Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We are thrilled! The Good Life featured on Junebug Weddings!

We are so proud that our world traveler-inspired shoot was featured on the incredibly popular Junebug Weddings yesterday! Styling this shoot was so much fun! Read about our inspiration and stay tuned later this week for more photos!
"Our vision for this world traveler-inspired wedding celebration was to take our bride and groom back to an era when traveling was truly seen as an incredibly romantic adventure. We wanted to showcase unique ideas for a wedding reception luncheon and also non-traditional wedding reception attire. Using Sail Bay in Mission Beach, San Diego as our backdrop, we utilized some magical old pieces from our grandfathers to create a true worldly feeling. Old binoculars, a great vintage camera, luggage, and a decades-old barometer really helped to emit a classic feeling of flying, cruising, and boating in true old-school fashion.
We kept the floral simple and streamlined and drew from tropical destinations. Using pincushions and breezy palms, we made them look like specimens in simple glass vessels, showcasing their true beauty. Gold rimmed low ball glasses were adorned with eclectic vintage spoons collected from travels; Hawaii, Norway, England, and Alaska. A gauzy overlay was draped atop khaki linens and lovely turquoise Tandoori-style napkins were cinched with wooden napkin rings. Momental Designs created our delicious looking menus and tied in our traveling motif with an old world map. The place cards were personalized from vintage Air Mail envelopes discovered at an antique shop. We tailored them with our bride and groom’s favorite locales like Paris, London, Dubai, and Hong Kong.

Our bride’s vintage-inspired gold brocade dress was from Priscilla of Boston and the groom donned Tommy Bahama pants, shirt, hat, and a luxe leather weekender bag. After their sophisticated luncheon celebration they sailed off into the sunset on a sweet little sailboat to begin their next adventure together!"

Shoot design, styling, and floral: Nick and Aleah, The Good Life Special Events
Photography: Joseph and Jenny Llanes, Llanes Weddings
Stationery goods: Kristy Rice, Momental Designs
Bride’s attire: Priscilla of Boston from Bella Bridesmaid in La Jolla
Groom’s attire: Tommy Bahama in La Jolla
Hair and Makeup: Char Sanchez
Linens: Wildflower Linen
Location: The Catamaran Hotel & Resort

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fun and warm Easter tables

Easter is around the corner and we wanted to showcase some lovely table settings that are easy to put together but oh-so-sweet. Stay tuned for more posts this week, including an Easter DIY project and some Easter brunch recipes! Photo from Southern Living
Photo from Southern Living
Photo from Country Living

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Coffee: getting a jump-start on your guest list

We know that just the thought of starting your guest list for your wedding can make anyone shudder. Unfortunately this is one area where we really can't help our clients too much, but we would love to share our Top 5 Tips for getting started:

1. be sure to have some budget parameters laid out so that you have an idea of how many guests you can afford to invite and have attend.

2. don't over think. Simply start writing down names of your family (moms, dads, grandparents) and dearest friends and work your way out from there.

3. please take note; do not count on someone not attending and send them an invitation! If you feel obligated, send someone an announcement after the wedding. We have seen so many brides and grooms think that a dozen distant family members aren't going to trek cross-country and send out invitations. Surprise when they RSVP yes!

4. be mindful of whether your parents will be inviting guests and be sure to lay out a clear number of how many you will all be inviting so that your lists mesh.

5. possibly my favorite piece of advice that Nick gives to our clients: do not invite someone to your wedding whom you would not feel comfortable taking out to dinner. Simple as that. By the time the total budget is calculated, each invited guest can cost several hundred dollars to feed, entertain, and give cake and favors to. If you don't know this person well, consider skipping an invitation. Try to imagine your wedding with and without the guest in question. If you wouldn't necessarily miss them at the wedding, do not feel obligated to invite them.

Happy Planning! Aleah

Friday, March 26, 2010

We were so thrilled when the awesome Melissa from the Loveliest Day shared our Mediterranean-inspired shoot with her readers! Be sure to check out her sweet blog for gorgeous vintage inspiration and wedding goodies! Here are the details on this shoot:

Our inspiration: With summer quickly approaching, Nick and I wanted to inspire brides and grooms to think a little outside the wedding box. Our favorite region of the world, the Mediterranean coast from Saint Tropez, France to San Remo, Italy, gave us inspiration to design a cheery, vibrant, and lighthearted wedding celebration. For this bride and groom we kept the décor and ambiance light to mesh with their rooftop cocktail celebration.

Keep it simple: By playing up bright, sunshine inspired colors in the linens, we were able to downplay the centerpieces and keep them simple. Arranging lemons in striking turquoise containers was incredibly inexpensive and gave a unique look against the remarkable blue of the Pacific Ocean. We always try to inspire our clients with fun and different décor ideas – draw from your natural surroundings or your hobbies. If you love to travel, tie in the colors you remember from a recent trip. Bring in smells and dishes that represent the trip where your fiancé proposed. If it’s lemons from a trip to Nice, France, bright hibiscus tones from a Hawaiian weekend, delicious cuisine from an Aspen vacation, or a postcard from a Parisian getaway, tying in sweet memories here and there will ensure your wedding is a true reflection of you.

Consider alternatives: Again, we do so much thinking outside of the box and always love putting new twists on classic celebrations. With warmer weather on its way, why not celebrate your nuptials with your nearest and dearest at an elegant and fun beach celebration? If you’re not looking to have a traditional dinner reception with a large guest list, look to fabulous venues with unique spaces and décor, like Tower 23 Hotel in San Diego. Host a rooftop wedding bash and your wedding will be remembered for many years to come! Whatever you choose to do, remember to have fun during the process!

Our incredibly talented artists:
Photography: Joseph and Jenny Llanes from Llanes Weddings
Stationery goods: Kristy Rice from Momental Designs
Bride’s attire: Bella Bridesmaid in La Jolla; Lela Rose raspberry halter $310
Groom’s attire: Tommy Bahama in La Jolla
Hair and Makeup: Char Sanchez
Linens: Wildflower Linen
The location: Tower 23 Hotel

Shoot design, styling, and floral: Nick + Aleah – The Good Life Special Events

...and the winner is....Sharon Hummel!

Congratulations, Sharon Hummel- you will be receiving the gorgeous Kyndrid Regality necklace! Please email us at info {at} goodlifeevents.net with your address.

Thank you to everyone else for entering! Remember to enter GOODLIFE upon checkout to receive 25% off of any Kyndrid piece, good until March 30th - www.kyndrid.com
Stay tuned for more giveaway fun in the weeks to come!
Cheers, Aleah + Nick

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Floral forecast from Ariston Flowers in New York

When we were in New York in January we attended Bridal Bootcamp from the Wedding Salon and met Christian from Ariston Flowers, a floral studio providing gorgeous creations for over 30 years. We asked her to provide us with a spring floral forecast and love her predictions!
"I have to admit that I think the times of modern sleek design are waning as the demand for more garden styles are increasing, that is still within good design. Pave, or low and compact will always be in demand because of it's classy and elegant form. It's simple and best kept that way, with just a few elements to let the flowers do the talking.

That isn't to say that people are interested in bringing traditional English garden style of arranging back either, as that is what our grandparents would be proud of. And most of us don't want the type of arrangements found in Renaissance paintings.

I feel this is the year of bringing flowers back into flowers! No more outrageously priced minimal sculptures out of flowers, but more of an elegant use of what the flower already provides."

Thank you so much, Christian! We are thrilled spring has sprung!
Cheers! Aleah + Nick

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Lighting with candles

At most weddings we see our clients use candles of some sort to illuminate the ceremony and reception, giving a warm and romantic glow. Here are few tips and ideas to remember when thinking about using candle light:

1. try to stray from using tea lights in containers with moss or anything really flammable. We've heard stories about things catching fire! Floating candles have a unique effect and are much safer.2. if your venue doesn't allow for a real flame, you can use LED candles; though not the real thing, if you have them hanging or clustered together they can emit a glow
3. if your wedding is outdoors, hang tea lights from trees in mason jars secured with wire or ribbon. Talk about a magical effect!4. if using taper candles, be sure they are not close to any part of your floral! Trust us; we've seen a near disaster with a candle that was placed too close to a centerpiece. Also be sure you have something to catch the wax so it doesn't drip and ruin the expensive linens!
5. purchase candles that have at least a 6-8 hour burn; you don't want the flames going out mid-party!6. get creative - scatter various colored vessels (like glassybabies) down the center of your family-style table for a pop of colorHappy Planning!
Aleah + Nick

Images 1: from Emily + Ryen's wedding by Amore Studios 2. from theknot.com 3. from elsechelsea.typepad.com 4. studio nine photography 5. glassybaby.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Coffee for wedding artists: bringing your A game

Having been in this industry for over 7 years, Nick and I have worked with our fair share of absolutely amazing wedding artists (you know who you are!) but recently have come across some sub-par vendors.
We have some tips on sticking it out and not bringing down our industry in this ever-changing time:

1. You must always bring your A game to each and every meeting and event. This is not the time to slack off, not respond to emails, or provide shabby services.

2. Be kind. Say thank you. Trust us - a thank you note goes a very long way. Think about who recommends you. Surely you want to keep getting those referrals.

3. Be creative. Simple as that. It's time to think a bit outside the box and not recycle ideas or just copy inspiration boards or other ideas you see on blogs. Be you. After all, that's why you're in the event industry.

4. Don't sell yourself short. It's one thing to tailor a package for a client, but providing day-of wedding coordination for $200 or photography services for $500 is bringing down the bar in the industry and thus selling others short.

5. Seasoned professionals; the not-so-talented vendors will soon fall out of the industry and, as a certain talented friend in New York recently told us: the cream will rise to the top; see you there!

Cheers! Aleah + Nick

Friday, March 19, 2010

Smile, smile, smile!

We've had several of our couples ask us why people aren't smiling in wedding photos these days (at least the ones they see on popular wedding blogs). We don't really have an answer - maybe it's the more vintage-inspired photos where they're going for an old school, classic look?
Maybe the bride and groom just don't like to smile? But who doesn't like to smile and want to enjoy their wedding day?

Whatever style of photography you decide on for your big day, please be sure to get caught smiling! Have fun! Enjoy the celebration! You don't want to look back 20 years from now and wonder if you actually enjoyed yourself! It's great to go for an old school look but laugh. Cry. Celebrate. And be sure to grin from ear to ear! You won't regret it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Good Life's California feast for the eyes featured in Exquisite Weddings Magazine

Nick and I were absolutely thrilled to design and bring to life a California winery-meets-California coastal celebration for Exquisite Weddings Magazine at the Rancho Valencia Resort. It was a great chance for us to create a stunning display that appeals to everyone; both brides and grooms. Our intent was to design a table where guests could sit comfortably and eat, drink, visit, and be merry well into the night. By using warm tones of copper, stunning cobalt blue, and more muted linens, we were able to bring in touches that were both romantic and cozy. Utilizing rustic solid wood benches and captain's chairs, our family-style table could have been anywhere; in the middle of a field under a starry summer sky, on the beach at sunset, or set amidst grape vines in a sunny California winery.

Annette Gomez from Flowers by Annette Gomez provided the surreal centerpieces with an array of textures and drama. She created such a lush and gorgeous private garden for the guests in the center of the table!

Our linens set the tone for a feast for the eyes. We requested something a bit whimsical from Magnolias Linens in Manhattan and boy, did they deliver! We looked at a dozen or so combinations and fell in love with the nobby and chic white runners against a burlap base.

Mini desserts from San Diego Desserts sat atop each contemporary plate and a cheese board and artisan breads acted as our late night snack. Nick also whipped up some delicious summer sangria (the recipe was also featured!)
Jennifer Dailard from Simply Posh Designs in San Diego created our lovely paper goods - she kept with our vineyard motif and tied in grape vines and leaves in a sweet way.

Vintage print press stamps that have been in my family for years acted as a fun and really unexpected favor. We placed one on each place setting (an "E" for "Emma") with each guests' initial.
We were so fortunate to have these gorgeous images captured by super talented Terri Rippee, Rippee Photography and www.rippeephoto.com/blog *stay tuned for more images on the blog!

We hope you enjoy the table as much as we enjoyed creating it!
Cheers, Aleah + Nick

The Good Life featured in Exquisite Weddings Magazine

We are thrilled to have been asked to lend our advice to the newest issue of Exquisite Weddings Magazine regarding estate weddings.

Check out our advice and stay tuned to the blog tomorrow when we showcase our 4-page design spread!

Thank you for your continued support! Aleah + Nick

Invitation Etiquette with the Lovely Emily Ley

Today we turned to owner of Emily Ley Paper and talented stationer, Emily Ley, for some honest invitation etiquette answers to those sometimes unclear etiquette questions.

1. What is the key piece of advice you'd like to lend to brides and grooms when starting to design their wedding suites?
Look for designs that fit your personal style - designs that when you look back at them with your children and grandchildren one day, you see a "love story" unfolding, instead of "whatever was trendy" for the time being. Look for colors and layouts that are functional first - and convey the information you're sharing. Remember that your invitation is your guests' first glimpse at the biggest day of your lives thus far.

2. Do you prefer traditional wedding invitation wording or something a bit more modern?
These two styles can be mixed together in beautiful ways - I once worked with a bride who was very traditional but FULL of personality. Her invitation and response card were very traditional - but at the bottom of the response card we inserted "DJ play my song __________________" to add a fun element and bring her personality into the pieces. The guests LOVED this and the bride passed the song requests on to their musicians at the reception.

3. We were brought up to write a thank you note for most anything and know how important they can be. What might you recommend for those who aren't akin to writing thank you notes? What is the proper timing etiquette for writing thank you notes for wedding gifts?
Always, always, ALWAYS write thank you notes. Always. For your wedding and shower gifts, its customary to have your thank you notes mailed no later than one month after the wedding. I was once told (and never forgot this...) to never underestimate the power of a thank you note. Your thank you notes don't have to be long and verbose, just sincere messages of thanks to someone who took time to do something special for you. Write thank you notes not just for gifts, but to the vendors and special helpers who played a roll in your big day as well.

4. How do you propose a couple deals with an uninvited guest whose name shows up on the response card (i.e. a cousin's girlfriend when it was only the cousin's name on the actual invitation)?
This is why all my wedding suites come with double envelopes. This is hard to avoid without an inner envelopes. The outer envelope is used for the mailing address and the inner envelope bears the name of the person (or people) to whom the invitation is directly addressed. But generally, when these things happen, my advice is to "roll with it." If this only happens with a few guests, it wont put you too far over your guest count. If you do happen to push past your limit of attendees, politely and informally discuss the situation with the guest. Perhaps the "plus one" can join you at the reception if the ceremony venue is past capacity?

5. Can you please explain what's appropriate to include and not to include in wedding invitations?
In your suite, you want to include
- the hosts' names
- the bride and groom's names
- date and time
- venue address

I start to itch when wedding websites and registry information find their way onto the invitation. Enclosure cards are perfect for bearing website information. Registry information is not appropriate anywhere in the suite. Look at your suite as if you were a guest attending another wedding. What kind of questions might they have? Do they know where to be and when? How to RSVP?

Wedding invitations should introduce the biggest day of your life thus far - remember to keep your verbiage minimal and special. Additional information can be tucked in welcome bags, included in the ceremony program or listed on the wedding website. Choose a design that is timeless and special. Add personality with special touches like calligraphy, vintage postage stamps or envelope liners. Above all - choose something that will be representative of your love story. And work with a stationer who will take those things to heart when designing your suite.

Thank you so much, Emily! We appreciate your expert advice! *Be sure to visit Emily's sweet website and her informative blog!

Aleah + Nick

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A romantic Irish wedding from Dylan McBurney

In honor of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, we wanted to show off some lovely Irish wedding images from Dylan McBurney. Take a look at the unique color combination in the bouquets; so subtle but romantic! The bride's dress is out-of-this-world romantic; the oversized bow is so chic!

I am part Irish and have been fortunate to visit Ireland - I absolutely LOVE old Irish castles. There is just something so mysterious and so whimsical about them. Imagine celebrating your vows in one!
Aren't these hats fabulous?

We hope you enjoy these images and Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Aleah + Nick

Monday, March 15, 2010

The three key questions to ask your wedding photographer before you hire

We are lucky to refer our clients to some absolutely amazing photographers and work with fabulous photographers all the time. Over the years we've learned so much through the good (and the not-so-good) and wanted to share this advice with you. Here are our Top 3 questions to ask a potential photographer:

1. Who will be shooting our wedding? Most photographers you meet with will indeed be the ones shooting your wedding however, many have assistants or freelance photographers who might work with them. Be sure you are clear as to who will be there and if it's another photographer, meet with them ahead of time and look at their portfolios.

2. How many hours of photography are included in our package? This question might seem like a no-brainer and most photographers will stay on hand for the duration of the day, but many do not. This is incredibly important if you don't have a coordination team. We once had a photographer we weren't familiar with telling us he was leaving before the grand fireworks display - the final wow of the night. We had to convince him to stay and start the show twenty minutes earlier, despite him knowing the timeline.

Most good photographers won't leave (despite their package maybe saying the time is up) before key moments like the bouquet toss or first dance, even if the timeline falls a little out of place. After all, this wouldn't complete their story of your big day! Look for photographers who offer generous timing packages or those who will be there for the day.

3. What happens post-wedding? Let the photographer explain this process; most photographers have a pretty quick turnaround time (depending on the season) for at least getting you some sneak peek photos up on their blog. On the other hand, we've heard some horror stories about couples (not any of ours!) not getting to see their images for 6-8 months after the wedding! Talk about a letdown! Also ask whether you'll get an album or a DVD of images down the road so that you can print photos later; many photographers will also give you a print credit if you'd like them to print photos for you.
Happy Planning!
Aleah + Nick

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Good Life featured on Merci New York!

As many of you may know, we've been busy bees working on 6, yes 6, different designs for a massive photo shoot we orchestrated. We brought on the incredibly talented Joseph + Jenny Llanes of Llanes Weddings and an amazing bride and groom and had at it with some stunning tables and backdrops.

I won't spoil the other features and show images just yes, but I wanted to direct you all to Merci New York's blog to read all of the details and check out our full photo shoot - a modern twist on an English tea reception.
Jackie is just so sweet to feature our work; be sure to follow her blog, she features very chic goodies, tips, and happenings in NYC.
*Here's a quick sneak peek!

*Photos by Llanes Weddings

In case you missed it!

We are just thrilled with being spotted here and there on the web these last two weeks! In case you missed it, here are our favorite features (a big thank you to these absolutely amazing bloggers!):

  • Today we had the honor of being featured on Merci New York's fabulous blog! Yahoo!
  • Last week we gave a tidbit of advice to Lauren at Every Last Detail regarding the benefits and drawbacks of a first look on your wedding day
  • On March 4th our Top 5 Tips for selecting a wedding venue (and avoiding wedding factories) was featured on the lovely Brenda's Wedding Blog
  • We were featured on the Eco-Beautiful Weddings Blog - be sure to check out this blog; they feature some truly amazing green wedding finds!

Cheers! Aleah + Nick

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fabulous KYNDRID jewelry giveaway

ABOUT: KYNDRID is a unique jewelry line for men and women. Each collection has been inspired by relatable lifestyles and personality types. KYNDRID encourages you to continue to express yourself by creating your own collection that expresses your individuality. The unique pieces will express the complexity of who you truly are and that is what KYNDRID believes to be most important.

As a responsible family in the community of the world, KYNDRID has created a philanthropic collection; KYND ("kind"), in which each piece has direct association with important charities and foundations that were selected to share proceeds with KYNDRID. The design house selects these foundations based on their contribution to the world at large and how they address important needs and issues of our planet and those of us sharing it.

We fell in love with KYNDRID'S pieces as they are so unique and fresh and their KYND collection is incredible.

OUR GIVEAWAY: We have worked with Kyndrid to offer one lucky reader a truly stunning necklace called Regality. Aleah specifically chose this piece as it's the perfect icing to a lovely wedding dress confection. Breathtaking, yet simple. It can also be paired with jeans and a t-shirt and clutch for a fun night on the town.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply leave a comment anywhere on our blog with the word KYNDRID. One winner will be chosed at random on Friday, March 26th. Be sure to spread the word!
**be sure to leave your name so we know who to give the necklace to! We can't give it to an anonymous commenter! :)

In addition, KYNDRID has kindly offered our readers and clients a 25% on any purchase through March 30th. Simply enter the code GOODLIFE upon check out!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

...Something borrowed, something blue....

Muted icy blue is my favorite color and is just so magical. We even incorporated the tone into our own wedding. My dress sash was icy blue, as were my bouquet accents and hints of our invitations. There's something so elegant, timeless, and unique about this color. So in sticking with the old adage, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, why not wear a pale, icy blue wedding dress?
1. Dress from JLM Couture 2. Image from redhotbrides.com 3. Image from BridalwaveTV
Pair your gown with any of these statement pieces from Stella and Dot jewelry - 1. Bardot Flower $39 2. Glitz flower earrings $39 3. St. Tropez statement necklace $178
Cheers! Aleah

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Monday Coffee: Our Top 5 Pieces of Advice for staying calm, cool + collected when planning your wedding

We can't stress enough: it's so important to have fun during your wedding planning process. We aim to make each and every meeting with our clients refreshing and lighthearted, whether we're tasting cake or talking logistics.

1. Stay organized. This tip is so important -Google has some great budget, layout, checklist, and other spreadsheets (here) to keep you on track. Buy some sort of notebook or filing system where you can store fabric swatches, paper samples, and magazine pages or photos you like. *this notebook is from Mindy Weiss2. Don't micromanage. If you have a coordination team, let them manage the major details; after all, that's why you hire them. Any good coordinator won't take over your wedding (it will always be your!) but rather will keep you informed, keep you on track, recommend high caliber vendors, and help you bring your vision to reality. If you don't have a team, be sure to break up your planning in months, rather than one long TO DO list. If you have friends or family who would love to help, by all means let them - it can be lots of fun! ---but see our last post about not taking advantage.

3. Trust your vendors. We've said this in previous Monday Coffee posts and we mean it. If you put off a calm, cool + collected vibe and hire on great vendors, their talent and creativity will really shine through. Give them some room to whip up some samples and show off their amazing ideas rather than putting them in a box and holding them to just one design. You'll likely say "wow; why didn't we think of that!"

4. Don't take on too much. Letting DIY projects get out of control can create so much stress. While lots of our clients have fun and take pride in creating invitations or other handmade goodies, trying to do it all could be the end to having a great planning process. Know when to stop and turn your projects over to the pros.

5. Share the fun with your bride or groom to-be. We're also big proponents in sharing the tasks; let your groom surprise you with a funky play list or take on planning cocktail hour or a down-home late night menu.

We hope that you take heed to our advice and stay calm, cool + collected. You'll be sure to enjoy your planning process!
Cheers! Aleah + Nick

Friday, March 5, 2010

More photo love from Karina Pires, II

Happy Friday, everyone!

Be sure to show Karina Pires some love!


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