Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Eclectic Wedding Reception

{Hot Trend Alert} This is more than stepping outside the box, it's more like ripping the box apart and making your own shape out of it. And I am loving the idea of doing this for so many reasons.
Consider how beautiful museums are. Nothing matches in there. Yet, it still looks phenomenal. Mostly because the spacing is right, the lighting is right, and there's a foundation (walls) that keeps some form of unity.
There is so much that you can do if you move in this direction; and, even better, your costs can seriously plummet! For instance. Let's say you have 75 guests at your wedding. How about doing 5 or 6 completely different tables? Totally different centerpieces, some floral, some not. Different linens, some textured, some flat. Different chairs; all the same at each table, but different from one table to the next.
How to use this to cut costs: Let's say you love Ghost chairs, but can't afford the price tag 60 times over? Fine, do it at two tables of 6. Then, have two tables of 10 with less expensive bamboo chairs. Next two, tables of 8, standard chairs with slip covers. Then finally a couple tables with chivari's.
I would suggest that you stick to complimentary colors if you do go this route. One thing, I really think you'll need to go all the way to pull this off. No toe dipping; Jump in the water.
The possibilities are so endless its ridiculous.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Take Note. Literally.

I noticed today that I do my best brainstorming and best "thinking" while driving. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm alone, and not being distracted by the phones, emails, and people. All of which, I admit to love; I'm a can't-stop-social butterfly.
Back to the topic at hand. Your greatest ideas, thoughts, and inspirations will come to you at unexpected times. Be prepared:
1. Keep pen and idea journal by your bed.
2. Download the iphone and itouch app called QuickVoice Recorder (this is my new bff as I mentioned on Twitter today).
3. If you get great ideas in your shower, try singing the idea to yourself over and over again until you get out and can write it down. HA!
4. Always have a camera on your person. Take pictures of things that inspire you and download them to your computer for your wedding files.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Elegant & Modern Wedding Centerpieces & Tablescapes

{Cheap but Chic alert} Big centerpieces are fabulous in the right conditions. I adore and love to design centerpieces with tons of flowers, and candles, and heights. However, this isn't always the best look for certain reception rooms or to evoke a specific ambiance. Also, a limited design budget can be a reason for deciding to go with a chic less is more design.
A modern, simple, yet elegant centerpiece with a great linen selection can make all the difference in either case. For instance, this centerpiece is a fantastic example of making the best of a room that should not be over filled, or a budget that restricts. 3 perfect white starfish, on a beautiful green linen, gold chargers, chocolate colored napkins. Total cost for this table: about $40.
Obviously, there's more that you can add to this to complete and/or add to the look. Some design options would increase the costs slightly, and some could also be free- it's a matter of thinking outside the box.
I know that I've just scared some of you. Worried that it doesn't look "wedding" enough because there aren't any flowers? Easy fix. Go ahead and get 2 or 3 big lush arrangements for your reception room and place them in various focal points around the room, just not on the dinner tables. Also, my biggest design pet peeve: Don't stick your wedding cake in a corner! Use it for decor, not just dessert. Make it a focal point- it screams wedding. One last big dollar saver for you on this fantastic Monday: If you're ordering those 2 or 3 floral arrangements, use them at your ceremony site, then have your wedding planner move them into the reception room for that "wedding" look. Very important- let your florist know this is your plan so that they can design arrangements that can be moved. I adore double duty.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A One Plate, Three course wedding dinner

Tuna Tartare, Filet, and Creme Brulee

{Hot Trend alert} Yes. You read that correctly. One plate. I was inspired by a recent amazing meal that I had at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. While I'll certainly agree that this type of meal is not appropriate for all weddings, it is perfect if you're planning a modern reception that you don't want your guests seated for a long length of time (basically if you want to spend more time on the dance floor versus the dinner tables). The 3 course meal includes an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. Each course has its own vessel that sits on the larger presentation plate. My recommendation would be to serve this type of meal after a cocktail hour that was inclusive of several passed hors d'oeuvres (approximately 6-8 per person). Here's the thing, don't expect to find this in the cute little wedding menus your venue has given you. You'll have to go to the chef for this one. Simply explain what you're looking for, and then allow him to create some course options for you.

What wedding party gifts shouldn't be: The same.

I'm absolutely certain that this is going to make a few, or perhaps many brides scream a little. But I think I'll be able to make a good point if you hear me out. Your gift to the members of your wedding party is intended to be a thank you gift in appreciation for their friendship & support through your wedding planning, as well as a thank you for the financial considerations they've made in being a part of your celebration. Because your thank you is sincere, your gift should be as well. This gift should not be about the wedding. Rather, it should be a gift truly meant for each person. So tell me how purchasing all your bridesmaids matching jewelry, that you think compliments the dresses you've chosen for them and that you feel embraces the look of your wedding (again making it about your wedding)is a sincere thanks to each individual? Here's my thought. Buy each member a gift meant specifically for their personality and tastes. If possible, buy a gift that is something that you know they would love but never purchase for themselves.
Don't get me wrong; I adore jewelry as a thank you gift. Jewelry is exciting to give and receive. So for goodness sakes, give jewelry she'll want to wear again. And do what you can to make it personal so that each time your dear friend & bridesmaid wears it she'll think of that great time in your lives.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My advice is this; it's your wedding. Live it.

At some point right after my clients weddings I'll often hear the bride say, "Oh, it's almost time to get back to reality". My thought, "Yes!" Her wedding was so much better than she anticipated that it was like experiencing a fantasy. That's exactly what is supposed to happen. Your wedding day should feel extraordinary.
The truth is that your wedding day or weekend will most likely feel surreal. So let me give you this piece of advice now. Live it. Live the moments you've planned. Don't watch them- live them.
Forget the details, forget the time lines, forget the payments, and menu choices, and play lists. When it's time to start your celebration, remind yourself (and your groom) that you've hired a wedding planner to take care of all those things. Remind yourself that you've hired your photographer to make record of the beauty in it all. Remind yourself that you've hired a videographer to capture the sights and sounds of the moments you're living. Remind yourself that these documentarians will catch for you the moments you can't experience, like what the 15 minutes before you walked down the aisle were like for your groom and what your friends and families experienced while you were getting your first photos as a married couple. You'll forever have these to turn back to and remind you of how great it all was.
Enjoy being the bride and a newlywed on your wedding weekend. Enjoy having everyone that you care most about all in one place. Live it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spotlight on: Heather Donlan Photography

Coral & Ocean on Naples Beach

A beach chic escort card display
A seaside ceremony that epitomizes a modern beach feel

{Photography} Heather Donlan (Hello Mrs. Talented)
{Ceremony & Reception Venue} LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (Best for ballroom & beach)
{Cake} Ella's cakes (great cake is a grand understatement
I can hardly believe it's been just over a year since this wedding! While cleaning yesterday I found the cd that Heather had sent and realized I hadn't shared these wonderful photos. I adore that Heather was able to photograph this very elegant yet casual wedding and truly capture the modern seaside chic Jenn & John had wanted.
Want to see more? Click on "Weddings" on the Weddings by Socialites website. You can also see that Heather Donlan does truly love her art at her blog.Aren't the colors amazing? I love Peonies.
The personalized menus were an amazing detail that also served the purpose of a placecard.
To keep guests cool at the beach ceremony on the warm December afternoon we provided guests with fans adorned with the ceremony program.
Late night bites are always a huge hit. Especially sliders! We customized these cuties with "Jenn & John" appetizer sticks.
The tables were decorated with lush white flowers, starfish & shells, floating candles, and Coral, all atop gorgeous silk linen and a sheer overlay.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recap of the Grand Unveiling & the winners too!

Thank you to everyone who came out to see us last night for the Grand Unveiling at Grandezza! The evening was a huge success. Many thanks to Sean Hynes at Grandezza for hosting the event.
It was awesome to put faces to some of our readers names and to be introduced to so many new brides. Here are a few photos for those who weren't able to make it out:
Our famous polaroid bride & veil board
The swag bag! It included a selection of wedding magazines, a weddings by socialites koozie, and a WBS wedding planner binder full of everything a bride needs to get started with their planning.Some of the details....
Our mini ceremony site with a photo montage of our weddings running on the tv.
And finally, one of our signature candy bars.

Drum roll please! The winners of the polaroid bride contest are: Casey H, Bethany S, and Nicole P! We'll be emailing you to fill you in on all the details. Congrats!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Come see us at the Grand Unveiling tonite!

Because honestly, there is not going to be anything more fun to do. There's nothing good on tv tonight, I checked. And, it's cold. Yep- I'm cracking up right now.
Also, you might actually walk out of Grandezza with a wedding planner, a venue, a photographer, a florist, your limo, and invitations. How about that for a night?

We'll be showing off Weddings by Socialites style with a mini ceremony site design, our signature sweet treat display, and a tablescape. They're all about the trends for 2009: Back to Pretty.

Sneak peek at our swag bags...

Want one? Become our VIP by commenting below and then call Sean at Grandezza to rsvp: 239-948-3569. Otherwise the swag bags are $45 each (code for there's good stuff inside).
Here's the original Grand Unveiling post about tonite!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I can't say enough about a detailed floral proposal

{Quick post} When you've put so much effort into making every detail count for your wedding, the last thing you want is to arrive on your wedding day and see personal flowers and/or centerpieces that are disappointing. The best way to ensure that this doesn't happen to you is to clarify your expectations.
With your deposit ready, request a detailed written proposal from your floral designer that includes all the flowers and ribbons that have been selected, acceptable alternates, the shapes, sizes and counts of everything, and if possible- sketches.
Schedule a mock-up of your centerpieces well advance of the wedding. Some florists include this in your cost, others may charge a mock up fee.
Lastly, request to come view the flowers the day prior to your wedding (or send your planner).

Something you really should see

Brooklyn Bride has launched her new site and its as gorgeous as her pillows.
So catch up on my posts from this week and then make sure to go check hers out!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Grand Unveiling

Wedding Trends for 2009

I'm still trying to decide what to do on my tablescapes for this event. I'm completely torn. I have like 82 ideas.
Oh, I should probably tell you what this event is. Um, it's great. You should go. Why? Let me list a few better than good reasons:
{Invitation only vendors} This is key. It means that everyone there has proven themselves worthy to the event host and there won't be 500 vendors clawing at you.

Grandezza Country Club. If you haven't considered this space for your wedding or event, you will after visiting it. We love doing events there! And let's face it, we all love to listen to Sean Hynes speak with that cool irish accent he has.

Debra Mehrberg. Have you seen her work? Off the charts phenomenal custom invites.

Lace and Roses Bridal Boutique. Yep, all the pretty new dresses.

There are others too of course. We will be there (Weddings by Socialites). I am personally inviting you to come over and see us. Really, I do want to see you all.

So, call Sean now to listen to his accent. Wait, no, to RSVP before there aren't any invitations left! 239-948-3569.

The event is this Thursday, January 15th from 6:30pm to 8:30 pm at Grandezza Country Club. Comment if you're coming, we'll put you on our very own VIP list. That means you'll get a cool swag bag.

Bride Wars & Wedding Pros: A night out

Front (L to R) Shari Bare- photographer, Eva Dunnolastname & Jen Dube from Casa Ybel, Tiffany Nara from Impressions Photography, AnnMarie Epple from AMC Video
Back (L to R) Ashley Brockinton- Photographer, Jen King- Stylist, Isabella & Julie Goodacre- photographer, Cher Hanna- photographer, me, Lisa Hardy- graphic design

We started out with a fantastic dinner at Bacchus. Special thanks to Shannon Yates, and Executive Chef, Heath Higginbotham for an amazing meal as always. We'll be back if you'll let 12 loud wedding pros in again. The dinner and wine and wine were just what we all needed to kick off our 1st gathering.

This next photo would be the first big laugh at the movie theatre. Note that it isn't the actual movie, its me dropping a ridiculously large bag of popcorn all over the place. All the remaining laughs inside the theatre were due to the movie being very funny. We really enjoyed it. But the bouquets...not so much. Its funny the things we noticed about the movie. It was hard to just sit back and watch it for entertainment and not pick apart the "that is so not real" things about the movie. I can't say that I've ever had a bride walk in, tell them to sit(hand gesture and all), and that they have have been "dead to the world until they came" to see me. Seriously, I was dying. Oh and appointments with this planner...15 minutes and a contract was signed on the spot, without even so much as a consideration for ummmm- anything. Oh, and can you imagine being referred to as bride 1 or 2? Hilarious.
After the movie we took a bit to chat in the side lobby. This photo is everyone checking out Ashleys new point & shoot that takes unreal HD video. I think it was shortly after this that we noticed we had an audience listening to our next conversation on the chicken suit engagement photos and forest nymph wedding. If you haven't seen these pics, search google, you're bound to find them. Ashley and I nearly broke into tears we were laughing so hard after realizing 15 people thought we were insane talking about the naked bride with the cowboy hat and chicken suit.
Next night out: Shopaholic.

Best favor : The girls are back!

The Girl Scouts that is! Last year I posted about using girl scout cookies as wedding favors. Well, we used them at 3 of our 17 weddings last year and they were hands down the fastest to leave the favor tables.
Side note: I prefer favor tables over placing them on dinner tables as I am not a fan of clutter. Also, favor tables make for another focal point opportunity in a blank space or a space taker in a too large room.
If you can't find a girl scout in your neck of the woods, send me an email. Our neighbor, little Amanda, will be more than happy to get you some!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Design My Wedding - Wedding Innovators Challenge

Oh how I do wish that DC was a bit closer so that I could attend this one! C'est la vie. The good thing however is that it's a tour, so many many of us will have the opportunity to go!
DC Nearlyweds (one of my favorite wedding blogs) is hosting the Wedding Innovator's Design Challenge and Bridal Show. It will start in Washington, DC and travel to 5 additional cities (New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Toronto).
Here is why I think we should all go- it's for wedding designer-planners and brides! It's a three prong event : Design Challenge for Event Planners, Bridal Show for Brides and a Silent Auction to benefit Brides Against Breast Cancer.
The DC Show is being sponsored by My Day Weddings Magazine and The Wedding Podcast Network and is being held at the Liaison Capitol Hill in Washington, from 10:00 - 5:00 pm on Saturday February 21, 2009.

From Vicky Johnson of DC Nearlyweds, "Leading our panel of judges is Los Angeles celebrity wedding and event planner Diann Valentine. She is also the host of the new Mark Burnett/Dreamworks TV Show Wedding Day debuting this Spring. There will be a ticketed VIP networking event following the show as well, so there's a great deal to see and do in DC!
We also welcome donations for the Silent Auction. Proceeds will benefit Brides Against Breast Cancer.(
Information and registration can be found on the show website"

The tickets are $20 each, but if you're reading this, guess what? You get a deal Lucille! When purchasing your ticket use the code Socialites and your tickets will be just $15.
The event website is Go buy a ticket or three.

I'm considering entering the challenge myself...what do you guys think? Should I do it?

Love love love Southern Weddings

And again I say Love Love Love. I think nearly all of you brides and wedding planners will agree with me, once you have the chance to read the premiere issue of Southern Weddings Magazine, that this is what we have been waiting for. FOREVER. Yes, I am screaming that. It deserved a scream.
I have read it 3 times now because I keep finding new elements to love some more. Hello! The true bride confessions- oh my gosh, cutest thing ever. Probably the most obvious fantastic thing about this magazine however, is the fact that there are over 20 real weddings covered! Are you kidding me? I could pass out in inspiration bliss.
If by chance you can't find it at your local B&N or BAM because its sold out, you can order it from the Southern Weddings blog. We also have a couple copies here in our studio if you happen to be local the Cape Coral or Ft. Myers area.

Congrats to Lara and all the editors at Southern Weddings! Love love love

Friday, January 09, 2009

Black & White and read all over

Shopping inspiration

Today Michelle and I headed out to see if we could find a special table for Gwyneth Bride. We call her Gwyneth because she is so G. Paltrow its crazy. We adore her and her going to be off the charts gorgeous wedding. Back to shopping- I nearly had a meltdown when I got to my favorite shop because I realized I left my wallet at home. Ugh. Anyway, I was inspired by this months issue of Unveiled (I adore this magazine, its a must read). This issue is completely unique because its all about Black & White. Go get it.
So of course, I walk into the shop, and I find all this neat black and white that would be fantastic for a fun shower or bridesmaids luncheon. Best part- nothing over $4 a piece. Love that. These pieces might find their way onto a tablescape I'm doing next week.
While we didn't find the perfect table for Gwyenth bride, we did find these very cool 2.5 foot lanterns. These would be great at the beginning of a ceremony aisle with pillar candles inside and surrounded by big bushy peonies. Then we walked around the corner and found these monsters! I MUST HAVE THEM. Michelle is 5 foot, so you can see- these are big beyond big. I swear I could hear my poor abandoned wallet screaming, "come get me, I will buy them for you!". Michelle saved me by pulling me out of the shop with a Starbucks card. By the way, the new Tzao Vanilla Roobos latte is so good.

"Who won?"

I'll bet y'all thought we'd forget to pick the winner of Bouquet Chic. Nope, it just took us forever to choose because Michelle was talking me off the ledge at Homegoods (I'll explain this later). All the comments are awesome! Thank you so much for reading the blog, and keep reading for more giveaways in the future. And the winner is:
Lindsay TOAST:: Signature Celebrations said...

A tight round bouquet of pale pink peonies makes my heart sing. I came across an amazing peony pomander with pearls rather than ribbons as a holder and it was to-die-for!

Congrats Lindsay! Send me an email with your mailing address.

A Freebie and Giveaway reminder

{Heads up} I found a nice little surprise in my inbox this morning. You can get a free calendar from Shutterfly thru Jan 12th! The promo code is calendar12. More details available on their website.

What can you do with this calendar? Load in your engagement photos and use it for your planning calendar of course! As soon as you receive your calendar, fill in all your wedding payment due dates, perhaps a countdown (weeks left), task due dates (menus due, song selections due, invitation mail date, rsvp date, etc.), and appointments of course (tasting, alterations, floral consult, planning meeting, etc.).

Also, a reminder to enter the Bouquet Chic giveaway! We'll choose a winner later today.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Spotlight on: Impressions Photography

Summer Wedding at Sanibel Harbour

{Photography} Impressions Photography (Are they great at this or what?)
{Ceremony Venue} Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa (Best poolside ceremony location in Ft Myers)
{Reception Venue} Dolce Vita (You MUST eat here when visiting Sanibel)
{Cupcakes} Flour Cupcakes (I dream of these weekly)
{DJ} Clint Wiley (You guys know I adore Clint Wiley band)
{Band} Dana Paul & Joe McCormick (I still can't believe we had Dana Paul!)
{Floral} Weddings by Socialites (there is a story behind this- we aren't florists!)

This was one of the funnest wedding days ever. I think because it was a change from our usual calling of the ceremony on the beach and reception at the resort. Florida brides wedding started by welcoming their guests to the poolside ceremony with pink lemonade and mojitos and a selection of cool & refreshing hors dors. Cool and refreshing was key because it was HOT. Not hot, but HOT. As in , bring in the outdoor a/c. The hand fans certainly played a key factor in keeping guests cool as well. Before guests received their ceremony programs, we asked for their dinner selection. It was the first time we did this and it worked out perfectly! After the ceremony we had a champagne toast and then all headed over to Dolce Vita for the best dinner. It was spectacular. I adore restaurant wedding receptions, the food is always off the charts. After dinner the dance floor filled and stayed that way until the very last song. It was quite the evening. Oh, the flowers- read the story here: Ugly Bouquet.


Yesterday I wrote a book review on Bouquet Chic. To remind you, in case you've read about 35 other wedding blog posts since then, I said I adored it. I think many of you would adore it as well, brides and planners alike. Anyway, the giveaway. This morning, the author, Kimberly Aurora Kapur sent me an email this morning and has given me a copy to give to one lucky reader. Simply comment with your favorite bouquet flower(s) and we'll include you in the drawing. We'll pick a winner on Friday.

This is one of the ribbon treatments that I had mentioned to Kimberly that I thought was more than photo worthy. I've always been a fan of monograms, and I can see this one being an item that would hold sentimental value after the wedding.Photo Credits: Jim Henkens for iphone users

I love my iphone, however I hate that little blue box that shows up when I open a flash site. Drives me nuts. The good thing is that you can still view the Weddings by Socialites website from iphones! It does look a bit different (actually, alot different), but all the information is there and the pictures in the weddings pages look just as pretty. The address is the same
Let me note that not all the pictures are on the iphone version; you'll have to sit down to your computer to view them all. Happy browsing!

Green to Gray. I had to do it.

Sometimes you just have to break the rules. I know that sticking to a color once its established is important in branding, but I just had to do it. I changed my mind. So shoot me. I didn't change the flavor like "new" coke (remember that? yuck), just the color of the can.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Warning: A bad timeline can be worse than a terrible DJ

{Quick post} I just had a consult and emergency fix with a bride getting married in Chicago on Saturday. She was having a meltdown because her venue isn't helping her with her wedding day time line (this is normal- it isn't their job to do so), her church has no wiggle room with time, and the way the venue told her the evening will flow doesn't work with the hours that she has her photographer and videographer on site. Also, she only had one stylist coming to do hair and makeup for 2 moms & 7 girls and the ceremony is at 2pm. That's right- they'll be starting at the crack of dawn. Yep, I'd be having a meltdown too.
I can not stress enough how important a well thought out timeline is. Sure, sometimes we have to veer off of them, but planning ahead for a smooth day that works with all your vendors for the hours you are paying them for and that keeps you and your wedding guests having a great experience will save you from unecessary stress. Make sure your timeline is inclusive of the entire day (wake up to clean up) and covers all the bases, from each point of view (wedding party, guests, vendors, and venue). It's a puzzle, but a few missing pieces messes the whole darn thing up. Lastly, make sure it actually works- have someone review it!

Bouquet Chic

I adore this book

A big part of my responsibility as a wedding planner is bringing new ideas and resources to my clients. So I do my best to share inspiration when its presented to me. Boy did I get some wedding bouquet inspiration from this book!

What I love about Bouquet Chic, besides the fact that its more than 150 pretty pictures, is that I haven't seen them before. And the ribbons! Oh the ribbons. Often we say that the handle doesn't matter because its always covered up. Not in these bouquets! Kimberly has some amazing ribbon and handle treatments that are more than photo worthy. They are actually unique & beyond simply creative. For me, this is key. I can't stand a copied wedding. Where's the fun in that?

Also, this book actually tells you all the flowers that are in the bouquet- magazines commonly leave us guessing (except in the case of Bride & Bloom magazine, they're pretty good about it). Oh, and to top it off- should you be a DIY bride who dares to create her own bouquet (You guessed it- I consider this a big NO), this book shows you how.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons