Last week, it was my pleasure to meet Brooke Powers, Founder and Executive Director of CenterPeace Farms. Brooke shared with me the vision of her organization ... and I couldn't wait to share her story with you. We all know that loving and healthy marriages take a lot of work and attention. But do we really know what that means? Can we do it on our own or should we seek some help? What exactly can we do to keep our most important relationship healthy?
Brooke is dedicated to her organization's vision of "strengthening marriages and families everywhere." CenterPeace Farms gladly serves all couples and faith traditions, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ethnic background, age, beliefs, gender or sexual orientation. Their services are client oriented and they can focus on target areas of their curriculum that their clients need and want.
We highly recommend that every couple planning to wed consider partnering with CenterPeace Farms as they are planning their "happily ever after!"
Introducing CenterPeace Farms
At CenterPeace we believe in Healthy Marriages and Whole Families. We know that great relationships don't happen by accident and we are here to provide you with tools for a thriving marriage. Your relationship is so important that our team of marriage Champions has granted us money to provide our services free of charge. We hope that you will check us out at www.CenterPeaceFarms.org.
Who is your Marriage Mentor?
Our wish for you is that you have a beautiful wedding day and a healthy lifelong marriage! Setting the foundation for a thriving marriage is where CenterPeace comes into play. Couples that have Marriage Mentors are 31% more satisfied in their marriages!
CenterPeace believes in healthy marriages and whole families. Your Mentors will meet with you to walk through a pre-marriage assessment that is unique to you! We utilize the SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) Assessment to facilitate conversations around key areas such as establishing roles, dealing with conflict, managing money and creating positive communication.
Pre-marriage counseling costs hundreds of dollars through a licensed counselor and that is a wonderful investment! However, our community of Marriage Champions want pre-marriage mentoring to be available to all engaged couples so that is why they are making the investment in your marriage. We believe we can improve the 50-50 marriage success rate here in the Triangle.
To learn more about CenterPeace Farms, visit them on the web at www.CenterPeaceFarms.org.
Continuing our series that highlights some of the best wedding professionals in the area, we are thrilled to showcase Scotty Williams, owner of Making Memories DJ Service. Scotty's recommendations are great and can be applied to all types of vendors, not only your reception entertainment partner. It's clear that Scotty loves what he does ... and that his clients love him, too!
Here are Scotty's responses to our questions:
Your Business Name: Making Memories DJ Service
Your Name: Scotty Williams
Your Web Address: makememoriesdj.com
Your Business Category: DJ
What’s the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?: Do it together! A lot of grooms decide they'll just show up with a tux on time on the wedding day, but it can be an enriching and intimate experience to plan a wedding together. Schedule a tasting with your caterer, your favorite winery, a few bakeries. Brides, get all the girlfriends together for dress shopping, and let all the guys go do some guy stuff. See flowers together, meet with your DJ, all of it!
What don’t couples know about your business category that they need to know?: DJ's should do more than just play music at your reception. I've heard a lot of horror stories about DJ's who showed up to receptions with loud music, but told the couple/venue that they didn't talk on the microphone or work with the photographer to make sure they have the chance to get every shot. Make sure your DJ will do more than stand behind their laptop. Also, this is fairly common advice, but your DJ's personality will have a large impact on your reception, so I think it's important for couples to meet with their DJ before the wedding to see if his/her personality is a fit.
What's your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?: Make your wedding about you! Your guests will love whatever you do as long as they can see it fits you as a couple. From the walk-up to the unity ceremony to the first dance and other traditions, make it something you two can love and people will love it with you.
What’s the most unusual wedding you ever did?: Each wedding I serve at has its own unique personality, and I actually love it when couples want to try different things at their wedding. It makes it fun and shakes things up for guests.
What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?: Not to sound cliche, but every wedding I serve at gives its own memories that stay with you. That being said, my most memorable wedding to date was the first one I did under my new company. The couple actually met with me and we had dinner. It was nice to really connect on the things we enjoyed before the wedding. It made serving at their wedding a lot of fun for me.
If you have been following this Vendor Spotlight series closely, you have certainly noticed a common thread of advice from just about everyone we have interviewed ... every top professional strongly recommends that you consider hiring a professional planner.
We asked Christine Steffes to share her wisdom with you ... read this one twice ... here are some great pointers from one of the best!
Your Business Name: Get-Christine Event Planning
Your Name: Christine Steffes
Your Web Address: get-christine.com
Your Business Category: Wedding & Event Planning & Coordination
What common mistakes do you see couples making?: Not having a rehearsal or assuming one isn't needed; not creating a budget or attempting to stick to one; not making a plan for decor; and listening to friends/relatives rather than doing what they actually want (within reason).
What’s the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?: Decide in advance what means the most to you, set a budget, and stick to it. Sacrifices can always be made, but knowing what should and shouldn't be sacrificed and why should be the first decision made so as not to burst bubbles later. Being pushed into a "tradition" by someone else, can cause resentment later, and create bad memories for all involved.
What don’t couples know about your business category that they need to know?: It seems that many people don't know the true value that comes with hiring a planner and coordinator. It also seems to me that people don't realize that a planner doesn't necessarily always coordinate. I find that it's better to hire a professional who provides both services, and knows the difference. I think this relates to people not realizing the true value in this profession, as they think the planning process is much easier than it often times turns out to be. Truthfully, it's not even that the planning process is hard, so much as it is time consuming. If the couples/clients I work with are full time workers, this leads to them having very little free time with which to plan out their wedding or event. Then add to that the fact that many people don't actually enjoy the planning process at all, or even being creative enough to envision how their event should be designed. Who wants to spend the limited amount of free time they have doing something they don't enjoy? Hopefully, people who eventually find me. :)
What questions should couples be asking that they don’t know to ask?: With regards to me and my services in particular, I would say that more people should ask me (or other coordinators) if certain services can be swapped out for others. With regards to planning a wedding, I highly recommend that couples ask EVERY venue what is included in their pricing, and I also encourage couples to pay in full if possible and when doing so to ask if the vendor would discount them slightly for paying in full early.
What's your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?: If the budget is the most important thing to you, keep your guest list SMALL! Or find a venue with a really good all-inclusive package where the food/beverages are not outrageous. OR, consider hosting an early morning ceremony and a brunch reception. Brunch food and booze can be much cheaper in price than dinner. The bulk of what couples planning a wedding spend their money on is food and catering companies charge per person, making it pricer to invite more people.
What’s the most unusual wedding you ever did?: I can't say that I have ever worked a wedding that I would describe as unusual, but the most interesting and different wedding I have ever worked would have to be the one that Ryan and I photographed for a Moldovan family. I had no idea what all was being said for most of the day, but the the universal theme of love was absolutely ever-present the whole day and that really warmed my heart.
What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?: Truly, all of the weddings I work have one very memorable part of them because I genuinely love what I do, and I love love! The most recent extremely memorable wedding I worked took place in the Raleigh Rose Garden. The reason I found this one in particular to be so memorable is because within the ceremony script was the love story of the couple and it revealed how they used to take evening strolls in the very same rose garden because Kirby, the bride, lived near by when they met. Also mentioned in the ceremony was that their initials had been engraved in the fresh cement of the park right behind the rose garden, an act of expressing their love that also took place during their relationship's beginning, and still exists to this day.