Sandra Henderson 0:00
There are two things you should know about me if you don’t already: one, I believe nothing makes a wedding day more perfect than working with a dream team of wedding vendors. And two, I’m a huge advocate for making sure that we’re doing the work to create a safe and welcoming space for every person that we cross paths with. So I was so excited to connect with my friend Kim from Curated by Kim Weddings to talk about how wedding vendors can work together to create that safe and welcoming space, not just for one another, but for the guests on a wedding day too, and how important it is to have open lines of communication with one another on the vendor team but especially with the planner and venue, so they can ensure that everyone is able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. As we get ready to head into another wedding season, I think this is such an important conversation to have. The world is made up of all kinds of people and the wedding industry is no different. If we can take just five minutes of time to make sure that our colleagues the vendor team and the guests are able to enjoy the day and serve and celebrate the couple fully, then that five minutes was more than worth it. So let’s dive in and talk more about how we can do just that. This is episode 24 of Keeping It Candid.
Sandra Henderson 1:10
(Intro Music) Welcome to Keeping It Candid. I’m your host Sandra Henderson, an international wedding and family photographer and business coach. I help wedding photographers use systems to build out the back end of their businesses to gain control and continue to thrive no matter what life throws their way. And on a more personal note, I’m a strong Enneagram three weighing two who is obsessed with tacos and my love for traveling combined with navigating chronic illness life are just two of the many things that drive my passion for all things systems, workflows, and beating burnout as a business owner. Join me every week for a candid behind the scenes look at what it’s really like working as a wedding photographer, where I’ll give you actionable steps to take your business to the next level. Absolutely no fluff here friends! So go grab your favorite notebook and pen and let’s dive into this week’s episode. (Music fades out)
Sandra Henderson 1:58
Thank you so much for joining me Kim! I am so excited for our conversation today and for the topic that we have planned! But before we get started, if you could introduce yourself, let everybody know a little bit about you, that would be great!
Kim DeBose 2:11
Of course! Hi, everyone! My name is Kimberly DeBose. I am the owner and principal planner at Curated by Kim Weddings and Events. We are located in the beautiful state of Connecticut, and we plan weddings up and down the eastern seaboard. Our primary focus – our primary focus, in terms of wedding planning is really multicultural intercultural and interfaith weddings and events.
Sandra Henderson 2:41
I love that! I will never forget the day that I did- I was still working for another photographer at the time, but we did a Scottish-Filipino wedding. And both extended families flew in, they were, like, were like born and raised in their own countries and just their kids had come here and it was very early on in my time in the wedding industry, and I immediately became obsessed with any sort of fusion wedding. Seeing cultures blended together in such a special way is such a great way to… I shouldn’t say put a spin on the wedding day. But you know what I mean? Like it’s just- it’s so different than just you know, when your average Americans and Canadians – because we’re in two different countries – like just your regular wedding. You know what I mean?
Kim DeBose 3:25
Right. It’s just gives so much more depth and context and texture to the day and when you fuse cultures religions is just you know, is extra special for sure.
Sandra Henderson 3:38
Yeah, absolutely. I loved one moment during the reception where all of the Filipino family members were teaching cultural dances to the Irish family members, or sorry, it was Scottish, the Scottish family members that were there. And it was such a beautiful moment.
Kim DeBose 3:53
Absolutely. And it’s so colourful. And it’s just you know, just just just great. I love planning inter-cultural weddings, it’s just gives me, I love logistics. So there are tons of logistics attached to, to fusing those things. So I love it. And at the end of the day, each side embraces you because they’re all about family, embraces you so much and it’s just wonderful.
Sandra Henderson 4:18
Yeah. Oh, I totally agree. Never, I’ve never felt like so welcomed by a group of people than with my Arabic clients. Like, they open up their arms and welcome you into their home in such a special way. So, I can totally relate to all of that for sure. We are talking about a very, very important topic today. I think we are both in agreeance about that, about how wedding vendors can continue to show up for each other in the best way possible, especially vendors who have chronic illnesses that they’re navigating in their lives, especially on a wedding day. And the importance of communicating those things to one another and I think you have a really unique perspective as a wedding planner because with your couples, and then your vendors, you’re kind of like a middle point between the two. And so if people aren’t communicating with you, then it makes the whole day so much more difficult. I’m sure you can relate to that.
Kim DeBose 5:12
Definitely, and specifically when I’m one of my vendor friends, because most of the time my vendors become my vendor, friends and family, especially when we are all on the same page, it does get a little hairy. So we definitely can can talk about that. I am a full service planner, most of my clients come to me at the top of planning, maybe they have a venue, maybe they have a photographer, but for the most part, I am at the top of that food chain. And in that, I then go out and match them up with the best vendors that I can find that fit into their style, their budget. And just, you know, ones that I vibe with too, because we’re going to have to work together for an extended period of time. So so in that, I tried to develop a level of communication and trust, especially when I am throwing like, I don’t even have another term for it. But I’m saying, you know, hey, Sandra I have the perfect client for you, you don’t have to do anything but send me a contract. So especially when I’m kinda like throwing the business that way, I definitely hope to stay on the same page with all of my vendors. And if there’s something going on, I definitely want to be the first to know, because I can usually triage that for our mutual client.
Sandra Henderson 6:29
Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I think that there is a lot that goes into, from speaking to other planners, the recommendations that you do give, if you had a wedding that was going to be like, extremely, like a very, very long day, very physically demanding, there may be some photographers that you know personally and have that relationship with that just physically, not to any fault of their own and not in any sort of negative way, but physically just cannot meet the challenges and the demand of what that job will entail. And so I think being on that same page is super, super important. Because as a wedding planner, I’m sure you don’t want to recommend a couple that work with a wedding photographer, and then have them come and not only feel bad for the couple, but also feel bad for what the photographer is having to go through and things like that.
Kim DeBose 7:14
of course, in in terms of how I plan in the couples that I planned for most of their days are 18 hour days, we have Hindu or Muslim ceremonies at the top of the morning, 9:30- 10:00 in the morning, followed by a lunch, followed by a little two hour break, then we’re into more of the traditional American reception of you know, if it’s, you know, another culture in there, they may have a church service, followed by the reception. So we’re now talking about 17-18 hours. And if you’re a vendor, if I know that there is something that will prevent you from being able to stand on your feet, because we have taxing jobs, you know, physically taxing jobs on that day. But if there’s something that’s going to hinder your performance, I don’t want to match you up with a couple where you’re going to feel bad, and I’m going to feel bad and they don’t get their you know, shots or they don’t get you know, the right makeup applied. We all want to be satisfied when we were performing in our zone of genius. And we want the couples to be satisfied as well. So I may still, you know, recommend you, it may just be to a couple of us having an elopement and it’s not as physically taxing, or a couple that is more laid back and they don’t, they’re, they aren’t going to 17 different locations throughout this, you know, 18-19 hour day. It’s really about knowing my vendors and their preferences and and like we’re talking about their their health issues in order to be able to match them up with a couple.
Sandra Henderson 8:42
Yeah, absolutely. That’s so important. And I really… one of the like key takeaways that I hope people get from this episode is realizing that it’s not, it’s not a bad thing to say that someone is not capable of doing something when you’re having open and honest conversations and communication with that. It’s not that you’re looking at them in a negative light and saying, Well, you can’t do this because you have a chronic illness, it’s being on the same page and communicating with one another, recognizing what your abilities are. Because at the end of the day, we all want to serve the couple we all want them to have the best wedding day possible, the wedding day that they’ve been dreaming of. And creating that dream team of vendors is something that I talk about a lot on the podcast as well because we’re- nobody is there to do a disservice to another vendor. We’re not… we… there’s a lot of competing mentality or competition mentality that is in the industry. And I don’t think that it should be like I think we’re all there to serve the same goal. And so that open communication is so important from like, speaking for myself as someone with a chronic illness, it’s something that I would want to know because I know that the planner or whatever other vendors that I’m working with, they want the same thing, is that they want the couple to have the dream day and I don’t want to show up knowing that I’m going to be pushing myself outside of my limitations because that will also start To take away from other clients that I have as well, after that wedding day. So yeah, I love that you said that. And I think that’s so important.
Kim DeBose 10:07
And and just to piggyback off of what you said, it doesn’t take, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something, it just means that that’s not your specific lane or zone, you may take gorgeous pictures, and I may say, You know what, Sandra, or Sarah or whomever? I do 20-hour wedding days, but I love your photography style, how about we set up a branding shoot for you and I, you know, I want- I need branding photos, or I need some behind the scenes stuff. So maybe you come on the job for two or three hours and capture that stuff for me. So there are different pockets that we can fulfill in order to be able to be in this financial ecosystem without feeling like I have to totally take you out of consideration for any jobs.
Sandra Henderson 10:50
Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s so so important. I love that, that’s actually something that I just started dipping my toe into a little bit this year, is doing what I’ve called detail sessions for planners and vendors where I come out to the wedding venue before the actual, like, hired photographers are there so that we’re respecting each other’s boundaries and things like that. And just getting those photos that these companies are not often able to get to on or get sorry, on the wedding day for whatever reason that may be, and it’s still a way for us to be able to work together and to collaborate and network without having any like, you know, awkward, like we’ve been saying, like awkward situations or situations where people feel like they’re letting others down and things like that.
Kim DeBose 11:35
For sure, and that’s great to be open to that it’s a it’s an additional revenue stream, you know, sometimes getting a client with a with a nice big five figure budget for photography is amazing. But sometimes it’s not worth the headache. So if you can’t do it, and you don’t want to do it, coming in and doing a smaller job may you know be enough to satisfy your palate and produce the work for you as well to be able to then market to other planners or other you know, florists or whatever the case is and open up another lane for you. And I am always going to recommend people that I vibe with, people that I know their work has their- they have integrity, and their work speaks for itself. So there may be another planner that doesn’t do multicultural weddings, but does a different type of wedding and their weddings are eight hours And that may just be it, and the photographer’s hi- hired for six hours, I’d still be able to recommend you and be able to stand by your work and let them know that you’re a great fit and do that in good conscience.
Sandra Henderson 12:40
Is there anything that you do throughout the planning process or on a wedding day to accommodate for the needs of guests and vendors that you, especially with guests, like you’re having these huge guest lists, you might not necessarily know all the needs and accommodations that everybody is looking for. So is there anything that you do to just kind of like do a base level of anything?
Kim DeBose 13:02
So I definitely ask my couples throughout the process, if there’s- in my questionnaire is when we drill down to like logistics, you know, is there anyone with some special needs? And it’s just not in terms of special needs. Is there anyone that we have to worry about when it comes to the alcohol? Or is there anyone that we have to come, come we come into this a little handsy? You know, we we ask a bunch of you’d be surprised.
Sandra Henderson 13:29
Very important question.
Kim DeBose 13:31
Like who is going to touch my butt? Like I want to know. So I can tell Uncle John that you know, I can.. you know.. I just need to know! So…
Sandra Henderson 13:41
Yeah, totally! I know exactly what you mean!
Kim DeBose 13:44
it keep my staff on high alert and so that I’m not uncomfortable at Uncle John isn’t uncomfortable, even though he’s the one doing the touching. So there’s a broad spectrum of questions we ask. And in that I ask, I specifically ask if there are any guests or anyone in the wedding party or parents whatever the case is that need any special accommodations. I have a bride who was getting married September 10. She just had a baby July 12. And I know just in our conversations, as you know, her new moms and I’m not a new mom, but just moms. I know that she’s breastfeeding. So in our first timeline meeting yesterday, I asked her you know, where do you plan on pumping? Do you plan on nursing? Do you plan on doing any of those things so I can have a space for you that’s quiet. So you have some reprieve, that’s sanitary. I need to build that into my timeline. And I need to know that can happen so I can whisk you away. So I want everyone it’s my primary responsibility for things that go off without a hitch. And I need to be aware of all of the things that involve all of the people including vendors in order to be able to do that. If you are a vendor with a chronic illness, and you need to take an hour break, let’s build that in around speeches or when people are going through the buffet line, if they have a buffet, let’s build in, you know, a longer time maybe I put an hour in there for eating time and you you take your break, then you’re not capturing anyone when they’re eating, you know, and then maybe we build speeches out a little later in the evening. I have to know all of these things in order to make decisions that are beneficial for every party involved.
Sandra Henderson 15:25
Yeah, absolutely. I love that you brought that up. And I love that you mentioned questionnaires. Because in getting ready for this episode, I actually posted to a different- a couple of different communities that I’m in and asked them like, what is something if you’ve ever been in at a wedding, or if you are in the wedding industry, and you’ve ever needed an accommodation at a wedding, what’s something that someone could have done proactively to make the situation a little more comfortable for you, because something that happens a lot, and something that I’ve even faced myself, is not feeling comfortable asking for those sorts of accommodations, we want to try and fit ourselves into the box of an abled person who doesn’t have any chronic illnesses or anything else on their plate that they’re having to juggle as well as doing their job. And so one of the responses that I got was actually a questionnaire. And I thought that this was such a great idea, even from like, as a wedding photographer, I still like to build those connections with different vendors. And the responses to me like from a florist or someone like that is not necessarily as important on the photography side as it would be to the planner side of things because you are having to juggle so many different pieces of the puzzle for the wedding day. But I also send out a questionnaire to my own couples, whether it be for the wedding day, or my family clients or anything like that asking them similar questions, like you were saying like is during family photos is there anybody who has mobility limitations, it’s going to need flat ground that can’t, you know, go down a grassy hill to do photos, for example, is there anybody that needs photos to be done in a sensory friendly area, because one of my very first weddings actually, I was not given any of this information. I was still in college, I didn’t even know to ask any of these questions. And we had all the lights off in a fairly small hall, because dancing was happening, the DJ had some lights, we were taking photos with our flashes. And nobody told us that one of the guests had epilepsy. And so because of all the lights flashing between us and the DJ, it ended up triggering a seizure and we had to call an ambulance and one of the guests had to be rushed out. And so it really kind of early on painted a picture for me of like, why this sort of information is so important as a photographer, and then I think like 10 times more important for you as a wedding… Sorry, wedding planner.
Kim DeBose 17:43
The worst, the worst thing that can happen is that the police are called in, or an ambulance is called on your wedding day, because no matter what happens, that overshadows all of the things, you know, you could have had a perfect day, and at the end of the day, if your cousin needs to be rushed to the hospital, it’s just always going to stick out whenever you think about your wedding. So and that can be fairly traumatic, especially after the 1000s of dollars you’ve spent. Um, so knowing and having that information upfront, just kind of mitigates that. I have found and like you, I’ve started to ask these questions with experience. And I find that when I send out a questionnaire and I asked you, you know, who’s handsy? Or who can consume too much alcohol or all of those things, you know, I’m open to getting that feedback. So you, the transparency is there, I’ve asked you, now it’s up to you to be able to give me that information. And that opens the door to be more comfortable in person to continue to have that conversation. But if I don’t ask, you know, you might not even think to tell me. So I’ve discovered throughout my business journey, that it’s important to ask questions, and all you can do is write n/a if it’s not applicable to you in the questionnaire.
Sandra Henderson 18:58
Kim DeBose 18:59
When you do when we do that, and it becomes a three step process, you know, questionnaire, conversation and implementation if need be. It just makes it easier, more discreet for that person, because you need to still have some discretion in that. And it makes them feel loved. And it makes them feel seen. And it makes me feel good too.
Sandra Henderson 19:22
That’s such a good point that you brought up that it makes people feel seen. I love that. And so I know a lot of people who are listening to this and are struggling with things like chronic illness, or struggling with, you know, being open and communicating their needs to others to make those accommodations, I would love to put their minds at ease and just ask you is, Has there ever been a situation where someone has asked for an accommodation and there has been negative feedback from another vendor or venue or the couple or anything like that?
Kim DeBose 19:57
not in my experience. I haven’t you know I don’t come across that personally. And if someone asked me personally to, you know, make some accommodations for them, I wouldn’t, you know, write them off, I would try my best to be able to do what I can do in that space and time, especially if I know, before, I’m sure I’m positive if people have felt like they haven’t been seen or heard, I just haven’t crossed paths with someone that I’ve, you know, had that experience with. And I hope that I don’t, I hope we can, we can stop for five or 10 minutes if need be, to be able to give whomever that is a space and time to regroup. Or to make changes. Like I say, timelines aren’t flexible, but they’re the most flexible and disregarded thing in the entire world. So I can build some time in anywhere and get it I have people in my my personal life that have some, you know, chronic illnesses, and we just have to make those accommodations. So I have personal experience. So I just happened to be a little, I happen to be sensitive, but I’m sure there are other planners or venues that aren’t necessarily as sensitive.
Sandra Henderson 21:10
Yeah, I totally agree. I’m sure they’re like the world takes all kinds. And I’m sure there are people out there who are not as welcoming or as accommodating. But I think overall, the majority of people that we will come across are gonna have absolutely no issues with making any sort of accommodation. And like you said, like building an extra five minutes in here and there won’t be an issue. I think that a lot of us are just worried about the what ifs and the fact that we aren’t fitting into the same box as another photographer. And so I love hearing perspectives from other vendor- Other vendors who are coming across these situations who can say like, Yeah, I’m sure it exists, but it hasn’t happened, for me, and in my experience, because I think that’s gonna give people a little bit more confidence as they’re going forward to be able to openly speak about these things.
Kim DeBose 21:59
Absolutely. And I want you, I would want the listeners to feel comfortable. And being able to give out that information and know that sometimes things come off so harsh, especially when we’re in the decision making process of the day. Every one is kind of like cut and dry for the most part. So for me, I try to take more care with my vendors, because I need something in return, like what’s on your photos to be perfect. So I tried to definitely take my tone down a little bit, and, and really have personal conversations, look them in the eye and get a little closer Well, not all the times, but they’re a little closer. So that we all feel more comfortable. And we know we can rely on each other to be able to give each other whatever we need to make the day go off without a hitch. So I haven’t personally had that experience because I tried to be personable, I tried to be funny, I tried to leave with love, in order for my vendor team to feel comfortable. Because we have to work together.
Sandra Henderson 23:05
I love that. So so true. Well, do you have any final words of encouragement or final thoughts about the communication process with your vendors and things like that,
Kim DeBose 23:16
of course, I My tip would be to cultivate relationships across all wedding professional communities. Because if Island talks to planners, and you only talk to photographers and makeup artists only talk to makeup artists, and so on and so on. And we have conversations about what’s actually happening in our real lives. But we don’t have overlapping conversations. And we do not, you know, develop relationships with people and other lanes, we never get to what’s really happening in our personal lives. And I can’t get that out of you or I don’t know, if we haven’t made that connection. And you don’t you may not feel comfortable with telling me. And it’s important to develop those relationships so that we can you know, work, we can be friends and we can work together. Well, that will be the first thing. And the next thing to me in terms of being a planner is if you have something going on, and maybe my couples didn’t book you through me or you weren’t one of my recommendations. If you know I’m a planner on the team, because I always reach out to you know, my couples, other vendors as soon as they you know, sign up for me sign up with me if they are like a wedding management package. Let me know don’t go smoke couple you know, and I know you’re not intentionally ghosting my couple, but they’re now emailing me 50 times to be able to find you and they’re emailing you 100 times and it just maybe you need a second you need a break. But if I know that and you even tell me to the side that you need a second, I can pacify them for lack of a better word I can you know say well, you know, Sandra and I have connected we’re working on your timeline. She’s inundated with weddings. She’s given me the green light on what she needs to execute your day. She will be there she’ll be ready to work we’ve we’ve done all of these things, you know, behind the scenes to map things out. If you just tell me I can cover your cover your ass and cover buying two?
Sandra Henderson 25:14
For sure. Yes, lots of ass covering is needed from a dream team of vendors on a wedding day. We are all human. We’re all imperfect. We all need breaks, things happen, especially on the bigger crazier wedding day. So yeah, that whole thing is so so important. And that actually inspired me for one last little thought that I would love to throw at you. Do you have any encouragement or thoughts to share with other vendors on the importance of reaching out and making those connections with the vendors that they’re going to be working with? Whether that be other planners who are just starting out, or photographers or anyone like that? What has your experience been like?
Kim DeBose 25:48
So I am oftentimes in a unique position, because I am the planner. And in that, I find that every every couple that I work with has a planner, because I’m there. But not every couple you work with, or the DJ works with other makeup artists works with have a planner, so you have a different set of experiences that I don’t have, because if I’m there, I’m there. So I find that DJ, my photographer, my videographer, they all morph into planners, but you have to when you don’t have boots on the ground. So I love to kind of ease into that relationship, because I know that if you have 15 Weddings this year, statistically, only five of them have planners. And so you do have to have that hat on. But when it’s my day, you don’t have to have that one, you can, you know, kind of let that go. Let me do my job and we don’t have to fight, we can just you know, you can just be relieved that today’s the day you don’t have to be a planner. So I find that if we can collaborate and get to know each other outside of wedding days and wedding weeks. I find that photographers once they really get to know their favorite planners sing their praises, because they’re like, listen, I can get all the shots that I want. And for a planner, it’s staying in my lane to like I shouldn’t be posing people like what do I do? Like, I should be telling people get your behind right there and let the photographer do his or her job. And then go on and put on another fire. So and we communicate and we network and we have fun and we have drinks or we have coffee or whatever the case is outside of outside of a wedding week or wedding day we can really get to you know, let people work in their zones of genius.
Sandra Henderson 27:34
For sure. So important on a wedding day to let people work in their zones of genius. I love that you said that. Well, that was amazing. Thank you so much before we officially wrap things up, if you could just let everybody know where to find you online so they can go and give you a follow.
Kim DeBose 27:49
Of course, thank you for having me. I truly appreciate it. It was so nice connecting with you and your audience, and really speaking to the other sides of the wedding professional world. I am @curatedbykimweddings on Instagram. I am @curatedbykimweddings on Facebook. And you can also catch me on the World Wide Web because I’m older than 37 Insanely – Curated By Kim Weddings And Events. So that’s where I am. That’s where I hang out. Of course, we plan up and down the East Coast, then you know we will get on a plane if you buy the ticket.
Sandra Henderson 28:27
Yes, I love that. Hopefully I’ve got some Canadian listeners that will fly you over to the side of the border because I would love a chance to work together one day.
Kim DeBose 28:35
Absolutely, absolutely for sure.
Sandra Henderson 28:37
Awesome. Well, I’m so grateful for you and this conversation. Thank you so much again and I cannot wait to talk more soon.
Kim DeBose 28:44
Sandra Henderson 28:45
(Outro Music) Thank you so much for listening. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at simplysandrayvonne.ca/keepingitcandid. In the meantime, let’s connect! You can find me on Instagram and Tiktok just search @simplysandrayvonne. And if you’re loving this podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d go ahead and hit that subscribe button and leave a review. Until next time! (Music fades out)
Kimberly DeBose is the principal planner at Curated by Kim, Weddings, and Events. Kimberly has over 5 years of experience with planning weddings and social events in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey + beyond. Kim’s love for events runs deep! She watched her mother and aunt put together some of the most fabulous events, which piqued her interest at an early age. The elegant courses, the design, and of course the gathering of family and friends was always the highlight. Planning was just a natural fit. After working for a boutique wedding planning and design company as an assistant, Kim decided to strike out on her own. CBK serves multicultural couples whose wedding day honors their deep love and affinity for their culture while fusing in elements that are reflective of their modern love story. Outside of stalking beautifully executed events all over Instagram, Kim spends her time loving on her family. Wife to Andre, mom to Andrew, Axel & Alaina, and new puppy Bingo, Kim’s hands are full!
February 7, 2023