Friday, September 24, 2010

Rentals or "tables cost HOW much???"

A few weeks ago when I wrote the (awesome!) 3 part series on venues in LA, in Part II on off-site venues I promised I'd devote an entire blog to the beast that is rentals. This blog even bores me, but I made a promise, so here's some reading if you  have insomnia.

If you have rented an off-site venue to hold your wedding, you more than likely have to bring everything you need for an event in: tables, chairs, linens, napkins, flatware, glassware, etc. Some bare bones venues don't even have a kitchen and so the catering company has to build one on site. Most catering companies don't just own this equipment, so stoves, grills, hotboxes, pans, and trays also have to be rented. Many sites also don't have lighting, power or restrooms, so all of that also has to be rented.  Then you have pretty stuff like lounge furniture and decor that can be brought in. 

What you need in terms of rentals is going to be determined by your venue and your chosen caterer. There are quite a few rental companies in this area, and of course, the higher end companies such as Classic Party Rentals and Town and Country are not only going to have the biggest selection but also the highest prices. Lower end companies such as Pico Party Rentals or Burbank Party Rental will have a much more limited selection, but more affordable prices. Usually, my clients tastes in chairs and furniture determine the rental company we go with. Even with the affordable rental companies, for a wedding of 100 people, I rarely, rarely see a rental bill under $3,000. See, you don't have the capability to wash glasses at off-site weddings, so you have to order plenty of glassware for a bar for 4+ hours. That's a lot of wine glasses.

Not only do the actual items you are renting (ex: 100 spoons at $.47 each) add up, but so does the the labor, set up, tax, and same day pickup. And when your rental guys come to pick up, they do not pack up the items--they expect to have all plates scraped and placed back in trashbag lined crates, all silverware sorted, all glassware back in the crates, all linens bagged, and so on. This is something that the catering staff is responsible for. If a couple goes with a low end caterer or a restaurant that is not prepared for this, the couple is either going to get a massive labor bill or that couple's family will be scraping plates.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Wine Blog; baby showers, new cars, song obsessions, suitcase basses, Ikea kittens, and Bond.

Tonight's wine blog is brought to you by one of my sturdy standards: Penfold's Koonunga Hill, a 2008 Shiraz from South Australia. It's one of those wines that's like a favorite sweater--you're comfy in it and you know you don't look totally horrible in it. I'll be lazy and copy its description from the bottle: "Opulent red berries, spice and violet characters are beautifully captured in this Shiraz. Oak adds subtle cedar and vanilla nuances, while fine tannins round out the palate"  Spicy, oaky, cedar and vanilla? Yup. But violets? Someone was drinking a biiiiit too much when they wrote that description.

On to the random!
  • This Saturday I'm attending the baby shower for some of my 2008 of my clients. I'm thrilled to be a able to attend and also thrilled that I get to buy baby girl stuff for baby Z. 
  • Remember in my last wine blog when I was car shopping? I ended up with a red 2010 Toyota Rav4 that I luuuuuv. I also got it randomly through a car broker and for anyone shopping for a car, do it through a broker. No, do it specifically through Vladamir. It was so painless and easy and not only did he do the negotiating for me, he delivered it to me and we signed the papers in my driveway. Shout out to Vlad!
  • I tend to get obsessed with songs and play them over and over and over again. Last month it was the Double Rainbow song, a few months ago it was ELO's "Mister Blue Sky". Tonight it's Florence and the Machine's "You've Got the Love". The video is kind of Diamonds-are-a Girl's-Best-Friend-from Moulin-Rouge precious, but her Lady Gaga leotard (gagatard?) is a bit too trashy for this song, in my opinion. Love her voice though. And her hair. 
  • Today was the first day of fall. And that means the countdown to Halloween.  Which in turns starts the countdown to Thanksgiving, which then leads me to my favorite time of year: Christmas! I'm happy the entire month of December because my house is sooooo sparkly. As I'm waiting for all of that Christmas stuff though, my husband and some friends of ours are working on what is hopefully going to be a fabulous Halloween Party. Surprisingly enough, entertaining on a personal level stresses me out a bit. I'd rather work or party, not both. But I'm taking one for the team this Halloween season. 
  • I have to brag on my little brother a bit. His bluegrass-rockabilly-punk-folk-whatever-you-want-to-call-it band, Cletus Got Shot, is currently touring Belgium and Holland. Turns out there is quite a contingency that loves Americana folk music over there. Anyway, Mark, my brother, can't transport his current bass that he had made out of a car gas tank, so he makes THIS. Apparently, it sounds pretty good too.

  • Speaking of bands, my husband's band, Just Off Turner is going back in the studio this weekend to record a new 6 song EP before their European tour at the beginning of the year. And my drummer husband almost cut the tip of his finger off with a razor knife on Monday morning. I was a good wife and held his (other) hand as he got stitches. I don't know how his Frankenfinger is going to fare in the recording studio this weekend. We'll see.
  • My husband is going to be touring western Europe from January to ? and I'm planning on going to India in February. I'm crossing my fingers and praying that he is done with his tour in time to join me. With the way wedding season in LA runs, February is pretty much the only time I can do this. I'm terrified that I'll get sick or hurt and he won't be there to hold my hand or my hair. I guess that job will just have to fall to a band wife who'll be traveling India with me. Lucky her.
  • I love cats. I love Ikea. And I love people who come up with crazy ass ideas and then carry them out. If THIS is not the most random thing you've ever seen, I don't know what is. (and side note: how cute is Tim? Meow.)

  • I lied. I do have a more random video than the one above. These are some of my buddies, and instead of BBQ'ing and hanging with us over Labor Day weekend, they locked themselves in Jackson, Matthew, and Manny's apartment and had a 55 hour Bond-a-Thon. James Bond. And they made a time lapse video of it. Randomest, yes?

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Post Wedding Survey: Kelly & Brandon

    I love it when my clients take the time to fill out my post wedding survey. It's always so interesting to read what were their favorite parts of the day. Enjoy!

    Q. What was the best part of your wedding day?
    A. The best part of our wedding day was immediately following the ceremony when Amber and her team whisked us away into a hotel room, so we could enjoy champagne, appetizers, and a few moments alone.  We came off the high of the wedding ceremony, and it was wonderful to be able to have some time to reflect on what just happened!  It was the only opportunity we had during the day to be by ourselves, and in these moments, we laughed, cried, and excitedly talked about the huge step we had just taken.  I cherish those first few moments we spent as a married couple!
    Q. What do you feel was totally unnecessary?
    A. It was completely unnecessary that I worried so excessively in the months leading up to the wedding about the endless things that could go wrong.  On the day of, we dealt with the small hiccups that occurred, and none of them diminished our joy or excitement in the slightest.  I’m sure Amber’s team experienced more prominent mishaps, but we and our guests were totally clueless!

    Q. What would you change, if anything?
    A. I maybe would have gotten married later in the day!  The heat in the valley on our wedding day was blistering.  As happy as my fiancĂ© was during the ceremony, he and the rest of his groomsmen had sweat rolling down their faces, and I’m sure they were very uncomfortable.  I wish now I would have checked out the venue at that time of day beforehand, so I would have been more prepared for the heat!

    Q. What was unexpected that you loved?
    A. It was totally unexpected how incredible our flowers from Peony and Plum were.  My vision was far surpassed by our brilliant and talented floral designer, and it took my breath away. Also unexpected was how well our guests got along.  Even though they were from all different backgrounds and walks of life, our whole day was like one big love fest.  Numerous friendships were forged between our guests, and the vibe formed from the camaraderie and excitement was insane!

    Q. What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
    A. Our fondest memories are of our ultra-packed dance floor, full of everyone we loved, from eight years old to eighty, dancing the night away to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.  People we never expected to boogie were dancing, making new friends, singing, and laughing.  Most of our guests danced for two hours straight!

    Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?
    A. Honestly, nothing!  We (and Kelly’s parents) splurged on everything we wanted, from our awesome wedding coordinator down to the smallest details.  We have no regrets!

    Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
    A. I think we could have saved a lot of time and effort if we would have trusted our instincts from the beginning.  We spent a lot of time debating our different options, even though we ended up choosing our first choices anyways.  Future brides- listen to the little voice inside your head and trust yourself!

    Q. Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?
    A. It was a surprise how leisurely the day (before the ceremony) was.  Amber padded the timeline well, so my bridesmaids and I had time to hang out, gossip, eat, and enjoy a glass of champagne before the photographers and videographer arrived.  Knowing that I had plenty of time made me extremely calm and relaxed throughout the day.

    Q. What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
    A. “Getting married” is about a lot more than just the wedding day.  The years, months, or weeks leading up to the wedding is an incredibly special time if you let yourself enjoy it.  Indulge in the excitement and appreciate every moment!  It goes by quickly no matter how much time you have!

    Q. How did you feel after the wedding?
    A. Excited, blessed, happy, relaxed, and overjoyed that there were no major hiccups on the big day!

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Westlake Village Inn Wedding: Kelly and Brandon

    Kelly contacted me almost exactly six months before her wedding to Brandon. She had been a blog reader of mine for some time, so it didn't take us very long to get to know each other. Almost every meeting was a family affair as we had in attendance her mom Patty and the most involved dad I've ever had, Dave. Sometimes her sister Kristin even joined our party! Wonderful, gracious, kind, and classy people, that bunch. We had a great time planning together.

    Kelly & Brandon chose the Tuscan Gardens at the Westlake Village Inn for their ceremony and the Provence Room for their reception. The feeling we were going for with the wedding design was a light and airy French/European garden--feminine and soft without being too precious for the guys to not be able to appreciate. Kelly's Melissa Sweet dress was feminine, soft, and precious, and was perfect, perfect, perfect for her petite frame.

    The ceremony was officiated by one of my favorite officiants, Rev. Clint Hufft, and Strings by Reiko played "The Ludlows" from Legends of the Fall for the bridal party processional, "Moon River" for Kelly's walk down the aisle with her father, and "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve for their recessional. To honor Brandon's mom who had passed away, Brandon carried a white rose down the aisle and placed it on a chair reserved for her. During their ceremony they put letters that they wrote to each other and a bottle of wine in a box with the intentions that if their marriage is ever going through a hard time, they will drink that wine and read the letters that they wrote to each other before they got married.

    The Provence Room sparkled with the light from the chandeliers overhead, the custom lighting, and the light from the fleur-d-lis votive candles that reflected off of the cut crystal centerpiece stands. Floral genius Susan Tom-Wellis from Peony and Plum did a gorgeous job on the lavender and purple centerpieces. Instead of table numbers, each table was named after a romantic black and white movies (An Affair to Remember, Casablanca, It Happened One Night, etc) a photo of the lovebirds in that movie was displayed in a silver frame. French Macaroons were set at each place setting as a favor.  DJ Lee Dyson from Hey Mister DJ had the crowd on their feet for almost two hours straight, and the exquisite red velvet cake from Vanilla Bake Shop was beyond a hit! 

    Adi Benner from Next Exit Photography captured the beauty and joy of the day so well!

    Stay tuned tomorrow to read Kelly's post wedding survey answers!

    The team who made the magic:

    Event Design & Coordination:  Amber Events
    Venue: Westlake Village Inn
    Photography: Next Exit Photography 
    Videography: Buckley Videography
    Floral: Peony and Plum

    Ceremony Music: Strings by Reiko
    DJ: Hey Mister DJ
    Officiant: Rev. Clint Hufft
    Wedding Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop
    Stationary: Nida's Boutiq Invitations
    Linens: La Tavola Linens
    Lighting: Aspect Lighting
    Bridal Beauty: Design Visage
    Bridal Gown: Melissa Sweet
    Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Saddlerock Wedding: Melody + Michael

    Hi, Krista here! This gorgeous wedding I planned was featured on Style Me Pretty this week!

    Meet Melody and Michael.
    This sweet and painfully gorgeous couple was married on June 26th, 2010 at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, California. M&M are adorable... in every sense of the word. To say it was a pleasure to be their wedding planner is simply an understatement. They totally rock. This is their story...

    M&;M were high school sweethearts. They dated for twelve years before Michael popped that big ol' question. And although some may think of them already as an 'old married couple,' I see their love as young, fresh, and blossoming before our eyes.
    Michael is a writer in this little town called Hollywood and his humor is mad. Melody is a family psychologist, so as you can imagine, planning a wedding from start-to-finish within seven months while nurturing their successful careers was no simple feat.
    Saddlerock Ranch is a rustic venue, located in the hills of Malibu. The vineyard setting, where Melody and Michael exchanged their vows, is secluded and stunning. It created a breathtaking backdrop to an emotional ceremony and fun-loving reception.
    The decor we aimed for was "French Country Vineyard." The talented ladies at Holly Flora created a lush garden feel, pairing blush and ivory peonies, peach juliet roses, freesia, tulips, garden roses, green hydrangea, dusty miller, sweet peas, and fresh herbs with vintage blue buckets, lanterns, and tarnished silver vases.
    Instead of basic table numbers, Melody and Michael used their thirteen years together as inspiration for an opportunity to be creative. Each table represented a year the couple have shared together and feature a photo of them from said year, adding a personal touch throughout the table settings.
    In true Southern style, Melody and Michael changed out of their wedding attire and into their "getaway" outfits for their Grand Send Off. Guests formed an aisle for the couple and blew bubbles into the night sky before Melody and Michael hopped into a vintage 1950 Rolls Royce Bentley, heading off to their honeymoon in Italy.

    Wedding Coordination: Krista Malinin for Amber Events
    Venue: Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu
    Photographer: Picotte Photography
    Flowers & Decor: Holly Flora
    Rentals & Lighting: Town & Country Event Rentals
    Ceremony String Musicians: Alison Spieth Trio
    Hair & Make-Up: John of Italy Salon
    Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas
    Wedding Gown: Amy Michelson "Sugar"
    Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jasmine
    Men's Attire: MW Tux
    Officiant: JP Reynolds
    Videographer: Super 8mm Film (shot by friend of the couple)
    On-Site Security: Sandman Security
    On-Site Valet: Premiere Valet Parking
    Shuttle Transportation: Corporate Coach Charters
    Hotel Accommodations: Westlake Village Inn
    Honeymoon: Venice, Cinqueterre, Florence, and Rome, Italy

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    The Master of Ceremonies

    From Wikipedia: "An MC (emcee) is the host of an official public or private staged event or other performance. "MC" is an abbreviation for "Master of Ceremonies". The MC usually presents performers, speaks to the audience, and generally keeps the event moving. An MC may also tell jokes or anecdotes. The MC sometimes also acts as the protocol officer during an official state function."

    I bolded the "keeps the event moving" line because that's what this blog is about. Like Harold Zigler verbally whipped the men of the Moulin Rouge into a frenzy, the MC is the puppet master of your wedding reception and can do the same to your guests. I learned the importance of an MC early on in my career when I did a few iPod weddings, and weddings where the band did not have an MC.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it is wrong to have an iPod wedding, this blog is not about your music choices, but about who is orchestrating your event.

    Most of  the time, your DJ or your band leader is your MC. It's a logistical non-exciting thing that people don't really talk about when it comes to wedding planning. But when it comes to your wedding day unfolding smoothly, the MC is either my bestie or my archenemy. When it is time to move the guests to a new area, announce the bride and groom's entrance, first dance, cake cutting, etc., the MC and I speak about it beforehand and then the MC facilitates it. Usually with a groovy soundtrack. Even for the clients who aren't doing any traditional activities, it is utter chaos to move 100+ people around without someone with authority on a microphone.

    In a few cultures, mainly Middle Eastern or Indian, a brother acts as the MC for the reception. It is a lot of work, and that brother doesn't get to party too much, but it is an honored roll for him. The DJ loves it because he gets to focus on making people dance their faces off and not have to talk at all.

    When you think about your reception, you need to think about the type of personality you want on the microphone. Do you want Mr. Cool who barely talks, or the guy who takes the mic out on the dancefloor to start the conga? Neither are wrong, but just make sure you have SOMEONE as your MC.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Oviatt Penthouse Wedding: Brittany & Keith

    When Brittany and Keith contacted me over the phone about their wedding, they were very specific about how casual they wanted it to be. They told me "we want to have a great cocktail party that we happen to get married at". I knew right away that I liked them and then they proceeded to hire me to work on their LA wedding. Brittany and Keith do Big Important Stuff in Washington, DC, so I only had one weekend of in-person planning with them.  The rest was email and phone.

    They trusted me orchestrate a casual (from an observer's point of view) party for them and we made it so the evening unfolded beautifully. I had been wanting to work at the spectacular Art Deco Oviatt Penthouse for a while, and the venue was PERFECT for the casual, elegant, and exclusive vibe that they wanted. Their wedding ceremony was exactly what they wanted: Brittany and Keith had an under 5 minute ceremony on the dance floor with guests seated at their tables around them.

    The entire day was lovely and could not have happened without the following vendors:

    Amber Events - Design & Coordination
    Oviatt Penthouse - Venue
    Cicada - Catering
    CallawayGable - Photography
    Holly Flora - Floral
    Eric Brown - Classical Guitar for Cermeony & Cocktail hour
    RedShoe - DJ
    Chris Robinson- Officiant
    La Tavola - Linens

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Post Wedding Survey: Erin & Brian

    Q. What was the best part of your wedding day?
    A. Every single second of if. We honestly wouldn't change a thing.
    What do you feel was totally unnecessary?
    A. Nothing. We trimmed anything superfluous to us before the wedding (ala planning stages)

    What would you change, if anything?
    A. These are minor, but: 1. We would have checked the amps beforehand so we could avoid the feedback during my walk down the aisle and 2. We would've liked our music to be louder during our exit from the ceremony

    What was unexpected that you loved?
    A. We didn't realize how great it would be to see each other before the ceremony for our pictures! And we loved being right on La Cienega for our photos.

    What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
    A. The Ceremony! A tip for future couples: if you tailor your ceremony to fit the two of you, you will have a fantastic ceremony. Also, we loved the dancing and the warm glow of the room (lighting & ambiance)

    Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?
    A. We can't think of anything. 

    Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
    A. We can't think of anything. 

    Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?
    A. Being told that w ran out of white wine (but then we found the next day that we had 1/2 a case left). And we weren't' happy that the bartenders opened bottles of liquor & other pours that were never used, thereby making them impossible to return.

    What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
    A. At the start of your planning, prioritize the things that matter most and make those things personal. Also, savor it all. it's a celebration and meant to be fun!

    How did you feel after the wedding?
    A. Completely and totally blissed out.

    The End