Tag Archives: Event planning

Opening a Restaurant? Here’s one mistake not to make…

19 Feb

It’s not an uncommon dream to want to start a restaurant… I admit, it’s definitely something I fantasize about from time to time, particularly when I’m resting happily after a successful dinner party.  And there have definitely been a number of beer-aided discussions of exactly what it would look like if I were to create my own menu for any of the London pubs that we frequent when we’re visiting our family and friends (Main takeaways from these brainstorms: fewer overcooked, gray hamburgers and more buffalo wings!)

Unfortunately, as easy as it is to dream about, actually opening and running a successful restaurant is incredibly difficult. Hundreds of articles, books and blog posts discuss how and why restaurants don’t succeed.  The commonly held myth that 9 out of 10 restaurants fail in the first year has since been replaced by the data-backed statistic that approximately 60% don’t make it, but that’s still an edgy number onto which you might pin your dream.

Articles related to starting a restaurant:

These days, the recipes can only get you so far.  Any new business, particularly a small business coming into an already crowded market, needs a good marketing plan.  One of the best ways I’ve been taught about marketing is also one of the simplest:  To market effectively, don’t think about how you would sell your product or service, rather think about the value of the product or service, and market that. For example, if you’re trying to market a house cleaning service, instead of trying to sell a clean bathroom and laundered clothes, think of yourself as selling potential clients free time with their families, lower stress when they have fewer things on their to do list, and a relaxing environment to come home to.

As part of a good marketing strategy, you’ll need a website, a social media presence (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc) and print materials, and part of creating a strong set of online and hard copy marketing materials is getting the photography right.  A surprising number of websites, pamphlets and menus have poor photos, which can make a business look tired, dated, and put them at a disadvantage right from the start.

There’s a pretty good amount of data that shows exactly how people look at websites – the research is fascinating and insightful:

Google results for any search string will return tens, hundreds, even thousands of items.  Potential customers and clients are not short of choices, and making the upfront investment in professional photography for your business helps you present a professional and polished image, which keeps people reading your site or materials, and increases the chance that they will inquire about your services or products.

Roberto Farren Photography has recently launched a new branch of his photography business, specializing in capturing the architectural and interior design of your space, as well as the details of your small business.  Get in touch to see how professional photography can be the first step in creating a successful marketing strategy, and give your small business the best possible chance of success!

RFP Architecture, Interior and Landscape Photography

The Kiddo Quandary: Inviting children to your wedding and reception – Pros and Cons

14 Aug

As a wedding photographer’s assistant to (and one-time wedding planner with) Roberto of Roberto Farren Photography, I’ve seen a ton of different approaches to the wedding day. Some are more serious, faith-based ceremonies, some are itching to get the drinks poured and the music blasting, and some are relaxed, laughter-filled events focused on friends and family.

Kids are, at minimum, a part of most extended families (hey, we were all there at some point) but it’s not always clear if it’s appropriate to include them in your wedding celebrations. Here are some pros and cons to think of if you’re considering this question for your own wedding.

Pros of including kids:

  • Cuteness: Who doesn’t love watching a tiny flower girl and ring bearer toddle down the aisle? Stick a flower crown on a niece and a bow tie on the nephew, and you’ve got great wedding photos at the ready!
Cambridge Harvard wedding photography

These two cuties led the way to the party after Caitlin and Aaron’s Harvard wedding ceremony.

  • They’re usually hysterical: Whether they’re sprinting down the aisle or asking questions at full volume at the ceremony, kids keep it real. If your ceremony is relaxed and not overly formal, these funny interruptions just add to the laid back, family-focused feel.
  • They get the dancing going: If you’ve ever been to a wedding with kids, you know that they’re usually the first ones on the dance floor. Kids love dancing, and definitely break the ice for adults to join them.

Cons of including kids:

  • Unpredictability: Even the most well behaved munchkin is prone to freaking out when they’re in constricting clothes, with 100 people looking at them and they’re supposed to sit still for an hour.
  • Catering: You’ll probably have to accommodate for younger palates when planning your menu, and this might incur an extra cost. Talk to your caterer or event planner for options.
  • Early departures: Members of your family will most likely be drawn away from your reception early in order to get little ones washed up and into bed at a reasonable hour.
London wedding photographer

Claire’s two nieces wrote and read the sweetest note to Joe and Claire at their recent London wedding.

Tips:

  • The Kids’ table: Don’t separate super young (or anxious) kids from their parents, but designate a kids-centered area where more independent kids can hang out.
  • Plan activities: Keep them occupied! Depending on the various ages that may be attending, plan some activities for the kids. Things like games, coloring books and little toys, will keep them happy when they get bored with a three-course meal, and they always love a photobooth!
  • Hire a sitter: Make sure you include the parents when making this decision, but getting outside help to look after kids can be a great help. Ensure everyone is clear on the guidelines (what times the sitter is around, responsibilities, location, etc) but this takes some of the pressure off of parents and lets them relax a bit more while they celebrate your wedding with you.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Be realistic about what you want on your wedding day, plan accordingly, and communicate clearly. People would rather know ahead of time what’s expected of them and their families. They’ll appreciate knowing what the plan is, and the ability to prepare their little ones will help the day run smoothly for both of you.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.

Forget Pinterest and Remember What Really Matters.

15 Jul

Your wedding is most likely going to be one of the biggest days of your life.  Other things might trump it (college graduations, your first child’s birth, finally standing in Julia Child’s perfectly replicated kitchen), but it’ll be up there as one of the flashbulb memories of your life.  It’s a celebration of you and your partner’s love for each other, and the commitment that you plan to share for the rest of your life.  Also, even if you’re only inviting a few people, it is still probably going to be an event that will take a fair amount of planning.  Special location, special clothes, rings, flowers, officiant – there are lots of parts of your wedding day that you’ll probably be arranging even if it’s just the two of you.  Add parents, friends, families, pets, children and other assorted guests, and I hate to break this to you, but you’ve got yourself an event.

Even if you revel in event planning and love getting all the details just right, planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Sorting out the logistics for two or tens or hundreds of people takes patience and no small amount of effort.  Add to that the increasing pressure to match the napkin rings to the shoelaces of your flower girls, and your “to-do” list just blew up.

As a wedding photographer’s assistant, let me tell you a little secret: The stuff doesn’t really matter.  Ask a friend about the best wedding they ever attended, and I can guarantee that they won’t mention the font on the invitations, the subtle hue of the chair sashes, or the style of the bridesmaids’ shoes.  They’re going to talk about the sweet vows that you shared with your spouse during the ceremony, the song that played while you danced with your father, the hilarious speech that the best man gave, and the great time they had dancing into the night.

Roberto Farren Photography

I don’t remember the meal or the name cards, but I do remember getting fairly weepy during the beautiful vows Emily and Carlos shared at their recent Boston wedding.

Weddings are about the people that make up your life, and those people you want around you while you pledge your love and commit your life to your partner.  Keep that in mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed about the wedding planning, and up to your neck in Pinterest, and don’t forget about your marriage while you’re planning your wedding.

One last thing: Here’s a wonderful article featured on Boston.com about a couple that completely changed their wedding plans in order to share their special day with someone who meant the world to them.  Kudos to the staff at Emerson Hospital for going above and beyond to make such a special memory for this family:

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/concord/2013/07/couple_weds_at_emerson_hospital_so_dying_grandfather_can_att.html

Thanks for reading,

Erin

‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.