Saturday, December 27, 2008

You call, I study, I plan, I shop, We execute. You get married & celebrate.

{Quick post} I got a call today from a Naples bride who wanted to know how I was different from "Wedding Planner B". Well, this is the plan Stan. Every wedding, this is all we start off with. But that's it. Simply put. I'm not one of those fill in the blank or checklist type planners. Don't get me wrong- I LOVE lists. I just don't think the same to do list works every day, so why should planning your wedding be planned that way?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spotlight on: Barbara Banks Photography

A formal beach wedding on Captiva

Look what came today! Wedding pictures from Super Sarahs destination wedding at South Seas Resort! Truly we loved planning with Sarah, and her photographer Barbara Banks was (and is) phenomenal. Aren't the colors lovely? This is a wedding that proves you can absolutely have an elegant and formal beach wedding. Sarah and Ben exchanged their vows on the lawn at Sunset Cove. So while they weren't on the sand, they still had the backdrop of the jetty and the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. Loved it. Loved it all.

You can see more photos from Super Sarahs wedding on the Weddings by Socialites website in the South Seas gallery. And you can see a few snapshots that we took at this wedding here: Kelly's lack-of-photography-skills-pictures.

Engagements, Christmas and New Years! I love this week!

From all of us here at the Weddings by Socialites Studio, we wish you a very merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Congratulations! Congratulations? Yep, this is the engagement week. More couples get engaged in the next week than any other time of the year. No matter what your reason for being in high spirits this week- we're with ya! So have a great time and enjoy this week to its fullest! We'll be back in the studio for wedding planning and meeting newly engaged brides on Monday. Until then...

Here are some snapshots of the Amazing cards we got this year from our swap with Brooklyn Bride and some of our clients. They're all adorning our Christmas tree. I love how incredibly unique each one is.

Again, to all of our dear friends, clients and clients to be- "Merry Christmas and Here's to Another Great Wedding!"
-Kelly McWilliams

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Considering a destination wedding?

Quick tip: This is a great time to consider planning a destination wedding. Travel costs are down, you'll be able to have that intimate gathering you've always wanted (smaller guest list), and right now, resorts are hosting a plethora of great deals. Here's a link to an article I contributed to last year about destination weddings: Budget Travel Magazine and the CNN segment that followed it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Have to cut your budget? Call a wedding planner now!

A couple days ago the NY Times published an article about the effects of the current economy and wedding planning. While some are fortunate enough to not have to cut back, many couples started their planning with a budget in mind that now seems impossible. For those who fall into the latter, this is the best time for you to call in a wedding planner. Not a wedding designer or wedding coordinator- but a planner or consultant. I have a feeling you're thinking (or perhaps screaming at your laptop),
"Is she nuts? Why would I spend money on a planner when I can't afford the band I want?"
I'll tell you why. There is no better person to show you how it may be possible to cut your costs significantly without losing sight of what you wanted for your wedding prior to having to cut back. A wedding planner or consultant has experience and professional relationships and knows how to make the most of the money you have available. Would I love for you to still be able to have the amazing 12 piece band? Yes. If the dollar wasn't an issue, go for it. But if it is an issue, let's find a way to get something just as great for less. And yes, it absolutely is possible! Dreaming of a platinum wedding on a shoe string budget? Or maybe that shoe string even just broke. Geez, I hate when that happens. So with all that said, call a wedding planner or consultant in the area where you are getting married. If nothing else, ask if its possible to hire for consulting only (usually at an hourly rate).
Just a quick note- it is crucial that you go to a well experienced professional if you're hiring specifically for this reason.

Need a referral for a great planner in your area? Email me. I happen to know some really great planners all over the world. WeddingTidbits{at} Another good source for good planners- ask your venue who is the planner they work with most often (again, make sure it is a planner and not just a day of coordinator!). Many venues don't list planners on the vendor lists, so you have to ask.
Photo by Julie Goodacre.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Internship available at Weddings by Socialites

We have a wedding planner internship opportunity at Weddings by Socialites. Before you pick up the phone and call, or send me an email- please read these:
Dear Kelly, I want to be a wedding planner.

Interns needed

If you're still sincerely interested, please send an email with resume with INTERN in the subject line to Weddingtidbits at

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our New Website is Live!

Check it out! We are so excited. Let us know what you think: The Weddings by Socialites Website
Oh my gosh- so excited.
A few more changes to come (fun pictures of us), but couldn't wait any longer to share.
Many thanks to all the photographers who contributed their stunning images of our weddings:

Ashley Brockinton
Impact UK
Jason P Smith
Impressions Photography
Michelle Reed
Hillary Hopkins
Shari Bare
Julie Goodacre
Gigi Hamlett

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wedding Insurance. A couple hundred to budget for.

This wedding planner says buy wedding insurance. Let's make certain your wedding isn't effected by the current economy woes. If you lose your deposit with a wedding professional because they had to close shop, wedding insurance could be your sigh of relief.

Photo by Gigi Hamlett

Also, did you know that if the amazing Swarvoski champagne toasting flutes you received are accidentally dropped (this did happen), the insurance may replace them? Oh- and you best believe I will find a way to use those suddenly freed crystals at your wedding, so don't toss them in the garbage.
Wedding insurance covers a myriad of things. Go to to learn more about what types of coverage might be best for you. I know, this is one of those things that isn't exactly a fun thing, but still a good thing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wedding Planning Problem & Solution

Getting it all covered

I just got off the phone with a wedding pro. We were chatting about her wedding last night, and she mentioned that while it was a great wedding, it wasn't going to be completely documented because key things happened well after the photographer and videographer were scheduled to leave, amongst some other things.
The Problem: A proper detailed plan wasn't created.
The Result: The cake cutting, parent dances, and choreographed wedding party dance aren't on film. The top tier of the cake got left out all night. The couple had to pay $1000 overtime labor and site fees to the venue because nobody stayed that evening to clear out the centerpieces and rented linens, oh and the band wasn't done breaking down until an hour and a half after the doors were to be locked.
The Solution: A wedding day plan other than what was delivered to you by your venue coordinator on her BEO needs to be developed to incorporate everything involving your wedding. It should:

}Coordinate everything that is supposed to happen, every tangible item that you're bringing (with what/where to do with it), all the vendors, as well as a BEO summary.
}It should begin at the start of the day- set-up... thru the end of the day- breakdown; the 5 W's rule should be followed on your plan.

If you have a professional wedding planner, she's already doing this for you and you need not be worried(just ask, she shouldn't be offended)! If you're going DIY, start your plan in the beginning of your planning and develop it as you go.
Questions? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bringing home a Christmas Tree: Florida Style

I had to post this. There was no way I was passing up this doozie of a moment. Andrea and I were out doing our weekly studio shopping (we were out of vitamin water and cashews). After stopping at Starbucks for gingerbread lattes, Joann fabrics to get elements for our holiday card swap with Brooklyn Bride, BAM to check out the current wedding book & magazine selections,

and the new Alfred Angelo salon-

this is what we see:

What are your favorite wedding blog & websites?

{Interactive post alert} What are your favorite wedding blogs and websites? I'm dying to be introduced to some great new stuff! In return for the favor, I'll make a nice little list on a post later this week. Post a comment or send an email WeddingTidbits @

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Wedding Decor from a non-wedding source

I try very hard to include unique details in each of the weddings I design. Many times that means finding pieces that aren't labeled "wedding" and placing them in a strategic places.
One of my favorite places to go for inspiration is Homegoods. I made a stop there today as I'm planning a dinner party that is going to allow me to truly step outside the box. During my visit I found all these items that I easily found use for, whether it be wedding decor related, or wedding planning related; even wedding gift related.
I found all these fantastic inspiration books on the end cap (love the red clearance sticker!). I picked up a few Williams-Sonoma books for the library. They 're great for finding menu ideas when you're looking to kick your wedding menu up a notch.
These all make great and inexpensive gifts for your bridesmaids. I confess to buying one of each for myself. The iStand has to be the coolest under $10 gift I've come across in ages. The monogrammed book of note sheets is sitting on my desk right now, and the cute little journal is in my bag, ready for jotting down ideas I get while I'm out and about.roll in my purse.
I adore all these details I found. The album is perfect for collecting written well wishes at the cocktail hour and then inserting all the digital prints your guests send you after the wedding. The 3 lanterns would make a perfect escort card display centerpiece at any kind of outdoor celebration. I found 6 of these beautiful green vases throughout the store. I can just see them filled with big bushy Peonies or Hydrangeas. And this board- so perfect I bought it. The frame on it is gorgeous and the corkboard makes it perfect for a seating chart (cover with giftwrap, wallpaper or fabric first).
Look at this collection of chairs! I can just see this eclectic mix at a massive rehearsal dinner or bridal luncheon table.

Who says you can't have pink and green Christmas trees?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

So shoot me. I like pictures.

I know the pictures make the blog load slower. But I like pictures and I like this one alot. This is a photo by Susan Stripling. It's Lucky bride dancing with her dad. Look at that sweet smile on his face. Doesn't it just make you want to hug your dad?
Yes, I was crying then too. I should have made this weekends posts a series on crying huh?

I'm crying again. Only this time it's because I'm laughing so hard.

Nicole of RSVP Shindig in Denver is not only one of the best wedding planner/designers in the country (Do you see this gorgeous reception she designed?), but she is hands down the most hilarious person I think I may have ever known. She has me in stitches on a regular basis. The other night I was so sick that I was chugging Nyquil while I twittered away...

My Twitter:

catching up on emails, wishing I was at the TableSix party having tuna tartare and champagne and not here eating Halls and sipping nyquil.via Twitter - 6:15pm - 6 Comments

Nicole's comment (via facebook):
Rsvp Shindig at 7:08pm December 4:
Add a glass of wine and you'll think you are having champagne.

I know she's going to shoot me for putting this picture of her on here, but that's what she gets for not coming here for vacation {This is me calling you out}. This is Nicole hard at work getting some logistics worked out for that same tent you see above.

Anyhoo, if you're ready to bust a gut, read this recent blog post of hers

Friday, December 05, 2008

Spreading the holiday cheer

Captiva, Sanibel, Naples, Ft Myers Wedding Venues & Vendors

This week we did our annual holiday cheer deliveries to a few of our favorite venues and vendors we worked with this year.
{This year we made gifts of a baby Rosemary Christmas tree, baguettes from Panera, Olive Oil & Balsalmic Vinegar, and a dipping bowl with a super cheesy holiday card I designed. I don't think Hallmark will be hiring me anytime soon}
Here we are at our first stop: Floral Artistry. Beth was gone for the day and Yanna was tied up on the phone. From there we headed out to South Seas. Kind of a drive- so we played a game of iphone Name that Tune. That Shazam app is so cool!
I thought, "You know what, maybe our clients and readers might like to see some of the people we're always talking about!" So here's the ones we were able to catch on camera:The Sales and Catering Team from South Seas Island Resort
Kathi & Sarah from Talent! The Agency of Choice

Lynn Alexander from LaPlaya Beach ResortThe Sales & Catering Team from Casa Ybel Resort
Rob & AnnMarie Epple of AMC Video

We also made deliveries at Grandezza (Sean Hynes), Miromar Beach Club (Lesley O'Quinn), Sanibel Harbour Resort (Kristin Lawrence)and the Ritz Carlton Naples Beach (Nicola Long)...but they were all tied up getting ready for weddings. Hope you're having fabulous ones!
A huge thank you to all of you for being part of another year of so many great weddings!

To those who made me cry today:

Thank you

Writer bride and Ashley. Your words meant so much more than you could possibly imagine. I'd love to copy and paste them here, but I'm afraid I'd cry every time I logged on. So I'll just place your pictures here so everyone can see your pretty smiles :)

Venue Spotlight: Mediterra

A Place for a Grand Naples Wedding

"This is so beautiful", I think I said that about 43 times during our tour of this magnificent Naples property. Mediterra is a departure from our regular wedding venues because it's a country club; but this is not your run of the mill country club by any stretch of the imagination.
I had nothing but feelings of grand elegance from the moment I entered the gates to the Jasmine ivy growing throughout the porte cochere. Once inside we were greeted by Mary Ann Shea, the Events and Catering Manager who was gracious enough to give us the scoop on this beautiful venue.

I think the most jaw dropping spot was the ceremony location. Complete with a Romeo & Juliet balcony, long paved path, and fountain.
Unfortunately I was only able to get a couple of photos, but trust me- this is absolutely a place to put on your short list.

I'm really looking forward to planning a wedding out there. Here's a link to some video AMC took at a recent wedding they covered at Mediterra: Enjoy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Create a back up plan that's as good as your fair weather plan

As much as I would love to live in the land of denial, sometimes it rains. Wedding planning 101 teaches: have a back up plan. Having an alternate ceremony location is not a back up plan. It's a big bold note at the top, yes. But that's it. Basically, your back up plan needs to be an exact duplicate of your fair weather plans, only with all the alternatives laid into place. There's more to it than where you'll ceremony will be if it's too hot & humid or cold and windy outside. A great back up plan is plans for a the wedding you would have loved to have inside. Not a compromise. Just a short list to get you thinking...

} Are you still able to have your formal photos in the same locations?
} Are the new locations going to cross paths with guests before the ceremony?
} Are you going to run into another wedding party?
} Are your guests going to get mixed up with another bride's guests?
} Is it going to take longer to transport all your guests, meaning that some elements will start later, and you'll need to extend end times?
} If it's too windy, will your amazing, totally unique, omg-I-can't-wait-to-see-it escort card display still work? And where will it go if it's inside?
} Do you have umbrellas ready to go? How will they be displayed and who's going to be responsible for them?
} Are the perfect apple green sheer overlays the same color inside the ballroom?
} Who will update all your vendors on all the changes?
} How will your guests know where to go to?
} How late can you order the heaters, and where do you want them placed?
} Does the rain plan cost more money? ick.

Back up plans are a puzzle - make sure yours has all the pieces in the box and they all fit together. Start with the flat edges, and work your way into the details! Gang, don't think for a minute this is a list of all the questions that need answered. Remember, its all about making sure there are no loop holes. That's what makes your wedding day smooth and seamless so that you have nothin' but love and fun celebrating the day away. If you invest the time into planning for ill weather, you can rest easy that you're having a fantastic wedding no matter what.
Oh, and do this way way way before wedding day. Better yet, call your planner and let her/him figure it all out, and don't think about it again.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons