Bridal Affairs

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Monday, January 10, 2011


Tonight in my usual surf of the web for industry news, I clicked on the daily offering of eWedNews and found that, once again, Paul Pannone has hit the nail on the head. Paul has been following an on- going report about "experts" in the wedding industry. Below is an interview with Samantha Goldberg, celebrity planner. Ms Goldberg tells us all just how important it is to hire true professionals for your wedding. I hope you will all read the article and really think about what she says. It may save your wedding and it may save the career of someone who is passionate about their experience and ability.

Brash, Bold and To The Point, Wedding Planner Samantha Goldberg Tells It Like It Is

By Paul Pannone

eWedNews continues our investigation of self-proclaimed wedding experts being taken to task by those that are accredited, have the true credentials, professional experience and tenaciousness to call it like it is. In this latest segment we’re shining the light on a more outspoken segment of the business that not only has a lot to say but says it with a vigor that may not be suitable for everyone; such is life today in the big city.

Event planners by the dozen are responding to eWedNews coverage that define and question the meaning of the word and true role of wedding experts. Until now there has never been a true accounting but rather very subjective interpretations and loosely gathered opinions of what an expert is and what they do. But throughout the recent eWN investigation it is being concluded the truth and best results rests squarely on data-driven information, rather than opinion.

Information mined, analyzed and distributed by is being used to confirm or dispel reported trends and fairy dust information that has no basis. In increasing numbers all segments of the wedding business—from planners to vendors-- are discovering their markets by using WR information.

In this latest segment wedding expert, Samantha Goldberg, of Samantha Goldberg & Co gives eWedNews her take on what’s involved in being called an expert. According to Goldberg’s website information her experience includes being “a Celebrity Event Designer and Television Personality. Goldberg has operated Gold Events for over 20 years. She launched her now highly successful business in Chicago in late 1999 before relocating the planning offices to the East Coast after her and her husband, Andrew, married and started their family.

Samantha's expertise is high-design; although she has an innate ability to work within any budget delivering spectacular results whether given 3 days notice or 3 years of planning. Sam's grace-under-pressure is a testament to her quick-thinking and problem-solving abilities; not to mention the most important element in event planning, maintaining a terrific sense of humor.

With the success of her business came the attention from television networks. Samantha is currently in her 8th season with The Style Network's hit series "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" airing in 80 countries. Sam was also tapped to do their pilot called "Whose Destination Wedding Is It Anyway" shortly renamed "Married Away," and currently being aired.

Mainstream media took notice as well and asked Samantha to share her expertise with their audiences. She is regularly featured on national news programs such as Good Morning America, CNBC's "On the Money, CNN, Fox and Friends, Fox News, Better homes and Gardens, Today Show," "Geraldo at Large," Comcast News, ABC News, NBC News, EBRU TV, Satellite TV, Good News NY Radio, among many others.”

Goldberg caught our attention after several industry members alerted us about a serve and volley exchange between Goldberg and a LinkedIn discussion group. The topic of discussion, “cakes” seemed to cause a disruption and was taken to extremes. “I take every facet of planning and what I do very seriously and don’t allow being challenged by those less qualified than I to be left unanswered,” said Goldberg in a recent eWN interview.

In a recent eWedNews story regarding wedding experts, Goldberg gave her views on the topic saying, I would like to say all of you are 100% on target with the "self proclaimed" expert and the ones that are actually experts because they have been there and they do share with others. What's wrong with being one who serves as a warning to others? Nothing!

I couldn't agree more with regard of asking the question what makes someone an expert. I don't agree with half of the people who call themselves "Expert". You do not need a license to be called an expert.

In the classroom setting, "Lifetime" credits are used everyday towards the degree or certification process. Just because you planned a few of your friends weddings, doesn't mean you were meant to be a planner. Heck, I cannot tell you how many times in my class where this is all they know. That isn't saying much. While some can be trained over the internet this career is not one to be shared via online without a portion of hands on approach added into the equation. I commend anyone who will invest in this career. You may find that you are not cut out for this. Let's be honest, do we have hundreds to thousands who are noted as experts? No. And out of the numbers we do have statistically, is that percent really accurate? IMO, it's not.

Isn't it interesting how many "experts" have never planned a wedding? How about Authors? They use "us" as their resource for info and they are then considered experts? Expert author maybe, not expert in the trade. While I can add an arrangement of flowers in a vase, I am NOT a florist. And I do kill most living items including silk floral. If you've never seen it, come to my office.

It's a bit too easy to go to take advantage of 250 free business cards, add a gallery of stock photos to a website and TADA! I'm a wedding planner! I have also reviewed some "newbies" where all they have is planning their own wedding to show and experience. Yes, we do know it was your wedding. Why? Umm...I planned it. I welcome anyone who feels this is their passion. Not everyone will say this after an experience where a bride gives them the time of their life..She gives you insomnia, ulcers, anxiety and bonus areas such as ripping you apart on The Knot, Wedding Channel and etc...I do not like watching my peers and vendors get torn apart. There are 2 sides to every story. Why don't you add a section for vendors to give the 2nd version? BBB does this? Where are our chat areas that will cut you down? Stating you are NOT an experienced bride.

Hey Knot moderators. Why don't you protect the ones that advertise? By the way, I don't advertise as I am not looking for just any client. Maybe 12 years ago I was. I am all word of mouth. I am trying to instill this with fellow peers. While I agree with advertising, I also think there are too many in each category. Why is it that I have been doing this for years and someone who started yesterday is above me? They haven't even worked one wedding. They didn't even plan their own. Again, I am not comparing myself, but cannot figure out what it is until I knew, they paid more. If you invest $1000 for a small 2x2 box monthly, not only can YOU be the BEST of the best. .BUT, you are comfortable saying that? That's the part that makes me wonder.

Stop watching J Lo's version of the planner or Father of the Bride. You just cannot be Franz. .He is make believe. It's very different when you are assisting in "spending" others money. I think as women we don't need help in that department.

The one question I have is what will be your specialty? Are you a designer? Orchestrator? Creator? Pick one-- you cannot be good at all of them. You want the expert name, but don't have the hands on experience as one who may be noted as one.

I did not go to college to become a wedding planner. I did however gain experience from a teaching and design aspect. I can compare a bride to a 5-6 year old. Not all, but enough to put the radar up. I was thrown into this role in corporate America. It was great fun coming up with ways to increase revenue and excitement. The beauty world is very similar to the event world. Hair can be art, so can makeup.

I moved to New York seven years ago seeing that "Jersey Shore' didn't start a year ago people, it was here when I arrived. BIG hair, pink nail tips and a banana bread tan...I had a banana clip in the 80's. I loved the 80's but was happy to move on.

Our industry is over-saturated with wanna be planners (experts). It gives people a bad name due to someone not knowing the trade. It makes life more difficult for those who have put in the time to understand how they might contribute. Everybody thinks they should be on a higher platform based on experience or amount of time they have been dabbling. This is NOT how the career works.

Some people are better at specifics than others. Why? They know what is needed with regard to making this business strong. They do not set expectations or goals that are outrageous. They are also quite humble and never take their experience and compare to others.

If you ever begin to follow what the "chosen" ones do and "copy" a method or design, know you shouldn't be here. You cannot take anyone's ideas away. I am disappointed that so many planners are not open to sharing pearls of wisdom...Afraid that someone will "steal" their ideas. If you think that will help you on your journey to the top, you are sadly mistaken.

A TRUE expert and leader, does NOT compare their success to anyone. They are savvy enough to try things that make them different. Yes, you may F**K up. I have many times. If you don't F**k up how are you going to learn? (If you do) You will make fewer mistakes, if you can admit that you have to change certain things and actually do them.

I feel that you can never say you are part of what an expert is unless you have been there and found ways through experience and training to find solutions. It's great to share advice, however, if you don't follow or lead by example why did you just call yourself an expert?

When I hire new planners, I expect to see one trait. That is someone who is a true leader. It can be a leader of anything. You don't follow trends, you don't compare and you are not afraid to take a chance. Yes, it's hard to be scrutinized for your mistakes. Face it, women cannot play nice in this world. NOT all women, but women in general. It's OK to aspire to be like, but not to follow the same path. If you can do that, you might find yourself as an expert of something you didn't even know you had,” says Goldberg.

In the interview Ms Goldberg admits her methods are poignant and sometimes off-color. Discussions about Goldberg with other over-the-top wedding sources say she can be REALLY over-the-top at times but her talents are respected and even envied. “What I do works for me and my clients. They know I will call them out and not pussyfoot around the topics at hand. Life is short and time is wasted when we circle the wagons too long. Get to the point, get it straight and do it right,” says Goldberg.


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Thank you to Paul Pannone for your generous support in posting this interview.

1 comment:

Paul Pannone said...

You are most welcome. Thank you for your gracious support.