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Event Vision 101: Scale Up

eventvision101

At times, it is far easier to think about your details and their place in the grand scheme of things, rather than to be overwhelmed with all of them at once.  Instead of thinking of the entire reception, think of one table.  This is the only table that needs your attention, the only table that will convey your event’s personality

 

Close your eyes. 

 

Tell me about it.

 

What colors are on the table?  Are they deep and rich?  Soft and light?  Run your hand across the table—what textures do you feel?  Soft satin?  Crinkly bichon? How does the table make you feel?  What about your place setting and glasses?  Is it modern or traditional?  Eclectic or romantic?  Do you feel an ambient glow on your face?  Is it coming from small votives?  Thick pillars, or floating candles?

 

Take a whiff.

Which fragrant aromas are present? Open your eyes—what flowers are on your table? What do their containers look like?  Glass or silver vases? Tall, square or cylinder?  Low to the table?  What shape is your table—oblong or round? What about your chairs—are they casual or elegant? Think about a quiet dinner with your  love, and holding hands across this beautifully designed table. If the table was the only thing in the room, where would you feel that you were?  The key is to create an experience at each table for all guests to enjoy, and duplicate it for the remaining tables. You could choose to create a slightly different experience, by using different linens or centerpieces. 

 

Start small, scale up. 

The Lie the Wedding Magazine Told You…

oxycleanguy

I’m not the Oxy Clean guy.

There is never a “But WAIT!  There’s MORE!” moment with me.

There is no “but if you call right now, we’ll double the offer” moment.

Ever.

Just to clarify, I’m not this guy either:

I sell provide a service that includes my creativity and expertise. It does not consist of discounts.

While that’s not the “lie” that they told you outright, I feel that we should clear up a tragic misconception.  This misconception has been flagrant in the economic climate where the funds that were once set aside for your wedding have been diminished and depleted.  Everyone is looking to save money. I don’t blame you.

So, the thing that really molds my lip gloss is when the glossies and some blogs perpetuate the role of a wedding planner as a walking talking coupon code or Entertainment Book (remember how you had to sell those in school?).  I believe they say things like “A good wedding planner will save you money with her vendor relationships, who in turn will provide you with discounts”.

Oh, really? No. Not quite.

Let me tell you what a good wedding planner will do:

  • A good wedding planner will never publicly or privately purport to you that she can get you exorbitant discounts.  This is something that is never guaranteed.  Unless, she is discounting her own service and pricing.
  • A good wedding planner will save you money by matching you with vendors that fit against his/her stringent wedding budget and event vision criteria.  S/he already knows who to go to—s/he knows which vendors to go to for what it is you need that will be in your price range and maximize your dollar for your event vision. By doing the footwork of research, preliminary and sample orders for you, s/he has saved you time.  Which is almost the same as saving you money.
  • A good wedding planner will always pass along any professional courtesies to his/her clients and refrain from taking kickbacks or markups on the client’s order.
  • A good wedding planner understands that to get “the best deal” or price is relative to each particular client. The best “deal” may be a completely non-traditional workup of the menu that the caterer does not typically do, or a service or product upgrade.
  • A good wedding planner has worked years for his/her vendor relationships, and continues to do so; s/he does not violate, abuse, or manipulate them in such a casual manner,as some of the antiquated wedding advice columns perceive.  S/he knows, not only as a creative professional, but a business owner, the enumerable costs of overhead, taxes, staff salaries, etc. that factors into a vendor’s pricing.  S/he appreciates when discounts are given to her clients, but knows that they are always at the vendor’s discretion, and never guaranteed.

  • A good wedding planner will tell you this.

A good client will not rely on potential discounts, but can plan their wedding on a budget they can actually afford. They understand the ??less is more” concept, understanding that if budget is truly an issue, the guest list may need to be cut, or the vision may need to be scaled back.

Check out other wedding planning myths you can’t afford to believe.

10 Tips from 10 Wedding Planners

tips

One of the benefits of reading wedding blogs is that you get so much insight from fellow planners and brides.  I decided to ask some of the planners I think are outstanding to share a few of their favorite tips with Fabuluxe™ readers. Be sure to check them out, too!

“Hire vendors you trust, then let them do their jobs.”  Sara Bauleke • Bella Notte
“Start work on your seating assignments early as this becomes a MAJOR task as you get closer to the wedding…. when you make your guest list, purchase plain white, cheap paper plates and a pack of sticky notes…..write each guests name on a sticky note and arrange them in groups by family, friends or co workers around the paper plate about 8-10 on a plate ( as most 60” round banquet tables seat 8-10).”

Mark Kingsdorf • Queen of Hearts Weddings | BLOG

“Do you dread negotiating with vendors on their prices?  Wedding vendors need to support their lives too so most aren’t willing to drop their fees just because you ask.  The best way to get a good deal is to tell the vendor what amount you’re able to spend.  Then see how they can customize their services to fit your budget.  Perhaps the photographer will knock out the parent album that you don’t need anyway.  Maybe the DJ will leave the spinning club lights at home.  Or perhaps the caterer will suggest that you skip the mini dessert buffet and only serve wedding cake.  You may be surprised at how customized your vendors will make their packages in order to earn your business.” Laura Auer • Wish Special Events | BLOG
“Don’t get caught up in a particular shade of “pink” or “blue” when choosing your colors!  Different hues of a color will give your decor and overall wedding style that “designer” look.  Gone are the days of everything matching as well.  Bridesmaids dresses in gradient shades is a HAUTE look!”
Wendy Robinson • Sacred Moment Weddings | BLOG
“If you really want a unique wedding, stop looking for inspiration in wedding magazines.” Monica Gill •   The White Box | BLOG
“If having an outdoor ceremony, be considerate of your bridesmaids who may be wearing heals.  Consider purchasing them Solemates It keeps them from sinking into the grass.”  Latrice Cushenberry •  Bridal Opulence Weddings and Events | BLOG
“Keep all wedding related information in one place. Don’t have piles all over the house, and one at work, and one in the car, and don’t forget about the one that you have in the bathroom.  If you keep all of your wedding contracts, correspondence, emails, pages you’ve pulled out of magazines in one place, you will feel more organized. And if you need something, you will know exactly where it is. If your wedding consultant asks to see a copy of the contract, you know where it is – if you need to check the floral order, you know where it is.”

Melissa DiStefano •  MasterPiece Weddings | BLOG

“Consider a brunch reception if you are planning your wedding on a shoestring.”  Shanika Butts • SJB Weddings and Events | BLOG
“Add a line item to your budget for vendors that need to receive gratuities such as limo drivers, beauticians, etc. This can add up and it is so important to account for it at the beginning.”  Saundra Hadley • Planning…ForeverBLOG
“Make the timeline realistic and plan for all the activities you want. For instance, if you want to take pictures before the ceremony, please don’t ask the bridal party to show up only 2 hours before the ceremony, then say “If they’re late, then they won’t be in the pictures.”In reality you are going to WAIT for them because those are your friends or MOTHER,  and you really want them to be in the photos.  Plan accordingly to avoid any tardiness, tantrums and hurt feelings.”

Katasha Butler •  K.Sherrie + Co. | BLOG

Thank you to all of the planners that were so gracious with their time to participate. You all offered some wonderful tips and I know you will create more fabulous events in 2009.  Stay tuned for more tips from other wedding pros.

Miss Fix It: Hollister Medical Adhesive

 

 

Hollister’s is typically used to adhere prosthetics to the body, but it has so many other glorious uses in the world of beauty and fashion. 

 

 

Remember this dress?

 

 

Yeah, well it wasn’t staying on by the grace of God, that’s for sure.

 

Now, while I can’t say for sure that J.Lo used Hollister’s specifically, I will say her stylists used something similar.  Use for extra security for strapless pads, halter dresses, or when you want straps to stay put.  My tips? Spray on to you—not your clothing.  Wait for it to dry and apply your clothing carefully.   For those heavy duty jobs, spray into a small cup and let it thicken.  Apply with Q-Tip or old makeup brush and follow the instructions above.  Whatever you do, just don’t think you’ll master it on the first try.  Be sure to give yourself practice.

 

When double sided tape isn’t enough—choose Hollister’s!

My 6 Yr Old Could Plan Your Wedding

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 This is an actual drawing done by my kids.  Yes, that is a martini glass, and a wedding cake with Batman and Barbie on top; next to a birthday cake with candles.

Having kids is a wonderful, exhilarating, tiring, but completely rewarding experience.  I watch my six year old interact and gain so much inspiration.  You should totally let her plan your wedding.  Here is what she can teach you:

 

  • Go buy a 64 pack of crayons.  It’s okay to experiment with color.
  • Share.  People will like you more.
  • Nobody likes it (or you) when you’re Little Miss Bossy. 
  • Have fun.  That’s what it’s all about. 
  • Try something new.  You might like it. 
  • Listen to your mom.  She can be right most of the time, as irritating as it may be.
  • Tantrums rarely work.
  • It’s ok cry.

 

As the old adage says “Out of the mouth of babes”.

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should…

When you are planning your wedding, it is quite tempting to consider your own wants and needs throughout the process.  Throwing a “never-you-mind” attitude at bridesmaids, future-in-laws, and guests may feel good momentarily, but the repercussions to follow may be long lasting.   Let’s consider the following scenarios:

You totally disregard your bridesmaids’ objections to your choice of dressYour maids are less than thrilled with the dress you’ve picked out for them.  It looks great on the model—who is every bit of 95 pounds soaking wet and with her hair extensions in.  Your bridesmaids however are real world women.  They have curves, pouches, hips, thighs or none of the above.  So what looked great on the model looks like death on your bridesmaids.

You can: Use your carte blanche: “But it’s my wedding…” argument.  So, instead of having fabulous pictures of you and your best friends—you now have pictures of you looking fabulous and all of your bridesmaids having the “stomach virus” face, because they are so disgusted and completely uncomfortable in their dress.

You should: Offer dresses that come in both regular and plus sizes or allow your friends to choose between at least two dresses in the same color.  No one said it is absolutely mandatory for them all to wear the same thing.  FYI—it’s not.  Show some personality, and let them pick what they want.  After all, they are stuck with the dress after the wedding.

Your future mother-in-law wants to throw you a bridal shower and you are less than thrilledYou would much rather that she come to the shower planned by your maid of honor.  You don’t know why she has to be a prima donna and have her own shower.  You won’t know half the people there, and it’s not about her.  It’s about you.  At least, that’s what you keep telling everyone.

You can:  Fake sick or pull your own diva move and say that you won’t go:  there is only one shower (which is being thrown by your MOH) and she can be there or not.  All the while, you can ignore the pleas from your poor fiance who just wants you both to get along.

You should: Play nice.  If you refuse to go, you win the battle but lose the war.  Life does happen after the shower.  You still have the wedding to attend, and you do not want your future MIL and her family/guests to feel slighted at your wedding.  Trust me—you will be able to cut the tension with a knife, and your wedding will not be a blending of two families, but a scene from West Side Story.  Okay, so what your FMIL wants her own shower?  Look at it as her opportunity to show her personal affection for you to all of the important people in her life.  There will be plenty of opportunities to merge families after the wedding.

Remember it’s a celebration of your engagement and wedding, but it’s not about only you.  It’s about every one involved that chooses to celebrate with you.

Event Vision 101: Personality

eventvision101

 

Finding your event’s personality is crucial.  I no longer like to say the term “theme” because it’s a bit antiquated and can be a bit stifling.  However, just like a theme, having more than one at your event can be confusing and distracting.  No good ever came out of anything with multiple personalities—this includes your wedding.  Your  event’s personality could be inspired by color, a location, a jewel, an era, or even food!  How does it make you feel when you think of it?  What does it make you want to do the second the thought of it enters your mind?  In other words, if your event were a person, who would it be?  How would it smell?  What would it look like?  How would it feel? 

Starting off with very basic questions in the beginning of your planning process can be helpful to get you to discover facets of your design that you hadn’t originally considered. Also, asking them halfway through your planning allows you to make sure you are staying on track and can steer away from an event vision exorcism. 

Ask yourself—if your long lost friend had missed your wedding, how would you describe it to them?  What would you create that would be the most memorable for you, as well as your guests?  Could you sum up your event vision in just five words?  What words or feelings would then stem from that? 

 

You will find that your event’s personality is born right before your eyes.

Four ‘Secrets’ You Shouldn’t Keep From Your Planner

The secret

 

If you want a successful and productive relationship with your event team, keeping secrets are a “no-no”—yes, even accidentally on purpose. It is similar to the relationship with your doctor or lawyer; if you want us to really help you, we do need to know everything.  I typically tell my clients what my Contract Law professor told me:  “Clients should tell you everything, and you can decide what’s not important”.  This is very true, and rings true in our profession.  We represent you to your caterer, florist, venue—practically everyone you come in contact with.  Therefore, it is imperative that we always stay on the same page.  Lack of communication and embarrassment can and has been the downfall of what could have been beautiful weddings.

 

1. The budget changes  If for any reason your budget increases or decreases, you need to let your planner know as soon as possible.  Your planner bases his/her recommendations based on the event’s personality, the dynamic between you and the vendor providing a service, but also on your budget.   Any changes in your budget may put you in a different price bracket—either allowing you to choose between a higher caliber vendor or cause you find a more economical resource.  Fear not, your planner can help you by creating a new set of priority shifts to meet your new budget to ensure you get what you want and need.

 

2.  The family dynamic is off  Some families have issues—others have subscriptions.  And that is okay.  If your parents are divorced and your mother would like to literally rip the face off of your stepmother or if the groom’s brother is the undependable black sheep of the family, your planner needs to know.  To avoid any gaffes at the rehearsal or planning of the day, be sure to let her know of any rough edges either family may have.  If you feel more comfortable discussing these potential pitfalls with your planner one-on-one, definitely take the time to do so.  Your planner does this often enough to be able to foresee any mishaps and help you avoid them.

 

3.  Critical vendor changes  We want you to be proactive with all of your vendors, just be sure to keep us in the loop.  If you ordered 20 burgundy bichon table linens, but then change it to 25 merlot lamours, your planner definitely needs to know.  If you fire a vendor or change their service, it’s best to let your planner know as soon as possible.  Do not assume that a change is too small to notify your planner; one simple change can cause a logistical nightmare.  Since s/he will be responsible for confirming services and executing your day, having the latest, correct information is not optional.

 

4.  You are not happy with his/her service  Do not suffer in silence.  Your planner is there to assist and guide you, not to be a hindrance to you enjoying your planning and special day.  If your expectations are not being met, please bring them to your planner’s attention.  Ask your planner if you could have an outline as to when you should expect certain things to be done.  I am quite sure that your planner will welcome the opportunity to better assist you.

 

Remember: open lines of communication…always.

Cocktails & Details Virtual Soiree: Look Who’s Coming!

 

We’ve got some extra special planners for Thursday’s Virtual Soiree.  These planners have made their marks, not only in their respective areas, but also in the industry. In addition to learning so much from these ladies, I am also privileged to call them friends.  I know that our invitees will benefit greatly from their advice, humor and candor!

 

saundra hadley of planning foreverSaundra Hadley of Planning…Forever

The industry’s first event engineer, Saundra has created a following with her blog that encompasses her quick wit, attention to detail and boundless creativity.  Planning and designing out of Evansville, Indiana, she and her staff cater to their clientele by providing practical, yet fun and personal solutions for their events.  As she strives to make all of her couples feel “like a guest at their own weddings”, she also enjoys the purpose of her work. Her beautiful smile, creative ideas, infectious laughter and drive to execute her clients’ weddings to the best of her ability makes her a wonderful addition to our Virtual Soiree.  In addition to seeing Saundra as FOX 7’s wedding planner, she will also be speaking at Eventology in Indianapolis, Indiana in April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image Emilie Duncan of Emilie Duncan Event Planning

Our Virtual Soiree attendees will benefit from Emilie’s personal attention and passion for color and creativity.  Emilie feels that it is an honor to participate in each of her clients’ weddings, thusly blowing their minds about any preconceived notions about what it is to have a wedding planner.  Having received training in floral and cake design and decoration, photography and more, Her clients are able to benefit from the many experiences of this talented planner.  Emilie has been a featured expert in such publications as Bridal Guide, Columbus Monthly, Weddings in Cleveland and Weddings InStyle.

 

 

 

 

 

[kbulter-headshots-20w.JPG]Katasha Butler of K.Sherrie & Co.

As the brains and beauty behind K.Sherrie & Co. and Eventology, Katasha seeks to infuse her brand of couture luxury service into each event her company takes on.  Possessing the artistic flair, creativity and drive it takes to pull off a fantastic wedding, Katasha began her own boutique wedding company in 2006.  With impeccable taste and an acute attention to detail, she truly adds a different touch to each client’s event.  In 2009, Katasha will launch her first conference for wedding professionals, Eventology , in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageLaura Auer of Wish Special Events

One of the freshest faces of event planning on the East Coast, Laura Auer and her fantastic team execute flawless events with plenty of personality.  Understanding and providing the high level of customer service that she feels her client are entitled to, Laura draws not only from her education at James Madison University’s Special Events program, but also from her experience as a former bride.   Her access to vast resources and some of the best vendors has made her an invaluable asset to her clients.

 

 

Invitations have been sent out to a select number of brides!  If you would like to get in on our next virtual soiree, be sure to send us an email at blog {at} fabuluxeinc.com. 

Southern Weddings Magazine Launch Party

Southern Weddings Magazine

 

I had the honor of attending the Southern Weddings magazine launch party in Atlanta at the Dogwood Restaurant.  Lara and her talented team with the help of some other great pros put together an awesome party.  The party was a hit!  I am so glad that I made the trip and got to see so many good friends.  If you’ve been a fan of the Southern Weddings blog, this is a definite treat.

Ginger of Ginger Dupre Photography :: The Fabulous Scarlett Lillian  :: Lara Casey of Southern Weddings and The Bliss Event Group :: Me 🙂

Latrice Cushenberry of Bridal Opulence :: Eliana Baucicault of By Your Side Events :: Katasha Butler of K.Sherrie & Co. :: Melanie Carter of Lucky Paperie (I love her, her baby…who isn’t so much a baby now LOL and her phenomenal work!)

Lara Casey being a wonderful hostess!

Lara and Katasha

Our gang with David Batson a wonderful designer, who kept calling me “Beyonce Girl” all night. He is hilarious.  Can’t wait to work with him.

 

Scarlett and Katasha

 

 

Me and David!

 

Ally of Unforgettable Soirées with Katasha

 

Me and Lara

Latrice and I..and, Latrice: you may say I made you look short, but your hair had extraordinary swag…

 

Me and Scarlett! I just love her! (I might have to make this my wallpaper on the iPhone LOL!)

 

 

I loved these shots from Scarlett too:

 

 

We had an awesome time!  The next day, Scarlett introduced me to Mellow Marshmallow where she, Ginger, Melanie (along with the adorable Miss Zoë), Eliana and Katasha.  I cannot wait to meet up with some of these ladies again when I, along with Liene of Blue Orchid Designs and Saundra of Planning…Forever speak at Eventology 2009.

 

Wish you were there?  Here are some other posts about the awesome party!

 

Scarlett Lillian

Eliana @ By Your Side Events The Venue | The Details | The People

Latrice @ Bridal Opulence Recap | The People

Tara @ Lavish Events

Emily Nickole

 Budget Savvy Bride