Friday, July 31, 2009

Destination Wedding Rule #6

Save the Dates & Wedding Website

Send Save the Dates and Set up a wedding website. This should have probably been rule 1 or 2, but well, I didn't do it that way.

Save the dates have become the norm, but when planning an event that requires your guests to travel, it is imperative. Your save the date should at the very least include:
~Your names
~The date(s) of your event
~The city and state (and/or country for international affairs)
~Your wedding website address

What I also find helpful(and so will your guests):
A summary itinerary: If you're planning multiple events over several days- let everyone know!
Basic travel information: How will most guests arrive? Give info on airports, drive times, car services, etc.
Accommodation information (where you have rooms blocked at). Include Addresses, phone numbers, website, and a little info if its more than just a "hotel"

Here are a couple of our client favorites...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monique Lhuillier Fine Paper Collection

I am in love.

The UPS man came today and I was giddy with excitement as I saw him walking towards the studio with the big white box in his hand. "It's here, I know that's it!" To preface, I am nearly as addicted to fine paper as I am weddings. This book is one I have been waiting to receive for what seems ages. Monique Lhuillier has been a favorite of mine since I believe 2005 when Sarah wore one of her stunning gowns down the aisle at her Sanibel Island wedding (that was a gorgeous wedding). So naturally, when I found out that she had a line of wedding invitations, I jumped at the opportunity to carry the line for my clients.

Grab your tissues (if like me, you begin to druel at the sight of exquisite stationery).

Letterpress makes me happy

A touch of beach, right up my ally

Hello lovely thick soft paper, hello.

Perfect for 3 day affairs.

Could you just die? Love seals. Love love love them.

Remind you of something?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wedding Tidbits Presents:

The Pro Series

Over the next several weeks I'll be posting interviews with both local and national wedding professionals. To start the party off, I did my own interview (below). If you're a pro who'd like to be interviewed, send an email to our blog email: weddingtidbits{at}

Here's mine!:

Photo by Sam Brockinton at the Summer 09 We Wed Brunch Photo Booth.
What are your company and profession?
Weddings by Socialites, Wedding Planning & Design
I am also a confessed weddingaholic.
What’s your name and title?
Kelly McWilliams, owner and “The Planner”
Should I know anyone else from your company?
Yes, always by my side and equally addicted to weddings are Michelle, Jackie, Kandice, and Whitney.
Where do you do weddings?
From Sarasota down to Key West. Favorites are Boca Grande, Captiva Island, Sanibel Island, Bonita Springs, Naples, Islamorada and Key West
Weddings by Socialites
Blog Title:
Wedding Tidbits, Kelly McWilliams’ Blog
How long have you been in business?
Officially I think we’re at 7 years. Unofficially, a long time.
Why weddings?
For me, the wedding process and wedding days are amazing. I love seeing all the pieces come together slowly. I love the anticipation, the excitement and the emotion involved. I love how one day involves so many people from the professional’s standpoint and the incredible reactions from the wedding guests. Yep, I adore it.
What your clients most often commend you on?
Three things: How smooth the day went, and how much better it was than any wedding they’ve ever been to, and how much they appreciated all the honest advice I gave them along the way.
Best piece of advice for brides & grooms?
Let your professionals do their jobs. Tell them where you want to go (or not go) and let them tell you how to get there.
Also, do get products/services that will help you enjoy your wedding day more. Such as hire someone else do your hair and makeup. One less thing for you to do and stress about.
What is one thing that makes working with new clients easier?
The more specific and upfront they are with me, the easier it is to plan and develop for them.
When it comes to the creative side, it’s easiest for me to have some images to start with. Then let my imagination roll.
Can I find you on Twitter?
What is the oddest request you’ve ever received? Or
What is the craziest thing you saw happen at a wedding?

Odd request:
“Can you build a wall at the reception to keep my dad from seeing my mom?”

Crazy happening:
I don’t think most would believe the craziness I’ve seen. Nearly every wedding something completely insane happens with guests. Typically it’s inspired by a few too many drinks. But the top on my list:
I once had to drop an entire wedding cake into mulch.

Anything you'd like to share?:
As my special thanks for coming back each week to read all the Pro Series, I’m giving away a $25 itunes gift card to download some of your favorite songs to listen to while getting ready for your wedding day.
Just leave a comment with your twitter name or email address and you’re in the drawing. This is open to all readers, brides & pros alike.
What is something you hope to do in the near future?
A tradtional Indian wedding! I just love what I’ve learned about the culture, ceremonies, and d├ęcor and I very much hope that I’ll have the opportunity to plan one soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Exactly what do you mean by "Budget"?

Lately I've been hearing so much about budgets. So much confusion. Frustration is all you get out of confusion. So let's spell it out for everyone. By everyone, I mean Brides & Wedding Pros.
I'm going to use flowers as an example again (its just the easiest to explain).

Brides: Be specific and don't be nervous about giving an amount. Let's say you've determined that you have $3,500 to spend on all your wedding flowers. However, you would really feel more comfortable only spending about $2,500, because you really want a cigar roller. Tell the florists you meet with that this is the case,
"I have a maximum budget of $3,500, however I prefer to keep it under $2,500 if at all possible. Any suggestions you have to keep me under this price would be greatly appreciated. But if it's going to compromise the integrity of the designs you have in mind, by all means say so and we'll go from there."

Floral designers:
It is so helpful when you ask for a budget up front in the consultation, not at the end. That way you can only make suggestions along the way that are going to be possible. Also, if you're going to make suggestions that are available in a range, show/explain what the range is!
"A centerpiece like these photos you brought are going to be in the $75 to $200 range. $75 would get you roses in a shallow 5 inch vase like this, $200 gets you Cymbidium orchids in a celebration vase like this. To get it in the middle of your comfort zone, we could put the roses in a celebration vase."

Here are some other read worthy budget posts I've written.

I really like these blogs!

I spent all this morning reading new blogs. Well, new to me that is. I highly recommend you check them out. Some are simple and some are big guns. All, I like.
Wedding blogs have really become amazing over the years, and I know there are so many more I haven't come across. So, if you know of a few I should visit- please let me know via a comment. Just the blog address is fine, but I love chit chat too. So feel free to leave some of your thoughts as well. And yes, if you are a blogger, you should 100% tell me about your own blog!
Cool blogs & my thoughts...
100 layer cake: I want to do that (all of them).
A Practical Wedding: I love her writing.
Lucky me: I can't believe I haven't been reading this one.
With this ring: many pictures.
Masterpiece Weddings: Read her ER post from 7/10. Hilarious.
Little Black Book Blog: The little sister of Style Me Pretty. This is a little sister who gets attention!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Attention Wedding Professionals: Brides don't always know.

Yesterday I was out picking out my husbands birthday gift and I went to his favorite shop. Now here's the thing, I had every intention of buying a gift. Like a Reel or a Rod or something like that. And then, I walked into the store and saw this:

I twittered that after seeing this table of I have no idea what these all are, I quickly became confused, overwhelmed, and ready to run for the oh so not unique gift certificate. A moment later, Monica of The White Box twittered back, "Aghh! Just looking at that kind of stressed me out." This comment instantly made me think,
you know, this must be what its like when a newly engaged bride is trying to decipher the abyss of flowers,fillers & vases; playlists, instruments & protocols; linens, chairs & tables; cake styles, frostings & fillings...
Do you remember when you first realized you had no idea there was so much you didn't know?
So just a reminder to us all, to make conscious efforts to explain everything to our clients, or at least inquire into their knowledge so that they aren't feeling like a chick in a fishing tackle shop when her comfort zone is Homegoods (this would be me).
Here is a great example of a magazine that totally gets it. Bride & Bloom used to include these flower cards. I still use them to this day.

YES! You can follow Monica of The White Box, Bride & Bloom, and me on twitter. Good stuff over there...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Destination Wedding Rule #5

Feed well, and feed appropriately! When it comes to your events, especially the outdoors ones, choose your menus wisely. Lots of hot and fried foods after 8 hours in the sun, particularly when your guests aren't used to the heat, is not a good idea. So the key is to offer as many light and refreshing selections as possible.

Need to catch up on the rules so far?
Rule 1, Rule 2, Rule 3, Rule 4

Destination Wedding Rule #4

Put yourself in your guests shoes when considering their experience. If you're bringing them to a warm and/or humid destination from a cold location, do what you can to keep them comfortable. This means offering (welcome bags & hospitality baskets) and suggesting things that will keep them safe and feeling good:
Bottled water, sunscreen, skin moisturizer, off wipes, chapstick, ibuprofen packs, mints, flip flops, and most importantly a guest guide for the weekend.
The bag above is one of the best I've ever come across. It's large enough to carry items down to the beach and pool, but small enough to pack away in an overstuffed suitcase. And at under $6 each...A STEAL. And the cute bags below- I love these for bridesmaids gifts. Perhaps with a nice thank you note inside along with lip gloss, a mirror, and blotters (to fight the mid-reception shine).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Destination Wedding Rule #3

This rule is two-fold and applies to all weddings, not just destination. Study weddings before you choose a venue, hire your wedding vendors and purchase services and products. Reason being- you need to know what is that you want in order to know what to ask for. Just take a couple weeks to flip through magazines, read wedding blogs, and wedding books before you pick up the phone. I'll use wedding cake as a simple example. You have to know that there are frosted wedding cakes and fondant covered wedding cakes in order to narrow down which bakers to consider because so many bakers only do one or the other. This is a good thing by the way because that means they are focused on being really good at that art. This leads me to the next piece; select vendors who have a single focus. A photographer who offers video and DJ service? No. This is hands down the quickest way to get less than quality something. Here's what I can guarantee you. You don't want less than quality anything. Nor do you deserve it.
Read rule 1 here and rule 2 here.
Need some good blogs to research? Try Style Me Pretty, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Bon Bon Blog, Once Wed, the Bride's Guide, and Polka Dot Bride.

For books: read this and this, and especially this.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beach Wedding Cake Stand perfection

Quite possibly the most perfect beach wedding cake stand ever. I think it belongs in my exclusive collection, don't you?

Here's to another great wedding! Kelly McWilliams Sent from my iPhone

Destination Wedding Rule #2

Destination Wedding Rule #2: This one is more of a tip than a rule. Put great consideration into a mid-week wedding. Your wedding costs will be less because of mid- week packaging from your vendors. This means you can do more with your budget. Also, travel will be less expensive for your guests! It's very important though to send save the dates 9-12 months in advance so everyone can get a couple days off of work.

Destination Wedding Rules, #1

Destination Wedding Rule #1: Give your guests time to do as they wish. A couple planned events & gatherings are good, but make sure to leave at least 8 hours of "free to be" time. This will allow your friends and family to make your wedding celebration a truly unique experience.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lemon Yellow & Caribbean Blue Wedding Tablescape

I admit being completely against yellow for I don't know how long. In fact, when I got the opportunity to design this concept for Bride & Bloom magazine, I was 100% disappointed to hear "Lemon is your design theme".
Um, I changed my mind. I now LOVE yellow. I can't get enough of it. It makes me happy. Weddings are happy. So that makes sense.

What I will say though is that I think yellow should always be paired with another color that translates into a dim light situation well. Which is why when I met with Floral Designer Beth Traucht at Floral Artistry we decided to use some white flowers like these Cattleya Orchids to "pop" in the evening along with some crystal pieces to reflect candlelight.

For the invitation I chose a simple panel invitation and then embellished it with ribbon and the yellow liner. I was floored when Karen showed up with the cake below and it matched almost exactly to the invitation!

This is hands down one of the most amazing cakes I have ever seen. Karen of Kakes by Karen has completely outdone herself this time. Each one of those tiles on the cake is individually hand painted. The 4 tier cake took 5 hours to design and cut the tile pattern and then 10 hours to just to paint!

I want to thank Krista from Impressions Photography for taking so many phenomenal pictures that day and braving the heat with me at on the beach at Sunset Cove.
Wondering where we found this amazing location? It's South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island; one of my absolute favorite wedding locations.
You can see more images in the summer '09 issue of Bride & Bloom magazine, on newsstands now.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Remodeled! Check out the new Weddings by Socialites Planning Studio and Staff

The last month has been CRAZY! Between the amazing events we hosted (Wise Bride & We Wed Brunch) and the studio remodel, we're a tiny bit tired. But oh- it was so worth it! Stop in when you can, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek:
This is the front room. Basically a spot to chill out for a bit before entering the client consult room. It's also where Jackie naps after being hit on the head with falling ladders. Long story. Very excited to say that I am featured in all 3 of these magazines on newstands now (Brides Florida, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and Bride & Bloom).
The client consult room. As you can see, I have my mini library in here. It's easiest to have a nice big table to pull 40 or so books and magazines out for inspiration. And we're also so happy to have a staff meeting space that doesn't require someone sitting on the floor (happened all the time and it was usually me). I also have some of my tablescape collection back there (along with the necessary celebratory champagne). Oh, and that's the entire collection of Pacific Weddings magazine. I won it a few months ago on a blog contest, ha!
Lastly, the office. Where all the magic happens. Er, uh, wedding planning & designing that is. I am the messy desk. And that is my mess on the floor. Whitney will no doubt have a stroke when she sees the mess I made. That's Kandice being very excited about a picture of a car that we're renting for a client. If you had any idea what it took to get this photo, ugh. The magazines- I do actually read all wedding magazines before they make it into the mini library and yes, I am obviously really far behind.
Up next, all the girls of Weddings by Socialites...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pretty DIY tablescapes

I got together with Impressions Photography and AMC Video to produce this short video of some tablescapes several weeks ago. Here is my honest opinion when it comes to DIY. It is not easy and it is very time consuming, and isn't always less expensive. However, if you are having a very small wedding, perhaps just a table or 2, it can be worth your while and really fun. For these tablescapes I picked up all the candlesticks, cylinders, and vases from Homegoods. The roses are from Sams club, which you can order online.

If you aren't going the DIY route, looking at DIY projects you've found online at places like Wedding Bee, Style MePretty, and Snippet and Ink can be great to bring to your florist, wedding planner/designer, and stationer for inspiration!
Oh my gosh, I nearly forgot the amazing cake! Kakes by Karen let us borrow this modern creation from her studio bakery. I have to admit, I had a very difficult time trying to pick just one cake. She's so talented. And NO, I do not recommend DIY wedding cakes- ever!

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons