Sunday, November 29, 2009

Purple, Guitars, and Snow Oh MY!

Abbie and Gabe
November 27, 2009
Indiana State House
Crowne Plaza Union Station

Hi Tonya,
The wedding was fabulous!!!!! Everything turned out wonderful. Abbie and Gabe were beautiful and had the time of their lives. I think everyone had a good time.
Thank you for making the day perfect!! You do know how to throw a grand celebration.
It was fun working with you.

Jill Parker (Mother of the Bride) 12-01- 09

So two months ago Abbie and Gabe came into my office and had the desire to get married over Thanksgiving weekend. They asked me if I could plan the wedding so quickly? Well most of your know my favorite motto is: "I can plan a wedding in one week if you let me!". Needless to say, the planning had to begin from scratch. Finding the perfect venue and the dream team were our first priority.

Then the fun details followed with the florals, linens, stationary elements, lighting, and cookies put the final touches to the overall vision. Abbie and Gabe loved all the little details (which everyone knows I love) and boy did the little details make a huge impact (see pictures).

As a designer it is critical to get input from the bride and the groom, so as I was designing and planning we captured the most important details from both.

Gabe wanted: guitars everywhere
chocolate covered strawberries
great music and acoustics
awesome lighting
golf's groom's cake

Abbie wanted: purple everthing
diamonds and crystals
huge wedding cake
something unique and different

I have to tell you that my dream team did an awesome job pulling this together. First compliments go to Tiffany from Circle City Designers and her team for an amazing delicious floral designs. Kate B from KB Designs for her extra effort and awesome little touches that pulled the entire event together. Scott and his team from Evans Audio Visual for the transformation of lighting and audio. Nathaniel Edmunds and Tiffany Stoner for their creative photos. Bob from Indy Visual for his video production. The Flying Toasters for keeping the dance floor packed. Everyone at the Crowne Plaza for their extra hands and "yes" attitude and great food. Classic Cakes for their delicious flavors (pumpkin/carmel). And the jazz band for the smooth, classical music that set the tone for dinner. WOW! I know this one has to be a PACE best TEAM effort WINNER! The pictures are worth a thousand words (remember these are taken off my iphone, so the real ones will be posted as I get them). The most amazing transformations happened right in front of my eyes. You will see phases of the event unfold and then the finished vision come to life. This is my absolute FAVORITE part of any event. We had only 2 hours for set up at the State House and then had to load out everything within 45 minutes, WOW WOW WOW! Thank goodnesses we were able to set up on Wednesday at the Crowne. The Parker family is such a joy to be around, thank you for sharing your special day with me. It was one I will never forget. Definitely one of my favorite weddings in my career.

Wedding Love and Hugs,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Attracting Brides for YOUR Wedding Planning Business!

In order to attract new brides for your Wedding Planner business, you need to be pro-active and positive 100% of the time. “Impossible!” you say? Well I’m here to tell you that it may take work, but it’s not impossible. I’m living proof. I run a successful Wedding Planning Business, teach, spend time with my wonderful family and, just recently, added a Décor Division. I’ve had to learn, over the last eight years, how to create and keep my energy. I’d like to share a little about how I’ve done that with you right now.

What’s the secret to staying positive and attracting new brides? It’s finding your spirit, keeping your energy, and staying focused. Brides want someone who is happy and excited about “their” wedding, so unless you FEEL all those feelings, they’ll leave and find someone else. The key is not letting all the time and energy stealers steal YOUR energy. This means being able to distance yourself from those around you who are stuck in a negative place.

People who are well-meaning, but never have a positive thing to say are the very people to avoid. This is easier said than done, because they may be very close to you and you don’t even see it. Try this, the next time someone comes to you with a problem, evaluate how you feel once you’ve helped them. If you notice that you feel worn out, a little depressed, lacking in motivation, etc. then you’ve just let an energy stealer have some of yours.

It takes a lot of self-motivation to be in business for yourself, and you have to keep talking yourself up, you don’t have the TIME to let others bring you down. Believe me; once you’ve given your time/energy to someone, your brides will know it and they will lose their enthusiasm for utilizing your business. They are PAYING you to make their wedding the most memorable day in their lives. They won’t want to do business with someone who isn’t as enthusiastic as they are.

So, take a tip from a VERY successful Wedding Planner, be positive, happy, interested, and excited to be part of every bride’s very special day. It works; you’ll attract brides like bees to honey.

One more thing, never, ever give up! There are going to be days that you don’t think you can face one more smiling, giddy bride. Shake it off; fake it, if you have to! Put on your best smile, concentrate on “sparkling” and pretty soon, you’ll feel it.

It’s when you are in a funk yourself, that the naysayers prey upon you the most. Don’t let them. Your dream is valuable, not only to you, but to those that you can help by starting their married life with the best wedding possible, planned by you. When you start feeling like it’s not working and wondering why you ever wanted to do this in the first place, close your eyes, take a deep breath and remember all those great ideas you have and how much you want to share your talent.

Center yourself by thanking your Higher Power for all the gifts you’ve gotten. Remind yourself why you pushed so hard to get here. Then put on that “glowing” face and get out there and be the best Wedding Planner you can. YOU CAN DO IT! I am, and loving every minute of it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Remember When???

This is a highlight video from John and Jennie's wedding. I came across it the other day and just had to post. This wedding was many hours of hard work but watching this video makes it all worth it. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canjun King marries Irish Queen

Molly & Brandon
November 7, 2009
St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Molly and Brandon could not have picked a more beautiful fall day to celebrate their love for each other. As the Indianapolis Marathon was being run all around the city the day started for Molly and her gals at Meridian Design Group downtown for hair and make-up. Melody from Carpenter Photography & Design met the girls there to start capturing every moment. As I waited for the girls at the Courtyard by Marriot, I sent the boys to the church to have pictures taken with Melody’s other half Jeremy. The marathon caused quite a backup around the city, so the girls trickled into the room and waited for Molly to get into her dress. As she cooled off and stepped into her dress everyone had giant smiles on their face! Then we were off to St. Mary’s.

It was my duty to make sure Molly and Brandon did not get a sneak peak of each other before the ceremony. So as we arrived at the church I made sure Brandon was in his hiding place as Molly and the ladies took some pictures. Then they went upstairs to freshen up. The guests packed St. Mary’s and the moment the doors opened for Molly to walk down the aisle with her father was breathtaking! Brandon’s face just smiled and stared at his beautiful bride. The ceremony was a full mass as both Molly and Brandon’s families have a Catholic upbringing with might I say gorgeous music. After mass, the guests exited and the church bells rang as Molly and Brandon made their appearance as husband and wife. Everyone then headed over to the Rathskeller and the bridal party went to the War Memorial to take some pictures together. Let me just say I was with some of the biggest LSU and NOTRE DAME fans! In between every picture the men managed to have their I-phones set to the games. So funny! They even took a picture watching the games. Brandon said he wouldn’t miss a beat of his Tigers.

The reception at the Rathskeller was set to bring in many of the Irish and Cajun traditions of the bride and groom. Bryan Bishop, from the band The Bishops, did the emcee duties as the bridal party was introduced to the guests. Thanks Bryan! Bishop Houck said a lovely prayer and Molly’s dad John gave a touching speech and then dinner was served. The newlyweds cut their delicious almond and spice cake from Heavenly Sweets and shared a toast by the maid of honor Molly. Let me add the groom’s cake was amazing…as Tonya said, “Watch out cake boss!” The Bishops cranked up the music and the partying began. Two family traditions were celebrated later in the evening after the bouquet and garter toss. The first was the money dance. This is something from the south from Brandon’s family. I have seen this before but this time the money was pinned all over the groom and the bride’s veil. The next tradition was also from New Orleans. I was very interested to see this because it had been hiding in my car since rehearsal the night before. It was a stuffed woman (handmade) on a broom and Brandon got to pass her on to all of his single friends since he was now taken. Each friend took a turn dancing with her as the crowd circled around clapping. They were having such a good time! The night was nearing the end and the Bishops still had the crowd dancing.

Molly and Brandon, I hope your day was magical and you live a long happy life together! Enjoy your honeymoon in San Diego and up the west coast to Seattle!


P.S. Thanks Tonya for doing all the set-up. Couldn’t have done it without you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Michelle's day to shine

Michelle & Kevin
November 7,2009
Castleton United Methodist Church and Skyline Club
I first met Michelle way back, when I was planning her sister's Abbie's wedding. Everyone knew that Kevin would pop the question soon but didn't know when. So after Christmas, I got the phone the call that it was time to start planning for another Brammer wedding. Michelle and Kevin were quite different from Abbie and Chris. But that's what makes my job FUN! No two weddings are same. Although there were somethings were similar, these two weddings were definitely different from another.
At the rehearsal, the bridal party was all decked out in football jerseys. On Saturday morning, everything was going smooth. The ladies were getting their hair done while the men were trying to catch up on sleep. Once the girls arrived at the church, my team and I helped them get dressed. Then Jennifer Driscoll took over and snapped some fun outside pictures of all them. Oh I think I forgot to mention how beautiful the day was. It was sunny, almost 70 degrees and it was November!! Gotta love Indiana weather. After the ladies pictures it was time for the fellas. They looked great in their grey suits! The ceremony went beautifully. After all the guests blew bubbles at them for their send off. They got into an antique Cadillac and drove away for more pictures. When I arrived at the Skyline Club for the reception, the cocktail hour was already in full swing. My great assistant Jen, had everything under control. Everyone was enjoying drinks and catching up with friends and family. One of my favorite DJ's, Brian Whitis, was emceeing the event. After the announcement of the newly weds, they cut the cake. And boy did they ever! Both Kevin and Michelle smashed it into each other faces. It was sweet but a little messy! Dinner was FANTASTIC! Afterwards, guests talked,mingled and danced with one another. The event was a success! Everyone had a great time especially Michelle and Kevin. Congratulations to you both!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Secrets to Wedding Planning Success

Since the recession, there is not a day that goes by where people don’t ask, “So how’s the wedding planning business?” Most assume that brides are cutting back and that I am feeling the Wall Street sting, too. They are shocked at my answer when I say, “It could never be better, things are moving and shaking around here.” As businesses are closing, new doors are opening for me in the wedding industry. I believe in the motto: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” So along with tightening your budget during tough economical times as a wedding planner, you must also tighten your mind-set.

Last year I joined a group of fellow wedding planners and I have expanded my business thanks to my mentor, Ciara Daykin. Having a group to turn to held me accountable for my business agenda. I was able to share in my triumphs and mastermind with others that have the same passions as I. Along with securing a high contract with a premier event venue, I began to do what has always come natural to me-teach. Since I was a teacher before I became a wedding planner, I thoroughly enjoy being able to fuse the two together. I recently was a guest speaker at my mentor’s weekly meeting. My topic covered the core teachings I use in my own wedding planner course. Here are some of the tips from that meeting:

First of all, you need to forget about the competition. Instead of getting caught up on what others are doing, get caught up in what YOU are doing. The best way to set yourself apart from other wedding planners is to clearly define your niche. Your niche is your distinctive “calling card”. Write down what you enjoy most and then figure out how you can get paid to do it. For example, my niche is that I make weddings personal. I create events that have the couple’s personality on even the tiniest of details. So what happens? When a couple’s number one concern is having a wedding that is about them, they come to me. You too need to have a highly specialized trait that you are known for. Look at your surrounding market, what is lacking? How can you fill this void? Does anyone do destination weddings, eco-friendly weddings? As you grow, develop key alliances with vendors. This will enable you to offer exclusives or the best deal on certain aspects of the wedding.

Understand you are the wedding expert; couples have come to you for two reasons. The wedding is either too stressful or they simply don’t have time to plan it. They are hiring you to not only organize it and have all the details in place but they are also hiring you as a professional because they want your opinion. Be sure you tell your clients like it is, give them honesty and directness-that is how you earn their respect. Keep in mind your relationship with the vendor and express what is possible and what is not. You are the deal maker and you have to play both sides of the table. In the end of the day, you are there to make your couple happy. So you must remember you are representing them when you are making calls and negotiating contract stipulations.

The way you get business, is by getting noticed. You must be a leader, a trendsetter. Most of us have a problem with this, stepping away from the pack and developing our own unique brand. However this is exactly what you must do in order to catch the eye of clients. Be distinct with your marketing message. We are all different; however most of us try and conform. But if you notice, highly-successful people do not. They take the leap. This means instead of being afraid of new things or sticking to the safe way that “everybody” does, you discover new ways to get your name out there. For example, I have taken to the internet for bringing national recognition to my company and myself. I send out newsletters, have a Facebook Fan page, I tweet and I love teleseminars. This not only builds my brand, but couples find me that way too!

Most importantly, look at your wedding planning business as your resume. The more you do, the more opportunities you take-the more you build up your company’s track record. I hear the same “complaint” over and again from new wedding planners. “I just started my business; all that I have done is a few friends and families weddings.” I want to clap and say congratulations! Your abilities have caught the eye of those closest to you, this means you are on the right track. Keep going! I got started in this business by saying “Yes” to a friend. She needed help with her daughters’ birthday party and I came to her mind. I still do the Farther/Daughter dance at the local school every year. The budget is only $200, however the parents know me for it and I take pleasure in delivering beyond their expectations.

For anyone looking to break into the wedding planner business, I would suggest enrolling in a wedding planner education class-just like I did. Work with others to develop your business plan, confidence, niche and marketing strategy. Surround yourself with trusted colleagues and mentors. You will gain insider knowledge that will help you enjoy success as a wedding planner.

Wedding Love and Hugs,


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

White Pumpkins Tie the Knot

Robert & Alicia (Pictures to come, Jessica is sick)
Indiana Roof Ballroom
October 30, 2009

Robert and Alicia are such a fantastic couple! Everything that Alicia and her mom Carol planned was done with thoughtfulness and as Alicia put it, “The bigger the better!” Well, it definitely had a big first…Circle City Weekenders took charge of the entire day! I was really excited to spend time with Alicia and her family! The day started off with Alicia and her maids getting make-up and hair done at her parent’s house. Kiralee from Eyemax by Kiralee and Irina Green did a great job with the packed schedule. Everyone looked amazing! Jessica Strickland from Jessica Strickland Photography joined us to capture every moment and detail of the day. As Alicia stepped into her dress, her mom Carol was brought to tears as she put her daughter’s final touches on. It was an amazing moment for everyone. Alicia looked so beautiful!

The weather was not very cooperative, so we formulated a Plan B before we headed to the Lily House at the IMA for Alicia and Robert to see each other for the first time. This was my first time seeing the magic happen when the bride and groom caught first sight of each other. WOW! Robert was in awe of his bride! After Jessica took some pictures of them, Alicia had a surprise in store for Robert. She had arranged for his dog to be at this location. The dog entered with bow tie on and Robert was shocked! He jumped up and down like a child on Christmas day. It was priceless. After some pictures with the bridal party, we headed downtown with our trolley driver Rex to take some pictures at the Indianapolis Government Center and then to the Indiana Roof Ballroom for a final round of pictures with family. Thanks Jessica for the great guidance! We made a great team with the blustery conditions we were givenJ

While the family took pictures, my amazing team of Tonya, Laurenne, and Katie made sure the ballroom looked just right for the evening ceremony. Guests were seated and the ceremony began. Bob Ridge from Indy Visual and Jessica Strickland captured every moment. What a gorgeous ceremony by Pastor Stan and Alicia & Robert’s families as the bride and groom said “I Do!”. After the ceremony, everyone headed out to cocktail hour as the staff at the Roof reset the room for the reception. The black and cream décor came together quickly and it looked BEAUTIFUL! The white pumpkin centerpieces by Add Love Flowers and white mini-pumpkins at every seat added the perfect touch of fall to the room. As the bridal party was introduced, Alicia and Robert made sure that each of them had a unique introduction, as each member was so very special to them. Alicia’s dad Jack gave a heart felt speech and toast which lead into the cutting of the delicious cake from Heavenly Sweets and a fantastic dinner. As dinner came to a close Alicia and Robert shared their first dance. After that Zanna-doo rocked the party all night long. Guests enjoyed the candy bar and the Venetian masks that decorated it. The masks were a great hit as Halloween was lurking around the corner. All the festivities ended at midnight and Alicia & Robert made their exit on horse and carriage. Thanks to everyone that made this wedding a great success! Have a great honeymoon in Mexico! Bring back some sunshine for us!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

So you want to be a wedding planner…..

Most people decide to become a wedding planner because they coordinated their own wedding or a friends and realized they had a flare and passion for helping others’ bring their “Big Day” dreams to life. They dream of becoming an elite wedding planner but they have no idea how to make that magic happen!

My name is Tonya Shadoan and I had that exact same desire. I remember what it was like taking that leap of faith and opening my own wedding planner business in 2001. After eight years of experience being the President of Circle City Planners, my team and I have coordinated over 200 events from the beginning to the end. Just imagine having 10-15 weddings in your head and the demand of creating a different, personal experience for each special client. Do you have what it takes to become a highly successful wedding planner, too?

There are many sites that guarantee they can make you a wedding planner by simply sending you a stack of course matter. I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get “certified” to become a true, legit wedding planner. Don’t get me wrong, you do have to get some type of training before you go out and help someone orchestrate the biggest day of their lives. But it takes more than a piece of paper to make you an elite wedding planner.

I have found over the years there are four main character traits that you must have-or develop- to be a highly successful wedding planner.

Character Traits of a Great Wedding Planner

I know this sounds shallow. It is shallow. We judge a new acquaintance within the first 15 seconds we meet them. We have sized them up. We know everything about that person before they even open their mouth. “What? I don’t do that!” But you do, you just might not be aware of your quick judgments. So with that being said, brides are doing the same thing. They have this preconceived notion of what a wedding planner should look like. Your overall image needs to be sharp and up-to-date. If you want women to entrust that you can bring their wedding fairytale to life, you must have a bit of fairy Godmother (or Sister!) in your personal image.

This is where you gain the respect of your peers and your clients. Keeping a calm demeanor and professional image at all times is very important to your reputation. I’m not just talking about during the event; I’m talking about all the time. When you are at the grocery store interacting with the clerk, holding a conference with your child’s teacher, or even spending the evening out with your friends; you must be calm, cool and collected. People take note when someone is professional and they clearly remember those who are not! You never know where you might get your next client, so you must develop the ability to “act the part” 24/7.

This is one of the most important aspects of a wedding planner. If you have multiple weddings to plan, it is of the utmost importance to have a system for staying organized and use it. Every bride deserves to be special; every bride wants to be reassured that she is in good hands. It’s up to you to make her feel that way. This can't be achieved if you are unorganized. You will constantly be fighting an uphill battle with yourself and your clients if you don’t implement a fool-proof filing system and stick to it. Developing an iron clad system takes time and dedication but your clients will thank you and you will thank yourself in the long run.

I love my job! I’m in the FUN business. Yes, I have a flexible schedule; yes, I can take off and go to lunch with my husband at a moments notice. Yes, I can even go shopping in the middle of the day! BUT, I always put in tons of time working on my business. Even if there is no wedding to plan, I am still focused on building my business. I’m dedicated to developing it everyday by networking on and offline. I rarely take a Saturday off; I am either at a wedding or catching up on administrative duties. I do anything and everything for Circle City Planners because I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not work, it’s what I love. Everyday is different. I am in the business of helping couples’ have the best “biggest day of their lives”. Every wedding, my team and I are committed to developing another unique, magical atmosphere. You will need this same passion, spirit and dedication when starting your own successful wedding planner business.

So I have given you the four basic skills all wedding planners need to possess. Now is the time for you to do some character analysis. Do you have these traits naturally or will you need to develop them while learning the wedding planner industry? Take the Wedding Planner Quiz and review your results. You will then have a better understanding of your wedding planner personalities’ strengths and weaknesses.

DON'T MISS IT: November 5th at 8pm, EST I am having a free teleseminar to give you "5 Secrets from a Real Wedding Planner, no one wants you to know!"

These Insider's Secrets will include:

1. Foundation, creating the base and watching it grow
2. Blueprint, Step by step on how I work directly with my clients
3. WOW effect, Bringing your true talent to the table & getting paid for it
4. Finding your Niche, standing out in front of the crowd
5. Professionalism, earning respect of others in the industry

If you are ready to break into the wedding planner industry-the right way-click the link and register for my free Insider's Secret Wedding Planner Teleseminar.

Register for The FREE Teleseminar

Visit the Education section on my company’s site to learn how I help develop people into elite wedding planners.

Wedding Love and Hugs,