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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bridal Canvas

I recently came across a fabulous website for my bridal babes. Bridal Canvas is a fun website that lets you pull together images and music on a “canvas” that you can share on your facebook, twitter, or blog. Check it out.

You can also bring this to life by purchasing a large picture frame or cork board and printing out your photos and pasting them on. Add texture by adding other elements that are included in your wedding. Have this be a work in progress, as you find elements that you want included in your wedding add them to the board. After the wedding it will make for a great way to reminisce about your wedding planning days.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Light On!

I can’t stress enough how important lighting is to any event - especially a wedding.

You can spend countless dollars minor details like disposable cameras, bathrooms baskets, ice carvings, etc… but nothing will ever compare to what lighting can do for an event. Lighting can transform a dull, bland room into a warm, inviting and exciting space. It has a big impact your guest’s mood. Have you ever gone into a ceremony space that was dimly lit, with candles everywhere and soft amber lighting surrounding the space. How do you think that makes you feel? Did you feel the romance? Lighting brings feelings to life.

I once did a ceremony room for a winter wonderland and used shades of blue to give you that winter sky effect. Without the blue lighting, it would have been a white snowy room, the blue gave the room just a touch of texture.

Lighting can also be a reflection of your personality. I once had a bride that was bigger than life. She was bubbly and loved pink. When you stepped into her wedding room, you knew right away who’s wedding it was and the feeling from the guest the entire night was that of the brides personality.

When planning your wedding, lighting should be something you include in your budget from the beginning. Set aside a minimum $500 and go from there. If budget is tight, sacrifice some of those minor details that no one will remember, you will be surprised at how easily those minor details quickly add up.

If your venue does not offer lighting, you can find local vendors that specialize in all things bright and beautiful: I recommend Synergetic Lighting and Sounds.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Littlest Bridesmaid

Flower Girls add a sense of youth, excitement and fun to a wedding ceremony. I absolutely love when the flower girl precedes the bride. It sends an image of a little girl imagining her wedding day, and when the bride comes out, there is that little girl all grown up.

There are so many gifts to give your flower girls, but one of my favorites is something custom as you would for yourself (the bride). A great idea is a custom headpiece for the flower girl. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, it can be whimsical, like a few little butterflies in her hair, or something young (yet dramatic) like a flower with a feather. You can do something that the little girl loves, like Hello Kitty barrettes. I guarantee the flower girl will love the extra touch and probably will wear it long after the wedding.

I have a friend that does awesome hair accessories for little girls. She is truly talented and I have never seen anything for little girls like what she makes. All of her items are Hand-Made and Absolutely Adorable. If you really want something unique and something your flower girl will love, check out this website and some of her wonderful work (my favorites):
Baby Bows and More

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top 6 Contracting Rules

When it comes to choosing your venue, the choices can be very overwhelming, especially because each venue offers so many varieties of services. Having been a Catering Manager for many years, I can tell you the top 6 tips when negotiating your venue contract.

1. Know your Budget: Having this number in your head will set a cap on what you want to spend and will also help you see what each venue is offering you for the same amount of money.

2. Disclose the Competition’s Secrets: Don’t be afraid to tell each venue what their competition is offering you, sometimes, they will be able to offer you the same or something comparable. It will also make them eager to win your business over the competition.

3. Tell Them Everything You Want Up Front: If you disclose your interest in additional upgrades (linen/char rentals, lighting enhancements, ice carvings, bar enhancements, etc.), they see dollar signs, and many times, because you are looking to spend, you can negotiate these prices up front, while you still have negotiating power. You don not want to commit to these items now, you want the option, and each price detailed on the contract.

4. Cancellation: Hopefully you won’t have to deal with it, but just in case, you want to read their cancellation clause and ask for any variation of the following clause: “In the event of cancellation 90 days or greater from the wedding date, should the venue be able to re-sell the date to any type of event, the venue agrees to refund deposit monies commensurate with the total spend of the new booking” In other words, if the new booking is spending the same or less than your guaranteed minimum, the venue agrees to give you the difference of the two numbers. Within 90 days is tough for any venue to resell to any type of event, but definitely ask for less time.

5. Know What You Are Committing To: Minimum Revenue Guarantees are a promise you make to the venue that guarantees a certain amount of money that you will spend with them. NEVER commit to a head count, commit to a DOLLAR amount. The head count should be due no sooner than two weeks prior, but try to negotiate up to 72 hours prior, trust me the guest count still changes this close in. Some Venues will only include the Food and Beverage in their Minimum Revenue Guarantee, others will include anything purchased thru them (linen, lighting, etc.). Finally, ask that any additional fees also be disclosed on the contract. Such fees include; room rental, staffing fees, additional power for the band, etc. If they say “There are no additional fees”, have them put it in the contract. You want EVERYTHING in writing so that there are no misunderstandings later. This protects both parties. Should they have any issues with putting anything in writing, then you may have to question the integrity of the venue.

6. Get Both Parties Signatures. A contract is not legally binding until both parties have signed. A representative from the venue needs to sign after you to completely execute the agreement. Always ask for a copy of the executed contract – and make sure you have ALL pages, not just the signed page.

Good Luck, and remember you can always email me with any questions on this or other topics.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Fair Wedding

I’ve had the privilege of working with David Tutera twice now, and I have to tell you, what a great guy!

If you’ve never heard of him, David Tutera has been in the industry over 20years and has planned events for A-list celebrities like, Barbara Walters, Starr Jones, Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, and so many more. He is truly talented and has become a leading expert in all things wedding and special events!

Last year, David premiered a great new TV show called My Fair Wedding on WeTV. He takes an ordinary bride with a modest budget and transforms her wedding day into a Platinum affair - all complimentary! He is really making dreams come true!

Season 2 just began this past Sunday with a Casino themed wedding and this next episode on June 13th features The Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown by Marriott. A hidden gem in Center City Philadelphia! Wait until you see what wonderful things David did for this bride!

Aires Every Sunday 10pm EST.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Brides New Best Friend

I had come across a great resource years ago for Brides called The Bridal Bar. This boutique shop can be found in Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta (hopefully more will pop up near your area). The flagship store in LA opened over 6 years ago and has helped A-list celebrities like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Katherine Heigel, and more plan their weddings.

The concept is unique: They help Brides plan their wedding for free. As a bride you are offered champagne, and have all the wedding resources available to you in one area. They have books, videos, photos, and expert advice all at your fingertips and in a chic setting. The girls help you with all of your questions and guide you towards the best vendors in the industry. It’s an incredible idea and a bride’s best friend.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Bling for your Buck?

Most likely you bridal babes already have the Bling on your finger, but you may have a friend (or their boyfriend) that would be interested in this entry.

A colleague of mine asked me yesterday; “what is the standard rule for spending money on an engagement ring?”

I’ve heard many times that the formula was 1½ times their monthly salary (before taxes). In doing my research, I came across several articles that suggested up to four months of yearly salary. Now I’m not one to knock the four month rule, but it does seems a bit much. If your man wants to spend that much on your ring, then let him!

Let’s put this in perspective:

If his yearly salary is $50K divide that by 52 weeks = $962 weekly, then multiply by 6 weeks (1½ months worth) = $5,772 allowance for a ring. Now what kind of ring can you get with $5,772?

Ring # 1:

The total carat weight of diamonds for this ring is 1.09.
Diamond: Very Good-cut, F-color, VS1-clarity, Princess Cut, 1.09-carat Diamond.

Setting: Comfort-Fit Ring in Platinum (2.5mm).

Total for Ring # 1: $5,854
Ring #2:
The total carat weight of diamonds for this ring is 1.74.

Center Diamond: Very Good-cut, G-color, VS2-clarity, Radiant Cut, 0.90-carat Diamond. $3,322

Setting: Triad Pavé Diamond Ring in 18k White Gold. $1,950

Total for Ring #2: $5,272 ********************************************************************************
So Ring #1 gives you a much better quality Diamond and bigger size, where ring #2 gives you more total weight, but lesser quality diamonds.

Either way, it’s not about the ring, it’s about the man and how happy he makes you. If you really want to see what you can get for your money, go to Blue Nile. You can build your own ring and be educated on everything Bling!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Aisle Do!

For a sophisticated Aisle Runner, turn to the Fabric Supply Stores. They sell fabric by the yard and have thousands of styles, colors, textures and prints available. Look online at Joann Fabrics and under home décor for thousands of options.

First, find out how long your Aisle will be. Contact the church or venue to get the exact measurements. The start point is 1 foot from the alter, and 1 yard past the last row of chairs. Most aisles average 50 feet, but before purchasing, make sure you confirm the exact measurements. Also, confirm there is an alternate path for the guests to seat themselves other than the center aisle. If not, then you will have to have the aisle runner dropped after all the guests are seated (or before the bride).

Next, find a fabulous print that works with the theme of your wedding. If you’re going with a solid, consider a great textured fabric. Also ask the store if they have any additional cardboard rolls in the back they were going to toss, you can use this later to store your finished aisle runner. If not, you can go to Home Depot and have them cut a PVC pipe to size. Make sure you also pick up sturdy rope that goes through the center pipe that won’t snap while being unrolled.

Now that you have this gorgeous fabric, let’s perfect it. Make sure there are no frayed edges. If there are, you can easily fold over the fabric and run it thru a sewing machine. If sewing makes you nervous you can purchase
Steam a Seam. All you will need to know is how to fold fabric and work an iron. Of course, Iron or steam (depending on the fabric) your runner a few days prior and roll properly onto the pipe so as to not add wrinkles or creases.

Your florist will typically do the rest (at a small nominal labor fee). If you have family assisting, ask them to secure the runner on the floor with
Matching Duct Tape (comes in all colors online). Do not tape the entire runner, just in sections so that it is still not very noticeable. At each end you will however need to secure the entire width to prevent heels snagging.

Finally, Tie off the aisle with a matching ribbon so that the guests avoid walking on the aisle runner. If you are dropping the aisle runner during the ceremony, I recommend doing a practice run at rehearsal.

Never, Ever, Ever, do an Aisle Runner on Grass! It’s dangerous and does not look good.
Also think twice about an aisle runner outside. To many uncontrollable elements to worry about

Happy Trails!