“If I could give Five Grain Events 1000 stars, I would. From beginning to end, they were amazing. If it wasn’t for my Day-of-Event Coordinator, Sara Balsom, from FGE, I don’t know what I would have done.We got married at Salvage One, which is not a venue that has a built-in “coordinator,” and the plan was to appoint family members and close friends to put up and take down decorations, etc., and fill in for other coordinator-duties. So when my florist (Fleur, and also awesome) suggested that we hire a Day-of-Event Coordinator, I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t think we needed to spend money on such a thing. The florist recommended a new company, just starting out, called Five Grain Events. My next thought was, “Oh great…they’re new, which makes them affordable, by probably less competent.” I was SOOOOO wrong!!!!! Very affordable and extremely competent.
I contacted Joan, the owner. She was quick to get back to me and quick to set-up a time to meet. Very communicative and very flexible and very friendly. I then met with her and one of her coordinators, Sara Balsom. Little did I know I was meeting my guardian angel, my savior, my saving grace(Sara)!!!!
They were extremely friendly and professional. They explained to me all their services, presented me with tangible information; we discussed their experience in the field, their attention to detail, etc…I shared my vision, and the rest you can imagine. Both listened intently and seemed genuinely interested and invested in doing the best job they could to achieve my wedding vision. Once we negotiated a price, which Joan was flexible (and this was immensely appreciated), Sara and I were joined together and commenced with our working relationship.
I don’t really know how to put into words how unbelievably helpful and absolutely necessary it was to have Sara. I could never have made it without her. THANK GOD that my florist made this suggestion because nobody could have done as complete, thorough, thoughtful, detail-oriented, amazing job as Sara Balsom did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!
Sara met with me and my husband a couple times. She was in constant communication with me. She was always offering to help more, and more, and more…wanting to always take stress and responsibilities off my hands. She was available all the time, by phone, text, or email. She offered a listening ear. She covered ever single base there was to cover, including ALL the ones I thought I had covered, but missed. I felt like I had made a good friend, not hired a coordinator. She organized all the timelines…for the bridesmaids, for the groomsmen, for the band, for the family, for me, and so on and so forth. She attended the walk-thru meeting with the vendors. She orchestrated the rehearsal. On the day of the wedding, she was in total control, moving things along, directing people, answering questions, diverting the questions and vendor issues to her and away from me and my new husband, connected with all the vendors, made sure the decor went up and came down, and so much more. So many people complemented Sara during the wedding, observing what a great job she was doing. She was in constant communication with me about what was happening and when, and cross-checking decisions with me, which left me to just FULLY ENJOY my most amazing wedding. I had the best day and night of my life…and it would not have been that awesome without the most amazing coordinator in the whole entire world, Sara Balsom!!! Afterwards, I didn’t have to worry about a thing. Sara took care of everything…includi ng taking some stuff home with her in her own car.
Five Grain Events — you outdid yourselves. Your services were excellent. I never imagined all that I would be getting when I hired you. You greatly and extremely exceeded my and my husband’s expectations. Seriously. You were affordable and offered all of the elements that would be expected of a much, much, much more expensive company. Above and beyond everything.
Thank you a million times for making my dreams become a reality!”
What is the thing you enjoy most about your job?
I think the fact that when I’m doing a wedding, I get to be an integral part of one of the best days of that couple’s life…and knowing that I helped them lose all concern about everything except having an incredible time. It’s a really cool feeling.
Who, if anyone, encouraged you to pursue your dream?
Well when I was considering leaving my full-time job, I thought about it a lot, but when I actually said it out loud I was surprised that my husband was on board! Then I talked it over with my parents and my in-laws and they were all really supportive. I think if I hadn’t gotten such positive feedback from my family it would not have been such an easy decision.
To read the rest of this feature, click here to go to the Simply Jessie Photography blog.
Today I bring you event planner Joan with Five Grain Events to continue on our Profile series. This blog series highlighting different business owners and entrepreneurs. Plus I think all my brides should get to know Joan a bit!! She is the founder of Five Grain Events and leads the way for fabulous Chicago events. She is way fun, laughs alot, does wonderful work and makes organization look easy. We met because of her pursuit of networking and connecting wedding vendors to one another. She found me! You can find more information on her website and blog as well as follow her on Facebook and Twitter as well!
To read the rest of this feature, click here to go to the Simply Jessie Photography Blog.
Here are the cool people I met this (and last!) week:
1) Mary Nisi from Toast & Jam DJs. Mary was one of those people recommended by several of the people featured on former Cool People posts: Kelly Marie Uss, Amanda Hein, and Jeremy Lawson all gave enthusiastic reviews of Mary and the T&J team! Mary and I met at her studio space in Bucktown on a Friday afternoon. We chatted about our businesses and philosophies and Mary gave me some insider information on which reception spaces in the area make for the best parties (although you’ll have to hire Five Grain Events and/or Toast & Jam to find out!). The T&J team aren’t your usual cheesy MCs. They keep the party going and all have lots of experience to make sure that your event never loses momentum. Definitely look into Toast & Jam for your entertainment: but talk to them early, they book up fast!
2) Lee Calihan from Calihan Catering. I’m lucky enough to have a mutual friend with Lee, and the three of us met for drinks a little over a week ago. Lee is a cool person with incredibly forward-thinking ideas. I worked with Calihan a lot over the last four years in my full-time job and there is no denying their fantastic service and beautifully prepared delicious food. In this day and age, however, it takes a lot more than good food to get by in the catering business. Lee totally rebranded the Calihan image and name and is a driving force behind this great company. In addition, Calihan‘s most recent venue space, run by Lee herself, is FANTASTIC! At our meeting, Lee told me about the Oak Brook Bath and Tennis Club. I went by a few days later to look at it for my Sept. 2011 clients and, although it was slightly too small for their wedding, I definitely want to bring future clients there. So, in sum, definitely check out Calihan Catering and Oak Brook Bath and Tennis Club. And Lee, it was great to meet you–let’s get together again soon!
I’ve got lots more to come in the next week…so stay tuned!
When I started Five Grain Events I thought maybe someday I’d have enough work to go full time. Then a couple months ago I began thinking it would be more like a year. Believe it or not, last Monday I gave notice at work.
As of May 26th, I will be working full time on Five Grain Events!
It was a difficult decision, but one that I realized was meant-to-be. I haven’t become overwhelmed by doing Five Grain plus working full time yet…but I could see that coming down the horizon thanks to all the wonderful referrals I’ve been getting. I just felt like, “what am I waiting for?”
It’s hard to believe that this moment has come so soon–WELL before I thought it would. I’m a little nervous but mostly SO EXCITED about everything there is to look forward to. I’m going to be able to put all my energy now into building Five Grain Events into the business I want it to be.
Thank you to all my family, friends, blog readers, facebook friends, and twitter followers for helping me make my dreams a reality.
If you feel so inclined and know of anyone who is in need of a wedding or event planner/coordinator I’d be so grateful if you’d pass along my name!
So much love to you all,