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Check out our new mega site for the Southern Fete brand. We explain it all here!

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It’s days like to today when I remember exactly why I do what I do. It happens more than I think but today brought tears to eyes. I’ve been engaged for about 5 days and already have learned so much more about what my brides face throughout there engagement. I plan on posting all about it soon! This weekend I was working on my own wedding inspiration board and realized how hard is it as a bride to bring everything together.

When I book a wedding, I talk with the bride about what she sees for her wedding. She shows me through pictures, words, feelings etc. I filter those ideas and create a vision. Ever since I started this, the response has been great:

“It all looks FANTASTIC! Seriously this is amazing!!!…Valerie you NAILED IT!”

Bride S

“I LOVE IT!!!!!! I think everything came together perfectly! I am so excited!! Haha It’s starting to come together :)”

Bride K

Today I sent the third inspiration board and vision to a bride and got back this response:

“OMG!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!! You did a such great job Valerie.  I think it’s fabulous and I’m super excited. It’s so perfect, I just want to keep putting exclamation points in this email!

Again, fantastic job Valerie!! You really captured it and I can’t wait to see it come to life January 22!”

Bride J

I immediately teared up! I want my brides to have the most special day of their lives and the thought that I am able to translate their desire into a full vision of what they have dreamed of is my favorite part of this job. Brides, thanks for letting me be a part of your planning and special day!!

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A while back I decided to gear my services to brides looking for strong creative direction. Soon after that, I attended the Making Things Happen workshop with Lara Casey. One of the biggest things I took home (there were so many) was that I needed to make sure my marketing was attracting these types of brides. She suggested a photo shoot to showcase our work or what were capable of. I wrote it down and figured, I’ll do that sometime this year.
Today was the culmination of that. I decided about a month ago I was ready to do a design shoot. I asked y’all to vote on one of these. You guys told me and I couldn’t choose between the top two so today we shot both design concepts.
I told Laura and Heather, “I wish I could do this every day.” Why? Because the adrenaline I felt today was the same I feel for weddings: decision-making, timelines (today ours was the sun). great vendors, living in my arch of creativity. and just making something pretty. Because surrounding myself with other creatives fuels me more to become better at what I do. Because I realized what I am capable of.
When the first set was ready, I sat back and just thought “Here it is.”
There is so much satisfaction in creating an idea, then executing it…exactly, if not better than you imagined. You envision something for so long, sometimes ideas start to seem lofty.  The tough part is execution. And to be honest, about 3 days ago I wondered if I could pull it off like I had hoped.
Today went better than I could have ever expected. Working with Laura and Heatherwas just a joy. There excitement fueled me more than they will know.
Tomorrow I have another shoot. A little less daunting but just as exciting. It’s the product shoot for our new invitation collections. I can’t wait to share the new designs with y’all. We are working on some creative ideas for the shots. Trying to put that fuel to use!
Special thanks to (you will be hearing more about them because they are all amazing!):
Heather Bailey of Social Bites
Tiffany Aragona with The Warehouse
Rodney at Les Amis
Marty at Event Rentals
And if you have read through my midnight ramblings, I think you deserve a sneak peak! (Yes, Laura is amazing and sent me over a few teasers only hours after the shoot!) One from each of the shoots! See our inspiration here.

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So for all of us in South Louisiana, life hasn’t just been about weddings the past week. It’s been all about the Saints! I honestly didn’t know how the Super Bowl was going to go. I was just so excited to see them play in it. It’s still surreal that they won!

So obviously I wanted to incorporate the black and gold (sans gold fleur di lis or who dats) into an inspiration board. This board is a bit different. Every picture comes from the fab blog, This is Glamorous. I could stare at the pictures all day long.

P.S. I totally look like this (picture #1) when I’m at my desk hard at work too!

Since it’s the off season for wedding in South Louisiana I’ve had a few extra projects keeping me busy these past couple of weeks besides Saints celebrations and the pending Mardi Gras season. I just finished our new and improved invitation collection and am getting materials printed for product shoot with the wonderful Jason Cohen. Also, I have a two in one photo shoot coming up next week. Remember I asked a few weeks ago which inspiration board you’d like to see come to reality? I got tons of feedback and honestly couldn’t choose between the top two so decided to do them both! What’s all this for?? A few changes a’ coming! ; )

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I was so excited when the editor, Amanda, asked me to contribute to FACE Magazine‘s annual bridal section. I gave the 1, 2, 3s of weddings like 1 tradition to keep, 2 traditions to ditch, 5 trends for 2010 etc. Some info didn’t fit so I will be sure to post the extra info next week!

You can find the issue online here or in clothing boutiques and CCs coffeehouses in Lafayette.

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I do a lot of talking on this blog but I would love to hear from you! The goal for this blog, my event planning and invitations, are to meet the needs of brides. And it’s my job to occasionally assess and ensure we are doing that! Here are a few questions. Some may not apply to you, so feel free to leave some blank. You can email your feedback to valerie@southernfete.com. Thanks in advance for your participation!

THE PLANNING

What service to you feel would most fit your needs?
Are there any services that we don’t currently offer that would better meet your needs?

THE INVITATIONS

Of the designs we offer now, which do you like the most?
What design concept/elements would you like us to incorporate in a future invitation set?

THE BLOG

What are your current favorite posts? (Real weddings, inspiration boards, tips, etc.)
What do you want to see blog posts about?

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Photo by Courtney Dellafiora

After a 6-part mega post I can’t believe I still have any words left. But I do!

This last month has been the biggest growth for me as a person and in my business. I’ve been able to reflect on things and put into action things I have said for a while I wanted to change. One thing I want to do differently in 2010  is I want to put more of myself into my blogpost. I have a habit of wanting to make sure I keep things “professional” and talk only about weddings or trends (which let’s be honest, is what people want to see) but I also know people want to trust the person behind the post.

When people hire a wedding planner, they aren’t just hiring a skill. They hire someone they can depend on and actually want to be around. I spend sometimes 8 hours with a bride in one day checking out vendors. Who wants to do that with a stranger? Or who wants to dread those meetings?

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed I changed my user name from SouthernFete to ValMarieMet. I talk about a lot more than Southern Fete.

Daniel, one of my office mates, told me several months ago he wasn’t trying to look like a huge operation. He wanted people to know he was the guy behind it all (hince his amazing new identity). I’m in the same boat. When you call Southern Fete you’ll talk to me. I’ll plan your wedding with you, I’ll e-mail you updates, and I’ll be there wedding day from start to finish. Although I do have an amazing sister who assists me on day-of’s so I can be “in two places at once” ; ) and who keeps me organized on the business end.

And despite the changes and extra work, I think it’s actually made me a stronger wedding planner. I am constantly inspired by other planners I speak with for The Wedding Shoebox, and can continually create new custom designs for brides with Butterscotch Press. It’s even made me relax more on my off time and work smarter (not harder) during the work day.

Here’s to the next year!!

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