Category Archives: Planning

Real Wedding: Latin Speakeasy at SmogShoppe

By | Planning, Red and Black weddings, SmogShoppe, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, wedding flowers | No Comments

When asking wedding couples their theme, the idea is not to come up with something cartoonish or kids-party-esque, but to have a springboard into a sophisticated aesthetic and influence over the food, beverage, and music.  With this recent SmogShoppe wedding, the theme was Latin Speakeasy.  The decor of rich reds and lush greenery, a tequila bar, and touches of charm such as Spanish signage and a DIY boutonierre bar for guests fulfilled the couples’ vision of a playful yet classy ambiance.

We assisted in helping find a great food and beverage vendor (Rasta Taco/Huntington Catering Company), sourcing design details such as signage and escort cards (The Apothecary Bee) and dessert + greeting tables, and provided florals as well. Our bride was a so clever at finding perfect touches online and elsewhere, including vintage postcards and gold votive candles.  We also sourced trays and materials for the greeting table and dessert table, including hand stenciling and distressing wood crates for a customized accent.

The fabulous photos below are by Juan Turcios.  The rest of the team included the phenomenal DJ Marion Hodges of KCRW, Cake Monkey for awesome desserts, and StageLabs for the lighting.

 

smogshoppe wedding dress

latins peakeasy wedding bouquet

Latin Speakeasy Wedding Tablescapelatin speakeasy wedding favors

latin speakeasy wedding dessert table

KZ Wedding Latin Speakeasy esposa signs

hangover kit

greeting table wide latin speakeasy

 

Dessert table latin speakeasy closeup

closeup greeting table latin speakeasy

boutonierre kit greeting table latin speakeasy

bouquet on table smogshoppe latin speakesy

 

Real Wedding: Trump Ballroom Glamour

By | Flower Duet, Planning, Uncategorized, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to move to L.A. and be by the beach.  Now, as a ‘grownup,’ I get to work by the ocean all the time.  Last year, I worked with a stylish, sophisticated couple that wanted to be married by the beach, and fell in love with the Trump National Golf Club.

Working with a soft palette of gold, pink, and ivory, with a counterpoint of handsome navy, we worked together to build an atmosphere of romantic glamour – by the sea.

All of these stunning photos are by Sam Lim Studio.

 

Champagne Jello Shots, by Cake Goodness

Champagne Jello Shots, by Cake Goodness

Chaps Centerpiece and stable estting

Chaps firepalce

Charger chaps

Cake and dessert table by Cake Goodness

Cake and dessert table by Cake Goodness

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Invitation and Menu by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

Invitation and Menu by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

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Charger by LM Event Productions; menu (and invitations) by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

Charger by LM Event Productions; menu (and invitations) by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

I_1519 Kiss Ceremony Chaps

Maestro Hughes, a phenomenal violinist flown in by bride and groom

Maestro Hughes, a phenomenal violinist flown in by bride and groom

A shabby-chic-meets-gilded-gold table number created by No Worries; flowers by Flower Duet

A shabby-chic-meets-gilded-gold table number created by No Worries; flowers by Flower Duet

Flowers by Flower Duet; lighting and draping by LM Event Productions

Flowers by Flower Duet; lighting and draping by LM Event Productions

Cake by Cake Goodness, set off my draping and lighting by LM Event Productions

Cake by Cake Goodness, set off my draping and lighting by LM Event Productions

 

VenueTrump National Golf Club, Palos Verdes

Vendors:

Florist: Flower Duet

Cake and Dessert: CakeGoodness

Lighting, Draping, and Specialty Rentals:  LM Event Productions

Photography and Videography (featuring a same day edit): Sam Lim Studio

Menus and Invitations: Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

 

Paris Inspiration

By | Lighting, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Planner, pinterest, Planning, Vintage Wedding Decor | No Comments

One aspect of event production is constantly looking out for inspiration for wedding and event design. In Paris, it’s around every corner, on every block, sitting in a window planter or standing as a statue above you. I was the weirdo stopping every now and then, taking pictures in the street and Metro, so I can take home the inspiration.

There’s no doubt the vintage look has the potential to grow tired, and thank goodness for innovators Stateside who collect unique and creative elements so the motif can evolve. In Paris, the buildings themselves are vintage (read: Just plain Old), and many elements of Parisian life truly, organically, have the look.

Vintage Chairs at Penderie Cafe

Antique sewing machine outside Penderie

Wine Barrel with personalization

Every Cafe has a menu outside their doors - this was one of my favorites

The Parisians really know their twinkle lights too – made into curtains, draped into ivy – I saw them everywhere! Hard to see on my non-pro camera – but you get the gist:

Sparkle lights flow down with hanging plants

Along with collecting books and magazines on decor, architecture, and fashion; reviewing blogs and articles online; and shopping for flowers and fabrics, just taking in the world is fantastic inspiration. I’m excited to add to my image library from this year’s trip to Paris. I can smell a few Pinterest boards in the near future as well….

Design Notes: All About Chairs

By | Chiavari Chairs, event design, Kyoto Grand Hotel, Planning, SmogShoppe, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Westin | No Comments

Scintillating post title, no?  But truly, if there’s one thing event designers love, it’s good chairs.  Many times venues will have dated or so-so chairs – a color that clashes with the theme, or a casual wood chair where a dressy event demands more – and clients have to bring in seating. In my book, bringing in chairs (along with lighting) is one of the best ways to transform a setting style-wise, and it’s worth the extra rentals expense.  It’s great when a venue has some that are already gorgeous, I personally love the Westin’s chairs and also the Kyoto Grand‘s.

Another venue with fabulous chairs is SmogShoppe.  Their selection is a carefully curated blend of mostly bistro-style wood chairs, with a vintage feel of being well-loved (yet still in excellent condition).

The variety of SmogShoppe's chairs create interest, yet they form a cohesive look when all used together.

We’re planning a wedding at a Redondo Beach venue this winter, a French-Asian restaurant called Maison Riz that is literally right on the water.  The view is tremendous, and the chairs are so cool – appropriate for a location on the pier, these “captains” chairs  have a 70’s charm with their beige cushion and carved wood back and arms, but they match the dark wood and white tablecloths of the space and fit in easily with the classy-nautical vibe of the space.

The cool Captains Chairs at Maison Riz have character that still blends in with the dark wood and decor of the space.

Most rental companies offer chiavari chairs, folding wooden chairs, and bistro.  Bistro are my faves, but for a dressy event, chiavaris are perfect.  You can interchange the cushions depending on the colors of your wedding; velcro’d cushions have a cleaner look, are a bit more expensive but don’t have the tiebacks interrupting the clean lines of the chair.

These chiavaris have the velcro'ed cushions for a polished look.

Less expensive are folding chairs.  All white are crisp and classic for a daytime outdoor affair (or an indoor one utilizing light colors in the decor).  A good compromise for budget is using dark wood or fruitwood folding chairs – the darker wood has a sophisticated sheen, without the expense of chiavaris.

Handsome wood chairs set up for an outdoors ceremony. Photo by Jeromy Robert Photography.

Yes, I just wrote a blog post about chairs – chairs!!  But trust me, they’re a huge element of any event.  Save room for them in your budget when discussing rentals – pick your battles, and you can have beautiful chairs without spending a fortune.

Wedding Planning, Hollywood-Style

By | DIY, Lighting, Planning, Venues | No Comments

I have two lovely clients getting married this fall at a large studio in Hollywood, and while it’s an amazing space, it’s truly a blank slate.  They decided on black, white and blue, perfect colors for the space.

A shot of the main portion of the studio, with the permanent lighting grid.

We scouted the space recently with their friend (the “man of honor,” actually) who is a camera op, director, and DP.  He’s hanging lights and selecting gels to wash the space in cool patterns and that bright blue, for a tongue-in-cheek 80s nightclub look.  When we scouted, there was a big event going on, but it showed us how well it accommodates social events.

In a studio space, lighting grids offer great opportunity for advanced event design, but it’s helpful to know how best to access the grids, what costs apply, and what liability waivers there are to sign or insurance to gain.  It’s essential to clear all this up before the day of, of course.  We have several months, so we’re ahead of the game.

The space comes with some furniture, so I took pics of the couches that come with the space and how best to use them.  Site photos are key to making sure you have all your cards on the table when creating a floor plan.

Yes, my Iphoto library is full of pictures of...furniture. Tres exciting, non??

In back, there’s a lovely garden area with a separate entrance off the parking.  The bride and groom will use some of the lounge furniture for VIP seating, then the rest of the attendees will stand for the brief ceremony. Sunset will fall during cocktail hour, then a reveal of the space – with lighting set, cool uplit centerpieces aglow, and music playing – will greet guests.   A fitting, dramatic reveal for the Hollywood setting.

Picture the furniture arranged in a 'v' facing left, and voila!, you have a ceremony space.

I love tackling a space like this where the possibilities are wide open, and working with the client to take their ideas from just that to reality.  And just wait till October to see the results…!

Painting With Light

By | Lighting, Park Plaza Hotel, Planning | No Comments

I went to film school a million years ago (really? Why, yes:  Digital editing was still ‘new’ and while editing, I cranked my film from reel to reel), and the way you create image on film is with light.  It wasn’t until I worked as a TV producer that I really started learning about color temps, exposures, bounce – the power of a focused glow to create atmosphere.

Now that I work weddings, I value light as the biggest bang for your buck when decorating the event space.  A simple can light can stream several feet up, a wash of light from a few hanging lights can cover the entire space with color.  Paying for lights vs paying for, say enough fabric to cover the same amount of space, is definitely more cost effective.  It doesn’t mean a whole lighting plan can be cheap, per se; but it’s so visually powerful.

Lights set a mood, create a whimsical atmosphere, like these globe lights strung across a backyard.

Picture by Shani Barel, www.dontsmilenow.com

Uplights can dramatically set off architecture – like columns, arches, or ornate detailing.  They’re relatively inexpensive, can come in LEDs (which can create a multitude of colors), and are quite versatile.  Make sure they are shielded and the wires are carefully wrangled and taped down for safety.

Take note of what your venue looks like at night with the ‘house lights’ on.  Historical sites especially have beautiful lighting accents that need just a small extra touch to complete the picture.  This photo below is at the Park Plaza Hotel, where sconces and chandeliers create supper-club ambiance, and uplights highlight the deco design on the columns.

Photo by Katie Robertson.

Lanterns have become a mainstay for outdoor events; another cost-effective solution for nightime lighting, they bring a romantic glow in an architectural structure that hits a happy medium between sweet and handsome.  This picture is from the same Park Plaza wedding, in the outdoor cocktail space.  The bride and groom’s friends volunteered to install the lights and did a magnificent job, I must say.

Photo by Katie Robertson Photography.

As wedding branding has come into vogue, clients have designed their own logos.  Thomas Pham of Prodigy DJs created this gobo based off the bride’s design; I love the slant of the letters and the angle on the dance floor – a little off center, and utterly sophisticated.

Photo by Dana Grant Photography

Don’t be intimidated by the lighting options – find a great lighting vendor who knows what they’re doing to break it down for you.  And maybe it’s the wine talking (just a little sauvignon blanc after a long day working, thank you very much), but I can’t help but say:  After you put a ring on it, shed a light on it!  (Yeaaaah….maybe that’s enough wine for tonight….)

Getting Hitched in Palm Springs: Off to the Ace, with a detour at Korakia

By | DIY, Flowers, Hitched, Planning, Pretty Stuff, Succulents | No Comments

Last night, coordinator/bride to be Dani and I headed to Palm Springs for the second bridal bash Hitched, this time in the desert (last year it was at Smog Shoppe).  This is a very fun, hip showcase of the latest and greatest contemporary event professionals in SoCal.

Along the way, we stopped at Korakia Pensione to take some scout pics for our upcoming P.S. wedding in May. I was introduced to Korakia many moons ago by a friend who lives part time in P.S., and fell in love. I’m abosolutely thrilled to be working there this spring.

The entrance to Korakia. Doors close, and it becomes the ceremony setting.

Then we headed to the Ace, another busy spot in Palm Springs with a hipster vibe that is as friendly as it is…well, hipster. (Sometimes the two don’t mix!).  Hitched was at the Commune, the part-desert, part-industrial-esque event space in the center of the hotel complex.  Lit fireplaces and twinkle lights set the mood for a crisp, festive evening.

Cozy outdoor lounges are sprinkled throughout the Ace.

Dani snapped up a hairpiece by Ban Do, a fantastical line of gems, poufs, and clips for hair, shoes, and dresses.  Ban Do featured heavily in the fashion show, and I thought it was clever that their pieces helped individualize the simplest of dresses.

Megan from Mae Mae Paperie (an invitation designer Dani met with for her own wedding) was in attendance, showing off her creative wares.  Save the dates, bridal shower invites, table number cards – nowadays the sky’s the limit for one’s stationary needs. While email has flourished, there’s been a new resurgence of old-fashioned snail-mail communication and elegant hand-crafted paper decor.  I, for one, am happy about this. (As long as recycling is involved, of course!  Yeah, yeah, I’m a hippie.)

I love succulents (and a blog post about them is forthcoming), but a little weary of dry grass, sticks, cacti, and billy buttons festooned about for weddings – if not used wisely, they look like a bunch of detritus and/or weeds.  So it was lovely to see this table, full of color, whimsy, and romance by Carter and Cook.

That said, there was some amazing stuff with cacti, like this table by Sugar and Fluff. The succulent driftwood piece is amazing, and the wood-stemmed silverware works so well with this rustic/modern look.

Setting these rustic elements ontop of a clear tabletop keeps the design organic and fresh.

We drove home in some rain and wind, but made it back to L.A. safe and sound, gossiping about this-and-that while Dani poked through the gift bag.  The fact that I get to go to these kinds of events for work and research?  Gotta love it.

Organization: The key to sanity

By | Planning, Stress Relief, Time Management | No Comments

As a work-from-home mom, I have to be extremely organized.  It’s ongoing; as my business has grown, I need to keep up with it from a filing and storage standpoint, in a 1500-square foot house that must act as home for a toddler and a husband, as well as separate office space for said husband.  All I can say is, Ikea Expedit bookshelves are the best thing ever – they’re furniture that also has a very specific function:  Storage.  Ikea sells all sorts of baskets and bins that fit in the bookshelves to attractively hide your stuff.

My Expedit bookshelf, hard at work

Organization for the bride can be a huge time saver, and is no doubt a big-time stress reliever.  Sometimes, it seems daunting to create an organization system – and keep it up – but when you do, you feel secure in the planning process.

My clients have found success by doing the following:

  • Don’t procrastinate.  Planning is stressful; planning at the last minute is SUPER stressful.  Which do you prefer?  Don’t wait to get stuff done!
  • Excel is your best friend. Organize simple spreadsheets with fields for bridal party info, vendor info (including payments due, arrival times, contact info, etc.), and a basic timeline.  (A coordinator will complement your spreadsheet with his/her own, and take over the timeline after you hand over your basic schedule.)
  • Office Supplies.  I must admit, I’m obsessed with office supplies. Some clients prefer a binder; others like the ease of an accordion file folder. Receipts, records, contracts, all can be sorted clearly in either.

I luurrrvvee Staples' "M" line of stylish office supplies. Their file folders are my favorites.

An organized bride is a happy bride…make that your mantra!

Your Wedding is Practice for the Holidays

By | Holidays, Planning, Stress Relief, Vendors | No Comments

The father/daughter dance turned into father/daughter/mom, then father/daughter/mom/brother. Spur of the moment affection.

The holidays can be unbearable for some.  But you can learn how to handle them forevermore by practicing dealing with your loved ones during the wedding planning process. It’s no secret that weddings tend to bring family issues to a head.  Sensitivities, past arguments, long-standing feuds – watch out!  It’s actually a good thing, though.  It forces brides and grooms to accept what they cannot change (i.e., half their relatives).

Most weddings go on without too much conflict,  and the process mellows as time continues – plans are set in stone, and the inevitability of it all calms down the control freaks. I for one got super stressed about the planning itself, but became even closer to my family as their help and fun-loving attitudes really made it a blast.  Not to say there wasn’t negotiation and compromise, but really not a lot (add this person to the guest list, maybe have chicken instead of steak, etc.)  The real problem was the venue (but more on that in ANOTHER post!).

Now that I’m a little older (and after having a kid, wayyy more laid back now), I’ve looked back and sorted out how to deal with family and friends in high-emotion situations.  I’m no therapist, people, but ‘being there’ is the ultimate teaching situation. (And no doubt many already-marrieds have a tip or two as well).

My thoughts:

  • Let it go. Like, everything. Auntie Maude wants a champagne fountain? (“I’ll pay for it myself!” – as if that gives them license to have whatever they want.)  If she’s getting crazy about it, let her have it.  Enjoy the kitsch and make everyone take a picture by it for a fun champagne fountain digital photo album set to polka music. When you say, “Sure, you can have it – and enjoy!” the fun of the fight goes out of your opponent – and twenty years from now, who cares that you had a fountain?
  • Let THEM go. Your grandpa who is cranky about EVERYTHING, never smiles, and complains about everything? If you try to make him happy and ultimately fail, quit trying, and just remain neutral.

    The groom surprised the bride with a seranade. No, it wasn't on the schedule, but got things off to a fabulous start.

    Hard to do, I know, but you are not responsible for his attitude – he is.  When he no longer has a reaction, an outside party to project to, he has no choice but to turn inward.  This is a great lesson that helps with holidays, too.

  • Be receptive to EVERYTHING. Stepmom thinks you should have an Elvis Impersonator serenade the bride and groom. The minute you protest with disgust, her adrenaline surges, fight-or-flight commences, and she’s ready to go.  There’s a perverse excitement with conflict that, sadly, keeps family arguments going.  So don’t fuel it.  “That is so fun!! You know, the best man LOVES Elvis. I’ll have to check, though. My wedding planner [YES! We can play bad cop! part of our job!] warned us against overscheduling the reception, so we’ll see.”  Let it go. And then, when she revisits it, say you thought about it but there’s not enough room in the schedule, but you’ve put together a mini Elvis playlist for her during a dance set.
  • If they just can’t let go in a fight (“But Elvis would be SO FUN!”), respond with the same words each time: “It just wouldn’t fit in our schedule.”  Every time they try to argue and wheedle, say, “I wish we could, but it just wouldn’t fit in our schedule.”  Soon they will realize they’re facing a brick wall and stop.  There may be sore feelings, but you’ve remained calm (YES! Remain calm! Kick the tires later!), and emerged unscathed. Later the person might even reflect on how looney their request was, anyways. You’d be surprised.
  • The details will disappear. Your friend Drunken Anthony might request the Macarena, infuriating your hipster self (or…is the Macarena ironic now?), but twenty years from now, seriously, you aren’t gonna care.  You’re going to be worried about the gas bill, packing the kids for college, and enjoying shopping with friends.  It’ll all fade away, trust me.  There’s something about the ‘real life’ that begins after the fairy-tale wedding that hones down your true concerns and cares to the bare minimum – which is a good thing.
  • Compromise. Like the Elvis Medley for stepmom, or carrying your mother’s hanky after you’ve decided not to wear her dress – offer these things right off the bat.  Again, don’t just shoot down the idea – think about it.  Really think about it.  “It’s not going to work for me since I wanted to wear a strapless dress, but i had a great idea – why don’t I wear your gorgeous veil, Mom?”
  • And laugh it off. Champagne fountain, Elvis medley, Macarena – however campy, kitsch , or out of left field anything is, it’ll be memorable. The crashing together of peoples’ whim and whimsy makes a wedding memorable.  If all the details are just-so perfect, things get a little…precious.

Not too long ago I had a dinner party for some old friends to welcome by bestie buddy (we go back – I don’t even want to say it – twenty two years or so).  I thought I had enough chairs, but the gang had to find more with hubby’s help – then, the risotto was NOT cooperating (first time in how many times I’ve cooked the stuff?), so Jen (No Worries Coordinator extraordinaire) performed triage; there were no seating assignment cards, no cutesy sign in book, we had a coupla mismatched plates – really, nothing that even at all lent itself to me being a pro event planner. I save my perfection and polish for my clients; but at home, it was casual, chaotic, full of laughter.  It was the best.

The cake arrived with sugar callas, which was not what the bride ordered - but she took it in stride. After all, it's a beautiful mistake!

I think after pulling off a lovely wedding in my perfectionist way, I was fatigued.  Then I had a child, and while I work hard to keep the house clean (like, semi-germ-free clean), it’s a bit cluttered.  Sometimes I step on a squeak toy. The dogs stink if I go one day past their every-month bath window; and there’s two bins of clean laundry that I just can’t seem to get to. But it’s okay.  So when a client frets about a teeny detail, I reassure her that I will help her implement it perfectly, but that with 150 average humans in the mix (both guests and vendors), it won’t be as perfect as her dreams. in fact, it’ll be better – a surprise toast by a dear friend, an unexpected conversation with an old buddy who managed to make the trip at the last minute, a flower girl who interrupts the first dance with a big hug on the bride and groom.  These are things that make life as beautiful as it is, and will make your wedding all the more special.

Can You Afford a Wedding? Part 2: DIY’ers, Beware

By | Budget Weddings, Planning, Time Management | No Comments

The explosion of wedding blogs and magazines have promoted the idea that you, the bride (and/or groom), can, with your own hands and perhaps a few bridesmaids’ help, create the perfect wedding on a tiny budget.  I love these blogs. The inspiration is endless. Martha Stewart, she’s like a goddess to me.  And there’s something fabulous about having your own ideas and handiwork reflected in your event.

But women, being the perfectionists that we are, sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves to create the perfect wedding. And on top of that, there’s a myth that DIY’g is the easy way to have an inexpensive wedding.  Before you commit to any large DIY project, inform yourself.

Keep these ideas in mind:

1.  Start early! Plan to have all your favors, decor, everything you are creating yourself, done 4-6 weeks prior to the event.  You’ll shoot for this, and if you don’t quite make this deadline, you still have a whole month left.  The tradeoff with not paying someone is that you have to make time to do these things by yourself, but your full time job isn’t doing the flowers, or decor, or favors – you already have a job. So, you need more time. Simple as that.

2.  Beware asking friends for help.  Most of them will do a lovely job, but give them time too, and a precise and un-overwhelming to-do list with deadlines. Make it fun:  If you need help assembling favors, have a party – with wine and cheese and girly movies, whole nine yards.

Asking friends who are wedding pros to perform their job at your wedding is also dicey; if they are someone you would already considering inviting, let them know you understand if they’d rather not work your wedding and would prefer to sit back and enjoy.  Pay them – either for their supplies, a performance fee, or both.  If they consider it their gift to you, give them a heartfelt token of your appreciation – give the photographer a point-and-shoot digital camera for test shoots, buy the florist a luxurious bottle of high-end champagne.

3.  DIYers need a coordinator as much as – or more! – than non DIYers. Yes, it’s true. The whole point is you’re trying to save money, right? I totally get it (I shopped my candle centerpieces from thrift stores myself, and had pals in production and art production set them up on the tables – I’ve been there!).  But, when your mom is providing the alcohol and your cousin is doing the flowers and your dad is bringing the favors, you  need someone to tie it all together.

For example, these flowers for this September wedding were done by the bride’s aunt and mother, two talented “on the side” florists who are doing more and more professional jobs as they perfect their skills.  Their centerpieces were a lovely gift to the bride and groom.

When I first booked the client, she asked if I could help transport the flowers. I said I could probably help, but then we discussed further, and there were going to be at least 20 arrangements with as many vases; four pillars; and other accessories, too much to fit in my crossover SUV.  6 weeks prior to their wedding date, I created a schedule that allowed for morning load in at two different locations (ceremony and reception), and load out as well, and shared with all family members.  They ended up borrowing a truck and using the help of wonderful friends who donated their time.

Also, a coordinator calls all the involved DIY’er parties and lets them know when their work is needed, when.  They ensure the family-friend DJ has the names of the grand entrance participants, and how to say them phonetically; they make sure the buddy playing the ipod during the reception does a sound check prior – that kind of thing.  We pick up stuff that slips through the cracks, so you don’t have to.

Just this past weekend, I coordinated a wedding in which the brides’ family donated the alcohol.  I was there bright and cheery at load in, ensured they had the right amounts of liquor and mixers chilling all morning, hung the bar menu on the wall, and was able to show the bartenders around when they arrived while the family members were at the ceremony.  I coordinated with the owner of the banquet hall their exact arrival time (which changed three times), so the bride didn’t have to keep on top of it.  I saw that the women wisely overbought, and left one huge bag unpacked which allowed for a easier load out. Oh – and I went out and bought ice throughout to keep up the supply.

4.  Think twice before doing your own flowers. So many brides see the beautiful colors at the flower mart and go, “I want to do my own flowers!” Trust me – I’m a flower arranging fanatic.  But your wedding is not the time to do it, UNLESS, you keep it simple.

For example – and pardon the crappy photo, haven’t received the pro photos yet – the clients at this wedding took irises, bought vases, rooted the irises in clear marbles, added some water – boom, they had a lovely, simple centerpiece.  They were able to make them two days ahead of time, making sure they had a cool space to keep the flowers so they wouldn’t wilt.

Making bouquets and boutonnieres is a whole other art, and taking a class or practicing many months prior to the event is widely recommended.

And remember, you can’t really do flowers ahead of time – 48 hours is about the cutoff. (Some florists do arrangements further in advance depending on the flower and how important it is for the blooms to open, but they have ideal temp-controlled spaces to store the flowers for optimum freshness).  So many things happen just before wedding – certainly, ‘planning fatigue’ sets in – and many brides realize they got themselves in over their head, unless a gaggle of friends and family are committed to a flower party just two days before the big event.

5.  Sometimes, paying for a service is cheaper than DIY. Cheaper not only financially, but sanity/time wise, as well.

This bride paid for the beautiful design of her table numbers and escort cards, ordered flower arrangements, but bought the tri-level candle holders herself.  She split the cost 50/50 and got to keep the candle holders, also – a good compromise.  Printing out her own escort cards and table numbers would likely cost her as much in paper and ink (especially because mistakes happen on home printers all the time), and would take up a good amount of time as well.

In summary, DIY is a great thing, but be careful to filter your inspiration through the lens of reality. Give yourself plenty of time, ask for help, and pick your battles wisely.