The Amazing Desmond’s First Birthday Party Featured on Apartment Therapy!

I am totally late to the party on this one…  I wish I’d realized forever ago that this was actually published here (it was, back in April!).  But I just discovered yesterday that The Amazing Desmond’s First Birthday Party was featured on Apartment Therapy’s blog!

The Amazing Desmond!

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Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego, 06*02*2012 (Part 3)

You’ve already seen how ridiculously gorgeous Emma + Chris are… But wait until you see their bridal party!  One of the handsomest I’ve ever seen. 😉 Okay, maybe I’m slightly biased, since I’ve known some of the bridal party for a long time.  I will say this – they were one of the smiliest I’ve ever seen!  Their joy was uncontainable.  That goes for the couple too.  These portraits speak for themselves.  So.much.love.

 

 

 

 

Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego Wedding Details:

Happy McAwesome First Anniversary Neva + Rob!!!!

These two get around, at least on my blog.  The photos aren’t always the highest quality (since I took them and I’m decidedly not a photographer)  but it hasn’t stopped me.  I love them and always will.

Elephants!

Actually I love this whole wedding.  I’m SO glad I got to be a part of it.

Elephant-topped cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!If there were ever a wedding that was a testament to the statement that you can have a wedding on any budget, this was it.  Spending under $4000 for a fabulous day full of love and personality and celebrating with your 60 closest friends?  Yes please.

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

Of course it helps when you have a couple that is completely laid-back with no real expectations aside from having a good time.  And that particular couple happens to have a lot of talents.  And talented friends.

Cupcake Table by Events by Elisa and Courtesan Cupcakes!Also?  A fun theme rocks it every time.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen a wedding inspired by the movie The Party, but that didn’t stop them.  In fact, they took the basic inspiration and ran with it.  So this is also a great example of not letting the inspiration for a wedding or party limit you.

Yes, an elephant in a birdcage!It’s also a great reminder to let your personalities shine.  After all, not many people would get married by a robot.  But these two?  This was the perfect officiant for them.

Father Emiglio, the Robot Officiant!Of course if Father Emiglio is the perfect officiant for you, don’t hesitate to contact the couple.  They’d love to program him to marry you too.  No, really.  They made a video about it.

Married by a Robot. Oh yes.

It’s hard to believe that this wedding took place on the couple’s one year anniversary of knowing each other – and only three months after they got engaged.  Neva + Rob, you two truly are McAwesome and I love you both to bits.

The McAwesomes, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

I am so proud to have been a part of your wedding and I’m wishing you the happiest of first anniversaries, with many, many more to come!!!

The bridal party!

Neva + Rob’s McAwesome Backyard Wedding has been featured on RogueBride!  To read Neva’s fabulous review and see more photos of the day, check out my website!

Neva+Rob’s McAwesome Backyard Wedding Inspired by The Party 07*24*2011 Wedding Details:

Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego, 06*02*2012 (Part 2)

I’m so excited to share today the next post about Emma + Chris’ super fun wedding at House of Blues San Diego!!!  You’ve already seen their details…  Today it’s time for their ceremony!

Emma + Chris’ wedding ceremony started a little late, as weddings often do.  They were both actually ready, but traffic conspired against them, as one of their bridesmaids (who left almost two hours before the ceremony was scheduled to start, to make a drive that should have taken about 10 minutes each way!) got horribly stuck in an untimely snarl.  While we were waiting, both bride and groom prayed with their bridal party members, and I remember Chris walking by the room where Emma was getting ready and yelling “I love you!!!” through the closed door.  I was struck by how calm they both were, after such a delay.  Don’t get me wrong – they were both full of energy.  But it was mostly about getting this show on the road – not worry.  They were ready!!!

Emma’s bridesmaid finally made it and we were ready to go.  I started the bridal party up the aisle toward Chris, Lyndon, and our officiant Brendon.  Bridesmaids and groomsmen, moms and grandmas.  Until it was Emma’s turn.  She’d told me the day before that she’d love to have the doors to the chapel close after the bridal party walked through, and then open for her.  So I closed them after her Maid of Honor walked through.

Only apparently they’d been locked.  I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t check; I am typically excellent about those things.  But I’ll admit that it didn’t cross my mind until the usher (who was to help me open the doors) and I tried them.  And they wouldn’t budge.  After about 10 seconds that seemed like an eternity, a guest in the back row of the chapel came to our rescue (much to the other guests’ delight) and we were able to give Emma the grand reveal she wanted.  But it’s a testament to how happy and sweet she actually is, because she kept smiling the whole time and only uttered, “Did that really just happen?” with a giggle before walking up the aisle with her father to meet her new husband.

Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego Wedding Details:

Boho Glam Shoot Featured AGAIN!

Happy Early Birthday to me!  I had no intention of posting another blog this week (I’ve already got two lined up for next week!) but I got an e-mail this morning that the Boho Glam shoot I did back in January with Penny Blooms Floral Design, Iliana Morton Photography, Calculated Whisk, Sweeter by the Dozen Cakes, Unbridled Beauty Makeup Artistry, Classy Covers, and Abbey Party Rentals has been featured a third time – this time by a blog in the UK!  There isn’t much commentary but it made the blog owner “beam.”  Which made me beam right back. 😉

Check it out on Time to Drink Champagne!

Where’s My Red Pen? Words I Wish the Wedding World Would Use Properly

Today’s post is a bit of a rant…  A list of pet peeves, if you will.  About word misuse and misspelling common to the wedding industry.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always the best at proofing my own posts…  But between my background in Copyediting and my English teacher mother, well…  I’ve been known to let the owners of small stores know when their signage was spelled incorrectly.

So this post has been brewing for a long time.

Behold, the list of common wedding word mistakes!!!

  • Stationery/Stationary: The word for wedding paper goods ends in “ery” not “ary” (that’s the word for “not moving/staying in one place”). Therefore, please use “I’d like to order my stationery” and, if necessary, “Our guest book will be stationary that night; it won’t be passed around.”  For the record, I saw this used incorrectly at Walmart last week.  I had to fight the urge to call over an associate and tell them to correct that six-foot long, professionally printed and hung sign.
  • Vow/Vowel: I’m really not sure how this one started, but a “vow” is a promise.  A vowel is one of five special letters of the alphabet that are spoken with an open vocal tract.  Use “We’re writing our own vows to use at our wedding” versus “I love using vowels in my poetry.”
  • Aisle/Isle: An “aisle” runs down the center of a church or concert hall.  An “isle” is in the middle of an ocean or lake (it’s another word for island!).  So use “The bridesmaids will walk one-by-one down the aisle” but “We’re spending our honeymoon on a tropical isle.”
  • Palate/PaletteHere’s the thing.  These can both be valid words in the wedding world.  It depends on what you’re trying to say.  A “palate” is technically the name for the roof of your mouth, but the term is often used to discuss someone’s tastes in food.  So you could say “That wine was a little grassy for my palate.”  But a “palette” is literally a paint mixing board, and is a term used in graphic design to denote a group of colors used in a design.  So you’d say “The palette for my wedding is blush and bashful.”  The version with the “e” and extra “t” is the one most people use in conjunction with wedding design.
  • Petal/Pedal: A “petal” is part of a flower.  A “pedal” is something you push down on, like your car’s accelerator or the dampener for a piano. So unless you’re talking to your musician or limo driver, you’ll want to use the version with the “t” in it!
  • Bridal/Bridel: Puh-lease spell this right!!! It’s “bridal,” with an “al” at the end.  End of story!  Likewise “vendor” is correct (“vender” is not).
  • Monogram/Monagram: Yet another case of the same.  This is misspelled a lot!  Use an “o” in this word.  End of story.
  • Altar/AlterI almost lumped this one together with the last one… But considering that “alter” is actually a word that can be used in the wedding industry, I figured I’d clarify.  To “alter” something is to change it.  So if you need your dress shortened, you’ll want to take it to the seamstress so she can alter it.  But an altar can be found in a place of worship, such as a church.  It’s often the area where a couple will get married, in a religious wedding.
  • Voilà/Walla: We’re talking expressions here…  “Voilà!” is a French expression basically meaning “See, there!” or “Look at that!”  “Walla” is the first (or last) half of a name of a town in Washington.
  • Effect/Affect: This problem isn’t unique to the wedding world, but I see it a lot here.  But here’s the thing.  There’s actually a huge difference between the two.  Starting with the part of speech.  “Effect” is a noun.  “Affect” is a verb.  Again, this is a situation where either could be correct, depending on the context, but you’ll need to know you’re using them properly.  So you’ll use branches lighting to create the effect of being outside in the ballroom, since the impending rain is sure to affect your ability to hold the reception outside.
  • There/They’re/Their: I know this one isn’t particular to the wedding world either, but I see it all the time.  So wedding people…  Take note!  “There” refers to a place.  For example, “Please put the cake server there on the cake table.”  Use “they’re” in place of “they are” – so you’d say “They’re getting ready to cut the cake, so put the server on the cake table!”  In contrast, “their” is possessive – use it in the context of talking about someone’s something…  Like “I have to put their cake server on the cake table.”
  • Aww/Awe: This is another case where either could actually be right.  Use “awe” in the case of overwhelming feelings (as in “I felt awe when looking at the gorgeous room”) and “aww” as an expression, like “Aww, that’s so cute!”  Or, you know, just leave them out.
  • Funky French Words: Just…  Pay attention to spelling these, ok?  They get butchered all the time (and truthfully I have to look them up from time to time myself).  Watch them, though, because misspelling them looks horrible.  The groom wears a boutonniere, you carry a bouquet, and you serve hors d’oeuvres (pronounced “orderves,” just to complicate matters further) at your cocktail hour.  Or just call them “buttonholes,” “flowers” and “appetizers.”
  • {Please} RSVP: I’ve been guilty of this more than once myself.  It happens.  You’re rushing to finish writing invitation copy and don’t think about it.  After all, you want someone to RSVP, but you’re nice about asking for it!  Only, RSVP is short for the French phrase “respondez s’il vous plait,” which translates to “Please Respond.”  Which means that when you’re asking someone to “Please RSVP” you’re asking them to “Please Please Respond.”  Which is kind of redundant.  Don’t you think?

I know that there are other additions that could be made to this list….  But this is a good start…  Keep your eye out for these common problems, whether you’re a couple, a vendor, or a blogger.  These are some important ones!  Special thanks to the ladies of Wedding Pros Serious About the Biz for your suggestions!!! 🙂

What are your wedding world word pet peeves? (Try saying that sentence ten times fast, too!)  Add them in the comments!!!

Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego, 06*02*2012 (Part 1)

I remember the way Chris’ face lit up when he said it.  “I’m picking up her ring tomorrow!”  We were at Denny’s, a group of probably eight of the two dozen members of a my friend Lyndon’s music group.  He was so incredibly happy.  So radiant.  And also kind of nervous.

He was going to propose that weekend.  He was going to Colorado to propose to his girlfriend at her family’s house.

“What if she says no?” he asked.  We all assured him that she wouldn’t, of course, but I think we all were holding our breath all weekend.  Until he posted on his Facebook wall: “SHE SAID YES!!!!”

Even though we all knew that it would happen, there was so much happiness in that simple statement.  I know there was some squealing in my household.  Chris came back from the trip and asked Lyndon to be his best man, and two other members of the group to be groomsmen.  Shortly thereafter, Chris asked if I’d be interested in planning their wedding day.  Of course I said yes too. 😉

What followed was one of the most challenging wedding planning experiences I’ve had to date (how do you create a beautiful wedding for 200 people, essentially at under $30 per person including food, cake, and florals?), and one of the most rewarding.  And at the end of it all, I got to celebrate a fantastic love story between two genuinely beautiful people (inside and out, as you’ll soon see!).

I hadn’t actually met Emma yet when I took on planning for this wedding (a rarity), but when I did, I immediately loved her – she’s got such a genuinely sweet spirit and a gorgeous smile!  I hope she had as much fun planning her wedding with me as I had with her! 🙂

We came up with a quirky, whimsical teal and lime color scheme full of fun touches and music details, since both Emma and Chris are musicians and since the wedding reception was at an amazing music venue.  Blue and green tend to be the hardest two colors to use in wedding design, since very few flowers are found in either color, but Emma also loves colorful touches (we flirted with the idea of doing a rainbow cake – it was ultimately nixed by Chris!), so she asked for a super colorful bouquet, and she got one that delivered on both color and texture!

The dynamic duo behind We Heart Photography captured some gorgeous photos (and had a slideshow available that night at the wedding reception!), so I’m going to let them mostly speak for themselves.  😉

Starting with the gorgeous details!

Emma bought the fabulous boutonnieres (featuring sheet music roses and scripture leaves) from Etsy seller HBixbyArtworks, but the gorgeous bouquets were made by Desiree at Penny Blooms Floral Design!  Love how they are full of different textures and colors – Emma told me that day that they were nothing like she’d ever dreamed; they were better!!! Love the little music note detail on each of them, too! 🙂

Emma also ordered the fabulous flower she wore in her hair from an Etsy seller, PetalBlushLove.

Gah…  Just LOOK at those two!!!

Anyway, using Emma’s favorite Pinterest invitation as an inspiration, she and I created a fun, quirky, and Typography 101 rule-breaking invitation that has gotten more compliments from people who just know that it shouldn’t work…  but does!  I love it to bits. 🙂

Can you count how many different fonts were used?  I’m seeing nine.

I made a coordinating program, too, and you’ll see other bits and pieces I designed (I did all the printed materials for the day, from the Save the Date on).

I created a small display in the entrance to the ceremony, using the programs and some fun items Emma had given me.  It set the tone for the whole day!

The reception details were just as whimsical and modern (although they didn’t get as much photo love – I’ll explain why later, and I promise it’s a good reason!).  Because we were on a strict budget, I had to get seriously creative when it came to centerpieces.  They had to coordinate with our mix-and-match whimsical style and while not clashing terribly with the colorful, quirky decor at the House of Blues San Diego.  In the end, I painted the inside of forty eight glass vases of various sizes collected from WalMart and Dollar Tree and my assistant Rachael and I carefully placed a mixture of different textures of white flowers and succulents (the latter came from Chris’ mom’s garden and my front yard!) into each vase.  I loved that no two were the same – in my mind, it mirrored the stationery.  I’m no florist, but I AM pretty happy with how these turned out.  Especially with the addition of the fun sheet music- and kraft- paper mache shapes that I got from Michaels!

Emma hand crafted a special card box just for the occasion, featuring sheet music!

San Diego Desserts created a massive three-tiered chocolate cake frosted in white buttercream, which I decorated with a topper that Emma hand made for the occasion.  It tasted just as good as it looked!

 

And while I was at the offsite ceremony, my amazing assistant Rachael styled their entire sweets buffet (featuring pastel candy purchased by Chris’ mom) herself!  I am so proud of her for knocking this one out of the park:

Come back next week to see more from their ceremony, portraits, and fabulous party!!!!

Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 5 – The VIDEO!)

I can’t even say how excited I am to share this video with you!

If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen it already; it was posted way back in April by Liz at Porcelain Rose Productions.  But now that you’ve gotten the chance to see Michelle and Dave’s Ceremony, Details, Stationery, and Reception, it’s only fitting to see the hilight reel!

Liz from Porcelain Rose actually approached me for a one-on-one vendor meeting back in late February.  She’s a friend of my sister-turned-model and saw the photos of our Boho Glam shoot.  She previously worked for another videographer, and asked me if I had any clients who were in need of a killer deal on videography.  Did I?

I’ve now worked with her four times, for weddings and shoots, and I can definitely attest to the fact that she’s not only incredibly talented, but also incredibly sweet.  Seriously!

And just look at this hilight film!  Anyone who is a fan of Bryan’s shots of the groom tearing up when he sees his bride will love this!

She did such a great job with Michelle + Dave’s hilight reel, and then surprised me with a special treat of my own; a video of my team and I (including former bride Marisa, who was my Wedding Day Setup Assistant!) setting up for and working at the wedding!  Now, I’d imagine I’m not the only one who hates seeing the faces she makes while concentrating, or of the self-conscious cheesy smile I flashed Liz (and I swear I wasn’t telling off DJ Dave – I was checking in with him!!).  And considering that this provides a rare look into the chaos that is backstage several hours before a wedding (the shot – you’ll know it when you see it – was taken not long after we all arrived), I’m a little nervous to show you.  But I also think that it demonstrates a lot of what we do on a wedding day, taking chaos and making order and beauty.  And it’s rare to get a chance to show that to anyone.

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 4 – The Reception)

I’ve already shared with you photos of Michelle and Dave’s Ceremony, Details, and Stationery.  Now it’s time for the Reception!

After Michelle and Dave’s toes-in-the-sand beach ceremony, their guests were treated to a San Diego sunset on the patio of The Shores Hotel, under big Chinese lanterns!

It was windy during setup, so we used shells at each place setting to hold down the menus and napkins!

Once it got dark, the lanterns truly looked magical!

Michelle and Dave felt very strongly about wanting to dance.  And dance!

And just before sunset, Bryan whisked them away for some truly gorgeous photographs.  Seriously, they look so happy, so in love, and so beautiful in these!

Seriously.

Of course I asked Bryan to take a photo of myself and Rachael with the happy couple…  And a few of their photo bombing friends!

Thank you, Michelle and Dave, for putting your faith in me to plan your big day!  It was so much fun and so beautiful!!!

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Ask the Planner: What is “Wedding Hangover”?

If you follow many wedding professionals on Twitter or even Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the phrase “Wedding Hangover.”  And wondered, “Hey, wait a second, were they DRINKING at last night’s wedding???”

Almost across the board (there are the occasional DJs who feel that it’s a totally normal part of their job; I won’t get into my feelings for that here, but let’s assume you’re hiring true professionals, ok?), the answer is a resounding “NO!”

I get asked this question at least once a month by someone who sees one of my posts.  They wonder how I can do my job while drinking.  The answer is that I couldn’t – I am very sensitive to alcohol and tend to fall asleep after more than a single sip!  You would never see me drinking on the job.  But I still suffer from “Wedding Hangover.”  Like, after every wedding.

So what is it?

In short, wedding hangover is the soreness and exhaustion a wedding vendor’s body feels the day after a wedding.  Planners, coordinators, designers, photographers, videographers, DJs, and catering staff are on their feet, running around, for hours and hours on your wedding day.  We often forget to drink water (it’s not uncommon for us to forget to hydrate altogether until dinner and from then until the end of the night), don’t typically eat often enough, and ignore our own bodily needs until it’s convenient for us to address them (I’ve seen pros completely ignore cuts and sunburns for hours, work on sprained ankles, and forget to use the restroom all night….).  It’s just part of our jobs; weddings happen on a certain schedule and we need to be there to do our parts.  So it’s no surprise that we feel the effects afterward.

Do you know how it feels to be hung over?  Whether from alcohol, running a long race, or being a new parent, it’s the same.  Foggy, fuzzy-headed, ready to nap at a moment’s notice, sore and achy, with stiff joints and dry skin.  That is precisely what wedding professionals feel after every wedding.  Many wedding professionals (myself included) try really hard not to schedule meetings the day after a wedding, so that anyone they’re meeting with doesn’t get the wrong impression.  My energy level is usually extremely low the day after a wedding, my throat gravelly, and my eyelids heavy.  Sometimes I’m so hopped up on caffeine that I can’t stop talking at the speed of light.  True story.  It’s no way to really meet me.  Because I don’t do back-to-back weddings, I will not be “hung over” on your wedding day – so I’d rather you meet me when I am more like myself.

But any time anyone says, “Oh wow, what a fun job!!!” (or the downright silly of this statement, “Oh, wow, what an easy job!”) I laugh.  To clarify, I love, loveLOVE what I do.  I adore being a wedding and event planner, working with amazing brides and vendors, and making beautiful and happy things happen for my clients.  But it’s not always fun (see above, sunburns, cuts, and sprained ankles, all of which happened to me in the last two weeks) and it’s definitely not easy.  It’s a ton of work, ten to fourteen hours at a time (next weekend I’ll be working or driving to my wedding from 9:30 am until 11:00 pm; the longest day I’ve had was at a gala when I worked for the nonprofit, it started before 8 am and wasn’t over until after 1 am the next day).  It’s exhausting.

Today is the day after a wedding.  Alexis + Chris got married yesterday in Coronado.  I woke up on Wednesday with a sore back (I still can’t quite figure out exactly what I did) and have been dealing with it on and off ever since.  Yesterday I wore a brace all day (it was 80 degrees and that thing was HOT!).  While looking for my assistant (who, thanks to summer beach traffic, had to park three or four blocks away and couldn’t find the reception room), I rolled my ankle.  I somehow managed to cut my finger (luckily not enough for it to bleed, just enough to sting).  I got home around midnight and had to wake up at six for my day job.  I’m hobbling and every muscle in my body aches.  I am desperately in need of more coffee but I don’t know if I can make it to the cart a block away!

Why do I tell you all this?

Because I had the most amazing time yesterday.  My bride was stunning, my groom handsome.  The vendor team was incredible.  The details were fabulous.  I woke up this morning sore and tired and didn’t really want to move.  But I woke up smiling.  I am so proud of yesterday’s wedding.  Wedding hangover is no match for wedding high.  No drugs or alcohol needed.