Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stacey & Mike's Tampa Wedding

As Shawna mentioned, we had a very busy weekend!

On Saturday, I had the honor of working with Stacey and Mike. When I first met Stacey last year, Mike was living in New York and Stacey was in the process of moving up there. So, basically this ended up being a destination wedding for the couple. They had over 100 guests from all over the country and even a few from Canada!

The ceremony took place at the Kate Jackson Center in Hyde Park followed by a reception in the Waterfront room at Jackson's Bistro on Harbor Island.

There were a lot of great vendors that took part in the day! Lou from The Arrangement in Tampa did an amazing job with the Chuppah and the flowers. He really transformed the ceremony room!

The DJ, James King from Grant Hemond kept the crowd rocking! The crowd was so rowdy that when the reception was over, they continued the party at the bar downstairs. Their photographer, Carrie Pratt, from Studio Blu and her assistant were so much fun to work with! I can't wait to see their pictures!

One of Stacey and Mike's friends, Kelly, made delicious cupcakes which disappeared very quickly! On the cake topper was an amazing display of sugar flowers! Check out the pictures below to see how beautiful her work is! Kelly is a school teacher but she also does cakes on the side so keep her in mind! - Cakes by Kelly

The Staff at Jackson's were very attentive and accommodating. I really enjoyed working with them. The food was wonderful and you can not beat the stunning views from the Waterfront room.

Mike and Stacey - Thank you for hiring me. I truly enjoyed being part of your special day. Congratulations on your Marriage!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blog updates coming soon...

Yes, it has been over a week since we blogged, but we had very good reasons. We were swamped with 2 weddings this past weekend, plus we have been inundated with appointments with potential clients. We've even start booking for some 2010 weddings (is it just me or does 2010 still feel so far away??).
We have to thank our previous clients and some of our favorite vendors for that... since we get most of our business from word of mouth and have not yet needed to pay the pricey fee of advertising on some of the wedding websites or in the wedding magazines. The fact that we haven't had to do that yet allows us to keep our prices competitive with the other wedding planning companies who are similar to us.
Well, like I said, this weekend we had 2 weddings - and they were both destination weddings! One couple was from New York, although they did have some local family. The other couple was from North Carolina as were most of their friends and family. It is so fun to have destination weddings when we have nice weather - and we lucked out this weekend because it was just a little breezy but overall, blue skies for both weddings! It makes you appreciate living down here even more when you are around other people who appreciate it so much.
With that said, check back soon because Beth will be blogging about the wedding that she did on Saturday in Hyde Park and downtown Tampa, and I will be blogging about the wedding we both did on Sunday in Clearwater! And we have TONS of pics. :)

Here is a teaser.. I got a cute picture of Beth in action, helping to carry Kristen's train at our Sunday beach wedding - how gorgeous is this bride??
(You can see hair/makeup artist Darla Stafford in the background too; she stayed through the ceremony to do touch-ups which was so nice).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Rental Item - Bamboo Arch!

We are constantly adding to our collection of rental items!

We have now added a great new piece to our decor rental: our new bamboo arch! We had many brides renting these from florists in the past and paying a very hefty fee. Since we are always trying to save our brides money in any way that we can, we thought this would be beneficial to our clients for us to acquire an arch to rent out to them for a significant discount in price. Here are some photos of our new arch- it is a cherry-wood bamboo and is a blank slate for you to decorate as you please. Florals or fabrics can be easily added to the sturdy arch. We have a few fabrics available in different colors that are available with the arch, or you can supply your own decor. Contact us for more information on how to rent this arch for your upcoming wedding.

Of course, we still have all of our other rentals available, some of our most popular rentals being our beautiful and ornate cake stand, our small beach-inspired centerpieces, our bronze and glass lanterns, and our cupcake stand. We are currently having a photo album created for our website to feature more of our rental items, so keep checking back to our main website for more information.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eat, Drink, and Be Married!

We already know you are going to look fabulous on your wedding day, but are you going to feel great as well? Your wedding day may feel like it's flying by, but in actuality it's a very long day involving hours of preperation, countless photos being taken, and dancing and socializing for hours, sometimes well into the night. Your body needs to be at its best to handle such a long day, and that means EATING on the day of your wedding. Brides often skip meals on the day of their wedding for several reasons: they are too nervous or anxious to eat, they are worried about fitting in to their gown, or they are just too busy, among other things. It is imperative that you hydrate and feed yourself not only in the days leading up to your wedding but the entire day of your wedding as well, so you can keep up your energy level and feel great all day and all night long. Let's not forget about your bridal party either - they are usually with you most of this time and they need their nourishment too!

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to have snacks wherever you are getting ready. Places like Publix, Panera Bread, Einstein Bagels, and Chick-Fil-A have delicious party trays that are perfect to feed you and your hungry wedding army. I mention these places in particular because they have healthy options such as fruit salad, veggie platters, and sandwich wraps that will make you feel good while you are eating them and afterward. If you are getting ready at someone's home or a hotel suite, have a friend run out early in the morning and pick up some pre-ordererd party trays from one of these stores (in my case, my wonderful dad went and got our delicious food for us in the morning). If you are getting ready at a salon, some even offer the option of having food brought in for you, or they will allow you to bring in your own. Here are some ideas if you are trying to choose a wedding day snacking menu...

Getting married early in the day? That means you will be up even earlier getting ready, so start the morning off right for everyone with a bagel bucket and flavored cream cheeses and coffee from Einstein Bros. Bagels. Carbs are the #1 source of energy so eat up and enjoy!

The perfect snacks to start your day - veggie tray, spinach dip in pumpernickel loaf, and pinwheel wraps - all from Publix.

Who would have thought fast food could be so healthy? Chick-Fil-A offer this fruit salad platter and chicken salad tea sandwhiches on wheatberry bread, perfect for lunchtime munching. And FYI, Chick-Fil-A has a delivery option as well so visit their website for more info.

And I just had to share this - I came across this website while on my search of wedding day food options, but unfortunately they are located in Pennsylvania! It's called Wedibles (see their website here), and it's a service that comes and sets up a cute little buffet for you and your bridal to enjoy while getting ready. They have tons of baked goods, fruit salads, veggies and dips, and sweets... so yummy. If I find something like this in our area, I will definitely let you all know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vendor Spotlight - Jason Angelini

A few days ago one of our clients told us that she saw a vendor spotlight feature similar to ours on another wedding planner's website and sure enough it was true! Who would have ever thought I would start a trend with my little blog posts? Well here is our third installation of our vendor spotlights and there are several more to come so definitely stay tuned..

In Florida, especially west and central Florida, we are lucky to have a large pool of talented photographers; however, over and over again we find ourselves working with Jason Angelini. Our clients love him because not only is his photography fresh, fun, and beautiful, but his prices are affordable for the average couple, which is who we typically work with. To top it off, his personality is great and his wife, Lucia, is wonderful as well. So here is our vendor spotlight interview with one of our favorite photographers, Jason Angelini.

1. Company Name:

Jason Angelini Photography

2. Job Description:
I am a photographer who gets to share in some of the most important
moments in a person's life, from their wedding day to pregnancy to the
birth of a child and more. I get to capture all the memories you
don't want to forget.

3. How did you get started in the business?
I took photography classes throughout high school and college and
developed a portfolio. When I graduated from college I was able to
get a job with a national company which sent me around the country doing
portrait photography work for business and medical professionals. It
was fun, but I was gone for months at a time and missed my girlfriend
who was soon to be my fiance. After I asked my wife to marry me we
began talking about starting our own photography business focusing on
weddings. Just after we were married we moved to Florida and
officially began as Jason Angelini Photography.

4. Where is your favorite venue to shoot weddings?
Any venue in the snow or mountains! I bet you didn't expect that
answer from a Florida photographer who does lots of weddings on the
beach :) Florida has many terrific venues with beautiful places to
photograph and great staffs to work with, but I love to travel!

5. What is the craziest thing you have seen at a wedding?

What haven't I seen?! Naked people, people getting arrested, wedding
crashers, you name it! One of my favorite crazy moments was at a
wedding for a couple whose family friend was Jerry Springer. At the
end of the night, the guests wanted Jerry to give his "Final Thoughts"
and the crowd started loudly chanting, "Jer-ry, Jer-ry" over and over
until he came up to take the mic. He handled it with class and simply
said, "I hope you two never end up on my show."

6. How would you describe your style of photography?

This is a tricky question because people can use the same label for a
photography style and mean completely different things. Many people
use the term "photojournalist" but a true photojournalist does not
take any posed pictures or focus on any details. They do not have the
goal of making the bride and groom look good and do not want to
interact with the bride and groom or any wedding guests. In its pure
form, a photojournalist will just document what is happening around

I think I have a contemporary approach that brings together different
styles of photography. I like to combine modern and classic, edgy and
romantic, fun and sexy. I can have just as much fun shooting a traditional
engagement session on the beach as I can one in an alleyway downtown.
Photography is an art form so I always try to get a feel from my
couples as to what their tastes and preferences are and I keep their
individual style in mind when I am photographing them.

7. What do you love about your job?

Would it be too cheesy to say everything? I work with couples who are
in love and I share in one of the most important days in their entire
lives. The moments and emotions I capture for them are going to be
what they pass on to their children and grandchildren to tell their
family history. I imagine the future generations of my couples
looking through a wedding album and getting to feel like they are
sharing in that wedding day as well. I love the couples I work with
and their families, I love being surrounded by love and happiness and
calling it work, and I love the significance of what I am creating.

It is also a blessing to be able to have a true family business. My
wife and I both devote ourselves to this business full time. Many
people don't realize how much my wife does since she is behind-the-
scenes, but it is awesome to have her as a partner in every aspect of
our lives including our photography business. And of course our sons
help us out by doing all of our blog updates for us :) We are blessed
to make a living doing what we love and to be able to do so together
as a family.

8. What advice do you have for b
rides and grooms when it comes to
choosing a photographer?
Pick me! Really though there is so much involved in choosing a
photographer. Photography is an art form so two people can look at
the same photographs and have completely different reactions. Be sure
you connect with the photographer's work and love what you see.
Experience is very important for wedding photographers who have to be
ready for anything and everything, so definitely hire a professional
who conducts him or herself as such. Look for quality and consistency
in the images and find a photographer whose personality fits with
yours since you will be spending your wedding day with him or her!
Visit Jason's website here!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New...Officiating Services!

Flawless Occasions is always trying to save our brides time and money. In our quest to meet our clients' needs, we have now added officiating to our list of available services. If you are looking for someone to officiate your wedding ceremony, Flawless Occasions can now provide a notary public - coordinator Shawna Berger (me) - to perform the ceremony which is legal in the state of Florida (Click here for more information from the state of Florida about marriage ceremonies performed by a notary).

We have created a few standard packages that will soon be appearing on our website, but like all of our services, we can also create a custom package. If you have already booked a wedding with Flawless Occasions, we can add-on our officiating services for an additional fee based on availability. Our officiating services, however, are not just limited to our wedding planning and coordinating clients either.

We will be happy to perform this service for anyone who wishes to get married in the Tampa Bay area, whether it be an intimate and private ceremony at a local beach or park, or a ceremony with all of your family and friends in attendance. Let us help you plan your dream wedding ceremony, from the beginning stages of picking a location and a date, to the final stage of actually tying the knot and making it legal.

We have several complete ceremony scripts available, or you can create your own with our guidance. The options are endless, so contact us today so we can get started on creating a memorable marriage ceremony together!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Mansion Fit For A Wedding... (AKA my future home)

This weekend we had a little break from weddings... but we have 3 coming up this month! So we took advantage of the free time and I met with Tricia and Scott at their venue on Saturday morning. Tricia and Scott have booked us for their October wedding (another busy month for us with 3 already booked as well) but I hadn't gotten a chance to see their venue yet and I was very excited. They have rented out a modern Mediterranean-style mansion for their ceremony and reception. They actually have it for a week, a few days before and a few days after their wedding day, so they are really going to get to enjoy it with their family and friends. This home sleeps 16 people and has a pool and large land surrounding it. Basically after we saw it, I was ready to move in.
It's a beautiful and secluded space, however it is a blank slate which is why Tricia and Scott pulled us in to help. Everything will be brought in, including a large tent, tables and chairs, bar areas, and several other rentals. It's going to end up being a really fabulous and unique wedding. I snapped some pictures of the property while the owner, Justin, was giving us the tour. He was very helpful and if you are interested in booking this home - which he rents out for weddings, bachelorette/bachelor parties, corporate functions, etc. - contact us and we can get you the info. For now, check out these photos I took on this gorgeous day:

Here is where the ceremony will be held

Cocktail hour will be set up around the pool area

This is another part of the pool area that leads out to the reception area.

The reception will be held under a tent in this large area on the side of the house

Now do you see why I'm ready to move in? The inside is even nicer by the way - gorgeous woodwork and ceiling beams, granite in the kitchen along with beautiful cabinetry, and the master bathroom... well basically it is the size of my current master bedroom. One day... :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Brides (and Wedding Planners) Against Breast Cancer!

This weekend the Making Memories organization is putting on their annual Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale event. This is a chance for brides-to-be to purchase beautiful gowns at a very discounted price. Some are new gowns donated by designers and some are used gowns donated by brides, but either way, they all are gorgeous. The best part is, this organization uses the proceeds to grant wishes for those who are losing the battle against breast cancer. Breast cancer affects so many people... it seems like everywhere you turn people have a friend, co-worker, or family member who has gone through or is going through this terrible disease. As I am typing this, I have an acquaintance who is in her 30's and is currently going through treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.

If you know someone looking for a bridal gown, spread the word about this great event so we can help this wonderful organization. This year's gown sale will be taking place at the Howard Johnson Plaza hotel Thursday-Saturday. It will be my 2nd year volunteering during the gown sale so I can tell you from firsthand experience that this really is a fabulous event. I will be volunteering on Friday in case you want to stop in and see me. Here is the flyer for the event, or you can click here to go to Making Memories' website:

And here is our lovely bride Meagan (whose wedding and rehearsal dinner photos can be seen in some of our previous blog entries). Meagan bought her dress at last year's Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale event - and I actually met her there for the first time! I got to witness the tears and excitement as Meagan found her dream dress, along with many other women who really made a difference that day by helping out this cause.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Budget-Friendly Flowers

The amount that brides spend on their florals seems to vary. Some brides spend much of their budget on elaborate centerpieces while others forgo the flowers entirely and opt for something more economical such as candles.
If you are one of those brides in the middle, you are looking for beautiful flowers that will not bust your budget. There are some flowers that are always on the less expensive side, like the carnation or the rose. You can also make a floral arrangement look fuller by adding interesting greenery. Another way to achieve this is by using flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding. One type of flower does not always cost the same amount - its price depends on whether or not it is easy to attain at that time. Elegala.com has published a list of flowers by season which can be very helpful when you are deciding on what flowers to include in your wedding.

Spring Wedding Flowers In Season

Apple or cherry blossoms
Forsythia branches
Lily of the Valley
Sweet Peas

Summer Wedding Flowers In Season

Calla Lilies
Jacobs Ladder
Queen Anne’s Lace
Shasta daises

Fall Wedding Flowers In Season

Gerbera daisies

Winter Wedding Flowers In Season


Making a bouquet larger with the use of greenery will make it look gorgeous but will keep it affordable.

Calla lilies are a favorite among some brides, however they are a more expensive flower. If you love them, try putting a few mixed in with other flowers instead of a full calla lily bouquet like this one.

Brides still love the class rose bouquet.. and because of their abundance, roses are always an affordable option.

photo credit: Brides.com