Posts tagged secrets behind
Secrets Behind Photography- Spencer Photography
This isn't the first submission by a photographer and it won't be the last.  The idea has been to show a range of photographers and their opinions.  This will give everyone the chance to see that all photographers from all areas and skill level are really interested in giving you the best work they have to offer.  There are enough skilled photographers in this industry that you don't have to settle nor do you have to turn to a "friend" to do the work.

Spencer Photography has won the following awards/honors--Approved as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)-Approved as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) by the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO)
-2009 Professional Photographers of Ohio Fall Conference - 1st and 2nd place in the "Wedding" category. 1st Place in the "Creative Open" category
-2009 - Winner of the Akron/Canton Fox 8 Hotlist for "Best Photographer"
-Chosen by The Knot Magazine "Best Of Weddings 2008-2009"
-2009 - Wedding image chosen for the cover of the Akron/Canton "Today's Bride Magazine"
-2008 - "Sunrise on Bryce Canyon" chosen by the Professional Photographers of America for their prestigious International Loan Collection
-2007 - Chosen by Akron Life & Leisure Magazine "Best Wedding Photographer"

-2005 - Awarded the prestigious Fuji Masterpiece Award by the Fuji Corporation

f the list of awards isn't enough to give you an idea of the quality of his work, his answers to the interview questions will.  Spencer Photography offers high quality products & service.  See for yourself Larry's feelings on all things wedding photography.

And now Secrets Behind Wedding Photography by Spencer Photography

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
With the advent of digital photography anyone who owns a camera believes they are a “photographer”. It is a misconception to believe that the camera makes the photographer. The camera is a tool just as a wrench or screwdriver is to the mechanic. It takes years of practice and study for someone to attain a level that makes them a true professional. Organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America enable the true professional to advance their knowledge and skills thru seminars, conventions and educational opportunities. They offer a certification program that once completed, helps the professional separate themselves by reinforcing their technical expertise thru testing and review by their peers.
Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their photographer?
When it comes to wedding photography the old adage absolutely holds true: you get what you pay for. It would be a mistake to eliminate the possibility of hiring a particular photographer based solely on price. What would one think if they saw a brand new Mercedes Benz priced at $5,000? I know that I would think “What is wrong with that car?” In the same vain, what would one think if they saw a 10 year old clunker for $100,000. We all would probably have the same reaction: “Are you kidding me?!!” The same thing needs to be considered when looking for a wedding photographer. There is a reason some photographers are more expensive than others. They give the best customer service; help your wedding day run as smoothly as it possibly can; and they provide the absolute best quality images and products.
Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor/site?
Originality and creativity. This is the number one thing that separates photographers. Also, how well does the photographer handle color and lighting. If you really make an effort to notice these things you will see a profound difference in many photographers and it will help you select only the best.
Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A larger album. The album will tell the story of your day, not only to you, but to your future generations. A good album should flow and not be overstuffed with images.
Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made?
A professional, no matter what industry, should never EVER drink alcohol while working. A professional should act like one.
Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
I try to provide every one of my clients with the absolute best service and give them the most awesome wedding images regardless of their budget.

What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their photographer?
A: Make sure to pay attention to deadlines. Be sure that the pricing that is offered at booking is locked in regardless of the wedding date. Also, make sure that you have recourse if the vendor does not fulfill their end of the contracted agreement. That should be in the contract.

What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
Just allow enough time to get the images that you want without interrupting the flow of the day.

I have to say that most of Larry's answers are answers that I would have given myself on the interview.  If you agree, great, if not, tell me why or submit the interview with your own answers!  Would love to hear from any vendor in the wedding industry, even other wedding planners!  You can check out Larry's work at

Happy Planning,

PS- Don't forget to check out my news segment on Channel 5- WEWS, THIS Friday between 5pm-6pm. 
Secrets Behind- Travel
I've enjoyed this series, probably more than some of my readers have.  I've gotten to know so much "Behind the Scenes" information from vendors that I normally wouldn't know as much about.  I think all in all the series has helped me to become a better and more thorough planner!

I don't spend much time with my clients arranging their honeymoon schedules but I know how much and money they DO spend on it, so I would be missing a big part of planning if I didn't include some details on working with Travel Agents.
I'm very excited to present 
Linda Murfin, CTC
Above The Crowds Travel & Meeting Planning
Telling people where to go for over 37 years!
I have had the honor of knowing Linda throughout a majority of my career so I can certainly vouch for her abilities and knowledge.  She is not only a wonderful business person but also an amazing woman.   Will all of that being said here are

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: The biggest misconception is that a fee is paid for my expertise. In most cases, I receive a commission from my suppliers so you pay the same whether you book your trip yourself or allow me to book it.
In rare cases where I am not able to book a commissionable package, I will advise of my fees upfront.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when making their travel arrangements?
They often listen to other people about where they have gone for their honeymoons and decide to go to a destination because someone else liked it there. When I work with the bride and/or groom, I base recommendations on what THEY like to do, their passions and preferences.

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when booking their honeymoon?
A: Personalization of services. Not getting "cookie cutter" packages.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: She will definitely save on time. And with my 38 years of experience, she can count on getting the most for her dollar, no matter what the budget

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: Probably the accommodations. So many people say, "we won't be in the room that much" and book an inside cabin or a generic run-of-the-house room then don't have much of a special memory about their trip.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. 
A: There are many potential scenarios for this - booking on the wrong date, misspelling of names, booking to the wrong destination (San Jose, California instead of San Jose, Costa Rica, for example), not letting clients know what documentation is necessary (passport, visas, letter of consent to take a minor out of the country, etc.). Travel is a tricky business with ALL the rules favoring the airlines, hotels, cruise lines and resorts. Accuracy is essential. With 38 years of experience, I know what to look for.

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: I would offer private charter flights to get them to their destination as quickly as possible and at any time they wish. I would also offer private butler service to pack and unpack their bags, a chauffeur to take them wherever they want and a private chef to prepare whatever they want to eat whenever they want it.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in travel contracts?
A: Cancellation penalties and travel insurance. Even though you say "This is our honeymoon, we're not going to cancel.", there may be circumstances beyond your control. You don't want to lose money on top of it all.

Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: Probably the biggest thing is having a budgeted amount or at least a range. People seem to be afraid to commit to an amount sometimes. If you tell me you have $3000 to spend and the resort which best suits your needs and preferences is $2000, I'm not going to charge you $3000 just because you told me you could spend that much! I'll recommend what is the best fit on all levels - price, location, amenities, activities, ambiance, etc.

Well, there is some information that I certainly didn't know enough about.  I can't thank Linda enough for giving me some "Behind the Scenes" details on travel.  If you are interested in learning more about Above the Crowds, please visit their site at  

I'd love to know what you think as well, so feel free to email me or comment on the blog!

Happy Planning,

This interview is thanks to everyone at Millers Party Rental in Akron, Ohio.  While I try not to "promote" certain companies over others, I do have to give a little feedback on my relationship with Miller's. 

I have worked with Miller's over the past 10 years of my career and I can honestly say I would continue working with them for the next hundred.  Miller's has been in business for 60 years and that longevity in the wedding industry is certainly due to their hard work and dedication to success. 
In the essence of this series being about complete honesty, I will say over the past 10 years, I have had issues come up with Miller's.  The times that I have had them (and this is what makes them so good) they are always, always available to fix them problem, whatever it may be, the week, the day and sometimes even the minute I need them.  All rental companies rent equipment, but you will be very lucky if you find another company with the quality of customer service (thank you to Nancy Stevens) that Miller's has to offer. 

With all of that being said I know present you with- Secrets Behind- RENTAL COMPANIES

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: I think one of the biggest misconceptions is a “tent” event is a cheaper way to have an event.  People seem to think they will save money by doing “their own work”.  What they are not thinking about is they are building their event from the ground up.  What a tented event is though is an individual’s highly unique way of expressing their tastes in that they are capable as a customer to rent almost “anything”.  
People believe that the majority of items for an event need to be purchased and don’t have the realization of the rental opportunity and the vast array and variety of items that are available to rent.
What makes the rental industry great are the experience and the service capabilities that are available to the customer as well.  When planning the event we can offer with new ideas, suggestions to make things easier or contacts to bring in that can offer additional products or services. 
Once the event date comes around we can set up the event, stay on site to make sure everything flows smoothly and then knock it down and take it away.  Many times a customer will come to us after the event and ask how everything went, because they were busy supervising other details and were not part of the set up or tear down.   

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their vendor/site?
A: One of the biggest mistakes in choosing a site is “What is plan B”.  This is especially true of an outdoor event.  A person needs to factor in that plan A is the “perfect” day weather wise.  Plan B is “What can I do if plan A is not really working. 
In addition to having a Plan B, we stress looking at the fine print and the details of the event.  The who, what, when, where and how are the things that need to be understood by all parties involved.  All the vendors involved should have a understanding of the logistics of the event.  The mistakes can be lessened when everyone is on the same page with the details of an event.   

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor/site?
A: When first selecting the site from a general list I would suggest going off referrals from friends, family, and already hired vendors; as well as the reputation of the vendor/site.
In the final stages of the site selection, start with looks of the site. 
Do you like the look?   
Is it pleasing how it is or do you plan to put money into your décor to “cover up” areas you do not like? 
Are there trees in the way of where your tent is going to be? Do they need trimmed? 
When it comes to a Tent event some of the other questions and points we look for when we spec a location for a tent are:

•    Gas lines, water lines, underground electric.  Driving a tent stake into one of those is not only costly but also dangerous.
•    Power lines … look up… look down… look around…
•    Is your piece of land flat?  Or will the tent company have to adjust a flooring to the piece of land
•    Is there electric? Or will you need generators.
•    Go to your site AFTER it rains. What is the land like…How many days, weeks, months does it take to “dry it out”
•    Is there parking close by?
•    Handicapped accessible? This does not always mean wheelchairs, it can mean elderly, baby strollers, etc… think about HOW your guests are getting to your site.  You may even need to think about a “trolley” or golf carts to get people to where they need to go.
•    Restroom facilities?
•    Outdoor lighting.  When it gets dark, can your guests get to the restroom or do you need to light the way?
•    What way does the wind and rain come from on the chosen property?  This will tell you where you may need possible sidewall.
•    Is the property a “dust bowl”?  Is it so dry and dusty that everything you put on your tables will be dirty before the guests even arrive?

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?

A: Brides should decide what the most IMPORTANT aspect of their event is.  Actually, make a list. Whatever is on the bottom of that list is what I would “save” on. 
One of the common saving items we encounter are brides purchasing centerpieces or other equipment compared to renting it.  The price to purchase an item combined with the hassle to resell it, store it, or give it away or borrow it out; far out weigh the cost to rent it from a company and let them handle the set-up and removal.   

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: First and fore most splurge on what is on the top of your IMPORTANT list.  After that, I would suggest splurging on three things.
Have a viable Plan B and Plan C.  Some times things just won’t go perfectly to plan at an event.  When a back up plan is involved, that hiccup in the original plan is less likely to create a disaster. 
A bride should splurge on that little something extra that will make her wedding date that much more memorable, whether its favors, food, or fireworks; what sets her wedding apart from the wedding last weekend or 2 years from now?

Pay for Labor to setup, install, decorate, clean, organize, test, and pickup the entire amount of equipment.  Enjoy your wedding to the very last minute and pay to make sure someone else is around to clean up.  It’s never fun for a bride and groom to clear linens from a table or knock down and stack chairs at the end of the night.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever.
A: The worst thing(s) that I know of that has happened is when a company, who had been warned or knew better then what they did, set up a tent (and a rather large tent at that) in a field and did not secure it properly only to have it fly away and collapse during the event.
The worst mistake a company can make is not knowing the details of the event.  When a company knows the details, they can react timely and correctly if something happens, if they don’t know the details then the situation can be made worse.

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: I would let my customer tell me their dream event and then make it happen. There is no limit.  We would start with on-site labor, decorations, lighting and accenting linens and build from there.  
I have yet to see a private concert by the couple’s favorite band or a fireworks show to end the evening.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their vendor/site?

A: The exact details on times and dates of occupation of the site and the included services/labor/products with the agreement as well as the costs of the “extras.” 
Those costs can add up quickly when “extra time”, “extra seats”, and “extra people” are needed.

Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: They should come in with an idea of how they want the event to flow, an idea of a budget, allow enough time to make the things that they want happen. 
After that, the biggest thing is communication.  If a bride doesn’t like something let me know.  We will do whatever it takes; to accommodate the bride’s needs or get to a solution that will please everyone. 
I think that even without my initial recommendation of Miller's, the interview speaks for itself.
Another one of my favorite concepts is their Gallery of Ideas- check it out
Miller's Party Rental Center Gallery of Ideas Miller's Party Rental Center Gallery of Ideas Miller's Party Rental Center Gallery of Ideas

As always, would love to hear your feedback, ideas and if you are interested in sharing some "secrets" with the readers, please send me over your information and we can get you featured in the series.

Guest Blogger for "Secrets Behind" series, featuring a Professional BRIDE!
You may have seen our blog featured on she featured our interview with Cakes by E. & If you missed it, you can catch up on that post HERE.

The story behind her blog, in her very own words, is as follows-
||Idea Behind the Blog||
Having grown up in Yakima, it has always been my {dream} to have my wedding there. However, living in Seattle and planning a wedding 2 ½ hours away, I discovered the options were somewhat harder to find. In May, I contacted Yakima Valley Bride and proposed the idea of creating a blog in conjunction with their magazine. I am heavily dependent on the internet and Yakima just doesn’t have the online communities that I’ve become accustomed to. Due to my habit of diving into projects and an appetite to challenge my c.r.e.a.t.i.v.i.t.y (this is my first blog!) this little idea was born. As a result, I invite area brides, near or far, to join me over the next year in discovering unique, stylish and fresh ideas for their Yakima wedding.

We were so impressed with her blog that we thought the best thing to do was have her featured as a guest "vendor" and get her inside thoughts on planning a wedding. Why not get some feedback from the most important person that we work with! What follows is the fun and very interesting interview with Kadee.
And now (drum roll please) another installment in the Secrets Behind series featuring- THE BRIDE

INTRO from Kadee: I don’t think “professional brides” really exist (after all, most only plan on walking down the aisle once), so some of my answers may not be what is best for other brides in other areas of the world. I’m simply giving my opinions based on the research I’ve done and how far I’ve gotten into my own wedding planning so far.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about planning a wedding/being a bride?
A: Well I guess my answer may seem obvious, but for me, the biggest misconception was how much there actually is to do. You don’t think about having to call your vendors and set up appointments, researching who would be the best for you and why, visiting multiple places (venue) and coming prepared with a list of questions. Plus, with the stress on you, it amplifies the feelings of everything you have to do and get done in order to make the wedding the one of your dreams. It is like “making a dream come true” so to speak, it’s putting ideas onto paper and into action. It’s way easier when it’s just all in your head. The logistics of everything are what makes it the hardest to plan because you want to take you + your groom into account PLUS all of your friends and family there.

Q: What are a few mistakes that brides may make when choosing their vendors?
A: Not asking enough questions; I’m a questioner, I think about details that (apparently) isn’t normal . . . I want to make sure they’re the perfect fit, so don’t just settle with the first vendor that talks a pretty talk. Make them prove they’re worth your money and let them know you’re not an easy sell. The more meticulous you are in your vendor interviews they more they are willing to live up to the hype they’re selling you and make them accountable. If you don’t expect much, they may not give as much. Word of mouth is the strongest PR tool that companies have – good or bad.  Plus, by asking all the questions, you are ensuring you get the best fit for the wedding you want.

Q: What are a few things brides should look at when selecting vendors?
A: See if they have any reviews. Sometimes they’ll include them in their informational packets and a lot of times you can find reviews online simply by Googling the company’s name. See what others had to say about their service and judge whether those opinions are valuable or not to you. Also, when meeting with them, make sure they “click” with your personality. There’s nothing worse than having a DJ who won’t take your guests requests even if you want him too or a photographer who will only take the pictures he wants. Make sure you trust that they’re willing to do what YOU want to do on the big day.
Also, ask your friends, friends of friends, your hairdresser, classmate . . . anyone who’s been around the wedding industry in your area for suggestions in order to generate some good leads. Someone who has no vested interest in the company you’re looking for will most often give you the most candid responses.

Q: With the economy down and many couples struggling, can you see any areas where the bride and groom can save and still have the wedding of their dreams?
A: If you don’t have a lot of guests traveling, a good way to go would be to have a wedding on a Friday or perhaps a Sunday. These are usually cheaper days when booking a venue which can be a huge chunk of your budget.
Another option, which I absolutely love, is going the DIY route. There are so many great tutorials, web sites and blogs that cater to the DIY bride; you just need to do a little research. I know it can be intimidating if you’re not the hands-on type, but try to solicit the help of some crafty friends or family members and chances are you’ll find someone who can lead you through it. A lot of these sites also have free templates for invitations, decorations or guest favors as well as numerous other inspirational ideas.
A few of my favorite DIY Blogs:

I’ve also done a series of Budget Resource posts on my blog in which I suggest where/how brides can save money during the wedding planning process. To the right of my posts, you will also find a list of budget resources that include other budget savvy blogs, coupon links and websites that allow you to earn money back from your online purchases . . . no matter where you live ;).

Q: What is one area where you think a bride and groom should splurge?
A: I’m all about finding the best deal, but there is one area I don’t think you can skimp on and that’s the food. Really, that’s probably going to be the highlight of your guests’ night and it’s your gift to them, a way of thanking them for being there. While you may not eat a whole lot that evening, they sure will and it’s one thing they always seem to remember. If the food is bad, they’ll remember it so you’ll want to make sure and leave them happy not hungry.

Q: What is the worst wedding story you’ve heard from a bride or a groom?
A: I haven’t heard anything too bad or too over-the-top. I know one bride who had an outdoor wedding and it ended up raining before she walked down the aisle . . . turns out she was still glowing during the ceremony and it made for the quite the “memory maker” moment. I’ve seen some pretty bad wedding moments on TV where limos didn’t show up, a bride fainted during the ceremony, or a guest caught on fire . . . however, these are all small incidents compared to the fact that you get to the spend the rest of your life with the person at the other end of the aisle. Things can “go wrong” i.e. not the way you planned exactly, but as long as you get to marry your honey, everything will turn out fine in the long run. Your guests will understand that things happen you can’t account for, you have to remember, it’s JUST a wedding ;).

Q: What is something you wish all your vendors knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your vendors would do to make working them easier?
A: Not putting prices on your websites – even estimates – I found this thoroughly irritating when researching my vendors. I know prices can vary but if I’m in unfamiliar territory and trying to research who would be best for my wedding, I want to narrow down my choices (and a lot of times, money dictates your choices for you). Having to call the vendor and ask questions just to get an idea of pricing is a waste of my time and theirs.  It’s especially bad when they want you to sit down with them BEFORE they even give you an idea. Big turn off.  At that point, I feel like it’s more about them than the customer.
Have your information listed for online contact. For the web-obsessed and the email-addicted out there {like me}, it’s really helpful to find my information online and have an email address available for quicker correspondence for those of us too busy to sit down and have a conversation over the phone or in person. I know, sometimes you just assume everyone has a website nowadays, but they don’t . . . it just makes it that much easier on prospective clients.
Lead the conversation. While I encourage brides to be prepared with questions they don’t always know what to ask and don’t always have specifics in mind. Knowing your capabilities and what you’re best at helps them narrow down what they may want. (i.e. most people don’t know what fruits are in season) I’ve sat down with a few companies, where I was looking for them to tell me what they think or what they suggest and not a whole lot came out . . . I’m looking for you to be the expert so lead me in the direction you think is best and we’ll go from there. Lay it out on the table for the brides and grooms and then customize . . . they don’t know your industry inside and out but they’re hoping you do.

Q: Any other suggestions for brides and grooms out there?
A: I tend to over analyze and over-worry which leads to over-stressing. Not a good combination. One thing I forgot {and still tend to} while in the early stages of my planning was that you hire the professionals because they are professionals. You don’t need to worry about the entire play list at the reception, that’s what the DJ is for (he can assess the crowd while you’re having fun mingling), you don’t need to figure out how to keep the hot food hot, you’re caterer will take care of it, etc. etc. Let their instinct and experience do the work for you and know where they come into play during the wedding . . . keeping this in mind will free up your focus for the things you really do need to worry about.

Most important point to make, we may never hear another bride say “It’s JUST a wedding” but she DID say that!
I think that was a great viewpoint to get in this series. She even has a few tips that I had not thought of before. While I'm not the go-to planner for DIY (I enjoy more wedding management, as opposed to wedding cutting and pasting) I think it is a great concept for the creative bride!
Kadee even touched on something that I am constantly unsure of, posting your pricing. You hate to scare off a bride with our pricing but I do think giving them an idea upfront is better than giving them nothing. As a planner you always want to be able to tell the bride the difference between a $300 planner and a $900 planner (and even a $8,000 planner) before they make their decision.

Looking forward to feedback on this new installment! Remember if you'd like to be featured, just send me an email and let me know.

Our next interview will be Secrets behind- Wedding Dresses