Thursday, August 2, 2018

Choosing Your Make-Up Artist

Photo by Bailey Pianalto Photography
MUA-Alexa Armstrong

When you are planning your wedding and trying to determine where your money is best spent, it is often easy to skip a professional make-up artist and try to save some pennies by doing your own make-up.  Of course a make-up artist will tell you this is a mistake, but you know who else will?  Your photographer!
Mike and I on the best day of our lives.
I love this photo.  I look so young and skinny.

From a photographer's standpoint, it is all about a whole day approach; those before shots of getting ready.  "I want to showcase that the bride was pampered during her big day.  It is all about the progression from beginning to end."-Kara Shelley from Life Expressions Photography.

No other day will have so many hours set aside for just photos.  Your wedding photos are the best investment that you can make towards remembering the day that you said I Do.  You want those photos to be stunning and to be able to remember 20 years later how truly beautiful you looked and felt that day.

But nowadays, YouTube has made everyone a make-up artist in their own right.  Videos of contouring, glamour make-up, and smoky eyes fill up the Trending boards.  So why should you hire an MUA for your wedding when you can do your own?

Photo-Life Expressions
Make-Up- Alexa Armstrong
Venue-Mallinson Vineyard and Hall
For one, most MUA do more than just make-up.  My friend and go-to MUA, Alexa Armstrong, is one of many artists who do more than special event make-up, including spray tans, hair, nails, and waxing.  When you hire an artist, you can often get packages that you might pay more for when you go to different people for them.  Even if your artist won't have time to perform all of your beauty regimen the day of, they can create a Week Of package for you or bring in others that they work with to help out.  Your MUA is going to be your best referral for other services as well, since they work so closely with vendors in the industry.

Your wedding day is not a day to experiment on a new look, and yet you do not want to look the same on your wedding day as you did on your engagement day.  An MUA can give you that fresh look, paying special attention to your eyes or creating larger lips, without the fear of overdoing your make-up and looking like someone completely different.  Your make-up artist can make you look like you, just a more defined and beautiful you.
Photo-E-Golden Moments Photography

Finally, your home make-up is not made to stand up to tears, humidity, heat, wind, or Great Grandma's kisses.  Your MUA brings with them specialized kits for all skin types that will stay throughout your day of hugs and photos.  Alexa Armstrong has a line of make-up that is naturally derived and will not cause skin irritations which is extremely important on a day when you can expect to wear it for 10-12 hours.

Photo-Life Expressions Photography
Venue-Mallinson Vineyard and Hall
There are plenty of places to cut corners, and if you know that your make-up skills are on par with the videos you have been glued to for the last 12 months, then play around with your look for months before the wedding.  If you do want an MUA, call my friend Alexa.  You can find her on Facebook at 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Your Wedding Vendors

Photo by Bailey Pianalto Photography
Flowers by A&L Floral Design
Venue Castle Bridge Event Center
 One of the most valuable aspects of hiring an event planner is the vendors that they bring with them.  These are vendors that the planner has worked with professionally on more than one occasion and trusts enough to say, "I think you would do well to use this person".  It behooves the event planner to well and truly vet those vendors, because their name is also on the line.

However, the first question you should ask when you are choosing your event planner is, "Do you receive a commission from your vendors?"  Many event
Photo by Bailey Pianalto Photography,
Stationary by The Prettiest Pixels
planners get a commission or a "kickback" from the vendors that they refer.  It may also be called a "referral fee".  Personally, I find this rather suspect in my line of business.  I know many planners that do accept and expect fees of this nature, however, I would not trust those referrals.

The most important referral that I ever get is the one that comes from someone I have worked for or with.  If I am referred to a client by someone that already trusts me and has worked with me, then I am already that much more reliable to my client.  But if I am only being referred because I am giving someone a 10% kickback, then I have no value outside of the money exchanged.  The same is true for anyone that I refer.  

The relationship between client and vendor is sacred.  I do have preferred vendors that I have worked with and have relationship with.  They do not pay me for that relationship, nor am I under obligations to use them.  If I refer them, it is because I value them and the job that they do.

Photo by e-Golden Moments Photography
Sometimes vendors will offer a discount.  If a vendor has offered to give me a discounted rate on their services for clients that I refer to them, then that discount is passed on to my clients.  This is a very big distinction.  Some planners hide these discounts from their clients and pocket the difference.  If your planner pays the vendors directly, it may be because they are charging you a different fee than the vendor is charging them.  Ask your planner if you sign all contracts and pay vendors directly.  It may seem simpler to allow the planner to sign the contracts and handle all the payments, but it does not assure you that you are getting what you paid for.

That being said, this begins my first blog in a series that I am calling Vendor Relationships.  I will share with you some of the vendors that I have worked with in the Greater Kansas City area and what clients need to know before searching out vendors.  Stay tuned.  I will publish a new article each Thursday, God willing and the creek don't rise 😎

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Navigating the Review World

If you are planning an event, you know that there are a lot of different people that you will need to contact to help you pull it off.  It doesn't matter what you are looking for; a venue, a planner, a cake decorator, or an item you wish to purchase, reviews are an important place to begin.  According to an online survey, 84% of American consumers check reviews before purchasing services or products. Reviews help us to determine if the risk is worth the cost.  Higher reviews help us to feel that we are going to get our monies worth.  Poor reviews help us to ask the right questions to determine if we will have a similar experience.  How do you navigate these reviews to make an informed decision on your events?  Here are some things to keep in mind when you are looking at vendors and services for your next event:

  • Reviews are Subjective-We all know that this is true.  At least on a cognizant level, we know it is true, but subjective or not, we hold great weight by them.  One wedding planner can get 4 bad reviews in a 6 month period. Now, if she had 6 weddings during that time and those 4 reviews were for 4 different events, then you might want to look into another
    planner/coordinator.  However, when looking at these poor reviews, it is extremely important to look at the event dates themselves.  If she has 4 bad reviews and they are all from the same event or within a week's time frame, then you can assume that something was very off with that event.  Maybe everything went wrong with vendors, maybe she was dealing with something at home, or maybe this particular wedding party was unruly or hard to work with.  Don't always assume that the bad review had to do with the person or product, but it may have to do with the consumer.  Besides the dates that the review is left, here are a few things to look at when faced with bad reviews:
  • Was the person leaving the review obviously agitated?  This should not be ignored.  Angry and hurt people will leave reviews and most likely do it in a state of agitation.  That isn't a deal breaker, because they need to be heard, especially in the event planning business where your event might have been your wedding or your child's graduation party.  Milestone events are highly emotional and when things don't go according to plan, it is easy for the consumer to feel hurt and angry and therefore write things that are hurtful and angry as a review.  Try to determine why the review was left and move on to the next bullet point.
  • Are the reviews vague?  Emotions put aside, is the review specific about the things that went wrong?  Reviews that state, "Caterer was rude and uppity" are not helpful.  If the reviewer continues by saying "Whenever I would begin to ask a question, the caterer would interrupt me and cut me off without answering my question", you can understand exactly how frustrating and, in fact, rude, the caterer was.  If the reviewer cannot tell you how they were rude, then it could have been as simple as the caterer asking for their final payment when they weren't prepared to pay right then.  I once worked with a DJ who thought the caterer was rude when she asked him to not cut in front of guests to eat.  I don't find that rude, I find that tactful and the DJ's actions rude. Make sure that bad reviews are very specific and if they can give you an example, all the better.
  • Is the reviewer fishing for free stuff?  Again, this is not a deal breaker.  Most people who leave bad reviews do so to get something back.  Whether it is a refund, a new product, or emotional satisfaction, there is usually something to gain by leaving a bad review.  The hard thing to determine is if this person is trying to get something for nothing, or is truly entitled to a refund, a new product, or some other kind of compensation for their ordeal.  When wading through bad reviews, there is a little conjecture that you may have to wrestle with.  What does the intent of the review sound like?  Do they sound like they want to keep others from having the same experience, require a refund for poor product, or do they sound like they are fishing for something they do not deserve?
  • Is the reviewer posting a review that relates to the actual service or product?  I once read a bad review of a venue in which the writer of the review ranted for several paragraphs on the mayor of the town the venue was in.  The mayor did not perform any function at the venue, was not present at the event, nor was the mayor in any way responsible for venues staffing, policies, or procedures.  The reviewer just wanted a forum for his grievance against the mayor's politics.  Be sure that the reviews, good or bad, speak directly to the services or product that is being reviewed.
  • How was the review handled by the company in question?  When I read bad reviews, I want to know if the company felt that it warranted a response.  I don't believe that all bad reviews do. Sometimes, you can get into a "tit for tat" back and forth with a consumer that will leave both
    parties looking badly.  If the company does respond, I look for professional responses that are not reactions but well thought out and cohesive responses.  I don't expect them to be able to satisfy every customer, but I do want to see that they take responsibility where they can and own up to any mistakes on their part.  Even if the only thing they say is "I am so sorry that your experience with us wasn't what you hoped for.  We strive to make every customer's event perfect.  Please contact me at (enter e-mail address here) so that we can determine how we can correct this for the next customer".  This response does not admit guilt, it doesn't promise anything that they cannot follow through on and it let's the consumer know that the company respects them and wants to hear more about the problem at hand.
  • Is there an unrealistic expectation on the part of the customer?  Southwest Airlines got a review from a customer that disliked the casual attire of the stewards, was angry that there wasn't a First Class and did not like that the seats were First Come, First Serve.  Basically, everything she disliked, was what made Southwest Airlines the airline that it is.  The response from the top of the line was, "We will miss you".  When you look at a review, determine if the reviewer has unrealistic expectations of what is they are receiving.  

Reviews are a great resource for consumers if you know how to navigate them.  They are a good way to discern between companies that you are on the fence about and a way to narrow the playing field if you are looking at all your options.  Just keep in mind that not all reviews are created equal and not all of them should be given the same weight.  Move through those waters with care and with open eyes.  Happy planning!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reasons to have a Tea Party!

"Yes, that's it!' said the Hatter with a sigh, "It is always time for tea."

Personally, I do not ever need an excuse for a tea party!  I think that merely waking up each day is a perfectly reasonable excuse for setting the table with lace, putting out the cream and sugar cubes and sipping tea from a beautiful teacup.  I do understand, however, that may not be the case for everyone, so here is a list of reasons to have tea!

1.  To gain back that which we have lost

Most people don't realize how much we have lost by the wayside when tea parties were no longer a part of social gatherings.  I was recently at a breakfast meeting that I go to every Wednesday morning when the woman across from me asked the gentleman to her right which glass was hers.  "See," I said to her, "this is why we must have tea parties!  Tea parties taught us which glass to use, which fork to use first and where to place our napkins!"  The gentleman that she had spoken to told us how wonderful it was growing up with a mother who insisted on formal Sunday dinners.  She brought out the good china every Sunday, taught her children to set the table, and always insisted on proper table manners.  I applaud this fantastic woman and her forethought into raising her children with this in mind.

2.  To come together with friends

No phones, no agenda, no meeting notes; just friends sitting around a table laden with mini goodies and catching up on life.  Whether you choose Afternoon Tea, Cream Tea, or High Tea, your friends will thank you and ask for you to do it again and again!


This is a reason to have a tea party all by itself.  Clotted cream sounds despicable on this side of the pond, but it is in fact, quite heavenly and relatively easy to make.  A quick search will find you many recipes. Typically, there is only one ingredient; CREAM.  Find your favorite recipe, bake a batch of scones and share your clotted cream with your friends.

4.  To your health

Admittedly, this isn't the most exciting reason for a tea, but we do still get that afternoon "sinking" feeling that gave Duchess Anna of Bedford the original idea of tea and toast in the afternoon.  Tea has so many wonderful benefits even beyond the afternoon pick me.  Tea is full of antioxidants, lowers the risks of cancer and improves brain function.

Throw a tea party with just 2-3 of your friends.  I promise that you will enjoy it and endeavor to do it more and more often.  And, if you get to the point that you want a little help, give us a call or visit us at

Friday, December 30, 2016

Planning for 2017 Part 1

It is time to look at your 2017 calendar.  That's right, your next event is just around the corner. Whether it is a Queen of Hearts Valentine's party (OH YEAH, we do that!) or your best friend's wedding shower, knowing how much time to give yourself is essential.  So, we have put together a little something to help you with your planning.

Personal Planning

Wedding/Baby Showers, Graduation Parties, and Birthday Parties- We like to know that we have a good 90 days invested into small private parties like these.  If the party will be in your home or a home of someone else, there isn't quite as much planning involved. However, if you will be renting a venue, chairs, linens, etc, you definitely want to give yourself plenty of time to peruse your vendors.  Invitations should be mailed out 3 weeks in advance.  If you want, you can send out a Save the Date notification before you send out the formal invitations.  That gives you time to solidify your venue before committing to the location.

Murder Mystery Dinner Party-So much fun!  These parties are very involved and require a great deal of preparation.  However, there are some great box sets to help you in your planning process.  You an find them online or in most game stores.  If you want your guests to dress up, be sure to give them at least 4 weeks notice.  Give yourself  at least 2 months to be sure that all of your components are accounted for.

Sweet 16, Quinceaera, or Mitzvah -A coming of age party does not have to be the formal affair that we see on MTV.  It can be as easy and laid back as bonfire with s'mores or a red carpet event with your daughter winning the award for sweetest 16.  Whether you want it formal or informal, religious or not, DJ or Spotify, give yourself plenty of time to get all the details organized.  We recommend 4-6 months for a coming of age party. 

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner-Your son is getting married and you know that you will be planning the wedding rehearsal dinner.  While much of the plans rest on the size of the wedding party and your budget, start getting your ducks in a row at least 4-6 months out.  There is a lot to determine; location, type of service offered, menu, time frame, etc.  

Wedding-We all have 3 resources available to us; time, energy, and money.  When planning a wedding, pick two resources to deplete.  If you have all the time in the world then you can expend that and energy, making sure that your budget stays low.  If money is not an issue, then energy can be the thing you save on.  No time?  Then be sure that you have plenty of money and energy.  We really do recommend 12-18 months for your engagement.  Plenty of time means that you can relax a little on money or energy.

Of course, 73-Productions is always here to help.  Visit our website at and let us know how we can help with your next event.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Goodbye October, Hello November!

“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill—several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.”

Like my darling Anne Shirley, I too adore October.  One of the main reasons I moved from California was to experience this amazing season called Autumn that was so elusive in SOCAL. While maple boughs are not readily available in Kansas City, I get a thrill-several thrills, from October itself.  I revel in cats and bats, creepy black trees and squawking ravens, costumes and creativity. I love the color the sky becomes at dusk and I even love the wind through my sneezing and wheezing.  I love trick or treating, Halloween parades, and haunted amusement parks. I confess, it is with some heartache that I say “Goodbye” to it all and prepare myself for November.

I do not dislike November.  In fact, it carries with it nostalgia and beauty of its own.  Where October is crisp and bright November glistens in the chill.  November freezes kill off all the little buggies that I hate so much and I say “Salud” to my allergies until April.  I look forward to Daylight Savings in November because the evenings are long and my children don’t stay out so late in the neighborhood.  All our Fall shows have started and the kids fight over what we are watching (Thank you DVR.  We love you).
November 1st, though, means that my Halloween décor must come down to prepare for Thanksgiving.  My dearest hubby believes, mistakenly, that he will get to use our beautiful dining room table for game nights with the boys.  I think it means that I get to practice my table-scapes for the next holiday.  After all, he has a table in the basement that I promise not to decorate.  I do not, however, make the same declarations over the rest of the basement.  If I clean it, I decorate it. 

As I take out the many, (and I mean MANY) Halloween boxes, pack away the gothic and creepy, and unload the Thanksgiving boxes, I find the November gift I left for myself last year.  It is a set of red and green plates that I got on Black Friday last year at my favorite hobby store.  While shopping with my daughter on Black Friday, I know each year that I must go home and begin the next stage in my Season of Celebration.  It means that my beloved Autumn is going… and…WINTER IS COMING (gratuitous G.O.T. reference for those that got it). Each year, though, I buy myself a gift on Black Friday that is properly marked to be sold immediately!  I wrap it and tuck it away between turkeys and scarecrows in my November box.  Inevitably, I forget all about it for the next year and then November 1st comes around again and there it is with a note that says, “Happy November”.   I cannot remember what I got, but the joy of something new awaits.  In my discovery, I stop looking at what is being put away and what I am saying “goodbye” to, and dream of what I will do next.  Like Anne Shirley, I also believe that “one can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things.” 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

This is Halloween

"This is Halloween, This is Halloween." Do you recognize the tune? Of course you do! It's a favorite song from one of my favorite movies, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I'm overjoyed that it's almost time to bust out my well loved copy. It's an event for me. I like to watch with my friends and family around me and of course there must be awesomely spooky snacks to share. It's pretty safe to say that I love Halloween.
  Some of my happiest memories from childhood center on this holiday. My parents had me very late in life, so by the time I was old enough to really enjoy trick-or-treating, the job of escorting me all over town was passed on to my older sister, Melba. I'm not sure that she even knows just how much I loved it. I would go along with her and my only slightly younger niece and nephew every year.`It was also Melba who always made sure I had a wicked awesome costume. I remember one year she got us all these fantastic blow-up headpiece things and painted our faces to match. I was a pumpkin. We loved them because that year we could actually breathe! Weren't those plastic, sweat inducing masks terrible? Although, now when I see them in an antique or craft store, I always feel a rush of nostalgia.
 The three of us would dash around our little home town starting around dusk. I can still smell the autumn leaves and hear them crackle under our feet. I close my eyes and see the porch lights come on one by one to light our way .The glow from the candle-lit pumpkins that welcomed us at so many steps is etched in my memory. It was magical. We would bring our loot home at the end of the night, spread it out on the floor between us and let the trading commence.

 Those beautiful family memories are what lie at the heart of my love for Halloween. I admit that as an adult I haven't always given it the attention it deserved. Some years there wasn't even a nod in it's general direction. But I missed it. I missed the pure joy of imagination and creativity, A day when you can be anything your mind can dream up? Come on, that's just too wonderful to ignore! 

  So, imagine my delight when I made a friend whose love for Halloween might even surpass my own. My partner in mystery and mayhem, Noelle, is a true devotee. The fun we've had over the years is probably illegal, or at least frowned upon by polite society. And did I mention the shared love for throwing out-of-this world parties? There have been mad scientist lairs, Dia De Los Muertos grave yards and many a dry ice cocktail. But this year folks, will top the charts. It's an all out Poe party. Think Victorian goth and heart stopping stories read by firelight. I don't want to give too much away, but believe me, it will be the best yet.
  More fun had. More memories made. That sums up the heart of Halloween for us. And truly, the heart of all we do at 73-Productions. We want to share our love of life and celebration with everyone around us. So from our front porch  to yours, Happy Halloween! And if anyone knows where I can find one of those blow up pumpkin heads, please drop me a line!