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St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | wedding planning
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A Good Wedding Planner is Like….



I was looking to find a foundation to replicate the stunning coverage I received when I spoke at Eventology earlier this month.  I was uber excited to find that one of my favorite makeup artists, Kevyn Aucoin, had a new liquid airbrush foundation line out. I love everything Kevyn, but did not want to drop $45 online since I don’t have a local Sephora in my area to actually test the shade I thought I needed. But, it did spark a very thoughtful moment.

A good wedding planner is like foundation.

A great foundation helps you cover imperfections, hide flaws, enhances what you already have and makes you look better.  A wedding planner can do the same things.  S/he can help you cover all of the things that aren’t quite perfect or unexpected mistakes (at times without you knowing!).  But additionally, instead of recreating your event vision, s/he will take what you want and have, enhance it and make it better.

On that same token, it’s imperative that you find the right match.  Your foundation has to be the right match for your skin type, skin tone and does what it wants to you to do (matte finish, medium coverage, etc.). If you don’t—it makes you look bad, can cast that ghastly makeup shadow or mask and can work against what you already have (skin type, shade, etc.).  The same thing goes for your wedding planner.  A planner’s lack of experience or work process can make you and your event look disorganized and poorly designed.  It can also take away from everything you have planned and make what was to be a focal point or special attraction, an eyesore.

Let’s talk money, now.  Look at the above, we have the Kevyn Aucoin liquid foundation which retails for $45. The Cover Girl retails for $11.49.  Sometimes the 11.49 will carry you over, but on your wedding day, you don’t want to be just “carried over”. You want to be flawless.  There are also times when the $11.49 is all you can afford, because $45 is a lot of money to pay if a.) it’s not what you want  or b.) it doesn’t work the way you want or how you need it to.  However, with the $45 foundation, you are getting premium ingredients that will work in a system to provide premium results.  Sometimes you have to know and see the difference in value and service between someone providing, let’s say a day-of-coordination for $300 and another providing it for  $1000.

Think about it 🙂

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 ::

My 6 Yr Old Could Plan Your Wedding

iPhone Pictures 084

 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.

What’s On Your Wedding Bucket List?


People create bucket lists of things they would like to do before they die.  Some lists are elaborate, others are simple.  They typically reflect the inner needs and personalities of its creator.  It also helps the writer of the list put their entire life into perspective.  That being said—without all of the frills, drama and the like– here is a question for you:


What three things do you want to do or have at your wedding before it’s over?



(those of you already married share yours too—what you had or wish you had at your wedding!)

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

Four Wedding Planning Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe

image I love wedding glossies– I really do!  They are filled with great ideas, plenty of wedding porn (aka pictures), bridal fashion and trends.  However, they say a lot of things that sometimes, a luxeling like myself, just can’t get with.

So, here I am– ready to debunk a lot of the "stuff" and help you sort through the fluff and poppycock and get to the truth.

And we’ll laugh along the way.


  1. "You’ll Save More Money By Having Your Wedding During a Holiday Weekend" Thumbs-downNope!  Ain’t gonna happen.  You need to prepare yourself for the possibility that you could actually pay more than you had planned.  Vendors have higher premiums during event weekends, and while venues can say the same, they can also tack on higher food and beverage minimums.  Another big thing– your guests!  They will have to pay higher prices for airline tickets, and you will find stricter room block requirements, too.  But hey, at least you can use the festive decorations that are already up in your reception venue (isn’t that what the glossies say?)
  2. You can intimidate your way to a better deal Thumbs-down Yup, another loser here.  Well, I think that title is a bit  misleading. The magazines tell brides "Make sure you tell potential vendors that you intend to shop around or are interviewing other vendors" or "Put vendors on point and let them know that you are ready to play ball"… Let’s review a few of these, shall we?
  • "I am interviewing several other XXXX.  Why should I choose you over them?Sick This is not Miss America. You don’t want to hear my stance on war peace or starving children.  You don’t want me to give some self-absorbed why I’m great and what I can do for you speech. Instead, let it come naturally. If during the course of any meeting with any wedding vendor you don’t SEE for yourself the benefits of hiring that vendor, then that’s not the vendor for you.  And please don’t think that the fact that you told me that you are interviewing another planner will make me a.) lower my prices, b.) throw in freebies, c.) talk bad about the other planner to make me look better.  I’m not easily intimidated.  And you shouldn’t be either when you hear I’m interviewing other clients for your wedding weekend :)  It’s all bout finding the good match with personalities, if we click, we click. No need to play games.
  • "What did you do before you were a XXX.." Dont tell anyone(and other none-of-your-business questions).  Hi, I’m Terrica– I’m a Scorpio and I love to take long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners…come on now!  This is utter nonsense and rubbish!  Quite  honestly, anything personal or non-specific to your wedding that your vendor wants you to know s/he will tell you.
  • "Is this the best price you can offer?  Are your prices negotiable?" Thinking There is an old saying that "if you don’t ask, you don’t get". I would like to formally throw in my bid to remix that saying for 2008… "If you ask like a jerk or this is your first question to a vendor, you DEFINITELY won’t get".  Brides hate it when vendors look at them and see dollar signs. Guess what, we hate it too.  If you want something for nothing, or come into the meeting with a set agenda of talking us down, you won’t enjoy the experience.  It’s not shopping for a used car, it’s piecing together the perfect event team to work on the most important day of your life

3.  Destination Weddings are easier and cheaper. Thumbs-down This is true, and then not so much.  Destination Weddings can be a lot of fun, and with proper planning.  But you also need someone to corral your guests.  Why? Because your guests will think it is a FANTASTIC idea to go to Negril, Jamaica for your wedding.  But wait for the deposit time comes around, people become amnesiacs.   In order to reap the benefit of a lot of international resort’s wedding perks, you need to guarantee a minimum of 10-20 guest rooms.  So my suggestion is not to plan a get away wedding if you aren’t completely comfortable with either going alone (just the two of you) or with 5 other people.

4.  DIY EVERYTHINGThumbs-down Honey, put the glue gun DOWN.  You will burn out faster than a dollar store candle if you attempt too many DIY projects for your wedding.  Find ONE good project that you can make fabuluxe and do it.  Otherwise, your wedding will look tacky and shabby.  Why? Because you don’t have the facilities or capabilities to make it perfect for 5 projects 120 times. 


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.

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}

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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