Yes, I know this is a bit late. You’ll have to forgive me– we’re ve been in complete Euphoria with my Baltimore Ravens’ win! As well yelled, cried, cheered, stressed and danced our way around the house that fateful night, I couldn’t help to be struck by some things that made me gasp, sigh and admire in terms of pulling off an event. I thought, “I havegot to tell my brides this!” Your wedding, in essence, is the Superbowl of your life. You’ve worked hard in your relationship to get there. You’ve invested quite a bit of money for it to turn out splendidly. There can be no margin for error.
To ensure we are all on the same page, let’s agree that Beyoncé rocked it. With the stakes already high with the “Harbowl” (the first time in history two brothers, in our case, the Harbaughs, have battled for a championship), the pressure was on to pull off an exquisite performance. The challenge was accepted and met. What did we learn, luxelings?
Special Effects Can Change Everything. A show with fire, sparks, lights and unique staging, the running joke was that “I went to a Beyoncé concert and a football game broke out”. Her performance made you forget you were at a football game in a closed stadium. Special effects and lighting can do the same thing for your venue as well. If you love your venue location, but let’s say, the room makes your vodka curdle, consider bringing in some spot and uplighting. A soft color wash of your room, even when coupled with a few gobos can truly transform your space.
Be Prepared. Clearly, the power company and those at the Superdome were not. With my team on the cusp of a huge blow out, the power cuts off. In my buffalo wing and martini rage, I’ll admit, I blamed Beyoncé. But it turns out, she had her own generator for her performance. For whatever reason, what happened at the Superdome was their snafu and theirs alone. Can you imagine– in the middle of your wedding the power just cuts off? Or the caterer runs out of food? The bartender shrugs and says the rum is gone (makes me giggle and think of this clip from Pirates of the Caribbean– “Why is the rum gone!?”) Accidents can happen, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you have a power heavy event, especially in a historic or outdoor venue, consider bringing additional power. What good is your band or DJ if no one can hear them? Check with your caterer to discuss their policies for overages. Plan accordingly for your bar, especially if you want to incorporate signature drinks. Many signature cocktails consist of several liquors, you will want to make sure they are easily replenished throughout the evening.
Not to be outdone, the Grammy’s put on some great collaborative performances, but it was their after-party’s that got my attention. I absolutely adored the Recording Academy’s Bollywood inspired affair, as Red Line Management’s after party.
You’re Not Limited to Just a Band or DJ for Your Entertainment. With the Recording Academy’s party, their entertainment matched their theme. Belly dancers performed as well as danced through the aisles of the tables and lounge areas with acrobats and musicians. It gave the feel of an old eastern celebration, not only transforming the space, but transporting your guests as well. You can’t beat that kind of experience.
Don’t Be Afraid of Color. If you’re daring, explore beautiful jewel tones for your tables and chairs, especially if your event space is extremely large or dark. These pops of color keep your event from looking overly sparse and adds tremendous character. Also look to create a unique lounge area for your guests– rentals from gorgeous places like Raj Tents can help you duplicate this sultan type affair with these vivid tents. You can also create other unique lounge areas with plush sofas and ottomans.
Modern is the New Black. I love, love, love this clean look at the Mondrian. In addition to the SAG Awards Deco Glam party, I’ll admit I am very happy to see the shift from the vintage and rustic styles head toward a more lush glam and streamlined modern look. Going modern is truly not that hard, as you can see with this clear tent and monochromatic theme. What makes it stand out re the lines and styles of the furniture and the details. The key with the less is more approach is to make it look intentional, not sparse. Find great containers for your centerpieces, add a pattern, or bring in lighting — the possibilities are endless!
P.S.– Also from the superbowl, want to know why your photographer won’t send you all of your pictures? This guy will tell you.
Going through some pictures, I realized I never shared Scarlett and Stephen‘s beautiful wedding! Their wedding meant so much to me because I have absolutely adored Scarlett as a friend and colleague for many years now. A naturally beautiful and bubbly personality grew into an even more vibrant and sparkling person when she fell in love with Stephen, which made me love Stephen, too!
As wedding photographers, we all knew that photography would be super important, but the two also knew that the inclusion of details are what would make the photography spectacular. The couple enlisted the creative genius of celebrity photographers Zach and Jody Gray to document their day.
The wedding was steeped in sentiment and faith. Scarlett and Stephen decided to get married at Scarlett’s mother’s Victorian home, with a religious service and ceremony taking place in the beautiful backyard garden. Anyone that has followed Scarlett’s blog, knows her infinite love for her poodle pup, Rhett– who served as the honorary ring bearer. Scarlett’s bouquet was a mix of her favorite shades of pink, with a pop of blue, by way of a blue butterfly. Scarlett’s father passed away the year before, but told her he would always be near her every time she saw a blue butterfly. This was a touching way to have him close during the wedding.
While guests dined on miniatures of the couple’s favorite Southern foods, the couple and bridal party took some of the most gorgeous shots! Their details included a lot of what Scarlett personally loved: hot pink, damask prints, luxurious linens, and bling! We brought in crystal candelabrum to serve as the centerpieces and a huge 6.5 ft crystal chandelier to glitter over a black and white dance floor. We also prepped for the reception, which was to be a lit masterpiece of everything Scarlett and Stephen loved: great food, the best company and a fabulous time!
Once of my favorite moments of the night came for when it was time for the Father Daughter dance. We all knew it would be an emotional moment, but it turned into something extremely touching and magical. After Scarlett and Stephen swayed to their first dance, the lights went completely dark and Scarlett stood alone briefly on the dance floor. Slowly, the glow from a screen behind her became brighter, showing a video of Scarlett and her father dancing while music played in the background. Scarlett lovingly summoned her mother on the dance floor to her mother’s favorite song and the “three” of them danced together. Trust me– not. a. dry. eye. in. the. house.
After dinner, everyone got together to get down on the dance floor– dancing to their favorite songs while music videos played on the screen and enjoyed the best cupcakes around!
Thanks so much to our amazing event team to help us pull of this gorgeous event
Awesome Couple: Scarlett and Stephen (their wedding photography site)
Wedding Planner/Production: Cocktails + Details
Photography: Zach and Jody
Florals: Rosalee’s Flower Boutique
Linens: Cocktails + Details
Paper Designs: Just Invite Me
DJ: Y? Entertainment
Fascinator: Fascinating Creations
Makeup: Paulina Perez
Catering: D-Vine Cuisine
Cupcakes: Brielle Hutchinson
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:
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.
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.
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?
If there as ever an event that shows the benefits of lighting, the Hot Hollywood party is definitely it! The party was held at the ultra swank club Eden. What makes it special is that Eden is a single room space, which promotes the idea that “everyone is V.I.P.”. Starbucks was on hand to serve caffeine infused alcoholic drinks– all from a bar that was decorated with coffee beans and florals!
Photos by Line 8 via BizBash
Another fantastic example of great coloring and lighting! The Godiva store in the Harajuku district designed by the interior design firm Wonderwall is absolutely gorgeous with the “melting” walls. Another great way of involving your design into the experience!
I simply adore the coloring in this room! Look at the rich teal walls, complemented by the lush greenery in the high arrangements. The pop of color against the chartreuse linens in the purple florals (by Laura Dowling of Intérieurs et Fleurs) and glasses. Very simple, yet colorful elements that add definition and personality. Take note of the tall tapers (stunning)! Just a powerful point that lighting—both uplighting and candlelight can do wonders for the appearance of your event.
When you’re a wedding planner, people think that your job is so much “fun”(!!!), playing in pretty dresses and linens, picking lush flowers for a centerpiece and choosing delectable seven tiered wedding cakes. Many don’t view this line of “work” as work at all, let alone hard work. While I and my colleagues know that nothing could be further from the truth, the following post will not help my case.
In June, I attended the Engage!09 Luxury Wedding Business Summit in Grand Cayman, which is the brainchild of Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts. There, wedding professionals from literally across the globe were gathered to hear from experts such as the Wizard of Ahh’s himself, event designer Preston Bailey, wedding cake coutourier Sylvia Weinstock, the fabulous Marcy Blum as well as editors of some of your favorite magazines such as The Knot, Brides, Modern Bride & Elegant Bride, as well as Martha Stewart Weddings. The second day, we were able to have small group sessions with industry builders and advancers like former president of Preston Bailey Designs, Sean Low, Randy Fenoli of TLC’s “Say Yes To the Dress” and Kleinfeld Bridal, beauty and brains Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar (be sure to visit their new Bridal Bar Location in Atlanta, too!), the incomparable Michelle Rago, Bee Kim, the mastermind behind Wedding Bee, “style obsessed” Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty and so many more. It was also great to see and support good friends who served as panelists as well like Liene Stevens of Think Splendid and Lara Casey of Southern Weddings and the new Lara Casey Reps.
As planner, and being naturally fabulous, I had all of my outfits planned—with a few wardrobe changes in between (yes, I’m serious…I ran into Randy Fenoli at one of the dinner parties and he exclaimed, ‘”Girl! Did you change again!?”). So imagine my horror when my luggage was delayed prior to the conference’s welcome party on the beach. So there I was, stuck with what I had on since 4AM and what I like to call my “TSA approved 1 quart ziploc makeup bag”. I shudder as I reminisce… Nevertheless, it turned out wonderfully! I had a fabulous roommate—Monica of The White Box of Wedding Design, and her husband was equally fabulous— I had a cosmo and creme brulee delivered to my room as a gift for, and I quote “Taking care of his baby” while we were in Grand Cayman. I know. I should ask them to adopt me. Monica was fabulous—we sat up most of the nights talking (sometimes via Skype with her husband) and laughing!
The parties were absolutely gorgeous—it was so nice to be on the receiving end of great linens, design concept, florals and live music for a change. It was funny, because during the beach party (which was literally on the beach, with a tiffany blue carpet to strut on and shoe valet), something dropped and I remember laughing as I and about 10 other wedding planners and vendors all raced to fix it and replace it before it was noticed. Part of the job! It was also great to meet friends I talk to daily but don’t get a chance to see often (some I had never met in person until now!) and those that I consider friends after falling in love with them over martinis and 1 AM fries. Yes, this totally includes my new BFF, Michael Landry of Gucci. Michael and I met serendipitously over a Tortuga rum cake tasting, and I was just as lucky to have gone on to dinner with him and other professional at the exclusive dine-arounds, which ours was hosted by Randy Fenoli (Be sure to check out Randy???s recap that includes pictures our dinner and fun times).
Ok, so enough chatting…how about some pictures?
You know I’m a total foodie—had to get pictures of our lunch!
Gorgeous arrangements and linen from La Tavola Linen were staples of the conference
Marcy Blum, Michelle Rago and Preston Bailey and myself
The final night of the conference was a stunning party with lighting, draping, huge hanging decor…you know, the things that a wedding planner or designer’s dreams are made of!
love this picture, because it pretty much sums up the night—fabulous shoes (noticeably off due to all the dancing) and an empty champagne glass!
Now who doesn’t love that!?
Cruising around the blogosphere, I found these wonderful lights from Perch on the decor8 blog. They start at $110 each, but can be customized to form words up to six letters or less (you can also make two to put more words together if necessary). These are awesome for weddings with a modern chic twist and looking to do something different from the monogram. Of course, you’ll have to discuss this with your venue, but the perk is that you can always take it with you for your new home!
:: photos from perch ::