Thursday, April 29, 2010

Double Sweetness...

Recently, I was sent some samples of the most decadently delicious chocolate I've ever had. The Madelaine Chocolate Company reached out for my opinion and thoughts on their product, so here we go :)

The company has premiered a new line called "Duets" - wonderful rich chocolate, melded with another flavor to create a sumptuously creamy concoction. These "minis" are perfect as favors for weddings or parties....or just to treat yourself to something sweet.

With four pairings to choose from, Peanut Butter Caramel, Milk Truffle/White Truffle, Raspberry Peanut Butter and my fave - Raspberry White Truffle (pictured above), there's definitely something for everyone. After sampling these lovely little noshes (and I did share them with my staff!), we decided that the Duets had to be a part of this year's "I DO Brunch" LUXETotes. Each of our attendees received a dainty organza bag, filled with one of each flavor. Judging by the response we've received thus far...I'll say they were a huge HIT!

So if a bunch of wedding planners went ga-ga over these chocolate goodies, what do you think your guests would do??

Monday, April 26, 2010

"I DO Brunch" Recap - The Design Teams

(stationery by Just Ink On Paper/escort cards by Write Style Invitations)

("corset" cake by SugarBakers)

("corset" centerpiece by Intrigue Designs)

("birdcage" design by Bella Fiori Couture)

("topiary" wedding cake by Sweet - A Bakery & Cafe)

This year's Brunch had a twofold thematic - design and culinary. For some reason, the notion of a classically elegant English Garden resonated deeply within my psyche, so I thought it would be an excellent overall "look" for a Saturday morning event!

I invited some of the best creative talent, both on a local & national basis, to come in and show us what they were working with! From florals to linens, stationery to cake - these pros worked together as a team to best embody my "garden" notion to a level that even the most finicky wedding planner could appreciate!

The teams were given very simple instructions: Using the official color palette of green and purple, with black & white damask or French toile as an my guests what YOUR version of an English Garden looks like. There were no restrictions on their creativity..and I stayed out of the picture! Honestly -I didn't know what anything looked like until installation began the night prior to the Brunch :)

Each team was assigned a "quadrant" consisting of 4 dining tables, 1 cake table and 32 guests. The cake was the "center" of the quadrant and played an important role in the overall design. You see, I decided to make things a little "interesting" this year by incorporating a challenge into the scheme of things. "I DO Brunch" attendees would vote for the BEST Design Quadrant..not an individual table, so it became inherently important that the designers created a cohesive, consistent flow to their offerings. The winning team of the DesignScape Challenge would take home bragging rights as well as a lovely trophy for each participating company.

The quadrants were named after the actual English Gardens of Wakehurst Place, Sissinghurst, Sheffield Park & Kew Royal Botanical - and the placecards for each guest, designed by Write Style Invitations, directed them to specific locations within the "gardens". Each table had a written history of its respective location, so guests could have a bit of history and knowledge of these amazing locales.

Color, texture, fragrance..all collided into so many different facets for our guests. The teams did an extraordinarily excellent job of capturing the essence of an English Garden...truly, there are no words to really express how beautiful everything was!! Each and every participating company truly put their creative "muscle" into defining and portraying the beauty of a garden - it was difficult for the attendees to pick just ONE!!

The winner of the 2010 "I DO Brunch" DesignScape Challenge was the team of Kew Royal Botanical Gardens - Intrigue Design, Select Event Rentals, Diamond Minor Design & SugarBakers Cakes. Their "corsets" and "hats" really put an indelible mark on fashion as design!!

May I present the DesignScape Teams for this year's "I DO Brunch" - my thanks to everyone for doing an absolutely wonderful job!!!

Wakehurst Place Gardens
Roberta Salcedo
Bella Fiori Couture


Kate Kovalick
Creative Coverings


Le'Trice Penn
LePenn Designs

Wedding Cake:

Cynthia Knox
Cakes By Cynthia

Sheffield Park:
Jody Krug
Wessel's Florist


Adrian Goldsborough
Perfect Settings


Kristy Rice
Momental Designs

Wedding Cake:

Chris Sikora
Sweet - A Bakery & Cafe

Sissinghurst Gardens
Regina Davis
Flowers By Gina D.


Guiliana Cox
Gala Cloths


Susan McArdle
Just Ink On Paper

Wedding Cake

Tracey Alston
Cakes By Tracey

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens:
Sarah Campbell
Intrigue Designs


Susan Childs
Select Event Rentals


Karron Davis-Minor
Diamond Minor Design

Wedding Cake

Jordan Fewell

Indianapolis and Eventology

The earlier part of last week found me in the Circle City - Indianapolis, gearing up for an intense two days with fellow industry professionals at Eventology 10. This information-packed conference, hosted by the fabulous Katasha Butler of KSherrie +Company, was an excellent chance for wedding creatives to get together and immerse ourselves in the "science" of the wedding business.

I was honored to deliver the opening address with Ali Phillps of Engaging Events By Ali (Chicago). Instead of doing the same old routine of welcoming guests, we decided to take the "tag team" approach and utilize our unique skills to round up the troops and get things started in a big way! My "first impressions" exercise was designed to show people the "face" they're displaying to those they meet for the very first time. Enlightening? Yes. Hilarious? Even more so. Defining? Most definitely. Judging by the remarks and commentary I received - I think it was a great way to break the ice and give folks a chance to take another look in their proverbial "mirrors".

For the next two days, we had the pleasure of hearing from such luminaries in the business such as Harmony Walton, Saundra Hadley, Terrica Skaggs, Lara Casey, Nashara Mitchell and Sasha Souza. Each presenter brought their own brand of magic and reasoning to the table for all to share, peruse and ponder. I think we all have so much to review and implement in our respective businesses...I know that I do!

Many thanks to Katasha and her team for putting together such a polished event. I had a great time meeting everyone and getting to know some of the people behind the online profiles. If you are in the wedding industry, make sure to put Eventology on your 2011 calendar. It's just that good!

**photo credit: Jen Badalamenti

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"I DO Brunch" Recap - Our Vendor Partners

I've decided to break up the "I DO Brunch" into separate "recaps" - there was so much going on and so many amazing participants, one post simply will not do! So to start it off - allow me to introduce you to our Vendor Partners.....

The Brunch is a pure vehicle for professional enjoyment - as planners, we just don't get to enjoy the "fruits of our labor" because we are too busy managing the harvest!! So I wanted to create an event where my peers and colleagues could get all dressed up, be catered to, be spoiled, have a great meal, excellent conversation and not have to WORRY about the next thing on the timeline. I also know my audience...they're wedding and event planners, so their eyes and ears are quite critical - as they should be. I knew that in order to make this thing "work", it would have to be drop dead gorgeous, efficient and simply breathtaking.

Our Vendor Partners helped me fulfill this mission. From catering to music, lighting to place cards, signage to photography, florals to parking......these people and companies were an integral part of the "village tribe" whose amazing work brought the Brunch to life. They're creative, engaging, inquisitive and professional...this is what they do on a regular basis, so having the chance to "rock the runway" for a group of planners was right up their alley. And did they rock a word, YES!

I present to you the " I DO Brunch" 2010 Vendor Partners:

Venue & Catering:
The Gathering Place & Putting On The Ritz Caterers

Official Event Photography
Tunji Sarumi Fine Art Photography



The Greater Baltimore Youth String Quartet

Brunch Florals

Custom Seating Chart

Escort Cards

Brunch Signage

The "I DO Brunch" Original Cardbox & Hanging Letters

The "I DO Brunch" Spring Parasol

Guest Transportation Services

Valet Parking Services

Host Hotel

My deepest thanks go out to each and every one of these fine professionals - thank you for partnering with me on this event and for the wonderful services you provided to my honored guests!!


is an apt title for the past week and a half! Between the "I DO Brunch" and Eventology 10, to say that things have been waaaay interesting in Casa DIVA is an understatement!!

This year's "I DO Brunch" was a smashing success..judging from all of the positive feedback and commentary we've received from our attendees and vendor partners. For me, it was the culmination of a few months of meetings, planning, sweat, brainstorming and hard work. I am so grateful and thankful to have had the most amazing group of women on this planet, TeamDIVA - work with me closely on this project. Our collective energy and efforts pulled off a fabulous event for our peers and there are simply no words that can express my deep gratitude. The phrase "Thank You" is so common, but in this case, extremely heartfelt and true.

Within 24 hours after the start of the "I DO Brunch", I was on a plane, winging my way towards the Circle City - Indianapolis, for Eventology 10 - a professional conference for the wedding industry. Katasha Butler of K Sherrie + Company, was the incredible organizer and gracious hostess for this energetic, informative gathering. Planners and other industry professionals came from all over the country to spend two days learning, assimilating and sharing best practices and concepts. I was honored to bring the Welcome Address along with my colleague from Chicago, Ali Phillips of Engaging Events By Ali - and in our own unique styles, we "tag-teamed" the room and got the party started!!! I had a blast in Indy - it was so good to finally meet people "IRL" (in real life), that I'd only been communicating with online...nothing like putting a face to a name (or Twitter handle!).

Over the next few days, I plan to share some non-pro pics from each event along with my thoughts and insight. To be honest, I haven't had an adrenaline rush like this in a minute - and I've loved every second! Stay tuned for all of the lovely details!!!