Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amber Events featured on Christine Chang's Photo Blog

What a lovely surprise to see an Amber Events shout out on Christine Chang's Blog! Christine is a phenomenal photographer who features video tutorials and advice columns for brides and budding photographers alike. We had the pleasure of going to Mexico with her for Mark & Jessica's wedding. It was nice to see her unwind as guest for that one.  She deserves it. This is a hard working gal! Thanks CC!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wedding Industry Experts - Question # 8

Q. What do you do to prepare for a first meeting with a client? 

A. Initial consult meetings are done after a bit of email exchange or phone time, after the bride or groom has been informed of  my planning rates, and after  he or she has filled out a questionnaire that helps me gauge if they are realistic or not. I don't have time to meet with clients who have impossible budgets. In this pre-meeting stage I'm also sniffing out the crazies--if you text me on a Sunday morning why on earth would I sign up to work with you for one year???? You crazy.
Once a meeting is actually set I have a pretty good idea that this is the type of couple I want to work with, but sometimes I do get surprised. In order to do a great job I have to genuinely LIKE my clients! I'm happy to say that I truly adore my clients.

Meetings are a combination of getting to know the couple on a personal level, showing my portfolio, and seeing if we are the right fit for each other. I believe that this is a chemistry based relationship and we all have to be on the same page. As much as they are interviewing me, I'm interviewing them and sometimes I have not accepted a client because it did not feel right.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Engagement session featured on Grey Likes Weddings

 Mark and Jessica's engagement photos were featured on Grey Likes Wedding's site and we are very happy to share them with you! Caroline Tran is the photographer who captured this couple so beautifully both for this engagement session and their wedding at Bel Air Bay Club. The wedding photos are soon to come, but for now please enjoy these images. I especially love that they used their own canoe in a nearby Venice Canal. What a perfect date!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pretty Pictures: Underwater Canines

I wouldn't go as far to say that these pictures fit the category of Pretty Pictures, but I just couldn't help but sharing how cool these are! Seth Casteel is the very talented lifestyle pet photographer from Little Friend's Photo. This underwater experiment was to showcase how dogs playing fetch look like under water.  Drink a glass of wine, I'm sure these images will end up looking 10x more amusing.
After spending a week with my family and their two dogs, Penny and Benji, I realize how people like they can be. Penny is a little hot dog and Benji a black lab (similar to the one pictured below). Their expressive eyes and and desire to please make them the most perfect companion. 
I loved playing fetch with them too! Well that's till their toys got so slobbered on, I called it quits. 
Even my neighbor just got himself the cutest Boston Terrier, and quite frankly...I'm jealous. 
This Boston Terrier wears T-shirts every other day with cool messages on them, like "California Cool" and "I'm the Man". 
Okay, I think I need to get myself one of these cool guys. I'm more convinced the more I write. 
For now, I'll have to settle by looking at their pictures.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wedding Industry Experts - Question # 7

Today's answers are hilarious but make my stomach turn at the thought of some of those things happening to me! Check out the Wedding Industry Experts to see what everyone else had to say to this week's question.

Q. What is the worst thing that has happened at a wedding and how did you deal with it?

A. One wedding day I awoke to the sound of my cell phone ringing and my groom Matt telling me that a part of Broadway Street was being shut down for the Golden Dragon Parade. Uh, oh. Marvimon, the fabulous venue where their wedding and reception was being held, is located on Broadway, right on the edge of Chinatown . I pulled up maps of the parade route and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that the parade ended 1/2 of a mile from Marvimon. I knew it was still going to be a sticky traffic situation, so I emailed all of the vendors and told them an alternate route to take to get there.
I asked one of my assistants to pick up a few dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts on her way in that morning as I wanted everyone working that day to be hyped up on sugar and happy. The vendors started rolling in on time and things were looking good. At noon, the situation took a bad turn. Traffic police pulled up in front of us and started setting out cones to shut Broadway down right where we were! Big problem. I started getting calls from the servers who were trying to get to us and they said that there were blockades north of us as well. Huge problem. We were barricaded in!

Jeff, the Marvimon site manager, and I went to talk to the traffic officer to explain the situation. At first he would not relent, but after begging, asking to talk to a supervisor, and finally bribing him with doughnuts and red velvet cupcakes he gave us permission to let our valets park cars on the blocked off street. One crisis solved, now to get our guests through the barricades...
Jeff spoke to the officers north of us and finally got permission to let the wedding guests onto the closed street, and once we routed out a way get them to us, I called Matt's mom and asked her to spread the word to the guests.
People had trouble getting to us, but once they arrived, things just fell into place beautifully. We started the ceremony 10 minutes after our scheduled start time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lockell and Chris's engagement session at Union Station

So excited to share this engagement shoot for Lockell and Chris! When Lockell told me she wanted her wedding to include a train theme, I thought " Ooo how fun! I'm in!" What's great about this concept is that we are creating a fresh and stylish wedding to include elements of the modern metro train system we use today. 
However, for their engagement shoot, she was looking to bring out the nostalgia and romance of this theme. I loved Chris's argyle and Lockell's vintage pieces. Luminaire Images did a wonderful job capturing all this, especially utilizing LA's historic Union Station. Make up by Jen Castelo and Hair by Ursula Campbell. I look forward to sharing photos from their September wedding at Huron Substation! Stay tuned! {nira}

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wedding Industry Experts - Question # 6

Wedding Industry Experts asked this week: 

Q. What type of people make the best Wedding Event Planners or Wedding Designers?
A. A person who can be a chameleon but stay true to them self.
A person who can juggle multiple clients who all have different personalities and ways that they need to be treated.
A person who can work closely with vendors yet still maintain their loyalties to their clients.
A person who can handle client family issues and know when to shut their mouth and when to give advice.
A person who can know their value and not accept less than they know their worth.
A person who can figure out a way to balance out their personal and family life in order to prevent burnout.
A person who can ok with 14 hour days, intense manual labor, and the loss of weekends.
A person who possess tact, speed, composure, grace, propriety, intelligence, a backbone, a sense of humor, and incredibly thick skin.
A person who truly cares about people and provides the type of support that the client needs.
A person who knows that nobody is going to build a business or a career for them.
And a person who will work very, very hard. 

want 5 quick wedding planning tips?

Then head over to Amy Nichol's blog and see what they are!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marvimon Wedding: Shannon & Ernest

Shannon and Ernest got married last fall at Marvimon House in Chinatown. They met in the pharmacy: Shannon is a Pharmacist and Ernest is currently finishing up his Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Their wedding was a classy and warm as the two of them are and the guests had a wonderful time celebrating their union!

Marvimon has recently undergone and incredible renovation and we're excited to work at this wonderful venue as soon as possible!

The Team that made the magic:

Venue: Marvimon
Event Design and Coordination: Amber Gustafson of Amber Events
Photography: Natalie Moser
Florist: Holly Flora
Caterer: Heirloom LA
Makeup/Hair : Kelly Zhang

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pretty Pictures- Almost Naked

When I put on an outfit, I intend on it staying that way till I get back home. Same with my hair and makeup, but the outside temperature will probably change my plans on that one. 
No really, a girl has pride in the way she puts herself together. Most of the time it's carefully thought out. Do these shoes go with this top? Will my belt clash with this purse? Etc Etc..
The moment we are pretty pleased with what we have on, is when we walk out the door.
However, what if our journey that day takes us to the airport? Ahhhhhhh!
The instance I'm in line to go thru security I automatically begin to think, what's the most efficient way of getting thru this line and not holding it up? I think to myself, Okay, laptop out, shoes off (what socks am I wearing?), sunglasses off, jacket off (what bra am I wearing?), Where's my ticket and passport? Does jewlery count? Wait separate bin for just the laptop?
I get through, after successfully holding a triangle over head, and being looked over like a criminal. Whew! I made it. Now here comes part two of the game: putting everything back on quickly while moving along. Limping along to the nearest chair to finish putting on my overly complicated shoes.
Oh why does TSA have to break me down so?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hotel Room blocks for weddings

A few things you should know about booking room blocks in LA for your wedding:

1. When people come to stay in LA they have an image in their head of the ocean and the Santa Monica/Venice boardwalk. If your wedding is nowhere near the beach, you might want to think twice about creating a room block near your wedding venue.

2. Resorts and popular hotels many times make you sign a contract stating that you are liable for all of the rooms pulled off of the market  (meaning, if you have a block of 30 but guests only book 20, you still have to pay for 10 rooms), but many times guests don't use the room block because they find a cheaper rate on or similar. 

3. Hotels will give a bit of a discount for you when they set aside 30 rooms, but not much because they're taking them off the market and not booking them their normal way. Depending on what is going on in the area (such as a convention nearby), they could get a LOT more money per night for the room, but they're obligated to give you the room at the rate they signed a contract with you one year ago. The contracted rate is to protect both you and the hotel, NOT to give your guests the lowest rate
4. Many brides & grooms do not know the above before they jump in and sign contracts with hotels, and many times the contracts get a bit snarled. By getting too involved with their guests travel plans, they inadvertently become the travel agents for their guests. 

5. Many hotels will let you have a complimentary room block of up to 9 rooms that you do NOT have to sign a contract for.

My advice?   

I recommend talking to your immediate friends/family and finding out where they want to stay, then moving forward with a small (complimentary) room block at that hotel. For all other guests, you can use your handy dandy wedding website  to give the names & price ranges of hotels both near the beach and close to your wedding venue.