Behind the Lens. . . or Maybe Just the Bags. . .at Greystone Mansion

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Isle Media: Kyle, Alan, Cliff, Lester, Reese

Last month I tagged along with Isle Media on one of their shoots at Greystone Mansion as I’ve always wanted to see the venue.  The setting was beautiful as I imagined and the guests were all in white. The couple themselves were totally gorgeous and the ceremony was so sweet talking about how they first met and how they fell in love. The biggest lesson I learned was how hard photographers and videographers actually work on the day and how much equipment they bring with them!  Since I’m not a photographer or videographer I had to make myself useful by saying I would carry their equipments, lights, etc. thinking, how difficult would that be? Well, the day started out with Isle Media scouting the location (whichI didn’t go to), then I dropped off one of the shooters at the hotel when some of them were already there doing the “getting ready shots.”  The space was too small for me, so I left for about an hour and a half and came back to pick them up to take them to the ceremony site.  We got to Greystone Mansion and it was go time as some guests had already arrived. The crew did their thing shooting and I did my best to help breakdown tripods, move bags, fluff the gown (that I have experience in), bring drinks to the couple and hold lights.  I saw how their earlier scout kept them on time with everything.  I also saw that despite the meal they … Read More

Teamwork, Timing and Miyazaki Beef

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I know to some, people think that their only commitment on the wedding day is to the couple and have tunnel vision on this. But, who do you tend to work with again and again?  Yes, it’s other vendors and it’s critical that everyone works together for the overall success for the couple by trying to work with each other and not against one another.  I know immediately SOME of you may be thinking the other vendors don’t pay you, but the overall happiness of the couple, is critical to your success. Here are some examples: photographers and videographers.  Why get in eachothers’ shots? When someone first mentioned this to me, I thought maybe he was imagining it, but then I heard it from someone else too that it was at EVERY wedding.  Now this behavior is not only unprofessional, but ultimately hurts the poor couple too when someone can’t take their shot. Here’s another: a DJ wanted to give a couple a good time, naturally but the venue was getting complaints from the hotel guests for the volume.  He was asked to turn it down and each time he did, and when the captain walked away, he turned the volume up again, just like a kid.  Finally after the third warning, the party had to be shut down completely (early) because of this DJ’s ego.  Sad! Another example is timing.  It is critical to uphold your portion of the program as there could be consequences with running over from … Read More

Do Your Couples Really Know Your Value?

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I was speaking with a planner recently and she was telling me how a bride asked her the night before a wedding if she knew of somewhere that could do printed menus.  With so little time, the only real option to get it done was for the planner to do it herself.  But, because she didn’t feel it was store quality, she didn’t charge her for it. I thought that just getting the menus produced in less than 24 hours time was fantastic with all there is to do the night before a wedding (a day one at that), but to not charge anything?  I thought that was a little above and beyond.  I asked her about what percentage of weddings she did things like that for and she said about 80%.  The odd thing is that some of her clients feel that she sometimes isn’t giving enough and I had to find out why. She is one of the busiest people I know–constantly giving and giving so much, FOR FREE that it’s crazy she hasn’t gone bankrupt yet. I did some digging and found out that when she does do these extra steps or extra services, most times she doesn’t mention it or just casually mentions that she would “throw it in” or “not charge them” but then not follow up with an actual value connected to the service.  Most likely these clients are probably thinking either 1. what you are doing is expected of you and they are already paying … Read More

Johnny Cupcakes Doesn’t Sell Cupcakes

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I first heard of Johnny Cupcakes in 2009 I think when a colleague of mine wanted to get cupcakes for someone’s birthday and the closest cupcake place to our work (so we thought) was Johnny Cupcakes and when she got there all they sold were shirts.  No cupcakes. What?  That always intrigued me but to be honest I never checked out the place and eventually left LA. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I attended a fabulous Pep Rally hosted by Unique USA and the speaker was Johnny Earle of Johnny Cupcakes.  When I saw this notice come up in my in-box I knew that to attend this gig for two reasons: 1. I think that Unique USA is a amazing brand since I started shopping at Unique LA and 2. I wanted to hear more about this interesting brand.  But, this meant I would have to go straight from traveling all night on the red-eye from Honolulu, to LAX to go hear him but it was so worth it. For those of you not familiar with Johnny Cupcakes, here’s  some information and take-aways that he provided: At age 19 I began selling t-shits out of the trunk of my beat up ’89 Toyota Camry. With a learning disability and little-to-no start up money, I was able to launch my quirky ideas into a multimillion dollar, experience-based t-shirt brand with clothing stores set up like vintage bakeries. 1. What are you passionate about? What are you good at?  Try … Read More

Do You Take the Crown Off?

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Today I bought a pineapple.  This is not very unusual for me as I live in Hawaii and get to enjoy pineapples pretty much year-round (lucky me).  But there definitely is a difference from where I buy them.  Most grocery stores just sell you the pineapple but one, Times Supermarket will offer to remove the crowns for you before you take it home.  Now, they still include the weight like the other stores, but the top part, as far as I know cannot be eaten or used.  Once you bring it home, you are just throwing it out anyway.  They know that, anticipate that, and take away that hassle for you. What sort of “crowns” are you offering to take off for your customers?

How Efficient is Your Email System?

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I know for some of you, the thought of sending a pre-written email makes you cringe.  You think the you don’t want your business to be cookie-cutter and that you want your customers to feel special, loved and anything but cookie-cutter. BUT, if you are not already using email templates, or pre-written emails for the same questions that come up time and time again, you are seriously wasting your time and keeping your customers waiting.  This wait time is causing them frustration and quite possibly to your competitor. You can write emails in advance and keep them in your drafts folder and pull from it whenever you need it.  Just customize a few parts here and there and I promise you, your clients will be so grateful for a quick response. The very basic would be request for information.  I’m not sure how your website is set up, but if they come to you through a systemized form on your website, say, they just send you an email, you may need to ask for basic information.  This is also something that you would keep on file so that your customer also does not need to keep repeating down the line wondering if you are organized or not. Here are ideas of other types of emails you could keep handy: If you are not available for the date requested, ask if they are flexible with their date? People looking for internships or to work with you? Follow up to an inquiry … Read More

The Next 18 Weeks

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For many in the wedding industry, the end of summer means the busy season is starting to slow down.  More than likely events will slow down until October and then possibly pick up in December, if your business also handles holiday parties.  This summer seemed to have come and gone so fast and the end of the year is rapidly approaching as well. Will you stop the momentum and take a break, or will you use your energy to evaluate what went well and what could be improved upon?  I understand once you have a spare moment, all you want is just a breather. At the same time, if you don’t currently evaluate your systems regularly and improve upon them, you may not remember exactly what needs tweaking when you have time to think about it. Or, these things may not seem to crucial when you are slow and think “eh, it’s not THAT bad” or “I guess it’s worked for me this long” and you try to justify keeping your own system rather than really putting in the effort to evaluate, tweak and improve. There are 18 weeks left in the year which is quite startling, actually.  Where did the time go? The busiest time for couples to get engaged is always around the holidays and then followed quickly by Valentine’s Day.  Will you be as prepared as you can be for the upcoming booking season?  I would take your business in little parts so it doesn’t overwhelm you.  Maybe … Read More

Destination Weddings in Hawaii: Selecting Your Wedding Music

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A big part of destination weddings in Hawaii is trying to incorporate Hawaiian music into the wedding in some way.  To some people this may be The Hawaiian Wedding Song or to others, the Iz Kamakawiwo’ole version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. There’s no real “right” way to do this and today’s video features award-winning singers Ben & Maila explaining how to create a nice balance for your day. On a separate note, Ben and Maila can both officiate weddings, so if you like to keep things nice and simple, they can sing couples down the aisle, perform the ceremony, and then have the guests up on their feet dancing the night away. I’m sad to say that this is the last video in the “Destination Weddings in Hawaii” series.  I hope that you picked up some great tips along the way.

The Dog Days

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Here we are, in summer, and the hottest days some call “the dog days.”  Coincidentally today is also National Dog Day.  I find that more and more couples want to include their dog in at least their ceremony, if not the entire reception. It’s heart-breaking when couples have already booked a venue and then they realize they want their dog there with them and many times they are not allowed to.  You should also consider that comfort dogs may not always be considered service animals, so for those couples that have comfort dogs and think they would be allowed, that may not always be the case. Photographers, if you know that the venue you are shooting at does not allow pets, but your couple has pets, this is a great opportunity to suggest including them in your engagement shoots.  Sometimes couples do not make the engagement shoot a priority, but you could use this as another reason why they should schedule a shoot with you, while making you a more versatile shooter in the process. The adorable photo below is from Chelsie Elizabeth Photography and Kari & Tim Suzuki and their beloved Cougar, RIP. “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” – Josh Billings  

Destination Weddings in Hawaii: Permits for Beach Weddings

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tips, videoLeave a Comment

I don’t think there’s anyone out there that doesn’t associate Hawaii with the beach.  It’s beautiful and people imagine themselves getting married, toes in the sand.  Permits are required and there are restrictions.  Today’s video features Lissa Crighton from Weddings with Lissa to give you all the details.  I’m not sure if all the laws are the same for all of the islands, but this is the situation for the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is situated. If you prefer the transcript, you may read it here Permits for Beach Weddings Check back next week for the last video in the series.  Aloha!