What is integrity? Integrity is “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Integrity is doing the right thing, all the time, even when people are not looking or watching. It sounds like such a simple concept and one that we all believe we strictly adhere to. But what about when we are dealing with difficult customers or clients? Those that seem as though they can never be satisfied? How do we keep our composure during those times? Is it even possible to do so?
We live with, work with, and interact with different people everyday, sometimes all day long. We are surrounded by people that do not act, talk, look, or think as we do. They do not handle situations the same way we would. This is the point where tensions can arise, and disagreements and arguments can occur if we are not careful. It can be challenging at times to keep our composure when we have an agitated customer yelling at us. Or the client that is unhappy because of the “outrageous fees” your business charges and expects them to pay. However, it is possible to handle these types of people in a polite, professional, and tactful manner: with integrity.
The first and possibly most important thing to do when dealing with an unhappy customer is to realize that they are most likely not upset with you. You are just the messenger, and they do not like the message you are delivering. Unfortunately, you are now the focus of their attention because you are in front of them at that moment. Again, don’t take it personal. Second, take a deep breath. If you need to, count to three or think of a relaxing mantra in your head. Think to yourself, “breathe”, or “relax”. Either technique will help to lower your blood pressure and help you to think logically, rationally, and calmly.
Third, do not react with anger or sarcasm. Doing so will only fuel the fire. When a person is not allowed to express their feelings without interruption or without judgment, they often become more angry and belligerent. Listen calmly, nodding, and periodically saying something like, “OK”, or “I understand”. Be sure your body language is in line with what you are saying. Try to maintain a relaxed posture. Don’t cross your arms, roll your eyes, or frown. These are signals that mean you don’t care or don’t believe what the person is saying is true.
In the end, truly try to understand the person’s point of view and where they are coming from with their anger. Keeping your composure and maintaining your integrity can be tedious during an encounter with a difficult client or customer, but by doing so it will show that you are a mature, rational adult – capable of being the bigger person. Adhering to these standards will save you a lot of unnecessary stress and headaches, and reveal to others what you are made of – and at the end of the day, your focus is to produce the best product and professional services to your clientele. The customer may not always be rational, but they are always right.
I give brides a lot of credit. Trying to plan one of the biggest days of your life while dealing with the opinion of Mom, your future Mother-In-Law, a designer, a florist, a caterer, a venue, the DJ…. You get the idea. It can be downright exhausting, but at the same time you are trying o also keep a calm, cool, collected appearance about everything. So how do you effectively deal with the stress of planning a wedding without turning into the always-feared “Bridezilla”?
There are a few things you can do to effectively deal with the unforeseen (and unavoidable) circumstances that are part of the bridal planning territory. By effectively communicating, knowing when to stand your ground, and understanding that things may happen to interrupt the smooth flow of planning and execution – you can save yourself a large amount of headache as you inch closer to your wedding date.
Dealing with Mom and Your Future Mother-in-Law
There may come a time that you will get the opinion of both of these influential ladies, and hopefully all discussions will go smoothly. In the case there are some disagreements, it is important to remember this: it is your day. Not your Mother or the Mother of your soon-to-be husband. So essentially, your veto on something will be the last word. However, don’t close off all ideas that they may want to run past you. At the least, making them feel as though you consider their ideas and concepts to be considerable options will help them feel involved. Embrace their ideas and let them know how much you appreciate their assistance with your big day.
Breaking the Rules of Tradition is OK.
While there are typical things we come to expect out of a wedding, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to include them. Especially if you are finding, they are causing more stress than they are worth in your opinion. Are choosing your wedding invitations proving to be tedious? What about a well-designed postcard that sends guests to a wedding site? (Not to mention you are saving a whole bunch of trees). By simplifying certain aspects of your wedding, you can minimize stress, and maximize your budget (or find other areas to spend the saved money in).
Budge-ing on the Budget
Money can cause a lot of headaches. Luckily there are two things you can make note of to help ease those chances. First, leave room for additional costs. It is rare that things will not change during the course of wedding planning. Not allowing a buffer will only create a stressful situation when these changes come up. Secondly, don’t let Pinterest, wedding magazines or wedding blogs make you feel the burden of having every single detail of your wedding be personalized and addressed. Getting into too much detail becomes tiresome, and you will see the numbers climb as your budget tightens. A suggestion? Entertain the thought of a wedding planner, whose expertise may cost a little money to begin with – but their knowledge of the industry and key players within it can help save you time, money, and hassle.
At the end of the day, your wedding day will be beautiful because of the happiness that is apparent between you and your future spouse. While wanting to create the fairy tale wedding, don’t get too caught up in the details that your guests would likely overlook. Seeing the love between the bride and groom is what makes the most picturesque weddings.
Each year on or around the 4th of July baseball games are being played, family and friends are enjoying good times at the beaches, pools and backyard bar-b-q all across our great country. Another annual event that takes place around the 4th is the annual American Institute of Floral Designers National Symposium. This year’s event was held in the “Mile-High City” of Denver Colorado and drew over 850 of the top floral designer artists from around the world. The theme of this year’s event was “Journey” and what a journey it turned out to be!
This incredible journey through the world of design was quite extensive including 20 design programs and hands-on workshops. Anyone who ever had the pleasure of attending an AIFD Symposium will agree it’s an experience to remember. You come away inspired, filled with new ideas and excited to share them with your clients. This year was no different. Here are just a few of the highlights from the uber-talented international panel of presenters.
Let’s begin our ‘journey” right here with Jenny Tomasson who owns Stems Florist located in Florissant, Missouri. Her program featured plants and other organic materials used in a way we haven’t seen perfect for today’s modern world.
Jenny’s living wall would make a perfect backdrop for today’s environmentally conscious couples. The wall is coved in a mixture of natural mosses with a diagonal line of brightly colored bromeliad plants stretched across the center. The wall is accented with columns and spheres made up of a patchwork of wooden twigs.
Let’s continue our journey with the artistry of Yoshimi Nakayama, a renowned floral artist from Japan.
Yoshimi has created a 3D experience for us. He’s taken four frames of the same size and used a similar floral material to create a unique 3D perspective as you look through the design. Another interesting feature is that the design changes as you change your viewing angle.
In his next design, Yoshimi has created an optical illusion for us. He has firmly anchored a rather large piece of bamboo into his base and created the illusion that the heavy bamboo is supported by the few stems of crespedia and blades of grass material used.
Our last stop on our little trip through the AIFD 2015 Symposium is with a program titled “Journey Down the Wedding Aisle” presented by Katie McCormick-Kharrat AIFD and Philip Rice AIFD both from Yorba Linda California.
Katie shares with us that “floral design is as much a language as it is an art. It is the dialogue between a wedding couple’s, aspirations and a designer’s vision that will mark the success of any project. Communication between a designer and a couple ignite a relationship inspiring unique and creative designs that reflect their distinct style. This relationship takes you from consultation to destination, from vision to the vows.”
Katie and Philip take us quite a ride as they share their truly unique and anything but ordinary “journey down the aisle”.
What a stunning background they have created for our bride holding a beautifully elegant composite flower made up of hybrid lily petals. The backdrop itself is made up of seemingly random shapes and sizes of orbs each made of a single variety sure to have your guests eyes transfixed until the happy event begins.
Here are some more of their truly original and unique designs.
Their bouquet work has a very European flair to it and is more indicative of the type of designs seen and carried by European brides.
This brings our little design odyssey to a close. This was but a tiny sample of the work and programs presented at the AIFD National Symposium. If you ever have the opportunity I highly recommend attending the annual AIFD event and you will come away inspired and you’ll never look at floral design the same again.
You’ve only been waiting and dreaming of your wedding day your whole life. It should be a joyous occasion for you but if you’ve been sweating the details for the past year and then have also to manage the day’s events on top of it; your day could be anything but joyous. Why not hand off all of this off to a professional who’s seen it all. I’m not saying you need to hire a professional event or wedding planner. However, they do provide valuable services if there’s room for it in your budget. Here are 10 benefits of hiring a professional to handle the details of planning your most special day.
Saves Time- The average couple spends somewhere around 200 hours planning their wedding. You and your beloved most likely have full-time jobs already, so finding the extra 200 hours in the six to eight-month period leading up to your nuptial will be difficult if not impossible. Having a professional planner will free up your valuable time to concentrate on the fun side of things leading up to your wedding.
Save Money- Experienced professional wedding planners know the market place very well and know the fair market costs products and services, so you don’t overpay. They also have established relationships with trusted vendors who value those relationships and are willing to extend substantial discounts to maintain them.
Save Relationships- Hello! Planning your wedding can be stressful, and couples can argue over the seemingly smallest of issues. Family conflicts can arise out of thin air. Professional planners have dealt with the ins and outs of family dynamics and wedding planning and know how to navigate and quell the stormy waters when they arise and keep everyone on an even keel.
They Ensure Your Dreams Come True! – It’s their job after all! They will work very hard to guarantee your wedding day vision materializes and meet if not exceed your expectations. Good wedding planners will even add a surprise or two as a thank you!
Offers Expert Advise- Wedding planners know all the appropriate etiquette and will make sure nothing is forgotten. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of their expertise and wisdom.
Provides a “GO to Person”- The average wedding has around 20 vendors. Imagine trying to track down 20 different vendors for simple details and all the missed, not returned and forgotten phone calls that go along with it. Your wedding planner makes your wedding a “one stops shopping” event!
Creates and Manages Schedules- There are so many mini events leading up to your big day let alone the complex time schedule of your wedding day itself that keep it all straight can be mind boggling! Your wedding planner is more than adept at creating, maintaining and managing your schedule. All you’ll need to do is show up!
Crisis Happen! – Even at the most well planned and organized weddings, a crisis happens. So when a crisis happens at your wedding, it’s great to know there is someone there that has just about seen it all. Your wedding planner will be able to handle most crisis calmly and coolly, and hopefully no one will know, especially you.
Hands on Direction of the Entire Event- Have you ever heard the expression, “it’s like herding cats!”, Well, that’s what it’s like trying have your wedding party and both entire families be where they are supposed to be at the appointed times on your wedding day. Your professional planner and their staff will be there acting as your shepherd through the entire event from rehearsal dinner to the after-party.
Minimize Stress and Maximize the Fun- As stated in my opening, you’ve only been waiting and dreaming of your wedding day your whole life, you need to be able to relax and enjoy your wedding as you’d like your guest to. Not only is it your planners job to handle the stress but they will also make sure you are having the time of your life too! After all, isn’t it!
Now that I’ve given you 10 good reasons to hire a wedding planner, there is one small drawback. You need to be willing to give up a modicum of control and for you control freaks out there,….and you know who you are, this will be a little difficult but the payoff will be great. After all even though hiring a professional wedding planner may be a substantial cost, having stressed free, happy, memory filled wedding day with the love of your life is “priceless”!