Sunday, August 7, 2011

UNIQUE Experience!

This blog was inspired by one of my recent escapades! I was in Orlando for the Inspire Smart Success Workshop, hosted by the ever fabulous Stacie Francombe (more to come about that)! The event was held at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Those who know me, know that I did not stay there...too pricey for my blood! :)

We received the most fab giftbags with all kinds of goodies, including a gift certificate to the Waldorf Astoria Spa. I just chucked the card into my bag, with the thought that I would one day check it out. A pipedream. The next morning, I was getting dressed and I happened to look down at my sad toes that had barely been touched since May. I then checked my calendar and found that yes, there was an hour opening today! I immediately went digging in the giftbag to find that card! Finally, I had the gem in my hand! I called, and yes, there was an opening at the exact time that I was seeking. I then got dressed like a mad woman to make it to the spa early! There was NO WAY I was going to be late to this appointment!

I texted Hubby and shouted it on Facebook. Yes, the country girl from Louisiana was headed to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a spa treatment! I entered the hotel with a sense of entitlement. I was not a visitor. I had business to attend to. I opened the door to the Spa and was greeted by name! They knew I was the 11:30am appt. The receptionist asked if I wanted to change into a robe. A robe? Really? I declined, thinking that's a bit much for little 'ole me! I was then escorted into the Tea Lounge. Yes, you read right. There was a lounge...with tea...before your pedicure. I was NOT used to this. I normally just hit the nail shop on the corner, where you wait to even be acknowledged. No fluff and definitely, no tea!

The Tea Lounge was a magical land were the lights were dim, zen music was playing, and there was a selection of teas and trail mixes. I most definitely wanted to enjoy the full experience, so I prepared a cup of tea and munched on a few scoops of trail mix. The seating in the lounge area was plush and neutral-colored. I sipped my tea and looked around thinking, "wow, I could stay here forever!"

The nail technician entered the room and introduced herself with a soft handshake. "Hello, my name is Vanessa and I will be taking care of you today." So nice! She then proceeded to grab my tea and snack, and carried it for me even though I had two capable hands. We entered the nail area and she asked me to pick out a color. She did not leave me, she asked me what my favorite color is and then began recommending some options. We decided on a duo color (mixing two colors) to achieve a pretty shade. It was Vanessa who recommended this, knowing that she had just doubled her work, she knew that it would satisfy me. The pedicure was great. I've had many in my life, so I knew the drill. She asked me a few questions about my stay and what I was doing in town, but for the most part she did not talk. She knew that this is a relaxing time and did not want to bug me with alot of chatter.

I watched Vanessa as she took care of each toe. I was amazed how intently she was focused. Nothing was rushed, nothing was overlooked. When she began to put the polish on, she painted only one toe, and then asked me if I liked it. She was fully willing to take it off and try something else if I was not pleased. I was most definitely pleased! I commended her on her recommendation. When the pedicure was complete, she informed me that I was not to wear shoes for about an hour. There goes lunch, I thought. She escorted me back to the wonderous Tea Lounge so that I could dry. Now, to compare...I was used to being thrusted under the ultraviolet light, after paying of course, and not spoken to again. I grabbed another cup of tea and began to write this post.

Now, the goal is not to tell you about my fab pedi (it was) or how fantastic the Waldorf Astoria is (it is), but to illustrate the difference between a PURCHASE and an EXPERIENCE. My toes look great and they could've looked great going anywhere, but only by spending more (almost double) do I have this story. Yes, I did have a gift certificate, but I would've happily paid for the experience of the Waldorf pedicure! Yes, we are in the midst of a recession and money is tight for everyone, but there are times that we do splurge. We get that $5 Starbucks coffee instead of the $0.99 gas station coffee, or we buy that one expensive pair of shoes while the wardrobe was purchased on sale, because...heck, we're worth it!

When it comes to your wedding day, aren't you worth it? Why settle for the grocery store wedding cake or the do-it-yourself makeup. Are you approaching your wedding as a collection of purchases or is it an EXPERIENCE? Don't you want to walk away with stories and memories of drinking champagne at a dress fitting and having a complete table mock-up presented for your approval? You are a queen and you should be treated as such! If you are not, then you are not working with the right vendors. You need to look at more than just the price, but the experience that is presented to you when interviewing and working with your vendors.

Sure, you can find a cheaper DJ, florist, planner, but will they truly listen? Will they take the time to get to know you as a person, and not just a client? Will they approach your event, as just another weekend of weddings, or will they personalize their services to your needs? These are the things you need to be looking for. Planning a wedding is fun and you should enjoy your planning experience. You need to align yourself with the vendors that speak personally to you. Don't just look at price, but value. It's not about what you're paying, but rather what you are getting for amount that you pay. Would I have paid the expensive price for my normal pedi experience? Nope. But, I got so much more out of the experience I did have, that I don't mind the higher price. Can I pay top dollar for all of my pedicures? No way. Contrary to popular belief, wedding planners are not rolling in dough, but would I splurge and treat myself every now and then? Yes, because I'M worth it. YOU also are worth it! You deserve THE BEST for your wedding and you should not settle until you find it. There's no do-overs for your wedding day, no second chances. You need to splurge on your experience.

Now, it's time for me to show my fab toes all over town! :)

A very special thank you to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Vanessa, the super sweet nail technician!

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