Company News

Happy Birthday To Us!

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On November 8, 2002, I filed the official paperwork creating First Coast Weddings and Events. Whew. I actually had to call the IRS and talk to a real person to get a taxpayer ID number, because they didn’t have a way to do it online back then. My, how things have changed!

And talk about changes… sometimes I look back at a file that has my original logo on it. What was I thinking?! And my first website – you don’t even want to know what that looked like! It had a marble background, very corporatey looking. Not me at all! I’m so thankful that I learned early on that I needed to be myself, and that I would attract clients that are like me. I am still amazed that I managed to book any clients with that original website – but I did.

As I was typing this, I decided to actually show you that hideous old logo. And it took quite a while to find!

original FCWE logo

It wasn’t on the two external hard drives I normally use for backup/old files. It wasn’t on any flash drives. Guess what I finally had to dig out to find it? Yep, one of these bad boys:

iomega_zip_100mb_usb_powered_external_drive

The Iomega Zip 100mb. The precursor to flash drives. Now 90% of my files live in the cloud, not even on a physical drive. Mind. Blown.

Well, enough of this stroll down memory lane. I’m happy to announce that our current logo got a little tweak. Not a huge change, but I hope you like it!

First Coast Weddings and Events logo

I changed the pineapple a little bit and updated the font on the bottom line. I’ve wrestled with this for a long time – I even hired a designer to create a completely new logo last year. But I could never bring myself to start using it, even though I loved it. So I’ve been playing around with it for about a year now, and I think I’m finally happy! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

And here’s some other cool stuff that’s happened this year – Lauren got married, moved back to Jacksonville, and rejoined our team! Emma give birth to her second child, a sweet little girl that we all adore! And just last weekend, Kari got engaged! So it’s been a pretty spectacular year for our team. We can’t wait to see what the next year holds.

First Coast Weddings 2013 Year In Review

The 10+ Year Club: First Coast Weddings and Events

We’re excited to be starting a new blog series! Over the next several weeks, we’ll be spotlighting local wedding companies that have been in business for 10 or more years. And naturally, we’ll start with ourselves! Here are the questions we’ll be asking other wedding professionals, and our answers as given by our owner, Heather Canada.

What year did you start your business? 2002

What was your motivation? I had worked in theme parks, country clubs, and hotels for several years after college. I knew in college I wanted to be an event planner, but I saw myself working for a corporation planning their shareholder events, training seminars, and trade shows. Working in catering, I began doing weddings and eventually fell in love with the variety and personalization that weddings offered. I wanted a chance to work more closely with my brides and grooms than I was able to in a club or hotel setting, so First Coast Weddings was born!

How has your business changed over the years? My initial vision was to do a mix of corporate events and weddings – but over the years, I have focused our marketing and attention solely on weddings. We’ll do the occasional corporate dinner or social event, but it’s usually a spin-off from someone who knows us from the wedding world! We have also grown in size – I started with one assistant coordinator, and now our team includes six planners/coordinators.

Looking back, what do you wish you had done differently? Of course, there are always decisions that you’d like to change – but overall, I’m very happy with where we are today!

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of earning my Master Bridal Consultant designation in 2012, and I’m also proud to provide educational opportunities and apprenticeships to members of the Association of Bridal Consultants.

Why do you think your business has made it while so many other small businesses fail in the first five years? For wedding planners, there are really no barriers to entry to this industry. It’s easy for someone to have fun planning their own wedding, and think they can do it as a career. It’s much harder to take someone else’s vision and make it a reality – and then multiply that by 15 or 20 brides at once! I think that we provide excellent service to our clients, and we maintain close relationships with other wedding professionals. Referrals are always our number one source of new business! I also attend at least one continuing education conference each year to stay up on the latest trends and products.

What advice do you have for a business just starting out in your industry? Join ABC! I have created amazing friendships, opportunities, and connections over my 11 years as an ABC member. And I know that I have a network of other incredible planners around the world that I can count on when I need something. I also suggest interning or apprenticing with a seasoned planner before  jumping in. And be sure all of your financial and legal ducks are in a row before you hang out your shingle.

Do you have a most memorable wedding or funny story you’d like to share? I have so many wonderful memories! I think one of my favorites was from the photo below. It was after Kimberly and Victor’s wedding in 2008; I had spent over a year getting to know Kimberly and her family – both of her parents attended almost every meeting, and were part of every decision! They are a wonderful family full of love and caring. Usually at the end of the reception, we send the bride and groom off in a limo or Rolls Royce or horse and carriage… but Victor and Kimberly and her parents were there in the ballroom long after all the guests had left. Part of it was exhaustion, part of it was just enjoying reveling in the beauty and love of the day. I loved that they took a few minutes to relax and talk on the fuzzy pink lounge furniture before Kimberly and Victor went off to begin their life as husband and wife. So sweet!

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Premier Wedding Expo Bridal Show – This Sunday!

Premier Wedding Expo Bridal Show Jacksonville FL Show PosterLooking for a great way to meet lots of wedding professionals in one place? Stop by the Premier Wedding Expo this Sunday! We have been proud to help produce these great events for many years, and they keep getting better.

  • Over 100 exhibitors
  • Great discounts and prizes will be available for brides planning their weddings
  • Each bride gets a bridal bag when entering the show

The event runs from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the UNF University Center (12000 Alumni Drive). Tickets are $10 at the door, but if  you purchase the online in advance they are only $7! Be sure to visit the show’s website, www.PremierWeddingExpo.com, to learn more.

Flagler College Weddings | St. Augustine, Florida

A fairy tale setting, right here in North Florida. Actually, four fairy tale settings. I’m pleased to announce that First Coast Weddings and Events has been approved to coordinate and plan weddings at Flagler College in St. Augustine.

As a Flagler alum, I’m super excited because this magical place was literally my home. And I can’t wait to share it with brides and grooms.

Flagler College Weddings

Flagler College has opened four of their facilities to the public for use during the summer months, when school is not in session. The venues include:

  • The Ponce de Leon Ballroom, which is part of the original Ponce de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler in 1888. The Ponce celebrates it’s 125th anniversary this year! The ballroom is surrounded by original Tiffany stained glass windows, ornate wood carvings, and murals by George W. Maynard.
  • The Solarium, also in the Ponce, was just added to the venue list this month. This amazing space on the top floor of the building overlooks the St. Augustine skyline. The Solarium was just renovated after sitting vacant since 1971. (Read about the renovations here)
  • Markland House has the feel of a Southern estate. In fact, it was originally built in an orange grove! The large trees and historic furnishings add to the ambiance.
  • The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum features tiled floors, wood beam cathedral ceilings and an outdoor garden. This space can be a blank slate during July and August, since there are not exhibits on display during these months.

Since three of these four venues are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Ponce is a National Historic Landmark, there are lots of regulations in place to protect the facilities. All the rental costs, guidelines and more photos are on the Flagler College website. Or, you can contact us for additional information about how we can help you plan your wedding at these amazing new (old) venues.

The photo above is from the Flagler College website and was taken by our friends (and fellow Flagler alums!) at Life and Love Studio.

We’ll Be Back – Honest!

You may have noticed, we haven’t been blogging lately. In almost 3 months, actually. Oops! 🙂

Hopefully you can forgive our absence. But we will be back, starting next week – and we’ll continue featuring real weddings, tips to help with your planning, and vendor spotlights to showcase the great people we work with.

Do you have a topic you’d like help with? Ask us at info@firstcoastweddings.com.