If DIY Weddings Were an Olympic Sport...

...one of my September brides, Gabrielle, would win a gold medal, no question.  

Folks, this woman did her own gorgeous calligraphy for the invitations, favors, and wedding signs, created floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception sites, and made all the food for 90 guests. I'm sorry, do I need to repeat that? She MADE the (delicious) food for all of her guests. The buffet included marinated and grilled steak, marinated and grilled tofu, potato salad, farro salad, marinated zucchini noodles, and a salad with homemade vinaigrette. 

Not to be outdone, her groom, Bruce, made all of the beer for the guests. I probably don't need to point out that it takes a lot of dedication and planning, not to mention extreme skill, to create FOUR delectable beers worthy of guest consumption. (If you're wondering, the beers were Mannekin Pis Belgian Ale, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Porter, Oktober Fest Lager, and Kitchen Sink Pale Ale). 

Below are the pictures to prove that a DIY wedding is completely possible and can turn out incredibly beautifully if you are willing to dedicate yourself to each minute detail. Bruce and Gabrielle did - look how well their wedding turned out!  

 

 Tags for the pilsner glasses that were favors - calligraphy done by the bride

Tags for the pilsner glasses that were favors - calligraphy done by the bride

 Gabrielle modelling the pilsner glass and nametag

Gabrielle modelling the pilsner glass and nametag

 Floral arrangements for the ceremony that were later placed on dinner tables

Floral arrangements for the ceremony that were later placed on dinner tables

 The buffet - all food was made or prepared by the bride.  

The buffet - all food was made or prepared by the bride.  

 The taps for the four beers made by the groom

The taps for the four beers made by the groom

For more pictures from their day, go to 'Gabrielle and Bruce' on the Gallery page.  

Confetti Here, Champagne There, Love Everywhere

Signage telling where your guests to go or important information that they need to know sometimes gets pushed to the bottom of the 'to-do' list, but it's a pretty important element to helping the day run smoothly.

As a wedding planner and coordinator, my #1 job is to make sure the couple is happy and worry-free. My #2 job is to make sure that their guests have a GREAT time, and little details like signs pointing to the bathrooms or where to sit during the ceremony make my job so much easier.

The best part is that I think this is one of the elements of the wedding that you can actually do yourself without much effort and it ends up looking great.

Some plywood, black paint, and nails, and you've got a really cute way to tell your guests where each part of the day takes place!

Of course, there are many professionals out there that can do custom designs or even have standard signage that you can rent and return. I recently worked with a company called In the Moment that did a beautiful job (see Meghan and Cheri's wedding in the gallery for more examples):

Signs can be used for:

  • welcoming guests 
  • directing guests to the venue and to various events during the day (ceremony, cocktails, dinner
  • timeline for the day
  • drawing attention to wedding favors, guestbook, or escort cards
  • seating plans for the dinner
  • various activities for the guests, i.e. a photobooth, sharing Instagram photos, games
  • dinner/dessert menu if it's a buffet or anything in a dish that needs explaining
  • listing ceremony participants and timeline

Even though Pinterest can be an overwhelming place at times, I highly encourage typing 'wedding signage' in to get an idea of the various options out there. You may even find some cute wording that you may not have thought of!

Meghan and Cheri - Sneak Preview

I can't believe it's been a month since I last wrote an entry! I'll be posting pictures soon from a wedding I had the pleasure to be a part of earlier this month, but here's a sneak peek: 

Doesn't that just make your heart melt? We're so lucky to be one of the many states that legally recognizes same-sex marriage. Meghan and Cheri's wedding was beautiful, joyful, and filled with extra meaning as they looked into each other's eyes and pronounced "I take you to be my LAWFULLY WEDDED spouse." Check back soon for a full recounting of the day on my Gallery page!

Gerard, the Paella Man

Any couple that tells me that good food is an important part of their wedding day instantly become my new best friends. So it was with a couple who decided that since they were having a fairly fancy dinner the night of their wedding, they really wanted something casual, yet still slightly classy for the rehearsal dinner.

Enter Gerard, the man who makes THE BEST paella I have ever had.

Simplicity is his style all the way: his company name is Gerard's Paella (easy enough to remember) and he has six different types of paella to choose from, each of which come with a couple of appetizers, salad, and bread, all served family style. Not only is the food simply amazing visually, it has so many layers of flavor! It can even be entertainment for the group that you've gathered.; Gerard himself shows up to prepare and cook the food from start to finish and is more than happy to share what he's doing each step of the way. You see each ingredient that he uses and can literally watch him make it. It's like standing in the kitchen of a swanky restaurant, chatting with the chef!

You wouldn't know from talking to him that the man has cooked for 600 (!!!) people at a Google party, was featured in Sunset magazine, and even 'threw down' with Bobby Flay. And yet the prices are incredibly reasonable for all of that hype.

I wish I had gotten a non-fuzzy picture of this incredible feast, but alas, I did not. Below are a couple I found of him cooking at other venues. If you want more, you'll just have to go on his website and drool over those pictures: www.gerardspaella.com




What's Trending: Mismatched Bridesmaids and Patterns

More and more brides are starting to realize that it's just not feasible to make their bridesmaids/attendants wear exactly the same thing and pay hundreds of dollars for a dress that will sit in the back of their closet, never to be worn again.

The solution? Pick a color scheme and have your bridesmaids buy a dress that they like that fits that color range. It could be all shades of one particular color, or colors in the same family (jewel tones, reds and pinks, greens and blues). One of the first brides I ever worked with did this and I think it turned out perfectly (see below)! What's even better is that each of the girls can wear their dress again.

bridesmaids in gray

The other hot trend right now is patterned bridesmaids dresses. These may not be as practical or cost-effective as just going with a color scheme, since they would most likely need to be bought as a set. However, if you have your heart set on matching bridesmaid dresses, a flattering pattern for all is a fresh and interesting approach.

heart-backed bridesmaids dresses

If the vibe of your wedding is much more casual, you could even combine the two and have a color range, but lots of different patterns and styles.

IMPORTANT: if you want to play with colors, patterns, or dress length, at least one should remain a constant. The picture below is a perfect example: the dress length is the constant, while the patterns and colors vary (even though they stay in the blue family).

blue bridesmaids


Pi Day - Perfect Day for a Wedding?

Happy Pi Day! I'm a big fan of any reason to celebrate food; even though pie isn't necessarily my favorite dessert of choice, you don't have to twist my arm too hard to go out and buy a slice on March 14th (3.14).

Since I'm constantly thinking of fun wedding themes, it occured to me: wouldn't March 14th be a perfect wedding day, especially for math lovers? The date would be easy to remember for those spouses who may have trouble remembering the date, and the dessert table could be pie themed! Even the dinner tables could be numbered with fun math jokes or symbols instead of normal numbers. Below are some ideas of what I would do with a 3.14 wedding...

                                                              Infinity wedding invitation for math geeks

                                                             Infinity wedding invitation for math geeks

                                                                             Pi cufflinks for the groom

                                                                            Pi cufflinks for the groom

                                                                                    Pie wedding cake!

                                                                                   Pie wedding cake!


Fingerprint Guestbook

I have been begging every couple I work with to do this for their wedding and it's finally going to happen: a fingerprint guestbook. This was one of the first things I found when I started my Pinterest site and I absolutely love it.

Here's the basic concept: either find a friend or some super-talented artist on Etsy to design a large print of a tree with lots of branches. The branches are bare until your guests use colored inkpads (to match your wedding colors, of course!) to put their thumbprint on the tree, which then become the leaves on the tree. Then you can leave it as is, or they can sign their name on top of the thumbprint. There are tons of ways to make it individual; having your initials 'carved' on the tree, having your two thumbprints sitting in the middle of the tree as lovebirds, or even making it a car or Up-style house instead of a tree with balloons lifting the car/house off of the ground.

It's so neat to have a beautiful keepsake from your wedding that you can and want to display prominently in your home that has the imprint of everyone special to you in your new shared life.

fingerprint guestbook

Can Brides Wear Pantsuits?

I have a Pinterest board of all my wedding inspirations and post on there fairly frequently. But the one picture that has been BLOWING UP recently is a silk white jumpsuit. No, no, wait! Come back! I promise it actually looks amazing. See for yourself:

jumpsuit.jpg

Now, maybe so many people love that one pin because the picture is linked to BuzzFeed's '23 Super Cute Lesbian Wedding Ideas,' but maybe it's because the suit is stylish, a perfect mixture of masculine and feminine, and luxurious.

The next wedding that I'm coordinating will be my first lesbian wedding and I'm so excited! Their song is 'Ribbon in the Sky' and so we've chosen to (tastefully) incorporate ribbons into a lot of their day. The flower girls will have ribbon wands instead of petals, the reception barn will be decorated with ribbons streaming from the center of the ceiling, and the dinner tables will have ribbons decorating the tabletop, instead of large centerpieces. What a great way to add color, without spending lots of money on flowers!