Wedding Trend: Using Pillows

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Lounge furniture is fabulous for weddings of all sizes.  But it often looks awkward when not tied in to the rest of the design. So how do you make it work?

Pillows!

That's right, just like you use pillows on your sofa at home for a pop of color,  add pillows to your lounge furniture to do the same. And even better - use them to add texture!

Creative Coverings has an easy solution - they rent pillows that match their linens! Rather than buying a bunch of pillows that may not match your home decor, rent them. The photo above is from the Creative Coverings website. What a fun look!

How could you incorporate pillows into your wedding design?

ABC Florida State Conference Recap #BeBoldABC

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This week, I had the pleasure of working with my dear friends and fellow Master Wedding Planners Carmen Mesa of Carmen Mesa Events and Tammy Waterman of Special Moments Event Planning to produce a fabulous conference for wedding professionals. The Association of Bridal Consultants' Florida State Conference is always a labor of love, but hearing each and every attendee walk away saying how much they had learned makes it all worth it! Here's a little recap: Saturday night, we treated our amazing speakers to a fun evening at Sweet Pete's and The Candy Apple Cafe and Cocktails.

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Sunday morning kicked off with brunch, where I got to tell everyone some interesting facts about Jacksonville. (#ILoveJax)

brunch collage(thanks to Rose of Sharon European Florist for the centerpieces, Beachview Event Rentals for the chairs, and PRI Productions for the super cool Jacksonville backdrop)

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After brunch, we went into our general session room for lots of great educational content:

And then it was on to the poolside cocktail reception! The weather could not have been more amazing. As event planners, we always worry about the weather when planning outdoor events - especially in August in Florida! But there was not a drop of rain that day, and the breeze made the rooftop deck quite comfortable.

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Day 2 of the conference started with a casual breakfast. How cool are these centerpieces from Rose of Sharon European Florist?

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And the Omni Hotel Jacksonville staff created the letters "ABC" out of the parfaits!

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For Tuesday's lunch, each speaker was assigned a table. Lauren from Ten23 Designs created these adorable signs with their names! She also made tons of other cute decor pieces that were used throughout the conference.

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Monday's educational sessions were just as amazing as Sunday's:

  • Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting - Attaining Expert Status: How to Become on Expert Industry Leader
  • Susan Southerland, Just Marry! - Selling to Couples at Every Planning Phase
  • Charlene Shirk, C. Shirk Productions - Pitch Perfect: How to Deliver A Great Media Interview
  • Bryan Glynn, BGPictures - Critical Website & Internet Tips for Your Business and Making $$ with YouTube
  • Donnie Brown & Steve Kemble - Social Media As Your PR Consultant (Round Table)

Sadly, it was time to say good bye to all of our friends, new and old. These little snack packs had water, chips, and sweets for the drive/flight home.

take home snack boxes

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It was an amazing (and exhausting!) three days, and I am so thankful for everyone that attended. Want to see more photos? Check out the ABC Florida Facebook page.

Wedding Trend: Glam It Up!

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Purple glam wedding Adding shiny and sparkly elements to celebrations is a continuing trend! Whether you want an over-the-top  bling-fest, or subtle touches of gold or silver, add a touch of glam to any color palette or theme.

Are you drawn to pale pink, blush, ivory? These are the perfect colors to add gold accents to.  If you are going for a blend of cobalt, teal and navy, add some rhinestone touches to brighten it up.

How are you adding metallics or bling to your wedding?

Steampunk Themed Photo Shoot

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Last summer, I had the honor of working with Ann at Premier Bride Magazine to create a steampunk-themed photo shoot for their Winter/Spring 2015 issue. The magazine is out now, so we are finally able to share the photos with you! Not only did we get to shoot at my alma mater, Flagler College, our photographer is a fellow alum too. It was amazing working with such a talented team of wedding pros on this shoot: zach•thomas•photography, Jade Violet Wedding & Event Floral Boutique, Beautiful Faces by Erin, Jill Stonier, Professional Makeup Artist, Bridals & More, Take One ProductionsFlagler College, Brooch the Possibilities, LLC St Augustine FL, The Panama Hat Company of St Augustine, Men's Wearhouse, Southern Charm Events, First Frost Designs and Simply Delicious Cakes.

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

And here is a great behind-the-scenes video to show how it all came together! It was so fun to think outside the box a bit for this shoot.

Fall Wedding Inspiration

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Fall Wedding Inspiration I know, it's October 3rd. Parts of the country are already seeing snow. So why am I just now writing a blog post called "Fall Wedding Inspiration?" Well, we're finally getting our first glimpse of fall here in the Sunshine State. Which means it will be in the 70's this weekend! Definitely still not sweater weather.

Being in Florida, we don't get to enjoy the beauty of changing leaves, or other treats of the autumn season. But that doesn't mean you can't incorporate a little touch of fall into your wedding design!

Pop on over to our Pinterest page where you can check out some Fall Wedding Inspiration...

Custom Calligraphy & Watercolor Wedding Maps

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mapsofthemoment We are so thrilled with our bride, Sarah Jo, for introducing us to her friend Catherine Woodward! Catherine creates stunning wedding maps using ink and watercolor, and each one is custom-created featuring the information you provide. This can include the ceremony and reception location, area landmarks, and even the spot where you got engaged!

We love the idea of using these maps in your welcome bags. But it will also be a stunning piece of art for your home! Check out Catherine's Etsy shop, Maps Of The Moment, for more examples of her work. But hurry if you want one - Catherine starts her med school residency in mid-May, and will have to put her love of creating art on hold for a bit.

Here's a little bit more about Catherine's story:

I started painting and drawing when I was little, but kind of over did it in high school - I took lots of classes and got totally burnt out. I think I took a single class in college, and then for about 7 years I only painted once... I just didn't have time and didn't really want to.

Then I became a fourth year medical student, and went from having no free time to actually having a pretty good deal of it. So, for the first time in years, I did a series of acrylic and news-print cityscapes for a friend...then other friends started requesting things and pretty soon I had done about 15 works.

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One painting - the house below - got put on Instagram by my friend. His friend saw it and she reached out to me to see if i would be willing to draw a map of all the venues in her wedding.

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I had never done anything like it, but it seemed like it would be a really fun project... so I bought watercolors (which I hadn't worked with in years and years), and just started sketching. The first one was REALLY just like a hope-this-works sort of thing! And she loved it!

I will be a bridesmaid in a bunch of weddings this year, so I did more of them as gifts for the brides. Each piece got such positive feedback and were such a special gift! Then finally, I showed my boyfriend's mom who really has to be credited for the Etsy idea.

I was really hesitant at first, but I had enough time and I really LOVE making them, so one random morning I finally made a shop. I sent the link out to my close friends and they sent it out to their friends, and it has just taken off!! It has just been the most awesome thing! I'll get requests from all over the country and I get to learn about all these cities. People get so excited about them and that for me is the coolest part.

I'm obviously looking forward to starting residency but it'll be sad to take a break from this. However, they say that after the first two years, you get a lot more free time, so I'm hoping I can always have this as a hobby!

Pinterest Is Not Your Wedding Planner

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Pinterest Is Not Your Wedding Planner

We've been hearing a lot of comments lately along the lines of "I don't need a wedding planner, I have Pinterest!" And while Pinterest can be a handy tool, it definitely should not replace any wedding professional - planner, florist, photographer, cake baker, or otherwise.

We wrote a blog post back in 2012 about the dangers of the Pinterest/DIY wedding movement. But we thought we'd point out a few things that we've noticed over the past year as Pinterest has gained popularity.

1. Don't become pin-happy. You may have 10 different boards with 10 different themes. Which is great, if you are comparing the options. But don't expect to merge those 10 themes into one wedding. Pick one, and stick with it. It's easy to become overwhelmed with all the options. Plus, not every idea is feasible for your venue or time of year. Don't just pin for the sake of pinning.

2. Don't just copy everything. Make it your own. Everything on Pinterest has been done already, that's why there are photos of it. Your wedding should be a unique reflection of you as a couple, not what it popular or trendy. Ask yourself if that pin is something you really need/want, and does it make sense?

3.  Keep your boards private. Now that Pinterest has this option, use it. Share only with those who really matter - otherwise, you'll get input from so many people, you won't know what you want anymore. (Plus, isn't it fun for your guests to be surprised at your wedding?)

4. Photos can be unrealistic. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, styled or inspiration shoots are not real weddings. And in most cases, there is no way to actually recreate a majority of those looks for a wedding of 150 people. For a real-life look at Pinterest inspiration vs. reality, check out this great blog post called "Why Pinterest Gave Me Unrealistic Expections For Wedding Photos."

5. A Pinterest board cannot be there on the day of your wedding. Makeup artist Paulina Perez recently shared a story about a bride who spent hours crying on her wedding day because her mom was missing out on all the special moments that happened while she was getting ready. Her mom was at the reception venue, setting up all those DIY projects, and all the other things a wedding planner might be doing. "It was heart breaking," Paulina said. "You knew the mother was not there because she was too busy trying to make the venue look perfect for her daughter, but all the bride could think of is 'how could my mom not be here?' It was a lose-lose situation on both parts."

Pinterest is great for showing your team of wedding professionals what you like. Just be sure to edit your ideas and hire pros to make them happen!

Pantone Announces 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid

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Pantone 2014 Color Of The Year

Yesterday, Pantone announced the 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid. According to the press release,

"Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health."

If you don't work in a design-related industry, you might wonder what the heck the "color of the year" is exactly.

"For more than a decade, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design."

pantone radiant orchid bridesmaid dress

So next year, as you are strolling through the mall and see lots of this color everywhere, think back to this blog post and say, "Ahh, I get it!"

The photo on the right is an example of a bridesmaid's dress from Dessy in Radiant Orchid. Will you incorporate this color into your wedding? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Creating a Classic Wedding

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You may ask, what is a classic wedding, and do I want one? Most of our clients tend to have weddings that are more traditional/classic in style, with a few modern elements thrown in. If you are looking for trendy, we're probably not the planners for you.

I explain it this way. My parents were married in 1972. My mom's wedding dress was an empire- waisted, Juliette-inspired fashionable dress accented with little white daisies. The bridesmaids wore hideous floral print, floor length gowns. And while these styles were all the rage in the 70's, their photos look clearly dated.

When I got married in 2001, I think I did a better job selecting dresses. After trying on my mom's gown (which was way too short for me anyway, even if I had wanted to have a 70's themed wedding) I selected gowns for myself and the bridesmaids that I thought would stand the test of time. And for the most part, they have. The elbow-length gloves that we wore, however, were not a great choice. Nor was the super-poofy ultra-Southern hairdo I chose.

So what makes a "classic" wedding? In my mind, the most classic, iconic wedding that comes to mind is that of John Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier. Yesterday would have been their 60th wedding anniversary, so let's revisit some images from Life Magazine's coverage of the big day.

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A timeless ceremony - white aisle runner, simple pew markers, and gorgeous long veil

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Jackie's dress was certainly stylish, but in a classic design. I could picture one of our bride's wearing this style at an upcoming wedding!

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Other than the abundance of greenery on the table, this photo could have been taken today!

So what's the moral of the story? Think about showing your wedding photos to your children, or grandchildren. Will you be proud to show them how great everything looked? Or will it look like a mustard-yellow applianced kitchen?

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

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We had a great time last Sunday participating in the first Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour, hosted by our friends at The Wedding Loft. The premise is that brides and grooms visit four venues, all set up as they would be for a wedding, and they get to enjoy food and entertainment while meeting great wedding professionals. It's like a bridal show on wheels!

We were at The Carling, which is an interesting historic venue in Downtown Jacksonville. The building was formerly the Carling Hotel/Hotel Roosevelt, built in 1925; now it's home to gorgeous apartments! Restored architectural features include Palladian windows, terrazo floors, and a beautiful marble staircase to the private event space.

Thanks to J'Adore Studios for the fun photos! To see more photos from the tour, check out Liz's blog post.

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

The Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour attendees on the bus!

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

At the entrance to The Carling

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Design and florals by Blush 129

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Cake and cupcakes by Choux Bakery

Jacksonville Wedding Venue Tour

Food by D'Vine Cuisine

2013 Wedding Trend: The Great Gatsby

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I remember reading The Great Gatsby for the first time in high school. I was in love. The imagery is still so vivid in my mind, and I re-read the novel at least once a year. So it's safe to say that the day the new movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby Maguire, and Carey Mulligan opens on May 10th, I'll be there. But I'm also loving the 20's inspiration we are seeing in fashion, decor, and yes, weddings. It's easy to take a theme too far in a wedding, and the wedding ends up looking like a costume party. But there are ways to incorporate touches of a theme without making it too "theme-y." Here are some examples:

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A classic lace dress, embellished with a vintage (or vintage-inspired) belt, flower or other accessory.

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And speaking of accessories, how about some beautiful chandelier earrings? And these feature Emerald, the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year.

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Touches of gold, silver, crystal, diamonds and pearls - playing up the decadence of the era.

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This cake could be very modern, but the gold accents play up the Jazz Age feel.

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These gorgeous linens, lit underneath the table, add texture that is reminiscent of 20's fashions. And the dangling crystals... need I say more?

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This ceremony area is definitely a statement! Without the chandeliers, this could take on a number of styles. But the gold and crystals really add opulence.

240661173807173697_r2Mk5WX6_c Adding feathers and rhinestones to your bouquets is another nod to the Jazz Age influence, but these additions look beautiful in many styles of bouquets.

For more inspirational photos, and for the sources of the photos featured in this post, check out our Great Gatsby/Jazz Age/Roaring 20s Inspiration board on Pinterest. And if you haven't read the book, get thee to a library or pick up a copy for your Kindle on Amazon!

Customizing Your Wedding With Monograms

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Monograms sure have changed in the past few years! No longer are they just the traditional 3-letter merging of your names. In fact, many couples choose to "brand" their wedding using their full names and wedding date. Here are a few fun examples from our new collection, available for our full-service planning clients to use:

If you want to design your own monogram, remember that traditionally, the woman's name comes first. Also, you may want to consider a style that you can use after the wedding.

Lastly, it's still considered taboo to use the couples' new surname on any printed materials until after the wedding - so if you will be using your "branding" on save-the-dates and invitations, use only your first initials or names. If you want to add your last name, leave it on the reception items only.

Pinterest and the DIY Wedding Movement

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For a little over a year, Pinterest has been the hot new concept in social media. We wrote a blog post back in February about using this site as a tool for planning your wedding. Now that it has been a few months, we're starting to see some of the creativity found on Pinterest actually show up at real live weddings. Here are some things to think about as you use Pinterest or other tools to create your DIY wedding.

  • Things don't always go as planned.  Be sure you allow plenty of time to create your decorations, try out your hair style, or make your bridesmaids' gifts. And by "plenty of time," I mean a few months. Not the week of the wedding! Things don't always turn out the way you think they will on the first attempt - if you don't believe me, check out blogs like Pinstrosity, CraftFail or PinterestFail for proof.  (photo from CraftFail's blog post, "Enter The Pom Poms of Sadness")
  • Designate someone to setup your creations. You don't want to be hanging your moss-covered initials while you are wearing your wedding gown. Find a crafty friend that can get to your venue early to put everything in it's place - you'll want to give your friend a very detailed diagram of where things go, and the freedom to fix things if they don't work exactly as you've planned.
  • Realize that you may not save money. When you need to buy vases for your flowers, or all the paper to make your invitations, the costs can add up quickly. Not to mention that you may need to invest in other equipment to complete these projects. If saving money is your top priority for DIYing it, be sure to look at all the costs before starting a project.
  • Styled wedding shoots are not real weddings. Many blogs and magazines feature photos of tablescapes or other decor elements that were created just for a photo shoot. While they are beautiful, they may not be 100% practical for a real wedding. The photographer may have shot 100 images to get one or two that look "perfect." The Martha Stewart version of the tissue pom poms shown here may have been completely flat on the other side. The magazine layout won't care, but your guests will.

If you are a crafty or artistic person by nature, then by all means add some hand-crafted touches to your wedding. Otherwise, find a designer you can create the look you want.

Special Discount on Decor at B H L D N

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We all know that B H L D N has unique and beautiful wedding gowns, bridesmaids attire, and accessories. But did you know they have a decor line as well? And lucky you - as a client of First Coast Weddings and Events, you get a discount on decor items! Here is a little sample of what you will find on their website. See something you MUST have for your wedding? Contact us so that we can order it for you.

Marriage Advice Guest Book

Image from blushingbride.tumblr.com Have something out of the ordinary at your reception and display a decorative board saying “Share Your Key To Success.” This is a fun activity for guest to give their marriage advice to the newlyweds. Have  a jar on the table with antique keys with tags attached, and then have guests write down their words of wisdom on the blank tags. The guests can then place their filled-out keys onto the board. The board would be ideal to have near the guest book.

Blueprint for Wedding Success

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Blueprint for Wedding Success

Announcing our newest seminar, Blueprint For Wedding Success!  Join us for an afternoon of valuable tips and information from Master Bridal Consultant, Heather Canada. Topics include:

Basics:
  • Selecting a date
  • Themes/color schemes
  • Budgeting
  • Choosing locations

Ceremony:

  • Interfaith weddings
  • Traditions

Reception:

  • DJ vs Band
  • Meal types
  • Bar

Extras:

  • Favors
  • Invitations
  • Personalization

Followed by individual Q&A with Master Bridal Consultant Heather Canada. Plus:

Tickets are only $15 per person, or two tickets for $25.  Plus, clients of First Coast Weddings, Avalon Hall, and The Perfect Pear get a special discount! (Ask us for details.) Seating is limited, so sign up today at http://weddingblueprint.eventbrite.com.

Using Pinterest To Plan Your Wedding

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The internet is full of wedding ideas - it can be overwhelming! How do you keep track of everything you like - endless bookmarks, stacks of printed pages, a super-long string of emails between you and  your Maid of Honor?  Enter: Pinterest. Pinterest is an online pinboard that lets you organize and share things you find on the web. You can create multiple boards - one for dresses, one for hairstyles, one for flowers, the list goes on and on - so that everything stays neatly organized. And even better, you can share your boards with anyone, and they can comment on your pins. What a great way to collaborate!

Just remember, anyone can see your board - so if you want to keep your wedding details a secret, you might want to look at other options.

Right now, Pinterest is by invitation only - but if you need an invite, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll send you one.