Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Vows

I love the wedding vows. I love the traditional vows and I love the personalized vows. There is something so beautiful about two people speaking these powerful promises to each other. On the topic of vows, enjoy this clip from The Other Sister where Carla and Daniel get married. I love their emotion, their fear, and their happiness. It is SUCH a good movie and such a touching scene. Unfortunately, I could not find a clip where the marching band comes over the hill playing "76 Trombones" as Daniel's "gift to his bride".

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Destination: Los Angeles Textile District

Before I started my business (and I had time), I used to sew. Selfishly, my husband will tell you, as I only sewed cute dresses for myself and stuff for our home. (I learned my lesson when I made him a jacket when we were dating and he lost it soon after! Ha! Never again, buddy! Never again...)

Anyway, since I unpacked the last box last week from our move at the beginning of June, I am now ready to tackle the windows. I put boring neutral curtains up in our bedroom a few weeks ago, but the 10 ft window in our living room and the 5 ft window in our dining room cannot be dressed with something boring. I was NOT about to pay retail for the Dupioni silk I wanted, so it was off to the textile district in LA last Saturday.

Armed with my window measurements, cash, walking shoes, and a water bottle (never, ever buy water from a street vendor down there. Trust me on that one) I parked in the parking garage for the Flower Mart (another blog will soon be devoted to the heaven that is the Los Angeles Flower Mart) and hit the pavement. I steer clear from the 2 big Michael Levine stores. Yeah, they do have everything in the world like they claim, but you can buy it for a third of the price 1/2 a block away.

It did not take me long to find what I was looking for: rich, shimmery, cream colored Dupioni silk. I asked the shop owner how much it was per yard? $8.00 he told me. I told him I'm buying 18 yards and I don't want to spend more than $5 per yard. He said ok. Score! If I had purchased this fabric at Joann's or any other retail shop, I would have paid $12-$16 per yard. I love downtown!

The downtown district of Los Angeles is one of the great things about LA. You can find anything you need for a wholesale price. Diamonds, Jewelry, Clothing, Accessories, Toys, Flowers, Rugs, Shoes, Crafts, you name it! Around Maple & 9th streets there are stores that carry Wedding and Quincineara items such as veils, tiaras, jewelry, ring pillows, etc. Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TLC Casting a Wedding makeover show and looking for people

If any of my clients or Southern California brides in general are interested in the following email I got today, drop me a line at amber @ and I'll pass along your info to the casting director:


I am the head of casting for 10 Years Younger, which airs on TLC. We are working on a primetime wedding special in LA and are looking for wedding-related stories for the show.

Basically we are thinking of brides, bridesmaids, moms, or other "members of the wedding" who might look older than their age to get a pre-wedding makeover on the show.

Please let me know if you have anyone in mind who might like to participate.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Need to smile?

This video makes my laugh and cry every time I watch it. It is too beautiful. And it is TRUE! Because I'm fairly cynical about things I see on the internet, I check everything against, but the background story about this video is almost too better than the video. Turn the sound on for the full effect and break out the hankies!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A classy themed wedding

I love theme weddings. When theme weddings are done RIGHT, that is. Unfortunately, many of them have a bad rap for being tacky, cheesy, and or just plain weird. Not this next wedding I want to share. This is gorgeous!

Below is a gorgeous example of a wedding based on the 'roaring 20's' book "The Great Gatsby". This wedding was coordinated by one of my associates Fran Aycock of Forrách Event Planning. The guests were invited to dress up 20's style and they really took it to heart--some of the guests even took Charleston lessons to learn how to dance! I love every aspect of this wedding--the venue, the classic car, the banquet style seating, the colors, the feathers, and especially that black & white dance floor.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Venue Coordinator vs. Independent Wedding Coordinator

Recently a potential bride with whom I felt that I clicked with emailed me to say basically: "thanks for your follow up, but we booked Venue X and they provide a wedding coordinator and so I don't need you". And now I am going to preach about the difference between what a venue coordinator does and what I do.

A venue coordinator works for that venue. That is where their loyalties lie. Their job is to get you sign a contract with them, up-sell you on a package, give you a list of preferred vendors (of which they may or may not be getting commissions/kickbacks/etc from), answer your questions about the venue, assist with you with your room layout and tasting, and make sure that your wedding does not break any of the venue rules. They may or may not help get your wedding/reception started and your personal items set up. They'll be in their office during the reception and the banquet captain will come get them if there are any BIG problems. Depending on how large the venue is, they may have 4 weddings they are juggling that weekend. They may not even be the person you have been talking to all of these months. It is a hard job with very high turnover.

Don't get me wrong, a venue coordinator's job is very important, but they are not a wedding coordinator. Neither is a DJ or a photographer.

As an independent wedding coordinator, my loyalty is to you, my client. Not your parents, not your photographer, videographer, DJ, florist or venue (whether I referred them to you or not). My job is to assess what level of service you need and to go above and beyond that. Do you only need 'month of' coordination? Great! I will have you fill out a questionnaire that will help me understand your vision, fears, and expectations. We will have a 3 hour details meeting in which I will ask you 3 pages of questions (many of the answers I get are "wow, I had not even thought of that!") and I will then create a detailed map of your wedding day that I will implement with a smile. I will run your rehearsal and let your bridal party know that if they have any questions I can answer them all. My staff will set up all of your personal items (guest book, favors, etc) and I will get you down the aisle on time (assuming you are on time, of course!). I will confirm with ALL of your vendors and will act as the point person for you, banquet captain, photographer, DJ/band leader, and videographer during the reception. At no time during the evening will the room be left without one of my staff keeping and eye on everything. I will speak to you about delicate family issues and know to keep an eye out for an unhappy mother or your Uncle George make his way to the microphone for a 20 minute off-color speech! My staff will pack up all of your gifts and personal items, have a family member or bridesmaid check them and sign off, and then load them into family cars.

I will give you advice and my opinions on your options. I will encourage you to throw the rules out the window and make this wedding reflective of you and your fiancé. I will be there emotionally when you get so flustered you don't know what color of fingernail polish to wear (yes, I have had this issue come up!) and when you are so overwhelmed in the last month that you want this all behind you. I will be there to adjust your veil and remind you to carry your bouquet low when you are waiting to walk down the aisle and I will be there to hug you goodnight after your wedding has ended.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Matteo's Italian Restaurant and an ABC Workshop

Last night was the ABCGLA's (Association of Bridal Consultants Greater Los Angeles Chapter) workshop on Wedding Photography at Matteo's Italian Restaurant in Westwood. We lucked out with Matteo's--what a great venue! I am on the steering committee for our educational workshops and let me tell you, it is not always easy finding venues to host us. It's because our budget is pretty small. Budget brides, don't think we know what you go through!

I love being introduced to new venues and I am definitely looking forward to working with Matteo's in the future. The private Townhouse upstairs is the PERFECT space for a rehearsal dinner, baby/bridal shower, etc. There is even a pretty little rooftop patio. For a retro/rockabilly/funky/glam/vintage/alternative couple, Matteo's would be a fab venue to have your wedding AND reception for up to 150 people. Ceremony upstairs in the Grecian style townhouse, cocktail & dinner in the funky leopard print & red restaurant, downstairs, and dancing back up in the Townhouse. It wouldn't break the bank, either. The buyout for the restaurant is soooo reasonable for LA and especially West LA. The Hollywood history is great too--Frank Sinatra was a co-owner back in the rat pack days.

Upstairs Townhouse
Downstairs Restaurant
Our workshop consisted of 6 photographers that spoke to us about wedding photography. It was informative and fun. We look at it as: the more we know, the better we can help our clients. We were able to ask all sorts of questions such as:

Q. Why is photography so expensive?
A. Supply & demand, Time (on average, 60 hrs is put into each wedding), Equipment, and Advertising


Q. How much time do you need for pictures if they are all before the wedding?
A. 2, preferably 3 hours

Our incredible expert panelists were:

James Johnson of James Johnson Photography
Jenny Stafford of Red Loft Studios
Robert Evans of Robert Evans Studios
Donald Norris of Donald Norris Photography
Kari Kochar of Kari Kochar Photography
Nicole Caldwell of Nicole Caldwell Photography

A huge thank you to Matteo's for so graciously hosting us and to our panelists for giving your time and knowledge. What a great evening!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Saturday I crashed a wedding. Well......Kind of. I had permission, so it wasn't as scandalous as I just made it sound. I was doing my homework. I have a very large and intricate wedding this fall at the coolest venue in Los Angeles, Vibiana, and so Saturday I went and viewed a wedding that had a similar number of guests and room turn over that I will have. 'Room turn over' meaning the ceremony and reception are to be held in the same place with the switch happening during the cocktail hour. It's definitely challenging, but done all of the time.

My contact at Vibiana had let me know about this wedding and told me it would be a good one to watch. It really was. It was great to go be a fly on the wall at someone else's wedding! Along with observing all of the usual vendor set up stuff, I had the time to watch the guests and see how they were behaving. If guests are comfortable, they will happily stay where they "should" and enjoy the party. If there is anything make them uncomfortable (long bar lines, too hot/too cold, not enough food, not enough places to sit, etc.) they will get restless, antsy, and start disrupting the flow of whatever is going on which in turn throws off the flow of the event. Trust me, you want to keep your guests happy!

When you have chosen your venue, talk to your on site coordinator and ask permission to come discreetly peek at a wedding. You will be surprised at how many things will be brought to your attention that you would never have thought about! How is the parking situation? The signs directing you where to go? The traffic flow of how people are being directed? The lighting? The acoustics? The staff? Just make sure to dress appropriately, have permission, and stay in the shadows. You'll learn a lot doing this homework!

Below are some pictures I took while observing from up in the mezzanine. The 34 uplights on the columns were gorgeous, as were the patterns projected on the altar and ceiling.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My letter published in Victoria Magazine

Almost a year ago I posted a letter I wrote to my favorite magazine that is now back in print. I had had a subscription to Victoria since I was 13 years old. Eccentric, I know, but I also wore dresses until I was 8 that were inspired by Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Aaaanyway, Victoria published my letter this month in their "Reader to Reader" section, but what was really cool was getting a phone call from the Editor in Chief a few weeks ago--along with her getting permission to publish my letter, she told me she loved my website!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Unique Escort Cards

I did a wedding once where the bride and groom abandoned the idea of assigned seating in order to create a more casual atmosphere for their chic and simple wedding held at private beach club in Malibu. I thought it was a cool idea to let people sit where they wanted. Boy, I was wrong. Instead of enjoying the gorgeous ocean view out on the deck during cocktail hour, people spent the entire hour searching out, switching, and staking their claim on their seats. As it turns out, people do like to be told what to do sometimes. It is comforting as a guest to have your seat chosen for you. Unless, of course, you are assigned to the dreaded "Singles Table".

Your escort card table or display can be a great decor for your reception. I love fun and creative ways to direct guests to their seats. I have been researching unique escort cards and I came across this video. I feel bad that I can't remember where I found it, but it has some fantastic ideas.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day Of Coordination?

Sigh. If I had a dollar for every time a potential bride tells me "My wedding is going to be very easy. I just want someone to make sure that things flow smoothly" I'd be rich. It's not that they're truly naive, it's just that they don't KNOW that in order to ensure their day runs smoothly, I put 40-60 hours of work into just my Wedding Supervision package alone (my closest package to "Day Of" coordination). I am sure that other coordinators have it streamlined down to fewer hours than 40+, but I know what I need to give in order to ensure I am doing the best job for my client. The term "Day Of" coordination is such a misleading term. I don't know about you but I can't fit 40 hours into one day. I wish I could! This is what my "Day Of" world looks like...

This floorplan was crucial to make as the venue did not have a floorplan! Click pictures for larger versions

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More pictures of Sheila & Rondeep

Here are the pictures from the Saturday Sikh wedding & Reception. To view more, go to I can't get enough. Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pictures from the wedding of Sheila & Rondeep

Below are some pictures of the wedding I did with Mary Sushinski of Occasions. I love pretty pictures! To make things better, not only are Nate & Jen of B & G Photography incredible photographers, they are way cool people . I love working with them. These are only a few shots from their blog. These are the pictures from Friday's Hindu wedding & reception. I can't wait to see the pictures from Saturday's Sikh wedding reception. Sheila's red sari was to die for!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Destination: Chinatown

Thankfully, I had no weddings this holiday weekend. Rockstar Husband and I are trying to spend as much quality time together as he will be either in the studio or on the road for about the next month or so, so this morning we woke up after a very fun Fourth of July party and decided we wanted to have An Adventure. To make it a game, we decided our Adventure would consist of $30 and the LA Metro. We were in a Chinatown type of mood as we are starting to plan our 20 day trip to China next year.

$10.00 Day Pass purchased. Go Metro!

Handsome Husband

On the Red Line

$6.00 spent on a tea press for The Husband's Yerba Mate tea habit. I think it tastes like dirt. But I'm thrilled he'll no longer be leaving tea grounds in our coffee cups!

$3.00 for a cup of Sugar Cane Juice. Very interesting. Not bad, but interesting

Pretty Baby

Not purchased, just played with
Coming from, I kid you not, "The Chicken Capital of the World" of Springdale, Arkansas, we feel kind of at home when we see massive poultry statues. It almost makes us want to salute...or something.

The sign says "Live poultry upon request". You really can get anything in LA!

$11.00 for a split lunch at Pho 97 Vietnamese restaurant. Very good.

We had a blast on our cheap Adventure, and would have stuck to the $30.00 budget we set for ourselves had it not been for these babies:

Not the instruments of torture that they look, these reflexology sandals are awesome. They even have the sections of the body that the pressure point is stimulating. A wedding coordinators best friend! For $10.00, we each bought a pair. Happy feet!