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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!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Christina & Max Featured on Brooklyn Bride

As a wedding planner, I often work with out of state couples that are planning their nuptials in Minnesota! This year I have couples from New York, California, even South Korea. While long distance planning means Skype calls and weird hours, it is always worth it because I know that I'm going to make their MN wedding experience the best it can be.

 Most of the time they use photographers from the area but in the case of Christina and Max, they booked the talented Isabelle Selby  of New York to do their wedding photography! I've checked out her work and I'm super excited that we're going to have a very talented photographer shooting one of my adorable couples. They've been such a pleasure to work with and I'm glad to say that it's all coming together. Couldn't be happier for these two having a little spotlight on them, they deserve it!

I just had to share that they are being featured on Brooklyn Bride! The images are so cool, with interesting backgrounds and a couple that are obviously head over heels in love.

I'm so excited that I get to be a part of their big day at Camrose Hill Farm in September!
Christina and Max, looking like chic lovebirds at Brooklyn Bride!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Vendor Spotlight - Brovado Weddings

Hello everyone!

It's May! It's May! Finally, wedding season is kicking off! To celebrate the start of my busy-bee period, I wanted to share a little about a preferred vendor of mine, Brovado Weddings. They do amazing wedding photography here in the Twin Cities and in Hawaii!

I had the pleasure of working with Preston during my favorite season, autumn, and at one of my preferred venues, MN Boat Club. Of course, my clients, Chris & Kathleen were also an absolute dream to work with so this is the perfect time to share the timeless images of their big day captured by Brovado Weddings.

I had the opportunity to ask Preston and Elizabeth some key questions about Brovado Weddings, in hopes of shedding some light on what makes them so successful in our industry. Many of these questions I ask when searching for a photographer with clients. It really helps them to connect with the right person(s) for the job.

Here is great spot-light on one of my preferred Photography vendors. Enjoy!

1) Why did you decide to start Brovado Wedding and what services do you provide?  Preston created Brovado Weddings after returning home from several years of international photojournalism. He realized the skills he learned overseas translated well to wedding photography, and after seeing what was offered locally at the time, he knew he could provide an excellent quality wedding photography service.  We offer full-service wedding photography, wedding videography, professional luxury wedding albums, custom Save the Dates, wedding invitations, and Thank You cards, and the Antibooth photo station. 

2) What would you say best describes your style of photography? High-contrast, romantic, moody, unique

3) What mediums do you use for editing and what style of camera do you use and why? We primarily use Adobe Lightroom for editing – it’s a powerful piece of software that’s great for large volumes of photos.  We also use Adobe Photoshop.  Since we’re Adobe creative cloud members, we always have access to the most current versions of both programs.  Preston shoots with several different Cannon DSLR camera bodies and lenses, mainly the 5D Mark III, and he always shoots in RAW format. He prefers Cannon simply because that’s what he’s always used. He finds there to be no big difference in the quality of images between any of the high-end DSLR camera brands. 

4) Brovado does photography in both Hawaii and MN. Can you tell us how each place influences your photography? We do most of our work in Minnesota. On the mainland, weddings tend to be bigger full-day events, and this is great for our photojournalistic style! Preston and his second shooters make the most of every minute of the day and get plenty of bride and groom shots and detail shots, so we can assemble a grand photographic story later in the clients' wedding album and on our blog.  In Hawaii, the weddings are shorter and more casual, and we focus on getting more little intimate moments between the bride and groom, and the few family members who have traveled to be with them, and also big, wide angle shots of the gorgeous Hawaiian landscape. And, of course, sunset photos!

5) How much of your business is dedicated to doing weddings? Wedding photography makes up almost 100% of our business. We will occasionally shoot other events, such as maternity, children's or family photos, or even boudoir sessions, but we generally only do those types of sessions for previous wedding clients. 

6) What are your favorite things about being a photographer? I LOVE the wedding day! I have a knack for working with a crowd, and I like the hustle and bustle of a busy wedding day… It keeps me sharp, and I feel good when I can help out with things that make the day go smoothly. I love that I can provide clients with beautiful memories and capture the little things they might have missed on the big day.  It’s a big responsibility, and I’m good at what I do! 

7) What are your plans for Brovado Photography? For 2014, we are including a luxury Italian wedding album with every package. (In the past, clients could choose between an album or their images on disk.) We have found over the years that when clients simply have a disk of images, they rarely make anything of them. While they are well-meaning and do plan to get prints or albums made at some point, what usually ends up happening is a few photos make it to Facebook and then the photo disk sits in a desk drawer for years to come. With our new packages, we’re essentially forcing you to get a huge, beautiful, custom designed album to show all of your friends and family, household visitors, the neighbors, your future children, the mailman, the cable guy… The list goes on and on. People are happier when they have a physical way to enjoy their photos on a daily basis!

8) Are there any photographers that have influenced your style of photography? Why them?   I’m a big fan of Jim Garner out in Washington state. His moody and dramatic wedding images have been a big inspiration to my own style.  9) How do you capture the important candid moments at a wedding? I’m very sneaky… I also have the ability to be 3 places at once. It’s a quantum mechanics thing. 

10) How do you direct the wedding party to maximize your time shooting? Ah, I’m glad you asked. This is very organized, and I go to great lengths to work out a functional wedding day schedule with my clients far before the wedding day.  Group photos are always planned in advance, with a shot list containing full names, and even an assigned “helper” (usually someone who knows the family but won’t be in the photo) to track people down if needed. Group photo sessions are planned in a way that makes the most efficient use of the time available. We can usually get large group photo sessions done in less than 30 minutes. 

11) Is there any advice you can offer to couples? When it comes to your wedding day schedule, consult your wedding photographer! They have seen hundreds of weddings and they know how long things take. They are the only vendor that sees a wedding day from beginning to end from the bride and groom’s point of view, and they will have LOTS of advice!

12) What is Brovado's development process and how soon can cleint's expect their photos? We try to maintain a turnaround time of less than 3 weeks. Clients will get an online sneak peek within a day or two, and Thank You card designs within a couple days. 

13) Where are your favorite locations to shoot in MN? I love shooting on the Stone Arch Bridge, the Walker Art Center Sculpture Gardens (and the famous Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge), the Minnehaha Dog Park, the Nicollet Island area, Lake Harriet, the Lyndale Park Peace Garden, the Mill City Ruins, Rice Park,  and Minnehaha Falls.    

14) What types of weddings have you had the opportunity to shoot? I have photographed traditional non-denominational American weddings, Catholic weddings, Jewish weddings, Indian weddings, weddings in Mexico, Hawaii and the Bahamas, religious weddings, non-religious weddings, same-sex weddings, beach weddings, mountain weddings, backyard weddings, and one wedding officiated by a full grown man in a deer costume. 

15) What has been your most memorable wedding? The one with the guy in the deer costume.

I sincerely hope that I've inspired you to consider Preston Palmer of Brovado Weddings if you're looking for an accomplished, dynamic photographer for your big day! Brightest blessings to you all.

Happy planning!