Archive for the ‘Wedding Planning’ Category

Some Wedding Planning Tips from a Los Angeles Wedding Planner

Monday, July 11th, 2011

As I mentioned in a previous post, this Los Angeles wedding planner recently coordinated her own wedding and what I thought I would do is share some wedding planning tips.  These helpful hints work for either a wedding or any other special event you may host.

  • If you take photos or have a professional photographer, prior to the event, create a shot list of important memories you want from that day.  Remember it’s a live event and you only get one take.
  • Create a timeline and be as exact as possible to ensure you have all aspects of your event in place prior to the start time.
  • Go with the flow, something always seems to happen, just don’t worry and have fun!

Being a Los Angeles wedding planner also put a bit of stress on my wedding since of course, I am very detailed oriented, and I wanted to make sure that everything was in place for my special day.  One of the wedding planning tips I tell my brides (which I tried to follow that day) was to be in the moment.  Focus on what is going on in the now and don’t worry about later or what could have been.

For more wedding planning tips, check out a complete checklist I created in my book, Budget Bash.  You will  find not only a to-do party checklist but also many other important tips and helpful hints to help you create the wedding of your dreams.  Or just simply call if you are looking for a Los Angeles wedding planner, and I would be more than happy to provide you with a free consultation.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Colored Engagement Rings

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Colored engagement rings are all the rage right now especially with Kate Middleton wearing Diana’s sapphire engagement ring.  Of course, another newlywed bride, moi, wanted something different from the pack and loved princess cut engagement rings.  So combining the two, here is a picture of mine on our wedding day.

Right now, brides are looking at various colored engagement rings including pink diamonds, yellow diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and even less expensive stones such as amethyst, topaz and aquamarine to name a few.  Moissanite engagement rings are also very popular right now.

What is great about Moissanite engagement rings is that you can combine diamonds within the setting decreasing the overall cost of the ring but yet you still have the sparkle and elegance of a diamond center stone.

Colored engagement rings or Moissanite engagement rings are a fun way to go when considering purchasing your engagement ring.  Whichever you choose, cherish and enjoy wearing it and just wait for all the compliments!

For tips on what do you for your wedding after the big engagement day, check out my party planning book Budget Bash to get great tips on selecting a venue, creating a checklist, addressing your invitations and more!  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Getting a Marriage License and Marriage License Requirements

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Our wedding day is soon to be and earlier this week we first reviewed the marriage license requirements in California in route to getting a marriage license. The process is quite easy and it only took a few minutes.  Plus, for a California marriage license you can do most of the work on-line prior to going to the courthouse.

The marriage license requirements were quite simple.  Basically you need to both be single, (obvious), and on the form, provide the following information:

  • Both your parents’ last names and where they were born
  • Pay a fee – $85 for confidential license and $90 for a public license
  • Your date of birth
  • Your current address

We went on-line to download the California marriage license form and then filled it out.  Afterwards, we took the completed paperwork along with our driver’s licenses down to the courthouse for the clerk to fill out the legal documents the state requires when getting a marriage license.  We then waited about 10 minutes and then asked to take an oath.  Once we swore that all the information provided was correct we received our legal document telling us we had 90 days to get married!

We were quite surprised that the marriage license requirements in the state of California are pretty much based upon the honor system.  Even though my fiancee is a widower, the California marriage license clerk didn’t ask for a certificate proving this.  We were also prepared to be at the courthouse for at least an hour that day since the paperwork stated that getting a marriage license can take up to a few hours.  No worries, in 15 minutes we were done and the picture was taken!

Now, onto the wedding celebration!  Of course, even though I am a planner, like most brides I am still on a budget.  One of the cost-saving tips I can pass along to other brides is to look around and see who can help you out with various aspects of your wedding.  Luckily, I have a friend who makes incredible chocolate truffles which we plan to box individually as the party favor.  Even luckier, Sara offered to make the truffles as my wedding gift from her!

For packaging, I bought individual small paper candy boxes and ribbon.  I had my invitation supplier, A Papier, create our wedding logo which I then had her make into stickers in order to seal the truffle boxes.  I will be quite busy in the next few weeks as we get down to the wedding wire time, therefore, until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Wedding Flower Centerpieces Using White Wedding Flowers

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

As spring approaches, the wedding season and all the hoopla surrounding it begins.  With the receptions, ceremonies, wedding and bridesmaid dresses to name a few, not to mention the flowers the costs all add up rather quickly.  Thus, what I thought I would do is help brides on a budget by showing how to make  inexpensive yet elegant wedding flower centerpieces using white wedding flowers.  Then you can always add some color to the table along with these flower arrangements by accenting your tables with colored votive candles, rose petals or colored napkins.

Wedding flower centerpieces can start anywhere from a simple bowl of fresh flowers to an elaborate silver centerpiece with candles and small satellite flower arrangements surrounding it. Table centerpieces can cost anywhere beginning at $20 and grow to hundreds of dollars.  But how about the bride who is on a budget and wants pretty white wedding flowers?  Here are the simple steps to take to create DIY wedding flowers.

To make your wedding flower centerpieces, first start with a small glass container, square or round, one tea leaf and one to two dozen flowers such as roses.  It is probably best to use a glass container that has a five to six inch opening.  The one pictured below is a five-inch square container.

The next step is to cut the stems of the flowers so that they fit the container you selected for your flower arrangements.  Most professional florists use a sharp knife to cut the stems at an angle.  What can I say, I am not a professional florist and I used a pair of sharp scissors to cut the stems.  Measure the flowers in the jar to see if you shortened them to the desired length.  Then, to hide the stems in the glass container, take your tea leaf and wrap it on the inside of the glass container as seen in the picture below.

Once you have the desired length of the flower stem, tie the stems together.  Either string, a rubber band or wire twister will work just fine.  If you want to accent the white wedding flowers on the side of the vase,  add some ribbon or greenery as seen in the picture above.  Fill the vase up with water, add a packet of chrysal to keep the flowers fresh and place the bouquet in the water.  To finish off your DIY wedding flowers, you may need to work with the bouquet a little to ensure there are no holes or empty spaces in the arrangement.

If your wedding is at night, accent your wedding flower centerpieces with votive candles or throw a contrasting color of rose petals around the flower arrangements or both!  DIY wedding flowers can be just as elegant as a professional’s but you don’t need to tell anyone!  I hope you have fun creating white wedding flowers for your wedding or a dinner party.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Wedding Decorating Ideas Using White Wedding Décor

Friday, August 13th, 2010

As a wedding event planner, it is always fun to unexpectedly come across a wedding or special event being set up.  Recently, I was traveling in Spain and our hotel had one of the most beautiful outdoor wedding locations I had ever seen.  I saw that they were hosting this wedding using white wedding décor which of course sparked the idea for this blog that describes various wedding decorating ideas.

First let’s discuss outdoor wedding locations and why this site in particular stood out as one of the prettiest I have ever seen.  Situated on the Mediterranean, the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort has a stunning view of the ocean from their large lawn where the wedding was held.  They also have a path with bougainvillea archways that is beautiful for bride and groom pictures.

Other wonderful hotel features in respect to fabulous outdoor wedding locations is the grand patio where cocktails were held.  This terrace is located just off of the main bar of the hotel and is beautifully furnished with outdoor furniture.  Therefore, you can save some money and not bring in any of your own furniture (other cost-saving wedding ideas can be found in Budget Bash).

Finally, as a wedding event planner, I felt completely at ease speaking with the catering department as they were setting up the event, and I got the sense that the hotel is very accommodating and understands the task at hand in making the wedding day special for the bride and groom.  In addition, the food and service I experienced at the hotel were among the best I have had at any hotel.

Now for some wedding decorating ideas I picked up while watching the hotel set up the white wedding décor for this wedding.

  • Use smaller tents and put them together creating individual spaces or rooms versus one large tent.  Plus the bonus of using smaller tents is that you can leave off one corner and create an outside lounge or dancing area.
  • Keep costs down with your lounge by using just votives on the coffee tables or simple white cymbidium orchids in votive glasses. (Check out other easy inexpensive décor ideas in Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.)

As a wedding event planner, I really liked the idea that they used sand as filler for the flower vase instead of colored glass or rocks.  This is a great white wedding décor idea incorporating the location with the wedding.

Other wedding decorating ideas include:

  • Use different types of flowers and vases on the tables for an eclectic look and a contrasting color such as black for an accent color.

  • Cover the chairs with white chair covers to give a clean and uniform style to the event.
  • Bring in some fun décor pieces like these 2’ diameter-sized large round candle holders and intersperse them around the reception area.

I hope you found these wedding decorating ideas interesting and can possibly incorporate them with your white wedding décor.  As I mentioned above, the hotel in Mardavall was spectacular and I would consider one of the prettiest outdoor wedding locations I have seen.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wedding Photography Tips for When you Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Today I went to interview a professional wedding photographer for my wedding occurring next year, and it sparked an idea to share my experience with my readers.  As a wedding event planner, why not provide some wedding photography tips and a wedding photography checklist to help another fellow bride with her wedding?

I think it is important when you are researching a professional wedding photographer to let your groom in on the experience. (Based upon the fact that he’s interested!)  My fiancée happens to be a professional photographer so he has a vested interest in this part of the wedding.

Therefore, take a look at different photographers’ portfolios, ask your friends, relatives, your wedding event planner for references as well as research online at various wedding sites that offer suggestions and wedding photography tips when you are first selecting your photographer.

Next, go and interview your potential photographer like I did today (well, I didn’t really interview Michael since I have worked with him as a wedding event planner on other weddings)!  It’s important that you and your fiancée are comfortable with your photographer so that you will look relaxed and happy in your pictures no matter what happens at the party.

Discuss with your professional wedding photographer what type of pictures you are looking for.

  • Do you want wedding portraits or journalistic-styled pictures?
  • Do you want black and white and color shots?
  • What type of wedding photography package do they offer?

Prior to the meeting, you should create a wedding photography checklist to help you focus in on hiring the right type of photographer for you and your fiancée.

Other wedding photography tips to think about include providing the photographer with the name of your other vendors, such as the DJ, wedding event planner and florist since many times they work together at other weddings and will talk amongst themselves as to what important shots should be captured that day.  (For additional tips on hiring your photographer as well as other vendors checkout pages 32 to 35 in Budget Bash.)

Also, very important, well in advance of your wedding, create a wedding photography checklist for your wedding day.  Remember to include and write down which type of family shots you want and who you want in them, ceremony shots, bridal room shots, candid pictures during cocktails and the reception and party shots to name a few.

Keep in mind where you’re getting married (indoors or outdoors) as well as the time of day.  You want to make sure that your photographer knows the people you want photographed by face and/or name so you might want to consider making a “facebook” for your photographer.  All of these elements are just the tip of the iceberg when you start to generate your checklist, and this is why you want to start early with your list and then continue to add to it up until your wedding day.

I hope you found these wedding photography tips helpful for when you start your selection of a professional wedding photographer.  It is not only important to create a wedding photography checklist during the selection process but also one for the wedding itself.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wedding Dress Tips for When You are Considering Wedding Dress Styles

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

When you buy a wedding dress, there are quite a few things to consider with wedding dress designs.  What I thought I would share with you are some wedding dress tips that I learned while in the process of buying my wedding dress.

1.    One of the first wedding dress tips you should consider is to keep an open mind.  Since there are so many wedding dress styles available, even before you go to buy a wedding dress, you can easily be overwhelmed.

I was very specific about the type of wedding dress I was going to wear.  I swore I was going to buy a tea length wedding dress that was vintage, very 50’s, and ended up purchasing a mermaid wedding dress.  Go figure!  Therefore, don’t be surprised if you end up trying on something you thought you would never wear and end up loving it.

2.    Go with your gut.  Once you try on the dress and it looks fabulous on you, then you are done shopping and you don’t need to continue looking at various wedding dress designs.  You will stress out and make yourself crazy if you start comparing your dress with others you see in magazines, stores and online.

3.    Before you buy a wedding dress, determine what your budget is.  When I was researching various wedding dress styles, I telephoned the manufacturer to learn where the dress was sold locally.  I then called the store to find out what the price was to determine if the dress was in my budget.  Don’t discount a dress if it is very inexpensive, again go try it on, you might be pleasantly surprised.

4.    On a tight budget? Then once you have an idea of wedding dress styles and what type of wedding dress looks good on you, check out eBay, wedding dress consignment stores, thrift stores, sample sales and in some cities, you can rent your wedding dress as well.  I knew someone who once stumbled upon a garage sale and there, hanging on the garage, was her wedding dress!  (For a sample wedding budget check out page 8 in Budget Bash.)

5.    Some other wedding dress tips to keep in mind are to remember that you want to be comfortable on your wedding day.  Never in a million years did I think I would be comfortable in a mermaid wedding dress but was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on and not only did it fit perfectly but it was also easy to move around in.

6.    Also, remember not all wedding dress designs will fit you perfectly especially in the dress length.  Therefore, leave yourself a few months for alterations.  If you have to order the dress, then tag on another 6 months leaving yourself with at least an 8 months lead time for manufacturing and altering the dress prior to your wedding day.

Of course, I can’t show you my dress, wouldn’t be fair to my fiancée.  However, it’s an off-white mermaid wedding dress and I love it!  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wedding Flower Centerpieces Using Pink Wedding Flowers

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Here are a couple of pictures to illustrate wedding flower centerpieces using pink wedding flowersWedding flower arrangements vary in price and when you are on a budget, it is important to think about what types of flowers to use for your wedding as well as the quantity of flowers in each wedding flower arrangement.

When thinking about what type of wedding flower centerpieces you would like to have at your wedding, try and coordinate the colors of your wedding with your wedding flower arrangements.  One simple inexpensive wedding flower arrangement using pink wedding flowers is the above flower arrangement using a pink cymbidium orchid and submerging it in water with votive candles and pink rose petals surrounding it.

In Budget Bash, I give detailed instructions on how to create this wedding flower arrangement.  It is an inexpensive way to create an elegant look on your table and you can make these type of wedding flower centerpieces on your own.   Plus you can reuse the vase, rocks and votive candle holders again for other events you may throw after your wedding.

Using all pink wedding flowers as your centerpieces gives you the options to use pink hydrangeas or pink roses.  It is less expensive to use all pink hydrangeas for wedding flower arrangements because they are larger and use more room in the vase as oppose to pink roses.  An added bonus using hydrangeas for your wedding flower arrangement is that the flower itself dries so beautifully and you can make pretty wreaths with the dried flowers as another reminder of your special day.

Add some color to your pink wedding flowers by wrapping the inside of the glass container with a tea leaf or other such greenery.  Another idea for your wedding flower centerpieces is to place some contrasting colored rose petals around the vase.  If you are considering an evening wedding, add votive candles to create a romantic soft look to your wedding flower arrangement.

Another idea for your wedding flower arrangements is to use succulent flowers and intersperse them with pink wedding flowers such as cymbidium orchids or roses.  What is great about using succulents is that you can then keep the plant after the wedding and have a living reminder of your special day.  Either re-plant the succulents in bigger pots or your backyard if you have one and watch your wedding reminder continue to flourish and grow as your marriage does!

I hope you picked up some ideas for wedding flower centerpieces using pink wedding flowers.  You can keep your costs down with your wedding flower arrangements by using simple floral decor such as all hydrangeas or submerge cymbidium orchids and surround the wedding flower arrangement with rose petals and votive candles.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Wedding Planning Budget and Your Wedding Planning Checklist

Monday, March 29th, 2010


In my previous post I discussed some of the preliminary steps when planning a wedding reception and thought I would now provide more detail in regards to the wedding planning budget and determining a wedding planning checklist since most often the two are intertwined.

It is always best when determining your wedding planning budget to start with an initial number and decide what elements you want t include at your wedding reception.  For example, I am working with a bride right now who had a preliminary budget in mind and found her wedding reception venue.  From there she was able to create her wedding planning checklist to include the elements most important to her.

Thus, with an $18,000 wedding planning budget that included the ceremony, luncheon, open bar, cake and wedding reception venue, this bride had an additional $12,000 to spend for her wedding reception.  Her wedding planning checklist for the basic remaining elements for her wedding day include the following:

Wedding Reception Flowers – Her idea is a twist on the usual table flowers.  The bride wishes to use the money normally reserved for table flowers and have a simple inexpensive table arrangement and then donate the balance of the flower budget to charity.

Invitations, Escort Cards and Thank You Cards – This is an area in which you can save on your wedding planning budget by creating these elements yourself on the computer or use a local stationary store or on-line service.

DJ – A DJ is less expensive than hiring a band as well as musicians for the ceremony and cocktail hour.

Gown – Can always rent versus buying a gown and then not have to worry about cleaning or storage!

Make-up and Hair – So many choices since make-up and hair is so personal. Most often, the least expensive mode for hair and makeup is to go to the salon versus having someone come to the wedding reception venue that day.

Photographer – Always nice to have a professional, but if you are finding your budget running low and you know someone who can handle the job, then you can chance it.  My recommendation is to interview different photographers at all different rate levels and select the one that best suits your purposes.  Maybe if funds are low, the professional photographer can do the ceremony and family shots and then friends or family can take the wedding reception shots.

Officiate – Got to have one to make it legal.  No way around this no matter what your budget is.

Of course there are additional items that can be added to your wedding planning budget such as party favors, specialty lighting, room décor and specialty rentals.  (For more information and cost-saving tips about these items, check out Budget Bash.) However, the above listed items are the basics of a wedding planning checklist, and most often, including the wedding reception venue, comprise the majority of the wedding reception budget.

I hope you found these tips helpful and until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun and economical for all!

How to Plan a Wedding

Monday, March 22nd, 2010


There are so many steps involved when planning a wedding.  In fact, it can be overwhelming and stressful for someone unfamiliar with special event planning.  I was asked by Great Places Directory to write about wedding planning and this article is the beginning of a series that will help explain how to plan a wedding.

One of the first steps when planning a wedding is to determine your wedding planning budget.  It is important to be realistic with this budget – don’t expect caviar and champagne and yet only spend what you would for hamburgers and beer!

No matter what type of wedding you are planning you must decide in the beginning how much you want to spend and stick to that budget.  This dollar amount will help you stay on track with your wedding and make your life a lot easier.  If something doesn’t fit in the budget, then you will need to take creative steps to find alternatives or eliminate it all together.  (More cost-saving tips can be found in Budget Bash.)

As a special event planning coordinator, I am often asked how to plan a wedding and when to start a wedding planning budget.  My first response is to consider all aspects of the wedding itself from the dress and invitations, to the venue, the menu as well as the guest favors.  In fact, here are some of the basic budget line items to consider when planning a wedding:

Invitations, escort cards and thank you cards
Food and Beverage
Venue Fees – including parking and ceremony site
Officiate Fee
Music for ceremony and reception
Event Rentals such as a special chair, linen or upgraded china to name a few
Room Décor and upgraded lighting
Photographer and Videographer
Special event planning or wedding coordinator fee
Party Favors
Hair and Makeup
Special Event Insurance

With each one of these line items, there are numerous options a bride should take into account when she starts to consider how to plan a wedding for herself and her fiancée.  And don’t forget, these days many fiancées want to be part of the wedding planning process as well.

In the upcoming articles on this topic, I will provide more details on the wedding planning budget in efforts to help ease your stress when planning a wedding.  Wedding planning is a job within itself and it is important to consider all aspects of the special event planning budget so that your lasting wedding day memories are a joy to remember.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun and economical for all!