with some music and/or announced… (DJ/Band)

My suggestion? Have vendor meals placed in the designated vendor area at the same time as guests are served their meals. Are you having a buffet? If possible – have your caterer 1) prepare a separate buffet setup for the vendors so that they can self-serve at the appointed time OR 2) have plates prepped and ready to go to the vendor area once dinner service begins. I totally understand not wanting vendors to enter a buffet line before/while guests are – but there are ways around this that allows everyone (and your timeline and photo coverage) to win!

4. Where Should Vendors Eat?

For my HLE weddings, I always coordinate with the venue to have a separate area for the vendors as CLOSE to the reception space as possible. I never recommend having vendors placed in the same room as guests because…..well, it’s just awkward. We will be the first to admit – we are not guests. We are there to work and provide a service – not mix and mingle. We are eating to live and that’s it – once we’re done – back to work.

On the flip side, if we are placed too far from the reception space, we are placed at a disadvantage since we will not be sure what’s going on back “home”. We need to be able to sense the speed of dinner service, any situations that arise that need attention, and not take long to get back once we’ve finished our meal. Coordinate with your venue to figure out what place would work best!

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5. Why Feed Them at All?

Last, but not least. Why? Why feed the vendors at all? Well – I believe in most vendor’s contract it states that if a meal is not provided, then we will most likely need to be allowed to leave and procure our own food. I know that I personally block off entire days for my clients, no matter the timing of their wedding day. I want to be available to them if something were to arise that they would need my assistance with. I am basically dedicated to them and them only for 12+ hours. I know the same rings true for photographers and videographers – with coverage times spanning anywhere from 6-12+ hours, as well. We work hard. Our passion is our service and quality of providing it to you as engaged couples who have trusted us with SO much for your wedding day!

We do not take this lightly. Chances are – we only need about 20-25 mins to scarf down our food and get back to work – we won’t cheat you. We’re simply trying to take care of ourselves the best way we can (which I know I’m already guilty about not drinking enough water on wedding days – ugh) and hope that you can help us to do that. Regardless of what we’re provided to eat – we’re committed to providing the best of our services to you – but a hot meal wouldn’t harm anything!:)

XOXO – Lacoya


PHOTO CREDITS: Bridesmaids Grouping – Camille Catherine Photo // Buffet Display – Wolfcrest Photo // Ballroom – Megan Chase Photo

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Mompreneur_Routine

May 2nd, 2016 began my first full day as a full-time wedding planner and I was super ecstatic to try out my newly acquired schedule. I made no promises to myself that this schedule would be perfect in every way and promised to give myself time and GRACE to give it a real shot. Here’s how it turned out. Let’s start with the schedule that I had estimated:


 

ROUTINE EXPERIMENT #1 (Estimated)

6:30am – Wake up with husband and kids, get dressed for workout, get kids ready for daycare, serve breakfast

7:00am – Drop kids off at daycare (5 mins away)

7:15am – Hop on the treadmill for 30mins (Couch25k Program)

7:45am – Shower and get dressed

8:30am – 30min devotional

9:00am – Begin work schedule

4:30pm – UNPLUG & Pickup kids


Well, it’s 3 months later and I must say that this was a very….optimistic schedule. I truly underestimated the morning time allotment for a lot of things. Here is more or less what ACTUALLY occurs:

ROUTINE EXPERIMENT #1 (Actual)

6:30am – SNOOZE

6:40am – Wake up with husband and kids, get kids ready for daycare, serve breakfast

6:50am – Get dressed

7:00am – Olivia stilllllllll eating…………..

7:10-7:15am – Drop kids off at daycare (5 mins away – but still have to account for time actually spent IN the daycare)

7:30am – Hop on the treadmill for 30-35mins (Couch25k Program – Depends on what day you are on)

7:45am – Shower and get dressed (Gotta catch my breath….undress, put my shower cap on, music…..yeah. AND it takes normal humans more than 5 mins to get dressed. Let’s be real)

9:00am – 30min devotional (More like 1 hour – my prayer time/devotion is important to me and this is just how long, on average, that it takes me to finish completely)

10:00am – Begin HLE work

4:30-4:45pm – UNPLUG & Pickup kids


It’s comical, really. 1 ENTIRE HOUR OFF, you guys. Haha! But, I’m not really being too hard on myself simply because it’s seriously my first time doing this – ever! I was used to getting up like clockwork to catch the vanpoole and then just starting the hustle upon my return home. I never really had the opportunity to have a REAL MORNING. I’m so grateful and happy these days. I just can’t stop smiling! I am my own boss and I am absolutely learning what that looks like and what schedule will work and ensure that I create a life that’s flexible and works for myself, my family and my business. SO, with THAT being said – I kicked the dirt off of my shoulders and created a revised schedule:


 

ROUTINE EXPERIMENT #2 (Estimated)

(Evening Prior: Set coffee pot delay to 5:20am)

5:30am – Wake Up & Speed to Coffee

5:40am – Prayer/Devotional (Downstairs Kitchen Table)

6:30am – Get Dressed for Workout, Wake Kids Up, Get Ready for Daycare

6:55am – Drop Kids Off at Daycare

7:20am – Treadmill Run for 30-35mins

8:00am – Shower & Get Dressed

9:00am – Begin HLE Work

4:30pm – UNPLUG & Pickup kids


IT WORKS, YOU GUYS!!! YESSSSSSS! I have been executing this new routine for the past week and I am SOOOOOO in love! The getting up 1 hour earlier is a struggle, y’all – but it’s SO worth it! I’ve always desired for my prayer/devotional to be at the beginning of my day and this new routine helps me to realize that dream! Once I’ve stumbled (literally…zombie status) out of my bed and had a few sips of coffee, I’m actually okay! Once I’ve completed my devotion, I feel like a brand new person and am so ready to tackle the day!

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Before, I never realized how tired I was in the mornings and how much it was affecting my speed (I didn’t drink coffee until right before I started work!). I am clearly NOT a morning person! This new routine works SO well and I am totally loving how much earlier I am starting HLE work! I’ve basically added an entire hour to my work schedule and it’s been SO helpful – esp. with weddings ramping up this month.

As far as my actual WORK routine – well, I’m still working on that. Haha. I’ve been troubleshooting a LOT of different things, but I think I’m getting closer and closer to something that actually works well for me! I’ll be sure to share that with y’all soon, too! But for now – I hope to hear from you! What’s your daily routine?

Happy Tuesday! XO – Lacoya

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Elena & Andrew envisioned their wedding day including a traditional Catholic mass surrounded by their dearest family and friends followed by a memorable evening filled with history and meaning. The results did not disappoint, to say the least.

This was my first time having the opportunity of working at The City Tavern Club and I immediately fell in love with Jordan and his team – they care just as much about the vendors who are working tirelessly to ensure a smooth wedding day for the couple as they do about the actual couple – which now means that we are really good friends, naturally.

I also had the always pleasurable opportunity of working with Megan Chase Photography once again and she captured the essence of Elena and Andrew so well that these photos take me back with a fresh set of eyes and a full heart every time I look at them. United with Love featured some recaps from this wedding on last week, as well, but I also wanted to share some of my favorites here on the blog! Elena & Andrew – thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day. It means the world!


 

VENDOR TEAM

Ceremony: Holy Rosary Church | Reception/Catering: City Tavern Club | Photographer: Megan Chase Photography

Planner/Stylist: Hello Love Events | Florals: Whole Foods, Tenlytown | Transportation: Chariots for Hire |

DJ/MC: DJ Evan Reitmeyer | Hair/Makeup: Jordan K. Winn & Co.

 

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So, it’s been almost 4 full months since I transitioned from Corporate America as an engineer to a full-time wedding planner and I must say – it’s not as easy as I thought it would be! Now don’t get me wrong – this is the happiest I have been in a LONG time and I am so grateful for this new normal, but there are definitely some struggles that I did not anticipate (or perhaps I did, but never took the time to troubleshoot and prepare for them).

Working from home as an entrepreneur is an absolute BLESSING – but I have a few lessons learned thus far that I’d love to share with you – regardless of whether you’re still in corporate America desiring to transitioning out OR you’re already working from home and you need a bit of insight (or just need to know that you’re not alone). Here we go!

5LessonsLearned_Entrepreneur

  1. Structure is Key.

This may differ from person to person, but I naturally flourish in days with a more disciplined structure. I get more things done. If I make a list of exactly what I plan to accomplish each day and set a time limit on these things, then I find it easier to focus on the task and not allow distractions to creep in and get me off course. For example, my MWF goal is to workout, shower, get dressed and complete my bible devotion all before 10am. With this in my head, I tend to not even entertain social media or email until 10am when I have completed my “pre-work” activities. Same goes for client work – I try to assign time frames for each client, along with a list of tasks that I need to get done within those time frames – and that has been working SO great!

  1. Time is Money.

This sounds so money-hungry, but now that I have no corporate job to fall back on but still have financial responsibilities – it is super important to keep in mind so as to not get distracted by things that will, ultimately, not pay my bills. With this concept in mind, I find it less attractive (although I am still not totally immune to it) to mindlessly scroll on social media losing precious time that I could be using to network with other professionals or fulfill my role as an amazing and caring wedding planner for my clients – both of which will potentially bring me more business and profit.

  1. Remember to Market & Network.

I am finding it so extremely difficult to not get so caught up in my client’s work that I forget about the other aspects of building my business. A great deal of my clients actually come from referrals from other wedding professionals, so the need to market my business to other businesses who may/may not know about it AND to form strong relationships with those within the wedding industry is CRUCIAL. I could become the best wedding planner ever and if only my clients know about it – then I’d still lose out on half of my referral base. Vendor relationships are just as important as client relationships so it’s super important to nurture your current ones and also reach out to form new ones!

  1. My Income Has Decreased

Over these past 4 months, I’ve had to come to the realization that I no longer work for the government – which means that I no longer make the large amount of income that I used to. I can no longer afford to make unplanned purchases or mini shopping sprees because 2 weeks have rolled around and “pay day is here”. That life is long gone and the money I make now – I actually have to think about exactly how much it is, how much I need to tax, how much I have to transfer, and how much I can spend. This lifestyle is requiring a lot more financial discipline and I am loving how it’s changing my mindset towards creating good financial habits.

  1. Boundaries are even MORE Important Now.

While practically working 2 full-time jobs, I knew that I could only have so many boundaries if I wanted to take my business to the level that would allow me to walk away from corporate America and live my dreams. I will not lie – I basically had no life for anyone – not myself, my family or friends. I lived, breathed and dreamed my business around the clock. Now that I have achieved the goal of running my business without the burden of another job – I no longer have the excuse of not having boundaries. But it’s still proving difficult to change that mindset. However, this is what I have worked so hard for – the ability to have healthy boundaries and still be able to earn a living. So it’s all about setting them and sticking to them – so I am able to live the life that I have always dreamed of. I’m getting there!

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  • Tiffany - Great post Lacoya! Will definitely keep these tips in mind soon :)ReplyCancel

  • Shalyce - Yay, so happy that you are living out your dream! Thanks for sharing these tips. Your point on marketing and networking is really good, I have to do more of this in preparation for going full-time.ReplyCancel

    • hellolove - Thank you so much, sweet friend! I am so grateful for you and so excited about Sensational Soirees! XOReplyCancel

Whew! It’s officially been 3 whole months since I went full-time with Hello Love Events and I must say – it’s not as easy as it seems! But that’s for a later post (anxiously coming later this week! YAY!) This post is dedicated to the early jump-start to my 2016 wedding season!

Emily & Jeffrey were the epitome of class and grace. Both lawyers and extremely passionate about making the world a better place than when they found it – their wedding day was full of so much love, beauty and tears – lots and lots of tears (some of which were from me – I’m such a baby on wedding days!). They said their vows in a quaint, historical beauty of a church in Georgetown and  then headed a block over to The City Tavern Club to celebrate! I always have such a blast working with Jordan and his team!

Lisa with Lovesome Photography captured all of the details with such amazing attention to detail that I had the hardest time choosing which ones to share! Emily & Jeffrey – I hope you two are enjoying marriage and all of the joy that comes along with the title – love you both!

Enjoy this amazing reel from their precious day! XO

———————————————

Ceremony: Grace Episcopal Church

Reception Venue: City Tavern Club

Photographer: Lovesome Photography

Band: The Bachelor Boys

Floral Design: B Floral & Event Design

Bakery: Sweet Ladies Bakery

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Ahhhh – these bridesmaids! So beautiful!

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Gahhhh – Georgetown is a gorgeous spot for wedding party photos!

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Emily was such a breathtaking bride! And a heart to match!

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Mazel Tov!

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The details – oh, the details!

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It looks amazing empty – but just wait until beautiful, amazing guests are filling those tables!

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Easily one of my most favorite wedding photos of all time….

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Toast time!

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I absolutely loved whiskey and cigar bar they had for the after-dinner reception!

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Hora! Hora!

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Until next time! XO – Lacoya

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