Growing up I was always early to anything and everything because someone (I’m not sure who) once told me that being late “was like stealing someone’s time and you can’t replace that or make up for it. Be early for everything in your life and you will never dissapoint anyone.” I took this advice to heart and have never been late even when I had a flat tire, couldn’t find my keys, my son was throwing a fit or anything else unexpected was going on because I always gave myself 45 minutes to an hour more time than I needed to get anywhere. Giving myself the extra time for anything unexpected happening ensured that I was either early or on time.
I run a tight ship when it comes to events, Appraisal Appointments with clients from The Pawning Planners and deliveries for Texas Twins Treasures because I have my family drive to my home in their vehicles to “group into” mine Cindy’s suvs because I can seat 6 with cargo space and she can seat 4 with cargo space. Driving suvs is essential to the type of varied work we do from hauling floral designs to picking up a bartered trade- we have no use for cars because our suvs are incredibly versatile.
Preparing to head out of my home aka WorthamWorld in our usual caravan of suvs often finds me reminding everyone of our timelines while my niece Stephaney wants to fix her makeup (Stephaney is our bilingual translator) or my niece Leigh Ann (our photographer and Officiant) needs to make her daughter a bottle or my son (photographer and Officiant) can’t find the car keys his wife has misplaced.
Throughout all of the chaos, my husband stays out of the way since we only call him when we are lost or have a problem with an arbor or electrical issue on location. I’m constantly trying to remind everyone of our departure time by glancing at my watch which doesn’t exactly “win over” my family members. By the time we finally wave goodbye to my husband, he’s ready for a highball after watching 6-8 people run through our home trying to find this or that.
Departures are almost always supervised by me unless I’m off in my workroom loading in which case, Cindy is the “whipcracker.” I’m often called the “captain” or “boss” under departure situations because getting everyone and everything loaded and on the road is an escapade. I have lists to ensure we don’t forget anything and once our suvs are loaded, I carefully review them and double check the vehicles.
It’s very rare that I forget anything but I have left behind my vestment on one occasion in 7 years and have had to leave a location on 3 occasions when a client told me they had all the flowers and didn’t need me to loan them anything (so obviously I don’t bring flowers) and when I arrive the client suddenly does! Leaving an event location (especially when it’s 45 minutes to an hour from my workroom), to backtrack due to another vendor when you arrive prepared and packed with everything you had committed to bring to find everyone freaking out over bouteniers (yes, it’s always bouteniers), is one of the miserable experiences you can imagine with the clock ticking as I leave the team on location in order to “save the day” and run across town.
If I hadn’t arrived to the 3 events 45 minutes to an hour early, I certainly wouldn’t have been asked to go fix a problem by driving all the way back to my workroom from the event and then dashing back with everyone asking “where have you been? The wedding is about to start!” It always amazes me that the person asking me to run and get something doesn’t bother telling anyone else that I was there an hour (or more) ago when I was asked to go get flowers that I wasn’t paid to bring in the first place.
Loaning flowers to clients who have already hired and paid another vendor will now be the florists problem and not mine. I have no idea why the florists who were paid to provide a service and failed aren’t held accountable because “Wendy is a floral designer-she can’t fix this!” All this driving around and running myself haggard isn’t worth it especially when I haven’t been paid to be “the fixer.” If I’m hired to officiate or coordinate or both and my staff is hired to handle photography, providing flowers (unless I had agreed to do so in my contract) is no longer my problem simply because I know how to “whip something up in my workroom.”
After all, I’m not compensated for gasoline it took to drive back and forth AND I have never had bouteniers that I’ve loaned to a wedding party returned to me either. Clients who have told me that they don’t need to borrow anything always assure me that “we’ve hired a florist and have all of that taken care of” will now hear “that’s great, I’m glad to hear it” instead of “the florist lost the boureniers?! Let me drive as fast as I can back to my workroom and create 5-7 bouteniers in your colors that you didn’t pay me for and drive back to the location as fast as I can to fix someone else’s problem.
Spending another 45 minutes in my SUV driving back to my location from the event location after I had already driven there once isn’t my idea of a good day! Not getting my inventory back made it a worse day after all that running around 3 times last year, you can count me out and ask the florist you hired to fix it.
I don’t know any “flower fairies” and my inventory didn’t magically appear on my doorstep. Quite the contrary, I bought the supplies and spent hours creating centerpieces, bouquets, bouteniers and bought the cake stands, and all of the other “extras” I loan and I’m the only vendor in this business who loans these items.
Getting my property back is and always will be a problem which is why after all of these years, I’m considering not loaning items anymore. Perhaps it’s time to let a few of these clients “figure it out.” Lost inventory consistently costs me time and money to replace and since the clients borrowing my inventory didn’t pay for it- returning it is never a priority to them. I’m not being ugly I’m just being honest. If I’m doing something for you that no one else will, please be considerate enough to return it to me and not keep it for a souvenier. Asking me to leave an event that I just drove to and arrived early at is becoming a problem I don’t need or want. Why aren’t any of these clients asking the florist they hired and paid to fix it? Telling me “we can’t find the bouteniers and we read on your site that you loan flowers” when I’m already on location is now too late for me. You can either borrow what I have on hand or do what everyone else does and “wing it.”
The Debbie Poteet Dream Event was a little different due to the distant location of the event which was closer to Cindy’s home so I drove there to load up my team and traveled to Jacksboro, Texas which is closer to her home than mine by about 35 minutes.
Arriving at Cindy’s house aka the DanielDivaDiggs, I rustled my niece Leigh Ann Blais (who was handling photography for the event) and her daughter Madyson (who goes everywhere with Leigh Ann) as the last two “stragglers” into the SUV because Leigh Ann is always looking for something while Cindy was “ready to roll” by the time I pulled into her driveway at precisely 10AM. I had checked the distance and added another hour and ten minutes “just to be on the safe side.” I’m always staying on the safe side when traffic conditions are unpredictable. My family thinks allowing additional time for every event is ridiculous but, there have been a handful of times that if we hadn’t left early—we might have been late due to road construction.
It was a good thing we left early too because we had never been to that area before and while listening to 3 “navigation ladies” from my phone, Leigh Ann’s phone and Cindy’s phone, quickly realized that 2 of our navigation ladies had us drive to an abandoned warehouse while only Cindy’s took us to the actual location. We do a lot of driving around in circles when listening to “navigation lady” especially when trying to find an event location so at least two of us will load the address and see who gets it right.
We arrived at the church with plenty of time to spare as Debbie put on the finishing touches of her make up and then her hair so we wandered over to the church to check the lighting and layout for Leigh Ann’s camera and my videography. Cindy was taking care of Madyson and keeping her entertained (one of her favorite things to do on location).
Debbie had all of her flowers on hand and the venue was beautifully decorated and thankfully, nothing was lost or missing which is always a huge relief for me. At 12:30, I began to wonder what was going on and checked with one of the bridesmaids who told us it would be another 20-30 minutes so I let the guests know we had a bit of a delay and to run to the restroom or get something to drink if anyone wanted. It is so rare for a wedding to start on time that I no longer expect them to. While guests are waiting, they have an opportunity to visit at an intimate wedding too which is exactly what the guests did at this wedding. Debbie looked beautiful in her dress and we really enjoyed visiting with her daughter Hannah.
My twin sister will tell you “No Event Has Ever Started On Time!” But, we have had 2 start on time in over 1000 events which gives you a far better idea of how often we sit waiting. I actually expect to wait and have a moment to catch my breath and relax because being early gives you a better opportunity to have a few moments to enjoy the event. These photos were taken with my iPhone because Leigh Ann is still editing hers which of course are far better quality.
The truth is that unless it’s a Military Wedding or Prison Wedding, scheduling is always up in the air and we (effectively) “roll with it” by keeping guests updated and finding ways to keep busy. Military Members and Wardens are never late for events because both are time conscious. Military Members are often 15-30 minutes early for their event services and when I’m officiating a Texas Prison Wedding, I’m checked in and cleared 15 minutes prior to the Marriage Time to ensure I’m never late.
There have been very few times a bride or groom were more than an hour late to their wedding but, it’s happened and is pretty awkward not only for your event staff attempting to update your guests but also for the bride or groom standing and waiting on the other person to show up and possibly wondering whether they will or not. I’ve wondered it myself on three occasions and even resorted to calling the absent party to find out what’s going on if they aren’t on location where I can run and check on them in person.
Since I would be handling the video, I asked the DJ to turn the lights all the way up which helped a lot! Dark lighting might appear more sexy at a wedding but photos and videos look grainy and dark.
We’ve known Debbie and her daughter Hannah for years and we’re thrilled to share their day. Debbie looked beautiful walking down the aisle and had fun posing for photos with her family and friends. We were invited to attend the reception but had to run to get to another event in Dallas because our schedule was “stacked up.” We would’ve loved to go visit and enjoy the reception but due to the distance to Dallas, we just couldn’t. We are so happy and proud for Debbie and her new husband and wish them a lifetime of happiness.
Today while editing Debbie’s photos, Cindy and I celebrated our birthday by working lol. Don’t be surprised that’s the event business baby! We did have time to enjoy a lunch with my niece Leigh Ann and baby Madyson which was nice and although my twin sister and I have been on a yearlong weight loss journey, we shared a steak and salad combo with a sweet potato with no butter at Saltgrass Steakhouse that we will (most likely) work off tomorrow at 24 Hour Fitness between client meetings and a Prison Wedding. Continuing to “work in” an hour or two at the gym during our schedules is how we plan to stay on track and not gain any of the weight back.
Truthfully, it wasn’t nearly as easy to lose weight for either of us so we’ve become accustomed to weighing in everyday and then calling each other if we’ve gained a pound of two and go on a drastic diet to get the weight back off. Believe it or not, if you’ve fought weight gain all of your life, that scale is your friend and you need to know where you’re at. Without a scale who knows if you’ve gained or lost? Weighing everyday makes me feel safe because I know if I can have a little holiday treat or not. Some people hate scales but you will get on one whenever you visit your doctor so why wait for a sucker punch?
My niece Leigh Ann is getting a gastric bypass in December so we are all crossing our fingers and praying for a successful outcome. I’ve had friends who did okay for a few years after the lapband only to gain all of their weight back years later so I suggested the bypass. For as long as I can remember, I schedule my sisters doctor or dentist appointments, my husband, my son and occasionally even my grandnieces so staying on top of my schedule while organizing theirs takes dedication and commitment! Someone has to be organized around here and that someone is me.
My life operates on a schedule because when you juggle clients from Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures, Texas Prison Weddings & The Pawning Planners, you can’t afford to double book anything! Often, we stack Events and have to carefully plan travel time from one location to the next to ensure we have plenty of time. Being on location and ready to work is essential to keeping clients happy.
Waiting on clients never bothers me unless they are over an hour late and then I actually do start worrying and thankfully (since everyone asks) I have never had a bride or groom not show up to their wedding. Heaven forbid it ever does happen because those type of occurrences are a disaster for the families and their guests.
I’m going to have a lot of fun Christmas shopping for our three Little Pawners (my grandnieces) this year because Madyson is now 2 years old and able to ride toys and enjoy the excitement that Christmas brings. Like everything else in my life, I plan ahead for holidays and serve means at a set time. If my family members are late, it’s pot luck style around here because I have things to do. Christmas shopping involves my usual list making to ensure no one is forgotten.
This year our twins are going shopping themselves with Christmas Cash because they are at an age where gift giving is either a hit or a miss. They love converse tennis so I might throw those in but they prefer money over gifts which is disappointing because I enjoy watching my grandnieces open presents.
Maryssa and Makenna are interested in electronics rather than toys and I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to “techno stuff” as my web designer, Michael Brylinski will attest. It was Michael who encouraged me to write blogs and document my adventures years ago and while I thought no one would be interested in the juggling act of our everyday lives giving the gift of a Dream Event, I’m often surprised by the number of people who do read them.
A few of our clients and “incidents” can be funny and unexpected because nearly every event has a few Inlaws & Outlaws “stirring the chili” while others are a bit more surprising like The Broken Tooth Bouncing Check Bride, The Tardy Party Bride, The Banjo Playing Boyfriend and more.
People are surprising and unpredictable and when you are in the customer service industry, you occasionally meet a few “unforgettable characters.”
Cindy meets fans at our events who love her #Cindyism Quotes and often gets lost on location “visiting” while I try to find her. My twin sister loves to visit with folks and meet new friends.
We skipped the birthday cake on our new “Fit Fifties” lifestyle journey but didn’t really miss it. Birthdays when you are older don’t really need a cake although Cindy did remind me of the time we turned 21 and ran off to the grocery store to buy a bottle of Boone’s Farm since we are finally old enough to buy one. The truth is that it wasn’t all that good and we weren’t really missing anything. All these years later, we still aren’t “drinkers” because we never really enjoyed drinking. What we do enjoy is a nice meal and a movie or a visit to one of our second hand stores looking for a treasure. I’m hoping we can find time for a movie before Thanksgiving but with our schedule, it may be Thanksgiving Day before we can get around to it…