Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dancing DIVA

(photo credit:

I am so honored to announce that I'll be competing for a very pretty trophy this spring in the Alzheimer's Association's annual "Memory Ball" being held here in Baltimore on April 18th. I absolutely LOVE to dance, however, ballroom is a wee bit different than the kind of "shakin' it on the floor" I'm used to :)

This is a great challenge for me and since I'm competitive by nature, I'll be putting 1000% in to this effort. It's also an amazing event for such a worthy cause - and one that touches me on a personal level. My beloved Grandma Bessie had Alzheimer' I know that it's important to do the research in order to find a cure.

I am asking for everyone's support - you can attend the event in person and be my "cheering squad" or you can participate online with your generous donation. I'm shooting for a goal of $5000 for this project - any and all contributions are appreciated! There are two "trophies" - one for the most dollars raised and one for the best dance routine. I want both :)

Thank you in advance for your support - I appreciate it!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get Married and Celebrity Event Designer Colin Cowie Offer Wedding Tips and Trends to the Budget-Savvy Bride

(photo credit: Colin

It seems the recession and our nation's subsequent financial "crisis" has definitively woven it's way into the fabric of wedding planning. Quite similar to my post last week about pulling off a wedding during these times, celebrity wedding planner and lifestyle innovator, Colin Cowie , in partnership with Lifestyle Television's Get Married , have come up his 7 top tips for the budget savvy bride (and groom).

P.S. My personal faves on Colin's list? #2 (short list the things you can do well, rather than cheap out on a bunch of items that essence, make your event look cheap) and #5 (INVEST in a great wedding planner - notice the use of the word, invest).

Monday, February 23, 2009


Just a few weeks away and I am so excited about the "I DO BRUNCH" on April 4th, a networking event for my fellow wedding planners and coordinators!! This fabulous affair will offer a unique opportunity for planning professionals to openly discuss the many challenges we face in today's ever changing wedding industry. I have channeled my inner "designing DIVA" and teamed up with some of the most talented companies in the region to bring you beautiful decor, lively entertainment along with great giveaways and an ultra-cool SWAG bag to make this a one-of-a-kind experience!

The historic Savage Mill Manor in Maryland, will be our beautiful location to welcome in the start of spring and the wedding season! I am thrilled that our gracious hosts, Putting On The Ritz Caterers, will be showcasing (and showing off!) a marvelous feast of sumptuous cuisine and libations designed to tickle your taste buds and quench your thirst, all in an environment of elegance, beauty and style. I KNOW what's on the menu - and let's just say, there'll be a few Wii Fits that go into hyperdrive after this event is over :)

As wedding planners, we rarely have the opportunity to sit back and enjoy an event since we are always hard at work! The "I DO Brunch" is your chance to be catered to, appreciated and have a good time! We look forward to having you meet, greet and familiarize yourself with other professional planners in the Maryland/D.C./Northern Virginia area and to share the common bonds we all have in this hectic industry.

Tickets are going fast and we don't want you to miss out! I'm so pleased that we'll be hosting guests not only from the MD/D.C./NoVA area, but also Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey and New York too! Good networking is good networking - pure and simple. Discussing our common interests and insights are just a few of the keys to building and maintaining strong, positive professional relationships.

Remember, seating is limited and on a first-come, first served basis. No tickets will be sold at the event and the final date for ticket purchase is March 25, 2009. So R.S.V.P. and start the hunt for the perfect brunch outfit....I know I'll be hitting the store in a few days myself. I need another pair of shoes...the fact that I already own over 200 pair is but a minor detail :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Red Carpet Glamour

This gorgeous gown, worn by actress Angela Bassett at the recent 59th annual Berlin Film Festival is a stunning example of how to bring red carpet "wow" to your wedding. From the sumptuous fabric to the sublimely sexy one-shouldered neckline, an outfit like this would be wonderfully flattering for a second trip down the aisle!

Complete your look with a sleek chignon, some dazzling sparkle in your ears and around the veil needed!! The bride who takes on this vision will be one who is secure in her fashion "glory" - she's also the image you'll find in the dictionary if you look up the words "sophisticated" and "chic"!!!

**Special thanks to Eliana at By Your Side Events for turning me on to this photo!**

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wedding Vendor Website Survey

My colleague and friend, Emilie Duncan of Emilie Duncan Event Planning is conducting a great survey...take a look below!

I promise, this will only take a minute of your time! If you wouldn’t mind, please click on the link below and answer 9 quick, easy questions about different design aspects of wedding vendor’s websites.

Wedding Vendor Website Survey

We won’t record anything about you other than what state or country you are from - we don’t even ask for your email address so no spam or anything like that. You will likely see this link on lots of other blogs and sites - this survey is being shared all over the blog-o-sphere so please take the survey only once.

If you have additional comments on the subject, please feel free to email me with those and I will share them with the other wedding vendors who are participating! We can’t wait to hear what you have to say! (If you are a wedding vendor and would like to participate, just copy this post to your blog and email the link to - I will send you the results once we have closed the survey in March)

Saturday, February 14, 2009


There's a song by R & B soul icon Al Green that has the title of this post in it's refrain, "L-O-V-E, love...I'm talkin' 'bout love, ooohh". Now while he sings it way better than I do, the sentiment is worth noting.

Today is Valentine's Day and there are plenty of you out there who've spent a minute or two deciding on the "perfect" gift for your special someone. There are also a lot of you still undecided on whether or not you should give flowers, candy, a stuffed bear, make dinner, go out to dinner...the list is endless. In speaking with a good friend of mine, he readily admitted that Valentine's Day and all of its ensuing "hype" makes him nervous and full of angst. His theory is that if he doesn't "get it right", he'll be paying the piper for the rest of the year.

So, if you are feeling the same - take this advice. Love is good 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Are you in love with someone? Tell them, show them, appreciate them all of the time - not just on February 14th. If you can understand and appreciate that sentiment, Valentine's Day will be EVERY single day of your life......

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weddings - Recession Style

As a wedding planner for the past 16 years, I've seen so many trends come and go. But one thing remains constant - most brides & grooms want a day that transcends all others, one that totally symbolizes their love and shows it to those around them.

Let's face it - weddings are expensive. The national average for a nuptial celebration is $30,000 - which includes expenses for a ceremony and reception for approximately 140 people and this number is exclusive of attire, wedding rings or a honeymoon. Having a great wedding celebration has a lot to do with the priorities you establish, where you're located, the size of the guest list, the time of day - and the time of year. Since we are in a troublesome economy, let me give you a few "tips" on having a great wedding, at a price you can deal with.

1) Feeding People Costs Money - I'm Just Sayin'.....
You have to make your money work for you and become creative with your spending when it comes to food. For instance - you could decided 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. Bacon, eggs, waffles, grits and orange juice are much less expensive then Chicken Piccata & Wild Rice. On the flip side - you could do a late evening wedding ( starting at 8 p.m.) with dessert and sparkling wine to follow. Think 2-3 hours max, with the potential of serving luscious treats, some mellow jazz in the background and lots of socializing, with you and your groom mingling with your guests.

2) The Totem Pole:
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. Not wild about flowers? That's fine. Wearing a dress that you've dreamed of for a lifetime? If it's important - so be it. Dancing the night away to a D.J. who can seriously "rock the house"? Go ahead and make that happen - because it matters to you in the grand scheme of things.

3) But I Want EVERYBODY To Come:
Do not decide on a 30 person wedding party and 300 guests - then tell me that your budget is $10,000 for EVERYTHING. I am a realist - and I'm here to tell you that it's not going to happen.

4) You Can't Pick Your Relatives:
Do not hire family members to perform professional services for your wedding UNLESS they are a true, licensed business. I can tell you horror stories about people who did this and subsequently mangled their relationships. Let your family be the guests and hire independent companies to provide your services.

Period. Don't raid your savings or 401-K's or take out a home equity line of credit. It is not necessary. If you manage your money wisely and prioritize your wants vs. needs, you can still have a wonderful event and not be in the poor house afterwards.

6) Seek Advice From A Wedding Planner:
This is the one way to critically assess what can and cannot happen for your big day. You see, people like me know the business inside and out - we are trained professionals who can sit down with you and help map a course that will land you on the shores of "happily ever after". We are not a luxury and we are not only for the wealthy. A good, professional wedding planner can show you ways to actively manage your budget, create an amazing look for the day and keep your stresses to a minimum. Notice I said "professional planner" - I'm not talking about the lady at the church or your momma's friend who just "loves coordinating weddings". I'm speaking of the person who is trained in the industry and for whom this is their profession - not a side hustle.

If you've ever watched me on "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" then you know I shoot straight from the hip and I tell it like it is. I love helping brides and grooms have the day they envision, but at the same time - I have to keep it real. That brand of "honesty" helps my client put an authentic stamp to their nuptials, but also allows them to LIVE once all of the champagne is gone and the cake is cut.......

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cheap Quality Is An Oxymoron

Those two words simply don't go together - period. When it comes to selecting and working with a professional wedding planner - you want quality, period. Today's post from my friend and colleauge Tracey Kumer-Moore of Your Las Vegas Wedding Concierge pretty much sums up my thoughts on this subject.........

Alisa Benay Couture Bridal

Alisa Benay is the newest couture bridal designer to hit the American market with her amazing vintage inspired designs. With 15 years experience as a custom gown designer, Alisa launches into the national couture bridal marketplace with a rich understanding of what a bride wants in her dream gown.

"I have always had a fascination with historical fashions," says Ms. Benay, "I love the silhouette created by the corset and the drama of the bustle. My gowns are fresh, contemporary interpretations of vintage designs. I take my inspiration from the breathtaking gowns of yesterday and mold them into dream gowns fit for the modern bride."

Alisa Benay gowns are currently available through the Little White Dress Bridal Shop in Castle Rock, Colorado. Visit or call 303-814-7743 to schedule an appointment for the Alisa Benay trunk show from March 17th through 22nd, where the designer will be available for private consultations. The Little White Dress Bridal Shop is the exclusive Colorado bridal boutique to carry this beautiful and romantic collection specializing in corset backs, bustles, and rare fabrics and laces.

For more information about finding Alisa Benay gowns in your area, becoming an Alisa Benay Bridal Couture retailer, or to request an invitation to the 2009 Launch Event at the Cherokee Ranch & Castle, contact Margo Trueblood, Director of Sales & Marketing at 719-650-8502 or email: .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Slick & Sleek

What's black (with some white thrown in) and shiny all over? This cool, sleek PATENT LEATHER table that I designed for the Baltimore Bridal Show over the weekend at the Convention Center!

Here's the back story: I was commissioned by the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor to create a design concept for their display area at the show. They wanted something different, something unique, something that would stand out (which is right up my alley!) to those brides and grooms who would visit the event. In my "wanderings", I had visited a fabulous rental company in the metropolitan area who had the most unusual tables - made of patent leather or faux ostrich. I kept that little "tidbit" on file for future use - knowing I'd be able to develop it into a designscape somehow.......

When the opportunity came to create the booth display - that patent leather table popped up immediately! It is the perfect way to make a different statement and seat your guests in stylish comfort. Available locally at Party Rental, Ltd., this stunning dining option comes in black, white or navy patent leather OR a rich brown-hued faux ostrich leather option. I decided to work with the classic color schematic of black & white...with the notion of shine thrown in for good measure. The use of LED lighting in the space allowed for continuous color change during the event - I opted for cool tones of deep blue, purple, red and pink to give a subtle mood swing each hour......

4 different place settings, complete with base plates, dinnerware, flatware and sparkling glassware was a great way to show varied looks, and the use of Dupioni silk benches along with classic Chivari chairs gave another way to seat your guests at this magnificent table. Pure white florals in glass boxes, by Richardson's Flowers & Gifts were the perfect finishing touch.

The reaction? Everyone LOVED it!!! All of the visitors to the booth wanted to touch it, feel it...which is exactly what I wanted. The shine was incredible and as one bride said so succinctly, "This is a table for grownups!". I couldn't agree more....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wise Wedding Spending

In this economy - every where you look, everyone is tightening their proverbial belts. I recently did an interview with 's Jazzmen Tynes which takes a look at how to have a great shindig - and still live afterwards.

I'll be the first one to say - when it comes to measuring your nuptial spending, it's always about priorities and what's most important to YOU in the grand scheme of things. Do what you can afford - don't ever overextend. You don't have to impress anyone - you just need to enjoy the wonder and joy of saying "I DO"....