Engaged? High Five! Ok what now?– #realtalk with John

1:28 PM


(Above) Lawrence asks Katherine a question.

The road to weddinghood is paved with excitement, discovery, and a fair measure of anxiety. For one thing, most proposees are blindsided (in a good way of course) by what is perhaps their biggest life-changing question to date. As if all the excitement and frenzy of the ask weren't enough, couples are immediately thrust into critical decision making mode. If you’re anything like me, making big decisions take forever. Like, literally, forever. But wait…there’s no time for forever; the wedding is in 12 months (often less) and the fleeting slivers of time between work, class, and SoulCycle leave so much to do and not enough hours on the table. My lovely couples, whom are SO dear to me, are somehow expected to immediately know everything there is to know about weddings, make fully sound choices for the day, and still emerge from the ordeal triumphant without having torn each other apart. Cuz let’s face it, she REALLY wants a live band slaying your favorite song to the first dance and he REALLY wants that open bar with top shelf single malt. Because blended whiskey?, brother, that simply will not do.

From what I’ve seen, whether your wedding is a cozy backyard affair or an all-things-considered soiree at the most exclusive venue downtown, planning your wedding is hard. It’s insanely fun, but it’s hard. And you were supposed to get started yesterday.

If I can share one bit of advice on getting the process started, it’s this:  

Hire the person, not the product. 

Let me explain. When it comes down to the actual wedding day, all of the make or break moments rest on the shoulders of the person actually doing the work. Your florist, your cake boss, your visual artists, your coordinators, the dj, the lighting, stylists…the list goes on.

  • When the people are good, the product is good. And so, for the love of all things good, resist the urge to shop on price alone. Because when you find the level of quality you want, you’ll realize that most vendors will be within comparable ranges. It comes to a point where no one is trying to gouge you or undercut their peers because these guys just want to do what they love. Find these guys. Plus, do you REALLY want to trust your day to the lowest bidder? C’mon, be real. Instead, I implore you to consider the intangibles:
        1. Responsiveness: If people get back to you within a day that’s generally a good sign. It means they’re at least reciprocating the communication to get the ball rolling while you both feel each other out. 
        2. Thoroughness: As people we tend to talk about the things we personally love. And if we love what we do, we’re going to go on and on and on about it. In fact, we crave the types of clients who ask us about every nuance of the craft because it shows us you care about why we take our work seriously. So ask a lot of questions and be extra aware of those vendors who are genuinely open to bringing you into their world. Their emails will posses an element of depth that organically inspires trust. Like, “Hey this guy knows his stuff. I like this guy.” 
        3. Wild Wild Passion: Seek out the submarines. Those who dive deep to truly master their craft. Find the audiophile who nerds-out of the complexities of carrying a clear sound across a highly echoing hall (DJ). Find the artist who pours hours upon hours to curate the perfect palette of colors and brushes for every face-type (Hair and Makeup Artists, you know who you are). Daydream with the coordinator who spends their days pouring over current aesthetic trends and and coming up with creative ways to harmonize those ideas with the style-demands of their clients. Immerse yourself in the photographs of a visual pioneer who loses sleep at night thinking about all the ways to make each and every one of his clients look insanely gorgeous in photos their grand kids will be jealous of in 70 years (couples, mind you, who have ZERO experience posing in photos but by the end of the adventure will be super sexy hams for all things photography). Find these guys. Seek them out. You’ll quickly find the ones you resonate with and the ones you don't. 
        4. Communication Styles: If you guys can get your thoughts back and forth effortlessly and clearly, without any doubt or apprehension of understanding then it’s a good thing. I guess this boils down to trust. 
        5. Execution Styles: Your vendors, on your wedding day, will be condensing tens of thousands of hours of honed experience towards analyzing and carrying out the best plays to make your day great. They’ll be doing this in real-time and since not everything always goes to plan, they will often have the burden of split second decisions made in your best interest. Find the vendors who are great at planning, but phenomenal at pivoting. I’m talking about 4th quarter game winning 3 pointer kinds of guys.
        Ask around for recommendation. Ask those recommendations genuine questions. Ask them what their hobbies are. Ask them if they like cats. Ask them what they had for lunch. I’m serious. Good luck.

        (Above) Linda and Chris just got married and decided to take a quick nap while looking utterly adorable.
        simplytwo photography
        (Details most bespoke at Ginger & Charlie's Pelican Hill wedding)
        To help with all this crazy, my friends at WeddingWire recently put together a simple infographic that aggregated the data on timing for when most vendor decisions are handled. It’s a well thought out diagram that serves as a quick how-are-we-doing-in-our-planning reference. Check it out, print it out, get married. Rinse but don't repeat. =) And if you're just beginning to plan for your big day, check out these Los Angeles venues all with high creative potential for a bit of inspiration. 


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