Friday, November 19, 2010

Always a planner

Recent conversation in my household:

ME: "Babe, if I were to ever be unconscious in the hospital, or you know.....DIE, I have this Word doc that I created that explains how to take care of my clients."

HUSBAND: "Are you serious??? If you die, I don't give a s**t about your clients. They'd be the last thing I'd be thinking of"

So, sorry clients. My husband just doesn't care about you. He does have a point I sent the below document to my sister and my assistant. Of course, they'll never have to use it though, because Murphy's Law says something like: "if you have a Plan B, you're not going to have to use it...and always make sure you're wearing clean underwear"...or something like that.

So if you're in the mood to see inside my morbid mind, feast your eyes on my Plan B (that will never be used, of course)

In Case of Emergency
by Amber Gustafson

In the event that I am incapacitated or debilitated, please notify my current clients, change my phone voicemail, my website, add an auto reply to my email explaining what has happened, and attempt to either cover these weddings if possible or find someone who can. 

To access all of my passwords for the above, go to xyz (deleted information)

Current client folders are found from the file on my desktop: shortcuts to weddings/current weddings. All files in that folder are current clients. Each client has a “Bride & Groom Contact Info & Questionnaire” document that includes email addresses & phone numbers.

In my Outlook email, each client has a folder with all correspondence and contracts in it. There are also files for each client that has a copy of the contract, notes, etc.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Post Wedding Survey: Taryn and Zac

Q. What was the best part of your wedding day?
A. This is so hard to answer because the entire day was fabulous. But honestly, the ceremony had to be the best part, because that's what the day was all about. And the Rabbi really set the tone for one beautiful occasion. To top that all off, everything was so beautifully put together and stress free on my part because Amber and her team did such a fantastic job of setting everything up, coordinating vendors, etc.

Q. What do you feel was totally unnecessary?
A. Hmm.. the only thing we can think of is that we ordered way too much food.

Q. What would you change, if anything?
A. The day was perfect. The only thing that didn't happen that I noticed was the bocce ball set that we had didn't get set up next to the hall- but we didn't give very good directions on that so we understood.

Q. What was unexpected that you loved?
A. The way the reception hall came together with all of our little details was unexpected in that we couldn't imagine what it would all look like- but it looked so amazing. Also, the way the photographer scouted out the venue and picked such amazing places for us to take pictures was great. I also loved how Amber set up the guest book by the ceremony site, I didn't expect it to be there, but the whole set up was beautiful.

Q. What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
A. I think just having so much fun that I never left the dance floor (and this is the bride talking!) :)  Just seeing all of our friends and family having such a good time. Laughing and crying during the ceremony.

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?
A. The only thing I would have liked to get that we didn't have was a videographer; but I knew going in that it was out of our budget, and I would've rather gotten the amazing photographer that we had.

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
A. I think I wasted time looking into live music for the ceremony, because the recorded stuff sounded great.

Q. Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?
A. I (Taryn) didn't get my wedding ring on time- but that's just because I ordered it online 3 weeks before the wedding and the company did a terrible job of telling me when I'd get it. But it wasn't that bad, I wasn't expecting to get it on time since I waited so long, and we just planned on using the engagement ring instead.

Q. What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
A. Hire Amber. :)
And give yourself enough time to plan everything in order to enjoy the process and have fun- that's what we did and we really loved the whole process because we didn't feel too stressed or rushed. Also, if you're going to go all out and have a big wedding, try to personalize it in some way, it makes it that much more special.

Q. How did you feel after the wedding?
A. Euphoric. We wished the wedding could just keep going.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Temescal Gateway Park Wedding: Taryn and Zac

When Taryn and Zac were first interviewing me as a potential wedding planner, they told me that they were seriously thinking about doing the finale dance from Dirty Dancing as their first dance. Ummm, hello? So nice to meet you, new clients! They were planning a Sunday day wedding at Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades and they wanted a fun, picnic, family oriented reception. With a BBQ, lawn games, homemade cakes and pies, and some serious dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. This was my first daytime wedding and so I was a bit skeptical of just how much guests would dance on a Sunday afternoon with just beer, wine, and BBQ in them. Boy, was I shown how it was done! Aside from their completely fabulous first dance (yes, complete with the lift and everything!) those two boogied like I've never seen a bride and groom boogie before.

The day was warm and lovely, just like the two of them. Just look at the gorgeous photos taken by the sweet Sara of  onelove photography that captures it all! Many more on her blog, and also featured this week on the blog Love and Lavender,

The team who made it happen:

Amber Events - Wedding Coordination
Michael Barclay - Rabbi
Lucille's BBQ - catering
One Love - Photography 
Omar Garcia - DJ
Beauty by Grace - Bridal Hair
Brittany Kuhl - Bride's makeup 

And a huge HUGE thank you to my assistants and interns that day: Sacha, Nira, Tanny, and Brittany!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Post Wedding Survey: Andie and Doug

Andie took a few minutes out of her day to fill out my post wedding survey. I always love reading these from my clients. I also love this photo of them below. It so captures the absolute happiness that a couple feels when they walk down the aisle as husband and wife!

Q. What was the best part of your wedding day? 
A. I’m from the east coast and my husband is from Australia.  90% of the people who attended our wedding were from out of town.  It meant so much to us to have everyone we loved travel so far to celebrate with us.  And we loved that we only had 100 people, so we were able to spend time and visit with everyone.
The day was just perfect in every way!
Q. What do you feel was totally unnecessary?
A. Nothing

Q. What would you change, if anything?
A. I wish I had taken the time to walk over to the venue before the ceremony so I could see everything set up.  I just knew we were running short on time and guests were beginning to arrive.  That and my feet hurt and I just wanted to sit down for 10 minutes!  But I know there were so many details I missed seeing.  But thank goodness I have such amazing photographers because I feel confident they were able to capture everything.

Q. What was unexpected that you loved?
A. The last song of the night.  My husband is Australian, so we chose “Down Under” as our last song.  Never in a million years could I have anticipated what happened.  It started small with Doug and me and a few of his aussie friends in a small circle, then more and more people joined until EVERYONE was on the dance floor spinning around in a circle with Doug and me in the center.  The energy was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.  I loved having this memory with us on our Italian honeymoon…we even had the song stuck in our heads for 2 weeks!!

Q. What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
A. I’m not sure I could only list one thing.  Whenever I think back on the day, there are a few things that always jump out at me – in addition, of course, to the unexpected Australian anthem I mentioned above! 
The first thing has to be our first look.  I knew the photographers were there snapping pictures of us, but I didn’t even notice.  I was just focused on my husband to be’s face and the big crocodile tears in the corner of his eye!
The second thing would have to be walking into the ceremony site.  I’d seen it so many times before but the way the light was filtering through the trees coupled with everyone I loved all in one place, it was magical.

The third was singing happy birthday to my dear friend who shared her birthday with our wedding night.  We lit candles and brought her a cupcake – she was so touched.

And last but not least, our venue has a duck pond.  In preparation, we brought stale bread to feed the ducks after the ceremony as a photo op.  My husband went to rouse them up and they came BOLTING after him!  We were hysterical and the pictures are priceless!

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?
A. Nothing

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
A. Nothing

Q. Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?
A. We had a flower girl and a “junior bridesmaid” – the flower girl was only barely 3 and her mother was a bridesmaid.  When the processional started, she didn’t want her mom to leave her and got really upset, so we had to pull her out of the ceremony at the last minute – but the 8 year old junior bridesmaid was able to handle the job by herself ;)

Q. What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
A. Make the day your own.  Even if you’re not a do it yourself kind of bride, at least help make the creative decisions.  The day really felt like ours and I took pride in all the things I contributed. 

Also, don’t sweat the small stuff.  I was worried I would, but letting things go and not having to “handle” everything myself really made my day that much more enjoyable.  But I’m not sure that would have been possible without Amber ;)

Q. How did you feel after the wedding?
A. Exactly the same!  Except with an even deeper feeling of love for my new husband.  We’ve been together for 4 ½ years, and living together for most of that time, so not that much really changed for us – which I’m happy about!  We’re still the same people, after all, but now I get to call him “husband” !

Monday, November 15, 2010

Calamigos Ranch Wedding: Andie and Doug

Andie, Doug and I had kind of an unorthodox way of initially meeting each other to talk about their wedding: I was already hired by Andie's mother over the phone. Andie's mom lives on the east coast and wanted to make sure that everything was handled correctly by a pro. She knew that August is a popular month, so she interviewed me and pretty much hired me on the spot. I had butterflies in my stomach when I went to meet Andie & Doug in person. It was like a first date. I kept thinking "please be cool", "please be nice people".  Thankfully, they definitely were. Doug is charming with a fabulous Aussie accent, and Andie is sharp and witty and loves inappropriate comedies as much as I do. She and I kind of bonded over some weddings we had recently seen on Style Me Pretty, and she told me about the gorgeous table numbers she was making that were patterned after French perfume bottle labels.

Andie did a lot of DIY stuff for her wedding and we had a good time pulling it all together. The wedding day was FLAWLESS due to a hardworking team of great vendors and a wonderful group of family and friends.

Last Thursday, we were so excited to see their wedding featured on Style Me Pretty! To read all about the day from Andie's point of view, click HERE .

Thank you, Andie and Doug for being cool and nice people. It was an honor to be part of your wedding day!

The team that made it happen. Special thanks to my assistants, Sacha and Nira. 

Wedding Coordinator: Amber Events
Venue: Calamigos Ranch 
Officiant: JP Reynolds 
Photography: Studio Castillero
DJ: Bobby Duran
Ceremony Pianist: Chris Bratten
Florist: Holly Flora
Hair/Makeup: Susie Chhuor
Cupcakes: Hotcakes Bakes
Dress: Nicole Miller
Shoes: Brian Atwood
Bridesmaids: Vineyard
Necklace: Martha Seely
Earrings: Sleepy Moon Design via Etsy
Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss