How Hope Moves

If you can’t or won't see the world the way it actually is — both good and evil, both fair and unjust, full of both joy and sorrow — then you can’t move forward in a way that makes it better.

If you can’t or won't dream big enough to see the world in a way it could be, then you'll move forward in bitterness, wondering why nothing ever changes.

If you choose to only view the world in a way that confirms your own biases and comfort zones, you’ll reach the end of your life with years full of movement, but that movement will be akin to having run on a hamster wheel for a lifetime. It's movement, sure, but not movement that ultimately made a difference.

Hope isn't a pollyanna and it doesn't ignore reality. Instead it says, "This is how things are right now but we're going to try a better way."

How you choose to see determines how — and where — you move.


Originally published February 2015

5 Facts About Luxury Weddings

It's no secret that the luxury wedding market (defined as wedding budgets of $96,000 or more, not including the honeymoon) is a sought after segment of the bridal industry. Working with couples who have higher budgets not only allows wedding professionals more money to work with creatively, but helps many in the industry build sustainable businesses. When there are only 52 weekends in a year to hold the majority of weddings, being able to charge more for services is a strategic option that many pros try to make a reality. If you're one of the wedding professionals working in or wanting to move into the high-end wedding market, here are five facts about luxury weddings that may be useful as you develop and improve on your business and marketing plans:

1. It's not just the parents who are wealthy. 

1 in 5 (22%) of couples who had a luxury wedding last year have an annual household income of over $500,000. 

2. It's not just mom or dad footing the bill. 

More than a third (38%) of couples having a luxury wedding pay for part or all of the wedding themselves. This means that potential wedding budget money is likely competing with other financial priorities: investments, retirement, a new home purchase, and even taking care of other people (1 in 5 millennials are financially responsible for family members outside of their household).

3. Million dollar weddings are a real thing. 

10% of couples having luxury weddings spent a million dollars or more last year, a percentage that actually increased from 2015, believe it or not. While 10% may seem like a small percentage, it's still a significant number of weddings. The competition may be fierce, but there is plenty of work in this ultra-luxe segment to go after. 

4. Pinterest is (still) the most used social media platform among wealthy brides and grooms. (Instagram is number five. Yes, really.)

This is one of those facts that creatives don't like to hear, but just because Pinterest may not be your social platform of choice doesn't make it any less valuable to engaged couples in research mode. Remember, people use social differently when wedding planning than they do in their daily life. These couples may not be DIYing everything, but they are highly educated and do their homework. They will expect you to know everything about every idea they bring to the table, and they will come armed with research. This isn't a knock against you as an expert, it's them trusting that you know even more than they can possibly find online.

5. High-end brides and grooms read both print magazines and wedding blogs. 

1 in 5 (20%) of brides or grooms started reading wedding magazines before they were even engaged, and nearly half (42%) read wedding blogs before getting engaged. It's a lot easier to read blogs on the down low before a ring is on your finger than it is a magazine, but this group does read both print and digital. With this highly educated group, it's important to make sure that your marketing and publicity efforts aren't narrowly focused to just one platform or media outlet. 

You can learn more about the luxury wedding market and how real couples are making their bridal purchase and hiring decisions by downloading the 2017 Luxury Wedding Market Report from Splendid Insights. You can also download the Ultra Luxury Wedding Market Report (budgets of $500,000+) or choose from over a dozen other wedding market reports


Photo by Nancy Ray

Bitter or Better

In life and business, you'll be served up experiences you'd rather not have. To think you can control everything that comes your way — either through being a good person or positive thinking — is a philosophy of bondage and not at all rooted in reality.

Kind, positive people are diagnosed with cancer every day.
Wholesome, hospitable families lose loved ones far too early every day.
Ethical, generous companies get knocked off every day.

It's not because of some moral failing on their part or because they neglected to send the right vibes out into the universe.

In a sense, this plays out like a chess game. You can't control your opponent's moves, you can only control your own. Your choices incorporate strategy, foresight, skill . . . but the magic is that the responsibility for your moves is 100% yours.

You can allow the experiences that come your way to make you bitter or better, but you can't blame anyone else for how you choose to respond to them. That is all you.


Originally published September 2014