Monday, March 30, 2009

Get married in Naples. Better yet, get married in 2009 at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort

If you don't know already, it can be very difficult to find a location that,
"Can hold over 150 guests for a ceremony on the beach,

cocktail hour on a lawn (with sunset still in view),
a ballroom for the wedding dinner & dancing,
a world class chef,
a restaurant to have our rehearsal dinner,
a poolside space to have our farewell brunch,
another waterfront space to hold our welcome reception,
gorgeous hotel rooms for our guests,
and a spa"

Especially when you're limited to a few select dates. Not kidding, I get this request almost every day. Luckily, I can actually say yes, this amazing place you're asking for exists. That's when I pick up the phone and call Lynn Alexander at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples. I called Lynn last week for just this very thing and she told me about this special they're offering. If you book a wedding for a date this year, you can choose from one of the below:
• 50% discount on Site Fee
• Waived Resort Fee
• His & Her Discount Spa for her, Golf for him
• Airport Transportation for Bride & Groom
• Specialty Linen Upgrade
• Complimentary One Hour Cocktail Reception the night before the wedding. Value of $1,500
• Complimentary Pre-Ceremony Beverage Station Champagne, Sparkling Water, Lemonade
• Complimentary Weekend Cabana
• Complimentary Suite Upgrade for Bride & Groom

Pretty good deal I think, so I asked her if it would be okay to share with my readers. Here is the link to LaPlaya and you can reach Lynn directly at LAlexander{at}
Photo Credit: Heather Donlan of Heather Donlan Photography

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Winners of the Idea & Inspiration Notebooks

Congrats to:
Kristi L. and Kay Wooten! Email us your mailing addresses and we'll get the notebooks out to you this week. Oh, and I'd love if you'd send back a picture of your "noted up" notebook :)

Wedding Pictures you ask for vs. the pictures ultimately purchased

As I was helping one of my clients find a photographer this past week, I asked as usual,
"What kinds of pictures are the ones you are drawn to? What pictures are you most looking forward to having?"
If I am lucky enough to have the client in our planning studio and brides library I will sit down with the client and we'll go through some of the wedding albums photographers have given us and some wedding photography books. I have to go through this process because narrowing down the enormous list of talented photographers isn't a task I take lightly and it is incredibly time consuming.

Anyway, more often than not, the response to my question is:

"I don't like the posed pictures, I want candid (or photojournalistic), and I absolutely have to have sunset photos, and I don't want to see the sweaty dance photos."

I wondered if this is what actually ends up being the case though. So I asked some photographers who follow me on twitter,
"What are the 2 most REQUESTED pictures (before wedding day) & the 2 most PURCHASED after?"
Here is what some of them had to say:

"I get a lot of formal requests and a lot of group photos are often purchased." Alicia Williams of Cordele Photography

"Most requested: formal poses, most purchased: guests buying posed & candid photos of themselves (not bride&groom)" Anne Ruthmann of Anne Ruthmann photography

"Requested: "lots of details" & "don't want to pose" Purchased: Posed couple and posed family." Kara hudson of Solais Photography

"2 most REQUESTED pictures: candid + romantic shots. Most PURCHASED: I agree with Anne, guests buying pix of themselves + formal" Shari Bare of Shari Bare Photography

"Requested: candids, photojournalism style shots. Purchased: posed groups, posed couple shots" Christine Tremoulet of Christine Tremoulet Photography

How about that? Looks like there are some differences. What does this mean? It means you should be looking very closely at everything your photographer shoots. Ask to see at least 2 recent complete weddings. Why two? Because every wedding is different, and different lighting, venues, and people make all the difference when you're "browsing". Ask yourself if all of the above mentioned requested and purchased photos are done well, and are there enough of them.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Last Minute Giveaway Reminder!

Yes, I totally forgot to pick winners from Wednesdays post. I got all caught up in planning NY brides rehearsal dinner, finding a December South Seas bride a photographer, planning next weeks planning visit, and hiring our new client & vendor relations director, Jessica. Actually, not sure what her exact title is going to be yet, but she is FABULOUS and is going to be a huge asset to the Weddings by Socialites team. Oh, and I'm certain she would be the 1st to remind me that I hadn't picked the winners yet.

Since I didn't place a reminder sooner, I'll hold off until Sunday to announce the winners. Don't shoot me. Rather, I'll throw in the newest issue of Destination Weddings and Honeymoons to the prize pot.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Idea & Inspiration Notebook

Giveaway at the end!

This morning I took my weekly idea & inspiration walk thru my favorite shop and of course purchased much more than I should have. Well, I do want to replace some of the decor items we lost in the robbery earlier this month. So I think it's okay. See all the lovelies? I can't wait to use them. Dying to actually. Anyway, I also came across this perfect notebook. It's small enough to fit in most of my bags, and ummm, I love the colors. Well, they had 3. I took them all. And I thought I would share 2. Just post a comment on your favorite item from below and we'll choose a random winner on Friday. Everyone (in the continental U.S.) is eligible, brides and planners alike.

You know of my love of books for inspiration. This one caught my eye quickly. Pottery just really can't go wrong. Feel free to stop by the Brides Library to browse thru it.

How awesome would it be to have this in your guests welcome bags? It's an acrylic (pool & beach safe) cocktail shaker with adorable palm tree ice cubes (reusable). Perfect for the day after the wedding casual gathering at the beach.

LOVE this vase. Not only is it cool on its own, but fill it with some chic flowers and "oooohh". Also, I added a pink led at the bottom of it and it was ridiculously cool.

And oh how I am so adoring this mosaic bowl. The colors, the mirrored tiles, all of it. It is centerpiece perfection filled with some fluffy flowers and surrounded by ubsurd amount of tealight or votive candles.

Finally, this is massive, but I WANT IT. How amazing would this be for a Candy Cart, Signature drink Station, or Dessert Display?

A clever way to seat your wedding guests for dinner

Not all weddings require assigned seating at tables or seats. If your wedding dinner is a classic buffet, stations, or serving a signature plated dinner (aka no option), you can make your seating as formal or informal as you like. One of my favorite options I have is what I call Restaurant Style Seating. A while back I had a wedding where seating was a major issue that simply could not get hammered out in time. I had to think of something fast and it turned out to be one of the best seatings I have ever experienced. Read on for the scoop.

Why you might want this style:

A) You can't fathom the idea of predetermining where each of your guests will sit at your reception
B) You want to do something totally unexpected
C) You forgot to do your seating chart and you are over it already

How it works: Once your guests are asked to enter the reception room they are greeted by a seating host. The seating host takes the guests escort cards and leads them to a table with the appropriate number of seats available.
Why it works: Most people will walk into the reception with the people they'd actually like to have dinner with. Think back to some receptions you went to. Isn't this what you did? You can still use escort cards. Once the guests have their cards, they hand them to the seating host and the seating host will place their card at their seat.
A few things to keep in mind: You'll need extra time for seating. Have at least 1 seating host per 15 guests to keep things moving smoothly. DO reserve tables for immediate family and wedding party, and make certain their escort cards note this.
Best situations: Weddings under 100 guests.
To make it really neat: Have the seating host introduce newcomers to the tables using their placecards. Fancy & cool isn't it?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twittering from the wedding at Miromar today!

I'm really excited about todays wedding at Miromar Lakes Beach Club. We have a great team of pros on board for Easy Breezy Bride's beach ceremony & outdoor reception tonight. I'm starting early with the ceremony setup on the beach. Chairs to be delivered by 8:30am for the ceremony in the round. 140 chairs to set up; not the most fun part of the day, that's for sure. But the benefits totally outweight the work! Follow me today on twitter to see how it all turns out!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Budget is not a bad word.

Don't be afraid to use it. In fact, do the opposite and say it out loud. Even put it in writing. Here's the thing, wedding vendors want you to hire them for your wedding. No surprise to anyone. They also want to give you everything you want. Believe me, most wedding pros would love to offer every bride the world because that means we get to use all of our craft and talents and experience to the hilt! However, everything you want may not be what is actually a plausible. And this {deep sigh}, this is equally as disappointing to us as it is to you to find out that it was never a possibility.
If you've done your homework and researched the professionals you're considering, you can feel good about trusting that they only want to maintain the good reputations they've earned. So keep this in mind when they ask you what you want to spend or what you can spend. It's okay (and best) to be honest.

Here are a couple good examples of presenting your budget:
Example one: Bride "Chloe" is sitting down with floral designer "Jack". Bride says, "Jack, Here are some images I've collected that I'm really drawn to, and I'd like to do something similar. Here is the list of things I think that I need from you, and my budget is $$$$. Is this something you think we can do?"

When it comes to professionals who offer packages (such as photographers), you can do the same, but asking them to just lower a package price to fit into your budget isn't the appropriate thing to do, and quite frankly, it can be somewhat insulting. Not that anyone means to be insulting. And believe me- professionals know that is not your intention. So from the get go, be honest.
Example two" "Photographer Jack, I understand that your packages begin at $$$$. My budget is $$$$. I am flexible, and was wondering if you can offer any custom packages that might be available to me in my budget?"

Will everyone be able to say yes? No, not everyone can. However, being straight forward will help you get you where you need to go in the quickest most pleasant way possible!
*Keep in mind that vendors who can't meet your budget requirements may be able to lead you in the direction of someone who is. It doesn't hurt to ask.

fine print: My friend Jody of Good Taste events reminded me of something very important. The word budget doesn't exist in standard shopping situations. You know, in case there are grooms or husbands reading this post.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This blog: How to find pictures of our real weddings

Let's say you came here specifically to find pictures of the weddings I have been so fortunate to plan and design. The easiest ways to find what you are looking for is to do a lijit search (right sidebar) on either:
Wedding locations you want to see (i.e. South Seas Island Resort, Casa Ybel Resort, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Miromar Lakes Beach Club, Ritz Carlton Naples Beach or Golf, Boca Grande, etc.)
or photographers names (i.e. Impact UK, Ashley Brockinton, Julie Goodacre, Susan Stripling, Impressions Photography, Jason P Smith, etc.)

You can also scroll all the way down and just click on the real weddings label. That will give you all of them. Some of them have the lousy pictures we took (believe me- you'll see the difference), some will have links to video trailers, and others will have the images our amazing photographers have shared. be forwarned, this one takes a long time to load because there are so many images.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It was a BAD week until today.

Photo by Krista at Impressions Photography
You know me, I am ever the optimist and cheerful one. Just try and make me angry- it's really hard. But this week was a rough one.
On Monday I was at the wholesale club and a very heavy box of canned vegetables fell on my foot. Um, yeah, totally saw stars and had to hold onto the cart to keep from passing out. It's capital U-ugly and rather certain there are some itty bitty breaks in there, but I can walk (in pain, but I can walk). Okay, its totally okay to laugh at this, because who else gets injured by boxes of falling corn?
On Tuesday I came to the studio to find we had been robbed. We lost all of our decor that we let brides use (without charge) to "umph up" their decor. Many times we used these pieces when they couldn't afford decor otherwise. This is why I was so upset about it. I wouldn't have cared so much if they took the tv- but this stuff was used for just being nice. So yeah, I'm upset. I admit to crying like 28 times that day. So if anyone sees 12 rubbermaid bins of glassware, linens, and candles- let me know. As my friend Nicole of RSVP shindig says, "I will show them my Kaa-rah-tay".
On top of this, we had about 3 major wedding fires to put out, I got food poisoning (or a 24 hour really bad bug), and a pipe leak at the house. REALLY? Is all this totally necessary for one week?

But then came today. I had an awesome floral consult at Libbys Flowers with Blizzard Bride & Groom who came down from Chicago (and who also brought us Garretts Popcorn- to die for). Then while in the midst of their music consult with Clint Wiley, the girls came into the brides library, interrupted the meeting (In my head I was thinking, "this better be good!") to show me that my design was being featured on the front page of the Style Me Pretty blog. At which sight I jumped up and down on my broken foot. Check it out, I am so excited & honored. Style Me Pretty has been on my blogroll for years because they uphold such high standards and are more than inspirational to both brides and wedding planners/designers. I could not be more flattered that they chose to feature my design work.
So yeah, things are looking up. Oh, and its totally spring here- 85 degrees and sun shining. Gotta love that.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Those who follow me on Twitter (and facebook) will get this. Otherwise, um, just know that its funny- very funny. And know that its even more hilarious that it came to me today in a package labeled:
To WBS from @BlizzardGroom.
Yes, I have the most hilarious clients on the face of the earth. They totally make my day. Seriously, I think some of them should go on a comedy tour.

{In case anyone is confused- the shirt came from my blizzard couple}

A Thank You Note Station

Just a quick idea I had. Create for yourself a thank you station. Head to the office supply store and grab a filebox or craft supply store and grab a scrapbooking station. You're going to be using this for a while, so get a good one. I like the new ones that have hard sides and have handles. Also get a box of good pens and highlighters. Stop by the post office and load up on stamps. *Postage goes up in May, keep this in mind. Keep an updated guest list with addresses in the box, along with your stamps, pens, highlighters, post-its announcements and thank you notes. This is also a great place to keep all the congrats cards you receive. (tip: write what the gift was on the back of the card).
Want to really get ahead of the game? Pre-address your holiday card envelopes.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bridal Shower idea (this post is for bridesmaids)

I keep coming across this place setting by Amy Butler. It's anything but typical, and so of course- love it. While I can't say that I would register for it as my "good china", but its too special for "everyday", and I still want it.
I had a V8 moment (you know, that smack on the head from the commercials? I think those are so funny). This is a great place setting for small dinner parties, luncheons, or breakfasts! A set of 6-8 would be perfect.
So here's how the bridal shower part fits right in. Each bridesmaid contributes one setting, as her gift. Only, you don't wrap the gifts. Use them as the settings on the table for the shower you're hosting! Have your bride sit down at the table and let her unwrap one of the empty place setting boxes, with a note inside that explains what she's received. How lucky is your friend? So lucky.
By the way, did you know Amy Butler has free pdf designs you can download? How cool is that? Thank you Amy.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons