Get to know your wedding pro
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Episode 17 (Jennifer Vandeventer, Elements NW Events & Weddings)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm down here today in Kent, Washington at the offices of Jennifer Vandeventer with Elements Northwest Events & Weddings. And Jennifer, thank you so much for having me in today. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about who you are and what you guys do.

[00:33] Great. I am Jennifer with Elements Northwest Events & Weddings. We opened the company about six years ago. I do have a background in marketing and we did do corporate events, fundraisers. Oh, community events, fashion shows, all kinds of things. So I've just always felt that this was my calling and I finally kind of walked away from the corporate side of things because I thought there was a better way to treat clients. And um, so we opened the elements, events and it's been pretty successful within the, it opened as an event company and then within a year the weddings just took off. So we added the weddings to the end and we do about 80 to 90 percent on average every year of weddings, but we also do corporate events, fundraisers and we've done quite a few fundraisers in the last couple of years. Uh, and really the background just comes from a lot a history with my own family. Even as a young age, everyone seemed to be involved in large scale events somewhere. So that plus the fashion industry, I think just it became innate and I always wanted to do it and finally took that leap of faith about six years ago and it's been great.

[01:43] Oh, that's awesome. So we're down here in Kent and your space is awesome. Showroom meeting space. Where are we at? What is this place?

[01:51] This place is my home office away from home office, so I still work out of our home base and Covington, Maple Valley area. We do travel all over Washington state and beyond. Um, the Kent studio opened up in February and the sole purpose of it was really to get clients a nice quiet meeting space, one where we're not having this, you know, the grinders in the background at the coffee shop when it comes to styling. It's fantastic to be able to just throw a linen on the table and start pulling stuff off the shelves and really play with things so that it's kind of a try before you buy it. Oh, when clients go out there and it just breaks my heart when they spend half their budget on a bunch of crazy decorations that they may or may not need. And here's a great way to come see what it will actually look like and then decide how you want to move forward.

[02:44] Yeah, I think it is really unique. You, you know, you have this kind of awesome display shelf here. Um, like you say where people can really grab things, visualize, is that, is that tough? Do you find clients have a tough time visualizing that? Maybe they see it like instagram or pinterest or whatever, but then like actually seeing the space to talk about that.

[03:04] Well, pinterest, that's an interesting topic to bring up and I'm sure most planners and other vendors will say it to pinterest has this fantastic tool to kind of help define what your style is and what you like. And I often ask clients what is your pinterest page so that we can take a look and I can get a sense of style. However, even that becomes very eclectic. So how the studio helps with that is we can kind of nail it down and hammer down and they can see that some of those pinterest pictures are styled shoots or they are very dolled up and it's not practical like the table settings. So we show them what an actual table setting. I have some plates here and things. Um, so they can get a sense that this really does fill up your table. You maybe don't need anything that elaborate in the center.

[03:50] And kind of one of the emo of our company is to help one of our taglines and fact is, um, help you do more for less. So my goal is not to go out there and spend a big budget if you have it, great. Doesn't mean we have to spend it and vice versa. Um, I work with clients at all different price points. So we really work with them to find what, what's gonna add the biggest value to their event, what really captures and embodies what the look is going to be. And that's where the styling part of it of being able to actually see reality versus a pinterest picture comes into play.

[04:27] I do think it's funny the whole pinterest and like you said, were a lot of that stuff is stylized shoots. Two quick notes. I, we did do a wedding one time. That was the only time it really did look like Algorithmic pinterest board where they have like fake moss on the table and like leather bound books. And like, I mean it was, but they also spent like 10 hours that day. And it was the bride's mom. I was Brian's idea, but you know, her mom and everybody's sitting in a setting this up and it was very impressive though, but it did take all day. Uh, the other thing is, it is funny when you do talk about the practicality of it, because I remember we had a wedding at the four seasons and they have like these big, like the color scheme was black, right? Like it was new year's.

[05:10] It was this black like black on white and this very contrasty and they have these big vases and they wouldn't stand up with the flowers because, you know, it's like, oh, this is great and we're going to put this thing in this vase and it's going to look awesome. But like none of them, it wouldn't even stand up for us to get a photo of it, let alone, you know, for everyone to kind of enjoy during dinner. So do you find that your, um, educating clients on that sort of thing or like you said, you're kind of like helping put that into reality? Yeah,

[05:40] absolutely. I think, um, education, you nailed it right there. It's the industry is ever evolving. It's not quite honestly, weddings are not repeat business or at least you hope not until the baby becomes their daughters or whatnot down the road or a friend referrals. It's just not repeat business. Um, and so yes, it's constant reeducation. So many of the facebook groups out there, for example, you see it time and time again is the same questions as they came up. They don't know, they've never done this before. This is their first time. So you treat it like that. And um, yes, definitely education, everything from helping them understand the vendor contracts, understanding what they're really signing and getting into balancing that. Even if it's not a planning service. That's kind of what sets us apart, is our coordination service has a little bit of planning built into it on purpose.

[06:34] I would rather make sure that their day goes smooth. I, I'm not here to save your day. I will be if I have to be, but we don't want that. What do you want a great day, right? Um, so educating them on here, here's the reality of what you're looking at. And, and also I think it's a true service to the other vendors out there as well because that's kind of our job is we kind of advocate for everyone. And um, as a planner, you're, you're pulling the pieces together of you have to have a little bit of knowledge. A kid certainly could never shoot a video, but I can't even take a picture straight. But you know, that's where I rely on, you know, vendor talent and I say, you know, it's worth it. This is what's important to you. Let's readjust things like, you know, that fancy little centerpiece is fantastic if flowers are all that you want, but if you're really looking for that videography or photography or that's what's going to capture those memories that go on forever, let's readjust the budget a little bit and educate you that way.

[07:28] And here's where we can tackle the, um, you don't need five appetizer. I see you don't need this. Um, you know, and really just kind of scaling things down so that they get the big picture comes into true focus. And with that, that extends into the big day as well because then you've got a relationship with the vendors. Everyone's working cohesively. I work really hard to make sure that a timelines and whatnot are very streamlined so everybody has the exact same information because, God forbid one person can't show up or they're stuck on [inaudible] or whatever the case may be. Um, everybody knows what needs to happen. So I think it's just really a team thing and educating clients on how that really works on when it comes to the big day is so important.

[08:16] Yeah. And it is tough. It is tough about like picking and choosing. I just had a planner yesterday emailed me that she was, had referred me to a client and she said, you know, they're not, they're not going to go ahead with videography because their event or their rental budget skyrocketed. And you know, it's understandable. But I just responded to her and Kinda joking. But like, well I'm, that'll really help them capture the day. So I'm glad that they, you know, those chair that, you know, the chair budget's going to go, but it is tough, right, because you do have in like, you know, you think you want all these things and you don't know whether it's going to cost and then you see what it's going to cost. So they mean it is like a constant, like you said, they've never. People never got married before. So it's like you think, oh my budget's $20,000. Well you don't maybe don't know your venue is going to cost $6,000 or you know, I mean you don't know until you kind of. So it is tough and I think it's like a planner like you are. You are like the forefront of like having to educate kind of every step of the way.

[09:11] Yeah. And there is um, I, I can give you a recent example. Actually. The brides will get very excited and I have one client currently that kind of happened to, she ended up getting, um, uh, her. Her mom is helping her pay for quite a bit of it and her mom is the perfect mother of the bride who's not too involved. In other words, she's letting the bride make the decisions and the couple, but at the same time she's helping with the bill and one thing that the brightest, sweetest girl ever and just does not ask for a thing and mom's ready to go all out. Um, and the situation came up exactly what you said. She went out there and she hired a photographer and also the hair and makeup team, um, and didn't quite understand the contract she was getting into, especially with hair and makeup.

[09:58] And so now she's about $500 over budget on that and that was something she wanted to do out of her own pocket. So she's kind of beating yourself up over it. It's like, no, no, no, it's fine. It's all gonna be fine in the end. But those are the things that happen when you kind of jumped again. So it is really nice. You know, a course, I always hope it's me, but whatever person you choose, finding a good coordinator actually saves you a lot of money in the long run coordination, planning, whatever level you're at, just to be able to go out there and have that advocate for you, that understands what the vendors needs are as well as what their contracts say and to really guide them. It's just priceless in the end.

[10:36] Yeah. I remember when we got married, Rebecca with new creations was our, uh, our planner and um, you know, we needed I think like a basket for the flower girl and like some for cards and a couple other things and we're like, got you. And do we gotta go buy these are white. And like Rebecca said, well no, let's go ask Katrina that's doing your flowers because I know that she has these rentals and things and you can do it. So that ended up saving us not only the money from trying to hire somebody else but also time and you know, because that's where, you know, right? Like, oh well maybe this person can also do that. Or, you know, this person, you know, your Dj can also provide, you know, the light or whatever. Right? As opposed to like me, just level. We need to go find the basket provider and will now,

[11:19] I would say soon as you bucked down, don't go out and buy anything. Let's talk first.

[11:24] Yeah. Uh, so talk about you kind of are you, when you view yourself as kind of your company, are you kind of a handholding throughout? Do you kind of let them take the radio? How do you see yourself fitting into the clients kind of the process of planning and getting married?

[11:40] Great question. And that actually is again, kind of the core of our business is we say weddings and events designed around you and we mean that it's not just talking about design and the is talking about every, every wedding is just as different as every personality and different. So handholding. Yes, there are some clients that they need me every step of the way. I had a recent fried who absolutely needed me in the bridal room for no other reason than she needed comfort. Um, you know, she was just nervous and then you'll have others that really want to just be hands on and get very involved. So our packages are really designed for those, for the different styles of personalities as well as every single client is, is, I don't want to say treated differently, but we work with them with what best suits their personality and, and how involved they want to be in the process. Even at the coordination level, it's, you know, some people want to be very, very, very involved and other people want to just kind of, here you go, I'm done. Please take the ball and run.

[12:50] But I think it's important. That's what I tell clients. So you know, everybody plans are wedding differently so if you want to talk on the phone or you might not ever want to, you might just want to text or meet a bunch of like, have you been married? It's like everybody does it differently. So I just kind of. But I think that that's smart, right?

[13:06] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I have a lot of, Atta the wedding yesterday, they're both out of state. Um, but what the bride's family lives here in this local and that's what drew her back and I get a lot of that. I've had clients from all over the world and it's really kind of fun to see also they have their own cultural aspects added in and their own style that way. So just really, I think that that's where my background is a strong suit. I'm originally from California so I was in that San Francisco heavy metro, very diverse environment and in management and event production and everything else in between and just knowing how to talk to different personalities, different cultures and really be able to relate with them in a positive productive way that's gold. So it really helps and I think it's really helped to get the reviews that we have and to really just connect with them. Even when you're skyping

[14:05] what was going to. I did want to ask you about your wedding yesterday because Jen, we've had this on the books for quite some time and then I called you today that, you know, just wanted to make sure we're good and you said, you know, I just had this awesome wedding yesterday. I'm going to be there. Tell me about it. What was going on?

[14:19] Oh my God, it's fantastic. These couple. Um, he's actually a coach for university out in Montana and uh, she did some stuff within the university as well and has recently taken on another job to go move to Montana. So everything has been kind of in and out and um, a lot of phone communication. Um, she had like a 36 hour turnaround to come try on a dress, you know, things like that. So it's been a lot. And then of course they have to travel here and their friend's happened to be a on Sunday before there. So it's like they've got a lot going on. Um, and this is the coolest guy I have to say. This is one of the most fun weddings I've done this year. There had been a lot of great clients, a lot of fun. I had, if anyone ever says you can't do classy with the kickback laid back atmosphere, they're crazy.

[15:14] This is the [inaudible] group of people you will ever meet. And they had so much fun and we're talking. We brought in, this is a thorn wood castle and we brought in raw cheese pizza because I was like, no, you have to have their pizza. Of course they did the tasting and bought like every pizza they're tasting because it was so good. So they're awesome if you need one. But yeah, it's the first time I've ever done wood fired pizza at the castle, which was crazy. But knowing that their world is football and sports and all of that, it made sense for them and you know, the decorations were minimal because the venue is, is fantastic. And um, you know, just. Oh Gosh, I, so I think I described you this morning, I'm on a little bit of a wedding hangover. It's a real thing people. So, um, you know, it's a 15 hour, 12 to 15 hour days.

[16:04] It's running like crazy foreign woods when those venues where there are no elevators, it's the gardens on one side of the property in the back of the castles where they had their reception and then it's running upstairs and of course they had the Lord Byron Suite, which is amazing and you know, so all the behind the work behind the scenes things that people don't think about, that's what we're taking care of. And so as much fun as it was to orchestrate everything, we had like David Seder there, he did a fantastic job with Dj Djs and then I'm actually party. I know, you know Claire really well, um, party on the rocks service to bar there. So that was great. And they had it. We had a hostess with them as well. Um, yeah, just a really fantastic day. A lot of fun. I don't know what else to say. It was just amazing. It was a great day.

[16:52] Yeah. You talked about, you know, their background and with football and stuff, because I have, and we've talked on the podcast about like, that is kind of the new trend now is like really like specific, you know, it could be like, oh, you know, my fiance really likes to golf so we're going to get married to the golf course to like, you know, we really love football and stuff. We want to have wood fired pizza. I mean, do you talk about like kind of those unique things that you see couples really wanting to infuse their day with now?

[17:21] Absolutely, and that's, that gets me so excited is when I'm a firm advocate of make it personal because your guests know you and if you try to do this uppity, pretentious type of wedding and here not uppity and pretentious, they're going to know, and I have to say that the wedding yesterday, there's always a naysayer in the group, right? Always somebody who says, well, you know, not a one, not a one. Everyone had a great time. At least I didn't hear it. And you hear it. I don't know. People just think you're invisible and a big talk right in front of you. It's Larry's. So you really do here at all. But um, yeah, as far as the specialties, I think like this couple, yes. Football was very special to them and um, I can't go into too many details for privacy reasons, but they uh, you know, they did have during the ceremony they had a football, you know, how you do the ring blessing maybe people have heard of that.

[18:14] Um, I've had someone do a piece of wood before, but this time it was fun. We had a football go through and then they had everybody sign the football later in the day, um, dad built a Jenga set that they had the couple sign because for them it was really in my mind looking back, I want to call it like a high class tailgate party. But it wasn't. I mean, you know, I don't know how to describe it. It was fantastic. But I think that that's what makes it very real. Like we have one coming up here that it's a nod to Harry Potter and they're doing a complete twist on everything. They have plenty of food throughout that. They have like three phases of food and they're doing that cocktail party style. They're like, I want my friends to kick back and relax. I think that that's a trend industry wide that we're seeing couples are really getting away from the norm.

[19:03] I mean you just don't see. Okay, Garter tosses as much. Although the one yesterday, let me tell you, you got to see the video. It'll be up on facebook soon. As soon as I get a couple hours sleep. It is, oh my gosh. It was hilarious. But those traditions or we're seeing them go away. They're starting their own traditions or people are really doing their own thing, which I think is incredibly awesome. It makes it a much more like an event, but they have those wedding elements into it and let's be real. The ceremony itself sweat 20 minutes tops, so really making the day all about you and celebrating and even though a lot of this is going there, I'm seeing a lot more of shying away from hotels and those kinds of things. They're going to the public venues, they're going to beaches or parks or even families backyard. But you and I both know that when it comes to the day of, that's where it takes a lot of planning because they're not set up to be a venue. And so there's, it's a whole new level of, of um, planning that's coming into things, but I think a lot more couples are coming into the game with a very clear sense of who they are and what they want. Realizing it is their day and just going for it. And that's so exciting to see is when they really go for their day.

[20:17] Yeah. The one of the favorite wedding we've ever had was down in Portland for new years. And like, you know, the holiday weddings are kind of tough because you're human. You are asking people to uh, you know, like spend new year's with you. But he was the same thing, like it was set up, you know, I mean they did their ceremony and I think like they did do their first dances, but other than that, like it was just like tons of food, tons of drinking, you know, everybody stayed at the hotel and I mean they partied till two in the morning or whatever. But like it was cool because they were able to like have just a really fun New Year's party where like, they also happened to get married that. And I thought that that was like, and I told him like, I thought that that was like the perfect tone of that where you guys got to kind of have your, you know, a couple of hours of spotlight. But then it was really about kind of everybody having fun. And so I thought that that was neat.

[21:09] Yeah. Yeah. And I think funds the key. You've got to keep it fun for you and your guest. Otherwise, what's the point?

[21:16] Uh, so I wanted to talk a little bit about your background and kind of how you got into this. Uh, so you've talked about, you know, doing the events in the past, you know, fashion, things like that. So how did you, what were you, what was your life before? Kind of where we are now?

[21:29] The funny part is I've always loved the aspect of marketing, but I didn't quite know what that was, but even young age, junior high, high school growing up in the eighties era, um, you know, you watch shows like who's the boss? I was like, I'm going to be here one day, but what I found over the years, and I think you kind of mentioned something about that earlier maybe before we started, um, about how, you know, life kind of leads you to where you go and, or where you ended up. And for me it was knowing that I really enjoyed marketing in that aspect. But what I found is I was always doing, always found myself in promotions. I was always doing something that was event related and um, no matter what job I had or title it was, it seemed like I was always the one.

[22:17] I don't know if I created it myself or they asked me to want to share anymore, but I'm actually going out there and creating events. So it, it was. I attended, my first degree was at the Fashion Institute of design and merchandising, so I also had a passion for fashion and, but what we studied there was way beyond just fashion. And so with that working within the fashion industry in San Francisco, um, different companies that I worked for, even though I was in more of a management role, uh, we would put on community fashion shows and I segwayed into a promotional company where a marketing and promotional company where we ended up putting on like home shows, like the big home shows show. I have that level of expertise in terms of knowing how to orchestrate and get those big huge, massive events done. But then I always loved the little small ones.

[23:10] I mean even growing up, I remember my aunt and my mom, my aunt was really big in the church and it was everything from we would have full. It was large church and so it was a full scale community events and of course you kind of, you kind of always have to help out, right. When is your parents doing it? Um, so we would do, I remember fourth of July and there would be the community bike parade and then we'd have a full scale carnival and it was so fun. We've been put on cheerleading champions or competitions, which was kinda cool at the church, which was weird, but it was a lot of fun. So I think all of those things. And then as I got older, I've lived in a few different states and each job has had different elements that brought in. And when you think of the fat or the wedding industry, you have to have fashion.

[23:58] Even in events, there's fashion, there's the food, there's the beverage. I've worked in restaurants, I've worked in, I've worked for many different industries. I think the marketing promotional company is really melded. Um, that's again, dealing with a lot of different personalities and a lot of things on the fly. And those were all things that I think is what made the wedding side of the business take off like crazy because those details are everything. I mean, business events, corporate events is great. You know, here you go, this is my budget, run with it, get it done. It's fun, it's great if it's an annual event, ah, well we'll do it again next year and we'll make it better. And that's the goal is to get better, better, better with a wedding. You get one shot, you don't get a do over, so you better have it. Right.

[24:44] And um, you know, so my history is just, it really is. It's marketing and its events and its management. And so all of those three pieces together I think is really what has added to the success because I'm able to just connect. And I think that's everything. Just being able to connect with the different personalities. Obviously you build a relationship with your client and maybe their parents, if they're sitting in on those meetings, sometimes the bridal party. But when you get to the day of, you're dealing with their extended families and their friends. And that's a whole new ball. Um, so I guess that's it and that just kinda know. So that's great. So did you, you went to school in San Francisco? Uh, for, um, that's where I got my aa and then I went back to school. I thought, oh my career is flourishing and this is great.

[25:34] And we ran the mail order division of a maternity manufacturer of all things in my twenties, which was crazy. So I, that entailed to date myself here. Um, we worked on putting the first company website together. So the first company website and we were selling nationally. I'm Barbie White, was the owner of that company and she's, you know, she's incredible designer and just working again working a lot of phone cell. So again, that plane into the role of here with what I do now. It's technology. People are all over the country, all over the world. You're talking on the phone, you're skyping, all of that. So I got a skill set from that, but it also involved on the shipping and logistics, right. And packaging and how do we make it look pretty so that when they opened that box that's been tossed every direction, it's pretty when they opened it up and then of course shows and we did the big fashion shows there in the San Francisco fashion district market is what it's called.

[26:32] So I'd go to market and do those. Um. Oh Gosh. Oh, all sorts of things. Um, so anyway, that's, that's where I went to school then, um, but my career was flourishing. Um, I got married and then I ended up my then husband, we moved to eastern Washington, then Montana, and now we're in Seattle. So Seattle has been my home for coming up on about 15 years now. And I love it. So I'm definitely the Pacific northwest. Is Home. What led you into that kind of fashion direction to begin with? Back in school? Um, honestly I think it was happenstance. Um, I did, I did Deca in high school and of course marketing. I knew from a young age I wanted to do marketing and I started competing in that deck. Delta Upsilon Chi, which is. Oh no, sorry, that's the college level of it. I did that too.

[27:35] Um, but DECA, distributive education clubs of America. It's um, it's in the high schools and it's a competitive club where you actually execute marketing strategy. So what are the competition would look like is you walk in, you're given 15. It depends on what you do. Um, but I was in the apparel and accessory division and I think only because I was working retail at the time is why I went into that and I didn't know I loved it until I did it the first year. Um, and you might get 15 minutes to look over a packet and then you have to pretty much on the fly, uh, build a marketing plan for that kind of. Or here's a, I remember one in particular was a swimsuit and it said there's a swimsuit line for a certain body build. How are you going to market this and present it and merchandise it in the store?

[28:26] And then you sit in front of a panel of three judges and they, it's not really about getting the answers right or wrong, it's about how you handle yourself and if it would be a viable solution. Um, and then from there you advance. And I was fortunate enough, um, between high school and college to place in the top 10 in the nation three years in a row. Um, and so that was, and then I moved on with my life. But, um, but out of, you know, over 4,000 competitors, that's pretty fascinating. Yeah. So it's something I'm pretty proud of, but that's, I think how I got into fashion. And also I'm not gonna lie, I didn't want to take my sat and I can attend the fashion institute which has fully accredited without having to take my sats, which is ironic because then I realized a little bit later in life I was like, you know what, I really want to finish my goal, which was to have a master's in marketing.

[29:17] And I actually just finished it up this last year so I know how to. Yeah. So, um, people are like, why you have a company and it has nothing to do with that. I'm like, yeah, well it was a goal. It was a goal and so it feels good and uh, yeah. So that's, that's how I kind of got into fashion and again, it was kind of, I think just life has a way, I believe life has a way of just making a path for you if you want to listen to it. And there's just been so many blessings along the way to just every step of the way get me to where I'm at now and I, it's so rewarding. I mean especially like I love the diversity of the business events and fundraisers, but I to say that there's a special place in my heart for weddings because with weddings it's so personal and that opportunity to not have a do over makes it more intense and I love that thrill, the comp competitive thrill of it I guess. Um, yeah. So

[30:15] no, I totally, I was just thinking about kind of speaking the, when you were talking about but it is personally, you know, that we, I just blogged today, one of our weddings from um, I guess it was a June 23rd and like they were just like to like normal people, you know, like because sometimes you get clients that are like really, I'm either really like fashion focused or really, really wild real high end or have allies, you know like, and that wasn't like Dorothy and I like when we got married to like we just, it's like we just are, you're kind of doing this. But like they were just like two of the most down to earth people. But like he was so good because like I helped refer their photographer and they hired me and him and like just to give them like a day like that that they'll have, you know.

[31:02] And not that like, I mean obviously everyone deserves it. Like some people spend 30 years like planning their wedding in their, had in all this and some people don't, but like, it just felt so good just to be like, that was like the best day that like the Africa they had, you know, and then you have that forever either like they had that they always existed. Um, so, uh, talk about meeting your husband and getting married because I always like to relate, you know, your own wedding into kind of what we do now. So first off, where did you guys meet?

[31:31] Okay, so MSA, it's my ex husband. My. I'm remarried happily very heavily. Um, but my first husband, he was, we met in high school, didn't care for him. Then we met in college. Um, again, we just kind of crossed paths and we started dating his friends and um, so on and so forth. And we got married in Monterey, California, which is where I was born and it was fantastic. Um, and I can tell you back then that was before day of coordinators were a thing and we had the beautiful Castleman Russ hotel and we did the whole ceremony on the beach, that experience alone implanting virtually, I mean it was only three hours away from where we lived. So, but it was still destination on purpose. We both have insanely large families. He was, it. He's Italian and German and my site has its, goes on forever, so we didn't want a 350 person wedding and we were um, it worked out.

[32:36] We love our family but we don't see you. So it's a lot of money. So a destination wedding really helped. That's a tip for everyone out there. Um, so we had that, but what I can say is the logistics in it and who's delivering your final payment sinker intuitively at the end of the night, I felt so uncomfortable at the end of the night handing it out when I should have just been able to leave. And um, you know, things like if there was a little, there was a little hiccup with the food and um, you know, I think it was all just a learning experience and nothing major. It was a beautiful day. It was fantastic and, you know, but there were a little hiccups. There were things I didn't want to be bothered about that day of. So I think that was kind of, I kind of knew them without knowing until it was a thing that, that is such a needed resource.

[33:22] And so my second marriage, uh, was actually about six years ago by the time I opened the business. I had a lot going on, but it was fantastic. Um, you know, this gave me the opportunity to really experience the blended family coming together and we had a much smaller one. Again, I can't, I'm sorry. I'm a Cali girl. I was at the beach, but we went to sunset beach with tastic. I'm just beautiful, true to it's name. And there's, I will tell a little personal story here because it, it share it with clients all the time. I can appreciate the unplugged wedding very much. We only had about 35 people at this wedding that again, kind of on purpose. We want a small intimate wedding that was really about us coming together and it was pretty smooth, but of course my husband would rather socialize instead of the arch and I really wish I had hired someone to do that, but I think the kicker was, and you'll appreciate this as a video for were at sunset beach, true to its name.

[34:30] We got married intentionally when the sun would be setting and here's my husband's sister right behind between the officiant had stepped out of the way and there she was. So the photographer got a shot of us at sunset for that kiss with her right there in the middle. So I tell people, you know, maybe an unplugged announcement or let's be vigilant of that and you know, things like that. So I don't know, it's just a funny little story that I remember that were like, wow, can we photoshop or out, can we get that sunset in the background? It was, it was kind of. Because I've seen things like that happen, you know, or the the mean well meaning guests or usually a family member has their new fancy camera or their cell phone. They stepped right in front. They're like, they see where the photographer is.

[35:23] They step right in front of them because they figured they got the shot. That's right. People, they have the shot and you'll get that quality shot if you ask the couple, you know. Um, so I think it's really just being in the moment and we would have so appreciated her to just be the moment and experience the whole thing with that stuff. That was a real stepping stone learning point for me. And so here I am, a planner myself by trade and to weddings and I didn't have a coordinator or planner and I will tell you hands down I will not be doing this again. But if I were I would absolutely hire somebody. And I think, you know, like we mentioned, um, you know, like party on the rocks was at the one yesterday. But you know, and, and like poor girls has a great one.

Jan linky has a great team there as well and I am seeing a lot more of that with the clients focusing more on being in that moment and special and I think that's why it is so important to me and I get excited when I see couples doing that because I wish I had had someone to take the reins. I'm seeing a lot more of that. There they are now co wedding couples are really realizing the value of what we do and as a coordinator and then I think they're also valuing the fact like, you know what it is okay to hire a professional bartending service. Your, your best friend may be fantastic at it and do a great job, but at the end of the day they want to party too, you know? Um, there's things like that. And so we're seeing a lot more of that and you know, really when you start scaling down then they can have those other things that are kind of the afterthought, the photography or this or that or whatnot or a videography and things like that. And I think that's exciting too, is you're actually getting a bigger bang for your buck when you do keep things a little bit more simple.

[37:13] Uh, I wouldn't have to bring up a wedding now that twice, twice as inspired me first to be unplugged the same wedding for both. Um, we did a private residence out on Bainbridge island and it was same kind of deal. It was like, I don't know, 40 people. Right. And so they, uh, it was February and it rained and so they had, um, you know, just these big umbrella. So they're all standing there. Um, you know, because there was no seating, right. I guess it was going to be, this was early in my career. They hired me off craigslist like three days before. So like, you know, I didn't really know the whole story, but uh, you know, they're kind of standing there and there's a tab that says beautiful backyard and like you can kind of see Seattle around the band and you know, kind of the view from Bainbridge.

[37:56] And I had just gotten all this new equipment and so that was why I took the wedding just because I thought, oh, well this is like a great Friday, I can go kind of, you know, it's still do a good job, but kinda like see how all this new equipment kind of works and everything. And uh, same kind of deal, you know, first kiss and they're sitting there and keep them, you know, there's only like 20 people in the audience. Right. And I'm sitting there and uh, it was like the uncle or the grandpa or something phone out with the light, with the light on shiny and shooting the video. Like it's three in the afternoon. They had a big umbrella the whole time behind them, like as they're kissing and he's like a, you know, a 90 degree like around them. And I just thought, you know, I've got probably $10,000 worth of video equipment planner that this couple right now the correct way. You know what I mean? And I was just like, you're absolutely, you know what I mean? It killing me. Because like,

[38:55] you know, you're just trying to, they're not getting the shots that they paid for that's still on my site. If you ever want to go look at that is the, the, the bay bridge one, but also to, to a point, uh, there, bartending service also hired off Craig's list was not professional, you know, they were, I don't know, like hired, hey, we'll do whatever. And the one was blacked out in the closet by 5:00 because um, you know, they were not licensed and insured and you know, it did not have a reputable business. And so they also realize, you know, you can find some diamonds in the rough on craigslist, like the photographer they had was really good too because I think we were all on craigslist. But then sometimes you do find people like, you know, that bartending service. Uh, so do you think like having been my point when I asked people like, so have you been married now and kind of going through that, do you, you do get caught up in those emotions and everything? Right. Talk about that.

[39:51] Um, I think the corporate side of me is still there where I can filter my emotions fairly well, but there are some weddings and some couples when it is truly that you can just see the love between them or they're having that moment during the ceremony that just, I will tear up, but they got the emotions really come into it because again, you're, you're meeting with these people quite a bit phone or in person. You really start to get to know them and they start to really trust and rely on you and when you have that kind of personal connection and then to see their union coming together. Um, it's just, it's something you can't really describe. You just have to experience it I think. And um, I don't know that's a, that's a hard one for me to put into words because it's a, it's emotional and you just feel you can actually feel, you know them enough that you can kind of almost feel what they're feeling in that moment.

[40:58] And, you know, when you're engaged and um, you know, kind of the downfall, the unglamorous side of my job is that oftentimes I get them down the aisle and I often have to run off to make sure the cater and everyone's in. So I might only get that last moment at the end of the ceremony or whatnot. So that's another thing is it's just so much more special. Like yesterday's wedding, I had to be there to help pass the football, cross the aisle if need be. And you know, I get back to see a lot more. And um, you know, that that's amazing. But then it's also fun to see the crazy quirky side. Like again, I'll just relate yesterday's wedding because it's so fresh in my mind. This bride was nervous. I mean everything is fine, but in the beginning, you know, we're trying to set up play or a traffic controller and whatnot.

[41:47] And I keep getting phone calls from her. Can you come upstairs? I go upstairs. She did need anything. She, you know, she was just very nervous to groom was also very nervous. Um, and it was hysterical. We get her, she starts to go down the aisle and she's still very tense. As soon as she got to the top of the steps and she went to go down, she started volleying it all the way down the aisle. It was so hilarious and so fun. And so her and it just, you know, again, is that meaningful draw, um, you know, and I guess I don't relate it to my wedding so much because to me it's, it's their wedding, it's their day and I, yes, I have my special moments, but they're making their own and I think that for me is just exciting to see. That gets me excited. That's what makes me want to do more and more weddings and more and more events and just to see the excitement that they have.

[42:44] That answers your question, but that's the truth. So then you were kind of doing corporate then, right? So you come back to Seattle, I mean, do you want to talk about Kinda transitioning into starting your own business is kind of where I'm trying to.

[42:57] Oh, I see. Okay. Um, yeah. So okay. Kind of circling back a little bit, so I've, I've had the career where no matter what role I was in, there was always some kind of event that went with it and I think it really wasn't until there was a period when I was back in California before I had children that I thought maybe I'll open up an event company and it, the tickler was there and then circumstances happened. Um, my then husband, we, like I said, we moved out of state and I also had the kids at that point. Um, so life was a little different. And my job right before I started the company was an event marketing company and we actually did in store promotions and we were executing, oh, on average about 300 small events a month. But it entailed everything from the management within it.

[43:55] Um, you know, my, my job, I would have 30 to 40 direct reports. I have to train them in. I'm like, we were talking about stepping stones for things. I can't cook. It comes out of a microwave. No, just kidding. I do a little bit. But um, it was ironic because here I am working where they had to do a lot of food sampling as well, so I had to get food manager certified, which is not just your food handler card. That is like I could open a restaurant if I wanted to, not going to happen, but I was learning that and all the aspects that gave it came into it really opened my eyes and appreciated that. Once I did open this, this company and I started really paying attention to what caters did. I had a whole respect for it. Um, same thing with, we were dealing.

[44:43] Confidentiality is huge. I've worked for Disney, I've worked for a lot of companies were just zip it, you know, you're not allowed to discuss certain things. And same with this company, we would have, our corporate team would go in and have, you know, Nabisco and Kellogg's or whatever, or Cora, you know, and have some weird hearing with a mattress. She company, I don't know, just weird stuff. And you'd have two or three big companies that you're our national international brands that you now had to train somebody to go out there and for eight hours promote. Um, so it was the management, it was the food service, it was the, it was the making sure that our pr there are appearance matched. I mean like if, uh, if Disney paired with, uh, you know, maybe snack products that would pair well with the lion king coming out, you know, we might be sent a special uniform to wear with that.

[45:39] That has nothing to do with fashion. It was just kind of quirky and fun. Um, so the nice part about that job was that we got to, in a sense, be our own boss. It was our job to get the cells however you want it to. So we got to have fun. You could dress up the carts, you could create the booth, you could partner with the store that you were in too. We did a big super bowl party, which was awesome. So we brought in, um, obviously we had to execute the event and we had to maintain all the safety standards, but we worked with the store and in partnership with that and I'm working in tandem. We were able to literally take display furniture and you know, play real sweet and nice and the z inbox and they were willing to move all this stuff into, set it up.

[46:26] And, and um, I remember this one in the big, like kind of the Deli area, the score store. Anyway, they moved stuff out of the way to actually make it. We brought it a big screen TV. There was a couch and stuff and the best part was it's all about experience and even our taglines are, you know, about experience, you know, we want you to have an amazing experience. And so that job really kind of laid the groundwork for what I wanted. What I didn't like. The ugly side of it is that it was corporate, it was so many rules and regulations and yes I worked for this company, but whatever store we were in, we were working with their management team to. Same thing when you're dealing with clients, right? You're dealing with lots of different entities. How do you bridge that? How do you make a get well in a corporate structure, you have rules and policies for a reason. They're there. There's a reason by having the freedom to step away from all that and really speak to it wasn't a cookie cutter template for how we spoke about that a little bit before about how, how you work with clients. This gives me the freedom to match my style to their personality and I think that just, it just makes me excited. I get all excited.

[47:40] That's, that's kind of it. So was it scary making that trip?

[47:46] I'm very lucky that my husband owns his own company too. So. And they've been in business for, I can't even count how many years. Um, I think it's like 15 or something. Um, but 30 collectively in the industry. And he had to go through those struggles of when you first start up, you don't have a client base yet and you're figuring it out. So he put up with those months of no income and he put up with a lot, can see where I was with a full salary, salary and benefits knew he understood and I'm so blessed to have a husband said, you know what, go for it because we talked about I really want to do this and I've wanted to do this. And I think I'm finally realizing this is the part of marketing that I love is the execution side of it and the event side of it, I really want to do this.

[48:35] And he's like, well, do it. He's like the mellow b personality. I'm like this eight personality out there all the time. He's like, just do it. I'm like, really? Like, that's simple. And he goes, I understand. And then you know, there were, there were tears the first year or so just trying to figure it all out and build a, build a company and you're not so sure at that point. So how far do you want to take it? What do you want to invest in is very hard and you know, at least I had a career to fall back on, but it was so excited because it just worked out and it happened. I had excellent support and you know, we were turning a profit by the, by the second year. So I was pretty excited about that and you know, it's grown and it's grown. I only take on a certain number of events a year so that I can keep it personal. I'm not looking to be the company that has 150 coordinator is out there doing whatever I want to be a part of it. This is why I stopped doing what I was doing to be a part of it. I don't want to be a manager. I want to be in the. I want to be there with them and experienced it with them.

[49:36] That's funny. I always said when, when I, the first year when I, because I kinda did that transition and then when I started in quit, uh, you know, there were a lot of days where it was really long dog walk, you know, a lot of like really, you know, like watch tv or you know, you Kinda, you're trying to fill the time. And it's like now like, you know, God, I asked my wife to do that, you know what I mean, but it, but it is. But um, you know, and I do think to a lot of people start or especially like with the weddings, like they'll do a wedding and there'll be like, well this is what I'm going to do. Like this is it. And it's like, it does take time, you know, and even, you know, with the podcast because like I'll talk to people that have been doing it for years and I'll talk to people that had been doing that, you know, and it's, it takes awhile and it's, you know, you kind of, you can't mix. Thankfully your husband kind of went through that. Like, you know, my wife's friend, uh, she's starting her own business

[50:39] and I said, okay, you know, like this, this will be kind of interesting because you don't know, right? And you don't know until, you don't know and then. But so yeah. And, and you know, like you think you're the expert and you're like, well, I'm going to go do this. And then like five years. So like I didn't know anything. So I thought I was so um, so talk to me about when it comes to planning and things with go. I always like to ask. So when you see clients now, what are some of the biggest like mistakes or that you could tell people? Like these are the biggest pitfalls that I see, you know, client, like they are like easy fixes,

[51:22] a few pitfalls when would be like the obvious would be favors people favors hands down. I've seen that there's a ton of threads on facebook right now about favors and it's so true. Um, there was one client it, oh gosh, it was I think five years ago now. And I remember it broke my heart to see that she put, she poured the couple as a whole, they created a little playlist and they put a slideshow together on a cd for all their guests and it was like a custom logo, a custom picture, the custom packaging. And I said okay, well you probably know this is average wedding, $150 or whatever. And I said okay, we'll probably do about half that because you figure most weddings and keep this in mind when you're doing invitations too. You don't need an invitation for every guest that you don't need a favor.

[52:15] I guess the same thing, like we legit or because I think we have 115 and we ordered like 200 is still have. And then it was like, no, we actually needed like 70 or 65 or whatever we did. We did the whole same thing. Rebecca didn't help us on that one. We just went over, we're going to order these and we have so many. Like we still have, we still dislike my wife, like puts them on the fridge just to like look at the photo or something. Sorry to interrupt.

[52:44] That's awesome. That's exactly it. And it is funny because he kicked a start kicking yourself when you get to the end and you're looking at those last little few thousand dollars and oh yeah, I have to do gratuities at the end too. Um, you know, so that's some of the pitfalls I see would be definitely, you know, keep in mind keeping in perspective and you no favors at best. Do Half your guest count. Um, just because it's not going to happen at the end of the day. Um, the other thing is cake and food. People always think the cake that rather they do cakes or desserts. Well, I'm just going to add two dozen or two dozen more of like, okay. People at a point, people are just full and you know, they're dancing and they're drinking. There's only so many sweets you can handle. I, you know, and there's a lot of amazing bakeries out there and the food is good.

[53:36] It's no reflection on them. They're just full or they're just done, and I can say that yesterday was the first time ever. I'm molly Corrina's, Corrina's bakery. She did the naked cake and it was the first time going off tangent here a little bit, but it was the first time I've ever seen all the cake Eaton and they only had 93 as their guest count and it was a three tier naked cake and we did cut heavier slices. Of course it was a lot of ballplayers, let me just put it that way, but it was the first time ever that literally after I cut a little slice of wheat or actually a big slice of cake for each, uh, for the couple to take back to their room. There was at the end of the night, there were literally like, I think seven pieces of cake on the table. That was it.

[54:23] And they ate all the little desserts with it. So it was fantastic. But that's not normal. Unless you have a big group of ballplayers, you're probably not going to go through all of that cake for 93 people. Three tiers is way too much. So I see people always worried about running out of food, trust your vendors. If you're hiring a pro, trust them, they know what they're talking about. If they've been doing this, they know what they're doing, you know? Um, so I think that's it favors invitations. I'm trusting your vendors. Uh, alcohol is the big one that comes up. Again, they overbuy but at least nobody really worried about that one because you can always use it later. That's not too big. Um, another pitfall I think is assuming that a flashy website or um, or their package rates reflect the quality of the vendor.

[55:17] I'm a firm believer like you were talking about craigslist. I'm, I'm a, I'm a firm believer that there are great people at all price points. I know I market myself a little bit. It, it's not to be, I'm not a budget planner, but I'm kind of in the middle and I do it on purpose and I have some strategies that keep my costs down so I can. Um, but that doesn't negate. There's, there are some out there that if they charge $700, odds are they're probably new on the, on the, on the thing. That doesn't mean they're bad, but they're learning and like you said, you can't walk in. You need to have a little humility because you don't know it all. And every single, every single event, I learned something new. I think that's important, but I see a lot of people spending that.

[56:03] Um, the other thing is, and don't hate me, but the photography packages, they'll, uh, some photographers now, I think it's fantastic that they offer kind of an all in package. A lot of Djs are doing that now. That's very helpful. And then some have kind of the more classic package where six hours hours, whatever. I haven't seen some brides get into like 12 hours shoots and a lot of my, um, Chinese couples will do that because it's a big tradition in their country and that makes sense. And they're doing like six dress changes and things like that. But when it comes to the kind of normal wedding, if you will, there is a limit to how much photography in the beginning you really need, otherwise you're just exhausted and a hot mess before you even walk into the ceremony. So I think that that's the other pitfall I see.

[56:52] But there again, it really comes in. Maybe that's their priority to. So photography is a priority then that's what we focus on. Um, and the other thing I think is really good is really do your homework with venues, make sure you're not just jumping on the venue because it's the lowest price one, because you may be spending a lot more money in tables and chairs and rentals and decorations just to get it to the look you want. Um, depending on what your budget is, if you can get into a venue that already has kind of these static you're looking for and then you're not spending nearly as much like, you know, when thornwood yesterday, I've, I've seen that dressed up every different way or not dressed up at all. And it's beautiful. So if flowers are your thing, we had one bride, Julia Julia's floral, she's now retired ish, but open to her rosary one, but she did a wedding out there and I think it was when it was all said and done, it was like over 3000 in the garden.

[57:48] Why? Because that's what she wanted and it was beautiful. It was this big aerial shot and they did this amazing aisle and it was stunning and that was important to her. So then yes, it's okay to spend that money. It's your wedding, but when you're trying to fit within a budget, my biggest advice would be focus on pieces of eye candy. Maybe it's the head table or a photo backdrop or something like that. Because at the end of the day your guests are going to remember if they had a great time, if it made sense for you. And if you had a, you know, if it basically good food, good music, right? And they're not going to remember the teeny tiny little details that you put into it. Like three people out of your guests won't even notice, you know? And it's fantastic. And it looks great on pinterest later, but at the end of the day, if you're, if you really get into a budgets savvy situation, that's a quick way to save a lot of money.

[58:42] Oh, I think the, like you said, looking at what's offered that goes for venue, photo, video, Dj everything. The price. Because yeah, you do see like, oh well you know, this photographer starts at 3000 and this one starts at a thousand and one I'm going to go at that one. But then you might have to add on, you know, an extra shooter and you know, to get your album and get your things in. It's the same like you said with the venue, like, well this venue is, you know, a thousand dollars. But then you have to add tables and chairs and rentals and all that stuff. That's

[59:14] those tables and chairs that some have them. But who's setting them up? Well there's an added cost or your family and friends are now doing that when they need to get in the shower, hair and makeup and photography it, you know. And, and so, yeah, definitely. Those are a lot of things and. Okay.

[59:30] Two things, uh, what happened with the cds I.

[59:33] Oh, sorry. Oh yes. The CDS. So it broke my heart because she, they felt so passionately that everyone was going. I mean because it was so personal to them that everybody would want their own copy instead of one per household maybe. Um, and they. And then they, of course they did like you did with the invitations and got a few extras just in case. And I had told them this is a personal experience and I had a cousin that got married and she did something kind of similar to that. And I mentioned to her that, you know, they gave me one, my husband, one and everybody else in a lot. I saw a lot left behind and I can tell you to this day I've never actually listened to it and maybe I wasn't that close to my cousin. I don't know. But I mean it was meaningful and great and I'm not trying to share away from that. I mean, it was actually, I did watch her as it was very beautiful, but she, the look on her face and her, her parents face when we boxed up and almost an entire. Yeah, but I mean they just looked heartbroken because they put so much passion into it and I, you know, like we always say we can always advise but we can't make them do it.

[01:00:49] No, and that's fair. We just got back, our friends just got married in Italy at like this. It was really quite over the top. It was really nice. And I, yeah, I attended as a guest and so we, we partook in the food and drink, but they have um, we stayed in Italy, you know, after the wedding and like one day we're, I don't know, we were walking over, my wife's eating this kind of stuff. I go away and she goes, oh, it was from the desert thing that favors it. Roxy and Zach's wedding. And so what are you talking about? She goes, oh, there was this whole like to go, not the cake table. Like there was a whole like, take it with you stuff. I said, oh, I never even saw that. No clue. Right. And I know that they had some sort of favor or something on their table that we didn't take. You know what I mean?

[01:01:39] A lot of times it's not even intentional. They forget they, they leave their purse, their or they get up, they dance, they drink, they have fun, and then they grabbed their bags and go because they see that you're packing up and it's just an afterthought. Yeah, absolutely.

[01:01:54] That was all the time. So if somebody in the industry, you know, I didn't even know. I'm like, yeah, how much did they spend?

[01:02:01] Yeah. Well one thing I love to do is, especially if that little flower girls and ring bearers, let's face it, by 9:00, these kids are getting squirrelly. They are bored. They don't know what to do with themselves. If you're going to have favors or something, save it. It doesn't need to be at the place setting. Save some money, put them together, have flower girl and ring bearer. They are over the moon. Excited to pass stuff out at the end of the night and everyone thinks it's so cute and then they, and then they feel inclined to take that and put it in their purse. Or um, we also will pack up everything that's left over on the tables and kind of before the guest leaves, we'll put it right by the door. Just hoping a few more edibles will usually go. Um, but anything else cozies cozies might be a good one to invest in. I've seen those goal. If you've got a drinking crowd of beer crowd and you're serving that, not glassware, those work nice.

[01:02:53] Uh, from the, from the same said couple from her bridal shower still on our kitchen island, a heart shaped a t, a dipper and Canada t and it says, you know, bruce some lab or something, but we've never used it. Sits there.

[01:03:12] Yeah. Well, yeah. And then kind of just on that topic of pitfalls and staff, you know, I did want to say that, you know, when you kind of goes with that and also looking at the packages and really plan it out, like don't just instinctually knee jerk book, that one. Um, first off you want to know that you're going to connect with them. Well, so talk to talk to your vendors, but also, um, when we were talking about like ven venues and really looking at those packets, do they provide table and chairs and how much is that always keep in mind even when you've got basic decorating, even if the florist, you know, as the floors to actually setting it up or are they just dropping them off or a lot of couples want to save a few extra bucks and pick it up themselves who's actually placing this stuff?

[01:03:58] Um, that's one thing. Like we offer a setup and tear down crew for example. Um, we do have that service, but ask about that because when it comes, push comes to shove, you've only got what the whole event itself is on average about six hours. Do you really want to spend all your time messing with that stuff? It's worth it. And again, I think coming back into, you know, those service companies that offer bartending, hosting those kinds of things and like even as we have an add on package or we'll refer you to great people, that's not my bread and butter, so we have it as a service, but I know great people who can do it just as well and, and again, playing with those packages and looking at what they have and what you said, the deejay packages for example, that's a big one.

[01:04:41] A lot of the Djs I enjoy working with, they know Africa kind of, you know what it's all in. This is my price, this is what you get. And it seems a little high. In fact, I just went through that with a client that's coming up here in August. They actually didn't want to go with a DJ and um, this was first time I've actually heard it, but it was exciting to hear. They said, you know, we see how hard you work. And then we think about a Dj who's only there for a few hours and we look at the cost and we're thinking what? And it was really funny because when we sat down and I got them, I set them up with meetings with three different price points for Djs, three different price points. We had one day we met with them, they ended up going with one of the higher priced ones because he had experienced at the venue.

[01:05:26] He, um, in fact it's like a second home. And He, uh, you know, and he was an all in kind of dj where it was you getting the biggest bang for your buck. So on the fly, you know, I'm sure you get that with videography to at the last minute. They're like, oh, can we add this? You know? And it's like, oh, well that's an extra in. They're like, oh, can we work out a deal because we don't have it. Well, you know, a, just like, you know what, I don't want him wanting to deal with it. I have the extra mic, I have the extra lapel, I have the extra. You want some lights, great. We'll throw in some lights and it's all just done. And I think that that's really working well with it. And I can't remember which planner it was. I think it was windy, but um, I was talking to the venue manager over at Pan Pacific and we're having a chat that one day and she's, you know, they said clients are now looking to do that.

[01:06:17] Amazon shopping, they want the package, they just want to click the button. That's it. That's what they want. That's what they want. And it's true and they're finding that in the hotels and stuff, they don't. The liquor packages, they want just, I want to know it's there and done. So in the same respect, you know, we're actually seeing that on both sides of the aisle, if you will, you know, the vendor side in the client side, they just kind of went all in packaging and that actually saves a lot of money in the long run too I think because then they don't get to the end of their budget and want something that they can't have because they're just tapped out.

[01:06:50] No. And I think that um, if you're, if you're upfront with me and you book, you book a reasonable time and if your event happened, your timeline, it happens to go half an hour over. But you know, like if you come up and you're like well okay, we need you from 4:46 and then okay, well then we're going to be on that, you know. But yeah, I think that a lot of couples wanted to just kind of like book it. No, it's taken care of. And that you said if it's a couple hundred dollars more and it's somebody that's been at the venue or knows the photographer, knows the planner knows whatever, you know. I think it speaks volumes, I think.

[01:07:29] Yeah, and I find that to light, just like what you said a lot. I mean we're already there. A lot of us, you know, the little, little 15, 20, 30 extra minutes or really not much. It's just added service. Added value. Yeah, but it's, it's a good thing for them to think about when they're trying to really maximize their budget is don't just look at price, look at what you're getting for that price. I think the best way it was explained to me in a different fashion is wearability, right? You have a $10 tee shirt that you're going to wear once or twice a week. Okay. Well, hopefully not twice a week unless you're watching that, you're going to wear it at least once a week, right? Or you have the $30 tee shirt that you're going to wear because it's so specialized. You're not going to want to be seen in all the time, so you're only going to wear that maybe two or three times a year. Well, where's your cost value? It's the same thing. It really is. It's like, what are you getting for your money and how much of that are you going to actually be using? I think that that speaks volumes, but you know, when you've got a pro, it's been doing it and especially, you know, we're all pretty kind out there and well, we all understand that you're on a budget. Um, you know, we make a living too, but we have hearts to a point.

[01:08:49] It's just true to it.

[01:08:51] Well, this has been such a good conversation. I really enjoyed getting to know you today and I think it's been awesome to get to see your showroom and I really appreciate your time and having me come in here. Uh, if people wanted to learn more about you, your company, your services, what you guys offer, what would you have them do?

[01:09:12] You can call me anytime we are a 24 hour operation. I always answer my phone within 24 hours or if I don't answer my phone immediately, it'll be within 24 hours. But you're also welcome to go online. We have two websites, www.elementsnw.net is our parent site and then we have one that is just focused on weddings and wedding packages and that's www.weddingelements.net

[01:09:38] Perfect. Well thank you so much. This has been so joyful. I really appreciate your time and your enthusiasm for this and I think it's really going to shine through and I thank you very much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Episode 16 (Korrine Claxton, Korrine C. Makeup and Esthetician)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I am joined today by a very good friend of mine, Korrine Claxton of Korrine C Makeup Artist and Esthetician and Korrine, why don't you say hi and tell us a little bit about who you are, what you guys do.

Hi Reid. So I am a makeup artist based out of Bonney Lake Washington. Um, I freelance all over the Pacific northwest. I work with, I'm a hairstylist so we can provide hair and makeup onsite. Um, we are two separate businesses but we've been working together for five seasons and she's kind of my go to hairstylists. Her name's Brenda. Um, and other than that, that's basically kind of what we do.

So, and I think Korrine, when I first launched the podcast and I sent everything out, I think you were one of the first people that reached out and said I want it to be a part of this. And so I really appreciate that. And I think that shows kind of your devotion to like, I think you were the first person and then I just feel so bad it's been so long

[01:17] now. Kids being sick and life happens. So um, you know, my brother got into his accident so we've just been kind of taking care of family. So I'm really excited to be here and getting a chance to kind of share what goes on during the morning of the weddings and bridal hair and makeup because I think that a lot of people don't really know the ins and outs of what goes into the makeup inhersight of your wedding day.

[01:44] No, I don't think so at all. And a credit and I actually met, we were talking to a couple of years ago with a stylized shoot that we did a, which is, you know, kind of where you set it up like a fake wedding to, to showcase. And it was a new venue out in Redmond. And it was so funny. Um, so the May, I was asking you off camera, did we know a ray who was the male model for that? And it was so funny because after we did that, um, thing, uh, I had just gotten on instagram and I have like five people, you know, it was like, yeah, I was going to get followers after a style issue and I was paying attention, you know, I was really able to like pay attention to who, um, you know, all I got for likes on this or whatever and this user Ray Bay Bay with like every single one of my posts and I couldn't figure out.

[02:33] And I was talking with Jeff and Jeff was at the stylized shoot and I was like, who is this guy? Like I would, I would post something and I'd be like, Ray Bay Bay is like in it. And Jeff, like that whole summer we would every time like, oh, did Ray like it? Did Ray like it?. And we find it took us like six months to realize that it was ray from the stylized shoot. So I thought I was getting like this notoriety. It, it turns out it was just a friend that I had, but I didn't. That is funny. Uh, so talk to me a little bit about Kinda what you guys do, like you said you the ins and outs and I think that when people think of light hair and makeup, maybe they don't know how in depth it needs to go or talked to me about kind of what, what you're thinking.

[03:12] Yeah. So first and foremost, I think that the biggest part of our industry is education and I think continuing education and what you need to have to know what you're doing for makeup and hair is super important. So you want to make sure that you're working with a licensed cosmetologist. Somebody who has gone to school for hair and has gotten licensed from the state of Washington to do hair is super important. Makeup you don't necessarily need to have that. I have my aesthetics license, which I went through school at Clover Park to do skincare, so I specialize in facials, waxing, peels, all of that stuff that goes into prepping your face for your wedding day, which I think is super important. And then I also do continuing education with other artists in the area, um, to kind of keep up on my color theory and keep up on the new trends that are coming out.

[04:20] I mean, makeup is always changing and to keep up on my product knowledge. So I think that first and foremost, that is the first thing that a bride needs to look for is do they have the education to back them up? Are they licensed with the state of Washington? Do they have all their business licensing to work and are they insured? So for me that's like first and foremost, if you don't have those things then you probably shouldn't be practicing on people because it's super important to. You could mess up, you can get an allergic reaction. We're working with products we're not working with, you know, just picking up a cameron, you know, taking pictures. We're working on people's skin. So I think you need to have the knowledge to back that up. So I'm first and foremost, I think that's most important. And then what I do with my bride specifically as once they book, we meet for a consultation and we go over what the details of their wedding is going to be.

[05:18] So I like to know is it going to be rustic, is it going to be Bohemian, are you going to be wearing your hair down curls? What's your dress look like? Because all of those details are super important to create a customized look for each bride and bride. Every bride is going to be the same. So after that we then set up a pinterest board. And pinterest is super important. It's a great tool to have. Um, I do more natural makeup, so I'm not really a total transformation makeup artist. I tend to just want to bring out my brides natural beauty. So if I start seeing pins that kind of have like winged eyeliner or super dramatic lips, then I'll kind of be like, are we really on the same page? And then we meet for a trial run and trial runs are about two hours.

[06:08] Can we go through and we do the whole look for the wedding party and if they want to make any changes for the date of then we can make those changes at the trial run. I take pictures, I write down everything. I'm make sure that the products, you know, stayed on their face for a long time and then the wedding day happened. So that's just what I do just to get to the wedding day. So it's about a six hour process, you know, working with me prior to just doing the trial run and the wedding day. So

[06:42] yeah. But I think that that's so important because, you know, and I've talked to you I think in the past about like, you know, I see so many posts online and you know, inquiries on the wedding community itself. Like you know, my makeup person cancelled or you know, somebody flaked out or they were supposed to show and it's because they're not, you know, people are finding, you know, friends or somebody that does it on the side or live do it, you know, once a year. And you know, when it's somebody that has a business that's licensed and insured, right? I mean, it's not trustworthy. Seriously. I take my job very seriously,

[07:14] actually. I went through a aesthetic school because I wanted to become a better makeup artist. Um, how I got my start was working with a photographer. I was doing headshots for an agency. And so I realized that's not like a full time paint and Gig that's only every once in a while. And so I went into skincare and in aesthetic school we learned color theory. We learn face shapes, we learn how to highlight and contour to match people's face shapes, not just, you know, painting by numbers. And um, so I think that's very important to have the education and to, you know, make sure that you are licensed and insured and you're not just doing it as a hobby because you are touching people's faces and you have to make sure that you know what you're doing because anything can happen.

[08:09] So when you talk about like face shaping and things like that, so you can like look at somebody's face and kind of.

[08:16] Yeah. See where they need to have like so highlighting means that I'm going to be bringing your features forwards. So usually when I highlight somebody's face I want to highlight where the sun is going to naturally hit. So I do that with like a little bit of Bronzer, just on the cheeks. I do a little bit of lightning with like a little bit of a lighter foundation color and then I can contour with a little bit of a darker foundation color. So I'm, the trend right now is to just apply wherever they want to like on their face. So a lot of makeup artists we'll just supply like oh I do it here so I'm going to do it on my other clients here, you know, on cheek bones and stuff. I'm realizing that people can't see what I'm doing a good job. And so I want to look at some of these features and I want to bring out their best features.

[09:07] So you know, if that's me talking to my clients and saying, what do you like about your face? What don't you like about your face? What is something that do you like your eye color? Let's bring out your eyes because certain colors, like if you have blue eyes then you're going to want to tend to go to like the more purples and Greens and bring your eichler out that way. So there's just a lot. That's where color theory comes in because color theory super important when I do my job. So. And it's not just matching a foundation color, it's matching the undertones to a person's face color, you know? So it, there's a lot to it

[09:47] but it's not a one size fits all thing is what you're saying that I think some people are or especially like where you do like a trial run and in the photos and going through that. But like, I mean I'm sure you could just show up and do somebody makeup you wouldn't prefer, you know, I mean a lot more should go into that than just oh I need somebody next Tuesday to do.

[10:08] Exactly. So. And when, especially like if I'm doing boudoir or if I'm doing working with clients that are getting like senior pictures done than I do just go to their house and just work with them once and then we're done. But with brides, I want to know what I'm doing the wedding day because it makes the wedding day morning go so much more smoothly because I already have the products listed that I used. I already know what works. We've already talked and said, hey, did your foundation hold up? Do we need to add a little bit more airbrush? Do we need a little add a little bit more setting powder, setting spray. So um, I have all of that information before the wedding day so, and I tend to make sure that my weddings the morning of run super smoothly and I don't want to be sitting there and messing with products and trying to figure out what's gonna work bridesmaids. So it's a little different because we don't get to work with them prior to. But we can still make a really pretty pallet based off of what we've talked with the bright about.

[11:14] Logistically, I mean that's difficult to coordinate that, but you know, and like you said like you're doing like the senior portrait, like you could have an extra 10 minutes if you need to, like, you know, it's not this like a wedding day, you know, you've got 45 minutes or like. And so I mean as a, as a videographer. And I know I speak for photographers as well, like that is one of the most challenging parts of the day is you know, making sure all that's done on time because, you know, like we had a, we had a bride where um, we ended up not like really we ended up, we had to do was she ended up wanting to like reschedule with their photographer laser to do portraits another day because we didn't have enough time. They felt like they have, you know, because you know, the hair took an hour or two long and then the makeup, you know, and then it was like, it pushes everything all day and then, you know, if we're there for eight hours in your makeup goes in our over 30 minutes. I mean you need to be like on the ball.

[12:15] Yeah. So and how I solve that problem is I create a timeline with my bride a month prior to working with them. So I get the list of bridesmaids, I figured out if I need to bring on extra people. If I do that makes the wedding day, you know, because my bridal parties are about 12 people on average. So I usually am working with, for artists plus an assistant. So in order to do that I need to have a very coordinated timeline and it also helps because we go on site. So brides are not coming to us. We go to them, which I think is super helpful. I've worked with bridal parties where they're getting their hair done at a salon and working with a salon who isn't really specializing in bridal. They are dealing with other clients. They're not solely focused on the bride and the bridal party and it just, they usually are running behind. So I prefer my brides to work with my team because we've worked together for about five seasons than we can get you guys done in. You know, we tend to stay with the bride for an hour each and then the bridesmaids are 45 minutes and we usually are working, starting at like six in the morning and then. But yeah, we usually run on time.

[13:38] Well it's tough because, I mean even lately, you know, there's weddings I've shot where it's like they don't have that um, that grid kind of that plan. And they'll be like, oh, who else needs it? Or are like the big, well, you know, my mom really needs some and it really needs some and could we do this and you know, and then it's like, or you know, we've had them where like even they're like, well, you know, not like the bride's like, well shit, I start right now. And they're like, well we uh, we can wait a not like, don't like I would much rather have the bride be able to relax for five minutes with their makeup done then to be half an hour behind because it wasn't.

[14:15] Exactly. And when I know my makeup last, I mean I know from brides who, you know, past experience and they're like, oh man, it lasted the whole morning until 10:00 AM at 10:00 PM at night. And so when I get a bride who's like, well, will it really last? I'm like, yes it will. And I provided a touch up kit to get you through the day. I was like, but when I coordinate my timelines, I go based on the bridesmaids names. So a lot of makeup artists, they'll just put like, bridesmaid one rise me to bridesmaid three bridesmaids for where I go based on your name. So it's an appointment and if you're late for your appointment then you're making the entire bridal party late in it. They have to sign my contract stating that everybody will be on time. And if they're not on time then they don't, they get shortchanged. So I, I run a really tight ship because I don't want to be, I don't want to be blamed to have whole Brecho party running late.

[15:16] So. So I mean if you talk with people they will say like, hair and makeup. I mean it makes or breaks a day and totally bad timing. Plus, I mean besides that, like the emotion behind, you know, you want everyone to be happy and you don't want them to feel rushed

[15:32] and it is hard because you know, when you're wrangling bridesmaids and they're just waking up because we're your first vendor that you see. Usually they were drinking the night before. Now they're waking up and they're having to wake up at around seven, 8:00 AM and they don't want to and they're wanting their coffee there and wanting to eat breakfast. They are wanting to just relax and I'm like, you're sitting down because you're the first person in the chair and if you weren't an early person you should have said, hey, I don't want to go first. So you're sitting down, you're getting your makeup and your hair done and that's just how it's going to be. So. And I have no problem saying that and I think my brides appreciate that and I tend to have my brides go in the middle. I don't want them to be at the first and I don't want them to be last because the last there's always rushing out the door, getting their dresses. It's usually pretty chaotic, so I want her to be able to relax and enjoy her morning. So

[16:31] yeah, and that's what we had done when my wife's friend emily is a makeup artist and she had offered to do the services for my wife and like I think that was the same thing that she had five or six. We didn't do bridal parties but she had know friends that got it and it was like one, two. She did it because we could go do some other stuff. You know, we did our first look and whatever wall other people. It's like not everyone needs to be.

[16:56] And that's what I explained to them too is if you need to have your first look done at 1:00, well we'll have you done by 11. You will not feel rushed. You'll still get to have your lunch. You get to leave, go and take your pictures. Like you don't have to wait around for your entire bridal party to be done because usually they have their pictures done a little bit later so. And photographers need that time to get those really amazing, stunning pictures. So I mean you have to have a well coordinated schedule and I think that that is one of the things that kind of differentiates my business to other businesses because I do take that time and I scheduled a month before and I really want the wedding day to go smoothly. So

[17:48] yeah, I mean in understanding that you're, you know, you're. And we're all kind of in this piece together, right? That it's not like a separate, you know, the year, you know, it's, it's your vendor team. And so, um, one day I wanted to ask, I've noticed lately I'm grooms getting touch ups. Is that, is that. I don't know, is that a new thing? Is that.

[18:10] Well actually it's funny. So I just got contacted on wedding wire from a barber who is wanting to do male grooming on site, just like the bridal party. He comes, he shaves, he cuts, he trends. I don't really know, I've, you know, I mean they did it at our style, a shoe, um, when. Yeah, so the dress somewhere so, um, I mean it is kind of becoming more popular and I actually, I like it because I get, you know, these images back and the brides are looking beautiful and fantastic and then the groom's hair is messy or he just is not as put together. So I can't say I hate it because I think it's kind of cool.

[18:54] I know. Or like if you have like some ball grooms or you know, they might get a little bit. Okay.

[18:59] Shiny. They don't want that shine. Exactly. So I think it's important and I think, you know, for men I don't think that, you know, having makeup to cover as it or you know, I don't think that it's such a stigma anymore. So I think that, you know, I've gotten asked plenty of times from grooms, Hey, I have some acne showing. Can you cover it? Yeah, you want to look good for pictures.

[19:25] So remember we had the wedding a couple weeks ago and they did, um, some rituals where the bride and groom were Chinese and you know, he came in and they had to answer a q and a about like, you know, how did they meet or anything like he probably didn't know a lot. Like it was really funny. But for every question to groom got wrong, the bridesmaids put like lipstick and foundation and so this is not, you know, we're talking a lot more refined but I can't get the image of Jason and his men with blue wash and stuff. I'm hilarious. It was funny. Uh, so I wanted to talk about you. I want to talk about Kinda how you got your start. You said you started with a photographer.

[20:10] So way back when I'm 11 years ago, I was in high school and I wanted to be an actress. And so in order to become an actress you have to get your head shots done. And anyway, the photographer that was doing my head shots really liked how I did my makeup and he wanted me to work with him to do all the other kids that came in and got their head shots done because he said they just don't have any direction. And like I said, my look is a lot more natural. I don't want to mask anyone's natural features. I to bring them out and showcase them. And so honestly that was how I got my start. He really took a chance on me and he got me into the industry. I had no desire to do makeup artistry but I really fell in love with it and I really fell in love with making people feel good about themselves and seeing them in a different light and just talking to them and hearing their story.

[21:09] And so I ended up getting my aesthetics license in 2007 from Clover Park Technical College. And I worked in the salon and spa industry for about five years. And it was really sad because both spas that I worked at ended up not making it. They closed down and so I needed a place to have my clients come and so I decided to work out of my home. My husband and I in 2011, bought our house in Bonney Lake and we had all these extra spaces like our. We had four bedrooms planning for a family, so it was just like, I'm just doing it. I'm just starting my business and I'm just going to do facials and that's where I thought it was gonna be is just facials, waxing. And then I met a photographer who needed a makeup artist for a shoe and it was a vintage 19 forties shoe.

[22:06] And so I offered my services and I just got back into makeup again. I mean skincare and makeup, they go together but they're so different and when you are in the facial and peel and waxing world, you're really not focusing on, you know, makeup, artistry. So it was really fun and it got me back into the game and I was like, okay, I can do this. And the hairstylist I work with, she worked at gene whereas, and she was like, I need to make artist for weddings, do you want to help me out? And I was like, yeah, heck yeah. So I didn't really at that point in time because again, doing weddings in a salon and spa is completely different than doing weddings onsite. So on spa the bridal party comes to you, you're using testers, you're not using your own kit. So I mean you're just, you don't have a lot of access to a lot of pro products at that time.

[23:10] So I, you know, a lot of trial and error went into the business I'm writing now and um, I would say I had my kids, um, 2013 in 2014 and there 10 and a half months apart. So candidate the baby thing for awhile and focused on them. And then probably about three years ago, four years ago when I, you know, was able to get, you know, a good stylist to work with me and I really just kind of took it off and ran with it. Did a lot of research, you know, what products to use for, um, photography when you're in the spot industry, you're using mineral makeup, so mineral makeup, it's just a powder makeup that you just slush on and put on with a brush and it's not the best. It's not the best for photography. It's not the best for weddings, it's not very long lasting. So, um, it took a lot of trial and error to figure out what products I wanted in my kit and a lot of that I did classes with Shin modally from Pacific brides and she, you know, she's amazing and has a lot of knowledge and so learned how to airbrush and I mean that was really how my business kind of got going. So

[24:35] yeah. Um, it is fascinating because he would make them with technology and photography and video like I know from working in TV and like with airbrushing and stuff, but like, you know, when um, everything was standard, you know, and really poor quality. Like you could get a lay away with a lot more. And then like once all the news stations. Yeah. That it was like, because I have been, and I'm sure it's not the case anymore or maybe it is, but like I remembered that they would sell like, you know, hd TV makeup that like all these reporters would buy and kind of do themselves in the back because now we're like, I mean follow those and stuff like you see

[25:11] everything. Yeah. And that's super important and that's partially why I am. I love working with photographers. I love doing the stylized shoots because I need to see not just on a bride's wedding day, but I need to see how my products work. Usually with a styled shoot, I'm onsite, I'm seeing how they work with the sun, work with the topography exposure when I'm working with photographers for a wedding day, I don't leave until I see a picture. So I literally am like walking around being like, Hey, have you taken a picture of them yet? Because I need to see it. So I need to see if I need to fix anything. And um, there's a big, I don't know if you know anything about like the sparkly highlighters that a lot of brides are, you know, they're like super, super sparkly. They have a lot of um, iridescent pigments in it.

[26:05] And so basically what happens is when these brides get their pictures taken, it creates like a big white like mark because they're highlighted to the point where it kind of, the citizen is bouncing off of them. So I make sure that when I use highlighting and contouring, it's just a matte finish. It's not anything with iridescent sparkliness um, because it looks better in photography. So that's one of the things that, you know, you learn over time and the sparkly pigments are always so pretty. But I'm in what brides gravitate towards, but that doesn't necessarily work for photography.

[26:45] Yeah. I've seen a lot of makeup artists, you know, what, when we're getting ready to, you know, do as a photographer, like hey, you know, snap a couple photos and then look at it. Because it is, it's like on your phone or to the eye. It's not the same as a nice, you know, high pixel camera taking, seeing the light. I'm talking about going to a consensus dietitian school. Yes. I want to hear about that. I want to hear about the motivations behind that to do that.

[27:11] So, you know, honestly it was just makeup artists street and I, you when you're working with a bunch of different skin types, skin tones and acne, skin, oily skin, dry skin, mature skin, you just, your brain starts to think and your brain is like, what can I do differently or better? And that was my motivation for a static school. I needed a steady income. I really, I didn't ever. I got one facial before I went to aesthetic school. My husband bought me a date at gene whereas. And I really, I really liked it and I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what these machines were doing to me and like the drive behind these warm towel compresses that got put on my face. Have you ever had a facial before? No. Oh, well, it's super relaxing. You may like it. Um, so any way I really fell in love with the industry and I wanted to know more so I went through the esthetics program.

[28:17] I mean, and honestly it's like a big party for six months. Like girls just are getting waxed and getting body treatments and getting facials in. You Do, you learn a lot. You have to learn all about the skin anatomy. So the DERMIS and Epidermis, how hair grows. Like I mean it, there's a lot that you learn in that time frame to help you figure out how. Why does acne, you know, why were to see them come from, where does acne come from, why are certain people oily, why are certain people dry? So you learn a lot and I got really fascinated with the skin anatomy, skin types and figuring out, you know, what products will work best. And I really loved helping people with acne, specifically teenagers. So when I was doing my skin practicing practice, I was working with a lot of teenagers to their self concept. Their self conscious, they have acne, they don't, they don't want to be in high school with acne. So I learned a lot about how to help them and do extractions safely and to where there's no scarring, you know, learning about peels, learning about led light. I mean the skin industry changes rapidly so there's always something to learn and I still love to do continuing education. So

[29:41] no, it's interesting that we had a moment yesterday and I wouldn't, I don't know if the bride, like, she's not like a super make, it'd be person. I mean she, you know, but like she was so happy with, you know, she had a professional makeup artist even though it was an ultimate, which was great because, you know, it's great. And um, you know, she was so happy because, you know, I think when you know, somebody that's professional, like you know what you're doing obviously, but like, you know, kind of how the highlight people and there's certain, you know, like, you know, like my wife Dorothy does the same makeup everyday. Right. And like, and it's good, you know, and I'm sure it's great, but like when you know exactly like, well these things, this is what your skin tone needs and skin type. And um, you know, to make it look the best, right?

[30:27] Yeah, you do. And you learn that and it's also not only that, like you said, Dorothy, she wears her makeup the same way every day and it's actually a lot more scary for a woman to go to a makeup artist and they're in their routine, they know what they feel like, looks good for their features. And so it's finding a balance of what still will make them feel comfortable, feel like themselves and bring out what I feel like is best for their features. And that comes with getting to know my clients and getting to know, you know, what their skincare routine is. Are they a minimalist, do they wear a lot of makeup, are they full coverage? What exactly goes into their beauty routine? And I tend to gravitate towards more of the, Oh, I usually just do a little bit of foundation blush and Mascara.

[31:23] And you know, where when I get a girl that is like, oh, I, I do full coverage and knows like all of the brands. I'm like, Oh, I'm like okay, we can work with this. But it's still, you know, I prefer to have somebody because I feel like I'm not going to be battling with them and I feel like I'm not going to be having to explain my process and my products are all pro products, so that means like I'm working with like hd foundations, I'm working with Airbrush, so it's not what you're going to get at Ulta or Sephora. And so when you have a girl that's obsessed with like brand obsessed, she doesn't understand what our CMA foundation is and the benefits of a wax foundation compared to like a cream, you know? So yeah. So that's just.

[32:14] No, but I get what you mean that were like, we tried the same kind of couples that was like, you know, just like a severe weather day where like if I have like a Hollywood producer come in and you'd be like, if you want, you know, it's, it's, you know, what you're doing. Yeah,

[32:30] exactly. And not every bride is going to be gravitating towards me. And even if they do, we may still not, you know, we still may have, you know, issues to work out. And that's totally okay because that's what's great about the wedding industry is there so many vendors and I know so many makeup artists who do a fantastic job at that total transpiration, full beauty, full coverage and I can refer it out. So I, that's partially why I do the consultations and take the time to get to know my clients because I really do want to make sure that we're a good fit. And I mean it's your wedding day, you want to make sure you like your vendors, you don't want to make sure that you're just hiring them because they're available or they're in the right budget. So I really do take that time to get to know them.

[33:21] No. And it's, you know, we've, I've had weddings, I do like the more natural, I mean it, I've shot some brides where you're like, that doesn't even look like you anymore, which is fine. And then they look beautiful photos and separate like, you know, I've had some brides were like, I've spent the day with them and then like I'll go back and look at like the getting ready or them like pre, you know, like maybe there's one show, you know, we don't try to shoot a lot of like pre makeup where you're like, oh, like that's not even the same.

[33:52] Well we'll see. And that's the other thing is I also tell my brides like you're seeing your guests who hopefully you've known for a long time. Hopefully you just inviting people because you want a big wedding. Hopefully you're inviting people who are family and know you and they know you a certain way and they want to see you shine. And you're also going to be seeing people. So yes, you want your pictures, you know your pictures to look amazing. You want your makeup to look amazing in pictures, but you also want to make your makeup look amazing when you're seeing people in person

[34:29] well and you'd like, you know, your husband or wife or whoever to.

[34:33] Exactly. And so many times when a bride is like, oh my husband doesn't like it when I wear makeup and oh, it means like the full coverage, like the Glam, the lashes and everything. And it's like, okay, yeah, I totally get that, you know, because they don't, they don't want to surprise walking down the aisle. So yeah, exactly. So, and that's something I do reiterate to my brides is that you, yes, you want to look gorgeous and pictures and a lot of, for a lot of brides that means you got to put on a lot of makeup. And for me I'm like that's not necessarily true with a little color correcting a little airbrush foundation, just a little, you know, lashes. I use cluster lashes, I don't use like the strips and you will still look gorgeous in pictures but you will feel more comfortable because you look like you and your guests will see you and they're not going to be seeing a ton of makeup on your face, you know? So I think that that's super important and that's a fine balance. And I prefer to have my skin look like skin. So there is a fine balance between that I've had and I'm not saying that either, either way is bad, you know, both ways are gorgeous. It's just, you know, I tend to attract more natural. Right?

[35:51] Yeah. I, I've shot some, you know, where you're like through the lens are you shooting at a distance and it's you know, and then like Europe, you know, two feet away talking to them and you're like oh there's a lot of that. Like you can really see the makeup thing. Exactly. So, and I mean I don't know

[36:05] if you've ever done, I think this might be a girl thing, but like celebrities, makeup and then you can zoom in on the pictures and see like, or it could be a makeup artist thing. I don't know. But I like to zoom in and I can totally like if I see a ton of makeup kicked on, I'm like, oh, like that's what people. Because when people are with you, they're like this close to you, they're hugging you and like that's what people see as the zoomed in picture of you

[36:29] like two.

[36:31] Exactly. So I, you know, and I think a lot of that has to do with my knowledge and skincare, skin prep. We get your skin prepped before the wedding. Um, we take care of things prior to so that way on the wedding day your skin will be beautiful, flawless and we don't have to do a lot of covering up. So

[36:52] talk to me. So when you decided to kind of go back into weddings and kind of launch, you know this now with your makeup, uh, any challenges, any being like any difficulties early on? So

[37:05] because I am a licensed esthetician, I'm not a licensed cosmetologist. I'm one of the biggest hurdles was finding hair stylists because I do want, I mean eventually my goal for the future is to do work with the team and be able to provide more. Um, and so really it's just finding a reliable stylist and preferably it's one that will give up their saturdays in a salon one that will, you know, come with me on site. And it was funny. I met Brenda at a wedding five, five seasons ago and it just, it just so happens we were working the same wedding, never met each other prior, found out she lives in Bonney Lake and you just meshed. And I, she contacted me for some skincare services and I started trading for skincare, for make hair, so she cuts my hair and we just, we hit it off.

[38:06] She was really interested in doing bridal hair and we just kind of, I call her my partner in hair. I mean we're two separate businesses so our billing systems are a little different but we make it work and it's nice to be able to provide brides both hair and makeup so they're not scrambling and I know who I'm working with. So I would say that was probably one of the biggest hurdles. And then also I kind of did a name change so I wanted to. My business name prior was Koreans facial and waxing studio and I was like, that's not gonna work. So, you know, having to restructure your business and then, you know, if I do work with teams eventually in the future, I'm going to have to restructure again. But um, that was another business hurdle because I was like, do I put like, you know, do I create a cute business name and, or do I just kind of keep it simple and I'm gina from the ground up floral. One of her comments when she saw my logo was she liked the fact that it has currency, makeup artists and esthetician because it shows that I did go to school and I do know what I'm doing and it kind of makes me stand out than from other makeup artists because I don't treat this as a hobby. This is my full time job besides taking care of my kids. So I, you know, take it very, very seriously.

[39:44] Yeah. Whenever I hear about like other vendors, you know, if they've done a name change or a whatever, I'm always like, I would just be a nightmare. Like I couldn't imagine it.

[39:54] Yeah. It was not fun and I was just like, you know, so I decided to keep it simple, but get you to, you get a new logo, you get, you know, your business website, you had to, you know,

[40:05] it's everything. It's wire, it's your business cards, your every email. It's everything. Yeah.

[40:12] So it was, yeah. So it was not fun. It took me awhile, but I was, you know, I'm glad I did it because it kind of shows what I do more and um, where my business is heading. So, which I am very grateful for.

[40:30] Talk to me about the first wedding that you were paid to do makeup or hair and makeup and you know, in a, in a professional setting, there wasn't like a, like a friend.

[40:40] So the first Gig that I got paid, it was probably in like 2012 and um, I was working with my friend missy who worked at gene whereas, and I charge $50 a person, which I don't anymore. I learned my lesson. Weddings are hard work. You deserve to get paid what you're worth. Um, and actually it went really well. Um, the bridesmaids were great, I didn't have a timeline, I was just a free for all I was, I was pregnant, so I was, you know, it was very different than how I run things now, but it taught me a lot. Um, the products that we're using was probably not what I would have chosen now. Um, but you know, when you're not really in that industry as long as you should be and you're like, you think you can do it. So, but it lasted. She gave me a great review. She was super sweet. She loved everything. We got them done a little behind. I was that artist that got them done, you know, half hour, 45 minutes late. And I learned my lesson from that too. And Yeah. But overall I'd say it was a really good first wedding for sure.

[42:09] It is, yeah. Funny. They'll look back and be like, what? Like all of the things like I didn't know or like email you to like I, my first wedding, like I don't have a timeline. Like I know I just knew the venue and you're going to go shoot. Yeah. So that's fine.

[42:24] Yeah, it's um, you do, you learn a lot. And I learned a lot about different skin types in. I mean, in my kit now I have cream foundations, I have airbrushed foundations, I have a liquid foundation. So like I have foundations that work with every single skin type and skin tone or before I just had the liquid foundation as good to go. I got at Sally's beauty supply and I thought, you know, and I was like, I can do this, you know, I had no idea what I was doing so I brushes, had no idea that, you know, I needed, you know, I got my brushes at Sally's beauty supply. So I mean now my kid is like insane. But um, yeah, I had no idea what was at that time, you know, even though you went through aesthetic school, like the brushes they give you, like the makeup they give you is just mineral makeup and it's, you know, what salons use in the brushes are so great. And so I had to learn all of that on my own. Um, what are some common

[43:32] mistakes, you know, education moments with, you know, brides or bridal parties or groups or whatever, but like things that you see a lot right now in the industry that you know are like easy corrections or are things, you know, words of advice that way.

[43:46] So I would say for the most part, trial runs usually when a bride does a trial run, they expect it to be perfect with no tweaking and I think that's a very unrealistic expectation because usually after a trial run I am taking their pictures in with my makeup light. I'm taking pictures in natural light. I'm taking pictures in daylight and so I think that and then I see things I want to tweak. So I think that brides have to realize that they need open communication with their makeup artist and hairstylist in that it's just makeup, like it can be taken off, it can be, you know, we can, you know, if we have to Redo a line, an eyeliner line if you want it sicker. I mean, these aren't make or break type of situations, but I had a bride who got a five trial runs prior to me and she was just unsatisfied with all of them and I'm like, at what point do you have to realize that it's probably either a, you're not hiring the right people or b, you're not communicating well and her looks that she was wanting.

[45:00] Whereas completely different from what she is. So like when I refer breads to Pinterest, I say choose people that look like you have similar face shape. Have some real eye color, you know, don't be just choosing pictures because you think they're pretty. So like if I have a girl who has red hair and freckles dimes didn't own, she comes in with like a Kim Kardashian picture that she wants recreate it and I'm like, that's just not realistic. That's not what you look like in any way, shape or form. Look at people with red hair and freckles and it'll will be a little bit more realistic. And so I feel like brides also have to realize that as makeup artists, we all specialize in different areas. And that not every, just because you're hiring a makeup artist doesn't mean that we all are specializing in that super high glam or that the super high glam artists are specializing in natural looks. We all specialize in different things. And you have to go with somebody who you're attracted to their portfolio first.

[46:03] Yeah, that's two points. One, I'm totally like knowing what your route is. Like I've had people that like have emailed me like, hey, we need to do this or like we want to do like a whiteboard animation video and then like, that's not like, you know, I just can't. Like, I could probably figure it out, but I don't think you want that be. I think it's a great point about it is like a trial because I do think like, even dorothy when she was doing, she had trouble finding the hair to get her hair done and you know, because you go in and you give it and she'd be like, oh, I hate this. Like that's how it's going to be. It's like, well no, that's not like. It doesn't need to be that way. Like you need to

[46:43] communicate and just say, hey, we like, we had a bride who she chose a sale that was like super, super curly in the back and it was really, really pretty. But her dress was super structured and it was very, very modern and I kept telling her, I was like, you know, it's like, I really think that you should do something sleek. Something that super, you know, modern, not necessarily just a really pretty curly up do. And so any way she did it and she's like, you know, it just didn't work with my dress. I really was not what I was expecting you. So she came back in for another hair trial. We did the super sleek, modern update. She cried, she loved it so much. She was like, I should have just listened to you, but I saw this picture. I thought it was really pretty.

[47:31] And that's the other thing is like you can go based off of a picture, but what you're seeing on pinterest is usually like a lot of extensions. I mean, there's a lot more work to it than just putting your hair back and curly if it's like a super thick up. Do like the braids that are really popular that are super thick like it. That takes time and that takes extensions and that takes, you know, a lot longer to figure out then just let's curl your hair and pull it back in a braid. So I think that comes with again, communication because if I can meet with them ahead of time and they show me what they're wanting and I can see their hair type and be like, are you prepared to spend about $400 in extensions prior to getting your hair done? And either a.

[48:21] they're like, heck yeah, or b. they're like, let's find a new look. So there's a lot more to it and that's why you need to find somebody who knows what they're doing and not just, Oh, I found this girl. She's super cheap, or my friend can do it. And we've done bridal parties where some of the bridesmaids don't want their hair done and they're doing it themselves and it's like bobby pins are sticking out. It just doesn't look as structured and it doesn't match the breast of the bridal party. So, you know. And I think that's something that brides need to take into consideration too.

[48:56] Yeah. Cause I saw a, I think just recently on online, somebody had posted like, oh I had my hair or my makeup trial and it was a disaster and I need somebody else. And I even people were commenting on, they're like, well, you know, have you have, you had this conversation and it might, like you said, it might just be like a gel, you know, they didn't gel with them but it could just be that you, you know, that they would thought they would do is. I mean people you do what you think. And then if it didn't work out, you know, it's nice.

[49:23] Something like they want like a lighter shimmer color on the inner lid or the liner wasn't as thick as what they want. I mean, these are like super minuscule, easy changes to make and usually it's because they're afraid to hurt people's feelings. Like I had a bride, I think it was three seasons ago, who she was really stuck on like that. Kim Kardashians look, and she really wanted the highlighting and contouring and so we, you know, are doing it and it just wasn't right. And so I think I added more blush and bronzer and she really wanted a bronzy or luck and so instead of telling me that she told her mom while thankfully I'm good friends with her mom because her mom called me and she was like, Hey, can she come in and just get more bronzer? And I was like, yeah, did more bronzer?

[50:13] She's like, yeah, I didn't think you could do this. I didn't want to hurt your feelings. I'm so sorry. I should have trusted you. And the day of her wedding, her other attendance went someplace else to get their makeup done and any way they come in and Shimmer, shimmer highlight that looks super white. They're really super dark contour line that you can still see. That looks like almost gray, I don't know if you've seen I. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And like the really Matt Dry Lips and I was like, so when you're talking highlighting and contouring to a makeup artist like that will be what you get when you're wanting just your facial structure just to be a little bit more sculpted with a little bit more bronzer. This is what you get. She's like, oh my gosh, I'm so glad. Because she's like, that's who I was going to go to if I couldn't figure it out too. And so it's like, it's super easy. Changes in communicate communication is key.

[51:09] Yeah. I mean we're, you know, people were professionals and they get it and you know, it's a job and I think like, you know, early on, I don't know, I know I personally like struggled with that a little bit where, you know, I'm doing what I think and if somebody does isn't happy and like you get your feelings a little bit, you get a little upset. But like people that do this for Olivia and, and Kinda know and like you give it. And I'm like, I do what I think and if you don't like it, and it's like, it doesn't, you know, you, it's ultimately like you're the client

[51:39] decision and yeah. So I mean, and I'm super flexible and like I tell my brides you're not gonna hurt my feelings. It's not my face, it's not my wedding day. Like you're not gonna hurt my feelings if you want something changed. And so when I work with my brides, I also have them sitting in front of a mirror, which a lot of other places don't. They usually have them off to the side, but that's because I want them to see the process too. And so I want them to see like if they're noticing something that I'm doing and they're like, oh, that's not really how I do it. Or I usually like it like this. Like, okay, let's fix it, you know. So I feel like there's just more transparency and I'm personally okay with my trial runs going a little bit longer if it means that we're going to be on the same page for the wedding day. So that to me is not like a big deal. I feel like that's part of my job is to figure it out and to get, you know, the look that you want. And so I feel like, you know, communication with that and looking in the mirror and seeing yourself while you're getting ready I think is very important.

[52:44] I think that's great. I think that I do see a lot like I like makeup artists like to have that big reveal, you know, and they get to do that. But I think like you might lose that two second thing that doesn't really matter anyway, but you get a lot more seeing them and

[52:59] there's more trash, like there's more transparency. So. And I especially because I also don't want to put a full face on them, see themselves and then then like, Oh I where I could solve that problem. Well ahead of fixed it. Exactly. So that's kind of how I run things and it, to me it doesn't make any difference. Like the big reveal. It's, that's not what the trial runs for the trail runs for. To figure out what you want to look like on your wedding day. The big reveal can be when you put your wedding dress on and you know that's the big reveal and I also recommend my brides to try on wedding dresses on the trial run and I do that because then they can see because when you have a full face on and your hair's up and then you're in plain clothes, it's just different. Like you're just like, I feel awkward. I don't feel like myself. I still feel weird, but I'm like, go home, put your dress on, go to your bridal shop, put your dress on, schedule your trial and run when you can do your fitting and it makes sense. Like they're like, oh my gosh. Like it looked beautiful. Everything worked out and I thought it was maybe a little bit too much or not enough, but it was perfect. And so that is what I recommend to my bride.

[54:18] Yeah. I also do lots of things in your dress, like a sit down dance. Like I have a bride, a weird [inaudible]. She's like, Oh, I've never. I don't even know if I can sit in this dress like you're going to sit, like sit, put your makeup on, like, you know, be in it for more than 30 seconds. Let's see. See if it's uncomfortable. Dorothy, you didn't try the dance before our wedding. And she's like, well I never, I go, you didn't even just like just do a circle. Like they don't try it, you know, live in address for years.

[54:53] Good point because yeah, no I didn't do that and I was so uncomfortable on my wedding day like it was. Yes, it was super hot. We got married August first and it was like a 93 degree day and my dress was long and I wanted a short dress but the ladies at the shop like talked me into a long dress and I was suffocating. So definitely try on your dress for longer than like walk around the store, like sit down in the store.

[55:23] Who did your makeup?

[55:24] I did, yeah. I did my entire bridal party too. So I, yeah. Well, when, like I said before we started this, when we got married, my husband got laid off so, um, our wedding budget kind of took a dive so we ended up getting married at my aunt's property. We got married in the church, had the reception at my aunt's property. It was a potluck. It was super duper fun. Big Family party. But yeah, it just, we just couldn't afford the hair and makeup and I did it and my cousin worked at generous so she did our hair. So

[56:02] did that work out? Were you able to get everything done?

[56:04] And I was 21 so I was young when I got married. So. And weddings. No, well we're going on nine years weddings, nine years ago were so different from weddings today, so it wasn't as important. Like I didn't know anybody who got hair and makeup done at their wedding. So for one cousin and so it just wasn't like that big of a deal to me. I think. So,

[56:31] um, one last thing I want to make sure we touch on before I let you go, because I see it all the time with makeup people, uh, talking about making sure people book ahead of time, you know, this isn't like a one month out, oh, I need to book this, this is like a year out with all your people. The feelings on that.

[56:48] Um, so I suggest brides to book out at least six to nine months in advance. Um, I am already starting to book for 2019. So, um, I always say it's better to kind of have your vendors than not have your vendors. So I say six to nine months because I feel bad. I really do when I get a bride contacting me and she's like, and I have like one weekend open a month that I haven't booked a wedding and it's like that, you know, I take those, I take those and I breathe. So, you know, it's sad when they come in, they're like, I, you know, messed up, I should've booked from hair and makeup a month ago or it just didn't, you know. So yeah, six to nine months at least, and I'd say that's probably par for the course for like most hair and makeup vendors.

[57:42] Yeah, there's nothing more uh, frustrated but sad when I'll get the email, like a, you know, we were thinking about like potentially maybe having a videographer on June 30th and you're like, yeah, that's been booked for your other, you know, and they're like, just broaching the idea of it or like just reaching out.

[58:02] You get it. I see it all the time. Oh my fiance and I, we decided to finally get a videographer. So who's open? Oh, also we have like a $400 budget, like, you know. Okay, thanks. So I don't know what that's about, but that's something I've been seeing a lot lately. And that's the same with hair and makeup. Oh, I'm looking for last minute hair and makeup. I think one girl she just posted, I forgot about myself and I have two weeks before my wedding and who's open, who's open for hair and makeup and it's like a, well maybe like.

[58:40] And it's always a really busy day too. It's always like, depending on the bridal party size, I can maybe swing it, you know, and you know, usually they are also lower. They want a lower budget. They want, you know. Yeah. They asked for a lot so which there's nothing wrong with that, but yeah, it's good.

[59:01] This has been so nice to chat with you. I really appreciate it. Uh, I feel like the, the, the wait was worth it. Uh, I think this was been a very educational talk. If people want to learn more about you and your company and hair and makeup services, what would you have for them?

Go to www.korrinecmakeupandskin.com. So thanks Reid. Thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Episode 15 (Tony Schwartz, Tony Schwartz MC and DJ)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and today I think we're in for quite a treat. I know the royal wedding was a few months ago at this point, but we are joined, in fact today by royalty, the King of Puyallup himself, Tony Schwartz. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself, Tony, and tell us who you are, what you do.

[00:33] Thank you very much. Glad to be here. My name's Tony Schwartz. I am a entrepreneur in the wedding and private events industry, DJ weddings. I run a photo booth rental company and I also run an ab rental company. A more importantly though, I am known as Hashtag Puyallup's most eligible bachelor. Um, I am a Red Sox fan, a Seahawks fan. I love sports. I'm a amateur chef, if you've probably seen a few of my food gram photos I throw out there too. I'm just all around. Awesome dude.

[01:06] And uh, Tony is, is. This is an after hours podcasts right now. I've been rude and had to reschedule with Tony a couple of times and so he was fortunate enough to come to the house after hours. I said, I'll have a beer for you. What do you want? He said Blue Moon with a slice of orange and so I think we're going to try to do a, a pop there. Yeah, let's pop it. There we go next, right? Yeah. 16. Then my mom's not listening. Don't worry about it. So we got Dorothy working downstairs and we're upstairs and this should be good. When Tony filled out this questionnaire, I said, uh, yeah, what is the name of Your Business? And you said, well, which one are we going to talk about? Because Tony is quite the, uh, you've got quite the reach here, right?

[01:49] Yeah. With being. I mean I've always had the entrepreneurial mindset and just found myself in the private events field.

[01:55] Uh, so how did that come about? You said 10 years plus in the wedding industry? Uh, yes. So

[01:59] let's start. If we go on at the college, which was when I kinda got the starting into Dj and I was working, I did, I was fascinated by the DJ culture. I listen to a DJ scene on cube 93 back way back when I was in high school. Like always. I really got turned on when I heard him play on the next episode, Acapella over ACDC, back in black. And I was like, I have to learn how to do this because that is awesome. Come to find out later, years later it was actually a premade mash up that he didn't even do a. But that's part of the secret of Dj and a lot of it's preproduced stuff. Um, so fast forward to college, we go to over redoing radio down with a university of puget sound in the 90 point one the sounds, a k ups called signals.

[02:46] Well, and I did a show on Friday and Saturday nights from 12:00 until 2:00 AM, we call it the past hour. And they were basically at that time was you're playing hip hop. And so I played an old school in nineties, hip hop and we had just a ball down the studio. They play in the, across the hallway was the pizza seller where everybody would come out, they've got their pizza before they go back to the dorms and pass out. And we were playing nothing but hip hop. And we opened up the doors to the studio. We had people coming in and having their own dance party. The only rule is just don't hotbox it, um, which I don't smoke or anything like that, but we may or may not have alcohol in their fcc violation, possibly a 10 months station on a clear night. The, the port of Tacoma with hear us and they'd be having a ball to the overnight shift.

[03:36] And the cranes, everything listen to a show. They'd be like, what a bunch of idiots college students. Uh, so if we did that in one night, I started after probably a couple drinks. We had some turntables down there and a mixer. And I was like, well, I'm just going to throw on some records. I'm saying on the radio or playing in the cellar pizza seller and I just talked on some records and somebody came in and he goes, do you want learn how to do that for real? And I said, yeah, I definitely do. Um, so he said, all right, call me in or not teach you what to do. And then pretty much the rest is history at that point. Who was that? Um, his name was billy and he basically, he was a DJ, he was also on our baseball team and he goes, you know, he had two turntables and he had a buddy named Ileka, uh, who was also a Dj in the area.

[04:22] And he basically, they showed me the ropes. He gave me my first two vinyl records that had learned how to beat match, which is fifty cent in the club, which isn't the easiest song to beat match because they have a little database kick before where the actual what's called the one song because difficult one for occurs. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. There's an extra little bit drum kick in there before that one. So it took me awhile to figure that out and then learn how to drop the other song on the one you've matched up to records, um, the same record and then eventually you graduate to a different record and you start learning to beat, mix those two in together so you can do it all by ear. This was pre a Mac book, pros and Serrato and all those. We actually do it on vinyl records. Someone how to do it the hard way.

[05:06] Yeah, because that was going to say, um, to this day, and I've, I've filmed a lot of Djs and the same spinning circle on the screen. I Might Assistant Jeff is filmed at our insurance. We all filmed that screen and then I stared at it for five years. I couldn't tell you what it means or whether it ties,

[05:23] it is what it is. It just an interest of virtual wave form, but it's not always as accurate as your ear. And that's what I liked. Just being able to use my year as much as possible. So you also don't have Serrato face where this morning apply to a podcast because it does some visual, but you're staring at a computer screen the entire time.

[05:42] Um, so what did you go to school for? That and then Tacoma.

[05:44] So I went as a, uh, my major was math finance, which was absolutely perfect timing for 2008. Um, and then the miners were in business and economics.

[05:56] So what year you graduate in? Two

[05:58] thousand eight us to wear the exact same age for some reason I didn't, I don't know. He just seemed a lot more knowledgeable than idea so that I look older. It's the extra weight a couple of years. Oh No, Dorothy was asking me, I said, well, I think he's got a lot of these companies. He's got to be old, you know, so that's good. Yeah. No, I literally, when you graduate in 2008 with a finance degree, um, there no jobs. I'm pretty much everywhere I called. They're like, we're still firing people. Um, which isn't great. I did get one temp to hire job in Seattle down to Queensland for a guardianship from my position was called assistant to the finance financial manager. You might as well just call it, write letters and transcribed voicemails from angry clients to have special needs or something like that.

[06:40] So I mean, it's a good job that they need it because there are people that can't manage their own finances. They need, they came and do a balance, simple things balanced with checkbook, so someone's got to do it, but there's no path to the corner office. I'm your pay raise would be 4,000 more per year than what you were going to make. And for someone that I didn't, it was definitely not going to be like, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Um, and so the day that they said, hey, we can't afford to bring you on because of the economy and whatnot to was turned out to be the happiest day of my life. In retrospect, despite the fact that the same time I was trying to buy my first house and told that you don't have a job anymore, it was not good for getting that financing financing secured. Um, so through another little wrinkle plan, I think you'll find that my story timing is not my forte in life.

[07:34] Well, no, I mean that's fascinating because I graduated at the same time and I went into TV news and it was the same thing, like, you know, I got hired and they laid off like how the newsroom. But it is really interesting to think of how much that shapes kind of your life, you know, when you enter the job market, like versus people now or whatever. So, uh, were you still dj and stuff on the side while you were doing that or was that kind of on the back burner? I was

[07:56] deejaying the entire time when I was in college. Um, at one point it was Tuesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday nights, which was awesome because I was making money and it was able to apply towards student loans to where when I graduated I didn't really have much left in student loans that I needed to knock out, but you could also make the sacrifice so you don't really see, you know, the friends and whatnot on to, um, but when we were doing around campus, we're doing frat parties, which was great because then I got to be cool. I'm socially cool. I think a lot of Djs do it because they want to be cool and acceptable. Something because a lot of them were kind of socially awkward or just kind of we stick to ourselves. We listened to our music, we have headphones on all the time.

[08:40] Um, so yeah, I was doing that. And then during the summer it was doing a wedding. They got into weddings real quick. I think my sophomore year I did my first one for a friend back in 2005 and then was booking them out the following year to where when I got out of school senior year I had a full summer of weddings look forward to when I was making more doing weddings and I was at the temp to hire job, so I was like, well, when they got no let go. I was basic like the system that we can do with this and see what we can grow and if it doesn't work out it's maybe the economy comes back and by then we can find something else in the finance sector. And I've never had a real job since I have a blank resume.

[09:20] Do you enjoy that? Do you enjoy it? I know that uh, people I did that guy that does drone piloting for me as well, like he holds that I'm very proud that he's never had like a real paycheck. Right. That he's kind of done a lot of this. So do you enjoy that?

[09:34] I like that. I mean there's pros and cons to it. And then there's, I liked the risk, I like the fact that I'm my own boss, I get to do, you know, I'm in control if I don't want to work in the morning for work in the morning, it means. Is that the same for you? You're.

[09:50] Yeah, I mean, but I'm a workaholic.

[09:52] I am too. I'm in. I get like my zones where I like to work all day and work all night and then and then go to bed and then do it all over again the next day and it becomes obsessive. But I think as I've gotten out of my twenties and now into my thirties, I don't want to do that as much. So trying to find ways I can more leverage my time and really focus. You get into that equation of, you know, is this worth my time or is this something I can delegate out? That's what I've kind of been learning more in my thirties is what can I delegate to someone else? What can I, what is my skills, what are my strengths, what are my weaknesses and I can give to and let someone else take care of my weaknesses. Graphic design, terrible at it.

[10:33] Not gonna lie. It's just not my, it's not my forte, but I will be more than happy to look for somebody and I'm looking for somebody to do an epk. So if you're listening and you want to put together and you can hit me up some Edm, I'm or I'm, you know, I have a couple of different. EPA has I want to do one for weddings, one for private performances. But to answer the question, yeah, I mean I don't, I, my dad had asked me this the other day on father's day and he goes, if you had to go to a corporate job, would you want to, you know, would you enjoy it? I go, no. He goes, I don't think he would either. I think you literally want to jump out the window and kill yourself. I'm like, well that's drastic, but I just don't.

[11:12] I don't want to put on that suit and tie. And I think it's because I had that little taste when I, you know, going from pr, but you get to the sounder and I was doing this when I was still dj too. I do a Thursday night at bed in the grass. We Dj until 2:00 AM. You get home about 2:30 in the morning and then I'd wake up three hours later, throw on a suit and tie, catch you get on the train. I fell asleep somewhere on the train between Auburn and Seattle. Didn't matter. Where would it be woken up by the conductor. Hey. Uh, you got to. Got The train your last one on. Do that walk of shame and then try to catch the bus to a clean end. Usually miss the first one, which means no coffee at starbucks on the corner. The second one puts you there three minutes for run up the stairs, get in the elevator and try to sneak into the office. Typically two minutes late. And I hate being late to anything because I think it's disrespect.

[12:00] He was on the 10 minutes early texts.

[12:02] Exactly. It's part of that sports background. When you're growing up, you learned that, you know, tend to, if you're not 10 minutes early, you're late. So I hated doing that and then trying to sneak in and say no, I was on time and you know, I can show up when I needed to show up, but when I show up I can get it, you know, I get to start working and get to going on why I need to do.

[12:20] Yeah, it's A. I don't think I could either. I actually today on Facebook, it reminded me that seven years ago, today was my first day at q 13, which was seen over the last job I had before this. It seems like a really long time ago and like, I don't know, I don't know if I could go back. I mean I just feel like once you're kind of out in the wild, it's like trying to like get a gorilla back in the cage or something.

[12:41] We are, we're untamed. I don't know how you could like telling me to actually follow all these rules or handbooks. I would looked at half a handbook and go, I can't do this.

[12:53] Yeah, we had a uh, but at the podcast last week came over and I had done corporate stuff all week, which I don't, it's not, you know, usually like all day every day for the week, and I have my John Seeing the Jersey on and like basketball shorts. I said this is what we got today because I've been too dressed up all week to era of Johnson as well. This was the old school back when it was just his high school football number, 54 on the business when he was the wrapping John Cena. I was like, word life and all the thug life. Yeah, yeah, that's good. It was again then and then we turned on them for about 10 years, but yeah, it was fun. It was fun back in.

[13:30] But dr a thug, he was dropped off some lines. Uh, you know, the battle with a rock or whatever.

[13:36] If you're a nice. I will show you my spinner belt later on that I have in my office. You Still Watch the WWE? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we go. We just went to Wrestlemania in New Orleans back in April. Some that's fun.

[13:49] Where were you close or distant for?

[13:52] Um, we have the best seats that we've ever had there. We were the second row off the floor on the riser. So it was good. It was a lot, but it was fun. Awesome. Yeah,

[14:01] I've never gone to Wrestlemania. We go when it comes to secure in a of there for Daniel Bryan's retirement. I was as well if you can actually see me on the TV because I always get somehow I get lucky. I get these, the hard cam tickets. Um, and I think it's just, um, can you just pop because I go on stage, just sent you an email, like literally five minutes really going. So hey ww tickets are on sale at tenderloin. You're like, it's 9:56. So you hop on there and it was a Pi for despite only go to so sell the other two. And when the last time I went I sold the two that were on the aisle that uh, the shield girls walk around the, a Roman rams would come down some of the bottom of. Yeah. They wanted to bond just so they could get thrown in a fist bump or whatever. I hate that person. What about. I'm back on the Monday night wars. Were you a WCW or wwf guy?

Oh, I was WWF all the way. I've never watched. That was never. I was always stone cold, stone cold. We were always. We were

[14:51] WCW and maybe because my mom was like, she was like downturn that wrestling stuff on. We'd watch it anyways, so whatever. Every Monday night and we were begging the Goldberg and I was big into video. I would love to heal the bad guy.

[15:02] Yeah, you got to do that. You. You strike me as a. As a likable heal as somebody that people applied out of respect but still booming. They're supposed to.

[15:11] Yeah. I think it's. It's a. it's a character. It's a performance and I think it's a lot harder to be a really good bad guy than it is to be a really good, good guy.

[15:21] Do you find a lot of your personality makes its way into how the way you interact during the events and things like that? Do you enjoy that?

[15:28] Some more of my personality. So I think it's a switch and it gets kinda turned on because if you go. If I go to an event just as a guest, like I just want to chill and have a good time and relax and it's not, I'm not working. I don't care if there's a Dj and what he's doing. I don't really want to critique. Um, I don't like when people come up to me and go, what do you think is dj? I'm like, please don't get me into that mode. Um, because it's. Sometimes it's not fair because I dj does what they do and that's fine. Everyone has different styles. So when I perform this light switch that goes on because as we just did that wedding a couple weeks ago, you have to step out in the middle of the dance floor and you have to command a room, 200 people or you have to have the confidence.

[16:16] You stand in front of a bunch of people and play the music that's going to get to them to dance or be able to interact or get to a desired atmosphere or whatever that goal, that particular event that particular client has. You have to figure it out at the end. I will start from the end, what's our end goal and everything I'm doing leading up to that even hours before it comes to that conclusion. Where would that client wants to be? How am I going to get there and get one step closer and then you have to be outgoing and charismatic. You Ha. I mean no one wants to hear a boring Dj and I try and there's a fine line between when you crossover and you become ringmaster of a circus and you become that cheese ball dj that everyone kind of you. What I found is just be authentic and be who you are, but turn it up to 11.

[17:02] Yeah, it is a fine line. And there was a DJ or two, a couple of times last year and I can't remember his name, but yeah, he was like the shushing the people kind of Dj and that to me like steps over that line, you know, if you're trying to like get people's attention for, for the speech or whatever. But then, you know, there are kind of those wallflower ones too. They just stay in, uh, you know, you don't even know like, you know, I usually try to talk to the Dj, you know, because most of the time I'm using part of your equipment or you know, we're putting stuff together with everything. So like, yeah, I think you need to be, like you said, at least somewhat outgoing. And if not then 11.

[17:34] Well I think there's, you know, I don't want to push anybody or go, I'll wait till I have your attention. Like who? Who the hell are you to say something like that. I think the thing is, is just if you structure what going to say and you put it on the back half of what you're about to say, that first half is pretty much meaningless fill to get everybody to basically bluntly shut up. This is a real podcast. We talk authentically here. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. I don't sugar coat it for my clients. Um, I told you I was bringing your personality, you know,

[18:09] he said that, uh, briefly describe where you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, on the questionnaire you said I bring personality and listens.

[18:18] Oh yeah, you'll get some lessons. So don't worry about that. Um, I want to promote you and help you out because I think you're doing a good job and you know, that's gonna get you more exposure and you deserve it. If you're going to work hard, you know, usually get what you reap. Um, but yeah, I mean just don't go out there and you can't say your announcement when nobody's listening because then all it does is create more confusion, but you have to get their attention. And there's some people that are going in the back so that they don't care what you have to say at all and you don't want engage with them, you just ignore them. You let them be who they are, um, and then you just get what you need to say and turn your speakers up more if you need to.

[18:54] Have you found. I've found. I'll answer my own question first, but that it seems like more and more people are in their own world kind of on their own phones or in their own conversations, like during speeches and stuff like that. Have you noticed that lately?

[19:08] I have. And basically it's like everybody is on their own agenda no matter what the event is. I mean, I do weddings a lot, but unit providence, everyone has their own agenda and they want to do it, you know, they're ready when they're ready. And there's not this. I think it's reflective of our society is we're not coming. Everything's coming together as a collective group where everything's about, just the experience and the over everyone coming together. It's everyone wants to kind of do what they want to do. It's like if I'm trying to clear out, I'm a lobby and get everybody into a room so I can bring a wedding party up to your grand entrance and people are still getting their beer and they're not like, guys, let me just give you five minutes. And because where you're probably sitting in the room, you're probably going to be late to your, a good 20 minutes for you and send you to dinner.

[19:59] You can sneak out, grab a beer, come back, probably got to, at the rape. This is Colin. I just need to get this up because there's a lot of things I'm doing behind the scenes that they don't realize and you know, ignorance or it's out there. They don't know what's going on. Um, but just like, just help me out so I can get this done and then we can move forth and I. because if you don't, it just delays everything back. It's the same thing. I think, you know, there's always that technology is. I get them that curse and although there's always that old photographer argument about should my wedding be unplugged or not? And I can see both ways. Um, what about, what do you feel about that because of the videographer. Do you care if people have their ipads out as you're trying to film or

[20:37] I'm not, if it's not in my way. We had one the day before, it was the Saturday of Memorial Day and it was a Chinese wedding and so just culturally there's a lot more, you know, photo taking and um, cell phones and ipads and stuff and like, I mean, I do think it is kind of a cool shop when the bride is coming down the aisle and I'm like, everybody has their phones out as long as you can still see down there was the lady in the front row because I'm shooting, coming down the aisle. She was like in the middle of the aisle shooting and I had to tell her, you know, ma'am, you know, just just because like I do my job. Like, I mean, that doesn't bother me. I know it really does bother some people. Uh, I mean I think you want people to be present and I think a lot of couples have really made that clear lately that they want their guests and stuff to be president because, you know, they want people to pay attention to them and not, you know, their cell phone. Yeah.

[21:27] But I think there's this, like the double sided thing. I mean, one, you go to concerts, everyone's got their phones out. I literally hate my phone out at a concert. I want to be in that moment. Um, especially when you paint as much money as you are for good seats, you want to be there that grab your one photo to put the phone. But that's my personal preference. Um, I can understand why some people want to film it and they want their youtube clips and they want to document that they were there and you know, that's fine, but you don't ever hear. I never hear concert photographers complained about people got their cell phones up and when their shots, because they get their, they get their access to where they need to be in a wedding. Yet it's a little bit tighter, um, but you know, I think that grandma and mom and aunt, you know, they want that shot for a reason and that photo is important to them even though it's probably just a cell phone photo.

[22:18] Um, it's probably not that great to begin with. Most of their phone's been updated in the last 10 years, which it's not, but it's important to them. It's the same thing. Why that Selfie is important. I'm trying to move somebody from the cake to the dance floor cake back to their sweet idea for the toast. It's an important photo for them. Um, so I think, you know, you have to find that balance between is it in the wind and obstructive or is it just something that you had let him have it and that's the moment it is. I mean, it's a moment in time and when people look back at those photos, I go back in 2018, it's store, looked at ceremonies through there. I've watched as they filmed it.

[22:55] It is funny though because um, I had a corporate event today and it was a luncheon in one of the key points was, you know, they wanted to, besides everything they wanted to make sure you've got the CEO is going to do a keynote, a bunch of other stuff and so, you know, I got two cameras, I'm plugged into their board, you know, have a professional audio going on the Tascam and then I have my two cameras and whether they're people working, you know, was standing next to me and were far back because I'm shooting over the people and she's cut her fogo and like the whole time he's doing his speech and I'm like, you guys are getting all of this for me. I got about 10 grand whether that this guy right now, like we got it covered, but people want to know that they got it. You know, they want to know that they

[23:39] care. Um, were they never see the video?

[23:42] Yeah. If

[23:44] they don't ever look in the photos, look at once. I mean, if you think about it is if, um, so for my brother, he got married last year. Um, I've never seen their photo gallery or their video. I know that there was a photographer there. Um, there was a videographer there. I've never seen it. I don't know, maybe they just don't like me or they don't want me to see it. No, they have it, but they haven't, like, yes. And they couldn't. They even made it to where, um, because my mom got in trouble for posting some of her favorite photos and they're like, no, we just want to keep the ones that they want to post it publicly, which is fine. That's their right. But yeah, it's like I didn't get to see a lot of the photos are the ones I got tagged in which is me. And I'm like, cool, I'll make that my profile photos. I look damn good and the Tuxedo that day. But yeah, I mean I didn't, I haven't seen the video. I mean, but you know, what I have seen that video is something that either I've captured real quick or a friend captured. Um, so I think that may be the case. You have some people go, well I'm in never see the video, so I want to get what, you know, what I want to have captured. I mean that could be a perspective as well.

[24:50] Yeah, no I agree with that. They want to know they have it. But I mean most. I also like, I think the photographer is like traditionally like it would do, you'd have to buy your photos afterwards were like a lot of people now like if you pay your three grand or five grand, like you didn't get all the photos where they used to not be. I think where people, like my neighbor always talks about how like, you know, they had to like get their stuff developed and really, you know, he's old but we just, you know, like our wedding, we just got everything settled on that USB. But um, so you're doing the DJ thing. I'm trying to figure out where this event rental also now we're doing the photo booth and they, like you said, it's that like serial entrepreneurial ship. I can never say that word. I can't spell it. No, I definitely can't. Um, so how long have you been doing the DJ thing before kind of these other ideas can indeed. The thing was

[25:38] the first thing. Um, and then the AB rentals was the second thing that was born. And that came because one of my clients, Josh and Katrina, who both worked for me, the photo book company, they're a, I think Katrina's mom. It could be wrong on that and I apologize if I'm, if she hears this and I got it wrong. She asked me about doing a sound system for an event that she was hosting. She just want to play in. I thought she didn't need a DJ. She was like, Can I rent your speakers? And that became an instant moment to me. There might be other people that have ipods and don't need a DJ. This one sound system. And I created a company called ID j rental systems. I was terrified the entire time, like getting sued by Apple. Um, just because I was young and I used the I dj and I didn't, I don't know, maybe it's bad.

[26:29] Probably isn't. See all kinds of different brands out there. So I think I was okay. And I at one point I have a tendency of systems. And mind you, I don't have an office at this point. I'm running. The Avi runs are coming. You can't run it out of your house. What were you? I would. Okay. So have you ever seen breaking bad Saul Goodman? Right. And then you had. Did you ever watch a spinoff called better call Saul? I'm behind. I only watched the first season and I just got, I get dizzy. That's, I don't watch TV. I'm a binge watcher in the winter and then during the summer and spring I don't even watch much divorce. So my tonight why I ate dinner before you came, uh, I was watching westworld on my laptop and Dorothy Dorothy's like, oh yeah, well you are however you want you to west orange.

[27:11] I said, yeah. I said it's Wednesday. I've, I've got 28 minutes into the show this week because it's like, you know, five minutes here and five, that's my TV watching this yard have to do in the winter. I have to binge watch it and I will watch a season at one point there was last night all the way up and I was so glad I didn't have to sit through seven years of waiting for that pay so that at the end of Friday night lights was another one that I watched binge watched every season to season a day and got completed and I was sort of sad for that one because that was a great movie. Anyway, back to your question, right? So what I did is I said if you watched live knew saul goodman, because it plays in nicely. It was. I would go to my local Fred Meyer and I'd sit in the back of my suv with a newspaper and I was renting systems out of the back of my suv at the time and people would be like, how come you go?

[28:04] And it was an excuse each week like, oh, we're painting the walls and the offer. He didn't like his assistant, his voice. He was trying to fake an assistant. Why he wasn't even in the air. And so come up with all these different excuses. Why I couldn't bring people to the office to either collect or return the rentals. It was probably the most ghetto thing I've ever done in my life. Eventually then I got an office. I'm the Aba rental company. The problem that we ran into was the we have these little dark systems with a mixer and you would a lit retired into an old school late noon. I'm the lightning that I eventually they started changing the dark and I was like, this is not good because then you couldn't keep up with everything, so we actually switched over to. We just plugged into your headphone Jack so then we could stay more.

[28:52] Now. You don't even have anymore. No, I know those. We still. Yeah. Now we're having that issue now. People call and they're like, what are we doing? I'm like, here's a light mean to a half millimeter dongle. It's going to cost you $3 to rent. You can go buy it for nine or rent it from us for three and save yourself the gas and triple going through target to get it. So it's a nice little money maker. They're small things that add up, it just, it's lunch money, come on, let's be real. It's not as bad as what you would go if you went to a hotel and they're like, Hey, we need a $25 essentially cable, a surge protector and a cost of $95. That literally just happened at the Ab rental. I just did because they canceled us when these one or screen and they had to use another company. I'm not going to interrupt. Um, I don't want to namedrop know that if you're in the, if you're in the industry, you know who they are. Uh, the $95 for a 25 foot extension cable. Oh, that was like,

[29:42] we're always at the wedding show and you know, they always say like you get out of 51 amps or watts or I don't know, power you give whatever and then you have to pay if you want extra. And so like we always sort of the TV and stuff and so, you know, it ends up being like 350 bucks. So like I, this year I emailed the woman and I'm like, there's no possible way with, there's like 500 booths that you could possibly monitor what each booth is pulling from. Oh, we walk like, we know.

[30:09] You'd be surprised how they get that. They probably can really know. What's cool though, is that Howard's cool enough to make sure that that supply, that your booth, because I've done other wedding shows, you have to order it in and it's expensive. All of a sudden that booth that you thought you were getting a great bargain for isn't really a bargain at the end of the day. Yeah. Can you show up? And it's like here's your space. It's taped with concrete and it's like there's no carpet. It's like Howard shows and he runs it really well and he takes care of. I mean you still have to get bringing in carpet or something for about three booth, but I mean he's still, you're taking care of the world. You don't have to worry about something as silly as power for most vendors. Do they even need that much power? I mean,

[30:49] well that's why I just couldn't figure, I mean, and it's fine, but I just, the fact that like they could monitor that. She's like, well, if you're using between 100, 100, it was very specific. I grandkids. I'm like, there's no way you know exactly how much power I'm pulling that this booth.

[31:01] They may, they may not even know it was called a bluff. See what happens. Just taken there and take a bunch of really high end stuff. Bringing like a toaster with Michael. What else you got in here? You could bring it up.

[31:12] Yeah, we got a blend tech. You don't cook much here. What do you guys eat out? And we love smoothies. Protein. Yeah.

[31:19] Birth you. Have you ever done the juice diet or anything like that or where do you. So do you. You're in here. Moscow. I'm not gonna name of your street or anything. People come here. Let me give it starts with three. So you guys eat out a lot here or.

[31:36] Okay. I say a Turkey sandwich over the little man. You're thin and I'm. So you're doing the DJ rental of the SUV?

[31:48] Yep. So I'm doing that and then that eventually grows into,

[31:51] I think we're about six months in your career right now. If I'm 32 minutes and we

[31:57] just don't want to talk about it so much. No. So I did that. That involves into what became puget sound pro audio rental. That's a mouthful. Too many words. It was great for Seo, terrible for branding and everything else eventually evolved into play at that rentals because I moved from the office. That was just a little cracker box office that a slanted wall in any of my guests I've ever been there before. I in my past clients that we're going to a meeting, they know exactly what the office looked like and I think it was 92 square feet. Still would rent stuff out of the back of my van. We just went down to the parking lot and get it. The hard part was if I had to add to do add ons, which is a great way to make money, especially at the point of purchase, Hey, I know you've got these speakers and you're gonna, you know, do you want it, some lights and solly 50 bucks.

[32:47] I don't know why the package, which is what any entrepreneur would do you want to do an add on? Um, the problem becomes if two people bought that out on and someone else wanted it, the third one, you have to go back to your house and get everything and be like, hold on one second. I'm going to go. I to go back to my warehouse, which doesn't exist. It's just my garage which was in my parents' garage. So my, which was filling up with more and more gear as I was building this brand. Um, so eventually we switched it to um, I found, uh, my mom works for corn, Ford, Paul corn corners a part. So we do pretty much two things. A, we have a fair, which isn't even ours anymore now. So Washington state, they're all crap. And then the other part is we sell a lot of cars and trucks.

[33:35] If you ever see the Jabian are pitching for northwest motorsports trucks, trucks and more trucks, they're down there in peolpe. And so it was corp, I mean those are the big two players. And we have a couple of other dealerships. A Kia, I have to make sure I out Kia this front of photo booth from us every year for the holiday party. Ryan is awesome. So Ryan, if you're listening, don't forget you've done book written this next upcoming holiday party. Um, so she's there and they own a building called the 1416 east main attractions, which is where my office currently is. And it was like the perfect space because there was a garage door up front next to the office door. So I have a bunch. All my stuff is there in that garage shop. And I have of course my office in the very back, it's called the dungeon because there's no windows.

[34:20] And then we have a recording studio, which we do podcast studio rentals out of. Um, I also do, um, you know, do some other recording voiceover projects for clients that come in. Uh, the one who do different things for their weddings are different special events. They want to record a special message over the first dance, which not a lot of them do and I wish more than wood because it's such a cool emotional moment that really gets a tear jerker in the room, even cater. I've seen caterers cry over some of these before and then we have our, which right now is our photo booth junk room, which is just stuff with photo booths and it's usually a mess when you walk in there. Right now the, the love seat is hosting the easy chair, um, because I'm trying to sell that. So if you're looking for a nice leather chair and a love seats, please send me a DM. I'd be more than happy to sell that to you. It's from the old cannery that's done in summer. It's great furniture if you're into the furniture game. I'm so pleased by that. For me. Can I hocked my product? So anything else? I got a lot of stuff I could sell on facebook. Marketplace is just like, is this available? Yeah, it is. Otherwise, why I listed. Let's see, what else can I say? I got some old photos for self. Anybody's looking for that. Can you see the entrepreneurial spirit come down here? Read.

[35:31] Okay. I always wonder when people, Djs with a lot of equipment and stuff, like how do you handle the liability with that? This sounds like a lot of

[35:38] insurance. Our insurance I've learned. I mean, everything's a learning process on this. Uh, do your due diligence when someone comes to rent something out, you know, make sure you get their id. That's a big one. They don't have their id. That's probably a first step. If they say they're coming on someone's behalf, that's probably also something to be a little bit wary about. Um, [inaudible], I mean, we've done hit with fraud before. Uh, and we found that the hard way a insurance doesn't cover a fraud. She went that, that sucks. Um, so you kind of learned that, I mean something that you've learned the hard way. Um, because they're always trying to be smarter than you and they're always trying to outsmart you and now we have a pretty good system in place where everybody can make their online orders on play event rentals.com and they have to at least pay a 25 percent deposit through their card and strike this cool enough that they tell you on the back end, yeah, this is no risk or this might be a risk.

[36:41] Or even if they're renting, you know, three days later is probably gonna come up on the stolen cards statements online. Then people are going to go, that's not my order. It's fraudulent. That's going to give you a warning sign. This is possibly a purchase order. You also, you know, you get their id, we can, they can submit that online. You have a credit card authorization form. And so if they don't complete that within before they pick it up, we cancel the order because if you can't submit, you know, we're not going to take it at the pickup. So you're trying to get everything in advance and then you're making sure that everything is consistent. And it all looks the same. I'm also probably isn't a good idea to fall for something like@rocketmail.com if it's not email, Yahoo, hotmail, comcast.net or their own company website or a, you know, a.com that you can visit and looks at.

[37:33] You might be a little suspicious of that. But the key is, I think this is, comes down to, as I started watching even gone down the youtube rabbit hole. Yeah, everyone, every entrepreneur does. It's a great little way to get a break, right? Um, I went down, there was a show on there called the real hustle on youtube and you go down, I went and there's like 11 seasons of it. And I went down that rabbit hole and I learned everything about what good scam artists does. Not that I want to pull scams on anybody to look at it too, but you start to learn that they act on time, emotion and everything's going to be quick and hurry. And they want the emotion to be in there so that you overlook the logical steps. And once I learned that I learned everything we did wrong and the ones that, you know, when we did get a fraudulent theft, you start, you look back and go, yeah, that's exactly what I felt for. And then you get smart, so you have to kind of educate yourself to what for a rental company is what they're doing. And some people just don't rent to end users like just any Joe Schmo off. We do a

[38:36] lot, some people will only rental company is or they'll be production where they'll bring everything and it's an, you know, legit festival or something like that. And that's not where our models, our model is a lot of people that are doing it for weddings, diy weddings. I'm memorials. We get those. What else? We have outdoor movie nights. People taking their backyard. So just, you know, random people that are looking to rent.

[38:59] Uh, I'm going to take this opportunity to, as he. I'm going to tell you a story here. I want to hear what you're a scam scam radar would say. Okay, because see if I'm good. Well No, I'm just, I'm genuinely curious about what you would do here. So, uh, early on in my career I got hired to do a video, a shark tank audition video for a car dealership down in university place and so I went down and filled it and the guy is pretty eccentric and you know, kind of crazy and it's great, like it's just this really funny video and send it to him and so he disappears. And so then like nine months later he calls me up and he's like, hey man, I'm. So I went down and like I got on the show and like I was there and um, they, I was going to sell the sharks the car because he's a car salesman and so he said, you know, they needed to like bring in the car and like the production didn't work so like they needed to do it the next day and stuff and then he got bumped.

[39:54] So that's man, they're really. He goes, yeah, you know, he was in depression about it, whatever. And the simple that stinks. He goes, but he goes, I want to hire you again because I want to do, um, like, uh, uh, on the road, kind of like car buying and selling, kind of like American pickers, but like cars, right? So he goes, I want you to come down to my shop. And then he goes, eventually we're going to, I'm going to sell this car. I got these European car buyers, am going to sell this car to a guy in Dubai. So eventually we're going to fly to Dubai and we're going to sell. I'm going to shift this car on this container to this guy. So I go down like every other Friday for like months and we're filming this stuff and he's paying me cash and it's, you know, it's great because, um, it's my day off and I'm trying to build this company and I'm wondering, you know, maybe I'll be a reality, you know, whatever.

[40:39] Like we buy a bunch of equipment and Gopros and like we filmed just like hours and hours and hours and like he's just crazy. So, um, it's getting ready to go and I'm still working the acute care team and I know that we're going to be gone for like three weeks or something, like it's going to be too much. And so he's bought the plane ticket and I see the like, um, you know, the itinerary since, you know, it's like $1,800 bucks or whatever, the flight to Dubai, the fly all of us because it was like me and him and his assistant were all going to go and they were always kind of like not um, they would butt heads and stuff. It was kind of funny. So a, I literally go into queue 13 and I tell them like, hey, you know, I'm gonna have to take like a month off, you know, and you know, get that kind of time and news and so sure I kind of decided like, well.

[41:26] And I ended up quitting right afterward anyway because they kind of knew and it was just kind of him to be done. So I literally was like a Thursday, Friday. Like I give them whatever they have to take my leave. And then like that next Monday, Sean's assistant calls me and he's like, hey man, like what, how are you doing? Like, Oh yeah, I'm good. Like, just getting ready. He goes, I'm us. So Sean's and Rehab and I'm like, what are you talking about? He goes to, he's been on cocaine like for two years. So I drove, but like, like a, you know, not seeing this family, like not leaving the house, like not, you know. And like, I don't know, um, because I only know the, you know, I only know him as I know him. I don't know I'm missing any other things. Business acquaintances essentially.

[42:14] Yeah. But I mean like, I don't know what he's like, that's just how I know him. And so he, um, he says, um, well he's a rehab, like I had the plane tickets, like we're still going to go because I gotta I gotta sell this car or like, are you going to go? And I said, I really know. And so, uh, like two days later sean gets out of Rehab or whatever. And we have way too quick to like that that would happen. And uh, he goes, yeah man, I'm like, I fired my assistant, like I'm going to hire somebody else and we're going to Dubai. And at that point I was like, pulled the trigger. It was like canceled, put the brakes on hold and like I call my mom and I was like, I don't think I can go. And she's like, oh, like, you know, I didn't know what to do. So, um, I, I mean it ended up kind of coming out. Like we don't even know if he was on shark tank. Like we don't even know if, like, he, he was always saying like he was getting these calls about this reality TV show. Is that crazy? Does that.

[43:15] It's like one. Oh, I know what rehab he went to. It was like the Lindsay Lohan style rehab or something like that.

[43:21] Like he escaped, there was like 48 hours later. Like, that's not

[43:24] your rehab. They put you behind a locked door so you can't come out to your cleanse already. Then you can just leave whenever you want. Um, but it's, yeah, it's just, it's a weird story. If he was now see

[43:37] can see, I don't even know that he used

[43:39] a used car dealership or new.

[43:41] He would buy and sell used cars used. Yeah. It was his own like, so my first question then

[43:46] the why were the shark worth hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions by used car when these guys are buying, they can buy whatever car they want brand new.

[43:57] Exactly. And so that's my thing is I think like I filmed this audition for him and I don't think he was ever called, right. Like I think you could send it in for all, you know. Yeah, yeah. I mean I'm sure you sent it in but like I mean this was like a year and a half of this lot. I mean I or not lie or whatever, but like he was trying to catch fish, you or anything. I know. But then they ended up going to Dubai because I saw like apparently he went and charged surrender the Ferrari to drive around the desert and then like his car got declined because he didn't tell anybody that, you know, like you have to call your bank and be like him when they go to the new buyer and spend on the Ferrari. But like,

[44:32] so they went. But it was just the weirdest thing because I felt the whole time like I was being scammed. But then I was never ended up being scammed and like they went to Dubai, Ms Dot and Dubai. I did miss out on Dubai, I don't know, was like two things in the world. You can't fix stupid and crazy and I wouldn't want to get involved with it. Well, so we found a snack break. Tony's got some pretzel chips here and a leaf. Pretzels are making me thirsty. What else did she? Uh, so your wife comes up and she's super nice and very. It has amazing hospitality. Um, she gave me some Salami. Yeah, I'll just very good Turkey. Pepperoni. I thought this was so long. That's why I'm an amateur chef and not a real chef. And then these pretzel chips, which are great, and I'll make him want to noise on your podcast. Sorry. She of course brought me another beer and I couldn't tell her no. So we might have to crash on the couch. I'm kidding. Uh, you said you're going to Boston tomorrow? Uh, yeah. But what about some of them don't take this too much?

[45:28] Let's see. So five weeks ago I went to Boston with his errors. How is it? I don't know. Let's, let's pretend I went and I'm going to tell you how it was without. Before I go to the sox. Went more compare. Well, they're playing the mirrors, which we just play those six weeks ago. This recording notes bring us up to date real quick. Um, so as of the recording date of this podcast, I'm going to Boston where I'm taking my mom for mother's Day gift. She's never been. My Dad and I had been for a good solid. We've been three times before, maybe four, I can't remember. Um, so we're going to go. She's going to have got three games, southern park against the mariners who we just played last weekend and do a split. So it's a mini seven gate seven game series over two weeks since title to two right now. Um, my brother's a big matter. Understand that I'm the red sox fan and the family. So, uh, now I'm looking forward to that. Uh, my mom sent me an itinerary of eight things that she wants to do and she goes, oh, I forgot we have to do lobster. This is number nine. So I had to put this all together and I am going to finalize on the plane because it's six hours in the middle seat because I'm a nice boy and she's going to get the window seat.

[46:37] I couldn't afford first class. It was like a thousand dollars a piece. But uh, yeah, we're pretty close. My Dad too, so we're real close relationship with my parents, which is cool. So like, and I live like five minutes across town, so I get to go there a lot to outsource their for father's day. We cooked them some big old stakes. Did you see that photo on facebook now? I liked it. I think I like everything. That doesn't mean I've noticed that I just was sending you invites earlier. This random companies. They are like, this was the play event rentals. Yeah. No, no, sorry, I was giving you a hard time. I looked into this question of like, I think that's one of his companies, grilled some cowboy steaks and for my dad and we watch the red sox game at home because I really didn't want to go sit in a crowded stadium in the middle of the day and absolutely get sunburnt so.

[47:28] So we're going tomorrow. So she's got a bunch of things that she wants to do and she wants to eat lobster. She wants to go the north end and get Italian food. She's not a big fan of, but I think if anyone that's ever been in Mike's, they know that they're making the best countries in the world and that may change her mind. She's going to go to fenway park and she has. I've got really good seats for all three games. Didn't get three different views a Sunday before we go home. We're going to be in the right fill in the first row. So if you're watching, you may have saw me in the front row. We had armor and preferably the red sox. Then, um, it's a different style of baseball, different type of town over there. Um, so she's going to get a different field versus going to a game and Safeco with the hometown fans, which just going to kind of find itself.

[48:12] We've had some cool stories from fenway park. What do you mean this is more rowdy? Yeah. You get more of the Boston blue car offend. I'll give you a quick story. I'll give term to one. Um, the first time we went, me and my dad went, they were playing the Cleveland Indians is just a random game. Um, and Josh Beckett got pissed off at the other team because I guess he, apparently he hit a batter, but anything before and so the Indians retaliate. And if one of the Red Sox, I can't remember who this caused a baseball Bra bench clearing and my dad's dad check out the fight. Check out the fight in the field and he's going, what about the fight behind this as there was a red sox fan and the Indian fan just going to town on each other. Um, and then, and we were the next game.

[48:59] We're out in right field next to the Indians bullpen where they were born with their pitchers and Chris Perez was warming up to go into the game. Middle of six things. I'm thing somewhere in there. And there's this one red sox fan. He's just drunk in a wife beater. This is your typical Boston masshole. Uh, and he's out there and he's like, Hey, Perez is a major league hitters out there, Perez. And then press would like accidentally dropped the ball and the catcher throw it backwards. Woman a bullpen and then you'd get like kicked it. And he goes, Perez, this isn't Soka. This is Major League Baseball Perez. You better be ready. And he's a major league hit us. So press goes out and gets called in the game, goes out there and not even two pitches into the game gets taken over the monster for a home run. And this guy, as soon as it all dies down, if everyone's done clapping, he goes to all do Perez, I told you these are major. She's got the whole Boston accent, everything can't pronounce her rs. Hilarious out there. And that's what all those fans out there do it. It's just, just, it's cool as their toe. They know what the line is. And the ushers, make sure that they know line you can't verbally attack them, but you can have fun to an extent. We will tell you when it's too much.

[50:15] Well, and that's, you know, I'm the same way. We go to a lot of live wrestling events and one of our friends and our friend circle is always um,

[50:24] worried that we're going to take it too far.

[50:26] And I've, you know, I've sat front

[50:28] row with the security guard three feet away from me and like if we're, if we were good in that situation, like we're always good because it is, you know, it's fun and it's just, you know, making, making funny noises or yelling names or whatever. Probably yelling more than that. But you know that it's you, it's fun when you know, kind of what the limit is. So, you know, I think the performers or the athletes, whichever, you know, depending on whatever you're going to wwe or they can hear you, they just can't acknowledge you, but they know how to secretly acknowledge you if you did something really funny or really clever that they'll let you know. Um, they heard something they haven't heard before and it's awesome.

[51:06] We got a, when we were at Wrestlemania, we got more than the slides, acknowledgment from a local and talent and that was very exciting for us to get more, more than, more than a slight acknowledgement that he was very unhappy with what we were, what we were saying. Uh, my friend Paul also handed, uh, one of the chair that he was sitting in over the security barrier and the Eddie Edwards used it in the pile of chairs that he threw Sammy Callaghan into it. So that was also kind of fun.

[51:33] What's the appeal for you for wwe wrestling?

[51:36] Um, I've always watched it. Um, it's something for us to do. I don't watch it. I mean, I, I listened to wrestling podcast every week, I don't really keep up with the show except through that, but I can't keep up with it either. There's too much. It's like eight hours a week. It's too much. But um, you know, it's something for us to go do, like when you go to Vegas and do it or we go know we don't, I can't travel a lot during the summer. So like Wrestlemania is a really good time of year for us to travel in the spring. Dorothy was on her spring break so she came down to New Orleans and we all, we had a couple of things and then she, we ended up staying, you know, through the week then. So like that. It's good for that. But um, that's why we still watch a watch.

[52:16] You just something along. Yeah. So it's, yeah, it's not a real sport, which is the first thing everyone says,

[52:22] but it's like grey's anatomy, but 52 weeks a year, every single week. No days off. But I mean that's the Degas. It's like

[52:29] they do their own stones and for me, I love the production value of it when you're, especially when they're live and um, you know, I always, I've watched like the entrances and how especially when you kind of get behind the scenes a little bit and the term Kayfabe which has been completely broken and you start to really kind of see, you know, what all goes into them doing that show that night, watch on tv day and like especially for Wrestlemania, watched the mindset stuff and they're doing their entrances and they're practicing it and they're working with the stage crew and the lighting crew to make sure that they hit everything they need to hit. So it all comes together. And for me, being able to watch that and understand how much work and effort goes into just that entrance and that timing and that ability to use all the different magic and the lighting and everything. The sound. Even like the music which I tell all my clients, my wedding clients when they're doing an entrance ago. Wait until this particular point in the song. You know, even for the ceremony, processional is, you hit that first part like for example, um, you know it when they were. I'm skipping my God, we played a bit Julian time, thousand years. I don't know why I forgot that songs. We play it every weekend, last year go. So Dj's laugh at me. I don't care. Um,

[53:44] either side. Is it amazing to you that, that slime is still as popular? I mean it's been 10 years since that movie came out. Twilight. I never watched it but I mean did it still. I still get bright because I can use that. We can license that for a wedding video, right? Like not all songs that people like, you know, Britain Alaras but like Maroon five a year. Christina period. Like we can, like I can pay him license said put it in your video and it's totally legal either, which is fine, but like it still amazes me the like I had a bride last summer, I'm like it's 2017, you know, Dallas and years.

[54:16] I think it's [inaudible] letting music moves slower. In terms of next precessional song. I mean, ed sheeren can only put one of those out every single year that can be used for one thing, but I mean regardless, you know, thousand years it's got that soft intro and I tried to tell them, my brides let milk fat don't come around the corner, don't enter until you hear that actual verse starts because it looks so much better. Versus when you come down and you're almost down the island, the versus just starting. You don't get to the hook. Use that hooked where you get to the hook, you get down the aisle, the hook finishes, and then you're efficient. Starts and that music phase all the way down behind the production of it. That's the ceremony is so when people come in and willing to sound for the ceremony, you're also looking at, I'm going to give you production value of it because I want that entrance with when you come into a room for a grand entrance, I'm working with them of why this is the point when you should enter into the room because I'm going to hit you know, I'm going to loop that instrumental.

[55:18] Don't come in yet. I'm looping that to build the anticipation. Then as soon as I introduce you to the hook's going to hit, whether it's t I bring them out or whatever song you select, we're going to sit there and listen to it and that's for me the fun part about wedding Dj is sitting there with clients and going, don't look at these lists of here's the top 50 grand, which songs are cake cutting or first dance or don't even look at that. Go through your itunes, sit down together and go, what songs, what would be a cool grand entrance song for us because now you create something that personal, unique and also sit there with you and go listen to it and go, here's how I think we could do this. Enter and then I'll do the live demo for them and go, does that sound good?

[55:57] And they'll be like, that's better than where we are. Just coming in to the song started the song, which hasn't been the best part. You want that hope. You want that highest energy peak of song. Some people do some stuff for that. It might be the course doesn't have a beat behind it. I need that part of that. But you need that beat. You need that base running through that system. That's all part of that entrance, not production. So using a lot of stuff I learned was watching. When did they enter, how they, you know, Daniel Bryan doesn't come out the second that you hear the first part of either the boundaries he comes out he gets yet because I beat him and then he's doing the chance all the way down the ramp. Um, you know, that kind of thing. Snow cold. And it was like, okay, you know, what's that sound effect either. Then he comes and once you hear that sound effect, you know who's coming. So undertaker Gong how slow. Imagine him coming out. Like any speed other than slow as molasses.

[56:48] Well I actually was raised in the, a limp biscuit, a American Badass version that was in kindergarten. So I'm glad you went back. Reasonable. Um, no it is. And that's a good point about the insurances and stuff because a filming ceremonies in, you know, we'll, we'll overlay stuff for like the edited versions, but you know, I'll put all that stuff in the private, you know, their whole ceremony and yeah, like you said, it's really funny that like sometimes you don't even know what the song is because yeah, like that slow intro a player like or like the grill walks down the island six seconds in the slumps done because they didn't think like, oh we should have six people locked to the song so we get to enjoy it or whatever. But you're like, hey, I guess they did pick that song and it was like 12 seconds.

[57:33] And to me it's like they don't know they've never done this. But yeah, I've done this whole line. So. And for me, and this is what I hope other vendors can pick up as far as what a Dj can do to bring to the table is I'm trying to, when I'm putting together a presentation of a wedding and I'm putting together entertainment script, I'm trying to look through the photographer's camera lens. I'm trying to look through your video lens and where do you, where do I think you're going to try to want to capture and how are you going to capture it and try to set it up with you, um, and my photographer in a way that they're going to be able to do their best possible work and set everything up. So letting them know here's what I want to do. And I mean we had that conversation back when we're doing Asia and Jessica's wedding as a couple of things that, you know, here's where I want to place this. Here is what to do lighting wise. I know I had to um, you know, with our photographer, we have to talk about lighting and she was like asking me a couple questions about that. So yeah, we're gonna do this and she had to send somebody in that the buyers some time. So there's all this kind of coordination behind the scenes I'm trying to do. So I can look basically through your guys's Lens.

[58:34] Well it is the most successful when the DJ is, you know, is we're all kind of on the same page because you can do it where we're all because we are all on the same team. Right. Even if we haven't worked together before, which we had already been talking about the podcasts and stuff, so like at least we were familiar, but it is nice when you kind of know everybody and then you can, like you said kind of time with all of them, get it all and the reaction and kind of everything together and then you

[58:55] build a sense of chemistry between vendors and I understand how you work in which, how you want to work. Because that's kind of the question is no. What do you want to capture? How you want to do this? Do you want to just to kind of free flow it or do you want stuff that's a little bit more second? I can set something up for you as well to essentially marine master this whole thing and I'm standing in front of a bunch of people with a mic and I need to make sure. I don't look like a dumb ass, that's pretty much my approach to this. So

[59:22] I care. Um, and that's when I tried to work with wedding clients. I tried to do the same thing to go bring me into this conversation so I can at least say here's what I'm trying to do and then we'll all come to a consensus of what's best for that event.

[59:36] Um, I want to talk. I find it interesting. So weddings for you. So like I said, probably a dozen times on this packet, it's like I feel like I'm a better vendor now having been married and having gone through with those emotions, how do you feel doing weddings and things. So what is it that draws to you to, to that and through that world to keep doing that every week.

[59:58] Do you want the 22 year old response? So the 32 year old we can do both the 22 zero responses, cash money of course. And if you do a good job and you know, the wedding industry is, you can, you get paid more doing a wedding and you were doing a club night, that's a pretty obvious. Um, but you have to assumption there's a lot more work that goes into behind the scenes leading up to that five or six hours. Um, you also, you want me to Dj about you only really Dj and about two or three hours of a typical reception,

[01:00:30] which is amazing if you actually think about it, right? Like an actual dance for nowadays. The

[01:00:35] one thing I got into the most, I do the least. Yeah, right. Which, you know, I would rather we come from, but my certain dj was doing bar scenes in fraternity unites fraternities. We'd go as long as we possibly could until everybody just eventually passed out. Bars. You would be going from about 9:00 until two and, or clubs the same thing. And you would learn how to pace and that, you know, that first hour to hour and a half to two hours, you're just kind of playing more chill lounge. You can play some new tracks. You try to what's called breaking records to corroborate time to play some new stuff out there. We're the most noticeable is everyone's Katy Perry, California girls and we've gotten it the day it came out. We knew it was gonna be a hit. It took six months where I was going to be a hit, but we were still playing in turning that first hour in too.

[01:01:21] Just to throw it out there because you can start to kind of learn how to play songs as well too, and how to what mixes with what. That's a great. There's not a lot of people there. Suddenly magically 11:00 it's party time and then you start to throw on a really great two to two and a half hour party set where you really go to town, you play your bangers and then that last half hour depending on the establishment, some wanted you to go all the way until two. Just absolutely crush it. That last half hour you could be where you just kind of go and you just start to slowly wind down the night to where the last 15 to 10 minutes you're just playing like really dope R and b songs that everybody can come to grind and you're setting the mood for something else later. Wink, wink. So you know that, but you only get paid so much when clubs, um, weddings, you could get paid a lot more, but you had to work a lot more.

[01:02:11] So there's that element as well too. So, you know, 22 year old Tony that would say, yeah, cash money, of course he's hungry, he's just got to college, got to pay a mortgage and bills and everything else. Welcome to the real world. I'm 32 years old, still single. Tony, if you have any friends out there, ladies, most eligible bachelor shops, most eligible, bachelor to Hashtag [inaudible]. You can look it up. It's there. I still can't spell eligible. I can't spell entrepreneur. Um, I think once computers came out I just gave up on spelling. It was like, what's the point? Spellcheck will fix everything for me. I'm random aside there, um, at this point, as I started to get better at emc and a Dj and I'm learning what I wanted I wanted to accomplish as a wedding dj. What do I want my, what did I want my brand to be?

[01:03:01] Um, all those business terms you throw out kind of became, you know, what's important to me. Um, and for me the biggest thing is that emotional connection and yeah, I've never gotten married, never had to walk down the aisle, never got to experience it firsthand, be kind of start to pick it up, like secondhand smoke essentially. And that emotional connection that you can make 'em you don't do them that much anymore, especially because of fishing and started doing them. But like when you did love stories, I still like to ask every single couple I met with, I met a couple of today and how'd you meet? And then for me, the fun part is because they'd be there, told the story of bunch or they haven't told it a lot and they're about to tell a lot is asking the questions and becoming the interviewer essentially your role and finding out the details and stuff they left out.

[01:03:50] And that's kind of important to me to show dog. Don't worry about it. I'm sure dorothy assist belly rubbing or something like that. Um, you know, those are the kind of the, the emotional details and finding out that. And then at the end. But you know, what I've kind of found with most of my clients is they just want to party at the end of the night and it's not a big stuffy event. It's not something that's overly too formal. It's just a great party. And what I've found that I've tried to really market towards because I don't want to do mostly destinations type weddings where people are traveling in and they're getting there on Friday and they're not going home until Sunday. Um, because they're just better events. They're better parties. There's more meaning. People are like, where? This is the climax of the weekend is this wedding reception. They don't have to worry about going home at 10 and worrying about Duis.

[01:04:43] They have to worry about if they walk to the right hotel room or not. Um, and eventually that becomes an adventure for them themselves. Um, I like those weddings a lot more because people come to celebrate versus the ones where you get 250 people. But most of the people are, the parents were, I call it, like the showcase guests. Their parents are showcasing the wedding for their friends and they're not. They don't have that emotional attachment. As much as you try to create that emotional attachment, you try to create that one big giant family. It's not. Some people just aren't gonna. They're just coming to get their free mail. They're gonna say hi, they're gonna talk to the parents and then eventually they're good. They're going to just go. And that's fine. Um, as long as you understand that it's going to happen. But it's for those different key moments that you can kind of create that first dance and you can make it magical. And you can set it up properly or a father bride dance where you can, you'll find out why did you select the song, what's the importance of it? So I think it's becoming a lot of it for me now is finding out the lies and asking those questions about listenings and just file it away and if I can use it, great. And if I can't, I'm not gonna. Um, it just depends on the moment.

[01:05:54] No, I think that's a great point. The destinations versus. Yeah, I mean a lot of them are weddings lately. It is, it's like, you know, and, and we use the book like a 10 hour a day, you know, some were a but like by the time you get ready and do the photos and get married and do cocktail hour and do the, you know, like that by the time you're actually like dance open dancing, like it might be 45 minutes, it might be an hour. Right. I mean, it's that frustrating that like, like you said, like kind of like what you love to do now is it's like, you know, 10 percent of the day

[01:06:23] I remember, I remember one wedding venue doesn't exist anymore. Um, eventually one, they put a venue and a residential code five area years asking for trouble with neighbors. Um, you're going to get shut down eventually. Um, despite the fact that they were like, you can't play above 85 decibels. I don't care what decibel reader says I'm going to play for the crowd. Um, I'll try to light that thing up like a high score, a video game. Um, but you, you get there and you're like, this one, we only had 25 minutes, a dance floor time for a predominantly group of friends of their friends. And so you just start. The fortunate part is with a background of doing clubs and bars. You just go right into that bar club mentality, quick mix, everything. And you turn a 25 minutes set into what seems like it was an hour or so.

[01:07:12] You just try to make your cramming so many songs on there. It's basically reverse hook mixed. Drop into another hook, drop into another hook. Top 40 songs was popular right now. Play the verse Hook, let it run, let it breathe hooked. Just start slamming hooks and intros and have fun with it. DMX party up. You don't really need to play a verse. Just play the chorus. Move on. Nobody wants. Plus, it's so explain. It's just awkward sometimes you sit there and you're like, did he just say what I think he did? And even edited. You're like, well that's just weird. So I'm not in high school. It's you can, you know, you get older and you're like, it just feels weird to hear. So um, yeah. I mean you get some old but there's a balance in a wedding between social and dance for a time and you have to have some, a little bit of both.

[01:08:00] You can't just go purely dancing. There's not. Everybody is coming there to dance. Sorry, I'm not going to tell anybody. Hey, you have 175 guests in all. They're all going to the dance floor maybe for the first night that can possibly the rest of the night. It's never gonna happen again. Um, especially in this area. It can happen in different areas of the country where weddings or approach differently. They do them differently. Um, I don't want him to California, you do weddings in the Midwest, east coast. There's a different approach to these different areas, so structure, weddings differently. So it's nice to have that perspective of you don't have to do a wedding. It's a certain style. You don't have to be cookie cutter. You can say we can do this and then you can do a grand entrance to go into your first dance.

[01:08:45] Everyone's standing, it works really great. Um, and then you can switch things up. You can move cake cutting to the very end or some weddings you can do. They come in, they do their branch. If they cut their takens it's for dinner and then they dance with everybody on the dance floor. I've done east coast, I'll weddings where they come in and everybody's on the dance floor. As soon as that first dance is done, you go for 10 minutes, you do your salad course, you have to toast and then you have open dancing slow and then you do the next, the sorbet course, and then you have open dancing slow and then the next one is the entree course and then you have your formal toast and then that leads into typical next up is to kick cutting and then it was open dancing for two hours and that was a four hour reception.

[01:09:25] That's it. You can still get a lot of dance floor time in a four hour reception. It just depends how you structure the night, so how you structure and how you put everything together matters. It just depends on the goal, but they also had time they could socialize during dinner with their friends, which is important because I went to a wedding one time or for a when Brad was my high school friend that I know and the groom since we were like four years old, we just hang out all the time and I never got to say even higher. We went to the church. We sat in the church, it's hot, we listened to their vows and, and how they were going to give each other range rovers and all this other stuff, but it's like, okay, uh, and then we went to the reception in their backyard and we sat down, we, they entered, they did dinner and then about 30 minutes later they did toasts and they open up the dance floor.

[01:10:19] We never even got to say hi, we left after 10 minutes. I was like, what's the point? We're not going to get this item. So when, you know, we, we didn't feel attached to it. So I think being able to emotionally attached to them and you don't need to. If people want to dance. I got that. Some of my brides are like, we want to ask for three hours. Are you still in your club stamina? Do you still have that stamina to do that? Um, to the beginning, yeah, we can do that. That's your goal. But we cannot make sure you socialize too because some of your guests didn't come dance. So they just came and say hi. They came and take that Selfie with you, put it on their social media document that day, which their toll in right to do and then they're going to eventually, they'll stay as long as they can. That's my goal is, are they enjoying themselves and they say as long as they can not leave because they have to. So you couldn't atmosphere and maybe they're just going to drink and they want to play lawn games. Cool. We had that available for you. Stay. Enjoy it. If you have to go, you have to go. That's fine. Uh, what are some common

[01:11:14] things that you help couples kind of things that they misunderstand or common mistakes. I guess I couldn't figure out whether I wanted to say but like did you find that like, like you said, like maybe somebody wants to dance for five hours or whatever, but like what are some common things that you, that people will see anywhere they're prepared to learn, you know, real common stuff that people.

[01:11:34] My first one isn't for my couples. It's more for guest. Anyone that ever attended a wedding and it's at the end of the night and this drives me absolutely insane. It drives my clients and saying, I think you know where you're going. They stopped out that little.

[01:11:46] No, I'm just excited that I'm anxiously awaiting. Okay,

[01:11:50] you're ever going to be a guest at a wedding. This is super important. If you're leaving early and you're not staying till the night, just go. You don't need to give a hug to my bride or to the groom on the dance floor while they're dancing. Don't interrupt them. Dancing and having fun so you can say how much fun you had and that you're taking off because if you're still have, if you were having so much fun, you would stay. If you're going to leave, just leave. If you want to give them a hug at the end of the night, stay till 10 at night because what's more than likely going to happen is in 15 minutes, 30 minutes from that moment, we're going to wrap everything up and you're going to be able to give them a hug and go and you're going to be able to stay there for the end of the night.

[01:12:29] Um, but when they come on and my brides dancing with her girlfriends and they come up to the month dance floor and they stop them. You're not only just stopping her from dancing, you're kind of stopping the entire dance floor. Um, so if you want to go, just go. And if you want to give them a hug it, then the night stay to the end. It's, it's, it's just a simple thing. But because I've seen dance floors where I've had my bride had requested a bunch of really rigorous a lot of songs that she really wanted an answer and to that point in the network and plan. So now I'm playing them. But all of the guests that are leaving early or coming up and instead of her getting to dance and she was a punk songs and they wanted to do this mosh pit of the all the elder guests that didn't want to listen to it.

[01:13:12] So I've like gone inside or just leaving. Stopped. Literally stopped her Matt Marsh pit that she wanted to do and she literally, her husband really word this is a big thing they want to do. We put these songs together for this reason and I played the entire set of songs and they never got a to longer than 30 seconds before they were doing hugs and goodbyes and it sucked. I felt so bad for them. So as a guest, the biggest mistake is just if you want to leave, just leave. It's fine. You can know you left them a card, you can say, you know, the next day on facebook or send them a text message to say how much fun yet? That's great. You don't need to say it, you know, give them a hug. Goodbye. Unless you want to stay till the end, the night when you can, because there's plenty of time to do that. Um, biggest mistakes that bing crosby on the spot here.

[01:13:58] I don't even. I think it just depends on each wedding and I think the biggest thing is time and how much they think things are going to take. They'll kill people. They'll put like, oh, we're going to anticipate the cake cutting taken 15 minutes because like three minutes and you're done. Um, I think, I mean most everyone, or at least I missed my couples today. I mean we, I train them well in events. And what do you mean by that is I give them basically a binder that I've designed over this 10 years plus years of doing this and there's ideas in there and there's a reception primer and there's a ceremony. Music Primer. I give them all the tools. I don't want to sound like a commercial, but I give them all the tools so that they can basically come to our planning meeting and within two hours we can pretty much put together an awesome script. Um, and then we just have to make sure we communicated with it all the other vendors especially, you know, there's the doc a day of coordinator or planner just to make sure that we're on the same page. Um, and then just conference call. That's a big thing. So

[01:15:10] you've heard it here first folks, Tony Schwartz gives you all the tools needed to help your day go off successfully.

[01:15:16] I'm not trying, I'm trying, I'm not trying to make this a commercial or anything. Read them just that's just what I do and that's what I've designed and it works for me. It for others, they may have something else that works for them. That's just what works for me and it works for my couples and I mean when I'm at that, you know, when, when you sit down with a couple of, are you evaluating them just as they're evaluating you for a consultation or do you even do consultations or.

[01:15:39] Yeah. Uh, I mean we're pretty good about working with anybody. I mean we're for the most part.

[01:15:47] So if a couple of calls and they want to book, do you want to meet with them or do you just book them on the spot?

[01:15:51] Uh, I haven't been married. Um, I let everybody play on their wedding differently and I tell people that I have videos on our site. They talk about our booking process, you know, when you book with us, I send out emails and videos and stuff. Like everybody does it differently. Some people want to people the email every other week, some people you don't want to talk every week. Some people we like we book and then we don't talk until, you know, I have like my stuff that I sent out six weeks before, three weeks before and the week before. But yeah, I mean I, I require, you know, I can go anywhere from the bare minimum to, to all the way up.

[01:16:26] Do you find those certain people that a couples you work best with?

[01:16:30] Um, I like it. I like, I think our, I think our style and our price point a attracts couples that are usually pretty fun to work with. Um, I think that we're pretty much all on the same level. Uh, I remember, uh, we do the get hitched, give hope. Um, it, it folded now, but we did the charity auction for a couple of years and uh, last year, um, are the couple that bought it, was doing there really, really, really high end wedding at the four seasons. I'm a zero. Was their photographer Chris Graves was the DJ, you know, a posh events. Was there a wedding planner? And so, you know, I Tonya that photographer, I looked at Tanya and they said, you know, um, I feel uncomfortable here, you know, I mean, we, I can do high end, you know, we can do a high end weddings and we've, you know, we did new port golf course, you know, six or seven times last year.

[01:17:29] Like I can, we can do high end, but like a lot of our couples are just kinda like me, you know, or rag younger, just excited to get married. I'm usually paying for it themselves or even appearance with limited resources. And so like, I think we, especially in the way that like we put the videos together like we attracted, I've just, you know, doing going island if this our fifth or sixth season, but like, you know, we, we attract this as kind of a, a, a good trajectory. Now we've got kind of a good base level of client that we attract so I can meet with them if they want or not

[01:18:07] when you have a tangible product that you can show them where they can watch on their website and they can get it and they can immediately go, this is our style of this or not. And then just comes down to the personalities and the chemistry with Dj and it's a little, it's a little harder to show. Yeah,

[01:18:27] it is. Yeah.

[01:18:28] Um, I mean I've found, you know, doing mixes online. I really slacked off and I'm trying to make a, considered a better effort to really work on it for a podcast. Do a podcast where once a month, if I could even do once a month, I'd be a fantastic goal at this point. Um, with everything that's going on. Because you can know what I mean. I have a photo of company, I can, I can put photos up and people can, you know, we can do quick video content. People can get an idea. Okay, this is what the booth looks like. This then product. I get this is what the four by the printout of the two by six. By six. The four by six print. Yeah. I can see that. That's an easier sell. A Ab rentals. You just show your, the products we have that fit my needs.

[01:19:10] I need a sound system. They really don't care what it looks like from that point. Is this going to work for my advance? So making, that's an easy. So when you get to the DJ, you're selling the invisible essentially because they don't know what they're going to get until it's done. And so for me and for any Djs are listening to this, I know there's lots. I'm going to promote this for you guys. Um, both of my group. Um, so you're getting a lot. Listen system. Probably one off, sorry. Um, maybe you should sell some ad space to a DJ retailer for this one. Um, just because there was going to get a lot of people don't listen to this lady js

[01:19:42] tell him you said he brings personality and listen.

[01:19:44] Yes. Tiebacks nice. Um, I mean we have that. I run a grip if you're a DJ, listen, there's an ultimate mobile dj group, ribs at this moment, 6,900 plus Djs in there. Um, and then, um, so, you know, here's the thing is I try to find a bride and grooms I want to work with and have a good chemistry with. And that's really when I say, Hey, I just want to get a chance to meet you in person or, or over zoom video conferencing. I just want to make sure that we have a good personalities that work because if we don't, I don't. I get that awkward feeling that you kind of got when you were at that one wedding is did the person. If I have great personalities that I can work with couples and now I'm down in Peolpe. I'm not in Seattle proper and I'm not at the Seattle kind of mindset where did a little bit different down the dirty south.

[01:20:36] Uh, we don't take our, uh, you know, we have fun. Everything's fun for us. I know I'm on facebook. I don't take a social media seriously at all. I mean, I created a Hashtag called cups and saucers, bachelor. Come on. Um, my mom hates that. I don't care. It's just fun for me, but I want a couple of just wanna have fun. And when I find those couples, I find that those weddings are just so much better than the ones where we don't quite meet personality West. So I think going back to that question, what's the biggest mistake that prizing grooms could make when they planned the wedding? Not Meeting with your Dj and just booking them based off a referral or silencing. Because I've had clients, there are like my favorite clients in the world. They refer me to their friends and we just don't have the personalities and they may book me.

[01:21:20] Um, but we don't have that connection with that person. I mean, because a lot of my clients are my friends where I see them all the time, not just, you know, we communicate on facebook. I wish them happy birthday on their birthday because facebook tells me it's their birthday and I had no idea. Um, but we go, we go get beer and have know, just be able to, you know, shoot the crap, um, and have a good time. I told you I'd keep this pg for you. I don't want you to put on that explicit tag. You know, I think you'd get so many more listeners if we had an explicit tag on this. People will be like, what do you say? Where is it? Where is it, where you can make it a drinking game. But I think that's the biggest thing is if for personality wise, and that may be the case with videography a little bit, is if you have personalities that Mitch

[01:22:02] would you say like you said, I mean where I know necessarily, you know, we meet but like you know, our communication and I think the way that you run and I run, you know, if you're a like a wedding bedroom, like my personality is out there like you know who I am, you know now with the podcast. But like even just with instagram with like I'm very open about like who I am, what I do. And so I think that we do enough interactions that way. I mean I've had brides, I'm like my brides for this August. I don't know when we booked, you know, nine months ago. And like, I mean she is looked in like every single thing I've posted ever since, you know, we've booked in. I mean it's remarkable. The thing that like somebody cares that much about because like you know, we're, I can't, I think it was unfair.

[01:22:50] We were talking about the order in which people book videography and like sometimes it's last or oh we have an extra couple of thousand bucks or can you fit within my budget? And so to find somebody like that that like not only his sheep in grades about and stuff like literally views every single story I am, I post a lot of the dumb, you know, where other conference today, but like she's invested, right. And like that's what I want. I mean I can work with anything and I can, you know, I can, you know, in, in, in new, when I worked in TV, I mean my job was basically that go out and interview strangers, right? Like hey there's a twenty five cent gas like today, you know, go talk to 10 people on the street and figure out what they have to say. Right. That's not fun. Right. But I can do it. So I mean I can make any day work, but yeah, I mean obviously having somebody that's more invested or excited, you know, with personalities is good.

[01:23:43] Right? And I think you get that person, you, you get that chemistry and that, and they also become your biggest fan and then you can take that big span and they can become your best salesman for you down the line as well too if they make a referrals because that's what you mean. Your past clients become your salesforce, which was nice. When are you going to cut that pit bull wristband off?

[01:24:03] Oh, these are, uh, these are uh, a rubber.

[01:24:06] Oh, they did. I thought you'd just been more than that ever. Like it's like the one straps on you just never cut it off.

[01:24:11] I, uh, so my story, I have Dorothy and I've gone twice now that the pitbull to Miami, Miami to the Bahamas cruise. And um, I thought we said when I ran my own business that I was going to get sleeve tattoos because I've, I've, I've just a couple of tattoos, but they're mostly, you know, they're easily either bowl if I'm close. And I always say when I ran my own business, I was going to get sleeves and I ended up going into like weddings and I don't know, I like to, not that you can't, I mean I think you can have tattoos and I think yeah,

[01:24:43] there's a Dj, New Jersey has lots of text.

[01:24:45] Oh. And I don't. And there's plenty of vendors, you know, steven dangerfield photographer here and he's covered from head to toe. And that's awesome. I just, and now I don't have the time or the.

[01:24:54] No. One of my photo with host, how's that sleeve of tattoos. And I told her, I go, you can cover it up these just because it's your mostly weddings and corporate. Just I'd rather play it safe, but the bride has asleep with that dude is. You're totally cool to do it. So here. Okay. So I'm not a tattoo guy. I'm, I'm of the mindset and this is, I'm totally like, here's a minor hole, punch everything in life. People can do wherever they want to do, as long as it doesn't peed on my life. I don't care. I'm so. I'm of the mindset of my body is I'm a Ferrari and I wouldn't put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari. Okay. Um, I'm uh, out of shape. Ferrari at the moment. I'm out of tune and eat some work. Um, and you paint job Ferrari. That's what I am.

[01:25:33] Um, so here's what I love to ask people about their tattoos and the significance or the meaning of what they put on their body. Like sometimes I have people go, I don't know, I just like it and I'm like, you have this tattoo of a skeleton girl holding daisies and you have no idea why you belong there and it like it. So you have flames on your shoulder is and that's all fine. There's nothing else that Tattoo, right? Yeah. Okay. So what's the excision of anxieties? The Goldberg like it's gone wrong or a. So I also have on something like that. Yeah,

[01:26:04] we're going to do anything that's going. Give the tattoos on your back or anything. Okay. We'll get there.

[01:26:09] A 20 your tattoos. I liked the flames because as somebody I just liked the idea of I'm covered skin. So like in high school, and I just draw on my hands and stuff and so blood can kill, you know. Well, okay. I think we're all young, dumb and stupid at one point. And so I um, I was always cover myself and so when it came to tattoos, like I'm not very mad. I shoot video, I don't paint, right? Like I'm not bad. My creativity goes the other way. And so when I found out that they could just kind of freehand sketch flames and the Tattoo, um, and that was like, oh great. So we can design it in like 30 seconds and be done with it. That was kind of my thing,

[01:26:55] sort of flooding have nothing else. No other meaning to it. That's fine. I'm just curious to find out. I know, I mean I asked everyone that has tattoos, I just go, what's the, what's the meaning behind [inaudible]? Like some people would tell stories about different parts of their life or something like that. And so I'm fascinated and interested by stuff like that. Stupid. No.

[01:27:14] Uh, yeah. And then, uh, to, to finish up, I have happiness written on my back, which I was going to get the Chinese symbol for happiness and hope it says happiness. And so then I decided just to get happiness in English. Um, I have a, like a spinal thing that will kind of looks like your spine. That was kind of like the rain mysterio kind of like my thing. Let me get you a luchador mask for Christmas. And then, uh, and then I have the iron may then album cover for killers, which was a, at the time that I got that, I mean, it's still an amazing city, but that was like my favorite cd at that time. And uh, just being in a big metal fan with iron maiden, uh, Eddie, the Zombie is like a really iconic. And that to me is like the most iconic at the. So, so it was metal. Your music of choice, you know. Um, nowadays it Kinda depends. It, uh, I got the apple music subscription and so we kind of, uh, kind of comes in waves a sabaton losing tail and a couple months ago they're a Swedish heavy metal band that sings about like world war two and um, soon as kind of deal as crusades and stuff. They're all their, all their songs are about battles, like historical battles.

[01:28:27] They're Swedish, right? Yeah. In Swedish language. Which language? While I'm stupid.

[01:28:32] Yeah. Um, it's mostly English. They have a couple native tongue songs and uh, so we saw them, but, you know, new found cory. I'll always go see what's the best concert you've ever been to. The best concert I ever went to was when I was in high school and it was the pledge of allegiance tour and it had, um, Mudvayne who is at the height with dig. That was. Okay. So they were at their peak. It had rob Stein coming off of do Haas. It had a slipknot coming off of the Iowa album and they had a system of a demo coming off of toxicity. Okay. So it was like, it was like the peak of that period of music. Yeah, it was pretty good. And it was at the Tacoma Dome, which is a terrible venue.

[01:29:16] Yeah, it's terrible. For some thing I, I did, I went to a rascal flatts concert with Darius Rucker was the opener and the sound engineer class. That guy's heart did the, I don't know how he came up with this idea to do this, but he basically, at one point in the song they were doing Mr Doris does a version of purple rain, which is the best version of purple rain. Never heard next to prints. So that rascal flatts comes up and at one point they do a drunk, like a drum hit. And it was the only instrument that was hit at that particular time. And the guy somehow figured out how to bounce it around the entire dome. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen in the tacoma dome or hurt and the Tacoma dome. Um, and that was pretty much my ticket. I'm sorry. Other than that, it's not limited to garth brooks. And it was great when we got moved down to the, like the first row of the second section on the floor to calm me down. And just basically, if you're not in front of the sound engineer on the floor, you're not going to have a good time at all.

[01:30:17] Uh, well as, as I think a signify about my wife coming up to check on us. I do think it's time we're been to do for tonight. Make part two so we can, we can definitely set up a time for a part two. Um, if anyone still listening at this point, who knows? Oh, I think it will be good. I have a, I was having the little bit tomorrow morning that the committee, the island. We're going to get ready for a Tony. You have about 10,000 businesses here. If anyone wants to figure out what you're doing when you're not podcasting, going to red sox games, listening to Garth Brooks, what would you do?

[01:30:46] Ah, go to start. Just go to the first page. Just go to is www.Tonyschwartzproductions.com. It was about nine different links that will take you to whatever you're probably looking for, and if you're listening to this podcast, please subscribe or unsubscribe. Give them a five star rating and then resubscribed unsubscribed and resubscribe. Again, that should definitely move them up. The podcast ranking charts. That's what I've learned from pmt apartment I take, which is one of the best part podcasts around. So I'm going to help get you up there.

[01:31:13] Uh, well, as always, this has been, I wouldn't say a. The last two episodes of gets at your wedding pro. This has been a long one. This has been good. Thank you Tony. I really appreciate you coming up here and spending some time with us. Thank you so much for having me Reid. I really appreciate it. It's been fun. This has been another episode of the Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor going to be with. Thanks so much.

[01:31:32] Bye guys.

Episode 14 (Ray Van Winkle, Ray Van Winkle and Associates)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by a very long time friend, Ray Van Winkle of Reverend Ray Van Winkle and Associates. And I wanted to thank you so much for coming by. And why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you guys do.

[00:30] Well, thank you much. I'm Reverend Ray Van Winkle and Associates. We are freelance wedding officiants. We've been in business since 2003 and have performed a little over 1500 weddings in the past 15 years. We serve the greater puget sound region, performing secular ceremonies, religious ceremonies, serious, lighthearted, whatever you want.

[01:00] And uh, I'm going to, I don't know if this is a surprise to you or not, but you actually performed the ceremony at the first wedding that I ever shot. Really? And it was Andrew and Bridgette at Pickering Barn back in 2014. I just pulled it up this morning to make sure I have the date because I remember them in the venue. And you. Yeah, but it was I think July, 22nd and it was a really hot day. We were out in the lawn area in the back. No shade, very sunny, but it's funny just to take a. I didn't know what I was doing it all the time, but I remember I remember you were tripping over your equipment and everything. It was terrible. Uh, so it, it, that's why I say when it's been a long time friend, it really has, in terms of like people that I recognize in the wedding industry, you are certainly one of the longest that I remember it. So, uh, you guys really are, you know, you and maybe just a handful of others in the Seattle area are I think the longest tenured and most kind of well known. I mean, do you have, how has that, how have you built that over the years and how has that been? I mean, I think you guys are like one of the top.

[02:09] Yeah, well part of it, part of it is just longevity, just slogging away at the, at the business and the reputation and everything. And there have been other officiants who have retired over the years. Um, a lot of it I think has to do with, uh, various and sundry industry awards. Uh, we've been king five evening magazine, Best of western Washington for about the past 10 years. I'm always a finalist with Seattle brides. Best of awards programs. Um, there is uh, being established with a lot of venues and wedding planners. Um, we are currently on the recommended vendor list for about, I think 25 to 30 of the more popular venues here in the region as well as working a lot with, uh, some very big heavy hitters in the wedding planning and coordination industry.

[03:13] Is that something that you had, I mean obviously when you started the business he wanted it to be successful, but did you guys ever really kind of think, I mean, did you ever think longterm like that you would be one of. I kind of,

[03:26] not really, not really, I just, I just wanted to do something that I loved. I'm to the point to where, uh, much to my wife's Chagrin, I used to, uh, used to tell people that, you know, I would, I would do this for free and I would, I would, I love being a wedding officiant. It does pay the rent and the bills and everything though. But, um, no, never, never had a quote unquote business plan or a goal that we aimed towards except, uh, just performing as many weddings as we possibly could.

[04:04] It wasn't about weddings in general. They kind of drew you to that in the first place.

[04:07] Well, it's, I, I've been in other incarnations in the wedding industry for a long, long time. I'm back in the late eighties down in San Francisco. My wife and I owned a small catering company, so we did wedding receptions as part of that. Uh, my wife is a retired floral designer and I worked with her as a floral assistant. She taught me how to make bouquets and boot nears and, and whatnot. Uh, which is why which came in handy because typically when I get to the ceremony, the florist is delivered all the flowers they take off and there's people standing around holding a boot near in one hand and pins in the other saying, what, what, what do I do? And I invariably end up pinning all the guys and sometimes the ladies.

[05:00] That's fantastic. That's a great point. I'm sure that comes in very handy. I've, yes, I've learned that the Taco technique or whatever, I've done the videos. So you guys had done a lot of weddings. When you fill out my questionnaire it said, uh, it was very specific. It said 1,347 that you had done. I've done personally, yes. That is an astronomical number. Uh, I'm sure that that's gone up now even since you filled this out a couple of weeks ago. Um, does it ever get old, is it still exciting and talk about that. It is still still,

[05:33] it is still exciting. Um, I wouldn't say it gets old because I'm very conscientious about approaching every wedding and every wedding rehearsal as if it were brand new to me because it's brand new to the bride and groom and, and, um, the wedding party, the parents, the, so you, you, you, you make that little mental adjustment and that keeps things fresh.

[06:03] Yeah. And I have noticed that we were talking off air when you got here. We had just worked a wedding together over Memorial Day weekend and you know, it really struck me and I emailed you after the about, you know, how personal and I knew you knew them, I think through work or.

[06:18] Yes, yes. I knew Stephanie of the bride. I, I knew her. Yeah.

[06:22] Yeah. But it's still, you know, it just struck me that it just, it felt like although you were, you know, a professional and, and you know, and hired to do, but it felt like you were their friend, that you were somebody that the way that ceremony was constructed a, is that intentional. Talk about that.

[06:37] That's, that's just my style. Everybody, everybody is, is treated by me as if they were a dear friend, whether I've just met them the day before or it's a family wedding where I've, I've known them for years.

[06:56] I'm talking about the do couples, uhw, , w, what is their reaction to that, you know, to the ceremony and to kind of after you do everything. I mean, what do they, what is their feedback? I guess

[07:09] to be perfectly honest, at least directly, right after the ceremony, most couples, brides and grooms both have reported to me when we're done and we're signing the documents. They don't remember anything I said. They remember the feeling and how it felt and how comfortable they were up there and, and appreciative that they were being directed during the ceremony by a professional, efficient. Um, the further reactions usually don't come until after awhile after the ceremony you get back from honeymoon. I get a very nice card or an email or other people who were guests at the wedding or getting married and they contact me because they, they saw what a wonderful job we did. And I say we, because I've got three associates and the all trained in what I call my style of officiating.

[08:07] Do you have to have any sort of a training any way? What kinds of talk about the you that you guys had? Any sort of professional things like that?

[08:18] There are, there are some organizations I am told that do seminars and training for officiant. I think they're mainly back east. I'm of the probably 40 to 50 professional officiants here in the puget sound area. I think there are probably only a couple who have actually gotten formal training. It's um, it's basically a ojt on the job training. I'm learning a, uh, learning how to write a ceremony was probably the thing I had to work at the most. I have stage experience. I was a stage actor down in, in California growing up. And so I'm very comfortable in front of people and speaking and have those techniques. We were just talking about that. A ceremony we just did together the other day and we are on top of the roof at bell tower and the microphone crapped out and so it's okay. You're on stage 3000 seat theater.

[09:30] They don't give you a microphone, you take a deep breath, support your voice and project. And that's, that's what I did a talk about that. Talk about your stage background. That's fascinating. Down in California. Yeah. That uh, I was, I was bit by the acting bug when I was in high school. We all know our, our high school cliques, the nerds, the jocks, the politicians. I was one of the theater geeks and um, took drama all four years in high school, uh, did a couple of the high school plays but wrapped by the time I was 17. I was auditioning at and working at community theaters in the bay area and um, did, uh, did a lot of performing a stage managing costume work, lighting sets about. The only thing I've never done it in the theater is actually direct a play. I've actually even written some stuff before.

[10:30] Um, and so I was doing that up until about age 30 and then it just, you know, a lot of my friends in the theater because they do it all their life for me, it a fulfilled its, its purpose, um, acceptance, responsibility, things that I wasn't getting at home and at school, uh, were provided in the theater. So then I, you had said that you and your wife ran a catering company, so when you met her, were you still acting? That's how we met was a, was performing. I was the master of ceremonies in a Vaudeville style musical review. And my wife Stephanie was one of the lead singers. It was kind of a wild west Vaudeville revue actually. She squeezed into a green velvet plunging neckline dress and sat on an upright piano and saying hardhearted in the vamp of Savannah. And My job, my job was to go onstage, introduce acts, get ax off the stage, tell bad jokes, keep things rolling.

[11:49] And she was one of the acts and that was, did it for ya? Yep. That was in, that was summer of 1976. I just graduated from high school and a her in the, we're rehearsing in an elementary school and uh, met her during a cigarette break. Its back when everybody smoked. Even when you were a singer. Met Her, uh, during a break. She was, uh, complaining about her boyfriend and that was in 76 and we were good, good friends for a couple of five or six years actually. And uh, things got serious in 80 and we married in 81.

[12:30] I'm talking about your wedding and then talk about, uh, who did the ceremony, how did that work

[12:35] when you were married in the Catholic Church? My wife is Catholic. I'm not, which means we didn't get to have a nuptial mass or as I tell people, I avoided having to eat the Jesus cookie. Uh, we did get married in a little chapel next to the church by a priest. It was a 15, 20 minute ceremony. Kind of like what we do here. I'm very low pressure though. The priest was actually a personal friend of ours. We knew this fellow for a long, long time. Little Short Irish priest, Father Joe. And so it was a very comfortable thing. I was in the military at the time, I was in the Coast Guard and my, uh, my whole input to my wedding was, where's it going to be? When's it going to be? What do you want me to, where I'll be there. Ironic considering the business I'm in now. Uh, I'm married the youngest of three daughters though, so my wife didn't. It was not really into all the wedding planning and stuff. So my mother in law, uh, went to the Rolodex. Everybody remembers what a Rolodex is. Don't think a good flipped out the Rolodex and when the church, the reception hall, the food, the band, et Cetera, et Cetera, et cetera.

[13:57] I'm being married now. Do you feel like that gives you, you know, I'm always fascinated. I think I became a better wedding vendor having been married to Kinda got, not that you can't the other way, but having gone through the process and, you know, obviously being married and in love, does that kind of help inform how you approach the day or what would you. What's your thoughts on that?

[14:16] All right, thanks. So not so much how I approach the day more so though, uh, the, one of the things that we offer but don't require as premarital counseling. Um, I do that myself, my associates don't just me and uh, I'm finding more and more that while I use a formal system for premarital counseling, it's called prepare enrich that uh, a lot of what I'm talking to people about is just based on 37 years of me being married about that premarital

[14:52] counseling.

[14:53] Yeah. Yeah. I use, I use the prepare enrich system. It's about a 250 questions survey. It used to be done on paper and mailed in, but now it's on the Internet. Like everything is, it's not counseling like g Ray, we've got a problem. We need you to fix it. It's more getting all the issues out on the table before you get married. So there's no surprises. We talk about a family backgrounds, children, money, sex or politics, religion, everything under the sun. Um, I equate it probably kind of crudely, but I equate it to when you buy a used car, you want to take that car to your mechanic and have them check under the hood and make sure everything's copacetic. So I'm the mechanic. Your marriage is the car and again, we're just looking at are there any issues that you guys are in, in conflict about?

[15:53] Um, I think that's fascinating. I just had a Tory, a wall on a last week on the podcast and she has a psychology degree and she's a wedding planner and she was talking about similar, being able to just kind of read people a little bit better when it comes to planning and kind of seeing people's motivations. How often do you guys do the premarital? Is that like a one in 10? Couple thing is to have the one in 50.

[16:18] Oh, I would probably say it's about a one in 25. I do. I do roughly 100 weddings a year and probably four couples want to do the premarital counseling.

[16:31] Is that successful? Obviously. I mean what is, what is their reaction to it?

[16:36] It's, um, for the most part, um, and I warn my couples about this, you know, for the most part you're going to discover things that you already know, but it's formalized and codified and yes, we knew we were going to have these answers occasionally. Every once in a while there'll be something kind of a surprise, oh my God, I didn't know you felt this way about this subject. And then we kind of dig in, dig into it a little further and discuss. And that's where a lot of my experience being an old married guy comes in. [inaudible] seen it all. It's like, like the, like the, the, the allstate commercials, you know, I've seen it, I've done it.

[17:21] Yeah, that's a great point. I, and I mean, that's a great just to know his customers. Not all state farmer's been there, done that, the car in the tree or whatever. Um, do you? Uh, I think that's a nice bonus, I guess for people that have right where they don't feel like they're obligated that they have to sign up for that. But that's like an extra thing. Exactly. So going back to now you're married, you're in California still. Um, so you guys started a catering company. Yup. So talk about that and kind of getting into the wedding industry even though

[17:55] it was, um, uh, that was uh, an idea that my wife had. She's very much an entrepreneur as it were and um, we had, uh, we had worked as catering assistance for other catering companies just as kind of a side thing. I'm, do they call it these days? It's a side hustle. Yup. Yup. And she decided that she wanted to have her own company. It was very small. It was basically the two of us and we'd hire on a couple of assistants when we needed, needed it. Um, we didn't have a commercial kitchen back in those days in California. You didn't have to have a commercial kitchen to be a caterer as long as you did all your, your food prep and cooking on site, which is what we did. We were small. We were mobile. That lasted, I think just a couple of years. It's catering is a young person's, especially when you're doing the, uh, the onsite stuff, it's a young person's job, you're hauling heavy stuff and food and ice. And

[19:03] so, uh, you guys did that for a couple of years. Uh, and then did that lead into the floral or was that.

[19:09] Nope, floral was totally a totally unrelated to that. My wife, uh, had been working an office job office managers I recall for a baby clothes manufacturing company here in town and she left that work and wanted again in the entrepreneurial spirit to open up or at least become a florist there are no longer open, but at the time there was a company in pioneer square that did a very intensive, like I think three or four month courses on floral design in the floral business. And she took those and originally was going to just go out to a try to get a job in a florist a was unable to. Nobody wanted to hire brand new, inexperienced florist. So she said, well, we're just going to open up our own shop. And uh, she, her first shop was in Ferndale village in admins. And she was there for a number of years and then moved over to country village in bothell. So that was up here, right? Either Washington near the coast guard, military. My last duty station was, uh, was here in Seattle. And uh, we just stayed.

[20:33] So you guys are up here now. She's doing the formal thing. How did then the idea of becoming an officiant come about

[20:41] that again? God bless her. Was My wife her? Yeah. See I. Everything I do is because of her. Um, she had a notion that we were going to buy some property out on the coast. I think we had recently maybe been out there on vacation or something that we were going to buy some property out on the coast and make it into a wedding venue and I was going to be the inhouse wedding officiant. The real estate portion fell through, but I had by that time, uh, gotten myself ordained online universal life church. Nothing wrong with that. Most efficient ants around here are um, online, ordained. Got Myself ordained. And there was, I remember specifically a Saturday afternoon, or I was watching steffes shop for her, I was at the front register, she was in one of the other rooms doing a floral consult for a bride, the bride and the bride's mother was there and I happened to overhear the bride complaining to my wife that they really didn't like the fellow that they hired to perform the wedding and they were thinking about letting him go and getting somebody else.

[22:05] And so I just kind of shoehorned myself into that situation. I'm ordained. I'd be more than happy to do your wedding ceremony. I'll charge you. I'm not going to say how much it was because it was a ridiculously low amount because I was starting out and I wanted to make sure because she was going to lose her deposit with this other fella. And, but a long story short, that was in March of 2003, a very first wedding ceremony. I did a, had one of those clouds parted. Come to Jesus moments. This is what you were put on earth to do. And just took off from there. Uh, so how did that first wedding ceremony Gal, you know, it's, it was, it was interesting. I, I, uh, performed the number one rookie mistake for an officiant. I'm standing up on the altar, groom standing next to me. I ask everyone to rise. Dad Walks the bride in, gives her a hug and a kiss and the groom goes up and Shakes Dad's hand, takes his fiance, his bride to be, takes her up to me and I start the ceremony and about two minutes later I noticed the mother of the groom looking at me trying to subtly wave her hand, motion her hand down, and I looked around and went, oh, everybody's still stands, please, please be seated. Sorry about that. And that. Yeah, that's kind

[23:46] of a common, uh, if you ever have like, yeah, like a friend do the ceremony, like we'll remind them like 80 times picture everyone city and made sure everyone say because people, it's like a wedding. It's like sheep, they just kind of walk and they do what they're told. Don't, don't get me started on friends doing ceremonies. Um, so, uh, well I do, I do. I'm talking about that. I do too, but, so, uh, so the ceremony goes well though. You have a come to come to Jesus moment. That's what were you nervous? Uh, I mean, you the obviously stage acting and things like that.

[24:19] Funny thing I, I was, I was. And it's very perceptive of you to, to catch that because they're the main difference. I mean, I, I've been on, you know earlier I mentioned 3000 seat theater. I've been on stage with 3000 seats. Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but it's not me up there. It's whoever I'm playing. So that first I'd say probably the first three to four to five weddings, it was a little bit nervous because it was, it was me, um, but got very, very quickly. Got into the swing of the thing, the comfort level increased. Um, and every year I add on another 100 some odd weddings. Uh, I tell people these days you could wake me up at three in the morning, give me a posted note with a couple of people's names on it and I can stand up and, and, and improvise a 15 minute wedding ceremony.

[25:21] Yeah, if you need to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, so, so you're going along, man, you know, you've got a couple under your belt. Um, when did then kind of this, you know, Ray Van Winkle and associates, how did that kind of grow and come about?

[25:35] That came about? I'm around, let me see. Probably around 2010 I was, I was just by myself up until then. Um, I had actually, just as a sidebar, I had actually been working a full time day job when I started doing weddings. So the, the wedding thing was my side hustle, uh, in [inaudible] eight I got laid off during the great recession. I was in my fifties, nobody was going to hire, you know, that just wasn't the way it was. And so I was able to spin that off into full time. So from Oh, eight wedding officiant full time in 2010 though I was contacted by a very good friend of mine who has always been fascinated with my business and how an officiate works and everything and he kind of introduced me to the end associates concept mainly because this fellow is a business attorney and that's how law firms usually run right around the time he started talking to me about this.

[26:46] I was realizing that I was turning away a lot of business, a referring over to other colleagues that we, you and I both know, but I was sending a lot of business out to other people, but I wasn't getting a lot of referrals back the other way. So when my friend bill introduced me to the and associates concept, I took him on, trained him in how I do things and how I like to see things done. So whenever I was contacted by a couple who I could not help, I could refer them over to Reverend Bill and that his schedule filled up. The next year. Later I brought on my second associate. A couple of years later. I brought on my third,

[27:32] uh, so I want to get back to, to, uh, you being no layoff or corporate in the way you did before, but I, I don't want to forget to ask. So when you talk about, and I think it's important, uh, you know, you hired bill, like how you wanted to see a ceremony, you know, be performed, go off, like if you had to verbalize that, you know, in terms of like what, what is your vision for that or what is the ideal vision? How would you describe that?

[27:59] Oh boy, interesting question. Um, first things first. What I visualize is, um, it's not my way or the highway. We don't dictate the wedding couple. They are our boss. It's like we're a taxi cab driver or uber driver. The bride and groom there are fair. We will take you where you want to go, the way that you want to go. Um, I've also insured and kind of what the vision for the company is both myself and all of my associates. Um, we're very lighthearted. We're not terribly serious. We are gathered here today kind of kind of people. So we're fun, we're lighthearted. Um, our job is to, is to serve. So, um,

[29:02] you were working, you said you were working full time while you're doing your officiant. Uh, what were you doing or if you wanted to talk about it?

[29:08] Sure, sure. I was a, a sales administrator for a marine manufacturing company in the u district. Was there for 19 years. I'm one of these, uh, just a desk job jockey. It was in the sales department. It was basically the sales manager and myself and then we managed a whole network of dealers and distributors and international distributors, etc. So phone work, computer work, doing the occasional a boat show, that kind of thing.

[29:42] So. And you're doing weddings on the side, right? And so then like use it. So then when you got laid off, like that had to have been really scary, right?

[29:51] Yeah. When you look at how much cobra is for your health insurance, that was scary and it was a against smartest thing I ever did was be in the military by a weird quirk of my timing. I was able to get va healthcare. I still pay copays for everything, um, that the va does not give healthcare to everybody. who is, was in the military, you have to be a war time vet. And I was in from 79 to 84 and in [inaudible] 81 or 82 is when reagan invaded Grenada. And that's, that was, that was a declaration of war by congress. Uh, I was up in Alaska at the time, but it doesn't matter. We're at war. I was in the service so I get my healthcare through them and that freed me up to be able to do the wedding officiating full time and not have to worry about getting another job and get insurance, etc. Etc.

[31:01] Uh, this is probably terrible to me. I should have asked before. why, why did you get into the coast guard? What was that? What inspired you to do that?

[31:08] You know, what inspired me to do that is I was living at the time in a little farm town in southwest Iowa population 100. I'd moved out there from san francisco, so it was quite the culture shock. Uh, but I had family out there and uh, just wanted to try something new, different. I was there for I think about nine months and just no job prospects, nothing really going. I wanted to head back to the coast. I felt very landlocked. The only water was the Missouri river, a little muddy river that ran nearby and I was used to being near the pacific ocean. So I went to omaha, Nebraska once in one of those multi branch recruiting services. And I'm considered my options, no offense to anybody who might've been in the army, but back then at least anybody could sign an x on a piece of paper, went into the army. So I said, no, no, I can do better than that marine corps to tough navy. Don't know why I didn't consider the navy, but I didn't. But I was, I was going back and forth between the air force and the coast guard and decided on the coast guard. And they Sent me right back to the bay area. The, A bootcamp at that time was in alameda, California. And uh, the first ship I was on was based out of alameda and the second ship I was on, it was based here in seattle.

[32:37] So yeah. So then you got sent back to san francisco

[32:40] and how many years were you in the coast guard? I was in for four years and nine months. It was a four year enlistment, but by the time I figured out what service school I wanted to go to, it was a nine month long school and they required that I have at least two years doing that job once I got out of school. So I had to add an extra nine months into my enlistment. So what was that experience like? I mean, did you like it? I did, I did. It was, um, I'd recommend it for anybody actually. Uh, what I also recommend though is a lot of the people I was in joined the service when they were 17 or 18. I waited until I was 21. And I think that helped a lot having a couple of years out of school and living on my own before going into the service.

[33:29] But in general it was a, it was a real wake up call, it was kind of a pick me up, slap me across the head, you know, grow up, get a job, be a man, that kind of stuff. It was your wife helping you out at all or was this kind of year venture then? Uh, As far as the officiating, um, it was, it was pretty much my kind of thing, my though, but my wife has a lot more business experience than I do. She's really savvy as far as advertising and connecting with people and whatnot. And she would often turn to her for advice that I would sometimes take in sometimes not much to her chagrin. Um, in regards to the business matters, do you find that there's specific issues in terms of being an efficient company that are unique to you in terms of like other businesses or other wedding vendors?

[34:24] I mean, that might be a broad question, but it is, but, but specifically in regards to other wedding vendors and what I have found over the years is unlike a videographer or photographer or a dj, um, I find that actually paying for advertising or more importantly paying to be in a wedding show really doesn't get a lot of result for people in the efficient business. And I think it'S not part of it is because some people are getting married at a church, other people are having their cousin fred do the wedding. Um, but unlike a lot of other vendors, officiant don't charge all that terribly much. I mean there are a couple people around her are doing like the 800 to a thousand, but for the most part it's like anywhere from three to $500. And so you're putting out a lot of money to do a show. It, it just doesn't, uh, you know, for example, in your business, you book one wedding and you've, you're making. For me,

[35:38] I need to book a couple of weddings just to break even. Yeah. And then that's a great point because we were in the wedding show this year, we had just kinda upped our, you know, our, we're going to be a sponsor for videography and, and we had said like, well now, you know, we got a book at this number of weddings to break even. but yeah, like I said, I'm sure it's a lot less and we're not in the business to break even.

[35:57] You want more than that.

[36:00] Um, and then so talk about your, your thoughts, uh, about, you know, hiring a professional versus doing that. Friends or family and, and, and I know it's, you know, and I'm sure it's a deer, a topic, you know. and the same with me, you in terms of people that say they don't need a videographer, whatever, but you know what, let's talk about the pros and what do you feel like, you know, the pros are to bring in our professional versus, you know, rely on the family and friend. Years ago, years ago,

[36:27] and I used to have this on an older version of my website years ago, I tried to make my website more of an educational kind of thing and I would talk about how, um, about why you hire a professional in general. You don't give your cousin mechanics book and some tools and say, hey, fix my car. You don't go to your sorority sister, would you need open heart surgery? Granted, nothing that You or I are doing is open heart surgery. But I, I've, I've subsequently kind of tapered off on that over the years because I do understand and acknowledge that a lot of people feel that their ceremony is going to be more personal if it's somebody they know standing up there. And sometimes it is sometimes the, uh, the nonprofessional efficient. We'll do a good job. A lot of times, and I know you've seen this yourself and wedding planners and photographers will, will tell you that a lot of times they don't.

[37:37] I'm to the point to where I'm. Dave don't remember to hold the microphone up in front of their face. They don't move off to the side when the bride and groom are kissing, and so their photo bombing the, the picture, they forget how to fill out the paperwork properly and then you're not legally married until that gets all rectified. The miCrophone craps out and the person just can't speak in front of lots of people like that. Uh, but again, I've, I've kind of mellowed on that because I have, I have met couples who have said, well, you know, it, it did feel like more personal in our guide. Did a really good job. God bless him. That's great. Um, I, however, I also feel that part of the, part of the reason we have ceremony in anything, a funerals, weddings, baptisms, anything we have ceremony to make something different and more outstanding from the rest of our lives.

[38:46] and that's why we, that's why we celebrate the ceremony. And as you discussed earlier, you were talking that I'm the weddings that we've done together, even when I don't actually know the people very, very well. They're not like dear friends forever. The ceremony can still have that personal, heartfelt, wow, that guy really knows this couple feeling without actually having known this couple for all those years. That's part of being a professional. And to get back though onto the, uh, the ceremony and why it's special is that a lot of times, and I would ask anybody who's, who's been to a ceremony of wedding ceremony where they know the efficient, you know, that's, that's my cousin joe doing that. It doesn't, it doesn't bring the ceremony up to the level to my mind that it should, by having somebody that here's somebody up there, we don't know them, but they stayed. They speak with respect and dignity and then fun and humor and a more of a sense of gravitas I think is the word.

[40:05] Uh, and I mean and, and to be fair, you know what I mean, you're speaking to me too. I mean we, we had had my wife's a brother in law, you know, perform our ceremony, you know, for the same reason. Right? Oh, read, read, read, read. I'm leaving now. How did, how did that work out? But it was good. I mean, he and we specifically, she had actually had a couple of friends that had volunteered to do it. Then I had specifically said, you know, we're not goIng to have, you know, your sorority sister do the wedding, you know, he, he's a lawyer and he wears a suit and looks and speaks with words. Yup. Yup. But, uh, but no, I mean, but that's with words as opposed to american side. Uh, but, you know, but I mean, I do think that that is a really great thing that, you know, you can be, have it be personal habit, be heartfelt, haven't had that connection with bringing in that professional. I mean, I think that that is a really great point to make, right? Yup. Yeah. I can't, I can't tell you how many the

[41:02] weddings I've done where I arrived at the rehearsal and the wedding planner sees me coming in and you just see this sense of relief and the shoulders drop. Oh ray, thank god it's you. Um, last week I did this wedding and I tell you I had to stand there and hold this guy's hand and, and you know, having, having a professional fill in the blank makes everybody else's job easier. I'm going to make your job easier because you don't have to coach me and what's going on. The dj, the photographer, the planner, everybody, um, with the exception of the caterers probably doesn't have much effect but it makes everybody else's job easier.

[41:55] well, and I would agree with that and I would agree also like you said with that during the rehearsals and things where you know, like our friends got married, my wife's friends and like I showed up at the rehearsal and you know, they didn't have a planner in their officiant was. I can't even remember who it was. But like I'm sitting there like, and luckily I was doing the video and like I have a brain, but like I was trying to figure out like, okay, where are people going to stand in the order? And things like that's not something that I did. I. And they had no, I mean they wouldn't have known. I told dorothy, I said they wouldn't have known, they wouldn't have known. Like if I wasn't there, they still be standing. That's,

[42:28] that's, that's another aspect of that goes toward a professional officiant is I'd say probably about 75 percent of the weddings we do. There is no wedding planner or a coordinator. So we run the rehearsal. Um, so you're not, again, having to have some people standing there going, okay, what do we do? Well, I don't know, how do you think we want to do it? Et cetera, et cetera. Uh, we come in at the rehearsal and just like a day of coordinator, we take over line everybody up and do a proper and thorough rehearsal

[43:11] because I think that that is a great point because I don't think that people like, I think you think like, oh, we're going to get married in like, we're going to stand up there. But like they don't think about the 1800 things that lead to that in terms of like, well, where are we going to line up? What order? Where are we going to stand?

[43:28] A lot of that I think is due to movies and tv. You watch movies, especially hallmark, but anybody you, you watch a wedding in a ceremony or wedding ceremony and a movie and it's usually like 90 seconds. They don't even show you naturally. They don't even show you the entire ceremony and people get in the mind that like you said, it's just kind of magic, oh, we're just going to appear here and we're going to stand here. Then we're going to turn out and face face the audience is going to look just like it. It does in the movies, but there's all that other stuff that, that contributes.

[44:09] Yeah. I remember even rebecca, our planner was like, you know, you're going to need to rebecca, granted and you know, hold your hands in this, you know, I didn't even think about all that stuff. You just think out we're going to get married and you don't think. Yeah, like the actual, like, functional, getting up there and the mechanics. Uh,

[44:28] yeah. It's, it's a, it's like thinking that, okay, I want, I want this beautiful painting hanging on my wall and not being given some oils and brushes. And where do you go from there?

[44:45] Um, so in terms of you've done a lot of ceremonies, we talked about that. Are there some that really resonate with you even now years later or months later? Like I know that we did matthew and alex last year up russell's loft and I mean that was like heavy really vows and the ceremony and I mean they were email a lot of stuff. I mean whether what resonates with you now or what keeps going, we'll,

[45:13] we'll, we'll see these days. It's funny you mentioned matthew, the knowledge these days pretty much any same sex marriage I do still resonates me with me mainly because all the work everybody had to go through and struggle to get where we are today. So, um, in addition to that though, um, I think specifically of a wedding I did, it's bear creek golf and country club, I think it was a number of years ago, the groom, a unbeknownst to his wife, taught himself to play the guitar, wrote a song for her and had the guitar waiting behind his line of groomsmen. So the bride didn't see it and in the middle of the ceremony drops to one knee. The best man gives him the guitar and he serenades his bride. It's got. Yes. That's. Yeah, I didn't do anything like that. I mean either meaning here, go for it now.

[46:24] No, I was going to say, uh, I mean there are ceremonies that are memorable for those kinds of reasons. There are ceremonies that are memorable for when something goes wrong or unexpected. I officiated a wedding once with a catholic deacon. We're at a masonic hall in burean and deacon teddy walks his daughter down the aisle. I stopped them. I usually don't do this, but they wanted me to ask the question, if anyone sees any reason why this man and woman should not be married, et cetera, et cetera, and I asked the question and this fellow stands up and raises his hand and he says, I object big gasp. Everybody's, oh my god. What's going on? Number two, guy number three. Number four, by the time guy number five, standing to object. The pork room. He Is doing one of those face plants just standing there and the altar shaking his head. Deacon teddy turns around, points to each one of those five guys and says, you guys just sit down and shut up and thank god your sister's getting married. Wow. Everybody breaks into laughter. It was insane. Uh, the, uh, the groom I guess knew he was getting married into a family of practical jokers. The saving grace to the story was that she told me right before the wedding they were going to do that.

[48:03] Oh yeah. I know. I would've been. I would've been standing there and going, oh, uh, no, no.

[48:10] can I ask you nets? I would say maybe two out of 20, 25 they ask that anymore. Is that just kind of passe, that skiing that people have jack? Oh yeah.

[48:20] No, that, that, that only comes up once or twice a year. Yeah. Yeah. The, the and people avoid that. Not. Well first off, the people who do want it, they want it just because it is quote traditional unquote. It's what you've seen in the movies in a church, et cetera. Most people stay away from that. Not so much because they seriously think anybody's gonna object because who's going to invite that person, but invariably the groom will be thinking of some groomsmen. He's got up there who's going to want to be a smart ass and say something just to be funny and that's why we stay away from that.

[49:02] Yeah. Cause I, the only times I've seen it is it's always played for jokes. Like they'll be like. And if you have anything to say like, get outta here.

[49:11] Yeah. Yeah. And I've done that also on the few times I've done that question. I've had people who want me to say speak, you know, if anybody objects sit down and shut up, they're getting married anyway, but that would be the bride or groom would ask you. Right? Oh yeah. You know, I do not. Um, I do not go awful. How can I put it? I normally don't go off off script. I'm not gonna improvise. Say anything. They don't want me to say unless something goes wrong. if, if the bride is having a hard time getting that ring shoved on his finger, I'm going to say something. I can't help it. But you're trying to ease kinda. Exactly. Exactly. Knowing people, people welcomed that and enjoy that. And if something like that happens early in the ceremony, it's really great because you see the tension. If the bride or groom or tense or nervous, you see that once, once everybody laughs and that tension just kind of melts away and the shoulders drop down a little bit and they're good to go.

[50:20] Yeah. We got married at salty is and as we were doing the rings this boat, like a, like single engine fishing boat, it was like, I think one guy had his shirt off and the other guy had a bright orange vest, you know lifevest on. Yup. Yup. Big beer guts drinking beer and like 10 feet offering the salty dog going by. So I had the wherewithal because I. And I was like, well I think we should wait here for a minute, but you know, we didn't have a friend that was like, you know, should we keep going? And I said, well no, we should stop and wait.

[50:53] That kind of thing happens on the scan. Sony up here a lot on the, on lake union. you're in the middle of the ceremony and somebody going by in a kayak and occasionally it's usually applause and whooping it up. Every once in a while he gets somebody going down to run. It's not too late.

[51:14] Uh, I was happy that the last wedding we did with the cruise ship, there was some people that they got married as defining. And jason got me, or stephanie and jason got married at the bell harbor and there was a cruise ship. They're big, big norwegian. It hadn't, it was, I guess it was supposed to depart like an hour before and it wasn't and I really was worried because we were getting set up and there were some people that were making yelling from the ship, scott, the dj, you know, we were talking and then maybe you were, you know, we were all kind of getting ready and I thought, man, I'm really going to be. And luckily they didn't win. The actual ceremony was there, you know, because that is tough. I mean, you don't want somebody, I don't know, trying to make a joke and be the star. Is there common mistakes that you see couples make in terms of approaching the wedding with the officiant or things that you wish more people would know? Like easy stuff that you're like this, that you see time and time again? Interesting. Besides like relying on you uncle bob.

[52:13] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's, let's, let's take that off the table right now. Boy, you know, believe it or not, and I talked to people about this when we have our initial consultation, the big thing is remember to get your darn marriage license. Um, I can't tell you how many times I'll arrive at the ceremony and asked for the marriage license and they look at me and go, weren't you supposed to get that? And I did a wedding recently for a, actually somebody who is a professional in the wedding business who will remain unnamed, I'll tell you when we're done. And he did not have a marriage license.

[53:03] Well, and for people that don't know, I mean, you, you, it is an official thing. You hAve to go in with your, you can't just pick one up when you want to do. And they'd say you physIcally can't get their marriage certificate.

[53:16] Yeah, yeah. No, the bride and groom or bride and bride or groom and groom as the case may be. You've got to go to the county anytime within 60 days of the wedding date, but not within three days because there's a little waiting period. They post your documents. No, no. Los vegas weddings. Here. You don't want to meet on a wednesday night and get married thursday morning kind of thing. Um, but yeah, that is the most important aspect. Without that, there's no marriage. And, and like I said before, when we were, uh, talking about the nonprofessional officiant, if it's not, paperwork's not done properly. There's no marriage. Um, yeah. So that's, that's, that's the big thing. That's the big thing.

[54:02] Uh, I, we did have a wedding that joe my associates shot and it was a quote unquote professional officiant who will remain nameless, but I, joe rode for about 20 minutes of footage in the back with him trying to explain to them how he forgot the certificate, but that it was okay that like, they were still married and oh, well I'll just meet up with you guys tomorrow at starbucks. And I'm like, no, but that's not like, you know, he was trying to explain to them, oh, you are still married. And it's like, well, not until tomorrow. Then it starbucks. Right, right.

[54:35] Well, you know though, I mean for first off in these circumstances, we go ahead and do the ceremony naturally and we do get together afterwards. Sometimes what happens is they've left the paperwork at the hotel and the hotel is like an hour away. Sometimes they just haven't applied for it. Um, if it's a case of the paperwork's been left in the hotel again, that paperwork's good for 60 days depending on how far back you got it. In addition, the officiant has 30 days after the date that it's signed to get those documents back to the county. So there is some, there is some slop time there. If it is a case that you just forgot to get the paperwork, then yes, indeed. You are not actually officially married until that date that that document is signed. Um, there is a keepsake certificate though is you'll recall, which is not a legal documents. So you can put whatever you want on it. If you want to put that original date that you had the ceremony, you're perfectly welcome to do that.

[55:43] I'm moving forward here. What do you have any longterm goals or any. What does the future hold for,

[55:52] for well, you know, longterm goal number one is actually to increase the business mainly because, uh, for me at least, and I think for some of my other fellow, a wedding vendors, uh, this past couple of years had been kind of slow. There's been a lot more diy, do it yourself, both in officiants video, djs, et cetera. Uh, I don't know if it's for economic reasons, political reasons, you know, we're all worried that we're all going to be nuked and you don't want to spend all that money anymore. So short term goal, get business back up the way it was a couple of years ago, longer term. I'm actually had been branching out lately and, uh, doing some funerals. Uh, I was actually back in [inaudible] nine, I think it was. I was trained in writing and performing funeral services. Uh, that is one of the things that is kind of diy proof. Most people don't want to deal with speaking at a funeral. I'm beyond that. It's simply a matter of just keeping on, keeping on,

[57:16] keep on the hustle. That's it. Well, I want to thank you so much for coming in today. It's been a really fun and insightful. I feel like I've learned a lot about you just in terms of personally because you know, you see these vendors, you know, I see you at weddings, but it's not like we have hours to kill.

[57:34] You had said when I got, when I got here today, there's just, this is the first time you've seen me out of a suit and tie. I am wearing clothing. Everybody just not in a suit and tie

[57:44] and uh, so they, you so much. If people want to learn more about, you know, you, your associates, what you guys do, your philosophy in regards to weddings, what would you have them do at checkout?

[57:54] Yep. They're going to want to go to www.seattlesbestofficiants.com. You can also find us on Facebook if you search for Reverend Ray Van Winkle and Associates

[58:08] and that it is a Good easy name to remember. I always remember that Ray Van Winkle.

[58:13] When I, when I was a little kid growing up, I wanted to be a Smith or Jones or a Williams like everybody else. As soon as I got into a business where name recognition was a plus everyday, it's thank god I'm a Van Winkle.

[58:26] Okay, that sounds awesome. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Episode 13 (Torry Wahl, Raise a Glass Wedding and Event Planning)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm here today with Torry Wahl of Raise a Glass Wedding. They are a local wedding planning company. And Torry, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you guys do.

Okay. Hi Reid. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you inviting me over. Um, so Raise a Glass Wedding is a small boutique wedding planning business. So I do about um, 12 to 20 weddings a year so nothing extravagant but I like to keep it small. I still like to have a social life, hang out with my husband sometimes, but we are based out of Snohomish, Washington, but I go all over Washington state. It's predominantly me. Um, I run the business so if you're booking with me, uh, we're having all of our consultations together, we're having all of our meetings together. I'm there for the full 12 hours of your wedding and then also there to assist with the reception and ceremony. So in rehearsal, so I'm pretty much there the whole entire day just to make sure everything runs smoothly and then I also have some assistants that help me, but if you're hiring me or working with me and that's kind of what I like is I keep it very personal and then it's just a really relaxed, fun business.

Talk about what kind of drew you into weddings in the first place.

[01:37] Um, I've always been super interested in like weddings and the ceremony and the ritual of getting married and so that's kind of what I went to school for. Um, so that's kind of what drew me there, but I never anticipated owning my own business or being a wedding planner by any means. So I love planning, I love organizing things. Um, I'm really into like the service industry. I love pleasing people, making sure that their expectations are met and that everything that they have envisioned or worked hard for just gets executed. So it's kind of selfish in a way. Like I, it really makes me happy and I enjoy it and people pay me to do it. So

[02:17] that is good though when you find something that you like. I mean I could shoot video all day and it's not, you know, you do feel like, well I'm, yeah, I get paid for them.

[02:24] Yeah. Like it's crazy sometimes when I'm like, people are giving me money to do this real life. Uh, so would you go to school for. I went to school for psychology and then marriage and family studies. So, um, I got my, a double degree in marriage and family studies, so I love the culture of marriage and like why people get married and the different ceremonies and traditions that people get married with and things like that. So that's kind of what drew me in, but

[02:52] I didn't even know that that kind of degree existed.

[02:55] Marriage and family studies. Yeah. So where was that at? Central Washington. So I don't know Berg. So

[03:01] yeah, I definitely do a tour that when I did I, I went to school in state too. So that was part of my, part of my tour through across to spokane where I ended up, uh, what drew you to that degree? I mean, that's not, I don't know if that's a typical undergraduate that someone would be drawn to.

[03:17] Um, so since high school I've always wanted to do psychology. My grandpa had Alzheimer's when I was younger and so I lived with him and helped him. And so, um, I went to school to do psychology. I want to do geo, the study of like Alzheimer's and how that developed and that's kind of what triggered me to do that. And then once I got in there, um, I was really, really drawn to marriage and culture and um, I started taking all these classes and based on like why people get married and psychology of marriage and um, I started studying a lot about John Gottman and things like that, so I'm Kinda just fell into it and I never thought that I'd be a wedding planner. And then people were like, hey, you should help plan these weddings. And so family and friends were asking me to help plan weddings and that's kind of how I fell into it. So it's Kinda all pieced together really well. I wanted to go to school to be a marriage family therapist after that, and then it evolved to I don't want to go to school anymore,

[04:16] so why do people get married?

So nowadays it's a lot different than why people got married and so before people got married for um, you know, when we're cave men and women, I guess it wasn't, you weren't getting married, but common partnerships for survival to continue on procreating and um, things like that. So it's evolved now where it's not so much like you need a man and a woman to run a household. It is evolved in so many different ways of having a family and that's what, that's what I love about it. It's a constantly growing and evolving. So now people get married for security reasons, financial reasons, health insurance reasons. I'm just the tradition of it all. So it really depends.

[05:03] Uh, so then you said you kind of learned a lot about different marriages and cultures and things like that. Does that make you feel more prepared now in terms of like the clients that you guys can look after and help out?

[05:15] Um, not necessarily, like I'm not counseling them or saying like, what you're doing is not correct. Like I'll notice things with couples where I'm like, oh, they're going to make it, like how they're communicating is really, really effective. Like that's going to work. And other times I'm like, oh, maybe I need to work on that a little bit. But for the most part it's a way for me. Like I love incorporating family traditions. I'm into weddings and I love that clients like to incorporate like what their grandmothers wore, what their grandfathers war or they rings or the style of their wedding that they had. So I really enjoy incorporating all these different elements to a wedding that have to do with past marriages and past traditions and things like that.

[06:01] Yeah, I do think that that's a common trend now that I just had on um, um, well there. So with a hey sweets and she was talking about, you know, desserts and just kind of all aspects of the day, right? That the clients really want to make it their own, you know, and whether it's like a, you know, my grandmother is part of their, her dress is sewn into my dress or I mean, are you finding that, you know, a lot more customization and a lot more like be a brides and grooms, like really want their hands on everything.

[06:30] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So, um, I've noticed with a lot of my couples that they want to plan their own thing so they want to find the vendors themselves for the most part, um, seek out or at least get my advice with some things, but they like to find ones that match their style really well and they like to find vendors that work really well with them and what they're looking for. So I've noticed that that couples now are generally moving towards planning their own thing, incorporating their own family traditions and not being so traditional in that sense. Um, but making it more of their own, which I love that. I love clients that do that. Like a couples that make their wedding their own, I think are the more intimate and more personal and they feel it a lot more. So I love that.

[07:15] Uh, what's your favorite part in terms of that planning process with a couple way? Is it kind of that initial getting everything going? Is it seeing the finished product? Is it somewhere in between?

[07:25] And the finished product for me. So when they come out from like getting their pictures done or getting ready and it's their first time seeing the venue and they're like, oh my gosh, this is what it looks like. This is amazing. This is exactly how I envisioned it. This is how I thought it was going to look. Or like this is above what I had expected. That for me is like the spot where I'm like, Oh yeah, I'm like, I can leave home or go home like the end of the night with like crazy sore feet and being hungry for not eating anything whole day, which probably isn't good for me, but I can go home feeling satisfied and happy after knowing like, oh, like everything that they had worked so hard for an envisioned was executed. That's, that's like perfect for me.

[08:06] Uh, so you're married, uh, talking about your wedding experience, what was that like?

[08:10] I'm at my wedding experience was different, so I was in the midst of my second year of wedding planning as a business. So I gave that to my husband to do. I had like 13 weddings last summer. So, um, and that's when we got married, was in September. And so we had a really short engagement. It was like maybe three or four months that we had planned everything. And so I was like, I'm busy. I've got stuff to do. If you want to get married on this date then you're going to have to figure it out. And he did such a good Jew. Uh, there were obviously some hiccups, like we didn't hire a photographer, we didn't hire a Dj, we didn't hire her. I'm like, I didn't have a traditional wedding dress like we didn't hire. Like it was just us in my brother's backyard with our family and friends. We had some catering come in, which was really nice. We had a food truck that was perfect. And um, so it was really simple. There was a lot of things where I was like, man, I probably should've done that. Probably should have put some effort into that. That didn't turn out okay. But we had all our family and friends there. We had great food. The weather was perfect. So we got married. That's all that mattered.

[09:21] Must set a high bar now, you know, in my experience the groom is, is not always the most involved. You know, some are, some are, but some aren't. And so, you know, your husband really taken that on, but you must look at guys now and be like, come on, you can, you can get it together.

[09:37] But I have noticed a lot more than now the men are feeling a little left out where they're like, I have an opinion to like and like, and it's been suppressed in them for so long. Like you are not supposed to care about your wedding day. Like it's not your day, it's about the bride, it's not about you, but that's not the case. Like it's about both families coming together and a lot of times too, like there's same couples, same sex marriages, so the men in those cases are probably planning, envisioning their wedding their whole life and not leaving it up to a bride. So it's, for me, I love incorporating the groom's opinion into things as much as possible because my husband had a lot of opinions. He's like, this is the food I want, this is like the time of the year I want. And I was like, okay dude, if you want to do it then do it. But I don't have the time for this.

[10:26] Yeah. That was. We got married in August too and it was similar. I ended up doing a lot of the planning and my wife wasn't as helpful. I mean, she was helpful but not as involved. It was probably be the bad word. I'm going to cut this part out. I don't want to get in trouble. Um, so, uh, anyway, uh, you guys got married in September, having been married now, do you feel like that gives you extra insights now into working with your clients or what do you think about that? Yeah, definitely. So I think going through the whole experience also,

[11:00] there were things where I was like, oh, like I really should have hired a planner, like things did not get done that hurdle gotten done and um, so I definitely learned that was a huge learning lesson for me is to like play it and it was embarrassing to in a sense where I had all my family and friends there and they probably are expecting some high bar crazy thing and I was like go out into the yard and like hang out, here's food and stuff. Like for me it was kind of like, Ooh, I'm sorry this didn't turn out. Probably how you envisioned it, but for me it was a learning experience of like this is what has to get done to have a successful wedding. You really need to, if you want to plan it in that short amount of time, you really need to stick to like a really great timeline and great vendors and um, don't get me wrong. We had an amazing day. It was great for us, but it was definitely learning whereas like we didn't hire a DJ so the music didn't turn on at the right time. Like little things like that where it's like if couples are spending so much money on an event, then you want to get the right vendors and the right people there. So those was a learning experience.

[12:06] Yeah, it is always something we try to educate too, you know, like you don't know until it's too late kind of thing. Exactly. It's the same with videography. Like, you know, that's like a regret people have, but it's like you can't, you can only tell people so much ahead of time and then people are going to plan a. What do you find is some easy things that you see the couples like, pitfalls that they, like you said, like the Dj thing or like what are some pitfalls now that like are easy ones that you see that you can kind of help couples with?

[12:38] Um, so relying on family and friends to do things, that's probably the main thing that I see where I'm like, hm, I don't know. Like I, I know they are very reliable in real life and on your wedding day they have to go get ready themselves. They have other stuff they're doing. So um, that's kind of the main thing is relying on family and friends to do stuff after a couple of drinks they might forget that they are supposed to put the cheese board out or whatever it is that they're supposed to do or put the presence in the car, whatever little tasks. So the fact that I'm there to either remind people or to just take over those tasks myself, um, is a really good, um, like comfort for them. It's a great comfort for them knowing like my mom's not the most reliable, like my sister is not the most reliable. So things like that I think is like the biggest pitfall.

[13:26] Uh, I do have one quick story, the interject, um, couple of years ago we had it, it was more of a diy wedding and the bride and groom, when we had met had talked about how they were going to incorporate it in like a lot of tabletop games and like Legos and they're big into, you know, all that kind of stuff. And I think it was like the ceremony was supposed to be 4:45 and it was like 4:15, 4:20. We're at the venue over in Bellevue. She's no hair done, no makeup done, no dress on, but they had had legos that they accustom, made Lego's for. There was like 70 people there. So each person had it custom made like hat face, you know, this whole Lego made to look like them. And then they all had signs on them that have like, you know, the person's name and that that was going to be like where you were sitting at the table and I'm sitting there, you know, we're, we, I get in and I see her and she's, the flags had come undone in the box and so they're sitting there at the venue like trying to figure out like, you know, it was like a that a guests who were that pop up game, you know, where it's like I'm wearing a mustache or whatever, but they're trying to figure out.

[14:32] And I'm sitting there with Steve and the photographer and I'm like, I'm having a meltdown. So, you know, that's kind of thing that like if you had a plan or you know, she was trying to do all of that where if you had somebody that was there, right? Because it was like her and her sister were trying to put it together. So

[14:45] yeah. And they're probably trying to go get ready themselves or at least experienced that day with their sister or daughter and people to see them getting ready or half a glass of champagne with them or whatever it is. And yeah, I can be there to be like, okay, you guys go, I'll take care of this. You guys go worry about, you know, what you need to worry about and this will get done. So just that reassurance I think is really, really a, a confidence booster for a lot of couples.

[15:10] What kinds of couples do you find are attracted to you or that you attract to yourself to work with?

[15:16] Um, I feel like I attract a lot of really laid back couples. I'm myself, I'm really laid back myself and I'm really organized and I'm really on top of things. But I'm not someone that's like, oh my God, you got to go get this done. We gotta do this now. It's like, it's fine will work itself out. I'm really go with the flow. And so I think those are a lot of the couples that I, um, that I attract and vice versa. And then also for traditional Pacific northwest kind of couples, like I love the outdoors, I love family traditions and vintage and um, just anything like that makes couples happy and I have such a vast, um, price range of people that I work with that it, it, I don't narrow it down just to certain couples. Like I feel like I'm a chameleon when it comes to, um, a lot of things and a lot of styles. I listened to tons of different music. Um, my style is different all the time. So I think that I, I work really well with a vast array of people. I have a, a really vast background of different like races in my family and different people and friends and it's not just a very specific group of people that I, I usually work with which is really nice. I love it. It's always been entertaining and it's always something different and I feel really passionate about what I do all the time.

[16:35] Yeah, I definitely have, you know, if my wife asks me when I come home, you know, you have a lot more to talk about when it's, you know, a really personalized wedding, you know, with whether it's the ceremony or the venue or you know, details. Then it's like, oh, that was fine. You know what I mean? It's great and like, but yeah, it is like having those touches and those, you know, like the different ceremonies and the different kinds of things. Do you work with a lot of different wedding ceremonies you talked about kind of your background and knowledge in that regard?

[17:01] Yeah, I love it when people incorporate their own little ceremony ceremonies, like my husband and I, we did a tree planting ceremony. Um, it's nothing religious or anything like that, so it's just something that unites us. So our trees growing in our yard right now, it has an apples on it. So it's not dead. It hasn't. We were worried for a minute during spring where like it's a dying. I hope it's not dying, but it's live, it's cooking, it's good. But little things like that, I love when couples incorporate in their ceremony, in their ceremonies or like I have a couple getting married this summer that's getting married in Kirkland and they're doing a ceremony in the little arbor area that they have there and then they're taking their guests on a cruise around like Washington. And I was like, that's so cool. It's so different, like really fun and very personal to them. And that's the kind of thing like kind of couples that I love working with.

[17:53] So, uh, so you go to school for psychology and in the very complicated sounding marriage degree, it's escaping me now. Uh, so then how did that evolve in into where we are now? So, you know, you graduate, are you, is it immediately working with them?

[18:09] No, no. So I graduated college in 2011, so it's been a while now. And then I immediately started working at a massage school. So actually it wasn't a school, I apologize, it was massage envy, so I worked there at the front desk doing sales. And so I did that for a couple years and um, was manager doing sales there, so I'm got to talk to people and you know, I feel like I learned a lot about um, people in just communicating and talking and things like that. And then after that I moved on to doing some nanny work. I was like, I'm just want to be outside, I want to have fun. So I did that for about five years and that's what I'm currently doing. I'm on the side, is some nanny stuff, which I love my little little girl a nanny for. I've watched her since she's three months and she's three now.

[19:00] And so she goes on venue tours with me. She goes to tastings with me. I feel like people hire me because she's so cute and she's so well behaved. They're like, you could take care of that kid that well. Like he'll be fine. So she's awesome. It's really fun. So, but I go full time in September. Is that exciting? Yeah, it's really exciting. Talk about that now. Yeah. So full time in September. So I um, after I kind of did a couple weddings for friends and family, I was like, I had just met my husband and I was like, I want to do this, and he was like one of the only people that I've ever met in my life that's like, you can do, like, you can do this, everybody else in my family and my, my life is very hesitant. Like, well maybe you should think about that. Like maybe that's not the good idea. You should, you know, very hesitant and scared where like for me, like for him to be like, you can do this, go do it. Like I just immediately started my business and I did it and it went really well. So

[19:55] were there some, you know, obviously learning lessons early on, anything that sticks out?

[20:00] Yeah, because I had never like planned weddings professionally before. I, like I'm never had done that. So it was something that I was like, I thought that I could do it. I believed in myself that I could do it. I had done a couple for friends and family, but to start a full business was, was a huge leap for me. Um, but I'm sorry, what was your question now I'm just talking,

[20:22] talking about you, anything you, you learned early on. I mean like, you know, for me it was like, I always say like getting the business license and like figuring out like the legalities of Seattle and King County. Like, I mean, what were something.

[20:35] Yeah. So, um, things like that he didn't really have, I didn't struggle with stuff like that. I really struggled getting my website up so I had to hire someone to do my website or maybe because I just didn't have that skill of doing computer stuff that wasn't just, that's just not my skill, that's what my skillset. So I had to hire someone else out to do things like that. So, um, marketing, advertising, learning where to put my money, I'm learning how to best serve my clients. Um, I'm very old fashion. Like I keep everything in notebooks and binders. Like it's not all on my laptop or anything, so I'm super old fashioned in that sense. Um, and then also, um, just just the learning of how to run a business and how to juggle being a business owner. Also working full time also, you know, in a new relationship. So things like that was what I was like grasping, but I feel like I really have a hold of everything now and have a really good sense of, of um, time management and you know, my, my sense of clients then also making enough time for myself and my husband and my family and friends. So that balance has, I've learned a lot to balance.

[21:47] Uh, as you were talking I was going through and analyzing your website and it is, it is very good and I could not have done that. So Kudos to that. No, but it is important to talk about the name, Raise a Glass Wedding and Event Planning.

[22:01] Yeah. So, um, I told my friends that I wanted to start a business and I've been friends with my best friend since preschool and my other friend since elementary school. And so like, we really know each other and I feel like we have such a great bond, but I was brainstorming some ideas and they, that's kind of like what we came up with and it's based on, um, like having just a nice intimate dinner with people around a table and cherishing those people and celebrating those people and that's kind of the basis of what, you know, my brand and how I, how I want to be seen as like, you know, just to celebrate each other and be appreciative. And that's what it's about.

[22:42] No, I love it. I love the name. I liked the logo with the, uh, it's like the Martini glasses or cocktail wherever it goes. Just like uniting my best friend did it actually. So I love that. I think that's good. Is that the friend that got married this weekend? She got married this weekend. So talk to me about that. When Torry came in, she had said that you had just gotten back from your friend's wedding. Uh, so what was that like? It was wonderful. It was absolutely down pouring on Saturday. So like we were in Snohomish, it was clear for the ceremony, it was absolutely beautiful and we were at the lookout lodge out in Snohomish. I don't know if you've ever been there before, but it's really cool. Um, cricket is the owner and she put out like all these tents and it was super cozy with heaters

[23:22] and my friend that did my logo, um, she does graphic design for Nordstrom, so she did all of the graphic design for the logo or for, I'm sorry, for the table settings and all that stuff. It was just really cool. She did such like an artistic cool job and all the vendors were, were really great and it was just a really wonderful day and for her, like she was just dancing in the like totally happy content and I've seen other brides where it's like not ideal weather and it kind of ruins the day for, for people. And I loved that she was just able to be like, I'm going to have a few drinks. That's fine. It was really, really fun.

[24:00] Yeah. I was trying to, in my head, remember back in, it's like, wait, what was that? We had the same. They had gotten, we were done at five, so they had gotten married but they were fearful of the rain and so it was sunny and they came out. We had gotten ready at her house, like a, a kind of Indian ceremony kind of coming out and then um, they had posted later on that day on Instagram, like the same view from their porch and it was just like, oh man, we're really, that would have been really bad, like exit into the Limo. Um, you know, a couple of hours later. Uh, so that was you. You were the best or a maid of honor. So that had to be kind of unique. Now going back, you know, be in the wedding planner, it's like when I attended the wedding and if I'm not filming that, you know, like, what was that like?

[24:45] Um, it was interesting. So luckily they, I was doing some of the planning, so it's helping out with some of the little tasks, but I'm at the lookout lodge. They have a planner, like a built in planner there, Jamie, and so she ran around and did all the stuff that I would have been normally doing, so it was really nice actually, like being able to like sit back and not worry about a lot of stuff for a while and especially with writing, so it's like, thank God I'm not having to deal with this right now. Um, so I was just able to sit and enjoy my dinner and eat and talk with my friends, but I was still running around and felt as though I had to do certain tasks and get things done. Like even though it wasn't my job necessarily, still from Jamie probably was like, get out my way. Um, I still felt as though, you know, it's kind of just ingrained in you I think to.

[25:32] Yeah, you're eyes relaxed. Yeah. No, I agree with that. I'm talking about the first wedding that you did, a not friends and family. Like your first year

[25:41] someone paid me, I'll give you money for the one to hear about that. So my first wedding was in April 2016 and that was, um, Taylor and Andy and they were at the Georgetown ballroom and it was really beautiful. It was really cool. It was a great wedding. Um, I was nervous, but I felt really, really competent. Her mom and her parents were like this sweetest people ever. And so, um, they really helped me out a lot with um, she, they were really organized. They knew what they wanted. Um, it was really nice, but they also had the Seattle seahawks band, I don't know what they're called, blue sanders blue under came in late. That was their entrance. So it was really, really cool and there were no hiccups. It was really wonderful. I got some really kind words afterwards so it really solidified to me like I'm on my right path. Like, this is what I'm passionate about. I know what I'm doing. Like, uh, it really kind of set the tone I feel like for me to feel confident about continuing on.

[26:43] And so

[26:44] you're based in snohomish, do you do a lot of weddings up there now? It's kind of that booming. It's growing, it's crazy. So I prefer to be snohomish, skagit, Bellingham. I love working on the islands. Um, things like that. I hit a bicyclist in Seattle when I was driving one day, so I prefer not to drive. It wasn't for a wedding or anything, so it's just me out and about running over bicyclist so nobody got hurt. It wasn't anything serious, but I try to stay off the roads in Seattle as much as possible.

[27:16] Is this a, I'm looking at your website. Is that the, the Georgetown wonderful photo in front of Georgetown ballroom. So do you find, um, are, are you excited about the growing snohomish and you know that the barn wedding trend and kind of that rustic look, I mean, do you see that trend continuing? Do you enjoy that? What are your thoughts on.

[27:38] No, it's a love hate relationship with it. Growing up in my area, I grew up in Lake Stevens, snohomish area and it was very like small town idealistic. Now I'm in stuck in traffic a lot, so that part is a downfall. But um, I love that it is growing in the sense like I love the Rustic, I'm like industrial kind of look and I feel like I'm snohomish in the area up north is like, there are barns, there's definitely lots of barns, but I think that it's going to be more of like a trendy. I'm not just rustic, not just barn or you know, there's lots of other options out there for have like a classic classic wedding or to have more of like an industrial field wedding. I think that it's really growing and I love it. I love all the vendors and I, I, I love, um, I'm part of the snohomish wedding guild and so I love being able to meet all of these different vendors and collaborate and that's like one of my favorite parts is a, being a wedding planners to be able to collaborate with people and have a community of people.

[28:39] And that's really important to me.

[28:41] Yeah. I was going to ask you about that. This will air later than them right now, but talking about, you know, how much wedding tour were were you out and what'd you think about that?

I was at the feather ballroom, so that is a historic venue. It's like right in, like on first street, I believe it's like right in downtown. Um, so it's really cool. It's perfect for all year round weddings. And so I enjoyed myself. I like meeting people. It was a, um, like a under the stars galactic kind of theme. So it turned out really cool. I had a great time and I think that so many couples get a lot from attending it. It's free and they meet so many different vendors and they meet, they get to tour the venues, they get some inspiration. Um, there's, there's just so many talented people that are part of the guild that for them to be able to go out and meet them without having to set up all these appointments and just get a feel of, of their work and who they are as individuals. I think that's really, really important. So

[29:41] I, do you enjoy the networking and building your own web and kind of you are there certain vendors and stuff, do you like kind of building that, that roster that you have that when clients come to you you can recommend people?

[29:53] Yes, I love it. I, they really enjoy it and I love being able to point them to the people that I think fit them the best and to be like, you know, I have a couple different people that I have stored in my arsenal for you to be able to pick from and you can pick and choose who you feel fits your personality best and where your price range or the field of the venue or whatever it is. So, um, I love that and I just love promoting like small businesses. Um, I shop a lot of small businesses. I love promoting like farm to table kind of foods, catering, drinks, things like that. So, um, I love when there's veteran owned businesses, women owned businesses, things like that, um, where I can promote people who definitely don't get the majority of promotion normally anyways. Probably so love the small businesses. I'm all about that community, that's Kinda like my main thing. I love being part of a community and supporting people. And

[30:53] what in terms of writing a small business, what are some of the biggest challenges today that you're facing or that you're trying to, you know, work through or it could be like day to day stuff or it could be, you know, kind of more of a longterm stuff.

[31:06] I'm so small business wise it's like for me just trying to figure out where I'm putting my money, what's the best way to put my, put my money in, how do I, um, how do I treat my couples like in having little parties for them and investing in things like that. The best way. Um, I'm not good in the business aspect of it. My husband does a lot of that so I luckily he's a lot smarter than me, so he does like all of the taxes and all of that little stuff that I don't really have any kind of knowledge and he's really great at doing all of that. So I get a lot of help from him. Um, so I'm learning and growing and in a lot of fields.

[31:42] Yeah. What is your. I was going to ask that too. What does your husband do?

[31:45] And he was in the navy, so he worked on submarines on nuclear submarines. Um, so he was like under water and summary Living for months at a time. So now he works through, um, Microsoft has contracted, his business is contracted through Microsoft, so he does like engineering type things I think. I don't really know. They'll tell me stuff and I'm like, oh yeah, okay, cool. I don't know what that means.

[32:14] That is the one benefit of having like a tangible, like, you know, my wife like understands like a wedding and so I can show her back here is like, you know, and it's, it's way more tangible but it's something like that. But you find, he gives you a lot of help in terms of. I mean, do you obviously appreciate that?

[32:30] Oh yeah. I wouldn't be able to do anything without him. I'm like, I need you to build me a giant moon out of a six foot piece of plywood. Please. Could you just go do that? And he's like, Yep, got it. Doing it. Like he's just on top of her. Anytime we take them to a wedding, everybody's like, he's so nice. I love it so much. He's so sweet. How did you get a guy like that? I'm like, what? Excuse me. Like I have qualities too, but everybody just loves ray. He just was so sweet. Where'd you guys meet? We met online, so we met in the good old fashioned way of online dating. Okay cupid or match couple preceded the whole like tinder and all that now. Isn't it funny? I think like eventually when we, like if you guys decide to have kids or you know, my husband and I have kids, like our love story that we tell to them is going to be able to. It's just, it's interesting to think like it's such a time stamped way of meeting I feel like.

[33:23] Yeah. And she's got a good, you know, we have, uh, our friends who got married a couple of years ago, like I think it was like he had been on for like two years and it was like literally like her first match and Dorothy and I were similar and that, uh, I think I had been on significantly longer than she had, but she was, she tells the story of how that summer that she was on, like she didn't buy like groceries for a month because she would do like a lunch date and then a dinner dance about it. Yeah. I mean she doesn't eat a lot anyway, but she's like, oh yeah, like I didn't buy groceries for like four months ago. It was awesome. It was like, oh, I always like taking girls every week. You know, this was like expensive. Uh, so, um, but he helps you with the business now. So, uh, talk to me about Kinda, you know, how you envision your business model and what you stand for in terms of like, well,

[34:17] business. So being a small business and it's just me. I really have like, um, a few key terms or words or things that I like to portray to my couples to make them feel, you know, comfortable, and this is what my business is about, is transparency. I'm really transparent with my, my couples and like, this is, this is who I am. I love to get to know you. Like my day of coordinating. It's not a day of, it's not month of. They'll hire me nine months in advance and we go through this process together, like they email me throughout the day. We have parties, we go do stuff together. Like it's a really, um, uh, building relationships so they, they get to know me and vice versa. So I know their families. I've met a lot of couples, their mothers and their sisters and I get to know them and so they're having that transparency of like, this is what my life is like, this is what your life is like.

[35:10] We're kind of working together to make this day perfect. I love having that. And then also, um, clarity. I love to provide as much clarity to my couples as possible. So when the timeline should be done, when vendors should be there, what's important, what's not important, things like that, as much clarity that I can provide to my couples is really important to me. Um, so I'm available all the time so I'll respond to emails like at 9:00 at night before I go to bed. Like this is my passion, this is what's important to me. So I make it work as much as possible. But um, yeah. So the clarity of making sure people know what's happening on their wedding day is really important.

[35:53] No, I think it is important because I think that like, uh, and I've gotten to that point to where I think early on, um, you know, you're just trying to kind of get work and, and you know, you kind of take it as it is and yeah, I mean like knowing kind of who you are, what you stand for, your business, but then also being really realistic with people and being like, that timeline is not going to work. We need to do this or like, you know, that's just like the way it is, you know. And so I, I think that that's important. I think the clarity and I do think, like you said, talking about like getting to know your couples, like that's kind of the whole reason I'm doing the podcasts right. It's like, you know, like I am my couple, they got married Saturday, like I'm emo scene meme on Instagram, like on their honeymoon now. And like I think that like, you know, it's so important like you know, as, as I'm working on, you know, their video, like you know, that connection and you know, that you had that connection with your clients, right? I mean you really get to know them and their families and stuff. Talking about kind of that whole process.

[36:50] Yeah, it's really fun. Um, that's kind of a lot of like why do it. And I think that's where my background comes in is that the marriage and family therapy aspect of it is like families are dynamic. There's so many different dynamics that come with family that come with traditions that come with marriage, come with family relations. And I love how messy it is. Like I love all of that. And that's really fun to me and it's just to make sure everybody has a great time and that they are experiencing phenomenal day. And that's kind of like, what's the most important thing, like I want to make sure that the moms get heard. I want to make sure that the dads get heard and that the grandparents feel like they have a say in things even though like obviously it's not their wedding, but they have envisioned it for these people for so long. So just to incorporate or make them feel as though they are, whether it's to bring them an extra drink and be like, hey, how are you doing? Can I get you anything? What can I do to make you relax and have a great time? That's, that's kind of like where my enjoyment. Like, like I've said before, it's kind of selfish where it's like, I do things like to make other people feel better and feel good. But really it's more of like a selfish thing.

[37:59] Uh, and you know, obviously with your psychology degree not built. Like, I always kinda think about it like Keanu reeves in the matrix. Like you're kind of like thinking outside of like the people as they exist for them mean you really are able to kind of see like what these people's motivations are, where they're coming from, what they're looking for. I mean, and you know this to help them and facilitate value. I mean that's gotta be a really helpful skill as a, as a wedding planner.

[38:23] Yeah. Well, and I'm also like probably more empathetic than what's appropriate. Like I'm extremely empathetic. I'm always putting myself in other people's shoes of like how would I feel if, you know, so I try to come at people and also we don't want to boss people around. Like, I mean I do, but I don't want to boss people around in the sense like showing up he places and be like, I'm running the show. This is all about me running the show. Everybody needs to listen to me. It's more like what can we all do together to make this such a great day? Like it's not about me, it's about the couple and it's about the family. So that's kind of like where I come from in the sense of like, I just want the data to be great and I think that's the same for the families too.

[39:02] Uh, so as you're continuing now and you're going full time, uh, you, you're talking about you have a video blog now and kind of talk about that and kind of expanding and, and other things you're kind of putting your fingers into.

[39:13] Yeah. So, um, I'm not confident in my writing skills. I feel like my personality might be portrayed a little bit more clearly and effectively via video. So I do a video blog and it's just a, it's called Raise a Glass Wedding, presents Washington Weddings and you can find it on like youtube and things like that, but it's just a way for couples in Washington state to be able to gain some clarity in their wedding planning process. Um, so I start from the beginning, um, so locations then use planners. I just filmed an episode doing planner pod, so, um, it is, or a planner panel. So there's me and three other wedding planners in the area that are getting together. And talking about wedding planning. So it's not just how my opinion, what my opinion is, it's just not how I feel about wedding planning. It's a community effort. It's a group effort. I want people to. I'm not the only wedding planner around. I want other people to be able to get, you know, just as much exposure as me. So

[40:14] what's, uh, what's the reception been like for that?

[40:17] I'm good. It's going really well. I'm excited and I'm the, the Gal that helps me, Ashley with Ashley. I'll productions. She's just killing it. She's doing a great job without her being my partner. Like I wouldn't have been able to do anything. Like she just, she does such a wonderful job putting it all together. So I'm like so appreciative of her work and everything that she's done. So, um, I think that hopefully it's getting out to couples and they're seeing it and they were able to. We just toured three new venues and so they're getting to see and access new venues that they might not have seen before or known of him before. And then, um, I'm going to do a photographer plant panel and then a videographer panels. So you might have to come and do that. No pressure. No, exactly. So, um, things like that is kind of what it's based on is like the start to finish of what vendors you have, tips, trends, um, things like that that's happening in Washington state. So

[41:14] is it a, and this is a question I'm like where you're getting to like talk with people now outside of weddings and see venues and stuff. Um, I would think that it would be beneficial, you know, like a lot of the vendors and stuff that I know, you know, when it's the wedding day, you have maybe a five minutes to be like, hey, how's it going? You're like, but you know, you're really in that work mode. Don't like in terms of like seeing venues, talking to other planners, stuff like, is it nice to be able to do that outside of the realm of like an actual wedding?

[41:43] Oh yeah. It just um, kind of alleviates the pressure a little bit. So you're not stuck on a specific time frame. You can just enjoy having a conversation with someone like after the planner panel with the girls that I met up with, we were like, we should do this more often. Like it was super fun. We got a lot of great insights. We just like sat down with like a cheeseboard and wine and just talked and it was like really, really fun and it was a great way for us to. We had never, like I hadn't met any of them before, so, um, it was a great way for us to, you know, meet each other and if I don't, if I'm booked for a wedding and that somebody is asking for a specific date, then it's easy for me to say I know these, these people, they do a great job. They can refer you to them and they'll take care of you. So I love having that kind of comradery and like being able to meet people on a different level where it's not just like wedding. We can talk about a wedding for like five minutes really quick. Like you said, it's, it's more in depth. You get to know someone's personality and, and what they're about. So I like that.

[42:40] Walk me through the process. If a couple comes to you, you know, to work with you for, you know, their wedding day.

[42:47] Yeah. So generally, um, I get messages through my website. Um, I wish Brian to people within 24 hours we'll set up a consultation for an hour and talk about your wedding, what you guys are about as a couple, um, what you envision your day to be and what my expectations are. Um, so things that you expect of me, what is needed of me and then we go over, I'm pricing, stuff like that. And then if they want to book me, they booked me. Sometimes it takes couples a couple, you know, they need to figure out um, their budget, things like that. And then they'll email me and we'll link up again. And then from there we start the planning process. So whether they're hiring me for full planning, partial planning or day of coordinating really depends on where we go from there.

[43:36] Yeah. And it is nice kinda how you have it laid out where you can be as much involved as they would like. Right? It can be that day off or full on, you know? Do you like, is there one that you prefer more? Do you like doing the whole day or the whole Shebang because you get to know them like a lot, lot more.

[43:52] Yeah. Um, I actually really liked the partial planning so it is more in depth than this the day of. But um, I love seeing couples work together to put something together to work on a wedding. I'm not just having somebody else necessarily like come through and do everything, but more of like it's a, it's a good way for them to bond and to um, learn pretty much what it's like to be married. You're going to have to compromise, you're gonna have to say, okay, maybe the things that you don't want and um, you're gonna have to like roll with the punches. And there's little things with planning a wedding that I think really set the tone for a marriage. And if you can get that right, think it makes a huge difference when going into the rest of, of your marriage.

[44:36] I completely agree with that. Can you. I don't have a more eloquent way. Can you expand on that, that, that idea that you know, the choices in, in, in that give and take and kind of going through that. I mean especially with your psychology degree and how you. I mean, do you feel like a therapist, like you're walking, you're observing them maybe or.

[44:55] Yeah, so it's, it's nice to see, like I said before, see some couples how they communicate like Oh that communication might not work for the rest of the 50 years. You guys want to stay together. And then I'll see other couples where I'm like, oh my gosh, that is the sweetest thing ever. So I really like being able to work together on creating something that's going to be a final piece of, of work I think. Or like a final event I think is a great building. I'm building block for couples and they can really get to know each other on a different level that they might not have, like having to deal with budget. A lot of times couples don't talk about budget or they don't talk about how much money they make necessarily or finances before, before they get married. And so to set that up and be like, okay, this is our budget, this is what we're working with.

[45:43] This is how, you know, setting boundaries and limitations. And I think that's super healthy for relationships. I'm not an expert, don't quote me on things. Um, I just have a bachelor's degree. That doesn't really mean much anymore. But from my experience I think that I can really see where. Or like if a couple is having a problem and they face each other and they're like, okay, well let's work this out. Like that might not be what you want, or that might not be what I want, but we can compromise and we'll make it work together. And then that's really important than just showing up on a, on a wedding day and being like, we're getting married. I just don't think that is the full spectrum of the process. It's really, I just think I love couples enjoy the whole process.

[46:27] Well and I think it is more than just the day, you know, like you said it is kind of that like two parties kind of coming together, you know, merging families and in different, you know, ideas and wants and stuff that like, you know what I mean. I know like Dorothy's got friends that had been together for 10 years and just never gotten married and you know, and that's fine and they're committed and whatever. But I do think that there is a benefit to having to kind of merge together and you know, and like when I film a wedding, like it's more than just like, you know, documenting the day, but it is like that couple's story. Right. And like that day is kind of, you know, not necessarily like the conclusion by the good starting point then for the next chapter. Right? Yeah, yeah,

[47:09] exactly. And weddings are stressful. Like if they're not like the easiest things to do, like they're stressful. There's a lot of work that goes into it, a lot of planning, there's a lot of emotion from family members and things like that, so if they can work through that and have that as like the basis of like foundation of what, you know, there were from the foundation of where they're starting for their marriage and I think that's a good step is like we didn't agree on everything. We had a lot of stress working through this and like dealing with each other's families, like nothing, like life's not ideal. Marriage is not ideal. There's challenges and there's hiccups and I think that if you can work through one of the most stressful days getting married, then I think then people should be pretty good.

[47:54] Well perfect. Well I appreciate you so much for coming by today to chat. It's been really great getting to know you and, and I think it's fascinating your background in

[48:04] just adding that extra. Like I said, that Keanu reeves in the matrix, but kind of seeing outside the box on that. If people want to learn more about you and your company and your approach to wedding planning, what would they do?

[48:17] My website is www.raiseglasswedding.com. I also have an instagram account, Raise a Glass Wedding, and then facebook, same thing. So pretty easy. Um, contact me. We can set up a consultation and chat. Talk about your wedding day, but yeah, I've had so much fun. Thank you for having me on here.

[48:35] Awesome. Well thank you. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Come back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much story. Thank you.

Episode 12 (Candy Block, Thrifty Events and Yeti Yard Games)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and today I'm joined by a true double threat Candi Block, of Thrifty Events and Yeti Yard Games. So thank you so much for coming by. Why don't you say hi and tell us a little bit about who you are.

[00:29] Yeah. Hello. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I'm really excited to be here. Um, so yeah, so we actually own two wedding industry businesses. Um, so I started Thrifty Events and 2015 and we primarily focus on wedding day of coordination and wedding planning. And then in July of 2017 we launched Yeti Yard Games and we provide all sorts of yard game rentals or weddings and other private events. So

Super Fun because if you're running your own small business wasn't hard.

[01:05] Yeah. Let's add a second one, add on a whole second one there. Yeah.

[01:09] But it sounds like, and I was doing a little reading on your website, it sounds like hopefully you have a good support staff and you have a husband that's helping out.

[01:16] Yeah, I do. Yeah. So my husband is definitely my right hand man. He actually builds all of the yard games, so he's really hands on with that business. And then, uh, this summer I have an assistant that helps me with wedding day of coordination. So I also kind of have a team there as well.

[01:35] Yeah. I've mentioned before on the podcast, my wife's a teacher and you know, works and it's all I can do to get her to, you know, come for four hours for a wedding show and here you have, you know, manual labor that's coming out.

[01:46] He had. Yeah, I mean before I had my assistant and my husband was helping me at almost every wedding. I mean he's a great extra set of hands to move tables, moved chairs can help with set up and tear down. Um, so I think he's pretty excited that I have an assistant handle that this year.

[02:04] Yeah, he can go. And what does he do?

[02:06] Yeah. So he's a project manager for Shin Mechanical. Um, so he does a lot of mechanical contract type of work and construction. So yeah, he also has a full day job as well. So yeah.

[02:20] Um, cool. So let's, uh, let's start off here with Thrifty Events since that was where, you know, kind of the start and we'll go from there. Tell me a little bit about, I was reading on the side about how you guys were planning, I think it was you and your younger sister were planning your older sister's wedding. How many years ago was that? And walk me through that.

[02:38] Yeah. So my oldest sister got married in 2012. Um, and so kind of during that process, so my family's all from Indiana. Um, and so at that time when she was engaged, I was still in Indiana and college and then had moved out here to Seattle. So during the, her wedding planning process, I was here but I was helping with the bridal shower, um, and like bachelor party things like that. But it was all from a distance. So I was really relying on my younger sister to help me and you know, I thought that we're both enjoying that process and like keeping track of details and it really wasn't until a few years later when my older sister and her husband were having their first child and we started planning their baby shower that my younger sister like I don't want to do this. And I'm like, wait, you're my like local person, you're there.

[03:32] And then she was just like, yeah, I don't really like this at all. Like I don't like, she just didn't enjoy like tracking the RSVPS and budget and coming up with decorations or anything. She's like, yeah, was pretty forward. And so that's kind of when I realized that not everybody enjoys the process of planning events as much as I did. So yeah, I mean even if somebody, you know, uh, that I was in the wedding industry when we got married, like I think I literally like blacked out that whole summer in my mind in terms of like, you know, meetings and problem that we needed. So a lot of work and I'm sure people that are listening that are going through it, but like even, you know, having spent a lot of time with events and weddings, like it's a lot of work. Do you find that the clients that you get, are they receptive to obviously your planning style and you are happy that you kind of take that weight off their shoulders?

[04:25] Yeah, it's definitely a little bit of both. Um, so we have some clients that, you know, they come to me and they are really overwhelmed with the process and are looking for someone to kind of take the lead on that. Um, and I think especially for day of coordination, that's by far our most popular package and I think it's because people enjoy planning, they really enjoy picking out their vendors. But then once you have everybody booked, there are still a lot of details that need to fall into place and it need to be tracked and managed. And so that's really where the overwhelm starts to kick in. Yeah. Because I think a lot of people will think, oh, you know, my mom will do it or you know, I mean talk about how that generally might fall apart or might not always work out. Yeah.

[05:13] Yeah. Um, so I think it's all kind of even give our own wedding as an example. So my husband and I got married in 2016 after we had started the business and we really wanted a coordinator on our own wedding day just because we knew how much work that was going to be. And one thing that Eli said was that he did not want to be setting up tables and chairs on his own wedding day. And so there's just a lot of pieces that I think couples don't realize have to happen behind the scenes to make for a really smooth wedding day. And then it's also really time consuming. So, so often we're setting up from the moment we have access to the venue all the way up through maybe like 30 minutes before the ceremony. And if you're trying to assign that task to your parents or your wedding party members, they don't have as much time because they have to get their hair and makeup done. They have to change, they have to start taking photos. And so it really is a lot when you try to assign all of that to family.

[06:18] So you guys got married in 2016? Yes. When did you start at Thrifty Events?

[06:22] I started it in 2015, around March of 2015.

[06:25] So what were you doing before kind of making that leap into that?

[06:29] Yeah. So I was actually working full time at the University of Washington. I was um, working in the office of admissions for undergraduate students and there I was actually planning a lot of on campus events for them. So we did a counselor fly ins where we actually brought high school counselors and from around the country and we would host them on campus and in the Seattle area. So almost like a conference style event. Um, I would plan a lot of incoming student preview days and campus tours and things like that. Um, so even when I was working full time as a day job, it was still in the events industry.

[07:08] So then in terms of that transition was really scary. Or were you, did you feel confident than the other? What was that whole transition process like?

[07:16] Yeah. So, so I know, um, I've talked to a lot of other people in the wedding industry or any small business owners and it's different for everybody. Um, I think I was really, um, calculated about it. Um, so I actually worked full time for almost a year running Thrifty Events, um, and then moved to a part time position on campus and the visitors center, which has freed up a lot more time for me to kind of dedicate towards my business and I was in that position for almost a year and then I jumped into full time with Thrifty Events. So it was a really slow process. I mean it is a leap still, but for me it felt more like I was just taking steps to get there and kind of consistently growing my business throughout. I don't think I would have had the courage to just like up and quit my day job without knowing that had like clients in a well established business.

[08:14] No, but I think that that's a good point. I mean, I do think that like, and I even hear, you know, like people like get an idea or you know, maybe they're unhappy and they think like, well, and you know, that was my own case. I mean I was really unhappy at my job for three and a half years before I even figured out what I wanted to do and then it was still another year of kind of doing so. I mean it is a process and I think that like doing that, calculated like you did this probably the best way to go. Oh, so when was the final kind of full leap that you made?

[08:42] Yeah. Um, so it was um, probably around February of 2017, so just last year. So I've been full time with Thrifty Events for a year now and talk about,

[08:56] you know, the sense of, not relief but like flexibility maybe that you have and talking about kind of that, how your workflow process is maybe changed since then.

[09:06] Yeah. Um, I mean it's changed a lot and you know, I just remember even when I was working part time at the University of Washington, um, there's always that thought in your mind that like, oh, I can be doing so much more if I could just dedicate like all of my day to my business. Um, and then, you know, making that transition, I suddenly really learned that without all of that structure there and without having to sit down for a very limited hours and get as much done as possible, that I really wasn't as productive as I thought I would be. And so it's actually been a huge learning curve of just how to manage my schedule. Working from home and I'm working from home is amazing. But there are definitely struggles to that too. If you don't have some kind of structure set up on your own.

[09:57] Yeah, I mean there's definitely an overlooked, you know, that you really do have to be a self starter and somebody that, you know, you could, you know, dorothy gets up at six in the morning than I could sleep till noon if I wanted to, you know, you really do have to. Um, but, you know, I think that speaks to kind of in your work ethic in terms of like everything, right, you know, in, in clients and all that. Yeah. So you had started thrifty. You guys are kind of planning your own wedding. Did you, were there any specific things you guys learned, like planning your wedding and besides the fact that your husband didn't wanna, you know, setting up tables, but like what, what tricks or tips did you learn that you learn to do better afterwards?

[10:36] Yeah. Um, so the one thing, the biggest, biggest lesson that I learned, um, is that planning your own wedding is so much different than being a wedding planner. So even having like all of the skills and resources and knowledge to put together a well organized day, um, it's still really emotional. Like planning your own wedding, uh, I mean there, there were definitely times that we were getting rsvps back from friends and you know, you're getting the yeses and nos and so you go from like being really excited to being like bummed when somebody can't make it. I'm at one point in time we had a friend officiate for us and he wasn't sure if you'd be able to fly in for our wedding because of like work complications and so, you know, there's just a lot of wrenches that still get thrown into the mix. Um, and so, so that was definitely something that I learned is that it sometimes feels like there's two parts to wedding planning, you know, the, the detailed pieces where you're staying organized and tracking your vendors and your budget and those logistical items. But then you also still have like the stress management and dealing with emotions and family and opinions coming from everyone. And so it is both sides. Um, yeah, to whole process.

[11:54] Yeah. I think, you know, and having a coordinator or planner, you know, like your company, you know, it's nice to have like an objective opinion. You know, like you said, there's a lot of emotions and stuff and like it is really helpful just to like have kind of like a, not a blank slate, but somebody that can like totally like look at like what should be done. You, you can be emotional, but yet you can hire somebody that be right. Do you find that that, that is a good clients appreciate that? Yes.

[12:21] And it's so much easier. You know, when I'm working with other clients I can just say, you know, this is what I've seen work really well and this is what I would recommend that you do because I am just far enough removed that I'm not hearing, you know, all of the opinions and emotions from all of the family and friends that is kind of weighing on the couple shoulders when they're making those decisions. And then sometimes it's nice for them to just say like, okay, you know what, that makes sense. We're going to go with what you decided. Um, and sometimes there's even that little bit of like a scapegoat or they can tell their parents like, you know, what, our wedding coordinator has seen this happen like hundreds of times and this is what she recommends. And so that's what we're going to go with. And then parents will like, okay, then that's fine too, you know. And so, um, so that can be really helpful for people.

[13:10] Yeah, I love that. We had our own wedding planner and yeah, you can definitely kind of throw them under the past. It's like, Hey, you know, we really wished, but, you know, and like you said in the meantime, like, you know, when we planned our wedding we had specific things and like I would have to go to rebecca and be like, this is how it's got to be, you know, because I had had five hours of conversations on my hand and said either you, you just have to execute that vision sometimes and you don't have to get caught up kind of in all that minutiae. Yeah. Um, talk about, I'm looking on the site, you know, so you guys offer, you know, not only the day of coordination, the full wedding planning, which I think, you know, is maybe self explanatory or maybe not. Why don't you tell me, explain to me kind of what your vision for a day of coordinator is and then what your vision is for a complete wedding planning package.

[13:57] Yeah. Um, so I'll start with day of coordination because that really does tend to be kind of our most popular package and usually that's couples that no, they want to handle the majority of planning on their own. They're really excited to plan their wedding. They have lots of ideas. Um, and so usually they're coming to us once they have, you know, their venue books, they've got a date, maybe they've started booking some other vendors, um, but they know that on the day of the wedding they want to be pretty hands off. They want someone there making decisions, managing the timeline. And a lot of my couples also come to me because they want their family and friends to relax as well. Um, and that can go both ways, so sometimes they're, you know, transplants to Seattle so all of their family and friends are flying in and they just don't have that option for them to be really hands on or they might have somebody that's really overbearing and they want us to kind of be that buffer for them and make sure that it's handled so that person does feel like they can kind of step back and enjoy the day as well.

[15:06] Um, so for, for day of coordination we really help the bulk of the work happens, you know, you know, about like two to three months before the wedding where we'll make sure there's a well established timeline. We go to the venue together and talk through the layout and decorations and I'll reach out to all the vendors and confirmed timeline in details. Um, and then of course manage everything the day of. And we also help with the rehearsal as well, which I think is really helpful. So I can actually meet the parents and the wedding party before the day of the wedding and they can put a face to a name and know they can come to me on the wedding day as well. Um, and so, uh, even though the bulk of the work happens, you know, two to three months before the wedding day, we still, you know, I think it's so important that couples have a resource and a person they can go to when they have questions.

[16:00] So from the moment they book me, you know, they can always ask me questions along the way if they have something come up or they just need like an extra opinion on something. Um, and then for full planning we actually have two different options. So I have the traditional kind of full planning package where couples are working with me in person and that's from like the moment they're engaged through their wedding day. So I'm actually helping them find a venue and locked down a date. I'm, I'm creating and managing their entire budget. We really talk about priorities and what they're wanting and looking for on their wedding day. And then I'll help them find the right vendors to make all of that happen. Um, and then of course it includes everything that day of coordination includes as well. Um, and then this year I launched something new, which is an online wedding planning course and it's, it provides, kind of all have that same guidance that I would give to my couples that booked me for full wedding planning. Um, but it's all online, so it's great for kind of the diy couple or maybe anyone that doesn't have the budget for a full wedding planner, but they still want to know what steps they should be taking. Um, kind of throughout the whole process.

[17:19] Yeah. Target about kind of the idea behind that because I think it's a really good idea, you know, and obviously that's something unique that you guys offer. So talk to me about why you decided to do that and maybe the challenges of getting that off the ground.

[17:32] Yeah. Um, so I mean, one of the biggest reasons I thought to create the course was just because I was taking other courses from other people about how to manage instagram. And I was doing a lot of the online courses, um, when it came to like running a business, so they were all kind of like marketing based or business based, um, and I really just thought like this same format would work really well for couples. Like there's no reason that this couldn't be applied directly to the wedding planning process. Um, and so, uh, it was really kind of during the off season last year and the fall, um, that I just sat down and kind of wrote out the entire outline for it, um, which once I got going that like, it almost just like flowed out of me so easily just because it's the work that I'd been doing with so many couples. Um, and then, you know, the hardest part was actually like sitting down and filming it because that is not my background. But learning how to like film and edit and I'm actually get all of it posted was kind of the most challenging part.

[18:38] So you've done all that yourself? Yes. Well that's a tremendous feat. Thank you. Talk about just, I mean, I didn't even know if, you know the sheer number, I mean like do you know how many videos it was and how much time it took. I mean that's just, it's a lot.

[18:52] Um, so, so the course itself is 10 chapters, so it really starts with like you're engaged and um, you know, the first chapter is really all about like just kind of settling into that moment of like we're engaged and enjoying it and not jumping into planning too soon because that's usually the biggest mistake that couples make is that they just start booking things and then need to like backtrack when they realize maybe they don't have the budget they thought or maybe that doesn't really align with their vision of what they're wanting on their wedding day. Um, so it kind of starts from there and then it goes all the way through. I'm like prioritizing what's most important to you. Um, there's a whole chapter on establishing a budget and actually provide the budget template that I use with my couples and walk through that. So along the way there are downloadable worksheets and templates that they can use.

[19:48] Um, we talk about booking vendors and you know, some of the different questions to ask and then the latter portion of the course does kind of talk about how to create a timeline and keep track of those details. And then the very last chapter goes over coordination and really talks through what the wedding day looks like from the perspective of you as the couple versus the coordinator. So I really do try to make sure a couples are clear if they decide not to hire a coordinator, what the day is gonna look like for their family and friends and what kind of tasks they're going to need and that way hopefully they can make that decision. Then now they plan their whole wedding, okay, do we need a coordinator or do we want to choose to diy this?

[20:36] And I do think that nowadays, I think with millennials or whatever you want to call it, I do think there's a lot of like we can do things and figure out how to do. Um, and I had just interviewed Danielle, a vanity photo bus in like, you know, they did their whole figure that how this star the bus in the photo booth, you know, just through like online videos and stuff and we're like, you know, I just think that's like a new thing that people are, you know, and obviously that would relate to wedding planning this, well, you know, if you can, if you can teach somebody to do something you can teach them to be a wedding coordinator.

[21:08] Right. Um, and, and I think that's kind of always been even my, my own personality. I mean I definitely did not study business in school, so everything that I've done to launch, you know, both of our businesses has been me like taking courses online or listening to podcasts. There's courses I've taken at our local community college and so I just am always focusing on like learning and educating myself and there are, you know, a ton of wedding resources available. But the one thing that the online course offers is still kind of that a one point person. So they can still come to me with any questions. There's a facebook group that goes along with the course so that way if they are, you know, in the middle of a chapter or in their wedding planning process and you know, have these questions, they can still come to me because one of the, you know, the biggest issues I think a lot of couples have is going online and trying to find information and you're just reading blog posts like back and forth and one's going to tell you one thing and then the very next post is going to tell you the complete opposite thing.

[22:13] And so sometimes it's still nice to just have somebody to kind of talk through those things with.

[22:18] No. And I agree with that and I think that, you know, going through the site and everything, I think it's, it's a pretty accessible tone. Right? I think that like even kind of in the wording that you use to describe like, you know, your day of coordination package and things like, I think it is very accessible because I do think it's very overwhelming and I do think that it's Kinda the best of both worlds, like you said, where you get kind of a online resource, you know, on demand whenever you need it, but you also get kind of the personality, right, that the couples that hire you for that full process. Um, you know, we get right. What has been the reception of bad? I mean, has it, has it taken off like you've expected or hoped it would?

[22:54] Yeah. Um, so, so it's kind of, it's been fun to kind of see it all unfold this year. Um, I think, you know, with a lot of projects when you're trying something new, there's definitely gonna be a learning curve. Um, so we actually did a lot of the wedding shows this winter. Um, and I think there was like a little bit of confusion just with couples that are like, I've never heard of this before. Like, what is this really? Um, and so, uh, so that's kind of been been new for me just to kind of explain like what this is because there's really not a lot of like online courses for wedding planning or if there are, they're teaching people how to actually become a wedding coordinator, not necessarily geared for the couple themselves to plan their own wedding. Um, so, so that's been really interesting just to get feedback from, from individuals. Um, I've also had a lot of feedback where people are kind of in the middle of the wedding planning process and so I think probably the next course two point, oh, that version, um, my actually split the course. So kind of the first section where you're starting from the very beginning, but maybe have a second course that can kind of start where couples might be at after they have their venue booked already. They have their date, they have quite a few vendors and they kind of want to focus on those latter pieces.

[24:15] Yeah, I think it's a good price point, you know, I think it's a good introduction like you said, and obviously there's going to be, you know, a learning curve involved with like any sort of new idea, but I think that like the fact of having the new idea right is, is a success in and of itself. And then like you said, so it comes with a facebook group. I mean I assume that's beneficial, right? For people.

[24:36] Yeah, definitely. Yeah, they can ask questions there. So that's been super fun. So we have a handful of students enrolled in the course. Um, and, and yeah, we've had great feedback so far when students are in there. Um, it's kind of fun. One of my students in the course has booked me for their wedding in August and so it's Kinda been cool as a coordinator to see her, like shared documents with me and I'm like, oh, these are like all of my documents, like my templates. And so it's really easy for me to kind of just like jump right in to where they're at and planning because they've kind of followed all of, um, you know, the steps that I've laid out as if I were planning with them as like a full planning client. What are,

[25:20] uh, maybe some common mistakes you see couples make early on or maybe you know, some things that you've come in and Kinda help them that they maybe could do better than maybe somebody that's listening to kind of learn from.

[25:33] Yeah. Um, I think, you know, one of the things that I mentioned where couples get engaged and they're really excited to start planning and they really just kind of immediately jump into it. And I think the first thing you know, everybody does is just start looking at venues right away without really having any kind of understanding of how much venues very just in what they include, what their capacities are going to look like, what their price points are. Um, how choosing a venue location can drastically impact, you know, the logistics of your wedding day. Um, and so I think oftentimes couples, you know, find their venue and they get that booked and that's usually a pretty big piece of the budget too. Um, and, you know, and then maybe they run into problems with like, oh, it's not quite the capacity we needed, or maybe we spent too much of our budget on that or are they didn't realize that it didn't include something that now they have to rent.

[26:31] And so, um, so there's a whole chapter in our course that just talks about venues and things to consider and like a worksheet that couples can bring with them to site visits to kind of compare, um, the different, um, you know, items that are included at all of the venues. Uh, and so I think that that's a huge piece to understand because there are venues that, you know, definitely cost a little bit more, but they might include a lot of the items that it's going to save you some money down the road versus booking a venue that's maybe like the state or city parks where they are less expensive but couples may not realize that that means they have to bring in everything on their own which can cost a lot more down the road.

[27:17] So yeah, I think, you know, we talked with a lot of the couples that the wedding shows and stuff too, and at least, and maybe you can either echo this or disagree, but I think the biggest thing that I've seen recently is we're a couples pick a date and they don't have anything else. And so, you know, we'll be talking about, hey, congrats or you know, the couples will come by the wedding show and like, Oh, when you get married at like, oh, September first. It's like, oh, you know, where you get married at all? We don't have a venue yet. Well, I, you know, I think the venues gather confers because you know, you can pick whatever date you want, but if wherever and wanting to get married, do you, do you see that? Do you run into that?

[27:54] Yeah. Um, and that's where, you know, if a, if a couple is really firm on the date that they want, then they have to be flexible in the venue options that they have. Um, whereas if, you know, if they have some flexibility, they have even, you know, two or three dates that are preferred or even just opening that up to like we know what month maybe we want to get married and um, or even a season, you know, that can be helpful because then when you're going to the venue and you're asking what's your availability like, um, you're kind of giving that venue some options, a few different dates. Um, and yeah, and then usually that's the best way to, to find a good, good location.

[28:36] Yeah, I think you're like, when we had gotten engaged it was like, I think we made a list of like, you know, what things can the person only do one, you know, on the one day. Right. So like, you know, your venue can only be on, you know, it's got to be on your day, you know, your photographer going to be available, you know, and then there's other things like if you're renting like linens or a florist or whatever, right. I mean, do you, do you help kind of break that down in categories of like, you know, these things, you know, be able to, you know, accommodate.

[29:03] Yeah, definitely. Um, and, and right along those lines, I think one of the things that um, a lot of couples don't understand, and I think most people don't until you're actually in the wedding industry out here in Seattle, is that it is very, very seasonal. And especially in Seattle, we have such a short peak season that's really from like July to August with a little bit of a shoulder until like June and September. Um, and so it's really important that couples understand when they get engaged at, you know, to just say like, oh I want to get married September first of this year is going to be much, much harder to find a venue than if they had picked September first of 2019 or things like that. So just finding, you know, the right amount of time that they need to plan and understanding the seasonality of that.

[29:59] I also tried to do, you know, a little bit more education with my clients of understanding like when the best times to do tastings will be and when, you know, vendors are going to have a lot of availability to sit down and do consultations and you know, be able to get back to them right away because it is a slower season versus you know, if you're sending your vendors and email on a weekend in August, you're probably not going to get a response until the weekday and just making sure they understand just how, how much that seasonality affects the work that wedding vendors do.

[30:32] So I wanted to talk a little bit about, besides the online course that you provide a lot of the other resources that you have available on your site, you know, so I was perusing through some of the blogs or Vlogs I guess earlier today, the blogs and then now I'm was just kind of browsing here while we were chatting about this diy challenge and these different challenges on there. Uh, so maybe do you want to start with the challenges and then we can work back.

[30:57] So we have a whole page on my website called freebies and one of them is the diy challenge and it's a seven day email sequence and each day kind of talks about a different topic. And so, um, I created this after the wedding shows and so I had actually sent an email out to everyone. I had talked about the wedding shows and a lot of the upcoming clients and just ask them like, what are you planning to diy and what areas do you want the most help with? Um, and then I took all of those responses and created this diy challenge. Um, and so it ended up being seven days just because the responses were so overwhelming with what people are wanting information on. Um, and so, uh, each one includes either a video or an interview with another wedding professional, kind of in that realm. I'm giving tips and advice. There's some key takeaways there. Um, but it's really just kind of helping people get started and avoid some of those common pitfalls when it comes to taking on a, a piece of the wedding to diy.

[32:04] Yeah, I mean, I think that that's like awesome. I think couples really thrive on getting that, you know, those free resources and different ideas that you have. And then you, you have this whole blog series to riot kind of talking about different venues and making the most time with your photographer. Um, oh, what was, how long ago has that been going? I mean, what was his surname

[32:24] you just started that? I'm actually at the beginning of this year, so kind of what the launch of the online course it was really when I started blogging. Um, I just, I mean, I think video is great. Uh, it's, you know, it's so much easier, it's much easier to watch a video and get so much more from it because I, I know that reading wedding blogs can be a time suck and so I thought that, you know, of logs would just be such a fun way to like connect with couples and with all of my new found like video editing skills, it was a lot easier to start creating those. Um, and so yeah, so, so we actually, we just have a youtube channel with all of our vlogs. Then they're also posted to our website, so I'd try to blog weekly or every other week, kind of depending what we have going. Usually if it's every other week, then in the off weeks we'll highlight one of our weddings from the past year and we'll kind of show photos so people have a lot of inspiration as well on our website.

[33:27] And you'll go through and walk through that with people. Me On the video?

[33:31] No, usually the, we call it just like real wedding blog post, just kind of show the photos from the day we provide who the vendors were and I'd usually just try to share like what I really liked about the day, what they did really well, what was really unique about it. Um, and that way couples can kind of scroll through those and just gather some inspiration and then, um, if we're not posting about a real wedding, then it's usually a blog post.

[33:56] So it's kind of like a pinterest board kind of come to life. Yeah, that's awesome. Uh, so, you know, through the, the online course, right? We've got the blogs, we've got the wedding planning, and then you guys decided to launch yet a yard games, which I think is awesome. I think it's a great name. I think I told you as you walked in, I just tagged you in the post in the wedding community about it. Uh, what was the inspiration behind starting this kind of. I mean, I guess the sister brand related in weddings. Talk about that.

[34:26] Um, so, so it all really started. So my husband does a lot of woodworking, he's incredibly talented. Um, you know, we have an entire shop really it's our garage, but our garage is actually larger than our home. It's like that kind of, um, kind of space on our property. And uh, he just, he loves woodworking. He used to do work like framing houses and all sorts of stuff. And so, um, it all started with our wedding and I really wanted a giant Jenga set at our wedding and so he had built that and uh, we had gotten married at Camera Beach State Park. So it's, it's on the water. It's like a really beautiful state park, gorgeous trees. And so he had found this like I'm branding iron that was of like a little tree and so he had put that on all of the Jenga pieces. And so fast forward, you know, I'm working with other couples for coordination and people knew we had the Jenga set and so my couples were like renting out our Jenga set and then I started to get questions from other wedding vendors saying, Hey, can my couples rent that out?

[35:30] Like do you have other games? And people were asking for like different, you know, the corn hole sets the giant connect four, that sort of thing. And my husband's like, yeah, I can make that. So, um, so he started building more of the games and then I really just decided, you know, it, this kind of needs to be its own business. Um, it needs its own website for people to be able to find it. A lot of people aren't thinking like, hey, I want to rent a corn hole set, let me go talk to a wedding planner. Um, and so, and then the name kind of came about because my husband found another branding iron, have a Yeti, and then he kind of likes, I know exactly. Um, and then he actually, he's like, we should call it Yeti Yard Games. And everything about the business has just been super fun and really lighthearted. We really don't overthink a lot of those decisions were like, yeah, sure. Like Yeti Yard Games. Sounds Fun. Um, I like started up the website, we kind of put the name out there and it's really just taken off ever since it's such a Pacific northwest business I feel like, which is so fun for us.

[36:41] Yeah, it really is. And I'm looking through here, you know, you've got your core in the hole on your giant Jenga, but they need a giant tic tac toe and mean there's even this huge connect four and it looks like it's really good craftsmanship. I mean like, I know like we have a, my brothers got like called ladder golf sad, like anytime, you know, even if it's for five minutes, like anytime we do a family get together, it's let's gooply lender golf, you know. And so it really is. I mean, is that like a new thing, these games? I mean, I guess I started seeing them at weddings a few years ago. Have you noticed that it's been this explosion now or.

[37:12] Yeah. Um, I mean, I think it, it has kind of started over the last couple of years. Um, it's nice to have the games out as guests are arriving for the ceremony, for any early arrivers, maybe if you have family photos happening before the ceremony, so people that have to get onsite early, it kind of gives them a little bit of something to do. Um, and then also during cocktail hour it's great to kind of have that entertainment and they're all games that are really easy. Everybody knows what the game's ours, they don't really need instruction. Um, and yeah, they're really fun. And then I also think it's a great option if you're not sure if you have a dancing crowd, you know. So I mean we've helped coordinate a lot of weddings where people know, like their friends and family are really more chill. They want to enjoy a few good drinks. Um, and so the games are a great supplement to that as well.

[38:08] Yeah, I think it's a great point. You know, that obviously you want everybody to be comfortable in that funding your wedding and yet not everybody is going to want to go out and do like the cupid shuffle or whatever. And so I think, yeah, like you said, like offering that alternative and I mean, you know, kids can play with um, you know, older people can play with that. Yeah. You know, everybody in the middle. Um, I think we were talking off here before too about how I, you know, I, I see some of these kind of diy every in a while, like even when we go film wedding and we'll see like people get like Jenga, but they'll just get like two by fours to the store I was sending. I don't really know how like woodworking works, um, but there's nothing more frustrating than like going to a wedding and having the things like be Janky or not work, you know. And I think people think like, oh, we'll just whatever. Well that was a waste of, you know, four hours of your time if it doesn't actually work or people don't enjoy it and talk about kind of the quality and making sure it's all kind of high caliber stuff.

[39:04] Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah. So all of our games, so I mentioned my husband handcrafts all of our games. Um, and that is really important. Um, and also, I mean like the size of the games like our connect for sits like five feet taller so, so it's like at like eye level when you're playing and it really is like that thing that people see sitting in the yard and they're like drawn to it or like Whoa, like that's so cool. Um, because there are places you know, like you can buy games online or buy them from stores. Um, and they're like, they're giant compared to like the tabletop games, but like to kind of have that wow factor is pretty cool. Um, and then I mean we have, we've coordinated weddings to or we've seen events where people have like the ladder golf that's out of like pvc pipe but you like tasks like one of the golf balls at it and then it like breaks or tears over. So like, you know, it is important that the games can be played in there, like sturdy and um, yeah, I mean that's important.

[40:07] Well, and also like I think even people that like try to build them and then afterwards like you have to deal with all this stuff and I think that like, you know, I mean after we got married, like it was enough just to kind of go through like the gifts or whatever bags you have another one like oh now I have like 10 pounds of wood sitting in my corner, have to, you know, get rid of or giveaway. Is there, is that a struggle between kind of, you know, running the two businesses now, like you said this, the Yeti Yard Games is a lot of fun and it's a little more casual. But just juggling those multiple balls. Is that, what's that like?

[40:40] Um, so, so it's been, again, like another learning curve, um, because a lot of the requests are coming in at such different times. So for Thrifty Events, you know, my summer calendar has been filled for quite some time because people book coordination and full planning so far in advance. Um, whereas, you know, we're still getting requests for this coming summer for yard games and you know, we tried to accommodate as many of them as we can, but it is just really different for me to kind of balance that with the Yeti Yard Games. We may not have a firm idea of what our weekend is gonna look like until about two to three days before. Um, whereas for the wedding planning business, everything is like so set so far in advance. Um, so it's definitely balancing both of those, which is great now that I have an assistant to help me with thrifty. Um, my husband really is the person handling like all of the deliveries and pickups and dropoffs for the yard games.

[41:40] But that's great. I mean to have kind of the whole family involved and I think we had talked off air a but yet like having those were the associates here and kind of having those two different sources of income with also just like different parts of your brain that is going to both. Is this where it stops or are you, you seem, you just sitting down with you here, you, you strike me as somebody that's always kind of trying to think about expanding what else is going on?

[42:08] Oh Man. Um, I have more ideas than I could probably. Like I couldn't even do them all. It's weird. It's like once you start getting into entrepreneurship and running a small business, um, it's like your brain never shuts off from it, which I really love it. It's Super Fun. Um, I mean I'm, I'm excited to be here and doing this podcast because I love podcasts. I think it would be so much fun to even start my own, um, you know, just talking to couples or other wedding vendors about the wedding planning process. Um, and that also goes along with like, just really enjoying putting together my blog every week and things like that. So yeah, I, I'm always kind of dreaming up new ideas or new things to incorporate into our businesses for sure.

[42:56] Yeah, I think it's uh, it's interesting nowadays where like you really can't kind of do whatever you want, you know, in terms of like we have the resources and we have the technologies and we have, you know, it's like it was like the podcast, you know, like I kind of been like, you know, trying to figure out stuff since I went to the wedding mba back in October. And then, you know, there's nothing really stopping you from building your own online directory for couples. In terms of the wedding planning, diy, um, do you see like growing that more or do you see still your bread and butter is going to be like your day of coordination and working? Do you prefer working hands on with couples?

[43:33] I do. I really enjoy working with my couples. Um, and so I think that that will always be our, our bread and butter. Um, and then I think it's just a matter of, you know, kind of what, what else we offer to couples on top of that. Um, I think, you know, kind of what we've talked about in the beginning where there's two parts to wedding planning of the logistics and day of details, but then also that like stress management piece and kind of managing the emotions. Um, and so there are a lot of things that, that I've been kind of thinking about what are ways that I could help couples more in that realm that may not kind of exist already. Um, and so yeah, lots of, lots of things in the works right now for sure.

[44:19] And then just talk about, I think what you like with your own personality, what would you think is the greatest benefit that you give to couples? I mean, besides like logistics of like, you know, I get contracts in order, but I mean, is it just that sense of organization or is it like a sense of calm or what do you think, you know, with your own personality that you bring to that?

[44:40] Yeah, yeah, I really think it is, um, that, that sense of calm. And so I think, uh, it's, you know, every planner is a little bit different in every coordinator handles the wedding day differently. Um, and so, you know, my approach is that we're, you know, we're going to stay on schedule as best as we can. We're going to follow all of the details, but you can also only plan up to a certain point and then you have to roll with the punches and you have to kind of be on your toes and able to change things up if you need to or find quick fixes. Um, and so I think that that's a huge part of coordination that a lot of people don't see and even a lot of couples understanding that like, Hey, they'll admittedly say like, I'm really type A, so I know all of the details, but they want someone there so that way if problems do arise, they can handle them because they're like, I can't handle that type of thing where we really can. And so, um, I think that's kind of the other specialty is just really being able to like stay calm in those situations and think on your feet. Um, and kind of keep a level head throughout the entire wedding day is really important.

[45:55] What is your favorite part of the wedding day?

[45:59] Yeah. Oh man, that's really hard because there's so many, like parts of it, um, I think kind of watching as like setup is happening to go from like a completely empty space or like nothing on tables, um, to like the full transformation because what a lot of people don't know is that it looks really, really messy until it looks beautiful and sometimes that can really freak out. Couples if they like step into the room, like mid setup and they're like, this does not look like it's going to come together. And I'm like, I promise you that it will. Um, but there's always that like little bit of rush when you're like, okay, we're putting the final touches on everything and like stowing away boxes and crates and whatever else. And then you look up and you're like, whoa. Like, how did that all come together?

[46:51] I think that's a really fun moment. Um, but yeah, most people don't know, like it all looks really disorganized until it looks really beautiful, like it comes together at that last moment. Um, and then I also love getting everybody down the aisle and that's like a moment of like take a deep breath for me because once the ceremony's going, like, I kind of have that moment of like, all right, that first part of the day is finished and now we're gonna move into like cocktail hour reception, that sort of thing. Um, and then I think that same moment kind of happens after like the first dances are done in the toasts are finished and like dancing has started and everybody's just hanging out and that's kind of like, okay, that last piece is in place.

[47:34] Yeah, I think it's cool. Something that we've, not all the time but I've seen recently is, is doing that like, and that is kind of weird in concept to polite that reception room reveal to the couples if the timeline allows. Were like, because people don't think about that. But you know, you spend all this time and energy and money on, you know, the tables and chairs and lights in the room and then you and you getting coordinated been styling everything and then it's like, you know, if the guests I'll come in and everything's, you know, obviously you want to do that grand entrance to kind of see everybody, like hooting and hollering. But it is kind of cool to like see everything as you envision it. I mean, do, do you try to do that or have you noticed that? That's more of a thing now.

[48:15] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean I love when couples get a chance to like see the reception space before they're doing the grand entrance, like before everybody's, like sat down at the tables and like moved favors and Napkins and things like that. So, um, and if the couple, you know, can't sneak away for that moment, then I always make it a priority to at least grab the photographers or videographer and say like, Hey, the whole space is set right now and it's empty. Like go ahead and go up there and get some room shots. And detail shots, um, and that way, you know, after the wedding day, the couple can also kind of have that moment of seeing like what it looked like before anyone was like in the room.

[48:54] Yeah. Cause it's, you know, once you get everything.

[48:57] Yes. It's ones, any guests start sneaking into the room, like it's not going to have that, just like everything set perfectly kind of look to it. So you're welcome.

[49:07] Cool. I want to thank you so much for coming here today and talking. If people were more interested in or interested to hear, learn more about either Thrifty Events or Yeti Yard Games, uh, what would you have them do and check out?

[49:19] Yeah. Well thank you so much for having me again. This has been so much fun. Um, so uh, instagram is a great place to find us. Um, we're at Thrifty Events or at Yeti Yard Games, so both super easy to find. Um, you can also check out our website. It's www.thriftyevents.net that is important that it's dot net, not.com. Um, and then www.yetiyardgames.com for that one.

[49:44] And the, like I said, you know, we had talked about all the blogs and stuff. I mean, I really do think that that's like a priceless resource that couples have in. And I commend you for, for doing that in terms of, you know, the weekly blogs and then doing this, um, if you, if people are interested in learning about the online courses as well that they can take as well. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Come back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

[50:08] Thank you.

Episode 11 (Dan Manning, Dan Manning Photography)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm here today with Dan Manning of Dan Manning Photography and I was gonna make a joke. We'd been a frustrated here for the last few minutes trying to get the audio situated here in the room. I was going to make a joke that I was trying to equate what interviewing Dan would be like for a wedding vendor podcast interview and I think that it would be like if I was a Survivor podcast and I had the interview Jeff Probst because Dan is really a quite prolific in the Seattle wedding and Snohomish wedding community and somebody that I respect and I only mean that half joking. Uh, so Dan, thank you so much for being here. Why don't you tell us who you are and a little bit about what you do.

[00:59] Uh, yeah. So I'm uh, Dan with Dan Manning photography and yeah, my wedding and portrait, a specialist photographer based out of Snohomish, Washington. And uh, yeah, everything I do is about beautiful photos and an amazing client experience. And uh, we're at Dan's awesome studio down here. And Snohomish, uh, tell us a little bit about where you are and where we're located. Yeah, so we're all in a first street in downtown, Snohomish. It's a really awesome historic historic district. That's pretty cool. It's one of those unique places where people actually purposely drive to, to park their car and get out and walk and check out the shops and all that and great restaurants and things like that. So, uh, it's kind of unique to have a studio, a studio store friends as a photographer. Um, so it's just an office that we call our studio, but um, yeah, there's nobody I've ever heard of.

[01:49] It's a photographer that has a space like this where it's actually an office that's in a, a commercial area. Well, and I thought it was cool because like, when I pull that up, you know, you were sitting here importing footage kind of looking at, you know, we got a banjo playing down the road. Other than that, if we hear that on the, on the audio, but you know, you're sitting here at door open, you know, kind of the wind whipping through. I mean it's a nice. I would have to think it would be a good creative outlet and a good space to not only serve as an edit in place but also, you know, attract clients and such. Yeah, it's been really great on that one. Definitely get a decent amount of people walking in here and saying hi and all that going to meet a lot of awesome people.

[02:27] Shop owners down here are fantastic. We have several different companies that are wedding vendors that are actually here on first street. So there's laney, meg, which is a dress shop just right down the street. There's much pie shop, a company that I share a wall with a does a lot of pies and things like that for weddings and yeah, it's just good people watching, which obviously can be a distraction. So I'm definitely a people watcher, but uh, yeah, it's, it's super fun. It's a great place to be. Yeah. And it's. Our friends got married years ago down here, I guess it's called crossroads now when they got married there was Thomas Family farm and he, uh, we came up here and did photos and stuff. I know this because Zebo well and Kinda the whole waterfront. Uh, I guess it's the Snohomish River, right? That this or there's a will.

[03:10] Cool. So tell me a little bit about what you guys do in terms of weddings, portraits, proposals, engagement, things like that. Tell me a little bit about, uh, what sets you guys apart or what's kind of your calling card? So yeah, so, I mean, I think generally like our brand and I say our, it's my wife and I, she's, she was very much involved behind the scenes. Um, you know, our brand is definitely like the northwest. He kind of nature, epic, location kind of photos. If you were to be here in my studio, you see that my pillows are in the shape of mountains and there's a lot of natural wood in here, a lot, a lot of art in here that actually kind of is, is that style. And we tend to draw a lot of clients who really love nature and kind of almost a blend of beautiful landscape photography mixed with really stunning portraiture.

[04:00] So that's, that's kind of, if anything I think is like our calling card for the style of shooting. And then on the business side of it, everything is about really high level customer service. So giving your clients an amazing experience that pretty much nobody else provides. And I, you know, I was only being half facetious with my introduction talking about, but I mean you are somebody that I've seen this, I've kind of joined this community in the last couple of years in weddings and seeing people pull us online. But you know, I knew the name damn man, even before we even met face to face a few months ago, getting ready for this, no much wedding to herself, you know, it's really cool to finally meet you. We've met now and talked but, you know, sit down face to face and I really appreciate your time and having me into your space.

[04:43] It's sort of cool. Uh, so if you weren't doing the podcast right now, what would you kind of be working on or what would, what would you be doing? A man? A lot of different stuff, you know, as a wedding photographer and as a portrait photographer, I kind of refer it to the iceberg kind of ideology where, you know, our clients only see about three percent of our work that we actually do a of actually shooting thing. Um, so it's importing photos calling, which means you're narrowing down the photos and then obviously enhancing the photos. But um, yeah definitely a lot of that behind the scenes. So I just had a really amazing engagement session with clients last night. So as you got here I was importing those photos to go through and it was an insanely amazing session where the couple you normally have to kind of pose couples and Kinda give them instructions on how to stand and how to do all that.

[05:30] And it could have been completely silent. We almost didn't have to say where do these guys, they were super connected and just interacted together and we really liked the lifestyle non kind of candid style of just documenting their love and not really telling them how to be. And so it was great and it was the most perfect. Got a horn honking. It was the most perfect sunset I think I've ever seen in my life. Um, so I'd probably be right now going through those photos or, and also be hanging out with my kids now. Isn't it nice when you have a couples that you know and you don't. I didn't even think like, you know, I even know like how comfortable I would be with my wife or you know, if she was my girlfriend, you know, like posing and whatnot. Like we had a wedding on Sunday and it was the same kind of thing where like, you don't even either pose a riot, like they're just, they were kind of existing in their own space.

[06:18] And I even, uh, I was working with a Mega Montalvo down Indian summer and I, you know, I yelled at him like, man, I really wish you guys were more comfortable together because they were so comfortable and they were so, uh, I mean, how good is that for you in terms of like creative energy to be able to feed off of that. It's fantastic because I can just actually focus on coming up with really great angles and paying attention to just the lighting in general and I don't have to worry about trying to get them to actually look at each other or to give each other a kiss or to have the, the traditional like relationship roles of a man and a woman and have her like snuggle into him and do all of that. I don't have to try to show them how to be in a relationship.

[07:03] They just kind of do it on their own naturally. And so I just focused on the technical details and it creates even better. Photos. And photography is all about chemistry. It's about the photographers chemistry with the clients. But more importantly, it's the client's interaction with each other, so to have them just innately have that perfect chemistry without us telling them what to do just is so much more authentic and the photos you can actually see it. Um, when you guys are doing the engagement sessions. Uh, I can't remember. I was having a conversation recently with another photographer that, you know, I always lament as a videographer and them get to do that a lot. You know, we um, you know, you can do like day of, kind of in the life we're pre-wedding I'm editing the pre wedding video right now, but like talk about being able to do the engagement session without maybe the time constraints that you have other wedding day where, you know, you guys can really like pick the time, pick the location, you know, I mean the weather, but talking about that.

[07:58] So yeah. So actually meet with my clients ahead of their engagement session or even if it's family photos and meet with my clients ahead of time. Like I said, portrait portrait photography is about connection. So not everybody's a professional models. So it's about, first of all, setting the foundation of actually getting to know people ahead of time, letting them get to know you and so when you actually go out to take their photo, you already break down those walls of being a little bit uncomfortable with someone taking your photo. And I'm as bad as anybody about getting my photo taken. I'm like so super awkward and weird when people go to take my photo. So I take that into consideration with my clients. So I'm setting that foundation is everything for the actual shoot. And then when we go out to actual shoe, um, yeah, we, we talk about where they're going to go do the session.

[08:42] We actually do a wardrobe consultations ahead of time so they can text us or email us whatever photos of their outfits to make sure the outfits not only match each other if they're uncomfortable with that, but also if they are going to order an order, any wall art from us that the actual outfits they wear, the location that we actually choose would match their home. So if their house is very contemporary, we would try to shoot it in a more temporary place if their house is more rustic, kind of decor, we would actually try to go to a place that kind of fit that more. So it's very intentional. It's very thoughtful. Um, and then yeah, time of day, you know, like most photographers it's about, you know, right around sunrise or about an hour and a half, two hours before sunset for an actual great lighting and all that.

[09:20] But it also really like people. I'm going to places that like speak to them that they feel connected to so that the feel natural in that environment. So I don't want to put someone like downtown in Seattle when they'd rather be up in the mountains and say it's almost like inception kind of level of thinking that, you know, I wouldn't even necessarily, um, I don't think I would ever think about that, but I guess it makes sense, right? That you want it to compliment them and their lifestyle. Um, what kind of feedback do you get from clients when they kind of get these engagement photos and are able to print them and hang on a, it's pretty awesome. I mean, we do what's called [inaudible] sales, so we actually sell products, books, wall art and albums, and our clients get an image reveal slash ordering session a few weeks after their shoot, whether it's family photos, engagements or weddings.

[10:12] So they come to our little studio office down here in Snohomish, sit down and we'll play a slide show. And uh, I actually get to see their faces when they see their photos. There's so many photographers and miss out on that because they just deliver digital files, whether it's via a Usb in the mail, sometimes they'll hand them to, um, but they don't get to see their reaction to it. Um, so actually get to see my clients reacting to their photos and person. And it's such a great validation for us as artists to see our clients get tearing up or going, oh wow. Totally reacting to, to seeing the art that you create for them. And so it's such a special thing of, of photographers like us who do sell the products and do the in-person slideshows. It's really special. Yeah. I mean that's something that I'm guilty of it as well, you know.

[10:56] Right. And to me that video started to. I mean, I mean I guess it's hard in any medium, but I, I think that there will be definitely be like a real tangible benefit to that. And I, you know, I got to think that that is rewarding for you. It's amazing. Yeah. Um, do you ever get tired of, you know, like meeting new couples are working with new couples? I mean, obviously the answer is no, but, but, but why is that, I guess is the more important question. Uh, you know, I, I'm a portrait photographer because I like people, you know, it's, it's building those relationships and getting to know people and everybody has it. It's amazing. There's 6 billion people on the earth or so, and you know, imagine walking around an entire day, like through a busy streets and you won't see two people that look like each other and you want meet to people that are just like each other.

[11:43] And so there's such an amazing dynamic of different personalities of people that exist. And uh, when you do like weddings and engagement photos, there's the, there's the love story that's behind that. And I actually talked to my clients about that. You, I want it. I want to draw out their emotions of their connection and all that. So I asked them about how they met and how he proposed and all those things so that the, they bring up those emotions and it very much like rises to the surface. And so, um, the whole processes is really beautiful. It just amazing to be able to actually be a part of. So obviously engagement, photography, portrait, photography leads to wedding photography. So how long have you been, you know, quote unquote a wedding photographer, wedding vendor? Uh, I mean I've been shooting weddings for like 17 years now, but in all reality, uh, I was one of those people who I've kind of switched my mindset over to being a business person as well as an artist and I was always that kind of person who thought, well, if I just take better photos people will hire me more and that wasn't really the case.

[12:41] So really about tier two and a half years ago is where I just kind of hunkered down and said, look, I need to change my mindset because I'm not as busy as I want to be. And so I switched over to like changing that mindset and I've become much more of a busier successful wedding photographer, a portrait photographer by changing that mindset. So even though I've been shooting for 17 years, I would say that realistically I, as a business and taking myself seriously would be about two years later. So before that though, like you said, so you were more about the maybe more so focusing on art and business. I mean, is that what you're saying? Yeah. So what were you primarily shooting then? A just random stuff, but I mean honestly I went from being a person who wasn't a very good business person to being a person who I think has a pretty solid business person and now actually even mentor other photographers on how, how would it be good at selling those products and, and it's kind of crazy to be at that point where actually I'm able to mentor other people in areas where I personally was very unsuccessful previously.

[13:38] What caused that flip? I'm having kids. I mean it was one of those where I had kittens and I was working a full time job still and it sucks hardly ever seen my kids because I was still getting some shoots occasionally and that was working full time and just barely ever get to see my kids. And so I just got to the point where I'm like, I don't want to have a normal day job anymore. I want to work for myself. And so I just looked at like what options I had and started really learning about the inferences yells thing and how to sell products and all that and everything would be sell products. And I mentor other people. One is always doing less in the client's best interest, no matter what, treat everyone like they're your grandma. Um, and so, you know, even though I talk about like being good at sales and all of that, it's, it's very much in the client's best interest and everything.

[14:27] So, uh, you said it was when you got kids and you're married and your wife helps you out, you know, we'll talk about that dynamic and how does that work and is that successful? It's, it's interesting because on some levels it's the best thing ever because most photographers and videographers like yourself, we're, we're kind of like one people army is we have to do all of these things ourselves. We don't have anybody to kind of kick into gear for having a bad day. We often don't have people to bounce ideas off of. And so, um, my wife has a very good accuracy for all of that and she's been doing tons of research and helping out with so many areas. And like I told her earlier, I showed her a photo and she said that this photo I'd taken was one of the greatest photos she'd seen, like at Dairyland, which is location down the street.

[15:13] And uh, I told her that I took that compliment with a, a higher level of, of like wow. Then I would like from some famous photographer because she is, she is my own worst critic and um, it's really cool to have somebody who actually like holds you accountable and pushes you. But on the flip side of working with your wife, it's really hard to separate that and talk about other things that aren't photography business and still maintain a marriage. So actually right now she's actually kind of working your way back out of the business and it's going to be me taking over more so she can actually just kinda like be away from not always a business partner because it's a tough balance. Is it a really tough balance? As much as it's awesome and it helps out, it's difficult. Yeah. It's got to be, you know, my, at Dorothy's the teacher kind of does her own thing during the day and yeah, we kind of check in from time to time, you know, when I go to her school and stuff.

[16:05] But yeah, it's like when you, when you live in what you eat and what you do or what do they. I don't know, whatever the saying is. But um, it, uh, so is that going to be a challenge then when she moves out or do you feel like you've set yourself up now? There'll be more successful. We've been sending it up so a lot of systems in place. So we have like a studio management slash client software that we've been implementing. Um, we've had interns that have been helping out so we're transitioning from one interview to another just because the interns and college and works and all that, so she's less available. So we have a new intern coming on is going to be helping out with a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. And then, um, one of them we're looking into right now is actually starting to outsource our photo editing, so it's expensive, but, uh, hopefully it creates a better work life balance for us.

[16:50] So actually spend more time with my kids and my wife and I can focus more on like the behind the scenes business aspects as well. Yeah, you can focus more on the clients here. I mean that's always the thing. And even with video, you know, but they all even like talk with like the Grandpa, the way the. And they'll be like, oh man, you got to go home and go through all this footage and you're like, yeah, I really wish. Like, like I could just be at the wedding and then go the next wedding. But then it's, you know, it's 80 percent or 90 percent of it is the behind the scenes stuff. Uh, so before you got into photography, uh, you said you were working. Talk about kind of that balance of what you were doing before where I worked. Yeah. So I worked for Costco, so actually, uh, worked in the stores for a long time.

[17:31] And I also actually did photography for Costco is corporate office, so there's like one main day to day photographer and for awhile it was actually the secondary photographer that was there. And uh, even though it was an amazing experience and it sounds good for the resume, it was, uh, taken me away from actually spending more time in my own business and to be honest, the commute out, I'm going all the way to ethical every day. So, um, yeah, it was not very good balance before, so as I've just about a year ago I went part time with Costco, so I just worked there in the evenings occasionally and just to get benefits basically because health insurance is obviously extremely expensive. So I just worked there part time for benefits to be able to provide benefits for my wife and my two little boys. Um, but yeah, I mean it's been a great opportunity to have, have had that career.

[18:19] It actually honestly worked there for 20 years, which is kind of crazy. Makes me feel old. But um, yeah, it's, it's been great ever since I went part time, uh, the income's only gone up and uh, my clients are way happier and I'm running a much better business now and, and it's, it's all for my clients. Everybody can do this for my clients. It's been great. Yeah, I mean it's tough when you, you know, when you have a full time job and you're trying to devote and, and you know, I think he be energy. Maybe you spend on trying to move around to other things. You, you don't have them to be creative or exactly what have been, uh, so obviously now you feel like it's a good balance and your clients are happy. Um, in terms of like weddings and approaching the wedding day, um, how do you kind of differentiate what you do in terms of like storytelling or in terms of like your approach to the wedding day and kind of the deliverables you give 'em?

[19:08] So it all starts from the communications. So I on average from the time that actually meet with my clients in person for the first time till, well after the wedding, it can be up to about 14 times in person. We're actually meet with my clients, um, which is completely crazy. I did them, I did the math on it, it like earlier this year. And I came up with like, I think that the number was like nine or 10 and then my wife and I went over it again and we're like, okay, it's actually closer to 14 times will actually interact with our clients in person. So most, all of it is the initial setup of just getting to know them. And again, I can't stress it enough building that trust portrait photography is all about trust. You have to be their friend, you have to get to know them.

[19:53] And then when you do it just opens up that relationship like it would in normal everyday life. I've given you to know somebody and you start finding out more intimate details. And the more comfortable people get, the better the photos of them are because they don't have that barrier that comes up there and it's so crazy how much a lack of trust will show up in a photo or like the other day I was shooting portraits for a guy whose running for us Senate and he's a Harvard graduated physician and he got a little nervous about the photos and he clenched his fist kinda tight and it works its way, right? If your arm and your shoulders up your neck and right into your face and you can actually see it in a photo. So the whole buildup I initially is just making people feel comfortable with getting to know them, learning their love story.

[20:36] And then, you know, it just curious through when you're, when you're there taking their pictures at that point. It's like my session last night, I've been meeting with those clients several times. Now they've, they stopped in here to introduce me, other daughter and I'm just come visit. So, you know, they definitely turned into friends and I want my clients to hire me for life. Um, so they just get so comfortable that there's no awkwardness that happens and then all of weddings include a leather album and some products on some of the upper collections and all that. So we want people to know that we're there for them for the whole process. We're not flaking on them and we respond to emails and phone calls extremely quickly and um, we're going to provide them with the most stunning artwork that's archival that's going to last for decades, if not centuries there.

[21:23] They're super high quality, really beautiful. So the whole process is all the way through. Do you like doing weddings as a concept or is it just that you like doing portraits of people and then like wedding? So the next logical step, uh, I don't know, I think it's kind of a balance of both of those. It's kind of a deep thought on that one, but, uh, I every once in awhile. Yeah. Yeah, no, it's good. Um, yeah, I would say I just liked the people connection in general, but yeah, I'm kind of one of those like weird sappy dudes who um, I love all that kind of stuff, like the first look of a wedding where they, the grim gets to see the bride, you know, coming from a male photographer perspective, we tend to like see things, how our own world is. And so um, I think that super special to have the groom gets see the bread and the dress and get that shot of his face because let's be honest, weddings are generally about the bride and not so much about the groom.

[22:19] So that's the one shot that's really about the grant and it's such a special moment and I always, it completely encouraged my clients to do the first look well before the actual ceremony so that it's actually much more intimate for the gram to actually get to see her. Um, but yeah, so I mean weddings are beautiful. I love all the, the aspects of weddings and people actually building that bond, I believe in the state of marriage and everything that it is. So yeah, I mean whether it's a giant crazy wedding with like 600 people or like the one I'm doing tomorrow is in a low moment for two people and it's going to be me and an assistant and then the groom's parents just for the ceremony with the bride and groom. They're all amazing. I mean as long as the bride and groom really love each other and there's that connection that's there.

[23:05] All of it's amazing. Absolutely adore it. Do you find it in. I have a in terms of like our summer season this year. Um, do you find a lot more weekday events and weddings and things because what's today? Tuesday. So tomorrow these, are you seeing more of that or have you seen them? And I just, I have different pricing for allotments. So my allotment pricing is for weekdays so that way I can keep the weekends free from the actual, like normal traditional weddings with you see a lot more of those happening. And that's what I've seen. It's been, to me it's been an increase this year over the last two for me in terms of bit during the week I have more like weekend weddings, like almost all my weddings are on Saturdays. Um, but I do have one Sunday wedding. I have a actually the Thursday wedding, a traditional wedding, but on a Thursday and then I have an elopement that's on it on a Wednesday.

[23:54] So yeah. But people are people often these days it seems get married like kind of based on the date, like it's 2018. So all the photographers I know and all the videographers I know are slammed in August, especially on August 18th. Like we kind of have a running joke amongst photographers and videographers that there's not going to be any wedding vendors left if anybody last minute decided to actually get married on August 18th because it's eight, 18, 18 if you didn't catch that yet. Which is funny because like the way that I, I have that too. And the way that, like I did the day of all my videos, I always to see what like August, whatever in the year. So like you wouldn't even, we had a client that got married and on seven slash 11 slash seven and I run to this July first in all my everything and even on the video and it wasn't until, I think it was like the father of the bride was like, well, you know, seven slash 11 slash 70.

[24:44] I didn't even realize. So um, do, do you prefer the larger scale or do you prefer the more intimate, smaller weddings? I don't shy away from the large ones, but I prefer the smaller ones for sure. I think that it will be easier for us to be able to actually make better connections when there's less people. But I mean big weddings can be a blast to. There's, there's certainly nothing wrong with it. I just think generally like my wheelhouse of where I'm comfortable and I think a lot of weddings are really fun is when they are a smaller my own wedding to my wife, Chelsea, we had, I think it was like we still debate on it. We have to go back and count, but it's somewhere between like 30 and 34 people, including ourselves. It was, it was really tiny and it was awesome.

[25:28] Where'd you guys get married? Canva beach state park on Camino island. And it is stupid. Beautiful up there. Absolutely amazing. Uh, did you guys have good photography? Like, yeah, it was pretty good actually. Had a couple friends who were like Kinda. I mean it was like their amateurish, like one of them's taken her business much more seriously and her skills and she's a lot better now, but both of them did a great job. They did good. We didn't get like the most, like big time wedding photographers. Was there things that you learned from kind of your own wedding and photography that you want to either emulate or improve on now that you work? Like having gone through it a little bit? I think if anything it was just a, one of them, one of them was because our, uh, one of our wedding vendors ran late.

[26:14] Even though I stressed to them, I didn't think they're gonna have enough time. So I'm not going to name names, but whatever wedding vendors ran late and um, we just didn't have enough time. So one of the things I really encourage my couples, so it's not even my shooting, it's actually setting up the rest of the day. I really encourage them at the wedding vendors are my wedding clients too. I'm strongly evaluate that I go with them as the timeline to make sure that the timeline actually makes sense so that they have enough time to get all the photos they want to get and not feel rushed, stressed because it just makes the wedding days so much more smooth and they'll get all the different shots and looks that they want. Yeah, I do think having a realistic timeline. It's funny, I always remember the one a couple of years ago and they had us arriving to the hotel at like two, putting the dress on at two.

[27:01] Oh five. And then we were going to do the first look at the Tacoma environmental services building, which was like a 25 with a driveway. I get to 20. I was like, ah, that's going to be really interesting to show up. I mean, even just getting your wedding dress on could take half an hour. I mean, depending on. It usually actually does. Yeah. It's almost never less than half an hour. I actually a lot, at least half an hour for it. I never tell people that I should be less than half an hour to even get the dress on. But. So do you find that, that you do a pretty good job of like establishing realistic expectations for your clients in terms of timeline idea? It doesn't. I mean most of the time it follows through, but it's still things happen sometimes people run late or you know, so you can't, we have no control over it.

[27:43] But um, as far as my ability to kind of guide them, I feel pretty confident in the fact that like generally speaking, if I tell them I don't have enough time and they run out of time, I warned them I just be married. Does that affect you as, as a wedding vendor? Does that make you more sentimental in the day or more? You know, taking more care, I mean, or did you take as much care before and now it's just this continuing. I'm probably a little bit more of being married, but to be honest, I think being a dad, so you know, going through the process of actually taking these kids from the moment that they're born. Um, and man, it's tough for the first couple of years, especially my, my kids are almost two and a half and almost four years old. They're little and you love them to death, but they're, they're not easy.

[28:33] It's a full time job that you'd like to have for 18 years, seven days a week. So, um, knowing how much work it takes to raise these little kids into adults and then picturing my kids getting married, like I get teary eyed just ever thinking about that. So I now view weddings as these are these people's kids. So like seeing the parents reactions to their kids during the wedding day kind of changed everything for me. Like it really was one of those where I never had any thought about it really. It was like, oh yeah, that's like the mom and the mom of the bride, you know, Data Brian, you know that. But it was never like any kind of real emotional connection to that. And now I'm like sappy, like tearing up whenever I see, you know, like the other day it was the, the grind dancing with her dad and them almost sitting there with her hand on her chin and she just had tears streaming down her face with the biggest smile you've ever seen me human have.

[29:26] And like I was like wiping off tears off of my face because it was just so beautiful to see. Yeah, that's interesting because I do think that sometimes you know, that you'd like the first dance is kind of the big. And then I do think sometimes it gets short changed on the father daughter and the mother side, you know, and you know, maybe like they're kind of having their moment and I don't know, sometimes if I'm filming and you might see people walking around and stuff. So I mean you're taking it the other way. I mean not the vendor's walking around, but yeah. The guests, you're taking it the other way that you think that you find a way more emotional now? Yeah, definitely. It's, it's, it's pretty incredible. And so I try to, uh, definitely, um, take notice of that and pay attention to that even throughout the wedding day of recognizing the importance of the parents being there because as, as like all of us having parents and us being kids, two parents of some sort, um, we can't really understand how much our parents have done for us until we become parents ourselves and then kind of have a couple of years of practice and then you're like, well, I was kind of crappy and my parents before, so, you know what I mean.

[30:30] It's like, not to get too deep on that part of it, but it definitely, uh, makes me have a whole new respect for the parents on the wedding day because you just see them and most of the time they're just glowing. Do you, do you find yourself trying to capture more, kind of intimate moments in between them or like kind of pay more attention to that? Like during the reception and stuff? Yeah, I mean obviously like, you know, on the wedding day the emphasis is the bride and groom, but a lot of times what I'll do is we'll be getting like the, the shots of the bride and groom together and you know, often like the mom or dad are kind of standing there in the background and so I'll usually just kind of quickly turn around and grab a couple of shots of them and try to get candid shots without them actually like looking at the camera, have them there and I usually have second shooters for all of our weddings and so I'll usually have the second shooter, definitely keep an eye on the parents and try to get some candid shots of them as well.

[31:21] Just just observing and you know, just getting their actual natural reactions to what's going on. Yeah. I, I, we had a wedding a couple of years ago, uh, in Woodenville and I remember the father of the groom actually was, you know, he was, the group itself wasn't like super emotive. I mean, he was really nice is, you know, reserved and you know, his dad was kind of gruff and I remember them when they actually did their first dance and you know, they just, we just happened to be kind of set perfectly where it was all in the, like the cake room and the dad was just over their shoulder and like, you know, you could do like the focus from them dancing and he's like sobbing, but you know, and like if you're not paying attention to that, right, yes. The photographer like that moment's gone.

[32:04] So it really is talking about the importance of like capturing those kind of, those moments where you know, you don't have or like it if you don't have the video of the photo, but like it doesn't exist. Yeah, exactly. You know, the wedding day goes by so fast that it's really hard to kind of remember all those little details. So that's Kinda the beauty of, of why we're there and it's so important to hire a professional wedding industry people. And it's not just saying, oh, this person's a good photographer, a good photographer can take great pictures, but it doesn't mean that they have the experience to actually think of those things. Like you said, I think of that and I didn't think of that. That's what to me makes a person that really like professional, you know, it's, it's not just taking pretty pictures, it's about actually being very thoughtful and intentional so that you know, the importance of those things.

[32:51] And you know, the flip side of it, like it's kind of a goofy thing, but often the parents are paying for or helping to pay for this as well. And I think it's a bit of a kind of a slap in the face to them if you don't actually show some respect towards that and actually get shots of them as well. Here we have a mother of the bride that was, you know, she was like trying to, we're doing that bridesmaids, go into this. And she's like, Oh, you know, do you think it's okay if we can't get in there? You know, it's, you know, it's, it's, it's your day to day, but it's your day to, you know. Yeah. My finger on that part is, is that generally speaking were there as wedding professionals to kind of help guide things because obviously most all of our clients haven't gotten married before, but it's also our job to kind of just document what happens.

[33:36] Not necessarily dictate everything. And so if the mom wants to jump in there as long as the bride's not giving me the, you know, scaring any, I shaking her head real fast, like, no, stop this, um, let's do it. Let's, let's get that shot. You know, that's, that's to me like the mom wants to go down there and no one bats an eye against it. Absolutely. Is there something know you've learned now kind of having gone through weddings you know, that you wish that you would have known, you know, five, 10 years ago. Kind of going through that. I'm sure there's a lot of things like, you know, what's a couple of big lessons you've learned in terms of like how you approach the day now? What's important? Or maybe what you thought was important before, you know, most of it is communication ahead of time.

[34:15] So I actually meet with my couples usually about one to three weeks before their wedding day and just go over all the details and that's sorts of biggest thing is, is that really clear communication ahead of time, of having no surprises so that when it comes around to the wedding day, you know, if they're going to do like a special little like pouring the sand together, melting candles together, whatever else during the ceremony. Um, so yeah, it's just a matter of like all of that communication sets up a really easy wedding day because you know, a lot of other photographers who were like family photographers, they don't want to shoot weddings because they're super stressful to them. But if you go into it and you have a really good plan, do you know all the details? You know what spot at what point during the ceremony so you can get that one perfect shot because they're going to do a certain thing.

[35:00] If you communicate it all ahead of time super carefully. It's not really a surprise and you just knew how to do all of that. So you know, it's one of those where if you talk to like professional athletes and all that, they'll tell you how important it is to perform on the day of the game. But every one of them will always talk about the preparation that goes into it and if you don't have the proper preparation you want succeed when it's the game day, air quotes of Game Day. But uh, you know, it's like, it's that idea that you, you just, the more you know, going into it, the better everything turns out. Yeah. It's tricky now and I've, I've tried to get really good too about Kinda like my pre [inaudible] I think my opinion is not all videographers are. I do think like, I tried to emulate photography in terms of like, you know, how you guys go about, you know, making sure you have the right timeline and the right, you know, all of the contact info and all the locations and everything.

[35:50] Because you know, I look back at like, you know, our first year, and I was like, how did I even know their names are like, whoa, you know, like I knew the venue and like to be there at 2:00. But like he didn't know I wasn't the best about that. And you know, I do think that like I feel and I think the clients appreciate and feel like they're in good hands with it. Again, it goes back to trust the man. That's all it is. One hundred percent. It's us being professional. You go back to the sports idea of, you know, if you talking about like the local football team here in the Seattle Seahawks, if they're going to play against an opponent, they studied that opponent. They study and they practice and they, they mentally prepare themselves for every possible outcome. Every scenario. And you know, a wedding obviously isn't like an opponent, but it's the same idea if you go into it and you have that mindset of, of actually being mentally prepared and actually doing your homework ahead of time and just making sure your, your mindset and all of your, your kind of game plan is there.

[36:44] It's, I mean honestly like this is going to sound like not that good. But weddings are easy. I mean they, they, they really aren't that hard. They're not stressful. It's just fun. And it's a great opportunity to be able to document someone's love story. I've never really amazing day at a beautiful place with them looking their best year. Right? I mean it's, it's, it's, it's not hard when everything is, is, is, you know, people are dressed to the nines and they're looking the best that they're ever going to look. And you know, you're just not hang out, but you get to take part in them out and you have your camera on a. do you ever find yourself, uh, do you still get excited for weddings or do you get, is it just another day at work or how do you get, how do you pump yourself up for, for each wedding?

[37:27] Um, I mean most of it as far as like getting pumped up is because we've already spent so much time with these couples ahead of time. Um, I mean we have like the initial consultation, booking, pre engagement as shoe a meetup, shoot engagement photos, the image session after their engagement session, they come in and pick up the products from us and then they come in to meet with us before the wedding. So they meet with a six times before the wedding day in person and if they ordered Walmart and we come and deliver it to their house for them and we actually hang wall or on the wall for them. So that could be seven times that we had actually interact with them in person before the wedding day. And so generally speaking, these people, I mean they're like family by the time the wedding date comes around.

[38:11] So you know, people don't realize how much wedding like professionals do behind the scenes. I mean, it's usually like the night before your guyses wedding, we're going through and actually gathering all of our gear and checking all of our batteries and make sure the batteries are all full and charged and going through a bag like 15 times to make sure that all the lenses are all in there and all the gears there and then we're usually going to bed early because we want to be arrested for you guys and then we're eating healthy meals that day and preparing meals and everything else. So, you know, everything leading up to the wedding is like Kinda hyperfocused of like going through everything and making sure that you have like everything quadruple checked if not more. And then, um, once you get there and you get to see the couples, it's just fun at that point and all the, all the preparation sets it up.

[38:57] So once you actually start shooting, it's, it's really just, you know, you stay focused but you gotta have a blast. It's so much fun. Uh, one thing I think got buried in there and said if you have Dan Manny and shoot your portraits and hire a bio walmart, he will actually come to your house and no art. So I think that that should be a more higher selling point for them. Your list. Yeah, I know, but I do think, and I think with video too, but with photography you do deal a lot with like the uncle Bob that could shoot it or like, you know, we all know uncle Bob or like, oh my friend from college, you know, have a sorority girl even whenever it's going to shoot it. Uh, but you know, when it is what you do, you know, every month, every week, every weekend, um, you know, you're ready to go.

[39:37] Right. And so there's not even, like you said, the preparation, like, like I just have my gear and I just know like I just need all this stuff today. You talk about kind of that differentiation between, you know, you being like super prepared versus like maybe like a family friend. That could also be like an awesome photographer. But yeah, I mean, yeah, that's, that's the whole thing like we talked about. I mean it's, it's Kinda going to the same thing, but to address that it's, yeah, it's, it's about being very prepared and you know, we have man, you know, all of us is like photographers, most any wedding photographer, we'll have two camera bodies that were each shooting with or we have an extra one in the bag. We have professional lenses that are, you know, like thousands of dollars each. So we have all the professional gear.

[40:22] But like the idea of uncle Bob, uncle Bob's kind of like that guy who's at every wedding who has his camera and he's like an amateur photographer and kind of thinks he knows more what he's doing. Then he probably actually showed he's a little overconfident. Um, but uh, yeah, so we have all the nice gear and all that. But again, it's all the preparation and years of experience behind the scenes that really make the difference. It's what photography is about, taking great photos, but it's about establishing that trust and it's about building the relationship and having a really good game plan for the day of their wedding. So that when those situations arise or you um, yeah, just to compare it to like the guy who's like the family friend, it makes all the difference in the world, but you still have to take great photos too. I've been out of this.

[41:04] It's super important and if we don't have great photos, what's, what's the point of all the great customer service and all the preparations. So they're very much go hand in hand. Uh, so you were telling me off air before we got started. You've got a really cool opportunity coming up this summer, uh, with a surprise proposal. Right? So talk about, you know, specifically that the idea of proposal photography too, because obviously that's like the pre wedding, pre engagement, like that's where it all begins to talk about that. So yeah. So I'm a guy who is kind of like a friend of a friend who added me as a friend on facebook a long time ago. He's been like a good supporter of photography as far as like liking a lot of facebook posts and comment and all that, um, is wanting to propose to his longtime girlfriend.

[41:46] And so he contacted me with a pretty solid game plan already in place. And so he, uh, is chartering a Kenmore Air Sea plane floodplain. So he's actually going to have me go down to Kenmore. He's going to give me some supply, so I'm going to have a table and chair and like linens and all that. I'm going to hop on a float plane by myself and the pilot is going to fly me his supplies and my camera gear up to a remote lake in the cascades. So kind of on the way to Stevens pass land the flood plane on the lake and pull up to this tiny little sandy beaches up there helping get the gear out of the plane. And then he's going to leave me there by myself with this super remote lake for about an hour and a half. Well, he actually flies back to pick up the couple.

[42:29] Um, so as far as she knows she's going to be hopping on a float plane for a scenic flight and then I'm not quite sure if she knows that they're going to be landed on a lake for lunch or whatever, but um, yeah, so they're going to be landing on the links will actually be a heightened in the woods and the side of the hill shooting photos, the plane coming in to land and obviously that I'm getting out of the airplane and then popping down under me and actually proposing to her and getting those really cool behind the scenes candid shots. And so, uh, yeah, pretty amazing experience coming up. All of my photographer friends are either super excited, jealous or terrified for me of getting left up in the mountains for an hour and a half. So yes. And if anybody's wondering, I'm actually either going to be buying or barring some bear spray from somebody to have up there because it's definitely a in the wild a as you know, somebody that you, I had my proposal photographs, um, best decision I've ever made.

[43:19] I mean, I guess I would say of anything for our wedding because I didn't realize how am I, should act like how important the proposal was, you know what I mean? Obviously it was nice and whatever, but like, you know, my wife has told that story a thousand times and I didn't realize like I again, like I had been married yet I wasn't sentimental or like to the end of all that stuff. So like I didn't get that. And like now, like anybody, like even video, like we've done, you'll video proposals for like at least like get your, you know, whether it's a friend that side yet bushes or whether you're hiring come out like [inaudible] she is told that story a thousand times. She has another phone. She shows everybody in the photo I think even more than our wedding photos. Really it was like, you know, she knew the wedding day was coming but you don't know.

[44:06] Do you do a lot of other proposals? Are you going to try and do more? Yeah, I've done some in the past and I definitely would love to do more because yeah, the storytelling of people's romance and love story, that's kind of the foundation. I mean it's obviously like I have to meet and have your first date and their courtship and all that kind of stuff, but as far as like the actual marriage itself, it's all based on the proposal. And so yeah, I actually, it's funny how you say that. I had my dad who has no photography experience whatsoever. I had my parents helped me kind of set it all up and uh, I had my dad the night before with my, my big fancy professional camera and my big telephoto Lens should've had to use all of the settings and all that and it had my dad hiding in the bushes to actually shoot photos will be proposing as well.

[44:48] So yeah. So I'm totally there and it's, it's really important. Even if you don't hire a professional photographer, like get somebody who's like, even honestly, it's like hire professional photography. I got better photos, but like bring a friend who you're, you're soon to be fiance. Doesn't even know and have them just sit there and pretend like they're taking pictures of their cell phone and get a video of it because it's a really beautiful experience and it's something that you guys will never forget. Yeah. I have a couple that we, we correspond to the lot, but we had just done everything on email that they were out of town and know we couldn't really meet up before the wedding and when I was getting ready to do their blog post, I gone back and looked at their wedding website and they had the two. I think it was like two angles that people with cell phones taking that.

[45:32] But like, even that for me, like I was like, oh my gosh. Like I just felt like I got to know them so much more and like really experienced that and like, you know, these are people, like I had a great day and we really got along. But like I felt even more connected to them having seen that because it is like a log with your wedding. It is such a, um, just an emotional time. I mean, it really is. Um, you had said that, you know, the guy who kind of met up with us through social media. I'm really curious, kind of your thoughts about, you know, using social media to market, you know, not only like kind of word of mouth and networking, but I mean, what are your thoughts and you're in the, you're pretty, like I said, coming into intro pretty prolific in terms of like commenting and giving you advice and posting things online.

[46:15] What's your mentality behind that? I mean, number one is stay active, you know, post, post a good amount. Um, don't be annoying with how much your post, but, you know, it's definitely a post to get them out on social media. Um, be thoughtful, you know, try to try to, like, whether it's connecting with other people who are in your industry and being supportive of them or reaching out to clients and just saying, Hey, look, even if you don't hire me, let me help you find your career professional photographer who actually knows what they're doing because uncle Bob, he might take great photos, but it was mean that he actually knows what he's doing. Um, but yeah, social media, it's just one tool. I don't rely on it too much. I mean I'm one of those people who have fully says that if I wasn't a photographer and trying to grow a business, I might not even have a facebook page, but it's a nice way to, to get to know people he wouldn't normally get to know or for people to get to know you a continuing those longterm relationships.

[47:09] And I mean honestly I have some fantastic friends that I've met through social media that live on the other side of the country and we occasionally like fly to each other to like go snowboarding together and hang out and all that. So it is, it is incredible. But um, yeah, social media is just one tool. I mean I, I mostly go with word of mouth as far as any kind of marketing I want my client to be incredible and second to none. I mean, that's probably the biggest thing that I would ever say that, you know, besides taking, hopefully if people will think our photos are absolutely stunning and we usually get pretty good feedback on that outside of that, our customer service, it is hopefully going to be considered second to none. And so, um, to me that's the core of our marketing that we do.

[47:48] Social media is just one of those landing places for people to actually get to like go and see. Oh yeah, he's an active photographer. He's not a person who's like just kind of a hobbyist or whatever else. And so, um, it's just, it's a tool to connect with people and it's great, but it's not everything to me either. Yeah, I mean I do think it's a tough line. I mean I think nowadays I think it could be kind of like all consuming or not. And so, you know, I worked with a photographer on Saturday and they said like, oh, we don't even know, like we don't really do it at all. Right. And then there's on the other side where there's people that post pretty regularly. So, you know, I never know. Right. And that's what kind of, I'm kind of curious what people think about it.

[48:26] Yeah. And I mean the thing is, is that the biggest thing that people can do well on social media and there's some people who were fantastic. I, it, like I'll say Tiffany Burke, photography has added Tacoma. She is her relic as far as truly, really being authentic when it comes to online presence because she spills the real stuff of like showing photos of what your body looks like when you gained like 60 pounds, whatever it was after she had a baby and you know, so it's, it's, it's hard because generally speaking, most people on social media don't put out like the worst moments. So it's really not often very authentic and it's a fine balance because you want to come across, across, it's like a whiner if you're trying to be authentic. And so it's a really hard balance. But um, social media is always a bit kind of contrived.

[49:15] It's, it's always a kind of phony I think because people just generally aren't always themselves. And so I tried to find that balance of like being honest and real, but not coming across as like a whiny person, but also I'm being real and with people. I think it's a really important factor. Do you find though it's helpful in terms of connecting with clients and staying in touch and kind of knowing like you said, that they know that you're a real person and then that either you're, you are login and are good at what you do. I mean obviously that's definitely important is establishing like that you're up to date, you're current, you're actively working. So I think that if you don't have an online presence of a website, a blog and instagram and a facebook page as a photographer, if people go to your site and they see that you haven't posted anything in six months, it looks like you're just out of business.

[50:04] I mean you walk by any like tangible, like goods store and nothing changed in six months and you haven't seen the open sign on once. No one's going to even give you any thought that you're actually a legit business. So it's kind of hard as a photographer because we're human beings, but we're also businesses and so we have a hard time kind of separating that and demonstrating that to potential clients or current clients that we have that. So one thing I do is we actually have a facebook group for our clients specifically have one for our brides and grooms so that they actually can connect with each other if they have questions as well as connecting with us and a more private and kind of safe space. So it's not so public. And so I, I've seen things in like photographer, like facebook groups where a photographer, you just get annoyed because clients try to add them as a friend on facebook.

[50:55] And to me it's the funniest thing in the world because when a client adds me as a friend on facebook, I pretty much know I have them as a client for life because it gave them an amazing experience as, as a business coming from me as a person. And so, um, to add people to that facebook group with you basically have to become friends with me. I can't add them to it unless they're actually a facebook friend. So, uh, that's one of those things where I love it and I get clients who love that as well and it's, it's a really cool thing to actually build that real authenticity. Yeah. And I do think I'm the exact same way and I always find that funny and like I said, a lot of times like that's the reason like to do the podcast and to do everything is, you know, having that accessibility right and at least like having people be able to like, you know, hear it from you and email with and kind of see that.

[51:42] Um, uh, we'll, we'll wrap up here soon. I want to talk about, you know, your, you have the store front here, you know like the Seattle wedding, a wedding tour. Talk about as a photographer building that brand out in terms of like, you know, like not that you have to have a physical location, but you do have either brand to talk about the importance of that in like struggles that that is. Or is that easy going or how, what are your thoughts behind having that brand kind of out there? Um, yeah, I think it's hard for a lot of people, like as business owners, especially as a photographer where people, um, so we're people who are businesses and so it's Kinda hard to build a brand that's you as a person, but it's not necessarily directly you, if that makes sense. And so it's kind of like weird balance on that one.

[52:32] Um, so for me it was going through and, and like evaluating like who I am and how I want my business to be seen by potential clients that reflects what they'll actually get when they meet with me. And so if you like look at my logo, it's basically kind of like, it's supposed to be a rough outline of like Mount Rainier, um, but it's also a bit in the shape of like a traditional kind of diamond. So it's kind of that blend of like, and it has some trees and the bottom of it and it's green and gray and all that. So it's, it's the kind of blend of like the wedding kind of feel, but nature and all that and I'm definitely a person who loves being outside and being really active. Um, like I said, my pillows on my couch and the shape of mountains.

[53:15] Um, I have furniture in my studio that I built with my own hands out of, out of wood and all that. So the bench Reid's actually sitting on, actually made with my own two hands and then I have a little, a cabinet that's in here, but how is this a mini fridge? And it's like a shelf space and has a cabinet underneath of it as well. I actually designed it on a sheet of paper and built it myself and I purposely made it kind of rustic eat and all that. So, um, everything here like to sound like fancy with the word cheery, but everything in here was like very specifically curated. Um, even the, like we said, we sell products. The art that we sell to our clients was we spent eight months. I mean legitimately eight months selecting is very specifically what we would carry because if I love it and you hire me because you like who I am as a person, you liked my art and you liked the experience that I give you.

[54:07] We tend to have a lot in common as it is. So more than likely you're going to end up loving the products that I have to offer. And so everything has been extremely intentional and I think that that's a great point to make the email. I get emails sometimes where they're like, hey, you know, I've maybe like, I like your price or I like your whatever, but I like this other person's work or I like this other thing. And I do think that like, you know, connecting with who you want to work with and like really liking that work and the, you know, the, the whole feeling of that I think is really important because ultimately right, like you want everybody to be happy at the end of the, at the end of the day. And so yeah, if you're like, if you come in here and you see what's on the walls and you're happy with that, you know, and, and, and that excites you, right?

[54:53] Then you're going to be excited that the. Yeah, exactly. So yeah, it's all about just like I said, I can say this a million times over and I can't stress that enough. Doing everything in our client's best interest is everything. I was just listening to an audio book and it's one of those like kind of like traditional, like how to close the deal auto seal kind of thing. And uh, but it was great. It's one of my favorite guys. His name is Brian Tracy is really great speaker and all that. But one of the things he's talking about is if you are a business and you want to continue to do business with the person that you're doing business with and you're negotiating a contract, which is what anybody is doing by hiring me or how I run my business, you have to make an amicable on both sides.

[55:36] You have to make a profit to run the business. And of course, like if anybody recognizes any business that you want to stay in business and you want to support, you want them to be profitable, but you also want good value on your side of that. And so everything I do is to make sure that yes, I'm staying in business and I'm not burning myself out so I continue to be their photographers for life, but at the same time I want them to know that like they're going to get an experience and that nobody can even match. And on the flip side of that, there's still a great value in that one in it. And um, they know that it's just a pampering experience where they don't have to stress, there is no work for them. Perfect. Well I thank you so much for letting me come here today.

[56:17] Visit your studio and then we had some technical difficulties getting started. So I appreciate you helping me work through those. If people want know more about you and who you are and what you're all about, what would you have them do? And check?

So our website is www.danmanningphotography.com. Instagram is just Dan Manning Photography. We have a facebook page, so it's just Dan Manning Photo is like the thing that's on there, but you could search for Dan Manning photography and you can call us at 206-334-3233. And if you'd like my email it's just danmanningphotography@gmail.com.

Perfect. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. Come back next week and check out another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much Dan. Thank you. I appreciate a lot. Thanks. Bye.

Episode 10 (Taryn Holmstrom, Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I'm up here today in Skagit County with Taryn Holmstrom, the owner and designer of Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals. And I wanted to say thank you so much for letting me come into your beautiful showroom today. Can you just introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about who you are?

[00:34] Sure. Thanks for having me. I'm like Reid said my name is Taryn and I own Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals and we are a rental design firm here in Skagit County, located in the farmlands of Mount Vernon and we've been doing this for, I think this has gone under our ninth year and we just help clients in customers as they're planning their weddings and they're looking at their pinterest boards. We helped bring their pinterest boards to life. So you see here on our listeners cannot, but I have a full showroom with a 60 inch round table and all of our chairs here. We'd take our linens and put them right on the table, so we take a look at your pinterest boards and we will find the pieces that you liked the best out of them and then we mock it up right here. So when you walk away, you're, you have a dream design right there in front of you?

[01:20] Yeah. Have you seen like obviously the pinterest thing is somewhat new in the last couple of years. I mean how is that kind of reshaped how you guys go through the process or has it made it easier or harder? I mean their expectations different.

[01:33] It's a double edged sword. I mean I wish it was around when I got married because my wedding would look dramatically different than it did, but it's great because our clients can just send us their boards ahead of time and we can look at them before and we have a really good sense of what they like. Um, it's nice because we can go through it with them and they can tell us exactly what pieces they enjoy and pieces they like and not everything in the picture. Do they like you pin something because you like just the flower or the chair sash or something specific and so we can go through that and it helps us really visualize for them. The hard part about it is most of the pictures you see on pinterest are not actual full weddings. There are a lot of them are styled shoots and so it's one table done up really, really beautifully and we wish we could do every table that way, but it doesn't always align with the investment that our clients want to make in their table designs.

[02:19] Yeah, it's tough. I mean we work with that too with video and photography that yet you see a lot of these stylized shoots and you know, like I know our wedding over the weekend, you know, you might have two minutes from when kind of everything is set up until when the, you know, the, the guests come in and sit down and like even us trying to get these pictures that you see like most of the time it is, is it tough, like kind of managing those expectations that clients have?

[02:43] Um, I don't, I wouldn't necessarily call it tough, um, I think during our process we do a one hour design consultation that's complimentary with our clients. Um, and during that process we do talk about what they like about the different linens that have textures and colors and kind of the feel that they want for their wedding and you know, the, the investment that they want to make is discussed as well. But really they, they leave and they get to sit and think about it. So we give them their pie in the sky dream design and then they get to go home and decide like how is that going to fit with what we want and how we want to spend our money and how we want to make our day happen. And so I don't feel like it's too difficult to manage. I, you know, we give them their options and then they get to decide what's important for them.

[03:25] Is it rewarding to go through the process with them and kind of you really are that integral part where you get to see that whole finalized vision? I mean, talking about kind of going through that from scratch, maybe scratch paper and pinterest boards to seeing the final result.

[03:39] Um, we asked. My favorite part is especially during the design consultation, so when we sit down and they come in and they love, you know, really it's like three or four different styles and they want to make it all come together and make it cohesive and there is a fine line between, I don't know if you've ever tried decorating your house or any of that kind of stuff. There's a fine line between it looking really great and then looking like it's just thrown together. And so we really help make all the different pieces that you love about your wedding come together. And then in a cohesive design. And I think my favorite part of that process is when we're sitting down and they come in with like they see all the colors, they see all the different textures and they're overwhelmed. And then within half an hour we have that dream perfect design a setback.

[04:19] And there's that light bulb moment of this is exactly what I want. And a sense of calm goes over them and that's my favorite part is because I'm sure you know as you work with different couples, as they plan their weddings and you got married, it's very overwhelming and it's very stressful and to have one thing checked off your list and it's just like, oh, it's done, it's calm, I'm happy. This is exactly what you want and you can move onto the next piece. And really the linens and the table designs there are a huge part of a wedding. They really do set the tone. People overlook it sometimes and it does really set the tone and theme for your wedding. It's what is the background for your flowers to really show on the table or your menu cards or whatever other pieces you've really taken into it. So I love seeing it all come together at the very, very end.

[05:04] Are there some trends right now that are really popular or especially as we're kind of getting into this, you know, it's married and May. Right now we're getting into this wedding season. Are you noticing certain things this year that are popular that people are gravitating towards?

[05:18] In the past we would say it's like certain textures and colors, like we've all seen the burlap and lace and I'm sure many of us who are in the wedding industry are pretty excited to see that go away because it's, I mean, as much as we love it, but it's not as unique as it used to be. And so we're seeing these new trends come through. So greenery was a big trend last year. We're still seeing a lot of the green garlands with, um, the English, English laurels or Eucalyptus, which is, I think that'll always be mainstays. I'm still a lot of blush and blushes, always a romantic color. Um, the thing that I'm liking the most that I'm seeing this year is that my clients and brides that we have, they're really stepping away from what's on pinterest even though that's what we specialize, helping bring their pinterest board delight and they're thinking really of the whole, the whole event and how it reflects them as a couple.

[06:03] So they're picking pieces in as you know, certain pieces within their wedding that reflect them. So I have one couple that are getting married in a Labor Day and they are writing their tandem bike down the way down the aisle and it's like how cute is that because that is, that's them, you know, and so people are picking things that really reflect them. I have another couple that's in New York, they're not even from here, but they love hiking so they're coming all the way here and having their wedding in the north cascades because they want to share the love of hiking. And so instead of having this like cookie cutter wedding that matches all the pinterest boards, people are taking pinterest as their inspiration, but they're really developing it into what we flex them as a couple and it was unique to them.

[06:43] Yeah, I do think that, you know, the clientele nowadays really kind of like to make things your own know and, and have, you know, something that kind of speaks to them and what they are. I, yeah. It's funny. We're sitting here with these chairs and I recognize some of these rental, you know, chairs and you know, like even when I walk into a, like a reception room, if you had Scott, what is this? The bone kind of cheering Jafari chairs. I always know like, oh, this is a good wedding. Our wedding on Saturday at Bell Harbor had those and you go, okay, well this is, this is good. But it does, it sets the tone and it lets people know like this is a nice event and you know, we're really coming together to celebrate. Um, do you guys talk about the area you guys service, you know, obviously you're based in Skagit county, but talk about that and how far you guys go.

[07:27] So we'll go anywhere for a price, right? Like if you want to take me to Hawaii, I'm happy to come to your wedding in Hawaii. Most of our clients are here in the Watkins, Skagit, snohomish counties. We do go into king county a little bit, but most mostly you really are located here in Skagit. So we do serve all the way up to the border quite a bit in Bellingham, Mount Vernon and Burlington and then down into the snohomish, but we have stuff going out to Montana this summer, Idaho, eastern Washington, because we're a rental company, we don't necessarily physically have to go like we do offer the option of we will come in and set up for you if that's something you need and we'll break it down if that fits for what you want to invest in, if it's for the timeline that you have. But most of our clients they pick up their stuff days beforehand and they take it to wherever they want to go and then they bring it back to us the following week.

[08:18] There has been kind of an explosion in the last couple of years with all these great venues up here in Sonoma county and you know, Kinda like the more barns settings and things. Has that been obviously helpful to you guys as well? Just kind of be expanding demographic appear have in terms of how many different wedding venues there are?

[08:33] Yeah. Over the last eight years we've seen a huge change in the type of venues and the price points of the venues that we have up here, number, we're seeing a lot more brides and couples coming out of Seattle moving north to us because, I mean I love Seattle but it is expensive to do anything down there, especially if you want to throw a larger party. And so there's a lot more flexibility being up here. If you could make the. And I think a lot going back to the couples trying to make it their reflection of them. They want to give their client, they're not their clients, their guests and experience. So instead of just showing up at 5:00 one night and there for a couple hours and leaving, they're trying to encourage their guests to come for the weekend. Like they come out to the San Juan Islands and stay at Roche Harbor and tour, you know, ride bikes around the island and do a little fishing and whale watching while you happen to have our wedding as well.

[09:18] So we're seeing a lot more come up here doing room blocks that the casinos or at some of our nicer hotels and then getting charter buses to take you to and from the venue and yeah, there's a ton of barns being converted. We're actually in the process of converting a bar and just a couple driveways down into a venue. So there's, there's a lot coming and it's great because each place has its own pieces that are so unique. And so does being connected with all of them and seeing them, we can easily, if someone says they're getting married, say at Greenfield farm and gardens, which is a kind of a Red Sharpie barn here in Anacortes, I can recommend certain things that go specific to that style of that barn or Maplehurst has a completely different look even though they were both their barn venues, they're both different.

[10:01] Yeah. And I don't know if that's a vignette that everybody thinks about. Right? Because even us in filming you though, there's like totally different. Like, you know, it's so much like dairy land or um, like hidden meadows and things here. They all, it's all like kind of that similar vibe, but if you do really have to like specially Taylor kind of what you're bringing in there because like you said, you don't want to like clash or you know, you want it to compliment each other. Um, so kind of getting into this wedding rental market, how did you kind of find yourself getting into this? I know we had talked off air and setting this up about, you know, you're a mom and kids and, but you were, where do, how do we find ourselves today here?

[10:40] So related to this new story, I think I'm very similar to a lot of wedding professionals in. This was never my plan. Um, I went to school to be a teacher. I taught special education for Middle School for years and I loved it. And um, when I got engaged I, we were young and didn't have a ton of money and I started looking into getting rentals and I need a chair covers because the venue I had had really horrible chairs that I was not okay with. And when I started pricing it out, it was just, I couldn't handle it and I started researching like, what if I just bought it and sold it and that was my plan. Like I got married in 2010, I'm going to buy these things, I'm going to sell them. I don't want to see them again. I just want to save a buck.

[11:17] And then my friend was getting married. We were in February, so we were a winter wedding. My friend was getting married a couple months later. She's like, can I just borrow them? Just wait to sell them, like, Oh yeah, sure, no problem. I'll just wait til summer. And then her friend was at her wedding of course, and I was like, Hey, I'll give you 200 bucks. I'm like $200. At the time my husband was a commercial fisherman so. And I taught. So I had summers off. He wasn't here like, what am I going to do? So I just kind of put an ad on craigslist, like set up a website if I could. I wish I had printed it off or kept it somehow because it was horrible, but you know, you'll live and learn and so it just kind of snowballed and then we just did it part time for about four years in the summer and this was before I had kids and then once I had my first son, um, I decided that I just had, I wanted to be home with him and my husband gave me the gift of allowing me to come home with them and I was a stay at home mom and that was it for six months and I got really, I mean for those moms who can do it, I applaud you, but I cannot be the stay at home mom only I needed something else.

[12:18] And then I just dove deep about four and a half years ago into the business and we've been doing it semi full time for the last four years.

[12:25] Low is a. What was that process like of kind of making that leap? Was that scary? I mean, was it, was it a slow build or how, how is the actual setting up in, in kind of like. I mean, you guys have a huge inventory now. I mean did it start with one wedding or five or how did that go?

[12:42] So I'm starting it. It wasn't super scary I think because I didn't, I didn't quit a job to start it. I didn't feel like I had to like I have a certain amount of money I had to bring in doing it was really just a side Gig. I love making money. I love helping people. Solving problems so it fit nicely. I had done other side gigs in the past, used to install lawn. I used to. I mean there's all kinds of things I've done in the past with my other lives that I had basically. And so it fit naturally for me to find something that wasn't an hourly thing that I can make a little bit more money and have the creative part to like I'm really good at managing things because I can manage a classroom of children. So managing the moving parts of a, an event and helping clients work through that process was super helpful and it's a fun time.

[13:25] Everyone like planning a wedding for the most part is enjoyable people. It's a happy day. You're planning for something. It's not typically a sad day or. I mean it's stressful but it's a beautiful day and so everyone has a lot of excitement around it and I love that creativity and that, that feeling around them. So I wanted to surround myself when I started. I literally, and I'm sure if you talked to any of my past clients, I have, I considered myself the bag lady. I would take a little bag of a sample of all my sashes that I could get in any color. We didn't meet at starbucks, the starbucks Baristas just laugh because I'd be putting chair covers on their chairs and I mean that was where I was at and I didn't have a showroom. I didn't. I was home based for the first six years.

[14:05] We've only had this building for two years that we've been actually having a showroom, which has been a game changer. But I went slow and I was committed to not going into that for it and just to keep making it fun and so when things got to be overwhelming or I wasn't enjoying it, I would pivot to what my clients needed and what I enjoyed more because for me, whatever I do with my life, I have to enjoy it and I have to have a good time and if I'm not enjoying my work that I need to pivot to where I can enjoy it so that I can really support my clients in the best way possible.

[14:33] It's fascinating. I'm just thinking back, there were some movie where a guy had to go, like door to door selling like a sewing machine. There's something back in the fifties and you know, that was Kinda like you. Right. And it was like the hustle every day.

[14:45] Uh, was that, um,

[14:48] rewarding kind of knowing that you were that solely easy way? Was it frustrating?

[14:54] I was actually, I would say it was more rewarding because for the first couple of years I was still teaching full time and I worked this into the cracks of my life outside of that, so I didn't have children for the first couple of years, so it was no big deal to not come home till nine or 10 at night. If I was working at school, planning my lessons and then meeting clients in the evenings or on a Saturday, having a whole Saturday gone. I'm used to working 60 or 80 hours a week at the time, so for me to add a few more hours, it was not a big deal. I really enjoyed it and if it was just like an hourly, like here's your coffee type job, I probably wouldn't have. I used to waitress and I gave that up, but since this was like that light bulb moment and people feeling like calm because they were able to.

[15:34] Like I felt I had what they needed and I had what they wanted and they could check it off their box and they can move onto the next piece of planning. Knowing that I was solving a problem for someone else and making their life easier, made it more enjoyable for me. And so then I kept going and I was like, I'll just keep doing it. But like I said, those first couple of years we might have only done five or 10 small weddings, like $500, like really small events. Um, because I was the space I had in my life at the time. And then once my kids got a little bit older and I decided I didn't want to be a stay at home mom anymore and I needed to find something, I'm able to dive in and really expand. The other thing that we did is, you see, I mean tons of colors and samples here in office and you looked at my back room with two or 300 bins of linens, gets a lot of limits.

[16:18] We didn't have that. We had samples and then as a client was like, oh yeah, I want red. I'm like, okay, I have it. And then I'd go order it. Like I would bring in whatever they needed, but I didn't need to have 100 of every color because who knows if they want anybody's going to want that or not. So I just grew really slow and I had some really great mentors. There's a couple other rental companies in the area that I was able to kind of pick their brains and they were able to share with me what worked for them and what didn't. Um, and I just asked lots of questions, lots of questions of other people that are in the industry and like how do they find their clients and what did they enjoy? And I aligned myself with the people that had the same heart to serve that I had.

[16:55] It's, it's tough for me as someone who's. My wife's a teacher and he works all day every day. Weekends too. I mean I couldn't imagine her having to av on starting the business. I mean there really is like as someone that lives through it every day. I mean that's a lot. You said you asked a lot of questions and you had a lot of mentors. What is something that you know now that you wish you would have known years ago in terms of like a lesson or?

[17:19] Um, there's a couple. So one of the first things that comes to mind is you can set your own pace. So there's this idea like in our lives even whether we're business owners are not that we compare. So we look on facebook or instagram and Oh, they're a better mom than I am. They have a cleaner house than their job's amazing. They're working for a beer company and they're going to these beer things or whatever it is we can pair. And then we think, oh, ours is less. And so in the beginning it's like I would compare myself to where they're at. I should be there, I should be doing what they're doing. And you run yourself in circles. So there's a ton of stuff right now with facebook and instagram. They're algorithms and pinterest and email marketing, all these things that we should be doing to be quote unquote good business running.

[18:01] But really I get to decide how I want to live my life. Do I want to spend 30 hours a week doing that? I don't. I, I did. I have done it, but I wish I had learned sooner that I'm on my own path in. I have to do this so it fits me so I can be here in the long run. If I just run myself ragged, I'm just going to burn out and then I won't be able to help. I won't be able to provide the service I provide and how many other people are going to go straight to Amazon order tablecloth have to be super wrinkled and that happened. Not Fit their tables correctly. Like, and then they have a basic design like they're not going to get the same service that I can provide them. So knowing that someone put it to me as I'm, I'm on a train and I get to decide if I go fast or slow where I want to turn off, where I want to go and if I want to hop off the train at any point and go back on it later, I can do that.

[18:49] And so having that piece has been really good for me to just be like, they're doing a great thing and I think that's awesome for them is just not right for me now I'm going to do what's right for me and my clients and my family now. So I wish I had known that sooner. But it is tough.

[19:03] I mean it's similar to because it's like you're doing rentals and somebody else you know, like is. I've talked to people about that in the past, like if we all work at the same company, maybe I'm doing the numbers and you're doing the logistics or whatever. Like it's kind of apples and oranges. But yeah, like if I'm doing wedding videos and somebody else is and it's really like it's direct, you know, you're able to look at somebody else and say wow, this, should I be doing something different. I mean it is hard. Yeah. I'm tell you, you talked about the Amazon and I didn't even think about that. So you know, people ordering, you know, on that versus kind of the personal approach that, you know, you were others, you know, local service base, you rental companies. Talk about that difference and if you heard horror stories or maybe not horror, but yeah,

[19:46] if I have a love hate relationship with Amazon because Amazon prime is like my best friend there at my house all the time. But um, I was that, that bride, the do it yourself pride. I ordered table online, I brought him in, I spent the 40 to 60 hours a week before my wedding irony, like, because that's what you have to do in order to make them look right. And it was a lot of stress. So there are, if people are super detail oriented and they are on a super tight budget or they don't want, even if you're not on a tight budget, you just don't want to put your money in the design. There's other pieces, whether it's the live band or a videographer would, you know, a lot of times people don't budget for that. Um, as great. Let me give you a couple of great websites.

[20:28] These are companies I like to work with. They have, you know, the thicker tablecloths. We've heard table cars coming in from China that like literally you can see through them, so if you have a one of the. If your venue has tables that are like the dark wood top instead of the plastic top and you have a white linen, all you're scene is wood under it and it looks super tacky. We've also seen like people buy the table cause themselves and honestly it can be cheaper than renting sometimes, but when you rent a table, cloth were precedent. We're having it professionally cleaned. It's ready to go in a box. We're guaranteeing that that size is going to fit. We've done all the research already and then we're also doing the design. We're helping you bring your, your whole design together. So I do feel like there's nothing wrong with ordering online.

[21:07] You just have you. You're going to pay one way or another. Is it going to be time or money so you can either save time because we can never get more time back and spend a little bit more money and have it all done for you or if you have more time than money than maybe the do it yourself option is a good option. I still recommend reaching out to some professionals and getting some ideas and help have them help guide you a little bit and it's not an all or nothing. Some of my clients, they have a friend that has like basic white tablecloths, so they use borrow those, but then they come to us and they get the sequence runners from us and the backdrop or something and so we can. Those two models can mesh together. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, but you just really have to decide how much time do I have? If you're a busy professional, do you really want to spend every waking hour crafting an irony? I don't know. I mean that's something that you would have to decide.

[21:57] Yeah, it is because like you said, it's going to cost you were either with time or money. I mean I know that like when my friend got married, uh, the florals, that's what they were going to save, but you know, he, I saw him the more because I filmed the wedding and I saw him the morning of and he said, man, we're up till 3:00 AM, you know, putting together, you know, the bouquets which um, you know, you save money but you know, it's time and like you said, you know, some people, like I'm the kind of person that like I just wanted to pay and have it done, but you know, yeah, if you're trying to be scrappy and I totally get that too. Then you, you know, like I, I got the deal, my videographer because you know, I could whatever. But then we were able to spend out on the other stuff.

[22:37] But yeah, it's tough enemy. It is true too with like, you know, even just the presentation and stuff. Because I do think that like some couples, and I've seen this with because our clients, some of our clients are more a planner in rentals and then some of our clients are more diy. They'll get some stuff in boxes and I don't think they've ever taken it out until the morning of and you know, you put it on the table and it's like, oh no, like we need the steam that or we need to press it. I mean I've even done a wedding shows where we've had our linens are provided and I've shown up and been like. Whereas my steamer, yeah, you know, like this is and you know, cause it is whether or not you, um, recognize what it is that you're noticing. You do notice something, right? Yeah. I mean it does. I mean I'm say

[23:23] the wrinkles and a tablecloth do not make or break a wedding for sure. Like your wedding will be beautiful. I do recommend real tablecloths over plastic any day. Right. But it's not gonna make or break. It is a subtle thing. But when you walk into a room and there is not a crease on any row table cloths and everything is just flowing so smoothly and just, it's stunning luck subconsciously walk in and it's just a sense of calm. So if you walk in and everything and even just the base has just those wrinkles on the tablecloth and maybe your Napkins are all folded ahead of time and pressed. It is a different feel even if you don't really care about the look of it walking in subconsciously, you feel differently. And so, um, the one thing I do really recommend is when I have clients that are in a little bit tighter a budget, I really just want to educate them and tell them like, you decide how you want to spend your time.

[24:11] If, if you want to iron, that's great, but this is what I'd recommend. Pick out a really good show to binge watch the week before and just sit and watch it on Netflix. Do it. Don't do it the day of. Don't leave it to someone else because the day of you want to be drinking Mimosa, sitting with everybody, getting ready, enjoying your time. You don't want to be wondering, is aunt susie actually ironing all the table cloths the way that you want? Because she's not, it's not happening. They get, they'll do one or two. I'm like, oh, the head table. That's fine. And then the rest won't get done. Like I see it over and over and over again. And so just being really realistic about if you go that route, these are probably the things that can happen and these are ways to like maybe combat it and see if maybe you can make it not happen in that way.

[24:52] Yeah, I mean I do think education is a key and it's, it's, you know, it's what we do every day and I do think that that's something I've talked with other clients and vendors and things that like, you know, when your do, when you do your wedding, you know, obviously like we want it to be exactly how you want it, but like there may be tricks or like you said, a little bits of advice that like, you know, that you can kind of take in and kind kinda have that make it a little easier or make it run a little smoother. Uh, what was the biggest thing you said you were doing, the rental or the diy kind of for your own wedding, but were there any lessons you learned from that? Of how she's nodding her head?

[25:37] How many do you want? How much time do we have? I think one of the biggest things is my husband and I grew up together and so we all went to, we grew up in church together, so our family, our church family really, like we self catered. We did our own Dj, I hired one wedding professional and it was a photographer. That was it. We did everything ourselves. Um, and I just distinctly remember sitting at our head table dinner had been served and I looked out and there were like, because we all grew up together, we have like, you know, that aunt and uncle or that my mom and dad's friends are like your second mom and dad. I walked out, I looked out, I saw them out there in their wedding clothes. Like they're beautifully dressed up clothes. They're invited as a guest to our wedding and they're busing tables because I did not plan on, oh, we got the food out, but what do you do afterwards?

[26:23] Someone has to bust your tables. And so one of the things I tell my clients all the time is, even if you're self catering or you hired a caterer who's just dropping off, hire somebody to bust your tables. There's a youth group out there, there's a baseball team, a cheerleading, like there is a group of people out there that are looking to raise money. You don't have to pay them by the hour, you can donate to their nonprofit, to their organization and they get great experience because this will go on their resumes if they're 15, 16 or 17. If your caterer provides busing, services, do it. Just hire it, pay for it. It is. I wish I had done that because just looking at like we had worked so hard the day before and the morning of because we did our own floral and are booting years all froze and the next morning we had to do them again.

[27:06] Like all these things happened and so just after everyone had worked so hard and then when it's time for us to enjoy it, they're still working hard and I mean I'm, I'm so thankful for them because they never made me feel bad about it. They did it with a smile on their face. They were happy to serve, but I wish I had thought more about it and now that I know that because we were in the first in our group to get married and so all my friends, my siblings like that, you're getting someone's busting the tables. If I have to pay for it, someone's doing that because I don't want anyone else to have to experience that,

[27:37] but it's, you know, it's things like that that you, you know, you can either, not even just like the specifics of busing, but like thinking about all those different odds and ends. Um, because yeah, you know, especially like if you're the first, you know, sibling that the first in the friend circle. I mean like I think with when my wife and I and I obviously work in weddings, but like, you know, a bunch of our friends who got married by the time we got married. So we were able to kind of talk about, you know, well this is what we like or don't like or that we should steal that idea or whatever. But you know, it's, it's tough because you kind of are judged, right? Like even though, I mean everyone's coming together but you know, you want it to be good and fine and have everyone, um, any other kind of. You said you had.

[28:22] Yeah. So I also wish is for the ladies out there that I had done airbrush makeup and eyelash extensions, which to me at the time, like I'm not spending $150 on that. That's ridiculous. You can always make more money that day does not come back around. I wish I had done that. Like, and just for the photos. And then the other thing, and this is kind of like a nod to you a little bit, but um, videography. So I had a photographer that I hired and she did an amazing job. We love our photos. We have one framed, that's it, but we loved our photos. But since then, knowing what I know now, we have lost two of our grandparents and they were there that day and to have been able to hear their voice again on that day, giving us advice for an ar, vr. All of our grandparents had been married for 50 years plus, but the same person.

[29:07] And so to have two of our grandfathers have passed away. I could cry now just thinking about it, wishing that I had their voices because at the time it was all about me and my wedding, but now that I've had children and families become so much more important to me as I've gotten older, just matured. I would trade that. I would train, I would have written something else off and hired someone to see. I mean even if I couldn't afford it, I would have asked someone to go around and just videotape people's voices and their well wishes for us because you don't get that back and time is short, so I mean sentimental, but that's, I wish had done that. But I do tell my clients, you know, think about these pieces and it's not. I mean I love my husband and shareable rewatch like someone did video or like ideas and our bowels like that. It was really, I'm a people person so it's the other people that were there that I didn't get a chance to really interact with that I would have loved to have heard from again.

[29:58] Yeah. I mean, that is a big thing that people, you know, we have clients fill out kind of preferences of what they want to see in their wedding video and you know, usually them mingling with the guests or even just the guests, not even with the bride and groom, you know, it's usually rated very high, uh, which, you know, until we did that, you didn't necessarily, I didn't know, you know, that's, you know, that's really important. So I want to get to kind of this showroom here and everything now. So you're doing the suitcase sales. So how many years did that go on?

[30:30] Um, I would say probably three or four. It was a couple of seasons because I was teaching and I taught special Ed, so it's heavy and paperwork and um, it's, it's emotionally draining and so I needed something light and fun in the summers. But I also enjoy the weather. Like I kinda have a, a thing now where if it's over 70 I try not to work because I really liked it, didn't enjoy my summers and like the heat. Um, and up here in the northwest we don't get too many of those days. Um, so I really kept it really small and I just, you know, if it came, it came, but I didn't do, I didn't have a facebook page at the time, I didn't have anything. I had a website and I would maybe once a month to put something on Craig's list and that was it. And I didn't even think about like connecting with other wedding professionals and helping them out and having them help me.

[31:14] Never thought about that. It was really just going after the client and then after I had my son and I was home for awhile and I just needed something more for my brain to do besides change diapers and feed the mushy food. I um, I kind of dove into like, well, what is my target client and where do we find them? And I went to the Wedding Mba in Vegas and um, which is like a national yearly conferences a couple days long. I think you've been to it, right? Um, and it was eye opening that first time is going and realizing, oh yeah, there are these other ways that I can market myself and other ways that I can connect with other professionals and I've always been a fan of community over competition. So I never really felt like if I did it that someone else couldn't, I never really felt like if I get the sale then those dollars aren't available for someone else or there's not another client for someone else or vice versa if someone else gets the sale, I don't think they took out of my pocket. Like there's plenty of clients out there. There's over 7,000 weddings and Skagit county last year. I don't want to do 7,000 weddings to you.

[32:17] No. That. And that was a good uh, Heather Ryan that we're just on the podcast. We had talked, um, I at some wedding about that same idea about competition and you know, other photographers and Ryan said the same thing, you know, there's, am I making up the number but you know, 10,000, whatever. Weddings in King County like, Oh, I need to do is get $50, you know,

[32:36] and I want, I want, I want 50 to 100, the right clients for me, the ones that love what I do that love my services and want to do what I can do for them and then the other clients that maybe aren't a good fit, that's great. Like meet me or reach out and I'll refer you to someone. I am connected with other rental companies in the area because they do things differently than I do or maybe sometimes you need a little bit from both of us. I don't do any tables or chairs. The chairs and tables that you see in here read. These are Pacific Party canopies that we partner with them. They don't do any sequence. They refer clients my way all the time and so if you can find out what you are specialized in, what you niche into and then you can tell people about it, it's easier for them to refer you and then you get to work with more people you enjoy working with and you solve a problem that they really need salt.

[33:20] And if I can't solve your problem like a, you want nice no farm tables, you don't really need Lennon's great. That's the look you want. Let me refer you over to Amanda. She is a rustic event. Rentals. She hand makes them like we'll send them out. And so I'm not all about getting the dollar. For me, it's more about how can I solve the problem and get you the best look that you want. And so we kind of approach it that way. And I have found that the more that I approach it that way, and I'm all about community and sharing, um, the, the sales come, the clients come, the weddings come and I don't really worry about the bottom dollar as much as I do to solving problems and helping people happy to, for weddings.

[33:58] But that seems like it's been a pretty big switch. I mean, was there, was it just the wedding mba or was it,

[34:04] um, I would say the wedding Mba was part of it. I think honestly, the skagit wedding society, a shout out to them if, if you're a wedding professional, you art part of it, I highly recommend it. I'm very similar to the snohomish wedding guild. They had started, it's been five years now. They started and this will be our fifth year that we're doing the tour. And it was just a networking group that they just started from the ground up. And being connected with the people in that networking group was huge. They really modeled for me, uh, like what kind of, how to do business and how to treat clients the right way and how to refer each other and I just went out and because I'm not, I don't have a degree in entrepreneurship or running a business like I worked at my dad's business growing up and so I knew the ins and outs a little bit of being an entrepreneur, but I had no idea but I just ask lots of questions and I read lots of books and my, my, the shift started happening and it wasn't at first it was all about the sale.

[34:57] I just want to get the sale and I'll do anything for that sale. So like you want this, I'll bring it in, you want this. And I was bending over backwards all the time and discounting and discounting and then I couldn't deliver in the way that I wanted. And so now we, we will source things, but instead of me trying to get it into my office, if I know someone else that has it, I'd rather refer it out to them. It's actually better for me. And for that other professional and for the client, because if I bring something in that I'm, I don't normally use, there's, there's areas that there's a learning curve with a new product and so if I don't want to, if I do that, it could not turn out well for our client. Whereas I'd rather send them to someone who like if someone in the tent, I don't want to commit to sending up a 60 by 40 10 for you, it's going to fall down like it will.

[35:43] I don't know how to do it. And so I want to send you to someone who does it every weekend for the last 20 years with multiple crews. They will get it in and out. You're, you know, you only have so many hours on that wedding day and needs to be run it really efficient and you need to make sure your time is spent well. So I, yeah, I'm all about community. And just as that, that shift in my mindset happened as I kept reading, kept talking to people and I just kept aligning myself with professionals that treat their clients the same way. And how the same philosophy and it's been super rewarding.

[36:12] It is. Um, interestingly, uh, we're going into our fifth year now of have some room bookings and like the more you learn, I think the, the bigger the picture you see. And like I, you know, I think like go into the wedding Mba as part of that. But like, you know, I think like that first year when I started like you, you know, it's like you just got to get the book, you know, because I was still working in the, like I'd get called for a wedding and I wouldn't even know if I could get the day off, but you'd have to yell, you know, I'll take it. And then it's like, you know, as the years go by you do, it's like an iceberg or glacier, whatever, you know. But you see that like the 10 percent or whatever you thought. But there's all this other stuff. And like I even think about stuff that I used to really care about their pay attention to or not pay attention to it. Now you're like, man, I know this totally in the same with networking and then kind of reaching out and am referring because you know, like you said you want to focus on the things that you want to focus on and you know, people might just think rentals and they, but you know, like you said, you focus on, you know, certain things and somebody else might have a specific campaign or whatever. Well,

[37:17] so going off of that, like what I specialize in, so I don't do tables. Chairs are tense and I've many times it's crossed my path. I get calls for. I'm sure I would make money doing it. I know I would because I get calls all day long for it, but it's not what I want to do. I don't really want to like lug around 200 chairs and go set them up somewhere. I like my weekends and so I specialize in custom drapery installations and custom backdrops. Like we so backdrops for clients specifically for their events. We specialize in textured and colorful linens. I have basically linens just like white and khaki and ivory table linens and basic dishes too, just like a lot of the other rental companies, but I have really small quantities like up to two or 2:50. If you need more than that then I refer you somewhere else so you have a complete set.

[38:03] I will. I want to specialize in the parts that I enjoy and the things that I do well and so I just am and it's very tempting to bring in something else but then I can't do what I do well and so I've learned that I used to have vases and all decor pieces and signs. I can't, I can't do my job well with the good quality control and treat my clients the way that I want to treat them. If I'm doing 120 things, I need to really focus on the three or four things that I do really well and have a good network to refer to for those other pieces.

[38:35] So talk about the showroom here. It's quite a big space. Yeah,

[38:39] it's like 1200 feet. I mean it's not huge compared to other rental companies, but it's good for us.

[38:43] Yeah. So I mean, what was that process like in terms of, you know, acquiring this and setting up and then, you know, talking about, like you said, it is like a game changer. It is.

[38:51] So, um, it all started actually when I had my son, I did not plan on having him in the middle of summer, but I did. And so he was born in August and within 24 hours I was back to irony. I was in active labor with a client on the phone, like my life had gotten out of control and I had. And so after I had had him, my husband was home for three months with us. Thankfully he was able to take the time off work and be with us. I did a lot of reflection into like, what do I want this business to look like? Because I'd had a two year old at the time and then a newborn in the middle of summer and I was still working 60 or 80 hours a week and I determined in the next six months I wanted to hire somebody, so I'm a Christian and God just put somebody I really feel like in my lap I wasn't as advertising, but my assistant, my lead designer, Whitley, she just reached out and said, hey, I'd love to have coffee and just learn a little bit more about what you do and share what I'm doing and maybe we might be a good fit to support each other.

[39:41] And I'd had my, my six month old son with me and I told her is like, I don't know how I'm going to hire you but I'm going to figure it out and then you're just going to kind of my house because that's where I do my ironing in to my house. And I had a, we had a larger shop and it was like my husband's hunting and fishing shop that was taken over by wedding stuff. So it's dones of wedding stuff everywhere and it's like I don't know how we're going to make this work, but you just come and within a couple of weeks this space that we're currently in, it just kind of crossed my path and had been sitting vacant for over a year and I'm making the jump from a home based business to a, a retail space is a big jump and I had to sit and think about our numbers and I decided we're just going to go for it and we'll try it for a year and if it doesn't work we'll just go back.

[40:22] Like it's not a big deal. Like and so. And I determined like if I just sold a little bit more it would cover the cost. So we got the space and I'm with my assistant was hired the same month that we got the space and so I called her. I was like, Hey, I sold it or how I'm going to hire you. I don't know the legalities of like Lni and all of that. But I got a space for us and so we just, we've been here for two years and it was the perfect space because you walk in and the showroom is like a double doors and you could just see the beautiful linens. It's nice and tall. We've done custom drapery installations in our ceiling. We can showcase our barndoor drapery over our entrance and then we have like an office and we have the back room.

[41:01] And the things that I didn't think about is when I go home, I'm home and I don't have to check my email and I don't have to do my contracts while the kids are napping and when I'm at work I work. And so that separation has been really good for us. Um, and then also my, my younger son, he does sleep here in the afternoons and I have the flexibility to work through his nap. But when he wakes up, we're done. We're done for the day and we go and do our next thing. And so being able to have that balance and then not having to meet at starbucks as much as I love starbucks. And I love supporting them with all the coffee buy I, it's nice to have a space for clients to come and we can really dive deep and I don't have to feel like I'm holding a table all day or you know.

[41:43] And so I really enjoyed having the space that's been really good. And the thing I like most about it is we're not in a traditional like downtown, like business center or we're out in the flats. I mean you drove out here, he might've thought where am I going because you're passing dairy farms and the tulip fields and grasses and it is a good job. And so we're really in the middle, not the middle of nowhere but about 10 minutes off the freeway. And I love it because that's where I grew up out here. And this is like part of who I am. And so to have a space out here is. I love it. It's perfect for me.

[42:16] Well it's, it's basically like a bigger suitcase, right? We didn't have everyone in, but do you, do you think that having the ability to have the client see everything set up, touch everything obviously right? Leads to better sales?

[42:29] Yeah. Well, part of the training I had as a teacher was we talked about learning and how people access things and either auditory, visual or tactile. Well, most of us are visual and tactile. If you just hear something, if you don't, you think breeding. If you listened to a book on tape, you may not understand as many of the concepts if it's a nonfiction business book or something. Whereas if you're reading it and you're touching it and you see it while you're reading it, then you ended up retaining more and so taking that, I took some of that knowledge that I have about how we're different learners and we try to make it visual and tactile and auditory all at the same time. So no matter how you learn best or access the information best, it's here for you. And most of my clients, they just like to see it and they'll bring a whole box of their stuff.

[43:11] So if they have their own bases already or they have their own menu cards already printed out or whatever pieces they'll bring, they'll have their florists make a mock center piece and bring it in and we mock it up here and then once you're one of our clients, the other thing that we offer is because people are so tactile, they need to see it in person. Thirty days out we'll go to your venue, will bring the box of your linens to the venue and we set up your mock table. They're at the venue because it's one thing to say see it here at our office on the same size table with the same chair, but to see it inside the building with the lighting that that building has is completely different and so we do offer that as an option. We go in and we'll do a mock setup there for them and that has been really helpful for people to walk away and be like, okay, that's exactly what it's gonna look like.

[43:54] I think that's fascinating. I mean, I love the idea of what people have done prior to what they're doing. Now and bringing that in, you know, like I know certain things that I do because like I worked in news and kind of that environment, but I think like you talked about what you had learned as a teacher. I mean, I just think that's fascinating that you're able to kind of take those lessons, you know, and it's like you're kind of building every step of your life. Right? And like what you learn now might help you continue this or if you're going to do something else. I mean, I'm talking about that, just kind of that, that life progression, you know, you said you had been a waitress and a and a mom and a lawn rolling.

[44:32] I'm talking about just that, you know, how you kind of see your life bar graph or what do you call a line chart? Yeah. Um, so I grew up, my, my dad owned a turf farm actually right next door here. And so I grew up like literally mowing fields on a tractor, backing up trailers, set, setting out irrigation, and then I'm pretty good at communicating I feel like. And so they stuck me in the office and I would clean the office and then when the phones rang, if someone is busy at answer it. And so I started my customer service that like 15 doing that. And as I went through the business and I worked my way into it, um, I ended up being like the lead sales manager when they sold the business. I was hired to train the new owner how to do it like I, so I know the INS and out.

[45:18] And so I'm so thankful for those opportunities because my dad and my uncle who owned that business and the new owner that rich who took over the business, those three men, they were like open books for me. If I asked any question about profit or how do you set pricing or how do you find clients or how do you treat other people that are doing the same thing? They are very, had very great integrity and honesty around it. And so they really put that seed in my head. I never thought I would own a business that was never my plan. I always wanted to teach. I have dyslexia, I, you know, so I wanted to like, I, my brain works differently and so I wanted to help students that had the same type of disability and learning, learning challenges, um, and I was so mad when I, I wanted to work part time and it just didn't work out in our, for the district I was in and with our family life and I was, at the time I was mad.

[46:05] It's like I don't want to do my business full time, I want to teach. That's where I want to make an impact. But I have found that and I'm so thankful for my path now because because of this I can give back in other ways that I couldn't beforehand. So when I was teaching there, I mean you have a set salary and that's it. And so we can only donate or give back to our community at a certain rate because that's all I can make. But now the sky's the limit. And so a percentage of all of our sales we earmark and we'd give back to our community. So we get back to Lydia place which helps in homelessness and families and helps give them on their feet and gives the families counseling and new clothes for kids and so they can be involved in football if they want to be in football.

[46:43] So I'm able to add the more money Aaron here, the more I can give back to my community and so taking I can still serve children is maybe not in the same way that I did when I was teaching. And I don't. I'm still a certified, like maybe I'll sub, maybe I'll get back to it eventually. I don't know where my path is, but I do know that now where my children are and where my clients are and where I'm at in my life, this is where I need to be and as long as this is where I need to be and people have problems that I can solve and people are getting married, which everyone's gonna always get married and as long as I'm enjoying it, I'm going to keep doing it because it's, it's fun. And yes, everything does build. So I used to waitress and so I can keep a lot in my head at once and so, and I can read emotions and people's body language pretty well because as a waitress you're working for that tip and so you need to make sure you're anticipating their needs.

[47:32] And so I can do the same thing while I'm working with clients. I can anticipate what are the professionals they might need or um, you know, what other extra tables that we thought about, do you need tablecloths for your bar is you're a DJ, bring the table cloth, you know, um, what do you put in your cake on? Like one tip is we recommend putting cakes on cocked on cocktail tables. You spend a lot of money, you're making this cake beautiful and having it designed and fit into your style. And when is that a regular small table? It's not a show piece, but when you set it on a cocktail table, it's a little bit higher of a, all the other tables in the room. Then it becomes a showpiece and it gets photographed. Well, people can walk by and see it. It's not just lost in the corner, so we pay attention to those little details and because my past is all about details in sales, like I was able to kind of folded over, make a fit to them.

[48:19] That's a great point with the, with the cakes, because I know we always try to get video of the rooms and stuff before everyone comes in and like, yeah, sometimes you're like, wait, where's the. And like it'll be an empty room. So imagine if it's full, you know, filled with 200 people trying to make your cake or other things. That's a great point. Um, so you miss teaching.

[48:38] I, yes, I miss my co teachers and the people I worked with and I missed the students a lot. Um, I don't miss the paperwork, I'll be honest. It's a lot of paperwork. Um, but I do miss that light bulb moment we talked about earlier, like when I'm working with clients here and the design comes to life and they're just like, ugh, it's perfect. That's what I wanted. And they sit down, they're just calm. I think I liked that so much because when I taught, when the kids were like, oh, I understand subtraction, now I get it, I understand borrowing 10 and what it means. Like that light bulb moment for them is so rewarding. And so I've just transferred that from students to couples planning their wedding. But that's what I look for is I look to take the complicated and make it simplified for them. And so they understand it.

[49:23] Yeah. I mean there is something to be said for a newly engaged couple is kind of like a child that you're trying to kind of lead them, kind of corral them around and the design. Nobody. My wife's the same way. I mean she moved schools this year and she's still always talks about her own kids and you know, and she wasn't even that bad school for that incredibly long, but you know, but she was there for years. But, you know, I do think that that always kind of keeps it part of view. Um, you know, and it, it just something that I guess you miss, but you know, if you feel like you can make an impact here.

[49:51] Yeah. And I feel like my experience teaching and that because I've always had that heart to serve and to help people had I not been in the schools, I had not gone down that path of like three years of night school while working full time and part time to get that degree that I'm not even using. But if I had not gone down that path, I would not have the skills I have now to serve the clients I have. And so everything in the past does play to where you're going. And I just, I've learned that instead of trying to control every piece of it, I just kind of go with the flow and pass will open and I'll go down the path and I will help people. And so if I had had more control over it and said, no, this is what I'm doing, I'd still be teaching and I probably wouldn't be super happy because my kids to have the flexibility and I wouldn't have the flexibility.

[50:37] But like, for example, this Thursday I'm going to the zoo because I don't have to tell the boss or ask for a day off. My kids go to the zoo, I'm going with them. If the teacher appreciation day I could go in and just help. I can volunteer in the class and I can work my schedule to fit my family needs now. And then a couple of years when my boys are in school full time, maybe I'm going to scale up and really grow and do something different, open up new facilities, I don't know, but I'm open to options and the right now this is where I'm at and I take what I've learned and apply it however I can.

[51:08] But yeah, like you said, where everything's to learning. I mean, like I really, after I graduated from school I had to go do news and Bakersfield, uh, which was really not a good fun time for me, but you know, learning, you know, what you've done or what you don't want to do, you know, really kind of like helps me be really grateful for what I have today, you know. And so it's like even with the missteps, right? I mean there's, there's certain things that you gained from that either being, well this is really is what I want to do or that's something that I don't want to do, you know. And like you said, even with a degree and kind of going through that work lets you now manage a family and then you know, your house in the business and come to all these other things. Um, what is the hardest part for you now? Is it that home life balance? Is it running the showroom? Is it scaling up? I mean, what, what, what's the biggest challenge you have today?

[51:58] Um, because I think right now I'm struggling with the most or the biggest challenge I face is I have a lot of flexibility in what I do. I can make or make my schedule however I want. I can, you know, I have certain days that I meet people but a lot of days is just behind the scenes paperwork, getting Lens Ready, ordering, checking orders, like all the busy work and that can be done anytime during the day. Um, so my biggest challenge is that I am a procrastinator and like I said at the, if it's 70 and um, I'd rather just be at home gardening or lay by the pool and take the kids to the beach. And so sometimes I can put things off and like my client works always done. It's always ready. Clients are always hearing from me, but it might be a month until I've reconciled my, my checking accounts on quickbooks or a made my social media is not being posted every day because I haven't been around or my blogs are a little behind.

[52:50] But honestly at the end of the day, I'm going to look back and be, I'm glad that I had that flexibility. I took care of the clients that I have, but I don't always have to be looking for more. It's more important to take care of what I have and then to enjoy my time with my children. So, um, I don't like working a ton of hours anymore and when I'm on I'm on and I'm working. But when I'm off, I'm off. So if you would, I don't know if you emailed me yesterday and maybe got the response, I'm on vacation. I'm not responding until Tuesday and anybody that emailed me from Friday on, that's what they got. And if it's emergency then you have my number, like people that my, as we can, they have my phone number and so they could call me and I could solve a problem with I needed to. But I'm, that's been a challenge is just knowing where that line is and not procrastinating. And so that I feel like I can still have that balance. But ultimately my, my family comes first and my clients come first and so any, anything other than the marketing stuff that can wait, the paperwork can always wait. But my clients are taken care of him. My family's taken care of. Then I'm good to go. And if it's over 70 I'm not working, we'll move.

[53:53] But also either when I had emailed you about, you know, we had gone back and forth about the podcast and I think it was like 8:00 AM and then it was nine, 10 and back and forth, back and forth. And then it was like, oh, let's hop on a, you know, an Internet call at noon. I mean, you know, so it was like either you were very immediate wanting to get, you know, face to face in front, figure out what's going on, you know, and getting connected that way. Which I really appreciate it because I've told other vendors now kind of going through this process, I learned how different people work and there's a lot of different ways to kind of bake the same cake. But you certainly see, you know, the people that are kind of like putting the clients and things first, you know, and other people that you might have more of a delayed response. So I mean, that is really appreciate that at least for me, you know, and trying to, and I think that obviously that kind of correlates to how it's going to be for your clients as well as my last question, uh, biggest goal now, what, where, where is your next step in terms of just adding more clients or you know, acquiring more inventory or what's your next?

[54:51] I don't want more inventory. I think my next, my, we have a couple big goals. Um, I mean my pie in the sky goal out there is to bring my husband home and have him have more flexibility in his job. And so he has a wonderful job and he has allowed me to really do whatever I want. He would say if you want to be home and just be home and homeschool, the kids go for it. He would be so supportive if I wanted to shut the business down. Um, and since he's allowed me to have that flexibility while my kids are young, I want to provide flexibility for him and so eventually I'd love to see this grow to a point where maybe he doesn't quit his job, but he can walk in and say, I'm done if you wanted to have choices, and so to have that financial freedom and then to also that would in turn mean that I'm serving how many more clients, how many more people am I helping them create these wonderful weddings and how much stress are we easy for them and so it's a win win.

[55:45] And then again, the more money I make, the more money that we can donate to these nonprofits and that's so part of my heart. And so I would love to be able to donate half our income to these nonprofits in the area. Still live a comfortable life and serve clients and help. Like my assistant here, my lead designer Whitley, she came to me and she says, I want to be a wedding planner. Great. I'm going to mentor you. She's a wedding planner. She has her own business. Her second year now, and I don't want to say I did it for her because she is super phenomenal and she's so strong and super smart and she knew where she was going, but I do believe I added some steps in her path and make it easier for her and I've modeled things for her and I would love to do that for other people that want to get into the wedding industry or want to get into teaching whatever my background is, if I can support someone towards their dream, that's what I want to do. So that's where I see myself going is continuing giving hopefully making more money and serving more people and giving back to my community would be a win win and going on field trips more and more as the. Yes, we have chips.

[56:44] Well I want to thank you so much for letting me come up for today. I see your great showroom division gets a visit Skagit County. Again, if people want to learn more about you and your company and what you guys do and the services you provide, what would you have them do?

[56:57] Um, I would say if you want to learn more about the services we provide, you can come to our website www.skagitvalleyweddingrentals.com. It's a long one. I know I probably should have abbreviated that, but I'm mostly information. Our pricing's online, how we work with clients. We have two levels of service. We know their traditional rent in return and then also the deluxe or we come in and set up for you. Um, you can always email us on our contact us page if you just want to get inspiration. We have our pinterest is Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals, instagram, facebook. They're all the same, Skagit Valley Wedding Rentals. You won't find us on twitter or any of that, but instagram and facebook and pinterest are mean like social media places and we post try to post every day some picture of inspiration or some we had lots of advice because we really just want to help. And so whether you work with us or not, we just want to make sure that we're somehow in the path of your planning, helping you get one step further. So that's our goal.

[57:50] Well, thank you so much for having me. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

[57:58] Thank you.

Episode 9 (Yasmin Shirdel, Samila Boutique)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and today I'm joined by a very special guest, one of my probably longest term friends in the wedding community. Yasmin Shirdel from Samila's bourtique. Uh, she is the operating partner here. And Yasmin, why don't you say hi and tell us a little bit about what you do. Thank you so much higher

[00:35] everyone. Super excited to be here. Um, my name is Yasmin Shirdel. I'm the operating partner here at Samila's in Redmond. I also am the lead stylist here as well as do all the buying for the showroom both here and in our outlet showroom. That's new for us in west Seattle. Um, and uh, yeah, super happy to be here.

[00:58] And I was thinking about this on the drive over because we are at your guys's beautiful Rednibd location today. Trivia fact, do you know where we first met?

[01:08] We first, probably one of the, the Jamei June, uh, functions I'm guessing.

[01:14] Yeah, I mean, years ago I think you had done the dress for Jamie and I was there filming for her and you know, we, I think we even did an interview, Jamie interviewed you like on the red carpet, but the thing that now, I mean five, six years later that, that, you know, it just really talks about kind of how small wedding community is that we're still, you know, and like we went down to Vegas together for the wedding MBA and uh, it just goes way back. And then the other trivia now, and I wanted to make sure we included before I forgot is you actually sold my wife her wedding dress. That's right. And uh, that was big for me because she had, you know, this was three years ago now had said, you know, she was really struggling with the dress and I said, well just go talk to you as mean like, and I don't know anything about like a good wedding dress or a bad way.

[02:04] I mean, I know how to make them look cool or like hang them up in a high spot and uh, get a photo of it. But I said, well, go talk to her, like she's not going to be us. You like, she's going to give you the straight. And then it was like three months later she ended up buying it from you. And so, uh, there was just really cool. So I'm was really glad. Yeah, absolutely. It's come full circle for us, hasn't it? Indirectly and directly in so many ways yet. Uh, so talk a little bit about just what you guys do currently, what you guys are focusing on right now in terms of, you know, addresses and two season and what's going on. So we're at the tail end of our, our prom season and we're fast slowly

[02:41] approaching bridal season, um, while the bridal season for actually finding your dress is more in January, February, March. But now we're actually approaching the wedding season. So we're getting our brides ready with their fittings and their alterations and their accessory appointments, making sure they have everything they need. Um, you know, sending off our prom girls to their proms, we're kind of at the tail end of that and then I'm, the mother of the brides and grooms are coming in. They always wait till the last minute because they just, it's hard for them to see themselves in that light and they don't want to outshine the bride and the wedding guests are coming in shopping for wedding. So we're kind of in between seasons right now. We're very seasonal business.

[03:24] Yeah. And I guess I didn't notice that. So my wife went through it that, you know, you think, oh, I just go get the dress, but no, you go, you know, look, and maybe you go a bunch of different places, but then you know, you buy the dress and then you have to alter the dress and fit the dress. And so it is like three, four or five appointments.

[03:40] It's quite a process. Um, there's a reason they tell you, um, you know, if you just search on Google, you know, they say, what's the timeline for a wedding dress? Shopping? It is one year in advance. You should start looking, getting an idea of what you want 12 to 14 months in advance because by the time you check out a couple bridal salons and figure out who you want to work with and where you feel comfortable, you know, going through that process, who you feel comfortable going through that process with, you want to pick your dress 10 months in advance depending on the designer or the salon that you're working with. Addresses can take up to six to eight months to come in and then that tail end of three or four months of wiggle room time before the wedding is meant for fittings and a last minute styling decisions with veils and accessories. And um, you know, unfortunately it's part of our industry, but brides tend to fluctuate a lot towards the end of the wedding planning process. And so you have to make sure that the fittings are quite a few times to make sure that the dresses are fit properly. Yeah. But you're right, it's a, it's. We see the bride at least three to five times between when they first walk into our showroom and when we send them off with their dress.

[04:53] And I think it's interesting again, in something as a guy, I just never really thought, you know, you know, the wedding dress is important and we've done videos for you guys talking about, you know, who you are and what you do and you know, the dress is so important to the bride and that process is so important and you know, you guys really try to make it a real personal experience here. Uh, can you talk about that kind of, your philosophy with, with that and kind of going through that process? I would love to. Well,

[05:22] with women, I think you just start dreaming about what you're gonna wear on your wedding day when you're little. I mean as early as, I don't know, when you're five, six, seven year watching cartoons, you're, you know, into these Disney movies and it's all about the wedding dress. And so I feel that, um, I think a lot of brides will agree with me that the wedding dress is the center piece of the wedding and it's also the most self reflective, um, choice in, in that wedding journey, a process because when you walk out into your room of your family and your loved ones and you are walking down the aisle to your groom, it speaks volumes about who you are as a person and you know, how you want to present yourself to the world. So it's a very personal choice. It's not just, you know, what kind of food do we want to serve? I mean, it's a very personal self-reflective garment that you put on and it says a lot about you. So it's really important. Um, I would say,

[06:21] and uh, you know, it's interesting too because not only is it reflective of who you are, but you're also kind of the wedding and the vibe you want, you know, like I've talked with photographers were, I don't know, it's a country wedding and maybe the dress, you know, really complimented that or not. Yeah. And it's, it's kind of, it really is kind of has to be all encompassing and it really kind of fit in with the aesthetic you want in terms of your wedding day to talk about the Simula, a client here, what the kind of brides that you guys attract and what people are looking for that come here.

[06:57] Um, I would say there's two parts of it that set us apart from some of the other bridal salons because we've been in the evening wear category for so long. Um, we tend to procure or bringing gowns that fit a little bit more of a nontraditional bride and a nontraditional budget. Um, we have a lot of options in our showroom that are off the rack, meaning you can just take it home. Um, uh, because we're able to procure or selector bringing gowns that aren't the traditional bridal price point, meaning closer to like under $1,100 and things that you can take home. Not all brides. I think specifically in the Pacific northwest, like this big traditional, you know, I'm a concept. And then on the other side of it, I'm really embracing the fact that we've done so much evening. Where is that we're able to bring in gowns that really have a little bit more attention to detail when I say that. Um, I would say generally I've heard from my brides that in the area, um, the dresses tend to have a little bit more simplicity to them. They have more of an understated looks, a lot of lace. And here we specialize in bringing in more heavily beat. It looks, um, Swarovski crystal. And then most importantly, uh, we work with factories that you're able to completely do custom modifications and custom measurement so you're really minimizing the alterations on the other side.

[08:26] And so, um, so here at the salon, you know, you do the bulk or all of the purchasing, right? Is that what I don't even know. What does that, what does that mean? And what is that like? I mean, now that you're kind of are responsible for kind of bringing in all this stuff that sets the stage for the rest of your guys that spend a lot of pressure.

[08:49] I remember last year I was in Dallas and I sat at the table and you know, the designers are just giving you coffee and beverages and sugar and you're standing there looking at a sea of white and you're like, oh my God, you know, what's here? That's different than what I already have in the showroom. And you know, what price point is a customer willing to pay for the stress. And so it's a lot of pressure, but it's so much fun. Um, this is really important to have a good sense of what your clients are looking for. I'm understanding what you're, um, the fashion is the trends are. And so I do spend quite a bit of time both on social media and then of course, um, I try to do almost like an exit interview with my clients if they're not finding what they're looking for, you know, really trying to hone in on what's missing in our collection here in the showroom. And so I spent three or four trips a year and I travel around the world, um, and you know, dig through designer showrooms and, you know, review the new collections and piece together what we feel we want to represent our brand here in the showroom

[09:57] because it's tough because, you know, what might be on trend today, might not be on trend tomorrow or what,

[10:03] what's in trend in Chicago or Miami and Los Angeles. It might be one of the, you know, best selling styles of this particular designer and it's just not going to sell for us here in Washington state. So it's really about taking risks to, you know, trying to show the Pacific northwest community some styles that are trending, but really, um, you know, trying to figure out what, what they're looking for and, and, and how far they're willing to, to push to.

[10:33] That is a great point you bring up because I think that's across the board, right? Like venues that are really popular here are certain aesthetics or whatever. You know, if you're on the east coast, it might be a totally different thing that people are looking for. And um, you know, that doesn't affect me as much because, uh, like I'm just going to go film, whatever. It's kind of in style, I guess filming styles can change, but you guys, you know, you really do have to be what people want and what people are looking for. Um, so I'd like to go back a little bit and talk about kind of your start, you guys, you know, bridal is, is newer. It's not new anymore. Yeah, I think you guys are pretty established in that. Now I go back to Kinda the, the star, the boutique here and with your family and can kind of that history. So,

[11:19] uh, our store name and company is Samilas Boutique, Samila is actually my mom. Um, she created this business and, and in 1997 I was in high school and um, I think the love of fashion has always been in our business and our family. Excuse me, my grandmother studied fashion in Paris. She had her own design house. And so I think that love just kind of trickled down and my mom had an opportunity to start her own business in 1997 and initially it was never evening wear category. It was more kind of contemporary in the nineties. It was like suits and things like that for women and I one day she just, um, you know, decide to clear a rack and add some evening wear and the next thing you know there's a line out the door. And so that's kind of the niche that she created and very successful for a long time.

[12:12] I'm pretty much primarily based in Redmond, most of her, most of our company. And I'm about nine. Was it nine? Five years ago, seven years ago I decided to. I was living in Miami at the time. I was pursuing my own career and I'm a finance and business management and marketing and I moved back here and my mom and I just decided, you know, what, it's time for her to retire. And we decided to extend the category and go into bridal. And the reason we did that, quite frankly, is because we've been dressing so many women over the years for prom and they kept saying, how come you don't have bridal? And, you know, we decided to ask ourselves that question and um, we decided to add bridal. And it was, it was a lot of research that was done. It was a lot of, you know, checking out which designers were in the community because we didn't want what everybody else had.

[13:14] We wanted something very different. We wanted to exceed our customer's expectations and provide that exclusivity and uniqueness that we'd always provided in Washington state. So we decided that, as you said, I'm add bridal about four years ago, five years ago, and it's been an awesome journey. I've, I can't tell you how many women who bought their prom dresses from us have now returned and then found their wedding gowns. And they celebrate that with us because they say, oh my gosh, I think it's amazing that I've bought my prom dress here and now all these years later, you know, we're, we're here finding our wedding dress. It's really special for us. It's exactly what, why we decided to add bridal, it's because we want it to grow with our customers and still be part of their stories.

[14:03] When you were, like, you said you mom started this when you were in high school, I mean, was that ever a thought of yours to join in the family business?

[14:10] So when, um, when she started it, I mean, no. Right. But when it's a family business, you're involved whether you like it or not. Right. So, um, I was going to youtube at the time, but I was helping her. Um, we like I would help her on the weekends and I'm not really sure. I don't, I'm not really sure what I wanted as far as what my place was supposed to be. I think I needed to work a little bit here, understand how a family structure works and then venture out and do my own thing for awhile because it helped me appreciate what I'm, a family business is like and stepping into the world and working in both the restaurant business. I worked in five star fine dining for quite some time and I worked in retail for quite some time. Um, that helped kind of honed the craft of the customer service aspect, the procurement aspect, um, the finances, and then I was able to bring that back in.

[15:12] Um, but to answer your question, no, I never thought that I would see myself here. I'm in this position now as involved as I am, but it's a gift. You know, I, my mom and I had a talk, you know, seven years ago when, when I decided to enter back in and she said, you know, this is your legacy, you know, um, I think it's time. And, and I said, yeah, I think you're right. It's time. I've talked with a lot of the people that have done kind of corporate and other things and then have brought those skills back in to running their own businesses now. Uh, what were some of the biggest things you learned or strategies or skills now that you're able to employ back in to the boutique here? As far as the internal, I would say just really building a structure within what we do.

[16:04] I'm making sure that the girls that are here, that the stylists that are working for us, whether they're younger, kind of not as experienced in retail or where they are, you know, very seasoned that no matter who's working with the client, that they're, that they are receiving the same quality of service, the same knowledge, um, you know, the same love and care. Um, so the structure that I was able to bring in from working on the corporate side was really important. Um, and then just the brand awareness aspect of it, you know, my mom had done a really good job to what she knew and her capacity for so long. I mean we were famous but we were famous in this aspect of it's that pink house in downtown Redmond and we still get calls and they're like, are you still the same business? Are you the pink house in Redmond?

[17:02] And I'm like, yeah, but that just goes to show how I was able to bring that corporate side and really provide a more of a brand awareness to our name to what we do. And so we really pushed the name, the Samila company, Samila boutique. It made it more of a brand as opposed to just that pink house in Redmond. Yeah. And I do think that that's got to be a big challenge where, um, you know, seattle has quite a few, you know, established bridal salons and designers in Luly Yang and all that. I don't even know all the, I just think it's got to be tough to really kind of establish that. And now, I mean, you guys are in the wedding show and you know, you're sponsoring things in the, in the runways and things like that. Uh, I mean that's got to be really right

[17:50] in so sure that time right now. Talk about that kind of this, you know, it's like exploded in the last four, five years since you guys expanded.

[17:59] Um, I think that a lot of that was able to happen because of just my awareness of social media and my experience and web design now and um, you know, marketing and really figuring out how customers are finding us, how, how their needs are being met, what path they're going through to find what they need and us, um, it's been a very fun and exciting learning process too to do that. Um, but I think the more you get into the network and the community of what we do, Mike, you know, yourself included with me, you know, I've learned a lot. I've met a lot of people through you through the Seattle wedding community. The more you put yourself out there, both personally. I'm actually just really personally, the more you put yourself out there, the more people are drawn to understand who you are and what you do and have a better level of respect for each other's industries. And it's, it's a huge learning curve. I, by all means, don't have it figured out. I'm still working on it, but it's very fast growing because the power of the Internet and social media, it's amazing.

[19:19] Yeah. And you know, when we were down in Vegas last year and you had gone to the Wedding MBA the year before and we were talking to a wedding show and you said, you know, read like you have to go, you gotta come and you know, and then we would go and you know, for anybody that doesn't know, you know, it's a three, four day long conference and you know, all day and everything related to the wedding community. And so, you know, they have these experts not only in photography and you know, wedding planning and things. But uh, you know, it's like cutting edge stuff, right? Like, Oh, here's a new. Like I remember there was this is a better way. You can text people from like your computer and all this stuff. And I remember we would go and get a drink afterwards and kind of recap because I mean, you're like me where if there's like a program you can buy or like an APP that you can figure out there, they'll save you 10 seconds and in every transaction, you know, uh, why is that so important to you to kind of be on the cutting edge of that and to really take advantage of all the different trades?

[20:22] Because our customers are, I mean, it's as simple as that. Um, I think the, for the biggest lesson I learned at the first round, first year Wedding MBA that I went, that you didn't attend, um, two years ago was you have to communicate with your customers the way, the way that they communicate with you and technology right now with all the different ways of communication, whether it's whatsapp or, or facebook, um, you know, telephone, email. I started to find that customers didn't want to talk to me anymore. I would call them to tell them to pick up their dress. They wouldn't answer the phone, but if I texted they responded in two seconds. And so for me, really embracing which, um, you know, areas of technology would really help our business and help with opening the line of communication and even though it felt like it was shutting down was huge for me. So I just really wanted to know how to connect with the, with this, I don't know if you're wanting to call it millennials or x generation at this point. I'm the generation that's really majority is getting married. Um, you know, it's important for me.

[21:30] Yeah. And I've talked with a couple other interview people now about kind of going through this, you know, podcasting and scheduling interviews and like dealing with, you know, different vendors or different types of seeing which people are really communicative and not. Uh, I was actually emailing the planet or last night we have a wedding this weekend and I, you know, I like to reach out to the photographer and I've emailed them three or four times in the last two months and I've never heard back. Right. And like, and I, I kinda track emails so I know these are being read and I, I was doing some last minute, you know, finalizing with her and they said, hey, you know, have you been in touch with the photographer, you know, I've emailed them and she said, well, you know, like they're just really not good at emails. Like they kind of go through waves and sometimes I just thought like, you know, if I'm the vent, like if I'm a vendor, you know, and I'm, I'm reaching out three, four, five times to try to, you know, just say hi before the wedding. Well imagine if you're a client, right? You, I'm, or a potential client, right? Like someone is trying to find a dress here and you know, if they emailed you three, four times are called and you never responded. Right. I mean I just think it's kind of a learning process for everybody that you need to be accessible like that.

[22:40] The experience, like for you, you just plan your wedding not too long ago. Even though you are in the community and you know, everybody, you know, was that a learning curve for you on just even your reaching out to vendors?

[22:54] No, it was huge. I mean I would email people and then have booked that service before other people have even gotten back to me because I'm not exactly, you know, I'm not one of those people were in the, you know, and rightfully so. I have a lot of people that are hired during, you know, a videographer and I email them back and they go, you know, banks were trying to get three or four or five quotes together to um, you know, make the best decision, which I think is probably a better way to do it. I don't do that right. Like I'm trying to get things checked off the list, you know, and like you and me, you know, you're running a business you need to go. And so I would get, you know, if the first and came back and it fit and it was a personality.

[23:34] I mean, I moved on and then yeah, it would be like three weeks later I heard back from videography company and they were like, oh, hey, you know, the, that I was like, man, I'm, I like that. Yeah, we're moving. And I think that's how a lot of clients are. I mean, I think a lot of people like, you know, mom's ready to help you book a videographer or buy your wedding dress and we're trying to get on that and you know, even though that process of you might be six months in terms of buying it and altering, you know, they want to find where they want to go and the people that they like to work with. Right.

[24:04] And I think it's so important to you. We have to have our own lives too. I mean, we can't be accessible 24 slash seven, but I think once that connection's made in that outreach is made by the client. I'm just being very authentic and um, you know, showing them that love right away is, speaks volumes about how you're gonna treat them through the six to 10 month journey. Um, you know, for myself, like I said, I'm touching the bride four to five times before their wedding day, so to speak. Um, so I need, I need to build that trust right away that they're being heard, that they're being understood and the,

[24:42] their needs are being met. Yeah. I'm like, I'm looking to bride right now for next January and you know, she was like texting me the other day like, Oh hey, like I just had a question and you know, like five years ago, like I don't think that would have been a thing that people did. Right. Like whether you have a landline or brick and mortar, they're not. Or you know, or like I had another bride on instagram and be like, Hey, you know, we really need like this shot at our wedding. Can you make sure that we had that? And it is just like fascinating to me how far that accessibility has gone, which I think is really quickly. But I think that, and that was kind of the whole reason I wanted to do the podcast, was to get, you know, the accessibility and to get people's personalities out there. But uh, so obviously you kind of agree with that and totally on board with that. Um, you have to move with the time

[25:34] and if you don't, you get left behind and you know, that's just the way that our, um, our generation is speaking to each other right now. Whether it's just a friendship level, a family member or someone that you're potentially going to hire. I mean, people just when they want to talk to you, they want to talk to. And that's it. It doesn't matter. A lot of these folks are planning their weddings at 2:00 in the morning. They're sitting in their beds, you know, after they've either put the kids to bed or I don't know the day that they've had and they can't get to a place that they can shut down and focus on their wedding until two in the morning. I have so many emails that come through at two in the morning and I'm like, oh my God, these people don't sleep. But that's what it is.

[26:15] Yeah. I just think that, you know, we don't sleep a lot. My wife's a teacher. We got pretty early, but you know, even getting up like at five or six, you know, you have quite a few emails from, you know, we go to bed at like 11, 11, 30, just that like four or five hours. There's a lot coming in there as fascinating experience. So I want to talk about now, um, the actual bridal suite here because I think I had been in here before doing some events stuff and then you had hired me to come back and do the video, you know, when you guys kind of launched the bridal suite, but I just kind of saw it appear I will hear from you about what was that experience like of taking an established, you know, physical location and kind of building this on and making what I think is a really beautiful bridal suite.

[27:02] Oh my God. I was obsessed with it at that time. I think I, there was nights that I spent the night here because the builders were here till like two in the morning. It was a really fun journey. I wanted to make the space in the back. I designed it and I wanted to make the space in the back when we decided to do it, um, intimate and cozy and we didn't want it to feel like a, um, you know, um, assembly line of experience type experience where there's just so many fitting rooms and, and, and so many people walking around while you're, you know, in your intimate moment with your friends and family. So we have two suites in the back, one that accommodates up to nine guests and one that accommodates three guests. And, um, I wanted it to look like, have the aesthetic of something that was very high end because we chose to bring in and procure dresses that had really high quality of a Swarovski crystal.

[28:03] And I'm the lace and the detail. We wanted the lighting to really have a great, um, a location in the showroom to, to bounce off of those crystals and we, it worked because a lot of the customers when they come through and we don't put our dresses and garment bags for the bridal portion, we keep them exposed because we want customers when they walk in to feel like this is their closet and um, they can touch and feel and peruse through the selection and really see just even hanging, um, how it's going to. The lighting's going to bounce off and how it's going to look. Um, instead of even waiting to put it on. Um, so the, the, the design aspect, we had the mirror brought in from the east coast because it was a huge mirror that it's like 10 feet wide. Um, and we wanted, we didn't want just a small mirror, so that was really fun.

[29:02] It's, uh, it's interesting because, you know, the only real Ivan go in a lot of dress sweets or whatever. Um, but when we were over in spokane, my wife, her friends getting married and so they went in spokane to go. They just, yeah, it just happened that we coincided and that, you know, the spokane, this is a different market than Seattle. And um, I said, oh yeah, how did they go into this? Uh, you know, it was really weird because like people kept coming in and like they were making deliveries and other people were kind of browsing and, and it really kind of turned them off, you know, I even know if they really knew

[29:42] or not, but it really turned them off to the process because like you said, you really do want to make that intimate environment. Right. And so it was really fascinating to me to kind of hear that and it'd be like how turned off they were. And they were like, oh, we didn't like that at all. Like we felt like, oh, just anybody in the talents kinda coming in today. And that's exactly what it is. I'm brides have been waiting for this moment to celebrate. It's not just the wedding day, right? It's the day that you're celebrating with your friends and family that you're finding your gown and so that in and of itself is such an intimate moment that can't be distractions. There can't be kids running around like crazy. There can't be other customers walking through that space. It's intimate. It's like, um, it's really special.

[30:25] So you want to really make them feel comfortable. You want to also have that space to connect with what the bride and their family too. And so it needs to be nurtured, it needs to be protected and that's why we limited it to just the two, um, showrooms and we're pretty selective of not having the appointments stagger too much or be intrusive of, of customers even coming back there. We basically barricade other customers from even going back into that space because you want it to be unique to that person. I'm talking about, you know, being a local here for so long he had been established and I know that you guys hold a great importance to that and we've touched on that a little bit, but just having the space here and being here for as long as you guys had been and having people be able to come in and um, and being local, you know, to Redmond talk about that and just kind of that family legacy you guys have had here.

[31:21] So we've been on Redmond way for, I dunno, over tea over 15 years. We've basically stayed on Redmond way on the north side of the street and just shifted up and down a block. And so I think that while Google kind of changed everything from when my mom started the business and for myself now, um, where, you know, we kind of have this argument back and forth where I'm like, if we ever moved the store, she's like, nobody would find us. They know we're in Redmond for 20 years. They just come and they know they'll find is here. They, they, you know, they're comfortable knowing that we're here and I'm like, no, Google will, you know, they'll, they'll find us, don't worry wherever we go. But, um, I think it's just been important for us to, this is where we grew up so to speak. Um, and this is where our blood, sweat and tears have been for so many years. We just, we talk about it, but we've never been able to move. Um, it's really important for us that these people that have known us and purchased from us and found these special occasion dresses from us over the years because we've done prom for so long and evening wear category and Galas and pageants and things like that, that they, that they trust that we will always be here right where they, us from the beginning.

[32:41] Um, and something that we haven't even really talked a lot about even off air, but I'm really fascinated about is your guys's new kind of location you guys have over west Seattle. Um, which is like, right, we're terrible. We haven't come in yet, but I want to hear about data and kind of the idea behind that now and expanding out, you know, in starting that.

[33:03] So, um, our price range and the redmond showroom has always kind of stayed at an average about 300 and um, you know, we just have a lot of people that come through in the, from the community that tell us that they have friends or families that can't afford these types of dresses. And so what we decided to do, we had an opportunity with the property in west Seattle to um, the vision was my mom didn't want to stay in retirement. She wanted to still continue to serve our customers and um, you know, we said let's, let's do this for them. Let's have, um, an extension of our store here in Redmond and let's create an outlet store. And at first we thought let's do it as a pop up concept because we didn't know if it was going to get take. Um, and so we opened it in March.

[33:55] It's about 1100 square feet showroom. It's a really cool industrial building. Um, loved the lighting, has a really cool vibe in there and we brought in at least 1500 to 2000 dresses. Um, actually we took all the dresses that were in this showroom prior to January 2018 things, items that we're up to $600 and we literally just grabbed a u haul and took it all over there. So these are really nice dresses. Um, but we just thought, you know, let's just quickly shift our inventory a little bit quicker and give the opportunity to the community to purchase an even more expensive dress. And the great news is, is all the garments there are between $99 and 99. So there's no reason that any woman in the Seattle community or Pacific northwest now can't have a smell, a gown that isn't affordable.

[34:54] And so you said it was kind of originally a pop up longterm. Now, what's the plan for that space? Yes.

[34:59] So longterm, um, you know, we're open weekends there, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to five, no appointment necessary. The idea is that as long as the community will have us, we'd like to continue to, to offer the, the merchandise there at the off price. Um, so for now it's been very promising. The community has been very receptive. We've had even Miss Universe pageant contestant and they're finding her gown the other day. I have to post a picture of it on, on instagram. Um, you know, girls are sending us their pictures of the dresses that they purchased their, that they wear for prom. Everyone's loving it. So we're happy, they're happy and um, hopefully it's going to be permanent

[35:48] when somebody decides to come through your guys's showroom and go through the process of finding the address. Who Do you guys, uh, like we said it's really kind of personality driven. You, you guys, it's a family environment. Walk me through the process of if I'm somebody that's interested in coming here or at what is that and what does it feel like that process of coming, you know, working with you,

[36:10] you guys, um, our customers tell us that it's felt so easy. So our customers mentioned to us as they're checking out, wow, that was painless, that was so easy. That was fun. Um, and the reason I think that they feel that way is because from the moment that they walk in the door, we greet them and we ask them questions, you know, what's your name, what's your event, when is it, what colors do you like, what style do you like? And so very early on they're experiencing that stylist experience of the person who greets them as interested to know what they want and um, you know, they quickly pick three gowns that they like and we bring them into the fitting room area. And the stylist, um, asks the family member to sit down and enjoy, um, they don't have to help them in and out of the gowns we do.

[37:04] So the stylist will individually put each stress on your body, will zip you and unzip you and we'll show you how the dress has meant to fit properly. You can go to these big department stores and you can shop online all you want. You will never get that personalized experience, that level of customer service because most people don't know how a garment is supposed to fit, there isn't anybody telling you that has Taylor experience or fitting experience what some things are supposed to look like. And I think that's why we make it so easy for customers to enjoy the experience and, and kind of see from a to z what it's supposed to look like as opposed to trying to figure it out and maybe going out there and finding a tailor and this and that. We just do it all for them and with them, if that makes sense. Yeah.

[37:51] And so then once they are, you know, they find the dress that they love, um, it's pretty easy then to kind of get everything else finalized. Right. In terms of like alterations and accessories and things.

[38:01] Yeah. So we have an in house, Taylor, she's amazing. Her name is Lana, she's from Ukraine. She's amazing. She's a master seamstress. She's been doing it for 30 years and um, so we can schedule an appointment for them to meet with our tailor based on her availability. Um, so that's really easy and accessible and then we have a list of Taylor's, so we kind of walk them through the process again of, of finding what they're looking for. Then that's on the evening, worst side. And then on the bridal side, a very similar experience except of course it's by appointment. I'm the bride has a 70 minute appointment with a stylist, kind of a similar process. We sit down and we interview them and talk about what their needs and wants are and then we spent 75 minutes with them to help them find what they want and then if they do say yes to the dress after the celebratory pictures and, and um, uh, all that we um, of course, um, set them up for a timeline of what's to come after they've said yes to the dress as far as appointments and fittings and expectations and things like that.

[39:04] When you talk about that Salvatore Picture, I do want to hear more about that because to me it's really interesting because, you know, you guys I think really easily could have kind of like you said, stayed in evening wear or you know, if your mom wanted to retire or very easily could have not been what you guys are today with, you know, without the work and kind of the know and the modern edge that you guys are bringing now, uh, you know, with social media and instagram and showing, you know, not only like Brian because I see online, you know, Brian's been happy, but also like, hey, we just got this dress in or here's that, or this is what I'm talking about. Marketing through social media like that and the importance you put on it and what your philosophy is when you post the way that you do or do the things that you do on there. There.

[39:54] The idea is for the general public to see what's going on inside of our space without obviously making anybody feel uncomfortable, but it's a celebration. These are special occasions. These are momentous occasions and we want to, not documented, but we technically, yes, we want to be able to capture, let's say the moment. So we, um, you know, social media, again, it's such a big part of our lives and we like to share the steps of these moments with our friends and family. So we like to take a picture with the brides and the bridal suite with the. I said yes. So the dress sign and um, we also have recently brought in a photo booth which has been so much fun because there's video on there, there's boomerangs on there and um, pictures and then they add, we have snapchat filters on there and so that just texts right to the customer's phone and they can just share that on social media.

[40:56] I can't tell you the laughter that that photo booth spreads in here watching grandmas do boomerangs. So much fun and laughing is contagious. And so it's a really good energy. And um, you know, going back to what you were saying with the social media marketing, um, we didn't really know how to engage with our customers. Maybe a year ago. I, I personally didn't understand that, I think, um, I met somebody at the wedding mba this past time that we went and um, she really taught me what it is that, that customer is looking for out of the experience of visiting our social media pages and that, that they want to know who you are besides just the product photo, in other words, not just a picture of what the designer is putting out there, but who are you, what are you offering? Um, you know, they have to trust who they work with, whether they're using you as a videographer or me as a stylist. They want to get to know that person and really know that they know what they're talking about. And so we just learned that we need to show off more of what the product is that we offer in the showroom and the experience and so more so the experience than anything, but just how proud we are of the merchandise that we're selling and how much fun we're having in the showroom and the laughter and the smiles and things like that. So um, it's just giving people a small peephole into what we do here everyday.

[42:32] Yeah. And also with, you know, you do these real, I think you call it real brides now. A real client customer images anime because I see those things like to me, you know, obviously seeing the bride, you know, in the, in the show room and in with the photos you guys post is, is awesome too. But you know, seeing them out or you know, seeing that girl like entrepreneur or even like email, but like seeing them out like that, you're like wow, you know, like that's really real.

[42:58] I live for those videos and those pictures because we spend hours here with our brides and our customers are putting the whole look together. But when we get that, I just tell you, I get instagram direct messages. Like we said it like two in the morning. I got one last night from a prom girl and when I get that Ding on social media and they're sending us the photos, I'm just like drooling. Like I can't wait to open it because it's so exciting. That's what it's all about, right? So just dressing them is not enough. We want to see them on that day. We want to see that smile on their face and, and the messages that flooded with the appreciation and how many compliments they received and how special it was. That's what we're here for. That's what makes us keep going.

[43:47] What is the biggest challenge moving forward that you guys see or what is something that you are going to have to. What's the next concrete step that you guys are going to have to work through or what do you think is the hardest thing is kind of a, a business owner, whether it's a business owner or as a bridal?

[44:06] How do I put this? I think the biggest challenge that we are, we have been seeing in the last couple of years and are continuing to see is making sure that we're helping people in the community not get duped with, um, bad quality of garments and, um, have the right expectation of what they're supposed to receive as far as a beautiful gown or garment because there's much horrible counterfeit websites out there that people are getting duped. And it's so sad. And so competing with that has been really difficult for us because we, you know, we sell it. We're not just selling a service. We're also selling a tangible product. And so they see these images, whether it's a bride or a prom customer online, and then they received the garment and it's nothing like what they thought. And so, um, you know, communicating and connecting with these customers and saying, hey, this is, this is not the product that you're going to get.

[45:09] This is not all the experience that you should be having when you're having your say yes to the dress moment. Whether you're finding a problem just in your mom's sitting in front of you and you guys are going to talk about this memory 10 years from now or um, you know, in the, in the bridal category, um, you know, setting the right expectation of, of, of the value of, of these gowns and why some of them are so expensive. Um, it's, it's really tricky to get people to understand these things over images. So, um, that's something that we're working on. I think connecting with customers through social media is helping a lot with that. I'm setting the right expectations and providing the product knowledge that's been really big for us.

[45:53] Yeah. Because I've seen some of those posts on facebook where, you know, a prom girls or whatever posts like this is the photo that we thought we were going to get the dresses.

[46:04] Exactly. I don't, you know, um, some people don't care, um, but a lot of people do. And um, I actually just ordered two dresses from those sites and I'm going to hang them in the showroom because I want people to, just, not that I'm trying to like, shame other companies or anything like that, but I'm talking about these like Chinese based companies that are really just rip offs and we're going to hang them in the Sherman. We're gonna allow people to educate our customers so that they're not feeling that they're getting ripped off. They can understand, you know, why we're here and what we're doing and what the value of it is. Um, so they can touch and feel and see these things that are just horribly made. And I've been to those companies in China and see how they'd make these counterfeit products and it's amazing what they do.

[46:53] That's crazy. Um, the last question I guess I have is, uh, you know, moving forward, what's your next big goal? Um, you know, was the next thing that you guys are looking to accomplish here. I mean, it's been kind of a huge growth in the last four or five years and now and expanding the west Seattle and all of that. To me, where do you see in the next year your focus is going, whether it's like a personal thing or a company thing.

[47:15] Um, I think that, um, we are pretty consistent with wanting to just continue to service the Pacific northwest community. Um, have so many customers that just still say we had no idea that you existed. We had no idea that you can make a customized wedding dress. And so it's just building more and more connection with people that didn't know that we were here. Um, and you know, bringing them in and allowing them to see what we do here and I'm connecting with with the brides and it's going to naturally grow too, right? Word of mouth is so important in our industry and when you take care of customers, you know, they tell other people. So we just want to continue to serve as the community as we always have, but obviously, um, continue to grow.

[48:10] Well, I want to thank you so much for doing this interview with me today. We're actually recording this before the store is even opening, you know, you've come in and graciously kind of opened up the space, which I also think speaks volumes, you know, just a, your dedication as a business owner and the, somebody you know that you would come in early to do this. It's my pleasure. If people want to know more about you guys, if they want to learn more, get online, where would they go and what would they check out? So,

[48:38] on our website, www.similasboutique.com. There is a tab for about us and it does speak about my story, my mother's story, my grandmother's story, and how we got here. Um, you can reach us on, um, info at samilasboutique.com. You can reach me directly, yasmin@samilasboutique.com. You can always, like I said many times today, you can direct message me on facebook, instagram. Um, you, you can really, I'm very actually accessible, which is amazing because I don't think, I don't know a lot of other people that are as accessible as I am that you know, you have your connection with somebody who really has their hands on the entire bridal market and evening wear market. So you can always call me, ask me questions, email me, text me if you want. I, I have my business card here available to people can always get ahold of me.

[49:33] I echo that sentiment, that even trying to schedule this a very on the ball except you, you say, Hey, I'm with a client right now or I'm at the shop, you know, I got to be present for the client that. But otherwise, you know, always really accessible whether you're in person working with you or online. So

Thank you reid and I have to say the same about you. You've always been such a pleasure to work with whether you were just seeing you in your zone, like out and about, you know, when I saw you doing work for a lot of people in the community or coming in and doing the videography for our store, um, helping us build our brand awareness in any interaction I've ever had with you. And always just, I'm really warm and friendly and authentic and I, I really appreciate you. Thank you.

[50:16] Well, thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much as. Thank you. Bye. Bye.

Episode 8 (Melissa Reiner, Hey Sweets)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by Melissa Reiner of Hey Sweets and thank you so much for coming by here. Melissa tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

[00:26] Well, thanks for having me. I am a custom dessert buffet baker. I have owned my own business since 2013 and I focus more on many desserts.

[00:40] So besides the traditional wedding cake, right? That most people think about that there's, you know, lots more varieties, especially now in 2018. So when you talk a little bit about like kind of the different options you guys offer.

[00:51] Yeah. So, um, I always tell everybody, they kind of asked me about, you know, a menu. So I have a menu on my website. It's a guideline of desserts, but being a custom dessert company, sky's the limit. So I can, you know, if you have a family dessert that you absolutely love and you wanted at your event, I will gladly take that recipe and created into a mini version for you guys. And um, I did a wedding back in 2014. That was a fusion wedding. It was an eastern Indian and Hispanic and ended up taking grandma's trust, let chase recipe that was in Spanish, translated it and had it for everybody at the wedding. It was, it was unique and fun. So having the options to go from a cake, which has been traditional for many, many years to cookies, brownies, tarts, many pies, marshmallows really big into custom marshmallows. There are a lot of fun. Um, you do not have to have a fire to enjoy a marshmallow. Um, you know, per phase kind of sky's the limit.

[02:17] Yeah, I was thinking about that when I was kind of doing my pre podcast research that like, I, I do think nowadays couples really want to customize kind of every part of their wedding, you know, whether it's the dress or the vows or the venue in desserts is no different. Right. I mean you want your guests to enjoy, you know, they obviously want to enjoy. And so, I mean, are you seeing a lot more of that nowadays, that customization,

[02:42] the customization has been on a forward trend for probably, I would say the last three to four years. Um, because a lot of people don't like cake. And when you show up to a wedding and there's a big beautiful cake, don't get me wrong, they're gorgeous, but that means that everybody's going to have cake. Whereas when you walk in and you see a cutting cake, which can be anywhere from a small six inch intimate beautiful cake in the middle too, you know, a two tier with a 10 and an eight inch gives a little more stability and then a variety of just cookies and brownies and cake pops and macro rhones. It just, you get so excited you're like, oh, desert. And there are many so you can have more than one and it creates a variety. So it is a big trend and a lot of people are going away from the big cakes.

[03:41] Yeah. And I was thinking about that too. I mean, and I'm not, this is blasphemous as a wedding vendor, but like I don't really like cake a lot of people don't. And you know, I was saying not fair. You know, if I had a cake at every wedding and we filmed it would be not a good situation. And so, uh, yeah, I mean I think that even as somebody that films, you know, in my, I might like just a little snack or as a guest, right? I mean, you want to have those options as somebody that, you know, might not like cake.

[04:07] Right. And it's also nice because you can take, you know, the couples, um, you know, everybody has different likes, some may not like chocolate and some may not like vanilla or you don't like the cake that you have pie. I have a bride and groom coming up this summer, bright as not a sweets person at all. She was totally hands off in choosing the desserts, left it up to her groom and her mom. And you know, grandma had a definite opinion. She wants chocolate. There was no chocolate on the menu. And Grandma's like, there has to be chocolate. So we're doing a special chocolate dessert just for grandma.

[04:50] That's good. Uh, yeah, we were talking to you. Just, it is so funny to me nowadays though that you know, the cake and the cutting of the cake is still so like prevalent where, you know, we'll film a lot of weddings where, you know, there might not be a bouquet toss is kinda gone out in certain regards or like we didn't do a garter toss belt thing at our wedding. I had filmed too many kind of crazy ones of those. Uh, I told Alan I was like my dj so we're not, I'm not going to crawl on the floor and do that. But uh, you know, I was telling you off fair even though we had a wedding on Monday and this was, I would say more of an eclectic couple. You know, they certainly have their, you know, it was just different. It was kind of more off I would say, like an offbeat bride kind of wedding. And you know, one of the traditions they still had besides, they had a great dessert table with cookies and whatnot, but they wanted to cut a cake and talk about that with parents and everybody and still wanting to have that. But then you guys offering another. Yeah.

[05:50] So yeah, one of the big things that everybody expects tradition, right? There's traditions in every wedding. Things that when you go to, you expect to see them when they aren't there. Um, you're kind of like, oh, parents still expect to see their children do a cake cutting ceremony. Um, perfect example at the wedding tour this last weekend as soon to be bride. And her mom were um, talking with me and, and she was looking at the table and she like this beautiful and she looks at her mom and she goes, I don't want to cake. And almost like you're having a cake. And she says like, no, I don't like cake. I don't want a cake. And I said, you know, we can just do a small cutting cake. And then that way you have this ceremony, it makes the parents and grandparents, you know, happy. And then you can take that cake and either serve your wedding party or the parents and the grandparents. And so the trend is going more towards the small, intimate cutting cake. That's kind of the focal point of a dessert table, but then not everybody has to have the exact same dessert, open it up into a dessert table and you get a variety and it makes everybody happy.

[07:10] Yeah. And we've even done once lately where like the bride will have a cake and the groom will have a. and they'll both have.

[07:17] Yeah. That tradition. You don't see a lot of grills cakes anymore. Um, I have, you know, I've been in business since 2013. I have yet to do a groom's cake. Wow. Yeah. I've never been asked for groom's cake. Huh? Now anniversary cakes I get asked to do all the time because it's hard to keep a cake. Good for a year. Frozen. You can do it. You just, it takes a few steps, but by the time you get done with your wedding, your home, you leave for your honeymoon. It takes a couple of days to freeze a cake and rapids, it's still good at your later. So I do a lot of anniversary cakes a year later.

[08:01] That's funny. We, uh, we got married at salt. He's back in 16 and so they had given us, I think, you know, we had saved the top part or whatever and uh, so we had it in the fridge or the freezer for a year and I think we were under the assumption that it was wrapped and it was like whatever. And so at the either last year at the anniversary, dorothy pulls it out and like, it's still had like the flower on it and she ate it. I mean, I don't know how it tastes like, yeah, not touching that, but they, you know, they just put it in the box, but the lips sealed to us so we didn't eat.

[08:37] There's a few steps to try and keep it moist to where it'll taste. Kind of the same as it did on your wedding day. But, you know, honestly, I would much rather just remake your cake for you if you want to do that ceremony. Um, a lot of people don't continue with that tradition. My husband and I did it and we've been married 18 years and my cake was, it was okay. I think it was more the nostalgia of the wedding and remembering everything and I was like, yeah, this is good. No, no, it's not good.

[09:13] Uh, so talk a little bit about you personally. You said you started the business in 2013. Uh, what were you doing before that or what kind of led you down that path? Well,

[09:23] before that I was a mom and worked in the banking industry. Had kids. I have two boys. They're teenagers now, but my youngest needed a lot more attention. He had, um, he has some learning disabilities, so I, you know, have sense my own wedding, which was huge. Took lots of planning. I kinda did, filled in for friends and family over the years of, you know, helping them facilitate their weddings, which then led to the creation of, hey, sweets in 2013 kind of as a, I can do this in my spare time. Joined the guild, the Snohomish Wedding Guild. And it blew my business up ridiculously fast. Thanks to an amazing photographer and amazing wedding coordinator. They just took my business and our concept and literally blew up our business. I'm crazy busy. I did have a business partner at that time. We've since parted ways, took a little bit of a hiatus and over the last, just over about the last 15 months really started going again and because my boys don't need me at home anymore, um, I have a 16 year old and a 14 year old will have two in high school.

[10:50] So I've really had a lot of time to focus and rebuild. Um, Hey Sweets to what I originally envisioned it to be, where I can focus and give that undivided attention to each of my customers. And um, yeah, so it's just, it's, it's been phenomenal. This year has been great. I am booked to the hilt and already, which this has never happened. I'm booking a year out in advance, which is awesome for me.

[11:26] Is that, am I going to know the answer to this? Is that typical for desserts? I mean, videography is dessert or

[11:32] more like four to six months in advance, but there's been such an increase. Um, and I think it comes along with booking venues, right? Um, they are typically a year to two years in advance, um, and you're finding wedding coordinators are stepping in and saying, you know, you really need to think about all of your vendors and desserts is typically probably one of the last to get booked. And I am turning away so many August couples right now. I am blown away that like last last minute. So I'm really excited to see, um, my year starting to book out and having much earlier brides. Um, so my wedding season this year didn't officially start till May next year so far my first January actually will start of a January already booked in April, so it's starting to book a lot further out, which for me and my family, um, I'm having to plan my, my family's life out a lot sooner in advance. So

[12:48] what is that like? Do you enjoy that? Is it stressful? I mean, I know that, you know, if you have like a normal nine to five, you can take a week off or call in sick. But you know, when you're like a wedding professional, when you're booking, you know, a year out, what do you enjoy that is that?

[13:04] Well, it's funny, I just had this conversation with my husband the other day is that, um, I was kind of caught off guard with how early brides are wanting to book for next year. Um, I don't really have plans for vacations and things. So the nice thing for me being my own business owner is that I don't have a storefront so I work out of a commercial kitchen and I'm able to pick and choose my how busy I am and when I want to take time off with family. And so I'm kind of like, oh, oh, I already have to think about next summer. And actually, you know, early spring next year, which I know my boys have events that I'm scrambling online to see when do we have to go to Houston if my son makes it to worlds for robotics. So trying to fit that in. So it, it, it is great to be booked so far out. But on the other hand, family life, I'm like, oh, I actually might miss a few things next year, which I've always held a job that has allowed me not to miss out on those things for my boys. So it'll be an interesting year. It'll be a learning year next year. Definitely with the advancement, the advanced bookings.

[14:21] Yeah. And I do to, just to echo that in terms of like brides, you know, we were at this wedding to her too and like yeah, having these conversations with brides and grooms now for 2019 is like so refreshing because yeah, you do get these like, you know, and I'm sure with desserts like these last minute, you know, like I'll get an email, hey, so you know, we were thinking about maybe potentially on though and they'll be like June 30th and you're like, no, we've been like, that is a day. Like, you know, they're like, they're like, it's just like the nugget in their head and you're like, well no, there I've already turned down a bunch and we are booked. But. So I mean, I think like for any vendor and for, you know, like any brides and grooms, like book the vendors in a dance and like figure out, you know, make a list of like what you want and what's important to you. But like I do think it's getting to that time where like Seattle is so competitive in terms of like the seasonality that we have and the dates that, you know, I mean we, it, you know, I have two Saturdays in August next year in the, are gone now.

[15:27] Yeah. I have two dates in, two prime dates in August that are gone for, for where we live in the area we live in because our summit doesn't really start til then for nice weather, which was very surprising to me. I almost didn't book them because I was like, that's a long ways out. And especially with, with my line of business, of course, you know, I'm working with fresh ingredients. I never know what the costs of butter's going to be. Vanilla has gone through the roof, which affects my pricing. Um, so I'm, you know, I'm having to give that caveat of here's kind of, you know, where we're at price wise, but it might have to change depending on butter, eggs, vanilla, if it goes up again, oh my word, I don't know what I'm going to do because it's like gold right now. So, um, and they're all really comfortable with it. It's built into my contract, you know, if, if ingredients goes up, sorry, but going to have to change your pricing,

[16:33] that's crazy. I would never have thought that the price of like, Oh yeah, why is that just so

[16:40] vanilla used to be for a bottle? Eight 99. And then um, uh, the uh, major farm, a major producer, it got flooded and went up to $35 a bottle. Yeah, it's, it literally went from eight 99 a bottle to 34, $99 overnight. It was crazy. Same thing with chocolate. I use a free trade chocolate and what the farm, one of the forms that I'm, I get chocolate from. They had a big flood also and so I couldn't get chocolate in the bulk amounts that I had wanted for a while because they lost their crop. So it, it's very, it can be very temperamental.

[17:30] That's crazy. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, do you have, do you do more than one wedding per day?

[17:35] No. So, hey, sweets is me, myself and I, um, if I have a really big wedding I will have someone come the day of to help me set up, but for baking and planning and meeting with customers, it's just me and that allows me to give 100 percent of my attention to each wedding and I can give all focus and I'm not worried about multiple weddings. So no, I try not to do a Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Um, this summer I actually have one weekend in August. That is crazy, but two of the days are just cutting cakes and the Saturday is a huge 400 person wedding. Huge, huge wedding. So no, just one I, I would be pulling my hair out and it'd be great.

[18:32] Talk about the process of working with the clients. I mean, what, do you, what I mean, is it just the baking that you love or is it kind of this scene, the complainant,

[18:41] all of it, all of it. I mean, I'm a mom of two boys that live in a house of boys. I'm a very girly girl. I love weddings. There's nothing more exciting than a wedding and seeing it all come together. So, um, I started out, I'm normally either a phone call or emails kind of talking back and forth about their date, where their venue is kind of, you know, what they're looking for. Then we will do a tasting, so we will meet, um, I bake out of a commercial kitchen. It's not a pretty place. So we don't meet there. I go to my clients, um, so it's comfortable in their own setting. Um, I go all over Washington, um, and we meet, they pick out a few things. We kind of design a table together, we talk about display items. Um, if I have the cake stands, I've really downgraded over the last couple of years because they take up a lot of room.

[19:44] It takes up a lot of room to keep cake stands, but I kind of, I have a huge collection. I love them everywhere I go, I'm always looking for cake stands. So if I have them and it goes with their theme, their decor, what they're looking for, they are there to use. I do not charge extra. I don't charge a rental fee for my cake stands or my platters or plates. Um, and then if we do have to rent, then I will meet up with them that one of the many different rental companies will kind of choose, you know, what will look best, plan the table out together. Um, and then we kind of touched base about a month before. Make sure, you know, numbers haven't drastically changed, that they don't want to make any flavor changes. Um, and then I show up on the day of and produce and beautiful dessert table that they were dreaming of and hoping that their guests all love everything that they have.

[20:47] Whether some of the biggest challenges maybe that people don't think about that you go through are the hardest things about kind of what you do.

[20:54] Well, one of the hardest things around this area, um, and a reason why I do not do stat big wedding cakes anymore is driving with cakes. Um, I have told my husband since I started this, that I want a neon sign for the back of my car that says cake onboard, stay back 50 feet. Um, so driving, it's always the day of delivery is always very. I get very anxious once everything's loaded that it leaves the kitchen and shows up at the venue the exact way. But I of course always come prepared with buttercream and everything in case there is no slam on the brakes and everything shifts, which does happen out here in the Seattle area. We have crazy traffic.

[21:49] I uh, I stumbled across a facebook video the other day of like cake, like fail kind of thing where like, you know, it'd be like a big 20 foot thing with like little plastic and they fell over, fell in the pool and I was just kind of funny. I mean a lot of this stuff was dated, you know, you could tell us from like the eighties and these pig extravagant. But I mean it was funny. I mean I couldn't help but laugh. I mean I would probably be upset if that was my wedding cake.

[22:15] Yeah, it, it has happened. I have had a few, a few fails in the past and with that anxiety I don't want that anxiety to pass on to my customers. So I'm like, we're going to go with cutting cakes. And also I'm a butter cream only designer. I don't work with fondant. Um, it's a personal thing. I'm not a big fan of it and it's really finicky to work with. So I design and buttercream, which is nice because you always bring extra with you and you can always fix a little dimple here or there when setting up.

[22:56] Yeah. We uh, we had the wedding on Memorial Day and they have a, it was a nice, I mean, you could tell it was really nice cake and uh, yeah, you could tell like in the corner, you know, and we don't know if it was like a kid did

[23:09] when swiped it out. That's always, I'm like, should you do you put a sign up that says stay back, don't touch until the bride and groom. Some of them do it. Um, it also, you know, depends on where the dessert table is set in the venue. If it's um, you know, with everybody in the same room or if it set off somewhere where somebody can't see it and have a watchful eye on it. Even. I even had so funny. I've even had people as I'm setting up the dessert table before the wedding has even started. Oh, can I have one of those? No, you can't have that before the bride and groom do either. Cut the cake or have a piece of pie or whatever they're going to do for their discharge people. No, this isn't for you to touch yet.

[23:56] People love desserts. The wedding on Monday. Then the offbeat, one day I was taking shots because they had just set up the cake table and they had. So we got down at five, so this was probably three. So it's not like a late, you know, it's 9:00. We're all starving. I think it was 3:00 PM just on past apps and uh, I think it was the grandfather of either the bride or the groom was like, you know, I'm trying to take shots at this and he's coming up. And I said, sir, you know, I say, I think, um, you know, I think we, you know, we, we, we all need to wait, you know, like acting, like I would try to do it too. Oh yeah man, we got to wait. But uh, and then his daughter had had come up and was like, oh, you know, we need to go. He's like, well, I'm hungry. Then she's like, well no, the buffet is coming, like there's still more food, but people love.

[24:46] I mean, you deserve, you get. I mean, it's a sugar it, you love it, you'll love it and it looks so good and which is, which makes me happy because I put a lot of heart and soul into every piece that I make and meeting with um, my brides and grooms about, you know, how do they want their cupcakes to look, what do they want to top of their brownies, you know, how decorated do you want your sugar cookies. Um, so it's, it, it's, it's a work of art for me and it's fun and I get really excited and I literally wait on pins and needles until after the event to hear back from them. Did you love it? Was it everything that you would hope for your guests? Did they enjoy it? So it really, I get so invested into each wedding that I do or event because I don't do just weddings. I do birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, I do dinner parties, I do corporate events, but every single item that I bake for, I put so much of myself into and I take great pride in my work.

[25:51] Is it nice to have that creative outlet? I mean, do you view it that way?

[25:55] I do, yeah. That is, that's my definitely my creative side. Um, you know, I don't do a lot of like arts and crafts, but I used to when I was younger and before kids, you know, kids take up a lot of your time and you give up a lot of your hobbies. And so this really allows me to try new things, new techniques. There's always something new coming out in the desert world, um, to try. And I love being able to present that to my customers for the wedding tour this weekend I actually did painted buttercream on my cakes and I use glitter and I painted sugar cookies. So I use a couple of new techniques that I've been playing around with. And the tour was a great way to put it in front of people to get their feedback. And it went over like gangbusters. I absolutely loved it. So I'm like, great. So I'm going to spend more time financing these techniques and creating different. It's just different ways to add a different style and more options for my customers to choose from.

[27:00] Do you find it difficult to stand down A. I mean this is the market. Is it real competitive market? Talk about that.

[27:06] Yes it is a competitive market, but everybody does their own unique spin on desserts. Everybody has a different recipe. There's always something new coming out, a different style. But honestly, whether it's me versus another, you know, dessert company, everybody works together. And if I am in a bind, I have my list of other desert providers that can help me out in a pinch. And it's really nice because I've created some great friendships, um, you know, over the years. Um, so yes it is competitive, but everybody has their own niche and their own personality. And I may not click with a bride, but that's okay because I'm going to refer them to someone that I think would be perfect for them.

[27:59] What would you say your niches then in terms of how you, how you like to portray you and your company?

[28:05] Um, I would say that I am, I'm a scratch Baker Baker, so I use fresh ingredients. I'm small batch because it's just me. It's, I don't take on multiple events per day, per weekend, so I can really focus on getting good fresh ingredients. Um, you know, I live in a rural area where I have access to farmers markets and tons of farms that I can go and get fresh ingredients from. Um, like right now I have um, a couple of weddings this summer that require rhubarb for strawberry rhubarb pies. I think I've kind of flashed back this summer to the seventies in between carrot cakes for cutting cakes to bunt cakes to strawberry rhubarb. Um, so right now I'm literally getting all the rhubarb that I can, processing it, freezing it, getting cut up and ready to go. So I have it stored and ready access to fresh berries, make my own preserves. So just being able to. I'm not, I don't make things in huge quantities. It's for that event. And um, I, when I shop for ingredients, it's for that event. It's not for the month.

[29:28] Uh, we have a carrot cake. Does that mean you know,

[29:32] I just, it, it kind of, it's funny. Things come and trends in waves and I have been a little shocked at how big the request for carrot cake has been this year. I normally probably make one a year and it's normally for my husband because he likes it. I'm not a huge fan of it, but I make it for him because he likes it. But I have for brides this summer that I'm doing carrot cakes for Bundt cakes, mini Bundt cakes, pancakes, pancakes are huge. Huge trend coming back and strawberry rhubarb.

[30:05] It's like with all this new.

[30:07] Exactly. Yeah.

[30:08] Yeah. She just, dorothy likes it. It's carrot cake has to be more healthy because it's got nuts in it. Right? Well, well

[30:16] see everybody likes a different carrot cake. So I have a base carrot cake, which is just your character with, you know, just your, your spices. Then you can literally go from eight carrot cake to a loaded carrot cake. Massive. I'm from coconut in it to pineapple to nuts, golden raisins. I mean, there's so many attitudes that you can and everybody likes something different. Um, so it's fun when they say carrot cake, I'm like, what does that mean to you? Like I can make it this way or you can choose all of these different ingredients to add in. And it's pretty much my loaded carrot cake for the summer.

[30:58] I'm talking to you about trends. How do you deal with the gluten free? Kind of a trend I than that if it's a trend or lifestyle, it's a lifestyle like that.

[31:08] I think more out here. Um, I think, you know, it's more an intolerance out here. So I do all I can offer gluten free items with the caveat that I do not work in a designated gluten free kitchen. So there is cross contamination, but when it comes down to gluten free, I always tell them I have one other person in the business that I refer to that makes absolutely phenomenal. Gluten free, dairy free, Vegan free desserts. And I always, I'm like, I can make it for you. Yes, but if you want like phenomenal, if you don't bake that way all the time, it's not a finesse for you. And if I'm not 100 percent like, oh, this is to die for because that's what I think every dessert should be. You should take a bite and be like, oh, then I send them off to a local baker. Um,

[32:13] talk about, uh, I have asked this earlier, but, uh, the cake at your own wedding, when did you guys do?

[32:19] So my son. So I had the big huge stacked cake. We had over 400 people at our wedding and it was gigantic. My husband's family, my family are the first to originating families and mineral. So everybody was invited to our wedding. It was ginormous. I'm the bakery that did our cake is still in business down in Kent. Um, our cake is still offered. I have never ordered it sense,

[32:57] um,

[32:58] because I kind of prefer my own baking, but it was massive, huge, beautiful buttercream cake with cascading flowers down it, it was your traditional wedding cake, but does it, it would have never come into our minds 18 years ago to do a dessert buffet. It wasn't a thing. I mean, you literally went to the wedding shows and you tasted cake after take after take after kicked to the point that you're like, ah, I don't, I don't care. It's cake.

[33:32] Do you do a lot of tastings for your clients?

[33:35] Yeah. So I always offer a tasting. I'm, I do charge a small fee of $25, but if they end up booking with me, that feed just goes towards their total cost because I'm not a bakery and I'm all, I am a bakery, but I'm not a storefront where that overhead is covered in day to day operations. I. um, so yes. Uh, I always recommend doing tastings. Got a nice thing about, you know, the wedding tour was that people got to sample my stuff. So now those brides that I am following up with, those aren't ones that we have to schedule tastings now we just have to sit down and do the fun part. Right. Choose what they want, how many different options they want to offer their guests. Um, and you don't dry out a beautiful dessert table with stands and you know, do you want flowers, do we need to, do I need to coordinate with your florist? So

[34:35] yeah. So you do a lot of that coordination.

[34:36] Well, yeah, I, I get as much information from um, my brides and grooms as possible to meet with their florists because especially if they're not going to do a cake topper and they want flowers, I need to know, you know, are you going to have a set piece there for me that I just placed on top or do you want your florists? Do I need to make sure that the cake's there at a certain time that you want your floors to put the flowers on the cake or are they going to leave stuff for me to, you know, set organically,

[35:09] um,

[35:10] on, on the cake. And then it's always nice to kind of tie the dessert table in with a few similar flowers that you have around the venue to kind of make everything cohesive. So I always recommend that they have a piece or two, um, for their dessert table

[35:29] because that was, I'm flashing back now. That was actually kind of like a big sticking point at our wedding and we didn't have our, it was pretty standard, like I don't think we had that many issues kind of planning. But that was because we had our cake through the venue by a third party and there was the issue of like, okay, when they, kate gets there, like they wouldn't do the flowers, but then the flower person wasn't sure if they would do that. And he was like. But it was like a thing where I'm like I don't really. Somebody needs to do this.

[36:01] Yeah. So I always like, um, actually before I came in I was emailing with a coordinator for a wedding coming up this summer in August. And between talking to the bride last night and talking to the wedding planner, I'm getting kind of the ideas together so she can go to the florist to make sure. And then, um, basically we decided that I'm just going to place flowers organically on the cake, which means then I need to make notes for myself that I need to make sure I have my shares with me, that I have floral tape because you can't stick fresh flowers into a cake. You shouldn't stick them. There's only, there's particular flowers that are okay. But you know, if you took a poinsettia and stuck it in, that's a poisonous flour and you put it into a fresh cake, that's not good. So, you know, I, there's things that I need to bring with me. If I'm doing the flowers, the flowers is just going to drop them off. They're going to be by the table and then I'm going to put them in. And if they're going into cake, then the stems have to be wrapped.

[37:07] See, that's fascinating. Thought about that.

[37:10] Well, it's something that you learn as you're in the business. Um, and yeah, you wouldn't think that by putting a fresh flower, but you got to think about it right? When you cut a flower, there's always some, you know, they're live so stuff comes out of their stems. You're sticking that into butter, cream and cake, then that means that you're going to eat it. And unless it's an edible flower, you really shouldn't be eating that.

[37:38] Well, I mean that's obviously why you need to hire somebody because I'm, I just, that's all I do is stick point. Said this good idea. What do you. And that actually segues to a question I wanted to ask you. What do you know as a, as a baker, as a dessert maker, you know, wedding vendor. What do you wish that people knew more that they don't know either when they approach you or when they get ready for the wedding, whether you wish clients knew more.

[38:07] I. Well I wish they knew more of like what flavors they like and don't like. Not well, I want everybody to enjoy this. The dessert table is a great representation of the couple getting married, right? It's a showcase of their likes and what they like. That's what should be showcased on your dessert table. So what do you like when it's your, what do you have to have every year or at Christmas? What is the dessert that you have, you know, you have to have. So come with, you know, a better idea of kind of flavor wise, what are you looking for? And then my part is to then take that and go. Okay. So we're going to stick with a color Palette. So let's, how about if we do, you know, if it's. Well, let's go with the color theme from the, the Guild, uh, the wedding tour that we just did.

[39:04] I was at Moroni meadows and our colors were white, green and gold. So, um, I did sugar cookies that had painted green glitter on because I do royal icing cookies. So those were painted. I did, um, coconut lime cupcakes. So the green and the white came out in the cupcakes decorated with lime zest and a toasted coconut. I also did pistachio Brownie bites. So the green color came out of that. Um, and then I did per phase that had golden Kiwis in it, so it kind of brought out that greeny gold and white color, so kind of taking different flavor pallets and giving them different options, um, to make sure that everything is cohesive with either their colors or the theme.

[39:55] I, uh, as somebody that my dessert is a box of Oreos in the fridge

[40:00] being dipped in any color,

[40:01] lemon zest a I seen in. That sounds pretty good. Yeah. Um, talk about, I mean you talked about, you know, trying new techniques and things. I mean, what, what's like the new thing right now or what is the big, the big hotness?

[40:18] Well, there's a, there's, well there's always more than one. So I'm painting with butter cream is becoming really popular. And then the smooth glazed I'm shiny cakes are a really big one and I'm playing around with that. It's really tricky. Um, and the um, letters and number stacked cookie, their cookie cakes. So there, you know, like two feet by two feet and it's either like a monogram with in a couple of layers with frosting just round dollops in between. And then on top covered with flowers and macaroni and I'm a fruit so it's a really pretty, but it's like, it looks like a cake, but it's actually a sugar cookie. Um, I haven't ventured out into that one because I don't want a cookie cake. I want cake. I want a cookie. Um, so yeah, there's, there's always something new. But the big, the big thing that I'm really playing around right now I'm painting with buttercream.

[41:35] Do you struggle with tasting too much defined? Or is it. I always curious about that. It's like a caterer.

[41:44] Yeah. Everybody's like, how do you not weigh a thousand pounds? I have been working with my recipes for a very long time to the point that I don't really have to even look at them unless I'm like, quadrupling, you know, the recipe, then I have to do math in my head to increase the volume. But no, unless it's a brand new recipe, I really don't taste a lot. My boys are my Guinea pigs, my husband and my boys. My boys are a bean pole bean poles. They luckily got my side of the family's metabolism. Um, they're being impulse, but they complained that they're kind of spoiled. They are always having my desserts and when they have functions at school parties and stuff, people are bringing, store bought stuff and they're like, eh, there's cookies waiting at home. So, um, my, my tester is, my boys are very honest, whether they like something or not.

[42:51] My youngest is very adventurous and flavors. So when I have, you know, a couple of years when I started baking with lavender, he was my Guinea pig and adjust last week. He's like, when are you making your lavender cupcakes again? And I said, actually this summer because I'm making them for my sister's baby shower. So he's like, oh good, you have not had anyone order those in a really long time because there's always extra and it always comes home to my house and either my kids eat it or my husband takes it to work and his employees really appreciate that.

[43:27] Um, I guess just from your email, I think obviously like, you know, cakes important to the wedding, desserts are important, you know, what is your philosophy of food or desserts like in that place, like where do you see your place, you know, I could say like why is he deserts is like, you know, it brings everybody together. Like what is your philosophy, you know, where do you place yourself and kind of that the snapshot of that Wedding Day, the importance of the dessert table.

[43:56] Well, I think that sticking with tradition, it's still a really important piece. You, you have your toast, you have your father, daughter dance, you have your groom and mom dance and then you have your cake cutting ceremony. Whether it's a cake cutting or whatever that is. That's a big part where that's Kinda like right before the party really starts everybody, you know, at a birthday party, you do your gifts and everything in. You kind of then end with blowing out the candles and cutting the cake and everybody, you know, desserts about gathering and sharing and enjoying something sweet together. So I see my part just as important as the officiant who starts the wedding, you know, everybody has their place, you've got your, whether you say dessert is open or they actually do a cake cutting ceremony, then that leads into the party and then when people are out on the dance floor, they always, if there is a dessert table, they are always making extra trips back to the dessert table to grab a bite here and there. And that's what's really nice about doing many desserts because you can have multiples instead of one piece of cake. Because when the cake is gone it's gone. And I always bring more than what my brides and grooms have ordered. There's always extra because people always come back for more.

[45:36] I do think, yeah, I do think you could have like a couple of different. I'm desert without it. Like I think Jim Gaffigan, I always made the joke where like if you ask somebody like, Oh I hate that I ate a whole pizza, you'd be like, oh good for you. But the fuck, oh I eat a whole cake. In fact, man, you got a problem, right? And like, you know, maybe like, yeah, one piece of cake, you know, may have three pieces of cake. But yeah, if you have like

[45:56] many deserts, they're either the stuff, the items I make, they're either a bite or they're two bites. So one bite you're like, oh, well that's just like one fork of a cake. Well I can come back and get some of that or I can come back and get some of that. And when you've been out on the dance floor dancing and having a drink, you definitely want to grab something sweet and have in your hand to, you know, sustain you on the dance floor.

[46:23] Uh, in terms of, you know, moving forward now, uh, whether your goals, you know, in the next year, where are you looking to kind of expand to.

[46:32] So my big dream since I started this was that I wanted to retail space. I've been helping my girlfriend close down a retail clothing store. She's going out of business and so I've been filling in here and they're in the retail capacity. I don't want to retail store anymore, so plants have kind of changed. What what I'd like to do is I would like to have my own dedicated kitchen laid out my way. That works best for me. I'm currently, we're an at. I don't have a marble top where I can work with chocolate because I like to play with chocolate. Um, so that is our goal. That's where we're saving up all of our extras is to build out our own commercial kitchen up in Monroe. No, well the kitchen I work out of is in Monroe, but I live in snohomish. I'm more the area. I'd like something a little bit closer to home just so that my travel time isn't so far. I have been up until

[47:38] this last summer when I, I'm at a new kitchen. I'm in Monroe, which fell into my lap and then I have been absolutely ecstatic that it's available to me because they don't share it with anyone, which has been phenomenal for me. I have been traveling to Woodinville Redmond, uh, you kind of have to pick and choose who has availability. We don't have a lot of commissary kitchens up in the snow much county area, so it's been a struggle over the years. Now I have a dedicated kitchen that I know that I can go to whenever, but it would ultimately be great if I could build my space out to my, how I bake.

[48:18] I do think that that's a tough balance or to try to like, I don't know if there is a right or wrong. I mean, you know, I just interviewed a damn manning for the podcast and like he has his own studio and like there's lots of photographers that are home base, you know, I'm home in my living room. Uh, yeah. And it's like, would I be more productive if I had my own studio space? Like probably, you know, but then you obviously have to wear like the risks,

[48:43] the risk and the cost and the insurance and all of that. Um, but

[48:49] where I'm at, well, one, I don't want to bake in my house. I, I want, I like to get out of my house. I do all in. I'll probably always keep it this way to do all paperwork and all business out of my office in my house because I don't need to go to the kitchen and do that, but it's nice to escape. And also I'm a night owl once I'm done with my family for the night. I leave the house at about eight, 8:30, literally will get done with dinner and I will pack my stuff up and I'll be like, see Ya. I won't come home until like 2:00 in the morning, which is how I like, I can go to the kitchen, crank the music up. I am not disturbing anybody. Um, because who I share the kitchen with, they're never there past 6:00. So it's me. I can come in my sweats and my t shirt and yeah, just do my thing. Jam Out and have fun. I love baking at night. Awesome.

[49:48] What has been so fun having you come in today? Uh, I've enjoyed meeting you now face to face and thank you so much for taking the time to come in. If people wanted to learn more about, you know, your company and what you guys do, what would you have them check out?

[50:04] My website is www.heysweetsbuffets.com. I am on Facebook and Instagram. You can follow me at Hey Sweets Buffets on both of those and I will be at the Big Fake Wedding this year at the 101, um, in November, uh, on the 15th. So if they want to kind of see another, you know, what a wedding setup would look like and what kind of a display I would do. That would be my next show. Otherwise it's just the guild.

[50:33] And for people that don't know, that's a wedding show where they set it up,

They set it like a, like, like a real wedding. They have couples come in and kind of do a vow renewal and you the whole place is set up like, like a real wedding, like kind of similar to the wedding tour at each venue that we did.

[50:52] Awesome. Well thank you so much for coming in. Be sure to check back next week for a wedding, a wedding vendor interview. And thank you so much, Melissa. Thanks a lot. This has been Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Bye.

Episode 7 (Angela Strecker, Blue Wings Events)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I'm joined here today by my good friend Angela Strecker of Blue Wings. And Angela, thank you for coming in. Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you guys are, what you do.

Thanks Reid. I am Angela Strecker with Blue Wings Events and we are based out of Tacoma, Washington, but we cover all of Washington state's wherever we want to go. Really our clients want to send us. We do weddings, corporate events, um, life celebrations. We do a lot of weddings during the summer and then during the summer we're been picking up quite a bit of corporate events. We do different types of corporate events, like picnics, networking, meetings, all types of different types of events. Um, and we've been in business for about three years now and we have two or three staff members. Depends on time of the year. Right now we're picking up more staff, but I have a one full time person and then myself, I'm full time too, so this is a full time business for me. It's not a, not a fly by the night or part time business, so I do not have another job. I am full time for my clients and so it was my one staff member and then I have another staff member that is part time and then we pick up other staff members to the summer

[01:34] and I do think that that's a really good differentiating point. A. And I was reading about that on your website too, you know, talking about how this is full time and talk about. It's obvious to you and me, but why is that a key differentiating point to you and why is that something that you really like to emphasize that this is what you do full time?

[01:51] Well, I like to emphasize it because I'm not distracted by another job. I don't have another boss. I am my boss. I'm not distracted by a nine to five job or um, you know, another job pulling me apart, pulling me away from my wedding so that when, when my couple's call me and want my attention, I'm there for him. Um, yeah, I do have office hours and I do shit. I don't work on Mondays, but if it's an emergency I will work for them and. But when you're working another job, a lot of times when they're working part time somewhere else, they can't answer the phone and they're distracted. And plus I'm engrossed into the business. I am, I, I tell my clients all the time. I'm like going to a trade show a 100 times over the amount of people behind me. I'm this filter.

[02:48] I'm a funnel. I'm one person at the top, but behind me is hundreds of vendors because I work the business, I'm involved in the business, I go to the trade shows, I, I'm really involved in different things. So because I have invested myself into the business and I'm full time, it makes a difference. I'm really involved in the business so I know what's going on and I think that that's kind of where I like to make sure clients know that just so that they know, oh, you're really serious. This is not a, you're gonna be here tomorrow. You're not going to be gone.

[03:23] Yeah. And obviously not, but you can't be a wedding vendor and have a have a part time job. But I am finding as I'm interviewing people that I really trust and that I know are talented professionals, a lot of them are like you and can come over here at 10:00 on a Tuesday or whatever day of this is because it is something that you do full time and you're able to build your schedule. And also I think that's helpful with you know, meeting with clients and you know, if they need to meet after work or on the weekend or whatever, that you can kind of accommodate that. Whereas yeah, if you're working like a nine to five or something that you might not, it's difficult. So

[04:03] I do get a lot of clients that are, that come from out of state. I do a lot of events at thorn with castle down in Tacoma and a lot of those clients are coming from Alaska and Idaho and California. They come from all over the place, Hawaii and they come in and they come in out of town and they got, they got a day and I got to bring vendors in, you know, lining them up and so a lot of times I need vendors, I need people that can be flexible in their schedules and so I'm looking for sometimes looking for certain vendors that are, that can be flexible with their time schedule because this person is flying in or. And then I have a lot of clients that are professionals. Most of my clients are professionals, lawyers, doctors and they were crazy hours.

[04:51] I'm meeting with clients at 9:30 at night sometimes or I'm meeting with them early in the morning or the doctors at lunch hour. You know, it's kind of one of those things where I'm really flexible and not that I don't, like you said, I don't. Some of my vendors do have other jobs and I know it's only because they're really good at what they do, but I'm a, I like to reiterate it again because I'm insured and I like to make sure that all my vendors are insured and usually sometimes part time ones aren't insured so I kinda. But yeah, it's something that I like to let people know that that's how we work more full time.

[05:30] And so your guys' tagline for Blue Wing Wedding and Events is "Letting you be a guest at your own event." Talk about that and kind of the. I think when you're a company, I think you know, your branding and your tag line is really, really important. Right. And I've actually been hired to do videos for companies and they're like trying to come up with a tagline like as we're doing the video and I'm like, that's a terrible, you know, you should really know, right. Who you are talking about that and what does that mean to you? Letting you be a guest that you're on the event?

[06:00] Well, when I introduced myself a lot of times to people before I even tell them that I'm an event planner or wedding planner, because usually the first thing they say is, Oh, I'm not, I'm not getting married. I don't need you. I usually tell people what I do is I allow people to be in the moment. I allow them to be a guest at their own event. Being in the moment and being a guest at your own event means mom's able to stand there and see her daughter walked down the aisle and not be worried about did she get the right flowers or is her, is her dress lined up right in the back or is the catering got the appetizers out? Mom's just standing there looking at her daughter walking down the aisle and the videographer and the camera guy's got the great picture of it.

[06:54] Um, or you know, if it's a corporate event there, they're allowed to be able to network and be there in the moment and be worth their clients. And making sales without worrying is there. That vendor didn't show up. Why didn't they show up? So to me it's about not having to worry about anything about just being there in the moment, not having your phone in front of your face and taking a picture because we've got it. We've hired the professionals to take the pictures. We've hired them to do things. So I just had a client just the other day just yesterday, asked me, well, who's going to take down the tent and who's going to take down the tables and who's gonna to. Because it's, it's a whole setup. I mean we're talking food trucks were talking and everything and they're like, because we're renting everything and they're like, well, who's going to take all that down?

[07:51] We're going to have to bring in people. I go, no, we hired professionals. When you get up in the morning, it's gone. And she's like, oh cool. Yeah, you get to leave when the last guest leaves. And she was like, oh, that's amazing. This is. Yes, that's why you hired me. I will be the last person to leave. I will make sure you get your deposit back and everything will be fine. So just leave. And that's what I want, that's what I want people to do. I want them to say, oh my gosh, I got to see my daughter walk down the aisle and I didn't worry about a thing

[08:31] and that reminds me. So we were talking off air about where we met in. We agree with that. I think it was the Green River Community College Open House and that was a slower show and we did a lot of talking. I'm kind of waiting there and I, I remember telling you that to me, a wedding planner, as you know, if you asked me any other vendor know, photographer florist to me, I think a wedding vendor or a wedding coordinator or planner has the hardest job trying to sell their services to the client because it is a fact that you can't get married without a, you know, planning or coordinator. That doesn't necessarily like it just because you got married. Yes. That is a success in terms of like you got married but you know, was the food hot or where people. Did people feel like they knew what was going on or where the vendors taking care of her, you know, there's a lot of intangible things that Kinda go into, yes you did get married, but like maybe you know, you tripped 18 times throughout the day to get there where I think it is working with doing weddings with the planner and doing weddings without a plan or as a videographer.

[09:45] I mean it is a night and day experience in terms of not only my experience but more importantly the bride and groom, you know, their experience and not only that, like you said, their families, you know, the mother of the bride, father of the bride. What challenges do you find in trying to sell who you are and your services to clients out there in the world?

[10:08] Well, you're right. It's, there's nothing tangible. There's nothing that they get at the end of the day that they look at a picture and Oh, I've got this picture that says I hired a planner. Um, so it is a little harder to sell. Um, usually I, um, I usually, it's stress usually is never one thing that brings them to us is stress. Usually they're overloaded. We usually with clients, my clients, a lot of them are professionals. They are both working and they just don't have the time. They really don't have the time. And we have found with a lot of our clients, um, I just tell them just handed over and I'm like, I will let you pick your venue. I will give you three or four choices. I'll let you pick your venue. I will let you pick your photographer. And that's about it. And the rest of it, you're just giving me the money.

[11:10] And most of them you just see the stress just drop right there. They're like, really? I go, yeah, well you get to pick the food. I mean, you get to pick the color but you don't get to pick the rest of it. That I'm going to carry the contracts, I'm going to carry it. I'm going to do it all. You're not gonna touch anything anymore. I'm not going to make you sign another piece of paper. And when, when I start talking to them, because that's kind of how we're, our plan is with, with us, we're a little bit different than some other planners. We're going a little bit of a different route. Um, so when, when we deal with that with client, when I tell clients that and they realized that they don't have to do anything after they hand over their check of how much over their wedding is going to cost and then I'm going to them on budget because I've got all their money, they're like relieved and they're like, really?

[11:58] I don't have to do anything else. Nope. You don't have to. Nothing show up to them. They're just done. And so I, that is kind of what I sell to them. And then I sell to them that I don't even sell to them. I, I, I convinced that even have to convince them. It's just telling them, you know, I don't want you to be, I don't want you to have to think that. I don't want you to be that person that has to tell somebody at your wedding. I'm sorry, you have to stop drinking. I don't want you to be the bad person. I don't want your mom to be the bad person or your aunt or your cousin or your third cousin. I don't care who they are. I don't want any of them to be the bad person. I want to be the bad person.

[12:45] Let me carry the load and turned to the caterer and say, get the mold off of the bread and fix it or let me turn to, you know, the best friend that has passed out and his streaking down the hallway, which we've had and have to deal with that so that I can be the bad person, not you, because no one likes having to turn to their aunt or uncle or the caterer and say, can you fix, you know, you can't do that. But I, I, I'll do it in a second. So when I tell people that I get to be that person, they're like, oh, I'm dealing with all the time, you know, restraining orders. I mean, there's all types of things. You know, the family dynamics. I got restraining orders. I've had all types of things you wouldn't believe. Um, but I just deal with it and so what I tell people that I've had clients hire me just to deal with restraining orders and issues with moms and be the third party, be the go between. And so when I tell people that, then they're like, oh, okay, please can I, can you charge more? I'm like, yes I can.

[14:05] No. And I think that that's a good point. I mean even just that simple, not simple but that tangible. Have you been that person that we had the wedding and the couple of weeks ago and there was an issue with the catering and then we're in the middle of, you know, doing family photos and like that's not really the best time. If you're a bride and you're getting all these portraits that you're going to hang on your wall for the next 50 years. And to know that like, oh, something is seriously wrong with the catering, you know, luckily they had a planner and she said, you know what, like I'm going to go figure this out. Like you guys aren't paying for anything, you know, like, we're gonna take care of this. And you know, and she disappeared and then came back and everything was resolved and I think like, yeah, if you were the bride or groom or mom or whoever that had to go deal with that, like that's a terrible of your wedding

[14:52] day, terrible memory. And I actually tell my clients when I meet with my clients about a week before their wedding and I tell them we walked through the entire day. I mean every point of the rehearsal in the day, because I tell him I, we walked through it because I'm like, you're so distracted you, you are, you've lost it. You got friends, you got family. Videography is in your face. Camera Man's in your face there. Everyone's and you know, you don't know what up and down is it? I'm like, yeah, whatever. So I walked through the day when I had their attention. And then I tell them, you tell me what I asked them, what is the most important thing of the day? Is it the cake? Is it, you know, what is so important that I have to tell you about it is, you know, the cake fell apart and I got to Redo it, or the flower or something happened with whatever and they'll tell me exactly what it is I says because you know what, the rest of it, you ain't gonna hear about it and you might not ever hear about it ever.

[15:52] You could ask me up down the wall and you'll never hear about it. And I had a wedding out at, um, in sumner at Laurel quick manner and we had a huge alcohol issue, huge alcohol issue. And um, and I was on the phone with the delivery people and they were, I was not friendly, not friendly at all. And I went upstairs and was put non booton ears to the groomsmen and everything and they knew that there was going to be an issue and they were like so to the alcohol show up. And I was like, everything's fine. And they're like, really? And I was like, Yep, everything's okay. And they're like, are you going to tell us? Even if there was an issue as like everything's fine, it's walked back downstairs and they knew nothing. It was like, why would I destroy the pictures? Because that's exactly. You're right. It shows up and that's what I was. I do tell people, I says, see those stress free pictures in that ontime wedding. I've never had, knock on wood, I've never had a wedding. Not Start on time. All my wedding start on time.

[17:02] That's good. That's a good track record. And Are you going back to, like I said, they did. The challenges of selling is the best planner. You'll never know is there. Right. And so it is really hard. I didn't like

[17:18] they don't. They. Oh, my aunt can take care of it. My cousin can. I get it all the time. And I'm like, okay. I and you know, and usually they come back to me and say, Oh yeah, it didn't work out. I'm like, I, you know, I can't convince them. I can't, I can't convince the ants or the cousins. I mean I used to do them for people to, uh, I don't anymore. Even for my own family. I still charge, I'm like, good dudes. I charge because I'm not going to be the planner. I was not the planner at my son's wedding. I did not. I mean I planned my son's wedding with his wife, but I had my staff do his wedding. I had a drink in my hand. Hello, was to deal with it. So you know, I, I get it. And so that's what I try and tell people is I get it.

[18:09] I was there, I was a guest at my son's wedding and I want you to be guests at your own weddings. So the people that get it are the people that we'll hire a planner, a even the ones that hire just month, they call it day of. We don't like the word day of people. There's nothing that's called day of just anyone that's listening to this. It's not data. Anyone that you hire that's just day of, please don't. No one can do it day of you. They have to hire so that they get to know who the videographer is, the photographer is and everyone who everyone is. So usually we do month of and we will still do a month of, but we started about 60 days prior to [inaudible]. I got to know the vendors, I got to do that timeline. I have to know what's going on because there's no way I could do the job because I'm, the bond's going to get blamed if I'm on site and the food's wrong, I'm blamed. Uh, no, I'm not going to get blamed,

[19:09] you know. And in this time of year now I'm, I'm solidifying the lot of, you know, timelines and plannings for my wedding's coming up this summer and it is very clear to me which ones have planners and which ones don't, you know, because I send out my questionnaires and stuff too, just in terms of like shot stuff that they want to see in the, you know, in the video and like it is very apparent. Like when I have a planner that's, you know, immediately responding back, you know. Or like if I have a question of like, Hey, can we get the right? Do I have the right address for where the groom's getting ready? Or like, hey, you know, can we confirm whatever when you get those immediate things back because then that's like, that's 10 less things that the couple has to deal with. Right. And that's why like, you know, it's like the week or two before the wedding, like you can't even get in touch with the couples, you know, because they're so busy and families in town and all that. And so they have that dedicated planner, you know, that knows somebody that's experienced, that knows videographers like 15 to 20 minutes alone with him. The

[20:09] couple. Uh, I mean at least that's what I always give them. I let them decide if they want it or not. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they do, sometimes they'll just tag on with a photography with the regular photographer. But I like, you know, there's all this stuff. Hair and makeup number one reason a weddings, late hair and makeup every time. I swear, but I know I'm not supposed to, but it's every time I will not let that happen. It never happens at my weddings and I get it all the time from the hair and makeup people. They love me. They're like, wow, this is amazing. I'm like, yeah, not going to happen. Especially if there are, if got traveling because usually hair and makeup is not done at the venue, so I've got to travel. I've got to get the bride to travel and then I will wait a second.

[20:57] I got to touch her up if she's redone, you know if she's at, she's done at the venue or the. We're just getting ready at the hotel. Then I've got to get her to the venue and then I got to get it redone because she's had first look in between and your done. I was like, so they don't realize that and I always tell them I'd rather have you stand around and be bored and enjoying and talking and relaxing and getting some extra shots. Then have you stressed and thinking, oh my gosh, we're not going to get on time. I'd rather stand. Have you stand and wait with your dad for an extra five minutes.

[21:29] There's never been a wedding ever where I've thought, no, we had too much time. There was just way too much, you know, we did not have enough going on because you haven't worked with me. So I'm looking here on your site. You're talking about a I want to kind of get into now your, your past, getting into where we find ourselves today. Uh, so you say you married your husband mark in 1986 so long ago. How many years ago? Is that what? It was? Thirty one because I was 42. So it's 32 years. It'll be 32 years this September. Yeah, I was born in [inaudible] 86. Oh my gosh. Uh, certainly, uh, certainly dates. So I was very young when I got married. The youngest wedding and then has ever been talking about your wedding.

[22:11] Oh my goodness. My wedding was, was very organized. I'll tell you that. Uh, I remember we got married up in Arlington, so I'm local. I'm, we had over 300 people at our wedding. It was an open invitation at the church and in the paper and we had a lot of people from family. We had a huge. I have a huge family. So it was, it was an event, I was ms dot Arlington at one time. So it was an event. Yes, yes. Reid. Um, so there was a lot of people there, um, and I was not working. I had been in a huge auto accident before I got married, so I was not working and so I had a lot of time to plan my wedding and my husband and I paid for it, paid the whole thing ourselves. He's quite, or quite a bit, but he's about six years older than I am.

[23:07] So we play. I planned the living daylights out thing started on time too. And it was very much formal. We was in a Catholic church, was very, very formal. Texas has been more tails and we had was harp player. I mean it was typical Catholic wedding, obviously harp player. We had singers we had, um, and I think back to it and I think it's Kinda funny because I think about the things that were most important to me was the timeline. I think, I mean this was 30 some odd years and was the timeline was making sure everyone was on time and everything. We did have a video we had, so we have a video of it. We had it photography. Uh, we had semi large wedding. If I had to do it over again, I would have to say I would probably not have a large wedding party. How many did you have a. I, I think we each had five on each side, which is like small by today's. I've done them where it's 12. I know, I know, but I think if we had to do it over again, it would just be, it'd be no one really. It would be no one. My favorite thing to do is I had a wedding in January where they drew names to pick who'd signed.

[24:28] I have, I actually had to, I was like a witness because they have over there, which is different. So things that you learn then that you're carrying onto today. You said timeline

and be. Do it. Do what's you. We had a lip sync band. I mean hello? Who has lip sync bands nowadays? People didn't know it was lip sync band until you know, a few drinks in and then they realized, wait a second, those people are really not playing that music. It was a lip sync pant, but they really had real instruments and drums and everything and they realized they could get up and karaoke because it was a lip sync band. So they were all after were. I mean it was a lot of people that were drinking a lot and because it was so unique, no one really was. It was so us. It was so us.

[25:20] Where was your, you said it was a church and the reception was just downstairs. There's. Yeah, it was potluck by the women from the church

[25:29] and so there was a lot of food because there was a lot of people there and my husband and I made her own cake and that was it. It was great. And when we left we left in a really fun car. We left in a really cool. I wish we'd stayed longer. My Dad had to kick people out at two in the morning out of the church because they would not leave because they were lip sync band and there's a lot of alcohol. You, the Catholic Church. So they were just having fun. So yeah, I would have to say that, you know, and be who you want to be. I mean, make it you. That's what I tell all my clients. We're not going to cookie cutter your wedding. It is going to be you. It is going to be you. And that's what, that's, that's what I did. And timeline. Oh, that was all about timeline.

[26:18] Um, so after you got married, uh, you talked about going into the corporate life. Yep. So talk about, I guess, that experience. So I went in and into

[26:29] the corporate life. I worked for a, you're in Washington state, you would know seafirst bank, Bank of America got into the corporate life, was working off and on within the bank. Twenty years I worked for the bank and probably more than that between the off and on kind of a thing, but I was eventually through the time there I kind of morphed into a whole bunch of different positions and I ran, um, I worked for the president of the bank, a hr manager of the bank, you know, the for seafirst bank and Bank of America. Then I eventually became started. I was in Tacoma and was managing the foundation down in Tacoma and western Washington. And then I started working for a gentleman who covered commercial banking and then he became a commercial banking for the Western Wall, western United States. And we managed all of the western United States and then we became government banking.

[27:36] So it kind of morphed into all these different roles. And I became kind of like a sales person, not I wasn't sales, but I was like a sales manager. But through the whole time I was running all the events and I was doing the nonprofit events and I was doing all the different types of events and eventually I became Iran. All of the. Any kind of client or internal event in the West Coast for the 11 states and at the very end I started doing New York City for government banking. So I dealt a lot with governors, a lot of the protocol. So we did a lot of protocol training at ticket training and I did a lot of speech writing because we were doing a lot of, a lot of governor kind of stuff and mayor stuff and I did just events upon a fence upon events and I started doing trade shows.

[28:36] We were doing a lot of trade shows, going to trade shows, participating in trade shows, helping them at trade shows. And I would do just, just, I was doing events. I was traveling every week. Uh, so. And then I started doing these huge forums and I started teaching how to do them all across the country. And I was doing them in New York and large events that were 600 people in New York. And it was just. And I would. And I would run them. I would create the. Okay. They'd want to do a team thing and I'd be like, okay, what's the topic? And they give me a topic and I would create everything from nothing to powerpoints to talk everything, everything. And so I was good at it. And then my gentleman that I worked for out here in the West retired and they had asked me to, uh, move or take a package. So I took a package and they gave me a really nice package. The bank was very good to me. Very.

[29:44] You've been there a long time. I'd been there 26 years. They were very good to me. Yeah.

[29:48] So they're very good to me. Gave me a package. I got unemployment and then I got a package and I went back to school and I got my degree in entrepreneurship because I knew I wanted to be a planner on my own because I had already kinda. It was like everyone kept saying you could do this, you could do it. And I was like, well, I want to know how to run the business though. I want to know the nuts and bolts because I knew I could plan, but I wanted to be able to say I know I want to be able to because it can be distracting and I didn't want to be distracted by the business end of it when I'm working with clients, so I didn't want to have that distraction. I want it to be able to know that because it running a business can consume you like no tomorrow can consume you.

[30:37] It's a lot of sales. It's a lot of, oh, there's accounting, there's insurance, there's a lawyer, there's people don't realize. And when clients come to you and say, why do you charge so much? Well, let me tell you why I charge so much. I got it. I got the state, I got Ellen, I got, you know, I got staff. There's a reason I have to pay my staff because there's all this stuff. I can't just 10 99 them. So there's all this stuff I have to do. So I know the laws so that I am correct. So I went back to school, got my degree in entrepreneurship and started up my business. Or did you go to school? Pierce county or Pierce Pierce College.

[31:15] And that was that. Was that intimidating, was that scary to talk about that experience

[31:20] first? Going back to school in, you know, in my, at my age, kids, my son was already out of school. My daughter was already out of high school or college. So going back to school at that age is a little intimidating. But actually once I got in there I was like, it was so easy. It was so easy to go back to school because I was already knew most of it. I can actually probably teach most of the classes. So it was, I was a four point. Oh,

[31:47] it is a, it is like you were talking about though in terms of running the business. I mean it's, people don't know how much of my day is not just shooting or editing, like it might be 7:00 at night and I'm finally like, okay, now I'm actually going to edit for the day. Um, because it's everything else. And like you said, with the county and then just running and everything and where you have employees and stuff. I mean it's. Did that give that education they'll. I mean, were there some lessons in there that you learned? Or.

[32:19] I learned that I had to have employees in. Washington state is kind of an interesting concept in Washington state. You can hire people to work. Um, I took employment law because you can't take, implement a lot to get your degree. So in, in, in anywhere, in any state, you hire people just to see how do I put this? If I tell you where to show up and the hours you're working and exactly what you're doing, you are my employee. I have to have you on payroll. If I tell you, hey, here's your project. I'm like, I'd have, I have a gal that works for me and I say, here's, here's the work. I don't care what time you do it. She works from home. She works at midnight. I said, just don't email my clients at midnight during the work hours, but she's working all these crazy hours. That is, that is just somebody that's contracted, she's contracted, I can contract her all I want, but as soon as I should have her show up at my event and I say, here are the hours and this is what I need you to do and this is exactly what you're going to do. She's payrolled unless she's doing it for somebody else too.

[33:34] Well, and that's fascinating because I don't know if everybody knows that it's against the law. I don't know if I know that. Uh, but, uh, no, I, I, I try to do proper.

[33:44] We're working with me because I look at my business as I'm going to be here a long time and I'm going to grow my business and I'm going to have, I'm going to eventually hire a full time wedding planner. I'm going to have somebody that's going to sit over here and she's going to manage all my weddings and I'm going to hire somebody that's going to manage all my corporate events and I'm going to be over here doing my network protocol training and I'm going to be doing life celebrations. That is my passion over there. I'm going to do that. I love doing event. I mean, I'm going to go do the events. I'm still going to do the day of, but the, this portion over here, I'm going to grow my business. I'm going to get a brick and mortar, I'm gonna, I'm going to have business, I'm going to be big.

[34:31] I'm not going to be. Yeah, I want to. That's, that's my plan for my business. I'm going to keep it, I'm going to grow it. I'm not going to sell it. It's going to be, it's going to be a business. So for that I had to know all the rules and the laws and how it works. And I've seen too many businesses get shut down because they didn't follow the rules and laws and, or get sued by employees. I mean there's some big companies, some big caterers out there right now getting sued because they did not follow the laws. I ain't going there. Ain't going there.

[35:09] And I think that goes to back to like you said, we're, this is what you do full time and having that be a focus and knowing that. Yup. Um, so you were happy though in corporate you were happy with it because I think usually it's the opposite, right? People get out because, oh, I made great money and then you, you know, because he retired and everything, you know, so then you start Blue Wings and what was that? That first kind of initial.

[35:39] It was scary at first. Uh, you know, it was funny because I had this whole group of people that run me because you all know when you start a business you always have that core group of people that are your support group. And um, I had a group of people, I think you actually met one of them. Deena, she's a, she works my corporate events for me and she, um, because I have some people that are very specifically really good at certain things because I try and match them up with their. And that's one great thing about having different people on my staff is I match their personalities and their talents with my clients. So Dina, as a corporate person with me. And so she was kind of my first core person that kind of hung around me and, and she was kind of my first coach kind of thing and she was like, you just need to do it, you need to do at Nsi king.

[36:26] No. And she's like, you've got to get out there. And so I did that first little one and I was like, ah. And I, I don't even think I got any business out of it. And your first finger, first one, I think it was my first wedding show and I don't think I got any business out of it. I don't think I. no I didn't, I didn't. It was no. And so then I did, I waited and I think I did the Tacoma one that to go away and just come a wedding show in the spring. I can't remember when I did it. Um, and I was like, I didn't want to do it. And she's like, just got to go and do it. And I was like five. So I got a half booth or something like that. Brad got me a, but he gave me a full booth and I was like, oh great. And I went and ate. It's kind of like, you're, you're afraid. You're like, oh, what happens if I book something?

[37:19] And I left with a, I think I left with seven bookings for that year. And then I went to the effort show and I booked 14 of 40. I had 40 people inquire and I booked 14 of them and it was like, oh wow. So, um, no, I actually have to do this, right? Yeah. Yeah. And then I had to reevaluate why, why was I so afraid? And I think that's why I was afraid because I knew I could do the job and I knew I was really good at the job and I was afraid that I would get too booked up, that I would, I wouldn't be able to do the job properly. So yeah. So I reevaluated my business plan, a redid my business plan and how I do things now and, and my focus. And so I, because I don't want to have too many weddings because as a planner I can't have too many weddings, I can't have 40 weddings, there's just no way I would be. I'd be my clients would hate me, I'd get bad reviews and I got a lot of good reviews right now and I'm not gonna let them go. And so I can't, I can't do a lot of weddings. So right now I just, yeah, I had to reevaluate to make sure I didn't take too many weddings.

[38:50] Um, I just was reminded when we were talking about, uh, the first wedding show the first time I did the wedding show years ago. And um, I was like, what if, what if everyone wants to book me day off, you know, not even. Yeah. And like I think I went, like we were driving, it was down somewhere. It's out. And I stopped by my mom's house because we didn't have a printer and I had to print off as I go. I got to print out contracts and like I didn't even, I don't even know if I had a car, you know, I, I found the contract online and I was like, well, I got to have a bunch of contracts if people and like my wife Dorothy is like, what is, she wasn't even my wife. She's like whether we, I could. Well I gotta you know, people want a book. I got to have um, for couples came through the whole day. So needless to say, my, my, you know, stack of a blight contracts you need to fill out. Was it a. and I go to the Tacoma show and I have no contracts,

[39:45] none. I'm like, no one's going to book me. And they're all like, do you have contracts? I'm like, no, fine, I'll bring some tomorrow. I mean I did the Seattle show and I have to laugh. I was like, this is the first time I'd done the Seattle show this year and I think it was this year was January. Yeah, I did the Seattle show and I was like, okay, I'm prepared because I have it online now. My contracts are online now and I actually had people come back the next day and say, can we sign a contract right now? Was like, Dang. He come back just they were so intent on booking because they were. They knew my calendar was full. It was getting full. I was like, this is. I show my calendar. I'm like, you want me? This is how you, you know, we got a book in and I just met with a couple of last night.

[40:38] We're looking at next year, I get couples looking at 2020 already. I'm like, wow. But I started thinking about. I go, yeah, I'm booking. I just had a couple that just got married in Indiana. I went there Indianapolis and they booked me a year and a half, year and a half ago. They were one of my first clients that booked me. We finally got married, but you know, it was a year and a half planning. Both of them professionals. She was getting her doctorate. They just were busy, extremely busy. They didn't have a lot of time and they couldn't. They couldn't plan their weddings. So I planned it for him. Yeah.

So Blue Wings, talk to me about that.

[41:19] The name, the name? Well, it's a, it's a dragon fly. The logo is a dragon fly. It's about the dragonflies. Dragonflies are, um, dragonflies can therefore wings and they can hover and they can fly forwards and backwards and sideways and everywhere. And so just like an event planner, which we are, we can maneuver. We look at an event and we can say, oh, we need to back up, we can reposition ourselves and kind of easily maneuver around whatever and readjust our situation quickly to whatever is happening. You know, we're over here and grandma's got dementia and we need to, we need to deal with that and have a really soft side to that. But over here we've got our stripper and streaker that's rented down the hallway and I got to deal with that and I got to be the tough person. So, you know, war, you know, so we're just. So that's the idea of it is that, um, is the, is the, it's based off the dragon fly.

[42:27] That's a good. That was good. My mind, I'm watching listening to the story. It's like. No, that's good. That's great. I think that's really interesting. Um, talk about your first wedding as Blue Wings. What was that like?

[42:44] Yeah, the first, the first official client, first official client. See if I can remember my first official client, first official client was, well call it my first official client. He was somebody like my son wasn't my son, but he was like my son. Um, so first official client, I've done so many events that it was not any different for me. I hadn't been in the corporate world and having done so many events, uh, it was, it was an interesting concept because it was actually a family event. So the gentleman that was getting married was my son's best friend since he was four years old, so he is like a son to me. My entire family was there at this event and my son was part of the wedding. He was best man. So my daughter was there and my parents were there because they were considered grandparents and everything.

[43:50] So, so everyone there, I knew everyone, I was working it and to a point and then my assistant was there to take over most of it. So when I start working I became a different person. I am not the same person. And they noticed that. It was like, they were like, wow, you're a different person. My family was like, you don't talk the same way. You don't act the same way. I'm like, yeah, there's a, there's a wall here and I am a different person. And they were like, because they're talking to me and I'm just like, blank wall. I'm like, you are Tuck in to the wrong person. It's like bipolar or something like alter ego, alter ego. I got to, yeah. So I am. I'm a different person. And it wasn't. I didn't know I was that way. They were the ones who pointed it out and I was like, wow, I did that.

[44:48] And I asked my assistant, I go and my that way. And she goes, Oh yeah, that's interesting. And so that was an eye opener for me that I was a different person. Not that I'm going to change at all because you have to have that, you know, that persona to put on you when you're at an event because you have to have those people go away. Um, you know, you have to have that say, I can't, I can't be that way anymore. I can't be, I can't be the. Sometimes it can't be the nice person. I got to be the dragon fly. I got to change all the time. So that's kind of, I thought that was really interesting for me. But you know, my mom. Yeah. Yeah.

[45:34] That's funny. Yeah. Because I'm not, you know, uh, you may around and I'm really not that extrovert. They're dry. I like to just kinda sit and do whatever. But um, yeah, you know, when it's like wedding day, you know, like you got to be on. And so, uh, I think even, you know, my wife or whatever would probably be surprised just in terms of like, you know, the differences, um, you know, and you just, you learn and you adapt to kind of like what you need to be and what, you know, what the situation calls for. Um, and uh, you know, going to that first event that you planned. I do think that probably doing like the large corporate events, um, you know, weddings are, I think their own stress, but certainly that kind of, you know, accustomed you to what to do and you know, having the level of stress

[46:21] and stuff. And when I look at it, you know, the bank taught me a lot. It taught me you, when you are working at an event, you're onstage. I look at it being on stage, I look at it as being an actor. I am this totally different person. I am onstage. You've paid me to be this person and now I am this person. And so you've paid me to be what do I need to be right now? And so that is kind of, you know, he's paid me to be the professional I am and when I'm talking to my vendors and the people are just amazed. Like I did a huge event last fall and the everyone said Oh last year, but didn't get out of here until 1:00 in the morning. Even the venues that they've got charged. And everyone was like, it was a mess. And I was like, well why?

[47:16] And they were like, because no one got out of here on time. Well I first thing I did with all the vendors. Okay, you're a professional. I've paid you as a professional, you will be out of here at 1145 and if you're not, you will be on the sidewalk at 1145. I don't care. And they're all like really? And I and I just kept reiterating it ready. And I go remember when they, when they checked in, I go, remember you're on the sidewalk at 1145, you are not inside the building at midnight. And they were like, okay. And 11 at 1140. I took a picture of my watch with the guy standing there, no one around. I says, we're out of here at 1140. There were sure everyone was like the venue. Everyone. The client was like, I can't believe. How'd you do that? I go, I treated everyone like a professional. The way you would pay them, you paid them to be a professional. And that's the other thing I tell my clients. We don't sometimes ask for discounts because if you ask for a discount or if you don't pay your, your friend to be your photographer, you're going to get the friend deal. And sometimes that's not show up,

[48:35] you know. And that's a, that is a fair point that I had a wedding a couple of weeks ago and we had a same day edit where they wanted. Basically they hired three of us as opposed to the normal too. And um, they wanted, you know, we filmed the ceremony and portraits and then edited that. I edited it and to play at the reception. And so I show up at the reception, um, you know, looking for the projector and, you know, the two we need to know. It's a time crunch, right? I mean, there, I think it's 4:15, they're coming in at five, you know, we got about 45 minutes and um, their sound system had been graciously provided by a friend and I'm trying to talk with a friend about like, hey, you know, the laptops here, we need to get the laptop plugged in.

[49:27] You know, I don't have a bunch of audio, you know, I have what I need, you know, the typical. But, you know, I was under the assumption that, you know, things would be there. And his response to me was, well, I'm not, you know, I'm just giving them the sound system. I'm not getting paid for it today. And you know, it was, it was frustrating because, you know, I said, I understand, you know, that you're not getting paid, I am. And you know, more than that. I mean they are a pain, a lot of money for us to do this same day edit. And so that kind of like rationale to me was kind of insane, right? But like a, it's your friend, you know, and we're trying to get going on this, but um, you know, they're paying a lot of money for everybody else in the photography in the event and you know, it, it's, it's a larger sum than just you in this moment. Uh, but yeah, when it is like real working vendors, you know, you do expect that everybody, you know, you expect the Dj is going to work and you expect that the flowers are going to get there on time. And um, you know, I mean I just, that's okay.

Great Story. Yeah, I don't, I don't, I, and I tell people that all the time I was eight. Pay Your vendors, every vendor, even if they're friends and they are not the, Oh, I don't need any money. The photographer, they don't want. No, you pay him because it, that way you have a car, you get a contract, you're going to get a contract with them because that way you have something to hold them accountable with because if you don't. I had a bride a year, she did not get her photos for a year, a year. People really. You would expect to get your photos more than a year before? No, and like I said, even if it's like 500 bucks or whatever,

[51:10] just to establish that client vendor relationship I think is huge because he kinda like I'm the people that are getting married and sometimes we film with and sometimes we don't. But like yeah, you need to really establish

[51:22] and it helps them, it helps them be professional, it helps everyone be professional so that, so. And it's also so that the professionals can treat them as professionals so that when they are going and saying I need this setup, I need the sound system, I need this projector, I need, I need, you know, I need the food proper. Are you licensed to surface? You know, that kind of stuff. I mean, you have to make sure that that is, that is proper and we're rolling. Okay. With everything so that you have the event the way you want it to be in. And I hesitant on asking vendors for discounts. I'm not really, I'm not one of those. I don't like asking. Some of my vendors will give me discounts and, but I pass them onto the clients usually. But I don't particularly like them. A lot of times I'm like, can you just, you know, give me the price because I don't, I, I want people to get paid for their job and I want them to do the job well. So if they feel, I find that if vendors feel that they're getting, oh, it's just a discounted job, they're going to do a discounted job. And I tell clients that, do you want a discount a job or do you want a really good job?

[52:42] I had been asked by a planner, you know, that I had, I still have never worked with, um, but I kept trying to like, you know, talk me down in price. And I said, you know, I'm happy to do a flat rate at this. And I just thought that was so interesting because it's like, you know, you're still getting paid, you know, we should all, like, everybody should all get paid what everybody needs to get paid, you know. And like,

[53:10] I probably shouldn't have even offered that had he not having that worked with her before. But, you know, I felt like, you know, in good faith, well, you know, it's uh, it's all about, you know, opening doors. But, um, yeah, you know, I mean ultimately your goal is to find the people that are most and you know, your client's budget and if people work then they work and if they don't, they don't. Yeah. Uh, the other, uh, you were talking about, um, when we got married, my wife's friend had graciously offered to help coordinate, um, the day off for us. And I told her no because I wanted somebody that I could yell at, you know. And I said, you know, we love you too much as a friend and you are one of the life's really good friends. Somebody you don't know, I don't want that. Rebecca, I'm sorry. Um, you had talked way back, uh, about, you know, some key differentiations between, you know, how you guys handle your clients versus everybody else. Summarize that for me here. As we kind of wrapping up the podcast, how do you view what you guys do as you know, different and slash or better than, than what others do?

[54:27] Well, we're just kind of switching over our plan, how we work with our clients. We're slowly working our clients that way, that we are working more towards our clients come to us. We're finding that the client, the clientele that we get is again, a lot of professionals that are not that we won't take other clients, but we get a lot of clients that are just don't have time and they really just want to hand the whole thing over to us. So we have found that we are and it's how we work our corporate clients already. So it's something we already are used to doing and it's where we write the contract. We, we pretty much a couple comes to us and if they don't have their venue already, we help them find a venue, so we contract with them, we help them find their venue.

[55:22] Then what happens after they find their venue is we then planned their wedding for them, kind of we, we go out and we say, okay, I help them with the vent, with everything. I go, okay, what is it you want? I sit down and it doesn't take me long. I pretty much can read clients pretty well. I got some questions and I've pretty much got it down and I have so and, and I've gotten so good at it. I can sit there and talk to the clients and go, yeah, I know the, here's the DJ, just sign the contract, you know, I pretty much know who they want, so we just decided that we're done giving them options and they love it. So what I do is I say, okay, and they come back to me. They gave me, okay, what's your budget? They gave me their budget and I say, okay.

[56:09] Then I go out and I hired. I find out all the contractors, they want video, I find the videographer that's going to fit, I asked for bids, I go out to all my vendors, okay, I need a bid and then I find the ones that are gonna work personality wise because I'm, I match personality and budget. So to me that's very important personality style. I'm really after the style and the personality. Um, so when it comes to photography that really helps because the couples and with that photographer all, all day long. So personality, absolutely Dj, it's sound. The voice got to be the sound, the voice. Um, so there's a lot of things, but I'm, well, you know, catering, all that kind of stuff. So I will come back to the client and I'll say, here's everything. They'll hand over the money to me. I will contract through Blue Wings events. They're done, they're done. There's nothing else. They get to choose food. They get to go to a tasting. They are not going to pay for anything anymore unless they go above and beyond. Unless they say, well, I want all roses now, or I want all of something, or I want to, I want to change and I want, you know, I want 10 bridesmaids versus one, okay, well then you know, now we're going to change something, so then we'll make an amendment to the contract. But other than that, they're pretty much done.

[57:45] And I do think that that is a lot of when I'm contracted for corporate work, you know, events and stuff. I mean, I do think that that's kind of the way it is. Um, and I do think that with you, it really is like, there's not a lot of bs, right? I mean, I do think like you are in, you know, handle things. Like you said, you know, we're all adults and world, you know, kind of dragged. Didn't, didn't like even taking the bids and stuff. I'm like, you know what I mean, it's, it's, it's work, right? And like who wants to work and who's ready to do this? And then you know, okay, now we get past who's available. And now what happens is, is

[58:21] clients don't realize is when there's a contract between the bride and groom and let's say the, the florist and the contracts between them and there's something that goes wrong or even the cater to something that goes wrong and I step in and try and fix it. They're going to say, well, what's the bride want? And then they're going to go back to the bride. And I'm like, dude, the bride told me I know what's going on. Listen to me. But they're not gonna listen to me. And I get it all the time. I go to venues all the time and they'll, they'll go, we'll all ask the bride. I'm like, really? She doesn't have time. So I get that a lot and I, it, it kind of frustrates me because my brides like, I don't want to talk to them. I'm talking to you. So, so it.

[59:12] So it makes it easier. If the contract is in Blue Wings Events name you read will answer to me that the vendor will answer me and they will know they're answering to me. If they want to do business with me again, they're going to do what Blue Wings wants and so they are more apt to actually really. They're still going to work with the client. You're still going to talk to the client and make appointments, the photographer and the hair and make up. They're still going to make those appointments and say, what do you want? How do you want to do this? That kind of thing and what's your song list and what's, you know, that kind of stuff. But the contract stuff is going to be me and or Blue Wings events. So it makes it a little bit easier for the clients. And I think clients don't.

[59:58] They don't under. I mean, unless they're really into contracting and knowing that stuff at work, most people are, they're not. They don't understand it. And so for them to be able to say, Oh wow, I don't have do that, and you actually don't even have to carry the contract, guess what, I'm going to carry the contract now and it's going to be under me. So it makes it a little bit different for them. So that's kind of what we're doing a little bit differently for our clients. We will still do it the other way because some of the clients like date month of the month of clients, they've already got all the contracts going and all that kind of stuff. So. But, but we are offering this way now and select couple I met with last night, literally you saw this groom go, oh, and I mean literally he just melted into the table. I mean he's got a brand new job. He's working this huge job, they're remodeling a home, they're trying to get married. He just, he just melted. He was like, and I showed them two venues. He goes, I want that one. I was like, oh, that was easy.

[01:01:05] It was amazing. And he was like, that is so much easier. I was like, yeah, it is, isn't it? Because I could just get to go to the tasting. Yeah, pick food.

[01:01:15] Yeah. People, people like the idea of getting married, but the actual process of getting married,

[01:01:21] they don't need to learn how to be a planner. No. They don't need to learn how to run. How to, how to what, what videographers, what you know, do the research, why do they want to do that? Why would you want to do all that research and figure out which caterers are really, really good at doing certain things. Which one's got the best tacos? Which truck? taco truck. Which trucks? If you want food trucks, which ones really do a good job and which ones don't really do want to learn that I know

[01:01:52] well and just to. I think that's a great point. Yeah. I see a lot of things like in the wedding forums and separate people are like, you know, Oh, you know, looking for a videographer, 100 people post. I'm looking for a forest. 100 people plus that. Yup. Because there are a million. Right. And so yeah, like you know, if they choose to work with you guys, you either have people already or you can do the research because. Right? Because yeah, like you look at that and people I sit there sometimes and people, you know, they'll get all, I'm looking for three different things and they'll get a thousand different results in. Like they're either going to go through two of those or they're crazy and they're going to go through a thousand of map for something that they're probably never going to need to know ever again. So I think that's, I have a couple that's getting married in Stevenson, Washington, which is okay, go to Portland, turn left 45 minutes. That's far. Far Away. Okay. It's far away. People, beautiful venue, beautiful venue. We found it. I did a lot of research finding it because the couple was like

[01:02:58] on opposite ends of venues that they want. It took me a long time but I found it so. But what happened was the photographer, they couldn't find the frog or you know, it's kind of those things where I just, every photographer I just was like, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. And I was sitting with them with their dj because I had found a Dj for him and I, and she, the bride said something and it was like, I knew it. I knew exactly what photographer. Okay. These photographers are in Bellingham, but I had had them at a wedding in Bellingham and I was like, that's it, that's who they are. And as soon as I matched him up and told him, hooked them up and they saw the photos, they were like, Yep. They had a phone call with them. They were like, Yup, that's it.

[01:03:45] It was. But it just took me. They would have never ever, ever found these gaps opposite ends of ever found these gals. And. But it was exactly the photographer they needed, but it was just me taking a, Oh, you know, finding that something. I don't know what she said something to the bride said something. And I was like, I know what they want. I figured it out, but it was, you know, they wouldn't, they would never find these people and we're in the business. You're in, you see it all the time too. And also we see it, we see it. And you go, Oh yeah, now I know. Yeah. So that's kind of where I like to. I like very personalized my vendors with my clients. So I don't. Yeah, I have a lot of vendors and I like certain vendors, but do I stick with them all? No. If, if a different vendor works price point wise and personality wise, I'm Oliver sending my clients to him.

[01:04:47] Well is it ultimately it is about your clients, but my clients it's gotta come first. You always. It's like you have to defend your client. Always say, look, I don't, I don't

[01:04:59] per say stick to any linen vendor or anything. I'm all over the place with lenons. I'm like, whatever works. I'm like, you know, whatever, whatever I can get. Um, so I don't, I don't stick with any videographer. I'm like, not a lot of people do videography right now with my clients, but I don't know. So

[01:05:19] I'm calling me. I know, I know, I do. I send them to you as well. This has been such a delightful conversation. I've really enjoyed you. Thank you so much for coming here today and talking a. If people want to learn more about you and Blue Wings events, what would you have them do?

[01:05:37] They can. They can definitely go to my website, www.bluewingsevents.com and it's Blue Wings Events with all plurals. They can, they can give us a call. They can email angela@bluewingsevents.com. Totally worth getting. You know, we'll set up an appointment with you. Thirty minutes. I'll do a call with you. I'm more than happy to chat, to chat with people for a few minutes and just kind of find out where, where they're at, what their. Because a lot of people don't even understand what their budgets. I kind of. Okay. Let's talk a little bit about budgets. You know, I, I kinda help him a little bit through that budget budgeting because budgets are. They go, Oh, I want my wedding. $5,000. Okay.

[01:06:23] How much are you Reid? Uh, you know, and um, and then I go,

[01:06:29] will, you know what? Then I started asking, well, how many people you know, let's talk about that. Do you realize in the one question that I always tell you or I ask people is how much do you pay for a cup of coffee at Starbucks? Times that by how many people now you've just got a cup of coffee for all your guests. Catering is not cheap. So it, I like to just kind of bring people. I'm kind of that reality person bring in a and I'm that big, big picture. So I'm. So I allow them. Yeah, give me a call. I would totally be or shoot me an email and we'll set up a time at angela@bluewingsevents.com and totally, I'll set up a time. We'd love to hear them.

[01:07:16] Awesome. Well thank you so much and thank you for listening. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week. We will have another wedding vendor your interview. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thanks.

Episode 6 (Claire Fernandez, Party on the Rocks)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company located in West Seattle, Washington, and I'm here today with a good friend of mine, Claire Fernandez. She is the co owner of Party on the Rocks, the Pacific Northwest's premier event staffing and bartending service. Thank you for being here. Claire, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

[00:32] Yeah, thanks for having me Reid, we are Party on the Rocks. We do event staffing and bartending for all types of private events. We do corporate events. We do house parties and we of course do weddings and we are on the preferred list and have many venues. Um, we work with a lot of different vendors such as planners and of course like videographers and all of that kind of services. Um, we kind of all work together to make sure that you have the best team possible. Um, we also have our liquor license so we can host alcohol for you or we can bring in cash bars. Something really popular at weddings for this summer is that you host beer and wine and we bring in the cocktails for charge

And Claire and I actually met last year at the Seattle Wedding Show. We were neighbors there for two continuous days, long days. And I guess yeah, just first off, uh, I do think that differentiation with the liquor license right is a big thing because like I think if I'm a bride or groom you, they just think, oh, we'll just hire, we'll just have alcohol at the wedding. And were like, there's a lot that goes into that.

[01:42] Yeah, there's a, there is a ton. A lot of companies that you'll work with, especially when you find reputable company is there. We'll come back to buy a million dollar liability policy and that's fairly standard. And we really tried to encourage our couples or clients in general to go with a company that has liability insurance because just like when you go to a bar and they have to cut you off, you want that to happen at your wedding. If people drink too much and they go and have caused an accident, it comes back to you. It comes back to our company and being backed by that liability policy. It saves a lot of people. Um, a lot of grief and liability in the end. The liquor license is really great because we can resell and just take a lot of the stress from having to plan how much alcohol. You always know that you'll have enough alcohol. Um, when we are providing it. It also, it kind of gives you a little added bonus of knowing that the state trusts us on a. anyone can get an insurance policy if they have some money. But if with a liquor license we have to basically jump through hoops to make sure that the state trusts us to resell alcohol.

[02:52] I think that nowadays where a lot of people, you know, you can have your wedding anywhere, right? Like, and uh, you know, where a private event or rather maybe a nontraditional, not like a restaurant or something. So having that, you know, being able to bring in liquor. I mean I see that a lot. People post online, they're asking questions, right? Like what do we do or what's allowed because I mean, I think for the most part people want to follow the law and makes sure that like their guests and everybody I've taken care of. Uh, I mean, do you guys talk about kind of the work, like you said, that you have to do to kind of get that liquor license and uphold that reputable brand?

[03:25] Right? So the liquor license, what I'll be honest, I have, I have a partner, her name is Jan. She's awesome. She does all of our legal things. What typically happens is if you come to me and say, hey, what can we do? I will point you straight to Jan because she is the one that goes through all of those hoops for us. Um, and she's, she's great, so when you hire us, you also get a team, you get me who deals with all of the customer service and everything, but then when your venue wants to make sure that we're all sorted out legally, they go to Jan. Um, in order to do it, we had to apply, they had to do background checks on us and as well as my spouse, um, which was very, we had to like give the last 10 years of addresses and I moved around a lot, um, and jobs and have references and we had to get our catering license.

[04:15] We had to have a commissary kitchen. Even though food is not something that we specialize in, we still had to have the health department come out and make sure that our commissary kitchen was all checked out. And these are things that you've probably had to talk if you've, if you've booked your caterers, then you know that they also had to go through all of this. We just had that extra bonus of the liquor license and they have to make sure, like they track our sales. We have to tell them what county and how much, um, and track all the taxes. And so it's, it's definitely, it's an addition to the business

That's interesting because yeah, I think it's like in my field, you know, and like videography and people think about like the video but not necessarily like, you know, backing up or preserving or whatever. And the same with you, you know, people think about like liquor, but they don't think about like all the different liability that you guys have to do.

[05:06] Almost never, which is why we really read going back to it because it is just so important. We encourage the clients to not hire their best friend. Um, I have been at weddings where we did staffing instead of bartending because they had a friend do bartending and the bartender was drunk by the end of the night. Totally illegal if anyone had walked in, if it had been like a state venue or anything like that, um, that probably would have gotten shut down so incredibly fast. And it just for the rate difference, knowing that your bartender is professional and you're getting the best service. Totally worth it.

[05:45] Yeah. We did a wedding a couple years ago. The it was like an air VRBO or whatever on Bainbridge and it was the same thing and they had just, they had found some people on craigslist and that guy was literally blacked out drunk in the closet. I mean they know and you know, not only is like, you know, the bride and groom upset, like the guests are upset. I mean you don't besides like the legality of it, but like what do people remember about that? What do you remember the time of the bartender was really drunk. Like I don't think that's what you want. Is like a memory, a lasting memory from your wedding day?

[06:14] No, I feel like the one thing you really just don't want to. I mean there are so many things that you shouldn't skimp on. Like if you're already spending a certain amount on your wedding, I'm honestly, regardless, regardless of your budget, we have been hired by people who have probably spent $500 on their entire wedding, um, and we've been to two weddings that have cost, you know, $100,000 and it is so important that you just make sure that your vendors have you taken care of and that you're, you know, we also have experience working with planners, um, and, and other and like venue site reps, um, which joe schmo from craigslist isn't going to know how to do that. You just get that added bonus.

[07:01] Perfect. So, and I mean, right now, talk to me a little bit about kind of your company as it stands now. I mean, you guys are blowing up, you know, talk about like, just kind of like, um, you know, staff, right? You guys are expandIng and then we'd talk about what's going on. I know we just saw each other at this. No much wedding, a guild meeting for the tour. You know, you guys are doing multiple events for that. So talk about just kind of the business as it stands right now.

Yeah. So the business as it stands right now, like I said, I do a lot of the customer service, whereas Jan does a lot of the legal things. We have a new gal Cadena who has been working with us pretty much from the beginning. In fact she did some staffing for us, um, at my bridal shower, which is how she got hired on. So she was first employee and um, she now is a lead, which means that she can manage an event. She also is going to be doing some admin stuff for us. Um, so when you book with us, uh, you'll work with me up until we introduce you to the staff going to be at your event and then she'll send you a follow up review, which is really, really nice to have that addition to the team and you Just get that added focus on your specific event.

[08:11] So currently all of our 35 employees are w2 to instead of contracted, which our clients really like because that means I'm, we don't just go find people and like call them on the phone and say, hey, do you want to work for us? We interview each individual, we do a new hire orientation which lasts two hours. We do a ton of on the job training. We will never send you someone we have not worked with. Um, and that's really important for the integrity of our company versus those international company. You know, there's tons of stuffing and bartend tending agencies out there that just send you someone they've never worked with and yeah, they might have insurance but you're not getting any level of customer service from them. Um, so we, we make sure that's really important to us. Um, just as a team.

[09:00] That's really interesting. Yeah. This in terms of like, the fact that you guys have worked through the same with me, right? Like you can't just, you can, you can, you can find a lot of people and send them out, but that might not necessarily be the best way to do things.

[09:12] Sure. We, I would much rather have you book and know that your getting the person I hand pick for you. Um, then then to just be like, oh, this person's bartended before because there is a huge difference from a bartender at a bar and a bartender who does private events. Frankly, there's a difference between a bartender that does a corporate event or a private home party from a wedding bartender. They're all different kinds of services and I want to make sUre that you have the best people for your event.

[09:47] So I'm looking here on your site, it says you've been working in the industry for years now, lead hostess for the invisible hostess and bartender for the past couple of years. Talk about kind of your past experience and how that kind of segwayed into where we find you now today.

[10:01] Yeah. The background story I think is pretty funny. Um, I worked for the invisible hostess, which is a reputable planning company who used to do bartending and event staffing and I worked with them starting when I was 18 and I, as soon as I turned 21, I started bartending for them and then basically from there it was a couple of years of bartending with them and working with them and I was a lead for them. So I managed events, um, and kind of one of the go to people and they decided that they wanted to focus all of their energy and planning and they are fabulous planners. Um, they didn't want to do event staffing in bartending and so it was actually jan who heard wind of this and said, hey, let's start a company. And I was like, oh, that's overwhelming. Um, but all right, let's do it.

[10:51] And so that's how party on the rocks came to be and we kind of very quickly, uh, Jan and I have worked together often in the past and um, for years. And so it was kind of just a natural. She went into the legal side. I handled the customer service and it's, it's, it's really where we shine. Um, she's an insurance broker by day and so, so laws are kind of her, her thing. um, and we started party on the rocks in October, 2016. We thought it was going to be super slow with everything and it very quickly that first year we were like, oh, this is a real thing. And then start in on this year we've already booked 96 events for 2018 alone in 2018. Um, whereas last year our total bookings were 126. So we've been able to improve our service to the clients and provide them with more. And I think a big part of is having the ability to handle liquor differently than most companies out there in the industry.

[12:00] That is a very good chance that a company that does, you know, liquor and events that deals with a lot of liability and insurance and things that you have somebody that's so, you know, like, oh wow, it's a. That would be good. That'd be good to get recommended for anybody if it was going to start this.

[12:18] Yeah. Have, have a partner who knows laws.

[12:21] Yeah. Have an expert in the legal field that can take care of that. I talk about the customer service and kind of, you know, like you said you had worked on the bandstand and bartending and things in the past in terms of like client management and outreach and relations. Talk about kind of that experience and now how you manage people now in terms of like talking with clients and bookings and things.

[12:41] Alright. So I'm going to tell you my biggest secret. I use my cell phone number as the number. Um, I have had people call me at 10:00 at night and I answered it and they go, oh no, I thought you would be a voicemail and you would just get back to me. And we worked together on a contract right then and there and got it settled. And I really, I really want to be able to connect with the people when we go through our calendar and I do all the scheduling. I know who I'm booking things for, I know names and which is super fun to talk about with jen because she'll be like, I have no idea who that is. I'm like, no, she's so sweet. She's great. Um, I think maybe the hardest part with the customer service being so I'm fulfilling for our clients is that I don't work at every event and oftentimes I'm asked like, oh, where are you not going to be there all because we have 35 employees because we want to make sure that we can cater to everyone.

[13:37] And so I still work events and so you can, you can request certain people if you'd like to, but the chances of that we just, we place people where we want you. Um, so yeah, it's really great that my phone number is plastered everywhere and you get me directly as well as I'm going to our website. We're actually redoing it right now. Um, but right now you can go to our website and fill out a contact form and that gets loaded directly into my system and it asks you a couple of questions. You answer those and boom, we have a proposal. Um, a lot of people want to talk to me, you know, to make sure that they can trust me, which totally understandable. I much rather talk to a client before they just booked me. Um, and then all of our contracts is online. You can sign it electronically and the payment is all online, do that, um, and it's all through the same system and so it's really easy for people to use, um, and contact back and forth and make sure that every week, you know, we can add your planner or your mom or whomever into the end of the files as well so that they get all the information, um, that you have and you don't have to send everyone different files.

[14:48] Yeah, I do think that the thing in wedding planning is that accessibility of, you know, vendors that, you know, I hear that a lot too and I experienced that when we had our own wedding two years ago and I would, I would email certain vendors for certain types of jobs and I would have booked whatever vendor for that job. And then when you hear back from like other vendors and so it's like, not only did somebody else get back to me first, you know, or maybe multiple people did, but like I already checked that off the list and then moved on before you even got back.

[15:23] Yeah. I am the vendor that gets back to you and then you email me back saying I'm waiting for quotes. I have never been the vendor. Like, oh, we were waiting for your quote so that we could like, look at everyone's, which I think is great. It's so, it's such a quick turnaround. And we really try and make sure that that happens for our clients

Because I think it's, it is indicative of the whole process. I think that, you know, if it's, if you get off on a good foot, you know, with the immediate communication and then like you know, that that level of service is going to be there. Um, I do find that interesting time to time where like, I've had that where, oh, we're waiting for other people. We're waiting. We're still waiting for this last guy. We're still waiting for that last guy and then they end up like, you know, going with somebody else, which is fine, but then you're like, huh, that's interesting that they took that guy a month to get back. And then like, yeah, I'm sure that'll get. Yeah, I'm sure that will be good.

[16:17] I tell all of my clients, if you haven't heard from you within 24 hours, there's something wrong. I try to make sure during the summers, vacations are off limits. In fact, last year I had gone to Japan for two weeks. I still took care of clients in Japan. Um, I would still take phone calls at 3:00 AM and it's kind of just one of the things you do. I think that's when you work with a small business owner, that is something to look, whether it's bartending, whether it's me, whether it's anyone look for that because you want dedicated. It's one thing to take a day off, but like you can't. There's no way you can take two weeks off. Um, I love what I do. There is no way that you can start and hold a business, especially full time if you do not absolutely love what you do. If you were talking to a vendor that owns their company and their eyes don't light up when you talk about, you know, their niche, there's something, there's something missing and you might want to go to the next vendor.

[17:19] Yeah. As, as somebody whose wife likes the vacation that far, they've every summer I will tell you that there's a lot of the summer we're booking the were our friends are getting married in Italy and I said wherever we stay I got to have wifi because you know, and to me I liked that time zone thing because then everybody can email me or I'm asleep. I'll wake up everybody back and then we can go out for the day because you don't want to sacrifice, you know, your life. But I do think that knowing that people can get in contact with you is a pretty important a talk about the these fundraisers and philanthropists. I can't even say that philanthropy, philanthropy organizations, philanthropic. You're so much smarter than I where he's talking about that. What's going on?

[18:04] Um, yeah. So I grew up in, I'm working with nonprofits. Uh, we were members of, if people know what the, who the freemasons are, we were part of a woman's. Um, I was an elected state officer of the girls. This is awesome. Um, and so I basically grew up planning auctions. We, every year I, I, myself raised thousands of dollars for the service projects that we had in that range term northwest harvest to the burn children's recovery foundation. We did walks, like I said, auctions, all kinds of different fundraisers for these organizations that gave back. So it was, it was really nice to do that. Um, as well as now in business. Um, I think one of the coolest things that we do is we love to donate back to the community. so we've done donations to multiple school auctions. Can you just have to ask us? Um, we are currently doing the seattle international film festival this year. They have a new lounge and we are sponsoring the bartending, so go check us out there. Um, and that's really, that's really neat to be able to sponsor that type of event. we're also working with the international firefighters guild. they're doing their hundredth anniversary in Seattle and we are also donating. We have 25 bartenders going to be there on a single day.

[19:38] That's really impressive, you know, in terms of where you guys started, um, you know, just a couple years ago and now kind of establishing that brand across. I mean, that's something that I always kind of strive to do too, in terms of like being kind of omnipresent in, in doing a lot of different things. I mean that's really impressive and that's good to hear. Especially the film festival. I'm talking about this elected position a little more. I think we buried the lead.

[20:06] Um, so the girls organization, it is based in Washington and Idaho and um, I think the membership at that point was about around 500. Um, and they had state officers because these were girls, they were um, young women under the age of 20. It was, I think you aged out at 20. They had state officers to make the girls feel more important and there were things like, um, this is an international organization like they have, they have people in Brazil and australIa and all over the world and so they would have reps that would talk to the girls and other org like other places. Um, and then they would have a team of girls who basically ran the state organization and they have the top person and then they have four people under her that are also elected by all the, basically the past presidents of local chapters. um, and I was elected into the four girl pod. So

Was that exciting?

[21:15] You know, it was really exciting. I think there are a lot of good things. Um, it's one of those things where it's like girls will be girls. Um, and so there was, there was a lot going on and I think it really did help my leadership to be able to move into leading a team of my own as far as party on the rocks is concern and being able to learn how important it is to give back to the community and to be able to lead younger girls into doing the same work because it is so important to um, I will always give back to my community no matter what.

[21:51] So talking about kind of you are young in terms of as a business owner, you know, as somebody that I didn't figure out what I wanted to do till, you know, years after where you are now. And that puts me even older. Talk about you being the business owner, being a young business owner and managing teams and you know, clients and things like that.

[22:11] I definitely think it's one of those things where sometimes I get people that don't quite want to listen to me. Um, and I think as soon as they start talking to me and realized that I actually know what I'm talking about, it makes a huge difference because there is that passion and dirt is a basic, well, not basic. There is a deep knowledge and understanding of what I'm doing and how I'm doing it and how I want to work with people. Um, I've kind of always been a people person, um, you know, really outgoing, very charismatic and people tend to be better suited with that. Um, and I think it's one of those things where as I age and my knowledge just grows more and more, it's going to be an even bigger help for the clients and I'm just owning the business in general. But I definitely think there are struggles. Um, but it's also really nice. I think there's another piece of it personally that having figured everything out by this point, I'm just just shows how much more into it than I am.

[23:22] Yeah, I definitely think it, it, it shows a work, work hardness and in general, you know, being able to do things, you know, competently. And I think that, well you said once, you know, there might be that initial hesitation, but then once a client talks, you know, I think it's very apparent, you know, in terms of just like communication than just your general demeanor that you know, what you're doing a talk about your first wedding party on the rocks, a talk about the first kind of event that you guys had. And how did that go?

[23:51] Um, so our first wedding that we worked, we had five staff members and it was at Within Sodo and it was gorgeous. And the one thing that we did have, it was a room flip and that was, that was really challenging because if you are planning your wedding right now or as a vendor listening in, have had to work with room flips, they can be a little bit in the pain of the pain in the butt. Um, however we were, we took, oh, I think it was like a 200 person wedding. We had to move all of the heavy chairs from the ceremony area to around the tables and it, it probably took us a full 45 minutes. Um, and it was hard, are heavy. We had to move through guests. Guest didn't want to move, um, but we, we, we did it. We stuck through it.

[24:41] We did our jobs, we made sure everyone was taken care of and it was one of the first reviews we received from a client and they were just thrilled and how we handled ourselves. I remember in fact from the mother of the bride specifically in her view, she and go read these reviews on, especially on facebook. We have a ton of great things that people have said about multiple peoples on our team. People on our team. Um, she mentioned that one of my staff people, and it wasn't me, went up to grandma and made sure that she was specifically taking care of, that she had a drink in her hand when she wanted it and that her plate was cleared in a timely manner. And thosE are the kinds of things that you want something really great about that wedding in particular as well, is that we were there from setup through the entire wedding to tear down and it was a long day, but it's not out of the norm for us to do 12 hour days.

[25:35] Um, you know, we made sure that we were working with the planner to get all the place settings set and clearing the tables throughout, making sure the trash was taken out all the way into the end. Um, so often I hear brian saying, oh, we don't need help with that. My family will do it. Well, no. Um, yeah. You might have a couple people, but I didn't even know what my own wedding. My family drank. They were tired. They had a lot going on, or they knew they were supposed to stay and they left. It just happens and you know it. It's one of those things where if you can avoid even asking your family, yeah. Are they going to say they'll help? Sure. Do they really want to help? Not if you can hire a whole team to do it.

[26:18] No, I mean, in your family, shouldn't, that shouldn't be a, a to do on the wedding day is, you know, my, my daughter's getting married, then I need to pack up the stuff and move it out.

[26:28] We get hired by moms all the time because they're like, my daughter asked me to do cleanup, so I'm hiring you to do cleanup and I have so many contracts and mom's name because. Or even dad, uh, like I've had an aunt who was told that she would be in charge of cleanup. So she, that's her wedding gift.

[26:48] Uh, I wanted to talk about. Yeah, you said in terms of the length that you guys are there and they're working harder than me. It's the same with me were like the bride and groom will generally tap out before you know, you will or your staff will or I will. Uh, and I do think that that's an underrated, I guess not skill, but the ability to have is to work that long day that, you know, like you might be there before anybody's even there. And then they're passed after where everybody's long gone. Totally.

[27:17] I think one of the biggest differences, as you know, the brand, they also have a lot of stress on them and so like when you have, your adrenaline is so high and you, you know, the pressures on your, in front of everyone and you get exhausted. I mean, especially with the days leading up to it, for us, this is our job as much as I basically cried every wedding because I am just an emotional person with the whole love thing. Um, but like I am, I'm trained to do this. I have done this for years. This is what I do. And it is not, it is not something where like I have, I've expended energy on something that I didn't need to. Um, it's just, it's what we do.

[28:00] Yeah. Especially when you've done enough and people talking, you know, or I don't know, it's always interesting. People will talk to you about staff. And again, I know I've done, you know, this is not a nail a id. Remember, just as a side note, a room flip. I remember when I had met with a bride and groom and uh, this was about an hour and a half into our consultation in my consultations are usually about 15 minutes and they were explaining to me why room flip was and that it was like the most incredible thing that they had ever thought of. And I thought and you know, it's, it's okay, but they were like, so we're going to get married and then there's a, like a dividing wall and we're going to move everybody into the other side for cocktail hour and then they're going to set up the dinner tables where the reception, where the ceremony was and it was like they had never. Nobody had ever done that before.

[28:53] I love brides and grooms that, that is something super important to remember is your vendors. You want people who have done this before and have experienced it and have a team, you know, if it's something where you need a team to be able to do something, have their team, they've done it before. Um, if they, if they ever go like I had, I had no idea that was a thing at a wedding. Find someone who knew what it was because this might be your first wedding and hopefully it will be your last, but it's not ours.

[29:26] And not to disparage any brides or grooms making fun of. I mean, but it is just a, it is interesting because I do think that you get into, um, I've talked to my wife about this to work, you know, I mean it's your wedding and you want it to be, you know, your way and you're it the first time, you know, like you said the whole it the last time. But like, yeah, you should surround yourselves with people that even if they're not directly telling you, I've done this a lot more than you did. At least that knowledge base is kind of there that uh, you know, we can kind of guide you, guide that blind ship kind of going through the icebergs

That's what we're there for otherwise sure. Hire your friend to bartend or take a video and have it through their iphone. Um, you, you have contacted us because you trust that we have an opinion that can help you with one, you know, this data and get a do over you. You are pouring your heart, soul and money into this big event to show your friends and family and share with them your love and why not just do it right.

[30:31] You talked about getting emotional at weddings. Um, talk to me about kind of your favorite part of whether it's the wedding day, favorite part of their wedding day or in terms of the process. What do you really get excited about when it comes to like the day to day work that you guys do?

[30:47] Oh, I, oh, I love bartending. I love being able to work with the bride and groom on their cocktail list and where they get wind. Hint asked me about trader joe's wine because it is the best. Like you can get for a dollar bottles of wine and your guests will think there were $25 bottles of wine, but mostly like working with them to make sure that everything is going smooth for that. And then I just love the physical act of bartending, I love interacting with your guests and bartenders tend to get a little bit more chatty with people, whereas the event staff stay a little bit quieter, you know, they do work with people one on one, but it's not quite as much as the bartender. And so that's that. I would say that that's my favorite part, my favorite part of weddings or it's the first book, it's when they get to see each other and it's like we're starting this new piece. Like it's like even with after, like before the vows, they see each other and they're like, this, this is my person and this is what they've done up until this point for me. And then they just, they, they never, they're never a part again,

Circling back to the energy with the bartending. And I guess I would assume, you know, your high energy, you know, you look for people that are also personable, bartenders and people. Uh, I will say as a vendor that I don't drink at weddings, but I won't go get water or cranberry juice or lemonade or whatever. There's nothing worse than seeing the bartender standing there that wants to be anywhere else, uh, as a vendor and I certainly have to imagine that as a guest, but I see that a lot where you're at, like, um, you know, a lot of, even like nice venues where you would think that, you know, there's a lot of money here and you, you want, I think you want people that are excited. I mean, your excited to be there. I'm excited. I'm, you know, I think that goes the whole way through and I think the people serving the drinks, you want to have somebody that's really personable, right?

[32:45] Yeah. I find it one of the biggest compliments as when the guests or the couple asked me to dance with them, um, I don't do it because legally I have to need to be behind the bar. Um, but they'll, you know, they'll see me like singing along those songs are jamming out and they're like, no, no, no, no. Come be with us. And it's so nice to know that they see that I'm having fun. They're having fun when everyone is. I mean, that's what it should be, is just a ton of fun and a ton of energy and I love, I mean, I love to party on the off time and I love to party when I'm actually working. So I'm having vendors that can, can really get involved with you. I think it's so important and so much it just makes for a better time and then, you know, guests will see me dancing and they'll be like, oh yeah, like I'm going to get up and do it too.

[33:35] Um, or like singing along. I think that oftentimes they'll come up and talk to me or just go join the party, um, and getting people you know, or if you go alone to a wedding, if you ever been alone at a wedding, you find the staff to talk to because they're a nonthreatening. And so being able to have a not an awesome nonthreatening person at your party for them to talk to you is. So. I mean, I've had, I've had people sit there and talk to me for over an hour longer than you probably wanted, but, but, but it proves that they were comfortable with me and even if you know, they're, they're probably not going to tell their friends. Well that bartender was super awesome, but they know they go home and you know, as the vendor that they had a good time and you help that.

[34:24] And even I think that relates back to your name, you know, Party on the Rocks where it is, you know, I do think that the emotes that, you know, uplifting feeling, it's supposed to like the most refilling continued staff and the guys are not, you know, upscale and all of that. But I just think that even at the core of kind of that name and the branding and I think it exudes kind of that I'm a little more uplifting and in terms of.

[34:46] Yeah. Yeah, I definitely think so. Um, I mean even our dress code is described to our clients and our employees as party black. Um, and that means that yes, it's all black, but the men wear collared shirts, but you know, it doesn't necessarily, they're not wearing ties. Um, they, they can if they want, but it's not a requirement for us. It is, it is closed that are kind of like business casual but black and like they can, you know, they can be a little bit more on the fun side. You can wear a cute blouse if you want. Um, and honestly we've, we've worked side by side with companies who have a very strict, strict dress code. Um, we even worked with a company where they weren't allowed to wear their wedding rings. I'm like, yeah, it was, it was, it was intense. And at the end of the night they were like, oh yeah, this, our dress code. And we were like, oh, so was our dress code a problem? They were like, oh, we didn't even notice that you had anything different on. So I mean it's, it's one of those things where we, we blend in almost like a guest, but since it's all black, we're very clearly vendors. Yeah. And like

In terms of just that, that easy going this too and in outreaching, um, like when we were together at the wedding show, you know, in terms of like, that's like a really kind of high stress, you know, not too similar from a wedding, but in terms of trying to talk with people and like, you know, Dorothy and I are pretty good at like talking to people and outreaching am I, I don't think there was anybody that went by that you were jan hadn't like gone out to and you're like, you know, running into the aisle, talked to him, but, you know, but it just, it speaks to just that kind of, you know, that personality and that outgoingness and also just the work ethic to that, you know, really being able to kind of um, shine in that environment. You know, we don't do, um, like I said, I don't drink a lot of weddings or whatever, but I do appreciate that kind of work ethic. You know, when I see it. And I think that that translates kind of a cross the cross the way. Whatever you're doing. Definitely talk about, and I want to keep this pg, uh, uh, any fun stories, uh, in terms of like, you guys have, must've seen a lot of different environments and crowds. Is there anything that stands out where you think like, oh, I remember that one.

[37:00] I feel like I don't know if it's pg.

[37:02] Well, you can try and I'll, I'll make, I'll make the final decisions.

[37:08] Um, wow. Let me, I mean

I had, there was a wedding where it was a very tall bar that I was behind and I literally had someone like slide across it to try and kiss me that happened. Other than that, I'm trying to think of anything like,

[37:34] um,

We once worked at a party where Pearl Jam was so worried about that they were just gets, it wasn't even me who got to work it, it was, it was, um, one of the sweetest clients that I've ever, ever worked with. And she was just so nice and jan was bartending there and um, yeah, all of pearl jam was at the party just as guests. Um, and she thought that was, that was pretty cool. And we've, I bartended for the governor and that was really cool. It was that a kcts retirement party. Um, there are definitely, there's been a few different like news anchors that have shown up at parties. Um, so that's, that's pretty cool when you get a, get a see that kind of, um, you know, familiar faces.

[38:21] I'll tell my own story just because I was thinking about, there was this guy out on the dance floor for like two hours, just crazy, crazy, crazy dancing and like, you know, to the point where kind of everybody's watching and, you know, really just kind of going crazy and really seemed, you know, just really excited. And um, we're like a Jeff or I was talking with his wife and she's like, oh, that's, that's just the way he is ccause we're like is he just as he had too much to drink or. Oh no, that's, you know, Bill that's just the way he is. So at some point he had come back and he had kind of read all the way down his pant leg and we thought, man, that's really weird. And so Jeff had gone into the restroom, uh, upstairs, there, there's like two different sets of bathrooms and there was like red wine projectile, like all over the bathroom and it's like obviously, like he had at some point had, you know, relieved and gone back out and feel. But we were just like us for like two hours. The wife was like, oh no, that's just the way he is. And it's like, no, this dude's like pounding, uh, and uh, but I think that you could have results, little bartending staff, take care of that document. I guess talk about that. Talk about, you know, in terms of like kind of maintaining control that you guys have been help with guests and, and liquor consumption.

[39:36] Yeah, definitely. Um, so in order to become a bartender legally, you need to do a MAST 12 and it's a lot like the food handlers permit. Um, but this is the mandatory alcohol service training is what MAST stands for. And what it does is it basically goes through all the laws so that each of our bartenders knows exactly what they are liable for and what they're responsible for. It tells you you have to have at least three signs of any variation, so, you know, if you walk with a limp, we're not, you're not walking up to our bar and saying not you're drunk, just because there's that or like maybe you have glassy eyes because you have a condition or you just happen to slur your speech. Again, maybe you have a medical condition. so you have to exhibit three signs of that. Um, in order to be cutoff.

[40:29] Oftentimes our bartenders are so concerned about cutting people off. I'm really, we do it in a very tactful manner. I'm offering water as an alternative, asking if, you know, they wouldn't mind coming back and 30, 45 minutes. Um, it's never your drunk go away. Um, and I've, I've seen bar, you know, when I'm at events and it's not as bartending, I've seen people cut off where the bartender, like the company just goes, oh, you're drunk. And that's totally inappropriate. Embarrassed you're embarrassed is your guests and nobody feels good about it. Uh, so we don't do that. We train each person. It's like sensitive activity training for our bartenders. I'm making sure because we do want to have everyone have a good experience like our bartenders included and that doesn't make for a good time. Um, so thAt, that mass 12 permit, I mean legally even if you're hiring someone off craigslist, they have to have that permit to even think about serving alcohol.

[41:29] You're causing me. Ultimately it is about kind of the guests know experience and you don't want it happens, you know, it's like the guy at the wedding and I was talking about, you know, I mean it, you know, it happens and it's, it's why dns and it's fun and especially when like, you know, it's an open bar with liquor in it, you know, it's people I get carried away sometimes or maybe it's just the bridal party member that's been up for 15 hours, you know, it just, you know, so it is good I think to kind of exhibit that sort of tact and.

Something can always go wrong, but making sure that you have a reputable company, they're taking care of you. The chances of it happening or it being detrimental to the event, it basically goes away.

[42:11] Are there any questions that you wished people asked more in terms of brides and grooms that things that you wish that they knew that they don't ask or what are, what, what are the biggest, like missed kind of things that people that you wish that people asked more or knew more?

[42:30] Oh,

[42:32] it's a tough one. that one is tough. It's a tough one. It's a hard hitting the podcast here.

[42:38] I wish people made sure that their vendors worked well together. I love being asked. Um, if I have any recommendations for anything and I love hearing that other vendors have sent. I mean, you even sent. We've got a wedding coming up together. I'm at metropolis and it should. I mean, that should be really fun. We love working with planners. Um, and that's, that's a big thing I definitely recommend to people. There are a few things that are just so necessary when you're having a wedding and a planner is one of them. Um, because they will handle everything. We've walked into events where it was mom who did all the talking and she never actually told the staff what she wanted and then it was disappointed that they didn't know this nuance thing that she had told me once five months ago and a planner would have noted all of that. Um, they're professionals, they know how to do their job as great as it is to have a family member help. It's even better when you've got someone who really knows what they're doing.

[43:43] Yeah. I would echo that sentiment that are our wedding over the weekend. We had a lisa with elegant affairs and it does just make it a lot easier going into the day. Uh, and not that it's not a necessity, but I shouldn't, you know, even having the day of coordinator that can, you know, and that's not necessarily, they don't just do day off, you know, they'll do, you know, a month or two hours and make sure they get everything situated. It just ran really smooth for us. and at the same, like you said, with people packing that they were, as the guests were dancing on the one side of the venue, either they were already going through with the staffy mayor and breaking things down and you know, cleaning things up so that it wouldn't be, you know, the family members or bridal party weren't regularly get regulated to do that. Talk to me about kind of the, either maybe the biggest people have

[44:32] in terms of like alcohol at the wedding and there or how that kind of is involved. Right? So this is a very serious thing, a huge topic because one of the services that We end most bartending companies will provide you with is a shopping list of everything that you need to buy to make sure that you have enough alcohol. We personally, I, when I give you a shopping list, I have already overestimated so that you don't run out of alcohol. I very clearly remember a wedding from last summer. I'm the father of the bride, but twice as much as I told him to buy. So you and you had already overestimated, already had overestimated for him. Um, what we do is we cap the guests off at four drinks because even if your wedding is eight hours long, there is no way that they can drink eight drinks.

[45:28] So we cap it at four and then take everyone over the age of 21 and multiply that. And that's how many drinks. So if you're only having a two hour reception, you do it only for two. They'll have two drinks. So it's one per hour up until four hours. So for percentages, what we do is if it's beer and wine service, we do about 60 percent wine, 40 percent beer. If you're adding cocktails in the mix, we do about 50 percent wine, 25 percent fear, 25 percent hard liquor, and you will have enough. What happens is if you don't trust my judgment, okay, sure, I don't a couple of extra bottles, I get it. You can either drink it at the end or you can return it depending on where you buy your alcohol.

[46:14] I don't care how much alcohol you buy, if you buy double the amount, your guests will become so wasted that they can't stand up. And they will have been cutoff, we legally have to cut them off. That is part of the training that is part of the insurance and the liability of everything is we want to make sure that they have a safe and fun experience. And so we can't just serve them until you're out of alcohol. That's just not an option. Um, you have hired us to make sure that they get home alive and healthy. Um, maybe a little tipsy and that's a okay. But we don't, don't waste your money. I'm on all of that. Alcohol. Can I do another one? There's another misconception then. I do have a note on that. Great. Okay. Uh, one more misconception that we see is champagne toast.

[47:09] I get a lot of people that think they have to do a champagne toast because of tradition champagne. You can, you can read articles about it. Champagne is one of the number one money wasters on weddings these days. People just don't drink it. If you want to do a champagne toast, what we do is we pour an ounce to two ounces into a glass. And if people really want to come up for more, they will come and ask for more champagne. But typically what they do is they take a couple of sips and then it goes in the garbage.

[47:43] I will echo that sentiment a because we did just a, I think they call it drink in hand for our toast. Where that means that I think like, I think we had champagne, like I think maybe like my wife and I and like the bridal party. But yeah, everyone else is fine. It would just be beer one or whatever. I will say too in terms of estimating the guest count and the alcohol and all of that. Like that was a really big thing at our wedding because my wife's parents were, you know, helping to put it on and like, you know, they're there besides running out of food at the wedding, you know, you don't want to run out of alcohol and you know, you want to be a good host and you want to make sure that everybody is taken care of. And so like, that was the thing that we really struggled with because, you know, you don't just want to get, you know, 10 kegs of beer or whatever, but you know, you want to make sure that, like everybody has enough. And so that was, you know, we had, uh, our planet, rebecca also kind of helped with that in terms of like figuring out because you want to make sure that you have enough, but you don't want to make sure that it's like you said you're wasting money or you throw it all away or whatever.

[48:46] She's on it. Let's do it. Um, so third misconception is that kegs are cheaper than bottles or cans. Um, a lot of people don't want to do cans at their weddings because it's not quite as refined as a bottle. Um, but fun fact cakes take four times as long to serve a single beer than opening up a bottle and a lot of tech, you know, depending. I totally understand that. The weddings that, where they get the, you know, I, at my wedding I had cakes because they were donated to me like they were given to me by a family friend who just happens to work in the industry and not everyone has that. But in all reality, since it takes so much time, depending on your guest count, you may have to add a whole nother bartender in which I, I promise you is more expensive than doing the bottles. Um, it also creates a lot of waste with kegs. Yes, there's waste with bottles, but you're wasting actual beer with kegs. I'm very seldom do they go through the beer and yeah, people sometimes are able to like throw parties afterwards, but if you're going on your honeymoon, it's not going to. You

Isn't there like a, you only yield so much right from a keg. It sounded real time. Like if you have a whole keg of 100, ounces it only yields...

[50:08] Yeah, true. Yeah, that's totally true. Fun fact about that to you. The first two pitchers or beer and I mean full picture, it's like pretend it wasn't or I'm falling. I'm sorry. It's all head. Um, it is. It's healthier beer. Yeah. No, it's, it's all foam and that means two pitchers, which is like really like four pictures of foam or just throwing out right away and you lose so much. So it's, it, it can be good, it can be an alright option. Um, but a lot of times that's the misconception is that it cheaper

And as somebody that enjoys a silver bullets of Coors Light here at my house and a tall boys go out to a restaurant. I will tell you it is okay to have a, a tall boy have a beer at your wedding. Nourishment. Yeah.

[50:58] Or a bottle. Totally. Totally. I mean, we, I've bartended so many weddings that like bud light was the thing. Um, and you know what, it's your wedding. I have also bartended where they didn't have wine because nobody drank wine that they knew. um, it, this is your wedding. Um, you get to do what you want, especially when it comes to alcohol. I will promise you if you have a hosted open bar, nobody is complaining about your selections. They are happy. You've provided them with a drink.

We'll Claire it has been wonderful having you come in here today to talk all about party on the rocks and what you guys do. If people wanted to learn more about you, your history or what you guys do now in terms of bartending and event staffing, where would they go? What would they check out?

[51:44] They would want to visit www.partyonthe.rocks. I know it's tricky. There is no.com. It has.rocks. Everyone loves it, but still gets confused by it. You can also call me at 206-619-4604 and if you listene earlier. You know, it's my cell phone. You can even text me if you include a name and I am here to help you.

[52:13] You are certainly utilizing the new. What did they released a couple of years ago that.like you can do dot video or dot rock sort of dealt with ever. Um, I picked up a couple of those that haven't made the switch over yet, but I think if you go to www. seattlewedding.video, that will a redirect back to my website. That's awesome. Well thank you so much for coming in today. Stay tuned next week for another wedding vendor interview. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Thanks so much.

[52:42] Bye.

Episode 5 (Danielle Yellam, VANity Photo Bus)

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a wedding videography company located in West Seattle, Washington, and I'm here today with a new friend that actually ended up finding out that we are actually old friends. Uh, Danielle from VANity Photo Bus. Why don't you say hi and tell us a little bit about who you are.

[00:30] Hey guys, this is Danielle. Thanks for, it's nice to see you again. Uh, so we are VANity Photo Bus. Myself and my brother, we started a photo booth business out of a 1959 Voltswagen van. Um, we take it around to weddings mainly and pretty much other events, anything that would want a photo booth at their events.

[00:54] And Danielle is actually, as I mentioned, an old friend. We found out through the grapevine that we actually at a wedding together back last year, summer. You were the maid of honor of Christina, at Christina and Tanuj's wedding at Newcastle Golf Club. So talk about that wedding. What was that like?

[01:10] Uh, that was really fun. So Christina is my best friend and then my brother Michael actually is to news his best friend, so we set them up, I'm however many years ago and it happened to work out and so we were best man and maid of honor at her wedding

That, that, that toast is coming back to me. Then I do remember that it's all coming back. I was telling her off air that I have a terrible time remembering anybody that's not my bride and groom at a wedding, uh, I've talked to mothers of the brides at wedding shows and she goes, like, you've actually filmed, you know, my daughter's wedding. I don't remember that. I remember your daughter. Uh, so that's great. So is that the, in uh, the reason you guys started this company or was this ruminating because before that?

[01:51] Uh, no, not really. I think we had had the idea before their wedding, but I am a flight attendant and so I was flying with another coworker and he said that his son and daughter in law ran a photo booth business out of a van in Arizona. And I thought it was such a good idea, I'd never heard of it ever. I thought they were the only people in America to ever think of it. So I called the son, talk to him about it and I said, hey, I want to take the idea. He said, go for it. We're in Arizona, you're in Washington. There was really no competition. Um, so then after researching it I realized that it's kind of all over the country, all over the world. And there just happened to be another company in Seattle that did it. Um, and so I pitched it to my brother and he said, let's do it. And so we started looking for buses and just kind of all history from there. And so when was that, how long ago was? That was an, um, I think August of 2017. And we bought our bus in October and then kind of started it in November.

[02:50] So you guys are really moving because what is it may now. And, uh, uh, somebody from my own heart who, when I got my camera, it was nine months before I quit my job and did everything. So it is something to be said to move quickly. I think it's a great idea. I love the name. Uh, I love the van, the t for the bus. It's, it's easy for me to remember. Is that, how long have you guys, is it something you've always wanted to do? I mean, you start a business. Yeah,

We've always wanted to start a business. My younger brother and I, we just have never pulled the trigger or we never didn't know what we were going to do. We've thought about dog daycares, uh, because those are pretty popular right now, but we've never really actually done anything. And this seemed like something that was easy to get into. Not a lot of overhead by bus put a photo booth in. It can't be that hard. Right.

[03:42] Do you guys have a photography background at all or did you. So how did you learn about that?

[03:47] Uh, it's an ipad that we choose and then an APP. So really there's no photography involved, are on our end at all.

[03:55] Um, so back to being a flight attendant because I think that's a pretty interesting thing. What, what led you into that or how did you wind up going down that path?

[04:03] Um, my mom, she was a flight attendant for 20 plus years for Alaska Airlines and um, I never wanted to do it, but she kind of convinced me back in 2011 to start and I said fine, I'll apply. And I did and I love it and I would not do anything else. It's such a good job.

[04:22] So I would have to think that when you're a flight attendant you have to do what with a lot of different email management of people and their expectations and customer service. Talk about that and if you agree that that translates good into being a business owner now and dealing with lots of expectations on that end.

[04:39] Um, yeah, there are lots of different personalities on an airplane and you know, trying to talk to one tab of minute visual versus the other can be challenging. But I'm really laid back on the airplane. Uh, I get along with everybody. So for me it's pretty simple. I like people, I like talking to people. I think people are very interesting. They all have different stories and so getting to know who they are is kind of a fun part for me on the airplane. And it kind of goes the same with meeting people at weddings or events or things that we do. There's just everybody's interesting to me. I like people.

[05:16] Um, and so then the relationship with your brother. Have you guys always had a good relationship? Uh, is he always been somebody that you've gotten along with and wanting to, like you said, sorry, the business with?

[05:25] Yeah. I have three brothers and so he's my youngest brother and then me and then I have two older brothers. Him and I are just really close. I love his wife. We all get along so well and they have two kids and I don't know, they're just like my people. And so him and I have always done everything together and we just thought this would be fun to do. And it is. And we're having a really good time.

[05:47] And so you guys are both working full time still. You're a flight attendant, you said he works with Anthony's. Talk about that balance between, you know, not only starting in the business but running the business while working full time still.

[06:01] Yeah, that's really tough. Um, just because he lives in Auburn. I live in Berrien so the bus is stored at his house and anytime I, I want to work on it or we want to work on it, I have to go to him. Um, so it's just that part is really hard to juggle. Um, but like this entire week I'll fly in the morning and when I get home I'll work on the bus stuff, make props or make backdrops or emails or things of that nature. But it is kind of tough because he works nights, I work mornings, so it's hard to get us in the same place at the same time.

[06:37] Do you work a consistent flight rather? How does that work?

[06:39] Not really. I mean yes and no. I do a lot of west coast today. I went to Salt Lake City most of the time I go to Oakland, San Jose, Vegas, Denver. So something Kinda two hours away and back leave around five. Get back around noon.

[06:55] So you just got back from Salt Lake and that you're here doing the podcasts. Probably going to go work on the buses. That's dedication. Have you always had that drive, that entrepreneurial drive?

[07:06] Yeah, I think so. My Dad, he's owned his own business businesses my whole life and I think I just got it from him. I've always ran lemonade stands or babysitting services. I house it for a lot of people. Um, I don't know, I just, I guess I like being my own boss.

[07:22] Um, so talk about this bus now. How did we acquire that or where did that come from?

[07:26] Um, so I looked at lots of buses and my brother and I both looked. We started out in Washington and there's two different types of buses. I don't know if you're familiar with them. I was not at all. I'd never actually been in one drove one. Nothing. But there's two types. There's a bay window version and a split window version and when I was researching all the companies kind of around here in Oregon, the one in Washington, Arizona, um, they all had the bay window version typically. And so that it's like one solid front window and I didn't want, we didn't want to look like the other company in Seattle, so we started looking for the one with a split window and that's just two separate front windows and they sometimes they pop out there called safari windows. Um, and so then we couldn't find any in Washington and we test drove a few up here. Uh, I have a brother who lives in California, so I went down there to visit him, test drove a couple down there. They sold instantly. It was nuts. So then we kind of came back to Washington, went back to the drawing board and then we found one in Idaho. So I flew over to Idaho test, drove it, bought it, and then a few weeks later went back and drove it home. And that was in October

Because yeah, you're probably, you know, there's probably not a lot of other people looking the meaning, you know, collectors or restoration people, you know, anybody else that might be interested. So what year is it? It's a VW, 15

It's 1959. That's pretty. Pretty old and it's like a bright blue, so it, it certainly eye catching. It's two tones, so it's white on the top and then kind of a lighter blue on the bottom and it's beautiful. It's pretty rare. It's a transporter type two, I believe, like a microbus and it has double doors on both sides, which is extremely rare. I don't. We really lucked out. I mean the bus was in immaculate condition when we got it. The person who owned it, her and her husband divorced, she wanted it in the divorce, didn't drive here for five years, was going back to school, so she was selling it and the inside was gutted, which was great for us because we had, we wanted to get it anyways for what we were doing. And then my brother and I fixed up the inside and just kind of happened from there.

So you're. You pretty handy when it comes to that sort of thing or. I mean, I wouldn't even know where to start with that sort of thing.

[09:46] No, we weren't at all. We just kind of youtube to everything and asked help and advice from so many friends and family and we had a lot of people help us. So it was cool.

[09:57] What's that like to, to kind of be able to count on support like that and, and, and know that you kind of have the support of your friends and the kind of help get your dream off the ground. What does that feel like?

[10:07] It just feels great. It's nice to know that people do care about us and want us to succeed. And um, I hope we can help other people one day if someone else is trying to, you know, start something or whatnot,

Just as long as it's not a photo bus company from Seattle.

[10:25] I think it's really cool on its own. I want everybody to have a photo bus. It's really fun.

[10:30] Um, so October, so you get the bus, you fix it. How long did that restoration process take?

[10:35] Probably maybe a month total or less just because again, we're on opposite schedules. So we really owned that, only had the weekends to put it together. I'm probably about a month. And then our first thing was Apple Cup. We bought a ticket to tailgating and kind of debuted it there. Talking about that. That's fascinating.

[10:54] Yeah. So we, I called UW and they said if we want it to be a vendor it would cost this much to be a vendor and we didn't think that that was necessary so we just bought a tailgating ticket and kind of opened it up for free and pass out business cards and as long as we didn't charge, they said it was fine and so that's what we did and we actually got a few couple of business opportunities from it. And so that was good. Uh, was there like a line out the bus or how did that work? Kinda. Yeah, it was, it was a hit. No one had. I mean, people have seen it and there was definitely people that were like, oh, we've seen this before, but not a lot of people have and I thought it was such a cool idea and it made us feel like it was a really good move and great to start and so it kind of just validated everything that we were doing.

[11:39] Um, so I know nothing about sports. I have no idea, I do know what the Apple Cup is? When is the Apple Cup?

[11:45] It was November 25th right after Thanksgiving.

[11:48] Okay. So, and in November now you guys have kind of done your test debut, what the next step after that?

[11:54] Um, the next step was just what do we do? We booked a holiday party from that in December, so then it was kind of just trying to advertise it, trying to market it, trying to make different props or see what worked and what didn't work. And really I just kind of looked at other photo buses to see what people did. I didn't want to really reinvent the wheel, I just wanted to make it better. And so that's what we tried to do.

[12:18] What challenges early on did you find in terms of marketing or was there any sort of like sticking point that you saw starting your business to me trying to make like an llc or like apply for a business license was like, I couldn't even like wrap my mind around it. I just don't work that way. What, what challenges did you guys face about that

All that stuff. I'm not really good and he's not really good with bookwork. Um, I guess budgets and paperwork and like the technical part of a business, him and I can do our great customer service, we can talk to people, we can do the hard work, we can build anything, but when it comes to paperwork and numbers and our billing brain doesn't work that way. There were really hands on in customer service people. So that's a really challenging. And I think it still is for us. Um, we're a learning day by day how to do those things, but still, that's a challenge for us.

[13:15] Yeah. I talked with a lot of people about that, that, you know, they think, oh, I'm a photographer or I'm a Dj or I run a photo bus companies like you also have to be a marketer and the web developer and in the captain and you know, like a designer. So it made it really hard. So now in terms of like weddings, you said you booked a holiday party. What has, I guess, what has been the response, I guess when your show people are, when you show clients, whether it's in a wedding or, or elsewhere, like what kind of response do you get from people? People love it.

[13:47] They think it's awesome and it, it really, it hits all generations and all people. I have dads that come up to me, oh, we used to have one of these and we're a kid or even moms or like kids of the parents that had them and say, oh, our parents had one of these, or Oh, we think a photo bus is so cool. We've never seen it before. We get such good feedback. It's really fun to say that's the best part. Um, yeah,

[14:11] yeah, I love the idea of a photo booth just in general, like you know, we have that at our wedding. Uh, I remember years ago I had done a, just a vendor, like a tour or for a bunch of people and there was another photo booth company there and we did just like after party just for the attendees. And you would have thought that that was, and this is usually like wedding vendors that spend every weekend that, you know, weddings and you with the thought that they had never seen a photo booth before. I mean it really is remarkable. I kinda kind of the fun and the attention that draws and to talk about you got to have people hanging out at the bus and stuff. What's that kind of like?

[14:48] So we did a Seahawks game too. So I did the same. I drove it down to a Seahawks game. I paid a vendor, a hot dog vendor right outside Centurylink, 20 bucks and he let me park right next to him and we had 12 grown men hanging out of it. It was awesome. And so now our challenge to see who, how many more and more people we can get it. So I think our record is like 13, which is pretty fun. I Dunno. It's kind of a fun game.

[15:14] I'm talking about you said the mechanics of the bus. So you need, you got the IPAD and whatever. Uh, in terms of like are you guys designing like what comes out of that? Are you, like you said you're building props. I mean talk about kind of all those nuts and bolts and maybe people don't think about when it comes to having the photo company.

[15:32] Yeah. So whatever event or wedding or theme, the event or Party is. We kind of go back and forth with whoever is the host of it and we'll tailor the props Kinda to whatever they want. We just bought a cricket machine. I don't know if anybody has ever heard of a cricket. It is a, it's from, they haven't met say craft stores like Michaels or Joanns and it's this machine that does cutting and so it can cut anything. It you tell it what you want, if you want it to cut stensul letters or it can cut. We do use it for props because my brother and I are not crafty in any way. We don't have the best handwriting, nothing. And so the cricket, we've been using it to make backdrops, so cut out bigger letters, stencil them, you know, draw around them in like paint the letters. Um, so we do a lot of that. So making props, making backdrops. We do kind of design the photo strips, that printout. There's a, there's a little logo part on the bottom where you can personalize it and say whatever you want. So we do that. Um, we just use a printer and it connects to the IPAD and through Wifi and it just prints out instantly there. Um, yeah, yeah.

[16:51] When you guys started like, you know, you kind of did this like guerrilla style, a marketing unit illegally parking at the Apple Cup. What was your, in your wildest dreams, what was your expectations versus like how like the reality so far, like where we are today in May.

[17:10] I thought we would be blown up. I really did, I thought Russell Wilson would see it because I tagged him in every post and I thought he would pick it up. Um, I used to work for the Seattle Storm, which is the women's basketball team in Seattle, so I tried to contact them thinking like super is going to see it and just call me up and say, Hey Danielle, we need your photo bus outside care enough for our game tonight. So my expectations that'll get there one day, but right now it hasn't. Um, why do you think that is? Um, it's really hard to market. I don't know how to. I'm trying and I really just look at other people and see what they do. Um, but it's kind of a hard market.

[17:52] It is, it's the wedding community is somebody that never really intended to find myself in that. I mean it really is interesting just in terms of like putting yourself in the mentality of I guess like an engaged couple or just doing, I don't know, I'm just not good at doing like beautiful things. So like a wedding, you know, I'm more of like the filming news and I just kind of come and see what I get. But um, now that you guys are booking more weddings, what is the bin that process like in terms of like going through that kind of journey with a client from them reaching out and then you guys doing the events?

[18:30] Um, so we've only done one wedding so we were in the Seattle wedding show back in January and that's where we got a lot of our clients for this summer and it's really just them emailing us or calling us and uh, picking a package. We have two separate packages, zero to three hours or four to six hours and I'm then picking what they want. I send them kind of a wedding questionnaire. What time would you want the bus there? What time do you want to set up by who to contact the day of things like that. And it Kinda just goes back and forth through email and then I just email them a couple of weeks before just to kind of finalize everything. And that's it.

[19:12] Did you go to a lot of weddings before you guys were wedding vendors?

[19:17] No, I mean we've been to weddings in our lifetime, but we never. It kind of moves so lucky that we never really thought by the time we started at started at wedding season was over. So no, we didn't really actually think to do that. That would have been smart.

[19:32] Well No, I just mean like if somebody had done any weddings before I heard it. So it was like, it was like a new. It was, it was like learning Greek or something. Like I just had no idea. I was not as popular as my wife and I hadn't gone to as many weddings in my, you know, early the late twenties. I mean, do you guys feel at home there is, is that a new environment for you guys when you think.

[19:55] I've been to lots of weddings. I've actually been in so many weddings and I think my brother has been to quite a few to um, we have lots of family that has gotten married. We're kind of the younger ones and our cousin circle and whatnot, so yeah, we've been to plenty of weddings and I think we've practiced the whole photo booth so much that when we did our first buddy Nick, it was fine. Like we were familiar with it. It wasn't really nerve wracking. It went off pretty well. So that was good.

[20:25] Talking about prior to like the Apple Cup or do you guys like run in your garage?

We do. We've run it for family during Easter, during holidays or birthdays, but we've done it so many times that we're learn something new every time we did an event I think last week in Seattle and our generator, we didn't realize you had to put oil in it and clunked out on us towards the end and we realized we need to check for oil or one time actually at a our first wedding we realized that with the ipad you can't use an iphone charger for the ipad. You have to use one of this lightening bolt chargers. Otherwise it doesn't charge. So we learned that. We learned. We've learned something every time, which is great. Nothing catastrophic. So far though.

[21:10] Good. See, I do think that's fascinating and I told you that like I think that a good thing about this kind of interview series is hearing from other people because there are people that are, have been doing this 30 years that you could go through wedding with her eyes closed. I certainly feel as though I am getting more comfortable as this summer approaches where I used to get a little panicky before I would go to weddings. I feel like I'm slowly transitioning out of that. I don't think those nerves will ever go away. Uh, but then you guys, you know, kind of learning this and going through it. I mean I think it's really interesting. Um, talk about the wedding show and what was that experience like? I guess you obviously had like the Apple Cup and these general public, but like that's more like wedding and event focused client tell. Talk about that and the reception you guys had there. And what was that experience like?

[22:03] Uh, it was really fun and the reception was more than we actually even expected. We were next to two booths. We are in the middle and they were kind of empty and we were just swarmed like we had lines and people were calling us to move a line out of their booth and I mean we just really couldn't keep up. It was. We did not think that was gonna happen at all. It was one after another after another and we didn't really get a lot of bookings. Say the first day, the second day we got a few more bookings but after that it just kind of like flooded in of bookings and we have. I mean we're pretty full this summer on the weekends and then we have a few for next year already, which is great. We never thought that would happen at all. It was so successful for us and we, we applied to the wedding show in December. I sent the guy an email, he said we actually have space and we don't normally take anymore photo booths, but yours is so unique that let me get back to you. And then a few hours later he said, yeah, you're in. And so it Kinda just, it went fast again. It was kind of just a dream

That was a similar we, I got in, so this will be our fourth year at the wedding show that I was the same thing, like I applied in October, had no real expectations of kind of getting in and I think that was the same thing where like videography is a little bit more niche, you know, like a photo booth where there might be 30 different photography, you know, there's like a seven year wait list if you're a photographer in the wedding show. Wow. I talked to like photographers now and they're like, hey, you know, I'm thinking about applying to the wedding show and I go, man, I had to at least get on the list because it's a legit, like six or seven years. Um, but yeah, it was the same thing for us. Right? Like we got in there the first year and had no real expectations and now you know, like kind of once you're in, you know, you're in a. So I think that that's great. Talk about filling that calendar and kind of like getting these bookings now. Is that like rewarding? Obviously fulfilling like talk about going from like zero now to having you know, weekends filled through the summer.

[24:05] Yeah. It gets exciting when someone wants to bug us or they email us and ask for more information. It kind of is sad when they don't ever respond back or they don't actually follow through, but when they do, it feels so good to know that someone wants us, they, they trust us to actually be at their wedding and they trust that we're legit. I mean because we haven't. Before this, before we started booking, we hadn't done anything this our first year and I looked at my brother and I was like, we really like, we can't back out now we have to do this. People are counting on us. So that was kind of scary. But now that it's into it, I'm really excited. A few months ago when nothing was happening just because it was the lull before the storm, I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn't doing anything and now that it's starting, it's getting really exciting and I feel busy and I feel so much better.

[24:53] I do agree with that sentiment of like feeling like now you're committed, right. That like, and I think that it's, it's different where we're the only industry where, um, well there might be others. The one I can think of where like you might have a date booked for a year from now or a year and a half from the habit, like you can't break, right? I mean it's, it's like, and I'm not even talking like, you know, monetarily or whatever. I mean, I would feel horrible. Right. Our friends got engaged. Uh, I guess it was last winter. I don't even think we were at this house yet, so it must've been a year and a half ago. And they, we were talking and they said, oh, well, you know, we're thinking about getting married, you know, like end of June, early July of 2018. And I said, well, I'm booked June 30th, so, you know, it can't be that weekend, you know, because in there they're getting married in Italy.

[25:49] So it's, you know, it's more than just like down the road and there. What do you mean? I said, well in my, me and my wife looked at me. She's like, well can't you? And I go, no, I can't. You know, Allie booked me like a year and a half with like, I can't, you know, you can't change that. I mean talk about that for going from like maybe a flight attendant is a little bit more like unpredictable or maybe like this day it's going to be that. I mean now you're set in stone for stuff coming up. Talk about that going from zero. Yeah,

[26:17] I mean as a flight attendant I can work any day I want and not work any day. I don't want to. It's the most flexible job in the entire world and now this I'm committed. I can't break it. I'm scared. What if, what if the bus breaks. I looked at my brother, I said, what if the bus breaks? What if it. What if something happens? We're in trouble. We have to hope that nothing happens.

[26:38] I've become very good friends with the tow truck. Just pull the thing down there.

[26:42] Yeah. Well, we have realized that if it's, if it's far, we just rented a Uhaul and we tow it and we built it into our travel price and people pay it and it's fine and it's a lot faster than to actually drive it. It's really slow. It's a slow 55 on the freeway. It's so slow, but it's fun to drive in the wintertime. It's not because it's rainy, it's cold, the wipers don't work if there's no circulation or visualization, penalization ventilation, ventilation. Um, and so it fogs up and it's not fun, but now that it's warmer and the sun's out, it's really fun to drive.

[27:18] Yeah. You like roll those windows. So fun. There's no role and you just kind of push them. Something that I, I'm curious about just talking to a new vendor, like you said, where you're emailing clients, um, you know, not everybody books, not everybody gets back. Uh, and that's always hard for me. I mean, and this is now like our fifth year, you know, in terms of like regularly getting turned down by clients, just whether they decide the geography isn't for them but they want to go with somebody else or something happens, talk about and not like rejection is a bad word, but like talk about that rejection and like what does that, is that hard or do you get used to that?

[27:56] Um, it is kind of hard in the beginning because we want everybody to love us and we think it's so fun and anybody that emails us, we think, oh, we got somebody, we've got somebody and then you don't have anybody until they actually book you. And so it is kind of a letdown, put it. But I then I just realized, well there'll be somebody else if they're not, if it's not meant to be with them, hopefully it's somebody else. So I just kind of push it away and go on to the next, the next person.

[28:23] Yeah. To me that definitely was like the hardest thing because like you said, you know, you think your photo bus is awesome, right? Like, you wouldn't own it for the bus company if you didn't think that was like the coolest thing. And it's the same with me, right? Like I think everybody should get my wedding videos and you know, you just learn like, you know, there's different styles and different prices and different budgets and you know, maybe somebody just didn't have the money at the end of the day. I mean it is really difficult. Is that, is that the hardest thing right now you guys are working through or, or what is your biggest challenge right now?

[28:54] I think it's just finding time to do a real job. And then this job, I think that's the hard part just because my brother and I were on different schedules and we don't live in the same. We live close but not that close. So it's hard to find time to get to each other. Um, so I think that's the hardest part. Just finding time. I wake up at 3:30 everyday to go to work. So by 7:00 I'm done where you could get a lot of stuff done from seven to 10:00 PM, like normal people when they go to bed. But for me, I can't stay up that late.

[29:26] So how long do you guys anticipate that work life balance going or?

[29:30] Um, I would assume. I mean, I don't plan on quitting my job. He doesn't plan on quitting his job. We started this more as a hobby. If it turns into a business that's awesome. But really we just wanted to something we wanted to see if we can do it. We wanted to have fun. We want other people to think it's fun and to have fun. We are doing a lot of charity this summer we were doing Relay for Life on Saturday in Kirkland at Juanita Beach Park. Um, we're doing a lot of charity. We're doing this children's hospital thing. Um, when is it in September? I think up north. So for me it's really not about, I guess the income, it's more about the what makes us feel good and makes other people feel good. So that's kind of why we started it.

[30:15] Talking about that charity work and why you guys, obviously that's important to you guys to do that. Talk about that.

[30:20] Um, we, we just want to help other people. That's really was our main goal. We just think it's fun when other people are having fun and especially kids like, I dunno, kids light up actually any age lights up when they see a photo booth. Um, so I think it's just fun to give back. There's so much that you can give and even when you give back, you, you give, you get back so much more. So it's kind of a great feeling when you see other people enjoying it and having fun and it's going to a good cause.

[30:51] Talk about that kind of manning the photo bus, you know, that whole experience of being there and kind of seeing people go through that. What is that experience like for you guys?

[31:01] Again, it's just, it's cool to see people light up. They get in there and they've never seen anything like it. They think it's so cute and unique and inside we have a vanity and it has a huge mirror so everybody can see themselves, they can see how they look, they fix their hair, they think, oh my gosh, I'm so glad you have a mirror. I look at my hair, they think it's amazing and they've never seen anything like it. And so to me that's really cool that our idea is in motion and people are just in all

When uh, when we were off air here before we started, we were talking about like social media, right? And like posting. Are you guys finding traction on that or what do you, what are your thoughts on that and staying relevant on that?

[31:41] Um, we try and post, I guess as much as we can, but we're not big on social media. Me and my brother, his wife, the three of us, we really, I mean we're in our thirties. We don't, we didn't grow up with Snapchat and Facebook and Instagram. And so for us it's so foreign and we don't do selfies and so it's hard for us to show our lives because we don't think they're that fun, but we do know that it is very successful because that is the world we live in is social media and so a lot of information can get past it very quickly through it. So yeah, we have 300 followers on instagram. You know, or were really big.

You do good stories. I don't know. Do you like that that to correspond with clients and stuff and have them kind of see if you guys are setting up or the other, you know, setting up with a party or something that made you like that sort of interaction? Or is that.

[32:38] I do. I think it makes, it gives people an idea of what we're doing and not just, I guess what they've seen in our pictures, but they get to see who we are and see that we're just normal people and we're doing something fun. And like my brother and his wife have two kids and they help and they get in the bus and they get silly. And so I guess it's probably, it's fun that probably that people see kind of our lives as well. I don't know.

[33:06] So you seem like you're doing everything here. I don't know what Michael's doing except working right now. Whether your strengths for the business. And where do you think that he, you know, you guys kind of compliment each other.

[33:19] Um, he keeps me level headed. I want to do everything. I want to make t-shirts and I want to make hats and I want to have a video camera in there to have a live feed and I want to do all these things. He's like, okay, let's just get through year one. Let's just do a wedding. Let's see if we can even do it. And I say, okay, sure. Right. And then I throw them another idea and he's like, no, just calm down. I said, okay, you're right. You're right. So I think he's great at building stuff. He has all the tools, he can do all the everything. He has a really good mind and an eye for how to design the inside of the bus and how to get it done. And I throw him suggesting and he's like, okay, one suggestion at a time, let's try this first and then he'll, we'll do it. And I'm like, oh, well that was a good idea. Good job. So I think he is more, the handyman keeps me level headed and I'm just crazy. I want to do everything now and he kind of just brings me back down to earth.

[34:13] When you're working as a flight attendant, do you ever have a second to even think about it? Are you just so busy with that work?

[34:20] Um, no. I think about all the time. I think, who am I going to email? Oh, I'll see something. I'll think, oh, that's a good idea or this would be a good idea. Um, or go to Alaska and ask them to use at their events. I mean, I think of all these ideas all the time

It's exciting to talk about. Like, yeah, my mind never stops talking about just that you've expressed already, but just, you know, having all these ideas and stuff. Is that exciting and overwhelming is that

[34:50] I think if I wasn't having ideas or I wasn't thinking about it, then I don't think we should be doing it or I shouldn't be doing it just because I wouldn't be like, I wouldn't like it, but I think it's great that I am thinking about it all the time and wanting to make it better or find something to put it in or design it this way because then I think, I think we can grow from that. I, I bet if we didn't think about it and want to improve it, then it would probably be a failure.

[35:22] Talking about, um, and you've, you've mentioned a couple of the scariest moment you guys have had so far in terms of, uh, whether it be at an event or outside, but just the scariest moment in terms of like, oh, I don't know if this is going to work or oh, this was a really close call or talk about that.

[35:40] I think last week when we were at the event in Seattle, what we were at the collective Seattle and we did their grand opening and our generator was going out and we didn't know what was going on and had gas in it and I was pretty scared that the owners were going to come out and are though people that booked us and say what's going on here? So we kept turning it off. He would come, we turn it on really quick and it would print and then we turn it off and so no one really knew. I mean some people did, but nobody really knew what was going on. So we. That was really a scary moment for us for me at least. I don't know about him.

[36:19] Are you guys good car people? I mean, I know nothing about like I wouldn't know anything about agenda

I mean not really. No. We have really no background in mechanics of anything of that nature.

[36:32] So it's just a lot of YouTubing?

[36:33] Yeah, everything is YouTube.

Is that, I mean, do you, do you wear that as a badge of honor? Felt like you were resourceful, you know,

Ee don't know everything, so yeah. I don't mind asking for help.

[36:48] I'm looking into next year. What's the next big goal? What's the next big milestone besides a Russell Wilson's personal photo busl?

[36:58] Hopefully we're busy enough to purchase another bus. That would be a goal. Two buses.

[37:04] Talk about that. The logistics of that. What would be the biggest challenge?

[37:08] Oh, we would probably have to hire people because already it's tough between us, my brother and myself and his wife as trying to manage events just because he works nights. I work mornings and so it's hard to get. We want to people there at a time just in case something goes wrong and so finding two people, two out of the three of us to be there, that's kind of hard. So we'd probably have to hire somebody to help us.

[37:37] Is that scary to expand or to put your trust in other people? I know it is for me, like when I'm sending people out, you know, kind of in my stead. It took me a long time to find, you know, kids, they're representing you. Right. Talk about that.

For me. I do everything myself. I don't ask for help so it would be really hard for me to trust somebody and these vehicles are old and we take care of things just because I know that's who we are and their stick shifts and so not a lot of people know how to drive a stick shift. Um, so that would be really hard to trust somebody to take it out and drive it and if something happened, you know, it'd be hard for them to fix it or whatnot. And just even growing, like I said, the book work, all that stuff is really hard and I think to expand and have more people and have more stuff is above me. And so I don't know if we'd have to kind of hire somebody to help with that too.

[38:32] Danielle, right now to talk to you a year and give you some piece of advice that you've learned right now to help you kind of get to this point right now. What would you give Danielle a year ago, if you could tell yourself, if you could hop back in the door and go, uh, go give yourself some advice that you've learned, you know, up until today.

[38:51] Oh Gosh. Everything works out. Like, no, doesn't matter what happens. Whatever is thrown at you does, it works out, you know, with the event, nobody found out. Nobody knew that our generator wasn't working, but in my head I was freaking out so I would just calm down. It's okay. It's all going to end up fine. It's not life or death for the most part. So maybe just to relax.

[39:16] Well, Danielle, if people have heard you today and wanting to learn more about who you guys are or what you do, what would you have them do?

[39:23] We have our website. It's www.vanityphotobus.com. We're on social media, at VANity Photo Bus on Instagram. Facebook. Check us out there. Follow up, get our numbers up, please check out our sweet instagram story. Check out.

[39:38] Those stories are very fun and not to throw you under the bus. It is funny. Every time I asked somebody like, well, what's your url? They get really close to the microphone.

[39:48] I want to make sure they hear it.

It's all so casual until then, the final sell, but you can check this out www.vanityphotobus.com.

Uh, well thank you so much for coming by today. I really, really appreciate it. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Come back next week and check out our next wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Episode 4 (Heather and Ryan Shipley, Events by Heather and Ryan)

[00:09]Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. I'm Reid with Best Made Videos. We are a video production company based out of West Seattle Seattle, Washington. We primarily focused on wedding videography and corporate videography and today I am joined by two guests who are very dear, special friends of mine. I know I say that a lot. I'm sure at some point I'll finally interview somebody I don't like, but today is not that case as I enjoyed by Heather and Ryan have events by Heather and Ryan, why don't you guys introduce yourselves?

Hi, I'm Heather. Hi, I'm Ryan. And we're Events by Heather and Ryan.

[00:46] I was thinking about that. It's a good thing that you guys aren't like Jim and Noreen or something that would have been.

[00:51] That would make it a little awkward.

[00:53] And a Heather Ryan are very good friends of mine. They go back way back into like my origin story of being a wedding videographer. Probably my second summer, I think we did a three weddings together. Back-To-Back-To-Back, which was an interesting experience. And so, uh, why don't you guys come to tell me who you are and what you guys are all about.

[01:15] All right. Well, we're heather and Ryan. We are a married couple who loves shooting weddings. We, um, have been together since 2003, um, and got married in 2005 and started our business in 2007. So it's been a long road for us. Something when we first met, you know, photography was a hobby for both of us. We both enjoyed it and learned throughout the years and dating and getting married and when DSLRs first came out and became big, we bought our first big camera and really just had fun learning, learning all about photography and teaching each other. Um, and it was one of those things that it was a hobby and we just thought it would be something for fun and would go to a friend's weddings and take family portraits for friends. And everybody kept telling us, Oh, you should do this, you should do this.

[02:05] And we kind of chuckle and think, oh, you're our friends and family. You have to tell us that, right? We just took photos for you and you know, so it took us a little bit, um, but I think for me, what was kind of the turning point of like, oh, maybe we should do this was we went to a, it was a friend of my dad's wedding and um, we took a bunch of photos and try not to be those annoying wedding guests that are just kind of sat back and captured what we thought was fun. And uh, ended up sending the bride a DVD of the photos that we took. And I got a call from her two weeks later and she, she called and said, you know, heather, I just want you to know you guys really need to do this. She said, I paid my wedding photographer to $3,000 to photograph our wedding day. And the wedding photos that'll be hung on our wall and put in an album are the ones that you guys took. And I finally thought she didn't have to call and tell me that. And so I thought maybe we do have something.

[03:02] And so I think what's interesting too is we, when we first started out in 2007, we, we plan on doing this for a hobby and I think we wanted to, you know, we said, well, we'll do five weddings a year. That'll be great. That'll be some vacation money. And I think that first year we, instead of doing five, we booked 24 and then we decided, OK, well maybe we have something here. And then the next year that's 24 turned into 35 and then year after that and I think we were in the fifties and then every year since then we've, uh, been doing, you know, over 50 weddings a year. So, uh, you know, Seattle has been really good to us. I think we have something here.

[03:41] So before you guys decided to do wedding photography, what were you guys doing? A, I guess professionally before that?

I was actually a customer service manager, uh, um, locally here in Seattle.

[03:56] Do you guys think that that experience with working with customer service and the public and kind of helps you guys today now in terms of like customer relations and working with clients and stuff?

And I want to piggyback on that, I think, uh, one thing I have found when we formed our company, we want it to be that one company where customer service was part of the experience. I know there's a lot of other companies out there that have either that creative aspect but not the customer service or they have the customer service but not the creative. And I wanted to have a company. I think we had a good, good thing going with the photography, but I wanted to focus on customer service as well. I didn't want customers to say wow, they were great, great pictures, but their customer service was horrible. Um, uh, so that's one thing when we designed our wedding photography, when we designed our packages and basically the experience with the customer, I wanted to make sure that the customer wasn't saying, wow, we got great pictures, but I wish we wouldn't have gotten this or I wish our package would have included this and that's how we molded our company. We wanted to make sure that the, you know, the customer's got exactly what they were looking for. There was no lacking. There was no, um, there was nothing missing there.

[05:20] So, uh, when you guys are working on getting the, you know, photography business off the ground, um, when you did those 24, were you guys still working full time at that point or how did that work?

A few years of our business and that was one of those things. It takes a leap of faith to become self employed. Uh, we also have children. So that's a big thing to us is that we wanted to make sure that, you know, we were very stable and what we were doing because we still had a family to provide for in a mortgage to pay. And so for us it's kind of took some steps in a few years to make sure that we had everything under our belts. The other big thing too that we wanted to make sure of is we didn't go into debt opening our company either. So every year we buy new equipment and upgrade things and you know, new computers and hard drives and kind of go from there. So I think that's what helped make us successful too, is that we didn't have to go into debt purchasing all of our equipment and making sure that we had everything. So we worked, we both worked full time for the first four years,

Five years ago when we started, 2007, I think 2011 was when I went with a company full time. And then in 2013. So it took a while. Then the, uh, um, but, you know, the rewards have been worth it.

[06:42] We just did it in steps. So Ryan quit his full time job first and did the business full time and um, and then I was still working full time and working with the business and um, a lot of it for health insurance reasons too and being able to, you know, make sure we can provide that. So, and then in early 2013, um, I quit my full time job and then we both have been full time in the company ever since. So I don't regret that for a minute.

[07:07] And now since you guys had been doing it for, you know, four or five years at that point when you quit. But I mean, was that scary? You know, taking that leap, I mean, in the entrepreneurial ship, uh, know when you guys have the normal nine to five or what was that thought process?

[07:24] Because we had already demonstrated a track record of success. Uh, we, we had a loyal customer following. We, um, we had the business figure it out enough where it was a natural progression to go self employed. I don't think, I don't think we ever had that moment where we said, why are we doing the right thing? I think it was just very natural, very much.

[07:50] Yeah. I think we had gotten to the point where we knew it was the right thing and so it was a really easy transition to go from, you know, working full time to taking over the business full time and it's allowed us to do more things to um, whereas I think we kind of opened up our business from doing primarily weddings, which I would say that's still a majority of what we do. But then it allowed us to do a lot more, you know, families and you know, headshots and Ryan does some commercial. And so it kind of allowed us to open up other avenues too, which was really nice because before it was, you know, a lot of the weekends of shooting and editing during the week. And now we kind of have been able to open up our schedule to allow us to do more.

[08:32] Obviously spend more time with your family too. I mean, you guys have how many kids?

[08:41] We just had to look at each other to do that to say, you know, yeah, we have, um, we have four kids, so we have a 17 year old. I'm from Ryan's first marriage and then we have three boys together that um, our oldest will be 10 next month. And then, um, our middle son is seven and our youngest is three. So we have quite the household to take care of too. So yeah, it makes it fun because, you know, we're the nice part about, you know, being self employed as we can somewhat set our schedules. I mean obviously our clients have a lot to say in that too, but you know, we work a lot of nights and weekends, but the trade off is, is we can get our kids up in the morning and get them to school. You know, I can go volunteer at the school if I want to, you know, where they're at night. So it makes it, it makes it fun.

[09:26] Well the flexibility there too is if a customer needs something, let's say at 11:00 during the week day or a meeting at 1:00 on a Wednesday, we're able to accommodate that much better than some, uh, somebody who's working your nine to five job and doing this part time.

Talking about being married now, talking about being married now and working with the table to talk about being married now and working with couples, you know, new couples, engaged couples, um, having gone through that process, you know, does that help you guys? I always say that I became a much better wedding vendor after being married and, and I didn't even know, you know, it, you don't even know until I talk about that and kind of being able to help couples go through that process.

[10:12] Yeah, I think it definitely helps. I think it helps to know, you know, being married and having, you know, we planned our wedding when we got married. We planned it ourselves, so we paid for it mostly ourselves. And so we kind of knew what we wanted and what we didn't want. Um, and I think that helps us connect to a lot of our clients to being married and having gone through that,

Our clients are a reflection of what our wedding planning was like. Let me know. I'd say a majority of our clients are planning it themselves or paying for themselves and maybe their parents or they have relatives that are helping them out. This maybe a little bit, but that going through that process are with us back in 2005. You know, we know what that's like. So, you know, our, our pricing's affordable. We, we realize people don't like getting nickel and dimed to death. And that's one thing that I, I, I'm, I'm very much against is having somebody buy our product and then later on telling them, well if you want this then you got to buy this. And you know, Oh you, you know, we took the pictures. But now if you want to buy the pictures, if you want the pictures and you have to pay us more money. But that's never been our business model and that's nothing that, that's something that we will never do

Anything that comes from planning your own wedding and going through that. And so, uh, in terms of like, you know, that Heather and Ryan, the client, you know, who is that, you know, somebody that, like you said, this plan is a wedding, but what, you know, what kind of clients are the ones that you find you're attracted to you, you know, what your fun, you know, easy going. And I mean, what kinds of clients you guys really look for it.

[11:46] The Fun, easy going, I don't want to say laid back, but, uh, not. I mean, I, you know, it's hard because you look at your clients and you want them to be your clients and like you and people that you can relate to.

So our company is an extension of us. And when I say that it's, um, we, we have a lot of clients that, you know, we'd become friends with after the fact. I mean, we've, you know, we've kept up with a lot of our clients and granted, you know, there are some clients that, you know, they'll buy our service and then once we deliver the product, we don't hear from him again and that's normal in any course of business. But we do have a loyal following of um, you know, customers that will follow up with, you know, a year later will be with him for anniversary pictures, for family pictures. But it's not only that, it's, you know, we'll, we'll do, you know, we'll hang out with some of our customers to. I mean, I can think of a handful of customers that, you know, we talked to you on a daily basis or weekly basis, non photography related. I mean, it's, it's, it's that kind of relationship that we want to foster with our customers. We don't want them to hire us thinking we're hiring a company. We want them to think, well, we actually like heather and Ryan, they're actually cool people and how they happen to do wedding photography as well. And they happen to do it really well. But, um, W, we want them to think of us as, you know, more or less friends, not rare that one vendor so right, we're real people. So we want to connect with our clients and connect with our families too and be able to kind of take it all in. And I think, you know, that's one thing too that I think sets us apart sometimes is just listening and listening to our clients and getting to know them. Um, you know, a lot of our clients, you know, we follow on facebook and on instagram and on their personal social media pages and I think that it's nice to see and it's fun to see just those little tidbits into their life and to pay attention to those. I think it helps you connect with them. So, you know, we always say too, like, we never want to walk into your wedding day and like, oh, those are our photographers, you know, we want to walk in and Oh, heather and I are here. And, and so, um, being able to connect with everybody. Let me take a lot of pride in that. And I think that's kind of why we've been in business for so long and been able to build our businesses, like Ryan said too, you know, we've connected with these clients on their wedding days, but then it's fostered into a different relationship. So we've built a whole other business with portraits off of, you know, wedding clients and referrals from her wedding clients.

[14:21] Yeah. I think that that's always something that I miss in videography is, you know, the need for a professional videographer is, is really like your wedding day and then if you know your brides and bridesmaids or somebody is looking for a videographer. But being able to grow with a couples like that I think is really cool. And that's something that I always envy with photographers as being able to do mini sessions every year where you get to see them, you know, talk about that and kind of getting to see him grow every year. And in you guys.

[14:50] Yeah. That's one of my favorite parts actually. And it's, it's fun to watch the families grow into, you know, I, I have, I can't tell you how many times I've, I received the email or that the texts saying, oh my gosh, heather, I just found out I'm pregnant, but nobody else knows. But I had to tell you, you know, I'm that person that they reach out to and to me that is the most amazing thing and that we've become, you know, that person in their lives that they're so excited when they find out that they're pregnant, that they're calling and they're telling me first before they tell anybody else because they wanted me to know also the server is actually going backing up a little bit from the surface up to the actual wedding day. I'm, Heather's really good at developing and fostering a relationship with a client where I can tell you a few times where the wedding day stressful for the bride.

[15:40] Granted, you know, it's the most important day of their lives and there's a lot of stress in the room and the bride has actually asked her family and her friends to leave. But Heather can stay. I've seen that more times than I can count on my hands and it just goes to show you what kind of person, how there is, um, I'm more of a technical person, but I don't foster relationships like she does, but I think we're, we're a good combination. I mean, I'm very technical. Um, I'm, you know, I know the equipment well, the, the, the dynamics behind the picture, the technical side of the picture. I'm, I'm good at getting those pictures, but heather is good at getting that personality out of the person. So, um, and you need both components to get a good picture if you have somebody that knows how to work a camera and can talk to you for hours and hours about how the camera works, but if they can't get that personality to show through, the pictures are only going to be as good as the lighting was. Um, you really have to have a good rapport with those, with your customers. Uh, in order to get good pictures.

[16:52] I know there's a wide variety of photography companies, you know, they're solo photographers and there's dual photographers on. I do think that the dynamic between the husband and wife team is really fun to have on the wedding day, uh, both being I think behind the camera with you guys, you know, kind of alongside. I have fun, but I also think that, you know, it's gotta be fun for the client as well. Uh, do you want to talk about that and kind of displaying off for each other during the wedding day? I do think it kind of like, eases some of the tension and Kinda like helps, you know, you guys are like able to divide and conquer or how do you look at that?

[17:26] Oh, absolutely. I think our clients enjoy our banter back and forth, um, because we're very sarcastic to each other and we like to have fun. But I think it's fun when they kind of see us, you know, going back and forth with things. And um, I think that just kind of puts everybody at ease. They like to see that relationship. Um, and you know what Ryan said too, like he's the and I'm the, let's just try this. You know, and our clients know that and they see it and they're like, OK, yeah, let's try it.

[17:55] No, they forget about their worries and their problems that day. And they're like, well, aren't really.

[17:59] Yeah, it's fun. And I think it keeps things real though. I think it keeps them less stressed that way. Um, but they also see the connection. I think it does allow us to, to divide and conquer on her wedding day too. I think it allows us to, you know, with the, both of us and, and you know, Ryan can go hang out with the guys beforehand. I'm with the girls. We kind of trade off back and forth. Um,

[18:25] I think that they see that we're not stressed if we're joking around and kidding around. Usually sarcasm comes about when you're comfortable with, with everything else. If somebody who's really worried about stuff there that's sarcasm doesn't really. Or having fun doesn't really come out. You know, everyone's really serious. So if your, if your vendors are stressed or yeah, if your vendors are stressed, then you're still going to be stressed because you're thinking, well what do they see that I don't, but if your vendors are relaxed and they're joking back and forth with each other, then that's kind of. That's actually our goal is for the customers to feel at ease with their day because everything. There is a method behind our madness. If the customers are relaxed, they're going to be relaxing the pictures. The pictures are going to be better. If we appear relaxed, if we appear in control of everything, then the customer sees that.

[19:24] Then they become relaxed and their pictures are better and then they like our pictures and then hopefully they tell their friends and that's the goal behind all that and it actually flows naturally. It's not really a script that we do, but it's, it's, it's natural. It's kind of how we operate because you know, granted if, if the customers are worried about something and they don't like their pictures, it ruins their day and that's the one day that they, they have to look forward to. So we, we want them to know that, hey, your day is happening, whether you like it or not, it's gonna be it's gonna be fine. And Yeah, there's a lot of times where I've talked to brides and grooms and say, hey listen, it's, everything is fine. You're looking at it from one perspective and we've seen a number, you know, we've, we've probably done over 500 weddings and we know what works. We know what doesn't work and we can usually walk into a room and know if it's gonna work out or not within the first five minutes. And you know, we set the stage to make, make sure that that day successful.

[20:30] And I figure if they see that we can make marriage work, then there'll be just fine to use a low bar. That's can make. If I can be married to this guy for how long you can do this to trust me. So that's what I was, you know, we're joking back and forth to, you know, I always tell people I don't always like him, I just have to love him. So you don't always have to like your spouse to love him and we're together all the time. So your relationship will be like this. So people laugh at that and it's just fun to keep it light hearted. Right. You know, it's marriage can be a scary thing. So you know, let's, let's have fun with it.

[21:04] Obviously when you're an entrepreneur, you know a lot of your life is work and your work is life, but I think if you're a, you know, where your husband, wife, team that you work together, you live together, obviously have your family. Does that provide you the unique challenges or what is that like provides unique challenges? I think most, most couples are not together 24 hours a day. Whereas we are, I think that we, we learned years ago that we have to take time from ourselves outside of our kids and outside of our business we were, we got into the habit of date nights were, you know, stopping someplace on the way home from a wedding or the way home from a session or a meeting. Um, and we've kind of found that we need to really separate our time as opposed to our company time and our kids time. And so we really, you have to be really conscious of that because otherwise you just kind of get into this routine of things and you don't really take time for yourself anymore. So I think it does provide unique challenges working together, living together, raising kids together, running a business together.

[22:05] Um, you know, it's hard when you have disagreements on things, um, cause then it kind of spills in from either your personal life or from your, you know, from the business. So you really just have to be able to step back and reevaluate things. Sometimes, you know, we can't have a bad morning at home and then go shoot a wedding. And let it affect that. So you kind of have to learn how to balance those things. Um, I think we do a good job with it. Um, I think that, you know, we have, we have different strengths and weaknesses and so I think we need to remember those sometimes and kind of step back and reflect on that and let you know, decisions being made and things like that, you know, really kind of, you know, just happened.

[22:49] So yeah, I mean, you have to. It's being in the business that we were in before. I mean, we both had professional jobs before. Um, I mean, you, you, you learn to work with your, your peers. I mean, do you, you learn to communicate. And I think a lot of that comes into play in communicating this, I feel this way because of this and I understand how you feel and then coming to a consensus. But um, I mean we've been doing this for for many years so it's, it's easy to say that we're successful in mitigating any conflict that comes up. So.

[23:26] And interesting. I remember, I think it was during that first drink until we had worked on and I think I had a wedding with Ryan, you were working in another, whether in their head splitting it had even just come just to be like a third photographer just to kind of hang out with Ryan and after, you know, when you, like you guys had wrapped or whatever and I always that that was really cool. Like you talked about like making your own date nights or stopping somewhere after a wedding or you know, or like we had the wedding show up at the northwest, a bridal show case and like you guys had gone out for dinner and the date night, you know, [inaudible] did, someone was watching the kids or whatever. So I think that that's unique, but I always thought that was kind of a fun story man. They must really like it, you know, a doing weddings and be just kind of being together if you're going to get done with you know, your work and then go and hang out. I thought that was Kinda neat.

[24:14] Yeah, it is fun and it does make a different and I think even the times, you know, there are times in the summer we'll shoot to weddings in a day and we have other photographers that work with us that we've worked with for years, but it's almost a odd feeling being a part sometimes, um, because we do do this together all the time. So those times of the year,

[24:32] I don't think you'll like it. I think you're telling us, you're telling me we're not gonna do that anymore. Um, seattle wasn't so uh, seasonal as far as weddings go, if it was you know, a year round wedding, a wedding season one thing. But unfortunately we do have to, um, you know, some of the busier days we do, you know, heather, I'll go to one wedding, I'll go to another and we'll have people that work with us, but the people that work with us are seasoned in the industry. I mean they're, they're not the high school or college students that are looking to get their foot in the game. They're, they're people that have their own own companies, but for whatever, for one reason or another they didn't book that day or they decided not to to book their own wedding that day and we'll just have them work with us.

Well a lot of the people that you guys have known for ye