Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spotlight on Ashley Brockinton Photography

Big Color Photography with edge

Today: The ceremony
Tomorrow: check back for guys & gals

Remember this summer I was working on this years showcase? Yeah, I really got behind on it because of our early fall weddings. Still, this was one of the finished pieces that came in and what better time to post it than now?
Photographed by Ashley Brockinton of course! The bride is Ashley Perkins and her planner was Mary Hines.

All photos from here down were taken by me, so yeah, they aren't so good because I am not a photographer who knows everything about lighting, angles, speed and all that stuff I find unfathomable to remember all at one time. But you get the point. To see better photos- always check out the photographers websites & blogs!

Yesterday I had a visit from Sam Brockinton from Ashley Brockinton Photography. He stopped by to drop off images from our most recent wedding together (Writer brides wedding at South Seas Resort) along with a cookie bouquet that was nearly too cute to eat. But we ate it anyway, and we ate the cookies on top of these super cute napkins Ashley made as well!
Sam had the cutest little helpers with him, Baby Olivia and her big sister Isabella. My little Emily (the one with the crazy hair that 100% matches her personality) was ecstatic to have a few visitors to the studio that were more interested in drawing on the floor than looking at wedding books and watching wedding videos.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The winners

Yep, I totally lost track of time. So for that reason...everybody that entered wins the Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine! Just email me your mailing address and I'll get them right out to you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How a wedding planner is a financial investment

and a giveaway too!

Anyone can tell you easily that having a wedding planner just makes things easier. Obviously, that's probably one of the main reasons you're considering having one. That's because before you got engaged, you already had a pretty full schedule. Adding a +200 hour project to your plate is probably not going to fit in easily. Well, maybe it would if you could plan it one hour a day for six and a half months. Not possible; wouldn't that be something though?

Okay, so besides the time saved, let's talk a bit about some things that are a benefit financially. I always get asked,
"Exactly how can you save me money?"
My answer is the same,
"I can't guarantee any specific savings, but I can tell you some things that seem to be pretty consistent"

With that said...
1. Wedding planners, especially those who also do design work, often have "stuff". Stuff left from previous weddings. What does that mean to you? That means that the rehearsal dinner and/or welcome reception (that you forgot to budget decor for- oops) might actually turn out to be amazing because your wedding planner happens to have some custom linens that a previous bride didn't want, a dozen very cool lanterns that would make perfect centerpieces, about 100 luminaries to light the path. So when interviewing your potential wedding planner, ask if she has "stuff"! Note: I am in no way saying that you should only hire a planner who has "stuff". It's just a nice little budget booster if she/he does.

2. Wedding planners know the key to contracts is not the fine print, it's the missing print. Everyone knows to read the fine print. If you don't know what is missing, you don't know what you'll be paying for later down the road. It's a planners responsibility to draw your attention to these things. Example: Let's say you are having an outdoor welcome reception in the evening. An event for which you are paying a $500 site fee. Your contract says that this includes the space, chairs, tables, linen, set-up and breakdown. Sounds all inclusive right? Wrong. There's a list of at least six things that I can think of off the top of my head that you are going to need for this event. And nope, they aren't free. So what is going to happen? A couple weeks before the event, you'll get a call from your venue saying,
"Did you want to get _____? Because you're going to need it. Yes, we can provide it at a cost of $$$$$"

Every professional planner should be able to do this for you.

3. Your wedding planner knows when to call it a night. How many weddings do you go to a year? Your wedding planner goes to lots of them. Because we've experienced it so many times, we can tell when your guests have just about had all the fun they can. So when you've been able to enjoy all the champagne, and you're having a great time on the dance floor, we're watching the door, and who is walking out of it- we know what the sign is. The time has come when we walk up to you and say, it's time for the last dance per your contracted end time. Well, you're still having a great time, and you turn around and see there are still 30 people having a great time. So perhaps you say,
"No way wedding planner, we're still having a great time, look at the dance floor!"
It's at this moment that we're going to save you $$$$. Because we've seen "the sign", and know that the cost for you to add on that additional hour to the bar, band, and venue is going to be $$$$ for just an hour. And if you were to extend that hour, within 15 minutes, there will only be 8 people left. So basically what it comes down to is that we're not going to let you make a rash decision that will cost you a great deal money that you could be spending extending your honeymoon 3 days instead! So drink your champagne, we'll watch your back (and your wallet!).

4. Myth: Super small or "intimate weddings" (under 20 guests) don't need wedding planners. Myth with a capital M. While many people are having small weddings because they like the intimacy of it, many people are doing it because it is just so much less expensive. Here's what I can say- it's the small weddings that planners are often able to get the best deals for their clients. It's these weddings where we can pull from different resources that we can't do for larger events. Why? Just one reason: because we can do so much of the work ourselves instead of having to outsource. This is just one reason, but boy do I have a list for this one!

5. Believe it or not, not all the really good and well priced vendors are where you are looking for vendors. An established wedding planner knows many many professionals, beyond the current popularity list. You're going to have to trust us on this one- but this is usually the Ace!

This is just a short list of benefits, but I thought it would be a good time to share this kind of information.

How about I save you $5 right now? Send a comment, and we'll draw 3 names to send the current issue of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons to! I'll announce the winners on Thursday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Here's to Another Great Wedding!

Writer Bride's Cheerful Celebration

Everything about Writer Bride makes me smile. Truly, she is one of the giddiest people I have had the pleasure to know. Why Writer Bride? She earned that title with the 1st email I received from her. Most inquiries I receive have a name, a wedding date, and maybe if I'm lucky- a possible location or city under consideration. Not Writer Bride though, her initial email took me twenty minutes to read and had me cracking up the whole way thru. Hilarious descriptions of everything from the way she and Mr. Writer met, to the planning chaos that she had been dealing with. The girl has had me laughing for months via over 300 emails we exchanged. By the way, 300 emails is on the low side for our clients (which is why we are a boutique firm). Writer Brides emails were longer, so we had fewer.
Her wedding reception was full of life. It was a rare occassion where we were able to use bright colors that just exuded happiness.
All photos in this post were taken by me, so yeah, they aren't so good because I am not a photographer who knows everything about lighting, angles, speed and all that stuff I find unfathomable to remember all at one time. But you get the point. To see better photos- always check out the photographers websites & blogs!

Location: South Seas Island Resort, Captiva, Florida Yes, we love doing weddings here!
Photographer: Ashley & Sam Brockinton, they ROCK!
CupCakes: Flour Cupcakes, kind of an addiction for me.

It was a busy day and I didn't get a picture after the entire room was complete. But weren't the colors awesome? Color changes everything gang! Check out the difference between white/ivory linens and color. For sure something to consider.
We did half low centerpieces and half high
Custom napkin rings! A simple detail that got lots of "Oooohhhs!"
Fun table numbers
This is the tall centerpiece
Fun lights in the boogie down room.
The little details table
The sign says it all. Writer bride loves Candy corn, so this was a little surprise for her.
The escort card table(notice we transformed it over the weekend!)
Engagement photo guest signature frame was a surprise from the Maid of Honor

Milk shots accompanied the cupcakes! We also used the milk shots for the after dinner toasts. That was so cute!

Unfortunatly, we got pretty tied up and were not able to get any pictures of the happy couple and their wedding ceremony. I'm sure though that photographers Ashley & Sam Brockinton will have plenty though. I had a sneak peek at a few pictures and I am certain you'll see that they are off the charts once they get a couple posted on their blog. Speaking of their blog- they just launched a new website and blog that I adore. Please check it out. They are amazingly talented and as fun as their bubble gum pictures.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here's to Another Great Wedding!

Lucky Bride's Wedding at South Seas

All photos below this point were taken by me, so yeah, they aren't so good because I am not a photographer who knows everything about lighting, angles, speed and all that stuff I find unfathomable to remember all at one time. But you get the point. To see better photos- always check out the photographers websites & blogs!
Location: South Seas Island Resort, Captiva, Florida Hello - it's GORGEOUS
Photographer: Susan Stripling OMG, she's AMAZING
Cake: Kakes by Karen To die for.
Band: Clint Wiley with None Other Seriously, there is none other in comparison

Lucky bride. Why lucky? Because an unfortunate plan fell thru (having the wedding in the Keys), lead to her getting beyond lucky with top of the line locations, vendors, and weather ever. With just a few months to re-plan the entire event, we were able to pull together some out of this world amazing things for her wedding weekend.

Now, you know that I have encountered many happy brides who had fun at their weddings. Lucky bride though- she took having fun to an entirely different level. She and her darling Lucky groom danced the night away. It was one of those nights that I live for; nothing but pure fun to be had in a beautiful enviornment. Lucky bride has exquisite style and it showed. She had a constantly packed dance floor thanks to Clint's band (who she got by luck because another client cancelled). Click here to see and hear more of Clint's band:Clint Wiley Video

Lucky bride had a series of family wedding photos printed onto canvas and we displayed them on the mantle:

Guest entry room with signature plate, a photo backdrop and corresponding album, and the gift/envelope box:

We originally tried to set up the backdrop outside, but it was too breezy. So inside it went, and it actually turned out to be better because we had use of it the entire night.

To keep the uniqueness to this wedding, we had custom runners made in 2 different shades. It took us hours of searching at an indian import store to find the perfect fabrics, but it was totally worth it. They looked beautiful.
Above: Head table for 20. Below: Rather than standard round tables, we did rectangle tables for 12. They make for much better conversation, and take up less space so that you can fit more people into a room:
Lucky bride put her faith in me and let me design the escort card table pretty much as a surprise. What do you think?
Clint revving up the party:
The wedding party watching the sunset:
A beautiful ceremony in the round. I am forever a fan of ceremonies in the round because everyone is closer. It absolutely gives the ceremony a more intimate feel.
Although we didn't have a rabbi perform the cermony, we incorporated several jewish customs into the ceremony like the seven blessings and breaking of the glass. We also did one of my favorite ceremonies that includes the participation of the wedding party and parents, the captiva island shell toss.

Custom cake toppers by Nicole Clark. I blogged about these toppers a really long time ago. So glad to have one grace a cake at one our weddings!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kakes by Karen. Or I should say the Greatest Kakes by Karen?

Wedding cake. I adore it. Seriously, its right up there with wedding books on my list of favorite things. I love to feature the cake at the weddings we design and of course I love to eat them if there's an extra slice.
I have been so fortunate to work with some very talented cake bakers over the years. There is one though who I absolutly have to "call out" right now because she went above and beyond for a client of ours recently and well, it's time she got a little spotlight!Not only has Karen of Kakes by Karen designed some of the most perfect cakes for my clients, but they taste out of this world. I'm not just saying this, nobody is paying me to say it, they're really that good. My favorite, anything with the Lemon Curd. Yum.
The other thing about Karen is her passion. You might walk into her kitchen and showroom to just pick out a cake, but you'll walk out ridiculously excited about your custom wedding cake. During your consultation you'll taste her amazing fillings and cake flavors and she'll give you the 101 on what goes into creating your masterpiece and then finally she'll do a custom design for you. Sweet is what I say!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Here's to Another Great Wedding!

Writer Bride's Cabbage Key Excursion

All photos on this post were taken by me, so yeah, they aren't so good because I am not a photographer who knows everything about lighting, angles, speed and all that stuff I find unfathomable to remember all at one time. But you get the point. To see better photos- always check out the photographers websites & blogs!

Writer bride wanted to have a fun getaway for all her guests the day before her wedding so we planned a cruise to Cabbage Key for a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" lunch. Rumor has it that Jimmy Buffet wrote the song after having one of their incredible cheeseburgers. I will personally vouch for the incredible part of that statement! To make the trip extra special we had dolphins jumping along side the boat. This time we did not end up getting soaked by dolphin splash, although I think we secretly hoped that somebody would.

Once we docked at Cabbage Key, each guest received a small bag with their name and table assignment. In the bag was a dollar bill and sharpie to leave their mark in the famous dollar bill room (see the walls in the team picture on the top right sidebar). Once guests finished their lunch, they were free to roam the islands trails, climb the water tower, play horseshoes and/or frisbee, and of course have a Cabbage Key Cocktail or 3.

More on Writer Brides wedding coming soon!

A Beautiful Rainy Wedding Day at the Ritz Naples

Last month we had a stunning formal wedding weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach. I'm not going to say, "Unfortunately, it rained" because while the rain did come, it was still an amazing evening. There was nothing unfortunate about it! We had back up plans in place and had called for all the events to take place indoors several hours in advance (this is crucial!) so that everything would seem as it had been planned that way all along. The key is to make certain it does not appear to be a last minute move.
All photos on this post were taken by me, so yeah, they aren't so good because I am not a photographer who knows everything about lighting, angles, speed and all that stuff I find unfathomable to remember all at one time. But you get the point. To see better photos- always check out the photographers websites & blogs!
Location: Ritz Carlton Naples Beach
Photographer: Michelle Reed
Flowers: Ritz Carlton
Cake: Ritz Carlton
Band: Vox Blu
The band was unreal. We had Vox Blu at a wedding last year and I was immediately a fan. I was so excited when Kim picked them out for her wedding. They have the best Michael Jackson compilation of any band I have ever heard. There was not a single soul in a seat. Honestly, the dance floor was packed the entire night. Well, until the fire alarm went off. But that's another story. Anyway, the Hora was off the charts! Kim and Steve were up in the chairs many times until Steve was ultimately dropped. Oops. No worries though, he landed on both feet.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons