Behind the Scenes: My Internship Journey Begins

22 February 2013

Dear Fans of Nancy's Brown Bag

Hi, I'm Kate! 
It's with great joy that I am introducing all of you to Kate Bennett, intern extraordinaire(or at least I hope so!)  Our dear Kate recently started as an event specialist working on floral production, day-of set up and office work.  As any intern will know, this industry is more than weddings and events, we are in the business of servicing clients.

Kate is going to write a few guest posts about her journey that began three weeks ago and will end in June.  Will she make it through the pitfalls without breaking a sweat?  How will she navigate her way and decide if this is truly her life's dream?  Stay tuned and find out. 

Give your full and undivided attention to Kate who is a senior at Chico State University studying Event Management.  


Hi my name is Kate Bennett and for my last semester at Chico State I am lucky enough to have an internship with Nancy Liu Chin Designs. I first heard about Nancy's company from my mom. My mother stumbled across Nancy through an old intern Nancy had, Nicole Roveto. Nicole was the same major as me at Chico and after talking with her about possibly working with Nancy I knew it was an opportunity I could not pass up. I will be writing a few blog posts throughout the 3 months of my internship and sharing the challenges, lessons, new skills, and fun things that I stumble upon. 

My first week included a wedding setup at a stunning Art Deco venue.  The flowers and decor were amazing.  I remembered the grand head table that stretched across the middle of the dining room.  Even though the room had not been fully setup, I could see the potential of what it was about to be.

During our setup, Nancy pointed out little things that I should be aware of.  First and foremost, linens.  Nancy's pet peeve, and I think now mine, are linens that don't touch the floors.  Seeing the legs of a table, is not pretty.  And for such a formal space, it made it seem very casual when the linens that were provided were more suitable for a casual environment.

Notice the linens on the tables do not touch the ground.  And the side tables also show the table legs.  OOPS! 

Nancy's second pet peeve are stains on linens and chair pads. We all noticed while setting up the centerpieces that a few chair pads had stains.  Luckily, the catering manager was so accommodating and changed out the pads to clean ones. It really made a difference.  What guest would want to sit on a dirty, unlaundered chair pad in their beautiful wedding attire? In hindsight, as I begin my journey as a soon to wedding planner, I know now that you can't expect the venue to provide the proper accessories, linens, and tables because each venue has a different idea of what is appropriate.  

For this wedding, outside linens, chargers, and chairs were rented.  Pinspotting was added to set the mood.  These were all things that I assumed would be included or done automatically.  Boy, did I get a rude awakening.

I live in a world of Pinterest, blogs, and wedding magazines.  Everything I assumed was the "norm" is not.  I didn't realize that linens could be rented, that you don't have to use the venue chairs, that you have to figure out what is important to you and your budget, that you can change the look of a space by sourcing things that match your style, and that even a pretty space needs some work.

The shell of the venue might be beautiful and elegant but you still have to watch the details when dressing it up.  (Nancy says ---- It's like going to an open house where the house is staged.  You think your house when you buy it will look exactly as beautiful as the staged house but you are just buying an empty space") 

Lessons Learned: 
What you see in magazines and blogs, might take MORE effort and investment.
If using venue linens, don't be afraid to ask to see a sample.
Go to your venue during a real event and see what it looks like before you have yours.
Being partners with the planner and venue managers makes a difference.

During my second week, I attended a wedding setup with Nancy and the team.  At the wedding ceremony two arrangements were delivered for the wedding that was provided by the venue.
Typically, I assumed that Nancy would do all the flowers but in this case, I was surprised.  It turns out, the venue included two arrangements in their package therefore leaving the client feeling obligated to have them at the ceremony.

These were the arrangements ordered by the venue.  The colors were right, the style was wrong.

When they arrived, I immediately thought they were the typically 1-800-Funeral flowers.  Shocked.  Stunned.  And left speechless.

Nancy quickly discussed with the amazing Mother of the Groom and Planner a plan of action which included fixing this eye sore.  Immediate deconstruction (that was what Nancy called it) of the two arrangements took place.  I helped Nancy cut all the flowers off the original arrangements.  We then grouped the flowers in a line, added our own candles, and removed the other two arrangements.

We took two tall centerpieces from the reception, to take the place of the venue arrangements for the ceremony.  Nancy explained to me that although there was nothing wrong with those two "venue" arrangements, they simply did not fit with the style of the wedding and the rest of the decor.

We turned the two arrangements into this simple horizontal display.

Lessons Learned:
Think fast on your toes.
Find decision makers and get them involved.
Turn a possible bad situation into a good one.

Even flowers that didn't stylistically work initially, could be transformed into something suitable or pleasing to the eye. But taste is NOT something that can be replaced.

Having the confidence of the planner and Groom's mother allowed for us to rectify and bring up any issues we encountered on-site.

In contrast to the first wedding I went to where unfortunately, the planner was not at the reception site due to the fact that she was running the ceremony (no fault of her own), we were unable to fix certain details that could have used extra attention.  Could we have ordered some new linens?  Possibly if Nancy had the client's ok.  But unfortunately, the ceremony was starting and our hands were tied.

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks here with Nancy and the rest of her team. I have already learned so much and cannot wait to see what else I will take away from this experience. Through my blog posts I hope to show you what it is like to be a rookie in this industry. 

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1 comment:

The Pink Blossom List said...

High Five, Kate!! Really love having you with us!!

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