Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eye Candy: Cocktail Napkins

Don't you just love these adorable cocktail napkins from Harvey & Strait? They would be the perfect addition to a lovely summer party table! With so many colors and patterns to choose from, there's sure to be one to fit your party!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Money Mondays: Make the most of your wedding flowers

A great way to save money without sacrificing the overall look of the wedding is to make your flowers work double duty.

At a recent wedding we designed, we used the same flowers at the church and reception. Check out these gorgeous vases flanking the altar at the church. Flowers by Johnny did a beautiful job on the flowers for this wedding at a reasonable price.

Then at the reception, these same vases framed the sweetheart table.

We purchased silver julep cups with detachable pew clips, and had the florist fill them with hydrangeas and roses. They looked beautiful on every other pew at the church.

After the ceremony, the clips were removed and the julep cups used on the guest tables and on the windowsills at the reception.

When the wedding party arrived at the reception, we took the girl's bouquets and placed them in vases on the cake table and the sweetheart table. The vases were accented with ribbon and fastened with antique broaches.

{All photos by Michael Alan Photography}

If you don't have a coordinator to transport all these items for you, just ask your florist. For a small fee, they should be able to set up the flowers at the ceremony and reception sites.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weddings: Rebecca & Jason

We recently had the privilege of designing and coordinating the beautiful Spring wedding of Rebecca & Jason. They met on an airplane, and their wedding theme was "love is in the air". The reception was held at the Marcy Casino at Delaware Park, and we transformed the venue into a beautiful space for them. The cocktail hour was held on the second floor, and the decor was fun and whimsical, utilizing apple green and aubergine as the main colors. Here are some photos from the cocktail hour taken by the very talented Michael of Michael Alan Photography.

We utilized potted plants that came with the venue, and wrapped them with fabric. Green fugi mums served as simple centerpieces for the cocktail tables. If you want to save money on your floral budget, these fugi mums are large, inexpensive, and really make a statement.

We had two logos designed for the couple - the one above for the cocktail hour, and another for the reception. Their signature cocktail was a "Marry Me Margarita" which, in addition to being yummy, also matched the green and purple color scheme!

We created a chandelier with tissue paper pomanders from PomLove. This photo doesn't capture the whole room, but it looked AMAZING! They really transformed the space.

And finally, an adorable floral arrangement for the hors d'oeuvres table.

I'll share some more photos from this lovely wedding in the upcoming weeks.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Money Mondays: The Cost of Weddings

Given the current state of the economy, I have been finding that one of the things engaged couples are most worried about is the wedding budget. Let's face it - weddings are not cheap. The good news is there are many ways to save make smart choices. In the upcoming weeks, I will be posting money saving tips on Mondays. I wanted to start out with a great post by Liene Stevens Blue Orchid Designs that gives some insight into how wedding costs can add up so quickly.

Original post from Blue Orchid Designs - August 9, 2007 and printed below...

Yuck. Money. The subject no one wants to talk about but we all have to deal with, especially when it comes to weddings. And it's no secret that weddings are expensive - even an intimate, backyard ceremony with a handful of guests can stretch the wallet fairly quickly. I wanted to get into the reasoning behind some of the common pricetags and help put some of the sticker shock at ease.

But it's just some pretty paper: Invitations
A good rule of thumb when budgeting for invitations is this: a decent (read: nice quality, but not necessarily elaborate) invitation should cost around the same price as a greeting card. While we may buy greeting cards here and there as the occasion calls for it, you normally don't purchase 150+ greeting cards all at the same time. If you want a custom invitation, you can expect to pay more because you are compensating the artist for her designs, proofs, revisions and edits, assembly and general labor.

All you're doing is pushing a button: Photography & Videography
If all you want from your wedding are pictures that look like snapshots your slightly inebriated Uncle Frank took, then there are plenty of moonlighting hobbyists-who-call-themselves-professionals to choose from. If you want art and photographs that will capture the emotion of the day, then realistically you need to expect to pay more. Photography can easily be one of the most spendy parts of the wedding and for good reason - when all is said and done, that is what you will have left (well, that and your spouse of course!). I have met many, many married women who regret going cheap with their photography. Also, the final product usually doesn't come out of the camera ready to go - a lot of behind-the-scenes editing and design goes into producing great photos. If you're having video, you can count on hours of editing, including finding the right moments to splice things in, cueing the appropriate music to match, etc.

So you're like JLo in that movie: Wedding Planners
No, I'm not like JLo and wow, did she make my job look easy! Hollywood has a knack for doing that though, don't they? The biggest thing you are paying the planner for is her time - the average wedding takes more than 250 hours to plan and there are only 52 weekends in a year. Both of these facts limit how much we can take on and commit to. It may seem like you are paying the planner for one day, but in reality 250 hours translates into more than six 40-hour work weeks. And that's just for your normal, run-of-the-mill wedding. If you want something unique and special, even more time is involved.

They are just going to die tomorrow anyway: Flowers
Even flowers from the grocery store can be pricy - that is just the nature of a live element. When purchasing flowers, you are paying for so many things - the grower's cut (planting, growing, watering, feeding, harvesting), the packaging and shipping of them in a manner that they will not wilt or die on the way to your location, and then the florist's fees (design, watering, prepping them with special concoctions that prolong their lifespan, arranging, delivering, etc). Yes, a lot goes into those pretty bouquets.

It's just some fancy chicken: Food
Hands down, food is usually the most expensive item on the budget, and again quantity plays a big role. A nice dinner for two can sometimes be a splurge and when you're feeding 150+ mouths - well, I'll let you do the math. It is also important to look at quality when you are choosing your menu, and quality costs more, just like it does in every other part of life.

There are lots of areas of weddings that I didn't cover here, but I wanted to give a quick overview of some of them. The time-tested adage "you get what you pay for" has been proven over and over again with weddings. You don't need to break the bank on your wedding or try to keep up with the Joneses - but it is important to go into the wedding planning process with an understanding of where your money is going so that you can best prioritize its use.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Weddings: Jillian & Patrick

I had the pleasure of working on a July 4th wedding with Jillian and Patrick. They are a gorgeous couple (hopefully I will get some photos to share soon!), and the wedding took place at Shanghai Reds on the Buffalo waterfront. Shanghai Reds is a wonderful location for a event, and has multiple indoor and outdoor spaces depending on the size of your event and your particular requirements. Jillian and Patrick held their ceremony right on the lawn - the setting was so picturesque.

Holding the ceremony and reception in the same location is convenient for guests, and a great way to save some money, too. These chairs served double duty - we used them for the ceremony and then moved them inside for the reception while the guests were enjoying cocktail hour on the outdoor patio.

Here are some photos of the Skyline room, where their reception was held...

The primary color was royal blue, and Jill added some green accents with the table numbers and favors, which were boxes of mints. There were many decorative highlights of interest. I wish I had taken better photos, but I was a busy bee! They rented custom linens with silver sparkles that looked like fireworks, royal blue glasses, napkins and chair sashes added color in a classy way, blue uplighting around the room looked fantastic once the sun went down, and the chandeliers were decorated with lanterns and strands of orchids. Escort cards were matchbooks, which guests used later in the evening to light sparklers during the fireworks. Fireworks at your wedding...what could be better - it was beautiful!

Jill's sister made these lovely centerpieces for the guest tables...

These centerpieces are budget friendly, and not too difficult to make. She used curly willow and tealights, with gel that looked like water at the bottom of the vase. The florist glued fresh orchids onto the branches. Simple and elegant - I love them!

It was a beautiful wedding, the weather cooperated, and Jill & Pat and their guests danced the night away. I am grateful to have been a part of their day!