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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 ISES Star Awards

Hello everyone,

Wow! It has been a very busy past few days and I have some exciting news to share! I've had clients in from California to do some marathon planning, and I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 International Special Events Society Star Awards.

ISES is an international organization that provides support, education and networking opportunities to event professionals. Each year, chapters across the nation host the Star Awards to honor outstanding professionals in several different categories. Everything from event lighting to best catering.

I'm so thrilled to announce that I was nominated this year for an award in the "Best Wedding under $50,000" category! It feels so great to be recognized and appreciated by top notch professionals in the industry.

Of course, I had some stiff competition - The Wedding Guys and Rosetree Events. The talented Wedding Guys won the award for their work on "Falon & Paul's Wedding."
As you may know, Falon is a popular radio personality on KDWB. I have to give it up to her and the Wedding Guys, it was definitely a fantabulous affair! A hearty congratulations to them. Still, I will try again in 2016, and I have some really great clients that I'm keeping in mind for next years' submission. :D

The 2015 Star Awards was held at the glamorous Aria in downtown Minneapolis. It was such a night to remember! The theme for the awards ceremony was "Storytellers." If you think about it, that fits perfectly because as event professionals we are tasked with telling the story of our clients through event design, entertainment, cuisine and logistical support. Events are a living story!

The event design was remarkable. Not only was it held at arguably the hippest venue in the Twin Cities, there were so many interesting elements to look at. As you entered, there was a large book case that held teal escort cards in the shape of a feather. A vintage globe and several books were support props for the "quill" seating arrangements.

Book pages were hung from the ceiling in the cocktail reception area to emphasize the theme. Coupled with the beautiful crystal chandeliers and show stopping ice bar that offered craft beer, it was a sight to see! The table centerpieces were a neat mix of books, candles and golden antlers encased in glass. It was pretty magical.

 The very talented Fabulous Catering offered a mouth watering Charcuterie of a variety of meat and cheeses. Crave Catering offered small bites of different dishes such as mini-Cubans (YUM) and vegetarian sushi rolls. Of course, that was just during cocktail hour! We were treated to a 5 course plated dinner, with wine and champagne for toasting the nominees.

After the award ceremony, we all enjoyed a dance with a DJ provided by Enticing Entertainment. It was fun to get out onto the dance floor and let loose with my hubby under the spell of colorful lights and great tunes.

All in all, it was a very majestic evening. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented professionals and get a date night with my hubby. Many thanks to this year's Director of the Star Awards, Gretchen Culver of Rocket Science Weddings. She did a phenomenal job planning this event!

I know everyone always says, "It was an honor just to be nominated," but I really mean it! It  was an honor to be recognized and I'm so thankful. I've got my work cut out for me next year, so I'd better get back to business.

Happy planning,



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1st Annual Wedding Video Awards

Hello everyone,

I have to admit, as winter drags on I get a little stir crazy. So it was a welcome distraction when I was invited to the 1st Annual Wedding Video Awards at Eyes on Minnesota on the 50th floor of the IDS Tower. This lovely gala awards ceremony featured the most talented videographers in Minnesota and guests were treated to a delicious cocktail reception and viewing of the top 10 wedding videos in Minnesota!

The evening started out with fantastic views of the Minneapolis skyline. Although I am very afraid of heights, I definitely appreciated the beauty of the city all lit up at night. (As long as I didn't look down, it was breathtaking, in a good way.) The 50th floor of the IDS Center is definitely a perfect venue if you're considering a swanky, evening wedding.

During cocktail hour, guests dined on mini-beef wellington, chicken satay in peanut sauce, fresh fruit, mini cream cheese wontons and salmon bites. After enjoying some wine and appetizers, we were invited to sit down and watch the Top 10 wedding videos of Minnesota. The videos were chosen by a panel of judges from within the industry.

I'm happy to share that I learned of some very talented videographers that I've not yet had the opportunity to work with. A few of the videographer vendors that stood out to me are: Olsen Media, Northern Lights Video, and Sky Focus Films. Each of them had different approaches to their craft but collectively their finished product made an impression on me! I'm hoping to work with these up and coming videographers in the near future!

Happy planning,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dainty Obsessions Magazine!!!

Hello! Hello! Hello!

I have some very exciting news to share. One of the most exquisite weddings that I had the pleasure of coordinating was featured in Dainty Obsessions magazine! It made the cover! Woo hoo! This magazine is regional, catering to a Midwestern audience. It's so fun to see the different ideas that are popular in our neck of the woods. I really love Dainty Obsessions because the layouts of real weddings are gorgeous, giving ample space for photographs and sharing the wedding story. I'm talking, three to four page spreads of fabulous wedding goodness!

Emma & Alex had a lovely June wedding at Camrose Hill Farm. In my humble opinion, this is the best space in Minnesota to get married if you want the outdoor, garden feel for your wedding. The setting is filled with an eclectic mix of rustic, shabby chic and country charm decor. It's absolutely stunning, and they also do an amazing job providing all your floral needs. It's an incredible convenience to be able to book your venue and a talented floral team at the same time.

The wedding featured a very soft color palette of lavender and blush. The Camrose Hill flower studio made sure that the bouquets were filled to the brim with lush flowers such as Jasmine vine, peonies, ranunculus, tulips and roses! Absolutely heavenly.

Although the ceremony had to be moved into the pavilion due to rain, we still managed to have a gloriously beautiful ceremony! The Camrose Hill Farm team decorated their white chandelier with an amazing bounty of beautiful flowers, candle light graced the ledge and guests were seated comfortably in light wood folding chairs. Emma walked down the aisle to acoustic guitar music provided by Michael Handler and said vows amidst family and friends.

Emma donned a spectacular, vintage inspired gown that looked totally amazing! The soft ivory, dress was understated, which really let her natural beauty shine through. She purchased it from a top tier local wedding shop, L'atelier Couture.The guys wore slate gray suits, and looked dashing! Emma's maid of honor donned a light mauve dress that coordinated perfectly with the blush colored flowers. The rest of her bridesmaids dresses were varying shades of lavender, and together it all looked so soft and romantic!

The reception event design was phenomenal. The couple decided to do long rectangular tables in a "family style" setting, with the head table being a rustic farm table provided by Ultimate Events. After a lovely buffet dinner provided by Common Roots Catering, the couple and their guests danced the night away to Slip Twister, a live band that plays all the classics and hits from today too! Of course, by the evening, the clouds had parted and guests were free to stroll the grounds or hang out by the bonfire, roasting marshmallows. When it was finally time to go, the bridal party along with the newly weds boarded the trolley from Stillwater Trolley Co. to set out for another couple of hours to the charming pubs in downtown Stillwater.

Additionally, Emma & Alex's vintage charm wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty blog! What an honor, it's seriously one of the top wedding blogs - ever. Wonderful Day Weddings is so excited to be included in their little black book!

I can't say enough good things about how lovely a day it turned out to be. It was such a pleasure to see it all come together! Congratulations to Laura Ivanova Photography for creating such fantastic photographs that are getting such exemplary recognition.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Vendor Spotlight - Landmark Center

Landmark Center is, well, a landmark. This ornate, beautiful building in the heart of St. Paul is the perfect venue for both a wedding and a reception. Especially if you have regal taste! It is situated next to historic Rice Park. On the outside, Landmark boasts intricate architecture and a grand, palace-like appeal.  In reality, this amazing building was built in 1902, and served as the Federal Courthouse.

The inside of Landmark Center is impressive! Three floors with Romanesque columns and balconies  look down onto the spacious first floor atrium. Weddings and receptions are easily accommodated here, and it's a perfect space if you have a large guest list. The capacity for a sit-down reception in the atrium is 320 people!

Of course, this space is also very accommodating to more intimate weddings. In addition to the large main floor, the Landmark has several other spaces available. The Ramsey County courtroom can host 125 guests for a cocktail reception, and 80 for a dinner. Other options include the Butler Room (48 person dinner capacity), the Sanborn Room (20 maximum capacity) and the Chief Justice Room (40 person dinner capacity.) Therefore, if you wanted to have an intimate ceremony and reception, you could use these beautiful rooms to create a "Great Gatsby" style wedding without the price tag.

 I can say nothing but great things about Landmark Center! It's beautiful, their rental terms are quite reasonable and it is an affordable option for many couples, considering the downtown location and historic status. However, if you plan to get married here, be aware that you need to plan ahead. This space books up quickly, so be sure to check their availability calendar. Saturday dates tend to be taken, but there are still some Friday dates for 2014/2015.

If you're planning on doing both your wedding and reception here, make sure that you have a way to create a ceremony space. I would suggest pipe draping, staging or large centerpieces on columns to define the area. You can reuse these items for the reception, a stage and draping backdrop for the band or DJ, and large centerpieces flanking the entrance/exit or head table would be a great way to recycle these event props.

I think the Landmark lends itself to many styles. However, modern with clean lines, really isn't one of them. Traditional, Victorian, vintage, jazz-era, and art nouveau  styles tend to work best in this space because of the architecture and period pieces found here. In my opinion, event design featuring jewel tones or neutrals with mercury glass or metallic finishing looks absolutely stunning!

A great, yet cost effective way to get a good amount of color on your tablescape is to use the plain white or black catering linens provided by full service caterers and then add a runner. Runners can be made very inexpensively, and you don't even have to know how to sew! If you use hemming tape, you can simply iron the edges for a finished look. Joann Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, and Walmart all have a variety of fabric available at reasonable prices. Standard runners are 108" in length and 12" in width.

Of course, if you would prefer not to do it yourself, there are so many websites these days that have runners you can buy very inexpensively! My favorite is Smarty Party.
However, you can also purchase runners at Save on Crafts. Another option is to rent them from a local rental company or do a colored napkin (many full service caterers have napkins in a variety of colors, be sure to ask about this option when interviewing caterers.)

As for centerpieces, because Landmark is such a huge space, I would suggest going with impactful centerpieces. Tall centerpieces (3ft or above) staggered with lush, low centerpieces and plenty of candlelight would be just beautiful. Candelabras with crystals and floral also give a very regal and rich feel to your event design. Don't go with small centerpieces because the building will dwarf them. In this case, bigger truly is better. If you don't have a large floral budget, use cylinder vases of varying heights in sets of three and submerge the floral, and top with a floating candle. The water magnifies the flower, making them appear larger. Great options are roses, orchids, and spider mums. 
The Landmark Center does have a preferred catering list, however, you may use any licensed and insured caterer. However, they have quite a few great caterers on their preferred list. My recommendations are Three Sons Signature Cuisine, Deco Catering and Brie Cater. Each has their own style, and an excellent staff. You will be in good hands! :)

I hope that I've given you some insight into this fantastic venue! It's definitely a premier wedding and event space, with great photo opportunities inside and out.

 I've included a few photos from Rebecca & Britt's September 2013 wedding. They hired me as their Day of Coordinator, and she did an absolutely fantastic job on her event design! It's the exact "look" this space was meant to create, regal, and elegant. It was such great fun to set it all up and see it come together. STUNNING! :)

I truly hope that I've inspired.  Happy planning!



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wonderful Day Weddings - KMSP Interview

Hello everyone,

I have some exciting news to share! Almost a year ago, I was invited to be a guest expert on KMSP Fox 9 News to discuss money saving tips when planning a wedding. I finally tracked down the news clip, and I'm really happy to update my website and share it on my press page and blog. My work has been featured in a few magazines, however, being interviewed for television was a new milestone for me.

The segment topic was about the rising costs associated with weddings and I was invited to share some of my "go-to" methods for saving money. I'm so grateful for this amazing opportunity to share my knowledge, and I'm hoping to be invited on other programs in the future! :)

Happy planning,

Friday, November 7, 2014

Calling All Couples - Sweepstakes from Common Roots Catering

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to share some cool news. One of Minnesota's premier caterers - Common Roots Catering - is hosting a sweepstakes! You could win $10,000 in catering! I just wanted to pass this information along to you all. I would enter, what do you have to lose? Good luck!


Happy planning,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Creating Successful Weddings and Events

There is a formula that professionals use to create successful events. Today, I'm going to share with you the formulas that we use in order to manage our events smoothly.

The first thing a professional will do is create anticipation from the invited guests for the event. This is usually done with marketing materials such as save the dates, invitations, posters, and websites. Of course, for weddings we usually only use save the dates, invitations, and websites. Sharing your color scheme, event design, bridal party and hotel information is a great way to get people excited about your upcoming nuptials. Guests especially love photos. I'm seeing a lot of save the dates with professional photos of the couple with a card design that hints at the color or theme of the wedding.

In essence, you are marketing the experience of your wedding to your intended guest list. You're asking them to invest their time, and possibly their money, to attend so creating a desire to come is an essential part. Having beautiful paper crafts and a really fun and informative wedding website will tantalize your guests!

The next part of having your wedding go smoothly involves transportation. You want to make sure that your guests arrival is easy. If at all possible, charter a shuttle bus to takes out of town guests from their hotel to your ceremony and reception site. (Tip - if you're having a lot of out of town guests, make it easy on yourself and try to have your wedding and reception at the same venue. If this isn't possible because you want to get married at your church, mosque or synagogue, make sure you pick a reception location that is near your ceremony.)

Another aspect you need to consider is making sure that guests that will be driving have accurate directions to your wedding. Make sure that all the addresses are correct and provide a map with your invitation. I know that most people have GPS to guide them, however, some less technologically savvy people still rely on directions and maps!

Don't forget departure! Make sure that guests leave as easy as they arrived. This means having taxi information available. A great way to present this is a frame with the taxi contact information placed near the exits. Again, if it is in your budget to hire a shuttle, do so! It is so worth it to have guests arrive back from your reception safely.

Of course, creating the perfect wedding or event involves making the atmosphere an intriguing space. The best way to do this is to incorporate event props, such as lounge furniture, vintage knick knacks, ceiling draping, floral centerpieces, candles, ceiling draping, chair covers, up-lighting... The list is endless! All of these items when combined can create a dramatic, impactful space. Lighting is an especially useful tool, as it can change the very temperature of the room! Blue can create a tranquil, cool atmosphere, or red can create a hot, sexy ambiance.

Pay attention to the height of your centerpieces. They should be no higher than eye level, or if you want tall centerpieces, they should be above your guests heads so everyone at the table can see each other clearly. The last thing you want is guests removing your centerpieces and placing them on the floor so they can talk!

One of the most important parts of your wedding rec
eption will be satiating the appetites of your guests! Don't skimp on catering or bar. Make sure that you have either butler passed appetizers or stations. You should feed your guests nibbles during cocktail hour so they don't get too intoxicated. Personally, I prefer a combination of butler passed and food stations. Guests can serve themselves, or stay and mingle while catering comes around with some bite sized deliciousness!

Make sure that your cuisine is in keeping with the theme of your event. For instance, if you're having a white tie wedding, it would be bad form to serve BBQ and corn on the cob. Creating a menu can be a little challenging, so it helps to have an idea of the type of wedding you want. Also, keep in mind the season! Serving seasonal delicacies are always in good taste.  I suggest interviewing several caterers and have them put together a proposal for you. Then set up tastings so you can pick the company that best fits your style, budget and theme.

Don't forget the late night snacks! Guests absolutely love them. They can always go for pizza, or sliders and fries, or chips and salsa at 11pm after several cocktails. Trust me. You will be so happy that you made sure to get some more food into them before setting them loose on the world!

Having a fun reception and providing activities for your guests is definitely part of creating a memorable experience! If dancing is important to you, make sure your band or DJ plays a lot of upbeat music. Play games - the shoe game is very popular and light hearted. Another idea is to create ice breakers and have them ready on the tables. Crossword puzzles or trivia questions about the couple are a great conversation starter.

Finally, make sure you send your guests home with an amenity. A lot of people are forgoing favors because they've gotten a bad rap in recent years. A lot of people do throw away trinkets. However, if you do an edible favor, I can guarantee you that waste will be kept to a minimum. Breath mints, chocolate, mini-cookies, these things tend to go over well.

I truly hope that I've inspired and given you some ideas to create a fantastic wedding that you and your guests will remember forever! Happy planning, everyone.

Thanks for reading!