Monday, March 31, 2008

What is your inspiration?

I survived this past weekend, booked 2 new clients, and am celebrating today by purchasing an iPhone. Oh yes, I am going to be one of those people. I figure I'll gain about 2 points on the cool-o-meter. (I just had to delete "Not that I really need it though." after that sentence. Hee!)

I really meant to bring my camera to the chic bridal show, A Soolip Wedding, yesterday at Vibiana in Los Angeles, but between conducting an informal walk-through with my bride who is getting married there in October, speed-schmoozing with industry friends/colleagues, and being dazzled by too many sparkly things (is there such a thing as too many sparklies?!), I didn't get a chance see the fashion show or have a glass of Champagne.

I did make time to sit and listen to one of the "conversations with experts" that featured Rene of LA floral and event design company R. Jack Balthazar. I have a crush on them. Their designs, florals, philosophies, and style. They are FABULOUS. Rene spoke about finding your inspiration for your wedding and thinking in terms of all of the senses (taste, touch, sound, sight, & smell) instead of just choosing 2 colors and solely focusing on that. He said to imagine yourself as a guest opening up the invitation to your wedding--would you be excited about it? Would it give you a glimmer of what to expect? Imagine yourself as a guest at your wedding sitting at one of the tables--what would you look at? Talk about? Touch or feel? Preach it, Rene!

I did a wedding last year with lit ostrich feather centerpieces that were over-the-top-awesome and since they were rentals shipped in from a Mardi Gras company in New Orleans, they also had to go back to Louisiana with all feathers included.
Knowing that the feathers would be tempting to the guests, I bought large colored plastic jewels and scattered them on the tables. They were playful, sparkly, and fun and they worked! I only had to be the feather police a few times.
Give your guests things to smell, touch, play with, and enjoy. It will add so much to the overall memory of your wedding.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A blog borrowed from Style me pretty

It's Thursday and I'm swamped. I have to do between tomorrow and Sunday: three meetings, a wedding, a bridal show to attend, and 2 walkthroughs to do, one of which is 40 miles away. Oh yeah, AND Sunday is my husband's 30th birthday--I am TOTALLY making it up to him next weekend though! I'm pooped just thinking about it. So today I am borrowing a blog from one of my favorite wedding blogs Style Me Pretty. I like the advice. Hope you do too. I appologize that I don't have the exact link to this entry, but I've had it saved for over a month now.

Do Your Research - A wedding is expensive no matter how you look at it. So, during a time when you are making major sure you really LOVE your vendors for their skill and personality. If you don't, find someone else. Looking back, my favorite vendors were the ones whose personalities meshed well with mine...the ones who really cared about what they do for a living and would go beyond what you expect of them.

Choose your Venue Carefully - Find a venue that has a lot of character on its own, without having to spend a fortune on flowers and other decor for the room. In our case, the owners were really relaxed and let us bring in our own alcohol which was a HUGE money saver. Plus, the space had a character and decor that completely matched my own I didn't have to put a ton of effort in transforming it.

Do-It-Yourself Projects are Key - We made our own table linens as opposed to renting them. We also brought in framed family portraits, some old, some new, to decorate the space. Since the wedding, we've used most of our projects in our home.....the linens were used for tablecloths for our dining table, a tree skirt for our Christmas tree, and soon to be reconfigured into curtains for our guest room.

Purchase The Decor Items Yourself - Most florists will happily rent additional decor elements for you. But, it's expensive. We bought Japanese lanterns for about $10 each, a handful of birch vases from small stump that our florist incorporated, even a great vintage cake stand that was used instead of a rental. Again, we will probably re-use all of these things in our home at one point or another.

Don't Be Afraid to Ditch Tradition - We skipped the favors for our guests and no one missed them a bit!

Opt For Heavy Hor' Dourves - This saved us money in many ways. For one, we didn't have to foot the bill for a huge dinner. We also only had to rent one set of medium sized plates and we only used forks. This cut down on our rental fees quite a bit. Plus, the bonus was that having easy-to-eat food got the guests up and on the dance floor fast!

Only Purchase One Cake - If we had ordered a grooms cake and a wedding cake, we would have ordered twice as much. Our cake lady let us know that people usually have a slice of each, rather than choosing one. So, you end up spending more than you really need to on extra cake.

One final tip from Katie....if you are doing the wedding planning and concept design on your own, give yourself permission to change your mind on things. If you find something great, or see an idea that you can't live without and it's nearly wedding time, go with your gut. If you've picked the right vendors, they will know exactly how to handle the change. I completely changed the maids' flowers, the cake colors and the cake design just a few weeks before our wedding. I was nervous that our vendors would freak out. But, they didn't at all. Our cake lady actually hugged me and told me that she was so happy I had found what I really wanted.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

As Addicting as Ebay: Etsy

I should be working on a timeline right now. Instead, I am shopping on Etsy and have narrowed the purses in my shopping cart from 6 down to only 2. I "need" a new purse. And by "need" I mean I'm bored with the one that I am carrying around. I haven't been able to find anything that I like since the world was taken over by all of those big metallic hobo bags 2 years ago. Thankfully, along comes Etsy to sate my desire for a new bag(s). Vintage, handcrafted, and one of a kind describes everything on this site. Ahhh, yes.

My 2 treasures:
(I could do without the lace in this picture, but I do love me some vintage patent leather!)

(this book, "Music Lover's Cyclopedia" is from 1912, ya'll! Too cool for school)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Musical Chairs is not fun anymore: Tips for your seating chart

Remember how fun playing musical chairs was as a child? The music, the anticipation running to find a seat as fast as possible, and that happy feeling when you got in your seat? You won! But oh! The feeling you had when you did NOT get a seat fast enough--Booo hoo!!
Musical chairs loses its charm with age as nobody wants to be left the odd man out. Is that why we assign seating at weddings? Maybe. Or to keep your crazy college roommate away from your uptight aunt.

I give the musical chairs analogy when meeting with my clients as we are talking about The Seating Chart. As hard as you've worked on your chart, unfortunately, sometimes guests don't sit where you assign them. It's awkward for everyone involved. For example: your guest and her husband pick up their card that tells them they are sitting at Table 10 and when they get to Table 10 ALL CHAIRS ARE FULL. Not cool. It's awkward for them as a guest. It's awkward for you as the host. And it's awkward for the people at the table when I come up to them and ask each one of them individually if they are assigned to that table. Busted!

It's not that your guests are rude, per se, it's that they either get caught up talking to someone else and they go sit down with them, or a "manners challenged" person brings an uninvited date. Or child. When will people learn?!

This is my solution: when you are creating your seating chart, assign a minimum of 2 empty seats at a table out on the perimeter of the room and mark on your seating chart "table X has 2 extra seats" so if this comes up, your wedding coordinator can just take the couple over to that table and all is well. Or we can ask the table crashers to go back to their original table or go to table X. If these empty spots are not needed, they can always be removed by the banquet staff when dinner starts. It is MUCH easier to take a place setting away than to create a place setting while your guests are awkwardly standing by.

We all win!

To close out the topic of table crashers, please enjoy...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Barbie Bride vs. The Ruby Slippers

I have a theory on a syndrome I created that I call "Barbie Bride". I describe it as slightly losing one's sense of personality during the engagement process as pretty much all of the choices tend to look the same. For instance: the majority of brides are probably NOT the tiara and ballgown kind of girl, yet when you are in a bridal salon full of tiaras and ballgowns, you start to forget that. And don't even get me started on my opinion on "Prom Hair" and bridesmaid dresses.

I personally AM an 'Anthropologie' shopping, vintage jewelry wearing, Victoria reading, tiara loving, ballgown sewing type of girl, yet I too found myself falling into the "Barbie Bride" mold when I was engaged. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I cannot get enough of the color RED, and specifically red shoes. I have had a passionate love affair with the Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz since I age 3, and have always worn red shoes, even when they did not match the football jersey I was wearing at age 7 or the flannel shirt I was wearing at age 13 (Nirvana, anyone?!) . I did design my own wedding dress, and my incredible seamstress mother made it for me, yet when I showed my girlfriends my white satin ballet flats with matching lace from my wedding dress they yelled: "WHAT. ARE. YOU. THINKING????? THAT IS SO NOT YOU!!!" And they were right. So I wore red glittered shoes under my white wedding dress and the memory of that still tickles me. Thanks, Kellie and Liesl!

My super cool totally tattooed and pierced hair stylist Melanie got married last year and she had horrible time finding her dress: nothing fit HER personality. I wish so badly I had known about Stephanie James Couture back then. I’m so in love with these delicious dresses and faaaabulous veils. Next time I'm down by Huntington Beach I need to take a field trip to her salon. I am doing a wedding on the Queen Mary this fall, so maybe I need some more vintage inspiration...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

My husband and I just got back from a weekend trip to Las Vegas. We went because I wanted to see Cirque Du Soleil's show "LOVE" for my birthday. If you are a fan of the Beatles music, LOVE is a show you need to see someday. It was so breathtaking it made me cry. The acrobatics, the dancing, the costumes, and the special effects were icing on the cake to the Beatles groovy music. We both loved it.

We stayed at the new Planet Hollywood and while I was planning on just lounging in the spa, my patient husband taught me how to play Craps. As much as I HATE losing money, I do have to admit I had a good time. I guess I have to stop talking crap about gambling and gamblers! Maybe I just had beginner's luck?

While in Vegas, I also got to catch up with a fellow wedding coordinator friend, Tracey Kumer-Moore, Your Las Vegas Wedding Concierge. She and I are both members of an online forum Coordinators Corner and have only met in person once before at a conference last year. Because of her busy schedule, we only got about an hour to chat, but it was good to get caught up on Vegas wedding info! Tracey has created quite a niche for herself specializing in traditional, and formal weddings in a city known for its drive through ceremonies and 24 hour marriages. If you ever want to get married at one of the upscale venues at The Wynne, The Bellagio, or The Venetian, Tracey is your girl! She is fabulous and fun and loves her wild and crazy city.