EPISODE #5: “I JUST GOT ENGAGED. NOW WHAT?” WITH NOZZA STUDIO
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Welcome to the fifth episode of Your Wedding Podcast, dedicated to providing wedding planning tips, stories, and inspirations for our brides and grooms. For those of you new to the show, I am your host, Henry Chen from Aevitas Weddings, a full-time wedding photographer based out of Southern California.
In today’s episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing a long-time friend of mine, Trini Leon of Nozza Studio. Trini and I met back in early 2008 when I was still working as a full-time Engineer and just getting into wedding photography. During that time, Trini and I became neighbors, and she was so instrumental in the growth of my wedding photography business.
Not only by sending me referrals, but also letting me use her studio space for my own meetings. Trini shares her best tips and advice for brides and grooms looking to hire a wedding planner, and helps to bust some common misconceptions.
All about Trini; founder and owner of Nozza Studio.
Trini has been operating in the hospitality industry since the mid-90s and has forged great relationships and produced some trusted partnerships with many of the finest country clubs, restaurants, and hotels all across Southern California. Trini started out in Southern California working for an amazing wedding venue, Calamigos Ranch, located in Malibu, which is where her career originally started.She has been coordinating and designing weddings and private social events since early 2000, and her dream came
She has been coordinating and designing weddings and private social events since early 2000, and her dream came into fruition in 2007 when she opened her very own wedding business, Nozza Studio, along with a planning course and invitation stationery.
From 2007 to 2010 Trini’s studio was located in Downtown Long Beach, and in 2013 she opened her second studio and event planning firm, located in Gilbert, Arizona.
Announcing your engagement; navigating today’s social media.
When you get engaged, there is a lot of etiquettes involved. The most important step is to tell your family first before posting something on social media. The last thing you want is for your family members to find out about your engagement via someone else, on social media. It is good etiquette to call them in advance. Once you do post an announcement, think about exactly what you want to put out there in the world. Keep some of the details personal and to yourself.
Learning how to deal with unsolicited advice from loved ones is key.
You will always have that one friend or family member who recently got married and now consider themselves to be a wedding planning expert. However, having your own wedding and actually planning and executing a wedding are two completely different things.
It’s good to take their advice and accept their suggestions graciously, but always make sure to plan your own wedding. One big way to avoid any of these issues is not over sharing. Take any disagreements with stride, be respectful, and go forward to plan your own wedding. At the end of the day, as long as you know who you are and what it is that is important to you, the opinions of others do not have to sway your decisions.
Savor the moment, and enjoy your engagement before the real planning begins.
It is important to recognize that it is a long road ahead and that there definitely is time for you to enjoy your engagement without immediately going into planning mode. Sometimes you want to enjoy that time with your fiancé and be able to focus your time and energy on each other. There will always be time to plan the wedding, so make sure to enjoy those moments of being engaged and don’t take them for granted.
However, it never hurts to get a head start. You can start doing some documentation early on by creating a storyboard of your engagement and then little by little get involved in the planning.
Identifying your personal needs and circumstances is key to hiring a wedding planner.
The number one question is always, “Why should I hire a wedding planner?” Keep in mind that a wedding planner might not be for you. There are several things to consider before making the decision to hire a wedding planner, starting with taking a look at your own life. What do you have going on in your personal life that will prohibit you from putting the time and energy towards planning a wedding, and would you need the additional support?
Once you evaluate your circumstances, that can really help you pin down whether or not you need a planner, and in what type of capacity you need them. There are a ton of reasons why a wedding planner can be beneficial, but the key is identifying your specific needs and what exactly you need from a planner.
Day-of or full-time planner? Why building relationships is essential for a flawless wedding day.
Successfully executing a wedding as a “day-of” planner can be exceptionally difficult because you do not get to spend enough time together beforehand in order to build a strong relationship of trust. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, and it’s usually because the expectations from the bride and groom were not clearly outlined to the planner.
Most wedding planners require at least a two-week period to form some type of relationship the couple and to understand their expectations. They also need to form relationships with the vendors to try and get everything running smoothly, taking on the leadership role for the day-of. Therefore Trini always recommends having a planner involved at least two weeks before the wedding day.
Wedding planners take away the overwhelm feeling of finding the perfect venue.
Once you start identifying exactly what a planner does, brides and grooms quickly realize how much needs to be done to plan a wedding and how little time they have to execute it all. The first thing you want to do when planning your wedding is to identify your budget. Next, you need to identify where you want to get married.
Once you do that, the challenge is finding a venue to fit your requirements. The search for a venue can be overwhelming, and difficult to know exactly what to expect. Wedding planners are able to match your specific budget and vision to venues where they have long-standing relationships and can help find the ideal place for you as a couple.
Top criteria to consider before hiring a wedding planner.
The most important part is to choose a wedding planner that you can easily get along with. You have to have some commonality and really understand each other in a way that allows you to connect. If you are able to easily communicate via phone and email, this is a great starting point. Having a strong relationship is key because you will spend a lot of time together, planning one of the most important days of your life.
Next, you want to make sure that the individual you hire is competent. As a wedding planner, they need to have a history of successful weddings and references or reviews from previous clients and other vendors in the industry. At the end of the day, you have to be absolutely certain that they will get the job done for you.
The special moments of a wedding day are priceless, and truly something to be treasured.
The one thing that Trini loves about weddings are the families coming together at a wedding. For her, it is so great to see their interaction. Everybody’s happy, it’s such a joyful day, and it’s the most important day of a bride and groom. Another part that Trini truly values about weddings are the vows. After all these years, she still cries every time the vows are said.
It touches her heart and she finds it such an honor to be able to be involved in somebody’s beginning; the beginning of their journey as husband and wife. Lastly, Trini loves the party. At the end of the day, a wedding is still a big party and it is such a fun event to be a part of. Watching it all come together is truly an incredible feeling, and all the hard work pays off.
Wedding vendors each have their own unique art that needs to be valued and respected.
From a client perspective, the pressure to please everyone is something Trini would love to change about the wedding day. A lot of people are really just out to try to please everybody, and you just can’t. You have to have the wedding that is for you and keep in mind what the meaning of the day is to you. At the end of the day, it is your marriage and your vows to each other that are most important.
The stress of the planning is something that Trini also wishes could be eliminated. She believes that planning your wedding should not be a stressful event. You need to trust the people that you have hired, trust the process, and trust that they will get you through it to produce a beautiful wedding in the end.
Another thing that Trini would love to see changed is for clients to have a renewed respect for other people’s art. Wedding vendors put a lot of time and effort into curating and creating the best things in the industry, and often times brides and grooms do not have an understanding of what it truly means to run a successful business in the wedding space.
Your wedding planner is your biggest advocate and will see your dreams come to life.
The one misconception that many brides and grooms have is that wedding planners value their relationships with other vendors over their own clients. For Trini, this is completely false. As the wedding planner, she is her client’s biggest advocate and knows exactly how to ask the hard questions on their behalf. She steps up to find the best deal for her clients, without misusing her relationships with other vendors.
A wedding planner is able to work together with other vendors and make the bride and groom’s vision a reality. At the end of the day, Trini is there to make sure that her client can still have the wedding of their dreams, without overreaching their budget. It is truly about working with the big picture, and knowing that your planner will always be on their couple’s side.
Communication should be a top priority for wedding vendors to consider.
One of the top ways that vendors can make not only the lives of the bride and groom simpler but the wedding coordinators as well, is to have top-notch communication. Sometimes vendors will book clients, and then have no further communication until right before the wedding. Keeping in touch with your clients and continuing to build that rapport is important.
Communication with the planner is also key. The wedding planner holds the timeline of the day, so if they know exactly what the expectations are then each vendor will have a much better day overall. So it is important to communicate in advance what your specific needs are as the wedding vendor.
Tips for brides and grooms to cut costs when planning their wedding day.
The number one tip is to truly consider the budget. The overall cost of a wedding depends on a lot of variables. Brides and grooms really need to align their expectations with what their actual budget is. The wedding planner will still be their number one advocate and fight for what they want, but there can be no promises.
At the end of the day, the planner does not control what other vendors charge for their services. The best advice Trini gives her clients is to be prepared to make compromises. In order to make the budget work, you have to prioritize only the most important aspects. If you can prioritize the top three things and compromise on the rest, you will still be able to have your dream wedding at the price you are willing to pay.
A passion for building relationships is the fundamental reason that Nozza Studio exists.
For Trini, being a wedding planner has always been about building relationships and the creativity behind it. She loves how no two weddings are exactly alike, and knows that it is because of the people that she works with. Every single one is unique based on the relationships that you build and the couple who are getting married, as well as their families. Each wedding is always different from the others, with a new location and new set of challenges that you face. The relationships forged are long-lasting and Trini considers them an extension of her own family. This is what truly keeps her going each day as a wedding planner.
One of the best pieces of advice for brides and grooms is to truly have fun and enjoy your wedding. There are plenty of people out there that can help you through the process. Do not worry about the cost; if you prioritize, you will always be able to afford the wedding of your dreams. It’s just a matter of getting things aligned from the beginning. Know your budget, be able to make compromises, and prioritize the things that are most important.
Coming up on future episodes:
On the next episode, I will be talking to Christine Cater of Christine Cater Floral & Event Design. I had the pleasure of meeting Christine and working with her earlier this year in May. One of the best things about Christine, not only is she an amazingly talented florist, but she lives in Carmel. Stay tuned as we hear more about her vision and style as a florist, and most importantly giving lots of great tips to our brides and grooms that are looking for a floral company.
Outline of this episode:
[0:32] Introduction to the episode.
[5:37] Interview with Trini Leon.
[6:34] Overview and background of Trini.
[8:56] Tips on how to announce your engagement.
[11:05] How to deal with unsolicited advice.
[13:58] Understanding when to start planning your wedding.
[16:03] Top questions asked by prospective brides and grooms.
[18:50] Planner or day-of coordinator? Advice for couples.
[20:55] Specific examples and benefits of a wedding planner.
[23:59] Criteria of a wedding planner.
[26:36] Trini’s favorite parts of a wedding day.
[28:25] Things Trini would like to change about the wedding industry.
[31:56] Demystifying the biggest misconception of a wedding planner.
[35:13] Tips for vendors.
[36:40] Cost-cutting tips for brides and groom.
[40:20] Nozza Studio vision.
[42:34] Future goals for Trini, and her studio.
[45:46] Parting words from Trini.
[48:41] Interview wrap up and reminders.
[49:49] Coming up on future episodes.
Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
- http://www.aevitasweddings.com — my wedding photography business.
- http://www.weddingphotographypodcast.com — my other podcast, the Wedding Photography Podcast.
- http://www.nozzastudio.com — Nozza Studio’s website.
- https://www.instagram.com/nozzastudio/ — Nozza Studio’s Instagram.
- https://twitter.com/nozzastudio — Nozza Studio’s Twitter.
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