Filtering by Tag: wedding planner

A Classic New York Wedding at the Pierre Hotel

I am very proud of my Southern heritage and that is one of the reasons that I love planning weddings back down South.  But I have now lived in New York for 13 years and so I am equally in love with the glamour of my city.  It really is a magical place, especially for weddings.  Just last month I had the opportunity to plan a classic, glamorous New York wedding for an incredibly lovely couple.  I couldn't have been happier - it was such a treat for me!

This wedding did a great job of letting the beauty of the spaces they were in speak for themselves: Manhattan, Central Park, The Pierre.  There was never a need to be fussy or to try too hard - much like the couple!  Sam and Ken are incredibly effortless to be around and their love always spoke for itself.  So I loved how even though their wedding day was glamorous, it was never high maintenance!

I think the above shot is so beautiful.  You can see how madly in love Sam and Ken are with each other.  These two decided to do a First Look, which is something more and more couples are doing these days.  Seeing each other before the ceremony gave them time to take some beautiful portraits in the daylight in Central Park, without being rushed to get all the shots and get back to their guests.  It's also a great time for the bride and groom to see each other and really enjoy the day!

Pierre Hotel NYC Wedding Ceremony

Sam and Ken's ceremony was beautifully refined.  Tons of candles and mirrors made the light reflect beautifully and the ceremony itself was really touching.  Sam looked stunning walking down the aisle with her long veil walking arm and arm with her mother framed by the gorgeous chandeliers of the Pierre Hotel

I love both these detail shots from that weekend because they show how beautifully the design of this event let the space speak for itself.  If you are planning a party or a wedding, make sure to take into account the space when designing the party - if you are looking for a sleek, modern aesthetic, planning a ballroom wedding is going to be an uphill battle because you'll either have to cover up or work around the more ornate details of the ballroom.  Sam and Ken embraced the old world glamour at the iconic Pierre Hotel and so all it took was some well chosen details to make a stunning event!

All white flowers on the tables and classic silver, glass and china made for a beautiful evening.  We put orchids on each place setting which I thought added a really nice detail to each place setting.  Sticking with all white flowers meant that we could use a wide range of flowers for variety and texture without it looking too busy.  I thought Belle Fleur did an amazing job - as always! 

How stunning is this shot of the entire ballroom?  This is a great example why lighting is such an important part of every event (and often unnoticed) - the floral arrangements pop in this shot because of the lighting and the dance floor looks warm and inviting without being too in the dark.  Don't skimp on lighting, brides!

Another incredible thing about this couple is how giving they are. They partnered with Repeat Roses, an incredible organization that repurposes flowers from weddings and events and gives them to worthy causes, to reuse the flowers from the event. They were even featured in a Nightly News story for their generosity. It made looking around the ballroom even more amazing when you knew that all the flowers were going to be making people happy all over again!

I wanted to end with this lovely shot of Sam and Ken's first dance because I love the look on her face.  When it comes down to it, my job is about making people happy.  I can talk about flower arrangements, tablescapes, favors and lighting design, but if the couple isn't happy or if the party isn't fun, then I haven't done my job well.  I had so much FUN working with these two and seeing them smiling, surrounded by all their friends and family having a great time, as cheesy as it may sounds, is all I could ask for. 

I hope you all enjoyed getting a little more in depth view into one of my events.  Make sure if you aren't already following me on Instagram to do so because I try to give glimpses into the "behind the scenes" of my day-to-day as often as I can.  Have a great week everybody!

Four Ways to Incorporate Family Heirlooms into your Wedding

Over and over again, I talk to my brides about how best to capture the spirit of her and her husband-to-be in their big day.  Encapsulating their personalities is one of my favorite parts in bringing the event to execution.  But the logical extension of bringing these two people together is bringing two families together.  Making sure to acknowledge and incorporate your families into the big day will not only be appreciated by the two families involved, but also makes the day more special and sentimental for every guest there!

1. Family Linens

One of the most simple, and perhaps the most sentimental ways to incorporate family heirlooms on your wedding day is to wrap the bridal bouquet in a handkerchief that has been passed down.  I carried a handkerchief that my mother carried that was given to her by a family friend who's mother also carried it.  That woman was a former First Lady of New York State.  This was special to me both because my mother carried it at her wedding, but also because I live in New York (though I did not grow up here).  There is likely to be at least one significant item like this that the bride can have with her as she walks down the aisle.  This is not the most visible of ways to incorporate these items but it is so meaningful for those involved.  

Other ways to incorporate family linens?  Sew a patch of something significant - an old quilt, your mother's wedding dress, your dad's favorite t-shirt - into the lining of your wedding dress.  It can even serve as your something blue!  Alternatively you can use a set of napkins or a special tablecloth for the head table at your reception, or maybe even your entire reception, depending on the size of your event (and the size of your linens set). 

2. Family Silver

I love using this heirloom monogrammed mint julep cup even after my wedding day!

I love using this heirloom monogrammed mint julep cup even after my wedding day!

Family silver can come in many different sizes and quantities.  My go-to way to incorporate it into a wedding (or in reality any party I host to this day where it seems relevant) is to repurpose mint julep cups (above) as containers for flowers.  Flowers are already an eye-catching part of any event and so being able to add additional texture and detail is so lovely.  This principle can be applied to weddings - if you have a set of mint julep cups or any other silver implement that could hold flowers, use them as containers for the florals in the cocktail reception.  If quantities are limited, you can focus your use on the head table or on the bar.  (It would be incredibly appropriate if you had flowers in mint juleps cups on a bar where mint juleps would be served - Southern brides take note!)  If you don't want to use your silver to hold flowers, consider using serving dishes to display favors at the end of the night or to be carried by servers passing out your late night snacks!

3. Family China

Image via  The Knot

Image via The Knot

I find that many people have china that is rarely used because they don't feel the various occasions are "special" enough to warrant the use.  But then families pay to rent china for their weddings, one of the most special days in most couples lives.  The quantity problem is a limiting factor.  So if you are having a small reception and have a large quantity of china - this may be your opportunity to shine!  That being said don't feel limited by having enough of the same type of china to outfit everybody at the reception. You can alternate patterns (if they both match your color scheme, of course) to add more depth to the tablescape.  Alternatively, you can mix and match with other patterns from a rental company or only place the heirlooms on some plates and use solid plates on others. This will depend how vintage, boho, or delicate you want your place settings to look.  One thing to consider: if guests will actually be eating food off of your china, budget an extra amount for the catering staff to hand wash those plates, otherwise your heirloom china will be going in an industrial washing machine!!

As a guest and a planner I have always whole-heartedly appreciated the events where couples have made an effort to include their family in the event in ways small and large. These small details can provide another way to include your family in your special day!

How Traveling to Japan Inspired Me as a Wedding Planner: Part 1

They aren't lying when they say, "Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer."  Travel can invigorate and inspire and my recent trip to Japan did exactly that. Thank you all for understanding as I was a little more offline than normal - this trip was all I could have asked for in terms of inspiration, but also a vacation.

I will not parse out every detail of my trip, if for no other reason than it would take me hours to write.  I would rather talk about the amazing ideas and inspiration that came from this trip.

Beautiful Cherry Blossoms at Saihoji Kokedera (Moss Temple)

Beautiful Cherry Blossoms at Saihoji Kokedera (Moss Temple)

How stunning are those cherry blossoms?  I was so glad to have been in Japan at the right time to catch them blooming.  You all know by now what a flower lover I am, but seeing them in such volumes was incredible.  I was so inspired by the contrast and colors all over Japan.  I feel as though many people are afraid to be too bold when they are picking colors, and this view, along with many others, reminded me of how inspiring bright colors are.  If you love pink and green (or any other color combination), don't be afraid to go for it!

As you can imagine, the cultural experience of visiting Japan was incredible.  The above picture on the left is in the Nishiki Market in Kyoto.  Its this long and narrow indoor/outdoor market that runs five blocks and is lined with over 100 shops and restaurants.  You will see anything from fresh-caught tuna and squid to Japanese sweets and pickled vegetables.  I was so busy looking at the culinary delights that I almost forgot to look up, but thank goodness I did!  The lanterns and colored glass skylight above were stunning! Not far from Nishiki Market I wondered into the most beautiful stationery store.  And by stationery, I mean handmade paper, calligraphy brushes and the most gorgeous hand-painted  cards.  The card in the photo on the top right was one of my favorites.  I must have brought home over 100 hand-painted cards.  Talk about inspiration!  I need to do a blog post just on those cards.  In addition to flowers, I LOVE stationery.  If I weren't a wedding planner, I would love to have my own stationery boutique.

Now I could talk about the various inspirations I picked up from the Japanese culture, of which there were many, but as a wedding planner, the main thing that jumped out at me was that where you come from plays such a huge role in who you are.  This felt to me like another of many reasons to remind my brides that your wedding should represent you.  In the same way that I would never want to force a bride from Japan to conform to the American traditions, I think it is hugely important that each bride spends time incorporating who she is into her wedding (and of course, the same applies to the groom).

Lounge at Amanemu in Shima-she-Mie

Lounge at Amanemu in Shima-she-Mie

This beautiful lounge in our hotel overlooking the Ago Bay was so simply designed and I was so captivated by the lanterns hanging above the bar. What being in this beautiful space triggered in me is the importance of lighting. Those lanterns are so stunning, but what is even more incredible about this space is the natural light.  What you don't see in this picture is the water that this room looks out over - the Ago Bay.  The natural light that floods the space and the view of the water makes it feel like you are a part of the landscape.  Inside flows outside and it creates the most serene look and feel.  I have mentioned the importance of lighting before in a #MollyMondays post on Instagram.  It is so important for the ambience and experience of a space and especially an event. So don't make me say it again: Brides, don't be stingy with your lighting budget!

Matcha Tea Latte at Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Matcha Tea Latte at Ritz Carlton Kyoto

So I use to be a big coffee drinker until I had my second daughter.  Somehow I lost the taste for coffee entirely after she was born.  But I didn't lose the need for caffeine in the morning.  I can't remember exactly how is started, but somehow I got hooked on the green tea latte at Starbucks, which is made with matcha powder.  I order a venti green tea latte every single morning.  I swear the thing must have 500 calories in it - it is so good!  Starbucks seems to be the only place you can find this drink in the US.  In Japan, its everywhere.  Boy, was I in heaven!  One afternoon we decided to do traditional Japanese tea with our daughters.  So many delicious sweets and plenty of choices for tea or coffee.  Obviously I had to order a green tea latte.  The above picture is what it looked like - gorgeous!

Of course, when you are in a foreign country you have to be willing to try new things if you are going to take advantage of the full experience and really immerse yourself.  How does this apply to being a wedding planner?  As a bride, you should be ready for new experiences, etc., but to me, the most applicable version of my culinary adventures while in Japan is that as a wedding planner, it is important for me to be willing to adjust and accommodate what is most appropriate for my clients.  There are some wedding planners who are specialists at one type of wedding, whether it be destination, ballroom or barn wedding, they excel at the one type that is in their wheelhouse.  I think, much like trying new foods while in a new country, one of the greatest joys of being a wedding planner is that I have the opportunity to be a bit of a chameleon and adjust to each client.  And this reminded me what a luxury that is!

Wedding dresses at the Isetan  bridal salon .

Wedding dresses at the Isetan bridal salon.

Okay - wedding dresses!  In writing up this post, I was reminded of the fact that some things are universal.  That the moments shared between bride and groom at the altar, no matter if you are in a white dress or kimono, are transcendant.  That no matter whether its filet mignon or traditional Japanese cuisine, the point of the reception is to bring friends and families together to celebrate.  Walking through the bridal salon in a Japanese department store was amazing because of the beautiful dresses, as it would have been in the US as well.  But that reminder of the continuity of love and celebration across continents was far more important.

Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto 

Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto 

This final photo seemed important to share a) because I could not get enough of the beautiful cherry blossoms everywhere we went, but b) because walking into our beautiful hotels, or around our various attractions each day, this trip reminded me every day, over and over, to slow down and appreciate what I was seeing.  We often get so caught up in our day to day that we don't appreciate how lucky we are.  I think this happens a lot to my brides - they get so caught up in trying to make sure every part of their wedding is perfect that they don't remember to look around and appreciate how in love they are and how everything about wedding planning is supposed to be a celebration.  Like the cherry blossoms above, if I had been stressed and texting, I might have walked right past it!  And what a shame that would have been for a flower lover like me. 

If you want to see more shots from this trip, check out my Instagram. I've already posted a few and there will definitely be more to come!