Monday, August 29, 2011

Brides' Night Out 8.11.11 - Highlight Video

Check out this highlight video from our Brides' Night Out event at Mangroves on August 11th! What a fabulous night - we can't wait for the next one on September 15th! A big thank you goes out to Derek of One Point O Media for documenting the event!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brides' Night Out - part 1

On Thursday, August 11th, we hosted our first ever Brides' Night Out event. This idea came about a few months ago when we were discussing bridal shows and the need for something unique in the area. We envisioned an evening cocktail party with a bridal show twist - basically a giant girls night out featuring some of the areas best wedding vendors in a hip and intimate setting. Mangroves Bar and Grill was the perfect place to host our first BNO event and they got on board immediately, letting us use their wonderful event space and providing amazing food and drinks. We also invited a few of our favorite vendors - Blue Lane Weddings, Kyle Lynn Hair and Makeup, The White Closet Bridal Company, Apple Blossoms Florist, A Piece of Cake, Publix Greenwise, DJ Cory Barron with Grant Hemond and Associates, and Vanessa from Stella and Dot. We really had no idea how this event was going to turn out, but it ended up being even more than we had hoped. We had over 140 wonderful brides-to-be and their girlfriends and everyone had such a great time. There was drinking, mingling, great music, and prizes. We really couldn't be happier. Shem and Carolina from Blue Lane Weddings set up a super fun photo booth that everyone really enjoyed, so we just wanted to share a few of the photos below. More photos and a video montage will be coming up on the blog shortly so stay tuned. And because of the success from our first one, we have added another Brides' Night Out event in St. Pete and Nova 535 on Sept. 15th so check out our website to RSVP! By the way, do you recognize that gorgeous blonde bride in the photos below? It's our intern, Kelly! She's been with us for 6 months now and we love her!! She played model at our Brides' Night Out event and looked fabulous.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Being the Best Bride to your Bridesmaids

I have been a bridesmaid 5 times. These experiences, combined with my experience as a bride and as a wedding planner, have inspired me to write this post about how to be the best bride to your bridesmaids. These are all things that I did, my friends did when they were brides, or things I've seen our brides do that really made a happy bridal party, which in turn creates an even more joyful wedding day.

1. Keep in mind everyone's financial situation when choosing a dress. Remember, they are most likely going to wear this dress one time so be kind to their pocketbooks and choose something affordable for all.

2. Do not assign your bridesmaids wedding tasks. You chose these people because they are special to you and you want them to stand up with you on this very important day, and that really is the only actual duty of a bridesmaid. They are not your personal assistants. If they offer to help, then of course you can accept; however do not expect or assume they will offer. That doesn't mean they are less of a friend, it just means that they may be busy with work, kids, life, or just not into weddings. Don't take it personally, just continue doing friend stuff with them as you always have and let them offer to help if they want to.

3. Do not require them to pay for professional hair and makeup. Offering it as a treat for them is great and a fun activity for everyone to do together, but if you can't foot the bill, don't make them do it either. If you are not going to provide their hair and makeup services, then the best thing to do is offer them the option of having it done and paying or choosing to do their own.

4. Make sure your bridesmaid are eating on the day of your wedding! This obviously goes for you, the bride, as well. If you are going to ask your bridal party to spend the day in your suite and get ready, make sure you are providing them with food and beverages - they are going to be standing up a lot during your wedding so you want to make sure they feel energized just like you. If you are not able to provide food, then allow them to have some free time during your wedding day to veg out on their own.

5. Don't separate your bridesmaids from their significant others. I've been on both sides of this. When my husband was a groomsman in a wedding, he was seated at the head table while I was seated with some guests that I barely knew. Most of us like to sit with our significant others at a wedding, whether we know other people or not. If you are set on having a head table, then have one that is large enough to seat wedding party members' spouses and dates as well. If you don't have the space for a table that large, then consider doing a sweetheart table and then just seating your bridal party with their dates at regular guest tables.

It's important to keep in mind that you should be asking your closest friends or family to be in your bridal party, so following these tips shouldn't be that difficult because it just shows you care about them. Planning a wedding is extremely exciting and overwhelming, but don't throw your friendships by the wayside in the meantime. A happy bridal party equals a happy bride! Cheers!

(Photo above of me as a bridesmaid at my friend Morgan's Key West destination wedding. Photo by Trevor Goldsmith Photography)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Samantha and Jonathan's Glamorous Vinoy Wedding

Yes! I am WAY behind on has been a very busy summer at Flawless Occasions...but I promise, this one was worth the wait!

In May, Samantha and Jonathan tied the knot at one of my favorite hotels, The Vinoy. Everything was amazing but there was one little thing we were not able to control....the weather. Due to an afternoon storm, we had to move the ceremony from the tea garden to the conference hall lobby. Typically, it would have been moved to a ballroom - but Samantha's family loved this tucked away lobby area so much and it truly ended up being a perfect ceremony location full of natural light despite the weather outside.

Samantha and Jonathan are such a beautiful couple. They are so sweet and so obviously in love. Samantha looked like she walked off the page of a bridal magazine. She was truly stunning! She was so calm and easy going the entire day. Jonathan, who looked quite handsome, never stopped smiling and joking while he waited for the most important moment in his life to happen. When you see them together, you just know they are meant to be together.

Stephanie and the rest of the Fishhawk Florist team really stepped up to the plate when the ceremony location changed and quickly helped create a beautiful indoor backdrop. They also customized and created all of the beautiful flowers for both the ceremony and reception. Thanks to Tammy and the rest of the Vinoy staff, we were able to quickly set everything up and alert the guests to the location change.

The bride's brother-in-law performed the actual ceremony which was such a nice personal touch. He did a really nice job and had the guests both laughing and crying.

The cocktail hour and reception were both held in the Sunset Ballroom. A fabulous team of vendors turned this beautiful room into a glamorous room. From the stunning centerpieces by Fishhawk Florist, to the chiavari chairs and the little pop of color (one flower) at each place setting - every detail fit perfectly. The cake (created by the Vinoy) draped with calla lilies looked (and yes, tasted) amazing!

Samantha and Jonathan have two of the nicest families I have ever worked with! They were so much fun and treated me like part of the family throughout the entire planning process. They really know how to have fun too! When asked to do a toast, Samantha's dad came up with a master plan to fake that he was not feeling well , hold his chest, and walk out of the room for a minute. Only a few of us vendors knew this was going to happen and he pulled it off well. So well, that he almost had family members in hysterics! It turned out fine though and everyone ended up having a really good laugh!

There was some serious dancing going on too! From the youngest to the oldest, every guest was on the dance floor the entire night. Of course, with DJ Ben from Grant Hemond - you can not help but dance all night! He really knows how to rock a crowd and get even the shy people on the dance floor. This was a REALLY fun group.

Guests also really enjoyed the props and fun photos in the Shutterbooth! I know many guests visited the booth several times and they always came out laughing and smiling ear to ear. Photobooths are a big hit at weddings and the guests love taking home a fun momento.

With so many fun things , thank goodness Samantha and Jonathan hired CC Video and David from Basia Mille Photography to capture all the great moments! In fact, Basia Mille Photography was kind enough to share all of the awesome pictures in this blog post. A big thank you to David for sharing his work with us! We had so much fun working with him and LOVE the pictures!!

All in all, this was one amazing wedding! I can not say enough wonderful things about this couple, their families, and all the great vendors we had the opportunity to work with. Samantha and Jonathan - It was an honor being part of your very special day. Thank you for treating me like part of your family. I wish you both the best of everything in your life together!! Congratulations!!