Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another "I DO BRUNCH" Sneak Peek

I can't help myself - this is so, so pretty, I have to share it!

The uber-fabulous Kristy Rice of Momental Designs is graciously sharing her talents with us for the upcoming "I DO Brunch" next Saturday. I gave a design idea to a few collaborating "teams" and the results will be on display at the event. Kristy posted her inspirations to her blog today, and I was so thrilled with the result that I'm letting ya'll take a look too!

Kristy - thanks for your hard work! I'm certain that my fellow wedding planners will absolutely, without a doubt love your designs as much as I do!!!!

Aisle Style Recap

(acknowledgement menu - created by Diamond Minor Designs)

(pillows with a personal touch of bling - the jeweled pins are out of my collection!)

(this hotel pillow is normally burgundy chenille, but with a little bit of fabric - I gave it a new look!)

(a sparkling monogrammed pin is a great way to inject a bit of you and your spouse into the surrounding decor!)

(A luxurious "throw" to add panache to a chair - this was created with a cloth from my collection & a few gold tassels...)

(Sheila's beautiful orange-hued bouquet)

(another glimpse of the submerged orchid centerpieces)

(Simple orchids under water make for a stunning table focus)

(Another view of our crystal embellished floor lamp)

(A standard hotel floor lamp, transformed with florals, lighting and hanging crystals)

(Our design vignette signage)

(A few of the flowers we needed to make this baby POP!)

(The hotel lamp and couch - before)

( These crystals were painstakingly hand-strung by Sheila Smith)

(The always fun, ever-talented Gene Perkins of Perkins Event Lighting)

(Sheila & Chris from Richardson's Flowers)

(The title may be "Glamour - The AfterParty", but the setup sure isn't!)

(Here's what we started with at 7 a.m...)

I am recouperating from all of the excitement and hectic activity leading up to Baltimore Magazine's ultra-luxe Aisle Style event this past Sunday at the Hilton Baltimore. Many thanks go to the fine team at Baltimore Magazine including Jessie, Brittany and Janelle for the invitation to participate as a featured designer - I had so much fun coming up with my vignette!

Speaking of which - my project was entitled "Glamour - The AfterPARTY", which was quite fitting for this party DIVA :) Working in collaboration with my partners in "design crime", the talented Sheila Smith at Richardson's Flowers and Gene Perkins of Perkins Event Lighting, we crafted a pretty cool space - working with the existing structures of the hotel. That was the caveat - I could do whatever I wanted within the area, I just couldn't move the furniture out!

So...my thinking was to create a relaxing environment, with the right touch of bling and glam - for the new Mr. & Mrs (and their posse) to hang out and still savor the moment. Add in a few champagne cocktails and some tasty "nibbles" and we're good to go! For the final touch - Susan Childs at Select Event Rentals brought in a sinfully sheer caramel overlay with a raw silk undercloth & crystal encrusted table lamps, while my creative paper guru, Karron Minor of Diamond Minor Design took care of our menus and other printed collateral.

A few of my amateur pics are posted above - can't wait to get the professional ones up in a week or so!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

"I DO Brunch" Sneak Peek!

As the "I DO Brunch" gets closer - our studio is starting to fill up with all of the trinkets and goodies we've assembled for our very special guests. Vendors on both the local and national level are bestowing the newest, coolest, prettiest, tastiest items in the wedding and special event upon the Brunch so that my colleagues are able to see and experience first hand some of the finest wares available!!

I have to share one of those products with you - and it's something that can really make a terrific impact at your reception or party. Marni Gold of Creative Custom Cardboxes (a fellow Twitterer) has designed the most funkiest and delighftul box for our event - I gave her our logo and she came up with the gem you see here.

If you are looking for something beyond the standard satin bag on the wrist that you or someone else will lug around all night...definitely check out her website and contact her for a personal stamp on your special day!!!

Marni - thanks a bunch! The box is gonna be perfect for the Brunch!!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another Perspective

As I was perusing over some of the daily blog alerts I receive, there was one in particular that caught my eye. Florida-based photographer Kathryn Brown's latest blog entry was singing the praises of the professional wedding planner and how from her vantage point - on the other side of the lens - she sees the benefit to couples who make that choice.

I may be biased, but I couldn't agree more. As a planner, I have had couples come back to me with the refrain "We wish now that we had hired you - it would have been worth every penny". Unfortunately, this is generally spoken after the fact...and after things have gone terribly awry.

Take a moment and read her post..she sums it up pretty darn well!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Got Power??

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 from June 6-7th here in Baltimore!!

The Power Course
Burkshire Marriott Conference Center Hotel
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

Before May 9th : $450.00
After May 9th (and based on availability) $550.00
Payment plans are available

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.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chronology Of A Disaster

I wanted to share this post from my friend and fellow wedding planning colleague, Jeannie Ward of The Wedding Jeannie in Southern California. Normally, I would just provide a link so that you could read it - but I think this particular missive deserves a full blown print out. It's one more example of why wedding planners are NOT a luxury, but a wise and prudent investment into the success of your event.

Feel free to offer your comments - I'd love to get your perspectives!!!

My blog is a place where brides and grooms can come for good advice with a smile. Normally, I wouldn’t post anything with a negative tone, but I’m compelled to warn you about what can happen when you don’t hire an experienced wedding planner.

Recently a bride called me inquiring about hiring me. I was already booked for her day, but referred her to another planner that I know and trust. Her wedding was 45 days away and she still didn’t have a DJ. Even though I wasn’t her planner I referred a great DJ to her, and she hired him.

Monday after the wedding, I heard from my valued DJ. The bride decided not to hire a planner because she didn’t want to pay the fee, and she was confident that her family members would take care of the details. Unfortunately they didn’t, and her wedding was not all she was wishing for. Here is a list of what went wrong, and how it could have been avoided.

1) The bride was 30 minutes late for her own wedding.
We make a detailed timeline of the entire day, from the time the make-up artist arrives, to the time the limo picks up the bridal party, etc. We even contact your hair and make-up artists to tell them what time they should start and finish, to keep the bride on time.

2) The florist was late and didn’t have an assistant to help him. He was putting down the aisle runner and petals while the guests were seated and watched.
A professional coordinator’s timeline is detailed. Each vendor (including the florist), is called two weeks before the event to discuss the duties and what time they need to start work and finish work. The florist is called again a few days before the wedding to confirm. I always have an assistant, and often times an intern. If a vendor is late and needs help to finish, we all jump in to get it done.

3) Kneeling benches were to be used for the ceremony. The bride’s sister was to pick them up from the rental company and bring them. She didn’t do it! Her own sister didn’t do it.
Prior to every wedding, I’m mentally prepared for every possible problem. I know what rental company is nearby, and could have had my assistant pick them up within ten minutes.

4) Seating cards were to be placed outside of the ballroom. Assigned seating was the order of the day. The bride left this task to her beloved and responsible cousin. Guess what? She forgot them! It was a seating “free for all”. Important family members were relegated to the back of the room, because people who took the seats closest to the couple refused to move.
We require that the seating cards are given to us the night of the rehearsal. We place them and assist guests in being seated.

5) The ceremony was one hour late and the priest threatened to leave because he had another wedding to perform. He instructed the DJ to start the music and send the bride down the aisle immediately or he would leave. The bridal party was running around visiting with friends and would not stay lined up. The brides father couldn’t be found when it was time to start. The Bride had to walk down the aisle alone!
This is absolutely heartbreaking. There are always two of us at every wedding. I stay with the bride and her maids, and my assistant stays with the groom and his men. We keep everyone in line. The latest I’ve ever started a wedding was 10 minutes.

6) Photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. You get one opportunity to capture “moments” on film. The photographer at this wedding was eating hors’ doeuvres and sitting down. The DJ caught him sitting down on several occasions, not taking pictures. He had to continually hound him all night to do his job.
It is not the job of the DJ to help with all of these problems. This couple was very lucky that this DJ is very caring and wanted the best for them. A coordinator would have made sure the photographer was doing his job. If necessary, my assistant would shadow him and keep him on his toes. It’s our job to oversee that the important shots are being captured.

7) A video montage was to be played during the reception. The bride assured the DJ that there would be a projector and a screen provided. She forgot to inform the venue. No screen, no projector. Luckily the DJ had a backup projector in his vehicle. He convinced the venue manager to allow them to use their screen (additional fee for the couple).
We do a final walkthrough with the venue to go over the timeline and flow for the day. The mistake would have been indentified and corrected at that time.

In the long run, the couple were married. Isn’t that what really matters? Of course it is. But the bride was especially distressed about everything that went wrong. Most brides are sure that their family will “take care of them that day”. I can attest to the fact that when a family member has been assigned a duty, 8 times out of 10, they don’t deliver. It’s not that they don’t love you, but your wedding is not their priority. We see it happen every day. That’s why I carry in the trunk of my car, an extra sign in book, toasting glasses, garters in every color, place cards and pens.

We are trained floral designers. If the florist forgets grandpa’s boutonniere, I can make one in one minute. My emergency kit contains, florist’s wire, tape and pins. We can put together an amazing cake topper from flowers from your centerpieces in five minutes.

Pardon the sound of anger in this post. I am so heartbroken for this couple. For the cost of hiring an experienced planner, these problems could have been avoided. Let me break it down this way:
Wedding Coordinator- Month Of Package…$1500
Walking down the aisle with your dad….PRICELESS!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aisle Style

For those of you who are planning a wedding in the metro area, I invite you to come out on Sunday, March 22nd for Baltimore Magazine's Aisle Style Event. This truly elegant, truly luxurious gathering held at the Hilton Hotel will feature the top vendors and service providers in the greater metro region along with yummy hors d'ouevres, champagne by Moet-Chandon, entertainment, great giveaways and tons more!

4 local event designers (including yours truly) have been tasked with the challenge of creating a simply wonderful eventscape that covers a range of styles. Mine will be "Glamour - The AfterPARTY" and I am so looking forward to this project!. I'll have the distinct pleasure of working with a few of my absolutely favorite vendors to make this space something you'll talk about for a minute and want to have for your own special event!!

Details about the event and tickets can be found here. Hope to see you on the 22nd!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Because Not Everyone Is A Size 6....

The truth of the matter is that the average size for American women is now a 14. I know that many of my fuller figured brides lament over the process of finding the gown which will enhance their lush beauty - sadly enough, most bridal shops don't generally carry larger sample sizes, so brides have to "make do" with what is in the store and can only visualize as to how they will look until the actual gown order is received at the shop.

I recently had the pleasure of receiving a book called "Down That Aisle In STYLE" - a wonderful guide for full figured brides. Author Chamein Canton has put together a beautiful, insightful and factual publication that really shows how to make the most of the abundance you were blessed with! From dress styles, to hair and makeup ideas, floral suggestions - "Down That Aisle In STYLE" is a great gift for a bride to be - or for your own pleasure if there's a wedding in your future!

Chamein is also an accomplished romance novelist - her book Bliss, Inc. tells the story of a full figured wedding planner who finds love with the groom's brother! Reading romance novels is what I do in my spare time, so finding one that features the profession I love so much is a double plus for me!

Sidebar: Those of you who are attending the "I DO Brunch For Wedding Planners" next month will be the lucky recipients of Bliss, Inc.!!!!