Scott & Bridget’s Rustic Chic Wedding

We are digging in the archives for this wedding.  To this day it remains one of our most favorite weddings as the entire day was infused with bits of the bride’s and groom’s personalities.

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Bridget and Scott met online in 2011 and were engaged within three months. You can tell by looking at these two that they were genuinely in love…. the kind of love that would last a lifetime.  Due to the nature of Scott’s job, the couple planned their wedding in 90 days which put their wedding date smack dab in the middle of June – one of Arizona’s hottest months.  Daytime temps easily soar to 115-120 degrees during the day so following the timeline would be critical.

We selected a secret garden on the campus of Arizona State University for the ceremony. This lush area is sequestered between four buildings near the center of campus and is a haven of lush flowering plants and tall shade trees that are home to many birds. The raised patio with outdoor fireplace was the perfect spot for this intimate ceremony.

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The bride and her sisters crafted each detail of this wedding, from the bouquets and boutonnieres, to the aisle decor, centerpieces, favors and directional signage.

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The reception was held at Old Main, ASU’s oldest building where guests danced the night away before sending the couple off with a sparkler exit.

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5 Aisle Decoration Ideas

Decorate your aisles with one of these great ideas to give your ceremony a personal touch.

Add a twist to your aisle with one of these very cool, and clever, ideas.

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Baby’s Breath Ceremony Decor

Galvanized buckets filled with baby’s breath lined the ceremony aisle creating a romantic feel to this rustic chic wedding.

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Ceremony Chair Greenery Bundles

Natural bundles of seeded or silver dollar eucalyptus, rosemary or lavender hung from the chairs along the aisle perfectly complimented this couples outdoor ceremony.

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Tissue Paper Decor

The bride added bursts of white and green to the wedding aisle with large tissue paper pompoms and mason jars filled with baby’s breath and bells of Ireland .

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Hanging Floral Decor

Small, delicate glass cones filled with a single peony hung from the chairs along the ceremony aisle.

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Photo Ceremony Decor

White and yellow frames with pictures of the bride and groom throughout the years hung from the pews which created a talking point among guests.

How are you decorating your aisle?

Diva Drama: When Bridesmaids Go Awry

Are your leading ladies turning into drama queens? How to deal when they lose it.

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The women you chose to be your bridesmaids are your best pals and therefore the perfect bride tribe to help you plan your wedding. But in the months leading up to your big day, there may, unfortunately, be a few diva moments, like a disagreement over the dress (not yours — hers) or a power struggle about your bachelorette party. There’s good news though, these mishaps don’t have to ruin your wedding day — as long as you’re prepared for them.

Diva Drama #1: She wants to be your Maid of Honor

The Scenario: You’ve always imagined your sister as your maid of honor, but your university roomie wants the title. She’s even been dropping hints since your engagement about how detailed and excited she is.
The Solution: Sit down with your friend and explain how you can’t imagine getting married without her at your side, but also that you only have one sister.
The Scoop: “I made the mistake and succumbed to my friend having her as my MOH and my sister as a bridesmaid.  I regret that decision immensely because my wedding can’t be repeated. The decision caused damage to my relationship with my sister that took years for us to move past.” – Louisa

Diva Drama #2: She’s very budget conscious

The Scenario: She complains about the price of the bridesmaid dress and wants to control your bachelorette party. She even has the nerve to say you don’t “need” a bridal shower since you and your fiance already live together. Say what?
The Solution: Delicately ask your bridesmaid if the wedding is becoming a drain on her budget. For all you know, she’s struggling to pay off debt or has had hours cut at work. Be willing to listen to her situation and possibly offer to help offset a portion of the dress.  Just be careful that, what you do for her, you may need to do for all should word get out.
The Scoop: “I had been a bridesmaid for a close friend and spent $395 on the dress. So I was beyond frustrated when I asked her to spend $150 for mine and she tried to back out of the wedding. It turned out that her husband had just been laid off and they were worried about losing their home. I bought the dress for her as a gift.” — Michelle

Diva Drama #3: She’s gone dark

The Scenario: Your super communicative friend has her iPhone attached to her hip but she hasn’t responded to any calls or texts in a week. The weirdest part: You know she’s updated her Facebook page, let’s face it, you stalked her. So what gives?
The Solution: Schedule some one on one time. This is an exciting time for you but your wedding isn’t the only thing she has to focus on.  Maybe a new work project has her inundated or something is happening in her personal life.  If that’s the case, offer your help. She’s your friend first — then your bridesmaid.
The Scoop: “I actually became a psycho stalker with one of my closest friends because she wasn’t answering my phone calls about going dress shopping with me. Each message I left escalated and not in a good way.  Of course I felt like a complete idiot when she got back from a two-week work trip — where she didn’t have cell reception. Not my finest moment.” — Britni

 

Diva Drama #4: She’s a control freak

The Scenario: Your bridesmaid is very outgoing and outspoken and she’s taking this to a whole new level by dictating every aspect of your big day. She’s pushing you to order a cake you don’t love and already bought a bridesmaid dress in a different cut than the one you chose because it makes her look thinner.
The Solution: Include your maid in the activities/decisions you feel comfortable including her in. If she gets bossy, kindly remind her that it’s your wedding — and while she may be excited to help, you’ve been planning it in your head since you were five.
The Scoop: “My uber-organized girlfriend would say, ‘The dresses have to be champagne!’ ‘Wear your hair up!’ “Only chandelier earrings!” It was nuts! I finally told her that I wanted to do things my way, but she didn’t take it well. It showed me that our friendship wasn’t all I had cracked it up to be.” — Lauren

 

Diva Drama #5: You want a PG-13 shower — and she’s planning an R-rated event

The Scenario: By now, you know that these events can get kind of, uh, racy. If your family is more conservative, it’s understandable that you’d rather not have penis straws or a penis shaped cake at your party.
The Solution: Schedule a more family-friendly affair for your in-laws, grandma and aunts, and then opt for a lingerie shower with your friends. Hey, you’ll get twice the loot! Or, save the R-rated items for the bachelorette party.  Remember, they may be planning the party — but you’re the guest of honor, so don’t be afraid to set the tone. Other options: a spa day, an tea style luncheon or wine tasting event.
The Scoop: “I was sure my bridal shower would be low-key, I mean my sister planned it. Was I wrong! One of my girlfriends gave me ben wa balls. Imagine how mortified I was having to explain to my mom, grandmother and future mother-in-law what these were! Then they wanted to know how they worked!!”  — Kristin

Diva Drama #6: She’s just announced her pregnancy – and dresses have been ordered

The Scenario: The girls just put down their deposits on strapless gowns with a form fitted waist, when one of them announces she’s preggo.
The Solution: Let her know how excited you are for her and schedule a day when the two of you can shop for a matching belly-friendly dress.
The Scoop: “At first I couldn’t help but think, ‘Seriously, you’re going to be 8 months along’? But then I realized that I was the one being a bitch, and I was excited for her.” — Brie

 

Today We’re Loving: Citrus Orange

It’s summer in Phoenix and the citrus trees in our yard have fruit! Lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges – we love the fresh taste of citrus not to mention the bright, crisp colors.

We are completely crushing over this orange and green design we styled a short time ago for a showcase.  This color combination can be completely dreamy or completely horrifying depending on how it is pulled together.

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The antique spice cans, gold leaf bud vases and small clear milk jars were home to bright orange tulips, green hydrangea and cymbidium orchids. Accents of mercury votives, tree slabs and manzanita branches pulled the look together.
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We think this look is perfect for a bridal shower, baby shower, or ladies luncheon.  What is your favorite color combination?

Want a Stress-Free Wedding? Hire a Wedding Planner.

Many couples dismiss the idea of hiring a wedding planner thinking it will be out of their budget. This may be a big mistake. A professional wedding planner can help you plan your wedding while saving you money!

How do wedding planners charge?

  1. Standard fee—regardless of the size of your wedding or your budget.  Some people like a fixed price; they know what they are getting and how much it’s going to cost. Not all wedding planning packages are the same so be sure to check the inclusions to be sure what you need is covered.
  1. Percentage of your budget.  Other couples feel the percentage system is fair—those with bigger budgets to pay more, while people with smaller budgets pay less. If you choose this option, ensure you establish a price cap; the costs could skyrocket, especially if your budget is creeping steadily upwards. By the same token, if your budget decreases, you shouldn’t expect their fees to decrease either.
  1. By the hour or per service provided.  Paying by the hour/service is available from some planners but it is not usually recommended; you won’t be able to accurately estimate how much you’ll spend on your planner, which will be a major component of your budget. The ‘pay as you go’ system might seem affordable at first, but might end up costing you a lot more by the time the wedding is done and dusted.  This system is recommended for couples that want to handle the details themselves but need some counseling along the way, such as vetting a venue contract, negotiating catering or creating a floor plan.
  2. Bespoke—a fee based on your wedding, your needs and your budget.  The bespoke fee system allows you to talk in-depth with your planner about your real budget and what you want on your wedding day. This is the approach I take to charging for my services, and it’s a fixed price. I always tell my couples, my fee is X and it’s the only item on the budget that won’t change. It won’t decrease, but it also never increases, even if your budget doubles or the number of guests you have changes, my fee stays the same.

So, what am I up for?

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You can find planners to suit any budget, from one end of the market to the other.

  • Low range prices vary between a few hundred dollars to $2,500

At the lower end, you may only be paying for planning or on the day coordination; a basic package that gives you basic services. The lower end of the market might also see you with a younger company and more junior consultants (of course, there are also experienced planners operating in the lower end of the market, offering competitive rates!).

  • Mid-range will cost you between $2,000 – $5,500

Be sure to see what the cost includes. At the high-end price range that should include all your planning, styling (which typically does not include the hire items or florals, these are extra!) and on the day coordination. You should know that you will have more than one person working on your wedding day, and that those people have worked on your wedding planning the whole way through.

  • High-end will set you back about $5,000 – $12,000

For high-end prices, you should have a dedicated planner as well as assistants you can call whenever you need to talk to someone. Be wary of planners who sign you up with lots of promises, then hand you over to junior assistants for the duration of the planning. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—a good assistant is worth their weight in gold!— you also must be able to contact your senior planner instantly if you ever need to.

Before you meet with a wedding planner Google them, check out their Facebook and Instagram pages, get a feel for what their style of service.

Next, think about what you want from a wedding planner.

  • Do you want a company to take control of your wedding planning and deal with every aspect?
  • Do you want to plan most of your wedding but leave the ‘hard parts’ to someone else?
  • Do you just need a bit of advice (consulting), and are happy to do the actual planning yourself?
  • Are you actually after styling (what your wedding will ‘look’ like) rather than planning, and need to talk to a stylist?

Find out what each planner offers. This might sound obvious, but you don’t get married very often and may not have a good idea of what wedding planners do, so check their websites first to see what their ‘standard’ inclusions are.

Once you know what you want and have a fair idea of what planners are offering, then it’s time to shortlist a few and make an appointment to see them. A lot of planners will offer a complimentary, no obligation consultation. Use this consultation to discuss your wedding ideas, how they can help you and to see if you like them.

You should walk away from each consultation with:

  • A quote for the services (or packages) you want.
  • An idea of how it all works—the process, what they do and don’t do etc.
  • A ‘feel’ for the planner—Do you like them? Can you see yourself spending a bit of time with this person or their team, to create your dream wedding?

Choosing your wedding planner:

So let’s say you meet with three planners and you like all three. How do you decide?

  1. Look at the costs. Are the packages all-inclusive? Will you get a bill at the end of the day (or close to your wedding day) for extras like face-to-face meetings, travel, parking, extra staff etc.
  2. Look at their contracts. All planners have them and they tell you about the inclusions and extra fees. Compare the contracts, highlight the things you don’t like and definitely address this with each planner.

So, doing your homework, paying good money for good people and having a good relationship with your planner will make all the difference to the journey up to and including your wedding day.

It’s the difference between a good wedding and a great one!

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Style Inspiration: TV Theme Design

We are often invited to participate in designer challenges in which we design a 10’x10′ space or table any way we choose.  The event is usually combined with a monthly meeting of our local NACE chapter (National Association of Catering Executives). To say that we enjoy these events is an understatement.  There are no parameters or guidelines and we love seeing what other designers bring to the table (pun completely intended).

Because we are designing for an event attended by our peers, and we are designing against our peers, the bar always seem high for these events.  It is important to find a concept that is a little out-of-the-box that is buzz-worthy.  Sometimes finding the right idea takes weeks, sometimes you find one piece of decor that speaks to you and everything just falls into place.  Thankfully, this is what happened with this challenge!

We fell in love with this jail door that actually is part of a western jail facade.  Luckily the door is a separate piece and it became the main element in our “Orange is the New Black” design theme.  Brushed aluminum walls mimicked the concrete walls of the cell and created the perimeter of our space while a single edison lightbulb hung in the center of the cell.

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We added a tall brushed aluminum communal table that seated 8, brushed aluminum barstools and a plethora of orange floral pieces in concrete pots, silver urns and clear glass vessels, accented with silver mercury votives.   Our place settings remained in theme with cafeteria trays we painted silver for the inmates and fine china for the warden and prison officers.  Orange napkins were gathered inside one handcuff and placed neatly on the cafeteria tray.  Place cards and the table number designator were adorned with a handcuff design as well.

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We aren’t sure what was more rewarding – the positive feedback on the design, or the fact that many attendees used the jail door as a photo op.  We love it when our designs are multi-purpose!

 

10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner

If you think wedding planners are only a privilege the rich can afford, think again. Here’s 10 reasons to reconsider.

A wedding planner could just be the best thing you spend money on. We have compiled our top reasons you should hire a wedding planner.

Reason #1. You deserve everything to be perfect on your big day.

It takes a lot of time and hard work to pull a wedding together perfectly. A wedding planner has organized a wedding a hundred times, and with practice comes perfection. They know the right people to talk to, how to get the best prices, what should (and shouldn’t) be in a contract, and how to ensure that every single detail is prepared for your big day.

Reason #2. You’re not very good at sticking to a budget.

Money is one of the hardest aspects of planning your wedding. Who’s paying, how much, when is your bill due and how do you ensure you don’t spend too much of it? A wedding planner is like a financial adviser or an accountant who specializes in weddings. They know how much things should cost, roughly what percentage of your budget will be spent in each area, whether, and when payments will need to be made in order to secure services or products.

Reason #3. Your wedding planning experience should be enjoyable, not stressful.

Whether your engagement is long or short, you should enjoy every moment of that special time with your dream man. Most importantly, you do not want to turn into a neurotic Bridezilla who can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t work and is constantly stressing about how much work there is to be done. Since it’s our job, a wedding planner has time and the skills to deal with everything on your behalf. All you have to worry about is taking care of yourself and enjoying your engagement period.

Reason #4. You don’t want to spend hours finding suppliers and trying to figure out who is trustworthy.

It’s daunting to know how many suppliers are out there (and how many people it takes to make a wedding a success). Knowing who to trust and who is right for you is one of the hardest tasks of planning a wedding. Once you find a great wedding planner however, the rest is much easier. They can recommend suppliers they’ve worked with before and know how to get the best prices, and the best results, from them. “Even if we have to use a new supplier, we know how to find the best one for your style and price.”

Reason #5. You don’t want to worry about forgetting to plan or pay for something.

Wedding checklists can be pages long, so it’s no surprise if you’re worried about forgetting something. Luckily a planner knows what needs to be done like the back of their hand! They will keep track of all your deadlines and remind you when things need to be done and decided on. Nothing will ever be missed, and there’s no danger that something won’t turn up on the day because of poor preparation.

Reason #6. You both work and you don’t want wedding planning to take over your life.

Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, even more if you do everything yourself. Having a wedding planner is like having a personal assistant whose sole responsibility is doing all the running around for your wedding.

Reason #7. You have a great venue coordinator but they don’t take care about any of the other details.

You’ve already found your venue and you get on really well with the venue co-ordinator (the person who takes care of all the logistics of the venue and often is provided as part of your wedding package). She’s great and has got everything under control, she’s even given you a recommended list of suppliers that they work with. But keep in mind, that’s generally as far as her services extend. A wedding planner goes beyond these tasks and can help you manage your budget, mediate disputes with your family, tell you what flowers are in season on your wedding date, take you to meet the other suppliers, research prices, and anything else you wish.

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Reason #8. You need help making your vision a reality.

No matter whether you know exactly what you want, have a vague idea, or no idea at all, a wedding planner can help you define the look, style, mood and emotions you want to create. They know the latest trends and are inspired daily by other brides, suppliers and the industry. They can visualise what will work in your venue and know how to bring your desired mood to life.

Reason #9.You’re struggling to meet the demands of your friends and family.

Does your family have a different idea of how your wedding should look? Many brides have to deal with a plethora of conflicting opinions from their friends and family about how the wedding should unfold, and it can be hard to please everyone. Not to mention stressful. A wedding planner will deal with your family’s expectations, show you the available options and can be relied upon to give you expert advice so you make an informed decision.

Reason #10. You’re planning a wedding somewhere other than where you live.

Planning a destination wedding has it’s pros, but it’s hard to organize suppliers that you’ve never met or imagine a space you’ve never seen in person. A wedding planner with experience in organizing abroad weddings has a trick or two up their sleeve for getting the job done the way you want.

Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, energy and focus.  Yes, parts are fun (can we say cake tasting) and exciting but there is research, details to remember, payments to make and a host of other details that aren’t quite so fun but are necessary to planning your day.  Using a wedding planner means you are in control. It is your day, your way, but you have a professional working on your behalf to do the legwork, reduce your stress and ensure every last detail is perfect.

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