Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cynthia & Terry's Wedding: Team Member POV

Heather is such a cutie pa-tootie! I met her just a handful of weddings ago. Her fancy updos and make up perfection make her one of my favorite gals to look at. I mean, .... work with!  No really, joking aside, Heather it's great to have you on board. Read below for her experience at Cynthia and Terry's wedding! 

Q. How did you learn about Interning or Assisting for Amber Events?  
A. I recently moved from Boston to Los Angeles to fulfill my dream of working towards a career in the wedding industry. Prior to my relocation, I really researched my options and in doing so, I discovered (and fell in love with) Amber Event’s. I reached out to Amber Gustafson with fingers crossed, to ask if she had any advice on where to begin in the industry. She was kind of enough to respond with very helpful suggestions and an internship application. Lucky for me, it was a match!

Q. What tasks did you complete for this wedding? 
A. For ceremony set-up I helped to arrange seating cards and tie them on the appropriate chairs with ribbon. I helped to welcome (and keep count of) friends and family and have them sign the guest book and be seated for the ceremony. I was instructed to untie the bow at the start of the aisle (eee!) and cue the DJ to begin the processional music. The guests were then guided to the villa for cocktail hour while final touches of reception set-up ensued. This included lighting candles and double checking each table was set correctly. As the night came to a close, I assisted in clean-up, treasure chest duties, and packing up the couple’s car with their belongings.

Q. What surprised you? 
A. How quickly and smoothly the construction and deconstruction of the whole thing happens. It is almost magical to watch so many elements fall perfectly into place in only a matter of time. In a few short hours an empty space is completely transformed, and then just as easily put back to normal afterwards. It becomes obvious just how much time, preparation, planning, and attention to detail must go into each event. Everyone works side by side but comes together as a team on the big day and it is amazing to see it all before, during, and after.

Q. What is your favorite part of this wedding? 
A. After the ceremony ended, the groom’s father led the parade of guests to the villa while playing the bagpipes. The music was wonderful and you felt it deep inside.

Q. What shoes did you wear?  
A. Black Mary Jane 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. With such a blank slate to begin with, I really had to resist the urge to over accessorize! I stuck to my usual string of pearls, red lips, and fun pin-up hairdo.

Q. What is your favorite wedding scene from a movie?  
A. I’d have to go with Rachel Getting Married. The entire wedding weekend, from rehearsal dinner to reception, is full of every type of music and tradition imaginable. My favorite scene though is during the ceremony, when the groom scraps his vows and sings an a-cappella version of Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” to his new wife at the alter. The party to follow takes place outdoors in a large tent with strands of colored string lights above and festive Indian themed décor. The vibrant, eclectic vibe that is given off is just delicious!

Q. Do you have any words for anyone wanting to join the wedding industry?  
A. I think becoming a wedding planner is definitely a dream job and there are some common misconceptions to be aware of. (I.e. Weddings are just flowers and lace; anyone who likes pretty things can be a coordinator!) This job is not as glamorous as one would imagine, but it is fun! I would encourage you to do your research and gain as much experience as you can. The best way to educate yourself is to get your hands dirty. Work a few weddings beside a coordinator, a caterer, a florist, etc. Be on your toes. Have thick skin! Be prepared to work long hours and be forced into high-pressure situations. The work is physically and mentally demanding and it’s not for everyone. My advice is to know what you’re getting into before you put all your eggs in one basket!

Final Comments:  

I would like to thank Amber Event’s for this blessed opportunity. I was warmly welcomed by the team and never once felt like the “new girl.” Through this experience I have grown and been deeply inspired. For this I am grateful beyond words. Amber Gustafson is simply the best at what she does. She runs the show with absolute grace and her positive energy is a joy to be around! She has become someone I truly admire.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Post Wedding Survey: Miri and David

The wonderful Miri & Dave took a few minutes out of their busy schedules to fill out my survey. I love reading these. Enjoy!
What was the best part of your wedding day?
The best part of our wedding day was having all of our close friends and family together in one place. Since we live on the east coast and our parents on the west coast, it was a wonderful experience to bring all of our friends from so many years and families together to celebrate.

What do you feel was totally unnecessary?
We put a lot of time and thought into every aspect of our wedding and we were very cost-conscience along the way. For these reasons, we didn’t really feel like anything we chose to have at our wedding was completely unnecessary.

What would you change, if anything?
We wouldn’t change a thing! All of our vendors were fantastic and the wedding was as beautiful as we each imagined it. We also had a fantastic time, which is all we could have asked for.

What was unexpected that you loved?
We loved watching the transformation of the inside of Vibiana from the ceremony to reception. It looked like a totally different space for each part of the wedding and we loved seeing the inside so beautiful and glowing.

What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
Having all of our close friends and family members together was the highlight of the wedding and added something special to every memory of the day. From getting ready with our bridal party to experiencing an incredible ceremony officiated by Dave’s father, every part of the day was special in its own way. We really enjoyed the alone time we spent together to digest all that had occurred.

Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?
We wish we had spent more time visiting with our guests at the different tables since we didn’t get a chance to speak to them all. As time was running out on the night, however, we realized we couldn’t enjoy ourselves and greet all of our guests.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
Although the band we selected was amazing, we wished we had spent less money on a live band and had just chosen a DJ. Even though the band was fantastic and enjoyed by everyone, we didn’t feel like it was totally necessary and we could have spent less money and been fine with a DJ.

Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?
When I was getting ready, I cut my finger pretty badly and it was bleeding all night! I had to put a bandaid on it the whole wedding so I hope that doesn’t show in the photos. Besides the finger incident, all of the issues or surprises were unbeknownst to us, thanks to our amazing wedding planner Amber!

What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
Our number one tip to engaged couples is to be realistic and upfront about your wedding budget from day one. Communicate frequently with your parents and each other about what everyone is able to pitch in and don’t wait until a few months before to figure it all out. Also, no one vendor or thing will make or break your wedding. It’s about the two of you and not the champagne or the cake or the food. Those are all added bonuses.

How did you feel after the wedding?
Both Dave and myself were elated after the wedding. We felt that everything went smoothly, our guests loved the wedding and how much thought we had put into it, and it was the happy and joyous celebration that we wanted it to be. Thanks to all of our wonderful vendors and Amber, we were able to enjoy every moment of the day without worrying about a thing!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vibiana Wedding: Miri and Dave

When I first spoke with Miri she told me that she wanted her 225 person Kosher Jewish wedding to fiance David to be elegant, classy, and traditional. Their faith was very important to them and they would be bringing in some of the more traditional Jewish elements into the day such as a Tisch and a Bedekken. David's father is a Rabbi with a congregation in Seattle and he performed a gorgeous and heartfelt ceremony. The photographer who photographed her Bat Mitzvah, Asgier Bollason, of Asgier Fotographica captured the wedding. I love when things come full circle!

Miri & David live in Washington, D.C. and we had such a good time planning their wedding together. The wedding day turned out as classy and elegant as both Miri and David are.

The Team that made the Magic

Planning - Amber Events
Venue - Vibiana
Photography - Asgeir Fotographica
Videography - Skyline Videography
Music - DeBois Entertainment
Floral - Peony and Plum
Catering - Pat's Catering
Rentals - Town & Country Event Rentals
Lighting - Aspect Lighting 
Bridal Beauty - Susie Chhour

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And end of the season update from Amber

WHEW!!!!! The 2011 wedding season for Amber Events is officially over! Last Friday marked the 20th wedding that my team and I did this year and I am humbled and honored to have been a part of so many amazing couples lives. The photos below are from my "Amber In Action" photo file that I collect and post on my Facebook page. They sum up the fun that is had! What they don't show are the hundreds of hours of work that go into each wedding, but it's all about the pretty pictures, right?!

DJing at Colleen & Roger's Wedding with DJ Nahchey. Photo by CallawayGable

 Checking the "timeline"  at Nicole's Bat Mitzvah. Photo by Leslie Barton

Checking something important with Elayne of Auntie Em's Kitchen at Mason & Jay's wedding. Photo by Douglas Hill

With one of my assistants, Michelle at Mason & Jay's wedding. Photo by Douglass Hill

Bustling Miri's wedding dress. Photo by Asgier Fotographica 

Dessert time at Cynthia & Terry's wedding. Photo by Holly of Cakes & Kisses

Working on flowers with Kelly & Nick. Photo by florist Inna Savluk of Butterfly Floral 

Michelle & Ben! Photo by Llanes Weddings. Side note, Michelle wrote the sweetest blog about her vendors here. Check it out!

Sending parents down the aisle at A&D's wedding. Photo by my wonderful Nira DeLuna

Allison & Danny getting kissy at their rehearsal. Photo by Allison's mom Julie

Running Christine & Cyrus' wedding rehearsal. Photo by one of the bridesmaids.

Saying something profound, I'm sure. Photo by Natalie Moser Photography

Terrifying Dana, the 2nd photographer, as he was doing detail shots. Photo by Asgeir Fotographica

Making things pretty at Jenny & Jake's wedding. Photo by Justine Ungaro

I was a "friendor" for my last wedding of the year. Anita and Mark are friends of  mine and after dinner ended and the heavy work was done, I turned it over to Nira, changed out of my suit and proceeded to tear the dancefloor up! FYI: yes, "US Weekly" did teach me my perfect Hollywood pose. Photo by CallawayGable

Now it's on to booking and planning next year's weddings! Oh yeah, and in the interim are the holidays and my yearly vacation. 2011 was India, 2012 is Peru!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pretty Pictures: Ice Cool

Los Angeles is home to many unique hotels, but nothing can surmount the odd factor of the Ice Hotel.
The Ice Hotel is in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweeden. Canbayram was able to photograph this impactful image of one of the rooms. The hotel is actually rebuilt every year due to forces of nature and it's natural ability to melt. However that hasn't stopped business as they are in their 22nd year! Unbelievable how the Ice Hotel began as a small igloo and how it has been able to expand to over 18,000 feet!

The concept came about when a group of tourists raved about their experience in a cylindrical igloo to a local entrepreneur. This entrepreneur monetized on the idea and worked with engineers, architects, and artists. They situated the hotel near the Torne River allowing them to gather water that can create the clearest looking ice: one of their trademarks.

The rooms in the Ice Hotel average a comfortable 23 degree Farenheit and brings world travelers from all walks of life. Most like to plan their trip to see the Northern Lights. A couple reviewers on Trip Advisor wrote:

"Don't bring your luggage into your room. It will literally freeze. Pay for a heated locker block"

"We made the mistake of choosing a double sleeping bag in the ice room. This may sound romantic but each time one of us moved it let cold air in and you can't pull the drawstring tight round two heads and still sleep. We would advise choosing two single sleeping bags"

Thank you folks. Advice noted as I add Ice Hotel to my list of future vacation destinations.