Emma + Chris’ House of Blues Wedding Featured on Style Me Pretty!

It’s been quite the summer for Events by Elisa.  I’ve had more amazing weddings, fabulous photo shoots, and incredible features in just a few months than I thought possible.  Last weekend I designed a table at my local Classic Party Rentals showroom, to be featured for the next two months and seen whenever anyone goes to pick out their linens or tableware.  I’m hard at work designing an invitation for my cousin’s wedding early next year, in which I’ll also be bridesmaid.  And I’ve had a grand total of FOURTEEN features on all sorts of lovely sites since June.  FOURTEEN!!!

Including today.  Yup, it happened again.  This time on Style Me Pretty California.  Emma + Chris’ House of Blues Wedding is featured today!!!

If you’ve read my four blogs about this wedding, you’ll know how much I love these two.  And how proud I was of all we accomplished on our extremely modest budget.  And how much I adored the stationery that I designed!  This wedding ended up being an extremely personal labor of love for me.  And I was so, SO proud to work with some of my favorite San Diego wedding vendors to make this special couple’s wedding day unforgettable.

That’s why it was such an honor to have it featured on Style Me Pretty!!

See?  Aren’t these two gorgeous???  Not to mention those drop-dead flowers from Penny Blooms Floral Design!

See the entire feature on Style Me Pretty California today, and while you’re there, check out the whole Gallery for even more fabulous photos!!!

Oh yes, and now I get one of these nifty things to put on my website… 😉

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And on a completely unrelated note…  Four years ago was my wedding day.  Celebrating my anniversary tonight with my sweetheart and looking forward to a fabulous fifth year!!!

(Photo by Beverley Woodward; I’d link to her site but she’s no longer in business!)

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

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Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego, 06*02*2012 (Part 4)

You’ve seen Emma + Chris’ details, ceremony, and portraits…  So now it’s time for the reception photos!

But before I get too much into them, I have to relay a tiny story.  You see, the bridal party was a bit late getting back for the reception, and we all wondered what was up.  Once they arrived, I was clued in.  They’d stepped in to stop a fight!  In the middle of their portrait session, they noticed two homeless men starting to beat up on each other and the groom and groomsmen stepped in while the photographers called the police.  So the delay?  Totally understandable. 😉

Anyway, the reception itself was incredible fun, and captured so well by We Heart Photography!  Again, I’m going to try to let the photos speak for themselves. 😉

Congratulations again, Chris and Emma!!  I loved celebrating your wedding with you!!!! <3!!!!

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

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:

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:

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:

What Wedding Planners REALLY Do: Mover

Have you ever wondered HOW all the bits and pieces, the decorations and menus and favors and special details, get to a wedding?  The answer is simple: The planner.

The Wedding Planner as Mover

Venues and vendors who know me know that when I first arrive on-site for a wedding or event I “move in.”  Typically my car is completely full of wedding supplies – both from the couple and from my personal stash – and it takes my assistant and I a decent amount of time to truly unpack.  This is because part of my final pre-rehearsal meeting with my couples is to get all their wedding supplies from them.

What does this mean for you?

No worrying about whether escort cards or guestbooks will get to the wedding, or sending your third cousin to your apartment an hour before the ceremony starts to pick up the programs.  We go through an inventory of all the pieces needed for your big day and where they should be at what time, and then I take them off your hands.  Then on your wedding day I stuff everything into my car and “move in” to your venue.

It’s not glamorous, it means a lot of sweat, and it can mean that my home office is stuffed full of your wedding supplies for a few days or weeks.  But it translates to less stress on the wedding day itself for both the couple (no last-second forgotten items) and my staff (everything is centralized and organized, and the function for each piece is known).

I often joke that 90% of my job is schlepping things from one place to another.  But when those “things” are details crucial to your wedding day, it’s one of the most important parts of my job!

To DIY or Not to DIY?

DIY (or Do-It-Yourself, if you’ve been living under a rock) details can bring heaps of personality to your event.  The handmade look is “in” – but more than that, there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you look back at an event that just screams that you were the host.  Details you created by hand can take your wedding from blah and everyday to unique, interesting, and personalized.  And – sometimes, if they’re done right – they can save you money.

I am a huge supporter of DIY projects for weddings and events.  But there’s a catch.  If you want to Do It Yourself, you have to Do It Smart.
Handcrafted rice paper centerpiece for the family's round table by Events by Elisa

It’s a natural tendency.  The insistence on being Superwoman (or Superman!), on taking everything on.  We all do it.  But it’s one of my jobs to alleviate stress for my clients, so I will always have the same advice:

Choose wisely, plan ahead, do a trial run, start early, leave plenty of time, work efficiently, embrace imperfections, be realistic about costs, and know when to go to plan B. 

Okay, it’s not poetry.  But trust me on this, it’s advice worth heeding.  Unless you actually like to be stressed out, up working on projects all night right before your wedding or event, of course.

Choose wisely

While you might be painfully aware of every single detail that goes into your wedding or event, your guests only ever see the final product.  They won’t notice if your tablecloths are the perfect shade to compliment the bridesmaids’ dresses.  They won’t judge you for buying premade sweets for your buffet.  They simply won’t care if you’ve hand-embroidered every napkin.

Oh, they’ll see the overall look.  Some of your (more event savvy) guests might even notice a few of the special details.  But as a rule, your guests only notice a fraction of what you put into your wedding or event; so choose your handmade details wisely.

I always ask my clients who are considering making the details themselves what they want most to see at their wedding or event.  When in doubt, go for the visual impact – the big wow.  I also ask whether they have any experience with the DIY project at hand.  After all, baking and decorating a dozen cupcakes can be a challenge for someone who rarely cooks, but baking and decorating twelve dozen is tough even for the most experienced baker.  Likewise any project that you haven’t done before has a 50/50 chance of being harder than it looks (I, for example, am a disaster at making cake pops, no matter how many tutorials I read or watch).

When discussing strategies with my clients for designing their wedding or event, I always suggest to take on only one or two DIY projects; with careful advance planning you can do more, but beware the totally normal tendency to try to do it all.  Taking on too much might mean not getting it all done.

Plan ahead

French chefs are trained to cut first, cook second.  Instead of searching frantically through drawers and cupboards for just the right spice as the dinner is bubbling away on the stove, they measure just the right amount of each ingredient into little nesting bowls, all laid out on their workspace, before turning on the stove.

The trick to a smooth DIY project is to prepare your own mise en place (“putting in place”).  Read the instructions for your project, or figure out your plan of attack if it’s a totally unique idea.  Read them again or sketch out exactly what you need.  If you’ve heard the expression “measure twice, cut once,” that’s exactly what you need to do here.  Especially if a project is brand new to you, the last thing you need is to get halfway through and realize you need to make a run to the store.  Make yourself a shopping list and always get more supplies than you think you’ll need (if I’m making a dozen tissue paper flowers and my instructions say I need ten pieces of tissue paper per flower, I’m picking up 130 or 140 pieces; always better to have too much than too little, in a case like this!).  Lay everything out on a nice stable, permanent surface, and expect to dedicate the surface to your project until it’s completed.  And don’t forget to find a storage place for your finished project, before you start!

Do a trial run

I get a lot of questions from clients asking how long a project should take them to complete.  There’s no short answer to this question, even if I’ve done the project a thousand times before.  For example, it might take me twelve minutes, on average, to fold and fluff a tissue pouf.  But I’ve made dozens of them, so I have the advantage of experience.  I also have ripped dozens of them (it happens), and I know that certain tissue papers will be more cooperative than others.  If I tell you that you should plan on 15 minutes apiece, that might be an excellent estimate.  For me.  But if you have less of an affinity for the project, you’re exhausted from a full day of work, or the tissue paper you’re using is particularly thick or thin, it might take you closer to an hour.  Or you might get so frustrated by the whole thing that it just doesn’t happen at all.

To estimate how long a project will take you, to determine if you like the materials you’re using, and to make sure that you can even complete it at all (cake pops will never again be something I attempt!), you must do a trial.  Get enough of the supplies to make a single trial piece, set a timer when you start, and go slowly to make sure you complete all the steps.

Tissue Poms

Start early

Of course your trial run will help you establish a ballpark figure for how long your DIY project will take.  But a rule of thumb is that something is always going to happen to get in your way of finishing on time.  I always, always, always suggest to my clients to estimate that their project will take twice as long as they think, and to plan accordingly.  And, except for perishables, I strongly encourage them to plan on finishing no less than a week before the wedding or party (the earlier the better).  That way if the family dog gets sick, or the Maid of Honor can’t make it to help, or the store is out of supplies, you won’t be in the weeds.  You’ll just calmly pick up where you left off, a day or two after you’d anticipated, or add a day or two on to your finishing time.

Starting early has another advantage, too.  You can tell before the-wedding-eve if you might have trouble finishing, and call in reinforcements (what’s the wedding party for, anyway?) or move on to the next item.  And it’s an exceptionally satisfying feeling to look around you two weeks before an event and think, “I have no more DIY projects to do – I’m going to the movies!”

Leave plenty of time

This might sound redundant, but it goes hand-in-hand with starting early.  Especially for weddings, the days leading up to the Big One can get hectic.  Family comes into town.  Nails and hair need doing, the dress needs one last fitting, the rehearsal needs rehearsing.  It’s easy to overschedule.

Even for a social event, if you’re working a full-time job (full-time mommy is a job too!), or you have other obligations, it’s easy for time to slip away.  Something I’ve learned to do is carve out large sections of time for projects, but even that can get tough.  Leaving yourself plenty of time, solely dedicated to preparing your DIY projects, scheduled into your week, is the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to get it done.


Work efficiently.

You know how big manufacturing was revolutionized?  The assembly line was invented.  One person did the same thing over and over until all of the pieces for all of the items being manufactured were made.  And only then (if ever) did they start on something else.  The same principle should apply to any DIY projects you might have.  It’s much faster to cut 100 strips of paper to use as belly bands for your invitations than it is to cut each strip individually, as you need it.  And if you think “in bulk,” you’ll be inclined to think of things like minimizing the number of sheets you can cut at once while still maintaining quality, or how best to make the minimum number of cuts (I once received a “finished” piece from a designer that required four cuts per strip of paper, with little tiny stripes of white between each strip…  I almost threw my paper cutter across the room!).  You can use this principle to make backdrops or table runners, embellish details, and assemble just about anything solo.

But working efficiently can mean recruiting help, too.  After all, what makes a project go faster than spreading around the workload?  My favorite method for assembling boxed candy favors is to create an assembly line where one person folds boxes, another places paper shavings inside, a third adds one type of candy, a fourth another, a fifth closes each box securely, and a sixth ties a pretty bow or adds the sticker on the outside.  Yes, it gets repetitive.  But it ensures that everything is done consistently, quickly, and with minimum fuss.  And it’s a heck of a lot more fun than putting everything together by yourself.  This goes the same for assembling Out of Town bags, invitations, and a multitude of other repetitive tasks.  It’s also a great way to involve people who might not be as artistically inclined – they can make precise cuts, count out exactly the number of candies that go in a box, or stick adhesive to an invitation, and still make a big contribution to your wedding or event, without you having to redo their work.  That said, working efficiently means not redoing work – so if you worry that one of your loved ones might not be able to handle the task at hand, don’t assign it to them!

photo by Stephina Photography

Embrace imperfections.

Handcrafted events are just that.  Made by hand.  Unless you’re secretly Martha Stewart (and if you were, you’d tell me, wouldn’t you?), your DIY projects probably won’t look like they belong in a magazine.  Especially the first time you make one.

But that’s okay.

In fact, it’s better than okay.  It’s excellent.

You made this piece.  With your own hands.  How often can we really say that, in today’s grab-and-go world?

I think one of my favorite reasons to DIY is to just get my hands dirty.  To feel the paint and the clay and the wood and the paper.  It brings me joy.  And it should bring you joy too.  Remember art class in Kindergarten?  Your project didn’t have to look perfect.  It was perfect because you made it.

The same thing goes for your DIY projects.  Unless you’ve been sewing, or painting letters on a sign, or making tissue paper poufs, since the age of three, you probably will need a lot of practice to just make something that doesn’t look like a mess.  And even if it does…  Who cares?  You made it.  Be proud of it.  That’s the charm of “handmade” after all.

Be realistic about costs.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about DIY projects is that they’re always less expensive than buying ready-made pieces, or hiring someone to make a piece for you.

I’d like to tell you that it’s true.  But it’s not.

Between buying equipment (staple gun, paintbrushes, drill, paper cutter, sandpaper, etc.) and supplies (paper, wood, paint, ribbon, etc.), a simple-looking project can turn into a money pit.  Many artisans can actually make a handcrafted project for you for less money (and in less time) than you could, because they already own the equipment, buy supplies in bulk, and know how to do the projects to ensure that they don’t waste anything.

This isn’t to say that you can’t create an inexpensive DIY piece.  But if budget is really an issue, it pays to be extremely aware of the costs of all of your equipment and supplies before purchasing anything.  Don’t forget to factor in extra supplies for your trial/learning.

Sweet Table Tags by Events by Elisa

Know when to go to Plan B.

Including beautiful handmade projects is a fantastic way to personalize your wedding.  But not every project is for every person, even if you’re crafty.  I learned this the hard way when I was making pipe cleaner Mickey Mouse ears for a friend’s Disneyland bachelorette party last year.  I can whip out a tissue paper pom in no time, but twisting a simple pipe cleaner around a cup to make an attractive ear shape, and hot glueing it to a headband, was impossible.

I ended up making a lumpy, gluey mess.

Luckily my sister was on her way over and just happened to be a pipe cleaner Mickey Mouse ear prodigy (who knew?).  The project that I’d been struggling with for an hour to make a single, awful-looking piece was done in forty five minutes.  And she made twelve.

I share this story to demonstrate that no matter how crafty you might be, you might not be able to make your preferred project, no matter how hard you try.  And in the event that you don’t have a crafty backup person whose strength just happens to be in the area of your weakness, you might have to come up with a backup plan.

Repeat this with me: It’s okay to use my backup plan.

If you’re struggling, slogging through hours of DIY without getting good results, getting angry at yourself and your supplies, or completely unhappy with your finished pieces, don’t forget it’s okay to stop.  Set yourself a time limit or a specific date (at least a week prior to your wedding day) by which you must finish all your projects, so that you’re not still trying to furiously work on DIY projects at 3 am on the day of your wedding.  Trust me on this one: it’s better to substitute your original plan with something more doable (buying or renting napkins instead of hand-embroidering them, hiring a graphic designer instead of creating your own invitations, or buying decorations instead of making them, for example) than to stress yourself out over finishing it.

I promise.

So if you do decide that you want to Do It Yourself, keep in mind the simple rules I laid out above.  Choose wisely, plan ahead, do a trial run, start early, leave plenty of time, work efficiently, embrace imperfections, be realistic about costs, and know when to go to plan B.  And don’t be afraid to ask for help, from a more experienced friend or family member, an online advice forum, or your wedding planner (who has probably already done this sort of thing!).

Oh, yes, and have fun! 🙂

Happy crafting!

Photography credits:

What Wedding Planners REALLY Do (a new series): Editor

Today I’m starting a new feature series here on my blog.  I’ve got so many post ideas that end up being so extremely long that I’m trying very hard to break them into smaller, more digestible bites.  This one came out of a discussion I had earlier this month with my newest couple (Diana + Julian).  Julian was skeptical that they really needed a coordinator to help with their wedding day preparation, and it got me thinking about all the different “hats” I wear in my function as planner (or designer or coordinator, but for this particular series I’ll be using the term “planner” to encompass all parts of the design, planning, and coordination process).

There are a lot.

So I decided to write them out.  Give a little explanation.  To give you some insight into just what your wedding planner does, on and before your wedding day.  You might just be surprised.

The first of my functions?  Editor.

The Wedding Planner as Editor

Do you remember playing as a kid?  Imagination abounded, you could be and do anything you wanted.  Possibilities were endless.  One day you had your heart set on being a rock star when you grew up.  The next it was a doctor.  The next an astronaut, or a paleontologist, or a baker who made cakes 100 layers high.  Do you remember that feeling?  That there were so many amazing opportunities for you?

That’s kind of how it feels when you’re first planning a wedding.

Actually, I know that it’s not the case for everyone (some people flat out hate wedding planning, and that’s where another of my roles as planner comes in, but we’ll get to that in a future post).  But for so many of my couples, their wedding is this fantastic opportunity to do whatever they want!!!!  Bubbles, rice, confetti, streamers, sparklers…  The possibilities are astounding.  And those are just for the end of the ceremony!

Most wedding planning journeys take a lot of twists and turns.  You might choose a theme but be completely stuck on colors, or decide on one look and then suddenly realize it’s wrong for you.  One of my former clients looked into three separate “feels” for her day.  Sometimes remnants of one theme stick around after that theme is long gone.  Sometimes there are just too many ideas to decide.  Sometimes there isn’t much clarity at all.

In my role as wedding planner, I help you to pare down all those ideas and unify all those themes.  Part of my job in the planner/designer capacity is to make sure that your ideas all tie together on your wedding day.  I try to look at your overall plans and tweak them so that they make sense.

For example, when designing the details for Emily + Jeremy’s Wedding, we knew that the very!bright! color of the pool house wasn’t going to tie in with her wedding day style.  So we created a showpiece using Chinese lanterns, and brought them into the other spaces in the wedding.

For The McAwesome Wedding, Neva came to me with a few ideas – elephants! birdcages! The Party! lanterns! peacock feathers! daisies! – and her wedding invitation (which featured a round cutout piece of patterned rice paper) and we sketched out a basic plan for her table runners and reception decor, bringing them all together.

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

For E+D’s Wedding, I remember when the bride first sent me the link to her inspiration photos in Google Docs.  There were over 40 different photographs there!  Together, we went through, prioritizing, discussing options, working to unify her disparate ideas.  In the end, we pared things down to just what was really important to her, carried the bird theme loosely throughout the day, and I threw in a couple of fun surprises.

Welcome Chalkboard

Your planner will ideally be able to help you create an overall vision for the day, cut out the pieces that simply don’t fit, and put a pretty little bow on top.  Because your planner has seen how all the elements of a wedding interact with each other on many occasions, she can tell you what will make the greatest impact or how best to make all your ideas work in concert.  But only if you share your vision with her and listen to her input – otherwise, she’s got nothing but a blank page!

Photo credits:

My Beautiful Boho Glam Shoot Featured on Iliana Morton Photography’s Blog NOW!

I don’t know how closely you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook…  But if you’ve been paying attention you might have noticed some discussion of a photo shoot.  You might have even seen a teaser or two.  There will be a full post about this some time soon, but for now, some photos are up on Iliana Morton’s blog.  Seriously.  In less than two weeks.  I know, she’s amazing. 🙂

 

Our Table!

Our gorgeous model!

This was a labor of love (and, yes, like Iliana said, we ended up putting it together in about a week).  I did the print materials design and styling, and shared event design duties (including the gorgeous hanging ribbons and frames) with Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design.  Hair and makeup were done by the oh-so-talented Ashley of Unbridled Beauty Makeup Artistry (also, I need to blog about her logo!), with a Sweet Table featuring a cake provided by Sweeter by the Dozen and cake balls by Calculated Whisk.  And let’s not forget linens by Classy Covers (with custom runners made by Desiree and myself), rentals by Abbey Party Rentals (including those fabulous amber glasses!), and a FABULOUS Free People dress!!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in the shoot.  I’m totally in love! <3!  More photos to come very soon!

When This All Started, or Why I Do What I Do

I’ve gotten the question more than once…  “So, how did you become a wedding designer/planner?”

Well, the short answer is on my website.  I started planning events and doing graphic design at my first job in college (I worked there for all 4 years, and it was also a HUGE training ground for my academic advising job…  you just never know!).  I was the event coordinator for our student council.  I was a marketing assistant at a multinational accounting firm.  I was in charge of galas and other special events for a local nonprofit.

But I realized last week that there’s an even longer answer than that.  It goes back a lot farther.

I was the kid who would always plan everything out.  Oh, not my life – I didn’t even think about my wedding day until I got engaged (I think I was afraid I’d jinx it), I’ve never had my future kids’ names picked out, I didn’t know what my career would ultimately be (and, really, it’s always evolving, so I still don’t).  But the little things.  What I’d wear to school.  What I’d play with after I finished my homework.  What I’d sing for the next talent show.

More importantly, I was the plan-ahead-er for family trips.  I’d be all packed up and ready to go the week before we left, offering to help my parents pack their bags.  They always packed the morning of our flight and it would kill me to see them rushing.  I hated rushing.  I still do.  All that stress just seems totally unnecessary.

When we’d make plans to go to Disneyland, I’d lay out all of my clothes and pack my little backpack the night before.  I would include a snack and a sweater and a change of socks (sometimes a whole change of clothes) and a book for the car ride there.  I’d bounce out of bed at sunrise, ready to get dressed, eat breakfast, and go.  I wanted to get to the park as soon as it opened at 8:00, and we only lived about an hour away.  My parents were slow to wake up (even slower to a plan-ahead-er like me) and we usually wouldn’t leave the house until after 10.  Again, it killed me.  Every time.  Not necessarily because we were getting there late.  Because it was so easily avoided through good planning.  Don’t laugh – I’m serious!

Likewise, my family’s vacation planning style was very last-second too.  Typically my parents would decide that they wanted to go on vacation just a few weeks (or days!) before they wanted to leave.  Sifting through airline prices with travel agents (this was pre-internet, of course!) translated into lots of hours lost.  And while it was possible to get a killer deal every once in a while, typically my parents would pay much, much more for their tickets than if they’d have purchased them earlier (I witnessed this firsthand, once I was old enough, when the tickets they bought to Ireland cost more than twice as much as those to Italy, just one year later, because they were bought within a month of our leaving the country).

Now, I adore my parents – and there’s not a single thing wrong with not being a plan-ahead-er…  Unless you’re me at age seven.  I’ve learned to relax my stringent planning, especially since I married a last-minute-er (instead of packing the morning of a trip, he packs right before we leave the house!).  But I still believe that good planning can help you to avoid stress, lateness, and extra time and expense.  And who wants to have stress, lateness, lost time, or extra expenses?  Ever?

Oh.  And…  Once a Wedding Diva, always a Wedding Diva.  Observe.

Yes.  That’s me! 🙂

Anyway, this wasn’t groundbreaking news…  But I thought it might give you some perspective into why I do what I do.  And why I love it.  Because it’s in my personality!