St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | ceremony
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How to Avoid Murder Charges at Your Wedding Rehearsal

…Or “Tips for  a Successful Wedding Rehearsal”

Planning your wedding with its intricate details can all be for naught if it falls to pieces when being run through your “dry run”.  Your wedding rehearsal allows you to get yourself, bridal party and necessary vendors acquainted with what you plan to do for your wedding.  At the worst of times however, a wedding rehearsal can be stressful for some brides and  like herding cats. 

Even if you are working with a wedding planner, here are some tips that will make your wedding rehearsal run smoothly and efficiently:

Tell your participants to arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the “real” start time. Depending on the complexity of your ceremony and size of your bridal party, your rehearsal should last anywhere between 30-60 minutes.  Nothing is worse than being in the middle of the rehearsal, and finding out that your bridesmaid isn’t there.  Give yourself some cushion time so that even if people arrive late, they are still on time to get the rehearsal started.

If possible, rehearse where your wedding will be. If your wedding is outside, rehearse at the ceremony site.  Only use a second location as your worse case scenario.  If you have to have a backup for your ceremony, make sure everyone knows where it is and if any changes must be made in order to have the ceremony there.

Have everyone that is participating in the ceremony at the rehearsal. This includes all readers, soloists, members of the bridal party, grandparents, etc.  Again, you cannot have a successful rehearsal if people are missing.  Moreover, be sure to walk though with all mothers and grandmothers and their escorts so that they know where to be, walk and sit prior to the ceremony. People will be able to confidently perform their duties when they’ve had an opportunity to practice them first.

Have a partial setup for prosperity.  If you are having large arrangements, tables for a unity ceremony as well as seating.  If you have a special entrance, rituals or layout, it is much more helpful to have some of these items in place to assist for good practice.

Meet your bridal party the night before or earlier in the day before the rehearsal.  Also, do not invite non-participants to the rehearsal.  This is another way that your rehearsal can double in time.  People will want to meet and greet, reunite and hang out at the rehearsal.  Because everyone is so excited and being social, it is much harder to get everyone to do what they are supposed to.  Meeting for lunch, tea, beer, or whatever, helps everyone to come ready to rehearse and comfortable with the rest of the bridal party.  Likewise, avoid having non-participants congregating at the rehearsal for similar reasons.  They will want pictures, hugs, and conversations and while this is fine, it is not the place for the rehearsal.  Ultimately, it could cause you to run over your time at the rehearsal and into your time for the rehearsal dinner. 

 

All of these tips will help you have a successful rehearsal and avoid the many pitfalls and time wasting activities that can draw out the process. 

Allison and Charles :: St. Simons Lighthouse Wedding Planner

St. Simons Lighthouse Heritage Center Wedding

 Fourth of July always has a sentimental meaning for me.  It’s the day I had my first date with my husband and it was my original due date for my daughter.  This year, it has a new meaning, as I had the opportunity to spend and share it with Allison and Chuck, who were married on St. Simons Island.  This wedding was so much fun, and even though the growing crowds on the island had the entire vendor team on pins and needles, the wedding went off flawlessly!  Having worked with Allison and her mom all those months was such a joy.  When I finally saw Allison moments before she walked down the aisle, we both broke into the tears and hugged repeatedly.  I still laugh when I think about it; I hear her mother say “Alright, girls. Cut it out”.

St Simons Lighthouse Wedding

To celebrate Chuck’s Scottish heritage, Allison surprised him by having the fabulous bagpiper Jim Sloan perform for the ceremony.  The adorable ringbearer was a doll—he followed (very seriously, I might add) behind the flower girl and tiptoed around her dropped petals, stating he “didn’t want to step on her pretty flowers”…

St. Simons wedding in gazebo at St. Simons LIghthouse

 Allison’s mother was fabulous—she was so creative by making the centerpieces and so many other elements of the wedding.  They coordinated perfectly with the silk and lamour linens in the beach inspired colors of sand, french blue and ivory.  The elevated sweetheart table was draped in both taupe silk and caviar pearl beaded chiffon, which complemented the floating candle and starfish centerpieces.  The casual beach vibe strewn with gerbera daisies and roses was pulled together with the ladies and gents in their wedding attire and flip flops and starfish and sand in the decor—all beside an oceanside setting.  There were so many sweet details:  female guests received beach cookie cutters, while the gentleman received custom golf balls. All guests were treated to guest baskets with items inspired or about St. Simons Island.

Beach inspired shell centerpieces

St Simons Lighthouse Wedding

One thing I loved about the wedding is the laughter.  There were so many great people, reunions and fun moments at the wedding.  Allison and Chuck had a “Second First Dance” song:  Adam Sandler’s “Grow Old With You” (hence the huge laugh on Allison’s face above).  The boots in the earlier picture were from Allison’s dance with her dad—they started out to “Isn’t She Lovely”, which then turned into a rousing rendition of “Cotton Eyed Joe”!

heritage center st simons wedding

I had  such a great time helping to bring together Allison and Chuck’s event vision and working with Allison and her mom.  Now I have another reason to love July 4th.

 

Special thanks to Spencer and Anna Clark for the photos.

Tips for Planning a Caribbean Destination Wedding from Porto Cupecoy

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St. Maarten’s gorgeous Porto Cupecoy has shaped up to be one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean with its Mediterranean-inspired village, the camaraderie of a private white-glove marina, and  what they describe as “Cosmopolitan Living”.  Be sure to check out the gorgeous video of the Porto Cupecoy property.  They were kind enough share their tips for planning a Caribbean destination wedding with our readers:

 

A beach wedding in a tropical country is the stuff dreams are made of. A Caribbean destination wedding can be magical and exciting – and a great way to "get away from the everyday". While planning a wedding outside of your hometown does have its complications, there’s no reason to have a wedding disaster in paradise – if you follow a few tips.

Make it Legal
.  Make sure you are aware of the wedding requirements of the destination (they vary from place to place) and you want to make sure your wedding will be legally recognized  (e.g. requirements for the Caribbean Island of St. Martin/Saint Maarten

Tropical or Bust?  Consider what the weather will be like that time of year.  An off-season wedding might be cheaper – but might not be as tropical as you might be hoping for.

Plan Ahead.  Destination Weddings may sound impulsive – but they require a great deal of planning.  Many recommend booking flights and resorts up to 10 months in advance.

Hire Help.  You probably have enough to think about without trying to research every aspect of your wedding – especially in another country and timezone. While you might like the control of planning everything yourself, hiring an on-site wedding planner who has local connections – or getting someone with experience planning in your intended destination – may be just the stress-reliever you need.

Be wardrobe aware.  High heels aren’t great in the sand and many standard wedding outfits will make you – and your wedding party – swelter in the heat.  Think light. (Or to borrow the Cover Girl motto, think: "Easy, Breezy, Beautiful")

Be clear about your budget – and that of others.  Some sites have calculators so you can plan effectively.  Remember that some of your guests won’t be able to afford to go to your destination, so make sure that the people you most want to attend can afford to go – or budget to cover their costs.

Choose the perfect place.  Porto Cupecoy (http://www.portocupecoy.com) is the perfect tropical location for a 2010 wedding. Porto Cupecoy is a luxury residence on the island paradise of St. Martin. While it’s primarily a residence, it will also be an ideal location for special events, like weddings, when construction is complete later this fall.  The Porto Cupecoy Marina Village is located on Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Martin, one of the most beautiful locations in the Caribbean and the perfect backdrop for any wedding. 

Saint Simons and Jekyll Island Wedding Pros on Twitter

If you are a member of Twitter, you have probably become addicted like most—but did you know some of Saint Simons and Jekyll Island’s wedding professionals are on Twitter, too?  That’s right—now you can keep up with your favorite wedding photographers, wedding cake bakers, florists, and wedding ceremony and reception venues.  Get to know them, learn about great tips for your wedding or happenings in the area. Being between such beautiful and unique cities like Savannah and Jacksonville, I’ve included some great wedding professionals that are in that area, too!

Follow Chris Moncus of Chris Moncus Photography

Follow Scott Seckinger of Serendipity Bakery

Follow Griffin Bufkin of Southern Soul Barbecue

Follow Dan and Sheila Zynda of Mobile Music

Follow Donna Von Bruening of Donna Von Bruening Photography

Follow The Beachview Club of The Beachview Club

Follow Caroline Carter of Events by Caroline

Follow Beachview Tent Rentals of Beachview Tent Rentals

Follow Morgan Gallo of Morgan Gallo Events

Follow Bradford and Melanie Watson of La Dolce Vita Studio

Follow Cassandra Cherneski of Flaire Weddings

Follow Teresa Earnest of Memories N’ More

Follow Scarlett Lillian of Scarlett Lillian

Follow Tricia Huddas of Tricia  Huddas & Co.

Follow Christina LeMarr of Sentimental Visions

Follow Trevor Jenkins of 98 Productions

Follow Kara Pennington of Kara Pennington Photography

Follow Heather Burge of Bleu Belle Bridal Salon

Follow Agnes Lopez of Agnes Lopez Photography

Follow Jekyll Island of Jekyll Island

Follow Anna and Spencer of Anna and Spencer Photography

And of course, don’t forget about us!  Follow Terrica from Cocktails + Details  on Twitter.

Fabuless Monday: The DIY Etched Glass Vase

Great stuff over at Casa Sugar, the DIY Etched Glass Vase. I spoke about something similar during one of our podcasts– making a DIY Memorial Vase for your ceremony or reception, but this takes it to a fabulous higher level.

I will try this when the mini people aren’t completely monopolizing my time (or holding it hostage)– I have been dying to do something different with all the vases I get from delivered flowers or ones I score from Walmart for dirt cheap.

For directions, follow the yellow brick road:  http://casasugar.com/1094404

Have fun, luxelings!

Photo:  Casa Sugar

Why You Won’t Hire US

I recently outlined several reasons why I would not hire someone– and I thought, well what about vendors? Why wouldn’t a bride hire a certain wedding vendor? Then it came to me….

You won’t hire us because:

1.) We talk too much Brides love talking with people about their weddings. Key word: their. Be respectful of her time– keep your pitch to a minimum and answer her questions concisely. As a professional who has to work with vendors on a daily basis, I meet a lot of vendors who are considerate and some who just won’t shut up. I drink shots of bleach before I have to call them.

2.) We play games. Don’t doubletalk and don’t avoid her questions about pricing. You dodging the “How much is” question will only build mistrust and lack of respect. Give her what she’s asking for, but also clarify your benefits. Don’t quote her a price one day and then something different the next day. Your trust factor just went out the window.

3.) We are indifferent I had one client tell me she did not want to work with a particular vendor because they were not “excited enough” about her wedding. Professionally, it can be hard to exude and gush excitement with every phone call, email and meeting. We’re people too– we have lives, problems, and pains too. But, from a bride’s point of view, this is the most important day in her life. She wants someone that she feels cares about her wedding. So while you can’t be Mary Sunshine with every communication, with the money she’s paying you, you’d better put forth a good effort.

4.) We have no idea what we are talking about This can come from overselling our services to a point that we get into a situation where we underdeliver. This can also come from inexperience and lack of education.

5.) Our presentation is just God awful It’s clear and simple: the eye buys. If our websites, brochures, and emails are of poor quality– literally, no one is buyin’ what we’re sellin’.

6.) We think our stuff doesn’t stink, but the flies are giving us away It doesn’t matter what TV show we’ve been on, how many magazines we’ve been in, or what superstar venue we work for; if we allow our egos to get in the way of providing stellar, non-judgmental service, we’re worthless.

7.) We have no connections We need someone who can vouch for us– who says, “YES! I’ve worked with them before and they are great at what they do”. This adds validity and security to the client, as she can see we’re constantly building our business contacts.

8.)  The only wedding we’ve planned is our own  And that’s all I’ll say about that….before I have the knottie planners burning me in effigy.

9.)  We get caught in a lie, half-truth or controversy  Brides do their research as much as we research them (yes, we research our clients 🙂 ).  It is far better to be honest and communicate effectively any misunderstandings or controversy.

10.)  We are way too aggressive in getting the client  Brides don’t want to bombarded with emails, postal mail and telephone calls everyday.  She’s a big girl. If she wants to hire you– she will.  Don’t shove the concept down her throat.

Hopefully, these are some things that will help brides differentiate the fabulous vendors from the desperate or inexperienced ones.

Happy Planning!

5 Venue Assets that Will Fabuluxe Your Wedding

zaza I know what the mags tell you– they tell you to ask these incessant (and sometimes unnecessary) questions when looking for your venue space.  You may have an idea as to what you are looking at or looking for in a venue– but do you know how to capitalize on what is there to make your event the envy of your friends?

 

You want your venue to have:

 

1.)  Personality–  Boring events start with boring venues.  If a site jumps out at you, it will also jump out at your guests.  And of course, boring is all relative.  Nevertheless, you still want a venue that reflects your personality and adds panache to your event overall. It should jump out at you and say "I’M THE ONE!" as soon as you walk in the door.  Is it an old mansion?  A trendy art and history museum?  A chartered boat?  You want something that looks like it is well-kept and up-to-date.  When you go into look at the place, look at the fixtures, the floors, windows, etc.  What are some things that you could incorporate into your design scheme?  Art work on the walls?  Winding staircases?  What are some things you can live without?  You want something that complements your fete, not take it over.

2.)  Great Staff–The same personality that you love in your venue should roll over into its staff.  The staff should be engaging, dynamic and professional.  It has always been my position that regardless of how much you spend, be it one dollar or one hundred thousand, you are always the rockstar.  Period.  There are some venues who allow their status to go to their heads, which results in a poor showing to clients.  I can’t remember the last time someone paid me tens of thousands of dollars to mistreat them or give substandard service.  That’s because they haven’t.  You want a staff that provides stellar service– not over the top, but plenty attentive and always with a smile.

3.)  Great Lighting– I can remember many many many moons ago, there was a song by a group called Black Sheep entitled "Strobelight Honey".  A strobelight honey is a person who only looks good under the strobelight.  That being said, lighting does wonders.  It can complement textures and architecture as well as create shadows and depth in your venue.  Lighting adds dimension and character to an event– even on a natural level.  You don’t want your event to look warehoused or completely dark without some sort of complementary lighting.  Lighting can come from strategically placed windows, skylights, open doors and even fireplaces.  To enhance  lighting that is already there naturally, you can add special effect lighting in the form of spotlighting or pinlighting.  This is perfect for showcasing a cake table, sweetheart table or centerpieces.

4.)  Flexibility and Space–  Some of my favorite venues have space upon space that is at the clients’ disposal during their event. This could include a lawn outside of the venue, a covered veranda or a courtyard.  This works in your favor when you are creating that luxury event experience for your guests.  You can have separate, yet spacious, areas for your cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, etc.  This allows you to design your space according your event’s theme or vision.  That could include creating an elegant pre-reception area for meet and greets to a swanky lounge area for guests to relax in during the festivities.  When you aren’t boxed into one particular room, your possibilities are endless.  If you do find yourself with minimum space, you want to make sure that your design scheme will not be too cumbersome for the staff to turnover in as little time as possible to avoid those gaps between scheduled events.

5.) An Extensive PVL (Preferred Vendors List)Some venues don’t call it a PVL, but may give you a list of vendors that they work with frequently.   If you run into a situation where your venue is also your exclusive caterer and baker, that of course, leaves you with other vendors that you must hire.  There is no better place to start than a list of vendors that the venue has done business with before. In this case, you are sure to build an event team that is familiar with your venue and can help you troubleshoot and design through your current vision.  Of course, you want to fact check both ways:  Ask the venue about vendors you are interested in prior to booking them, and vice versa.  You want a team that can work together seamlessly without playing a game of "Quien es mas macho" (who is more macho).

A few other tips on choosing that perfect venue:

  • Never look at more than five venues for your event.  After a while, they all start to look the same.  Do preliminary searches via the internet, ask exploratory questions of vendors and the venue’s staff to narrow down which ones will work for you and what you have planned.
  • I would encourage you to go back a second time to look at a venue. Even if your site is away from home– try to visit it twice during your initial stay. You will find that you will see things that you did not see the first time around. 
  • Take great notes so you can compare after you visit your sites.  Before you visit any, write down key words you want to describe your event, and then revisit those notes to see which venues come close.

 

{Photo: Hotel ZaZa}