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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!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Woo Hoo - We've Been Featured in MN BRIDE Fall/Winter 2014

I have some very exciting news! We've been featured in the Fall/Winter 2014 edition of Minnesota Bride! I'm so very honored to have helped plan this fantastic wedding! It took place in late August of 2013 at one of my favorite venues - Camrose Hill Farm.

I love working at the farm and I've been so lucky to have done quite a few weddings there for the 2014 season. Of course, it's so fun to look back at each of the weddings that have taken place at there, and see how different they all are!

Olivia & Johnny reside in California, so she needed some "boots on the ground" to help her find the right vendors, and pull all the details together. As you can imagine, it is difficult to plan a wedding in one state, while residing in another. I'm not trying to brag but the wedding went off without a hitch, and I really think that has something to do with her having hired a planner. ;D

Olivia is a beautiful blonde, with a bubbly personality and great sense of humor. Johnny is quite the dapper gentleman, and together they make such an endearing couple! They wanted to incorporate some components of the Jewish faith into their nuptials, so Olivia's father and brother erected a fantastic branch chuppah by the gazebo, and Cindie St. Claire, florist extraordinaire of Camrose Hill Flowers decorated it.

It was a lovely ceremony, breaking of the glass, and a ring warming made it so heart-felt and charming! The reception was equally as beautiful, with Olivia's penchant for vintage romance represented in the blush pink flowers and deep teal accents. They opted to do  rows of farm tables to give the affair the feel of a "family style" event. With Johnny and Olivia seated in the center, they were surrounded by all their loved ones.

The food was, well, fabulous and provided by Fabulous Catering! With A Twist bar supplied the beer, wine and signature drinks to keep the guests merry through the evening. At the end of the reception, Olivia and Johnny opted to do a formal sparkler send-off and magical photos were captured by the talented La De Da Photography!

It was a great day and I'm so excited that it is inspiration for all the brides to be in the upcoming MN BRIDE magazine - fall/winter 2014. :)


Happy planning,

Monday, July 21, 2014

June 2014 - Camrose Hill Wedding

Hello, hello, hello!

I'm so excited to share with everyone some photos of a beautiful wedding at Camrose Hill Farm! Emma &  Alex were married on June 7, 2014. Although we had rainy weather, all of the vendors pulled together to make their day as perfect as possible!

 I'm so glad to say that everything worked out. We had to move the ceremony into the Pavilion, but Cindie St. Claire, and her excellent team, made it just as beautiful as the original outdoor ceremony space. The chairs were set in a curve to mimic the intimacy of a amphitheater and guests were serenaded with classical guitar music by The Michael Handler Project.

The beautiful, chandelier was decorated in a heavenly array of Hydrangeas, Roses, Jasmine and Baby's Breath. The shabby chic buffet was the perfect backdrop to place the Unity Candle. All in all, it was a lovely, heartfelt ceremony.

Guests then enjoyed cocktail hour whilst the reception room was set. Deco Catering did an excellent job making sure the transition went smoothly. When guests were seated, they were treated to a fantastic buffet, warm speeches with wonderful toasts, and plenty of tinking glasses so the newlyweds could kiss!

The clouds parted after dinner, and the evening sunshine gave the grounds a glorious golden glow. Guests strolled around the gardens until it was time for the cake cutting and dance to start. Slip Twister kicked off the party and kept everyone on the dance floor until the bitter end. It was truly a magical evening and I'm so glad to have been responsible for coordinating it! :)

Check out these wonderful photos by Laura Ivanova Photography! Emma & Alex are featured on her blog!

Special thanks to: Cindie St. Claire and Team (Camrose Hill Farm, Heikki, Soile, Carol & Rachel (Deco Catering),Laura Ivanova (Laura Ivanova Photography) Michael Handler (The Michael Handler Project, Mike & Paul (Slip Twister), Scott (With A Twist Beverage), Allison Munsell (Ultimate Events), Mariah Harrison (Harrison Film Co.), and the newlyweds Emma & Alex.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

MN Bride Awards

It was so fun to take a break from working to go to one of my favorite industry events, The MN Bride Awards 2014. It was held at the new Raddisson Blu Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. This new space was beautiful, with ballrooms, a swanky atrium-like area and unique modern furnishings. It would definitely be a great space for a couple looking to do a contemporary wedding.

There were so many deserving vendors there this year, and I'm happy that some of my favorites won awards again. :) My husband and I enjoyed a relaxing evening away from the kids while noshing on some amazing cuisine! I loved the Sushi rolls and the dessert stand filled with marvelous confections for anybody that has a sweet tooth!

Mike and I had a fun "date night" and I have to share our silly pictures with you via The Traveling Photobooth, which is the premiere booth for both corporate functions and weddings. I love that so many people are providing photo booths during cocktail hour, it really gives guests something fun to do when while they're mingling.

It was a fun event and I feel so blessed to be a part of this vibrant and growing industry! We really know how to throw great events and attend them as well. :) Cheers to Minnesota's wedding industry!