Stylish Wedding Ideas for the Environmentally Thoughtful Bride

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Friday, December 12, 2008

The Bride's Guide to Happiness

My last post about Gratitude and Kindness generated a few phone calls. I have my blog address included at the bottom of all of my emails. So, most people I send an email to-take a peak at my blog. The calls I received were from brides, a mother of the bride, and one of my vendors-who all told me they would give the gratitude + kindness idea a try. And they all asked for more ideas.

I have quite a few ideas-14 to be exact. I call them my "Bride's Guide to Happiness." And I'll post them as we go along.
A Binder + Organization = Happiness
1. Get Organized. Seems so simple. But the fact is, most brides do not have any type of master organizer. I typically put one together for my brides. But if you are a DIY bride-you need a organizer. (An organizer is a binder that includes a calendar & a notebook, & all of your visual ideas.)

If you are not organized you will become very stressed. And the stress will come because you want to do something that is so very good. You want to create a beautiful and meaningful wedding, full of lasting memories. So, start from that point-the realization that you want to create something great! I promise that the positive energy created from that thought will jump start you into action. But, your action needs to be getting yourself organized.

The first step in getting organized is to get a calendar. Write your wedding date in on the calendar-then work backwards from there. Begin filling in all of your important dates (parties, meetings, etc.) Take your calendar with you everywhere you go. Make sure it has a notebook for you to write in ideas, notes from discussions, tape in pictures of things you like,etc.
This calendar/notebook combination will prove to be invaluable to you, because everything you need will be there for you. If you have not done this yet-please, get started now.
I promise Organization really does equal Happiness. How will you know? When a vendor, your mother, the groom, asks you a question-and you say, "Wait a minute, let me get my binder."
Pure Bliss.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gratitude + Kindness = Bridal Happiness

Most brides are stressed. Tap dancing very close to the edge of a little craziness. So, since I am in the business of helping brides-I decided to come up as many ideas as I could to help my brides be "more" happy and "less" worried during the whole planning process. I have compiled quite a few ideas, but this is one I have begun to suggest to every bride I am working with. And the results are good so far. Here it is:
When you begin to feel stressed-stop and think about all of the great experiences you have had while planning your wedding. Maybe someone has been especially sweet and helpful to you. Gone out of their way to serve you in some way. Stop and be grateful. Focus on just one very nice consideration you have received.
Write a thank-you note. Not an email, and not a phone call. A hand written note is a way to appreciate another person that is on a totally different personal level. Plus you have to sit still and think. And you have to use pretty stationery-which by itself will make you feel better. Think of it as a form of meditation.
I promise you will feel better. The person who receives your kind note will feel better. More happiness for everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding Reception Seating

Figuring out the guest seating arrangements for your wedding reception may be one of the items on your to-do list you have been putting off for a while. Seating is one of the items I almost always must beg my brides to work on with me. It really is not so very hard to figure out what to do. So, to help you get started here is a easy how-to guide on getting it together.
Easy as 1,2,3
1. Draw your floor plan with all of your tables placed in the arrangement you have decided on.
2. Number each table-this helps you group your guests together by table number. And also helps the venue staff set out the appropriate number of place settings at each table. You write in the number of guests at each table for the staff to follow when setting up.
3. Assign each guest a table number based on how many guests can sit at a table, and whom you would like to seat together. Guests pick up their escort card (at the escort card table you have set-up conveniently located right outside of the dinning area). If you are also using place cards-all you have to do is write on a piece of paper each table number and the names of each guest who you have planned to sit at each table. Then simply place the place card for each guest at the table and seat you have assigned.
Piece of Cake!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Selecting a Wedding Professional

There are so many different names that can be used to described how I work with my brides. Day-Of Coordinator, Wedding Planner, Wedding Consultant. It can be a little difficult as a bride to know exactly what type or how much service you really need. And also as difficult to know what kind of person you are looking for to fill this very important role. I'm going to try and help you with this.
First, you are looking for someone to work with who has both ability and professionalism. Ability comes with experience, personal education in the wedding industry, and desire to do a job well done. You can determine a wedding professionals ability pretty fast. Does she return your phone calls or emails promptly? Does she have supporting materials to offer you about the quality of her work? Materials like service listings for you to review, or hand written notes of thanks from previous brides. Does she belong to a professional organization that offers education?
Professionalism shows thru with her manner. Is she kind and courteous? Does she dress appropriately? Does she take the time to talk with you about your needs and what she can do for you? This is a business about helping people. Helping brides have one of the most wonderful and memorable experiences of their lives. A true professional gets that, and considers it a pleasure to work with you and help you plan and execute your perfect wedding.

Next, determining the level of service you need can be a little confusing, so here are some general descriptions:
Wedding Day-Of Coordinator- Should meet with you at least once before your wedding. And the meeting should be held at your venue. All of your planning should be reviewed as well as all of your vendor contracts. You are looking for guidance to get everything wrapped up for your wedding day. Your coordinator should place your vendor follow-up calls for you and prepare your wedding day itinerary. Also a timeline for all of your service providers. On your wedding day your Day-Of Coordinator should be prepared to manage your entire event from start to finish.

Wedding Planner - Will work with you from the beginning of the planning process. Starting with preparing a budget, scheduling and meeting with vendors, putting together a calendar for you to follow, helping you with design and decor for your event, and putting together everything needed to make your wedding day a success. I offer my brides complete wedding planning and partial wedding planning. That way the bride can decide how involved she would like to be in the planning process. Each service has a specific price attached to it, and specific items to be carried out throughout the planning. But the wedding day remains the same for all service levels. And your Wedding Planner should do all of the things mentioned as a Day-Of Coordinator's responsibility. A wedding Planner will also be there the entire day of your wedding to manage your event.

Wedding Consultant-Will meet with you, typically in two hour time frames to offer guidance, suggestions, planning advice and vendor referrals for you to contact. You plan as many meetings as you need-I suggest at least three during the entire planning process. This is perfect for the DIY bride, because it is a great way to save time. And when you save time, you also save money. A wedding Consultant can keep you on track, answer questions, help you solve problems, and generally make planning your wedding much less stressful. It is very helpful to receive guidance from a professional who knows what to expect and what needs to be done. The Consultant does not attend your ceremony or reception on the day of your wedding.
I hope this post helps in some way. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will respond with an answer for you.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wedding & Personal Stationery

Here is a partial view of the stationery display in the studio. I found the black shutters at an antique market. Glued black fabric to the back, and added the glass knobs to make them a bit more frou-frou.
Makes for a nice way to display the stationery I design.
I began working on stationery so I could give my brides a much more personal wedding suite than what we could find at the typical stationery stores in Birmingham. Designing stationery has turned out to be something I love to do-almost as much as designing and planning weddings.
And since I have a shop now, I have expanded to offer party invitations, birth announcements and personal stationery.

Halloween Fun!

Halloween! One of my favorites! I love to work with Halloween decorations. Here is one of the window displays in the studio. I pulled the twigs out of my compost pile and painted them plack. Placed them in the flower bucket, and hung the cutie-pie favor boxes and cards on the branches. Added the sparkly silver voltives, and the orange glitter stands, and well you can see the rest for yourself.

Open House

We had so much fun yesterday at our Open House!
We are located in Bluff Park, Alabama. Saturday was the day for the annual Bluff Park Art Show, so we decided this would be the perfect day to hold our Grand Opening. I share the space with an Interior Designer, so we have lots and lots of fabulous home decor and accessory items.
I hope you enjoy the photos!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Consider a Vineyard for your Wedding & Reception

This past weekend Harry and I took a short trip thru the Alabama Wine Trail. I wanted to get a few new ideas for wedding and reception locations to offer my brides. There are several reasons why vineyards are a good choice for weddings and receptions:
1. Very cost effective. These venues offer a lot of bang for your buck.
2. Beautiful, scenic, rural settings. If you like natural surroundings and prefer an outdoor wedding-these venues are perfect for you.
3. This one is obvious-but, alcohol is permitted. If you hold your wedding at a church location, but want to offer cocktails at your reception-a winery is perfect.
4. They offer a charming, relaxed atmosphere for your special day.

There are 7 vineyards in Alabama that are part of the Wine Trail. We visited 3.
The first stop for us was at Ozan Vineyard & Cellars, located in Calera, Alabama. This vineyard is lovely. With very nice accomodations for a wedding and reception. They have a wine tasting room, and offer a boxed lunch and free wine tastings on Saturdays. This is a great way to preview a site. Everyone was nice and friendly, and they can accomodate about 100 guests comfortably.
Our second stop was at a much smaller vineyard named Vizzini Farms Winery, located in Calera, Alabama. They also offer free wine tastings-plus tours of the winery. I found the staff there to be pleasant, helpful and knowledgable about events. This venue is a bit smaller than the others, and I would suggest using this winery for parties or very small weddings or receptions.
Our last stop for the day was at Morgan Creek Vineyards, located in Harpersville, Alabama. This winery is the most beautifully landscaped. A bit of a fairytale feeling as you approach. They have thought thru the details-and it shows. We tasted wine, toured the winery, and had a great time. This venue is perfect for a wedding and reception. Everyone there is nice, knowledgable and service oriented.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Do You Feel About Children At Your Wedding?

Wow! What a question. But, the answer I typically receive from the brides I work with is a very strong yes or no! Let's explore this issue. On the one hand you would like your entire family at your wedding. On the other hand you would like to maintain a level of sophistication fitting your wedding. Hm...Could there possibly be a middle ground? I think so. I love children. I love to see children at weddings. So very cute and proper in their little dresses or tiny suits. How can you not love that? But, I know that a few of you out there do not. So here is a way to have your entire family with you to celebrate your big day, and have the fabulous, sophisticated wedding you have always dreamed of having.
First, Hire a babysitter for your wedding-and let your guests with children know when they receive their invitation, that a babysitter is available for the wedding ceremony, and that you very sweetly suggest that they allow their children to frolic and have fun while under the care of a loving adult hired specifically for the occasion. I would suggest a card printed with this gentle suggestion included as part of your wedding suite.
Of course, these same children should be included in the reception festivities if their parents would like. For some parents, having a babysitter for an entire evening of adult fun is enough to make them line up to RSVP to your wedding. But, unless you are having a plated dinner served by a Waite staff, I would include the kids. Or at the very least, let their parents decide whether or not they would like their toddlers to join the reception.
So what do you do if several children are joining your reception? I would make sure there are plenty of nibbles that the kids will enjoy. Finger food is the answer here. And you will have that without doubt-so the children will be taken care of. I would have a little special lemonade or punch drink made up just for fun for the children. And I would have special treat bags made up for the children. Treat bags filled with age appropriate toys, games and treats to keep them happy and having fun at your wedding.
One final thing. I would suggest any photos that you would like of your sweet niece or nephew, are taken very early on during your reception. Children grow tired fast. And you will end up with your best photos if taken while they are still happy and alert during the evening.
Here are a few fun things I've put together before to keep the children happy and entertained:
1. Big boxes of popcorn. So very simple, but so well loved.
2.Favor table just for the kids, with dishes of candy they can scoop out into bags and take with them. Funny, adults like this also.
3. Coloring pages I have photo copied along with blank paper and crayons strewn about a kiddie table.
4. Make the candy, popcorn, crayons, etc., the decoration for this table. Totally decadent for the children. They love it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wedding Stationery Trends and Tips

The True Traditionalist Invitation-This invitation is perfect for a formal wedding. This invitation style works best for a Church or large venue wedding. Your guests know exactly what to expect after receiving this type of invitation in the mail. You are having a traditional, very polite, perfectly correct wedding. A rsvp card would be enclosed as a separate piece.

Modern & Clean Invitation-a bit of a twist on tradition-most suitable for a semi-formal wedding. What makes this invitation more updated than its cousin, "The True Traditionalist," is the combination of block text and script text used for the fonts. Add to that the blue font color and the border around the text, and you have a thoroughly modern update of a well loved classic. I love this style of invitation. Very classic, but modern. This style looks beautiful on a very lightly tinted card stock. Think pale, pale pink, soft grey or blue. This invitation says to your guests...simple sophistication. Tip: When planning your wedding stationery suite, consider that the fonts, graphics and colors are all elements that help to define the personality of your event. Show your guests that your wedding is anything but ordinary through the creative use of these elements.

Bright, Bold and Graphic Invitation -A charming graphic suitable for all but the most formal of weddings. Brides are finding that an easy way to add "pop" to their wedding is by using beautiful, brightly colored graphic design on all of their stationery suite pieces. The square shape of this invitation adds another element of difference in your design. Tip: Have your stationery designed using your primary or secondary wedding colors. Also, think coordinate, not match when choosing your envelope color. If you used your primary color on the stationery, use your secondary color on your envelopes. Also, think outside the box when it comes to the shape and dimensions of your invitation-and make it uniquely yours.

Whimsical & Sweet Invitation - This style of invitation is perfect for a small gathering of family and close friends. It conjures up images of vintage linens, romantic flowers, and your family garden. Again, the text and border colors are easily changed to coordinate with your wedding colors. Tip: A trend in weddings right now is the idea of "branding" your wedding. All that means is to consider embracing an image that can be used throughout your paper ensemble to create a seamless event. The stationery suite created to work with this invitation would simply use the sweet scallop design on all additional pieces designed. Not too overdone, but your guests will notice.
These are just a few of the stationery pieces I have been working on this week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wedding and Reception Music Tips

I'm working with a bride who has turned over the responsibility of planning music for her wedding and reception to the groom. What a wonderful way for the groom to participate in their wedding. Here are a few guidelines to offer your groom if he is taking over this responsibility. Or for you, if you are the one planning the music.

For the ceremony-an organist or pianist is essential-for both the processional and recessional. Keyboard performers who are familiar with weddings know which songs to play. The addition of a solo performer is very nice, especially if he or she is a close friend or family member. The music for your wedding ceremony will basically take care of itself. You must be concerned with the performer's attire. Make sure they know the style of your wedding. That means (most often)dark suits for men and tea length dresses for women. Also, make sure they are part of the rehearsal and have a timeline to follow for your wedding day.

For your reception you have considerably more options. A band, DJ, orchestra, string instruments, and pianist, are a few. With all of these options, I suggest you meet the performers. Also, look at a clip or listen to a demo of their music. Almost all musicians have a website with video of their music, or a demo cd. When you have made your selection-prepare a "must play" list, a "do not play" list, and a list of songs for important moments during your reception. Here is a list of those moments: First dance as husband and wife. Use a song that has special meaning to you as a couple. Second dance is with your father, and your step-father or new father-in-law cuts in. I suggest a song that you and your father both love. A couple of songs I've used before are: "Isn't She Lovely," by Stevie Wonder. And "What a Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong. Then the music changes for the groom and his mother to dance. Again, select a song that has meaning and is well liked by all. At this point the dance floor has opened up.

Please make sure that your performers know what type of attire to wear, and that they have a timeline to follow during your reception. A tip about DJ's: Order a table and tablecloth for your DJ. Otherwise you may end up with an orange cloth with black promo lettering about the DJ's business. I've never had this happen to me, but I've seen it at other receptions. When you book the DJ, let he or she know you are providing those things, and you require their use during your reception.

Don't forget to put someone in charge of all of your performer's final payments, and you may include a tip if you like. Also, plan on feeding all performers. I suggest a boxed meal that they may eat during a break.

The most environmentally friendly option for all of your music would be to use only the "unplugged" variety. But, I realize that as a reception gets rolling the chatter gets a little loud, and your music may get lost in the noise. And even though your ceremony is a very quiet time, if your venue is large the music gets lost there also. This is always a dilema. I suggest reducing your carbon footprint as much as possible in a more realistic manner.
Unplugged music works best in a small venue with a small number of guests. For a charming chapel wedding, or cosy home wedding I would suggest string instruments, a single pianist, a solo performer-all without the use of microphones and speakers.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spring 2009 Wedding Decor Ideas

I know it may seem a little odd to already begin a conversation about next Spring's weddings, but I usually begin working with brides about nine to ten months before their wedding dates. Having already completed -for the most part-all of the design work on current season weddings, I begin to move forward quite early.

I'm working with a lovely bride who would like to have brightly colored paper laterns hanging about during her wedding reception. A little bit of research and voila! I think these are the cutest, and will work perfectly along with the rest of our decor ideas.

I'm sharing with you, because perhaps you too would like this same decor item for your wedding reception. I think these paper lanterns would hang very nicely from the inside of a tent, from tree limbs, under a porch or awning. They would be fabulous with the addition of twinkle lights for an evening reception. Imagine at twilight, the soft glow from these paper lanterns as your guests arrive to your tented reception area. I love soft, romantic, sparkly lights in the evening.
Add a little Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, or Swing music, women twirling about in their cocktail dresses-and you have a beautiful moment.

Of course, all of the other elements also have to be in place. But, I think these paper lanterns are a very good starting point. These paper lanterns are from Luna Bazzar. Perhaps these could also be used as a beautiful way to create a tradition and celebrate your following anniversaries. Imagine pulling these out each year to decorate your home while you and hubby celebrate your marriage. Very eco-chic to reuse instead of purchasing new decor items.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Stationery Idea

I've been spending the last two days working on a new stationery design for a bride. Her wedding colors are chocolate and moss and creme. I've worked on several Spring season weddings recently that were of this same color pallette. She emailed to me this photo of a wedding cake that had the scrolly vine design she wanted to see on her wedding invitation. I designed her invitation in chocolate with a creme font and scroll design. All of her other stationery pieces are creme with chocolate font and scroll design. This way all of the pieces her guests receive will flow together nicely, but her wedding invitation will be very special.
I like the idea of carrying a design element or theme throughout a wedding. Whether it is a color that continues to pop up, or a design, like the vine that will be used, in some way on practically all of the paper used for her wedding. I'm even working on a wine label (where this scroll design and color pallette will be used), for her wedding reception.

I print all of my invitations on either recycled paper or paper made with 30% or more of post consumer waste. I'll explain the difference: Recycled paper is made from the paper scraps that are a byproduct of the paper making process. I have often wondered if the paper making companies think they are pulling a big one over on consumers by stating their paper is made from recycled paper. All they have really done is put their own paper scraps back into the process. On the other hand, post consumer waste paper-you probably guessed-is made from paper that a consumer has actually held in her hand, used, then recycled. It has gone back into the paper making process after having actually been a piece of paper before. This is the better choice-I think. Then there is paper made from substances other than trees. And the ink used is always an issue. But that is another post. For today, I only want to show this design.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Harry Love

I love Harry. Harry is my soon-to-be husband. That's the first reason I'm compelled to mention him in the opening of my very first blog. Second, because Harry is my favorite man, I am sitting in the Government Documents room at the Birmingham Public Library working on my blog. Harry is looking for material for a book he is preparing to write. Third, Harry inspires me in a way I may never be able to describe. Let's just call it Harry Love.

Libraries are environmentally speaking -very cool places. Think reuse. I love the marble tile floors, the old wooden desks, the soft hum of a machine somewhere in the background. All very nice. So, I've started to think about weddings. I think I'll go find a few books that may inspire .