MY EXPERIENCE AT THE LVL ACADEMY WEDDING PLANNER WORKSHOP

About a year ago I decided to purchase a ticket to LVL Academy and travel out to Southern California for this wonderful wedding planner workshop. Although I already had a handful of experience under my belt running Wild One Events, I have always been a big believer in continued education and maintaining a mindset that I am never done learning. So with an excited attitude and eager mind I headed out for three days of full immersion in all things wedding planning!

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DAY ONE

The first day covered the basics of wedding planning and managing the logistics behind an event. Everything from developing your packages, managing clients’ budgets and expectations, streamlining your workflow, all the way to running a rehearsal and properly cutting a wedding cake were covered!

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We also sat in on various panels and discussions led by industry professionals. To me, the ability to listen and ask questions during these discussions was an invaluable asset. It was a whirlwind of a day but a whirlwind that made my organization-loving heart happy.

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DAY TWO

Day two continued on covering more logistics behind wedding planning. Things like what to have stocked in your emergency kit (which, by the way, is my saving grace on wedding day!), menswear and boutinerres, expectations when working at luxury hotels, and the ins and outs of catering and service-related details were all discussed.

Day two also started transitioning into the design side of wedding planning which is a huge aspect of our jobs as planners, and my personal favorite part. We heard from industry professionals like Jessi Haack (someone who I’ve been inspired by even before I started my own business), and sat in on Janelle Wylie of Lavenders Flowers and Tono and Co. as she walked us through her design process.

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The day closed out with an intimate dinner where I was lucky enough to sit next to Nancy Teasley of Oak & the Owl and Ella Rose Farm and discuss all things floral design and flower farming with her. Needless to say my night was made right then and there, and the gorgeous centerpieces she provided for the dinner literally had my senses in awe the entire evening.

The beautiful design of the tables and delicious food from 24 Carrots Catering that we enjoyed were every bit of proof that your guest experience at a wedding (or any special event) is so, so important!

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DAY THREE

While the main focus of our last day was mainly design-related, we did take some time to discuss how to properly confirm services with vendors and craft a wedding day timeline. These two aspects of planning are crucial to having wedding day run as smoothly as possible and were great topics of conversation.

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Other key points from our last day were social media, website design, styling detail shots, conducting a floral mock-up, and what was probably the most exciting - getting hands-on drawing experience sketching a dessert table with The Sketchbook Series! This part was a serious treat (no pun intended) and showed me just how easy it can be to convey your design concepts to clients through the use of sketches. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried verbally explaining my ideas to clients through descriptions and a modge-podge of Pinterest photos, but now I feel confident in sketching them out instead in a beautiful and tangible way!

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After everything was said and done the workshop closed out with a farewell party and goodbyes. Although I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back to Arizona, there were so many ideas running through my mind that I was looking forward to was getting home and starting to implement them ASAP.

I left LVL Academy with a large amount of confidence in myself as a wedding planner and even more validation in the systems and processes I had already created for myself over the last couple of years. As someone who entered this industry based solely on passion and with no prior experience in the event world, that validation was extremely gratifying.

Cheers to the ladies behind LVL Events and LVL Academy for carving out such a thoughtful space for continued learning for wedding planners!

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JEN & JAKE'S EL CHORRO DESTINATION WEDDING

Jen and Jake traveled all the way from the Pacific Northwest to host their intimate destination wedding at El Chorro alongside their closest friends and family. The two of them were some of the friendliest, most laid-back, and all around fun-loving people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and their chic outdoor wedding spoke to both their style and personality. Despite it being one of the hottest days of spring here in Phoenix, they handled the intense heat with ease, still managed to look absolutely flawless in every single one of their photos by Elyse Hall, and had a great time during the entire process. With the already beautiful space of El Chorro as their backdrop, we aimed to create a setting that was simple yet elegant with an abundance of greenery and candlelight. Working with Jen and Jake was a highlight from my spring wedding season and it was an absolutely pleasure helping them bring their wedding vision to life. Cheers to these two! xoxo

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Photography: Elyse Hall Photography / Coordination: Wild One Events / Floral Design: Wild One Events / Getting Ready Location: Mountain Shadows / Venue: El Chorro / Rentals: Bright Event Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen / Stationery: Grey Snail Press / Hair: Drybar Scottsdale / Makeup: Stephanie Nault Makeup / Bride's Dress: Stella York / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux / Beer Burro: Haul N Ass Productions / Cake: Růže Cake House / Entertainment: JH Soundscapes

WHAT PAGES TO INCLUDE (AND NOT INCLUDE) ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

I love wedding websites because they are a great tool for communicating to your guests prior to your big day. Not only is it a perfect platform to show off some of your favorite engagement photos, but when constructed correctly it should let guests know exactly what to expect for your wedding as well! 

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Before diving in to what pages I suggest you include (and don't include) on your wedding website, I want to give you some general tips to keep in mind before making your own:

Try to have your website created prior to sending out Save the Dates and include the URL on your Save the Dates.

I suggest paying the additional fee (typically $20.00) to have a custom URL that is much shorter than what websites automatically generate for you. It makes it shorter for print and easier for guests to remember. 

Keep it simple. There's nothing wrong with including extra information about your engagement story or introducing each wedding party member, but don't write a novel. Most guests will happily look through it but are mainly there to find important information.

Try to stick with your overall color palette/theme/look of your wedding so your website compliments everything else to come. This will also help reinforce the style and attire for guests.

If you have a hashtag you want guests to use at your wedding it can be fun to include that somewhere on your website.

IMPORTANT PAGES TO INCLUDE ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

Home: This is the best place to include your favorite engagement photo(s), date & location, and maybe a quick paragraph about your story/engagement. 

Events or Schedule: A page dedicated to the events ALL guests are invited to, from welcome parties to day-after brunches (if certain guests are only invited to a specific event then don't have that event listed on your website). If your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception are at different locations then notate that here.

Travel & Accommodations: Use this page to make it as easy as possible for your out-of-town guests. List your hotel room blocks, Airbnb options, nearby airports, etc. 

Details: Treat this page like an FAQ section. Give information on parking at the venue(s), indicate the transportation schedule if you are providing that for guests, emphasize the desired attire/dress code, reinforce an adult-only wedding, let them know of anything out of the ordinary they should be prepared for, etc. 

Registry: Include this on your website as guests will want to know where they can purchase you a gift, but do not include your registry information directly on your invitations.

OPTIONAL PAGES TO INCLUDE ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE

Photos: If you want to include an entire page for engagement photos I suggest picking your top 5-10 favorites to highlight. 

Wedding Party: If you feel compelled to write about each wedding party member be sure to include a photo of them next to their introduction.

Things To Do: This is extremely helpful if you have a large number of guests coming in from out-of-town and are unfamiliar with the area. 

RSVP: If you are swapping traditional paper RSVP cards for the online route.

I hope these tips are useful for you when constructing a website for your own wedding. If you're in the process of researching which platform to use to create yours, some of my favorites to suggest are Minted, Zola, Squarespace, and Joy

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NATURAL DESERT ROMANCE WEDDING INSPIRATION AT THE SHOWIT UNITED CONFERENCE

It's not very often I show only floral design related work here on the blog, but I am so excited to share these images by Ashley Largesse from the styled shoot she planned for the Showit United Conference. Showit is an annual photography conference held here in Phoenix, Arizona, and people travel in from all over to attend. Ashley had the opportunity to teach a styled shoot to a group of attendees, and when she reached out to me to provide the floral work for her "Natural Desert Romance" concept I was beyond excited. Below are some images from the wonderful collaboration. 

Note: If you are not familiar with the term "styled shoot" is it is essentially a mock wedding. Various vendors in the industry will come together to share their talent and time in order to participate in a styled shoot and bring the concept to life. 

Photography Instructor: Ashley Largesse | Sponsor: Showit United | Floral Design: Wild One Events | Farm Table & Benches: Scottsdale Farm Tables | Tabletop Rentals: The Confetti Studio | Gown: Everthine Bridal | Tux: Celebrity Tux and Tails | Make Up: Addi Danielle Make Up | Stationery: Paige Poppe | Calligraphy: LindsLovesInk | Videography: Karlie Colleen Photography | Model Bride: Asia Adams from Dreams to Plans | Model Groom: Tyler Faoro

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5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN PLANNING YOUR GUEST ACCOMMODATIONS AND ROOM BLOCKS

If you have any amount of guests traveling in from out-of-town for your wedding you will want to establish some room-blocks for them. Typically a room-block is a reservation of ten or more rooms at a group discounted rate and is usually considered a necessary courtesy for your guests.

Searching for guest accommodations should be done early on in the planning process once you have established where your wedding will take place. I always suggest to my clients (or simply handle the booking for them) that they set-up their room blocks shortly after finding their venue and put the information on their wedding website prior to their Save the Dates being sent out. That way when guests receive their Save the Date in the mail and visit their wedding website, they can already being to determine where they could potentially stay. It just makes it that much easier and seamless for your guests to attend your celebration!

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5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN MAKING ROOM BLOCKS

1. Try to find hotels that offer Courtesy Room Blocks so you're not financially responsible for any unfilled rooms. However, if a potential hotel does not offer a Courtesy Room Block be sure you fully understand their attrition clause before signing any form of an agreement.  

2. Do your best to estimate how many rooms your guests will need but don't stress out about calculating an exact number. Not everyone will stay at a hotel; some may opt for an Airbnb or have family/friends in town they can stay with.

3. Offer 1 - 3 room block options (no more than 3) at various price points. Guests will select the one that is most appropriate for their budget and will appreciate the gesture. 

4. Start by searching for hotels near your venue and try to stay within 10 miles. Always ask your venue if they partner with any nearby hotels for added convenience. 

5. Include the information on your wedding website and, if necessary, an "Accommodations" or "Details" card in your invitation suite. 

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SUGGESTED WEBSITE WORDING

A block of rooms has been reserved for our guests at a discounted rate. Please reference the XXX wedding when making your reservations. Kindly reserve your room by July 1, 2018.

The Scottsdale Resort
1703 West Hayden Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 867-5000

SUGGESTED INVITATION DETAILS CARD WORDING

Accommodations

For your convenience we have reserved a block of rooms at the following hotels. Please reference the XXX wedding when making your reservations. All reservations should be made by July 1, 2018. 

The Scottsdale Resort
1703 West Hayden Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 867-5000

AND

Phoenix Inn
1213 East McCormick Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 278-9080

For alternative accommodation options and more information, please visit our wedding website at www.ourweddingwebsite.com

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