Thursday, January 28, 2010

Amber Events featured expert on "Survive Wedding Season"

Today, an article I wrote about affordable wedding gifts, is featured on the website "Survive Wedding Season" . Enjoy!

Expert Survival Tip: Wedding Gifts That Won’t Break The Bank

Ah, wedding season! The invitations start rolling in, each more beautiful than the one before! You RSVP yes, mark your calendar, and then ask the Maid of Honor where the happy couple is registered. Nordstrom? Of course; the place where the cheapest pair of socks is like $12.99.
If the question foremost on your mind this season is how you are going to afford to give nice gifts, then this article is for you. Each gift listed below is under $30.00.

Bridal Shower Gift Ideas

Vintage Handkerchief

Every Bride should have a cloth hankie to use when she walks down the aisle. For $6-12 at an antique store you can find clean, gorgeous, white handkerchiefs with handmade tatting or lace trim. Many times they are monogrammed and you can find one with her initial or the initial of her new last name. Take it a bit further and embroider her wedding date on one corner in either white or pale blue thread. Even if you can’t sew, just Google “embroidery stitch” for step-by-step instructions.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Jeff & Erin's EPIC Save The Date

Back in November I blogged about receiving the postcard from my clients Jeff and Erin that led me to the MOST. AWESOME. SAVE-THE-DATE. EVER. and I feel like I have to re-post this again as they're getting mega-super-duper-famous this week from it. Like, half a million YouTube plays in a day huge.
They're such a fun couple and we're having a great time planning their most fabulous wedding day! Enjoy, again!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Redondo Beach Historic Library Wedding: Alexis & Steve

Alexis and Steve were such an awesome, on the ball couple! Seriously, at our details meeting they gave me a copy of their finished program. And we were still 4+ weeks out. Awesome, I tell you.

Steve and Alexis hired me to tie all of the loose ends together (my Wedding Supervision package) as they were having a formal wedding at St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach, with their wedding reception at the gorgeous, ocean view, Redondo Beach Historic Library.

December 19 dawned bright blue and crisp with big fluffy clouds in the skies due to rain earlier in the week. Because the reception started at 4:00 PM but access to the Library was not until 2:00 PM, I wasn't even able to make it to the Library until the ceremony at the church was already in full swing. My fantastic associate coordinator Krista took the helm at the Library for set up. Sacha, one of  my interns, took on the role of bridal attendant with the 7 bridesmaids at the hotel that morning and kept all of the ladies on schedule took care of anything they needed such as bra straps pinned or Tylenol fetched. Seriously, I don't know how people do this job without staff.

The ceremony was a full Mass and because the church was decorated for Christmas already, Alexis and Steve wanted the elegance of the church and the mass to speak for itself. There were personal touches such as the crocheted ring bearer pillow made by Alexis's mom and the program that had a special note from Alexis and Steve and a section talking about the family members who were no longer with them but were there in spirit.

Redondo Beach Library Wedding Ceremony

The reception venue alone was extremely beautiful and unique, but that is where Alexis and Steve really let their personalities shine. The library is no longer an operating library, but the walls are still lined with shelves. They framed meaningful quotes, poems, and pictures and we displayed them on the shelves amidst the candles.

Alexis and Steve are huge wine aficionados and had made several trips up to Napa and Sonoma Valley during their engagement to collect two special bottles for each reception table. They named each table after that vineyard and had a note on the table telling why they loved the wine and a little bit about that trip to purchase it. (sidenote: they also brought me a fabulous bottle from Amber Ridge vineyard!
The red, burnt orange, and gold Roses, Tulips, and Calla Lilies in the centerpieces looked gorgeous against the Christmas trees decorated with just twinkle lights. Elegant yet Southern Californian Christmasy.
 Redondo Beach Library Wedding
They took my advice and opted to do a short dance set immediately after the Grand Entrance and the First Dance, although they were a bit concerned that their guests might not know what to think about dancing before dinner. What the guests thought was to rush the dance floor and almost shake the building down as they tore it up! I love it when receptions start off on a high note like that.

Dinner was delicious and the guests enjoyed the bottles of wine at their table specifically chosen for them.

It was a perfect wedding….until Steve got tangled up on the dance floor with his six year old niece and flowergirl and tried to prevent her from falling. In trying to prevent her from getting hurt he completely dislocated his kneecap as he went down. As awful as it is to say, thankfully Steve had had this happen to him four times in the past and instead of having to be rushed to the hospital to have it snapped back into place himself (sidenote: after talking to Steve since the wedding, we're still not sure what happened. He might have torn a ligament). I can’t even imagine the pain. Steve and Alexis went outside to get some air and put on the knee brace that my coordinator Krista raced to purchase for him. Steve, while dealing with the pain and the disappointment of this happening at his wedding, was more concerned that his guests and his new wife keep dancing and enjoying themselves. Of course, Alexis wouldn’t move from his side until he felt ready to come back in.

When they cut the cake, Steve gave the MOST incredible speech to Alexis and his guests. He said that while they were outside together Alexis told him that they had promised each other that day “for better or for worse”. Steve said that while he was not expecting the “for worse” to come so quickly, he realized that the most important thing was that he was married to the most beautiful woman in the world and he couldn’t understand how he got so lucky.

These two are so in love and they handled this incident so gracefully together. The way I see it, because of the way they came through this, they had a perfect wedding. Something is perfect only if you see it as perfect.

The day could not have come together without the following vendors:

Sundance Photography
Flowers by Laurel
Spectrum Catering
Buckley Videography
Kings Hawaiian Bakery
Mariah Nicole Hair & Makeup Artistry
DJ Lance Bork

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Amber Events wins Bride's Choice Award!

Los Angeles, CA – January 19, 2010 - WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced Amber Events has been selected to receive the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™ for Wedding Coordination.

The annual Bride’s Choice Awards™ recognizes and celebrates excellence in quality and service within the wedding industry, as determined by recent reviews and extensive surveys from over 500,000 newlyweds.

Amber Events is among the top five percent of all vendors in the WeddingWire community, which includes over 100,000 wedding professionals across the US and Canada. Awards were given to winners across 19 different service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers.

“We are excited to recognize and honor the success of the top wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community” said Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “The annual Bride’s Choice Awards™ program has given us the unique opportunity to highlight the best wedding professionals in each region as reviewed by brides and grooms who have utilized their services in the past year.”

We are happy to announce that Amber Events is among the very best Wedding Coordinators within the WeddingWire Network, which includes WeddingWire and Martha Stewart Weddings. We would like to thank our past newlyweds for nominating us for the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™.

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding vendors. WeddingWire enables engaged couples to search, compare and book over 100,000 reviewed wedding vendors nationwide, from wedding photographers to wedding cakes. WeddingWire also offers an online community and a suite of cutting-edge planning tools, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding vendors, WeddingWire provides free online management tools creating the only market opportunity that gives businesses control over their clients, reviews, leads and performance. In addition, WeddingWire has partnered with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) to provide its network of local vendors and online wedding-planning tools in the Weddings section of For additional information, please visit

*Disclosure: Amber Events does not pay for being listed on Wedding Wire.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Random Wine Blog

Tonight's blog is brought to you by an earthy, heavy, ripe 2007 Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon. This bottle was not given to me by any of my clients, unlike my previous two random wine blogs, but was purchased last night from Vons as I was buying groceries to satiate the chili I was craving. It was raining and chili was my recipe for satisfaction. And Miller Lite. It was good chili last night, but even better today. Tomorrow, it will take over the world. My secret? Jalapenos and Apple Cider Vinegar.

On to the Randomness!

  • "Chronicles of Nathan"  update: my brother who is living in a 20' sailboat with his dog Mattie is still alive and now in the Gulf of Mexico. While docking for a few weeks in New Iberia, LA, he was featured in a newspaper article and (in my mind) is now getting famous.
  • If you are in the least bit interested in gorgeous costumes, period dramas, the British Monarchy, Emily Blunt, or romantic love stories, do yourself a favor and go see "The Young Victoria". Krista and I both looooved it.
  • The other night my husband and I were sitting on the couch watching TV when he leaned forward to pick something up from the coffee table as I was lifting my glass of wine. His elbow came back and perfectly hit my glass making wine splash across my entire face from my glasses to my shirt. I sat in stunned silence as he lept of the couch and ran to the next room. To get me a towel? No. To get his iPhone to take a picture of dark red wine dripping off of every part of me. I think my yelling "STINGING! MY! EYES! GET! TOWEL! NOW!" registered with him after a moment and a picture was not taken. I kind of regret not having a photo of that. He was on the right path until I screamed at him.
  • You know those chain letters you got when you were a kid from the orphans in Russia who started that letter in 1986 and it hadn't been broken in 5 years and all you had to do was write 5 letters to the people on the list? Yeah. I broke that. Like 8 times. I also break the chain letter for recipes, flip flops, post cards, and panties. You might not want to send chain letters to me if you want any of these items.
  • Jewish temples in LA have security guards who check your name off of a list before they let you in. I figured my friends back home in Arkansas would be intruiged by that fact.
  • Watch "The Millionaire Matchmaker" on Bravo on February 2nd. You might see a familiar looking redhead.
  • My new branding (website, logo, headshots, blog) are looking awesome and I can't wait to share!
  • I love framing things in shadow boxes. I'm currently framing my Grandmother's First Communion Prayer Book next to a picture of her when she was six. It's so precious. Does this make me old?
  • My cat Milton has decided it's against the law to sleep in anymore. Even the one day a month I can actually do it. Not. Cool.

Amber Events in the Los Angeles Times

Yesterday myself and two of my former clients were in an article in the Sunday edition of the LA Times. It was a fun process and I love the article. You can read it HERE. Enjoy!

LA Times Article

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Huron Substation Wedding: Ben and Beth

Before I dive in, I'm so excited that this wedding is featured on the fabulous Blog 100 Layer Cake today! 

Ben and Beth contacted me a few months ago regarding their November 7 Huron Substation Wedding and hired me to help design and plan their unique wedding. The historic Huron Substation was built in 1906 to house equipment that converted high-voltage electricity supplied by the Edison company to the L.A. Railway "Yellow Cars" that provided urban transportation for years.

Today, the Huron Substation is a private residence owned by Meike Kopp and rented out for filming, special events, and a limited number of weddings per year. Ben and Beth were lucky to be in that limited number for 2009!

Ben, a British Astronomer, and Beth, a Psychiatrist did not want the big white poufy wedding, but more of a stylish urban wedding that reflected them. Instead of a long white dress, Beth wore a killer couture Lanvin cocktail dress, and in homage to Ben's homeland, British chef Alex Webber of Alex Catering created an authentic menu of Scotch Eggs, Welsh Rarebit, Shepherd's Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Poached Salmon with Hollondaise, etc. Yum!

When the wedding invitations went out,  Beth and Ben requested that guests send them their favorite recipe, whether it be for food, drink, or life, and a cookbook was created and given to the guests as favors. I even snagged my own copy of the cookbook and tried out the pizza dough recipe the other day. What a great memory for everyone that attended the wedding!

For decor, Beth trusted my opinion that none other than the insanely talented Holly Vesecky of Holly Flora design the flowers for the wedding. Beth gave me the freedom to play around a bit, and so I created paper table runners for the wooden tables using some ribbon and Martha Stewart's awesome paper punches. I love those things. I instructed Beth to go crazy purchasing candles and pointed her in the direction of Luna Bazaar. She took my advice and the place glowed with candle light. I love candle light against raw brick walls. So pretty! My favorite part of the decor were the hanging oil lantern globes from the balcony. They twinkled like stars and I told Ben that was a tribute to him because he builds the huge telescopes that see to the end of the universe.

As guests arrived they were greeted with Pimm's Cups for a pre-ceremony cocktail. The ceremony was set up in the round, took place in the courtyard, and was officiated by Peri, a good friend of Ben and Beth.  One of their friend's Gary played the guitar and sang for the processional, and Beth's brother Kirk sang and played for the recessional. It was intimate and touching.
Huron Substation Wedding
The 80 adult guests loved the casual and relaxed vibe of the evening, and the 10 or so kids that attended had a game room upstairs complete with nannies and toys. Dinner was a delicious hit and DJ Patrick Belton from Dubgypsy Entertainment kicked off the party. A white leather couch upstairs was set up as a photobooth area and the guests had a great time playing with the basket of props.

The wedding cakes were a mixture of family recipes and even a traditional English Bride's cake that Beth made herself. The cake calls for fruit steeped in Rum and Beth started steeping the fruit not too long after Ben proposed to her.
Huron Substation wedding night
The evening was laid back, stylish, meaningful, and fun. Everything could not have happened without the support of the following vendors:

Design and Coordination - Amber Events
Floral & Decor - Holly Flora
Photography - Carolyn Troadec for Troadec Photography
Site Management - J Loop Haro of Tact Event Management   (and A Trouser Tale fame!)
Catering - Alex Catering 
Bar Service - CFR Mixology
Music - Dubgypsy Entertainment
Makeup - Kellie Jo Grandy

Beth had quite an adventure from Los Angeles to Paris to put her ensemble together, so I asked her to share:

"Well, here's the story of what I wore. There is no particular reason I wore dark blue. I just knew I'd rather have a lovely dress that made me feel special -- and I could not imagine feeling that way in a big white dress. I found the Lanvin at Kirna Zabete  a boutique I absolutely adore. Our Paris trip in August allowed me to find several other things. I hunted ceaselessly for shoes. The dress was difficult -- it needed some slightly chunky shoes but I had to soften it, make the look romantic, for the wedding. After days of hunting, the YSL shoes finally appeared and they were the perfect mix of edgy and substantial while being strappy and sexy and alluring. I was also looking a wrap of some sort -- since it would be November -- but having little luck. It occurred to me that I could probably get one made from a piece of fabric. When I went to the YSL store on Place St Sulpice in Paris for the shoes, I asked if there was a fabric store nearby. Yes indeed: around the corner was apparently the textile store for many of the designers on St Sulpice and after much hunting in the basement (speaking Spanish, because the shop owner didn't speak any English) we found the sequins. I didn't know what I'd do with it until I went to Camille de Pedrini in Pasadena. She has an amazing collection of dresses, bridal gowns, jewelry and other accessories. (Camille de Pedrini is next to my very favorite shop in LA, Rue de Mimo). Camille basically styled the outfit: we put the dress and the shoes on and tried various necklaces and bracelets (she has a lot of vintage jewelry) and then fell in love with the pink fabric/rhinestone necklace. That settled it. We styled the wrap and she sent me to a tailor she knows in Glendale who constructed it. It was wonderful to leave on all night -- so perfect -- and caught the light, etc. So Camille not only provided the accessories but helped me pull it together with that great asymmetric necklace that complemented the dress just perfectly."

At this risk of this being the longest blog post ever, you can also read Beth's newlywed perspective HERE.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How to Sew Cloth Napkins

Due to requests, I'm posting step by step directions on how to make the below cloth napkins. They look very professional when finished as the corners are beveled in.
Los Angeles Wedidng Planner
These napkins started off as 16" x 16" squares cut. I was able to get 4 napkins per yard of material. If I had to do over, I think I would do 18" x 18" as you lose a full 2" while hemming and they felt a bit smaller to me than I had hoped.

Fun fact about the below material used for napkins: it came from a yardsale following one of the many cycles of America's Next Top Model. Some of my friends used to work on the show and they gave me the heads up that a lot of stuff used for set decor was being sold. This was a twin duvet cover from Ikea that I got for probably $1.

1. Pre-wash your cotton and either line dry or iron the cotton when it is wet. Cut out either 16" x 16" or 18" x 18" squares. It's faster to use a rotary cutter with a mat underneath as opposed to scissors. A carpenter's L shaped metal ruler is perfect as they are exactly 16" and your napkins will be perfectly square.

2. With patterned side of fabric face down, fold each corner 1/2" up, iron, then fold it up 1/2" and iron again.

Napkins 1
3. Once all corners are folded in and ironed twice. Fold the edges of the napkin up approximately 1/2" to meet the edge of the corner. I say approximately because you don't want to do a full 1/2" because it then messes with the final bevel.

4. Once all edges are folded in and ironed once, it is time to finally bevel the corners in to make that perfect "V". I recommend folding two corners, pinning them, THEN ironing the edge up in between as the fabric will help fold itself in once the corners are pinned.
Napkins 2
5. When it is time to sew the napkins, make sure that your needle is aligned as close to the edge of the hem without sliding off of the hem. When you arrive at the corners, you will need to slow down and hand turn the wheel to position the needle directly at the "V". Sink the needle into the fabric, pick up the foot, and pivot your napkin to turn the corner. Keeping the needle in creates a perfect continuation of the hem.
Napkins 3
6. Repeat as many times as you can handle and enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wine Tasting Randomness

Tonight's blog is brought to you by a heady, oaky, spicy and rich 2006 Montoya Cabernet Sauvignon that, I kid you not, was given to me by last night's bride during her wedding reception. Laura, being awesome as per usual, went up to the bar, grabbed a bottle of wine and gave it to me saying "I want you to drink this whole thing when you get home tonight!". I fell in love with her a little bit more at that moment. Last week's Random Blog was also spawned by a bottle of wine from clients. I think something is happening here and I am A-OK with it.
Last night I did not drink the whole bottle, just a healthy glass as I soaked my feet in ice water at 1:00 AM and had my weekly date with Joel McHale while catching up on tivo with The Soup on E! . 

On to the randomness:

  • I spent Christmas-New Year's day back home in NW Arkansas with my family and my husband's family. It snowed on Christmas day so I got to enjoy going back to Little House on the Prairie and help my dad haul firewood to heat their 110 yr old farmhouse. It's hilarious to me that it's a novelty to me now--it was anything BUT when I was younger.  I loved spending time with my family and friends and am so thankful that they are only a 3 hour flight away!
  • My husband is still in AR since I flew back early for Laura & Darren's wedding on Saturday. Today after I packed up all Christmas decorations, I got an impulse today to get rid of a ton of stuff that we don't use/need to give to Goodwill. I even went through his closet and got rid of stuff he doesn't wear. My guilt got the better of me when I tried to throw out this hat that he bought in Thailand. I. HATE. IT. but I couldn't get rid of it because I knew I wouldn't be able to lie to his face when he inevitably asks me "have you seen my Thailand hat?". Damn.
  • While home in Arkansas, I tried on my wedding dress (that my mom and I made together) to see if it still fits me 8.5 years later? It does, but instead of feeling awesome about that, I feel a bit lame that I'm That Girl who's still all about her wedding dress. But... it does still fit.....
  • I've been fascinated with the Myers/Briggs/Jung's personality types and asking all of my twitter/facebook friends to tell me what they are because it helps me understand them so much better. My personality type is ESFJ, which stands for Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. My title is "The Supporter" and in English that means "ESFJs are social butterflies that value relationships, supporting and nurturing others. Never one to shy away from social events, they are often the host. They are great encouragers of teamwork. ESFJs are responsible, dutiful, observe traditions and follow rules. ESFJs have a deep concern for others and often end up as caretakers. They are sensitive to criticism and have a need to be appreciated for the good they do for others. ESFJs are understanding, generous, have a quick wit and a knack for composition and beautification." Find out your type HERE      
  • At yesterday's wedding some Firemen stopped early in the day and came inside Smog Shoppe because they've driven past it tons of times and wanted to see inside. I gave them a tour and then offered them donuts. They said to me: "what do you think we are, Cops?" and turned my offer of donuts down. Lame.
  • I'm so looking forward to blogging yesterday's wedding when the pictures are edited. Pictures were taken by none other than the fabulous Suthi Picotte of Picotte Photography.
  • My brother that is living on the sail boat is thankfully still alive and decided that the Mississippi River is a bit too much for a 20' sailboat and decided to take smaller rivers down to Louisiana. He is alive and kicking in New Iberia, LA and plans to hit The Gulf soon. Pray for him.
  • My husband and I watched Baby Einstein on New Year's Eve. Granted, we were with some friends and his sister who have babies whom we loooove, but we watched Baby Einstein none the less. I think we're getting old. At least my uterus thinks so.
  • I think that massages are God's way of letting us know He loves us.
  • I bought some sassy red patent leather peep toe heels today.  :)
  • I drew a bath 30 minutes ago to make myself get off my computer. It's not really working as I keep checking my email/twitter/facebook. I have to go reheat the entire thing now.