Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm off to enjoy the good life....

February 8, 2010

Dear Friends,

It is said that “Retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials - much to live on and much to live for.I believe that I now have both. And so it is my great joy to let you know that I am retiring from the wedding and event-planning world at the end of this week.

Many of you have been my second family and you have supported me in my career and in my personal life over the last several decades. I am privileged to have worked with you through the years – and very proud of the successes that we achieved together. You’ve laughed with me, cried with me, and helped create such wonderful memories that are now part of my life treasures.

My career has been both challenging and rewarding. I am happy that I can look back and honestly say I did my best, gave my all, and I was well rewarded in kind and in friendship.

I'm looking forward to having the time and the freedom to spend time with my wonderful husband, finally get my book published and in the bookstores, relocate to South Florida, enjoy time traveling, yachting and (someday) spending time spoiling my future grandchildren! As I enjoy those days to come, I will reflect fondly from time to time on “the good old days”. Then, I will order another drink, one with an umbrella in it.

Thanks again for everything, I shall miss you.

With love,


PS. My new email address is: if you would like to keep in touch. As soon as we’ve closed on our new house, I’ll send you our new address in The Sunshine State!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Caveat emptor: Tips when hiring a wedding or event planner

photo by Veer

"Experience: That most brutal of teachers.
But you learn, by God do you learn." - C.S. Lewis

When you are considering hiring a wedding or event planner, especially in today's economy when every penny counts more than ever, you should be especially wise when making that important hiring decision. Anyone can "hang up a shingle", create a fancy website, print business cards and call themselves a planner.... but without education, industry knowledge, a good reputation, and most importantly verifiable EXPERIENCE, they may not be able to fulfill your expectations. And sadly, you will pay the price.

In all Weddings and Events, there are no 'do overs'. You get one chance to get it right, and the team you have in your corner can truly make or break your special day. You wouldn't hire a Doctor or a Lawyer without checking their credentials and you should shop the same way when hiring a wedding or event planner.

So, when considering hiring that planner, here are some tips from Good Taste Events:

  • Look for photos of their actual work (not stock photography) on their website. If they have experience, they will share it with you. If they seem reluctant to provide photographs, make a note of it. No actual event photos = red flag.
  • In addition to actual photos, verify their work. 99% of satisfied clients are more than happy to provide a reference to their wedding and event planner. They will tell you candidly what went right, what went wrong, and if they would hire this planner again. Ask to see their photos as well! No references = red flag.
  • Ask about any certifications your planner has and when they received such education. Are they affiliated with any national associations? You can call and check on their membership status. Absolutely no certification or associations? Yep. Red flag.
  • Inquire about their strengths and weaknesses. How will they handle unforeseen circumstances that may occur during your special day? Get some examples of situations they have dealt with in the past. An honest, experienced planner should definitely have some stories to share! Nothing ever gone wrong (ha!) = red flag.
  • What is their reputation in the industry? Have they been published in magazines or books, interviewed by other industry professionals, taught classes or given speeches or lectures? Again, this is information that is easily verifiable and can tell you much about their true experience. No one has ever heard of them? = red flag.
  • Avoid hiring a planner simply for their "cheery" personality. While it's imperative that your planner have characteristics that you value and a personality you will enjoy working with, it is also just as important that they have the experience that will make your event planning a joy. Many professionals have worked in various aspects of the hospitality industry for years before opening their own business. Does a new college graduate have the years of experience you are looking for? That's your call.
Whatever you decide, protect your choice by taking the time to check out who you may hire. Your event will definitely be an experience. Make it a good one.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Grazie! A beautiful recommendation from our Tuscan love birds!

"Ti amo dal profondo del mio cuore con tutta la mia anima."
I love thee with the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.

Italy. Love. Romance. How fortunate were we to be selected to work with this beautiful couple when they planned their amazing July 2009 Tuscan wedding. A private villa outside of Pienza was the venue for this amazing wedding. It doesn't get much better than this.
Thank you, Colleen and Gunter. You're the best.
* * * * * *

And here is their amazing letter they sent to Good Taste upon their return.


Dear Good Taste Gals,

We did it! We had the wedding of our dreams and much of the credit falls squarely on your sturdy yet refined shoulders. We came to you with a glimmer of an idea, the thought of a wedding abroad. At the time, we did not intend to hire wedding planners. All we thought we needed was someone to help kick start the process. We had a set of parameters but no specific destination in mind. You scoured the globe and presented to us thirteen different destinations, each one unique in its allure. By the time we completed this part of the process and had decided on a wedding in the rolling hills of Tuscany, we were hooked; your professionalism, attention to detail, and reassuring communication style won us over. We left every meeting thinking that our dream wedding was possible. We simply had to hire Good Taste Events to plan our wedding.

Given these economic times and the exchange rate, we thought a destination wedding may be out of the question. Or, if we did do a destination wedding, our plans would have to be dramatically scaled back. However, early in the process Jody said a very nice wedding was doable for our modest budget. And to be honest, we had our doubts. But Jody kept her word and we had a wedding that topped our expectations and stayed on budget, thanks to her hardnosed negotiations and creative alternatives.

Planning a destination wedding is not easy and it should be noted that we are both often referred to as Type-A personalities. Going into this process, we had no idea how we, as detail oriented people, would be able to work with a wedding planner. Would we have to just give up control and be happy with whatever we got? Would we micromanage our planner into a nervous breakdown? Neither turned out to be the case - you handled us very well. :) Every meeting was like a good therapy session and we always left feeling stress free and excited about some new aspect of our wedding. You not only ensured that appropriate tasks were being completed on time, but you also took our event to another level by brainstorming with us to build on our theme and create an event that was memorable, personalized, and visually stunning.

A key aspect to hosting an event abroad is having good contacts. Jody was able to use her professional network and create these relationships. The situation turned out ideally for us. We worked directly with Jody, whom we have supreme confidence in, and in turn, Jody worked with her contact abroad to make it a reality. By the time the process got underway, it was remarkable the level of detail we were discussing for a wedding thousands of miles away.

Even though, at some level, this was always a business relationship, it never felt that way. We honestly felt that you cared about our wedding as much as we did and that means a lot to us. Our wedding was simply spectacular. It was a loving, intimate set of ceremonies in a beautiful far off land. We feel blessed to have such a lovely event mark our union and we can't thank you enough for making it possible.


Colleen and Gunter

Jody's Note: Special thanks to Carlos and Monica for photos and assistance with planning.

Thanks again!

"It ain't the heat. It's the humility." - Yogi Berra

We are truly humbled by the confidence and support our amazing clients have given us again this year. Without you, we would not exist. Thank you again for allowing us to share our passion for creating and managing the most beautiful and memorable events imaginable.

With love and sincere appreciation,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thanks! We're honored to have received WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2010

Photo by Jack Young
Thank You to the amazing couples who honored us with this award, and the opportunity to be a part of your very special wedding days. Our hearts truly overflow with gratitude.

For Immediate Release

Seattle, Washington – January 19, 2010 - WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced Good Taste Weddings & Events, LLC has been selected to receive the WeddingWire 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™ for Wedding Planning!

The annual Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and celebrates excellence in quality and service within the wedding industry, as determined by recent reviews and extensive surveys from over 500,000 newlyweds.

Good Taste Weddings & Events, LLC is among the top five percent of all vendors in the WeddingWire community, which includes over 100,000 wedding professionals across the US and Canada. Awards were given to winners across 19 different service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers.

“We are excited to recognize and honor the success of the top wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community” said Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “The annual Bride’s Choice Awards program has given us the unique opportunity to highlight the best wedding professionals in each region as reviewed by brides and grooms who have utilized their services in the past year.”

We are happy to announce that Good Taste Weddings & Events, LLC is among the very best Wedding Planning Services within the WeddingWire Network, which includes WeddingWire and Martha Stewart Weddings. We would like to thank our past newlyweds for nominating us for the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards.

For more information, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront today at

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding vendors. WeddingWire enables engaged couples to search, compare and book over 100,000 reviewed wedding vendors nationwide, from wedding photographers to wedding cakes. WeddingWire also offers an online community and a suite of cutting-edge planning tools, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding vendors, WeddingWire provides free online management tools creating the only market opportunity that gives businesses control over their clients, reviews, leads and performance. In addition, WeddingWire has partnered with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) to provide its network of local vendors and online wedding-planning tools in the Weddings section of For additional information, please visit

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Imitation is the highest form of flattery

"A lotta cats copy the Mona Lisa,
but people still line up to see the original."
- Louis Armstrong

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thoughts on Grace....

As the Holiday Season begins, I'm always reminded of the countless Blessings that I have received in my life - many more undeserved than deserved. Remembering those Blessings is a great way to keep my priorities in order as the hustle and bustle begins. What is your definition of Grace? I like this one.


When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage.

When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize.

When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award.

But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no reward - yet receives such a gift anyway - that is a good picture of God's unmerited favor. This is what a Christian means when we talk about the grace of God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Mannersmith Monthly... Holiday Manners for Minors

Manners are important. They are like your calling card and reflect YOU in so many ways. Teaching your children proper manners is one of the greatest gifts you can give them - and it costs nothing but your time! One of my favorite monthly reads is the Mannersmith Monthly. It's filled with great tips for all types of situations dealing with everyone from infants to CEOs. Take a look. Life is too short to have bad manners.

As the holiday season approaches, Mannersmith's Marianne Cohen shares suggestions to prepare your children for the festivities. Here is her fabulous latest posting.

It is crazy how the calendar says October, and already the end-of-year holiday decorations are out. Children are getting excited about wearing their cool Halloween costumes while parents are fretting about planning the upcoming holiday meals and gatherings. One way to ensure the holidays are smooth sailing for all those involved is to provide your children with the proper tools for polite behavior. Here are some tips and techniques to transition your Halloween monsters into Holiday angels.
  • Review the Basics ~ Of course we recommend working with your children all year long, but now is a perfect time to review the five building blocks of proper manners: please, thank you, you're welcome, sorry, excuse me.
  • Do Your Homework ~ Ask each child to come up with one new thing about themselves to share with relatives and friends they have not seen in a long time. Those involved may be surprised to learn how much they have in common. For instance, if your daughter scored the winning goal in her soccer tournament, she may find that Great Aunt Sophie was also a star soccer player in her day.
  • Act Like a Journalist ~ It is never too early to teach youngsters how to handle an awkward pause in a conversation. Have the child pretend they are a journalist. They can ask a guest questions about their past or their interests, and may find something in common which can lead to an interesting conversation.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice ~ It takes approximately 28 repetitions to make a behavior a habit. If you would like your children to learn how to set the table, have them do it every day and soon it will become second nature. Every time they ask for something without saying "please," have them say the whole sentence again. Soon it will be routine.
  • Be a Model ~ As parents, we are the role models for our children. For example, if you want them to have good table manners, you need to have good table manners; if you want them to set the table correctly, you need to show them how to set the table. Practice a formal dinner at home and make it a game. Using role reversal, pretend to be their age and show them the bad manners they are exhibiting. Ask them what they saw and how it can be corrected.
  • Mail Call ~ Children should learn to write thank you notes as early as they can hold a crayon. There is never a bad time for a thank you note. Toddlers can draw a picture of the gift and once they can write their name, they can sign the cards. As they get older, you can make or purchase fill-in-the-blank cards and have them write the recipient's name and their name, and then keep expanding as they get older. By third grade, they should be able to write a simple thank you note. At Mannersmith, we like to say that an "emailed thank you means you cared enough to send the very least." Handwritten thank you cards are a cheap and effective way to make someone's day.
  • Oscar Award ~ Has your child ever opened a gift, and by the look on their face, thought it was the ugliest sweater they had every seen? Before the holiday season gets underway, review with your children that it is the thought that counts. The giver may not have thought enough about the recipient's interests and likes, but they did give the child a gift nonetheless. You can also teach your children the art of philanthropy. If they really do not want the sweater, you can donate the gift to someone who may need and enjoy it. The holiday season can be very stressful for all those involved but by practicing polite behaviors, it may make it a little less hectic. We wish you and your trick-or-treating monsters a very happy holiday season.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When insults had class

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend ... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.


One of my dear friends, business associates, colleagues, mentors and wanna-be comedians (hee hee), Ron Castle posted this on his blog and I couldn't help but steal it from him. If you ever need to know anything from website production, SEO genius info, how in the heck Google works, how to be #1 on Google, and some great recipes for some good ol' Tennessee cooking, give Ron a call. He picks up his phone 99% of the time on the first ring. So dang impressive.

I love Winston Churchill. This photo was taken from Time magazine where he was named their man of the year both in 1940 and 1949.

As an English statesman, author and prime minister, it would be his masterful speeches that dominate his legacy. Serving as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1939 to 1940, he offered all of himself in his words 'blood, toil, tears, and sweat.'" He rallied his countrymen in their resolve against the Nazis by saying, "For a thousand years, men will still say: 'This was their finest hour.'

Another favorite saying of his that I especially enjoy today: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last."

We need more Winston Churchill's today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Open Letter to Wedding Church Coordinators

My church - St. Barnabas Episcopal, Bainbridge Island, WA on the day of my wedding. Do you LOVE the dendrobium orchids? (I do!)

Today's post is taken directly from the talented team at If you haven't taken time to look at their website, you should pay them a visit. The picture at the top of their home page is worth the trip alone! Thanks, Shauna.

Dear Wedding Church Coordinators,

I’d like to introduce myself, I’m a professional event/wedding planner. Professional in the fact that this is my full-time job, assisting clients with their weddings. It feeds my family and keeps my lights on. This isn’t a whimsical hobby, so I take my responsibilities and the happiness of my clients very seriously. I have a dedicated office space, published telephone number, business website, business license and file business taxes. Just wanted to clarify the “professional” part of my statement before I carry on.

With that said, I would like to personally apologize for the dozens of ignorant girls that came before me that said they were “wedding coordinators”. Many of them just finished their own wedding (which was really, really awesome by the way) and they are now helping their BFF/MOH get married by coordinating her wedding. Their frame of reference has been to make themselves happy and being catered to by other vendors at their own wedding. For the many times these “coordinators” stepped on your pews, moved furniture around on the altar and dug in your closets, I will apologize for them. The next time one of these little darlings skip into your church, please feel free to give us a call; we’ll hold her down and you can dunk her head in the baptismal pool repeatedly.

You see these precious angels ruin it for professional planners. When we walk in the door, you are already rolling your eyes and exhaling loudly. I understand your frustration. But I’d like to have you stop for a moment and take a closer look. Does the wedding planner have a professional business card (not an ink-jet card with perforated edges)? Does the planner ask questions that make it painfully obvious she has done this before? Is the planner respectful to you and your place of worship? Does she inquire about setup times and when the wedding party must leave the church so mass or other ceremonial programs can start? These are telling signs that this person knows what she/he is doing.

Please remember we are not there to usurp your authority. This is your church, your sanctuary and place of Worship of God. Professional wedding planners know this and treat it accordingly. We know that most likely you met the bride, once at the time of her visiting the church and giving you a signed contract/retainer. And the second time again at her Rehearsal. However, we have been with her throughout the whole planning process. We have fielded the teary phone calls, countless emails and numerous meetings. It only makes sense that since we know her this well, that we should be the ones to line up the wedding party and take care of their needs. Also, it is our job — we are paid to do this.

I submit a crazy idea for your consideration. We’ll take care of the duties of lining up the wedding party, sewing last minute buttons, making sure food is there for them and you will coordinate your church. Meaning, you know where the lights are, keys to doors, reserved signs for pews, etc. We could work together in harmony and unity. So the end result is that our mutual client has a terrific, stress free wedding day.

Thank you for your time, and we’ll see you on Saturday.

In Christian Love,