St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | reception
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Now Showing: Real Jekyll Island Wedding Starring Ashaki & Embry

Jekyll Island Wedding at Jekyll Island Club Hotel Crane Cottage by Agnes Lopez Photography

Over the summer, we were so very honored and excited to finally produce an event that only held us spellbound creatively, but also emotionally.  Ashaki and Embry became more than just great clients over the course of our planning, but great friends (I miss them so! Thank heavens for Facebook!). The two were married at the beautiful historic Crane Cottage at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel for an outdoor wedding and reception.  In addition to the great details that kept us sketching, bustling and literally enthralled, we had the opportunity to work with some of the best vendors like the phenomenal Agnes Lopez and Gay Whatley, as well as the outstanding band from Atlanta,  Excite and local favorite, Tommy Tucker of Dance Jammers who provided the tunes for the after party (which was a tribute to the great, late Michael Jackson and some how had a remix of Hava Nagila. I will never question the depth of Tommy’s music library, every again.  Ever.)  Our team was also fortunate to work with the ever so talented Christina Grimsley of In Motion Video Productions.

Christina provided us with the video that now is on the gallery of the FABULUXE website, but I wanted to take a moment and share it here so that you can see her work.  I cried during the wedding and I cried again when I viewed her awesome production of the video. It was like being there all over again—I know if I felt like that, Christina’s clients must feel the same way, and that is an awesome way to feel. I can’t say enough fabulous things about her so if you are in need of a great videographer, look her up!

Introducing…

Beautiful photo of the bride and groom, stealing a quiet moment before they are introduced into dinner captured by the incomparable Agnes Lopez.

Southern Food for Your Wedding

When brides come here to Coastal Georgia for their destination weddings, they are looking to incorporate some of the Southern beauty into their event vision.  Extending that vision to your menu is no different.  You can add special twists to your menu while enhancing the charm of southern fare.

 

Many couples choose to treat their guests to very elaborate meals to reflect their celebration.  One of the biggest staples in southern food is fried chicken, which can be done elegantly and uniquely for an unforgettable experience for your palate.  While most guests don’t expect to eat with their hands at weddings, this Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken by chef Thomas Keller  of Ad Hoc sounds delectable and well worth it!  The chef said that they only did friend chicken twice a month (every other Monday), but have now increased the frequency and expanded the menu due to the demand.  For those  looking for the real “down home taste”, opt for the buttermilk fried chicken recipe by Emeril.   If you’re looking for an intimate and engaging style reception, as your caterer or venue to provide the food in “family style service”.  Your servers will provide platters for each table of food, of which guests make their own plates and pass to each other.  It is similar to a buffet, since the caterer will keep the platters full, but guests aren’t forced to leave their table.  The key to serving something so simple is to amp up its presentation and taste.  With chefs Emeril and Keller’s recipes, we’ve got taste covered.  When served family style, look for platters, bowls, and other service items that are reflective of event vision.

photo by Jennie Chen

Here in the Golden Isles, every year we have the Shrimp and Grits festival on Jekyll Island with chef demonstrations, concerts and so much more.  So needless to say, Shrimp and Grits are big in southern coastal cuisine.  There are several great recipes like this one by Tyler Florence and or this one by chef Eric Kelly.  With the many variations and serving styles (i.e., as a shooter, amuse bouche, or as a side or entree), the possibilities are endless.

 

Instead of rolls, opt for the Southern foodie favorite:  cornbread!  Cornbread can appeal to so many of your guests with variations of recipes like Paula Deen’s Vidalia Cornbread (seen above), Emeril’s Cast Iron Honey Cornbread, or this amazing recipe for jalapeno cornbread.  Can’t make a decision?  Offer them all!

 

Being an avid John Grisham fan, I distinctly remember reading about his protagonist in A Time to Kill eating fried dill pickles (seen above)  and I thought, “gross”!  A few days later I went to the House of Blues in L.A. with my family and tried some. Pure Heaven.  Since we don’t eat a lot of fried foods, these are some of the few things I will occasionally prepare.  Looking for something a bit more healthy?  Try Joe Vitale’s Fried Green Tomatoes with Bacon Vinaigrette and Warm Frisée.  Both would make for great food at your cocktail hour along with these Southern Cocktails.

There are so many other great ideas out there, by some of your favorite well known chefs like Louis Osteen’s Charleston Cuisine, Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics: The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook and The Lady & Sons, Too!,  Patti LaBelle’s LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About is phenomenal.  Her Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese is the TRUTH.  We’re talking real mac and cheese, honey—the kind hat is not fixed in a pot but comes out of the oven.  And don’t forget Emeril’s Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude.  These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Be reflective of your area—serve up local hot sauces and seasonings like Maryland’s Old Bay with your food, or garnishes, preserves, and drinks from the local area.  Food can inspire so much for the rest of your event vision, so go with what you love.

Overheard At Your Wedding “I Hate the Head Table”

 

 

It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your head table or wedding is, as seen above, you risk isolating many of your guests and close friends by obligating them to a head table.  I am so happy when I see couples opt out of the antiquated tradition, and look to sweetheart tables instead.  At a recent wedding,  I was pulled aside by a guest who asked to speak with me about the seating arrangements.  The first words out of her mouth were, “I hate the head table”.  As we talked more, I learned that she was the fiancée of one of the groomsmen, and she was seated at a table far from him with a group of gentleman that she didn’t know. “It was so uncomfortable”, she said.  “They all knew each other, but I knew no one there”.  Her fiancé later joined the conversation and agreed that he, too, felt bad that she was alone and he couldn’t be with her.  I was given specific instructions to tell all my brides to “ditch the head table”. 

No one likes to fee that way—isolated, uncomfortable and far from those that you have a connection with or know.  This is what you risk doing with a head table, as well as a “bridesmaids’/groomsmen’s” table.  Your bridal party will have been together all day with getting dressed, as well as extended pictures before and after the ceremony.  Is there really need to have them away from their significant others an additional hour during dinner?

Of course, ultimately my suggestion would be to avoid the head table altogether and have a gorgeous sweetheart table that you can embellish and adorn for you and your new Mr.  Just like your bridal party needs this time to “come down” and reunite with their wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends and children—you will need this time, too.  The rest of your evening, albeit fun, will be filled with structure and activities.  Having a semi-intimate dinner with your new spouse will allow you a private moment to take it all in and slow down to get a bite to eat.

If you are absolutely dead-set on having a head table, then you need to include the significant others of the bridal party at the table. This, in turn will make your head table larger and possibly distort your optimal design for your reception.  You could opt for separate bridesmaids?? and groomsmen’s tables, but again—be sure to include their significant others. 

 

Remember, your wedding is a celebration of your day, but should not be a sore note for your guests and bridal party.

 

Photo :: Michael Steighner

How Much Alcohol Do You Need for Your Wedding?

My answer: Lots.

The truth:  It depends.

 

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Real Simple has developed a wonderful online wine and liquor calculator for your wedding to help you figure out how much alcohol you should buy for your wedding.  By selecting choices that pertain to your wedding such as full bar or wine, beer and champagne only, the calculator will help you determine how many bottles you should purchase.  These numbers will vary depending on your number of guests as well as the time of day of your reception. 

Look at some of my favorite signature drinks or these Southern Cocktails as you make your decision for your bar. 

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. 

10 Tips for a Great Wedding Venue Visit

 The  Imperial Ballroom at the Atlanta Biltmore

The Imperial Ballroom at the Atlanta Biltmore

 

 

I love going on venue visits with brides and grooms. Even if I have been to a particular wedding ceremony or reception site several times before, it is always great to visit with renewed purpose and see it through their eyes.  When you visit your venue, think of it as visiting a home you and Mr. Fabuluxe are considering purchasing.  You want something that reflects both of you and your lovestory, makes you feel comfortable and is conducive and complementary to your overall event vision.  Just like when buying your home, as soon as your foot crosses the threshold, you should feel like you are “home”.  You should see the two of you cutting the cake in the corner or stealing a kiss by the door.  You should see your dad doing that dance that you wish he wouldn’t on the dance floor.  You should see your best friends marveling at the centerpieces and beautiful decor.

I’m sure that if you have a wedding planner, s/he will attend these visits with you and give you some key things to look out for.  Here are some additional suggestions:

  1. Pay attention to how you are treated…on every level. Your family and friends will visit your venue and come across various members of the site’s staff.  If you are having a destination wedding, this will include hotel front desk staff, too.  In these instances, I would suggest staying at the resort/hotel prior to booking.  Granted, everyone has a bad day—but if you feel neglected, offended, or chastised, it may be time to look for another wedding location.  You will be less apt to forgive these attitudes and affronts your wedding day. 

  2. Pay attention to any odd smells and stains.  I know, strange but true.  If there is a “unique” odor in the venue, it could be for various reasons—the site is old, there is a mold problem, etc.  Be sure to inquire into if it will be fixed (nevermind asking what it is); you are paying to rent the facility and have a right to know.  Look for things that could detract from your wedding like hard water stains on walls or other stains on the carpet/flooring.  Ask if any renovations will occur prior to your wedding;  you may be able to benefit from those new upgrades.

  3. Does the decor make you soar or gives you a sore? In addition to the pictures you see online at the wedding venue’s website, be sure to check other sites like Flickr as well as blogs of photographers and wedding planners in your area.  You will be seeing the venue without any frills—but it will be good for you to get an idea as to what you are walking into as well as how much work you will have to put into your design to make it the way you want.  If the decor is antiquated, ask if you can make any non-permanent changes.  Also, if there are any decorations that you simply adore, ask if they will be in place for your wedding.  This would also be a good time to ask what the venue does anything special around the holidays if you are having a wedding at during a holiday season.

  4. Take your own pictures.  You know what you are going for with your design and it can sometimes be hard to describe in conversation or in emails.  Instead, take your own pictures of your potential venues to review at a later date.   Print your photos at home or send them to a place like Walgreens or Walmart.  One tip:  Print them as 8x10s and have them laminated at Staples or Kinko’s.  With a set of dry erase markers, make notes or preliminary placement designs for your own records.

  5. Know your limitations, restrictions and requirements up front.  It’s the pits finding out things after you’ve signed the dotted line.  The problem is that you may not have known to even ask those questions during your visit.  You will want to know if your vendors are required to have liability insurance in order to work there.  You do not want to run into a problem with booking a vendor only to find they do not have the required paperwork and refuse to get it.  Of course, you should ask about any design limitations and restrictions—which parts of the venue will you have access to? Are you allowed to affix anything by hanging, taping, pinning or stapling?  Can structures be built onsite?  Do they have any exclusive catering or photography rights?  Can you bring your own alcohol?  Are there any structural limitations that you could run into if you want to use a non-standard layout or lighting?  Are there any noise ordinances?  What about rose petals, confetti, rice or sparklers?  Can you have open flames or must you use enclosures?  How early can you set up?  These are all some great questions to get you started.

 

 

We’ll break this post in half, with the other five tips coming next Monday.  In the meantime,  check out 5 Venue Assets that Will Fabuluxe Your 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.

Overheard at Your Wedding: “I’m Starving”

So not cool.

 

 

Not sure if you know this or not—or read it one of the three thousand wedding glossies you’ve bought, but I’m your girl. You know I’ll tell you.

 

People come to weddings to eat.

 

They get your invitation, skip right to the RSVP and begin salivating at all of the wonderful things they will taste and experience at your wedding (and expense). Don’t worry, they’re excited about seeing you, too.  Who wouldn’t be? The perk is definitely the succulent food you will grace them with during your reception.

 

So, imagine their surprise when they arrive at 6 p.m. to your cocktail hour to be greeted with a cheese and cracker tray and ornate display of strawberries resting in a well-carved watermelon.  No worries, they think—you are just cleansing the palate before the true feast begins.  Lo and behold, they arrive to “dinner” which is either stations of hors d’oeuvres for six year olds or a plated meal with such scant portions that only a butterfly could be satisfied with.

 

They start to get antsy.  They start to get bored.  They start to drink more.  Dinner started at 7 p.m.  At 7:03 they are ready to go.

 

Now, don’t get mad at me.  If that is all you can afford, then that’s okay.  What is not okay is not planning accordingly or letting your guests know ahead of time so that they can make adequate arrangements for food prior to the wedding.  Here are some helpful tips to spearhead the thundering stampede of guests leaving during your cake cutting to graze on the lawn of the reception venue:

  • If you have limited funds, as always—consider lowering your guest count.  You can do more for less, than vice versa.
  • If you choose to keep your large number of guests, consider having a brunch or tea reception with a limited menu.  Of course, you could also have a late evening wedding, with your ceremony beginning at 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening and an even later reception.  At this late hour, your guests won’t be expecting a heavy meal.  In this instance, you could get away with a heavy hors d’oeuvres menu.
  • Be sure to spread the news on your wedding website, and if necessary and/or appropriate on your reception cards. You can never give your guests too much information.  Far better to let them know in advance than to hear them (and their stomachs) grumbling about how they wished they had known about the food.
  • Another reason why a lot of guests walk away hungry is that they feel the menu is too exotic or something they just won’t eat.  While at your tasting, remember, you are accommodating a large guest list, not just you and your future spouse.  Uncle Bob may love foie gras all day long, but Aunt Millie would refuse to eat it.  Try to find a common ground.  The same thing can be said for wedding cake; choose a basic failsafe flavor options that will ensure you don’t have an entire cake left behind.

 

 

Photo :: Source

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.

 

Source :: sxc.hu