Radio Interview Transcript


 

ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the Wedding Details Radio brought to you by WeddingDetails.com. Now here’s your host, Damien Allen. 
 
DAMIEN: Good morning and welcome to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and today joining me on the phone is Lois Pearce of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut.  Good morning and welcome to the program, Lois.
 
LOIS: Good morning, I’m so glad to be here.
 
DAMIEN: And it’s a pleasure to have you this morning. Could you please tell the listening audience, what is Beautiful Occasions Wedding Consultants?
 
LOIS: We are a special events planning firm with a particular spotlight on weddings and social events.
 
DAMIEN: What is the difference between a wedding consultant or a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator or a wedding designer? There are so many different tags out there, I’m confused.
 
LOIS: Yes, there are, but they are reasonably the same. The differences are the extensive service provided by the individual. A consultant or a planner may provide information services much like an accountant or an attorney and can assist you on your wedding day. A coordinator may specialize in pulling together all of the different facets of the wedding in addition to providing you with information and wedding day service. A wedding designer also called the wedding producer may develop the concept, lead a team of specialists, plan, hire those vendors, and then orchestrate your event. And the differences between many of them comes down to price more often.
 
DAMIEN: What type of services does Beautiful Occasion provide?
 
LOIS: We help provide service from finding a site for the ceremony or reception up to and including returning tuxedos and working with brides with their thank you notes. So we are all inclusive. We work with brides to make sure their piece of mind is satisfied on any of the bumps that happen during the course of wedding planning.
 
DAMIEN: So the big day has been talked about, I pop the question, we’ve talked about this; we’ve talked about that between the two of us. When should I hire a wedding consultant?
 
LOIS: Actually the sooner the better. If you are attempting to save money, you need to hire a consultant as soon as after your engagement as possible. A professional consultant may have suggested vendors within your budget or recommendations that utilize their buying power. You’re only going to use this vendor once, and therefore, the consultant will use or recommend them multiple times; therefore, she or he may have buying power that results in cost savings or even added value or services that you may not be able to get, because you are a one time customer so the sooner the better.
 
 
DAMIEN: Do you have a field in which you specialize, particularly, Lois?
 
LOIS: I have a love for cultural and ethnic weddings. It doesn’t exclude us from working with anyone, but I enjoy being able to work with couples and find something about their cultural background that can bring in a special piece of their wedding to make their wedding more unique than just the wedding that they went to last weekend.
 
DAMIEN: Could you tell the listening audience, please, what are the benefits of turning to a Master Consultant, such as your self, rather then listening to a friend or mom and dad or someone in the family?
 
LOIS: Well the classification of master bridal consultant is a title through the Association of Bridal Consultants. The requirement is that you have gone through years of study and are working, teaching others to be consultants or working with the media. So you have a lot of experience. Again, I had mentioned before about the fact that a consultant has buying power or has relationships with different vendors and understands what the particular vendor may be able to bring to you.  Your friend or your mother has your best interest at heart, but may not understand what you would like your event to particularly be like and a consultant is part psychologist, part event planner, also a good part friend, and can work with you in a way that can remove some of the emotion that a friend or a mother will have in making a decision. They are objective, they are able to let their experience really just give you what you need and not be as emotional about it as a friend or a mother can be.
 
DAMIEN: Now in today’s day and age, you know, in 41 years I’ve seen a lot of different types of weddings. Are there any new trends coming down the pipe for 2010 for Weddings?  Are we seeing more retro-style weddings? Is there anything new coming up?
 
LOIS: You’re right on the money. Really what is old is new again. Today’s bride is looking to definitely put a personal stamp on her wedding or today’s bridal couple. And that stamp has become what their grandmother may have done, more traditional, and even the traditional wedding of maybe 30-40 years ago really was a lot of fun. It had elegance, but there was a lot of fun and that has come back again. These girls today are looking for beauty, they’re looking for signature weddings, they’re looking for personalization, but what they really want is fun. So what’s old is new again. And certainly with the fashion industry, there’s always new colors that are coming more popular. This year’s color, the 2010 color, is more of a purple and we are seeing some of that, a deep purple, in the wedding palette this year, but really what is old is new.
 
DAMIEN: Now in my other life, I’ve been in the entertainment business both as a DJ and as a musician, and I’ve performed at quite a few functions for receptions and stuff like that, and a lot of times I’ve noticed that the banquet facilities may have a wedding coordinator as well. Does a couple need hire an independent consultant as well, or what is the difference between the two?
 
LOIS:   The banquet coordinator, her role or his role is to make sure that the facility comes off looking like a star. So their primary interest is going to be to make sure that the wedding that the couple is planning is going off so that the facility looks good, that the food comes out when it should come out, that the bridal couple is prepared for different aspects of what their facility is coordinating. An independent coordinator also works in a way as what used to be called a Lady in Waiting. They are the ones who may be in the background, understanding that the dynamics of family and friends, and making sure that people are where they need to be, that the time line is working accordingly, that people are being attended to, often start at the home where the bride may be getting dressed. They may be at the site where the groom is getting dressed, they will definitely be at the church to make sure that the ceremony starts promptly, that the processional goes well, that the recessional as well occurs with the receiving line if they so choose, and the wedding coordinator at a banquet facility is only at the banquet facility. So depending on the dynamics of the wedding you are planning, you may or may not think of having an independent coordinator to be at the banquet, but there is also a role that can be done, because what will happen is if there isn’t an independent planner at the facility, an outside planner, then the role of coordinator will fall to either the DJ, the band, or the photographer, and you want to allow them to do their job well and have one person who knows all the different parties and pieces and vendors and coordinate it with the banquet coordinator.
 
DAMIEN: We need to take a short break to let the sponsors can get a word in edgewise. We are speaking with Lois Pearce of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut. You are listening to Wedding Details Radio. We will be right back after these brief messages.
 
ANNOUNCER: Did you ever wonder why the groom is supposed to carry the bride over the threshold?  What does the saying something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue mean?  Visit www.weddingdetails.com and click on the lore and tradition section.  We've got culture and tradition information from around the world.  Visit www.weddingdetails.com tonight.
 
ANNOUNCER:  We now return you to Wedding Details Radio with your host, Damien Allen.
 
DAMIEN:  Welcome back to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining us again on the phone is Lois Pearce of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut. Good afternoon and welcome back to the program, Lois.   LOIS: Thank you. This is a great conversation.
DAMIEN: And we’re having a great deal of fun talking about what we should do when we are planning our wedding. What we need is a wedding consultant and right now I’m shopping for a wedding consultant. What type of training should my consultant have?
 
LOIS: You’re wedding consultant, and there are many, many wedding consultants that are available, but you’re looking for someone who has had some business background, who has coordination skills in organizing people, as well as, logistics. The training comes in various different forms. There are many online schools now, there’s a course that is available through the association of bridal consultants. For example I also give a training course for wedding consultants to be, and it’s a matter of study. There are persons who have come from the inside; they’ve been a banquet coordinator or they have worked for a banquets facility, or they have worked for a corporation as an event planner, but you’re really looking for someone that has the skills of logistics, organization and lots of patience.
 
DAMIEN: Do couples need only a full service consultant?
 
LOIS: No. Full service consultant has its place, and there are couples who do need someone to walk with them through the entire process, and I think many couples have the assumption that oh, I don’t want to talk to a wedding consultant, because they might want to take over or they will also want to be a part of everything. You can hire a consultant to handle either different portions of your wedding planning or somewhat similar to an accountant or an attorney to handle questions you may have along the way. They can work either on an hourly basis, or they can work on a project basis, like for example: If you’re looking for a photographer, and you’ve seen a lot of photographers and you don’t know which one to choose that’s best for you. Well you can sit down with a consultant, let them know what it is you’re looking for, and based on what you have seen or what they may be able to recommend, get you on the right track of finding the photographer that would be the best for your wedding.   You also can work with a consultant on an hourly basis to answer questions and many couples may say, well wow that seems like a lot of money to spend working with somebody on a package price, but the truth is you may be able to work with them for maybe 15 minutes at a clip, and you only charge for the 15 minutes at a clip. You come prepared for that session, and then if you’re only paying for an hour of service that gives you 4 consultations. So there’s definitely opportunities that you can work with someone that doesn’t include working with them full time.
 
DAMIEN: So if I pretty much have the wedding planned, and the wife to be and I have sat down and say, ok we know we want this, we know we want that, it would still be a good idea to think about hiring a consultant?
 
LOIS: It would be a great idea. Many people feel, ok, my cousin is going to do this; my mother is going to do that, etc. The reality is that on the day of the wedding, your friends and your family members revert back to being friends and family members when something exciting is going on. When the music is good, they want to be out on the dance floor. They don’t necessarily, at that point, want to be standing in the background coordinating with the photographer and the videographer; they want to feel a part of the day. And for your parents, this is the one opportunity that they’re going to have to be in that moment, and you don’t want to take that away from them. So you can hire a consultant, for example, to oversee just the wedding day. You can hire a consultant to work with you the last couple of months before the wedding, but there isn’t a point at any time during the wedding planning process that you can not have the services of a wedding coordinator. Not all consultants are willing to work with couples like that, but there are many consultants who are looking to do that type of service. Beautiful Occasions happens to be one of them.
 
DAMIEN: And Lois you have an amazing background as an authority as a Master Bridal Consultant.   You have been quoted in numerous publications; you’re an author, advisor and trainer. How did you get started in all this?
 
LOIS: I started wedding planning really from the point I began my own wedding, and many of my family and friends felt I had done such a good job that they consulted with me to help them plan their events. I also worked with civic organizations planning events and social functions. It was at a point in my life where I didn’t need to work outside the home that I began to consider ok so what am I going to do with all the skills that I have and a conversation with my husband ended up with the idea of being a wedding consultant. So from that beginning I researched different organizations to find out what kind of training was available and took courses actually through the Association of Bridal Consultants and became a professional bridal consultant. And from that start I let everyone I know, every friend, every business contact I had know that I was doing wedding planning. And this was at a time when wedding planning was not even something people would consider hiring for so I really feel I was a pioneer in the industry and began to develop particularly in my area the opportunity for others to become wedding consultants and to have a relationship with vendors and banquet facilities and travel agents and all of the services that are involved in planning a wedding.
 
DAMIEN: Now as you said earlier, you specialize in ethic and diversity issues for engaged couples, how does this impact the wedding?
 
LOIS: Many couples now are multi-racial or inter-faced, and multi-cultural, and once again they are trying to find a way to make their wedding unique, so also understand how to bring some of these cultures together, because you may have two different total backgrounds who have been accustom to having weddings in a certain way and so particularly for parents or grandparents they need to be made comfortable at the wedding so that they will be comfortable with this relationship. So I am able to take a look at any of the cultural nuances. Let’s say food or colors or clothing, or aspects of the different religions and find a way to intersperse these things throughout the wedding that in the end ends up being a more colorful wedding, a cultural rich wedding, a personalized wedding, and one that the guests will be able to look at and identify, oh I see they have used such and such a tradition from this part of the background or oh I recognize they are taking something, this food, I recognize as a food that our culture enjoys. So it gives the guests a wonderful experience on the day of the wedding where they feel they have been included, because the traditions and the culture and the ethnicities have been represented.
 
DAMIEN: Well as the world has gotten much smaller and things have changed so much even in the past 10 years, but I mean over the past generation, everything has changed. There is more cultural mixing, there is a greater diversity in people themselves, what they like, what they see.  How does a newly engaged couple get started? Could you share a tip or two on how to choose a wedding consultant or what we should do?
 
LOIS: Well the easy way is certainly to utilize the internet. Utilizing some of the various websites, such as WeddingDetails.com and finding wedding consultants that may be in your local area. Looking at their background and recognizing that some offer full service, some may only offer wedding day service, and finding one that you may see on their website something that gives you a level of comfort. That they have either done an event like the one you are considering, that they have had experience. Often now couples are considering working with a consultant, because they are taking their wedding offshore. They’re looking to do a destination event so they may find some information that the consultant either has knowledge of other cultures or has had experience working outside of the Continental United States at a location and also if there is any information about how they structure their pricing that that might be something that gives you a comfort zone as well. I would not, however, stop the idea of talking to any wedding consultant based on price. All wedding consultants will find a way to work with your budget. You may or may not be able to get all of the services that they have to offer, but you certainly will be able to work with them on some level. So I would suggest that you also talk with your friends and find out who they may have used as a wedding consultant, but keep in mind that the consultant that your friend used may or may not be the right fit for you, because it’s a personality, and you have to feel very comfortable with the personality because this is someone you are going to be sharing intimate information with as well as confidential information and financial information. So you have to feel comfortable with the person you are beginning to work with.
 
DAMIEN: Now Beautiful Occasions offers an online consulting service called Beautiful Occasions Online. Could you tell us a little bit about that, Lois?
 
LOIS:   Beautiful Occasions Online is an opportunity to have your questions answered to work with the consultant just online. It really is as simple as it sounds. I am offering the opportunity to work with couples that many others may not have the opportunity to do so. It’s just a matter of a one on one private chat that’s up to two hours and that it would occur in 30 minute increments and the contact is primarily through unlimited email access. And it is great for brides who would like professional guidance, but don’t want to make the commitment of having someone physically there on the day of the wedding.
 
DAMIEN: Well that’s a huge wealth of information. How do people get in contact with you? Could you kindly share your website and contact information with the listening audience?
 
LOIS: Sure. It’s www.beautifuloccasions.com or you may contact me at info@beautifuloccasions.com or lois@beautifuloccasions.com.
 
DAMIEN: We thank you very much for joining us today and sharing all of this information about Beautiful Occasions, Lois.
 
LOIS: I wish all of you a beautiful occasion and a lovely life.
 
DAMIEN: We’ve been speaking with Lois Pearce of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut. You have been listening to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen. Everybody have a great afternoon.
 
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