Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Head Over Heels

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this wedding. Everything about it was warm and cozy and inviting - you just wanted to kick off your shoes and curl up by the roaring fireplace (sorry no picture of that, but I assure you it was there and it was roaring!).

The bride had a distinct vision (as most do) of what her she wanted for her wedding. What is different is that most brides come in talking colors and flowers, she didn't. She didn't necesarily know what she wanted her wedding to look like. Her visions, if you will, were centered on the atmosphere and feeling of the event. She was able to so clearly explain the how she wanted her guests to react and feel that the wedding planner and floral designer were able to pull off an event that she never even imagined.





Details, details...
Location: La Venta Inn, Palos Verdes
Photography: Epic Imagery

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mythical Monday

I continue to try and convince myself Mondays can be just as happy as HAPPY MONDAY! Now, on to the latest in the series of Wedding Myths. Enjoy!

MYTH: A wedding professional who is featured on television or in a magazine article must be among the best of the best in the wedding industry.

TRUTH: Wedding professionals (and other people in general) end up on television and in magazines for many reasons. Is everyone in the pages of (popular) magazines there because they are doing good things or are the best actress/actor/musician, etc.? Maybe? Maybe not? Hmmm.....

Now, before the vendors go and get all huffy on me, many of the professionals are featured because their work is superior or they have a special niche in the market. However, a blanket statement cannot be made that all are of superior caliber or quality or reputation.

As for TV, most television shows are searching for a particular look, personality, and someone who can perform on camera (yes, there are casting calls for these shows), regardless of their skill or standing in the business. Many of the features you see in print incorporate the publication's advertisers. Some magazines have been known to say, "If you become and advertiser we would be happy to feature you in the story about "so and so's" wedding." And, some choose who they feature based solely on merit or creativity.

So, am I boo-hooing these wedding professionals..."NO!" What I am saying is that some vendors get better press because they seek it out, some because it comes to them, and some choose to quietly, creatively, and effectively do their jobs.

To a bride weddings are about love...but to wedding professionals, weddings are a business. Do your homework - don't let glitz and glamour blind your judgment. Meet with each vendor, ask for references and trust your intuition.

Happy Planning!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Story Sundays!

And to kick it off, since it is my anniversary, you get a glimpse into a little bit of my wedding mistakes...I mean, story...and probably the NUMBER ONE reason I became a wedding planner.

Bride Advisory: This is not a pretty story. It is a tale of mistakes and mishaps. It is a story of a girl who thought she knew what she was doing because she had been a bridesmaid so many times...Ha, Ha, Ha! There were, however no casualties...but we (and we means pretty much everyone at the wedding) almost locked the caterer in the closet.

For my wedding story, I am actually going to skip "the good" and head straight to "the bad and the ugly" in hopes of saving today's brides-and-grooms-to-be some headaches. I must say, however, there were  many "rights" about my wedding - the flowers, the amazing officiant, the venue, the fun we had planning, our wedding party!  So, don't view this as negative...I have no regrets. It is what it is - I made the decisions...I own and take responsibility for them! (Brides, are your hearing this?...You cannot change what is done, accept it and remember the good things!). In the end, I have been married for 12 years and wouldn't change a thing (sort of). it goes...
I was married 12 years ago, at a beautiful private home in the Hollywood Hills. I fell in love with it right away...after looking at probably 40 other places, including a thinly-disguised Mexican restaurant and a fake (I won't even give it the dignity of using "faux") New Orleans Mansion- UGH! I had an average budget and my fiance and I paid for most of the wedding ourselves. The location required I bring in a caterer, valet parking, and all of our own rentals - even trash cans - on top of the usual wedding stuff. We invited 170 people, and 150 attended....we were hoping less would actually come...NOTE: don't over invite! And now for the biggest mistakes...

Mistake #1: We came "this close" to hiring a wedding planner. She had planned weddings for 2 of my good friends and those weddings were fantastic. We opted to not use her because she was questioning us about how we thought our budget was going to stretch "that far." She suggested a lunch or hors d'oeuvres. "Ha! No way!" we said  "We must have dinner."She was right...we settled for a so-so caterer so that we could have a dinner. The food was actually good, but the staff...can you say "crappy" really loud! See above note about locking the catering manager in the closet. If we would have followed her suggestions, the wedding would have been just as beautiful, even if it wasn't dinner.

Mistake #2: I hired a "celebrity" photographer - whatever that means! If I was a celebrity I may have gotten what I as expecting, but alas I am not, so not much good to say about he will remain nameless. I was sucked in and thought he was cool (WRONG!). If someone is name-dropping, don't fall for means nothing except that he is name-dropping. I seriously was a stupid bride. I have tons of "so-so" photos (the ones here are the pick of the litter) and no album (12 years later!)...part of that it my fault.

Mistake #3: As mentioned in Mistake #1, we did not have a wedding planner. For the most part, I think all brides should use a wedding planner for at least for "day of" management. This is even more important for any bride getting married at an offsite venue There are some caterers and location managers at these types of sites who will really assist you, but you cannot count on it unless it is part of the rental/service agreement...and even then they are not your personal wedding planner! There is so much to manage, so many logistics, really, just stuff you would never think about (did anyone bring toilet paper and soap for the restrooms?).

Mistake #4: Did I mention the crappy caterer yet?

Mistake #5: The cake...oh the leaning not-what-I-ordered was only missing all the gold painting  (this was the 90's!) and decor I paid extra for....I was so done, I never asked for my money back. My husband convinced me to call it a day and forget about it...sounds like I did, eh?

That's it for mistakes, but you know you are in for it when there is a serious heat wave, and two days before the wedding you have a 103 degree fever and are bed-ridden. I did manage to get out of bed to visit the crappy caterer and call the venue to ask a question...and when I called the venue, I got an answering service, and they told me the house had burned down and no one would be in until Monday! I just about died! This is the only instance when the caterer was actually helpful...after about 2 hours (of sheer panic) we discovered it was another property managed by the same people and my venue was still standing...whew! By the way, wedding insurance was a relatively "new thing" in 1997, but we did purchase it.

So, in a nutshell, that is my wedding story. This did prove to me that I have the best friends ever - they did their best to "hide" the small stuff from me, carry out my complicated plans, keep the caterer out of my face, and to help me find my DayQuill. I {heart} them!

As for my anniversary...I have a great husband, and that is what it is all about. Even if he did not bring me silk, pearls, or colored gems to celebrate.

If you have a story you would like to share, leave a comment and let's chat about you sharing your story on an upcoming Sunday. Enjoy!

Happy Planning!

UPDATE: I want (would LOVE to have) positive stories too...this is not just about horror stories or mistakes...I am happy to include beautiful photos and stories, as well as sound advice for "What was the best thing you did during your wedding planning to make your day a success?" Or show us your favorite stylish detail. Also, Nor do the stories have to be this long. I just know brides love to get a peek (however big or small) at other brides weddings!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Simple Solutions

It's Friday - Rehearsal Day for many couples. It is a crazy exciting day that is packed with emotions. If you are reading this and you are not yet married, let me tell you, you cannot even imagine the little (and sometimes big) "tiffs" I have seen between bride and groom on rehearsal day.

Why? As a bride (or groom), you have been working and planning to make this day perfect, and as the day approaches you are surrounded by family and friends, attending bridesmaids lunches and rehearsals, attending to all those last minute details...and probably have not seen a whole lot of your fiance...remember him, the man this is all for?

When I was a (crazy) bride, my Matron of Honor gave me the best advice ever - dvice I passed on to the many brides I worked with over the years - spend some time with your man! You can make time for the manicurist...make time for the man! Even if all you can swing is driving with your fiance - and only your fiance - to the rehearsal dinner, do it!

Happy Planning!

Flower Girl Follies

Flower girls are cute, but as a wedding planner, they are the wild card. No matter what their age, they are little girls - I have kids, I know! I have seen brides completely stressed over the flower girl (and ring bearer too) situation. Really, is that what you need to worry about on your wedding day...Will she walk the aisle? Will she throw a fit before walking the aisle? Will she make it the entirety of the aisle? Will she find the mud puddle before the ceremony? Forget the expectations that she is going to "evenly distribute flower petals while she walks the aisle" (really, seriously?) - most of the girls want to keep the petals for themselves - or that she will stand up with the bridesmaids without fidgeting for the 45 minute ceremony. Am I saying don't have a flower girl, NO! Select a flower girl that is old enough to understand what is happening and what she is supposed to do, and most importantly, just be realistic! Enjoy the potential comic relief and slight imperfections in your plan that may come with the inclusion of little people in the wedding.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

True or False...The Moms Must "Match"?

Yesterday DIY Decor asked me question in response to a post. It was such a good question that I thought it deserved it's own here it is....

Q: I would like you to confirm or deny this: Does the mother of bride/groom need to wear the "wedding color" and length. Also, can you wear black to a wedding? 
A: Good questions! The mothers of the bride/groom do not need to wear the "wedding color." They should wear a complimentary color however - something that shows how fabulous and special they are on the wedding day but does not make them look like a bridesmaid or look like they are trying to "steal the show." For example, wearing a lipstick red gown, when the wedding colors are neutral tones would be a BAD choice. Also, the mothers need not wear the same colors or match each other...again it is about being complimentary to each other and the wedding colors/style.

As for guest, wearing black to a wedding is totally fine, acceptable, and happens all the time, especially if it is rockin' on you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mythical Mondays

Before we go any further...YES, I know it is Tuesday. Now on to continue on with the Myths of Wedding Plan, here is Myth #2.

MYTH: The cost of the gift (received from the invited guest) should be equivalent to what the per-person cost of the meal is.

TRUTH: No. No. No. An invitation to a wedding is not a trade out. A guest is not expected to first of all even know what you are spending per-person, much less be forced to spend that amount on a gift. The bride or groom does not get to dictate the price range of their wedding gifts (even if they tried to do so with their registry!).

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Story Sundays

Every bride loves to share her wedding story, so I officially declare it to be "Story Sundays."

I have been thinking a lot lately about getting married vs. throwing a wedding (that is a much longer subject and a post to come). Every time I think about this I recall a couple I worked with, who were so happy just to be getting married. In fact everyone involved in this wedding was just one obsessed about anything. Everyone was focused on making the bride and groom happy. Really, that is truly miraculous...someone is always got a "bee in their bonnet" about something. Whenever I tell their story, I just cannot help to think that even if their wedding reception would have had to been moved to the parking lot it would have been OK..their priorities were in the right place.

I would love to hear your stories...If you are a wedding professional, a bride to be, or a happily married woman, please share your story. Post a comment and I'd be happy to feature your story and a photo (if you wish).

And watch Sunday is my 12 year anniversary....I have lots of stories and I may even post a photo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wedding Myths

No one ever said planning a wedding was easy. Over the last few years, "big" weddings have become hugely popular for brides and big business for wedding vendors. During this time, a slew of "urban legends for wedding planning" have sprung up. Many brides get caught up in these myths as they seem simple enough and, on the surface, sometimes even logical. Don't be fooled. Dispelling the unfortunately too common fallacies of wedding planning will help you avoid disappointment and disaster.

MYTH #1: Friends and others can do the job of real wedding professionals.

TRUTH: The name says it all; they are wedding professionals, not carnival experts, or meeting planners or portrait photographers at chain stores. Hiring real professionals takes your wedding to that next level, and their experience provides skill, competence, and sophistication. For example, a photographer who shoots products or even posed family portraits may be skilled and talented but shooting weddings is a whole different ball game. Wedding photographers know how to get the shots they want, get them quickly, round up family, and keep the party flowing. Wedding professionals understand the flow of events and important timing elements on a wedding day. They are familiar with the emotions that go into the day and usually have a special knack for dealing with the bride, groom, wedding party, families, and even guests.

Are you married? Have you helped someone plan a wedding? Have you discovered any myths?

More myths to's part of a series! Oh, and trust me there is a lot more to say, and I will say it!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fuschia & Lime & Yellow...Spice It Up

These are a few photos of a hip wedding we created awhile back. Simple and inexpensive details using unexpected elements were the key to this Modern Moroccan inspired soiree. DIY's to come!

Hip Brides

What defines a hip bride? What is a hip wedding...and how can you have one?

#1 – Any wedding can be hip. This is a BIG country. What’s hip to a bride in CA may not be in style for bride in NY or appropriate for the bride in MO.

#2 - A hip bride has three essential beliefs: allocate money wisely, implement ideas effectively, and let personal style be your guide.

#3 -  You can have a hip wedding by not getting caught up in what you think a wedding has to be and instead letting is be what you want it to be. There are very few “rules”  that you need to follow (and most of those involve etiquette).

More later....and some totally cool photos coming your way!


Once upon a time I was selected to be in a reality television show. At the time I thought the premise was fantastic and totally up my alley - plan a totally cool wedding...on a budget...and quickly. However, somewhere between "A and Z" I learned the realities of reality TV (drama-tears-conflict sell, happy is not necessarily part of the script). I ended up not doing the show (whew!). 

So, why, oh why do I rehash this experience you ask? Because it was the catalyst for an idea that has been growing and evolving ever since - It is possible, to have a hip, stylish, and totally cool wedding no matter what your budget. I firmly believe this and will always believe this is possible with smart spending, smart planning, and savvy ideas.

So, this blog is about possibilities and making dreams come true. It is about brides taking control and making their weddings every bit as cool as those six-figure soirees in the glossy magazines. It is about each bride embracing her visions and hopes for her wedding and finding a way to make them work for her.
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