Friday, 30 November 2012

Gearing up for the Wedding Season

After the busy wedding season, you'll think we should just press the snooze button till the next wedding season. Well not so fast! There is so much to be accomplished between one wedding season and another if any wedding professional plans to have a successful wedding season.

For one you need to reflect on what went right and what did not from the past busy season. Put in place measures for improvements. There is also inventory to be reviewed and inventory levels to be beefed up ready for the next season.

Storage room needs to be cleaned out and some items needs to be achieved while others needs to be replenished or new trend items needs to be brought in.

And then the all important Bridal shows... there is a lot of preparation that goes into that. The theme for the show, the stationery, the promotions and prints that needs to be ordered and even staff to work the booths have to be trained. These shows are very important to any wedding professional as such you get as much from it as you put into it, so it goes without saying that you have to put all into it.

Its good to check in with fellow professionals you had worked with and networked with over the past wedding season and getting together with some of them before the next busy season to go over certain details will be a good idea.

This is also the time to meet with clients and consultations can be back to back right after the bridal shows especially.

And finally, scout the next year trends, be it colors, schemes, themes and special preferences emerging, be on top of it.

And of course there is the dreaded bookkeeping, oh mine, yes that has to be tackled too. Often we wedding professionals are good at what we do but shy away from the bookkeeping part that is inevitable. Check your contract and be sure your terms are up to date and reflective of where you are in your business.

Yes so much to do you'll be amazed at how much you need to get done before the next wedding season which once it hits, all these task are on the back burner and all you do is face the business of making the couple's day the most memorable day yet!

Thank you for dropping by!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

An Interview by Zoho Corporation (Zohobooks)

Recently I had a chat with Cathy Akinkunmi of Beautiful Linen Rentals, from Halifax, Canada. She is responsible for making the happiest day in a girls life absolutely perfect! Yes, she's a wedding planner and takes care of the 'little details' that matter the most. Beautiful Linen Rentals offers consultation, planning and rental services for events and weddings.

What was the idea that got started Beautiful Linen Rentals? I have been involved with a non profit organization volunteering my time in event planning, organizing fund raisers, banquet etc. I take care of the aspect that you can term as “details” which for me is all the prints, linen etc. I'm always excited when there is an event to plan and I love to take care of the table setting, linen and the overall room decor.
Wedding Planner Accounting Software Case Study
So the idea to start the company has been at the back of my mind for a while but I needed a real ah-ha moment to get started. That happened while planning my daughter’s 10th birthday "Princess theme" party. Back then, I couldn't find a rental service which provided affordable linen and decor. That's when I knew there is a need and gap to be filled.

How does it feel to run your own business? Nothing compares to the sense of gratification in running your own business. During the busy wedding season, I often work for more than 16 hours a day, which is normal and I won't have it any other way. I wear a lot of hats but I do have reliable staff to whom I can delegate. My motto is “sell your strengths and hire out your weaknesses”. This has been quite useful because I know what to take on and what to outsource, a very fine balance. As a business owner and a relatively new one at that there’s always decisions to make, work to do and many relying on you for answers to solve day to day business issues. I am a lifelong learner!

What is the most rewarding experience you've had since you started your company? Many in the past few months but the best are the phone calls, email messages, facebook page postings that I get from the brides whose weddings I've set up. Moments I cherish are when they say that everything was more than what they had hoped for and 'perfect' is one of the phrases often used.
Advice you would like to give to someone starting a new business? I’ll talk about some of these important ones:
Have Conviction: Starting a new business is a major commitment and should be undertaken only with conviction. If you are still iffy, maybe wait till you are sure.
Passion and love for what you do: It is important also to love what you do, because the road can be lonely but the conviction and love for your new endeavor are the things that will keep you focused and keep you moving regardless of the start.
Have reliable employees: Good, reliable employees that share your conviction cannot be overemphasized
Good networking matters: Developing good friendship with other business owners in your locality is always a good way to expand your network and be able to ask for help or advice whenever you need.
Get a hang of your financials: Be smart about your accounting, cash flow etc, as these can cripple even the best business intentions if not well planned out.
Wedding Planner Accounting Software Case Study
How did Zoho Books come to be a part of your life? I started invoicing with excel. Good old excel is okay but not for the volume I am beginning to deal with now and it lacked a few features. I tried my hand at the desktop version of an accounting application, but that didn't go quite well. I wanted an online accounting application so I could access my information from anywhere. Also, so that I need not have to install it every time I change my computer. The applications I tried were either too complicated or required a lot of time to learn. Time which I didn't have at the moment. I came across Zoho in Google search results for the best and simplest accounting application for small business. I signed up for the trial and at the end of the trial I was sold!.
How has Zoho Books changed your business for the better? I don’t have accounting patience. Even though I hold an MBA, accounting has never been my forte. Couple of things I find about Zoho Books is that,
It's fast- I can view a synopsis of how my business is doing at any point in time via reports. All the important financial statements are available within 3 clicks and maybe 3 minutes.
It's easy - In my business, I send out quotes often before invoices. I can easily convert those quotes into invoices. The ease and speed with which I can edit invoices leaves even my clients amazed, they credit me for been very prompt, I credit Zoho for that. Recently one of the loan agencies I work with requested some financial information in the middle of my crazy busy season and I was able to send that across within minutes, I felt like i knew what i was doing!
Customer Support is a breeze - It always astounds me how they respond back so quickly and that too with great detail. Just last week, I sent a mail asking how to refund a closed invoice. I got a reply with a step by step guide.
Customizable - I use many templates with my terms and conditions well stated. I can customize these as per my clients. And this really is doing business the smart way.
Accountant friendly - My accountant was able to log in and file my tax returns last tax season and that is a big one for me. He did agree with me that Zoho Books works.
Time Saver - Cloning of an invoice has helped me avoid a lot of data entry. The ability to download my banking information and auto populate my expenditure etc is just awesome and saves a lot of my time. I am more confident of tax time now than I have ever been. All transactions are well captured, no misses! Zoho gives me the opportunity to free up valuable time to focus on other issues, issues which I cannot delegate at this point in time. For all these, I am grateful
We spoke for a few more moments about the various bridal shows she attends and her keen interest to learn photography.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Many Joys of Bridal Shows

This month my business exhibited at the Atlantic Showcase Bridal Show and it was a huge success.

I love bridal shows. I pretty much exhibit in all the reputable bridal shows in my area. Where else can you meet so many engaged couples under one roof? Try 3,000 attendees.

There is often an excitement in the air and vendors, organizers and engaged couples and their family and friends seems like they are where they want to be!

We offer the best of our promotions for the year at the bridal shows, and I believe most other vendors do as well. 

This year we were voted (by the brides of course!) as the Winner of the best table top design among businesses that competed in setting up a table top design. It means the bride’s like our work and it is quite validating. Big thanks go out to the brides that voted for us.

My watchword in going to the show is this “go big or go home” well not quite literarily speaking, but bring your best foot forward is what I always have at the back of my mind when I prepare for these shows. Our booths never fail to pull the crowd with our bold presentation. 

I love to talk to the brides, families and friends, there’s nothing like meeting them all within these few hours and chatting with as many as I can. Most of them that visit our booth and take the time to talk to us we often end up seeing somewhere along the line in our showroom!

I always have a theme in mind for the exhibit, and my staffs always dresses to theme. A professional looking front is what I strive to present which is how we go about executing the venue designs anyway so why not?

I look forward to the spring shows coming in a few months and am already thinking of what my theme and design will be, we aim to win again of course!, I want us to line the walls with the plaques we will receive for each win.

Thank you for dropping by.

The Winning Tabletop Design by Beautiful Linen Rentals - Atlantic Wedding Showcase Plus, Fall 2012

         Black on white damask, apple green and black

Monday, 13 August 2012

A higher dimension to your wow factor!

Welcome to another of my blog post and thank you for dropping by.

Many atimes, I have had clients wanting some form of ceiling treatments. A number o f times these are trying to hide some flaws in the ceiling. But at other times these are for venues that really are very nice as in hotels and banquet halls specializing in wedding and events and the bride wanted another wow factor to complete her set up. 

One thing to keep in mind is the venue rules on such. Certain venues have very strict rules on any type of attachment to any part of their structure and really I can’t blame them! Also it is advisable to be sure your decorator/designer carry some form of insurance to work in venues if performing ceiling treatments as such. I always ask brides to check in with their venue if they need our proof of insurance for peace of mind! There is also the issue of ceiling height and a certified user may be required to operate some of these lifts as ladders may not suffice past the 13 ft and above ceiling heights.

There is a number of ceiling treatments types to be considered, and it can hinge on budget when it comes to choices. As engaged couples looking to spruce up your event with ceiling treatments, I believe the most affordable option are paper pompoms. You probably have not given it much thought and for some it reminds them of elementary school projects, but the design of paper pompoms have evolved over time and they are even sold in stores readymade for a considerable amount of money in some cases!

For a DIY approach, you can make your own paper pompoms, many resources are online as well as video how tos via YouTube abound. You can as well purchase them if you are not in for making them yourself. They provide a soft ambiance and are easy to install. A ladder, clear filament and hanging accessories from an hardware stores may be all you need. The downside is that you cannot include lights in these pompoms.

Paper lantern of course seems by far the most popular choice for brides nowadays, as that also is an easy DIY one. You need same accessories to hang as in pompoms, but you have the additional opportunity to include light as either a kit to the paper lanterns or some paper lanterns come with lights affixed but these often are limited in how much sizes they go up to.

Ceiling draping is also another of these treatments and these can be configured in numerous ways. I have seen ceiling draped with what looks like some few inches of tulle or some sheer fabric and string lights strewn in and I have seen voluptuous and really professionally draped fabric ceiling with huge lighted chandeliers that transforms the room completely. When I talk of fabric ceiling draping to my clients, I talk of appreciable width and lengths of sheer fabrics; to me what is worth doing at all is worth doing well!

Till next time, thank you for checking in.

BLR venue set up-Paper lanterns at the Prince George Hotel, Halifax

Monday, 2 July 2012

Beautiful Linen Rentals is WeddingWire Rated 2012

Halifax, NSJuly 2, 2012 – WeddingWire is excited to announce that Beautiful Linen Rentals is WeddingWire Rated in 2012 for Event/Wedding Rentals & Design. WeddingWire Rated is the annual ratings program that recognizes wedding professionals across the country for their commitment to service and is the most recognized and trusted brand among engaged couples, as they start their search for local wedding businesses. The ratings program is based on hundreds of thousands of recent newlywed reviews of over 200,000 wedding professionals in the US and Canada, across 20 different service categories.

Beautiful Linen Rentals has reviews on WeddingWire. Reviews by our newlywed clients include detailed ratings and insightful descriptions about their experiences working with our business and staff. Our reviews provide transparency for potential clients, assisting them in making informed decisions for their big day.

"We are very pleased to announce WeddingWire Rated 2012, recognizing Beautiful Linen Rentals for their commitment to exemplary service in Event/Wedding Rentals & Design," said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire, Inc. “Beautiful Linen Rentals has shown dedication to their craft and service, helping engaged couples understand what to expect from their business through reviews on the nation’s leading wedding review site.”

As the largest site for wedding reviews, WeddingWire empowers engaged couples with the most comprehensive and trusted review system available in the wedding industry. WeddingWire Rated provides Beautiful Linen Rentals with the distinction of being WeddingWire Rated and a simple platform to capture client feedback from their wedding planning experience. Engaged couples can easily access all of the reviews for Beautiful Linen Rentals on We have all of our newlywed clients to thank for our WeddingWire Rated 2012 recognition.

For more information, please visit Beautiful Linen Rentals on WeddingWire at For more information on WeddingWire Rated 2012, please visit

About WeddingWire, Inc.

WeddingWire, the nation's leading marketplace serving the $70 billion wedding industry, is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding professionals. For engaged couples, WeddingWire offers the ability to search, compare and book over 200,000 local wedding vendors, from wedding venues to wedding photographers. WeddingWire also offers an online community and a suite of cutting-edge planning tools for weddings, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding professionals, WeddingWire is the only all-in-one marketing platform for businesses online and on-the-go. WeddingWire offers one simple solution to build a professional network, improve search visibility, manage social media and reach mobile consumers. Businesses that advertise with WeddingWire appear on, and other leading sites, including, and

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The DIY Bride

Hello! Welcome to another of my blog post on event and wedding decorations.

Considering that I run both a rental and design and decorating business, I have had the opportunity of working with a number of DIY brides using our linens and decor.  Even though cost is a major consideration in becoming a DIY bride, believe me that is not always the case!. I have brides that have hired us to complete their set up and still wants to be on ground and part of the decorating team on the day of set up. Its often a way of their personalizing their special day, been involved and some brides are actually “undiscovered decorator themselves! They just realize they have the passion for that once they embark on their wedding planning journey.

Given a basic venue, a simple banquet hall and such, it is not a herculean task to have a beautiful presentation on your special day. Sure you require hours and hours to set up and some willing hands but definitely something that can be well accomplished.

The thing to keep in mind is that you should not skimp on linens; linens can make or break the whole ambiance. Good quality and tasteful linen, well accented with complimentary colors in your color scheme will make a big difference. Ensure you get the wrinkles’ out of these after you complete set up, a portable steamer is a must have for me when I am completing a set up. Your centerpieces do not have to be over the top, and there are ways to save on floral cost by using single stems etc. Light is another secret that adds “pop” to your design elements. Centerpieces lighting, tea lights which are quite inexpensive, head table lighting etc will sure afford you the “wow” factor design. Backdrop if applicable gives your guest something pleasant to gaze upon all night long and like the name suggest a backdrop to your photos as a number of these will be taken at the head table.

Floor length linen is one I am partial to, I do not like to see the table legs sticking out, and floor length linen just screams “elegance” in any set up. Keep the color combination very simple, trying to feature too many of your colors in all your set up can be a disaster. Use ribbons to achieve these by trimming centerpieces, guest books, favor boxes or so and that should pull all your colors together nicely.

Till next time....Thank you for dropping by!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Transforming the Blah into Beautiful.......

Over the course of time, I find my crew and I been pleasantly challenged by some venue decorating. I seem to get a bit excited when I have a client who comes in for a consultation and talks about wanting help with a venue that really needs it. Believe me I have heard some words been used to describe some of these venues, often it's the bride's way of trying to manage my expectations along the lines of what we'll find when we go in to decorate. I have some before and after photos that will qualify for “jaw dropping” situations!

I tell the couples to leave these details in our capable hands; we will surely ensure them a memorable occasion. Am yet to be disappointed by the outcome!
I like to change the table arrangement from the standard “cafeteria style” table arrangement to a more classy sitting arrangement. This calls for special linen due to the size of the combined tables.

Linen is next in line, and solid base linens with couple’s accent color will tie in nicely in an elegant way to bring it all together quite nicely.

I always say the secret to a great ambiance aside from linen is lights. Uplights as wall washes or backdrop lighting, centerpieces lights etc will make dramatic statement no doubt.

Now to the issue of “hiding” these plaques, wall banner and these not so desirable walls in some venues. This often has to be accomplished to get a great overall feel and look we’re going for. In executing the couple’s visions, we do keep these in mind. The darts boards can be literally all over the walls among many of these inscriptions a bride do not care for to be featured on her special day and I agree. Covering the walls with backdrops, linens etc will be next in line, oh yes, that’s a lot of fabric we’re talking about!

Certain details I have found does go a long way in personalizing each presentation and really make it fit for the photobook!  Personalized quotes and such adds a special touch to the details. Seating arrangement also helps bring a good feel and cohesiveness to the entire set up.

I love decorating already great looking venues as in most banquet halls in hotel and such, but I equally delight in the challenge of transforming the blah into beautiful and often can’t wait to see the expression in the couple’s face as they dance into the reception hall....that to me is one of the reasons I do what I do!!!

BLR Linen Rentals-Some before and after photos of an association event we rented linen to at a community center- Linen did make a HUGE difference!

Cathy Akinkunmi
Lead Designer
Beautiful Linen Rentals, Halifax