local deal

Hello, friends! Still looking for a florist? Shannon’s Custom Florals is extending the deadline for their Holiday Booking Blitz through December 23rd. You can get a $50 credit toward your minimum booking deposit of $250, good for florals or wedding decor.

The stunning bouquet above is a photo of Shannon’s work from the portfolio on her website. To check out more gorgeous examples of Shannon’s work, visit Shannon’s Custom Florals. You can secure your booking today by calling (417)890-0991.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Wedding vendors– are you offering a holiday booking special this year? Email steph@springfieldbliss.com  or submit the contact form below to find out how you can be featured on Bliss Events.

 

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save, five ways…on your wedding photos

Photos are arguably the most important expense of your wedding day. After all, what else will you be able to pull out in a decade to remind you of the big day? I suppose the wedding dress is a possibility…lucky you if it fits 😉

Such a top priority deserves fair compensation, and a talented photographer is certainly worthy of a higher price point. Here are some ways to get high quality photos without breaking the bank:

Research. Then research again. Highly gifted, qualified, and experienced wedding photographers charge top dollar for their services, and they have the Google rankings to prove it. If you can sift through those who pay for significant advertising privileges, you may find a photographer with style that rivals the top dogs without the hefty price tag. The reason? Sometimes these photographers are uber-talented, but are just getting started in the field. Sometimes they are stay-at-home mamas who work very part-time, so all their income goes to the family budget instead of advertising in a glossy magazine. You’ll start to find these photographers a few pages into your Google search or via referral requests on social media.

Review the packages. Evaluating photo packages and prices from different wedding photographers can be complicated- a varying amount of hours and add-ons, prints or no prints, extra sessions or meetings. It can be difficult to compare apples to apples. Generally speaking, most wedding photographers in the Springfield area offer packages that include either a bridal or engagement session, a set number of hours on the wedding day, and prints or digital rights. Don’t want an engagement session? See if you can tack on a couple extra hours onto the wedding day time in lieu of that extra session. This way, you could get that 8-hour coverage for the 6-hour price. Alternatively, see if the photographer is available to do that extra session on the night of the rehearsal dinner instead. You could get shots of the more casual, fun memories and the photographer will be more familiar with the VIPs. If something in the package doesn’t work for you, negotiate until you get it right.

Be honest about your budget. I am a firm believer in letting vendors know if you are working with a tight budget, especially when it sounds something like, “I absolutely love your work. It would be amazing if I could book you for my wedding, but this price is just out of the range I’m able to spend. Would you be able to do XYZ for X amount of dollars?” In high wedding season, this may not matter in the least, even if the photographer wants to help you out. It is a business, after all, and they must pay their bills. BUT…you never know when other factors are at play- maybe it’s a slow time of the year when bookings are down, or maybe they have really been wanting to work at the venue you’ve chosen for networking purposes. Maybe they resonate with your situation…who knows? A gracious disposition and honesty never hurts when trying to find a solution that works for both parties.

Ask about promotions. Some photographers run special pricing at different times of the year via their websites or social media pages.  If you don’t see this, don’t be afraid to ask! Depending on the season, the industry, the day of the week or time of day, there may be a special rate or package available. 

Social media is leverage. Success in the wedding industry is largely based on word-of-mouth. Especially for less well-known photographers, getting a social media buzz going can be a huge asset. Do you have 1,500 Facebook friends, all of marrying age and some actively looking for vendors? Make like a business-person and negotiate a discount in exchange for your heavy promotion of their services. Share their page with friends, write a review, re-tweet their specials, give a certain number of shout-outs, and share your gorgeous photos when they are completed. Perhaps your photographer will see the value of what you can provide to your audience and throw in some extras or a percentage-off discount? Now, don’t misread what I’m saying. If you only have 200 followers and over half of them are high schoolers or in a retirement home…you probably don’t have much to offer the photographer’s target market. 

Have you found a great way to save money on wedding photos?

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save, five ways…on your wedding coordinator

Of course I believe you need to hire a wedding coordinator. I am one, after all.

But how can you make sure you can afford one? Here are five ways to save money on your wedding coordinator:

Use one. I know this is counterintuitive- your budget is being pulled a million different directions and it can be hard to justify something so intangible. After all, you can smell the flowers, taste the food, see the photos. It can be hard to give some of those precious dollars to something outside the realm of your senses. After all, if a wedding planner has done her job right, you’ll never know about the tears you didn’t cry, the bridesmaid you didn’t snap at, the vendor who didn’t come through exactly as promised. There is no question that a talented event coordinator is worth her weight in gold. So many times, a planner actually saves her client money. Rosesinister at Offbeat Bride writes:

One day I had plans to meet with a caterer and a photographer and my planner tagged along, and brought with her a second photographer for us to meet with. The moment the amazing, wedding planner-picked husband and wife photography team commented on my TARDIS-blue nail polish, I was sold — SOLD, I tell you — on a photographer that I would never known about if it wasn’t for my planner.

The best part? The photographers are Eight. Hundred. Dollars. Less. than the not-too-pricy photographer I was dead-set on. $800 is no small amount of dough.

Then my planner convinced me to talk to a different caterer. The first caterer I picked had a quote of $37.50 per person (alcohol not included, that was another $35 per person). I thought that was fair…

The second caterer? Can I tell you how much I love this woman? We had a tasting with her. She is SUPER AMAZING! And because she isn’t as “established” as my first choice, guess what? She’s totally cheaper. $1750 cheaper.

Holy cow, did my wedding coordinator just save me $2,550? Yes, yes she did.

Be honest about your budget. Here’s the deal. Unfortunately, it’s true that some planners won’t return your phone call if your wedding budget is under the national average of $20,000. It’s also true that there are TONS of us out there who got into the business simply because we want to help make dreams come true. If you are dying to work with a planner whose fee is more than you wanted to spend, be up front about that. Depending on the time of year you are getting married, the coordinator’s schedule, your personal story, or a host of other reasons, she may be willing to work with you for slightly less than her typical fee.

Choose the right planner. When you are researching your options, don’t be shy about asking what other services the coordinator can provide under her contracted fee. Many wedding planners are not only brilliant at balancing budgets, vendors, and timelines, but are also extremely creative and talented individuals. Can she arrange flowers you’ve purchased in bulk to save some cash? Does she have table linens available for rental? Does she have a stash of decorative items (like vases, candles, etc.) that she frequently lends to clients? Is she talented at graphic design? If she offers these services for an additional fee, don’t be afraid to ask if she’s open to negotiating a discounted rate. 

Get discounts for referrals. Truly, a successful wedding business is built on positive referrals. When a bride has a positive experience with a wedding vendor and shares her thoughts with a throng of about-to-be-married friends, that vendor gets a huge opportunity to work with more clients. This opportunity makes you, your word-of-mouth, and your happiness so valuable to a wedding coordinator. At Bliss Events, our referral program is our primary way of getting you top value for your dollar. For every client we book through you, we deduct 1% from your total bill. For example…You decide today you want to hire us to help pull together your big day. Your budget is $10K, so our agreed upon fee is $1,000 (our typical 10%). We meet for our initial consultation, and you are over the moon with excitement about working with Bliss. You share our Facebook page with a shout-out to how awesome we are. Immediately, your cousin Jenny books us because she’s engaged and has been looking for a planner. You pay 9%. Two months before your wedding, your best friend gets engaged and hires us through the referral program. You pay 8%. A $10,000 wedding coordinated for $800 is nothing to sneeze at, my friends. The limit is 10, and after you enjoy the free coordinating of your big day, we’ll continue to send you restaurant gift cards for every person you refer.

Barter. Call me old school, if you’d like, but I’m a big believer in bartering goods and services for what you need when you are short on cash. Reverse roles for a minute and consider what services you could provide that your planner might use. Do you have mad web design skills? Offer a website re-do in exchange for planning. Are you a massage therapist? I don’t know many people who would turn down a years’ worth of monthly massages in exchange for services. Straight up, I’m a girl on a tight budget, too. If I had a client who was a hairstylist offer me a free cut and color in exchange for a discount…well, I’d take a moment to consider that 😉

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capture the moment

You know the moment I’m talking about. The music swells. The doors open. The inhale. There you stand, the most beautiful woman in the room.

You’ve taken his breath away.

I’m not sure there is a moment in the entire wedding day that is quite like this one. The lucky groom savors the beauty walking into his life forever. The glowing bride will cherish the look on his face for a lifetime. Then she gets to the end of the walk. The music stops. The words begin. The moment is over.

Ideally, your photographer was able to capture that moment- despite a sea of guests, precious few minutes, and dark ceremony lighting. If only we could press pause in order to get a perfect shot that will live on your mantle forever. Or slo-mo it to make it last a little longer.

Tell me, have you considered a first-look photo? Many brides balk at this suggestion, but I’m a HUGE fan of moving the first look from the ceremony to a private moment before the chaos of the day, and here are a few big reasons why:

Intimacy. I’m guessing you wouldn’t mind seeing your guy react in a BIG way when he sees you in that gorgeous gown. A little jaw drop, a misty tear, a giant grin, whatever. I’m also guessing that, if your guy is like many men, he would rather eat shoes than cry in front of 150 people. That’s my guess. Or maybe in all the hubbub YOU are the one who will realize you didn’t look at your groom AT ALL until you made it to the end of the aisle. Things like this happen, and there is no rewind button. But when your coordinator and photographer work together to set up a moment with just the two of you, you are completely free to react in whatever way you want. He can fall to his knees. You can cry real happy tears without worrying that your mascara will be running down your cheeks for the rest of the ceremony. You can squeeze each other for dear life, you can kiss without Grandma in the front row, you can just have a moment to breathe together in the middle of the whirlwind of the day. So precious. So priceless.

Technical details. Ceremonies are notoriously bad places to get good photographs. There is always someone standing awkwardly in the background of an otherwise great shot. The lighting is usually poor, and the photographer typically has to work from a distance or at odd angles. In a setting put together for a first-look photo, all those factors are out of play. We can choose a spot with great lighting, naturally making the bride and groom look their best. We can manipulate background objects to create the best possible setting. The privacy eliminates the random bridal party member slouching in the background of an otherwise perfect moment. The best part? The photographer has complete freedom to move all around you, getting the best angles and not missing a single up-close emotion on your faces.

Timing. Question. How many weddings have you been to where you’ve had to wait FOREVER for the bride and groom to join the reception before you could eat? Know where they are? Taking the photographs they couldn’t get before the ceremony. The bridal party is getting hungry (read: grouchy), and everyone has stopped trying to be nice about who-should-stand-where and when-are-we-going-to-be-done-already? With a first-look photo, all those formal shots with the bridal party and family can get out of the way. Sweet ceremony transitions to celebration without delay.

Nothing is lostMany brides get worried that the walk down the aisle loses it’s impact with a first-look moment. It’s just not so. There is still something about the stillness of the moment, the attention on the bride, that will cause hearts to pound with excitement and make those minutes special. In fact, in many cases, that walk down the aisle is even more precious when the couple has had some time together before the festivities begin.

Let me paint a new picture. You, in your big white dress. Your makeup fresh, your hair perfect. You take some fun photos with the bridesmaids to get warmed up, then it’s time. The moment. You take a deep, shaky breath, and find your beloved. He is simply stunned. You laugh, then cry together, whisper the sweet words of lovers, and the photographer nails every moment. Maybe your parents come in (or maid-of-honor and best man) and the photographer captures even MORE amazing, emotionally charged shots with the VIPs. Then the laughter through the tears as the bridesmaids touch up eye makeup. Things get silly. Formal shots with the bridal party and the family take place while everyone is laughing and caught up in the excitement of what is about to happen: two people joining for a lifetime. Your man can squeeze your hand as many times as he wants to. You catch the other’s eye for a smile while the photographer rearranges mom and dad. The happy families part ways to prepare as the guests are seated for the ceremony. And afterward, when that fun song starts pumping through the sound system announcing man and wife, the whole crowd is ready to party without skipping a beat.

Need more convincing? Check out the photo slideshow over at BridalGuide.com to get a good idea of how special this can be.

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Bliss Events Referral Program

At Bliss Events, we believe every bride deserves the luxury of a personal assistant on the most important day of her life. In fact, we are committed to making that happen.

Our pricing structure is super-simple and affordable for brides on any budget (A flat 10%, easy peasy), but we get that brides are on reeeeeaaaalllly tight budgets. We wanted to offer a way to maximize your dollar further and help us out in the process. Enter, the Referral Program.

Business in the bridal industry is built on referrals. After all, we don’t want any repeat customers! While we are happy to help coordinate your baby showers, birthday parties, and ten-year anniversary, we certainly hope you only walk down that aisle wearing white once.

But, please tell your friends 🙂

We are graciously thankful to our happy clients who share good news. For every couple who books our services under your name before your wedding date, we’ll give you a 10% discount, up to ten people. For those of you who can do math (and who have 10 people in your life who are getting married!!), that means you will pay $0 for services rendered. What?!?

If someone books after the date of your wedding or above the cost of service for your wedding, we’ll be so happy to treat you and your beloved to a yummy dinner on us. Because you are awesome.

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hello

Hello! I’m so excited to be launching Bliss Events in 2016. Check back here soon for more photos as we’re working on the website. In the meantime, a little more about Bliss Events…

My journey as an event planner began over 12 years ago with a public rally for nearly 200 young people and has developed through the years as I’ve orchestrated myriad productions- everything from dinner theaters, to community events, to formal dinners, to baby showers. My husband and I have been married for nearly ten years (!!!) and recently relocated from Nashville, Tennessee. I am thrilled to be joining the Springfield, Missouri wedding community.

I love to celebrate two people as they step out in adventure and start new life together. I am passionate about helping you tell your love story to a room full of teary-eyed guests as they revel in the beauty of your day. Every bride deserves the luxury of a personal assistant on the most important day of her life. Would you let me come alongside you as you navigate the world of photos, catering, music, flowers, timelines and deadlines? My name is Steph Urich. It’s so lovely to meet you.

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