Thursday, October 20, 2011

Peter, Peter...

Y'all, autumn is crazy for me! I've been slacking on these blogs, I know! But I'm back... at least for the moment!

Not only is fall an insane busy time for most of us in the wedding industry but it also happens to be my very favorite time of year. The chilly weather (although we've had quite the Indian summer here this year...hello 90 degree weather. What?), the changing leaves, sweaters, scarves, mulled list goes on and on.

One item on that list of "loves" is pumpkins. Big fat ones, little cute ones, orange ones, white doesn't matter. I think they're adorable. And for my October brides, I love the idea of incorporating these gourds into your big day.

Now, I'm not suggesting least not in the classic sense. Cut pretty designs out, paint them, glitter them, bejewel them. The possibilities are endless! Remember that it's all in the details. Scatter a few lit up pumpkins throughout your event. Down the aisle, on your cocktail tables, lining the back of your escort card table, etc. etc.

Where to find these pumpkins? Make a day of it and go pumpkin picking with your wedding party. I'll be checking out Arata Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay with a few of my besties this Sunday. Photo ops abound! I'm thinking it'll be a really fun memory maker for you & those closest to you. Right?

Pumpkins can be a whimsical, cute and fun touch to your wedding. But if you don't want to go that far with the fall theme then maybe consider a dessert bar with autumnal touches. Mini pumpkin pies, apple tarts and bourbon bread pudding. Yum, right?

As always, have fun with it. Happy Fall, y'all!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's More Fun Than A DYI Involving Beer? Nothing, That's What.

Today's inpiration is comes from my little brain's inability to shut off at 2am. One of my family members recently became engaged and I, of course, have been itching to get some wedding planning done regardless of the fact that they decided to postpone their big day. If ya'll didn't know...weddings can be expensive for those of us with good taste (it must run in the family!). That and these two have such big hearts that they don't want their parents to have to pay out of their retirements for their dream wedding. Anywho, just because it's postponed a bit doesn't stop me from brainstorming.

A few items that I took into consideration:
  • The bride wants her girls in black they can wear them again. What a sweetie! Got to love a considerate bride!
  • The bride & groom aren't frilly. There will be no pink, no glitter, no feathers.
  • Their main focus is for their guests to have the time of their life, for their families to have time enough to get to know each other and for there to be an open bar.
  • They aren't "ballroom" people so the possible venues have all had a rustic feel to them. For example, Holman Ranch is a contender.
  • They are both foodies & drinkies. And yes, I just coined "drinkies". You're welcome, Websters.
With all of that in mind I put together the following ideas...
  • Rustic Wooden Family Style Tables with Mahogany "Bistro" Chairs & Glass Etched Chargers
  • Floral Arrangements in Old Beer Bottles in Various Glass Colors (Clear, Brown & Green)
  • Cost Effective Flowers (No Peonies Here!) in White/Cream Palette To Include Baby's Breath, Mums and Freesia (To give off that a-mazing scent...I'm a big believer in just a touch of fragrant flowers. It's a memory maker.)
Favorite part of this design? The beer bottles. And since they've postponed the wedding a bit it means they'll have plenty of time to drink all that beer. Pretty sure their friends won't mind helping with that wedding project!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Campsite Not Required

In case you haven't noticed yet, I've got myself quite the sweet-tooth. Cravings come along with that sweet-tooth and on this foggy day all I can think about is bundling up around a bonfire on the beach and roasting s'mores.

I love the idea of incorporating these tasty treats into a late summer wedding. How do you do that, you ask? Well, funny you should ask...
  • How about you offer up these S'more Nut Bars in a little cellophane bag, pretty ribbon & custom tag as your favors?
  • Or, if you're going the cupcake route why not offer up these scrumptious looking S'more Cupcakes?
  • Look at this idea that I stumbled on...S'mores Cake In a Jar. Pretty sure I'm going to be trying this at home very soon! Marshmallows? Good. Chocolate Cake? Good. Graham Cracker Crust? Good. Put it all in a jar and call it a day? Sold.
  • Now, I've been seeing a lot of pie stations...and I love it! But, they're most often berry pies (which again, I love!) but why not shake things up a bit with a S'More Pie?
  • Or, heck, go the traditional route! Have a beach-side rehearsal dinner with all the fixin' of a traditional bonfire! Barbecue up some meat, bring some beer and roast those s'mores! It'll definitely be a rehearsal to remember!
If you're not a s'mores fan (borderline blasphemy if you ask me!) then incorporate something else you love into your big day! It's all in the details, ya'll.

Hope you're all out enjoying your Saturday! xoxo

**Thanks to Jason Diavatis with Bay Area Entertainment for inspiring my craving! Looking forward to our next SF NACE event! S'mores and all!**

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Know That Old Saying...

So the saying goes, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in her shoe". It's said that if a bride has all of the before mentioned items on her person that her marriage will be a happy one. Let's take a peek at each of these for some helpful suggestions...

Something old symbolizes continuity to the bride's family & the past. A few options for "something old" are:
  • An old family locket or other sentimental piece of jewelry.
  • A love letter from your grandmother to your grandfather (back when people still wrote love letters!).
  • A vintage hankie.
  • A small photograph from your parents wedding in a small frame & attached to your bouquet.
Something new symbolizes hope & optimism for the bride & her new husband. Consider the following for your newness:
  • Sassy new shoes. I'm thinking Louboutin...but that's just me ;).
  • The key to your new home.
  • A new piece of jewelry...mayhaps something your sweet groom gifted to you on the big day (Hint hint, guys!). 
Something borrowed is usually borrowed from a happily married friend or family member. It's said that their good luck in marriage will be carried over to the new couple. It will also remind the bride that she has family & friends to rely on in her new adventure. Ideas on this one are:
  • A fabulous vintage brooch from your grandmother's stash of costume jewelry (Another great item for the bouquet!).
  • You know that couple that everyone wants to be? How about you ask to borrow her veil? It was gorgeous after all...
  • Your favorite aunt's favorite pair of earrings. She's always had good taste. That's why she's your favorite.
Something blue symbolizes love, modesty & fidelity. In fact, the color blue has been tied to weddings since Ancient Rome! A few true blue thoughts are...
  • Something lacy & blue underneath that dress of yours.
  • Sapphires. Plain & simple.
  • Blue satin ribbon wrapped around your bouquet.
Now, the tricky part. Sixpence. It's said that putting a sixpence in your left shoe on your wedding day will usher in good fortune & prosperity. Problem is...where do you even begin to find a sixpence? It's actually quite easy with the handy dandy internet. There are actual companies out there that specialize in wedding sixpences. Oh, the wedding industry. Anything and everything you could ever need is out there.

Whether you choose to follow the saying to a "t" or forgo it altogether, your day is what you make it and it will be special no matter what. Food for thought!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Fabulous Fascinators

For those of you not in the know, a fascinator is termed as a frivolous head decoration. In other words, pure fabulousness. Now, some of ya'll may not want to rock this much pure unadulterated awesome on your big day. If that's the case, I do think that it'd still be a really fun accessory for either your rehearsal dinner or bachelorette party. Heck, even include your girlies in the fun! Put your bridesmaids in some fun head toppers for the ceremony or ask that your girls wear these to your bachelorette party.

Incorporating these fun little architectural head pieces will ensure that you have the most stylish of soirees! Current obsession right there. Happy Friday, ya'll!

**Check out out more of these head pieces on Etsy @ EllaGajewska

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Needs A Grown-Up Cake?

It's been too long, folks! I know! Let's just say that between moving and AT&T internet service having wonderful customer service...blogging has been difficult to get around to. BUT good news is that I'm back and Starbucks will be seeing much less of me. Okay, well, I can't lie. They'll still see a lot of me but at least now I don't need to use their internet! Just their caffeine...

Today's post is inspired by my birthday. Who doesn't love birthday cake? Lord knows I do! It's my favorite part of any birthday! Wedding cake on the other's got quite a stigma attached. More and more couples are opting to nix it all together and go with candy stations, chocolate fountains or late night cookie stations. This saddens me because I really do love the idea of having a cake to cut at your reception. The pictures alone are worth it, in my opinion, and you'll probably make the parents happy with the tradition. Parents don't do well with change...but I digress...

I believe I've found a solution...FUNFETTI! Imagine if you will a three tiered white cake filled with funfetti morsels, covered in Duncan Hines frosting and sprinkles. It's a little redneck. I know. I plead the I-Grew-Up-In-Mississippi excuse. It doesn't come out too often but every once in a while...

But seriously, who can resist that? Definitely not your wedding coordinator. And I'm guessing not the rest of your guests, either.

Anywho, glad to be back, lovlies! xoxo

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lottery Winners May Disregard...

To keep with my last posting...let's talk about budgets. More specifically how to stay on one! A wedding is a huge financial undertaking. We all know this. Unfortunately, I don't think you truly know until you start planning one. You have a vision. Four course meal, full hosted bar, lush centerpieces, that amazing photographer you saw on The Knot. Then the reality comes crashing in. That four course meal is $150 per person. The full hosted bar is going to cost you a ridiculous amount. Add in the peony-laden flower arrangements plus the award winning photographer and you are left considering selling a kidney to pay for your dream wedding. It doesn't have to be that way, y'all! Here are just a few tips to help cut back...

1. You can probably guess what my first item is... hire a coordinator! I know what you're thinking, "Sarah, you do realize coordinators cost money, right?". Yes, sillies, I do. I also realize that coordinators have cultivated relationships with caterers, florists, photographers and entertainment professionals that are worth their weight in gold. These vendors want to work with a coordinator because they're going to make their job easier and send them more business. So in turn, you often can get a percentage off or a few extras thrown in based solely off of the relationship these vendors have with your coordinator. Not to mention the fact that the coordinator is going to make your life a whole lot easier...but that's something I've discussed before. No need to bore you!

2. Cut your guest list! Yes, I know that you want a big fun wedding. But let's have a quick reality check. Do you have 300 people who are your close personal friends? That if you called them in the middle of the night, they'd get up and help you with your flat tire? If you do, kudos! Lord knows I couldn't keep up with that many people! If you don't, then consider cutting those people who are acquaintances or friends-of-friends. Your wedding is a special and personal day. Don't add guests just to add guests. Some of the most enjoyable weddings I have been to have been those that were 100 people or less.

3. Re-evaluate your bar. Yes, a lot of the people you're inviting like to enjoy a cocktail (or five). Does that mean that you should bend to their alcoholic needs? Not necessarily. While I definitely do not agree with no-host bars, I also think only offering beer & wine is perfectly acceptable. Remember why you're there in the first place. You're there to celebrate your new life together with your love-bug. Not to see who can drink the most Irish car bombs.

4. Location, location, location. There are some truly beautiful spots out there to get married. The trick is to find one that offers you most of what you need for a reasonable price. Consider how much decor/flowers you'll need to spruce the place up. If your ceremony spot is a gorgeous outdoor location, you probably won't need to order flowers to decorate the alter. Do they offer tables, chairs, china, silverware, etc. with the rental fee? Or will you have to pay extra for all the necessities. Ideally, try to find a place that is both aesthetically pleasing but that also provides you with everything you need without nickel & diming you.

5. Filet Mignon would be nice but... Unfortunately for my taste buds I have experienced what people have termed "rubber chicken" at an event. I strongly agree that this should be avoided at all costs. On the flip side, one of the best meals I've ever had at an event was a chicken dish. My point? It's all about who you hire. If you hire quality, you're going to get quality...even if it's chicken. I understand there are those of you who are "foodies". I'm right there with you. But when planning your menu & budget, don't immediately choose the most expensive cut of meat for the entree because you think it's going to be the most impressive. You can accomplish a wonderfully tasty dinner for a much lower cost when you hire the right caterer.

Now take a quick look at the list above. You'll notice that I didn't mention cutting corners on photography or entertainment. In my opinion, guys, these are the two places that you don't want to compromise. Photos are forever and getting people out on the dance floor is pretty much the point of hiring entertainment. I've seen what cutting these two areas equal and it's not pretty. That's a whole other blog post in and of itself!

Above all...remember why you're getting married. Go into your planning knowing that there will be things you'll need to sacrifice. Most brides have expensive taste! In the end you won't even remember why it was so important to have all of those extras that would have cost you so much. All that will matter will be your honey standing at the end of the aisle waiting for you and all of the people who love the two who are there to share such an important day.

Happy Friday, lovies!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DIY Flowers? Me Thinks No.

We're living in a recession, people. Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and say it..."No, duh, Sarah. Thanks for the newsflash". The both unfortunate & fortunate part of the recession is that people are still getting married. Fortunate for me because it's my livelihood. Fortunate for everyone else because...well, it's love! It makes the world go 'round. That and everyone loves a wedding...or so I hear. It's unfortunate because we're surrounded by "Platinum Weddings" and "Bridezillas". We live in a society that constantly tells women that they should have the uber-extravagant wedding because they deserve it. Well, you very well may deserve to have diamond encrusted napkin rings at your reception but guess what? The reality is that everyone has taken a hit in this economy which means that you probably won't get that bling. Instead people are opting for ipod weddings, no-host bars, friends for photographers, ixnay on the avors-fay, etc.

One of the trends that I've also seen is the do-it-yourself-florist. Guys, let me just say... no. Hey, before I was in the business I went that way for a big party I threw. While it wasn't a wasn't good either. And that's why I feel so strongly about hiring an actual florist. Let me explain a few reasons why...

1. Peace of Mind. Here's what the day before your wedding should look like: pampering, eating, drinking, laughing and... more pampering. You shouldn't be running around like a crazy lady because you don't have enough ribbon for the bouquets or the anemones you specially ordered are already wilting. And don't forget about the day-of. Who's going to deliver & set up all of those handmade centerpieces? Yes, that's what family and friends are for but- well let's just say that their emotions are going crazy, too. Why add craziness to an already crazy day? Trust me when I say that hands will be full without having to worry about whether or not your Auntie actually got the flowers onto the tables. Adding more chaos to an already chaotic day bueno.

2. Vases, Ribbon, Tape, Oh my! I don't know about you but I don't have twenty vases lying around my house. Depending on what you're looking for in terms of centerpieces go, each vase could be around $15. Then you have yards and yards of ribbon you'll need to wrap your bouquets in, the floral tape, the pearl pins, etc., etc. And that's just your supplies. We haven't even touched on the flowers yet...

3. The logistics. Ever see a florist's studio? They have huge refrigerators that hold all of the flowers and lots of counter space to work on. Ever see their transportation? Typically, it's a large air conditioned van. So...the questions are will you get all of the flowers and vases to your venue? Where are you going to store all of your flowers and vases once you get there? Where are you going to work on the flowers? Venues typically won't let you work on flowers in their ballrooms because, well, floral work is messy work. How about refrigeration? While it's true that venues typically have lots of refrigeration, that space is reserved for your food and beverages. I'm not saying it's not doable. I'm just's going to be a pain. And generally, I don't suggest adding pain to stress. It doesn't equal pretty things.

4. Timing. Let's say you're making your own floral arrangements. The flowers arrive from the grower on Thursday. Check-in to hotel on Friday (typically around 4pm). Rehearsal (let's say, hypothetically, at 5pm). Rehearsal dinner (again, hypothetical, 6:30pm). After dinner & drinks, your bridesmaids probably won't be up for floral design. And even if they are, do you think you'll be getting 100% from them or yourself after an  already long day? You might say that it'd be a great bonding experience. Sure...or the stress could make it all too much. Again, guys, I'm speaking from experience. You're going to be so much happier if you can simply enjoy your weekend festivities. Bond with your girls over champagne and pedicures! Ideally, you shouldn't have to lift a finger once you're on property. One thing that I am constantly stressing...a wedding should be ENJOYABLE! So enjoy yourself.

5. Cost. I know it sounds like doing your own flowers would be cheaper than hiring a florist.'s not. A bouquet takes anywhere from twenty to forty blooms. An average sized centerpiece will take twenty-five to fifty blooms. If you have four bridesmaids and fifteen tables then you're looking at around 450+ blooms. Once you add up the blooms, the vases, the supplies, the possible extra rental fee you may have to pay at your venue for's going to be around the cost of a florist...with a big ol' heaping side of frustration. Not worth it, y'all.

6. Perfectionism. This may just be me but I have a crazy suspicion that it's not. One of the reasons why I would hire a florist to do a party or wedding of my own is because, well, I need perfect. If I do my own flowers I know that I'd be looking at them all night going, "man, that vase could have used a few more tulips" or, "a few of those flowers in that arrangement should have been trimmed a bit more, it looks uneven". I'd be completely sidetracked with the lack of perfection and frustrated with myself or anyone who helped me. And that's not fun. You shouldn't be thinking about anything but how lovely everything turned out and what a good time you are having. That's what hiring professionals will get you...and that's worth a lot.

So, please don't rule out a florist until to talk to one. Of course, first make sure that they are an established and experienced business but then give them your specifics and see what they can offer. You'll be surprised at what they can do on even the smallest of budgets.

And if you really want to be a DIY bride... consider doing your own favors, placecards, menu cards &/or table names. All of those touches will impart your own special personality and will keep your hands more than busy.

As always...remember to breathe :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You're Going To Be A Mrs.! Now What?

So he popped the question! Fabulous! Now what?

Well, first, take a deep breath. Do not give into panic or anxiety. Planning a wedding should be enjoyable!
It's just a matter of taking it one step at a time.

Here are a few of the first steps on your way to a successful wedding:
~Announce your engagement to those "in the know".
~Discuss the budget with anyone contributing.
~Draw up a draft guest list. This way you'll know the size of the venue you'll be searching for. Feel free to implement an "A" and "B" list. The "A" list would be those people that you can't imagine your day without. List "B" would be those people you like but...aren't exactly VIP's.

After you finish these tasks, STOP. Decide whether or not you'd like to hire a wedding coordinator. This would be the ideal time in the planning process to hire a pro to help you coordinate the rest of the details. They will take your hand and lead you the rest of the way. Keep in mind that a coordinator will play many roles. They will be a friend, a sounding board, a voice of reason, a mediator and organizer. Of course, I can't speak highly enough of their services (a little shameless self-promotion) but honestly, they can be a sanity saver! 

If you opt to not hire a coordinator, you'll be fine (perhaps just a bit more frazzled but fine just the same :). You'll want to get started on venue hunting after you have the basics above figured out. The rest of your details will fall into place once you have this vital piece decided on.

But above all, remember to breathe, to laugh & keep in mind that even if you hit road blocks (which you will- it's Murphy's Law) you're a blessed gal who's got her hunny standing next to her, ready to share his life with you. And that's the reason why you're throwing this shindig in the first place!

Congrats, To-Be-Mrs.!

**Photo thanks to Mike Steelman Photographers. This particular shot was a surprise engagement at the ever gorgeous Pebble Beach. How adorable is it that our groom-to-be hired a photographer to capture such a special  moment. What a lucky girl!