Saturday, June 30, 2012

Star's Favorite Things: Welcome Bags & Packages

Your out of town guests are thrilled to be spending the weekend celebrating your day of matrimony; however, even with a blocked room rate, booking a hotel room for the wedding weekend can be costly.  On top of hotel costs, when you include the wedding and bridal shower gifts as well as the new cocktail dress they may have purchased just for your wedding, your guests may feel like they've forked out quite a chunk of change.  We all know they are happy to do it but wouldn't it be nice to give those out of town guests a little something extra to say "thank you"?  Consider surprising them with a welcome package!  It can be waiting for them in their hotel room or at check-in and is a great way welcome your guests and let them know you appreciate their presence.  It is also a chance to set the mood for the weekend ahead and give guests an idea of what they can expect.  A welcome package is a great way to tie your wedding theme in right from the beginning, as well as give your guests an opportunity to get excited about the upcoming festivities.

Start with something to hold the goodies in.  A reusable bag is a great option as guests can reuse them and will think of your wedding every time they pull it out.  If you are a DIY bride, you can purchase inexpensive canvas bags (Oriental Trading has them for less than a two dollars a piece) and stamp or iron your initials, monogram or message on the front.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

I happen to think the stamped option, shown above, is just beautiful and is the easiest DIY option.  Simply choose a rubber stamp (Paper Source has gorgeous options), colored ink and have at it!  

Below is an example of an ironed on monogram.  It is beautiful but requires a bit more work.  Martha Stewart provides a step by step iron on tutorial on her website.

Photo courtesy of The Knot

The above DIY customization is fairly simple ; however, if you are not the creative type and still want to go all out on the bag, there are tons adorable custom bag options out there.  These are some of my favorites...

Photos courtesy of Wedding Chicks

Photos courtesy of Zazzle

If you'd prefer to go the simpler route, boxes, baskets or paper bags are also great goodie holders.  They can be personalized with stamps, ribbons, stickers and/or paper tags and can also save you a few dollars.

Photo courtesy of Ring of Yes

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Once you've chosen your packaging, its time for the fun part... filling it with goodies!  Below are some things you may want to include:

  • -A letter from the two of you - This is your chance to welcome guests to your wedding weekend and to thank them for participating in your celebration.  This letter can be short and sweet or detailed with sentiments.
  • -Information about your wedding festivities - If your wedding weekend is full of events, a weekend itinerary is a nice extra to include.  If you are hosting a post wedding brunch or offering a shuttle service to and from the wedding site, this would be the ideal place to provide guests with these details.  Even if you've referenced this on your wedding website, it's always helpful to reiterate it for those guests who may have missed it initially.  
  • -Information about the area - Since the majority of guests staying at your hotel of choice are not from the area, it is also nice to include a list of restaurants, activities, and fun facts about the area.
  • -Snacks and beverages - It is nice to provide some treats for your guests to indulge in when they check into their hotel room or when they need a late night snack after a night of dancing at your wedding!  You can keep things simple by including things like chips, granola bars, candy and bottled waters, or you can go all out with a bottle of Champagne, gourmet nuts or olives, and truffles.
  • -Additional items - You may want to include items to make your guest's hotel stay more comfortable.  These items may include a candle for the room, cozy socks or specialty body washes and lotions.  It's also fun to include an item representative of your location.  Things like mugs, shot glasses, stationary, or even specialty treats from the local area are perfect additions.  This could be something like wine for Napa or kona coffee in Hawaii or even a local sport's team token item or souvenir which is always a favorite for the sport's lovers out there.  If your wedding is expected to get wild, you may also want to include recovery items too, such as Advil or Tylenol and a sleep mask :)
Again, these are just ideas to get you started - the possibilities are truly endless!  Remember, this is your opportunity to welcome your guests and set the mood for your wedding weekend.  Your welcome package can be silly and quirky, location specific (e.g. beach wedding), or elegant and luxurious.  Sit down with your love and put some real thought into what you will include and have fun!  If you met at a baseball game, include a bag of peanuts; if he proposed at Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco, include a few mini Ghiradelli chocolate squares; if you are going to Fiji on your Honeymoon, include a bottle or two of Fiji water.  Remember include a note explaining why each item is relevant to your relationship is a nice touch too so they understand why you choose the items you did. 

Below are some of my favorite welcome packages...

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

Photo courtesy of The Bride's Cafe

Photo courtesy of Brides Blogs

Photo courtesy of Real Simple

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

And something kind of fun to include for the party animals...

Photo courtesy of Intimate Weddings

If a complete welcome package is not in your budget, you can still provide out of town guests with a thoughtful welcome.  Consider something like this...

A tiny flower arrangement and welcome note hanging from their hotel room door.
Photo courtesy of Think Garnish

A small package including the morning paper, a pastry and coffee, delivered to their hotel room the morning after your wedding.

Photo courtesy of Think Garnish

Whether your budget is large or small, there are many ways you can give your out of town guests a special welcome.  This gesture will truly make their stay because who doesn't like a little surprise gift?!



Friday, June 29, 2012

Festive Fridays: Just Dance!

One of our July brides shared with me what a priority dancing was going to be for her big day.  She described it in saying that "dancing would be the heartbeat of their big reception".  I was so inspired by this and then started thinking about how important dancing truly can be.

 Photo courtesy of Once Wed

Dancing is one of my favorite things to do and I just don't do it nearly as much as I want to.  Being an event producer in LA though, I definitely get to see my fare share of others dancing though.  This year I'm determined to dance all night long for my big birthday in November.  Hopefully a few times before that too, but in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favorite images capturing those hot moves on the dance floor!  So fun and festive and perfect for today's post!

 Check out these awesome moments!  So festive, so fun! 

Photo courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography

Photo courtesy of Next Exit Photography 

Photo courtesy of The Popes 

 Photo courtesy of Caroline Hancox Photography

 Photo courtesy of Rachel Tyler Photography

  Photo courtesy of True Photography

Photo courtesy of Stak Photographer Duo

 Photo courtesy of Allegro Photography

Photo courtesy of  Robert Holley Photography 

Photo courtesy of  Lin & Jirsa Photography
 Photo courtesy of Olivia Leigh Photographie

 Photo courtesy of  Callaway Gable Photography 
Photo courtesy of  Laurel McConnell Photography 

Yes, yes, now I'm sure your feeling inspired and want to get out and dance!  Have a dance party tonight, get your grove on, practice your first dance or even start to attack your reception music.  Whatever you do, make sure to dance a little this weekend... if you're anything like me it may be ultra cheesy and to something like my new favorite dance song, "Call me Maybe"! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Featured Wedding: Tracy + Kramer in Love at Vibiana!

I'm so excited to feature a real wedding today.  I feel like it's been a hot minute and with the Summer season hot and heavy, I had to take a quick moment to share one of my favorite's that closed our 2011 last December, Tracy and Kramer Morgenthau!   

I originally wrote these words for the uber talented Cat and Adi of Next Exit Photography!  They featured a lovely post back in January and I offered to write a few words... well we all know I can't write just a few... so without further adieu, my version of their wedding story along with some of my favorite images to document the day!

I was introduced to Tracy and Kramer by past clients who were long time friends of Tracy’s.  We connected at the end of May to plan their December wedding.  In just six short months we planned their organic elegant wedding.  When we first met they described their perfect venue as aged with character and a gorgeous structure.  I immediately suggested Vibiana as its history and glamour seemed like the perfect fit.

Tracy and Kramer both work hard and when they aren’t working, they’re either traveling or enjoying great food and wine amongst each other or with friends.  Keeping this in mind, I knew we had to pair them with a caterer that understood what a true foodie bride and groom would appreciate on their special day.  Steve Fortunato of Room Forty was the ideal fit to assist them with a top-shelf dinner for their day.  Once we selected their venue and caterer, all the additional details just flowed effortlessly.

Tracy worked with a family friend at Paper Pushers to design their amazing wedding invitations which displayed a photo of her maternal grandparents on their wedding day.  This was one of my favorite details from her day.

For the design, it was important to both Tracy and Kramer to create something modern and organic but still rustic with an elegant undertone.  Susan from Peony and Plum designed the most gorgeous centerpieces incorporating succulents, orchids, garden roses, scabiosa pods, seeded eucalyptus and more.  They were set in beautiful wood boxes and paired with candles.  They really wanted a natural look as the space itself is so gorgeous they didn’t want to compete with it but rather enhance it.

The amazing lighting Amber Event Productions assisted us with, really took it to another level as well.  I just loved the organic image selected for the alter and ceiling.  It was just the right amount of magical and really lit up the room.  We used an antique gold amber color which was the perfect balance with all the neutral tones.  

When it came to who would document the day, it was really important to Tracy and Kramer that they selected a team that not only took amazing photos, but also focused on capturing natural candids, as this was a priority.  When Cat and Adi of Next Exit Photography and Camron of New Classic Films were selected, I was elated as they both are two of my favorites to document a day.

There was a conversation during the planning process where Tracy and I discussed the day.  I remember telling her at that moment that her "wedding day would be warm, magical, exceedingly special, filled with love, good friends and family".  Looking back, Tracy and Kramer’s day was just that and I am so honored I was able to be a part of it.

This photo was one of my favorites from the night.  Tracy and Kramer had the largest group of children we've ever coordinated in a bridal party... each one of the six, was just as cute as the next!

This wedding was also featured in a special article for Vows section of the New York Times!  For more awesome photos, be sure to visit the Next Exit Blog of course as well!

Wedding Production Team Love 
Accommodations: Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Beverage Catering:  Pacific Coast
Cake:  Lark Cake Shop
DJ:  DJ Nahchey of Dash Entertainment 
Event Design and Production:  Sterling Engagements
Floral Design:  Peony and Plum
Hair/Makeup:  Mariah Nicole Hair and Makeup
Lighting: Amber Event Productions
Limo Transportation:  Crown Limo
Linens:  Designer Specialty Linens
Officiant:  Rabbi Mel Gottlieb
Photography:  Next Exit Photography
Photo Booth:  Mobile Photo Booth
Valet:  Athena Parking
Venue:  Vibiana
Videographer:  New Classic Films
Wedding Stationary:  Paper Pushers

Stay tuned for more real weddings coming soon.  So many fun, special, elegant and unique weddings to feature and I cannot wait to share them with you! 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Bold, Chic & In Love: The Suit

Let's be honest. The wedding is THE big day. But the week or two after that you spend on your honeymoon are true bliss. Happiness, all you can eat after dieting for months, and no one around but your significant other. In my dreams, this is all happening at an amazing hotel, on a hut over the ocean (in Bora Bora to be exact, if I am really dreaming). As far as packing goes, the one thing you will definitely want to bring are some amazing and sexy bathing suits!

Here are some of my favorite suits for honeymooning this summer:

1. The Abbie Triangle Top from Victoria's Secret
This one comes in many colors and patterns. Great for the flatter chested girls!

2. Viona in Fatal Charm from A Che
The top on this one gives full coverage, which is perfect for busts of all shapes!
3. Plunge Monokini from Victoria's Secret
This suit is extremely sexy without having to be totally bare.

4. Leopard-print Wrap Monokini from Victoria's Secret
I never knew these existed! If any of you rock this, you must send us a photo!

5. Natalie One-Piece from Anthropologie
I personally own this suit. Being a busty, curvy girl I have to say I have never enjoyed being in a bathing suit. Until I got this one. It is so flattering, so sexy and everything is covered! Absolutely perfect.

6. Firm Control Convertible Dress One-Piece from Victoria's Secret
This is an amazing suit. The tie can drape down to have a skirt effect. Great for a pair shape that wants to cover up their legs, yet still sexy on top.

7. Bombshell Halter Top from Victoria's Secret
I love this one! So cute, great coverage, and extra sexy by adding two cups in the push-up.

8. Farrah Push Up in Topaz from A Che
Another fun, full coverage choice. Love the turquoise!

With suits like these, I see a confident, sexy you lying somewhere on the beach out there with your lucky man!

Have any questions about the right suit for you and your body type? Email me at