I was extremely honored to be asked by our local Kentucky chapter of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) to be a speaker at the Midwest Retreat. This 2-day event took place at West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana and included Wedding Planners/Coordinators (and other great wedding professionals too!) from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
I had given a short presentation a year or so ago to our local chapter entitled, “Why are Wedding Planners so Mean?”. I discussed the high stress (did you know that in 2016 Forbes.com named Event Coordinator the 5th most stressful job?! Event Coordinator has been on the top 10 list for most stressful jobs for almost 5 years in a row!) nature of our jobs and how to keep calm in stressful situations. I was pretty surprised, when the President of the Kentucky Chapter nominated my presentation for the Midwest Retreat. I was even more surprised when they picked me!
I created a 75 minute presentation discussing how wedding planners get a negative reputation, why other vendors sometimes don’t like working with planners/coordinators, and what we can do to change that. I brought in a lot of scientific research about ego, aggression, and using mindfulness as tool to combat both ego and aggression (aggression, meaning passive types…not fighting!). In return for my presentation, I was delighted to be given admission to the whole educational conference (a day full of presentations by professionals from across the Region) along with 2 nights stay at West Baden Springs Hotel, a formal dinner upon arrival, and a luncheon midway through the educational portion.
Custom Menu/Place Cards
Red Velvet Cheesecake
Atrium view from my room’s balcony
All of the presenter’s did a wonderful job and I received great feedback on how unique and helpful my presentation was to all small business owners. I also, have the fun job of being Bethany Tiesman’s (Beauty by Bethany) model for her makeup demonstration:
One of my very favorite parts was that I brought my little girl, Rori, and my Mama along to have fun while I was at the Conference. There was a Trolley that ran between West Baden Resort and French Lick Resort and Rori rode it at least 3 times:
If anyone is looking for a not-so-far destination wedding that includes many different luxury offerings in house please let me know. I found some stunning images of West Baden Weddings from Mon Amie Events and Nathaniel Edmunds Photography:
Tis the season for everyone and their mother to host a Bridal Show (for the purpose of this post and equality I’m going to use the term “Wedding Show”). I can think of 5 off the top of my head that are happening in the next 2 weeks and I’m sure there are so many more I haven’t even heard of. So let’s get real and talk about the Pros & Cons of Wedding Shows for Engaged Couples and for Wedding Vendors.
Disclaimer: if you can’t tell by my tone already, I hate Wedding Shows. Like for reals, hates it. When I’m there I feel like a Homeless Beggar asking people on the side of the road to be my friend. The desperation and rejection hurts my Soul. So you may want to take me with a grain of salt 😉
- You get to meet a lot of different vendors at the exact same time.
- You get to try a lot of different caterers food at one location. How convenient and delicious. Free food for everyone!
- You get some real time inspiration for decor and design.
- Overwhelming. Wedding shows are totally overwhelming. There are 100s of other Couples there and many wedding vendor booths. Everyone is trying to do the same thing at the same time and it can be loud and obnoxious.
- Surface Level. It’s hard to have a real conversation with any one vendor.
- Distractions. Since Wedding Shows are typically so crowded and overwhelming it is very easy to miss an important booth or table. You may not have noticed Weekend Wedding Warrior over their in the corner and therefore never got to learn about wedding day coordination 😉
- Inexperienced Vendors. You have no idea how good/experienced those wedding vendors truly are. I think this is a big one folks! Some Couples assume that if a vendor is at a Wedding Show they are vetted/recommended by the location/very seasoned, but that assumption is dead wrong! For the strong majority of Wedding Shows any and all vendors are allowed in as long as they pay the entrance fee. Let that sink in…any random person willing to pay $300-$500 (in the Louisville area, in Nashville they are $500-$1000) and call themselves a business is allowed to setup a booth. Do you really want to hire that person?! (side note: some Wedding Shows are selective on who they allow to participate in their show, but it can be hard to decipher which is which.)
- They are a Business. People don’t typically host wedding shows because they are wanting to help you (though that can be a bonus). People start wedding shows because who do you think is pocketing that $500 per vendor fee?! $500 x 40 vendors – some tables = Mega Moola! I mean way more than what people make on 1 wedding. It’s a smart way to make a lot of $$ in one day. Sorry Lovies, it’s not about helping you…it’s all about the Benjamins Baby!
- Scams. I hate that this is real, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes! I was at a Wedding Show in Nashville this past Fall and there was a photographer there that doubled his prices for the wedding show, but then said if you put a deposit down at the show you would get 50% off….ugh…say wha?! That’s so sketchy and yet he booked 8 weddings at that show alone!
- You get to meet many Couples at once and get your name out there.
- If you are hurting for business or just starting out it’s a great way to book a few clients, especially if you are willing to drop your prices or put together some “deals” (see Scams above).
- You get to network with other Wedding Vendors. This is my fav, personally. Other wedding vendors are the key to success…they support you, give you great feedback, and refer you business.
- $$$. They are expensive. We love so many different venues in Louisville. If we participated in all of their wedding shows at approx $500 a show a year (Henry Clay, Whitehall, Brown, Olmstead, Gillespie, etc etc etc) We would be broke! This isn’t a hobby, My Loves..this is my job, and I have mouths to feed!
- Playing favorites. If you are anything like us we don’t like to play favorites. Of course, there are some venues and vendors that are easier to work with, but they all have good qualities in the end. Choosing which show to participate in feels like you are choosing favorites and that’s just a lose-lose situation.
- Gambling. Let’s do some math. A Wedding Show costs approx $500. Well you can’t just go to a show with empty arms. So you pay $100 on pretty cards, and the graphic design of those cost you another $100 (min) and then you want a pretty table cloth which is $50 and then some nice flowers and/or candy to spruce up your booth. You’re at $800 investment. It’s also super important to note that we (Weekend Wedding Warrior) are a service business and therefore have by far the least amount of investment of any other type of wedding vendor. Florists and designers are spending another $300+ on florals and decor to decorate their tables. Caterers/Bakers are spending who-knows-how-much on samples to hand out. We charge approx $2000 for our service. If we book one wedding from that show we are earning about $1200 for that wedding. Then take out taxes and than we’re broke again. I’d rather just charge $1200 then put myself through the depression of a Wedding Show. Also, there is no guarantee you will book a wedding from a Show. I have done many Shows and booked Zero weddings (e.g. GardenCourt, FEVA, & Enchanted in 2015 alone!) and then I have done others have booked 2 or 3 weddings (Thank you, Whitehall!). It’s a complete gamble! I’m a practical and logistical person, gambling makes me anxious!
So, what is the take away? I wish Louisville could come together and find a way to reduce the overall number of wedding shows in the city. Almost every venue has their own show which makes the quality of Vendors diluted and the number/quality of Couples diluted. However, this would be assuming that people are hosting shows solely for the benefit of Couples & Vendors. Please just think twice before you go to a Wedding Show, pay to be in a Wedding Show, or start another God Forsaken Wedding Show.
Comical ending: If you want to come see me at a Wedding Show, I’ll be the one on the Mezzanine hiding my tears at The Brown on Fri Jan 22nd 6-9pm. Please smile and say “Hi”, so that I don’t feel like such a Hobo.
Laura and Taylor are one of those couples that I’m going to miss and hope I see out and about often. Luckily, Taylor works at Whole Foods in Louisville where I frequent! Their day is forever sealed in my memory because we waited until the last possible minute to make the “tent or no tent” call for the Ceremony due to rain. It was really mesmerizing to see these two work as a team and know their strengths in decision making. Laura ended up letting Taylor make the final decision so that she didn’t have to worry about it (smart Lady!). They set a Tent on one side of Gheen’s Lodge and then prayed for no rain on the other. They truly wanted to be married on the lawn with nothing but the sky above them. Fifty Chairs came to setup just 2.5 hours before the ceremony (the latest we could possibly push it after lots of texting throughout the week!). They either needed to setup under the tent or outside on the lawn. We watched the radar and it was 60% chance of rain. Taylor made the brave decision to put the ceremony on the lawn where they both had hoped to be and pictured themselves getting married. However, sans seat cushions (they were moving the same chairs inside for the reception. Did you know Fifty Chairs will bring a crew to move them for $1 a chair? So easy and cost-saving!). Well he made the right call. It rained an hour before the ceremony and I quickly wiped down all the chairs before the guests arrived…just in time for the sun to come out for the ceremony. Good call Taylor!
Photography: Stewart Hunter Photography | Floral Design: Bostons Floral Couture | Wedding Dress: Blush by Hayley Paige | Bride’s Shoes: Qupid | Hair And Makeup: Kristie Hicks | Band: HAY DJ | Groom’s Attire: Stephen Geoffrey from Rebecca’s Black Tie | Venue: Gheen’s Lodge I Catering: Mastersons | Wedding Day Coordination: Weekend Wedding Warrior |
I first met Damaris at a mutual friend’s Birthday Party. She was the extremely funny and pretty girl passing around trays of homemade gourmet appetizers. Little did I know that she was then in the process of applying for the Food Network Star, a show where everyday contestants compete to get their very own cooking show on the Food Network. Of course, I watched every episode and cheered Damaris on as she went on to win the competition! Though I didn’t know her well, I like many Louisvillians, felt connected to her. Damaris’s show concept was all about teaching people to cook for their loved ones. Coincidentally, once her show was up and running my husband Eric was selected to be on the show to learn how to cook a meal for his pregnant (at the time) wife…Me! You can still catch reruns of my handsome husband explaining how much I supported him through is deployment to Afghanistan in 2008 (3 months after we were married) and how he wanted to learn to cook to give something back to me. It was their Thanksgiving episode and I cried while watching it…though that man still has not made me that meal (sorry Love, had to #realtalk), but he makes a mean hamburger on the grill!
A year or so after the episode aired I got a call from Damaris, she was engaged and wanted to see if I could help coordinate her wedding. I meet with a lot of engaged couples, and I have never been around a couple that acted more in love. They could not keep their hands off each other 🙂 They talked about all the amazingly unique, meaningful, and hands-on ideas they had for their wedding. They were going to incorporate so many personal details that I can’t list them all, but here are the one’s that stand out:
- BYOF (Bring your own fork): Darrick had a dream that they ate every meal of their lives together with forks gifted to them by friends at family
- Paper Cranes Everywhere: Darrick folded 1,000 paper cranes and hid them in their tiny apartment before he proposed to Damaris.
- Damaris and her family made 10 different flavored cakes for the Dessert Buffet
- The Couple collected all of the china, linen, and flatware from antique malls and the Flea off Market for a dinner for 235 people!
- All the guests sat at one large table!
- The Bride and a Groom came down the street in separate parades consisting of their closest friends and family to meet at the alter.
- Trivia on all the dinner tables
- A treasure hunt for all the kiddos (there were 20+)
I wish I could say that the wedding and all the details went off without a hitch, but at least I’m hoping the Couple was unaware of most blunders. It took our Weekend Wedding Warrior team of 3 people plus friends and family about 4-5 hours to setup all of the personal details and decor that the couple had gathered. And then it took about 5 minutes for us to run around like crazy people picking it all up because it started to down pour. This included 2 living room sets of vintage furniture, complete with rugs, by Southern Soiree. Oh and my favorite part was that at the exact moment the sky opened up (45 minutes before guests were scheduled to arrive) a police officer came demanding to see the Event Permit for the park (which of course I had, but give me a minute! I’m trying to save all this decor from been ruined by the monsoon!). Luckily, the rain didn’t last long and I jogged to my own Mother’s condo down the street to borrow a bunch of towels so that we could wipe off the seats for guests to sit in. Somehow by the time guests arrived we had everything back in it’s place ready to go. Serious Warrior team effort!
From that point on the wedding was a huge success. They had Bourbon Slushies and Margaritas by Frozen De’Lites and the guests sat on picnic blankets on the lawn and snacked on pimento cheese and benedictine from Lotsa Pasta. Shortly after, a vegetarian dinner was served Family Style by Wiltshire Pantry. The guests danced up a storm, ate ice cream from an ice cream truck, and then lit sparklers and paraded on to a local bar for an after party. We packed up all of the couple’s decor and details in a Uhaul and headed home to finally shower.
It was so fun to open of the Food Network Magazine 2 months later to see Damaris and Darrick’s wedding in print. The article did not have room for a complete vendor list so please see the list below and mentally applaud all their hard work!
- Weekend Wedding Warrior (Maggie as Lead and Nikki & Katherine Assisted)
- Wiltshire Pantry
- DJ Bret Holsclaw
- Hair & Makeup by Gina with Salon Bacco
- Rental furniture from Southern Soiree
- Tent and table rental from Reliable Rentals
- Photography & Cakes by multiple family friends
Nikki & Katherine grabbing a quick bite at a makeshift table
The towels I stole from my Mom’s Condo to mop up the water so guests had a dry seat!
Weekend Wedding Warrior is extremely excited to FINALLY be able to coordinate same-sex weddings that will be recognized as legal in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee; where we serve couples. We are overflowing with PRIDE that the majority opinion ruled and history was made on June 26, 2015 to legalize marriage equality across the entire United States of America!
We have been coordinating same-sex weddings since 2013 (see pictures below) and can’t wait to coordinate more and more in years to come. If you are looking for a wedding coordinator soon we have Warriors available on the following Saturdays in 2015 (but any day is a great day to celebrate marriage!):
July 11th, July 25th
August 1st, August 8th, August 15th, August 22nd, August 29th
September 5th, September 12th, September 19th, September 26th
October 3rd, October 10th, October 24th, October 31st
November 7th, November 14th, November 21st, November 28th
December 5th, December 12th, December 19th
Make sure to visit Fair Event Vendors Alliance (FEVA!) to find more vendors who are excited and educated to work with Same Sex Couples.
Photo credit: Jason Holzworth Photography
I just wanted to take some time to THANK everyone who made this website possible. Here’s the quick credits:
Website & Logo Design by VIA STUDIO
Head Shots & Warrior Images by CRYSTAL LUDWICK PHOTO
Head Shots Hair & Make up by PRIMP STYLE LOUNGE
Warrior Photoshoot Location: THE POINTE
Warrior Photoshoot Florals and Linens: JACLYN JOURNEY
Images of Weddings & Happy Couples Throughout the Site captured by:
LANG THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY, BELLA GRACE STUDIOS, KRIECH-HIGDON PHOTOGRAPHY
WHITNEY NEAL PHOTOGRAPHY, HONEY HEART PHOTOGRAPHY, JASON HOLZWORTH PHOTOGRAPHY, & TODD PELLOWE PHOTOGRAPHY
-Thank you to all the Couples that chose Weekend Wedding Warrior to be a part of their wedding day over the last 5 years. You are everything to me.
-Thank you to the amazing Wedding and Event Warriors that make up our team. They all took the time out of their busy schedules to make the photo shoot a big success and ultimately, super fun! Thank you, Ladies!
I’ve never watched the sunrise with a client before but I feel super energized after my first planning meeting with the Farmington Derby Breakfast Committee. So excited to be coordinating this event!
Join @gardenandgun @originalmakers Derby Morning before you head to the track for #music #cocktails #southerncuisine #kentuckyderby #derby2015 (at Farmington)
@primpstylelounge #bigprimpin the Warriors for our website photoshoot today with @crystalludwickphoto At @btownpointe (at The Pointe)