McAwesome Table Runner DIY Featured on Rogue Bride!

A couple of weeks back, I posted the McAwesome wedding here on my blog.  Within an hour, I got an e-mail with this subject line: “Holy Sweet Mother of God Elisa – McAwesome wedding is !@@##$$%”.

It was one of the favorite people I have met through the process of planning weddings this year, Lauren of Rogue Bride!  She continued:

I feel like I downed two pots of coffee I’m so excited about the
McAwesome wedding. Oh My God. Can I borrow or buy like all of it?
Especially the elephants and moroccan lanterns. Serious here. Are they
selling? You are amazing! And those paper runners are inspired.

They’re probably submitting that wedding somewhere amazing (Offbeat
Bride? Broke-Ass Bride? Wedding Nouveau? Rockn’Roll Bride?), but would
you do a DIY tutorial for Rogue Bride on those runners?

Just wow.

Now, how could I possibly refuse such a request? 😉

Actually I’m honored to be a guest blogger today, featured on her renegade wedding planning site!  And the title she gave my post makes me blush. 🙂  Love you lots my friend – and thank you so much!!!

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Almost Booked Through the Summer, and a Deal!

I am so grateful for my amazing clients!  It’s because of them that I can say that my first year of business has been an incredibly successful one.  And it’s because of them that I can say that I am almost booked through the summer!

It’s incredible, really, to think that with a minuscule marketing/advertising budget and clients who have found me primarily through referrals, word-of-mouth, and Yelp, that I’ve been lucky enough to find amazing, incredible, wonderful clients.  Clients enough that I’m thisclose to being booked solid until the end of the summer.

I have room for up to three more weddings during the first six months of the year.  Just three more weddings!  So I thought I’d run a special.

Through January 15th, anyone who books a wedding with me during the last two weeks of February, first two weeks of March, or last two weeks of May will receive a 10% discount off any planning, coordination, or design service.

If you or a friend are planning your wedding during those times, please contact me to take advantage of this special deal!

And of course, I’m still booking weddings in August 2012 and beyond, so e-mail me for availability! 🙂

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

If you’re in the middle of your wedding planning, you’ll certainly agree that things change.  From the moment you get engaged until the moment you walk away from your reception, the details of your wedding day are likely to change plenty.

Changing your mind is totally normal.  But what happens when you pull a switcheroo and don’t tell your wedding vendors?

Or when you ask them to do something way beyond their contracted duties?

In my last blog, I talked about tipping only vendors who go above and beyond your expectations.

But what happens when your expectations end up being above and beyond what you – and they – agreed to?

It’s hard to say for sure.  It does depend on the vendor’s resources and time.  But from the planner’s perspective, when a lot of changes are made, especially very close to a wedding date, it creates a good amount of background chaos.

When you hire a new vendor within a week or two before your wedding day, we need to add them to all correspondence, timelines, and diagrams.  And make sure that they know exactly what they need to do, which is actually more difficult in many ways than just getting them into our timelines.  Even the best vendor added at the last minute will have a lot of confusion about what they need to do, when, and where.

And when you add new duties for your existing vendors, especially right before the wedding itself, they may not actually be able to do a good job with the duties you’ve already asked them to perform.

For example, let’s say you plan to put together your own centerpieces but realize the day before the wedding that it won’t be possible.  You ask your coordinator to do them instead.  She might be able to.  But it might be at the expense of hanging lights, or placing favors, or helping your groomsmen put on their boutonnieres, or making sure that the caterers are setting up in the right place, or just plain managing other bits and pieces of your day.  She might not have enough staff to make that change so close to the wedding day, or she might need to start working even earlier on your wedding day than she’s expected to (and a good coordinator will already be working a 10-12 hour day at least, so please don’t ask her to get there earlier!).  Let’s say that you have very basic centerpieces, and every one takes an average of 10 minutes to put together (the amount of time goes up as the complexity goes up, and a coordinator might not actually have the ability to execute something very complicated!).  If you have 10 tables, that’s 100 minutes – almost two hours – that your coordinator wasn’t expecting to need to spend on your centerpieces.  At minimum.

The same thing happens when you ask your florist to “just put together the flowers we bought” in addition to the ones she’s already bringing, your DJ to set up the dance floor lights you rented, or your caterers to set up place settings that you weren’t able to get your volunteers to do.  Or you add extra pieces to your tables, or extra decor to your ceremony.  Trust me, a good vendor team will do everything they can to make your wedding day amazing.  But if you’ve made a change or addition, they might not always be able to find enough hands, or enough time.

So this is my very special request: When changes to your wedding day vision happen (they will), please keep your affected vendors informed, as soon as they happen.  No matter how small and insignificant they seem.  Please don’t wait until the last minute to spring a change on your vendors, and expect that they can make it happen.  Please don’t balk if your vendors tell you that, because of the additional work you’ve added, they will need to hire more helpers at a higher cost.  And please don’t hold it against your vendors if they’re unable to make a last-second change happen the way you’d like.

I’ve been incredibly lucky that my brides have truly been amazingly communicative and reasonable, and my vendor teams have truly been amazingly talented and flexible.  But if you’re a bride who’s thinking of springing a last-second change on your vendors so that you don’t have to pay them extra (it happens), please reconsider.  And if you’re a bride who’s made a last-second change with her wedding and is wondering how to proceed, please contact your coordinator and all affected vendors to explain the situation as soon as possible, and be understanding and flexible of their reactions!

Oh yes, and if you do spring a last-second change on your vendors, please consider this a situation in which they’ve gone above and beyond, and tip them!

To Tip or Not To Tip?

The subject of tipping comes up a lot.  Most of my brides ask about it: “Should I tip?  How much?  When?”

The answer I give them might not be the most popular one.  After all, wedding professionals like extra money.  I know I certainly do!  But it’s the one I find to be the best:

Tips are always appreciated, never required or expected.  If you feel a wedding professional went above and beyond for your wedding day, by all means give them a tip after the wedding.

Going above and beyond is in bold for a reason.  It doesn’t translate into “just showed up” or “was kind of helpful.”  Plenty of people do that.  Service above and beyond takes dedication and care.  This also means that if you feel a wedding vendor was pushy, surly, disruptively late, unpleasant, unprofessional, or just plain difficult to work with…  Tipping is not necessary (and in fact I’d discourage it).  I also discourage against adding tips in with your final vendor payments, because how can you know before your wedding is over whether you think they did an excellent job?

The underlying theme here, too, is that a tip is extra – and again, not expected or required.  Your wedding vendors have thought long and hard about their pricing.  If any of them are expecting more than they’ve charged you, they should probably re-evaluate how much they charge.  When I get a tip from a couple, it’s always a genuine surprise.  I always share with my assistant(s) for the day, and always am grateful for my clients’ generosity.  But I never ever go into a wedding expecting a little something extra from the bride and groom just because I showed up for work.

It also might be unpopular for me to add the next part:

Sometimes the best tip is a great thank you card or an excellent review.  A five-star review can generate a lot of business for an exceptional wedding vendor, and may be even more valuable down the line than a little extra money in his or her pocket.

Again, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t tip monetarily, if you want to, especially if someone blows you away with their service, attentiveness, and final product.  But sending a heartfelt thank you card (I have a few fantastic ones to share with you soon!) or even e-mail, leaving a message on a Facebook page, or writing a review on BridalInsider, WeddingWire or Yelp (or one of hundreds of other review sites on which you might be more active) can really be the tip that keeps on tipping!

Neva + Rob “The McAwesome Wedding” 07*24*2011

It’s not every day that one of your best friends gets married.

And it’s not every day that you get to be in the wedding.

But when one of your best friends gets married, asks you to be in the wedding, and asks for your help designing and coordinating it?  Epic.

McAwesome.

As Neva says, “McAwesome isn’t a last name, it’s an unconventional conventional way of living.”  And Neva and Rob are anything but conventional!

Their wedding day was one year to the day after their first date.  Their wedding decor was inspired by the 1960s Peter Sellers classic The Party.  Their colors were “the colors of the sunset.”  The groom wore orange pajamas, a Chinese-patterned smoking jacket, and a fez.  Their wedding feast was cooked entirely by their family and friends.

Oh yes, and they got married by a robot.

Father Emiglio, the Robot Officiant!

Friends, meet Father Emiglio, robot officiant extraordinaire.  He started life as an Italian child’s toy.  Neva found him in a thrift store and brought him home.  Rob made him…

Well, McAwesome of course.

With a fresh coat of paint and an incredibly complex and hilariously funny program, Father Emilgio moved, spoke, lit up, and played “The Final Countdown.”  He interacted with the bride and groom.  There were incredible extras like R2D2’s beeps.  This robot was amazing.

Of course it’s not legal in California to get married by a robot, so he had a little help from a minister friend of the couple’s, minister Eric Sherman.  But really?  They were married by a robot.

Married by a Robot.  Oh yes.

If YOU want to get married by a robot (or emceed, or bar-mizvahed), or just to get better acquainted with Father Emiglio, check out this video made by the bride and groom!

That’s not the only thing I loved about this incredibly personal wedding, by any means.  For one thing every single vendor was a friend of the bride and groom, except for the girls at Classy Covers (who are friends with me!).  That meant cupcakes, decor, officiating, and photography by friends.  Who all happen to be professionals.  Love it!

Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture hard at work on the couple's formal portaits!

Now, I have one special request.  Please look at the content of these photos, and not the fact that most of them were taken in Auto mode by myself or my husband (and de facto assistant for the day).  I will eventually learn how to properly use my camera – but in the mean time, unless there’s a professional photographer capturing every moment (and our professional was IN the wedding party!), you might have to make do.  But this wedding was so unique, so fun, and so pretty…  I think it’s totally worth showing off my poor photography skills in this incredibly photo-heavy post!

I adored the string of yellow and blue elephant Chinese lanterns, and the matching damask patterned ones we hung in the trees.

Chinese Lanterns!

Chinese lanterns!

I loved all the fun ceramic, ivory, and wooden elephants that Neva and I found at thrift stores, swap meets, and discount stores!

Elephants!

Elephants!

I think the elephant in a birdcage (a special request by the bride) was my favorite, though.

Yes, an elephant in a birdcage!

I drooled over the delectable vegan cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes.  No really, vegan cupcakes can be AMAZING.  At least, these were.  YUM.

Vegan Cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

Vegan Cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

And the cupcake table looked so pretty with my vintage serving pieces!

Cupcake Table by Events by Elisa and Courtesan Cupcakes!

I was so proud of the florals, primarily white mums and daisies with green billy balls and peacock feathers, wrapped in leather cords, that Neva and I created, seen here in a photo by Erin of Paw Prints Pet Portraiture (also one of the bridesmaids!).  Erin usually specializes in pet portraits, but was happy to photograph the “wild things” at this wedding!

Florals with Peacock Feathers by Events by Elisa, Photo by Paw Prints Portraiture

I thought that my vintage suitcases and books, and my Moroccan lamps, helped make the buffet table beautiful!

A buffet can be beautiful, no matter what is being served!

That food, by the way?  Seriously delectable.  I have been the guest at other weddings, weddings where a caterer or venue was paid thousands of dollars, where the food did not taste this good.  Or look this pretty!

Mushroom appetizers!

The secret?  I think it’s lots of love for the couple on the part of the cooks (the groom’s dad and grandfather, both moms and grandmas, and several of the couple’s friends!).

And of course, I am thrilled that I could bring in the beautiful handmade elements that I did, including this pair of elephants.  I wish I’d been able to make these more perfect, but the idea came to me less than a week before the big day.  I still think that they’re super adorable and they were a fun surprise for the bride and groom!

Handmade Elephant cake toppers by Events by Elisa

And the hand-drawn welcome sign, on the cabinet door chalkboard I created for E+D’s wedding!

Welcome to the McAwesome Wedding hand drawn sign by Events by Elisa

And of course these two fifteen-foot paper table runners (one for each of two feasting tables), and the pieces we used on the two smaller tables.

Handcrafted rice paper circle "sculpture" table runners by Events by Elisa

Neva and Rob hand made all of their wedding invitations using a beautiful sunflower-patterned rice paper and the elephant motif that was carried on as cupcake toppers.

Elephant-topped cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

So when Neva and I went shopping together for elephants to decorate the tables, we brainstormed other ideas for the table decor, and I came up with the idea for these runners, using primarily the rice paper from their invitations, with pops of solid color.

Handcrafted rice paper centerpiece for the family's round table by Events by Elisa

Sweetheart Table Sign!

Handcrafted rice paper runner by Events by Elisa!

I know I made them, so I should probably be a little bit more humble.  But I can’t help it.  I think they’re amazing.  I wish I’d gotten more photos of them, since they really were sculptural hand-made works of art.  Every inch of the runner was different from every other inch, and together they included over 300 individually hand-cut rice paper circles in various sizes, from 1/2″ to 6″ in diameter.

Using white cloths from Classy Covers as a backdrop, we were able to decorate the tables with these…  McAwesome (heh!) runners, and pillar candles and flowers and elephants.  The runners brought it all together.  I love this photo by Erin of  Paw Prints Pet Portraiture (although I wish the wax wasn’t so drippy!).

Closeup of the family table by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

Back to the McAwesomes.  Don’t they look happy and in love?  This was their first look.

McAwesomes!

And their first kiss as husband and wife.

First kiss!

And a formal, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Pet Portraiture.

The McAwesomes, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

SO. adorable!

And of course Neva looked STUNNING.

GORGEOUS bride!

That first photo is by me (so you can see her pretty dress too), but the ones Erin took are so much nicer!

Gorgeous! Mrs. McAwesome by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

Smiling Mrs. McAwesome by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

It was fun and creative and fit the couple perfectly.  Neva + Rob are anything but traditional.  And I was so happy to be a part of their McAwesome day.  This wedding is a great reminder that you can have a beautiful wedding with any budget – it’s all about making the right choices for the couple and the budget.  And these were the perfect choices for this couple.  Actually, for all of these people.  Aren’t we a colorful, fun bridal party?

The bridal party!

Neva+Rob 07*24*2011 Wedding Details:

My Pinterest Obsession

Do you pin?

I do…  Pretty much constantly.

If you haven’t used Pinterest yet, and you’re planning a wedding or party, decorating a home or a kid’s room, or just plain like pretty things (and who am I kidding?  Of course you do!)… You need to check this out!

Events by Elisa on Pinterest!

I have boards for design ideas, crafting projects, and past and upcoming events, home design, future kids, and cooking.  Business and personal boards, all organized and pretty.  All my favorite things in one place.  I add my favorite photos from each of my real parties too.  Oh yes, I love Pinterest.  It’s free to use, easy, and super addictive.  Oh, and if you need an invitation, I can send one along!

If you are already using Pinterest…  Why haven’t we connected yet?

Check me out at http://pinterest.com/eventsbyelisa/

By the way this was a completely unsponsored post.  I just really *really* like Pinterest!