Micro Wedding at Montelucia

Allow us to be real for a few…. there are definitive trends in wedding palettes.  Blush, gold, navy, peach, sage…. the colors you choose truly depends on the design style you lean towards.  When Stephanie called us looking for a designer and planner for her intimate wedding at the Montelucia‘s Camelback Villa, she warned us (her words) that her vision was unconventional.

Not wanting a large scale event, but not wanting to elope, Stephanie and Jesse opted for a micro-wedding – an intimate gathering of family and friends.  A traditional elopement is the bride, groom, minister and maybe two witnesses.  Inviting 14 or so members of your family doesn’t qualify as an elopement.  Enter the term micro-wedding – a celebration containing all the elements of a traditional large-scale wedding but with far fewer guests.  We have seen an uptick in micros over the past few years and honestly, we are digging the trend.

But we digress, back to Stephanie and Jesse… We may, or may not, have done a small happy dance at the prospect of designing a fall-time jewel-toned wedding.  Stephanie, a destination bride, turned over design control to us and we ran full-speed ahead.

With no bridesmaids, Stephanie was hanging with us in the immense and gorgeous Camelback Villa.  Normally I would be a bit on edge with a bride watching our every move during install and set, but Steph just chilled, cool as a cucumber and comfortable in her denim shirt and shorts, against the door jamb of the master suite and chatted.  If we ever let a bride lift the veil and watch our controlled chaos again, then she must promise to be as relaxed as Steph.  I mean, come on, who else can pull off this look?!!

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One of my favorite selling points about the Camelback Villa is the amazing view of Camelback Mountain.  Granted, in the following photo, you only see the head, but trust me, that camel is magnificent. Steph and Jesse opted for no attendants to share the altar which set the tone that, while family is important, they have each other. They also opted for a simple altar set, two manzanita trees adorned with hanging candles and Moroccan lanterns – both to provide ambient light once the sun set.

 

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The couple didn’t want a unity candle or sand ceremony but wanted to commemorate their union in a unique and meaningful way so Gwen Waring of Arizona Ministers suggested a ring warming ceremony.  Now, normally we would not advocate for passing the actual wedding rings around during the ceremony, but this group seemed pretty trustworthy so we decided to throw caution to the wind! The concept is that the family and friends each have the opportunity to hold the rings and pray over them or offer a wish, hope or dream for the couple’s future.

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While the ceremony reflected a simple palette, Steph’s love for bold colors was clearly visible inside the Villa.  The 20-foot wooden dining table served as the foundation for a garden of orange, purple, violet, red and yellow flowers nestled in wooden boxes and gold leafed vases and surrounded by gold mercury votives. The hydrangea were the perfect shade of purple.  We couldn’t have planned it better.

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The piece de resistance, in our opinion, was the white pumpkins, set atop plum satin napkins and gold beaded clear glass chargers.  Each pumpkin was dual purpose, serving as a place card and brining a bit of fall to the table (after all, this was a Thanksgiving weekend wedding).

We mentioned that micro-weddings contain all the elements of a traditional large-scale wedding and this wedding was no different.  From cake cutting, to the first dance as husband and wife, to favors and the most ingenious money tree I’ve ever seen, this wedding was rich on emotion.

 

How to Manage Rain on your Wedding Day

It’s like rain on your wedding day” … queue Alanis Morissette. We have come off of an unusually rainy four days in Phoenix and, if you asked us, we’d say that rain is undoubtedly the number one fear of any bride. But is rain getting a bad rap? Some cultures believe that rain is a good sign on your wedding as it symbolizes fertility and cleansing but in the US, rain causes tears and often increases already high stress levels.  With that in mind, here are some tips for creating a rainy day backup plan.

  1. Create a backup plan early in the planning process. If you are working with a planner, pat yourself on the back for making a smart business decision because your planner should have already created this plan with you. If any crucial part of your wedding is outdoors (ceremony or reception) you will want to discuss rain options.  If moving the event indoors is not an option, call the local rental company to price an appropriate size tent or canopy.  Permits may be required depending on the laws of your town or city so be sure to ask early on as they take time to acquire.

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  1. Consider your photography locations. Depending on where you live, a stormy sky may be a photographer’s blessing. In Arizona, Mother Nature tends to show up in a huge way bringing dark billowing clouds as her companion.  She makes a grand entrance and paints a canvas that is better than you can imagine.  If outdoor shots are completely out of the question, a good photographer will already have a plan and alternate locations, but they may not be ideal to you, the bride.  A hallway may not be ideal when you had garden photos in mind but trust that your photographer will capture the artistic shots you desire.

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  1. Guest comfort. We had a bride a few years ago that said “come hell or high water, I am going down that aisle outside as planned!” I admire her fire and will admit that the high winds created amazing photos of her veil floating parallel to the ground as she walked down the aisle to greet her groom.  What she didn’t consider was the comfort of her guests who braved cold temperatures with high winds to bear witness.  Consider providing wraps or umbrellas to make the experience more enjoyable. After all, they want to be smiling, not shivering, when you are pronounced husband and wife.

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  1. Hair and Makeup Artists.  If you have a glam squad taking care of hair and makeup services for you and your wedding party, you may want to ask them if they can stay longer to manage makeup touchups or tuck in flyaway strands of hair post ceremony. This will leave you feeling fresh and beautiful before your grand entrance. If they are not able to stay, some strategically sprayed hair spray, softly smoothed with the cold metal can, will suffice.fort-mcdowell-wedding-photos-14
  1. Remember the reason for the day. Rain is water. Yes, it is unfortunate but it isn’t going to ruin your day.  Keep a positive attitude and know everything will work out. Your bridal party and your guests will feed off your attitude. Keep smiling and remember the real reason is to marry the one you love and, at the end of the day, that is all that matters.dreamstime_s_69189589.jpg

 

Choosing Your Wedding Party

You have great candidates for your wedding party but you’re not sure where to start. Here are some of our tips to narrow your list and pick the perfect wedding party for your special day.

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WEDDING SIZE

If you are planning a small and intimate affair ten bridesmaids may be a little over excessive. If an extravagant event is more up your alley then ten may not be so bad after all. The average number for a wedding party is 4-6 people on each side.

FINANCES

Talk finance with your fiancé.  The larger the wedding party, the more you’ll spend on flowers, hair and makeup (if you’re covering this), gifts, and more.

MORE OPINIONS

Remember that the more people you include – the more opinions there will be about every detail of your planning. Think opinions on dresses, hair and makeup, flowers, and other items you may not want opinions on.

DON’T ASK PEOPLE OUT OF OBLIGATION

Choosing people to be in your wedding party is extremely meaningful because these are the people that you are asking to stand with your and support you on your big day. You don’t have to ask someone just because you are afraid that it will hurt their feelings if you don’t. Also, you don’t have to ask someone to stand up in your wedding just because they asked you. That being said, we do make an exception for your future in-law siblings. It’s always great to include them in the wedding if it’s possible.

THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO INCLUDE YOUR LOVED ONES

From ushers and officiants to ring bearers and flower girls, many cultures and religions have fun and traditional ways for people to be included in your wedding. Even if your big day is not going to be extremely associated with you or your partners religions or cultures – do some research on the background of them and if you find an idea that you adore go with it! This will also impress some of your friends and family who may be heavily associated with it.

Toasting the Happy Couple

So, you’ve been asked to give a toast to the newlyweds on their wedding day.

It’s a huge honor that also comes with a large amount of pressure. With our expert tips we’ve got you covered to create a stress-free, memorable, and tasteful toast.

Do:

TELL A STORY  

Using your own personal experiences illustrate a story highlighting the couple and their relationship with each other. Just remember keep your speech appropriate by staying away from inside jokes and touchy subjects.

MAKE SURE TO BE YOURSELF

Whether you’re sentimental, funny, or serious, great wedding toast come from the heart and are a reflection of the person giving it. Don’t be someone you’re not.

SPEAK UP

While giving your speech make sure to project so all of the guests can hear you.

TOAST TO THE COUPLE

At the conclusion of your speech, remember to raise your glass and wish the couple happiness as they transition into this new chapter of their lives.

Don’t:

JUST WING IT

Come prepared with you have speech to be proud of. Practice it out loud in the mirror and for a friend who will be honest with you. This will make you more comfortable and also give you an approximate length. This is the time to really polish your speech.

GO OVER TIME

Long toasts can be deadly. Keep your toast to five minutes and under to leave the crowd wanting more.

RAMBLE

It makes you look unprepared and nervous. Write down bullet points on a notecard and use those as a guide for your speech.

HAVE TOO MUCH TO DRINK BEFOREHAND

Having a cocktail or glass of wine before the toast to calm your nerves is fine but pace yourself.  Alcohol + a microphone = saying things you may regret.

Keep In Mind:

Being chosen to make a toast is your chance to honor the coupled on their big day – as well as – sending them off into their marriage with your best wishes. So don’t let stage fright keep you from enjoying and cherishing this moment with them.

Note to the Newlyweds:

Remember to thank your guests! They took the time to travel to where you needed them to be in order to help you celebrate your wedding. Showing them that you appreciate them is not only important, but a must. Your toast does not have to be long, just get your point across and you’re golden.

Floral Fever

Have you ever looked at a flower and wondered “where have you been all my life?” We had heart eyes immediately when we stumbled across these amazing little “lunar buds”.  Their soft pom pom shape puts a smile on our face.  Lunar buds are members of the disbud chrysanthemum family and are a unique, flirty, fun floral to consider adding to your bouquets and centerpieces.  Disbud chrysanthemums are also available in a variety of colors and sizes.

We will admit that we were a tad taken aback when we heard the word chrysanthemum.  Known best for football mum corsages in Texas, the chrysanthemum is known for happiness and joy.  That’s what we felt when we found these!  How would you incorporate these into your events?

Real Wedding| Kari & Ryan

If you asked me what skills you need to possess as a good event designer and director, I would tell you that fluidity – the ability to change course on a dime – was in the top three.  Today, I did just that – I changed course quickly and left some heads {slightly} spinning.  We had prepared another blog post for today…. one showcasing smaller weddings…. one you will undoubtedly see later this week or maybe next.  But then, a Facebook memory popped into my personal page today that had me texting “Reschedule the blog post.”

You see, today is Kari & Ryan’s three year anniversary!  This past weekend I came across some of their wedding photos, perfectly shot by Chadwick Fowler of ModWed, and smile as I reminisced about this fun, untraditional wedding that was 100% a tribute to their story, their love, their life.  And this morning, when the memory popped up in my feed I just knew I had to share it with you.

Kari and Ryan met at a beer festival in Northern AZ (Flagstaff to be exact).  She was standing in line behind him and, as we all often do, he turned around and she said “Do you like my eyes?”. He was hooked.  Who wouldn’t be?  She has a bubbly personality, an infectious laugh and they both love life and live for today. They are a perfect match.

When it came to planning their wedding, they knew what they wanted.  The details were in their heads.  They were uber specific.  But they needed someone to pull everything together for them.  That’s where we come in.

When Kari and Ryan shared their vision for a beer garden themed wedding, I think I may have clapped like a giddy school girl.  I love everything weddings but this was so unconventional, so untraditional that I knew we had to be involved.  They had already found The IceHouse and most of their vendors but still needed help with floral elements, rentals, layout and overall day-of coordination.  Our job, should we choose to accept it, was simple: think beer garden, incorporate chamomile and hops, and design a party that isn’t truly a wedding with a short (and I mean short) ceremony sandwiched in between a hopping cocktail hour and an honest to beer-centric party.

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The Cathedral Room at the IceHouse is a popular ceremony location.  Ivory drape was used to conceal the gray steel door that connects this open-air patio to the Silver Room.  Edison bulbs, strung asymmetrically on the drape added an ambient light at the altar. Al fresco lighting, provided by the venue, lit up the night and the aisle decor, consisting of oil lamp illuminated wax vessels, lit a path for Kari and her dad.

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The bride and her maids carried bouquets of white roses, white ranunculus, bluplerum and chamomile.  Boutonnieres of simple white ranunculus accented with a small sprig of chamomile adorned the left lapel of stunningly simple grey suit jackets.

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The 8-minute ceremony (yes, 8-minutes) gave way to a party that highlighted everything Kari and Ryan love. Seven microbeers on tap, street food style fare and an amazing kettlecorn truck provided all-night nosh opportunities.

Hoping for a rustic picnic style affair, mahogany farm tables provided by Encore Creative provided a base for whimsical centerpieces that featured galvanized buckets filled with chamomile and bluplerum situated amongst glowing wax candles and pillar candles atop hops, malt and barley.

icehouse phoenix wedding planner The crowning jewel of this event has to be the cake.  Not a fan of sweet frostings, Kari and Ryan opted for a naked cake and what a treat it was.  Three flavors offered something for everyone’s sweet tooth. We may have sampled a bite, or twelve, because we are all about quality assurance.

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Kari and Ryan dreamt of a wedding that truly reflected their laid back personalities and love of everything beer.  We think we nailed it.  Don’t you agree?

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icehouse phoenix wedding planner

 

Venue Coordinators vs. Wedding Planners

There is often confusion in what duties a venue coordinator performs and what duties a wedding planner will perform for you. Brides and grooms sometimes think that they may be paying double for the same service. A valid point, but perception is not the reality in this case. This is why.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Your venue coordinator is responsible for your venue (thus the title). He or she is there to make sure all of the venue employees are informed of your reception plans and to ensure that your vendors abide by the venues policies. Think about it: the chef, the serving staff, the setup crew, the landscapers, the hotel staff, the bartenders, the cleaning crew, engineering, maintenance department… just to name a few. Yes, they will most likely be there when your cake is delivered or when your entertainment arrives, but that is the easy part.

Your wedding planner is responsible for YOU, your family, your wedding guests and, ultimately, your wedding – from the minute the first person (you or a vendor) arrives on property until the last person leaves. We are with you the entire day after putting together a comprehensive master timeline that includes all of your plans that you wish to happen, all of the personal touches that you want from your ceremony all the way to the reception. The venue coordinator may not be concerned where your dance shoes are, whether Aunt Mary in a wheel chair is comfortable, if the flow of your reception is going smoothly or perhaps how your liquor tab is progressing. The bride and groom may still be bombarded with questions from vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). When we are there (or any wedding planner), we answer those questions so that you and your family can truly enjoy your celebration with your guests.

Venue coordinators are focused on doing their job… maintaining the integrity of the venue.  After all, that is what they are paid to do.  We, however, are paid by you, to take care of your every wish for an unforgettable day, from contract review and negotiation, the designing details, reviewing the flow, securing hotel blocks, monitoring your budget, answering etiquette questions, calming your anxiety to managing vendors plus so much more.

As former venue managers, we are fully aware of their importance and the role they play in making your wedding day successful.  We can’t lock the doors to the bridal suite to protect your personal belongings, access their liquor room and restock the bar, or find engineering when the ballroom is too warm.  But, to be real, your venue coordinator’s first concern at any given time is about the venue performing their contractual duties and it should be.

So, when you ask yourself if you NEED a wedding planner since you have a venue coordinator, think about the many details that go into your wedding – setting out place cards, placing gifts in the car, managing the photographer who wants an extra hour for photos, refreshing your cocktail, bustling your dress and so much more…. We will be in the right place at the right time to guide you throughout your day, from the moment you arrive until your grand exit as husband and wife.

KS and AR