Working with Contracts

If you are not a  legal guru, then reading contracts can sometimes be very tricky. However, when you are planning an event and working with different businesses to  provide services for you, then a contract is a must!

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Here are a few tips to help you when it comes down to contracts!

1. Tell the vendors everything you need within your budget:  When reaching out to the vendors it is very important that you explain to the vendor your needs or expectations from their business and what you can afford to spend. This helps the vendor determine if they can help you and how they can help you. If you explain that you want a sit down dinner of Mexican cuisine, for 100 people, on a $7,000 dollar food budget, including linen and bar services then the vendor can work with you better to develop a proposal that fits your personal needs. You have to be clear and tell them all your needs so they can add this into your contract so the vendors know what you expect of them and what they are required to do if they are hired for your event.

2. Read EVERYTHING: Read every inch of a contract. At this point, you may have gone back and forth with a vendor on what you need from them and what they can offer you, so the service is properly tailored to your needs. This will be outlined in the contract. More importantly, the vendor’s policies will be outlined here. You need to read every section and understand every policy. You can even ask vendors questions for clarity. There may be room to even negotiate a policy. For example, a venue I worked with had a specific vendor list for their caterers that you were allowed to use. If you used a caterer outside of this list, you were to pay an additional $500. This fee was usually charged to the catering company, but the catering company would add this to your fee. All of this was spelled out in the contract, you just have to read it carefully. You want to avoid any surprise fees. Also, pay attention to every fee that is charged, because these are aligned with your  expectations. Some companies charge an additional delivery fee and some don’t. Pay close attention to pay structures (how much and when you pay), the cancellation fee and deadline, and the down payment fee.

3. Negotiating: Don’t be afraid to question some policies. For example, the same venue with the preferred caterer list did not include a company that we were interested in. However, the catering company included the venue on its preferred vendor list. The catering company even offered to pay 5% of your rental fee if you used this particular vendor. After seeing this information, I emailed the venue contact and asked him if we could get around the extra $500 fee because of this information. We were able to avoid the fee because of this. So speak up and read. Negotiate the information that works best for you.

I know contracts are tedious! But its important to have contracts for every business you work with on your event. Even your event planners! Contact me if you need further help with reading and negotiating contracts, I’ve got your back.

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Vendor Spotlight — Jordy Cakes

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This week’s vendor spotlight highlights an extraordinary baker! Not only does she bake awesome tasting cakes but the design of each cake compares to no cake you have ever seen or had.

 Just 19-years old, Jordyn Gaines bakes her delicious creations right in Homewood,IL. According to Dominique Gomilla, a recent Jordy Cake’s client, “These cakes are the same quality as your top bakery!” Gomilla recently purchased a Minnie Mouse themed cake for her daughter’s 1st birthday party from Jordy Cakes.

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Gaines often says when showcasing her work on social media, that Minnie Mouse themed cakes are often requested, but like all of her cakes, each one is an original. No cake is ever the same!

Not only does she make cakes for birthdays, she makes cakes for weddings, baby showers, graduations, and for any event you could ever need a cake!

Jordy Cakes also creates scrumptious cupcakes and cute cake pops, sometimes as accompaniments to a cake.

Followers of her work on Instagram say, she is simply the best and she can make anything out of cake!

 So if you are looking for a fun and creative cake for your next event check her out! You won’t be let down!

Visit her website at www.jordycakessweets.com or Follow her on Instagram @Exjordynary. When you are ready, just shoot Jordyn an email to place an  order jordycakes1@gmail.com.

Don’t believe she can make anything out of cake? Check out some of her work here!

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3 Tips to Choosing the Right Vendors

In response to: Help! I have no idea how to pick vendors!

Choosing vendors to provide services for the day you are planning is a tedious task, but it must be done! Choosing the right vendor will also provide you, the planner, with some ease of comfort because they are the experts and should provide you with their opinions and ideas while  working with you to get what you want.

 Here are a few tips to help you out!

 1.  Make lists!: Lists will save your life! They will make things easier for the vendor selection. Make a list for each category of vendor you need. (ex, photographer, caterer, florist) Give  each list 3-5 spots. Place your top contenders in these places. These will be the vendors  that you have searched, checked reviews, viewed their website, and like what you see and want to reach out to them for more information to see if they are indeed a perfect fit. This will help you stay organized and keep track of the vendors.

 2.  Attend expos! : If the event you are planning is your wedding, look up bridal expos in your area and attend them! These expos will have some of the leading vendors in your city. They know what they are doing and have experience in areas that you need! Visit each booth, take notes, get contact information and listen to their spills. Also, some vendors offer you an opportunity to leave them with your information, do it! After the expo, vendors will contact you with specials and discounts just because you attended the expo. As an added bonus, expos also can give you inspiration for ideas that you may want to incorporate into your event.

 3.  Ask your family and friends: Family and friends can be great sources for referrals! You never know if your sister’s best friend knows a great florist. Ask questions, they may be able to help you!

 When meeting with potential vendors critique their expertise, how willing they are to offer help in areas you are not familiar with, and evaluate if they made you feel comfortable about leaving a task in their hands for the event you are planning. 

 For more tips and or vendor consultation in the Chicago area, contact me at planthedaykf@gmail.com

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5 Tips for Successful Party Planning

Event planning requires a great deal of organization. There are so many aspects to planning an event that if you are not organized, things will get out of hand.

Here are some solutions that will ensure the event that’s making you pull your hair out is indeed a success:

1. Write things down: Get a notebook and pen specifically for the event you are planning. They are essential tools to you on this planning journey. Use this notebook for ideas, notes from vendors, and anything related to this event.

Also it helps to keep all paperwork in relation to the event you are planning in one place and together. Designate a file/folder/cabinet to keep up with contracts, proposals, receipts etc. 

2. Brainstorm: What do you want this event to be like? Does the event have a theme? Use the first page of your notebook to jot down the ideas you have about this event. If this is a vintage wedding, write down the aspects of this wedding that are vintage that will go with this theme. This will paint a picture of what you need to have for this event.

3. Set a realistic budget: Now that you have gotten out ideas for the event, examine how much you are willing to spend. In correlation with this step, it is important for you to factor in how many people you plan to invite. According to Wedding Guide Chicago, the average wedding cost for a wedding in Chicago of 150 guests is $30,000 dollars. Setting a realistic budget and guest size will help you stay on task and get the most for your money. If you know you can only spend $3,000 dollars on food and alcohol for your event, your catering search will be easier and quicker and you will be able to work with vendors to get what you need within your budget.

Planning a wedding? Email me for a free copy of my wedding budget worksheet! 

3. Research: Use your budget to help choose vendors for your event. Create a list  for each category to help you narrow down your vendor selections. (Photography, Venues, Caterer etc.) Have five really good vendors for each category. Use Google, word of mouth or consult a planner for vendor recommendations. Read reviews on Yelp!. Schedule appointments to view locations, and to meet with caterers, florist etc.

4. Create timelines: Set deadlines for yourself to stay on track. Also some events like weddings require their own timelines. For instance, at least 12 months before the wedding date, the caterer, venue, and florist should be booked. Consulting an event planner for timelines for event planning is a great tool as well.

5. Relax! Have fun!: Event planning can be stressful but its so great seeing all your hard work and energy come together to create a special experience for you, your family and friends. If you need a little more help consult an event planner! We are the experts and we will take your vision and create an awesome day! We will even take on the stress and everything else that comes from planning the event! Shoot me an email! I have your back!