Getting Ahead By Giving Back…

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight two amazing organizations I have the pleasure of serving. Last year, I realized I was missing the “giving back” piece to my business, so I set out to engage in the community with organizations that would allow me to truly get entrenched with their mission, and service to others.  It has been life changing to be involved with both Voices for Children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and the San Diego Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team.

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As a CASA, I have been assigned a sibling group of four dynamic young women who have been in and out of the foster care system. My role as the CASA is to interact with these girls and to advocate on their behalf to the judge and attorneys assigned to their case. So often, when kids enter the foster care system, adults make all of the decisions, but little attention is paid to what is best or the true desire of the child. CASA’s are solely focused on the children. I have had the pleasure of getting to know these four girls and to help them to navigate the foster and court system. Far too many children become lost in the foster care system, due to their parents inability to truly parent. It’s a system that is very broken and often impersonal due to heavy case loads for the social workers and the attorneys. As the “grown ups” spend hours trying to come to a settlement in the case, I have the fortune of engaging with the girls on a very personal level. I visit with them monthly, and check in on them frequently. In our outings we enjoy lunch, shopping or even a visit to the dog park. The outings don’t have to be fancy; they just have to be interactive so I can get to really know the girls. When children are showered with love, they bloom in very dynamic and wonderful ways. To learn more about Voices for Children, please visit http://www.SpeakUpNow.org.

As a Crisis Interventionist with the San Diego Police Department, I have been exposed to a wonderful community of dedicated volunteers who are the silent heroes in our neighborhoods. A Crisis Interventionist is requested by a police officer when he or she arrives on a scene and finds a trauma. Most often this is due to a death, missing child or natural disaster. The officer will ask the family or victims if they could benefit from additional support and resources in the midst of the crisis. An Interventionist is dispatched and we arrive on scene to provide resources and emotional support to the victims. We often encounter the deceased on scene, and help the family to navigate the process of selecting a mortuary, notifying other relatives, and offering resources. The work can be very emotional because you are meeting people in their most vulnerable moments, but it is also incredibly rewarding because you are bringing sanity to a situation that makes no sense. The SDPD pioneered that CI program over 20 years ago, and it is now recognized as a model across the country. Research shows that victims are able to heal quicker when they receive immediate support from an interventionist.

I often get asked “how can you see so many dead bodies and not get bothered?” and the answer is quite simple. The deceased is not our focus; instead we are there to support the family and to help them with the overwhelming logistics that ensue when a loved one dies. I leave every scene grateful for my own family, and for the privilege of being welcomed into the home of strangers in their weakest moments. To learn more about the SDPD Crisis Interventionist program, please visit…http://www.sandiego.gov/police/recruiting/volunteer.shtml#crisis and watch: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Volunteers-Sought-for-San-Diego-Police-Department-Crisis-Intervention-Team-SDPD-288609021.html

Where are you volunteering? Drop your comment below!

La Jolla Real Wedding: Lauren & Keaton | Exquisite Weddings

Henley Co. clients Lauren & Keaton were featured today on Exquisite Weddings Magazine! We adored working with this beautiful, Canadian couple on their destination wedding in La Jolla!

La Jolla Real Wedding: Lauren & Keaton

Lauren & Keaton’s love story began in 2011, while Keaton, a professional hockey player in the NHL, returned home to Kelowna, British Columbia during the off-season. Shortly thereafter, he met a quiet, dark-haired beauty named Lauren; an equestrian show jumper. It wasn’t long before Keaton was “conveniently” showing up at Lauren’s work. Later that Summer, Keaton returned to Florida for his season with the Florida Panthers. Lauren soon followed.

In 2012, Keaton was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, and their love affair with Southern California soon began. Although hockey eventually took Keaton to Winnipeg to play with the Jets, he and Lauren visited California often to reconnect with the landscape and friends they had come to love.

With the help of her wedding planner, Nicole Matthews of The Henley Co., Lauren soon selected The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California as the venue for the wedding weekend. Overlooking the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is the ultimate location for an outdoor wedding that could combine the rustic features of Canada with the breathtaking landscape of San Diego County.

Lauren and Keaton wanted a wedding that was rustic yet elegant, with touches of gold, white and light pink as highlights throughout the design elements. Being lovers of the outdoors, they opted to let the beauty of the view on the Arroyo Terrace (location of the ceremony) to be the focus, with beautiful accents provided by Camellia Wedding Flowers. When you host a reception for Canadian guests, the evening would not be complete without serving poutine, a Canadian delicacy that consists of french fries, gravy and cheese curd. The guests enjoyed a late night snack of poutine and sliders, which were welcomed after the dinner and dancing.

Source: La Jolla Real Wedding: Lauren & Keaton | Exquisite Weddings

The Season for Engagements…

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As we dive head first into the craziness of the holiday season, there is a subset of men who are starting to get nervous about popping the question. While the focus is on holiday decor, shopping, gift wrapping and holiday parties for most of us, these men are thinking about the when, where and how they are going to pledge their love while presenting a sparkling ring! Cue the nerves and insecurity!

November and December account for 26 percent of marriage proposals so we are full-fledged into the World Series of engagements! If you have the “big ask” in your immediate plans, here are 5 ways to make it a memory worthy moment!

  1. KNOW YOUR BELOVED – Before you set out to create the ultimate proposal, stop and think about her personality. Just because you think asking her via a scoreboard and the kiss cam screams romance, it might be far too public for her. More than likely, your love will want something more private or romantic. Think about where you shared your first kiss, date or a fun memory as a couple. You’ll score far more points on the romance scale if you put some thought into the special places reminiscent of your relationship.
  2. ASK PERMISSION – I realize that women are waving the feminist flag these days and the tradition of asking for her hand in marriage seems outdated, but there is something very special about asking her father or family for her hand. Even if she comes from a Jerry Springer dysfunctional family, or she is a fiercely independent woman, more than likely she has someone in her life that she would like you to commiserate with. Ask her sister, her brother, that special uncle or even her best friend; going through the motions of declaring your intentions will create a memory she will cherish. It also shows that you understand you marry a family; not just the girl.
  3. SPARKLE – Choosing the right ring can be very stressful because budget can have a huge impact on the cut, color, clarity, and carat. When deciding on which sparkler you will purchase, reach out to her inner circle. This is where calling on her sister or best friend is crucial. More than likely she has told her girls what style of ring she would want; she might have even said that she doesn’t want anything flashy because she would want the two of you to use that money to travel the world.  And when it comes time to make the purchase, realize that someone in your inner circle has a contact at the diamond mart or with a broker; so don’t be shy about asking!
  4. CAPTURE THE MOMENT – Whether you are planning an over-the-top proposal or are going to surprise her during a walk on the beach, invest in a photographer to capture the moments. Your girl will LOVE that you thought enough about the proposal and hired a photographer. Many photographers are well skilled in proposals, so they can be discreet as you build up to the big ask! Give her the gift of something other than the selfie is bound to take 5 microseconds after you slip the ring on her finger!
  5. BE IN THE MOMENT – No doubt you will be rehearsing the exact lines you want to say as you go down on bended knee. It’s great to give this important moment lots of thought, but don’t forget you are a human! Being a rehearsed robot, will not make the moment authentic. It’s perfectly fine if you forget a line, or you stumble. Realize, ff you start crying, you are no less of a man! All that matters is that she knows you love her, and you have chosen her for the rest of your life! So be you, and be completely in the moment!

An engagement concierge can help you put the final touches on this very special day! Email us at hello@thehenleycompany.com to say “yes” to planning!

A Letter to the Bride, Love Your Wedding Planner!

Engagement Ring

Dear Blushing Bride,

First, congratulations on your engagement! Along with everyone you shared the big news with on social media, I’m equally as excited about your big day. (And your big ring, which you were so quick to share with a finger selfie along with the words, “I said yes!) I assume there is a wonderful man that indeed got down on bended knee to propose but somehow the diamond blocked out his face. I look forward to seeing the Ken to your Barbie in the wedding photos.

Now that you are officially off the market, and you are giddy with wedding excitement, there are a few things we should get straight, so follow me down the aisle as we have an honest chat.

  1. You hired a wedding planner because you wanted help to design what will arguably be the most important day of your life. But let’s get something very clear; I should be considered a partner in the planning. I’m not your slave, therapist, or Girl Friday that will jump at every wail you have when you think your wedding world is falling down around you. I’m a seasoned professional that is going to guide you, support you and to work feverishly on your behalf. Help me, help you, by treating me like the professional I am, and for appreciating the stripes I have earned through experience.
  2. If you want to sign contracts without running them by me, you will be put on restriction in the time out chair. I realize you are trying to be an independent woman but the reality is that there is a language within the event industry, and unless you are fluent in it (Rosetta Stone can’t help you), you should defer to the pros for translation and guidance. When you get confused between a final guarantee and an estimate, things can get expensive. Unless you want to confess to Daddy that you just cost him an extra $25,000 because you prematurely signed the contract without running it by your wedding planner, you might want to consult with me. Remember, you hired me to be your guide. Contract negotiations do not faze me.
  3. Please realize that the images you have pinned on Pinterest, will realistically cost you $1.8 million. Weddings are expensive. If you think your day won’t be complete without tuxedo-wearing doves and diamond confetti, Daddy is probably going to have to sell the vacation home. An excellent wedding planner will take your Pinterest inspiration and turn it into the event you can afford. Please don’t look at us with those puppy dog eyes, full of disappointment, when we tell you what things really cost. It’s the reality of an open market. Sorry to be the one to tell you no for the first time in your life.
  4. Lighting is like Spanx; it highlights what you want and camouflages what you don’t. When in doubt about what to cut out of the budget, never cut lighting. You are a pretty girl; be lit appropriately.
  5. Please don’t hire me as a “day of coordinator” and assume I’m going to be a full planning coordinator. First of all, there is nothing called a “day-of coordinator” in our industry. No good planner is ever going to just show up on site without coordinating with vendors. At a minimum, I would be a month-of planner but even that window is closing. Experience tells me a client asking for discounted services will always be a discounted client in terms of attitude, appreciation and our relationship. Don’t be that client.
  6. You are allowed one (and only one) complete meltdown during the planning process. Please plan accordingly. When we first met, you were a very mature, capable and right-minded woman. Let’s keep her front and center, shall we? If you want perfection, you shouldn’t be getting married. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  7. Whatever happens, remember to enjoy the experience. Share your story with your guests. Be authentic. Celebrate the fact that all the people you love are in one room, on one day, showering you with best wishes. Put way more thought into your marriage than your wedding day. I promise it will make all the difference in the world.

I hope I have made myself clear by laying the groundwork that is going to make our working relationship very successful. I realize you might be taken aback with my straight talk, and I could very well be the first person to take this tone with you, but if you are old enough to get married, you are old enough to hear the truth. Don’t forget, I’m here to be your biggest cheerleader, the bad cop to your good cop, your sounding board and your support system. However, that doesn’t mean we are going to allow crazy to creep in to the process. Promise you will keep your head on straight, your perspective in check, and your mind wide open to all possibilities. I, in turn, promise to be the planner worthy of your referral.

Cheers,

Your Wedding Planner

Image by fashion-kid.net

 

Nicole R. Matthews, CSEP, is Founder & Lifestyle Architect of The Henley Company, LLC. a global event, travel and lifestyle concierge firm. With the belief that life should be experienced in a big way, Nicole set out to create a company focused on helping clients to live the life they want and to produce the experiences they want to remember!

The Henley Company offers comprehensive event production, as well as manages the busy lives of executives and their families. Her recent international projects include the 2012 London Olympics, the 2013 Super Bowl & FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil, and most recently the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Nicole’s first book, Permission – Stop Competing & Start Creating The Life You Want to Live is now available on Amazon. Follow her antics on Twitter at @henleyco.

 

6 Things Wedding Planners Wish Brides Would Stop Obsessing About

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We were delighted to be included in the Brides Magazine article, “6 Things Wedding Planners Wish Brides Would Stop Obsessing About.” http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2015/04/things-wedding-planners-wish-brides-would-stop-worrying-about.html – article written by Elizabeth Mitchell.

 

Brides, did you know that the more control you try to exert over your big day, the less in control you’ll actually feel? That’s because certain aspects, such as the weather, are simply out of your hands and nothing, we repeat, nothing is perfect, despite you and your wedding vendors’ best intentions! Instead of setting yourself up to fail, take the advice of these wedding planners, who’ve witnessed firsthand the unhappiness obsessing over things like flowers and colors causes brides.

The Flowers
“Many brides have a tendency to obsess about the flowers, when in actuality, the colors and types available are dictated at the whim of Mother Nature. For example, who would have thought that temperatures on the West Coast would reach record highs in early March of 90 degrees? Those growers hit by the drought may have some damaged crops, and flowers that are shipped from all over the world may not come in the quantities that were originally planned for your wedding. Thus, changes will be necessary.” — Greg Jenkins, founder of Bravo Productions

The Day-Of Details
“I’ve seen far too many brides obsess about perfection, to the point where they make themselves miserable on the one day that they should be their happiest. Just like no relationship is perfect, so too are weddings and wedding vendors. Keeping in mind that you are marrying the man of your dreams and having your friends and family there to be a part of that is what the day is really all about. If the timing is a little bit off or if something that isn’t of critical importance should go missing, don’t harp on it. Take everything in stride, and you’ll not only feel the love and admiration of those all around you, but you’ll also be that much happier and healthier.” — Aviva Samuels, founder of Kiss the Planner

See More: 5 Most Common Wedding DIY Mishaps

The Color Scheme
“In my experience, a lot of brides get fixated on needing to pick specific wedding colors. The idea of designing a wedding around one or two random colors is odd to me. I think it’s much better to think of the big picture atmosphere you’re trying to create at your wedding. And then you can start thinking about an overall color palette that supports this look and feel.” — Amy Kaneko, owner of Amy Kaneko Special Events

The Wedding World’s Expectations
“I think brides obsess too much about what the wedding ‘should’ be like versus designing a wedding that authentically represents the couple. They so easily get caught up in every wedding blog, magazine or vendor website. This causes paralysis by analysis. I ask my couples to make a list of what is hugely important to both of them. We focus on the priorities and then supplement where needed. There is no cookie cutter recipe for what a wedding should look like. Brides and grooms should embrace that they have the freedom to design the day they both want.” — Nicole R. Matthews, Founder of The Henley Company

The Weather
“As the wedding nears, brides are often very concerned with the weather and start checking the forecast obsessively. As a planner, I’ve worked on weddings where it rained, where there’s been an unexpected heat wave (108 degrees!) and everything in between. When you book your venue, be sure there’s a backup plan in case of rain, then let whatever happens happen. At my own wedding we moved the ceremony indoors at the last minute due to rain and it was every bit as wonderful as it would have been outside, even though I’d initially hoped for an outdoors wedding.” — Samantha Spector, founder of Milk & Honey Special Events

The Timeline
“More specifically, the bridal party and guests being on time! Remember though, even if everyone’s doing their best, you can’t always account for traffic jams or mixed up directions. We always expect that people will show up late. Real event pros take this into consideration and pad the timeline accordingly so a few ceremony stragglers or slightly tardy groomsmen won’t throw the whole schedule off.” — Erica Taylor, co-founder of Tinsel & Twine

Meet Henley Co. 2015:

 

The new year offers the perfect lens to review, revise and reengage our company philosophy.   Share your philosophy with us by leaving a comment below!

 

Meet Henley Co. 2015:

 

 

The Henley Company is a concierge firm specializing in event, travel and lifestyle experiences.

Our philosophy…

 

WE…

Love to play

Exercise our imaginations as much as our bodies

Know lipstick, a blow out and lashes can change everything

Live with wanderlust

Crave experiences worth talking about

Travel to feed our souls

Design events that create stories

Share the awesome people, places, and things on the planet

Believe laughter should be a food group

Cultivate relationships as much as our reputation

Understand lifestyle is not a luxury, but a choice

Love when hanging upside down feels right side up

Cherish creating memories with our families

Champion eating well, drinking often, and being infinitely merry

Know a small but mighty group of friends is our lifeblood

Give ourselves daily permission to design the life we want to live

Life is a Playground – Go Experience It!

5 Out of the Box Brunch Ideas for Brides Magazine

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We recently had the opportunity to contribute to an article for Brides Magazine on out of the box ideas for day-after wedding brunch events. We love the chance to get creative and help our guests to enjoy recess!

With post-wedding brunches now becoming the new norm, why no throw a breakfast bash that truly suits you and your groom’s personalities? Whether you’re an artsy couple or just big kids at heart, here are five unique ideas that will totally rival the festivities from the night before.

1. Have a Field Day
If stuffy, formal brunches aren’t exactly your thing, throw the ultimate recess for your friends and family the following day. “Let your guests play and blow off some steam from all the wedding planning by organizing a casual BBQ that includes fun games,” suggests Nicole R. Matthews, CSEP, owner of The Henley Co, an event, travel and lifestyle concierge company based in San Diego. Think old school picnic games, like a three-legged race or a water balloon toss with bridesmaids verse groomsmen, his family verse hers or even men verse women, she offers.

2. Host a Hangover Brunch
Trust us, after a long night of dancing and boozing, your guests will be more than delighted to enjoy a little pampering. Matthews recommends putting together a “Morning After the Night Before” brunch with chair and foot massage stations, an oxygen bar to help get reenergized and a greasy food menu to help with all the hangovers.

Enjoy the rest of the ideas by clicking here.