Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear wedding professionals..

To say that I know everything about planning a wedding is such a major overstatement because there are a TON of things I don't know and still have yet to learn. The wedding industry never ceases to humble me. This is why I always approach wedding professionals with a humble attitude because I don’t know EVERYTHING about this industry, and I expect the same consideration when they approach me as well (with mutual understanding and respect). It is really not about whom the “power player” is or who has more experience. It's all about the teamwork and working together with the same goal of blessing the couple with our services.

However, a few wedding professionals actually come off as a bit arrogant, haughty and dare I say it with an “I’m all that” attitude. Whenever I run into these particular vendors, I’m instantly turned off. Even if I’m working with a vendor who is fairly new to the industry, I always make sure to give my respect and encourage them because I know how hard it is to switch careers and explore the unknown waters. Plus, it’s because of their fresh and unique ideas that inspire and motivate me too!

But what turns me off even more is when a few wedding professionals somehow give off a vibe that wedding planners are nothing more than brides' emergency kits; fixing the bride’s dress, pinning a groom’s boutonniere, making sure things fall into play or when they think our main job is to give referrals to our clients. If you think that… Oh Boy! You are so WRONG! Or you have underestimated what we do. Some of our job includes but not limited to coming with a list of specific detail shots for the photographer to capture, after all, we would like to see all our DIYs in photos, attending 2-3 florist meetings before finalizing any details, providing a list of wedding items that need to be handed off to us. If a location does not provide a floor plan, we draft our own with detailed notes to include the table size, linen color and size, how many guests per table, where to place the food, and etc. (more here, here and here).

I'm seeing that more and more wedding professionals are selling themselves in so many different facets in order to bring more 'value' to the table. A DJ may include 'wedding coordination services' in their proposal, because they also create a timeline for the reception. A photographer may bring in an extra assistant who just happens to know how to operate a video camera, and thus, 'videography services' can now be included in the proposal.

Let me put things in perspective for you, bluntly.

I love to stalk photographer’s blogs, and I have a digital camera but I don’t call myself a photographer. I know how to arrange flowers and have put together centerpieces for many events, but I’m certainly not a florist. I can capture my son crawling around everywhere on a video camera but that doesn’t make me a videographer. I have some FAB assistant coordinators who love to decorate, but I don't call them event designers. You see what I’m getting at?

If you only take a bit of time to try to understand and respect other professionals' scope of work, you will quickly realize that it's not easy to proclaim certain titles. By trying to fool your clients into thinking that you can do things which you have no training on will only come back to bite you in the long run.

I'm also writing this post in behalf of all the wonderful and hard working planners out there. Yes! We're serious about our job. Serious enough to quit our old jobs and pursue a more creative career path that would utilize our artistic side. I want you to know that we didn't switch our career path just so we can better pin the boutonniere or escort the guests to their seats. Nonetheless, those little things here and there make up our job descriptions and we'll do it joyfully!!

But know this..

1) It turns us off when you think you're the most important vendor in town and over promise your clients that a 'dream' wedding will come true. Over-anything is not good unless it's overachieving.

2) It turns us off when you show off your work; your character & personality should out shine your work.

3) It turns us off when you talk too much about how great your services are. Don't just talk big, deliver!

With that said, let's be kind, humble & respect each other's services so we can create beautiful teamwork. And let's encourage brides and grooms to hire the right person for the right job.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Self Control in a Wired World

New technology is great and resourceful but it's also scary and addicting! We're constantly spending hours after hours browsing online, and while it's great that there are so many inspirational weddings blogs for brides who are researching for the perfect idea and vendors, it's also scary how much we're consumed by technology. All the moments of checking and responding to emails, updating facebook, twitter and blogs can certainly add up. We are practically glued to our chairs! I realized this can lead to a lack of self control when it comes to balancing our time & priorities. And we can easily become disillusioned by the idea of having a 'perfect wedding'. I am just as guilty of this. There are so many wedding blogs to stalk & keep up with.. whew... I need to close my lap top and spend more quality time with family & friends.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I wish for all of us to have a mindful heart and self control in this wired world. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and have fun with your loved ones!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jenny & Justin tie the knot

My initial consultation with Jenny back in April was with both of her parents. Quite nerve wracking that may sound, they treated me like their daughter during the whole planning process. And during the 6 months of planning, I actually never met with Justin until the rehearsal. I swear he was an invisible fiancee! :)
Jenny attended Sarah's wedding back in 2008 and told me that her wedding was the best wedding she had attended and she knew she wanted to hire me soon after she got engaged. That's such a huge compliment because somebody noticed our hard labor that made a quite an impression.
A lot went on during the 6 months of planning, Jenny’s parents ran into some financial issues I knew and felt compelled to stay true to our budget.
Don’t get me wrong, if I had a flexible budget of $70K+, I would love to concentrate solely on the design and décor aspect of the wedding, while hiring all top notch vendors I'd love to collaborate with.
However, maintaining a budget is part of a wedding planner’s job which allows me get creative with what I have to work with. On average, I contact about 4-5 different rental companies to get the best deals, I usually attend 2-3 meetings with the florist before we can finalize the details, and I DIY some of my client’s unfinished projects. In the end when everything is said and done, it takes so much extra work to make a wedding look like more than what was actually spent but the extra hundreds of dollars here and there really do add up. (But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut corners on photography, good food, and entertainment! ) At the end of the day, I don’t want to see any of my brides filing for bankruptcy but rather focus on personalizing their ceremony order and details that can be incorporated throughout the reception décor and schedule. After all, these are the things that leave a lasting impact on you and your guests.

Now back to Jenny and Justin’s wedding, I felt like I was helping my little sister. There were a lot of times when we were able to sit down and share our joys in life but also our personal struggles. I feel like we crossed the relationship barrier of planner and client to being sisters. During our planning, Jenny has taken a special place in my life. Did we have our moments of frustrations? Yes, but Jenny through it all you know how much I love you!
Here's a sweet email I received the night of their wedding.
"I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with such a talent and for all of my loving friends and family to see the amazing wedding we had. Thank you uni from the bottom of my soul for letting you be such an instrument in giving me and Justin a beautiful and memorable wedding. Thank you is all I can say tonight. I know you will continue to do so many weddings in the future but I just want you to know that for us, it was a one and only in our lifetime.
Thank You."

Here are some pictures from the wedding ceremony. The church had high ceilings and I knew we had to have something tall to fill the space.

We had a tight budget for flowers but Eddie from Commerce Flowers came on board and understood the vision we had.


The part where the bride & groom are hugging the parents always gets me these days..

Jenny wanted her wedding to have a classic look with a little bit of bling. She and her mom own an accessory store so I was able to get some crystals and gemstones and incorporated them all throughout the wedding décor. They got married at Irvine Baptist Church, where Justin’s mom attends church. Then the guests headed off to a lunch reception at Agora Churrascaria with live jazz music. Live music + unlimited Brazilian BBQ= PERFECTION!

The original guest count was at 150, but just one week before the wedding Jenny called me and said that the final count would be 190 people! I had to do last minute changes to the floor plan, rearrange the seating charts, change the rental and floral orders, increase all the stationary, and order one more speaker to compliment the space. WHEW… the last week was pretty stressful but definitely worth it because we received so many compliments about the wedding! A huge shout out to Leo from Agora who managed to cater to all our needs with ease & grace. We could not have pulled it off if it wasn't for you, Leo! And let's not get started with the one lady that kept interrupting the reception... lol!

My creation
some of the shots of the place cards table
My creation
JC207 (1)JC286
Wish we had a great table shot but we had over 60+ floating candles throughout the restaurant and it was truly romantic & beautiful. The dessert bar created by Kaylas's Kakes was another a huge hit. I also need to give a shout out to Cesar Haro for letting us borrow some of his props for the dessert bar. Also check out their flower shop for AMAZING floral props & decor ideas, not to mention Cesar's finest & impeccable taste on flowers.

Dear Jenny & Justin,
Thank you so much for treating me as your family. Working with you and your parents was such a pleasure. You know we'll have our chats over coffee often and I can't wait to see how our sisterhood will develop over the years.

All photos credit to Chocolate Photography

Friday, November 13, 2009

Confessions of an Engaged Chick: Engagement Dinner with the Parents!

Last month, I walked to the Grove to pick out a gift from my friend's wedding registry at Crate & Barrel (did you know they give you cash back on all returned gift registry items?! yes, I'm a newbie so I just found this out but wow!). It was a nice, sunny day as the weather in LA doesn’t seem to change much (or ever) although the leaves are starting to turn a golden mustardy yellow which is nice. But because it was still considerably warm, I wore a polo shirt and a jean skirt purchased my freshman year of college when I was working at Abercrombie & Fitch and made a trek to the Grove. I didn’t think too much about my outfit until I ran into one of my friends from highschool next to the fountain there. He was a year older than me and had sat in front of me in German class and we had talked a lot – mostly about my friend whom he had a crush on. But now, eight years later, there he was with his beautiful wife and 2 year old daughter in the stroller. As I bent down to say hi to his little girl, I realized two things. One was that once you get married all past relationships don’t matter. All those crushes, past girlfriends/boyfriends were all just that – the past. Only your grown-up relationship matters. Two was that my skirt was way too short. It wasn’t the now-Abercrombie-length short but it was still too short. I felt awkward just saying hi to him with a short skirt in front of his wife much less bend over to say hi to his daughter in the stroller. The skirt, sadly, needed to go and so did a lot of pieces in my wardrobe.

My parents are visiting me next month and during that week here, my parents and my fiance’s parents are to meet for the first time at the official engagement dinner. Eek~ I’m a bit nervous! But this brings me back to the clothes issue. I realized that a lot of my clothes had to go – mostly skirts and shorts that were so short that they looked like they were a part of my under garments. I was no longer in highschool or college (although I did keep a few skirts that I could wear in places where no one knew me hehe). But I did it. I gathered all my school age clothes and made a trip to Buffalo Exchange on La Brea and sold most of them (although I did exchange one of the skirts for a nice black coat!). The rest I took to Goodwill and donated it (holler tax deduction!). Now only my ‘grown-up’ clothes were left and although my closet got smaller and it had been hard to convince myself that my Barney tank top from 4th grade no longer fits, it felt so refreshing! This brought me to my next question, what should I wear to this engagement dinner with the parents? I know clothes in this case is not a huge deal (there are much more important things to worry about – like what the heck should I expect? Should I make a list of questions to ask so the dinner isn’t an awkward silence? Do I introduce my parents to my fiance’s parents or will they just introduce themselves?), but I can’t tell what’s exactly ‘appropriate’ to wear. I don’t want to dress like a nun, but as shallow as it sounds, I do want to look nice enough for the occasion.

I got an e-mail in my inbox today that the new J. Crew winter line is out so I went to take a look. J. Crew, you really never fail! Here are 4 looks I picked out that seem appropriate.

What would you choose to wear to your engagement dinner?

a polite cardigan with a knee length skirt?

a clean tailored fit?

feminine ruffles on a romantic dress?

or a cute printed dress?

And any tips on what to expect/traditional customs (Korean ones too!) to know before I go to mine?

the engaged chick, angela

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sneak Preview: Jenny & Justin

All the details will be revealed soon... For now, enjoy these dreamy photos taken by talented Chocolate Photography.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


{sorry, this post is in Korean}

밤 10시에 (뜬금없이) 한국으로 부터 걸려온 전화 한통.
KBS VJ 특공대라는 TV프로그램 작가였다.
미국 상류사회에서 웨딩, 파티를 전문으로 활약하고 있는 이,삼십대 사장들을 취재한다는것이었다.

작가: 여기는 한국의 VJ 특공대 작가 황선혜입니다. 김에스더 사장님 맞으신가요?

나: 네??? …..(2초동안 잠깐 얼음) 아.. 네… (과연 언제부터 내가 사.장.이었던것인가? ㅋㅋㅋ)

작가: 미국사람들을 고객으로하는 웨딩, 파티플랜 전문가시죠?

나: 네??? 어…그게..사실은.. 꼭 미국사람들만은 아니고…ㅋㅋㅋ

비몽사몽으로 전화를 받고 한 20분동안 통화를 하면서 많은 얘기를 나누었지만, 결론은 다음주에 미국으로 와서 취재를 한다는것이었다… 나의반응. “다음주요?? 좀 빨리 연락을 주셨더라면… ”
하필이면 내 웨딩없을날… 그래서 좀 불가능할거 같다고 말하고 전화를 끊고 다른분들을 소개시켜주었다. 그래도 한국에서 취재하고싶다고 연락이 왔다는 사실에 영광이라 생각하고 나의 모습을 거울에 비춰봤다.
세수도 안한 꼬질꼬질한 모습에 머리는 대충 고무줄로 묶고, 남편의 large size t-shirt와 발에 질질 끌리는 잠옷바지. (사실 이 잠옷바지는 임신했을때 입고 아직까지 애용하고 있음 )
어쩔땐 이런 나의 모습에 내가 놀래기도 한다. 어쩜… 애기 한명 낳았다는 사실하나로 완벽한 아줌마의 모습을 하고 있는 나.
남편 회사 나갈때 아침밥도 거의 챙겨주지 않는 나.
요즘은 바쁘다고 애기랑도 잘 놀아주지 않는, 완전 빵점 엄마인 나.
그래도 이 일을 놓치기 싫고 더 잘하고 싶은데, 또 한편으론 애기를 한 세 명은 더 키우고 싶은 마음이 굴뚝인 나.

요즘 이러한 저러한 복잡한 생각들로 아주 잠도 설치지만, 그래도 여기까지 온 나 자신을 보면 기특하기도 하면서 반면에는 두렵기도 하다. 그리고 나의 한계를 느낀다.
끊임없이 도전하고 계발해야하는 나 자신을 보며, ‘이러다 지치지는 않을까.. 어쩜 나도 그냥 평범한 가정주부로 사는게 제일 행복하지 않을까? 과연 엄마로써 아내로써 이 일을 감당해 낼수 있을지 확신이 없다. (full-time job 하시면서 애기키우는 모든엄마들! 정말 존경한다!!! )
시어머님께서 날보면 계속 하시는 말씀이있다.
“하나님안에서 평범하게 남편 뒷바라지하며 사는것이 제일 행복한것이란다.”
하지만 이제 삼십대를 코압에 바라보는 나에겐 평범하게 애기낳고 집안살림만 하는 주부로는 살기가 싫다.. 적어도 아직까지는…
모험도하며, 도전도하며, 그리고 사랑도하며…
앞으로 우리가정을 하나님께서 어떻게 쓰실지 기대하며 오늘하루도 사장답게 살아야겠다. ㅋㅋㅋ

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beware: One unprofessional vendor can potentially ruin your wedding!

I don't want to sound rude and mean, but it's true! Putting a wedding together is team work, collaborative team work between the vendors based on the bride & groom's vision. If you get the vibe that the vendor doesn't listen to you OR is inconsistent with his/her words, you MUST trust your instinct and walk out before you sign the contract.
While I love working and finding new vendors, when a bride or groom hires a vendor whom I haven't heard before in the wedding industry, it gets me nervous. First, I worry if they will come on time. 2nd, I worry that they might not 'deliver'. 3rd, I worry that they might not be a team player.
I look at the OVERALL picture, so the vendor who says he/she is the best at what they do and ignores the timeline that's given, he/she is not a team player.
So what makes a professional vendor? It's sometimes hard to indicate and weed out the good ones from the bad and I really think naive brides who have recently started planning their weddings can potentially be in danger and I want to help those brides make good decisions. After all, it's not like wedding vendors are FDA approved, and so we can only rely on referrals and their recent works.
What makes a professional vendor besides their talent and skills? (Please note that this is coming from my personal experience)
1) Someone who is reliable & trustworthy.
2) Someone who is consistent with their words. For example if he/she says something over the phone and says something else the next day. I might seriously reconsider.
3) Someone who has been in the wedding industry for at least 2-3 years. Make sure they have extensive backgrounds on weddings.
4) Someone who isn't difficult to get along with. Think twice because personality does matter!!!
5) Someone who is not just a lone ranger... but has staff on board.
6) Someone who can deliver on time!! I think I mentioned this several times on my blog, but if you missed it, please click here.
7) Someone who is willing listen to other people's ideas and be flexible to work with others.
8) Someone who does this FULL time... It's very important that your vendor does not do this out of hobby i.e. photographers, florist, wedding coordinators, DJs normally fall into this category.

It's just too risky to trust someone based on their words. You need to see their portfolio, ask them lots of questions, get referrals from RECENT clients and meet with them to see if you personally click with them.
Bottom line: Don't get sold only because they meet your budget. Integrity, honesty, being a team player and service oriented is just as important as their talents.
Have you also come across some not-so-great vendors while researching for the perfect one? Please share with us your experience!

BTW, please check back in a couple of days for some delicious details we will put together for this past wedding. You're gonna drool over all the details!! I promise!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Confessions of an Engaged Chick

Hello friends!

As Esther mentioned, I'm one of the new guest bloggers for 'My Bride Story' and I'm so excited to share my wedding inspirations with you all! Just a little bit about myself. My name is Angela and I write a design blog called Little Room LA. I met the lovely and talented Esther to learn about planning a wedding and all the ins and outs of the industry. I recently got engaged too and am starting the process of planning our own wedding so I'll be posting my adventures (or misadventures - but hopefully less of this kind!) with you also. The only thing I've done so far is look through pages and pages of wedding blogs and drool over the beauty and splendor of all the weddings. There are so many creative brides out there these days and whew, I just can't keep up! For some reason, I've been seeing a lot of non-traditional table numbers these days. I know it's just a small part of the reception but oh-such-pretty ideas! Since most weddings have a certain theme to them, the table number displays at weddings also seem to be incorporated into this. Here are a few below to inspire you for your own wedding!

the engaged chick, angela

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Hello readers,

I have some exciting news to share with you!

Its been almost two years since I started this blog back in January 2008 and I have pretty much been the only one putting together these entries . But starting from this month I’m going to have 2 regular bloggers! Yay! They are coming on board the My Bride Story team to join me in feeding your wedding inspiration needs. I’m hoping this will attract a broader audience of readers and I think having these girls will definitely bring different and fresh new ideas to the blog site. You’ll be able to hear from a non-wedding planner’s perspective. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging. I’ll still be blogging once or twice a week with real weddings from our clients, vendor spotlights and advice and tips as a wedding planner, and sharing a bit of what is going on in my personal life too. I’m hoping to give our blog a new face lift by the end of this year and focusing more on upcoming weddings we're currently working on. I want to kick off the 2010 wedding season by introducing our MBS team who have been faithfully helping me as we gradually expand our company. We still have a few more weddings and projects lined up before the end of 2009 and getting ready to kick off 2010 in FULL GEAR!

From now on, be look out for the names of our different bloggers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Girl And The Boy Together

This Engagement Party Invite is just too cute not to share. Andrew's mother found this book he made when he was 6 years old. They incorporated it into their invite. I love how it's meaningful but fun at the same time! My favorite line: 'They tell jokes. And they laugh a lot.'

..[via weheartit]..