Listen as we dive in to the experience of Chateau Challain! Our guest, Cynthia Nicholson's story is one of family and determination to restore history. The creation and development of Chateau Challain, one of the grandest private homes in the 19th century, was not an easy task, but with hard work and a talented international team of craftsman,Cynthia and her family succeeded in revitalizing this French estate home.
Together they created a breathtaking destination to host special events – like romantic weddings – while bringing back all the beauty from its midieval past. There’s no doubt that their journey has been one of passion where art, architecture meets culture for visitors and locals alike!
Follow Chateau Challian at the social handles below:
*The difference in destination venues and venues that are “close to home”
*The journey of revitalizing and giving new life to historic properties
*Intentionally prioritize business and personal life so you can give quality to both
*Each wedding is a new business and you don't know what kind of rocky roads you're going to go down
*Self learning is many times the avenue to success
*When you drive the client experience and anticipate their needs your guests have a lifelong memorable experience
More About Our Guest:
The earliest recorded chateau on our site dates all the way back to the medieval age in 1050, in a time of knights and chivalry. The original castle was probably part of the ‘Les Marches de Bretagne’ a series of fortresses that acted as a defensive line that protected the people of the ancient region of France known as Brittany. That chateau, and many others that followed it were destroyed in the wars, and conflicts that wracked the area in the centuries that followed.
But our story truly starts with Louise-Ida de La Potherie, an exceptional woman that lived through some of France’s most turbulent times. She was the last of her line, from a noble family steeped in history. Her was father a famous colonel that fought in the Spanish wars, and against the forces of revolution, her only brother was killed in a duel. Alone, in this difficult period she finally found the love of her life, Le comte de La Rochefoucauld-Bayers. They married, and sought to make a refuge for themselves in the seat of her ancestral home. Together they set about to build a sanctuary, a testament of their love, and it is this monument that we know as the ‘Chateau Challain’.
Work began in 1847, they commissioned Parisian architect Louis Visconti, famed for designing the Louvre extension, to replace the original 16th century castle. The owners chose Rene Hode, a well-known Angevin architect to oversee the building project. The chateau was designed to commemorate the passing of time. Its 4 towers represent the seasons, 12 turrets represent the lunar months, 26 spiral staircases represent the fortnights per year, 52 fireplaces represent the weeks of the year, and 365 windows represent each passing day. It covers an area of 7,600 square meters (nearly 82,000 square feet).
Over 700 artisans worked on the construction, and although worked progressed quickly it was far from straightforward, with the work being delayed by yet another revolution in 1848. With the work close to completion tragedy struck once more. In the early winter of 1854, and in the shadow of the nearly completed chateau Le Comte died. Heartbroken, and with two children, Louise, now Countess La Rochefoucauld-Bayers, was determined to see the project through to the end, and personally oversaw the final stages of construction.
Ultimately, the chateau became one of the grandest private French homes of the 19th century. It boasts a wealth of architectural detail, including intricate woodcarvings, Gothic panelling and sculptures, large working fireplaces, and hand painted ceilings. It is situated on a beautifully manicured estate, which occupies one corner of a quaint village. Because of the property’s ambiance and the design of the castle itself, Chateau Challain is often referred to as the “Neo-Gothic Jewel of Anjou” or “Le Petite Chambord.”
In 2002, the Nicholson family purchased Chateau Challain and began the painstaking process of restoring the castle to its original splendour.
So tell us your name.
So I'm Cynthia Nicholson from New Jersey, Jerry say jersey.
We're not in New Jersey today. We
are not this is not look like New Jersey. Now. I know.
We're not in New Jersey. So where are we?
So we are on the western side of the laoire Valley. We're about 30 minutes from OJ and spelt like angers and from not where there's an international airport. So convenience to this this little backyard countryside is you feel like you're in nowhere, but you are. It's still convenient enough.
It's not far at all. No, like people that are from the city or like live in the city. First off, the traffic in Paris is insane.
Raise Z Well, it's
like New York City. So you know,
it's that's how Nashville is now it's like in LA, it's like, you Uber places, even if you have a car because you can work. We're in the trap, right? Yeah. And I'm fine. Like if I just know how long it's gonna take me. But I'll like look up three miles. I'm like, oh, hell, I'm just gonna leave an hour early and walk. Yeah. So it was crazy. But then you come out here, which is not far. We took like an hour and a half train ride. Super easy.
And then you're 3040 minutes from the train station. Yeah.
And then you get on a charter or whatever the transportation is they bring you straight here. And I would say this 45. Like maybe
Yeah, with our bus can drive as fast as a car in France. So it does take a little bit more time. But it's still easy. You're looking at the beautiful countryside. The little villages are very quaint that you're driving through and we don't have traffic, no.
Traffic, no. And so it's like, what do you think of all the things you go through in life sometimes? Like recently I was in India, I was in Egypt and Bali, and it's like, even India 17 hours straight flight. Yeah, it doesn't seem as bad when you've like done for connections to Egypt or for to Bali, and you've done all these things. It's like, you start to realize, oh, a seminar or flight to Paris is nothing. Yeah, exactly. You know, one train ride in one. But if you've never been anywhere, yeah, it might be overwhelming. Yeah, it might be far. So that's
why we hold hands. Yes, you know, we hold hands for transportation, we inch we insure them that, you know, we've got this, I'll send a representative up to Paris several times when people really feel insecure. And you know, get them on the train or get them on the bus, we'll have you know, bagged lunches and little bottles of wine and you know, anything to make their experience. A memorable one. Yeah, you know,
in a good way. stuff you don't even think of until it's until you have it. And then you're like, oh, where's the fan? Last night, I'm like, you know, the heater is great. And it works great. And then I woke up a little hot. And then there was a fan like right next to my bed use plug it in?
Well, I have to sleep with a fan every night. I don't care where I am. So I know that there's enough people out there like that. So there's fans in the room. That's just like
all the little details. But before we jump in on, y'all, you have to see this property. It's so amazing. Like, the word castle doesn't. You know, you might like if you Google an image and you hit castle, but like just the detail, but I want you to tell your entrepreneur story. Because when you were sharing it with us yesterday was like, Oh, I just wished on a microphone on you. Because it's so entrepreneurial. And like, in the really important piece that I want people to like, hear you talk about is you when you started it what you thought it was going to be and how you thought this and then you ended up doing it pretty much all by yourself. Yeah. And what you've done to like, let people know about this place. Yeah. Because it's that's that's a it's a good story. Well,
it's a lot of trial and error. That's for damn sure. I always Yeah, but um, yeah. So my husband saw it had to have a short story. But my husband my eldest son was had just graduated CIA in Hyde Park in New York. So which is a culinary school. And so we figured, okay, he doesn't want part of our construction business. So we'll set him up in in a business of his trade. We figured we'll turn the castle into a bed and breakfast and tablet doet which is you know, people who sleep here, eat here, etc. And then that's it. It'll take care of itself. We'll do the renovation and sort, because when we arrive, there was no plumbing, no electricity.
Yeah, you guys. So this is 75 acres, 75 acres 75 acre property. When I tell you it's green, it's like a different level of grip, like perfect golf course, grass. It's like, everything you'll see. But it's everything is so well maintained and manicured. But you didn't walk in, like, No, we've,
we've all these gardens we have installed. Yeah. And they're amazing. I mean, there was no gravel. There was the lanes were cut from the previous owners. They lived here for nine months. And all Well, well, there was no electricity and plumbing. So no, it wouldn't had been vacant, though for 20 years. So they bought it and thought that they were going to turn it into more like, like I thought, a Shannon Shannon, so kind of Chateau Villandry want thinking that people you know, 10s of 1000s of people would come through the doors, walk the gardens come through the house, you give them a little, you know, backdrop on the history, and then be gone. And tourists that's yeah, of tourism. But when I started, you know, reaching out to the tourism boards, they're like, Oh, I'm sorry. You're too far from the laoire to be in a laoire shot toe. We're 30 minutes,
but any is your definition of far. That's
their definition is 10 minutes problematic was okay, I can't do that I can try. But without the tourism boards to help you how are you going to drive people here? So we did try for a while and non successfully, it was just annoying. Because you'd be let's say up on a ladder, painting the port doors, the main gate doors, and somebody wants to visit. So you have to get down and give them a visit for five years. Yeah. So I'm like, Okay, enough. Yeah, no more tourism. If they want to come and visit, they can book a room and have the luxury of staying in a castle. Or they can just walk around the property if the gates are open. Yeah, you know, so unless I have the sign of course, for weddings. Yeah. Which was then when my son decided to become helicopter pilot instead of a chef. Oh, I got holding a very large piece of rock. So the next thing, obviously, the next thing was weddings. I've you know, some of my children were getting married. I saw what you know, venues. I was a designer by trade prior to so I figured, okay, we can do this, you know, four or five months out of the year, we host weddings, and then that pays for our expenses. And the big rock isn't so much of a rock, you know, it becomes a place of joy and you know, not stress.
Celebration. Yeah, yeah.
So, okay, how do I do that? Right. First thing is to go to you know, back in that 20 years ago, you know, as the wedding shows, your local wedding shows, I went to England and did a couple of their wedding shows. And, and then ventually Paris, or the Persians they were the funniest because they said it was too far. Too far. Too far. Yeah, three. Yeah. Because they have to have everything convenient, you know, so they wanted in their backyard. Yeah. Where I just started I didn't know what SEO was there. You know, I just did Google clicks you know, pay per click Yeah. Learn how to do that. Um, got with some wedding, you know, wedding magazines. And with those, they kind of helped me out a little bit. Grace Arman I got a hold of them.
The only luxury wedding magazine and it was the only thing that we would like be part of and because the types of things that were in her magazine, that's what our clients were bringing us Yeah, for ideas and inspiration. Exactly. This is all before social media and Pinterest.
True, true. And it mean, if you obviously paid to be in hers as as one of her VIPs I wasn't sure, but that was the kind of client I wanted. Yep. Just more And it wasn't about, I wouldn't say about the money as in, but I just thought this is what the Chateau deserved. Yeah. It was, it was more of a deserving people needed to know about it. It was. I mean, she's a beautiful creature. And I say she because you know, girl power even even though it's a little on the masculine side, you know, in some rooms. The feel is a you know, it was Metamorpho that really built most of it. Her husband died prior to the completion. So she really, you know, was the force to complete everything. And so yeah, so that's why I call her she. So
it's, but everything like you thought you were gonna do one thing. I mean, it's like all businesses. Yeah. And then it's like you have turns and you just let you keep going.
Yeah. Yeah, well, I'm a little on the stubborn side not to give up. So yeah. Yeah. So I just ended, like I said, I had a vision, but I just really didn't know how to get there. Because I'm the artist part. You know, I'm okay with math. But, you know, you still have to know all these other things. And, you know, when you think about it, it was dial up. You know, we slow. And, I mean, even when I came to France and started and I tried to work here, it was, we didn't have cable internet. Yeah. until five years after I had it in the States.
Wow. Yeah. It was a little bit on the back. It's a little behind a
little behind. Francis little behind. Yeah. technology when it comes to that. Yeah. But you know, we survive. Yeah. You know, keep on pushing through. Yeah.
And then it's like, you guys had been doing so many weddings and so many experiences. And then the pandemic kids? Yes. And so how has that changed your perspective on having real estate and property and investment? And what have you done differently?
Um, well, of course, I didn't know. I mean, how, because this place is not cheap to run. I am keep I know. Yeah. And keep it to a level of, you know, the gardens maintained. You can't do that without people know. And, hey, I've I've pulled enough weeds in my life. So that's not a problem, but I couldn't get here at first. That's true. Yeah. So after the borders were closed in March. Yeah, I wasn't able to get here till September. So six months without me. You know, my staff really was supposed to stay home. But I told them, you can't. And in fact, when I didn't get here, there was actually more damage to the chateau. In those six months of being pretty much locked up. Yeah. Then it was with 40 Weddings coming in and out. Wow. Because it needs to be lived in has
to be a ton of attention. Yeah. When I first got here, like, this is where my brain goes, like, not only am I videoing, and I'm like, it's beautiful. But then I'm looking around, and I'm like, what are the daily operating expenses? So when people are like, you know, with with couples who want to get married, or an executive retreat, or whatever it is, now I know what it costs to run a business. Now I know, you know, now I know that I didn't know these things many years ago. Yeah, neither did I. That's how we educate our clients. And so when they say, Well, what's a buyout? Or how many rooms are there? What is the cost? I educate them. And I'm like, Look at all these different things, and how many hands it takes to like prepare for an event. And that's the difference between, like this dad recently had done a country club wedding on Long Island for his daughter, they've been members for years. They closed it down for two days didn't charge him. And then he's like, I paid X amount of dollars in our country club and blah, blah, blah. But then they come to like the public museum, or they want something crazy, right? And then he looks at the Labor bill. And he's like, Oh, my gosh, this is ridiculous. Like he doesn't it's not they don't have the money. Uses understand. Yeah. And so I have to explain, Well, we can't get in till 2pm. We have to have many teams building a force that your daughter wants. So and this theme of the derby with horses, and I mean, it's a big production that had to be built off site and brought in Yeah, and so your labor bill, yeah. So as as time lapse did, and then I showed it to him afterwards. He's like, Oh, my gosh, there were more people setting up the wedding. And like, invited, yes, yeah. And he's like, I'm so sorry. I mean, he apologized for being rude and disrespectful. I never take it personal. No, people don't know when
it's just the unknown. Ignorance is not exactly the right word, because it's really not a polite one, but it is a lack of knowledge and And I mean, yeah, to take care of before. There's quite a six figure, you know, high six figures before one person walks in that door, just to maintain it. Yeah, the roof, the plumbing, the electricity, it's always you know, and being in rural France, you know, it's not always easiest to find the laborers and people who understand how to deal with these places. Yeah. So
now you have a great team. Yeah. And then you saw a need there. So you decided to open a restaurant? Yes. Yeah, service it on the week, because I
wanted to make sure I kept my people and that's so important. It is and the, when you find good people, and even during bad economic times, there's some way to keep families and to keep them, especially loyalty, loyalty for me and respect are the top. And when you make their, their their dreams come true. You know, it just makes your own so
and it really does create like a happy culture. Yeah. And it's like, I want you to tell, so less. I'm like, what's your what's your favorite? And it's hard to have a favorite, like one of your brides. Got to be here. Yes. Because I was talking to her breakfast this morning. And she's like, Oh, I just got married here. And she's like, we had a girls trip. Anyway. And then you know, this came up. And so there were some planners and people that were in Paris for formerly bride Lux now RSVP, which has been rebranded to be more encompassing of everyone and gender neutral and all of that. So then we came out here for a day again, it wasn't that far. But little fam
trip. Yeah. Which I've actually been wanting for. Since I the first time I went to a another conference. Yeah. We went to Mauritius and I met all these amazing planners. And, you know, I told them sat down with them told them about the chateau. Not one came. And then another year did the same thing. Not one came. But we had great relations. Yeah. And then one finally came. But his niches the south of France. But he was wonderful and everything else. But you know, it's like, okay, how do I do with maybe like a workshop or something to get them here? Yes. And then, Joanne. I've, she was actually one of the very first wedding planners that I contacted because she was in New Jersey, she was really making a name for herself. But she never got to come here either. So she enquired once and just didn't end up working out. But side note is that we established a mutual respect relationship, which was great. Yeah. And then when this was coming up, I had actually already signed up to go. Because literally, like in your backyard, and I had to be here. I had a wedding before and a wedding after. So instead of flying home, it was perfect. And then she's like, Oh, we got to do this. We got to do this. I was like, okay, but I'm in the middle of my wedding season. How the hell do I do that? And it's like, and then she said, Okay, here's James's number. Contact him. Yeah, I was immediately. I'm a little not liking to ask for help.
That's how we all are as entrepreneurs. We're like we can do
Yeah, it's okay. But I needed help I needed because obviously, I didn't know who was coming. He only knew was coming. She didn't even know who was crying. So he's like, Okay, I was just about to invite people that were staying to a dinner or something like that, but this is better.
Danny gets paid. Yeah, exactly. Well, actually,
I it was more than I expected. Yeah. You know, like the three actions because you're physically here. So amazing. It just makes so much more sense. And like it is it's a place it's one of those kinds of places that you can look at a picture, but it almost looks surreal. If I'm fake. Yeah, like a postcard, like, like who photoshopped that? Right. But when people pull in that driveway, I mean, to be honest, I when I come back after the winter, I still get tears in my eyes. Because it is it's so beautiful. It's so massive. It's so detailed. And I mean, and I love architecture. So you know, it's, it's yeah, it just gets to your heart.
But it's like the detail here and so I want you to to walk us through, like, you know, if I were coming in and if I wanted to have a wedding here or retreat here, like walk us through like the different areas of the property. And, and like the different rooms and all the different all the rooms are different. And they all have a theme. And they all have a name. And it's so cute. And so you know, if you want to be in the main area, or there's an area on the side, but walk us through what are in each area, what are the areas and then how many sleep rooms do we have in there?
Okay, so the main chateau, of course, you have a grand entrance hallway, which is generally where we do our after party. So that's where we do our dancing. We don't dance on the parquet, because there again, it's 170 years old. So we want to keep it maintained. So the entrance hallway is marble composite. So it's very durable. But very impressive. There again, when you walk in, you have it's 36 feet tall. And then you have an upper upper gallery that overlooks and then you walk through into the giraffe bar. So the giraffe bar looks out onto the back the back property, and we call it the giraffe bar, because we do have a taxidermy a giraffe. And she's beautiful, and always looking down on you. And then we then you can go into the music room or the old billiard room, which we dial is piano room. The grand dining room, and then this is our grand salon. So this is this room here can sit up to 7072 Technically, with a sweetheart table. Yeah. And then we have very large doors over here that go into the music room. So we can do 120 in total. So I tell my brides, you know, this is this is a space that we can work with. We can also do do dining in the entrance hallway, which we've done several times. But then the only thing is I need a distraction for half an hour. Yeah. So generally we hire a magician and mentalist. Everybody comes in here. And then we flipped that room and then becomes a night club. So the lighting, everything, the DJs equipment all goes up within 30 minutes.
And she knows all the good people like so Okay, planners, if you want someplace where they actually want you to come Yes. And they want you to use all of their space. And all of the things they have. They have, I guess like you would call them like a little mini warehouse. Yeah, it has all of these things in a big, huge, great sync site, but like they have everything in house. And they want planners and designers to come and work here and use their stuff and use their water and stay here. And like where I'm from. That's not always the case.
I've done I have done outside weddings before. So you know, with hotels or private properties. And yeah, it can be a bit of a challenge.
Yeah. But it's like when you collaborate, you work together, you've realized it kind of frees up your time. Yeah, it
does. I can stay home, or my staff can take care of everybody. Or I can be here because maybe I have another wedding coming up. But I can do office work. I obviously do all the sales and marketing. So with a it was the challenge
if I learned it,
but yeah, I'm keep learning, I love to learn. One of the best things about this symposium was really, it was a learning trip. It wasn't a people tooting their own horn trowel, which is totally useless to me. Yeah. And that's, that's what you know, some of the other conferences, that's all they do. That's all they give. Yeah, and a good party, but that's not what we're there for.
Right? It's like how can the experiences of other people help you? And like, what are tactical things that you can come and do? Yeah.
And times are always changing. didn't used to be that way. But we are on some kind of, you know, shift. Yeah, I would say the Autobahn of technology. And, you know, we're so accustomed to doing certain things are a way and then when they're like, oh, that's old. I'm like, okay, but it worked. Right. Okay, so how do I then have to you have to learn a whole new thing. It's like driving on the left side of the road and the right side or the right. Or flying an airplane versus a helicopter? It's just it's different dynamics, and different, you know, sets of thinking
it is. So in this building, how many rooms how many people can sleep and
so in the Chateau itself can probably sleep about 24 Okay, we call it butts and beds. Whatever. Yeah. Bye bye. because it is a family home. Yeah, not a hotel. There is a couple of rooms that don't have the bathroom with inside the room. It has them down the hallway. So it just depends on what a person's outlook is. But basically, there's nine suites in the Chateau and an overflow room are two. So that's for the main building on there.
They're big and they're not.
They're very, they're very,
I mean, some are bigger than others. Yeah, but it's one like, like, like one of the amazing photographers here, she has a nanny and three children. And she's worth it to come because her kids travel all the time, so they're very accustom. And with the nanny, like, they had their two beds, and like her little area, and, I mean, it was all together, but it was still really broken up nicely, where she could have her privacy and sit and like edit and work. And then three kids and a nanny. So it was it's really set up for however, yeah,
there's whatever it is, there's lots of dynamics, yes, that can come here and be very comfortable. Yes. You know, you can have, you know, we can probably do about 40 couples, okay. Um, and, and, or, you know, families. So there again, it just, I tend to walk my clients through their dynamics of their guestlist help them place everybody in the right rooms, because sometimes, I mean, young people can be really stupid. The old granny in a room that doesn't have a bathroom, she's the one who gets up to go to the toilet, like three times a night. Yeah. And she's gonna walk down the hallway. And I'm like, that doesn't really work. You know, if you want to give her a maybe not saying the chateau in the comments, or something, you know, we can do something else. But let's shift that around
a little. But I love that you asked that detail. Like she sits down with you and says, Tell me about your people. First. Yeah. And then it's because it's planners, because you know, when people bitch and complain, yeah, you know, you always say, blame it on me. I tell people that with the seating charts it the plant net, I don't do them. I don't know your people. But we work together. Yeah. And it shouldn't have to be on the client, or especially for a wedding, not for a wedding. It's just like, No, but I love how you take ownership of that. And then you know, like, what's going to work for each? Yeah, like you said, it's all about the experience. And so so tell us about the Comments area and how many rooms there. So
the coach house is newer, we, I want to say was six years ago that we took on I took on the project to put more bedrooms in, because I was really seeing a trend of destination weddings. Yeah. And you know, people want everybody to stay at one place. So I was losing, because because at that time only had capacity for 30. I was starting to lose a lot of weddings, because they were going to hotels, it still wasn't even private properties, which you know, I'd like I said, we have been in breakfast and less small hotels within 15 minutes of us to take up to the 120 persons that we will tentatively you know have Yeah. But they just wanted people to stay all together. So I was like, Okay, I need to get at least more 20 More butts in beds here. So the Commons was the easiest because to go to the next floor, and this would be too complicated, too expensive. And too many stairs. Yeah. So with the coach house, it's one flight up. And like a typical house. And then we have 10 suites there. Yeah. And then we also have a handicap bedroom that is on the ground level there as well. So we just put that in over COVID.
So if someone is in a wheelchair, yeah. Would they? They could stay down there. Yeah, like everything would be good. Exactly. Yeah. So it is ADA compliant. Yeah. Which there's not there's some historic, there's some countries that I traveled to. And they're like historical property, so they don't fall under?
No, we were not obligated to have it. But I wanted to have it. Yeah. And the Chateau itself, if we get, you know, if somebody has handicap and we get them in the entrance door, then we have also the King's room that is on this entrance level. So that can sleep up to six people. So that's a two bedroom suite. And technically, it could even take seven, but you have enough space there because the rooms are large, that you know, whatever family members, you don't feeling like you're on top of each other. Right? Yeah.
And the grounds like and when you're like when we were touring and like I was looking at everything. I mean, it just looks humongous, like so massive. And it just it's beautiful. I mean, as far as you can see, but then when you when I left the house last night after dinner and gambling and all the fun stuff. I'm like it's not that far at all. All like everything is it's very close. And like all the walkways, everybody,
everybody asks me like, well, how far is it? I'm like,
it's like you just take the I mean it. It's a path. It may be 50 steps. I mean, yes, it's
about 100 feet, and 120 feet away. Yeah. But it's not
our state, depending on if you're us in all these places. I'm like, I don't know all my different systems when I'm, like, I've learned ask the question differently, where I'm like, How long? They'll say, oh, however many me I'm like, I don't know what that means. It's a two minute walk. I'm like, so how long like 10 minute drive 20 minute drive. Like, that's what I wanted. But you have to ask it that way when you're in like different countries, because it can mean different things. So that was the latest it was that the latest expansion? That was six years ago? Yes. Okay. And everything is themed.
Everything is themed? Yes. So every bedroom is, is designed differently. Because one thing about people, they all have their favorite color. Yeah. So we have, the darker rooms are darker fabrics, because all the walls are fabric on the north side and the chateau, and then all the lighter ones on the south side. So that when the light actually comes into the rooms, it doesn't feed everything. So smart.
Oh my gosh.
So for the lighting for end for lighting purposes, it gives a different kind of, you know, photography wise as well. I always tell my clients stay in the room that looks the color looks the best on you. Okay, because, you know, with fashion, we wear certain colors and that are in our wardrobe. And these are the colors that we want around us. So you know if red doesn't look good on you don't pick the romance sweet,
right? You know, because it's red. Yeah, it is red. Romantic.
It's a romantic red. Yeah. Where then, you know, the tower. Girls always love the tower. Yeah. And, you know, that's very light. We have, some of our suites have king sized beds. Some of them are a little on the higher side and a sofa.
They do have stools like I do have stool I did yesterday, because we tour all the rooms and I'm like, That's James's bed. And I'm like, I'm gonna run in slow mo and jump on the bed. And I made it. Like, I didn't think I would make it. Yeah, but it was really high. Yeah. And it seems so small because the ceilings are so tall. And the rooms are massive. This room. Some of them are massive. And then I'm like is but then when I got up there, I'm like, Oh, it's a normal size mattress. Yeah, but because it's so tall. And the ceilings are so tall. It makes it feel so tiny. Like you're in a doll house. It was so it's just it's so pretty. So what what is like, your favorite event? Like if you could do like, perfect. Just you had shared with me last night like this four day experience like for this family and all the different things that you guys did for the adults and for the kids. And like, tell us a little bit about that.
Well, that was my personal party.
Oh. She's like, that's why
I was it was my 42nd anniversary. Right? That's right. It was also to the 20th anniversary of us purchasing the chateau. Oh my god. So So originally, obviously, I wouldn't have normally celebrated 42 years. It was supposed to be 40 in COVID. So that's why it delayed. But it was a good delay. Because there again, it was a two fold, you know. So we actually celebrated on the day that we signed the papers of the chateau. And so that was very emotional and wonderful. And so we had about oh, 8590 persons here for the gala. I'm about 40 flew over from the States. Of course, four of my children out of the five were able to come. And I love themes. Yeah. Okay, if you didn't notice. So, the first night was an all white party. And I figured that was going to be a lot of photography. So, you know, we would do each family member, you know, that was coming. We do portrait kind of stuff. And then we went into an amazing dinner. And of course, I asked all my children what some of their favorite foods were. So through the four days or technically five, yeah. We got to enjoy all of their favorite meals. So that was great. Then the second day, I asked my husband to pick a theme. And so he picked Western Okay, so Country and Western. So we had everybody was had boots.
Where I come from in Nashville. That's what they think we run around and all the time. Yeah, it's cowboy hats, but we actually know.
He watches a lot of Western shows. So it was perfect. So even, you know, his six shooters and stuff like that it was it was a lot of fun. We had a, we had the mechanical bowl, we had a country and western band from England come down. And they played through the evening, we had a big hog roast. Go and we had poker. So of course, you know, we had this big saloon sign made, and we had the poker games go in with the Whiskey Bar. And, yeah, it was just, it was just a lot of fun. And of course, the kids got to play and you know, man went horseback riding, we had skeet shooting and archery. So everything to do with the Wild West, a lot of ivities lots of activities. People, you know, it's a place that because it's so big, you can do such a multitude of things. Like I usually say, it's really only limited to your imagination and your budget. Yeah, so you know, otherwise, we can do it.
Like, it's just an experience already. And then just to add more experiences on to it. Yeah. And then what was the third day?
So the third day was our was our gala. Okay, so I didn't want that theme. So the theme was a black tie. Okay, everyone had to wear black. Okay? Because I like my photography to match.
branding perspective, it's very important. It is so important
for me, you know, you look at your pictures. And then like, even last night, you know, we all had the stereo picture, and I was looking back at it. And most people were wearing black and there was a couple of colors there. But nothing, you know, too. Yep, flamboyant.
And we did a tick tock right after. Like, we're gonna wait to post this.
So I mean, your pictures just always look more beautiful when everybody is dressed, coordinating. So that's why Yeah. And it's
funny to me, I'm gonna go off a little rabbit hole right, right here. But a lot of clients and couples, they will say to us, well, I don't want to have a seating chart. And I don't want to have a theme because I don't wanna have to tell people what they have to do. Yeah. And like, I just want it to be fun and laid back and not too stuffy. Like these that word stuffing. I'm like, I don't know who started this rumor in the wedding industry specifically. Because if you go and ask anybody as a guest at 10 weddings, they'll tell you. They don't want to make decisions when they get there. And if you tell them exactly where to sit, not only the table, but the seat. Yeah, you tell them what to wear. You tell them it's going to be outside. The more information you give, the more comfortable it makes people. Yeah, they can get up and move around throughout the night. Oh, yeah. But it makes it so much easier for the servers now, especially
if you have allergies, oh my gosh.
And then we worked so hard to like color coded and make sure that it's passed off to the team that's going to be delivering all the food and drinks,
because you don't know them. They're part of another team,
and you're at their mercy to just follow your God. And that's where like some of me even recently, like behind the scenes, it's like it didn't click with some of the people with color coding. There's this new software that we just learned about the one thing that is gonna like help with seating and RSVPs. And calling Callie was talking about it. And then CeCe was talking about branding and how important it is that whatever you want to bring in and the clientele it's a certain look. Yeah. And we can be perceived as bossy or labeling, or oh, it's like people have said, it's really hard to work for her. And it's like, well, when you're in the same mindset, and you have the same goal of perfection. Yeah, exactly, then it's not really an argument like we see out I will have the same goal. Yeah. So it's just important to like, know, all those little details. But you literally are one person with all the details. Yeah. And so without these other collaborations, it can be really difficult because you're only as good as your team. Exactly. Like somebody when I say that all the time. Yes. Somebody was saying like you're only as good as your last party. But in my mind, I think we were even talking about this, like, your clients are your vendors, like you have to take care of the back of the house more than even the front. They'll take care of the guests. If you take care of them. It is
very important because important. We like you said we're only as good as our last business. Yeah. Because one is one person said I don't remember who it was. But each wedding is a new business. It is and you don't know what kind of rocky roads you're gonna go down. You know, you have to have lots of tools in your toolbox to be problem solving. And you know, you might I have little quirkiness is with with brides or grooms or it's actually not for me, it's never the bride or groom. Yeah, it's the mother or never. Or it's the guests when they get here, they're expecting concierges, when it's just a family home, right. And I have to say, it's a fail. I tell them all the time, it's a family home. So unless you have a concierge at your home, where you live.
I mean, they, but it comes with like cleaning, right? I mean, so it's like, there's towels there. All the stuff that you have
daily services? Yes. But they're very discreet. Yeah, you know. And, and they're again, you know, we generally do stuff in the rooms when everybody's out partying. Yep. You know, so there's no disturbing of anybody. It's not like, you know, you're gonna have a maid knocking on your door all morning long.
Yeah. And I love to like, you're a yes, person. Yes. And so many of the beautiful historical properties are like, Oh, no, you can't do that. You can't do that. You can't do that. I mean, you gotta be reasonable people. Yeah. And respectful of the property. But it's like, we had this massive fireworks display. And then it's like, can I I'm like, can I bring the drone? You know, you have to ask these things. They're illegal in some places. If you look at the country, but then there are certain places where you have a private is private property or private, and you can fly like to a certain so you just have to ask these. Yeah, but like your Yes, person. And you're like, let's figure out how we can like, make it work. Yeah. And not everyone's like that. So that's really nice. And I think, I don't know, if it's because you're American, you know, and I get it and like, I don't think that's a bad thing. There's a difference between five like European five star and like different sides of the country. And I didn't, I would hear people say that. But then until I actually experienced it, I was like, Oh, this is what they're talking about. So unless you're going to a super familiar brand, like a rosewood brand, and you know exactly what service, you're gonna get better trained, whatever. Yeah, but not all brands are like that. And a lot of the places there's so many, I mean, people like you, like families who own these amazing places. And they're competing against these hotels, where it's a completely different ballgame. It shouldn't even be in the same. Experience is so different. And people
don't know that though. Because a lot of people only know hotels, right? You know, they only know the classic five hour reception in out Ocilla Vista, but we're here it is. You're going on vacation. Yeah. And a wedding just happens to be the reason you're coming. Right? So it's there. Again, a totally different mindset. It's automatically more relaxed. But not relaxed, as in service relaxed, just relaxing, relaxing. Yeah. For the guests who are walking through the door. You know, they're greeted with a glass of champagne. You're not counting how many glasses are drinking. It's unlimited. You know, it's um, and then we close the bar, and then they come back to more unlimited beer and wine for our reception night. Our sorry for our rehearsal night. Yeah. And then the next day, we have our activities, we have our brunch, then we have our reception, and then we go on to an eight hour open bar. So you know, people. They're like, Huh? Yeah, I'm like, yeah,
just keep going.
It just helps me. It just makes my life easier. I don't have to sit there counting bottles. Yeah, you know, and then people aren't surprised. You know, then they have this surprise bill at the end. I'm totally transparent. You're knowing you. Unless you asking for something last minute. Yeah, you're not getting anything last minute. You know, you're not getting a bill last minute. So you're not there is no secret cost. You know, which is so good. Yeah. I everybody's always like, well, how much extra? Is it gonna cost? I was like, nothing unless you put something else on? Yeah, I mean, that I don't know about.
Yeah. But it really is like coming into your house. And it's not the type of castles where you're like, I can't touch anything. Or I can't move anything. Or oh my gosh, you know, someone's gonna freak out again. I mean, you have to be respectful of the home
yeah, of course. There are antiques there are you know things we don't go jumping on the dining room table and dancing on it. No, but but I have plastic tables upstairs you can dance on why not? There's a will there's a way
but I love like yesterday when we were you split us up in you know, so we weren't like this huge group of red green. And then we were all taught and told like this was the original. All of the stone was the original and how everything was worked in for like a more modern feel. Yes was good Right. Yeah, so who? So I know that the man that built this, like didn't make it and then his wife did she just live here.
She, she, it was her country home. Okay, so she actually lived in OJ, okay. And in a smaller Manor manor house. Okay, so this would be a chateau. But a smaller, smaller Castle is called a Mattawa. And so that would be kind of like our California has big houses or you know, that kind of thing. But, so she would have receptions here. So receptions she would entertain. She loved gardening. So she would come here more for the gardens. It was a very English garden feel. Lots of trees. So yeah, when you actually see old postcards of the chateau, very few of the trees were here, she planted them. And so now they're about 170 years old.
And they're be like, they're not normal trees, like the bark and the way that all grew. I was just like, This is so it's like art. Yeah, it's so
some of them. Even though the trees have passed away. I still keep them there. Yeah. Well, like there's a red wood in the front. There's, there's Yeah. Oh, it but it is looks like a sculpture. Yeah.
Yeah. It's like, why get rid of it? Yeah. And so someone who sees it as like, Oh, my God, this a dead tree? It's like, no, it's art. It's part of the existing it is.
To me, it's a sculpture. Yeah. And I had one time about 10 years ago, there was another tree like that. Because when I used to draw and paint, I painted a lot of trees, okay, with, you know, wandering lines and stuff like that. And I had one out there. And I came back in the springtime, and the gardener cut it down. I'm like,
Oh, my God.
Oh, my gosh. So this is where it reminds me. So every area you go to you have a grid grid that shows like, all the rooms and all the names and like a plan, right? So it's like when you because I couldn't remember. I mean, I have to take a picture of all my room numbers. And yeah, and so I took a picture of it. And I'm like, Okay, where's it? And then, you know, we walked over there, it was easy to find. But it was like having, like these little different marks, but then I'm like, Oh, I remember the tree. Because I was like doing video of the tree. I don't know, just like little subtle things that help you remember, like, where everything is, it just makes it easier for people. And like if you love doing photos and videos, so do you rent this out for like video shoots or just photo and video shoots? Yeah. Okay.
Recording recordings of like, music videos. We have had like a there was a gentleman who was doing a Netflix like, promo, like, what do they call it? When they want to pitch their idea? Yeah. So they came here and they did this video for three days, pitching, taking chateaus and turning them to apartments, a luxury apartments. And I'm like, Yeah, but I'm not selling my Chateau and turning into luxury apartments. It's like, no, no, no, no, no, but it's just the idea. So like, they went upstairs to the third. Okay, which is not done. Okay, and just
pitching what to do and used
it. And it was an interesting concept. Yeah. So we've had that we're got two potential film options that you know, people are we're in the pool. Yeah. So you never know. Yeah. It's not something I hold my breath on. Right. You know, really the what the weddings and I should say events as well, because we do more than just weddings. We do you know, anniversary parties, birthday parties. I just did Russian 50th birthday party. They were from New York. And they had a blast. They were here for three days. And we did all different kinds of themes, of course. So fun. And yeah, they I have like a another Russian client who comes here every couple of years in Cyprus, and he brings different families from his corporation. And we usually it's four days of different kinds of parties, children's parties as well. Okay, children and animal friendly. Okay, so we've had lots of little puppy dogs, bring your
I'm in this entrepreneur group called the EO entrepreneur organization. And we all have business forums, and we have to go somewhere every year for like a business retreat. Okay. And most of us either go out of the state or guard of the country, and we may
actually just had one of them. Yeah, yeah. It was a woman empowerment. Okay. She was a wedding planner in Puerto Rico. And so she's now she's helping other women entrepreneurs help you know, set them up. With a business plan, yes. And, you know, they have zoom meetings and stuff. So she does a retreat every year. So last she was supposed to come here and of course COVID hit. So then they went last year, they went to Dubai and said, because it was very much open. Yep. And then this year, they came back to finally to the chateau. And we just had that in September. Yeah. And it was wonderful. In fact, yesterday, I got the video from it. Yeah, a lot of fun. We did a cooking class. And the funny thing, this is real hilarious. Because Alex, my chef is a classic chef, okay. And he doesn't speak a lot of English. He understands what speaks. But he was like, so nervous. And these are all Latin Tino girls. Yeah, who, when they speak English, you're not quite sure if they are speaking English. To a Frenchman. Yeah. So of course, his, his fiancee was a little nervous as well. And so the cooking class starts and you know, he's like, really shy and everything. Now, Latin girls are not shy. So they just really spruced him up and he had a bowl. So on the video, they're laughing, they're dancing, and they're cooking. So yeah,
it was a great experience. So never forget this, like, I want to tell EO about this and say, like, Okay, you could have your form retreat here. And then some of us invite those who are married or have partners and their kids come later. And then or they'll all fly in together, and then they'll go do something for three days. And then we have three days of like family and stuff. And I mean, it's a perfect place. And then they also have like mini retreats. So like different chapters have many retreats. So it's a great because we always look for a place that we can buy out. Yeah, because we want the whole property. We want it to be our people. Everything is very confidential that we're doing and things that we're talking about. And so to have the different rooms and we do like little breakout things, so yeah, it doesn't have to be just a wedding. The property is just beautiful for a wedding. But do you guys do any outdoor events where everything is just planned outdoors? Oh, sure.
And then to be honest, I mean, I'd say probably 80% of our wedding. Weddings is is outdoors. They don't even barely except asleep coming to the shots. Oh, yeah. And that's their preference, you know? Or otherwise we do kind of half half we'll do the rehearsal dinner inside with a theme like the casino night last night, or a Great Gatsby, or Moulin Rouge, or, you know, masquerade we have the bass man, it kind of can give a little bit of a eerie look when you just have it filled with candles like fan
you to full, like Whitestone I'm always hot. And so like, well, Paris, the cold is a little different because
it's a humid cold.
Is it kind of the kind of cold again,
no, you're wind, like I had to go buy a jacket, like a long jacket. I mean, I had them at home, but I was like, Oh, the weather is not gonna be too bad. But it just kind of like goes through you. It's constantly changing. Yeah,
I arrived in Paris. It was warm. Yeah. And then the next day was freezing. Yeah, but yeah.
Urbanspoon, National Weather. It's like 70, and then it's 30. Yeah, it's crazy. But no matter what if it's raining, if it's snow, like it's still beautiful,
you still have opportunities to come in or out and you're
all the views are so good. And I mean, the lighting, but it all makes sense now because you thought through from a designer perspective, like the North and the South. And where's the sun? The sunrises in the West, I think sets in the west sets in the west. Yeah, all I know is never eat sour words. That's hardly ever north south east west. Like, I'm not going to geography I just looked at my compass but the funny thing
is, is here we are even with Nova Scotia. So you know, we're very high north on the on that spectrum. So are summertime. The light is at 430 in the morning and goes to bed at 11 o'clock at night. Oh wow. So when you're having entertaining, it's like natural light. Photographers love it. You know as as the sun goes around, you know we get it probably about a sun of three quarters of the way around, you know in the summertime. So, lighting options are endless. Yeah, you know, you can have this beautiful light coming through the forest and just glowing on your brides and grooms you can go out to the fields and walk and have that sun you know that what are they call it that glowing
magic our? Our best lighting.
So yeah, the photographers heavy Field Day.
It's just it's so beautiful. Like go off property to Oh, yeah.
Oh yeah. So we can just jump in the golf cart or the vacay. July we have sunflower fields. Okay. I'm in the springtime. We have the blue bluebells in the forest. We also have the yellow grapeseed oil fields out there just like yellow, yellow, yellow for? Yes. So yeah, we have lots of different opportunities for photographers and video photography to you know, go a little off property
is Yeah. And you get to like, see the culture. And I mean, it would be good if people wanted to, like, whenever we're doing destination stuff, I'm like, okay, because you're gonna have different groups and people, like my travel has been just turned 50. And he's like, I want to take my favorite people, 50 people to Italy. And so they're, I mean, he was like, for three or four nights, everything is in this area. And he's like, we're gonna go to these other places in Italy, but then that's on you. He's like you, but I have to, you have to tell me. And then you know, we he organized everything with another planner, you know, he's from that area. And then people that we've met through fam trips and conferences. And that's why it's so important to get out. And if you want to do destination weddings, if you want to do destination events, or like you
have to be a destination or
you have to, you have to you have to learn
traveling, love traveling, you know, and then you have to get to know the areas. Yeah, because it's kind of really silly to just listen, I've never been to Cyprus, I wouldn't host a wedding in Cyprus if I didn't, if I haven't been
right. But you probably
Avi, again, million times, I could plan a wedding there. Yeah, no problem doesn't mean that I have had to have already done one. It's easy. So anything, you need the dynamics of the area that you're going
to you can collaborate. Oh, so like, if there's someone like we met a growing can, and someone else I've heard people ask about it before. And I was like, Oh, I've never been there. But then if I planned something with her, and then if I couldn't go for some reason, I know her I hung out with her for four or five days in Egypt, like, I know that I feel comfortable passing them off. Because we have a similar personality and take of service. Like I would feel 100% confident knowing like, oh, I don't need to be there. Like you've got it, your team's gotta like your stuffs. Great. So, but those all come from like relationships for sure that you have to develop them. Yeah. But when we first got here, Joey got off the bus. And she's like, it took seven teen years to get here. But you have known each other for that long. Yeah. And it's like, you just don't, when you don't give up things happen. And sometimes it's the right timing.
It is everything's relative timing things are things happen for reasons. And I think that you know, the little bit of a long journey, because, you know, usually, you know, you make a business in five years, that that, that that that it wasn't like that. For me. It took a lot longer. Yeah, a probably because my lack of understanding of marketing. Also, too, I was raising a family of children. And now I have 10 grandchildren. And so you know, life kind of gets in the way. The business wasn't my priority at the time. You know, family always comes first. So then as they got older, and I could see the opportunity, and as everything is you're learning as you go. It was ready. It was time. And to kind of like, you know,
go full die. Yeah. Yeah.
into it. And so that's, you know, that's how we've gotten here now. Yeah. And it's beautiful. So it's like every five years, you're starting all
You got to stay updated. And if you don't stay updated, and like we were talking about the metaverse and blockchain and NF T's, and how do you it's coming regardless if you like it or not. I mean, I think of business before Facebook, which that no, no social media existed the first few years. I mean, you could have even put this in a business plan. No, because none of this stuff existed even jobs that we are hiring editors to edit content all over the world. It's like that didn't exist. They're like oh, what's your degree? Yeah, like psychology. They think I went to school for content creation. Or for like motion cotton. I'm like, Wait, there's a degree you can just get a degree in that. Like no, no, this stuff did not exist when I was in college. And we have to self learn are like investing courses and Right exactly and do things but it brings more business opportunities when you stay relevant
know for sure. And you know, because otherwise, your clientele is just going to got you off?
Yeah, yeah, you have and that's the thing. Sarah did a great talk on all the demographics. Yes, that was it. So right what she's like, Wait, how are you? Good. She's like, you don't? You don't I'm like, but there's one percenters out there. Who because of their, their life experience or a painful experience, like something that they want others to learn from? It's like, we want to shout and tell everybody, like, don't do that. Like, and you might not fit into I don't fit into the demographic of where I was born, but it comes from like staying ahead of everything.
Because you just continue to be that younger version of yourself. Yeah. Where? Because you're saying, yeah, no, yeah. up with it.
You can't she was saying she keeps, like all the different generations. She has a lady from each or girl from each generation. It's brilliant. Yeah. Because you want people to feel more comfortable. And you can have the same type of conversations. Yeah.
I liked her experience when she said, you know, if somebody's here for a second marriage, yeah. And they're 50. Plus, you send them with a, what was it a Gen 22?
Generic? I don't remember.
The younger, the 22 year old young girl, what are they going to talk about in the car? Would it be an hour and a half drive? Yeah. So yeah, it just doesn't that doesn't fit. Yeah. So you have to have, you know, or you have to be that kind of person that can. But that only just comes with experience. Yeah, not too many 22 year olds can act like they're 50.
No. But it all comes down to like priorities, and resting, taking care of yourself and sleep. Like, that's where I woke up from COVID. I'm like, damn, I need to take care of myself, like better care. And then the older you get, you realize, like, your body starts to feel differently and change. And I'm like, Oh, this hurts now. Like, I can't go to hotbox. And, like, not hurt. Like, it's just different. And so you know, life happens in elegant like, not that like gets in the way. But like some really bad things can happen. But I'm always looking at it not a moment of like the pain of like, why is this happening? To me? It's like, what, why is happening for me? And what can I learn out of it? My family are like, does everything have to be a learning lesson? I'm like, yes. There has you do you do choose? Yes. Choose mindset.
Yes. If you choose to make it into a learning lesson, you will learn and you will also educate others. I had a double knee surgery this this February. I mean, walking was her regard. And I was like, I will not be able to do weddings anymore if I don't get this taken care of. So I had to block out a certain amount of time. And all I ever I didn't ask a lot of questions, because I don't really like the gory parts of things. I just want to know, how long is it going to take to recuperate? And all they said is that you have to do your PT regularly. Yep. And, and have the mindset that that's what you want, and you will you will heal. And I was like, Okay, well, I've got my party in five months. So I have to be ready to dance my ass off, because that's what I like to do. And so, you know, I went to those pte classes, my, my daughter helped me for the first week. I'm like, I'm not walking with a cane. It's like, you know, I just pushed through. The hardest part was going to the toilet. I'm not gonna lie, but I can do you know, squats now once and I asked and you know, life quality. I don't see this job ending now. In any near future, right, because I feel so much better. Yeah. So you know, there again, I had to take care. I had to take the time to take care of myself. Yeah. And it was during COVID that I realized that yeah, because it was just deteriorate.
And then it can just make you sicker. Yeah. And like, I learned that, like, I had a lot of teeth problem. Like, you're like your teeth look bad. I'm like, I think it's like hereditary or something. But it's like when it rains it pours and you need one root canal and then all of a sudden you get through your canals and then it's like, but I'm traveling and then I have sinus infections and then people think I have COVID But you can't hide it. Because I sound I don't feel bad, but I sound bad. And it's just like what was the what was causing like all the root a lot of it was food. Yeah. And inflammation and like that, but I didn't know that until I learned I got some new information. And I was like, Okay, well, I'll try this like
Terry tests. You can do tests that yeah, see what kind of foods your allergies are sensitive to?
Yeah, I do it all. Because it's, it's it's like almost embarrassing and and it's just uncomfortable like when you're traveling. And then you know if you have to speak or like host people, you know you got to be on and And then if you don't sound good people like, oh, what's wrong with you? Do you have COVID? I mean, I literally go with COVID tests. I mean, I was taking them every single day there for a long time, just to make sure that I'm like, it's just an ear infection or sinus infection. But I had to get to the root of the problem. And like it was all being caused by, like infection from mouse, like, it was probably decay at or there. There was, in fact, a lot. And I waited too long. Yeah, I knew that I needed to have a replace oxy smartphone, right. And if I had just, I had temporaries on for way too long, because of my schedule. And I just should have said, not committed to something and taking care of myself. And then you're not sick for six months, but you don't learn these things until you go. That's just even though my mother said, she's like, I told you so. And I'm like, I know you love it. When I tell you that was like, Mommy, you do know best. Because sometimes, like, I'm hard headed. Yeah, you know, and you just have to go through it. And then next year, you know, like around the time of weather change, and seasons and stuff, like you just know, do either take more vitamin C, or sleep more. And it's like, oh, just one more email, or just one more video to edit. And so now it's like a set timers, okay. And I have like color coded on my calendar. And whatever my calendar says, so that things are more spread out. It's like once a time I do as much as I can. And then once I'm there, I have to go till tomorrow. Yeah, turn it off it that way. You just know your capacity. So you can let go and be present. Yeah, especially at a place like this. Thank you for all your time. And thank you for everything that you did. This is I mean, the food, the people, it's always the people. But the drinks and the Miss mixologist and all the fun last night in the dinner, where do you want people to go? If they want more information?
They can go to the website, Chateau chalav.com.
We'll put it in the show notes.
or Instagram, they can DM us. Facebook probably isn't quite as updated as it should be. Yeah. But for those baby boomer sets, okay.
It's like we're, if you focus on where most of the traffic is coming from, people will find you if they really want
most. Yeah, they will. Everything most of ours is is organic. Yeah. So that is one of the things that we're very proud of, because we've worked very hard for it. Like, it was funny, Joanne was like I always I always look and see what page you're on. You're first on this page and your first for that. Yeah, do your first for that page. I'm like, yeah. Yeah, I got people for
But it's like the consistency of like putting things out. That's where like blogging and vlogging, and wash, rinse, repeating, like all your content, and like really learning how to use it. You don't have to pay for that. You pay for it in a different way where you own the assets and you own, you own the domain authority. Where Yes, you can pay for a lot of things to expedite those things in your life. And you probably should. But when you can, when you can get the organic traffic and just get people to share. Like, yeah, it's if you love this, and you know, someone that like wants to get married, and a counselor has to party and get like, share this with them, send it to them. And like don't think, Oh, we can never afford that
or that it's a lot more affordable than you, you have no
idea. And once you add up, like I love these case studies, you add this, it's so fun for like weddings where they're like, We don't care what things cost we just don't want to be taken advantage of. And so some people will go do homework on their own. This is cute. And they're like, Well, this is this much and this caterer charges this but this isn't and I'm like well, let me break it down for you. This cater is everything. Meaning like your your ovens, your racks, your dishes, your plate covers, your china, flatware, glassware, all of that, if you have buffet, if you It includes all that, and it includes the staff. Yeah, and depending on what you're having, like we do one per 50 guests for like drinks. But if there's a mixologist, it's different. I mean, it's all about service. And then if it's a seated dinner, depending on how many courses every table has its own waiter, like server, it's just but that comes with a cost. And so when that's the expectation that people want, so you have to pay for that. Yeah. And
unless they're paying for it, they're not gonna know what it is right? You know, I mean, most hotels, they have one server per 30 person. We have one server per 10.
See, see? That is the service. And it's so different when you communicate that but the Only thing is, is when I add it all up for them. I'm like, Oh, well, this one that's so much cheaper. Let's add on all the rentals, all the stuff that has to come from the outside, you've got to rent every single thing. And this one ends up being more, and it's very misleading. And it's not manipulating. But it's like that surprise. Well, I
had I had that exact situation. Yeah, I had a. So because of COVID. This one groom who had contacted me regarding my price, I gave him a proposal that he thought it was too much. So he just kind of disappeared. And then they booked another chateau in the Bordeaux region. It was just a drive rental. And they had nothing to give him. So he was bringing over all the decorations and things like that, you know, ended up being kind of a DIY thing. And then COVID hit, and they wouldn't give him any money back. So he actually came back to me and asked me for another proposal. I said, well, the proposal that I gave you actually would still be, you know, current. Yeah. And so he said, and then he started to tell me the story. He said, When I actually added it up with everything, and your place, we could fit all of our people, that one could only fit 22. You actually were only 3000 euros more,
or it's cheaper, a lot of time, but
I mean, it was 3d. But he didn't even have the wedding. So he doesn't know exactly how much I would have been. So I could have been actually cheaper but in his mind. Yeah. But still, it was close enough. For all the crap. He'd have to add up all his hours. Yeah. So your time is worth something. So this is why we have full service venue. It comes with the florals that comes with the music, it comes with the DJ. Accommodations. It comes with decor. It comes with food, beverage, you know, video photography, fireworks, you know, spirits on the bar, it comes with all that makes the perfect wedding. Yeah. And then you have your pluses. But those are only if your desires.
Yeah. That's what you want. Right?
You don't have to have it. It is we can do the perfect wedding. And literally all you've done is pick up a phone. Yeah, three times. Yeah, maybe four? Yeah, you know, and gave me a mood, you know, Pinterest board. That is this is how I like it. So you know, it's a it's a simple route, where he took a very difficult route gap and ended up losing his money. Where, because they wouldn't give him anything, where all of my clients got to move their dates for free. No extra charges, no, you know, increases in price, nothing. And so you would have been much more ahead.
Yeah, it's like, sometimes you think you've done your research. And that's for having a planner, who's very experienced, because you can google some things, but then it's like, you it's the relationships. And it's knowing the right person are the right people to collaborate with in these places are,
we're going to build the car yourself.
Cool. And you you know, all of these things in the parts and everything. How are you going to build your own car? Yeah, so it's really no different.
That's a really good analogy. When people question me, we had a surgeon recently, and he said something. And I mean, I was being funny and playful. This is why I don't like email. And he said he was trying to negotiate something. And I was like, Listen, I don't go into your own car and tell you what kind of instruments to use and how to operate. So that's cute, that you're asking me to change my process for you. But that would not be good for your experience or my team. And so we don't change the process. We don't change the experience, the cost is what it is. And that's because the cost comes with a specific expectation that we have built for the market. And that's why we're in the luxury market. And you work hard for that. And you don't go backwards. So you either want it and you pay for it. And it is what it is because we run businesses, or you you can go down to the cheaper plant, which is what they had already done. They had heard a planner whose Instagram looked amazing. My Instagram is dancing and motivational things but there is all the pretty Yeah. But then when it came to executing it for 280 people, they realized about a month before we're in trouble. Yeah. And not only were they in trouble, they it was a like double ethnic wedding. And I mean we can learn anything. But when you already have vendors that are hired on that you're not familiar with they have Their way of doing things, we have our way of doing things. And so it's very difficult to, you know, to bring the processes together. So at the end of it because my team executed it, I was out of the country, and they knew that I knew that they could do and it's very quick, but they're like Angela, never again, like we do full service. Like we, if we pick up the pieces for people, which we can do, sometimes, we will do it sometimes. But it comes with a price tag. And they're like, the fact that they just pay normal price and not like a rush and all this. Now, that's because my second in command was out of town. I didn't talk to my accountant. It was another planner, who needed help. Who has I've known for years, who's actually been a client that I've coached. And I'm like, she, I'm only doing this, I'm only saying yes. 100% I would never have done it. Yeah. And but the girls knew that. But they were like next time, can we please be involved in the decision making? I was like, I'm sorry, to town. But this is why should make decisions. Because I'm not even there to execute it. And so I'm like, yep, we can do that. Yep. I'm like asking questions. But this planner, it's not that she meant any harm. And they're all shaming and oh, she knows she doesn't know how to handle this. And people go into hibernation and they go into depression. They don't. It's not that people are hiding. They do. And so they're like, Why No, she she's posting on social media. It's like, people, if they don't have an answer, they they're scared, and they don't know what to do. And instead of them saying, You know what? I'm in over my head. Or what would have been better if she would have gotten someone from Loke locally to collaborate together. But a lot of places don't do that. Because people are so in competition. Yes. But it's Yeah. And it's like, I yeah, there's people where I live, they think I'm crazy. Like, why do you share all this information? I'm like, why not?
You can't talk to your business by doing No.
And there is plenty of business to go around. Like they're really they're really gonna get married forever, ever.
So you know, it's a, I mean, yeah. I mean, it's a concept. The wedding planner thing, concept was maybe 30 years ago or so. And it was more just high luxury, you know, kind of stuff. But now the simplest of weddings, people's lives have changed. Yeah, all of my brides are lawyers, tech people, entrepreneurs, I should say my couples. Yeah. Because 75 of the time I'm dealing with the groom. Yeah. And, you know, they don't have time for this shit, right? No, they just want it done. And, but done
pretty, right, everybody to have a wonderful time. Exactly. And it's just the experience. They're not caught up. It's like pre qualifying people, right? It's like, do you want the Instagrammable wedding, Pinter sweating? Or like what describe, and the people who were like, Oh, God, no, that's the perfect client. Yeah. Because that's not what they're focused on. They want something different. But then if they're like, oh my gosh, yes. Like, everything has to be perfect. It's like, I'm a little, like, I don't know if that's a good fit. Because that's not real life, though. And you're gonna have to trust that if something has to move or change, because the weather or whatever, that we've got it, you don't need to manage it, your it's good. But that's where you like, you know, really have to ask the right questions before people. People who are like, Oh, they're crazy. They're like, they're not. It's just the personality, and you got to learn how to communicate. Yeah. And people need to hear things.
You know, the type of person, the client, for example, one time we had these beautiful floral arrangements, and two of them blew over and the vases broke. Yep. We had well, so we didn't have extra vases. Right, that particular vase, right, we had to go bring some others. So what we ended up doing is kind of doing half half, so that it didn't look like two vases broke. Yeah, you know, so the
bride and groom didn't even notice. Exactly. That's the thing. They didn't notice, because
they weren't fixated on what the floral was going to look like. They gave us inspirational pictures. And that's it. And that's what I like to do. I like to just have inspirations. And then as a designer, I feel secure enough that I can make it beautiful. Yeah. And I usually throw more in than not because I want to have that extra.
Oh, yeah. And we care. Yeah, we genuinely care.
Yeah. And I don't want to read anybody. Like I had one right, like, but I don't want anybody say I couldn't afford flowers. I was like, Well, okay, so if we have a budget, but there's different kinds of flowers that we can use to make it look more
grand grand. Yeah, more volume. and stay on budget. Yeah.
So are you good with that? Yes. Like, yeah. Yeah, don't worry.
I got it. Yeah. It's just trust the process it
is it is trust. You have to trust who you're working with. And that's why I like FaceTime or Skype or zooms. Yeah. Because I like to talk to people. I hate emailing. Yeah,
I do. I'm better to follow it up with an email. Yeah,
I just want to talk to you. Yeah. That's how I get into your psyche. That's how I get into your head. And that's how I know who you are. And that's, for me the most important because also to then that's how I have these lasting relationships. Yeah, so then maybe they'll come back for their 40th birthday party. Yeah. And which I have a bride coming back six years later. So that's great. That's, I know, a lot of other venues that are when it's close to home, you have lots of repeat business, but I don't have that, right. Because I am a destination. And nobody wants the same wedding. That so and so just had, you know, they want to do different destination. So it's not like a word of mouth kind of thing. That's why like, the social media is so important. Yeah. To get your name out there. The you know, your organic to be hit be on that top list, because people don't have any patience to keep on going through page after page. They now you know, they don't. So it's constantly trying to find that next way to keep you, you know, current and visible. And let's put it this way. There's tons of competition here. Yes. You know, I'm not the only castle. Yeah. So it's not like in Long Island.
Yeah, no. But it's, again, it goes back to like the relationships, and you've like, as a planner, feeling comfortable. And like someone who puts out content. And then if people go to these places, you know, and if you have bad experience, you tell me. And I hear about it. And I love hearing about it. And that's why I like secret shopping and going to places where they had they don't know. Yeah, it's just you get a room and you stay and you spend money for a few days and see how it goes. And then it's like, okay, if the culture is good. I mean, you just you never know. Well,
that was another reason why I thought we would do the restaurant. Yeah, is because I thought maybe even for the more not local, local, but you know, Persians or whatever. If they want to come and see the experience, they can stay overnight, they can taste the food, then they can make a decision. Yeah, they don't. Some people don't want to they're afraid to come come. Because you're gonna get hounded with a marketing person. You know, this is we're not selling used cars. No, you know, so? No, not at all. The venue speaks for itself. But you have to get them here. Some people are a little too shy to make appointments. So maybe with the restaurant, they'll have more of a, you know, kind of a secret visit. Yeah, and see what it's about and kind of go from there. So that's what I'm hoping you know, will also happen. Yeah, just another, another avenue to get them to come and do a little mini experience.
And then that could turn into a whole four day event, because they simply came here for lunch. So it's brilliant. It's good. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you. I had to go check out the website. Check out their Instagram, and we're gonna go move and do a dance outside. We should go do a dance. Thank you for tuning in. Thanks for watching. Your time is so precious. We'll see you next week on another episode of business unveiled via. That's it for this week's episode of business unveiled. Now that you have all the tools that you need to conquer the world and GSD get shit done. Would you share this with your friends and fellow business leaders? One thing that would really really help us and help new listeners is for you to rate the show. And leave a comment and Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you tune in and listen to business unveiled. You can check out the show notes at Angela proffitt.com/podcast and link up with us on social media so you can share your biggest insights. And I want to know your aha moments. Until next week, remember, the profitable shifts and structures you're creating and your business help you be more present in your life. So get out there and GSD
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