Thursday, September 29, 2011

how to become a wedding planner

I remember back when I decided to be a wedding planner in 2006. I remember being so excited that someday I would get to go to a conference and feel all official and whatnot. In 2007 I attended the annual Association of Bridal Consultants annual conference in San Diego and I LOVED it.  I felt like I  was becoming a true professional surrounded by my peers. I also remember thinking back then "someday I want to be knowledgeable enough to speak at one of these bad boys".  I also shut the parties at the conference down every night. I have a tendency to do that.

I am so excited to share that next September, 6 years after that decision of what I was going to be, I will be speaking at an incredible, educational, and fabulous event for aspiring wedding planners! I am beyond honored that my friend and colleague, Tami Brown, of Fabulously Wed asked me to share what I know about logistics with those-who-are-about-to-tread-down-this-somewhat-treacherous-path. For those of you who have not started planning weddings yet: logistics is not the sexy part. This is beverage event orders, circuits and volts, load in, fire permits, and timelines, timelines, timelines. Ow! Ow! My husband suggested I somehow incorporate booze to liven up my 9:00 AM session. I think he's on to something there.

So, do you want to be a wedding planner? Register for Backstage Bridal, take my sexy, sexy session on logistics, and then dance with me as we shut the parties down. I have a tendency (nay, a reputation to uphold) to do that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Snooze City

Wow. So I've been reading back over my blogs for the past few months and I look like a proper Emily Post. No sass as far as the eye can see. How boring of me. I would attribute it to the fact that I never drink and blog anymore** (unlike 2010: "the year of the wine blogs"), but that would make me look like I have a problem. I don't--I just prefer to snuggle on the couch with my husband and watch trash TV when I enjoy my glass of wine. 

Everything for the past few months here has been professional and non personal. Maybe it's because I'm currently in a stretch of 9 weddings in a row???? Possibly. Probably. Yes. But I'll take this time to share what's been going on in my world:

  • My husband and I did get away to camp for 4 days back in July and it was everything I hoped it would be. Then we went away for another weekend to Twentynine Palms with my sister and her husband and I spent my days hiding in our room (shade! solitude!) reading "The Hunger Games". Do I regret being anti-social? No. Have you read that book???
  • In August I read "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" series. And I hated it. And continued to read through a series I hated. I'll stay in a book because I think it will somehow redeem itself.
  • I slept. As much as I can but it's still not enough. 
  • I started Spanish classes and am currently hating and loving it at the same time. Ser & Estar, you are to me what squirrels are to my dog Rita. 
  • My husband and I went to Hurricane Harbor at 6 Flags one hot summer day and I got stuck in an enclosed black waterslide named, no joke, "The Black Hole". Apparently the t-shirt & shorts I was wearing (to prevent sunburns) was too much friction for proper slip 'n slide action. You know how people say when they die and come back to life but in the interim they were peacefully going towards the fuzzy warm light? Yeah. I had the flipside of that story. 
  • I'm going to dance as a participant in a reality show taping for Mobbed this Thursday with my BFF just because we think it'd be a hoot! And because another one of our girlfriends casts it and always invites us. 
  • The husband and I are hiking Machu Picchu in January then spending some time backpacking around Peru & Bolivia. Can't wait!
  • I had to look at my calendar to see what I've been doing lately because I've been so deep in the belly of wedding season.
**except for right now. My husband isn't home to snuggle with.

Post Wedding Survey: Mason & Jay

Mason and Jay (aka "my boys") took time out of their busy lives to fill out my post wedding survey. Enjoy!

Q. Who made your suits?   
A. We worked with stylist Vincent Castellanos at Sy Devore in Studio City.  The suits themselves were made in Italy.

Q. What was the best part of the day? 
A. The best part of the day was being surrounded by our families and closest friends in a beautiful setting, and knowing that everyone could feel the love that we felt for them and each other.

Q. What was unexpected that you loved? 
A. We both thought it might be hard to relax and not worry about details on the day of the wedding; and we were delighted to discover that the whole day was amazingly relaxing, and we were able to fully enjoy our wedding.

Q. What are your fondest memories? 
A. We both really loved the moment when we lined up with our wedding participants in order to walk in together.  We both loved the moment when Mason surprised Jay with his ukelele performance of “Longing to Belong.”  And we loved the meal (even if we didn’t get to fully focus on it ourselves).

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on? 

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on? 

Q. What would you change, if anything?
The only thing I would change—and it’s not possible to do so—is I wish I could make the whole day go slower so I could soak it all in even more than I did.

Q. Were there any unexpected surprises or issues
No.  Thanks to Amber's incredible organizational skills, we truly felt like everything unfolded exactly as we hoped.  The entire day was completely stress-free and there wasn’t one single time when we wished some detail or another had been handled differently.  

Q. What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?  
A. Hire Amber!!  And follow her instructions, step by step; because the more work you do in advance of the wedding (not just days, but weeks and months ahead of time), the more you will be able to relax and enjoy your wedding day. 

Thank you guys for your kind words! It was an honor being a part of your wonderful day! xo, Amber

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ojai Wedding: Mason and Jay

Before I gush about Mason & Jay's wedding, check it out on the today's post on Style Me Pretty's Little Black Book BLOG!
Mason & Jay hired me just under four months before their wedding and right before I left the country for a three week vacation to India. When they contacted me they told me they had two things lined up so far: the date of May 7 and their friends' home on an organic tomato farm in the upper Ojai Valley as their venue. They told me that at one point they had considered holding off on their celebration until gay marriage was legalized in California, but then decided against that as they felt it put too much weight on a piece of paper and not enough on the vows that they were going to promise to each other.

Mason, Jay, and I hit the ground running with the plans for their wedding. They are extremely pragmatic guys who check things off the to do list as fast as it's created. The two things they kept stressing to me during our planning was that they wanted their wedding to be extremely comfortable for their guests and they wanted to have amazing food. The logistics of the property we a bit challenging at first, but the home owners, Sam and Scott, were so wonderful and accommodating that they even did some major landscaping on the property including changing a weed covered driveway into the gorgeous ceremony site! 

The wedding day arrived slightly chilly and foggy, but with heat lamps the guests were kept comfortable. The ceremony was incredibly unique as Mason & Jay had asked a number of their friends to assist in officiating the ceremony. In fact, we were one officiant short as their good friend Mala, a midwife, was not able to attend the wedding because one of her clients went in to labor that day! Some of the highlights of the ceremony were the three married couples (both gay and straight) that got up to speak about what marriage means to them. One couple had only been married for one year, one couple married for 7, and the last couple married for 50. Everyone was in tears but those soon turned to laughter when Mason & Jay's French Bulldog puppy Henri was walked down the aisle with the rings a few moments later! 

Cocktail hour was held overlooking another part of the valley next to some of the pretty chickens who seems quite pleased with the day. 

The reception was kicked off by Mason & Jay welcoming their guests and then Mason surprising Jay by playing the ukulele and singing "Longing to Belonging" by Eddie Vedder.  The organic dinner of Salmon, Filet Mignon, vegetarian lasagna and vegetables was served family style at long feasting tables underneath strands of Italian Bistro Lights. At one point Jay had to get up and let the guests know that there was indeed more food coming out so make sure room was saved! The dessert buffet later on became cause for a brief dance break from the rocking dance floor.

The entire day was gorgeous. Gorgeous, flawless, comfortable, and classy. There was so much love in the air that it seemed like it was almost visible. Their family and friends were so happy to celebrate their union. Mason and Jay told me that the day was more than they hoped it could be and they wouldn't change a thing. 

 The Team that made it happen
Planning & Design: Amber Events 
Floral: Holly Flora 
Rentals: Town & Country 
DJ: Quinn Callicot 
Lighting: Aspect Lighting 
Groom’s Stylist: Vincent Castellanos at Sy Devore,  suits made in Italy / 
Venue: Friend of the couple’s Tomato Farm 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amber Events in Town and Country Magazine

Roger & Colleen were mentioned in fall issue of Town and Country Magazine! They got married in June at the insanely beautiful Vibiana!

More photos coming soon, but here's a teaser to wet your appetite! Photography by the talented team of Callaway Gable

Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer & Julian's Wedding: Team Member POV

I met Mahogany last year at Angela & Ashvind's Wedding and haven't seen her until just recently at Summer and Julian's wedding! It's always refreshing to see a familiar face after so long, and with that name, how could I ever forget her! She gave me the update on her brave decision to quit her full time job to focus on becoming a wedding planner! 
Great job Mahogany! I admire your determination. I wish you the best in all you do. It was a pleasure having you at Summer and Julian's wedding September 3rd, 2011! {Nira}

Q. How did you learn about Interning or Assisting for Amber Events?  

A. Amber was a client for my previous job--she purchases her liability insurance though them. One of my co- workers recommended that I reach out to her while I was still attending school.

Q. Tell us about yourself and how it relates to the wedding industry

A.  Every since I was a young girl I have always enjoyed planning parties for family and friends. I have always had an eye for great things, whether it be fashion, antique items, shoes or even furniture! Being a planner is a dream of mine. I recently quit my full-time job to focus on becoming a wedding planner. I know this is my destiny. It’s my passion and it’s what motivates me. There is nothing better in life than to be able to chase your dream!!!

Q. What tasks did you complete for this wedding? 

A. I assisted the bridal party when they arrived to venue, decorated the hotel suite for bride & groom, cleaned up venue, loaded cars with items, and helped with treasure chest.

Q. What surprised you? 

A. The live band!

Q. What is your favorite part of this wedding? 

A. My favorite part was the ceremony. I loved the d├ęcor the old Hollywood glam theme

Q. What shoes did you wear?  

A. Black Ballerina flats

Q. The uniform for the Amber Events staff is a black button down shirt and slacks. What did you do to Jazz up your look? 

A. I jazz my look up by utilizing fun accessories.. Black rhinestone earrings with lots of bangles!!! A girl can never have enough dazzle!!!

Q. What is your favorite wedding scene from a movie?  

A. Tyler Perry- Family Reunion: That wedding was amazing and the vows were even better!!!!

Q. Do you have any words for anyone wanting to join the wedding industry?  

A. My advice would be, if it’s your passion and something you love doing go out and reach for your goals! The competition in the wedding field is challenging but I believe there is enough room for all of us!!  “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”  William Jennings Bryan.

Final Comments:  

Amber is such a rock star and I mean it literally!! She is always a pleasure to work with and I am so blessed and grateful that I had the opportunity to work with her again. Nira is also incredible and she is someone I can look up to and also learn from. Both ladies rock!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rancho del Cielo wedding: sneak peek!

Last Saturday, as in 3 days ago, Chia-Ming & Patrick got married at the spectacular Rancho del Cielo in Malibu. Their videographer, Vu Thai of Ponderosa Films surprised them with a same day edit during their reception! I've been a part of a lot of fun surprises lately and I love it. Enjoy!

Chia-Ming + Patrick | Same Day Edit | Gone Fishing! from Ponderosa Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pretty Pictures- Childlike Discovery

Exploring the world as an adult can be challenging and scary. Making decisions to go here and there and to do this and that can lay heavy on an adult because we are responsible for everything we do. 
However as a child, we could just go for it! Getting dirty with finger paints, catching fire flies, ice cream stains on white dresses, and the ability to explore crevices of this earth without fear.

This is why this photograph by George Malets struck a chord with me. I remember being that kid with no thought of consequence and a sincere curiosity for the world. 

I was lucky to have a friend, Dana, come along on my many adventures. Exploring the woods and climbing across logs that fell over creeks. We would find withered piping, like in this photo, and dare one another to look inside. Our imagination was so vivid then!
However, I still must count my blessings, because as an adult, I am in an industry where I can continue to be creative and always think outside the box. 
I am extremely grateful for not being limited to a cubicle, and this photo is a pretty reminder of why that is so important to me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Post Wedding Survey: Cali & Mike

Cali & Mike took a few moments to fill out my post wedding survey. I so love reading these and hearing about the day from their perspectives! Congratulations, Cali & Mike! I was a pleasure working with you both and I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

What was the best part of your wedding day?
Mike: Cali
Cali: Seeing the way mike looked at me when he saw me for the first time. 

What would you change, if anything?

What was unexpected that you loved?
The exact way our tables were going to look and how it all came together

What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
Taking a step back from our wedding and looked at all of our friends and family having a blast.
  Also dancing with my dad.

Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?

Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
Worrying about the weather!  Seems so silly now.

Additionally the shuttle service was a little high and limiting b.c we could only use one company going up and down the mountain

What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
Secretly save more than you budget for initially, b/c the little things sneak up!  Also you won’t enjoy every minute of planning, but try to keep the big picture of why you are planning it in the first place.  Marrying the person you love most in the world in front of the people you care about dearly

How did you feel after the wedding?
exhausted and sad it was over.  You hear it from everyone but it truly goes by so fast.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rancho del Cielo wedding: Cali & Mike featured on Style Me Pretty

Cali & Mike got married in May at the ridiculously gorgeous Rancho del Cielo in Malibu and their wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty! I think there was magic fairy dust all over their wedding because it could not have been a more perfect day that photographed so incredibly. You must click here to read all about it and see more of the photos!

Some of my favorite photos from the incredibly talented Suthi Picotte of Picotte Weddings 

The Team that made the magic 

Event Design + Planning: Amber Events (special thanks to my team Nira, Michelle, Lindsay + April!)
Wedding Photography + Cinematography: Picotte Weddings
Floral Design: Holly Flora
Ceremony + Reception Location: Malibu Rancho del Cielo
Caterer: Truly Yours Catering
Linens: La Tavola Linens
Ceremony Music: Ceremony Tunes /
Cupcakes: Out of the Oven
Reception Music: Dash Entertainment
Invitations: Sister of the Bride
Bridal Beauty: Susie Chhuor
Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Wedding Dress: Marisa
Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew