Friday, July 25, 2014

fresh perspective

We've moved! Go on over to our new, fresh blog for weekly inspiration, design ideas, personal posts and weddings! We look forward to having you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the final week

I’m happy to report that so far Phil and I have experienced no real last-minute hiccups or stresses. Truly! I am getting so excited, though. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. And I’m overwhelmed emotionally. Just about everything makes me cry now, but not due to stress or anxiety. It’s just because I truly can’t wait to marry my best friend (cheeeese!).

In a truly “wedding-planner-turn-bride” twist, I have been looking most forward to the seating chart. Visualizing all of our close family and friends in one place on one piece of paper is so truly gratifying and special. Phil, however, begrudgingly undertook the task with me (in fairness, I was way too eager and excited about this the other night). It ended up being super easy. With only a few tweaks and help from family to fill the 10-top tables, it all worked out in a brief 2 hours (yes, that IS brief).
I am, thankfully, hyper-organized (at least I am in my head). I have all of these perfect notes and drawings for my assistants and friends helping set up on Friday and Saturday. Perfectly stacked boxes are paired with index cards that include instructions for exactly where everything goes. This is in addition to the 4 emails everyone has received with pretty much the same information.

I’m not OCD, I swear – just really, really excited! I TRUST the people I’ve hired and asked to help. As a planner, I know what it feels like to be “thrown in” to the fire of a planning process at the tail end and not feeling fully prepared (despite my best efforts). I know (I mean, I hope…) my staff appreciates my attempt at organization. They’ve been thrown into similar fires before too!

{As a planner’s note, you can never, ever be too organized going into the last weeks of your wedding.  Invest as much time as it takes to properly label items, create and check packing lists and write instructions for setup as if you won’t be there – because by all rights you shouldn’t be there for your own setup. Don’t leave things to chance if you want to experience a relatively stress-free day.}

Right now, I guess what I’m really feeling can be summed up in two words: grateful and excited. I am grateful that so, so many people have helped Phil and I throughout this process. They will help set up, pick up, drop off and volunteer in so many ways. I am completely indebted to so many people. It is hard for me to find the words to express this.

And of course, I am excited, because you know: I’m getting married!

Monday, February 18, 2013

the craftier side of being a bride

If there is one thing that being a professional wedding planner before becoming a bride has taught me, it is that there is a delicate balance between “hands-on” and hair-brained. While I’ve always been, and love being, the crafty type, I also know where to draw the line when it comes to committing to creating trendy DIY elements myself versus hiring professionals to do what professionals do.
Phil, for his part, loves (LOVES) when I spring crafty things on him: for the holidays, home décor and now, the wedding.

In the early stages of planning, all of these ideas and designs would pop into my head and I would write them down first, and then relay them to Phil and my family. Most often (and most wisely) they would roll their eyes and say things like “we are NOT baking 6 dozen desserts 3 days before the wedding”. I got the message: VETOED. Once I checked myself and the excitement of “OHMYGOSH I CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE CRAFTS FOR THE WEDDING!” subsided, I accepted that we hire professionals to do their jobs for a reason. It is critical to me and to my family not to feel stressed and overwhelmed the week before the wedding, so we set priorities.

For example, I really, really wanted sparkly pom pom drink stirrers (hey, we all have our things!). Over the holidays, the family and I made that happen. However, I did NOT want to be making boutonnieres and bouquets Friday after the rehearsal dinner. 

In wedding planning, just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

You must, must, must recognize the balance and choose wisely. As someone as obsessed with the details as I know you are, take it from an experienced pro. I cannot emphasize that enough.

So, here is the list of DIY elements that you may see at my wedding. Of course, you won’t see all of them – surprise!

-          Drink Stirrers
-          Table Numbers
-          Dessert Display

And possibly more fascinating, here is the list of DIY items that were once on the list but have since been vetoed:

-          Custom Dance Floor Design
-          Decorative Signage
-          Homemade (as in homemade by US) Desserts
-          Spray Painted Vessels for the Flowers

Our wedding day is about Phil and I and joining our families. It is not about sticking designs on the dance floor one hour before the wedding, or slaving in freezing temperatures to spray paint glass vases. My hope those of you reading this is that you make the same choice and examine your own wedding priorities.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

the dress.

The thought of recreating my mother’s wedding gown was the farthest thing from my mind when I launched into planning my own wedding. Over three years ago, when my sister was married, I met Charla Bjostad with Pleiades Bridal in Richmond. She specializes in recreating and revitalizing old gowns and wedding pieces into new, modern trends (isn’t it fabulous that someone does that?). When my sister wanted to wear my mom’s veil for her wedding, I took it to Charla and asked her to remove this big helmet looking thing from the lace. In Mom’s defense, it was the late 70’s! Naturally, Charla did an amazing job.

The week we became engaged, Phil’s mom and I sat on her bed down in Florida, and began to peruse the net for dress inspiration. I knew that I liked thin, form-fitting and simple with lace. I also knew that I did not want a strapless gown. Perhaps something along these lines:

Incidentally, for those who are worried, Phil knows all of this and yes, like the perfect fiancé would, he reads these posts!

The other thing I knew, sitting on that bed in Florida, was that my budget for this gown would be very small. My theory has always been that when I got married, I would just keep things more simple. The reality is that Phil would find me beautiful in a brown paper bag (just as your fiancé would find you the same!), so spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a custom, couture gown wasn’t going to happen.

Armed with a strong sense of what I liked, I took to a local bridal salon to make sure what I had envisioned for months was, honestly, what I wanted. As is very often the case with many brides, I was wrong! I wasn’t even close. I fell in love with a more traditional bridal style, one that mixed my sophistication (to know me is to know how I love a good pencil skirt and blazer!) with the feeling, that I never knew I had and never knew that I would feel, of wanting to be a truly princess-y bride!

Of course, then I heard the price of the brand new 2013 gown that I loved; my bubble burst.

Not to be deterred for long, my wheels started turning and I made an appointment with Charla. My mom, my sister and I stormed her office with Mom’s old gown from the late 70’s (curtain skirt, high collar lace neckline and all). What could we create with this gown? 

Isn't my mother simply gorgeous?

We showed Charla our inspiration and started piecing together ideas, and voila! I now (almost) have a completely custom gown. It is a mix of whimsy, both contemporary and vintage. About 80% of the dress is my mother’s gown. Charla had to cut and create other pieces from new material, but she repurposed about every last inch of that original dress. Without giving away any secrets that Phil might read here, I can tell you that it is truly perfect.

I plan to pair my perfect gown with sparkly gold Kate Spade flats, which I will wear ALL NIGHT, and the veil that my sister and mother both wore at their weddings. It will be exactly the dress that I wanted; custom and amazing. I’m keeping the whole look simple with stud earrings and nothing else, and for the reception, I’m creating a gold hairpiece to complement my killer gold shoes!

We’re getting so close, and the excitement is building! I have more to share about the “crafty” side of our wedding – so come back and check in with me soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the art of menu planning

Our wedding is just around the corner and as many times as I’ve done this for other couples, I can’t help but get super excited as the anticipation grows. One of the things we are most looking forward to is the food, an element that we chose to give great importance and one way we plan to show our guests how much we appreciate that they are taking part in our special day.

Now, I can’t reveal the details of the menu without spoiling the experience, but I can give some background into our thought process. You’ll have to keep coming back here after the wedding to find out exactly what was served – I promise it will be worth it!

Like any couple, when considering our meal options, we had to decide between seating and serving styles. Some of the most common include the formal “plated” or “seated” meal, buffet service, and cocktail hour style with butlered or stationed heavy hors d’oeuvres. What we chose is a hybrid that incorporates the best of all of the styles. Many dishes will be butlered throughout the evening and we will feature stationed and themed beverages and desserts, as well as a seated meal served family style. No matter what their previous experiences, our guests will find something familiar along with something exciting and new, with more than a little hospitality around every corner.

Our caterer has a unique approach to menu crafting for events like this. She will never serve fewer than ten (yes 10!) butlered items at a wedding of our style. She loves the “Wow Factor” as much as we do, and coming out with a new food item every 30 minutes really engages guests and keeps them guessing what will come next. When we first heard her describe this, we weren’t totally convinced, but once she described the “fancy feeling” that guests feel as they enjoy something new throughout the evening and the expressions of gratitude that she loves to receive, we embraced the concept and were sold! Now it’s one of our favorite aspects of the wedding.

Our menu is heavy on comfort food and regional favorites, perfect for our Southern-infused wedding. It’s a delightful “family-dinner-meets-swanky-occasion” mix that is guaranteed to appeal to everyone. We’re certainly setting the standard high for future entertaining! As I’ve shared before, guests can plan to eat from the time they arrive to, literally, the time they depart. We are even offering mini-sliders as “Aftertizers” to give them a snack and a treat after hours of mingling, dancing and drinking. Everyone will leave with a delectable reminder of our amazing celebration.

There are still lots of details to attend to between now and our Big Day! Worry not! I will keep you up-to-date with our progress and with the continued adventures of a “Planner-Turned-Bride” as the weeks pass, and make sure that you have the best possible front-row seats to our wedding of the year!