Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I love calligraphy

However you will never catch me trying to learn it.
I absolutely love opening my mailbox and finding a true calligraphed envelope. Always a huge smile you will find on my face. It conveys to me that what is inside the envelope is special. So this year I decided that I would put some of my Starbucks Chai tea fund aside and get calligraphed 3.5x5 cards done for the holidays. They arrived yesterday and they are even more lovely than I had imagined. Rather than get envelopes calligraphed, I opted for flat cards that could just be placed underneath ribbon tied boxes. That way each recipient would be able to keep their beautiful names and place them in a small frame to use on their desks.
To me, calligraphy is an art form, and for certain arts- actually most, you need to have some fundamental talent. Handwriting is not my forte. Therefore I will leave it in the hands of Sarah Hanna.
Sarah (Toast & Tables), you're getting a sneak peek at yours.

A new pink drink

I was at LaPlaya Beach & Golf resort a couple times this week meeting with clients and catering managers. Yeah so? I know, I go there quite a bit, but this week I was introduced to something new for my lovely brides! Nuvo, L'Esprit de Paris...for her. Yep- it's just for the ladies. In unison everyone, "ooooh that looks pretty". It is pretty. And it tastes pretty good too. So pretty good that it got added to the drink menus at a couple events I have coming up. Here's what I found so unusual about it (besides the cool bottle and that its pink)- it's a sparkling VODKA. I tried it in a champagne flute and over ice. I liked it in the flute. It is kind of hard to find because its realtively new, so don't be surprised by, "we don't carry that" when you ask your caterer. Ask them to look for it. It's worth it.

Fun in the photobooth

Photobooths are all the craze at weddings these days. And I can honestly see why now. They are ridiculously fun. There are several companies that you can rent them from, but they offer different things, so make sure to do your homework. Some come with operators, some don't. Some upload all the photos to the web to view and purchase additional prints. And some record all the images onto a dvd for the bride & groom to keep.
The one we are using at several of the weddings we're planning at the moment- www.PartyBooths.com, allows for a custom message at the bottom of the print, various background colors, different sized booths, choice of print(color/sepia/black&white), and even 2 printers (keep one/give one). As you can see, I had fun doing quality control.

It was 70 degrees. I was freezing. I am a true Floridian. Stop laughing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wedding homework

As many of my clients will tell you, there is always a question to answer. As much as I would love to be able to say that the wedding planner does and knows all- it isn't possible. Why not you ask? I'll tell you why- we don't know all your family members, best friends, who's the tallest and shortest, and who is allergic to nuts, what song is your favorite, that your groom refuses to walk down the aisle, and that your mother will puke at the sight of raw fish (aka sushi). We also don't know every last one of your favorite songs, that you want both your parents to walk you down the aisle. And until you tell us these things, we can't completely plan your wedding. So at some point along your planning timeline your planner will without a doubt send you a form, beg you not to strangle her, and kindly request that you return it completed in a time that is reasonable. It may seem like a bit of redundance because your DJ, caterer, photographer, and Aunt Peggy all asked you these same questions, but consider this- your planner is the one who all these people are going to turn to on wedding day for an answer. An answer that she will find quickly and easily on her nice little form that you so kindly filled out and returned to her.

Wowza welcome bag

I've seen many a welcome bags, but this one takes personalized to an entirely new level (click the photos to get a better look):

To start, Susan & Chip had a "Welcome to Naples" postcard attached to each persons bag. Inside is a beach towel, beer kooziebeach themed picture frame, and a shot glass...

as well as a tin of mints, a golf bag wine bottle cooler, golf tee set, adirondack salt & pepper shaker, and an Adirondack chair frame (also used as escort cards at the wedding dinner).
Yep, pretty cool.

The Details

I get giddy when it comes to details. A wedding can be fabulous without them, but when details are implemented, prepare for a knock your socks off event. Guests do notice the details. From a nice basket of hospitality items in the ladies room, to a ribbon tied around a napkin...it all counts. Susan & Chip had more personalized details than I thought possible. Have a look at these fun doodads:

Instead of a guest book, Susan & Chip had all their guests sign a small adirondack chair.

No blah table #'s at this wedding! These cool cards had illustrations of the bride and groom!

That's right, Susan & Chip bobble heads. The photographer made sure to capture the bobble heads every where throughout the evening. After seeing a few of the photos, I think the bobbleheads should have their own album.

Yum pretzels. Fresh out of the oven. Perfect midnight snack. Well, the midnight buffet actually came out at 9:30, but the pretzels, sliders, and quesadillas were just the perfect addition to the afterparty.

Two weddings, Thanksgiving, and the Flu

Hi gang. I am so sorry I've been MIA. Post title says it all. I'm blogging from my bed where I've been for what seems like years. The flu is AWFUL!!!
Anyhoo...coming up, Susan & Chips fantastic wedding weekend. They hosted a true destination wedding weekend complete with one of the best welcome bags ever assembled, a welcome to Naples hospitality hour, a golf scramble, a welcome dinner & party, spa day, wedding ceremony/reception/after party, and a farewell brunch. Details to follow:)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Keri married Dustin

It's finally wedding season and we started off with the cutest little Sunday wedding ever.
Guests: 30
Temperature: 80
Smiles: More than I could count.

Congrats Keri & Dustin!
Click here to see more of Keri & Dustins Brunch wedding.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sit outside the circle

One of the 1st things you'll notice at most reception venues you go to is the standard 60 to 72 inch round table. It's been considered "wedding norm" for what seems like ages. They are classic, and are very easy to dress. And they are wonderful for filling a room that is too big. I don't have anything against the round tables, but I think you should explore your options because these days, the possibilities are endless.

I take that back about the big round table; I do have some issues. My biggest issue is that you don't get to talk to more than 1 person at a time. You have the person on your left, and your right. And if you're talking to the person on your left, then you have your back to the person on your right. Imagine being that poor person on your right if the person on their left is talking to the person on their left? That's right...total awkwardness. Ok, dramatic- I know. But its true and you know it. Also, can you think of the last time you sat at one of these big round tables and talked to the people on the other side of the table? Nope, probably not, because its about near impossible without feeling like you're having to yell across the table. So, let's see, total conversation possibility: 0 to 2.

So now that I have you interested in other types of seating, let me give you some fabo ideas:
Long banquet tables. Great things about this style of seating! You can easily talk to the 3 people in front of you because they're right in front of you, not five to 6 feet away. You can also talk to the person on your left or right.
Total conversation possibility: 3 to 5 Even better, long tables mean more guests at one table. Less tables = less centerpieces. Less centerpieces = budget savings. That's right, stuff that moola back in your pocket for a pina colada by the pool on your honeymoon.
Casual outdoor wedding, rehearsal dinner, or brunch? How about picnic tables (with linens & market umbrellas? Don't believe me that this could possibly look nice? Check this photo out. This was an amazing rehearsal dinner.

Another great one, check out page 152 (and the back cover)in Simply Stunning Weddings by Karen Bussen.

Other neat seating ideas:
Square tables with 8 seats each (modern, contemporary)
Cabaret tables with 4-6 seats each (very 1920's. Also looks amazing around a pool)

Friday, November 02, 2007

A call today

"Hello, is this Kelly McWilliams?

"Yes, this is Kelly."

"Are you really a wedding planner or do you just fake it for your blog?"

Totally confused, I hesitated and then responded,
"Yes. Are you really calling Weddings by Socialites and wondering?"

And then I started laughing. I couldn't help it. I know, not very professional, but it was just so funny the way she asked. Thankfully, she started laughing too.

So for those who may also be confused; yes, I am a real wedding planner. I plan about 15 real weddings a year, start to finish. I could do more, but it wouldn't be as fun. I enjoy the time I get to put in with my clients and their celebrations.

I know you're reading, and yes, I'll be calling you the crazy question bride until the day we get you get married. Looking forward to lots more laughs in the meantime

Photo: That's me with Erika who got married on New Years Eve '06..at her wedding...that I planned for real. HA!

Signature Drink. What's the big deal?

I'll tell you what the deal is. Let me first start by explaining what it is for those new to wedding planning. A signature drink is a special drink that you designate as your personal pick for your wedding...your signature.
Often, my clients will pick their favorite drink and put a spin on it by changing the color and name. For instance, Meg's favorite drink is a Mojito. Her wedding colors are shades of blue. So for her Signature drink, we added a bit of Hypnotiq to a standard mojito, added a blue sugar swizzle stick and then re-named the drink "Married Meg's Mojito" and it sat next to "Tim's Tied the Knot".
The great thing logistically about a signature drink is that they alleviate that rush to the bar after the ceremony. Because let's face it, that 5-10 minute wait for the 1st drink at the bar seems like an hour and your college roomate wouldn't dare get out of that line to catch the guy with the tray of spring rolls that just look so yummy. Oh my gosh that's the worst feeling!

So if you have a signature drink station, or have the drink passed right at the entrance of the cocktail reception, you'll immediately cut down the line at the bar. And your old roomate can catch the servers and get all the crab cakes, coconut shrimp, and spring rolls she wants.

Fun tip- have 2 or 3 signature drinks and have a signature drink bar with the drinks poured and ready to be grabbed. Choose drinks that are different colors and are served in different sized glasses. Make sure that you place a little tabletop menu on the display so everyone knows just how special the drinks are.

Photo Credit: Cadence Photography

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sarah Hanna. Yes, you need to know her.

Because she's the coolest calligrapher I have ever spoken to. No really, I wanted to go have lunch with her after talking to her for 10 minutes. And after looking at some of her work- wow. I don't think it will be long before she's uber famous, so get your name on her books now. Oh, and she does do all that fun calligraphy art stuff like custom parasols, maps, etc. You can check out Sarah's work at SarahHanna.com

What do you use calligraphers for? Let me count the ways: Invitations, Escort Cards, Placecards, Menus, Buffet & Station Labels, Pretty Signage, Table Numbers...
I could go on and on, but I have to order some invitations to get calligraphed!

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons