Brave Love & Self Care

Episode 60: Brave Love & Self Care with Alexis Asbe

Would you ever treat an employee the way you treat yourself? Most of us are pretty rough on ourselves and we don’t take the time for self care because it feels like we have a million other things to do. Here’s the thing though, there is a very good reason why airlines tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. You are no help to anyone if you’re unconscious from lack of oxygen. The same thing applies to business and today you’ll hear from Alexis Asbe about the importance of self care and how to fit it into your busy schedule.

or access the episode here!

Simplicity is Significant

I love this article found via Offbeat Bride outlining the beauty of simplicity when it comes to a wedding. Basically took the words right out of my mouth! Is a no-frills wedding right for you? What’s meaningful for you?

 

Photo by 10baretoes Photography
Original article by Inverted Jenny
September 8, 2014

My future husband and I went to the first of three weddings we will attend before we are wed. It was a delight to sit back and enjoy someone else’s big day, rather than fussing over our own.

Obviously I was paying attention to the choices that were made and how they compared to ours. But rather than breaking that down bit by bit, I’ll mention some of the lessons I took away from the whole thing…

1. You can have a no-frills wedding and people will absolutely still enjoy it

This wedding was held on a campground in the mountains. The couple was married in a small amphitheater and the 40-50 guests sat on logs surrounding them. There was no bridal party. The bride did not carry flowers. Dinner was Mexican food in the lodge, the cakes were pre-made by a beloved local bakery. They served good beer and wine and bottles of hard liquor appeared later on. Dancing took place on a basketball court (complete with nets) and a bonfire was held later with marshmallows and savory snacks for the drinkers. I think the sole decorations were blue and white plastic table covers in the lodge, a single string of colored Christmas lights around the basketball court, and a simple photo booth.

And guess what? No one missed any of the extras. Everyone was happy to catch up with old friends, dance crazily, laugh at drunken antics, bask in the glow of the bonfire, and crash in their tents at the end of the night. All that mattered was that the bride and groom brought their friends and family together in one place and made sure they were relaxed and comfortable. That was more than enough.

2. You can dispense with traditions at your wedding and people will still enjoy it

Once and for all, I’ve decided to never again listen to those who say, “It’a not a wedding if you don’t have [thing that the speaker wants you to have]!” A wedding is a wedding because two people get married and that is all there is to it. This bride and groom had no cake cutting, no first dance, no bouquet or garter tosses, and no toasts, and no one missed any of these things because they weren’t things that fit this bride and groom’s style.

It’s awesome to have these things if you want them, and it’s great to let them go if you don’t. I’ve been married before, and I learned from my first wedding that people know when you’re doing something just because you thought you had to. I’m finally feeling pretty secure about making similar decisions for our wedding.

3. Be gracious and don’t shy away from being of service

The bride and the groom made a small speech thanking everyone for coming, took it upon themselves to make sure their guests knew what was happening next throughout the night (there was no MC; they did all the announcements themselves), and helped clean up the lodge themselves in between dinner and dancing (guests pitched in, too).

I think we’ve been sold this idea that the bride and the groom shouldn’t have to lift a finger and should be completely catered to on their big day, and while that’s fine, it’s not always necessary. I really felt like I was personally welcomed and hosted by this bride and groom, and there was a real sweetness to that that I haven’t experienced at a lot of weddings.

But lest I sound too preachy, I’ll report this exchange between me and my partner while we helped clean up:

Him: See, this is nice. Don’t be surprised if I do a lot of this at our wedding.
Me: No way, dude, that’s why I hired a coordinator!

We chatted later about it and I pointed out that I wanted us to have time to focus on one another and on our guests, not on cleanup, and he said that seemed like a good idea. Still, this wedding got me thinking about how I can take it upon myself to make sure our guests feel welcomed by us.

4. Provide what entertainment you can, and your guests will take care of the rest

People who want to have a good time don’t really require much to do so. They will take what you are able to give and run with it. At this wedding, we didn’t particularly care for the DJ, but then I began to worry a bit: at least this couple was offering dancing, which is something we won’t be able to do at our wedding! (Venue doesn’t have space for it.) My fiancé then pointed out that when the songs were no good, people weren’t dancing, but they were still excitedly talking to one another on the dance floor. “They really just want to catch up with their friends,” he said, and I think he was right.

You don’t have to worry about the DJ being good enough, or the games being the right selections, or the exact number of chairs around the bonfire or whatever. Pick things that will likely work for your people and let them make their own fun after that. I watched a whole group of people enthusiastically sing Raffi songs around a bonfire at this wedding because they overheard the bride singing. You can’t plan for that kind of goodness!

5. The emotional stuff is the real takeaway

My favorite moment of this wedding was when the groom’s father teared up during his reading. I’ll take feels over frills any day.

 

Article Source: http://offbeatbride.com/2014/09/no-frills-wedding

Brave Marketing: 10 Musts for Wedding Professionals

The wedding world would call this time of year the Engagement Season. As we, the wedding and hospitality professionals, dig in to marketing, sales, and bridal fair season, it’s important for us to remember that the service we offer is an extension of who we are. How do we offer what we do in the best way that represents us? In everything we do we have the opportunity to do it with exemplified love. Whether it’s when we’re in the trenches of conducting and growing a business, parenting, or even at the gym *insert heavy lifting and grunt here,* when we are focused on the desired outcome with clear intentions, we can use any opportunity to serve up a big platter of excellence, authenticity, and care. I call this your best self. We put our best self forward, we know what our intentions are, and we keep them at the absolute front of our marketing plan.

Being able to provide people with information and resources is a gift. I like giving. Personally I give by showing I care and I want to help. Essentially, this is marketing. We market by helping, serving, and developing relationships with people. Marketing is building relationships. As many of us pros are headed to fairs and expos to boldly share and offer our services and/or products, the most successful will prepare for these events with the following list of these 10 musts:

  1. Be confident. You are an expert and there to serve. Share your experiences and knowledge positively, with enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to share why you love what you do. Be completely you. Don’t pretend to be something or someone you are not.
  2. Don’t overwhelm. Couples on the average have 160 things to do when planning a wedding and not to mention family and friends with opinions and a desire to help. Keep your message and service simple. Provide a unique, clean and simple (emphasis on simple!) way to show what you do.
  3. Stand Up. Passively sitting can make people feel like you are not interested in meeting them (use chairs for short breaks).
  4. Smile. As in most situations, it is best to smile, smile, smile, and keep smiling in order to be more approachable. Smiling exudes happiness. Be happy; no one wants a grumpy person at their wedding and they certainly won’t want to work with a vendor they view as grumpy.
  5. Make eye contact. When talking with someone, make eye contact to create a sincere connection. Scanning the room or looking at your phone or iPad are sure-fire ways to make the person you are speaking to feel less than important. Side note: also true in your love relationship.
  6. Listen. When meeting someone new, it’s best to really listen to what they’re saying and connect with him or her by acknowledging that you can relate to understand what they’re feeling. Listening and establishing a connection can create trust and trust creates a strong foundation for business development.
  7. Ask questions. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you can help. Be sure to ask people questions and learn from what they say. How can you help?
  8. Be a connector. You may not be able to help everyone but make it a practice to connect and introduce people to others who can. Your connections and resources are more valuable than you may realize.
  9. Don’t worry about the competition. My Dad always said, “don’t worry about the competition, let the competition worry about you.” Focus on being your best and don’t waste energy thinking negatively of others. Run your own race and be the best at what you do. Seek coaching, learning, and improvement opportunities if you find yourself obsessing about your competitors.
  10. Give them a reason to see you again. Invite and give clients (and their families) a reason to contact you again. Preferably at a different location within a couple weeks of meeting them. Invite them to your office or shop for a seminar, open house, or event. This will give you an opportunity to show them what you actually do and for them to experience you or your service without distraction.

All that we are and everything we do can be a display, expression, and opportunity to represent our best self. With our best selves, we can bravely love ourselves and others through our work, even when selling and marketing our wares.

The Discerning Service of the Four Seasons, San Fransisco

I arrived at the Four Seasons, San Francisco and everyone knew my name. Upon check in I was greeted as an anticipated friend. I entered my sophisticated, modernly decorated room and a beautiful fruit and snack plate was waiting for me, as if they knew that I would need a little snack after traveling. Impeccable details and service are the things that I relish about the Four Seasons in San Francisco. I was graciously given a beautiful room with a view of San Francisco, as my family and I were there to attend our dear family friend’s wedding. After touring the hotel, I knew this was going to be the wedding of the year!

Please enjoy learning about the Four Seasons, as I had the privilege to spend time with the renowned David Robinson, Director of Catering. The only thing more luxurious than the hotel is the graciousness of the staff. David and his team lead by example, providing families with the utmost service and discerning attention.

Q: Welcome David, and thank you for taking the time to talk with me and our alexisasbe.com readers about the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, a luxury landmark destination for weddings and events.

A: First, let me say I have selected Four Seasons, San Francisco to be on our exclusive “A” List, which is the best of the best, because it is known for its modern luxury and exquisite service.  As you may know in mybestselling book, “At the Altar in Your Underwear: A Brave Guide to Love Before, During and After Your Wedding,” I encourage people to be intensely mindful of how they create a once in a lifetime celebration while starting their lives together.

Q: Tell me about the history and mission of the Four Seasons, San Francisco?

A: Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco opened here on Market Street 11 years ago, and last year, the Four Seasons brand celebrated its 50th birthday.

The Four Seasons Hotel does not have a mission statement per se but they have their corporate values. Which, to summarize, say:

“The company’s guiding principle is the Golden Rule. As such, Four Seasons strives to have a long-lasting, positive influence on the communities where we operate and on the people we employ and serve around the world.”

Q:  Wow, that is beautiful.  Now you have seen weddings and celebrations of all kinds.  Why do you think people select the Four Seasons, San Francisco as the perfect place to get married?

A: We have a very special property here in San Francisco. Our location, the staff, the culinary talent and the dedicated wedding professionals are committed to making a bride’s wedding dreams come true. Besides, who does not want to be part of the exclusive family of Four Seasons brides!

Q:  That makes sense.  You have a bit of experience in creating once-in-a lifetime celebrations. Tell me, what is it you love about working with people?

A: I love working with a family to create their dream wedding. From the start of the process through the entire event, I am able to use my 20+ years of experience to assist them with this once-in-a-lifetime moment. There’s nothing better than creating a vision, so that, when the bride walks into the ballroom, she gasps and tells me this is the best day of her life!

Q:  Something I deeply appreciate about the Four Season brand is your contemporary styling and modern approach to décor.  As a designer, I am always stunned by the exquisite display of art and floral displays throughout the facility.  Can you give some examples of how the Four Seasons customizes each wedding or celebration?

A: Customization is our way of life here at Four Seasons, San Francisco. Based on what our clients want to offer their guests, we will design the perfect experience that will give their guests a “WOW” moment. If guests can walk away feeling surprised and delighted, we have done our jobs.

One of the biggest “WOW” factors is to allow guests to order their entrée table side. Our menus are designed with a restaurant experience in mind – not just how the menu reads, but the design and presentation too. It’s all second to none.

Q:   The hotel has a number of services and amenities available on site without leaving the property, tell me about how this makes wedding planning easy for families?

A: We are a full service hotel, which means, guests can host their wedding here and have that “one stop shop” experience in event planning and services. Not to mention, we have the 120,000 sq. ft. Sports Club LA gym and spa, the Joseph Cozza hair salon and our newly-designed MKT Bar and Restaurant all here in the building. Customization is our way of life here at Four Seasons San Francisco.

Q:  In my book, I talk specifically about the importance of honoring people.  How does the Four Seasons honor families and guests when a couple selects the Four Seasons as a wedding venue?

A: First impressions definitely set the tone. From the first planning meeting, we set the tone by offering the happy couple our best wishes in the months ahead through personalizing signage in the hotel. We also offer them a beverage of choice while we walk the space and discuss all things wedding. We always give the couple a little take-away gift as the part of the final touch so our couples keep Four Seasons top-of-mind.

Q:  Tell us about the most memorable celebration you have had at the Four Seasons?

A: One recent memorable moment happened when the mother of the bride surprised the wedding couple with a 40 person flash mob. It was so current and hip that everyone got in on the excitement! But the most memorable for me is not always the celebration, but the bride and her family. When a bride hugs you before you leave for the night and she thanks you for creating the BEST night of her life, it is a proud memory forever.

Q:  Weddings can be big and small.  Would you share the range of events that the Four Seasons can accommodate?

A: No event celebration is too big or too small. We have hosted as few as 2 guests to over 450 guests for weddings.

Q:  I know you are loyal to the Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco. Do you have another Four Seasons location that you love as much and why?

A: My personal favorites are the Four Seasons in Kona and the Four Seasons in Punta Mita. I love the Four Season in Silicon Valley because I can drive 30 minutes and get spoiled for a night. Even my two dachshunds love the Silicon Valley hotel!

Q:  This has been so memorable. Would you share with readers what the first step is to planning a wedding or event at the Four Seasons, San Francisco?

A: Think about being a part of the Four Season family for the rest of your life and then give me a call. Trust me. I will protect the integrity of your wedding and will respect both the financial and emotional commitment you’ve made to us.

Q:  Thank you, David.  I am happy to share your wisdom and the Four Seasons as one of the best Hotels and Wedding Venues in San Francisco.

I felt like I am part of the Four Seasons family and no matter what city I am in, I believethe Four Seasons would be one of my first choices. In my book, “At the Altar in Underwear”, I emphasize the importance of honoring yourself and others. If you wish to truly to honor yourself and your guests, this is the place for you.

The Essence of San Fransisco; The Westin St. Francis

San Francisco is the city of LOVE. If you are looking for love, look no further. Everything about the city is embodied here at this landmark hotel.
Today I have, Lauren Schardt, the Wedding Specialist at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, with us to share some details about the hotel and wedding destination venue.

Welcome Lauren and thank you for taking the time to talk with our readers and me about The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, a luxury landmark destination for weddings and events.

First, let me say I have selected The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco to be on our exclusive A List, which is the best of the best, because it is known for its traditional, legendary location and exceptional service. As you may know, in my best selling book, “At the Altar in Your Underwear – 40 secrets to an Amazing Wedding and A Better You!” I encourage people to be intensely mindful of how they create a once-in-a-lifetime celebration while starting their life together.

Q: Tell me about the history and mission of The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco?

A: The Westin St. Francis has such a rich history and has been an integral part of San Francisco since opening in March 21, 1904. As soon as the hotel opened, it immediately became a part of the social and business heartbeat of San Francisco. That remains our mission today.

In 1906, the hotel survived the earthquake but unfortunately was later destroyed by the fire. After a year of reconstruction, the hotel reopened in 1907 and continued to prosper.

In 1972 the Tower Building opened, doubling the hotel’s capacity from 600 to 1195 guest rooms and adding banquet space including the gorgeous Imperial Floor which is our premier wedding space overlooking the San Francisco skyline.

One of my favorite history details is the beautiful magenta clock that remains in our lobby today. A coin phrase was developed and became very well known in San Francisco, which was “meet me under the clock” hence, the attraction the clock still receives today.

In 1938, one of our most time honored traditions, coin washing, was introduced by our general manager. He insisted that all of the coins at the hotel had to be cleaned in order to ensure ladies’ white gloves weren’t soiled. Today, our very own Rob Holsen is our official coin washer and we still continue this tradition 75 years later at The Westin St. Francis.

Q: Wow, thank you for sharing this, I adore history. Now, you have seen weddings and celebrations of all kinds. Why do you think people select The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco as the perfect place to get married?

A: The hotel is so iconic and such a part of San Francisco history that so many people have special ties back to The Westin St. Francis, whether it’s personal memories such as proms, first dates or even first kisses… to family traditions such as coming to see the Sugar Castle during the holidays, shopping in Union Square or riding the cable car out front. I think these wonderful memories always come to light when planning the most important day of your life.

Q: That makes sense. You have a bit of experience in creating once-in-a lifetime celebrations. Tell me, what do you love about working with people?

A: I love working with couples because you get to see so many special traditions take place during a wedding. The wedding, of course and most importantly, is about the bride and groom. But seeing families come together or grandparents dance after 60 years of marriage is amazing and what makes weddings so special to me. I have the pleasure of getting to know my clients over many months, sometimes years, of planning and seeing them enjoy their wedding just as every detail was discussed. It is truly magical.

Q: Something I deeply appreciate about The Westin St. Francis is the atmosphere and character. As a designer, I love the renowned décor. Can you give some examples of how The Westin St. Francis can customize each wedding or celebration?

A: Absolutely! Each wedding is completely different than the last. When we begin planning at The Westin St. Francis, every detail is discussed so I know what’s most important to each couple and can help highlight those items during the wedding. Beginning with décor, we give couples their choice in colored linen. This makes each wedding look completely different than the last. We work on custom printed menus, ensuring what we place on the dinner tables matches the clients theme and overall feel. We offer multiple planning meetings and walk throughs so we can ensure the cake is placed in the perfect location, the couple and our staff know exactly when the first dance is going to happen and where the bride’s parents are seated so we can extend a very warm welcome to them. Our wedding couples aren’t given lunch or dinner menus to make selections, rather they are given menus for inspiration. Prior to the tasting, I meet with every couple and we talk through their likes, dislikes and their overall vision. Our culinary team then creates a custom menu, ensuring they get exactly what they want. Every step along the way, our mission is to go above and beyond and make every wedding different from the last.

Q: The hotel has a number of services and amenities available. Tell me about how this makes wedding planning less stressful for all involved?

A: When couples book their wedding at The Westin St. Francis they are treated to a complimentary specialty suite the night before their wedding. This allows the bride to wake up at the hotel on the day of her wedding, have her hair and makeup done onsite and not have to worry about a thing. As mentioned, I am here throughout the planning process and can answer questions about how many tables are needed for cocktail hour or when the appropriate time is for the bride’s father to make a toast. I believe having a professional to bounce ideas off of can help make planning much easier. We work to make each wedding more special by providing services like the custom linen, the popular wedding chiavari chair, gorgeous Wedgewood china and a contact whose onsite during the wedding to oversee the timeline we worked so closely on. We want our brides and grooms to enjoy every minute of their wedding!

Q: In my book, I talk specifically about the importance of honoring people. How do you honor their families and their guests when they select The Westin St. Francis as a wedding venue?

A: Before moving into any of the planning stages with a couple, we welcome all family members to join the hotel for a site visit to experience what it feels like to get married at The Westin St. Francis. I want to connect with all of the couples’ families to make sure important traditions are accomplished and carried through each generation.

Of course, the bride and groom are treated like royalty and receive a complimentary specialty suite for their wedding but the parents of the bride and groom are welcomed with custom amenities to deepen the relationship we have built.

Q: Tell me about the most memorable celebration you have had at The Westin St. Francis?

A: It’s always hard to narrow down the most memorable celebration because there is a detail in every wedding that differs from the last or the next but if I had to choose one it would be a couple by the name of Terry & Hans. Terry & Hans said they knew they found the perfect location for their reception as soon as they walked off the elevators on the Imperial floor. After deciding this was definitely the location for their reception, they invited Terry’s mom to see the hotel. She was just as excited as Terry & Hans were and we began planning! The couple had a large guest list of friends they wanted to celebrate with and so did their parents. In order to accommodate the feel of a more intimate celebration they decided to host their ceremony on Treasure Island, invite their parent’s friends for a luncheon in Alexandra’s and then invite their friends and close family for a party reception in the evening on the entire Imperial Floor. It was just perfect! The parents and their friends enjoyed exactly what they wanted, a beautiful luncheon, great conversation and the chance to wish the bride and groom the best of luck. The evening reception, was two hundred and twenty guests that I thought all knew each other from their childhood because of the love and excitement that filled the room. The bride and groom made the evening lively with a dance off grand announcement, the best MOH & BM speeches that had everyone hysterically laughing and the groom topped the show with a serenade to his new bride, as he was formerly a musician that had everyone in tears. The opportunity to have two dream weddings in one day was just perfect. The excitement of guests and the looks on their faces were priceless. The wedding was just perfect!

Q: Weddings can be big and small. Can you describe the range of events that The Westin St Francis can accommodate?

A: The Westin St. Francis has beautiful Specialty Suites which are great for hosting small, intimate receptions or even private dinners. Our St. Francis suite, which is one of the original living quarters of the hotel, offers a lot of historic charm and is an intimate venue option perfect for up to 80 guests. Our premier wedding space is the Imperial Floor where we have two venues, Victor’s Palace which is perfect for receptions up to one hundred and ten guests and Alexandra’s which is ideal for receptions up to two hundred and twenty guests. Both of these spaces have fourteen foot floor-to-ceiling windows and opulent décor that lends perfectly to any wedding! If a couple’s guest list extends beyond two hundred and twenty guests, our Colonial Room, Italian Room and Grand Ballroom are the ideal option. The Colonial Room features balconies that wrap three sides of the room and a beautiful mural that depicts a Tuscany countryside.

While the Grand Ballroom features fifteen crystal chandeliers and a built-in orchestra stage and can seat up to eight hundred guests. One of my favorite rooms often used for wedding ceremonies up to one hundred and twenty guests is the Borgia Room. The Borgia Room is the original chapel of the hotel, offering a hand painted ceiling and original wood paneled walls. It is a must see for couples considering The Westin St. Francis for their wedding!

Q: I know that you are passionate about your facility here in San Francisco. Do you have another favorite Westin location that you love and why?

A: I love warm weather and the summer months so I would like to travel to The Westin Dawn Beach Resort.

Q: This has been so memorable! Would you share with readers what the first step is to planning a wedding or event at The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco?

A: Couples can contact our team at 415-733-1255.

Thank you, Lauren. I am so grateful to have you and The Westin St. Francis as one of my favorite hotels and Wedding Venues in San Francisco. I had the unique privilege to stay here, compliments of the hotel, and attend a wedding in the city with my family. We were all delighted with the historic rooms, service and convenience of the hotel. Union square is bustling with shopping, food and street vendors. I highly recommend staying at the Westin, St. Francis if you have not before. The history, location and décor will capture the true essence of the city of LOVE.

Remember I am your LOVE A.L.L.Y. - all About Love, Life & You!

Peace, Love and tell them I sent you…

Ally