On this day, November 11, 2015, we salute the veterans! As a woman, I feel very blessed to live in a country where I can own a business, create my own opportunities, and travel independently around the world!
Take a minute to say thanks to anyone who has served, and for the freedoms we are lucky to have!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to Playground Chatter! Our blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the best executives in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time on the playground of life!
Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most? I grew up on the east coast of Canada, in New Brunswick. I had a pretty awesome childhood and most of the years were great. We spent our entire days outside, playing street hockey, exploring the forest, biking through sand dunes. I also remember starting our camping years with my family. But I really loved the first few years of school, especially grade 3, when we had an exchange teacher from England, Miss Scott who really was amazing. I was also at the peak of my academic skills and athletic skills. Aside from doing well is school, I remember being a strong long distance runner and the dodgeball champ. But soon, my athletic skills would go down big time. Finally in grade 5, I was honoured to skip a grade, which as pretty cool.
Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? I was either playing hockey or baseball on one side, or on the other side with the girls playing jump rope. Even back then, I was mixing up and not caring about any stereotypical gender roles.
Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch? I was the guy who had his mom make soup and toast once a week in my lunch pail. That was a treat, as was my mom’s famous curried ground beef sandwiches. But my staple lunch, and I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you, was actually ketchup and lettuce sandwiches.
What would be your ideal recess today? Hmm…ideal recess would be hanging with the girls talking about boys, then playing different team sports. I would have a nice bagel for a snack.
If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in? I get us all to play a combination of my favourite teambuilding games, including Big Booty, Zip-Zap-Bop and Take and Stand. Big Booty and Zip-Zap-Bop are improve games. Take a Stand is where we take an issue or situation and get people to choose one side over the other and then say why they chose that side.
What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today? I moved around from location to location. Learning about the diversity of the playground is also how I live my life with connecting. I believe the diversity of my network leads to diversity of thought, experiences and action. I did learn that kids can be cruel sometimes to one another and teaching my own children to believe in themselves and stand up for themselves will be key. I also learned about playing fair and playing inclusively. Finally I learned that men and women can play anything they want, regardless of what people tell you what you should and should not do.
When does time disappear for you? Vacation time is a good one. Play time is another big one. When I was a kid, playing hockey, snow sledding or going rock climbing, I never noticed how late it got until the sun started setting. Nowadays, only on vacation do I feel time disappear. It is a hard feeling to capture again.
What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there? My big intention is to help one million hearts find their authentic path of passion and purpose. I seek to inspire and teach these ‘lost leaders’ as a world-class speaker, author and coach. I want to tell them that it’s okay to feel lost personally, professionally and academically because I have too. But it’s not okay to do little about it.
I am getting there more now by having my first speaker agent, coming out with my first books on ‘How to Network Anytime’, and I just created a 12-week modular coaching program called Networking Mastery.
In her book Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live, Nicole Matthews, Founder of The Henley Company, talks about giving yourself permission to design your best life. Which area of your life needs a little more attention? What are you willing to give yourself permission to do? The biggest area is my health. I recently started a movement called #FitInMyLife because initially I wanted to get fit in my life, after a lifetime of just ignoring it or letting things get worse. I now realize that this movement and hashtag is two-fold because, I am also trying to make everything fit in my life – my kids, my wife, my business, my health, my friends and everything else I want to do in this world. I am willing to give myself permission to spend some time during the weekdays to do healthy things and focus my attention on my young children whenever they are home. Then I am Super Daddy. But it takes some toll on my ability to spend on my business. This is one of the reasons why I am looking now at ways to scale and automate revenue systems.
Define happiness in less than 140 characters. The feeling, creation or manifestation of authentic joy, fulfillment, purpose and peace, whether for yourself, others or the world.
Grab your colored chalk and write a motto on the asphalt of the playground for all the kids to see. What’s your message? Fight for your life: the one you truly want to live, with success defined by you and supported by those who love you.
What will you do from this day forward to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear). I will try to incorporate more recess where time can disappear and gratitude can create monuments of every moment.
I will look at my life more holistically and find the balance between planning for my purpose, impact and legacy while also exploring all the joy and happiness that this world has to offer.
I will continue my path of love, gratitude and leadership to serve every lost leader in my story and role as a father, brother, son, partner, friend and business person.
Welcome to Playground Chatter! Our new blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the best executives in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time on the playground of life!
Your nickname? Dang, don’t have one – although I have been “affectionately” called many things from my team – mostly including a reference to my Lucy Ricardo moments or the multiple times I may have tripped, spilled or goofed.
What is your grown up job? Director of Sales & Marketing for La Valencia Hotel.
Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most? I grew up in Wilmington, DE, no one year but just the summers which seemed always long and lazy. I lived next to a park and tennis courts and we bounced around the courts all day long, feeling so grown up and part of the crowd – my best friend and I, with our respective crushes on Bjorn Borg [me] and Jimmy Connors [ my girlfriend].
Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? Kick ball ally
Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch? Always the brown bag – envied the lunch buyers!
What would be your ideal recess today? I swing between me on a chaise lounge with a book or a blend of activities that challenge [ like a hard hike, spin class, bootcamp ] but still has moments in between motions to bond with friends. This happens all the time, steep wind-sucking climbs and then breathtaking beauty to share, killer spin but a song comes on we all get to sing, giggles on our mats as we grunt between ab crunches.
Does your company encourage recess for their employees? Absolutely, hospitality is built around a happy welcome – personal happiness in our staff carries through and touches our guests, definitely one of our human truths of connecting through shared stories.
If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in? Laughter yoga – getting all differing staff to open their arms, stretch, break down any resistance to being silly and do a little laughter yoga.
What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today? Rule #1, if you don’t try to do something you will always sit on the sideline and watch. You aren’t always invited to play, so you need to self invite and get in the game.
When does time disappear for you? Talk about your hobbies. I have often said that I need longer days – more time to work, more time to play, more time to laze…….the waking part of the 24 hour day just zips by me. My current loves are being at the beach with my yellow lab Elvis Costello, pure joy and totally in the moment. My week is always revolving around how I can fit a Bikram yoga class in or connect with my spin gals whom I adore. I am an ex pastry chef so any chance I get to bake for friends and family = joy. I have had a great time doing some hikes such as part of the Appalachian Trail with my sister, and rim to rim day hike of the Grand Canyon – as well as the great San Diego trails with friends. I really need to plan events that I can challenge myself and train for, I love the anticipation as much as the event. When “at rest”, the true love for me is the hobby of quiet time, being with my husband and sweet dog, and a book – that is the most wonderful feeling.
What is one area of your life where you need more recess? Travel 🙂 life is so full, I wish that I could stop and have a month to travel to faraway places……just need more time!
What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there? Hard to explain, my most expansive goal is to harness creative talents, ideas & thoughts and use that energy to leave a mark of who I am, my own personal legacies – with work success, or with a friend that I can be more open to, a team that I can mentor. Each day I write a sentence at the top of my to do list – “set my intentions”. This grounds me, my list needs to be the tasks of work I have promised to complete, connections I need to make, projects that are due or just inspire – but at the start of every day I need to set my intention to dive in with a fearless heart, no matter what the list. A few years ago when I needed to prepare for a professional challenge, instead of spending hours memorizing data I tripped across a TED talk with Shawn Achor on the Happiness Advantage. I immediately connected, bought the book and dove into what I knew all along – the power of positive thought /psychology. It dialed back my core knee jerk mantra of work harder work more hours to reach my goal, and pointed me in the direction of connect more, be more grateful, spend more time on social connections – it redirected my path and altered my course. Now my goal has flipped to being more present in practicing the Happiness Advantage, and what I find? It brings me more success……even when I don’t finish the list, I just get up the next day and do it again.
What can you do to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear). The best way for me right now, is to continue to balance hours of work vs. work hours…………….finish work and treat my personal commitments as very important appointments. We live by our meeting schedules some days, I schedule my life happiness appointments – workout and yoga class schedules, dates with my loves , my friends…………you need to commit not to break appointments with yourself. We started the playground chat talking about the concept of time, how it disappears – to capture it with playtime, get it on the schedule as unbreakable. It’s fun!
I recently stumbled upon this quote on Pinterest and was immediately stopped in my tracks. This is my mantra and wish for my life. It’s too good not to share!
Let me know what you think by popping a comment in the box below! Or better yet, share this via Twitter with anyone you think might need the reminder! Join me on Twitter at @henleyco. Cheers to all the world travelers!
If you were looking for anyone in the event industry last week, more than likely they were in Anaheim, California at TSE 2015 – The Special Event Conference and Trade Show; the largest industry conference for event planners, vendors and suppliers. I was very fortunate to have been selected to speak all three days. TSE is an annual tradition for the event industry. We attend for education, networking and inspiration. The trade show floor is a visual cornucopia of the latest and greatest decor, furniture and must-have products we can implement in our events. It’s also a great chance for us to network with friends old and new.