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St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | ideas
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Bring Coachella to Your Next Event

So you’re tired of the same old dinner party, the same routine wedding festivities, the humdrum of birthday parties, right?  There is no need to get down– take some inspiration from this year’s Coachella Festival.  If you haven’t heard about Coachella ( how could you escape it this year when they basically “resurrected” Tupac for a “live” hologram concert performance), we’ll give you the skinny:  it’s a three day long annual music and arts festival in the Coachella Valley.  It’s frequented by some of the biggest names in the entertainment and fashion industry with performances, exhibits and parties throughout the sprawling desert backdrop.

Each year, it seems Coachella gets better and better (cue another mention of the amazing Tupac performance).  All of the artists, performers and brands really bring it for this weekend.  There were some great ideas that could translate nicely for your next event.  Take a look:

Armani TMobile at Coachella

Several people enjoyed the Armani Exchange and TMobile Carnival Party.  We’ve posted before about getting your Coney Island on with your event— be it with food and drink or decor and details.  The most important thing with having a theme is to remain authentic  to the details and your personality.  Basically, “skip the cheese, go for the meat“.  Don’t go for the ultra cheesy details, but be authentic as possible.

Uplighting at Coachella

Lighting is ridiculously awesome.  It can transform any space into something dramatic and exciting.  The key to incorporating good lighting is your base– look at your area’s walls, floors, etc.   Make sure your lighting has something to reflect off of to create striking pillars or soft washes of colors.

Pool Parties at Coachella

If you’ve got a pool at your next party, don’t neglect it! Incorporate it in your party.  The open air atmosphere can add so much to your event.  Create custom cabanas by having personalized pillows with your pictures, monograms, colors or wedding logo. This gives your guests a great place to find respite or catch up on conversation.  Your pool can be a well designed focal point as we shared with The Braxton Premiere Party.

What would you inspires you from Coachella?


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


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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?

Overheard at Your Wedding: “I’m Bored”


Ugh, I know.  It’s tragic.


You’ve spent all of this money on food, entertainment and decor—yet, your guests are looking at their watches, pleading with their eyes for you to cut the cake so they can get out of Dodge.  Why?  Well, for several reasons. But the one blaring is that they are bored senseless.  As a destination wedding planner in a beautiful area, I always encourage my couples to really make the party as fun as possible.  You have a lot of guests that have traveled a long way to celebrate.  To be bored while attending an event they have spent heavily on is sacrilege.

Here are some suggestions for to avoid the “zzz’s factor” during your reception:


  • Don’t front load—Unless your timeline specifically calls for it and cannot be rearranged, avoid piling everything at the beginning of your reception.  Some couples think it’s best to get “everything out of the way” by doing the first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance and cake cutting all at the same time.  It doesn’t have the same effect that you think it will. For example, your father-daughter dance will seem endearing for the first few moments, but will lose its meaning when piled together with other events.  Think of doing your first dance as soon as you are announced, and then move to dinner.  By keeping your guests intrigued and interested in the events to come, you can keep their attention.  Otherwise, you risk performing for guests and having them sit through it, instead of enjoying it with you.
  • Choose music that everyone will like—Once you receive your response cards, take a look at your guests. You know their likes and dislikes. Keep your must-play list balanced and try not to cater to one portion of your guest list. For example, we had a great reception with a few older guests, but a majority were young and excited about being at the reception. The couple and their parents requested that certain music not be played, out of respect for the older guests.  The only problem is that the younger guests were bored out of their minds and were turned away each time they made requests with the DJ. 
  • Get people involved–  If you have traditions to your culture or family, definitely include your guests!  At one of our weddings, the groom and his brother performed the dabke to traditional Palestinian music.  Even though they were the only two of their culture at the entire wedding, they had every single guest on the dance floor with them, learning and performing the dance. If you don’t have or know a traditional dance—learn one, and teach it to your guests! It truly beats YMCA or The Chicken Dance.
  • Keep people moving, but together–  Think about having different locations for your cocktail hour and reception. This is perfect if you are having your wedding on some interesting and aesthetic grounds.  Allow your guests to explore different areas and not be confined to one spot.  The same can be achieved on a smaller scale with bars and stations.  Keep your guests moving and increase their mingling ratio.  Be sure to keep them together, though.  Guests can feel slighted if they are, or even feel, like they  are, separated from the rest of the party.  Be sure to take this into account when considering the logistics and floor plan of your day.


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Things You Thought About…But Probably Aren’t A Good Idea for Your Wedding

Sometimes, brides run things past me that sound like a good idea in theory, but logistically and realistically, it’s just not meant to be.

Here are some of my favorites, and I’m sure pro buddies will have some other tips for you too.

Ok, so first things first…

1. Scented candles in the reception hall. I had one prospect tell me that she was going to have authentic Jamaican food and lilac, lavender, and vanilla scented candles on the tables and around the reception site. I almost died. Bad, bad, bad idea. Some people (believe it or not) absolutely abhor vanilla. I find it to be a comfort scent, but others H-8 it. Then, to mix that with the spicy aromas of food on your menu is asking for a headache or other unsightly adverse reactions. Always opt for non-scented candles.

2. Going Completely DIY. Even my gal pal, Khris, of DIY Bride says that going DIY for your entire everything is a bad idea. Unless you want to push yourself to drink and pop antidepressants like Tic Tacs, opt to do about 2 or 3 projects at the very most for your wedding. What should determine who many you should take on should be the quantities you must put out as well as the amount of detail. Quality is and always forefront with DIY. You don’t want it to look like something you made in preschool (a la macaroni necklaces for mom) or Aunt Ethel’s macrame plant holders. You want something couture, handcrafted, and totally YOU. Get where I’m going?

3. Buying flowers out of season. Those flowers may be pretty in those pictures, but it doesn’t work if your wedding is in December and you are looking at summer flowers. This will put a complete smackdown on your budget. Ask your florist for flowers that look similar, but bloom in your specific time frame. Also, re-evaluate the design of your flowers: do you like the flowers or do you like the concept and design? If it is the latter, your floral designer can easily substitute in season flowers in the same design you swoon after.

4. Bloating, gassy food. There are some foods you will want to avoid on your wedding day, and especially at your rehearsal dinner. You do not want to feel like a balloon that is ready to pop on your wedding day. You have enough to deal with. So avoid foods like cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus. It can affect your shape and temperament!

5. Having a wedding during a holiday. This actually doesn’t save you more money. It can actually cost you and your guests more. There are several things you need to consider– airline tickets, room blocks, premiums, etc. We’ll discuss this more in an upcoming post.

It’s the Little Things…

I’m all about maximizing my time and my money. Even if you’re on a strict budget, your wedding doesn’t have to look like it.

I think it’s safe to say that every couple wants their wedding to be memorable, fun and classy. However, it can be extremely easy to journey into the world of McWeddings if you aren’t careful. One road sign on that journey says “You’re trying to do too much with too little money: McWedding…5 miles”. I thought I would give some ideas on little things you can do to make a big impact.

  • Add color. Even in the tiniest of introductions, color can really pop against blah bland white linens. I don’t mean color in the obvious places such as flowers. Let’s forget those for a minute. Think instead of colored votive holders– as the night draws on, soft hued light saturates your room. But it also adds dimension and depth to the table in the light. When placed strategically, they can look very chic. Cudge is an awesome resource for great votives and holders.
  • White Out. Go white– ALL white. I recently blogged about P. Diddy’s White Party. These parties are all the rage in celebrity events– especially those taking place on the sea or in a coastal region. It looks very upscale and is SO easy to do. This would include bridesmaids’ dresses as well. Silver accents naturally found at your venue (i.e., the silverware, candelabras, etc.)
  • Attention to Detail— Little things can really set you apart and look upscale: elegantly designed menu cards, colored napkins and/or designer napkin treatments, wall and floor decals, etc. The idea is to create an experience for your guests; you want something out of the ordinary.
  • Play Dress Up— While you do want to have a cohesive and fluid look, if your budget does not allow for you to completely design your event dress up part of venue. Go for an uber decked out sweetheart table that is the focal point of the room: use different colored liners and overlays, elaborate centerpieces, etc. and tie in the rest of your tables with a coordinating liner or napkin (a less expensive option).  You could also just splurge on chair covers or chair decor, cake table decorations, props, etc.
  • Bottoms Up!  Nothing says a great party like great drinks and food.  Introduce a signature drink during your cocktail hour. Dress it up with rented ornate glasses and get creative with your presentation.  Have servers pass them on clear acrylic trays.   When your guests are coming into the cocktail hour you need to be prepared to wow them. Even though it is only an hour (or so) long, it is the introduction into the night and were you need to set the tone.  Splurge on dressed up cocktail tables and centerpieces (these can moved later to an area in the reception if necessary).   Get creative with your hors d’oeuvres as well.  Stuffed mushrooms are delicious, but they are downright ugly when piled up on a platter and shuffled around between 100 people.  Talk with your caterer about great presentation ideas.  You may find stations may allow you more creative license and could prove to be less expensive.  Passed hors d’oeuvres can be beautiful too– check out a nice shrimp or gazpacho shooter!
  • Go interactive.  Invite your guests to the fun by having a photobooth or hand drawn caricatures.  A little too expensive? No problem!  Rent a popcorn or cotton candy machine for some late night fun.

Whether you use one or all, these are ideas that you can incorporate into your plans that will make your event feel and look like a million bucks!
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