Monday, September 12, 2011

Being "Unique and Different"

Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I was thinking about vendors and weddings and such.  It has always confused me that we would have brides who felt that they needed to choose vendors that were all new to us.  Nobody off of my Favorites List, all people we had never seen before.  Hmmmmmm.
So this is where my epiphany comes in.  It dawned on me that the reason some brides feel compelled to choose vendors that are different from the ones we normally use is because they think that having unique vendors will make their wedding unique!!!
In a nutshell, they couldn't be more wrong.

What makes your wedding unique?  What sets it apart from the weddings of all your friends?  I can tell you one thing that doesn't affect the uniqueness of your wedding, and that is your vendors.  Vendors are the framework that you build your wedding on.  They are the 2x4's and lumber that your house is constructed from, and upon which you decorate, furnish and paint to make your house unique.  It isn't the lumber that makes a house unique, it's the work that your architect does on the design, and the decorating that you do once the design is accomplished that make it so special.
So to carry that analogy along, you, my brides and grooms, are the homeowners, and I am your wedding architect/General Contractor (we do design/build weddings! :).  It is my job to help you design a beautiful and unique wedding.  Just as General Contractors have subs that they work with all the time, I have "subs" (that we call vendors) that I work with best.  We have our framers, our dry wallers, HVAC, windows, flooring, and painting, roofers, landscapers, concrete and asphalt contractors: all the different people that it takes to build a house.
It's my job as your "General" to bring all these people together, coordinate their work and schedule them so that your house is built efficiently and on schedule.  It's also my job, since we are "design/build" to help you tweak your floor plan to make it fit your family, to keep your design consistent throughout the changes we need to make, and to ultimately provide you with a home that reflects your tastes and your vision, and that you will be happy living in!
I have often said that I could use the SAME VENDORS for every single wedding we do, and our weddings would all still be unique and different!!!  Just as an interior decorator wouldn't do the same design in every house, a florist is going to talk with you and design something unique for your wedding. The DJ is going to play different music, suited to YOUR tastes, and provide the extra activities that you request.  Your cake designer will create the perfect cake for you.  It isn't WHO you choose that is important, it is THEIR LEVEL OF EXPERTISE!
The folks on our Favorites List have proven their expertise over and over and over again.  I could work with them week in and week out, and still have beautiful unique weddings every time.
I just finished reading a fun series of books by Nora Roberts, her "Wedding Day Series" which follows four women who start a wedding venue in the one friend's Mansion in Connecticut.  They are fun books, a little racey, because after all, it IS Nora Roberts!  Parker, who owns the Mansion, is the coordinator, Laurel makes the cakes, Emma does all the flowers, and Mackenzie is the photographer.  Together they create all these beautiful, unique weddings for their clients.  Basically the same people doing every wedding, but every wedding unique in its own way because they are professionals and know how to make them unique and flawless.
We often talk about "A-Team" weddings at Aberdeen.  These are the weddings that have all of OUR vendors for their event.  These weddings are as smooth as glass.  No worries about flowers that haven't shown up at 4:30, no cakes that are starting to slide apart, no DJ dragging his equipment in through the guests because he is late arriving.  These issues just don't happen when we have an A-Team Wedding.  Everything happens as it is supposed to, on schedule and perfectly timed.  Mike (the Transaudio DJ we work with most) and I have developed a psychic connection when it comes to orchestrating a ceremony and reception!  I look at him and he knows what to do!  It's magical!  We're like a pitcher and a catcher--we have our little signals that we pass back and forth, and the wedding progresses, perfectly timed and flawless.  The correct music plays, it fades beautifully in and out at the absolute perfect moment.  Who wouldn't want that sort of perfection for their wedding?
This same symbiosis occurs when Stringsounds plays for a wedding, or Cynthia Shelhart, or any of a number of other musicians on our list that work with me over and over again.  We all work together like a well oiled machine.  It doesn't mean that they play the same music each time, of course not!  Each wedding has its own unique music, what sets them apart is that they are flawless!
I could write a book about the issues we have had with vendors over the years.  Photographers and DJ's particularly because these are the people we work with throughout the event.  Some of them were just plain bad.  I've had to testify in court against a DJ who absolutely trashed a reception.  With others, I've had to try to fix the problems that they have created, either because they were unprofessional, inexperienced, or sometimes just unfamiliar with how we work and what we do.
It isn't that the people on our list are the only good vendors in Northwest Indiana; that's not my point at all.  There are, of course, other good vendors out there, it's just that they aren't necessarily familiar with our facility and us, and how we operate.  Consequently, it is much more difficult to create that perfectly timed, and flawlessly orchestrated wedding.
To continue our analogy, if your framing contractor isn't good, your house is eventually going to have structural problems, regardless of how beautifully you decorate it.  The walls will develop cracks your roof might leak, who knows what might happen?  If your landscape sub isn't up to par, you might have big problems with the sprinkling system, or the beautiful curly willow might be planted over your sewer line where it grows into it and creates problems later.
Even if you get lucky and choose good subs for your home contruction, if they aren't people that your General Contractor works with regularly, you could experience months of delay because he can't get them there to do the work.  When your GC uses a sub regularly, he has a lot more "clout" when it comes to scheduling them and getting them on HIS time table.
Obviously, the analogy could go on and on, and of course, it doesn't translate totally but you get the idea, right?   My point is this:  USE OUR FAVORITES LIST!  It's only purpose is to help you plan a flawlessly timed and orchestrated wedding!  It is YOUR personality, uniqueness, input, and ideas that will make your day unique and different from anyone else's.
And as ever, I am here for you to help you with the ideas portion.  If you need some help in that department, just let me know and we'll get together and see what we can come up with!!

(And by the way, do I need to say this again? WE DO NOT RECEIVE ANY KICKBACKS FROM OUR VENDORS!  The ONLY reason we recommend these folks is because we KNOW they are good, and we also know that they are familiar with our facility and each other.)