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.

 

Exploring the Streets of Old San Juan

Our first full day in Puerto Rico, we trekked into Old San Juan from our hotel in the neighborhood of Carolina. Carolina is home to many hotels, a beautiful beach and easy access to the airport. The Ritz Carlton, the Intercontinental and El San Juan Resort all have beach front properties in Carolina. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Resort and Casino, which was just a quick walk to the beach.

To get to Old San Juan, we took public transportation, which required us to travel via city bus. For only 75 cents, we were able to get from Carolina to Old San Juan on one bus. The buses are clean, air-conditioned and move quickly through the city. TRAVEL NOTE: The buses in Puerto Rico only take exact change so you cannot pay with dollars; coins only. The journey from Carolina to Old San Juan took about 45 minutes, and led us through diverse neighborhoods like Condado (home to many of the luxury stores like Gucci and Tiffany’s.) We were able to get quite a flavor of the extended city through the bus route.

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Upon arriving at Old San Juan, we immediately hopped on to the free shuttle, which took us into the heart of the town. This shuttle leaves from the bus terminal. With 20 stops throughout the colonial section of Old San Juan, visitors are able to easily get around the cobblestone streets and hills on this trolley. We jumped off after a few minutes to start exploring. Although the streets within the colonial section of Old San Juan can be quite steep, it’s certainly worth getting your feet to the ground to start walking. You can appreciate the culture, stores and restaurants of the area much better by walking.

After a quick stop at the Coach store to make a purchase (hey- the purse was 80% off!) , we took a tour of The Cathedral, which houses Ponce De Leon’s remains. Directly across the street from The Cathedral, sits the El Convento Hotel, which was once a convent. In July 1651, the convent was inaugurated as the Monastery of Our Lady Carmen of San José — and was situated across the street from San Juan Cathedral, the Western Hemisphere’s oldest cathedral. This historic property represents the best of colonial architecture. It’s beautiful mustard color walls, contrast beautifully with the blue cobble stone streets found in this neighborhood.

While wondering through the streets of Old San Juan, it’s easy to see the blend of historic influence from the Spanish, the lively colors of the Caribbean and the Latin influence of culture. A must-see in Old San Juan are the forts: Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th century fortress that was named after King Phillip II of Spain and Fort San Cristóbal, known as the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean,” is located on the eastern side of Old San Juan.

Old San Juan offers the best in shopping, restaurants and historic landmarks. It’s a must-see if you visit Puerto Rico! The only negative is that the streets can get crowded when the cruise ships arrive so be prepared to share the experience with the cruisers.

Have you been to Puerto Rico? What did you love?

The Henley Co. Travel Concierge Wants to Know…

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Are you an explorer or a tourist?

The Henley Co. is proud to offer comprehensive travel services for our clients.  We are responding to the emerging travel market for life long explorers by developing a division devoted to specialized group travel. Gone are the days of just being a tourist; instead we want to offer international group travel opportunities that allow for special access, foster learning, and provide unique activities. We are in the business of orchestrating memorable events and experiences for our clients. We believe travel should be transformational, and leave the participant hungry for culture, language and people far different from their own neighborhoods. Is your suitcase packed yet?

Tell us, what do you want to see, do, and experience across the globe? We would welcome your feedback so we can design the unique experiences you crave.

Participants of this survey will be entered to win 1-hour of travel planning services with a Henley Co. travel concierge. Feel free to forward this survey to anyone you know that has caught the travel bug.

 

 

Ready to travel? Our Henley Co. Travel Concierge is here to help. Email us at hello@thehenleycompany.com to get started!

Cheers,

Bliss. Paradise. Heaven. Fiji.

FijiBliss. Paradise. Heaven. There are a million ways to describe the feeling, and in Fiji, there are just as many ways to experience it. Float along the tranquil waters in search of vibrant marine life. Breathe in the fresh tropical aroma of coconut and pineapple during a spa treatment. Or soak up the views of the islands while practicing your golf swing.

Enjoy this special Virtuoso offer for Henley Co. clients, thanks to our affiliation with Admiral Travel.

5 Nights | Available for stays November 1 – December 8, 2015
Book by March 31, 2015

InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa – Natadola Beach, Viti Levu, Fiji
Experience real Fijian ambiance on palm-fringed white sand beach or swim and snorkel in rolling surf. The Resort offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Natadola Bay and exotic gardens and features a sugar cane train that runs through the property. A variety of cultural and recreational venues are within easy reach.             

Experience Includes:

  • Roundtrip air from Los Angeles to Nadi on Fiji Airways
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Meet & Greet with shell lei
  • FREE night
  • Daily Breakfast

VIRTUOSO EXCLUSIVES:

  • One-category room upgrade at time of booking, if available
  • Two 60-minute Beachside Cabana massages
  • Early check-in of 8 AM & late checkout of 2 PM (early check-in and late checkout are only valid for guests arriving on the Fiji Airways flight from Los Angeles)

VIRTUOSO RATES

FROM $1,818 per person, per package

Ready to book? Don’t delay! Email us at hello@thehenleycompany.com!

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler

I’ve been spinning my globe trying to figure out where my travels will take me this year. So far Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Italy seem to be topping the list. We are Condé Nast Traveler evangelists, so when they give us their top 15 places to go in 2015, we pay attention!

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler.

What do you think of their list? Any places you would add? Our travel concierge are currently helping clients to get to far reaching places around the world. Where’s your next great adventure going to take you?

See you at an airport near you!

 

When To Use a Travel Agent!

We are proud of our affiliation with Cadence Travel, which allows us to offer our clients full travel planning capabilities. Cadence is recognized in the travel industry as one of the top agencies internationally. Given that Cadence is a member of the Virtuoso Network, it allows us to offer our clients the best in luxury travel and experiences. We are delighted when we have the chance to work with our clients to plan fabulous adventures, tours to wonderful places and family experiences.

Hasn’t the dawn of the internet caused a decrease in the need for working with a travel agent? NO! We all agree that the internet provides the vehicle to learn about new and exciting places but someone still has to take the time to actually coordinate all the details. On average, we spend 10-12 hours coordinating a 2-week trip overseas for our clients. If you spent 10 hours planning your vacation, you would need a vacation from your vacation planning! Isn’t there something else you would like to do with 10-hours?

As “Architects of Experiences,” we are well positioned to step in to ease the burden of travel planning. Wouldn’t you rather just make one call to your personal concierge to discuss your travel desires rather than being glued to your computer researching which 4-star hotel will meet your needs?

Coordinating your travel plans is just one way we help design a lifestyle management program that allows you to benefit from the gift of time!

We were excited to see Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch, appearing on NBC’s TODAY show this  morning. Matthew was interviewed by the TODAY show’s Ann Curry for a segment titled “When to Use a Travel Agent.”

We look forward to helping you plan your next trip!