Filtering by Tag: events

A Personal Post: Why the Military Love

Randi Fracassi

Samuel (my best friend, soul mate, better half...) will officially be Active Duty for the US Air Force in April. He's my rock, my biggest supporter, and best sound board for anything and everything related to business (he, like many men, does not have a single care for anything aesthetic relating to weddings and events, which is ok!). He's my best friend, and I though I'm very supportive of his decision and dreams of joining the Air Force, a part of me is absolutely terrified (I'm sure I'll blog about it in the future, and link back to here). 

Though we've been keeping Samuel's journey relatively low-key, I've always been publicly supportive of the military. I get a lot of questions about why I'm so passionate about our armed forces, and though he's a big reason for it, my passion, love, and ultimate respect starts back into my childhood.

My father is a US Navy Veteran, and for the longest time when I would go the VA with him for his various appointments, I noticed that he was always the youngest guy in the waiting room. Sure, the doctors were about his age, but as far as patients go, we were infants in comparison to the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II folks in the waiting room. Now, Dad is a very sociable man when he wants to be, and when you're in a military hospital, everyone already has some shared characteristics and history to bond over. Though everyone would essentially sit by their battle buddies and others who were around their age, Dad never had an issue talking to other vets and listening. 

And I happened to be listening too. 

You build relationships with these people, and soon you come to recognize them in your comings and goings. You take notice when they haven't shown up in a while. And yeah, they may not always remember you, but there's a comfort in knowing they kinda-sort of think of and ask after you too. That someone with so many other issues will ask about your dolls and the drama of elementary school.  

I'm rambling, forgive me. But I have so many fond memories of Veterans at the VA and the doctors and staff who work so hard to make sure they were, and are, well. 

However, as I got older at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "began" to end, I was aware that Dad was no longer the youngest patient. I think I was 15 or 16 when I first saw a younger patient, and to be honest, I thought he was lost looking for his parent. And then it occurred to me he was checking in to his appointment. This veteran couldn't have been five years older than me...and it shook me to the core. 

And to be honest, as I watched him go take a seat, and watched all the older guys and their groups watch him too, I knew that it disturbed the routine that had been created in our hospital. Things would not be the same, and now everyone knew it. 

After that, I got in contact with a group that sent care packages overseas to those deployed. I couldn't tell you how often I sent socks, deodorant, sanitary napkins, and soap over there. Basic things, but they were always on the list of needed items. I don't tend to lament on the contacts I made or where they were from, but after I received a letter back...I stopped sending packages. 

When I got to college though, I knew I wanted to help and give back in any way I could. I ended up joining the LSU Army Scotch Guard, an all-female auxiliary counterpart to the Army ROTC at LSU. As a Lassie, I was able to work with future officers, give back to the community, and build a sisterhood of likeminded women. It is an experience I do not regret. I still keep in contact with all of my cadets (now officers, they're so grown and doing amazing things for our country!). 

And then I met Samuel, who was not affiliated in any way, shape, or form to the military with the exception of several distant relatives. And when he first mentioned joining the Air Force two years ago, I was wary. I had watched friends and their relationships be tested and fail, and I did not want ours to join them. But, with knowing and loving each other the way that we do, I have no qualms and only a little bit of nervousness about this new chapter and career. 

So yes. This is a summed up, rather personal look, into why I have such a passion and soft spot for our military (and really, all of our folks in uniform). I tend to keep Samuel and my relationship private, but as our life together progresses, I will be sure to keep you updated (especially if and when there's wedding planning involved in our future ;) ). 

Happy planning,

Randi 

How to Establish a Budget for Your Wedding

Randi Fracassi

Hello Poppies! I had mentioned a few weeks ago in Pinterest: Good or Bad for Your Wedding Planning about the increase in wedding budget info-graphics and more advice from popular wedding websites like The Knot and WeddingWire, and as engagement season is coming into full swing, I thought that perhaps I would share with you how I help establish budgets for my clients. Creating a budget for your event is the most important factor in the planning process: without an established budget, the entire planning process will lack a level of control and consistency (that is, you will always be stressed about the costs piling up).

Photo:  Rachel Erin Photography

First and foremost, determine what is important to you for your wedding. Sit down with your partner, and put it into writing what is important, whether it's the venue versus the date, a certain photographer or style of photography, food, entertainment, invitations. Prioritize where you want the money invested from your wedding, and then get accurate quotes from those vendors. 

Determine who is funding what. This is a must have conversation with both parents or anyone who has said they would like to contribute to the wedding. It is best to be frank, and write down exact amounts that are being contributed; trust me when I say that making sure you keep everyone accountable for everything they commit to in the long run will be better for relationships with family members. Share what you have already collected from your research earlier, and be honest as to what costs are going to be for those vendors. 

So, what happens when the vendors you want are outside of the budget after talking about money? I'll be sure to the upcoming posts relating to budget at the bottom of the post!

Now that there is an understanding of what the important aspects of your wedding are going to cost, divide and conquer the rest of the budget with other costs. This is where an Excel sheet is key! You can also keep track in your wedding binder, or have your wedding planner keep track of your budget for you. Set up your sheet with Vendor Name, Point of Contact, Contact Number, Email, Quote, Quote Date, Invoiced, and Invoice Date. I would also include when payments have been applied and when payments are due (and making sure your phone, planner, or agenda have it noted when these payments are due in order to avoid contract cancellations). 

Another thing to do is make sure to either round up the total cost or entail the exact cost in this spreadsheet. You can scan your receipts and invoices and add them to the sheet, or keep them in an envelope in your wedding binder, highlighting what the total cost of that vendor will be. In my personal budgeting, I always round up my expenses versus my income, and then subtract from my exact income. If you would like to see a spreadsheet that demonstrates what is left of your income for your event versus the expenses, let me know! 

Lastly, stick to your budget. I like to think of it this way: when you go for a night out with your friends and you're getting dressed, you're making a commitment to the shoes you're wearing, right? In the middle of the night, you're not going to take off your shoes because doing so will probably result in dirty and cut up feet and you might loose your shoes. It's ok to splurge here and there on items and services throughout the planning process, but know that those costs do add up, and can send you over your budget.

So, in summary:

  • Prioritize what vendors or services you absolutely want for your wedding and get quotes

  • Determine income for wedding expenses and make sure that income is committed 

  • Establish a spreadsheet or tracking method for wedding expenses

  • Stick to your budget!

I promise that doing this form of budgeting will make a difference in the way you plan your wedding! Keeping what is important to you and making sure you get what you want out of your day will make sure that you get the wedding of your dreams (and keep down the stress of planning it ;) ). 

Pinterest: Good or Bad for Your Wedding Planning?

Randi Fracassi

Firstly, happy November, Poppies! It's the official start for us here in the office of the holiday and engagement season, and we're picking up speed for the Spring 2017 weddings and events. Clients whose dates are approaching are asking questions, vendors are being contacted, and details are all coming together. Not to mention, our families and friends are gathering together to celebrate and plan for their own parties and shenanigans. All in all, it's our favorite time of year!

Today as I was browsing Pinterest with my grandmother-in-law on the phone talking about Thanksgiving plans, I couldn't help but be a little overwhelmed by the suggestions; from table settings to menus, looking through it all was starting to make me become mentally claustrophobic (but that could also be because I didn't have my handy boss mug by my side filled with God's own sweet nectar: coffee). 

This lead me to thinking of my clients and recent consultations and their use of Pinterest to create mood boards for their weddings (as well as crafts, clothes, food, decor, child rearing...literally, everything can be categorized these days!). Most often than not, they are filled with elaborate styled shoots, costly fabrics and floral arrangements, and locations that are generally not available in their area. And as someone who loves to please people, this breaks my heart because I always want to make my client's dream a reality.

I've also noticed that more and more clients are referring to a variety of info-graphics to help in creating their budgets. Some are breakdowns per the budget range, and some are percentages. And don't get me wrong, it's great that there is an increased awareness in regards to budgeting, money, and how and what you should be spending your wedding fund on, but there also needs to be a consideration of your location and what you feel are important aspects to your day. (You can check out more about budgets and funding your dream wedding in upcoming blog posts, which I will be sure to link back here.)

On a positive note, once the budget and expectations are set, and there's an open dialogue about what is important to the couple for their wedding, Pinterest becomes my greatest tool in designing. I find that it's often not the whole element of an image or and idea that's desired -- it's really a little piece here and there, and it becomes a matter of connecting all the pieces together to make an event or wedding go from I-just-copied-my-Pinterest to something totally unique and customized for your wedding day. And with the ability to track back to vendors who produced the items or easily find where a location is, it takes a few steps out of the research and evaluation phase of event planning and design. 

So, all in all, I feel that in aspects to collecting elements, Pinterest is a great tool for wedding planning. However, with respect to determining your budget and funding, there's more to be desired. And that's the beauty of doing what we do here at Poppy Lane Events: we get to make it personal and custom to each couple, and endeavor to make sure that regardless of budgets, we achieve make sure the vision becomes a reality.