A Day of Design at The Mountain Winery

Mountain-Winery-Collage

Join owner and designer of Amazáe Events Inc., Crystal Lequang, for a day of design at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Crystal will be leading this one day experience on May 4th, giving you an in-depth look into event design from concept to execution. The course is open to all and is targeted towards new planners or those who have been in the industry for a few years. The curriculum will focus on clients, colors, and composition (Crystal’s 3 c’s) and will breakdown the process of a classic event from florals and tabletops to venue layout. You will also learn the importance of how the design processes impact the organization of event logistics through timelines, budgets and contracts. Gaining insight into the design portion of the industry will help your company to blossom and flourish.

Sign up now to learn how to grow your design business and capitalize on the $72 billion spent annually in the United States on weddings. Class size is limited so reserve your spot now for this design expertise class.

Get your early bird discounted ticket by April 11!

Monday, May 4, 2015
9:00am – 4:00pm

The Mountain Winery
14831 Pierce Road
Saratoga, CA 95070

Founder-and-Event-Producer1

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Questions to ask when hiring a Wedding Planner

Working with a wedding planner can be tremendously beneficial, especially if you want to have an unforgettable wedding without all the details associated with such a major event. However, keep in mind that it is important that you find the right wedding planner for you!

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When hiring a wedding planner, make sure to ask the right questions because they will help you determine whether or not you are compatible with that particular service provider. Here are some of the most important questions to ask:

  1. What types of service do you provide and what does your service include, more precisely? There are multiple types of wedding planning services out there – from Full-service to Wedding Day Management to event design. Make sure you ask your planner about the kinds of services he/she provides and about the things included in these services too. Believe it or not, these things can differ a lot from one planner to another.
  2. How many weddings do they do in a year and what is their specialty? Each planner has his/her “special talent”. Some are amazing with wedding designing, some specialize in ethnic weddings and most are great with making sure that every tiny detail is absolutely flawless for the Big Day. Ask your planner what is their specialty and ask them how many weddings they do in a year too. This will help you determine the quality of the services offered by a particular planning service provider.
  3. Can he/she help you create a vision for your wedding while staying within your budget? Ask your planner if he/she can create a vision for your wedding so that it suits your style, personality and love story. After all, you need someone who can pull all the details together and help you create a harmonious wedding where everything flows naturally!
  4. What happens if he/she is sick and cannot attend the wedding? No matter how amazing they may be, wedding planners are human too. Ask your planner what happens if he/she cannot be there for you on the Big Day. Most of them will include specifics about this in the contract as well, but it is definitely important to ask anyway. Inquire if they are a part of an association.  If they are, they can provide another professionally trained planner.
  5. Does he/she have references or at least a portfolio you can look at? You don’t hire your pastry chef based on words only – so why would you do that with your wedding planner? Ask your planning expert if he/she can provide you with references from previous couples or if he/she can show you photos of previous weddings. This will give you a better idea of what your planner can (and cannot) do for your own Big Day.

If you are still searching for the perfect Wedding Planning Training or Design course, make sure to stop by  The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC). Our next Personalized Training course will be Friday, May 1 – Sunday, May 3.   We have an adding bonus Wedding Design course on Monday, May 4.  Deadline to register is April 22.  Space is limited.

Visit us and find out more about our association!

Photo source: flickr.com/ mikecogh

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The Power of Video in Your Business Blog

BIOGRAPHY – MARK SHEPHERD

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 Mark Shepherd, Executive Producer of Legacy Films is the founder and  past President of The Bay Area Professional Videographers Association.  In 2007, Mark graduated from ACPWC’s consultant training program and has been active with ACPWC ever since.

Learn more about Mark at www.LegacyFilmsEvents.com

THE POWER OF VIDEO MARKETING

Video Marketing is the hottest trend in the online marketing industry. Everyday 100 million internet users watch a video online and this number is expected to grow dramatically in the next few years. But does that mean it is the right format to advertise your business? The answer is yes! Did you know that people that view a product/service video are 85% more likely to buy the product?

Use of video can promote, expose and engage!  Think about the value and influence of video, the mechanics of creating and posting videos, and the best ways it can be used, like, YouTube, social media and to promote your business and achieve higher placement on search engines.

Video marketing can also be used to:

  • Develop a proven video marketing strategy that benefits your business.
  • Determine what are the three persuasive types of videos that every business needs to develop.
  • Learn how to use the power of YouTube to drive leads and sales to your business
  • Show the power of personal introduction videos.
  • Discover secrets to developing a video script that engages your viewers and gets results.
  • Find the secret to getting video testimonials for your products and services.
  • Develop a persuasive “call-to-action” that converts leads into sales.
  • Gain insider’s tips and tricks on getting the search engines to place your video higher in searches.

Don’t delay! Seats are limited. Use the following link to sign up and take your business to the next level in 2015!   http://www.acpwc.com/#!course-application/c1rj3

 

 

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Wedding Planning Tip – 5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You

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 This week ACPWC has the honor of sharing a wedding planning tip from the well known Alan Berg.  Many of you may have attended his opening and closing speeches at the 2013 Wedding MBA.  Alan has many well written articles of value on his own blog and was kind enough to share his knowledge with us for this week’s article.  As Wedding Planners, these are great tips we can share with our brides-to-be.  So we encourage you to check out Alan Berg’s blog for more great tips not only for brides, but for small businesses as well.

 

5 Things Your Guests Won’t Tell You

I remember hearing Colin Cowie speak to a group of Wedding Planners in NYC. He said that he tells his couples (who are spending millions on their weddings) that it’s not really their wedding. It’s their first chance, as a married couple, to host a party for their friends and family. That surprised me as we always think of weddings as being for and about the couple. The ceremony is definitely for and about the couple. The party that follows is a celebration of that marriage, with your closest family and friends.

If you accept that perspective, what would you do differently? If you’ve been a guest at one, or more weddings, what would you have liked to have told the newly married couple, but you couldn’t (or you and other guests just told each other, quietly at the table or afterwards)? Here are 5 things that your guests won’t tell you (unless they’re brutally honest or blunt).

1)      Your guests won’t thank you for making your Mom, sister, best friend or maid of honor work on your wedding day. They’re not wedding planners, they’re your closest family and friends. Let them mingle, dance and enjoy the day.

2)     Your guests won’t thank you for making them wait while you take pictures. Sure, they’ll eat, they’ll drink, but if it takes too long they’ll start wondering where you are. They were invited to celebrate with you.

3)     Your guests won’t tell you that you put way too many things on your wedding registry. Make it easy for them to buy you the things that you really want. It’s hard for guests to know which things you really want (like a beautiful honeymoon, fire pit or down payment on a house), when there are 250 items on there. Give them the option to contribute dollars towards your registry so you can choose how to use it. Also, understand that a gift should not be required. You invited them to share your wedding day, not to necessarily have to pay for the privilege. If they want to give a gift, make it easy.

4)     Your guests want to see, and hear your ceremony. Ask them to stay in their seats so everyone else can see. If you’ve hired professional photographer and videographer (real, experienced pros), and you share the photos with them (easy enough to do with online proofing these days), they’ll all be able to see and hear you taking your vows. Have someone ask everyone to turn off their ringers as well. You don’t want to hear a phone ringing on your wedding video. Everyone has a camera phone, but that doesn’t make them professionals. Don’t let them get in the way of the pros You’re investing good money in professional photos, let them do their job and they share it with your guests.

5)     Your guests won’t thank you for hiring the cheapest wedding vendors. They don’t care how much you paid, they only care about the end result that they see. An iPod is not a DJ. Your uncle is not a professional videographer and won’t know where to stand to not be in everyone’s way. That Craig’s List vendor you hired is cheap for a reason. Don’t hire cheap. Hire the best value, and that often means spending more. Just follow your priorities and invest in them. You won’t be happy when the photos aren’t what you wanted or the dance floor is empty.

What I’m trying to say here is that you know what it’s like to be a guest at a wedding, just try to remember that when making your choices. If it’s summer time, make sure there’s shade for your outdoor ceremony. Make sure there’s air conditioning. Don’t just pray that it won’t rain, or won’t be 110 degrees… have a real plan for it. Put yourself in the shoes of your 100, 200 or more guests and have them raving to you about how great everything was. You don’t always get kudos for doing it right, but you almost always lose points for doing it wrong. I wish you, and your guests, a very happy wedding.

Alan Berg has over 20 years of experience in the wedding industry and has au­thored three books, “If your website was an employee, would you fire it?,” “Don’t Paint The House” and “Your Attitude for Success.” Learn more at www.alanberg.com

 

Please include this attribution when you repost or share:

This copyrighted article was written by Alan Berg, professional speaker, author and business consultant – North America’s Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events, and published in Beautiful Bride Magazine. To find out more about Alan Berg visit www.AlanBerg.com © 2013 Alan Berg

 

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How to Select Your Wedding Vendors

You’ve set the date for your big day, and now it’s time to make some big decisions.  Who will shoot the photos?  How about the food for the reception?  Beverages are a big thing, too.  There are so many things to think about.  How do you know if you’re making the right decisions?

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As usual, well-meaning relatives may recommend you save money and use Uncle Fred as your photographer, or Auntie May to cook the food.  It’s the thought that counts, right?  Before agreeing to any of these, you may want to ask yourself:  “Is it worth the risk?  Or should we hire professionals?”

Here are some things to think about:

  • Photographer – Cameras are getting better and better in this digital age, but is Uncle Fred skilled in photography? Does he know what types of shots he should take?  Will he download the images onto his computer?  What if something happens and he loses them?  Your wedding day is one of the MOST IMPORTANT days of your lives.  Your photos will be a cherished keepsake full of beautiful memories of your special union.  They will be passed down for generation after generation to your children’s children.  Is it worth saving money to have unprofessional photos? Or would it be better to hire a professional photographer to ensure you have beautiful memories?
  • Caterer – Auntie May is probably the best cook this side of the Mississippi. But, does she have the experience to calculate proper portions for the number of guests attending your wedding?  How about the tableware, glassware, silverware, napkins, etc… Will she enjoy doing this?  Her and your estimations, due to lack of experience, could be way off.  Food helps set the tone of the wedding, and menu variety, quality, and presentation all contribute to the memorable experience.  What’s one of the first questions we’re all asked after attending a wedding?  “How was the food?”  To avoid the embarrassment of facing a mob of cranky, hungry guests due to the possibility of a late meal or of running out of food, it may be wise to go with a professional.
  • Beverages – Will you be serving alcoholic beverages? While you may think it cost effective to buy the alcohol for your reception, and bring it with you.  Be sure to check with your venue regarding the rules and extra fees.  What is the correct amount per person? Is there a per bottle corkage fee?  Who’s bringing the glassware?  Who will be pouring?  Do I need to pay staff to serve?

If all of this seems overwhelming, we suggest hiring a professional wedding planner.  After all, the idea is for you to enjoy your wedding day with as little stress as possible.  Wedding planners have worked with many bar tending services, and they know who is good and who is not.  They may also be able to get special pricing in some cases.   Their goal is to help you experience a once in a lifetime dream come true wedding.   So instead of worrying about food, drink and pictures, let the experts do their job.

We hope this has helped you in your decision-making process.  Do you have questions?  Please leave a comment and we will be sure to get back to you.

Photo source: flickr.com/Luke,Ma

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Maximizing Business Expenses:  What You Can & Cannot Deduct  

CaptureBy: Renee DaggettAll savvy business owners know how valuable deductions can be to their company’s bottom line.  Lower income generally means a lower tax bill, so it’s important for entrepreneurs to maximize their business expenses to reap the benefits on their income tax return.  Most expenses incurred as a cost of operating a business are deductible, but knowing which expenses you cannot deduct is crucial to keeping you out of hot water should you ever get audited.

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Let’s start with understanding how business expenses are defined according to the Internal Revenue Service.  To be deductible, a business expense must be both “ordinary and necessary.”  An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry, while a necessary expense must be considered helpful and appropriate for your business.  There might be an expense that is ordinary and necessary for a manufacturer, but it might not be ordinary and necessary for a consultant.  Do a gut check – if you can imagine sitting across from an IRS auditor, could you explain how a deduction would be ordinary and necessary for your business?

What Can You Deduct?

Here are some examples of expenses businesses often deducted.  Contact your tax preparer to confirm for your specific situation:

Advertising Interest Postage
Accounting Fees Janitorial Printing
Auto Expenses
(% used for business)
Legal Fees Rent
Bank Charges Licenses Security
Business Gifts
($25 per person/year)
Meals
(subject to limitations)
Supplies
Continuing Education Office Supplies Telephone
Employee Benefits Outside Services
(contractors require 1099’s)
Travel
(lodging, transportation)
Entertainment
(subject to limitations)
Parking and Tolls Utilities
Insurance
(liability, workers comp, medical)
Payroll Expenses Website Expenses

What Can’t You Deduct?

The following costs are off limits as a business expense deduction on your tax return:

Capital Costs – You must capitalize (or depreciate), rather than deduct, some costs. These costs are a part of your investment in your business and are called capital expenses.  Costs you capitalize include business start-up expenses, business assets and improvements.
Personal Expenses – Generally, you can’t deduct personal, living or family expenses. However, if you have an expense for something that is used partly for business and partly for personal purposes, you can deduct the business part.
Fines and Penalties – You can’t deduct the fine you paid for not estimating your taxes last year or underpayment penalties.
•Political Contributions – You can’t deduct contributions your business made to a political party or a candidate.  This includes lobbying or campaign event costs.
Hobby Losses – These are expenses that create a loss in an activity that is not deemed to be a business.  The IRS has guidelines on whether your activity can be considered a business.
Club Dues – If you belong to a country club, social club, or fitness facility, your dues are not a deductible business expense.  This is true even if you take clients or customers there.
Life Insurance – insurance for owners can be limited or not deductible.
Commuting Costs – The IRS says that traveling from home to work is not a deductible business expense.  However, you can deduct travel for business from home to meet customers or travel between business locations.
Business Gifts Over $25 – You can deduct no more than $25 for business gifts you give directly or indirectly to any one person during the tax year, regardless of the purpose.
Business Clothing – Costs of buying clothes to wear to work are not deductible.  The only exclusion to this is expenses for uniforms.  Basically, if you can wear it outside of work, it’s not deductible.

Understanding what you can and can’t deduct as an expense of your business can be overwhelming.  Obviously each reader needs to consult with their tax professional regarding their specific situation.  Admin Books is here to help you navigate through the confusion.  Give us a call for guidance or assistance.

Download PDF copy.

Capture3Did You Know?

Job hunting expenses are deductible.  Examples include newspapers purchased for employment ads, long distance calls, transportation costs to interviews, fees for legal or accounting related to employment contracts, career counseling to improve position in trade, cost of mailing resumes and the cost of recruiters.

•You may deduct the cost of your work clothes if your employer requires you to buy clothing that is specifically not made for everyday wear, such as uniform or clothing with a company logo.  In other words, if you can also wear it in public, it is not deductible.

•When you donate money and get something in return, the value is NOT tax-deductible.  For example, you donated money to a charity and you get “tickets” in return.

 

“A good PLAN is like a road map:
It shows the final destination
and usually the best way
to get there.”

~H. Stanley Judd, Writer

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Join the Nexus 25 Event with ACPWC!

As mentioned in a previous blog, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants is turning 25 this year. We are more than excited to celebrate this wonderful occasion with you – and, considering the greatness of this moment in ACPWC’s life, we would like to invite you to our Nexus 25 event!

What is this event all about?

Nexus 25 brings together professionals in the wedding industry, allowing you to make connections and to link your own business with those of other amazing PROs in the field. Join us, celebrate with us and make this a great moment to build the connections that will make your wedding business flourish!

There’s more, though! We have a special guest speaker who will give an amazingly interesting presentation on 25 Effective Marketing Strategies that will help you make your business known for the brides and grooms out there. The guest speaker’s name is Joe Siecinski, he comes from ActionCOACH of Santa Clara and he is a professional business mentor whose purpose is to help business owners grow their enterprises as much as they want to.

Nexus 25 is a great occasion for us, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary – but even more than that, it is a great opportunity for you to learn new things that will help you push your business further. Come, connect with people in the wedding industry, build credibility for your business and celebrate with us two and a half decades of excellence in training and education!

If you decide to attend our event, here are all the details you need:

Date: Wednesday, February 25 2015

Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (PST)

Location: The Fairmont San Jose
170 South Market Street
Garden Room
San Jose, CA 95113

We would be more than happy to see you there!

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The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants Celebrates 25 Years!

2015 has struck in full force and the entire wedding industry is getting ready for another season of magical “I DOs”. There is a positive energy and an excitement! The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants is even more excited because 2015 marks 25 years of excellence in training, certification and continuing education.

Here at our association, we genuinely believe in providing  formal training so that every consultant had the tool he/she needs to accommodate any bride or groom. For this reason, we have put together a training program that can truly turn a complete beginner into an expert wedding planner capable of delivering exquisite service for every bride he/she encounters.  We don’t jut train, but also support our students after the graduation.

We believe in making dreams come true. The certified wedding consultants we have worked with know how difficult it can be to shape a dream and bring it to life.  Helping couples communicate the vision clearly is one of the secrets to success.

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As the ACPWC celebrates this milestone occasion, we would like to thank all of you for having been there for us and with us. Thank you for having chosen ACPWC to guide you through this marvelous and always-surprising world of wedding planning. Thank you for understanding  the importance of training and elevating the wedding industry through continuing  education and relationships.  Thank you for the support you have shown over that past 25 years.

These past 25 years have been an amazing ride – and we see how the world of weddings changes with every season. Our greatest reward is seeing how our consultants  and members develop into not only great wedding planners and amazing designers who create unforgettable memories, but successful business owners. Our motto, “Members Helping Members to Succeed. Even more, we are always proud to know that the brides and grooms they encounter will be delighted with the service they receive from our graduates.

Want to know more? Contact the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants and learn more about our courses!

Photo source: flickr.com/ iz4aks

 

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Hey Brides-to-Be … Check Out These Great Cyber Monday 2014 Deals

With  tons of great deals happening on Cyber Monday, it’s time for you brides and bridesmaids to get out your shopping lists and take advantage of these.  With a bit of planning, you can turn your shopping into ‘super fun with the girls’!

Check out these great deals posted by professionals in the wedding industry:

1)  Wedding Party has a fantastic list of deals on their blog for you to peruse through: http://www.weddingpartyapp.com/blog/2014/11/25/bride-bridesmaid-style-deals-best-black-friday-cyber-monday-steals-scoop-weekend/

2)  Get the exclusive deals on Wedding Invitations at A2zWeddingCards on Cyber Monday 2014 shopping deals.Grab the most stylish invites.

 

http://www.a2zweddingcards.com/blog/2014/11/cyber-monday-2014-wedding-invitationss-deals/

3)  How about booking your honeymoon on Cyber Monday?

http://www.myhotelwedding.com/tag/cyber-monday-hotel-deal

This is a great way to turn a potentially overwhelming day into a day full of memories with those who will be a part of your big day.

The ACPWC is always looking for unique ideas to help you with your wedding planning.  We would like to say “Congratulations on your big day”!  We wish you the best!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bride Advice, Recommended Wedding Planners, Uncategorized, Wedding Planning Tips, Weddings | Leave a comment

Creating Your Own Signature Wedding

What do brides really want?  They want to create a signature wedding, something unique, that no one else had! They want to select elements from weddings they have attended and incorporate them into their own. And of course it can’t be exactly the same – It has to be different.  It has to be better – the best.  How do you achieve this? How do you create your signature wedding?

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photo from wix.com

First of all, anyone seeking the best results knows it has now become trendy to hire a wedding planner.   A certified wedding consultant will help you with planning, designing and implementing your ideas.  Hiring a professional is not just for the rich and famous anymore.

Creating your signature wedding has now become easier with the help of online platforms like Pinterest, Etsy and Instagram.  They provide a great way to see & share ideas and information.  Try creating an experience instead of duplicating an idea. Copying an idea is ok but, improving on that idea is better. Be creative & use those ideas as a base for designing your signature wedding. Then add personal elements that showcase your own unique touch (anything that means something to you can be used) – now you are on your way to creating your signature wedding.

We call this process branding – similar to a product brand. When people see a certain idea or item, it makes them think about you or your wedding.

So how do you brand your wedding? Simply, implement new ideas and customize some of the elements you are already using.  Carry this theme throughout your event, repeating it in all areas from invitations to favors to centerpieces.  And have fun!

Be sure to keep your eyes open for great ideas for your signature wedding in upcoming articles.

The ACPWC has many knowledgeable Wedding Consultants to help you with your signature wedding.  For information on reputable Professional Wedding planners in your area, click here.

 

Posted in Bride Advice, Events, Recommended Wedding Planners, Uncategorized, Wedding Planning Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment