Tuesday, August 28, 2007

G. Garvin Is Coming To Baltimore!!!

One of my favorite television chefs, G. Garvin - of TVOne's "Turn Up The Heat" fame is coming to Charm City on Saturday, September 8th for the 3rd Annual Media Cook Off sponsored by the Association Of Black Media Workers (ABMW).

Just so y'all know - if I weren't a wedding planner, I do believe that my hands would be wrapped up in everything cuisine...that's just how much I love food and how much I love the art form know as cooking. I have been fortunate to be involved with this great group as a "celebrity chef" for their past two events - and walked away with first prize each year in my category!!! My entry was a little somethin' called "Nee-Nee's Gourmet Cornbread", served up with a side of southern-fried catfish. Hey, my family hails from the south (Lynchburg, South Carolina to be exact), so good ole' home cookin' is part of my genetic code!!!!!!!

This year, I don't have to create a signature dish....oh, no, our special guest star is doing that for all of us "celebrity chefs". Here's the deal - we have to make a dish he specifies, then he'll judge them during the evening. Pressure?? Nah - not a bit!!!!

So...for an evening of great food, amazing cuisine (you'll have a chance to savor noshes inspired by G's own recipes), live music , a terrific silent auction and the opportunity to support a good cause (The DeWayne Wickham Scholarship Fund) - come on out and join the DIVA and some of my friends for a night you won't forget!

Tickets are $50 per person and are tax-deductible. You can get tickets directly from me - just email me at Linnyette@theweddingdiva.com and I'll make sure to hook you up! The event will be held at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum located at 1471 Thames Street in Baltimore (Fells Point area) from 7-11 p.m.

See you next Saturday!!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's My Anniversary!

YIPPEE!!! Actually, the true "date" was August 21st - but what's a couple of days in the pot? No..it's not my wedding anniversary (been there - done that!). The occasion I am happily celebrating is all about my freedom.

The "freedom" of which I speak was liberation from my 9-5 corporate gig...it was 10 years ago that I walked away from a really cool job and took the proverbial "leap of faith" by striking out on my own and devoting myself to the business of planning wonderful weddings and events. This "anniversary" is as important to me as the birth of my children - and of course, my own B-day (which happens to be Christmas Day!).

When I wake up in the morning, I thank God for another day to do what I love - and to be with those I love. I am always so grateful and thankful that I literally took control into my hands and left the corporate grind to pursue my passion. I didn’t want to do the "shoulda, woulda , coulda" and wonder what my life may have been like had I not went out on my own. I was 35 years old at the time when I walked away from my job...and now, 10 years later...I wouldn’t change a thing!

So - if anyone out there is even thinking about fulfilling your dream of business ownership and/or entrepreneurship, allow me to share some of my "rationale" with you:

Be true to your passion. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that something can’t be done....because, that's a fallacy. It may sound cliched - but you can do whatever you want. The key - you have to want it bad enough. You have to become one with whatever your drive, your motivating factor is. You have to breathe it, eat it, sleep it, feel it - to the point where folks around you will say "Enough already!!". But you can’t let it go - you have to let it grow and ripen within your conscious self. Every moment that you spend developing and growing your business will only help you realize the dream....and that’s a tall order. It means sacrifice, sleepless nights and angst over whether or not you’re doing the right thing. However - if this is the path you want to walk on - don’t let anyone or anything knock you off your course!!!

I'll finish by sharing two of my favorite "quotes" with you....

1) "When you do what you’ve always done - you get what you’ve always gotten"
In other words - defy mediocracy.

2) "If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life you’ve imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours"
-Henry David Thoreau

This is the impetus that I work with all of the time - I am living my dreams and am always pushing forward to more success.

And if you take away nothing else from this post, remember this:
Being successful is the one of the most powerful motivators ever.
I guarantee it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wedding Art

Looking for something different as a bridal shower gift? Consider this divinely wonderful lithograph from artist Athena Hampton, designed exlcusively for Signature Bride Magazine.

As any bride will tell you - after a day (or night) of celebration, your feet are HURTING!! This whimsical picture truly embodies the feeling of exhilaration and tiredness - on one hand, you are on cloud 9, but on the other - WHAT A DAY!!!

For ordering information, please visit Signature Bride at http://signaturebride.net/marketplace.html or call (954) 651-1346

The $10,000 Wedding

I get a lot of emails from couples whose wedding budgets hover in the $10,000 range - and the question is always the same: Can we have a nice wedding for 10K? My answer is always "yes - but....".

I interject the word "but" simply because I know how expensive weddings can be. The national average for a nuptial celebration is in the $28 - $29,000 ballpark and seems to be climbing more each year. But as I tell people all of the time - "it is what it is", so if all you've got is $10,ooo - then that's what we work with!

How can you accomplish beautiful with modest funds? Simple - but you have to be realistic in your expectations. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that for $10k, it's possible to have 300 guests, a full bar, live entertainment, flowers everywhere and a wedding party of 40. Nope - ain't gonna happen. Instead, let me give you a few snippets of "insight" so that hopefully, you can see where I'm coming from:

1) With the money you have - having a nice wedding will have a lot to do with the priorities you set, what geographical area you are in, how many guests you want to have, what time of year, what time of day. I know that sounds kind of vague - but it really isn't.

2) If you know that you want to go the traditional route - so be it. But you will have to make your money work for you and become creative with your spending. For instance - you could decide to get married on a Saturday morning (like 9 a.m.) and have a old-fashioned country breakfast for 50 guests in the church hall afterwards. Or you could settle on doing a late evening wedding (8 p.m.) with dessert and sparkling wine to follow, it would be just a 2 hour reception, with you and your groom mingling with your guests.

3) When funds are tight - I always recommend that people clearly spell out in the beginning what is most important to them, and what is least important. That is how you'll spend the money well. If you decided to go the justice of the peace route - that's fine too. You could have just your immediate families present for the ceremony, then go to a local restaurant and have a dinner for close family and friends - probably no more than 50 people total.

There is LIFE after the wedding - when you wake up the very next day, it starts and you have to be prepared for it. Maybe it's because in my previous life - I was in the financial industry and I watched people dip into their 401-K's and other savings just to fund a wedding. Hey - it's a free country and you can do what you wish...but with some careful thought and spending, you can have a wedding with wonderful memories - not a ton of debt as you start your new life.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Married Away - The Wedding of Alex & Synda"

So......I'm back from shooting the latest installment for Style Network's destination wedding show, "Married Away". This episode will feature the awesomely beautiful wedding of Alex and Synda, who chose to say "I Do" on gorgeous Canouan Island in the Grenadines.

Raffles Resort (http://www.rafflescanouan.com/) was the site for the event's festivities and truly - there are no words to adequately express how gorgeous this place is! The staff is hospitable and accommodating, the food is wonderful and the vistas - ah, like paradise on earth!

I had the opportunity to work with an amazing photographer, Ruth Rackley and her assistant, Jill Higgins - who both shot some incredible images of this event. Check out their respective blogs at http://homepage.mac.com/r2photo/iblog/index.html and http://www.jillhigginsphotography.blogspot.com/ to catch a few glimpses of the "happenings" on Canouan!! The show should air later this fall - I'll definitely keep you posted on an actual date!

I have to give some "shout outs" to a few folks who truly made this wedding sparkle! First - many thanks to the bride and groom, Synda & Alex Mark, for their gracious hospitality and for allowing us to be a small part of their wonderful wedding celebration. I truly enjoyed working with them and helping make their destination wedding dreams come to life!

Gotta give much love to my assistant, Izabella Lopez, for making the trip with me and being such a fantastic "right hand"!!

Next up - the production crew of "Married Away": Renee', Cara, Tom, Jay, Brian, Jorge - you guys are the best and I can't wait to see the finished product!!!

Emilio & Beau - I promised I wouldn't forget the two of you!! Great job during the ceremony - those readings were absolutely wonderful!!!

Nicole & Peter (Raffles Resort): THANK YOU for making my job so easy - I truly appreciate all of your hard work and really hope I'll have a chance to visit your lovely resort once again!!

Because of the following people - I was able to take some of that DIVA magic to The Grenadines, just wait until you see the episode!!!

Linens: BBJ Linen (http://www.bbjlinen.com/)
"Barefoot Sandals": (http://www.jewels-by-jan.com/)
Custom Stationery: Karron Minor/Diamond Minor Designs

The pictures you see here are courtesy of Izabella Lopez's trusty digital camera - I hope you enjoy them!!!!!!