Half Goals for the Second Half of the Year

Hello JUUUUULLLLLLYYYYYYY! Six full months of the year has whizzed by and here we are with the second half of the year just starring at our faces. The rest of July all the way through December have some pretty big shoes to fill considering how awesome January through June was. The first half of the year will win because that's when I got married (5 months ago today to be exact!), but that doesn't mean I don't have goals to punch through - 

1. Get the hell off social media. I mean it this time! If nothing else I need to be mindful how often I'm mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. It's not a healthy place for my head to be and there's just too much beauty right in front of me. I downloaded some social media blockers on my phone to test them out - I'm confident one of them will work.

2. Book at least 6 more events for 2017. When I switched our name from Cherry Blossom Weddings to Cherry Blossom Planning Factory it was intentional because I knew I wanted to fill in the year with some corporate events. So far this year we've had 2 and I'm so thankful for that. Hopefully at least 1 of the 6 new ones will be another corporate event, too! 

3. Get some speaking gigs on the calendar. In my mind I'll be just as poised and funny as Tina Fey during a cold open on SNL or as Carrie Bradshaw at a book reading. I'll have to remember to keep these thoughts in mind when I'm trying not to vomit right before I go on stage.  

4. Collaborate on a wedding or event with a pro from Seattle. Pike Place Fish Market! Great pinots! THE GUM WALL! A fresh perspective and the opportunity to learn something new on a totally different coast! What's not to love about this idea?! I don't expect this to come to fruition before 2018, but I bet I can get the wheels in motion if I try hard enough! 

5. Keep this rhythm going. Right now I'm on a good rotation during the week: wake up @ 4:30, gym @ 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning depending on the class, I do what I want until 9:00, and then it's time to hustle. Meetings, emails, protein shake, repeat. Come home by 6:30, quality husband time until 10:00, and then it's time to do it all over again. Steven and I have so many fun projects we've been working on (hello Salazar Lane and Champagne with Cherry Blossom) and I want us to keep these trains running; the only way I know how to do that in my left-sided brain is to maintain a schedule, ha!  

A Priest with Personality

The first time Rev. Tony and I had a rehearsal together, I couldn't believe my ears. We were at the Williamsburg Winery one September afternoon and a baby was crying somewhere in Wessex Hall. His immediate response without even hesitating: "Wonderful, you brought something to sacrifice!" The entire space erupted with laughter and just like that the ice was broken. After we rehearsed and everyone was on their way to dinner, he instructed me to make sure a barrel of wine was properly secured to his Prius and quickly walked away to confirm a few details with the bride. I had just met the man, but I could tell we were going to be best friends forever. 

It's one thing for me to share these memories with you, but it's another thing altogether to experience them yourself. Sure, I can refer vendors who I might think are a great fit, but hopefully our Champagne with Cherry Blossom YouTube series will help illustrate the why factor. Without further ado, I would like to present to you Rev. Tony Hash:

Mike Dragon: The Guy Behind The Camera

It goes without saying that Mike of Dragon Studio is a FANTASTIC photographer. From commercial projects, to shooting weddings and stylized shoots, to family sessions, to maintaining a kickass blog with his BFF, his calendar is full with all sorts of fun activities.

Aside from his talent, my favorite thing about Mike is his quirkiness/ fun personality. He came to visit our new space a couple of weeks ago, so naturally I had to get him in front of the camera! Sure, I can tell you about his crazy socks or how he has zero hesitation to wear a wig, but video really gets the point across. 

I often joke with our couples that you really want to make sure you like your photographer. Not only are they going to be in your face for 8 hours, but the more comfortable you feel with them the better your photos will be overall. Of course that's just my personal opinion, but given how far out Mike's calendar is booked I can't help but think I might be onto something... 

A Day In The Life Of A Paper Crafting Queen

When making selfie stations is your business, you know a thing or two about designing interesting backdrops. Katherine of Katherine Hallberg Designs creates hundreds of backdrops a year for clients wanting them for everything from baby showers to weddings. She is full of original ideas and I'm pretty sure her creativity rivals Willy Wonka's. 

Katherine's home studio is filled with interesting shapes on the wall just for inspiration, cool garlands are hanging from the corners, and she has an entire set up just to show off her recent backdrop creations (the one we saw was made out of coffee filters). She sat down with me one afternoon at Jollity and let me pick her brain for a bit for our Champagne with Cherry Blossom series on YouTube - naturally I had a ton of questions! 

Ps. That cool airplane project she mentions halfway through is for one of our weddings. Can't wait to see it come to life! 


Videography 101 with Intellect Media

Marcus Williams is a perfectionist, focused on his craft, and apparently has goals of walking around beaches naked. All jokes aside, he has a deep love for videography and our little video hopes to showcase that. 

I'd also like to mention that this is our FIRST official try at Champagne with Cherry Blossom. Our friend Vanessa from View It Do It came over one Sunday morning to give us a crash course on how to edit video in iMovie, and we've been stumbling around ever since.

In time, it is our hope that our future clients will be able to see why we refer who we refer. Or why we encourage first looks, etc. It's one thing to hear it from your planner but it's another thing entirely to hear it from a different professional - sometimes it just helps put it in perspective a little bit better! 

Special shout out to Jollity & Co. for letting us set up shop in their party room, and an extra big hug to Steven for helping me edit this thing. And while we're at it, Apple should get a high five too for making their iPhone 7 Plus pretty easy to use. 

Cherry Blossom Takes YouTube

It's crazy how a simple idea spirals into a web of craziness. Let's take Kristina's homemade behind-the-scenes GoPro video as an example. The concept was simple: she was going to follow us around throughout a wedding to piece together a quick little snapshot of what we do. Sounds easy enough, right? She did a great job editing the video, added music, and caught some real moments. We were proud little ninjas and wanted to upload it our website to show the whole world! 

Then our dreams came crashing down because SquareSpace doesn't support uploaded videos. You can embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo, but we couldn't simply add the video to our blog and write about it.

Well shit. Now what? Create a YouTube channel, I guess?! Well, if we're going to create a whole channel, what else should we be putting on it? A few glasses of bubbly later and "Champagne with Cherry Blossom" was born. 


Truth be told the "Champagne with Cherry Blossom" concept was my shiny new husband's idea. He's an avid YouTube watcher and uses it as his main source of information. He's really into the car scene and always enjoys those clips about the people involved, so why not apply that to our wedding friends? It helps that I ask a lot of questions by nature and he's really good at IT, plus our wedding + event community has interesting characters so there's a ton of content built in.

Our plan is to collect the videos, edit them quickly, and push them out on Fridays. We're still figuring out the details and have NO IDEA what the heck we're doing, but hey, so far it's been fun. Right now we're being driven by our community friends and all the laughter behind the scenes, and that's enough to keep us going. Stay tuned for videos featuring Intellect Media, Katherine Hallberg Design, Get Me To I Do, Dragon Studio and who knows who else?! If I ask you to come the office, just make sure to brush your hair because you might end up on YouTube later ;) 

What To Say At A Wedding

Even if I objectively remove what I do for a living out of the equation, I would still think weddings are a ton of fun. I feel like I was there when you picked out your dress (I did "love" that Facebook status after all), your invitation has been hanging on my fridge for over a month, I have an outfit ready to dance in that compliments my husband's, and I know there's going to be some form of cake. 

But in this real life scenario, Steven is a groomsman - he'll be taking photos while I'm left to fend for myself. After we get through the ceremony I have to talk to humans. Real people. I can't get by with sending emojis and I know if I drink too much it's going to get even more awkward. 

Like any good nerd, I try to calm my anxiety by researching the situation. Who do I know that's attending the wedding? What are the odds of us sitting together? And then I start to spiral... what if the couple opted for open seating and I'm forced to wedge myself at a table of strangers? Oh man. Just writing this and I feel a twitch coming!

Let me explain: when I'm coordinating a wedding, my inner Sasha Fierce comes out and I'm on. But in this case, I'm a guest. It's the same sort of anxiety when I force myself to go to a networking event. I literally have to talk myself into going and pray I don't stutter too noticeably. 

In an effort to help myself and those too consumed with social media to remember how to hold a conversation, I scoured the world wide web for some easy one liners to get a dialogue going. With these and a little champagne (just a little!), I should be able to make it until Steven gets back from his groomsman duties.

  • "Hi, I don't know too many people here, so I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Crystal and I'm friends with both the bride and groom." Full disclosure: a variation of this will be my new default for networking events!
  • If I have the confidence to juggle holding food and talking, I might go with "I can't stop eating this [insert cocktail hour food here]. Have you tried it?!" 
  • "On a scale of 1 to undrinkable, how terrible is the champagne?" This line would make my friends erupt in laughter because I've never met a glass of bubbles I didn't like... Note to self: work that last part in for good measure.
  • "Beautiful venue, have you been here before?" Hashtag basic, hashtag safe. Hashtag stick with this one.
  • "We're hoping to visit a brewery before our plane leaves tomorrow, any in particular you would recommend?" This might get weird because I don't drink beer, so I'll save it for when Steven is nearby. 
  • "I love your [insert cool accessory or article of clothing here]." My natural inclination is to close this out with "Do you want to be best friends?!" but I know better. I'll save the authenticity for smaller groups of people so the bride + groom don't get a string of texts the next day asking about the random girl in the flower maxi dress.