Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dress up your sweet heart table!

If you're thinking of having a sweet heart table instead of sitting with all your bridal party, why not dress it up a little more? It definitely draws attention and I think it's such a fun way to personalize the wedding even more! Here are some sweet heart tables we put together in the past. (Please excuse the poor quality pics from my iPhone)
You can bring in your favorite color accent pillows, arm chairs and any other decor pieces or personal items to create a whimsical and eclectic look.  Instead of you two going around to greet the guests, I'd bet you, they would line up to take pictures of you sitting at the sweet heart table!
Here's a sweet heart table set up for Min & Sean's wedding. The navy blue love seat & rustic table were rented through The Found and we just moved ceremony props & flowers to bring out more color!
I'm dying to share this lovely wedding from last weekend at Jonathan Beach Club. The bride wanted everything modern, clean and classy so we decided to rent a cabana with a crystal chandelier hanging from above with a white banquette.  We used all the bridesmaids' bouquets to add some color to the table and added some colored cushions too! 

Check out what Kate Holt of FlowerWild  did to back of the chivari chairs. It's such a romantic way to dress up your sweet heart table, no? :)  Photo Credit: Chenin Boutwell
I'll be back next week to share with you more gorgeous weddings and ideas you can also incorporate into your own wedding! Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to build a solid, profitable business

NOTE: I've been getting a lot of emails from readers how they can pursue their passion into profit making businesses. So this post is dedicated to all small business owners so if you're a bride planning for your wedding, more than welcome to browse through other inspirational blogs today. ;)

When I first started event design & coordination company back in 2007 as a full time career, I had no idea it would come this far. I didn't know what to expect after giving birth, but to my surprise, I received more inquiries than prior years. I've seen many wedding businesses come and go, so there was small fear in me that one day my business will close doors as well. Let's be real: If you love what you're doing but not making much profit in 2-3 years in this industry, you should reconsider your path or re-evaluate the direction you're headed towards.
There were many disappointments and conflicts I faced in this saturated wedding business, but one of the greatest assets about it is that I'm ALWAYS learning & moving forward. Here are some tips I'd to share for future wedding planners or anyone who'd like to start their own small business.These are just my personal opinion so feel free to filter out whatever I say ;) 

It is important to focus on your product or the service you're offering and be the best at it. First year is crucial to brand your business but, don't take EVERY opportunity that comes your way.  When my son's birthday party got featured on various blogs, I received an overwhelming birthday party inquiries and I had to turn down ALL of them because I knew I didn't want to spread myself too thin. It isn't our main service to chase after kids & try to deal with moms who are on an extreme tight budget. It could have brought more business or I could have given the jobs to our associate coordinators, but I intentionally wanted to focus on weddings to provide exceptional, proactive and authentic service to our clients. It was more important that I built credibility & trust with our clients than taking on way too many events to appear more attractive to customers.  It's the little things that make us reliable, professional, and an experienced vendor and I truly believe that it all starts with great customer care & undivided attention to our clients' needs.  If you say that you're good at everything & start dabbling on everything that sparks your interest every time, trust me.. you can't go too far with your flings of interest or the next 'cool' idea. I also have way too many ideas that I'd like to implement, but I sometimes have to shut my brain and be diligent with what I'm given on a daily basis.   Instead of reaching out & spend a fortune on advertising your business, focus on your product or the service you're offering and be the best at it.  Bottom line is, You have to make clients come to YOU. 

Don't get too desperate about promoting your business because good branding doesn't happen by chance.  Make sure to be intentional about where you're headed and also have a clear purpose. I'm sorry to say that there's NO short cuts, especially if you want to survive in the wedding industry for the next 10-15 years.  This means that you don't have to take on every styled shoot or go to every social networking to get your name out there. It's about working and getting connected with the right types of clients. In addition, it is important to find vendors who'd be best at representing your company's work. There's no need to sell your integrity and yourself to promote faster. Staying true to yourself is key. Better opportunities will come when you're ready for it. 

Be humble & be modest. Weddings are probably one of the most lavished events where couples spend their money that they saved their entire life. With that said, they will choose the most expensive, quality food, dress, florals and other wedding needs. However, you need to guard your heart that you are not personally affected by their money spending. Planners, having a good taste is great, but don't judge others around you if they don't meet your standards. Just because you're dealing with high end venues & clientele, don't be a snob! Just because your work is being featured at various blogs, don't  think you're now a rockstar. Weddings are just one time events, so it shouldn't influence your day to day decisions about how you live as a person.{ my personal reflection & reminder everyday}

Before you implement your 'new' idea, ask yourself, " Will the financial return exceed the money I'm spending on my business expense? How much profit will I make?"  Over the years, I've seen numerous photography studios & vendors close their shops simply because they couldn't pay for the rent. You need to make smart investments, but you also need to make an educated prediction of how much you'll be earning in one month/year. Just because you open up a fancy studio, it doesn't mean you'll immediate get business. Asking these questions will help you check your status of your business to prevent from unfortunate closures. 

If you'd like to read more tips & things I learned over the years, here are some entries I wrote in the past.  Hopefully, these entries will make you think twice about what it means to build a solid, profitable business while staying true to yourself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fab Finds: Fitness

Hello Everyone!  Summer is here and wedding season has been in full bloom over here for all of us at My Bride Story!  It's been lovely seeing all of our fabulous brides & grooms tie the knot and see the many months of planning unfold into beautiful weddings!

Since summer is here, I just wanted to share with you a fabulous work out program that I discovered last year.  It's called Pure Barre.  Sometimes I think it's "pure torture" because of the intensity of the workouts but after the class is done, I feel pure bliss!

What is it?
The Pure Barre Technique is a total body workout that burns fat and produces lifted seats, toned arms, thin thighs, and flat abs by fusing elements of ballet, pilates and weights in a 55 minute intense session.  It is the most effective, fastest, yet safest way to change your body.
Pure Barre was founded by dancer, choreographer and fitness guru, Carrie Rezabek Dorr.  Carrie opened her first studio in 2011 in the basement of an office building in Birmingham, MI.  With no intial clients, signage or even a bathroom, the studio grew to a new location, a staff of 30 and a devoted clientele base. (Source)

Does it work?
They say that after just 10 classes you will see results.  I personally tried this program out last summer for one whole month and I did see results-- my arms were more toned, my pants fit better, and I felt better.  After the first class, I felt fine-- until the next day.  PAIN.. but the good kind.  You know, the kind where you are sore for days.  It hurt my stomach to laugh!
If you want a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in a short amount of time, check out this program.  Your first class is always free and they have specials for new clients, brides-to-be, and new moms.  The time goes by quickly because the exercises are done to fast, upbeat music.  It does BURN!!

As with any fitness program, do not over exert yourself and if necessary, consult a physician prior to starting a new exercise routine.
Will you check it out?  There are many locations in the LA and OC area.  Check it out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cindy & Sean Tie The Knot {Featured on Style Me Pretty}

We cannot be more thankful for our wonderful & talented clients who have such a beautiful personality and style! Cindy hired Leena as the day-of coordinator while she and her friend, Shantel put together all the design elements so we can't take ANY credit for their awesome work!

We are also honored to be featured on Style Me Pretty three weeks in a row now!! Head over to SMP to see all the beautiful photos by Heidi from Labor of Love and all the vendors who were involved. 

From Cindy…After visiting almost ten different venues and contemplating even a destination wedding, we chose Marvimon as our venue because it captured the essence of what we ultimately wanted our wedding day to be…an intimate dinner with our very closest friends and family.  My daily morning ritual for almost eight months, bordering on obsession I’d say, was to “research” wedding blogs to help me create our beautiful day. To create the romantic vintage-esque ambiance, we used ivory lace runners down the two exposed wooden tables at Marvimon and sprinkled them with vintage oil lamps my sister-in-law Yuki had purchased from flea markets throughout her years. The guests dined on square tables covered in ivory striped linens. We used a palette of fuschia, pink, and ivory with accents of coral and spring green for our flowers — peonies, anemones, garden roses, ranunculus, and viburnum held within a mix of clear glass, vintage bottles, and brass bud vases. Lots of candlelight thanks to oil lamps of varying heights.
Although we had a day-of coordinator for the wedding, the “styling” of the wedding was a combined DIY effort between myself and my friend Shantel. I purchased the stationary we used for the backdrop of our table numbers and “escort cards” on or  Shantel purchased differing frames in either gold, brass, or wood and framed the table numbers she created herself. Her husband built and painted the wooden stand we used to hang the “escort cards” which Shantel decorated with tissue paper florals in pink/white/brown (created by her sister Sarah!) and white lights. We purchased mini-desserts from Sweet & Saucy and macaroons from a local Japanese bakery which our wedding coordinator elegantly displayed along a backdrop of white IKEA vases filled with peonies.
To keep our wedding intimate, our friends and guests played crucial roles in our wedding. My friend since I was twelve years old Reverend Steve Jin married us, my brother-in-law Danny sang “Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli during the ceremony, and my friend Merlin Peck acted as the MC when necessary and DJ.  We decided to forego some of the more traditional components of a wedding like the bouquet or garter toss.  Our processional song was “Eres Tu” by Mocedades and we danced our first dance to “Amazed” by Lonestar with Casablanca playing in the backdrop.  It was an absolutely wonderfully intimate day and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Min & Sean Tie The Knot! Featured on Style Me Pretty!

I have been dying to post up these lovely images captured by Heather Kincaid and now that they're finally featured on Style Me Pretty, I can share these beautiful images on my blog as well. I worked with this couple for the last 8-9 months and they were absolutely fantastic to work with. We're SO grateful & lucky for our sweet clients who trust us from start to finish. Please head over to SMP to read all the design details & the fabulous vendors who were involved with Min & Sean's wedding. Without further ado, enjoy these lovely photos by our talented friend, Heather Kincaid.

My favorite image of Min...

The whole bridal party danced down the aisle a choregraphed number inspired by the Glee performance of “Marry You.” The guests loved it!

Hope you enjoyed this romantic wedding we designed and we'll be back with more summer weddings! If you haven't tried CoolHaus yet, I beg of you to try their ice cream sandwiches!!!!

Catherine & Stefan Tie The Knot!

When Catherine contacted me about their small, intimate wedding at the Viceroy Hotel, I was ecstatic! She wanted a fun, whimsical yet modern wedding details incorporating lots of yellow billy balls & yellow dahlias. With a very tight decor budget, we just really let the Viceroy shine so I rearranged some of the existing furniture pieces and placed clusters of beautiful flowers picked up from Flower Allie. Allison truly outdid herself with all the arrangements and she seriously makes the BEST bridal bouquets in OC/LA area! Please enjoy these fun images captured by Hazelnut Photography!

 Loved our escort card display set up under the black & white cabana! I even painted my Ikea chalkboard in bright yellow and brought some of my Z gallery lanterns & trays to match the color palette.

Again, we couldn't be more thankful for our awesome clients who rely on us from start to finish. Please head over to SMP to see all the vendors involved for Catherine & Stefan's wedding!