St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | Wedding Advice
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Questions You Should Ask Your Destination Wedding Planner

Outdoor destination wedding reception by the water Outdoor Destination wedding ceremony on the beach Tented Destinatiom Wedding Reception with palm tree centerpieces


Planning a destination wedding is fun…but sometimes stressful.  There are many things to consider, including enlisting the help of a wedding planner for your destination wedding.  The planner of your choice or pool that you choose to interview could be one local to the area, local to you and has knowledge of the area or in another location with a familiarity of the area.  Take some time to configure a description of what you want for your wedding and wedding weekend.  Recognizing both US and international destination weddings can benefit greatly from a wedding planner, we’ll provide questions to help you choose your planner that suits your needs:

US Destination Weddings:

  1. Are you familiar with my venue/area that I would like to have my wedding?
  2. If the area has more than one location (in our instance—Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, Brunswick and Sea Island), could you tell me which would be better suited for my wedding?
  3. Based on the information about my wedding, do you have any suggestions about other venues?
  4. Are you able to assist me in finding vendors in my budget and event vision?
  5. Are you also able to assist in securing room blocks for my guests?
  6. Would you be able to help research and plan weekend activities, parties, etc. around the wedding?
  7. What is your communications/work method?  (This is important for when you are out of the area where you intend to marry.  Having an open communication plan helps the process go smoothly)

International Destination Weddings

  1. Are you familiar with my venue/area that I would like to have my wedding? Can you help us with the marriage requirements?
  2. Can you suggest any specials that would suit us at other properties in the area?
  3. Do you speak the language for where we intend to have our wedding? (This, albeit not mandatory, can be a huge help to you.  In some locations, English is the second language and some things get lost in translation.  Even having a planner that is familiar with colloquial languages and phrases can be of great assistance)
  4. Are you able to help us secure negotiated room blocks with our resort?
  5. Are you or someone in your firm able to assist our guests with travel reservations and requirements? (There is a double bonus for planners that have travel agent credentials, as you get to handle everything with one person.  If not, see if there is an agent in the company that can assist you so that your event can stay with one company with fluid communications)
  6. Would you be able to help research and plan weekend activities, parties, etc. around the wedding?
  7. If we want to ship items with us for the wedding (such as linens, décor, favors, etc.), are you able to assist with the international customs requirements?
  8. Are you able to travel with us for site visits/tours or production of the actual event?  (Again, this is a huge help for you—as your wedding planner will act as the liaison and advocate for your wedding.  While the coordinator at the resort will follow instructions in your file, keep in mind that most properties have about 10-20 weddings per day so your coordinator may be stretched thin.  Your wedding planner, however, is solely dedicated to your event and is able to fine tune the details to ensure that it goes off as you have planned, while you enjoy your vacation with family and friends)

Having these questions will help you flesh out details that are important to creating your event.  More likely than not, these answers will become apparent in conversation with the wedding planners you choose to interview.  Be an avid and detailed note taker, to ensure that you are comparing “apples-to-apples” in terms of experience, resources, services and pricing.  Of course, you should also feel secure and excited when working with your planner, so be sure to count the personal dynamic between the two of you as well. 

Check out this great post on Wedding Bee: Wedding Planners Are Your Friends or do research on great websites like Best Destination Wedding.

Details: Dress the Drink

dress the drink gourmet garnishes for signature drinks


dress the drink signtaure drink ideas garnish design

Information arrived about Dress the Drink here at Cocktails + Details, and I kid you not:  the heavens parted, the light came down and the angels began to sing.  This is FABULOUS.  I’ve always been a huge advocate in incorporating your signature drink and food into the overall design of the event.  Dress the Drink includes luxury gourmet garnishes as well as assistance with designing your signature drink.  They are proving to be an outstanding resource for libation connoisseurs like myself:  their recipe section has some of the most well designed and decadent drinks out there, like the Pumpkin Spice, Twisted Apple Tea, ZViolet, and the Turkish Delight Martini


image   image image


Garnishes include:

edible gold leaf edible silver leaf 

Edible gold and silver leaf

edible diamonds for signature drinks edible gems for signature drinks 

Edible gems

gourmet flavored swizzle sticks 

Gourmet flavored swizzle sticks


gourmet flavored rimming blends gourmet flavored rimming blends for signature drinks

Gourmet flavored rimming blends


Dress the Drink


Tell me: How would you dress your drink?

How To Work Well With Your Wedding Coordinator: Vendor Edition

I’ve offered advice for how brides can get the most of their relationship with their wedding coordinator, and I realized that I needed to share a “vendor” edition as well.  Every wedding planner goes through this at some point, whether s/he has been planning the wedding from the beginning or is coming in to execute and produce the day. How this relationship works differently from that of the client/planner is that this could be a mutually beneficial relationship after an event.  Having a great working relationship makes for great event flow and future event production. Brides (and grooms!):  here are some things that we as planners love that you might be able to facilitate:

Answer (or at least CHECK) your email. You cannot send a timeline through a phone call and I strongly doubt anyone is going to snail mail you one.  A few times I’ve heard of vendors coming to a wedding without a clue of what was to happen at the wedding because they did not receive the timeline or event packet.  Inexcusable.  Even though we put out a few of these every weekend, and know the general pieces of a wedding day,  we cannot do a wedding over. A  prepared wedding professional is a better wedding professional. If you have not received a timeline or communication by 2 weeks prior to the wedding, contact your client’s wedding planner or client.

Insufficient Funds.  It is really best that you handle all financial transactions prior to the wedding; I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job, but it makes it so much easier on the planner and client when this is handled prior to the event.  The Mother of the Bride is not scrambling to find a checkbook and as a planner, I’m not forced to chase my bride down during her wedding to handle your income.  That sounds harsh, and I’m sorry—but I’m a wedding planner, not a hostage negotiator.  Let me explain.  This happens more often that not: a couple finds a few things wrong with your service and decide to withhold payment and decide how they should be remedied.  The vendor and client appeals to the wedding planner, who is then stuck in the middle.  Note to brides: Make a point to have all of your final payments to your vendors two weeks prior to your wedding day.

There Is Only One Diva Allowed…And It’s Not You.  Once again, harsh, but you didn’t come here for puppies and rainbows.  We (as planners) totally get that your job is important.  Other vendors think their job is equally important as well.  Each has its argument as to why they rank higher on the totem pole: photographers produce the images that will last far beyond the wedding day once everything else has faded away; the floral designer produces the floral designs that create the ambience and experience during the event; the caterer provides the food for guests to enjoy at the heart of the event, and the DJ provides the entertainment to get everyone moving and excited.  I get it. I hear it often.  I, however, am not moved. If it makes you feel better, it’s my job to “be in charge” of all of you in your infinite importance, your contribution and the event.  I’m like a mother with her children: you’re all important, and I don’t deal well with temper tantrums.  We’re here as a team.  Let’s make it fabulous.  There is only one diva, and that’s the one in the white dress.

Chow Time.  If you require a hot meal, please put it in your contract.  I’ve seen vendors throw fits (please see above to ascertain how you think that was received) over being presented with a box lunch from the venue.  If this is a topic that is of major importance for you, please revisit it when you conduct any final meetings/consultations with the client.  Please never assume that the client has made arrangements for you or knows what you want, and please don’t assume that a meal will be a hot one.  Note to brides:  Please check the type of meal you are ordering with your caterer or venue.  Some venues will “offer” a vendor meal to you at a “discounted” rate, but it is not what the rest of your guests are eating, it’s a $20 sandwich, apple and a bag of chips.  If one of your vendors requires a hot meal, it is good etiquette to provide hot meals for all of your vendors.

If You Make Changes or Have Needs, Please Let Us Know…Please. It is not enough to tell the client. They will forget. I promise you—they have other things to deal with and that is the reason why they hire their wedding planner. If you find out that they have a wedding planner, it is common, professional courtesy that you update us with changes or needs in addition to (or at best, in lieu of) the client.  If you have things you need returned, moved, etc. during or after the event, please let us know ahead of time.  We want to maximize and enhance your service, but please recognize you are one of many vendors that will assist with the wedding day.  We are all but a thread in the fabric of the event, and one snag can cause the entire garment to fray.  Please let us know of any changes so that we can see how that will affect other vendors and the event as a whole.

These are just some ways that you can work best with your client’s wedding coordinator? Have great experiences to share?  I’d love to hear them…leave a comment!

You Are Not Being Nickeled and Dimed. You Are Having A Wedding



Weddings are highly emotional events.  Even planning one can bring out the very best and worst of some people.  While this is an important and sensitive event that you plan, you come up against elements of event planning and business that you may have not encountered before in everyday life.  It can be hard making the distinction between your event and “business”. 

Understand, that your vendors know this is an important day for you.  It is an important day for us, too—as we truly want to bring out the best of your event.  And we do so by using the best of our talents and resources.  This is what you pay for.  All too often, sometimes the lines are blurred between the bridal couple and their wedding professionals.  When lines are blurred, couples assume that since they are such great friends with members of their event team, that they (the professionals) are more than happy to do small mundane tasks.  No, honey.  Those cost.  And it’s not a matter of you being nickeled and dimed, it’s a matter of paying for and respecting your wedding professionals’ time.

I understand that since this is a monumental, and at most occasions, a one time event, couples do not know protocol.  Here are some helpful hints:

  • Be sure your vendor’s service information is detailed.  If you have something specific you want or need done in your vendor’s capacity, ask if it is included. Typically, if it is not listed, it’s not included and you should be prepared to pay. This includes additional setup, consultation hours, etc.
  • Not only are you paying for quality, you are also paying for convenience.  No, you don’t want to be stuck the day (or day before) your wedding fluffing 80 tissue paper pom poms or picking up your liquor from a wholesaler.  True, you could do it yourself, but you would add stress and a time suck to your schedule.  The little things you don’t want to or have time to do?  Pay someone to do it, or don’t be upset when you are charged.  So when you pay your wedding planner or caterer to do these things, you are paying to make sure it is done correctly as well as your own convenience.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome.  That sounds harsh, but that is not the case.  On your contract, your wedding professional outlines the times of their service for you.  You aren’t renting a person, you’re paying for a service.  If you go over, be prepared to pay for any overtime outside of your contract.  We had a wedding that was scheduled to end at 8 PM.  I kid you not, no one danced the entire evening, until 7:55PM.  They were ready to get the party going, but the DJ’s contract was up at 8PM.  They ended up paying overtime, and surprisingly, didn’t dance again for the the rest of the night.  Situations like this are rare, but you should prepare for them nonetheless.
  • Don’t confuse line items with being nickeled and dimed.  This is a way for your vendor to ensure you understand what you are getting, you are being charged correctly and they haven’t left anything out.  It’s for your mutual benefit.  Some vendors can get overly detailed, but take it with a grain of salt and credit it to their business savvy.


These are just some tips to help you as you start your planning!  What have been your experiences been when working with vendors and their pricing?

Five Things Your Wedding Planner Absolutely Loves

love you

Your Ceremony and Reception Are In the Same Location.  Logistically, it makes things a lot easier for all the vendors involved.  It also makes for better planning and transition/flow into events.  If you are looking to have your ceremony at a house of worship, look into options that may be on the same grounds or adjacent to the property where the ceremony will be performed.  Great examples are Faith Chapel and near by Crane and Cherokee Cottages at the nearby Jekyll Island Club Hotel, or the Lovely Lane Chapel at Epworth by the Sea on Saint Simons Island.

You Trust His/Her Judgment.   Yes, we secretly get giddy inside when you say “You can do what you want… I trust you”.  We understand it takes a lot to get to that point, but it means a lot when you can trust that we will make the right decision on your behalf.  It also means a lot when you take our advice into consideration when making decisions.  Being able to see the event from all perspectives, and not have tunnel vision is the perk of being an event producer.  We can work best, and in your best interest when we are allowed to do what we do best. 

Cake.  We love cake.  Please give us some.  MANY a day has your favorite Terrica sat on the couch the day after a wedding shoving buttercream in her face, while watching FitTV. It’s like a national pastime.

You Stand Up For What You Want…Even With Us.  When your planner has been planning your wedding with you from the beginning, we begin to know your likes and dislikes.  We know what is important to you, and why.  We do get disheartened when family and/or friends talk you out of something that is very important to you.  It takes the sheen off your day a bit. Even though it is a community celebration, your wedding should still be indicative of your personalities as a couple. 

You Value His/Her Time…Space.  Even though your wedding planner strives to make you feel like you’re the only client, in reality, you are not.  In fact, the business is not the be all and end all of the planner’s life.  We are especially grateful when you make all of your appointments on time, notify us if you cannot, or cancel ahead of time.  Try to call or schedule appointments during office hours.  This is a heavily logistical job consisting of many details for many people—sometimes your planner may just want to decompress in the bathtub or go to their child’s play.  Observe personal boundaries—do not call the planner at home or text him/her if you were not given explicit permission to do so.  A well rested (as much as possible) planner is a great planner.

Bridal Boot Camp: The Montenegro Method



Uber gorgeous fitness expert, Marta Montenegro (MF, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT) introduces her latest venture, The Montenegro Method, a series of DVDs that fuses fitness, sports, and science.  Marta’s method is proof that a high intensity, athletic-based workout delivers the most efficient results, boosting your metabolism and burning fat even after you’re finished working out. The Montenegro Method is based on the fact that you only need 21 minutes for 21 days to get the lean body that you’ve always wanted.   The scientifically proven method will help you look your best for your upcoming wedding.

Marta has worked with many athletes and celebrities, including pros tennis players Carlos Moya, Fernando Verdasco, and Feliciano Lopez, as well as The Today Show’s Natalie Morales, The Real Housewives of New York’s Bethenny Frankel, and Extra’s Mario Lopez.

I had an opportunity to try out the method and it is intense—you feel every muscle working, and quickly.  I love a good work out that makes you feel like you’ve actually done something.  This method is perfect for brides wanting to get fit and in shape for your wedding day!

Neil Lane Bridal Collection

neil lane bridal jewelry collection with kay jewelers


As a fan of everything sparkly, I will admit that I was completely enamored with the new Neil Lane Bridal Collection from Kay Jewelers.  From celebrity weddings to Hollywood red carpets, over the past twenty years Neil Lane has become one of the most celebrated jewelry designers in the world.  As perhaps the first celebrity jewelry designer to partner with a major retailer and launch a bridal collection for the general public, he offers a very unique perspective.

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  /images/products/9906/990646402_MV_TB.jpg /images/products/9402/940201611_MV_TB.jpg

The designs are so extraordinary and timeless that they will stand the test of time as you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary.  The collection features 36 vintage-inspired engagement and wedding rings.  Priced between $2,599 and $7,799, the rings are grouped in the following themes:  Energy, Timeless, Essence and Harmony.  The collection is available in select markets and on

How to Work Well with Your Wedding Coordinator

crane cottage wedding at jekyll island club on jekyll island


So, the day is finally here!

All the hard work, preparation, planning and hard work is about to pay off.  You’ve, in your infinite wisdom, hired a wedding coordinator to protect your investment and allow you to actually enjoy  your wedding day.  Here are some tips if you decide to work with a personal wedding coordinator:

 Assume s/he knows nothing!  If your wedding coordinator is coming in about a month prior to your wedding (as most should), s/he hasn’t been with you throughout your planning process and doesn’t know the details of your wedding. Take this time to bring them up to speed and leave nothing out:  share your vendor contracts, disputes, ideas and changes so that they are able take everyone’s needs into consideration when building the timeline and coordinating other vendors.  For example, a typical mishap that occurs when  couples forget that their vendors have requested a meal for the wedding day (hot or otherwise).  Believe it or not, this can change the entire course of the day, but could’ve been easily prevented with earlier preparation.

Tell the family secrets.  The same thing applies to any important family history your coordinator needs to be aware of. If your parents do not get along, it would be highly problematic to seat them together.  If your sister is prone to dramatic displays or your maid of honor has a peanut allergy, again—let your coordinator know as far in advance as possible.  What may seem little to you could ultimately disrupt well-laid plans that have been set.

Get your stuff together.  If you are incorporating many DIY projects or personal items into your decor, you need to have them assembled, labeled, numbered, etc.  at least one week prior to the wedding.  It’s not really fair to dump a box of various pieces on your coordinator and her staff expecting them to turn your mess into fabulous.  Here are some great examples:

  • If you are utilizing escort cards, have them alphabetized and boxed, ready to be laid out.  If you are offering different meal selections, use a colored place card (as opposed to a card that holds a graphic of the meal choice). This makes it easier for the caterer’s staff to visually see who gets what at the table.  Be sure to  provide your coordinator with a list of the table assignments for each person.  This helps her work with your guests quickly if they become lost or there is a question as to table settings.
  • There are some decorative items that can be scored from retailers to add a personal, unique touch to your wedding.  Remember to use Goo Gone to remove any stickers/adhesive, scuff marks, etc. We typically keep some in our kit for emergencies, but it works best when it has a chance to sit on whatever is going to be removed. 
  • If you are particular as to how some elements should be pieced together, provide an image of what it is you want as well as detailed instructions.  Otherwise, you may be disappointed with what the staff comes up with.


Decide who will have the last word.  When your coordinator works with you to build your timeline and event preparation documents, it will be assumed the details are final.  It can be extremely frustrating to arrive and begin working on what has been decided and agreed upon to have someone come along (your mother, bridesmaids, etc.) change the entire flow of things because they feel their way is better.  These unauthorized changes have the potential of throwing off several other vendors who are relying on your coordinator’s information (timelines, setup docs, etc.).  What may seem like a small change can affect several other vendors.  Make sure that you give your coordinator or someone else who knows the entire scope of the wedding final authority. 


I know I have lots of other wedding planner/coordinator friends out there—what are some of your tips for working well with your coordinating team?

What’s Your Bridal Style? Bridal Style Quiz & Tips for Every Bride-to-Be

Wedding planning can be fun, but overwhelming.  There is no doubt that one can go into overload with details and ideas throughout the course of your planning.  At times, it can be easy to veer off of your path.  Luxury wedding expert, Nadia Digilov of Celebrating in Style has come up with this fantastic quiz to help you hone in on your event vision and style.  Here’s an example of one of the quizzes to help you focus on your event vision:

Which if the below accessories are you most likely to be seen in on a regular day:

A) A floral necklace
B) A bold statement bracelet
C) Flip-Flop shoes
D) A unique hair ornament/ headpiece

Which of the below activities is of most interest to you?

A) Reading interesting novels
B) Dancing
C) Playing a sport
D) Shopping for the latest trends

What is your favorite color?

A) Pink
B) Red
C) Blue
D) Orange

What would be your dream vacation?

A) Relaxing on a beautiful exotic beach
B) Exploring the festive streets of an exotic country like Brazil or Argentina
C) Staying active and exploring nature- hiking, rock climbing, or cycling
D) Visiting Paris for Fashion Week

Now count up you’re A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s!

If you picked mostly A’s, you are:  The Innocent Bride

image001 You prefer a more angelic look and love sprucing up your look with flowers, pastels, and more earthy accessories. When getting married, you will feel most comfortable choosing a gown that is more traditional. Traditional gowns are fitted on top and come out wide at the waist, in a princess-like manner. Top the look off with soft curls and accessories like white flowers, which can be real or an accessory of your choice decorated with crystals. However, as with any unique bridal styles this look is certainly not for every bride. Her innocent look is not something that can be recreated with the right makeup or the right dress; she will look this way no matter what she wears.  Just because the dress is fluffy and white does not mean that everyone will look adorable in it. So, flatter your fabulous self and accentuate your assets.



If you picked mostly B’s, you are: The Sensual Bride

image002 The sensual bride is bold and exciting; she takes risks and lives for passion. Physically, the sensual bride tends to have strong features and looks dignified and elegant with red lipstick rather than a made-up doll. Wearing white on your wedding day symbolizes virginity and purity but let’s face it, we don’t all have angelic faces nor care to look innocent, even on our wedding day. For this time of bride, a fitted gown accentuating the hips and waist, some red lipstick, an elegant hair twist and an attitude that says “I can rock this look” are the way to go. We have all seen women who are desperately trying to carry out the sensual style with an innocent bride look! It just looks unnatural. Therefore, if you have strong features, have a curvy body and look great in a mermaid fitted gown, this look is definitely for you! Keep in mind that dressing a little sexy on your wedding is okay, but it will be best to still make sure it is done in good taste.



If you picked mostly C’s, you are: The Casual Bride

image003 You’re a nature-lover, enjoy playing with the young ones, roughing it with the boys and you don’t mind getting dirty. Comfort is what you look for in clothes, and your wedding gown should be no exception.. The gowns that you will find surprisingly comfortable and casual, while still elegant for your wedding are different variations of the Grecian-inspired dresses. These gowns are flowing and comfortable yet elegant and sultry. They are fitted at the bust and flow to the ground. To top off the look,, try accentuating the hair with soft waves or with braids on the sides of the head. This look is great for a bride who has always dreamed of a beach wedding or a casual destination wedding.



If you picked mostly D’s, you are: The Trendy Bride

image004 You’re the girl setting the trends not following them. You have always been considered a trendsetter, and therefore your wedding day should be no exception. For the Trendy Bride, gone is the day when putting together a bridal look was all about tradition. You’re the girl most likely to revolutionize the bridal look once and for all! A note to all brides, this look is very difficult to pull off unless you are the Carry Bradshaw of your circle, I mean, who else can pull off a bird in their hair on their wedding day? Dare to add color to your gown, accessorize with interesting hats and hair-pieces, add a statement necklace, or even opt for a short gown. The sky is the limit for the Trendy bride, but stay true to your body type and skin complexion. You’ve always known how to pull off any look, so make sure you’re working with what you know and not totally stepping out of your best looks.

Remember, no matter what category you fall under, it’s all about confidence. A bride needs to “own” her look and feel comfortable carrying out a style. Choosing the look that will fit your personality will bring out your inner happiness, confidence and ultimately result in an amazing wedding day experience for the fabulous and stylish you!


image006 Nadia Digilov is New York’s premier luxury wedding expert and the founder and CEO of NYC based event production firm Celebrating in Style, After several years on the trading floors of the largest investment banks on Wall Street, her passion for production led her to begin creating luxury events that leave lasting impressions. Since 2002 Nadia has created weddings, corporate events, concerts, trade shows, and marketing events in major cities around the world; including New York, Miami, Moscow, Tel Aviv and St. Petersburg. For those getting married in New York City or the tri-state area,

Photography by Emma Cleary, and courtesy of Nadia Digilov,

Perfect Wedding Dress Body

Trying to get that last minute wedding dress body? You probably want to focus on your arms, shoulders, and back which are normally exposed in the mass majority of wedding dresses. If you are running close to time of your big day you can do spot training but I recommend you do basic cardio along with the “spot” exercises. Plus in order to live a healthy life with your new mate it’s recommended by the CDC to engage in 60 minutes of vigorous activities daily that increase your heart rate. But Back to the Basic we are in crunch time of your big day. Let’s start by drinking plenty of water so you stay hydrated during your cardio workouts and eat a healthy diet.

For a basic workout to have you looking fabulous on your big day. You want to start by doing simple free-weight lifting with a max of 10 lbs because if you’re anything like me you get results in your arms real quick and you don’t want to look like Hulk Hogan on your “Big Day”. Some other ways to sculpt your arms if equipment is available you can get an stability ball and a medicine ball and lay flat on your back and hold the ball Holding medicine ball with both hands, lie face-up on stability ball with head and shoulder blades resting on its center, knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat so that torso feet are parallel to the floor so that torso is parallel to the floor. Keeping abs engaged and hips lifted, extend arms toward ceiling, directly over shoulders. This also is a good workout for your abs. You can do 1 or 2 sets of reps at a time.

Another focus point can be your shoulders. A good way to get your shoulders looking wedding gown ready is to do simple shoulder rotations. Shoulder rotations work the rotator cuff which can define muscles in your deltoid, upper back, and can show definition of your bicep muscles. You can add a light weight if you would like but this can be done without as well. And I would avoid this exercise if you currently have any back problems or discomfort

With these two spot exercising techniques, adequate water, and proper eating you are on your way to looking like a fabulous  bride with your back and arms out. Not only will guest be admiring your dress but they also will be asking about your exercise routine.