October 1, 2018
October is a great month in Chicago. The weather is turning which means it’s sweater and scarf season. It’s also play off season for the Cubs and I admit I’m a huge fan. Football is in full swing which means I can throw parties on Sundays and make all the appetizers I want to. Once October is passed, we’re blessed to celebrate two wonderful holidays, Thanksgiving in November and Christmas/Hanukkah in December. I like to say “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” starting in October, but I don’t sing that in any Christmas tune until Thanksgiving day. Finally, October is my birthday month! No, I’m not the type to celebrate every day until it’s arrived (which would be 24 days of fun). But I do love my actual birthday! It’s funny how one day can automatically put you in a good mood despite anything that’s going on around you.
Anyways, October’s Hawaiian value is nānā i ke kumu. A little more difficult to say than the other values I’ve been incorporating, but the meaning is not so complicated. Nānā i ke kumu is all about seeking authenticity so you can be true to who you are.
I’m exploring this value because it’s my birthday month. It seems right to really dig deep and think about who I am, why I’m like this, and how I can utilize my natural-born characteristics to help me succeed in my company’s growth. Not only does nānā i ke kumu help you find your truth, it’s a phrase of encouragement. It wants you to find that truth you’ve revealed and have that truth inspire you moving forward. To give you energy. To give you strength.
So who am I? Throughout my life, no matter the phase or age, I’d say I’ve always been a huge romantic, a driven “go-getter” and a child at heart. I think all of these characteristics slightly play into my event planning career which I’d like to explain below.
Although being a romantic does not play into planning corporate events or social parties, it plays a HUGE part in wedding planning. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve shed a tear while sneaking a peak at a first look, or while I’m listening to the vows during a ceremony. I adore watching first dances, I smile every time I see a groom kiss his bride on the cheek, and I feel full of life and love when my couples finish saying “I do” in front of their family and friends. As a wedding planner, I think it’s important connecting with my clients emotionally. I’ve been in a long term relationship for quite some time now. I know how much I love and care for my boyfriend so I look for that same love in all of my couples. Once I see those winks across the table, or inside jokes followed by subtle giggles, I feel connected. I understand what makes my couples click. And at this time, I can help recommend vendors that will bring out the best in them and make them feel as comfortable as possible. I also love giving advice for ways to make the evening more romantic. Whether that be how to properly light the room (mood lighting), music suggestions for dinner service, or how to start your first dance together as a couple. Being a romantic is a huge part of who I am. It’s probably why I love planning weddings so much!
No matter the situation, if there is something I want, I try my hardest to get it. The first way this is related to my business is potential clients. When a potential client comes along, I write a personalized message back, relating to their event goals, venue location and more. If someone inquires about a venue I have not worked at yet, I call the venue representative up and ask for all details, information packets, and set up a tour if I haven’t seen the space. I’m also a go-getter when I think about negotiating. I don’t think clients understand the impact of a planner negotiating vs. a family member. We want our clients to get what they want because in the end that means we’re doing our jobs. We also want to maintain a healthy relationship with the vendors we would be negotiating with. That being said, we have a lot of leverage because we’re a repeat customer (a bride won’t be asking for a draping quote twice, while a wedding planner works with them every weekend). While keeping a cool complexion, I’m not afraid to ask for additional services or ask to lower a quote. If a planner is timid and can’t speak up for themselves, they might not be the best to speak on your behalf.
Being a child at heart has nothing to do with age, rather it relates to your spirit. Those of you who know me know that I’m a total dork. I love being goofy and telling jokes that don’t stick. I still watch the occasional animated movie, I still eat boxes of macaroni (childhood favorite…), and I still make my parents hang stockings for me and my brother because I say that tradition will never fade. I used to be embarrassed to say these things but I’ve grown to realize that’s who I am. I still have a stuffed animal in my room, big whoop. I’m sure everyone has something from their childhood that they still adore. These are the things that make us who we are. These childhood memories. That’s the beginning of this wonderful life we live. Just because we have a college degree and a “big-boy job” doesn’t mean you have to throw away the things that are child-like. I tell my clients to bring these characteristics into their parties. For weddings, put out your favorite candy in bowls on highboys with a sign explaining the importance. Then for graduation parties, print pictures of your childhood, even those naked 1 year old bathtub pictures.
Finally, being a child at heart relates back to my other two characteristics, being a romantic and a go-getter. Children have unconditional love, smile whenever possible, and forgive freely which all relate to being a romantic. Children also dream big, are fearless and are active, all relating to being a go-getter. So in the end, I feel all three of my life-long characteristics are reflected in one another. I’m not afraid to share or explore these characteristics through my company and clients.
Hit me up if you’d like to watch Mean Girls while eating a caramel apple pop and jaw breaker!
Until next month!
-Danielle Kuhn, Ohana Events
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