Wedding from the Pros
Episode 66 with Nathan, Preston and Chanda Daniela
From weaving your love story into a multi-day wedding event to choosing a planner that will best suit you and cater to your wedding needs, whether as a straight or LGBTQ+ couple, discover helpful methods and approaches from Chanda Daniels as she shares her insights towards creating a successful, stress-free, meaningful wedding experience.
Get more inspired by Chanda by visiting her website at www.ChandaDaniels.com or at www.AMoniqueAffair.com and through her Instagram @cd_chandadaniels
Check out Nathan’s Wedding Photography Studio
Also Find Angled Light Photography here on Instagram & Facebook!
In This Episode We Cover:
- Why Coordinating with your Wedding Coordinator is essential during the Planning of your Wedding.
- Planning the best Wedding program takes time.
- Why proper management of your budget is important and maximizing it to achieve your dream wedding.
- Talk to your wedding planner on what you really want and what your expectations are.
- Know what you are looking for to save time and resources.
Listen to the Full Podcast Here!
Read the Full Transcription Below!
Here at Angled light photography, we believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals. We're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime. Hey, everybody welcome back to another episode of weddings from the pros, everybody, you have no idea how much it means to me to have your attention to tune in and to listen as I talk with really the country's best wedding professionals, people who is really at the forefront of creating incredible experience is incredible and intentional experiences for couples and I gotta tell you, I'm really excited about our guest today, I'm gonna read just a short little bio here and then I'm gonna let her talk and let her give a little bit more background. But today we have Chanda Daniels, she's here with us. Chanda is recognized as one of the nation's leading L G B T. Q plus wedding experts and she is the owner and creative director of Chanda Daniels planning and design. She also has founded that Monique affair which is one of the leading planning event planning companies in the san Francisco Bay area. She's a natural designing and planning events and her years of design experience of established her as an expert in her field, earning a bachelor of arts degree in hospitality management from SAn Francisco State University Chanda has mastered the fundamentals of her craft, combining these skills with her passion for creating events. She founded a Monique affair in February of 1999 and in 2018, she founded Chanda Daniels planning a design, which focuses on a refined, finer wedding weekends, which Chanda, I'm excited to get into that with you too. So I'm gonna finish this by saying China believes in celebrating milestone events with class style and richness. Chandra's weddings have been featured in several national publications, including Martha Stewart's weddings, muna Luchi Bride, the not the Today's Bride, and was named a 2020 top wedding planner by harper's bazaar. Martha Stewart weddings and Brides magazine Chanda, I am so stoked that you are here. Thanks for being a part of the podcast. Thank you, thank you for having me Nathan, I'm so excited to be here today, thank you so much, you're welcome. So do me a favor and just kind of take me back in 1999 that's a long time, you've been a part of the wedding industry for a very long time and so you're in the san Francisco bay area, right, yeah, san Francisco, yep Oakland actually, I'm in Oakland. Oakland native, right across the bridge from san Francisco, I started in this industry when I was like five so long, so why five did you have a parent who was in the industry, like how did that happen, How'd that come about? No, actually my mother's an entrepreneur, she's a stylist, a hairstylist and I think just kind of watching her. So it's a combination. My mom was an entrepreneur and then my grandmother was the host, she loved to host like big dinners at home, sunday dinners, find china and the china cabinet that would come out setting the table all of those things. So I feel it's a combination of the two of the entrepreneur for my mom and then the homemaker decorator from my grandmother, I feel like those two are combined in me. And so my mom has always told me that even when I was little, I would, she would call it controlling maybe, but that I was always like in charge of stuff. I always had things organized even as like a small little girl, but I didn't realize what all that meant. I didn't know it meant that I love to plan parties and things like that. I didn't figure that out until I was 16. That's so cool. So part of the reason I'm excited that you're here is that you are a big advocate for the L G B T. Q Plus community, specifically educating other wedding professionals about the L G B T Q Plus community. So I definitely want to get to that. I want to talk a lot about that in just a little bit, but one of the things that I picked out in your bio that really interested me was the wedding weekend, right? I'm really curious like how did you evolve into this concept of wedding weekends and the reason I say this is because some of the most fulfilling weddings that I've had the opportunity to document as a photographer have been multi day events where family gets together and they spend quality time with each other. And that, that seems to be a theme that keeps coming up with some of these weddings that I've really enjoyed getting to be a part of. I'm just curious like how do you move into the wedding weekend experience? Okay, so what happened Nathan, is that when I first started out, way back then, the only thing I knew and the only word that was coming up was coordination and coordination. That was what I knew of. Its just handling like the day of situations, right? Just everything that was coming, just happened on the day of, I wasn't involved in like the full scope of things and then it transferred to being the full scope of things. And then slowly it evolved, I was ready to go to the next step. So over time I decided that I was ready to evolve. I was ready to do the next step realizing that clients that the weddings that I started doing the full service ones, they wanted more than just the rehearsal dinner. They wanted more. So first it started off as wanting the rehearsal dinner then started off as, oh, we want to do a brunch the day after and then, so I started thinking, okay, let's make it a themed thing here. So where we just take the whole, entire weekend. So when guests first arrive, like having some kind of welcome cocktail or welcome activity, the rehearsal dinner and then the wedding day itself and then the next day a brunch and then possibly some kind of going away situation. So I wanted to, like you said, people are coming from out of town and it was so hard. I feel it's so hard trying to do everything in this one day and then we have the opportunity to spread and tell the couple's love stories and things that they love to do over the entire weekend. It's for a particular couple, of course, a particular investment. But once you put it all together, people have such an amazing time because they get more time to spend with their guests than trying to have like 20 minutes at a table greeting. Right? So that's why I decided to do it and it's a more curated experience because I get the opportunity to set the tone for all of these different activities, but still tying them in together to tell that story. And to me that's so much fun. Yeah, that's super cool and that's an element that I really haven't heard anybody else kind of talk about is how to weave their story more into a multiday event and a multiday wedding experience. So that's really cool. You know, it's funny all too often I've seen where couples kind of leave the wedding and I can sense a bit of disappointment, right? It's disappointment that it's over. It's disappointment that their wedding flew by faster than they would have ever imagined. They barely had a chance to really talk to anybody to really sit down and to catch up with people that they haven't seen for a long time, both a lot of times in their wedding party, but also their other friends and their family that came from out of town to see them. And I can sense a bit of disappointment and it's not disappointment that the wedding was bad. It's just disappointment that it's over, you know, and, and I agree with you Nathan because I tell folks, I tell my couples all the time that unfortunately the time we spend planning is longer than the actual day. Like we will be involved with each other so much and getting to know each other. That's the part that I love about this too. And however, the wedding day itself, once you get up, as soon as you get up until it's time to go, it's just, boom, boom, boom, you are on, you are on and it goes by super quick. So that's why I personally love the idea too of doing the entire weekend. Yeah. And I could tell a specific story, there was a couple that I documented. I think it was last year, Corey and Kim and they had a wedding weekend getaway. They found a venue that does, there's lodging on site, it's not out in the middle of nowhere, but it's in the mountains, just a beautiful, beautiful venue, beautiful estate. And their family came in on Thursday and literally stayed from Thursday till Sunday. And I remember asking them, you know why I like, I'm always curious why do couples choose to do it this way? And they said that they wanted to spend quality time with family and friends. But the thing that they said after is what really struck me and I don't think I'd ever thought about this before because personally, I didn't do this when my wife and I got married, like we had a single day and I think if we could go back and do it again, we definitely would do a full weekend experience. But what they said was, we wanted to be fully present during our ceremony, right? We wanted to be fully present. And I never thought about that before, but I guess that's true. Like if there's so much going on on the day of right and things are flying by people coming in and they're saying, hey, and you know, like there's all these little things and people never expected to be as busy as it is, but I think it was really, really, really wise of them to think to themselves, hey, I want my ceremony to just, I want to be very present and the way to do that is to kind of get all of those like greetings and talks and you know, like all those things that you do with friends and family that normally happens in the hours before the wedding. They did it days before the wedding. So everything was very calm. Like everything was extremely calm. Everything was very, very planned out, very chill. And so when they were able to get their ceremony, you know, there wasn't anything new necessarily as far as new people that they hadn't seen before or you know, somebody running up to them wanting to congratulate them and give them a big hug. Like those things weren't really happening. And so it did allow them to just take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and be present in the moment. I thought that that was really interesting. So have you had a similar experience, You know, I was going to say that. I love that. I love that explanation because that's absolutely true. It takes away, I didn't think about it that way. But yeah, it takes away that rush of not being able to see everyone. And I want to say this too, is that you can have a wedding weekend experience regardless of your investment. You just have to be creative than that. Right? So I work with clients and uniquely different budgets, right? It just depends on your style and what type of things that you like to do and how you invest in your wedding, to how that experience will be because I've had couples before who loved just going to the farmer's market and they included that in their wedding weekend. I've had couples who were going full out to do like a huge banquet the day before. So it depends on who you are as a couple and your wedding investment that you don't have to have a huge one to make that wedding weekend. It's all about what you do and then taking your investment and making it with your planner, making it work the best way possible. Yeah, that's cool. I think that's the perfect segway. I'm glad you said that. I say it all the time and I feel like people who listen to this podcast and who talked to me in my discovery meetings and stuff, they hear this over and over and over. I think that the two professionals that a lot of couples try to go without with their wedding is a planner and a DJ or some kind of form of entertainment. I've seen that often more in the earlier part of my career, but I've seen that often and I want to encourage couples all the time that those are two things that are critically important. So you just mentioned having a planner and getting to work with someone who knows how to take the budget that you're trying to work with and how to make realistically obviously, but how to make that work, you know how to meet a vision for a budget and find a way to meet in the middle. So I'm just kinda curious from your perspective, what is it about having a planner that is so advantageous to couples when you're talking to couples or or maybe even when couples come to you, what seems to be the thing that's on their mind the most and the reason why they feel like they do need a planner or coordinator, the ones who typically come to me that want full service, they're working professionals, working professionals who don't have the time or knowledge. I mean, yes, they could go out and look for a pastry chef, right? But where would they start, where would they go? Do they have time to go and do this? Of course they can do it. But it's like they are so stressed out with work, they have high performing jobs where they can't invest the time needed and so they want to hire someone a professional, someone who's had the experience to do it and that is pretty much the two key reasons is the experience of the planner, having somebody to manage it and then also making sure that they connect with creatives who will do the job right and to relieve the stress. No one wants to be. For some reason people have associated wedding planning to stress and so seriously, I feel like that is that is the number one thing, everyone's like, I don't want to be stressed. I don't want to be stressed. I don't want her to be stressed. I don't want him to be stressed. So stressed has somehow become associated to weddings. So, to me, that's a good thing because I can talk them through why it won't be stressful. And I feel like planners can talk their clients through their experience on why it won't be stressful for them. Because I've met couples also, who have decided to just hire my team to do wedding day direction. And they've told me the stories about how stressful it was to look up all the creatives, They didn't know if they were good, they had no idea. They're looking at reviews, They feel like they spent more money. If they would have hired us first, they wouldn't have picked that venue. So, planners. And then I'll talk about DJs planners really. Our task is to know about every single discipline and to know, like for venues, like, if you come to me and you tell me the things that you like, I'll be able to tell you why it will work and why it may be the expectations may be different, Right? So, it's just going to a planner, someone who's really good, check those reviews and sharing that knowledge for DJ. I'm hands down DJs and entertainment. I love a live band. I absolutely love live band. So I'm not a good person to, I will never I will never let a person say that they are not having a DJ or band a quartet, anything like that, because DJ, like you said, they are so important. They will literally make or break your reception, everything 100% 100 everything can be perfect. And then people will remember, man, that music sucked, you know? So that is 100% Yeah. And I also challenge Oftentimes, I'll challenge couples to think about it this way. What's the value of your time? You know, going back to the planning and I'll even challenge them, like, put a specific dollar amount to it? Like, what's the value of your time? I think the problem for a lot of couples, and when I say problem, it's not a problem. It's just that they're not aware of it. They don't realize how much time they're thinking, how much time they think it will take to plan a wedding. It ends up blowing up and ends up going up exponentially. And so I've had that happen a lot to where I work with a couple. And at the very beginning they're like, yeah, we're not sure we're gonna have a planner. And then, you know, in a couple of weeks, they end up emailing and they're like, yeah, we're getting a planner because, like, they recommendations. Yeah, well, and that's right, and they'll say they'll say we're gonna get, you know, because they say we spend a few weeks and we realized just how much there is here, like how much effort and time and because you know, the average engagement for people who book with us at least is usually about 12, 14 months. That's about how long an engagement is. And they think that they've got plenty of time, right? But what they don't consider is back to your point, which I think is really insightful. You know, they're working professional, They've already got a lot of their day that's dedicated to their job. They want to spend some time with their family, they want to work on their relationship with their future husband or future wife or future partner, right? And it gets to the point where they can't fit everything and there's only 24 hours in a day. So then it becomes like what's the value of those hours? And I actually encourage people to let's assume that you're going to spend five hours a week, right? If you're gonna spend five hours a week of your time on getting your wedding going. You know, what is the actual dollar amount for that? And then when you compare that with even incredible wedding designers and coordinators, it pays for itself, right? It really does because I'll tell you this quick funny story. So I have a couple of interns, I have interns work with me all the time just through my school. So one of the tasks I have them both do is go through our checklist are planning checklist and just do some edits for me. So after they reviewed it, I was like, okay, so what did you learn? And they both said, oh my God, I did not realize that it takes this much to plan a wedding, right? And I said, okay, So just imagine everything because our checklist is about 17 pages I said, so just imagine for each one of those tasks, it's more task to that. So it's not just like this one item and then boom check it off. It takes on average for a full service wedding weekend. It takes on average about 400 hours. That's how many hours I allow for each wedding. 400 hours. Yeah, that's so interesting. Well, and I think even if you were to have, let's say, your mom, help you plan your wedding or you have a member of your wedding party, maybe help you plan your wedding. You know, how many weddings have they really seen, How many weddings have they really been to? How much experience do they really have to make an informed decision or to make an informed suggestion, you know, to really maximize the impact of your wedding. I think that that's the other power that people just don't consider it a wedding designer wedding planner wedding coordinator when they come into the space. They have, I don't want to guesstimate how many weddings you've done, but I mean a massive number of weddings under their belt, right? They've seen a lot, right? They've had the opportunity to try something and have it go really well or have it not go so well and then they can impart that wisdom to you, right? Like I don't think that people are a lot of couples really adequately think about the value of that experience, right? That I think that's really important. You're right. So to answer that, I feel like yes, you can have your parents host, like a welcome dinner or some kind of welcome experience, but work with your planner and have them work with your parents to do that. They can be in charge, they can give their inside, they can do all of that. But having someone else lead the way, that would be amazing. And also like, okay, if you don't have it in your budget to afford a planner, then yes, have them do like the external events. So like a brunch, any kind of brunch. Everybody knows how to plan a brunch, right? Or like if you're taking folks out to the beach, like plan those kind of trips or if you want to do something with your wedding party, have your family, plan those external events, but really rely on the professionals to plan your wedding. Like I said, if you don't have it in your budget to invest in a planner at least work with the caterer of full service caterer who could potentially help you with some pieces and then bring in a planner like a day of or a wedding day direction person that will handle it logistically right, that's what I would do because I feel like every single body and I also feel every single body should have a planner or a coordinator and if you can't, like I said you should reach out to a full service caterer. That's awesome when couples are coming to you, what's probably one of the biggest misconceptions that this might take a second, so feel free to take your time when couples already know. Okay, alright, what's one of the biggest misconceptions about, about planning a wedding or about having a successful wedding? I mean maybe we can take it that direction too. What's the common misconception that you see a lot of couples have when they start working with you Nathan, I am going to say the biggest misconception is the budget, that is the biggest, biggest, biggest one and sometimes, I mean I feel in the industry we are educators, like a part of our job is to be educators for me. I feel like when folks come to me, I'm almost like the evil educator because I have to break it down to them that the investment that they've worked hard to save, may not meet the expectations of their wedding day that they have in their mind and that's to me, I can see it's hurtful a little bit because I can see in their faces because like I said, I know I know it takes a lot for folks to save money and they have this expectation like $35,000 that's humongous, that's humongous to them. So to say for like your budget needs to be higher for what you envisioned for the guest count, not even what you envision. I only know at this point your guest count and your budget. And I instantly I will instantly know no matter if you say your basic because people will always say their basic and then they're not that it's not going to work and that is the biggest misconception and sometimes it's really heartbreaking because I can see them and I see their reaction. Yeah. Well and I have to tell them, I'm just being honest. Yeah, for sure. And it's not their fault, right? Like they just never gone through the process of having a wedding before. I mean they don't know how much things cost because they've never had to pay for it before, right? This isn't like it's Yeah. You know it's that is the hardest. Yeah. And how do you go through the process of helping a couple kind of realistically with their budget start to design a wedding that still feels fulfilling for them, right? That still feels like maybe it's not their dream, maybe it's not the thing that they had really come to the table thinking that they were going to have. But that is something that's still a reflection of who they are. That's we're really big on that here, right? Like how do you still design something that when you walk away from it at the end of day you think to yourself that was amazing. How do you take them through that process? And I don't know what the answer is. I'm curious what you would say. Honestly I'm of the mindset where if I know that this is their budget and this is their comfort level, I will refer them to a planner. That is in that comfort level of working with that budget, right? Because in the beginning I would take them and then we would just try to pin it together. We would just talk about what's the priorities, What's this, what's that? And then we would make magic happen, right? But for me it didn't end up being fulfilling because I felt like I didn't have all the knowledge to meet all of their budget expectations. So when I move forward and started saying like okay here's a budget range that I feel comfortable working with. I have a lot of other planner friends and what not that I can reach out to them and say, okay here's a D. I. Y. Bride, here's a couple that's in this budget range. I know that you'll be a perfect fit and then I'll refer it to that person because that person will have the resources and not have to change the client's expectations. They will have the resources to pull it off within their budget range. That's that's incredible. I think that that's so important, right? If the couple and what they're trying to achieve or what they have to work with, it doesn't fit with what you commonly do to refer them to somebody else who will be able to help them in a better way. I think that is so important. Right? I mean, we we do that all the time. Style is a common thing. You know, our approach as a photographer when they come in and we sit down for the Discovery Meeting. A big part of that Discovery meeting is just to find out if we are a good fit that's critically important. Right? And I've sat down with couples before and we started talking. I've gotten to see how they react to the photos that have my albums. And it doesn't happen often, right? Like if they're in my office or if they're in my studio, it's probably because they've seen my work online and probably resonates with them. But it has happened when a couple sits down in front of me and they're like, yeah, so this is what we're looking for. And I tell them that that is incredible. Like I am so glad that, you know what you're looking for because we're probably not the right studio for you. But then I can tell them like, there's three photographers to go talk to. That is exactly what you're looking for. And I think that that's so important, right? Because you only got one chance at your wedding day, you need to be working with the professionals who really understand what it is you're looking for and can deliver on that promise, right? Yes. And I feel like we as industry leaders, that's one of our most important assets is to know our community, to know other folks, that good folks that we can refer people to to know other people style, to go out and network and get to know people in your area that you can refer people to. Because I was explaining this to someone else the other day if I can't help you, but I can give you a referral. And that referral is amazing. You'll remember me when it's time to talk to your friends who may be able to afford, who may match my style, whatever that is. It's all about making sure you have the resources to take care of people and the knowledge to put yourself out there. So, people will know about you and refer people to you. 100%. So, well said, all right, so, I want to shift kind of for the last half of our time together. I want to talk a little bit about L. G. B. T. Q plus inclusion, really, a bit of an advocate thought leader in this space, when it comes to wedding professionals and how to be more thoughtful and inclusive when it comes to L g b T Q plus community, what I would like to do is I'd like to first ask you, well, let me start with a bit of a story. So, I'm located here in Greenville south Carolina here in our community. We do have an L G B T Q plus community, it is very small. What I'm really interested in is getting your advice and seeking your wisdom on how L G B T Q plus couples can find the right wedding professionals for them, right? So, what I want to start with is what questions do you feel like maybe the top two or three questions that really come to mind, what should an L G B T Q plus couple be asking the wedding professionals that they're interviewing to figure out if it is a right fit. Okay, so, the first thing even before a couple reaches out to a wedding creative, they should look at their social media, they should look at their website to, first of all, see if there's anyone on there that looks like them, right? Anyone that they can connect to, because that would be the first sign if a wedding creative is inclusive. So, look for the photos on social media. And then, as you're reading through their descriptions, as you're reading through their website, see if they have inclusive language, right? See if they have inclusive language because if they have inclusive language, if they have people on their website and their social media that looks like you or someone you can connect to, then that means that that's the first gold star, right? Those are the two gold stars to let you know that you can go ahead and make that call. But if you don't see any of that, that would be a red flag to me. Because inclusive creatives are intentional. They are intentional in letting you know that your love is safe, your wedding will be taken care of and you as a person will be celebrated by the way that they put their values out in the world. So those would be my first two things to look for that. Yeah, That's incredible when it comes to an L G B T Q plus couple planning their wedding. Are there any special considerations that come up in your mind? Is there anything perhaps it doesn't have to be as complicated as a framework? But is there a mentality is there an approach that you would encourage a couple who's a part of that community to have when it comes to planning their wedding? So, I wouldn't necessarily have anything for the couple. I would say no. The one thing that I would say is, like I said, use those tips that I said before, in terms of when you're looking for your creatives and then just go into it. Like go into it, you're planning your your special day. I would say sometimes there may be creatives who don't have the perfect wording, who may feel uncomfortable, not uncomfortable, but who don't know or have the experience on how to talk to you or what not. I would just say be open, be open to knowing that they could be learning, right? Right? They could be learning and have patience and have grace in having those conversations with people for wedding creatives. I would say be open and leave the assumptions behind ask things that are kind of like open ended so people can tell you their stories, right? So like say for instance, if you're a florist and you have L G B T Q plus couple and their women and you feel like, okay, it's two bouquets. Don't just assume that just ask an open ended question and what I mean, like for example, ask how would you like flowers to appear in your wedding? How would you like flowers to show up in your wedding? Versus just assuming that there's two bouquets are everyone wants a bouquet, right? Being open to let your couples and you should do this with anybody with all your couples anyway, just have those open ended questions and not assuming that is the biggest biggest thing. So, first off, I appreciate the advice, right? Because I would consider myself to be one of them. That is very open to working with and documenting a member of the LGBT people? S community, it's just not something that I have had previous experience with a part of this because of where I live and where I grew up and and the part of the country that I'm in maybe, but I am one of those myself who's learning and evolving and trying my best to be inclusive, right? So I appreciate you said that, I think that is really a great piece of advice. You know, what's interesting is I spent 10 years as a high school educator and I got to work, I was a music teacher and a lot of people know this, a music room and a school building does tend to be one of the safer places for students and kids of all kinds of, all backgrounds of any struggle to be and to feel safe and to feel safe to be themselves, right? So I've had experience with Children who are growing up struggles the wrong word, but evolving, you know, and figuring out what their situation is in becoming a member of the L G B T Q plus community, what I want to bring out those, I think it's so wise what you said for wedding professionals to ask open ended questions, you know, in my experience has been really interesting when a couple comes in and it doesn't have to be a member of the community, it could be really any couple, right? But what I found is, even though I'm an empath, right? Like, that tends to be I would identify myself as being somebody who can identify emotions and another person very easy and I can kind of work with those emotions pretty fast. It's interesting that the couples that I've connected with really, really well and that I feel like I had just a really outstanding experience with our studio, It's been those couples who have been open, who has sat across from me and been vulnerable with their story, who has been comfortable with telling, you know, and I ask every couple, you know, tell me your story and I want to start from beginning, like, I want to know how you met, I want to know how that relationship evolved. I wanna, you know, I want to know, you know, what do you love? And I asked each person that's all the time, like, what is the one thing about the person sitting across from you or beside you that you love the most? Like, what's the one thing that gets you so excited that you get to marry that person? What is it about them that really, you know, like, your fire, so to speak? Like, what is it that you love so much about them is through that learning process that I become close to them, right? And it's because I get to find that common ground with them as a wedding professional. I get to have developed a good relationship, a strong relationship. When I get into the wedding, I get to walk into the wedding with open eyes, right? Because I know who they are. It's not just what they look like, right? I didn't just photograph what they look like, which is what a lot of photographers do. I get to know who they are and because I know who they are and because I know their story, I feel like I'm better equipped to document this really big event in their lives is really big transition, which is the wedding, right? So, I'm saying all that just to say, like, I think it's incredibly wise the advice to wedding professionals to get to know your couples, for the couples to be open and honest. And even as tough as this word is vulnerable, right? But also for wedding professionals to encourage that communication, to encourage getting to know who it is that you're serving on a deeper level. And I can tell you that this is the last thing. I'll hand it back over to you. I promise. I can tell you right now that there might be a wedding professional listening to this and rolling their eyes and going, I don't have the time for that in my mind. I'm just thinking like, then you shouldn't be a wedding professional, right? Like this is not the business for you. Like find something else that you love to do with your passion. That's not weddings. But if you don't care about the couple's enough to get to know them on a deeper level, then you need to find something else to do with your time. Right? So that's what I'll hop off the soapbox about. Well no, you're on the good soapbox because Nathan, that is the way as wedding creatives. That's the way that we get to tell the stories. How can we authentically tell a story if we don't know about our couples? If we're just looking at it as a transaction. Now, I believe in the very beginning, before we learned what all of this meant, it was a transactional, we didn't know when we were just looking like, okay, yes, I need to book this wedding in and out in and out. But once we started understanding how our knowledge of the couples go into telling their story and their experience and all of that, your images wouldn't be the same. If you didn't know them, right? It would just be the same dresses and whatnot. But when you get to know them, you get to authentically understand and get those shots when they're looking at each other. You know, you get to understand that emotions and if you're not in it for that, I feel like there are clients for folks who just want transactions and you all should be together. But for the rest of us who want that experience and something you said Nathan, that really stuck out to me from you being the music teacher and having creating that space where your students felt safe to be themselves. That is the same space that you want to create as a wedding creative, you want your couples to feel safe, that they can be themselves. You want them to feel safe, that you will take care of them and you will tell their love story authentically and make them look beautiful when they have that safety, it shows in their pictures when they have that safety with me. It shows and how much they trust me to create something amazing and to trust me that I will take care of their wedding investments. So it's all about creating that space, that same space you said that you had in your studio with your couples because that's when people can be themselves when they feel safe. That's incredible and you know, and I think that that's so powerful, maybe that is a piece of advice in and of itself is find the wedding professional that you trust, right? Like like if you can build a sense of mutual trust and mutual respect and a mutual excitement right? Then that's probably the professional for you. Like that's the person that you should go with. So I think that's super cool and that's our job. That's our job as creatives is to make sure remember how I said because people will look at your instagram, They'll look at your website. So it's our job as creatives to make sure that we are giving that message that you will be safe. You will be cared for. You will be celebrated as soon as somebody looks at anything that represents our brand. Hmm. That's incredible. Thank you so much. So as a member really of any couple but of the L G. B T Q plus community, What are some red flags in your mind? You know when they start working with the wedding professional, Have you experienced red flags working with couples and creatives? What are some piece of advice or some signals that you might encourage couples to be on the lookout for that things are going sideways. Mm hmm. So, one experience that I just had recently and I was like really ashamed of it. Really embarrassed and hurtful. It was really hurtful for my I feel it was hurtful for me. My clients said they weren't hurt. But I was So I set up an interview with a makeup artist and didn't realize that she was not inclusive. I assumed And this is after 23 years of being in the business. I assumed that she was inclusive based on her association of knowing another makeup artist that I've always worked with who's very inclusive. So that was my bad for not like having the conversation to her or having the conversation beforehand. And so when we got online to have the conversation to do the interview, I appreciated her and she I could tell that she was stressed out and didn't know how to say it, but trying to be very respectful and just saying like, you know, I would love to do this wedding, but I don't believe in same sex weddings. I've never done a same sex wedding before and my face was just like, what the hell? So a lesson for me and everyone out there, no matter how long you've been in this business, always remember to do your background checks regardless if you think whatever. But then for the person who maybe missed the fact that it was a L. G. B. T. Q. Plus wedding when you get on my advice would be and I'm trying to figure this out honestly. But she was very graceful in saying that she has never had the experience because she didn't believe in it. However, just keeping it at I don't have the experience because you are talking to another human, another person that's out there and they're celebrating their love. You don't want people to feel like this is something that I don't believe it. I feel that there's a more graceful way to say that and then maybe talk to the planner offline To me, it's easy to say, I don't have the experience. However, I can give you some resources that of other creatives that I know other makeup artists that could definitely help you out And she did that, she did it after having the conversation and for me, what I learned is to the way that I managed that the rest of that conversation we just shift and I said, okay, well just let us know like what do you typically do? Talk us through your experience? It went on for about five minutes, it wasn't like, oh my gosh, you're not doing this, let's in this meeting. I as a wedding planner, just making sure that it was kind of a smooth transition and not to make anyone feel more any more uncomfortable. Like seriously, I was sweating, I was literally sweating. And then the other thing I would say two is after you've hired someone and say for instance, you get their contract back. Just keep in mind that there could be an occasion where the wording is not as inclusive. Just have a graceful conversation, a graceful conversation because a lot of creatives are just now getting the opportunity to work with an L G B T. Q plus couple. So you may be their first, so just be graceful in the way that you have those conversations with them and then they'll change them and move forward with other folks, but just be graceful in the way that you have conversations with people. I think that's great. How would you encourage being graceful of course, how would you encourage a couple? Let's say that they find out creative and they're like, they love their work. What they stand for really resonates with them. But there's not a whole lot of inclusivity on the website or on the social media because they don't have the experience yet. So how would you encourage couples to reach out? Is it as simple as saying, hey, you know this is who we are and we love your style and we love what you stand for and we love your studio and wanna be a part of it. We just wanted to make sure that we're there. You know like how would you encourage couples to say that? Um I would say just what you said, I would say pretty much like how much you love their work, what you were attracted to about in their work, about their mission, about all of that and then say, but we've noticed that you don't have any images of L G B T Q plus couples. Have you worked with the L G B T Q plus couple before? Okay. If they say no, are you open? Are you open to working with us because that's what we are and then if they say yes and then just know that it will be and let them know that we are open to this being a first time experience and we are open to guiding you through it. Just ask us any questions. Just know that when you go into it that way you may be teaching and it may be a good opportunity, but you have to realize that you may be teaching someone how to work with our community. So it's just about having that in mind and just knowing already, because I know I've, I've had people that are like, I don't want to be a teacher, what, what do you mean by that? You just rather have someone just be out there Frey ling and trying to figure it out, why not help someone be great, Why not help someone out the same thing that I teach my three boys at home kindness over everything, right? Like kind of just be kind kindness over everything and you will win in the end. So that's chandra, I can't begin to thank you for coming on, being a part of our podcast here and spreading the message and helping. I mean, there's a lot of advice. This isn't really a podcast for wedding professionals, but if there are wedding professionals who are listening, like you gave some really positive pieces of advice for wedding professionals and navigating a bit of this new world that we're all experiencing and that we're all evolving in. So that's super cool. I can't thank you enough for your time. Where can people find more information about you? Thank you for having me Nathan. I've had such a great time and a great experience and learning about you as well. I would say the best way for folks to learn about me is on Instagram and my Instagram handle is C. D. Underscore Shonda Daniels, so C. D. Underscore Shonda Daniels and even though we're all like in this madness of a season right now I try to post as much as I can, I am currently looking for a social media manager, anybody looking, but that's where I update most of when I have a minute, that's where I update things and then to learn more about a Monica fare you can go to at a Munich affair on Instagram. Okay fantastic Chanda thank you so much. This is really been a fascinating topic of conversation. You know if there's anything that we can ever do to support you and what you're doing, please don't hesitate to reach out thank you as well, I'll be back on any time. Thank you so much guys. Hopefully you enjoyed this episode and you know if you have any questions, I'm sure Chanda would be happy to talk with you to do a little bit of coaching with you don't hesitate to reach out to work on her social media channels and hopefully you know if you are a member of the L. G. B. T. Q Plus community, hopefully this episode was also helping for you. Maybe it gave you just a few pieces of tips or a few pieces of advice and a few tips and knowing how to communicate and what to look out for you know when it comes to choosing the creatives for your wedding, you know, our podcast here is all about designing intentional weddings, designing weddings that are fulfilling and that you walk away from the end of the night knowing that you had the best experience of your life. Guys, thank you so much. My name is Nathan Woodworth. I hope you have an incredible day, a fantastic week, a stupendous month and a fantastical year. Until next time here, angle life photography. We believe marriage is an amazing adventure and your wedding is the jumping off point. We'll explore planning an authentic and meaningful wedding experience as we connect with real life couples and the industry's top professionals. We're here to inspire and encourage you as you begin this journey of a lifetime.
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