Thursday, April 22, 2010

Appropriate Attire for weddings

Like most women, when I get an fancy schmancy invitation to a fabulous fete, my first thought is "what will I wear?" and like most ladies, a wedding invitation sends my mind down the path of sassy shimmery cocktail dresses and strappy saucy shoes.  However, many, many venues (the best ones, actually) in SoCal consist of mountaintop gardens with pebble pathways, grassy lawns, sand, or desert rocks.

At the outdoor weddings that I work, almost all of the women are dressed flawlessly and are tip toeing through the grass/pebbles/sand/rocky terrain with a pained look on their face.  Not only are they uncomfortable, they are ruining their shoes. And their champagne buzz as they try to not fall over or break their ankle on the (dimly lit) pathway. And when the sun goes down they're freezing in their strapless chiffon dress.

Brides: you need to let your guests know what to expect and how to dress for your wedding. I know you are going to wear you 5" heels come hell or high water, but most likely your guests want the option of that.  Tell them to wear sensible shoes, bring backups, or provide flip flops at the guest book table. Tell them to bring a wrap or provide heat lamps every 5 feet and an outdoor fireplace.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What to do when vendors don't get back to you

Got a question? Ask me HERE!

Q. What do you do when vendors take FOREVER to call back or reply to a email? Thx, you rock!

A. Ah, yes. Vendors who take forever to get back to me drive me up the wall too. HOWEVER, the term "forever" is relative to who you are and what your personality makeup is.

For instance, if you work in the corporate world, someone taking more than 1 hour to get back to you could be considered forever. The wedding world is very different. You are dealing with artists who (mostly) own their own companies. That means, along with doing their art (floral, photography, etc.) they are also wearing every hat that involves running a business: advertising, marketing, networking, branding, accounting, filing, following up on leads… get the idea. Wedding vendors work on the weekend and usually take time off during the week (if they’re lucky!). So the organized ones have certain days or time blocks that are dedicated to office work and emailing/calling clients back.

What I recommend is this:

-Compile your list of questions so you have ONE email with questions 1, 2, 3, etc. so you don’t bombard that vendor every day. Chances are, unless it is certain crucial weeks, your questions aren’t life or death urgent.

-ONLY flag the email as urgent if the question truly is and you need an answer ASAP. Don’t be known as the boy who cries wolf because you think every question is important. Clearly state in the email why your question needs to be answer by a certain time such as: “I need to get the wording of the menu by tomorrow as I have to put my invitation order in by Friday. Thank you for your time!”

-Know that your vendor is juggling as many as 50 other brides at the same time. And a personal life/family/pet rock.

-In the wedding world, if you don’t have an answer back within 3 or 4 days, it is totally appropriate to re-forward your email with a polite “hi! I’m just following up on the questions I sent you!”. That usually makes the vendor feel bad for not getting back to you

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Balloons, typewriters, mustaches, books, and props galore....

Is this ringing any bells for you? Trends on the wedding blogs race with lighting speed, it seems like. And it also seems to be stressing brides out when they want to come up with something "new" for their wedding. My buddy Beth Helmstetter, who is an amazing wedding designer and coordinator, just wrote this blog on the subject. I can't agree with her more. I wish I had written this blog!

It's not out of fashion if you Love it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I don't know if I would call myself a "sage wedding pro"...

...but I'm featured on the Sage Wedding Pros, a resource for wedding professionals, blog today! What an honor!

Insider to Insider: Amber Gustafson, Owner of Amber Events

Amber is the owner of Amber Events in Los Angeles.  She is witty and charming… and, she keeps me laughing on Twitter.  Her blog is rich with stylish finds (she’s a flea market / vintage store aficionado), fabulous adventures (read about her recent trip to Paris)  and naturally, the lovely weddings that she designs (like Rachel & Brad’s recent wedding).   I love her bio:
“Amber considers herself a romantic soul, a realistic businesswoman, a free spirit, an organized individual, an opinionated gal, a good people person, and a funny lady. You can be the judge on the funny part.”
Classy, funky, fun, spirited… all rolled into one Amber.  Here she shares her smarts with us on the business of weddings…

Read my interview HERE.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Move over, Butterfly Kisses

Cause there's a new tear jerking Father/Daughter song about to come on the scene.

I predict that "Walk With You" on Edwin McCain's most recent album is going to be a 2010 wedding hit.  Edwin, will you write a Mother/Son songs for us now? Thanks!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ask Amber Answers

This week we have some good questions. Got any? Ask HERE!

Q. I'm getting married at a venue that already has a ceremony coordinator included in my wedding package. Do you do reception coordinator packages only?

A. Hi there! Thank you so much for your question!

Unfortunately, no I do not offer reception only packages. In the years that I have been doing weddings, I've created the packages to provide what brides need and in my opinion, wedding coordination is SO much more than setting up escort cards or directing the flow of an evening! Part of what we offer at Amber Events is emotional support, counseling, and guidance through this overwhelming time. You’re more than just a date on our calendar. In order to do this, the lowest package (Wedding Supervision) starts six weeks out and it encompasses the entire day. Trust me when I say that there is a LOT of information for us to obtain to make your day go smoothly.

Also, I don’t take on weddings that could be a potential liability in the fact that if something goes wrong it damages my reputation. When I’m only involved in a portion of the day, the chances of something going wrong increases exponentially. Basically, all I have is the reputation I have carefully built, and it’s in the best interest for my company to provide a smooth wedding day for you. And I think that is a win/win situation!
3 days ago  

Q. I am about eight weeks from the wedding and my dress is bit tight. Can recommend how I can loose my stress weight? I would like loose 10 pounds if possible.

A. Oh goodness! While I'm not a nutritionist, I recommend cutting out alcohol, processed foods, and getting into a Boot Camp stat! The cardio every day will make the pounds melt off...if....

IF. If you're getting enough sleep. Now while I'm not a nutritionist, I do feel that I know about sleep, and I believe in it. If you're not getting at least 8 hours, your body is holding onto the food you are consuming and keeping it as fuel since it is not getting recharged at night. I know that with the wedding only 8 week away you're probably not sleeping much. You NEED to change this.

I recommend keeping a notepad on your nightstand so when you wake up at night with a wedding thought, you can jot it down, then go back to sleep. The mere fact that you have this notepad makes your brain view it as a pacifier and you don't wake up as often.

Look at it this way: the more sleep you get, the better you look. Your skin looks more glowy, your eyes look bright, and your body doesn't hold onto weight/water weight. Make sleep a huge priority.

Best of luck, and no matter what, you will be gorgeous on your wedding day because that gorgeous man you love is committing to you forever!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sanity Tip: 86 the camera

I posted this blog in 2009, but wanted to bump it back to the top because all of my clients are having their flower prototype meetings in the next few months, and when they start second guessing their meetings, I want this to be fresh in their minds ;)

Sanity Tip: 86 The Camera

I see this happen ALL of the time: bride goes into the 12th bridal salon and finally finds THE DRESS! Mom cries when she sees her daughter in it, angels start singing, and the sales person really means it when she says "you look beautiful, dear!". Then the bride asks for mom to take a picture on her camera (or camera phone). Bride floats home on a cloud of bliss thankful that the dress shopping is O-V-E-R and THE DRESS is prettier than she imagined! And then....

Bride looks at the picture on her camera (or camera phone) and doubts begin. She starts questioning.... 'I thought I looked prettier/thinner/tanner than I look in this picture?' and doubts start seeping in to her happiness about THE DRESS. She shows her friends who were not in the bridal salon to see her in her full glory in person and she hears "Oh. Wow. It's...............pretty."

It's not you OR the dress, sister! It's the crappy $200 camera! It's the florescent lights! It's the shoe boxes littered around your feet! It's the reflection of other shoppers in the mirror! It's the fact that you don't have great makeup/hair because you've been trying on dresses all day! Stop doubting yourself and remember that feeling you felt when you stepped out of the dressing room and saw yourself in the mirror and your mom cried.

This exact same story happens with the floral prototype meeting. The bride walks in and starts gushing over the flowers claiming how perfect they are.....and then snaps a picture on her camera. Days later the doubts start seeping in because the flowers don't look like they look in magazines. Of course they don't now, but they will on your wedding day when they're being photographed with $20,000 equipment, perfect lighting, in a perfectly clean room, and then edited to have the color boosted by 50%.

Sanity Tip: put down your camera and trust that first feeling you had (and the professionals you hire)!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random wine blog: Tattoos, Moving, Etsy, Maps, and WWII

Tonight's random Wine Champagne blog is brought to you by a lovely bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne and I'm dedicating it to my gorgeous and kind bride Liz, who got married last weekend at the Art Deco Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Being the awesome person that she is, she gave me this Champagne and a cool doo dad that "corks" it to keep it from going flat as she had read in my blog how much I love Champagne but how I don't drink it as often as I'd like because my husband and I have to "commit" to the bottle or it goes flat. Thank you, Liz! You are incredibly fabulous!

On to the randomness!

  • My trip to Paris was amazing, and I'm happy to say that so was my husband's trip to Thailand and Laos. He came back tranquil, tanned, and tattooed. Oh yes, you read that right. Tattoo # 1 was my request: our wedding date in Roman Numerals on his ring finger as his job(s) as a drummer and carpenter prevent him from wearing a wedding ring. Score! He finally looks married! 9 years later! Tattoo # 2 is a saying in Laotian under his heart that is supposed to say "all you need is love" but in actuality it says somethinge like "love, peace, and brotherhood". Apparantly, there is no literal translation from The Beatles into Laotian. Whatevs. 
  • Along with wedding season looming ahead of me (have had weddings here and there, but I'm considering May 8 our official kick off), my husband and I are moving into a house in Studio City on May 1. Crazy timing, yes, but this place is so worth it: white picket fence, 2 fireplaces, hardwood floors, crown moulding, lovely trees, huuuuge backyard. Can't. Wait.
  • After living in LA for almost 9 years, I just today went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market. I was looking for items for my new office (theme: pink, white, and precious!) but instead bought some cool old maps and globes for our mantle. I love maps. Especially old, politically incorrect ones
  • I also rediscovered an old flame of mine: Craiglist. Craig has been coming in very handy lately with items needed for the new new Amber Events International Headquarters. Craig, I'm so sorry I took you for granted in the past. Thanks for the $40 paint sprayer, but I still really need an antique shabby chic-ish loveseat, mmmkay? Oh, and boxes. More boxes. Thanks.
  • Aside from my boyfriend Craig, big love also has to be given to and Etsy for the fantastic finds this week. I am refraining from going to Etsy tonight as I have a strict "don't drink and Etsy rule". Etsy is easy like Amazon where your credit card & address are already on file, but unlike Amazon, everything on Etsy is sooo precious it almost hurts. Kind of like Anthropologie, but about 1/1,000 of the price. 
  • I'd write more, but it looks like there is an episode of The Pacific on HBO that my husband and I have to watch. I'm not too in love with WWII movies, but he's put up with enough of my rom-coms lately that I have to indulge him. And we have Champagne to drink.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Rachel & Brad's Wedding

    Anyone who has ever worked a wedding with me knows that on the wedding day I turn superstitious as all get out. If anyone says "wow, this is a really smooth wedding" I tell them to shut their mouth or they'll jinx the day! But Rachel and Brad's wedding was perfect. Smooth, flawless, and perfect. And they were the nicest couple in the world and their family and friends were equally wonderful. It was a great day.

    Rachel and Brad live in Washington, D.C. where Brad is an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department and Rachel works for a Jewish youth center. Their faith and heritage is extremely important to them and they chose the Stephen S. Wise Temple in the Sepulveda Pass for their ceremony and reception.
    Rachel's mom, Nancy, lives here in LA and with the help of email, conference calls, and a three day planning extravaganza we planned the wedding.

    We wanted to bring a vibrant springtime feeling to the day, so we kept the flowers white, green, with hints of lavender and purple. Linens were pale shimmery periwinkle . Florist Jackie Combs designed the centerpieces of alternating Manzanita branches with candles hanging and multiple vases with Cherry Blossoms, Hyacinth, and Tulips.

    The traditional Jewish ceremony was beautiful with both fathers saying a blessing over Rachel and Brad under the Chuppah. Their Ketubah was truly a work of art: custom designed, hand painted, with custom cut out artwork. It was gorgeous!

    Rachel 1

    The reception kicked off with an upbeat and fun Hora and the evening was rocked by my favorite band, Entourage by DeBois Entertainment. That group really knows how to get the party started! For favors, not only did Rachel and Brad provide Diddy Reese cookies in pretty boxes on each guest's charger, they also had an ice cream cookie sandwich bar for later in the evening. That, along with the cake from Vanilla Bake Shop, was a hit!

    Rachel and Brad

    The entire day was classy, fun, and sophisticated--just like Rachel and Brad.

    The day could not have happened without the following:
    Mi Belle Photography - photography
    Casiano Catering - catering
    Design Visage - beauty
    De Bois Entertainment - band
    Jackie Combs Floral Design - floral & rentals
    Vanilla Bake Shop - wedding cake
    Alison Spieth - ceremony music
    Candy Stern Stationers - stationary
    Rabbi Stewart Vogel- officiant

    and my wonderful assistants Krista and Sacha

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Public Service Announcement

    This article made me laugh. Hopefully it will make you laugh to: When Good Weddings Go Bad

    Everything comes back to this movie

    This week I'm slammed with budget tasks (and tax spreadsheets) and don't have the energy to write a juicy blog.  I'll make up for it next week, mmmk?

    The only thing I have to share is this scene from "Father of the Bride". Everything about this movie is fabulous. I think every engaged couple needs to watch it at the beginning of their engagement AND at the end of their engagement. It rings so, so true...