Oct. 31, 2022

Creating boundaries and leveling up with Monica Richard


Monica Richard, Master Wedding Planner™, has learned that the most important client is not the one paying the bill, but rather the guests who will be attending the event. This is because the goal is to create an event that will be remembered and talked about long after it is over. Listen in to understand why Monica is selective about the events she takes on to ensure each gets the attention it deserves. We also discuss boundaries with clients, appropriate service pricing and creating unforgettable events. 

 In this episode, you will learn the following:
 1. The importance of considering the guests when planning events, instead of just the client.
 2. The similarities between a wedding and a sports event, and how understanding this can help event planners.
 3. The importance of setting boundaries in event industry, both for the planner and the event.
 
 Resources:
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Guest Information:

Monica Richard
Mon Amie Events, Inc was founded over 10 years ago by Monica Richard, MWP ™.   Her strength lies in making her clients’ experience less stressful and more magical.  This stems from her background at Walt Disney World. By focusing on logistics, Monica’s goal is to make each of her clients feel as though they are guests at their own events, while allowing them to step into a fantasy beyond their wildest expectations.

While awards and accolades have come from a number of industry magazines, blogs and organizations, including being named to the Indianapolis Business Journal 2015 Class of 40 Under 40, Monica is also proud to be part of the faculty for Indiana University.  She is seen as the preeminent leader in social special event planning, so has served as an adjunct instructor at her alma mater Indiana University. (both in Bloomington, IN and at their Indianapolis campus.) Monica also has joined the exclusive ranks, being one of the first fifty people in the world who has earned the distinction Master Wedding Planner™
Click here to learn more about Monica and connect

 

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This episode was recorded at Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection located at
1 Carmichael Sq, Carmel, IN 46032.

Transcript

Kristina Stubblefield  00:01

Thank you for tuning in to WedPro BusinessSolutions. I'm your host, Kristina Stubblefield. I am so excited. I've been able to do a podcast recording with this guest already. But for all the wedding professionals out there to be able to have someone with this expertise in this experience, be a guest on the podcast. I'm really excited. I'm talking about Monica Richards. She owns Mon Amie Events in Indianapolis. And I'm going to let her tell you all about that. But she's also the Indiana State chair for the Association of Bridal Consultants. Now you can tell I was really focused on that. Your words? Okay. Thank you so much for taking time to do this. 

 

Monica Richard  00:46

Thank you having me, Kristina.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  00:47

Will you share a little bit about you and your background with the audience?

 

Monica Richard  00:51

Sure. Monica, you said that part. I have been in the event industry, almost as old as my brides are  age, we don't have to say we don't we don't say that part. We just say more than 15 years. It shows you have experience, but it doesn't give an age. And I have had my own company that long ish. But I actually came from Disney. So brides really liked that. But I also came from the sports field. And a very wise mentor of mine taught me and showed me that. And a sports event is just like a wedding. They have branding. They have an acute time period, a ticket, if you will just like a wedding invitation. And so he showed me the parallelisms between a football game or a baseball game or whatever, I'm not going to totally share which what sport that was what professional sport, but the parallels parallelisms between a professional sports game and a wedding. And once I realized that, you know safety is important. And getting people and getting people out, serving them food, giving them a form of entertainment, and living. There are wedding sames. And that was important to me. And then obviously, there are things that are entirely different. But I learned a lot in the in the sports arena.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  02:21

I have never heard it said like that related with sports. So that's so interesting that you share it like that. And logistics. You are an expert at logistics. I know you are because I hear fabulous things about your events. Will you share with everybody where we're recording at right now? Because we're close to you where you're located? Yes,

 

Monica Richard  02:42

yes, we are in a brand new space new to our city. And it's a jewel box for sure. We are in hotel Carmichael, which is an autograph collection, which is part of the Marriott brand, here in Carmel. And it is very new smell that new paint. And it actually is known for its scent when you first come in. I know you had a previous speaker talk about setting Yes. And they are so known for it that I actually had a client whose wedding was here and they were so enamored by the scent that all of their guests were given the scent as a candle to take home because as they stayed here all weekend, every guest kept saying the scent of the scent of the scent. Well, we are going to let you take that set home because it is enchanting. For sure.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  03:31

Opening the big door to come in here to this amazing it's very tough to put in words how beautiful it is. And just so classy and elegant. Right after opening that big door. That was the very first impression passed, going in that door. And I said something as soon as I saw you about it. And that first impression we can talk about that goes right over into business and weddings as well. So I could see how that was an amazing gift to share with our guest

 

Monica Richard  04:04

guests, you know, had kind of commented on all weekend, they actually bought out the whole hotel. And we gave it to them as they were getting on the elevator at the very, very end of the night on Saturday. And they weren't quite sure the way it was packaged. That was this beautiful packaging, and we were like you know, thank you for coming and enjoy the weekend and we'll see you tomorrow for brunch. And when they realized what it was they kind of kind of geeked out a little bit and it had a wax seal on the package and the shape. I don't know if you can if they can see over my shoulder if they're watching versus listening. But these arched windows are everywhere throughout the building, and the wax seal was the arched window. And so right then they kind of figured it out and they were ripping open the package right away to take one more sniff of the scent. And I was not disappointed that I got to take one home my son Have they it is a really captivating scent. You don't forget it. And it's only here. It's not another autographs

 

Kristina Stubblefield  05:08

side note, I'm getting one. Yeah, it was that much of an impression. And I guess that's a great segue into business. I know you've been at this for a number of years, we won't say how many number of years. And, you know, even before going through the dreaded P word. You know, business in the event industry, I've always told people about how much different it is than any other industry. I've been fortunate to work with a number of people in a number of different industries. And I have so much respect for those in the event, industry and business. It's just, it's a difference. And I knew that with how much you've been through and your experience, that you could share some helpful information to people, whether they're just getting started, or they've been in business for a long time, how you've done things with your business, and how you've got to where you are today. And I mentioned before, I always hear about your events, how smooth they are. And people that have even been in your class, I even have talked to one of them and the impression that you leave with them. And that's why I was excited about having you as a guest because I love working with wedding professionals, and just talking with people about their business. And I'd like to first ask you, what is something now, where you're at? What's something you wish you would have known when you started?

 

Monica Richard  06:44

Your client? Is not the person paying the bill, your client is the guest in the room.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  06:53

Absolutely. And people

 

Monica Richard  06:54

fail to realize that early in their career, they're so eager to please the person writing them a check. And I learned at Disney actually, the guest is not always right, which I think is astounding to people, especially coming from a Disney cast member. No, you can't sleep tonight and Cinderella's castle, you know, Cinderella Castle is not open for everyone to sleep in. So they do tell people No. And I tell every single one of my clients no at some point. Now sometimes it's quite obvious. They can't afford the Rolling Stones. Right? I would love that. They're my favorite band. But to date, it hasn't happened for me yet. So sometime during the planning process, I'm going to have to tell them no. And it could be straight up budget. It could be like, Nope, we're not going to shoot off fireworks in this room. Because it's not allowed. So sometimes it's strictly a rule reason. But I could have to tell them no. For something they haven't thought about, maybe logistically something just isn't going to fly very well. And they have to see, they're not hearing the word. No, they just got to. I'm not saying the word. No, they're just gonna eventually hear no, but I gotta tell him why the answer is yes. And so there's got to be a logistical yes to the answer. Instead of me saying no, we're not gonna do that. So at some point in whether their planning process is eight weeks long, yes, they planned a wedding in eight weeks, or a year and a half long. I have to say no. And so I don't think I ever use the word no. But we've got to figure out what the yes is. And it's because their guest is really my client. And I want their guests to all leave with this. Wonder and delight and overwhelming sense of awe. Which makes the person who is paying my bill, whether it's the couple or the parents or the families. So look like such exceptional hosts, and look like such heroes that they didn't care. I told him no at some point. Right. They forgot that I told him no. Because for the next month, year, five years, people like that was the best event I've ever been to. So they were like, Yep, my planner crushed that. Because I mean, for example, this weekend, I was on a site visit at a state with a family. The older sister's wedding was eight years ago now. And they made a comment of how are we going to top our sister because to this day, we're still getting comments. So that was the best way we've ever been to. I remember when I told her sister now I remember saying it. I don't know that they do. But I remember telling her no but they don't remember it. So I wish everybody would remember, early in their career. The client isn't your client, the client or their 350 guests.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  10:17

There's so much in what you just said, because I think people are specially in business. No, like, it's two letters. No. But there's so much more to that. And just how you explain to that. I think that's an eye opening, we could end this episode right now. That is eye opening. But, and thank you for sharing that. Because I think that's something that people shy away from, that makes them uncomfortable like they might, because I worked with wedding planners for many years. That's going to be such a hurdle, because I know that can't work. How do I convey it? Instead of just coming out with it? Maybe not know, or not so stern, but how you said, how you maneuver around that? And how do we make this work? Or what is a workaround for that?

 

Monica Richard  11:12

Right? Actually, I was at an industry event and a planner came up to me and said, Do you really tell your clients No. And I said, Why are you asking me this? Like kind of came out of the blue. And she said that a printing company. She had asked for a brand new seating chart, very large sign it was like six feet by 10 feet tall. And it was the week of and I was like you should have gone to print three weeks out on that. She said she did with the family wanted to change the seating. And they didn't have time to reprint it. And I said I would have told him no. She said that was exactly what they said. Monica would have told them no. And I said I would have told him no for a few reasons. One you've already gone to print. And I don't actually know that you could have reprinted it from Thursday to Saturday. Secondly, that's when mistakes happen. And they don't want their guests standing at table eight that was supposed to be set for eight people. And now it's suddenly being set for 10. Because they rearranged all the seating two days out. Because catering hasn't has it set up crew has it the seating charts been printed? Mistakes happen when last minute changes are done. You need as a planner, to share with them why you don't make changes at the last second. You're not telling them no, you're telling them your why you're setting them up for success by not making them a change. And she's been in the industry for quite some time. And she's like, Huh. So you tell them no. I said, I don't tell them. No, I tell them why that seating chart was set the when it went to print three weeks earlier.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  12:54

What you said there one fix if it even could be fixed effects so many other people along the way, you are potentially wreaking havoc for several vendors that you work with not just this event, but for many events. And that sounds like a logistics nightmare.

 

Monica Richard  13:17

Right? Because I know what would have happened on Saturday night when 10 people were standing at table six, when it should have been set for eight, because all that information was disseminated two and a half or three weeks out. All because they rearranged all their seating charts.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  13:32

Okay, so this leads me to something else. We haven't even talked about this before. Would you want to share anything about boundaries? Or do you have boundaries with how your clients how you set those with email, phone calls, text messages?

 

Monica Richard  13:52

I'm probably not awesome at that to be very candid. However, I only take eight to 10 clients a year. So that my boundaries are my quantity. In that regard, I'm not taking 3040 clients a year. I am very discerning about who I take how many I take, because of the type of clientele I have. I suppose I suppose if they were writing me at midnight, I'm not writing back. I'm asleep literally right. And I'm very clear. I'll say I have a wedding this weekend. They kind of know it, actually. I mean, they figure it out.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  14:27

Your boundaries are pretty much kind of wrapped in with your clientele and only doing eight or so events a year.

 

Monica Richard  14:36

Right, man by quantity, you get that quality, but they actually figure out when the other wedding is. I mean, there's only so many and they secretly get excited for one another like there's this club mentality. They don't know each other's names per se, but they figure it out. And they cheer for each other even through social like they're like oh my gosh, here's a separate I can't wait for mine or whatever you know Um, yeah, I noticed them on each other, you know, if somebody posts a picture, they're like, Isn't She Great? Or phone or? Wow, that's so cool. I've noticed that, but they don't. They don't text on a Saturday when I have an event they know I have. So that that is its own natural boundary. But if I, if I, I am in Europe, you know, like I am in Europe that they know the timezone change, but they're like, go to Europe have fun, you've learned that? You know, they don't. They don't write they don't question it.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  15:35

I hear so much in your voice about. I know, you're passionate about what you do. But your ideal client? Like it seems like you work with your ideal clients.

 

Monica Richard  15:47

Yes, it's very It's very cute that they, when I say I'm only working, you know, I only take eight to 10 clients here. And the reason the number varies is a few. If I have a destination or attended private estate event, that those two things naturally take more time. And so they knock out the availability on the calendar for another event. So that's why it's kind of a

 

Kristina Stubblefield  16:14

I love hearing that part of your own boundaries. I love that you throw that in there. Yeah.

 

Monica Richard  16:18

So they, when they say something along the lines of Well, is there room for my wedding? I know right then that were meant to be? I can tell there's a respect? Yes, yes. Yeah. The way they ask it or the way they they it's almost like they they can tell they're being interviewed as much as I'm interviewing them. We know, I know. Right? Then there's another part in the interview process. I make a joke and the way they react to it. I know They're the utterances fit Yeah, I know that the contracts about to happen. But I'm not gonna sit on this call. It's too private.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  16:55

No. And but what you just said there about both interview happening both ways. I wish more wedding professionals realized the power that they could have, with their own schedule their own boundaries, by really focusing in on their ideal clients, and not necessarily booking every event that comes their way.

 

Monica Richard  17:22

Gosh, no, it is not a business transaction for me. And Eddie, I mean, quite clearly, there's a contract and there's a financial situation, but it is not transactional. And I suppose there's probably been less than five, and they hurt, they feel terrible. I don't feel good about that situation at all. They, they sing, they linger. They should not feel like that. In our industry.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  17:53

I just was so excited because you the way you talk about things and explain them, you just have just a certain mannerism about it and how you speak. It's very just to the point. And I think, just listening to that part, it is your business, it is your life. You're the one that gets to make the decisions about those. And they go hand in hand when you're in the wedding industry. They go hand in hand for most industries, but wedding industry and just hearing you explain it and be so matter of fact. Now, before we wrap up, I know there's one topic, we were talking about this just right before that you threw out there. So I'm gonna let you say what you'd like to say about this, which was sales. Yep. Money. Go right ahead.

 

Monica Richard  18:42

So I am actually an adjunct professor at Indiana University that at two campuses in the fall semester, I am at Indianapolis, so I up lie. And in the spring semester I teach in Bloomington. So it's a long drive, but well worth it to go to my alma mater. And if anybody has that Alabama, I would teach there in a heartbeat. Just throwing that out there that I would like H H. O S, I think it's H O SP 300. teach that class in a heartbeat.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  19:14

I'll try to look up some hashtags for you. Thanks, roll type.

 

Monica Richard  19:17

Okay, so they do have a class in the wedding world, I would teach. I would teach that. Anyway. So it's called weddings as a business. It is very it is not how to plan your wedding to be very clear it is how to have a wedding, how to have any wedding related business. I have to cough I don't want to cough and I'm like You go ahead. Excuse me. How to have a business anywhere in the event industry. I don't care if you're a photographer, cake designer. I actually had a speech pathologist take the class because She wanted she has a business signing at weddings. niche and incredibly valuable. Yeah, great, great business. Unfortunately, she's not in Indiana, she went back home, which, darn it, I could use that. So yes, anybody who wants to be in the wedding industry event industries, but more specifically to weddings. So I cannot stress this enough, because I think too many young professionals think, okay, I'll just charge 1500 bucks, because that's my mortgage payment, or my car payment or whatever. They aren't looking at what they're making per hour. So I actually I have an activity, I do not tell them what to charge, I show them how to chart. And so we set out the whiteboard, we would call it a blackboard in our day. And they figure out it'll they make up an arbitrary amount of money. And we figure out how many hours event what would have taken and how much they made. And one kid this semester said, I actually make more than that pre tips as a barista, I was like, Thank you for your enlightenment. So they are starting to realize they need to be charging more, when you under value yourself, you are under valuing the entire industry. So that $1,500 for a day of coordinator, and I know that's the not good term for it, right? But and they they do know that day offs, don't just roll in the day off. But when you are undervaluing yourself, and charging 1500 bucks, because it was your car payment or your mortgage or rent, you're not going to be in business in a year to have rent to pay. And you see all these little light bulbs go up over their heads, you know, 20 kids boom, boom, boom, 20 light bulbs, you got to charge. What you need to be charging so that you're in business in a year don't undervalue the entire industry because you need your mortgage payment.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  21:57

I spoke with you about this just briefly before we started. And so many times when I've met with wedding professionals will make it this is what I'm charging. This is what I'm making? Do you have a website? Do you pay somebody in your posts on your social media? You have insurance you got in taxes, but then the light bulbs, as you mentioned start going off well, but also have these eight software's Oh, well, I also this, and I'm also part of these associations, and these expenses come out of that. And you're exactly right. One of my favorite sayings is community over competition. And you can elevate the whole industry. But the complete opposite can happen when you undercut or undervalue whatever wording you want to use there. And you're making pennies, and so much stress and all the things that come with it. A lot of times it's not, we're not going to clocking in at a job and clocking out, and then you forget about it, you turn your phone off, you don't check your email.

 

Monica Richard  23:07

That doesn't work like that. And I think they realize quickly, thankfully, I've been teaching 13 years. So now many of them are my colleagues, or they work as educator, catering, or they work as photographers they're out there. They're you know, these people I see every, every week. They're going to get a call of so and so's charging 2500. And then they want to charge five. And they realize they are somebody else's undervaluing the entire industry. So it's challenging, because if someone else is under valuing everybody, it's hard to have a median. That is a correct starting point. Somebody's got to be the most expensive girl in the room. Right? Okay, fine. Happy to be that. If four or five people want to be the most expensive, that's great for everybody. But no one but people are very afraid to be the average. If everyone brings up that average.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  24:10

It's a win win.

 

Monica Richard  24:11

Yes, it no one should be charging 15 or whatever arbitrary number the kids want to make it. But they all interestingly, every year when I do this activity, they all start at that same number. When I was like, What do you think you should be charging? They all randomly pull out of thin air, the same number, the same number and they have for 13 years? That number hasn't changed in 13 years or 13 years. They've all said the same number. Every year. It hasn't changed. Why? I don't know. But it's always been the same number.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  24:43

Everything else has gone up drastically. I'll mean, especially food is just everything has gone up though. 13

 

Monica Richard  24:54

years or 10 years. I remember. I could write it down on a piece of paper and hide it in there going To say the same number every year. It's astounding to me,

 

Kristina Stubblefield  25:03

Well, that is definitely more than food for thought. Thinking about your pricing, and that is, I'm so glad that they're, that you do that in your class, because those are young professionals, like you say that are going to go into the industry potentially, or hopefully, and to be able to start off on the right foot. You know, I think a lot of times people jump in, at whatever age in the wedding industry, I'm gonna be a DJ, I'm gonna get me some speakers and a mixer and download some music. with not a lot of business knowledge or not joining organizations to get additional education or information. I think that's a great thing. And you do an excellent job of it being the state chair with the ABC, being able to have things like what we are here today for continuing education and information to help the industry as a whole.

 

Monica Richard  26:00

Thank you, we do it, we always do a day of quote unquote, not bad. But we do that. And I always if I know that I have a potential photographer in the class or potential DJ in the class, but I try to do one from their perspective as well, because I don't want to be myopic in their viewpoint for the class. But this semester, we only had we didn't only but that was the most fitting for this group of kids this semester.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  26:31

Well, I really appreciate you taking time. Real quick, when you share with the audience about your business, how they can connect with you or find out more information about you.

 

Monica Richard  26:40

Sure. Mon Amie Events. So a little bit of French there is my Insta, and MonAmieEvents.com is my website. Monica, Richard is my name. And I am in the Indianapolis area. As we said, I only take a discerning number of clients each year, I will travel anywhere in the world. And I enjoy it very much to travel. But you're taking away somebody else's spot on the coveted 23 or 24 calendar. But I would do so with pleasure.

 

Kristina Stubblefield  27:16

And as I mentioned, she is the state chair for the Association of bridal consultants. I'm really enjoy being part of that organization. I'm glad you are. So if you're in the state of Indiana and a wedding professional, you don't have to be a wedding planner, you do not have to be a member of that, but you would fall under Monica. And she does a great job of doing events throughout the year. And I can't wait to post and put out information about today's event. But thanks everyone for tuning in. As I said when I started I knew that she would have some great insights and just her way of delivering it is amazing. wanted to keep this short and sweet. I'm sure it's one that you'll probably want to go back and listen to again. I hope that you find this episode helpful. Remember at anytime you can visit my website and get access to previous episodes. If you're not part of the Facebook group, I encourage you to join. Just go to my website, kristinastubblefield.com and you will see a link on there. Until next time, take care

Monica Richard Profile Photo

Monica Richard

President

Mon Amie Events, Inc was founded over 10 years ago by Monica Richard, MWP ™. Her strength lies in making her clients’ experience less stressful and more magical. This stems from her background at Walt Disney World. By focusing on logistics, Monica’s goal is to make each of her clients feel as though they are guests at their own events, while allowing them to step into a fantasy beyond their wildest expectations.

Planning weddings and social events are often big experiences and life changing events. Monica wants her clients and their guests to long remember these moments, so she ensures the planning process and the event itself are a time of great joy. Working directly with each of her clients is important, so Mon Amie Events, Inc only takes a limited number of clients annually to give this personalized and couture service. That way, when the event comes, Monica’s clients can immerse themselves in the environment, and enjoy the memories with their guests.

While awards and accolades have come from a number of industry magazines, blogs and organizations, including being named to the Indianapolis Business Journal 2015 Class of 40 Under 40, Monica is also proud to be part of the faculty for Indiana University. She is seen as the preeminent leader in social special event planning, so has served as an adjunct instructor at her alma mater Indiana University. (both in Bloomington, IN and at their Indianapolis campus.) Monica also has joined the exclusive ranks, being one of the first fifty people in the world who has earned the distinction Master Wedding Planner™