Category Archives: Event Planner

Real Wedding: Party Animals at SmogShoppe

By | DIY, event design, Event Design Tips for Weddings, Event Planner, J Huffman Photography, king Protea wedding flower, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, SmogShoppe, Uncategorized | No Comments

When great ideas and great execution collide, you have the definition of successful event design.  We love taking our clients’ ideas and transforming them to tangible decor that has a purpose at their event.  In this case, for Hayley and Nick’s wedding, they wanted to implement the fabulous “Party Animal” theme with bright colors, flamingo figurines, and the playful shape of the king protea.  We created fun and stylish centerpieces, had a spray paint ‘clinic’ on how to class up the flamingos with an ivory and gold sheen, and weighed in on the selection of chic table runners from Luxe Linens.  The couple’s details – animal masks, menu and signage design, perfectly painted mini animals, and a station for advice givers – were so clever. Together we worked to create a cohesive design for a wedding that truly was a party!

Vendors and Venues:

Ceremony: St. Timothy’s

Venue: SmogShoppe

Photography – the awesome J Huffman Photography

Videography – George Street

Catering – Huntington Catering Company

Reception Music – DJ Swon from Red Shoe LA

Cocktail Hour Music – Jenny Luna and Alex Logan

Florals – No Worries

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5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #2 – Haggling = Negotiation

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Event Planner, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Vendors, Venues, Wedding Budget, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Vendor Negotiation | No Comments

MYTH #2:  Haggling = Negotiation

Over the past few days, we’ve been breaking down the 5 biggest wedding myths. Today we’re tackling Myth #2: “I can haggle my vendors down to nothing!”

A powerful sign that a wedding vendor is worth every penny is when they don’t offer drastic discounts. That means a) they have experience and know-how, and understand exactly how much they need to charge to make sure you have all the resources (time, labor, materials, etc.) you need from them and b) they are so secure in their reputation and referral base that if you don’t choose them, then they’ll find another client who values them for their actual worth. It’s as if they are saying, “Go ahead – find someone new, inexperienced, and low priced, and best of luck to ya. I’ll wait for the next client who comes along and truly values me.”

Tip:  When negotiating, be reasonable. Fridays and Sundays almost always mean price reductions at venues; Fridays in particular have become very popular in the wedding world, and tend to last as late as Saturday night weddings. Also, meet the vendor in the middle – whether it’s shaving off an hour of the time frame for the photographer’s active time or letting the florist pick more cost effective blooms that still stay in your color scheme.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

Tip:  Also keep in mind the wide swings in pricing from one vendor to another. If Vendor A charges $1800, and Vendor B charges $1500, but Vendor C charges $700, something is way off with Vendor C.   That’s just the economics of supply and demand, simple as that. Vendor C may be a diamond in the rough just starting out and building their clientele – but you better check solid references on them just to be sure. Why? Because they have not established a market value – what the consumer is willing to pay for their services. And they won’t be charging that little for much longer at all, because eventually – no exaggeration – they will make more money slinging lattes.

 

Find a way to make it work, and remember the realities you are working with. Once you understand actual and realistic costs, you can learn to move forward making smart, cost effective decisions!

 

We’re no strangers to negotiation and far, win-win agreements between clients and vendors.  Contact us anytime here or at 310-562-3306.  Happy planning!

 

 

 

Real Wedding: Lush and Vibrant at the Mountain Mermaid

By | Candy Table, Dessert Table, Event Planner, Mountain Mermaid, Sheila Mae, Wedding Planner | No Comments

The Mountain Mermaid is a revitalized mansion off Topanga Canyon that is the defintion of “hidden gem.”  For this wedding, the charming and fun bride and groom wanted a festive vibe that didn’t take itself too seriously, but had a sense of sophistication when it came to style.  As their wedding consultant, I helped them bring the elements together, including their sweet idea for using the year stamped on pennies for table numbers, and providing custom made wood table numbers based on their inspiration photos.  After collaborating on their design board, it made sense to introduce them to Susan Tom-Nellis of Peony and Plum – she excels at an organic, flowing, vibrant aesthetic that tied right into the magical feeling of the Mermaid.

Top notch photography by White Haute Photography tells the story best.

Photography:  White Haute Photography

DJ: Bride’s friend, Mike Tinio

Ice Luge:  Crystal Creations

Florals:  Peony and Plum

Officiant: Rabbi Heather Miller

Caterer:  Savour this Moment

Cake, Dessert, and Candy Table: Danielle Keene, Sheila Mae

 

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The Mountain Mermaid has a wonderful fountain statue, the perfect spot for these custom florals from Peony and Plum.

The Mountain Mermaid has a wonderful fountain statue, the perfect spot for these custom florals from Peony and Plum.

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Cake, sweets, and candy by Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae

Cake, sweets, and candy by Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae

The bride is the co-author of a savvy, funny book about dating - How to Get Out of The Friend Zone.

The bride is the co-author of a savvy, funny book about dating – How to Get Out of The Friend Zone.

A table featuring burlap runner, a collection of florals by Peony and Plum, and custom wood table number.

A table featuring burlap runner, a collection of florals by Peony and Plum, and custom wood table number.

Wilcoxen Mermaid shot

Let It Go: Learning to Relax and Love Your Wedding Day

By | Day of Coordinator, Don't Smile Now, Event Planner | No Comments

Every once in a great while, we have a client who appears to have a hard time sitting back and letting the wedding day flow.  They (or a family member) also try to take control of the timeline or do things on their own that throw off the day because they make us go off-schedule.  We’ve managed to quell any major worries and remind these clients to just sit back and let us do our job.  We do what we can to make things run on time and are very successful at this. I hate to think of those that could ruin their experience of the day by not sinking into the joy and heart of the day, and letting little things (that no one can control) drive them crazy.

An unplanned moment - beautiful bride, city sidewalk.  Photo by Don't Smile Now/ Shani Barel.

An unplanned moment – beautiful bride, city sidewalk. Photo by Don’t Smile Now/ Shani Barel.

At the risk of playing armchair therapist, here are some tips to fully enjoying your big day:

1. Hire a coordinator.  Duh.

2. Trust the (well qualified, well-vetted) coordinator.  Clients do not always know the multiple questions, issues, and hiccups we deal with during the wedding day and rest assured, there is always something. If your day goes south, OUR day – and our business’s reputation – goes south, too, so trust us, we’ll fix it usually before you even know about it.  Go and enjoy yourself and let us be the wizard behind the curtain that makes it all happen smoothly. We’ll adjust the timeline or flow of the day when something does happen that is completely out of our control (such as when the ceremony starts 3 minutes later than planned because your friend who is officiating decides RIGHT BEFORE WE START THE CEREMONY to take a leak.  !)

3.  Guess what – this is just the beginning.  Some of our clients already have kids, but if you are childless and just embarking on marriage, get ready: Every day for the rest of your life is going to be an adventure, especially if kids are on the radar. When you have kids, control goes out the window.  Let your wedding day be that first taste of living for the moment, accepting what you cannot change (those peonies you wanted were in bad shape from the grower, and didn’t end up in the centerpieces –  or, Cousin Jimmy’s toast was a little, shall we say, off-color…) and enjoying the hell out of everything else.  It’s life, in all its amazing, wondrous imperfection.  Remember every detail – set aside a moment now and then to take it all in, even if it means watching Aunt Louise get down to that Notorious B.I.G. song.

One of the most heartfelt moments of the night:  Toasts.  No one is alike another. It's one of our favorite moments to witness. Photo by Don't Smile Now Photography / Shani Barel.

One of the most heartfelt moments of the night: Toasts. No one is alike another. It’s one of our favorite moments to witness. Photo by Don’t Smile Now Photography / Shani Barel.

 4.  Don’t take it all so seriously.  Okay, we take your wedding VERY seriously. There is a lot of emotion, a lot of money (let’s be real about that), and we want you to get a big return on your investment emotionally and yes, financially; it’s a lot of pressure in that regard.  And that is valid, and a few sleepless nights are certain.  But turn on the news, and remember the distress in the rest of the world, and what wonderful, ‘first world problems’ they are, these little stresses and concerns about your wedding.

5.  Value the experience.  Again, on the money tip: What you are buying are not just flowers, or photos, or time in a grand ballroom – but an experience, that cannot be replicated.  This assortment of people, at this very time, will never happen again.  We’ve overseen weddings where guests have flown from Australia, Singapore, you name it- it’s the one in a million experience of seeing your favorite people in one room that makes this worth the stress and the money.  These days, it’s rare for families to get together on a regular basis – families are spread all over the country, even the world, due to work obligations and other considerations.  It’s so special to have them all together in one room. Forget your worries and focus your attention on savoring time with them at your wedding.

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These tips and observations come from running over 100+ events; 200+ if you consider the entire No Worries Team that is at your service – and remember, there are no tests to pass, certificates to earn, or any other requirements that planners and coordinators have to meet in order to open their business.  Getting a DBA, business liability insurance, and a business license are all you need – and these are easy to get, so be very careful when hiring a coordinator.  If you truly want to sit back and relax, get a good, well recommended professional.  Venues, other vendors, and picky brides are great sources for referrals to a qualified coordinator.

 

Choosing a Caterer

By | Catering, Elizabeth Etienne Photography, Event Planner | No Comments

I’m not going to traumatize you with horror stories of caterers gone rogue, but let’s just say that you need to thoroughly vet your caterer beyond the type and quality of food they offer.  Our key tips below will help you find and book the ideal caterer for your event.

1.  Does the caterer come equipped with an ample staff? Do you need them to provide a bartender as well?

2.  Does the caterer provide excellent referrals?  Be sure to ask for references that have worked similar spaces to where you are having your event.  Some venues are notoriously tricky logistically, so if the caterer hasn’t worked a similar space before, his/her staff may not be experienced enough to handle the venue.  This is more true for a new caterer that has just opened their doors. An experienced caterer can handle a new venue without an issue and should volunteer to come to the venue to review the space thoroughly if they are not familiar with it.

3.  What other fees are involved beyond the food?  Staffing, equipment, and service charges generally round out the total cost.

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Delicious entree at Cicada in Downtown L.A. Photo by Elizabeth Etienne / eephoto.com

Be sure the caterer stays throughout the event to ensure total cleanup as well.  A good caterer can also weigh on quantities regarding glassware and plates and silverware, too.

We had a situation with a caterer booked by a family member, and we were unfamiliar with this company.  When the owner priced out staffing on the quote, I added another line item to the clients’ budget because I felt he needed more staffers, but he insisted he had plenty.  Sure enough, the week of the wedding, he added additional staff, and the clients already had the line item in their budget and the expense was covered.  Having a professional wedding consultant or planner reviewing your catering bids and double checking information can remove quite a bit of worry about your final decision.

Happy hunting and bon appetit!

Paris: Third Time’s a “Charmant”

By | Cakes, Ceremony Decor, Estelle Preston Florist, Event Planner, Flowers, Lifestories Wedding Photography, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Photography, Paris Wedding Planner, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner, Yann Audic | No Comments

As one of the very few event planners that specialize in Paris destination weddings, I count my blessings every time I land in CDG, inhale the scent of fresh baked bread from a boulangier, and most of all, send our American-in-Paris couples down the aisle.  It’s enchanting in Paris, and to work there is a dream.  After a long day of work and research, I usually grab a drink with a local friend, then buy a baguette, slather it with the stick of butter I keep in my rented flat, and eat and sip wine while checking email and watching funny French TV (they even have their own Real Housewives franchise!).  No, there is no partying at clubs or lingering at cafes all night – I’m on the clock nearly every moment I’m there – but I love what has become my routine, as well as catching up with my local friends and colleagues. It’s become almost a home away from home.

The bride and groom, Michelle and Adam, reached me several months before their projected wedding date of late Spring 2014, and one of the first things she told me was she already had her dress.  The picture she sent was stunning – but once she stepped into it the day of the wedding, my reaction was beyond words.  Now listen – I work with dresses all the time.  This one, a Vera Wang, was one in a million.  The photos of the ceremony, with that stunning train behind her, and her handsome groom next to her, are simply gorgeous.

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com

 

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston - www.estellepreston.com

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston – www.estellepreston.com

We corresponded completely by phone – since the couple lived in the Midwest – and met in person for the first time in Paris, but after the hours of phone calls and hundreds (thousands?) of emails, we felt like we knew each other.  I also sent multiple emails to their guests, as well as updated their website with current information to ensure everyone’s stay was enjoyable.

While in Paris, we met a dear friend and colleague, Laurel Sanderson of Treize: A Baker’s Dozen, a small nook of a cafe that feels like the “Cheers” of Paris.  Off of a charming courtyard, away from the main street in an elegant area south of the Seine, you walk in and are immediately bellying up to the counter, downing some wine, and talking to Laurel, her servers, and her regulars, as if you knew them forever.  It’s like going into some sort of wormhole where you are as comfortable as an American on your native city, but tasting the best wine, tea, desserts, and cuisine Paris has to offer.

Laurel prepared the American-style wedding cake for Michelle and Adam, and for the tasting, we met at her shop and tasted the fresh berries and filing she was going to incorporate into the recipe. The berries – fresh as can be – were like none other we ever tasted – no exaggeration.  Luscious at room temperature, with an odd oblong shape that now makes me scared of the hyber-bred, “perfect,” hard, crisp, bright crimson berries we have here, they were addictive.

Those amazing strawberries...

Those amazing strawberries…

We visited the local florist around the corner from Laurel to pick out fresh flowers for the cake.  The peonies were gigantic – when it’s spring in Paris, peonies are omnipresent, and practically as big as your head – these fluffy stunners can be seen in buckets outside of floral shops, displays in stores – just about everywhere.

The day of the wedding, the bride, groom, and close friends and family took photos near the Trocadero and Eiffel Tower with the talented and punctual Yann Audic of Lifestories Weddings, then the ceremony and reception took place at Fontaine Gaillon, a perfect example of classic French dining, with velvet banquettes and a spacious patio with a stunning fountain that oversees the dining space.

Estelle Preston, a florist who is as talented as she is kind, produced the gorgeous peony centerpieces.  We filled in the decor with a guest sign-in table consisting of vintage Parisian postcards bought off the shore of the Seine (yours truly bargained for the best price), with a feather pen for signing; pillar candles on antique pedestals and candlesticks; and napkins dressed with wide, elegant lace.  Candles we added to Estelle’s glass bowls, also trimmed with lace, as well as lace fabric throughout the space, brought a softness and femininity to the handsome, old-world room.

 

Photo by Yann Audic / http://lifestorieswedding.com/, Florals by Estelle Preston:  http://www.estellepreston.com/

Photo by Yann Audic / http://lifestorieswedding.com/, Florals by Estelle Preston: http://www.estellepreston.com/

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.  Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/.  Wine corks held seating cards; a personalized wine key proved a fitting favor for guests.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com. Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/. Wine corks held seating cards; a personalized wine key proved a fitting favor for guests.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.  Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/, utilizing the bride's key color, bright fuschia.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com. Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/, utilizing the bride’s key color, bright fuschia.

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Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.

We styled a guest book table with a custom painted, vintage frame, vintage mail holder, candlesticks, and florals by Estelle Preston.  Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.  Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/.

We styled a guest book table with a custom painted, vintage frame, vintage mail holder, candlesticks, and florals by Estelle Preston. Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com. Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/.

Laurel Sanderson of Treize - a Baker's Dozen created the cake; flowers by 360Degrees florist - http://www.flower.fr/. We placed lace brought over from the States over the dessert table and antiqued pillars and candles added a romantic glow.

Laurel Sanderson of Treize – a Baker’s Dozen created the cake; flowers by 360Degrees florist – http://www.flower.fr/. We placed lace brought over from the States over the dessert table and antiqued pillars and candles added a romantic glow.

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston - www.estellepreston.com

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston – www.estellepreston.com

My phenomenal associate Noemie Alison assisted in negotiating and fine tuning the elements of the event, and also flew in from her new home in the States to assist.  Talented photographer Krystal Kenney assisted as well that day; with her prior background in event production, she was vital to ensuring all was setup properly.

As expected in Paris, the food and wine were delicious, and the guests shared toasts, laughter, sweets, and even a little dancing thanks to a mini boom box the family brought from the States.  Like all weddings – whether in Paris or in the States – it was a night to remember.  “Merci” again to this wonderful couple for bringing me along for the ride!

Postcards from Paris: A Baker’s Dozen, Hotel Revamps, and French Cuisine “To Go”

By | Event Planner, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Planner, Uncategorized, Wedding Planner | No Comments

As we ready for our next event in Paris (and no, it’s NOT the Kimye wedding – though we’ll be in the neighborhood at around the same time!) we get the opportunity to work with our colleagues overseas and hear what’s new and exciting abroad.  One of the things we’re most excited about is Treize – A Baker’s Dozen, a new cafe and bakery by one of our favorite colleagues and vendors, Laurel Sanderson.  She created this exquisite cake for our Le Crillon wedding, and now has launched this new business with her usual gusto.

13 - A Baker's Dozen, Storefront

Her inspiration for the name?  She writes:  “The baker’s dozen thing comes from (typically bloody) medieval history – devious bakers in the 13th century lost their hands for selling short measures, which inspired the creation of a guild of ‘honorable bakers’, who set themselves apart by always giving 13 loaves when 12 were ordered….It also embodies two of my favorite things- a spirit of generosity and a oddly lucky number.” Her approach is about as farm-to-table and handmade as you can get, in a city known for artisans that take pride in their work.  She’s doing things the old school way – “rolling out pastry and pasta by hand” – and sourcing ingredients on a daily basis:  “I do the market almost every morning, and my veg’ guy Jerome sets me up with the most amazing and wonderfully weird veggies – most still with moist dirt on them…. It is set up so that it really is like being in my kitchen (only, with more seats, and more booze!)”. 

An American by birth turned longtime Parisian, Laurel brings a fresh personality and sensibility to the table (literally) while holding dear the French concept of local food, carefully sourced and cooked with love.   Her space is also ideal for small, intimate parties and get-togethers.  Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited to see it in person this May! In other venue news, Hotel de Crillon is closed for renovations, just like its fellow luxury neighbor, the Ritz. We had a gorgeous wedding in one of the salons of Le Crillon and I’m a little sad that the venerable decor is going to be replaced, and terribly curious to see the new look when it is unveiled sometime in 2015.  When we were last in Paris in April 2013, an auction of some of the decor and other precious items from the hotel was in the works.  What a treasure hunt! Other luxury brands have installed themselves in the City of Light, keeping major hotels on their toes to compete.  This August, Peninsula Paris opens; and Shangri La and Mandarin have quite recently installed themselves as the new kids in town.

Husband and Wife at The Crillon. Photo by Olivier Lalin, Weddinglight.com

As far as painting the town red, there are few better places than the Marais neighborhood and its environs.  The Marais has for awhile now been a stylish, artful area of town, with unique boutiques, a bustling bar and club scene, and points of interest such as the Place des Voges.  The northern parts of the 2nd arrondisement also have this feel, particularly near one of the busiest restaurants in town, Frenchie.  There’s also the Frenchie wine bar, right across from the restaurant, and now, as of mid last year, Frenchie To Go. I’m particularly excited as when I went to the wine bar with a dear friend from L.A. (lucky lady, she has moved permanently to Paris!) – we had a wonderful time and the food and wine were outstanding.  An informative review can be found here.

There will be plenty of Facebook updates and lots o’ Instagramming while we’re abroad in May – feel free to follow us while we globe-trot!

Five Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner or Coordinator

By | Day of Coordinator, Event Planner, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s engagement season (apparently!) – vendors in our industry have a swell in inquiries at the turn of the New Year. The holidays are a busy time for popping the question.

As couples shop for a planner or coordinator, here are a few questions to ask each candidate:

1.  How long have you been doing this? If the planner is relatively new, they still may have lots of experience working for a few other planners, and/or have related experience (like TV or film production, project management, or catering).

2.  What type of venues do you usually work? This is a top question to ask if you are getting married in a more complicated space – like a private estate, state park, beach, or other outdoors, rustic space where everything needs to be brought in – from lighting to power to outside catering. There are all sorts of permitting and logistical issues that the inexperienced planner cannot foresee. Also, staffing and pre-production of these types of events is quite a bit more than a ‘typical’ planning or coordination service, so if the cost is too good to be true, they could be underestimating their production needs.

Yours truly, working a wedding while 4 months pregnant.

3.  Is this your full time job? This is on a lot of ‘questions to ask planners” list, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a fair one. In this economy, I’d give a lot of leeway to planners and pros that have freelance and/or part time jobs to supplement their income while their business strengthens.  An outstanding professional with flexible work hours can make the weekday walkthroughs, afternoon rehearsals, and return your calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time.  Checking references may be the call here to ease your mind of their abilities to multitask.

4.  Give me an example of how you ‘saved the day.’ It could be little things – like reminding a friend-officiant to sign the marriage license (!) – or realizing a few items were missing from the rental order.  Or, for a full wedding planner, it could be an example where they saved the client hundreds to thousands of dollars in negotiation.

Photo by L.A. Color Studio / http://www.lacolorstudio.com/

5.  Why do you do this? Funnily enough, I’ve never been asked this, but I’ve started bringing it up. If you ask this question to a potential candidate, the answer may allow you to see into their personality far more deeply than just ‘talking shop.’  How your personalities click is important, and asking what their motivation is to do the work can be a great way to gain insight into what makes them tick.

As for us, we’re an open book – ask us anything! And if we’re not available on your date, we have awesome colleagues in the industry we happily refer to.  Happy planning!

“I Couldn’t Have Done It Without You!”

By | Event Planner, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Uncategorized, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

I was recently asked by a DJ friend of mine to compile real world examples from clients, and my own experience in events, about why at least a day of coordinator is vital to a smooth running wedding day.  He occasionally runs into a client that thinks they can do without; of course, this kills him because it means more work for him, and there are so many other things he can’t handle on his own that the client still has to deal with.  Here are a few examples of how coordinators and planners are crucial to the process:

  1. – Recently at a wedding, the banquet manager stopped me cold during setup and told me quite rudely that the dessert table was going to trigger a $500 ‘outside food’ fee.  I told him this had been waived by the catering sales manager and that certain verbiage listed on the BEO (banquet event order) designated this.  He said that wasn’t enough notation and he insisted upon charging the clients.  Had I not been there, the bride would have had to have dealt with this guy’s attitude, and it would have ruined her day.  We worked with the original sales manager to make sure it was not charged, and the bride had not a clue about the showdown till after (when she begged us to tell her about any hiccups that day).  I have written a letter in complaint as well to make sure the property is aware of this gentleman’s (ha!) attitude.
  1. – A client had a makeup test prior to her big day; the makeup artist got a parking ticket, and tried to get my client to pay for it! I knew the artist and called her immediately.  She admitted she would pay for it instead, and my client didn’t have to deal with it or pay the fine.
  1. – A bride and groom booked a DJ company with a bridal show discount.  It allowed for additional hours without extra charge.  When the date got closer, my contact at the DJ company switched from the sales department to the operations manager; the manager wanted to charge them FOR the extra hours because he did not technically approve the original rate.  I got on the phone with him (the Friday the week before the wedding,mind you!),  armed with email confirmations from the sales associate, and spoke with him for 20 minutes to get him to remove the charge – saving my clients $200.
  1. Timing and logistics:  We’ve caught everything from strict venue curfews that would have triggered removal of  the bride off property for the ‘first look’ shot, to resolving conflicting vendor time frames that would trigger photographer overtime fees, to permit issues that would potentially cause the city to shut down a wedding.

Dee on the job, chatting with the maid of honor at a Lindley-Scott House wedding. Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Clients say:

“We had absolutely no stress on our wedding day because we knew all of the logistics, details, and coordinating were all taken care of.  It is also extremely important to have a coordinator so that your family and friends can enjoy the day alongside of you.  No member of the wedding is running around fixing problems on that day.”

“As a Mother of the Bride living out of state, I had plenty of time to help, [but] could only do online research or make phone calls. That quickly became discouraging with so many vendors, price points, services, reviews and testimonials to consider but no ability to meet people and see places for myself.   A few friends whose daughters had recently married in destination weddings were full of advice and tales of woe over the costly mistakes they had made and the regrets they had, and their budgets were much higher than ours. One excellent piece of advice was to hire a wedding planner or at least a day-of coordinator so that I could enjoy being the MOB while someone else handled the logistics. From that moment I was able to relax and enjoy the whole process.  The wedding was the beautiful, enchanted event we all hoped it would be and I have not a single regret. Nothing went wrong!”

“Thank you for making my dream wedding come to life.  I’m still getting comments about how relaxed I seemed that day and it’s all thanks to you!!! I couldn’t have done it without you!”

We also provide a complementary consultation to every potential bride and groom, no cost or obligation.  If you want to hear more war stories and how we prevented so many form happening to our own clients, give us a call at 310-562-3306.  Happy planning!


Friday Finds: Cool Champagne Chiller, Sequins Galore, Christmas at Casa Del Mar

By | Don't Smile Now, Event Planner, Jackie Combs Lotus and Lily | No Comments

1. I was delighted to receive this gift from a dear friend for the holidays, and it’s a must-add to a registry: A decorative wine/champagne chiller, where you design the ring of ice around the bottle. Easy, cool (literally), and a big conversation starter.

From Williams Sonoma.com

2. All that Glitters: Clients are now entranced by sequins and glitter. I adore this movement. Where the recession seemed to coincide with a very rustic, almost spartan look in some circles, now brides want to celebrate with touches of gilt and sparkle. While not necessarily rare, sequin linens are still not mainstream among vendors or easily spotted on linen websites. A good event planner or rentals broker can give you the scoop on where to find the best options, and sometimes a discount as well.

3. Our last wedding of the year was a beautiful event at Casa Del Mar on December 21st. The bride and groom truly looked like a Princess and Prince Charming…and the ballroom was gorgeous. Graham from SilverTunes Entertainment, Jackie from Lotus and Lily, and photographer Shani Barel, owner of Don’t Smile Now, all did a marvelous job creating a magical night. Photos are here.

The ballroom at Casa Del Mar