Continuing our series that highlights the best wedding professionals in North Carolina, it is our pleasure to turn the spotlight on Frankie Hagan of Island Sound. There a lot of amazing companies that specialize in bringing wedding celebrations to life and Frankie is one of our Five-Star favorites. We asked Frankie to share some advice to newly-engaged couples ... here's what he had to say.
WHAT COMMON MISTAKES DO YOU SEE COUPLES MAKING?: Assuming they are the only people getting married and shopping for key vendors late in the process. After the venue is locked down, I think there should be a 6 month minimum out from the event to booking deejay, photographer or officiant. Also, if you're working with a professional who has planners available for you to fill out and work on ahead of time, participating in that is critically important. I've noticed a recent trend of people assuming just filling out something for a wedding planner or facility coordinator is sufficient, and it certainly is not.
WHAT’S THE BEST TIP YOU HAVE FOR A COUPLE PLANNING A WEDDING?: Find vendors who reflect your energy level and mood. A high paced, big talker is not for you if you're subdued and quiet and serious. But a formal, by the numbers professional might be wrong for you, too, if you are that high energy couple that bounces off the walls from the start of the day. Find people who get your concept of flow. Content is the easy part.
WHAT DON’T COUPLES KNOW ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS CATEGORY THAT THEY NEED
TO KNOW?: A wedding personality is not necessarily a club deejay. He or she can be -- they can certainly have that skill set. Club deejays are often unable to handle the organizational and flow aspects of a wedding ceremony and reception. Being a professional emcee and being able to transition from mood to mood, or from one vignette to another is more like directing a movie, than anything else. Working with people who have professionally organized that information, and who are recognized as competent emcee's is a big deal.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD COUPLES BE ASKING THAT THEY DON’T KNOW TO
ASK?: Does this price include setup or breakdown? Why is ceremony priced outside of a reception? What sort of coverage is provided if my professional is ill? What happens if you have an equipment problem? Good companies have answers to these questions.
WHAT'S YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR COUPLES PLANNING A WEDDING?: Weddings aren't about size and scope, they're about participation. I've been to expensive weddings that weren't as good as they could have been, because the groom spent all of his time smoking cigars on the porch with his friends, or the bride clung to the outside edges of the ballroom. I've been to inexpensive weddings with 30 people in attendance that were marvelous, because the bride and groom were front and center for their guests, and owned every activity and every special moment. Your guests want to see you happy and they want to share those moments with you.
WHAT’S THE MOST UNUSUAL WEDDING YOU EVER DID?: One of the galleries in downtown Raleigh. The bride and groom requested all Ska music. I had to download 80% of their stuff. Miraculously, all of the guests were friends who were into the music, also. The gallery had an erotic exhibit that had been removed from the floor for the reception. All of the items from the exhibit were shoved in the deejay loft with me. It was an odd experience, all around.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE WEDDING YOU EVER WORKED, AND WHY?:
That question might be too hard. There are too many good ones. Maybe when I deejayed the wedding for the daughter of the drummer from Flock of Seagulls. The wedding ended early, and I was actually going out that evening with my friends to see an 80's cover band. I shared that with the father, and then had the weird experience of him showing up during the show. I spoke to the band, and then had the equally bizarre experience of holding his coat from the wedding as he drummed on "I Ran" with the 80's cover band. A unique one, to say the least. ;)
The best photographers do so much more than simply take pictures; they capture emotion, they preserve memories, and they create a timeless heirloom for your family that will be valued and treasured for generations.
Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event ... one that will be filled with moments that will never be repeated. That first look, first dance, the moment you take your first steps as a married couple ... cannot be repeated and should be captured and preserved by the finest photographer you can find. Christopher Nieto is one of those photographers ... one of the finest artists in the state.
Your Business Name: Nieto Photography
Your Name: Christopher G. Nieto
Your Web Address: NietoPhotography.com
Your Business Category: Wedding Photography
What common mistakes do you see couples making?: The most common mistake I see couples make during the wedding process is hiring non professionals and expecting professional results.
What’s the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?: Leave breathing room in your wedding day schedule.
What don’t couples know about your business category that they need to know?: Your photographer wants to spend time with you. The better we get to know you, the better we can capture your day. That's why we offer engagement and bridal sessions.
What questions should couples be asking that they don’t know to ask?: From a photography standpoint, couples should ask to see a few full weddings from their photographer. That way, the couple can get a true feeling of how a photographer works through the whole day -- not just the photographer's portfolio.
What's your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?: If the planning of your wedding day becomes overwhelming or causes your relationship to be strained with your fiancé, nothing beats an intimate court house wedding and a weekend house party with family and friends.
What’s the most unusual wedding you ever did?: Any Halloween wedding. They never fail to be unusual and to be great. Whether its a small church wedding or an elaborate planned halloween fun house wedding.
What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?: Every OBX wedding I have ever shot. My OBX couples are always fun whether it's sunny or a hurricane.
Continuing our series that shares tips and advice from some of North Carolina's best wedding and event professionals, today's feature showcases The Family Farm on Avent Ferry. It was my pleasure to enjoy a personal tour last month with my grand-baby at my side.
Keith Propes, our gracious host was so kind ... even helping our little one discover the secret egg door at the chicken coop. The puzzled look on her face was priceless: "Wait ... these come from chickens?!"
This farm is more than a venue that looks and feels like a farm ... it's really a working farm! Located in Southwestern Wake County, the property has been in the same family for six generations. In 2012, he family decided to make the working family farm available to the public for special events.
Their 70 year old traditional cow barn, 100+ year old log tobacco barn and 60 year old traditional tobacco barn create a unique setting for your event. You and your guests can enjoy a hayride among the cows, go fishing, feed the horses and watch the sparks dance over the bonfire. June, Tim and Keith invite you to come join them for a taste of farm life and they will certainly welcome you with open arms!
We asked Keith to share some words of wisdom with couples who are seeking a ceremony and reception venue.
Here are Keith's responses to my questions in a Q&A format:
What is your Business Name?: The Family Farm on Avent Ferry
What is your Web Address: thefamilyfarmonaventferry.com
What is your Business Category?: Agritourism -- We are a working cattle farm (agriculture) and also provide other activities (tourism) such as event rentals, pumpkin, mums and Christmas trees sales.
What common mistakes do you see couples making?: Probably the most common mistake I see couples make is either overlooking or neglecting details they wish they had not. Sometimes it is a conscientious, cost savings decision and sometimes it is a complete oversight on their part. For example, the decision not to utilize an outside vendor for a tent in the event of adverse weather or to accommodate a larger than expected crowd.
I also find that time management can become an issue for as well. Many couples chose not to invest in a wedding planner and try to coordinate everything themselves. This can create unanticipated stress, not just in the setup and breakdown of an event, but having to coordinate the details and the flow of the event while its occurring. As it relates to time management, many couples find that had they rented extra time at our venue, things would have been much less stressful on themselves and their family.
What’s the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?: Look into the hiring of a wedding planner if you can. They have the expertise, relationships and past experience to draw from. They will think of the things you won't and will help to make your special day unfold as you have envisioned. The experience couples and us at The Family Farm have with the use of planners and the experience without a planner are as different as night and day.
What don’t couples know about your business category that they need to know?: Under State of North Carolina guidelines, we are considered a bona-fide farming operation. Because of this, there is a bit more latitude when it comes to activities at our farm. When planning an event, don't be afraid to ask because there is a possibility we may be able to accommodate a request where other venues have told you no.
What questions should couples be asking that they don’t know to ask?: I always like to play the pessimist when it comes to planning an event. Always ask yourself what are the repercussions of doing this or not doing that. I always want to see an event go as planned without the unexpected. If you have a caterer or outside vendor you are considering, we like to share our experience. Sometimes, it is all about the questions you should be asking them and not just asking of the venue.
What your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?: If your budget allows, really consider the use of a planner. It really makes a difference. If possible, rent an entire weekend at the venue instead of a single day. We have couples who rent for single days and find themselves reluctantly trying to coordinate vendors' deliveries, set-up, decorating, cleaning, vendor pick-ups, etc. and time management becomes an issue. They end up exhausting themselves early in the day and by the time the end of the event draws near, they are spent. The investment in additional time takes many of those headaches and backaches away.
What’s the most unusual wedding you ever did?: I can't honestly say any wedding we have hosted had been particularly unusual. However, I can say that no two weddings have ever been alike. Every couple has done something unique and I am always impressed. It is amazing the ideas couples find on the Internet!
What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?: The most memorable wedding we have hosted had to be our first. Hosting the first has helped to bring us many more weddings and we are so appreciative of every single one. We are honored and understand the privilege to share such a special day in the lives of everyone who attends a wedding. We never forget that and do not take it for granted. We realize that kids and grandkids will drive by our farm many years from now and say, 'that is where my parents and grandparents were married.' We are helping to create memories and that is why each wedding is memorable to us.