Events by Divine Creations | July 2014
Events by Divine Creations

Professional vs. Rookie... Are You Hiring the Right Vendors?

by Valerie DiVecchio 21. July 2014 16:31
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With the dramatic increase of reality television shows, the event industry has boomed... but not in a good way.  These days it seems that anyone with a camera thinks they can be a professional photographer or someone who helped plan their best friend's wedding can be a professional wedding planner.  I easily get 5-10 resumes a week that come across my desk from individuals who planned their own wedding or maybe a friend's and the common statement is "I think it would be so much fun!".  Yes, it is fun and fulfilling, but there is a ton of hard work that must also go into planning someone's event with whom you don't have any personal knowledge.  You may not like what they have in mind, but it's their special day - not yours - so you have to learn to love it!

So how do you separate the professionals from the rookies?  I have narrowed it down to 5 simple questions for a place to start: 1) How long have you been doing this professionally; 2) is this your full-time profession; 3) do you have a business license with the city/ county; 4) do you carry insurance; and 5) on average how many weddings/ bar bat mitzvahs/ corporate functions (pick the one that matches your event) have you done in the last 12 months?  

Question #1 is obvious - hands-on experience is what makes a professional a true professional.  We all have to start out somewhere, but if you think you know it all, and can do it all, after one year in business, there's a problem.  I've been doing this 17 years and I learn new things all the time.  You can learn only so much through books, experience is what will take you to the next level.  Question #2 - if you can't support yourself with doing what you love as a profession, it's a hobby.  Unless you can dedicate yourself to improving your skills, learning new things and polishing technique 100% of the time, you just can't be all that you can be.  Question #3 - basically, if you don't have a license you're operating your business illegally.  Question #4 - all vendors should carry general liability insurance at a minimum.  Additionally, professional liability and workers compensation insurance are also a very good idea.  What if your DJ has lots of cords runnning all over where someone can trip over it?  If he/she doesn't have insurance that person who fell can sue you.  What if videographer slipped and fell because one of your guests spilled a drink on the dance floor? That's right, they could sue you.  And what if the photographer didn't take proper care of his/ her equipment and it is faulty?  That means not only do you not get your pictures, but also if you sue them, with no insurance, you won't get any compensation either.  Insurance is expensive for vendors to carry, but it's also what separates the professionals from the rookies.  And lastly question #5 - say you are planning your son or daughter's bar or bat mitzvah and the planner that you are considering hiring has never been to one, nonetheless planned one.  Will they know what the horah is?  Will they know how to coordinate the candlelighting?  Will they even understand the importance of this milestone occasion? 

Obviously getting recommendations from friends who have planned an event similar to yours is a good idea, as well as asking for additional references.  Ask to see their work.  And not just the pictures they put on their website, but photos or a video from start to finish of an event day. And don't be afraid to ask questions... you are about to pay this person a good deal of money and you want to be sure that you are selecting someone who can do the job according to your expectations and vision.  And remember what mama said, "you get what you pay for".  You can never recreate this special day so be sure you are hiring a professional.  They may cost a little more, but they are well worth it in the end!

Myth Buster!

by Valerie DiVecchio 10. July 2014 08:43
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As a professional event planner, I hear people talk about their preceptions around events, especially the cost of items.  I get it... planning events can be costly.  But if you're going in with something that you believe is true when in fact it's it the opposite, it can be a costly mistake.  So I decided that one of the things I can do to help you is bust the myths!

One of the biggest myths I hear people say all the time is that a buffet is less expensive than a plated dinner.  In fact, unless you're serving filet mignon and lobster for the plated meal and chicken wings and mac and cheese on the buffet, the opposite is true.  While it does help cut costs on your service personnel (and by only maybe one or two servers), what people do not count into the equation is that more food needs to be prepared for a buffet than a plated meal.  Why?  Because in a buffet you have people who will go up for seconds and maybe even thirds!  More food = more money.

So if you're set on serving a chicken entree and a seafood entree, you would be better to go with a duo plated dinner than a buffet cost-wise.  And when planning a fabulous event, we all know it comes does to dollars and sense... so here's hoping this makes sense and helps to bust the myth!

Pinterest... Friend or Foe?

by Valerie DiVecchio 1. July 2014 10:05
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Pinterest is all the craze these days - especially when it comes to wedding or party planning.  The concept behind Pinterest is brillant.  There are thousands and thousands of pictures to shift through giving you unique and different ideas and for that it's a friend.  However, like every social media site there can be some cons.

It used to only be magazines that event planners had to educate clients on another brillant invention called PhotoShop.  In today's world of digital photography, it could be a gray, rainy day, but in the pictures it's all rainbows and sunshine.  As I say, you can slap a horn on a horse and call it a unicorn, but it's still just a horse with a horn!  Well, PhotoShop has made it's way onto the internet (I mean, hey, if you can get a headshot at the age of 40 and have it look like you have no wrinkles, why not!  Just sayin'...).  And some of those pictures on Pinterest have been touched up or refreshed.  So it's back to educating we go... yes, that's doable, however, that absolute perfect shade of pink you see in the picture may vary somewhat in your flowers because Mother Nature doesn't work with PhotoShop!

Another other downside depends on an individual's personality style.  Let's say you have this vision in your head of what your perfect wedding day looks like and then go on Pinterest and your vision starts to change.... and so does your budget, and it's generally not in your pocketbook's favor.  Or you meet with your florist and design out the entire layout of your arrangements then you see something on Pinterest that completely changes your mind and you start from scratch again.  Here's my word of advice if you tend to be a little indecisive at times... go on Pinterest before you meet with your vendors, print pics for inspiration (which are fantastic for any designer!), be clear about the look you're going for (yet be flexible in case you pick something that's way out of your budget so you can select an alternative) and then don't go back to Pinterest until after your event is over!

So don't get me wrong, there is definite value in Pinterest and any other social media site, but like everything, use it in moderation and don't believe immediately everything you see.  And when you see that floral arrangement that's black in color, and you think to yourself... that's kind of cool, could that be real?  Hear my voice whisper.... no.....

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Valerie DiVecchio Valerie DiVecchio

Divine Creations

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