Twenty-Five Event Management: Our interview with Liz Marcou

On a recent trip to the desert, I met with Liz Marcou, founder and owner of Twenty-Five Event Management. Liz, like myself, has a history in the corporate space, before she ventured out into the world to start her own business.

When speaking with Liz, it becomes clear very early on that she has a real passion for event planning and execution. She’s super organized, intelligent, and believe me, gets things done! I can’t recommend Liz enough for anyone in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area.

Here’s a bit about what we talked about…

[Ryan] Can you tell us a little bit about Twenty-Five Event Management? What makes your approach to event planning different?

[Liz] When people hear Twenty-Five Event Management, the next question is, “What does Twenty-Five stand for?”

February 25th, 2012 was my wedding day and inspiration behind Twenty-Five. In the months of planning my wedding, I realized I could take my professional experience of large-scale project management and apply it to wedding planning. Except wedding and event planning allows for much more creativity than corporate banking! I found a way to merge my expertise in projects with something I was extremely passionate about in wedding and event planning.

What makes our approach different is we work very hard to understand a couple’s wedding goals. For some couples the goal is to make sure their guests remember the party for a really long time and for others, it’s all about the wedding representing who they are as a couple and their families. Taking the time to genuinely understand their goals allows us to handle all the details of the wedding or event day while making sure we provide the best experience possible.

You’ve clearly planned a lot of weddings to date, what was one that really stood out and why?

This past summer I planned a wedding in the middle of July in Scottsdale, Arizona. Due to work restrictions for the couple, July was the only month they would be able to get married. The temperature on the wedding day was forecasted at 109° and everyone was coming in from out of town.

We had a lot of details to consider to make sure the guests were comfortable during the ceremony and reception. It wasn’t the heat or the challenges we had to overcome that made this stand out, it was the support from the family and friends of the bride and groom and their willingness to brave the Arizona heat to watch two people they all care about tie the knot. With 95% of the guests out of town I was so moved by the amount of people who came out for the couple!

When searching for an event planner, what are the most important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

When looking for a wedding planner there are a few qualities I would suggest as the most important. First, great listening skills are required to make sure your potential planner really hears you and takes your concerns and ideas seriously. They will be the ones responsible to make all of your wedding details come to fruition during planning and the day-of.

Second, your planner should be professional. They will take the “business” side of your wedding very seriously. There should be a planning process available to help you (and your planner) ensure your wedding is moving along and all the details are captured with precise timing.

A professional planner may also have a certification in wedding planning. Although a certificate is not required to plan a wedding, it shows that the planner has some training and is taking their wedding planning business seriously. Lastly, a great personality is an essential trait for a wedding planner to have.

When talking to a potential planner you should walk away with the feeling of “he or she totally gets us!” Just remember to always trust your instincts when selecting the right person for your wedding day or big event!

Contact

More about Liz

Email: info@25eventmanagement.com

Phone: 623-777-9997

Our interview with wedding photographer Mark Creery

Over the past couple of months, I’ve come across a handful of really great wedding vendors in the Fort Collins area. You may recall my earlier blog post on Pink Diamond Events. And today, I’d like to share with you my interview with Mark Creery, of Mark Creery Photography. Mark has been in the business a long time – 13 years! And over those years, he has built up an impressive resume and a long list of happy clients.

[Ryan] How would you describe your particular approach to wedding photography? What makes you different?

[Mark] I take a more laid-back, photo-journalistic approach to weddings by anticipating and capturing candid moments and mixing these with artistic portraits that express real emotions. I excel at bringing out the true personalities of my couples while still showing off the amazing scenery that they chose their venue for. My style showcases vibrant, true-to-life colors with clean backgrounds that the couples pop off of, which I think sets me apart from a lot of photographers.

Mark Creery fort collins wedding photography

What kinds of things can a groom do to look his best in his wedding photos? Any common mistakes that grooms are making in your experience?

The best thing he can do to look great is to get a custom suit or tux. I’ve seen plenty of baggy rental suits that made the groom look much heavier than he actually is.

Often the groom and groomsmen struggle with putting the boutonnieres on and I end up jumping in to help. If the florist isn’t there to put them on then it’s nice if someone can get a demonstration before they leave. Common mistakes are having the pins showing or the boutonnieres tilting off of the lapel too much. Learning how to fold your pocket squares before the wedding is a good idea too.

With the strong Colorado sun it’s easy to get sunglass tan lines before the wedding, which can show in photos. So wear sunscreen leading up to the big day if you can.

Mark Creery Colorado wedding photographer

When searching for a wedding photographer, what are the important qualities that a couple should be looking for?

The most important thing is to feel like you connect well with him/her and their style. The photographer will be spending a large part of their day hanging out with you, more than any other vendor, so it’s important to like each other. Finding someone who comes across professional and organized should reflect on the care they take in their business to deliver the highest quality product.

Mark Creery Photography

Mark Creery Photography

Contact

Here’s a link to Mark’s website and a little more about him.

Email: photos@markcreery.com
Phone: 970-402-0618

Driving gloves: The coolest accessory ever?

driving gloves

Do you own a pair of driving gloves? The kind with the open back and room for your knuckles to breath? If you don’t, I’m sure you’ve thought about it. In my humble opinion, a pair of driving gloves are hands down the coolest men’s style accessory there is. Every man looks great wearing a pair.

I used to think that in order to really “deserve” a pair, I needed to own a fast car. Something sexy and preferably without a top. Today, I’m much more open minded. I think that just driving a car, any car (even my 18 year old pick up), is enough justification to own a pair of driving gloves. Hmmm, let’s be even more open minded – maybe you don’t own a car, ever ridden in one?! You deserve a pair of driving gloves, if you want them ;).

Now that you’re emboldened to go out and buy a pair, here’s what you need to know to fully appreciate them.

Driving gloves history

Originally, driving gloves were used to keep the driver’s hands clean while operating the vehicle. Remember, early cars were relatively open, there wasn’t the closed cabin that we take for granted today. That meant that mud, dirt, snow, and rain could get onto the steering wheel. Driving gloves were used to keep the driver’s hands clean, warm, and of course, provide a reliable grip on the wheel, since power steering was not yet a thing. In addition, some early steering wheels were made of wood so there was the risk of splinters; leather gloves provided a layer of protection.

And where did early drivers store their driving gloves when not in use? In the compartment just ahead of the passenger seat – the glove box!

Design

Today, driving gloves are made of relatively thin leather. This is a good thing, because it will give you better feeling over the steering wheel. The grain in the leather is what helps to create an increased level of friction in your grip.

Your driving gloves should be unlined and with the seams on the outside so that you can better feel how the car is driving.

And of course, there is the open back and open knuckles, the tell-tale sign of a driving glove. These areas are left open to allow for greater flexibility and movement. The small holes along the fingers aid in ventilation, but also reduce stress on the very thin leather.

When shopping

When shopping for driving gloves, find a pair that fit tightly. You don’t want your hand to move around inside the glove!

Obviously, you’ll want to find something in leather. The best ones are made out of deer or peccary skin leather. By the way, a peccary is a South American wild pig.

References

Driving glove

Thinking of buying a home in Boulder? Here’s what you need to know

If you follow real estate at all in Colorado, you’ve surely caught wind of the meteoric rise of property values in the Boulder area. The city is certainly a different place than it was when I was attending graduate school! And so with the start of a new year, I thought I’d reach out to one of Boulder’s leading realtors for some insight on where the market may be going. I spoke with Danielle Davis of First Summit Realty and asked her a handful of key questions…

[Ryan] First off, can you tell us a little about First Summit Realty; the company’s beginnings and how you’re different?

[Danielle] Great question! Before I started First Summit Realty, I was part of a top-producing team in Colorado. After many years of working with them, I made a decision that I wanted to focus on quality, not quantity. So, I opened a brokerage that was customer-centric. I wanted everything we did to focus on doing the absolute best for our customers. And we’ve accomplished that!

We are literally obsessed with excellence in all that we do. Although we do significant volume, clients are not numbers to us. We spend considerable time getting to know our clients’ goals, personal situations, timelines, and needs. These days, your choice of realtor really matters. There are lots of pitfalls that buyers and sellers can encounter in a real estate transaction. Our market knowledge, contract negotiation, and our award-winning customer service are second to none. Our most important goal is to create raving fans with each transaction. That’s the metric by which we measure our success.

We all know that home prices in Denver and Boulder have really increased in recent years. Are we in a bubble? Or is the landscape relatively stable?

I get asked this one a lot. The wild appreciation that we’ve seen over the last few years has really been a product of supply and demand. The year 2016 marked the lowest inventory (fewest homes on the market) since 2005. Additionally, we’ve seen a large number of people jumping into the market due to historically low interest rates. Couple that with the increase in job creation, especially in high paying sectors. Plus now, it’s possible for first time home buyers to purchase a home due in part to loan programs with down payments as low as 3.5%. It makes for a competitive seller’s market which allows for a rapid increase in pricing.

Looking forward, it seems 2017 is showing some indications of stabilizing. The biggest unknown is what inventory levels will look like. The increasing interest rates will likely be the catalyst for many to make the move they’ve been putting off. Whatever lies ahead, it’s going to be an exciting year in real estate!

What market do you think has the greater potential in the next five years: Boulder or Louisville/Lafayette?

All three of the markets you mentioned behave very differently. The market in Boulder exists in its own bubble in many ways. For the first time this year, the average price of a home in Boulder went above the one million dollar mark. For that reason, Boulder has become unattainable for many homebuyers. That has created an eastward migration to both of the other towns you’ve mentioned – Louisville and Lafayette. Louisville has seen rapid appreciation for many years in a row now. Year-to-date, single family homes in Louisville have appreciated a whopping 17%. Lafayette is also seeing very healthy appreciation with single family homes appreciating 9%, year-to-date. The numbers suggest that Lafayette has the most room for appreciation in the upcoming years.

What are three key tips you can provide to anyone looking to buy their first home?

I love this question! We teach a first time home buyers course, so I have a lot to say on the matter. For the purpose of the interview, I’ll try to limit my response. There are a few things that I think are really important. One, find a great local lender. Too many times I’ve seen buyers get into a jam by going with the wrong lender. It can result in added stress, delays, and/or putting your earnest money at risk.

Second, pick a great realtor. I know this sounds like self-promotion, but it’s really not. For many, buying a home is the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make. There’s a lot on the line. It’s imperative to choose someone with an understanding of the market and who will represent your best interests.

Just remember, home buying should not be stressful, it should be a fulfillment of a dream.

Contact

Check out First Summit Realty online, here.

hello@firstsummitrealty.com

720-600-7878