Monday, December 14, 2009

Drum Roll....Please!

I'm happy to announce that my latest episode of "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" entitled "Bride vs. Groom" will air this coming Saturday, December 19th at 9 p.m. eastern on the Style Network. While I can't divulge anything regarding the show, I encourage all of you to tune in......it's definitely a wee bit "different" than what I normally dish out, but in true DIVA style - I make it do what it do!!!!

Check your local cable or satellite provider for additional details!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Wedding Party



Over the past 17 years, I've seen wedding parties as small as zero and as large as 60 (yes....you read correctly - I didn't stutter!). The honor of being asked to participate as an attendant in someone's nuptials is a big deal and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who really don't "get" what an awesome responsibility this is, both emotionally and financially.

Weddings cost money. To participate in one as a member of the bridal party costs money also - there's no way around that. To buy bouquets and boutonierres, host a rehearsal dinner, purchase gifts, provide transportation AND feed these folks...costs money too. So no matter what side of the fence you are on - soon to be wed or potential attendant, expect to reach into your wallet more than once.

With all of that being said, as the bride or groom - how do you choose? Who do you ask? Why do you ask? If you understand that the "reasoning" for a wedding party is basically steeped in superstition, then the modern day reality of it is more want than need. Do you need 20 bridesmaids, 20 groomsmen, 4 junior bridesmaids, 4 junior groomsmen, 3 maids of honor, 3 matrons of honor, 6 best men, 3 ringbearers, 8 flower girls (and a partridge in a pear tree? sorry - couldn't resist!) ? The answer will depend on where your sensibilities (and emotions) lie.....

My view as an insider is this: Select those persons for whom it is totally necessary that they be at your side during this moment. Look at your proverbial "posse" - who do you hang with, travel with, share with, trust? Those are the folks that would serve you best as attendants. They "get" you, they support your relationship, they are HAPPY for your joy and truly wish to see you married. For most people - when you look at it that way, the list shortens dramatically.

I know - there are some of you that think you absolutely must have everyone as a member of the wedding party. But at the end of your day, think about the intimate connections you should have with each person standing up there with you. If you can't fathom one single, deep, concrete "tie" that binds you - let them be a guest and sit in the audience.

Those are my "musings" - what do you think? I'd love to hear your comments - so please share!!

photo credit (groom & attendants) - Michael Clark
photo credit (bride & attendants) - personal archive of Linnyette Richardson-Hall

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Celebration...not obligation

That's what your wedding is about. You and your beloved should be celebrating this milestone moment with those people in your life who mean the most. Simply put - a wedding is about "celebration - not obligation".

As a planner, I hear it all of the time. Guest lists that are crazy out of control because couples feel as if they MUST invite everyone in the known galaxy....the 4th cousin twice removed, the passenger who sits next to you on the commuter train, the lady down the street from your grandma who used to make cookies when you were small, the ladies from your aunt's Flower Circle at church who pinched your cheeks when you were 5 and attending Sunday School, the girl who's wedding you were in (but in actuality, you REALLY don't want her as a part of your party)...oh, this list goes on.

Wanna save money? Get off of the bus - ring the bell and tell the driver "the next stop is mine". In plain terms, rein it in and start to clearly articulate who can make the "cut". I get it - everyone thinks they are important enought to warrant an invite to your shindig. Unless your name is Jay-Z, Diddy, Trump, Gates, Buffet (throw in your favorite millionaire), it costs $$$$ to have a wedding. Let's be real here - you know you have a budget and you know you have to live after the "I Do's" are said. Make life easy on you (and your wallet) - take a closer look at those names on the spreadsheet. Have the "conversation" with your fiance' and be honest - if you don't know the names on the list....reconsider sending that invitation.

You should be able to mingle at your reception and seriously know every single face that's in the place. Period. A wedding is about the joining of hearts, families and friends - it's special. No one should ever make you feel OBLIGATED to include a guest that you don't know. This is your wedding, your party and you have the right to extend that special honor to attend to the people who really matter. This isn't a "free for all" or a "house party". It's the day you become Mr. & Mrs., and from my perspective -that means a lot.

At the end of the day - I want you to be able to look back and remember all of the smiling faces that saw you begin this amazing journey. Those should be faces that you chose to celebrate with you...not because you felt you HAD to invite them. There's a distinct difference between choice and obligation. Make sure you know which one is important on this day.......

Monday, October 26, 2009

Timeless.....



is the only word I can use to describe Ivanka Trump's wedding gown. A custom Vera Wang design, it's fashioned after the one Grace Kelly wore back in 1956 when she wed Prince Ranier of Monaco. With the beautiful jewels adorning her ears and wrist, that simply stunning bouquet AND the love of her life by her side....what more could a bride want?

This is the look I think of when brides tell me they want a classic, elegant look. The dainty sleeves really give the dress a feminine air and the simple shaping is so flattering to many figures. I've always thought that a bride should be at her most ladylike on this special day...Ivanka has got that "look" all tied up in a pretty package!!!


photo credits:
Jared Kushner/Ivanka Trump: Fred Marcus Photography/Getty Images
Prince Ranier & Grace Kelly: Pauline Weston Thomas for fashion-era.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Survey Says!!!

I couldn't resist that line from one of my absolutely favorite game shows, Family Feud :)

However in this case, there's actually a survey being conducted and the researches from the University of Virginia need your help. Here are the details - if it sounds like something you'd like to participate in, contact the doctoral candidate, Christina Reitz-Krueger, directly.

Engaged volunteers needed!

I am looking for volunteers for a study of attitudes towards marriage and parenthood among engaged couples. The study consists of a 25-30 minute online survey. To qualify for the study, you must be 20-35 years old, live in the U.S., and plan to marry or have a commitment ceremony within the next 365 days. You and your romantic partner must not have children, and this must be the first marriage for both of you.

By participating in the study, you can:
-Help a doctoral candidate;
-Increase the pool of scientific knowledge;
-Support research on marriage and families; and
-Spend some time thinking about your relationship!

I am working with Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. This study has been approved by the University of Virginia Institutional Review Board #2009025800.

If you and/or your romantic partner are interested in participating or want further information, please email me at survey.couples@gmail.com. I will send you a link that you can use to access the study.

Thanks!

Cristina Reitz-Krueger
Doctoral Student
University of Virginia
(434) 243-8558
survey.couples@gmail.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

DIVAStyle: Real Weddings












Bridgette & Joe
September 18, 2009

Yes - wedding planners (and their teams) get married too.

When my assistant Bridgette asked me if I would do the honors of coordinating all of the festivities on the day of her wedding - I was tickled pink. And I said "yes"!! Along with TeamDIVA members Stephanie, Maia, Denise and Lisa, we set out to make sure Bridgette and her new husband had the best night ever.

I think the smiles on their faces tell the entire story.....................

Photography by Herb Garrett

Coming To The Big Apple!!


For all of my New Yorkers, Jersey peeps and Connecticut colleagues - I'm coming your way on October 19-20th! I am so honored to be asked to deliver one of the keynote presentations at the Maximize Your Brand Wedding Symposium hosted by Dawn Easter Events and Something Blue NY.

Dawn & Karina have really pulled together a fab event - bringing industry powerhouses to New York for 2 days of intense education, information and networking. If you are in the area - and really want to delve into this business we call weddings...you need to be in the house! Details and registration are at the Maximize Your Brand website.

Looking forward to meeting all of you in NYC!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

DIVAStyle: Real Weddings











I have the best clients. Truly. And I'd like you to meet them to see how their special day unfolds. DIVAStyle: Real Weddings is a new feature on Confessions - through my eyes and the lenses of some of the most talented photographers in the area, you'll get an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the brides and grooms TeamDIVA is honored to serve.


Angela & Tavon
September 12, 2009
This wonderful couple from Atlanta came to me over a year ago to help them plan a great wedding - long distance. Through the magic of technology (can you say lots of emails?) and some in-person "face" time, we were able to craft a simply loving day. Mother Nature was playing "chicken" with us with her on again/off again rain dance, but that didn't kill the joy one single bit! With a wedding party of 32 close friends and a host of relatives & loved ones, Angie and Tavon jumped the broom surrounded by those who cared about them and their happiness the most....

Photography: Michael Clark of Michael Clark Photographers

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Next Workshop For Wedding Planners


If you are passionate about this field we call wedding planning, if you want to learn more about how to craft and manage a successful business, if you want to "up your ante" and really bring the game home - join me and a bunch of other like minded folks on November 14-15th here in Baltimore!!


The Power Course


10 W. Burke Avenue

Towson, Maryland


Registration Includes:

2 days of relevant topics

All materials

Continental breakfast, buffet lunch and breaks each day

Pre-Class assignments

Hands on decor experience

Certificate of Participation


Day 1: Focuses on the "business" intracacies of the wedding planning industry

Day 2: Focuses on basic wedding design & decor techniques


Fees:

September 1 - October 23rd: $525.00*

After October 24th (and based on availability) $595.00**


*Payment plans are available

**Payment in full only


Registration forms and other details can be found at The Business Of Matrimony's website.


Hotel Accommodations:

$129 per night (one bedroom suite)

The Burkshire Marriott is an all-suite hotel, combining luxurious rooms with the convenience and functionality of a personal living space. Each suite contains a spacious living room/dining area, full kitchen, washer & dryer and separate bedroom.


Room reservations can be made by calling the hotel at (410) 324-8100 and asking for the Power Course (DIVA Enterprises, LLC.) special rate.


Please note - this is the last Power Course for 2009. If you missed out earlier this year - get it into gear and make sure you're registered for this one!!!!

Guess Who's Back????

Just me :) I've been "away" since May and with the falling of the leaves and the change in season, I've returned to my beloved "Confessions".

I've gotten so many inquiries and emails from my readers asking "where are you" and "when are you going to start blogging again?". I thank all of you for keeping in touch with me and I'm going to answer your questions quite simply...

I needed to take a break from blogging in order to truly discover my "voice". During my 4 month absence, I had a chance to watch everyone else and to listen to what my intuition was telling me. This is what I realized:

1) I am such an anomaly when it comes to this blogging thing. For me - this blog is a way for me to talk to you and to receive feedback. To be honest, I really don't want to chat about every new color shade, every new fabric, every new wedding gown, every new favor. It may work for and be good for other folks, but that's not who I am on a regular basis, so you're not going to find it here on "Confessions".

2) I love weddings, planning parties, making things beautiful and the art of a fine meal. That is who I REALLY am, so that's the "voice" you'll be hearing from now on. I'm also blatantly honest, so if you're looking for the "sugar coated" version of how weddings and special events are done....wrong blog. I'm going to tell you the truth, so that you'll be informed and aware. That makes for a better client, a better event - and a better consumer.

3) I want you to know a smidge more about me....beyond the persona you see on television. While I truly am one of those people that fit the "what you see is what you get" mold...I'm actually quite multi-faceted. Those "prisms" make me the unique indiviudal that you see now, but it also holds the key as to how I think..and how I produce all of those marvelously personal events....

4) I want to show you things that are unusual, cool, funky, hip - as well as elegant, traditional and classic. Weddings and events need to look like the people and demographic they are created for...I'm hoping to give you some additional insight on items, places and providers who can truly make your special occasion sing.

5) I'm not just a wedding planner. Over the past few months, myself and my "team" have really been involved in so many different things that we are excited about - and I plan on sharing some of those juicy "tidbits" with all of you. I am fortunately blessed to be able to spread my wings and truly branch out into more lifestyle and entertaining aspects of my career - the energy and excitement that I get from that is unreal and surreal. There are some very, very exciting opportunities that have been placed in my path that will take me WAY beyond the wedding planner personality many of you are used to. Trust me - it's a very, very good thing!

Many of you have commented to me that when you read my blog - it's as if you can "hear" me speaking to you. If that's the case - then I'm succeeding in my mission. "Confessions" is my online voice to the world....if you'll keep reading, I'm going to keep writing so that we can share and lift our collective voices - together.

Monday, May 25, 2009

TeamDIVA




Just so you know - there's more than one of me in existence. My "clones" come in the form of the fabulous ladies (and gents) of TeamDIVA - these are the folks who help me bring all of the wonderful wedding and other celebrations we produce to life!

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be introducing my associates and assistants to all of you. It's a great chance for you to see the many faces of my organization and get to know everyone a wee bit better. They are all different, multi-leveled, incredibly talented people and they share my vision of professional excellence and sheer beauty when it comes to throwing a shindig!

Here's a "sneak peak" from a recent photo shoot done for TeamDIVA by the ultra-amazing Michael Clark of Baltimore-based Michael Clark Photographics. He really captured the essence of our collective energy and spirit - we had a blast!

And of course, no DIVA is truly "done" until her visage is...I have to give a big shout out and many props to the graceful hands of my personal stylist, Carla Williams , for taking care of my own "look" in these images as well as to color mavens Monica Cook and Deneen Mitchell for bringing their magic makeup kits along to the shoot location to give the ladies of TeamDIVA the "touch" that made them glow. If you're in need of that picture perfect look for any event - give these ladies a call!!!

"Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" - Season 9


I cannot believe that we are showing episodes from Season 9! It seems just like yesterday that I got a call from the folks over at Style Network, saying that they wanted me to join the cast of this fabulous show!! That was season 2 and now look where we are!!!!


For all of you who've been asking - your wish is being granted :) My newest episode will air tomorrow night (May 26th) at 8 p.m. EST on the Style Network. I had the pleasure of working with Rictor & Lynette Craig in fashioning a simply wonderful wedding celebration for them and a "few" of their nearest and dearest. It's definitely an episode you won't want to miss - please tune in, then give me some feedback..I'd love to hear what you have to say!!!!

I Have Been Away For A Minute...

But I'm back now :) It's been so ultra hectic around these parts - and I admit to being a wee bit neglectful to all of my faithful blog readers. Will you accept my most sincerest apologies?

However, I've got TONS of great information, insights, photos and a few "surprises" to share with you in the coming days and weeks - I hope you'll stay tuned!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The "I DO Brunch" Part Three - Pen To Paper

(Diamond Minor Design)

(Diamond Minor Design)

(Diamond Minor Design)

(Momental Designs)

(Momental Designs)

(Momental Designs)

(Momental Designs)

(Carla David Design)

(Carla David Design)

(Carla David Design)

I love the written word. There is something magical about gathering your thoughts, then transferring them with the sweep of a pen to paper. Words in all of their finery were truly on display at the "I DO Brunch". An integral part of the design teams were the stationers, all different in their approach to creating fine paper magic - and all uniquely suited for this challenge!

As with the other part of the collaborative "teams", the stationers were tasked with creating programs, menu cards, table numbers and the "I DO Introspect" - a series of questions designed to stir conversation, create the veritable "aha" moments and give our planners a chance to discuss relevant, salient issues as they relate to our industry. Through the magic of technology, all three designers were able to work basically sight unseen with the florists and linen companies to create paper loveliness for our guest tables. From hand painted artistry to sleek, sophisticated textures and everything in between, the talented owners of Diamond Minor Design, Momental Designs & Carla David Design truly showed how a bit a paper and a smidge of ink can truly become something wonderful....


Tablescapes One Through Four
Karron Davis-Minor

Tablescapes Five Through Eight
Kristy Rice

Tablescapes Nine Through Twelve
All photos courtesy of Garrett Photography/Baltimore, MD.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The "I DO Brunch" Part Two - It's All About The Linens!

(Select Event Rentals)

(BBJ Linen)

(BBJ Linen)

(Gala Cloths)

(Gala Cloths)

(Select Event Rentals)

(Select Event Rentals)

I admit to being passionately fanatical about linen and tablecoverings - for me, they are one of the important elements to any great tablescape. So for the "I Do Brunch", I partnered with three of the finest companies on a local and nationwide basis to provide the elegant pieces of fabric that our guests would dine on.

As with the florists, the linen suppliers were tasked to work with the green and purple palette - then "float" their concepts along to the corresponding florist and stationer so that the end result would truly be a collaborative effort. Mind you - some of these people had NEVER met each other in person, their only contact was by phone and email. The tables were a great example of how technolgy can be used effectively and with great style! From deeply sexy to softly enchanting and ending with crisply chic - each of the tables had their own distinctive tone, mood and ambiance, which our Brunch guests thoroughly enjoyed!!

Tablescapes One Through Four
Midory Takeda-Rangonese

Tablescapes Five Through Eight

Guiliana Cox/Dulany Noble
Gala Cloths

Tablescapes Nine Through Twelve

Susan Childs
Select Event Rentals

Registration Area/Cardbox Table Linens
Susan Childs


P.S. Non-professional pictures are courtesy of a few of our Brunch participants - because there were so many images taken and I don't want to miss anyone's name, I'll just say thanks for sending them over :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The "I DO Brunch" Part One - Flowers In Bloom

(Flowers By Gina D.)

(Flowers By Gina D.)

(Flowers By Gina D.)

(Flowers By Gina D.)

(Richardson's Flowers)

(Richardson's Flowers)

(Richardson's Flowers)

(Wicked Willow)

(Wicked Willow)

(Wicked Willow)

(Wicked Willow)

(Crimson & Clover Designs)

(Creative Custom Cardboxes)

(Crimson & Clover Designs)

(Crimson & Clover Designs)

(Crimson & Clover Designs)



Historic Savage Mill Manor was the perfect location for the first "I DO Brunch" For Wedding Planners. Quaint, charming and with tons of history - it sits in the quiet enclave of Savage, MD., a small town in Howard County. The weather was gorgeous - sunny, with a bit of wind and plenty of fluffy clouds in the sky.

Guests were greeted by members of my team and offered the signature drink of the day, the "I DO Mimosa". This delightful concoction, dreamed up by yours truly, was a sweet mixture of orange and passion fruit juices, topped off with Italian spumante. A luscious strawberry petal finished off the libation which was served in a sparkling flute.

The color palette for the event was green and purple - which are two of my favorite hues to work with. Perfect for a spring event, these cool shades definitely herald the Easter season!
A funky custom card box, designed by Marni Gold at Creative Custom Cardboxes and done in our signature shades, festooned with a touch of "bling" and sensuous feathers graced our registration table.

Amy Epstein of Crimson & Clover Floral Design was tasked with providing the floral decor for the venue and took simple spring blooms then arranged them in such a fashion that they were a modern twist in a vintage location. Her incredible focal piece in our bar area, created with amazing purple tulips and the coolest ball fashioned out of deep purple carnations and crystals was truly a sight to behold!!! Guests were marveling and touching the spiky lavender flowers and the lush grass display created specifically for the Manor House' antique fireplaces.

As our colleagues entered the main dining area, the oohs and ahhs really came into full force - the vision that met them was truly camera worthy. Twelve tables were given the true imagination treatment and designed totally different, yet cohesive enough to fit the overall color scheme.

The tablescapes were created by teams of linen suppliers, stationers and florists - I gave them design "parameters" and let their respective genius run wild! To be honest, I had no clue of what the finished product would look like - but I'm wise enough to let the professionals work their magic and mojo to make things happen! And the end result was nothing short of amazing - I was so happy with how their creative juices flowed!

The floral designers were as follows:
Tablescapes One - Four
Randy Woods - Wicked Willow Floral Designs

Tablescapes Five - Eight
Sheila Smith - Richardson's Florists

Tablescapes Nine - Twelve
Regina Davis - Flowers By Gina D.

I think each of them did a fabulous job - our guests were truly appreciative of your hard work!!

P.S. Many thanks to Tiffany Parry & Bridgette Crawford for providing these photos so you could get a first glance at the lush beauty of this event -professional pictures will be up soon!