Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today's authority is Hylah White, owner and coordinator of social event company H. White Special Events.LI: How old is your business?Hylah: Fairly new, actually launched earlier this year. However, for about two years prior to my recent decision to strike out on my own I had been assisting another established coordinator to supplement my day job, which was forensic accounting specializing in (ironically) divorce cases. It was all well and good for a while, going back and forth between weddings and divorce cases, but after a trip to Europe this year I realized life is simply too short to make a lot of money in a career that just makes me as miserable as divorce accounting does. I took a good look at my life and realized that I'd rather be making a living by devoting my time to helping couples unite, not separate! Plus, my family has a history of business owners: my father owns the forensic accounting firm where I used to work, one of my grandfathers owned a bakery, the other owned a flower shop, etc. Entrepreneurialism is in my blood!LI: So far, what are some of your favorite things about event planning?Hylah: I've always been a problem solver, and "problem solving" is like one of the biggest aspects of event coordination. It's always come very naturally to me, I am usually quick on my feet when it comes to figuring out tricky situations and keeping everyone involved calm and collected. There's always someone fretting over something, but my presence is effective because I am sure that there is always a way to solve it.LI: What would you consider a dream event to design?Hylah: Well, naturally fewer budget restrictions are always awesome...and I love the color purple, so something incorporating that into the theme. I also love the Beverly Hills Hotel, so any event there is a dream event to me, too! It's just so beautiful! I'm looking to achieve the rank of Master Bridal Consultant through ABC, so hopefully more events there start coming my way soon!LI: What kind of tips do you have for couples or clientele out there who are looking to save a little money on their event?Hylah: Ah, my tips...well, event planners do not need to be thoroughly involved from the get-go. They can be as much or as little involved as you need them to be, and can be booked a year out out from your event for full planning service, or a week out for just day-of coordination. It shouldn't just be "all or nothing" for your event, and as a "professional problem-solver," I can tell you that there are always ways to save money. For example, get married on a Friday. Have a simple cake for the cutting and offer your guests chocolate dipped strawberries or a candy table for dessert. Whatever you do, do NOT skip on lighting, the flowers, or photography! TRUST ME. There are ways to cut corners, but still have an amazing time, all you need to do is ask.LI: Are there any exciting projects coming up for you?Hylah: Just the anticipation of the events I have coming up next year is enough to get me excited! I enjoy looking forward to my events just as much as the actual event days!LI: What would be your most valuable pro advice be to brides everywhere?Hylah: The biggest thing, I would say, is to breathe and take it all in. Try not to focus on perfections, imperfections, and tiny details on the day-of, because it just goes so fast and you want to be able to savor your wedding day and remember everything you can instead of focusing on what could go wrong. Also: hit the gym on your wedding day before getting dressed. It'll give you a rush of positive endorphins that will help you relax and keep your mind clear. The rest...leave it to the masters!For more about Hylah and H. White Special Events, check out:The H. White Special Events official websiteThe H. White Special Events official FacebookHylah's Twitter
Perhaps wedding planners and designers can weigh in on this, too: The tendency for some engaged couples to contact a vendor, possibly even going so far as to meet with them, and then stall on the actual hiring and agreement signing.Why You WaitI'm sure there are quite a few reasons, the most influential of which is likely cost. When a supplier slaps down a multi-thousand dollar estimate I'm sure quite a few couples balk until they can carve out a more definitive budget so they'll better understand what they can and cannot afford. Secondarily, finding time to sit and talk seriously with your fiancée about wedding decisions is far more difficult than most people think, and often months may pass before the couple is in agreement about whom to hire and how much to spend. I know some brides also take a few weeks to contact several similar vendors and compare them based on information that's given.Why You Shouldn't Wait...Too LongIt's important to understand the amount of time in advance you should be commissioning suppliers; most photographers in my area are usually booked 6 months to 1 year in advance. Waiting too long to book a supplier for your wedding date could result in the vendor you had your eye on from the beginning being snatched from under your nose by a quicker couple, especially if your wedding is during the "high" season (March through November here in Southern California). If you procrastinate on hiring vendors until your wedding is almost upon you then you also run the risk of finding all the "choice" suppliers in your area have been taken ahead of you, and all who are left are less talented or less experienced than what you had in mind!The Best Solution...Is a "Priority List." As soon as you are engaged, sit down and create a list of all the expenses you expect from your wedding, and then arrange it so that the most important expenses are at the top. Then over the following months as you continue your planning, just work your way down! For example, if you deign the wedding dress, the venue, and the photography to be the three most important aspects of your wedding, then acquire them in that order. That way, if your budget should unexpectedly dwindle as you near the end of your list, it doesn't matter so much because what is at the bottom was not the most important to begin with! Booking your most important suppliers early on also ensures that YOU get them, because you were faster and had your priorities straight!