Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Just In!

We were so thrilled when Nonpareil Magazine jumped at our out-of-the-box idea for their third issue. We wanted to breathe new life into the popular candy and dessert buffet idea and give brides and grooms a fun project and favor display to wow their guests: a wedding flower market.

Check out the current issue (just released yesterday!) and stay tuned to our blog for more photos and a continuation of our wedding flower market. A special thank you to the amazing Kristy Rice from Momental Designs for creating the lovely flower tags and an awesome wedding sign (we'll post soon) and the amazing Shannon Lee from Shannon Lee Images for capturing our design so well!

Happy Planning! Aleah + Nick

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Bride Wore Black

I absolutely adore these amazing gowns from Max Chaoul, snapped by Olivier Lalin in Paris. Talk about an out-of-the-box look. Though these frocks are black, there is still something so classic, so romantic, and so...well, French about them. We've featured Olivier Lalin's photography before and think his work is just outstanding. It's cutting edge-meets-true romance.

Happy Planning! Aleah

57 Grand free sample dress promotion

Back in January we had the pleasure of meeting the fabulous ladies, Carmen and Saukok, behind 57 Grand, a unique and chic dress atelier for bridesmaids.
Throughout the month of May you can order your very own 57 Grand sample dress, free of charge. You'll only pay for return shipping. Their concept is just fantastic; go to their site, select a dress(es) and the color(s) that you like and order a sample to make sure it works for you. Return the sample and they'll whip up your sweet frock in a matter of weeks! What's even better is that the ladies oversee each design and your dress is made in Manhattan. They offer a rainbow of colors and an assortment of fun styles. Cheers! Aleah

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Absolutely stunning Parisian wedding photos

It's no secret that I love, love, love Paris and anything Parisian or French (the food, the wine, the clothes, the architecture, the romance...). When I stumbled upon Noah Hawthorne's images from this couple's Parisian nuptials, I fell in love even more! There really isn't much to say aside from "WOW."
Enjoy, Aleah

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Coffee: 4 fun summer favor ideas

Why not put a twist on the centuries-old tradition of wedding favors and give guests something a little unexpected? We're loving creating DIY-favor setups as they give guests a fun activity and a cool favor they'll be sure to use and remember.

1. Signifying warm summer nights, collect mason jars and create a DIY-lemonade stand. Guests can fill mason jars with a gourmet lemonade mix, add fun accoutrements like striped paper straws or sprigs of rosemary, and take home a cute printed recipe card to make a vodka rosemary lemonade drink for those hot summer nights. Image from Getty Images

2. Sure, this isn't a new idea, but we see guests really swoon over photo booths. A photo speaks a thousand words; give your guests the ability to dress up and act goofy in a photo booth and take home a copy of their snapshot. Dress up the booth with a cute summer backdrop and summer-time props. Image from SummerPicnicWedding

3. Have Grandma's apple pie recipe? Give each family or couple a pie-in-a-jar to take home and enjoy. Fill a mason jar with the ingredients needed, cinch with a fun checkered summertime ribbon, and attach Grandma's recipe. If you're having too many guests to make this doable, fill short mason jars with homemade jam. Image from iStockPhoto

4. Like to play outdoors? Give guests customized frisbees to take home for summertime play! We have clients who are doing this for their July wedding and it's just such a fun idea! Check out Myflyingdiscs.com to personalize your frisbees!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday fun with boutonnières

I spotted these vibrant + awesome boutonnières and just had to share! Talk about fun for a groom who doesn't want to don a flower boutonnières! Not only will they not wilt, but they'll be a keepsake for years to come! Enjoy, Aleah Image from Juicefairy.comBoutonnières from Etsy seller Desicra for $15

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Friday Fun: a sunny yellow frock

I just love this gorgeous confection I found on Etsy for $64.99 - it has summer written all over it!
Enjoy! Aleah

Friday Fun with Windswept Art Farm

I am just in love with these awesome mini-shrines from Windswept Art Farm. Artist Paula has a collection of larger boxed shrines that are inspired from roadside shrines while traveling in Italy, and she's branched off to create amazing custom mini-shrines perfect for your desk or as a gift.

What's even better is that she uses recycled materials whenever she can; whether it's reusing clock parts, beads, or other objects, these pieces are cool and eco-friendly!

Check out her Etsy site as well; you can purchase pre-made mini-shrines or have them custom made. We're very interested in having her create wedding cake toppers customized to the couple!
Happy Planning! Aleah

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mother's Day gifts for the gourmet mom

This selection of gifts is perfect for any gourmet loving mom who likes to entertain:
1. Measuring spoons - $18 from Anthropologie
2. Truffle Salt - $26 from Dean and Deluca
3. Sun-ripened apron - $32 from Anthropologie
4. Dean and Deluca: Robert Lambert preserves - $40 for three
5. Twig Serving Set from Pottery Barn- on sale for $14
6. Membrillo: A memorable tapas when paired with Manchego cheese -$15 from Dean and Deluca

Nick's Picks: 5 Often-Overlooked Tips

Over the years we've learned a lot from our clients about what works and what doesn't during the planning process. Here are 5 Often-Overlooked Tips when planning; from honesty to things you should consider on the big day.

1. Be honest about your budget. Dishonesty isn't the right way to start off your life together; be open and honest with your budget and lay it all out on the table. Make important decisions together and don't surprise your new spouse with an unexpected tab after the wedding is said and done.

2. Eat! Arrange for food to be delivered (either at your venue or where you're getting ready) prior to your ceremony to you and your wedding party. The day goes by so fast and if you're drinking any alcohol you'll want to do so on a full stomach.

3. Pay delivery fees. Some clients opt to have family or friends pick up linens or other rental items to save a buck. While it's a valiant effort, think about the stress it puts on family and friends. After a great celebration, the last thing they want to be responsible for is taking home bags of linens and returning them.

4. Opt to get a hotel room(s) the night prior to the wedding that's either at or close to your venue. Plan on having your collective wedding parties meet at home base to get ready and take photos. Having a place to get ready, take a deep breath, and relax just a bit before the big moment is key. If you're getting married at an estate or such venue, cordon off an area that's reserved for you. Make it your space; somewhere guests won't wander to; somewhere you can take some time to yourself before the celebration begins.

5. Use a car service to take you home after your bash. More often than not, our clients opt for a car service to take them away after the wedding so that they can indulge in their own celebration. But the clients we've had who didn't often wish they did. It's not only one less thing you have to deal with, but it enables you to have a set time to leave, rather than hanging out and watching your wedding get broken down, which we've seen and isn't any fun! Make your departure awesome and have your guests bid you farewell as you drive away at a set time.

Cheers! Nick

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chic and fun Mother's Day gifts

It's hard to believe that April is wrapping up! It can only mean that Mother's Day is upon us! I wanted to do a series of fun Mother's Day gifts; thoughtful individually or luxurious as a gift set for your mother. Here are some cute ideas for a mother that loves sweet and soft tones. Stay tuned for more ideas!
1. Stella and Dot has a super cute charm collection - purchase the chain and add charms as you like. Chains starting at $14 for leather, $24 for silver, $36 for gold; Mom charm $39, Trinket Stones, $24
2. We just love glassybaby and I paired this sweet trio of Key Lime, Crocus, and Peony - $40 each (stay tuned to the blog for our next glassybaby giveaway!)
3. What mom doesn't love flowers? These arrangements from Martha Stewart for 1800Flowers are gorgeous - #1 Sugar sweet bouquet $49.95 #2 Persian violet $39.95 #3 Garden bouquet $69.95

The Good Life featured on Rock 'n Roll Bride!

We were totally thrilled when Kat from the Rock 'n Roll Bride posted some images from our Moulin Rouge-inspired shoot! Here are some more photos and details behind our inspiration:

When styling this photo shoot, we wanted to create a romantic vintage atmosphere with a twist. Something vibrant, elegant, and out-of-the-box. Having been to the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris, we tied in details and rich colors reminiscent of our visit. The rich reds, deep purple irises, and black accents were intended on creating perhaps a non-traditional wedding palette. Tucking black feathers into deep, velvety red roses and contrasting purple irises, our floral pieces emitted a tone of a classic wedding romance while being a bit off-beat.

Sheet music was rolled into scrolls and cinched with crystal drops for a little touch of whimsy. Gorgeous hand-painted place cards accented our ruby French brocade linen and black satin napkins gave a punch of interest. All of these elements came together seamlessly to create a wedding celebration that is timeless, a bit sexy, and just radiating romance.

The vision for our bride was classic however, she isn’t wearing a true wedding dress. Her frock is a bridesmaid’s dress from designer Jenny Yoo – it just happens to be white. Using a simple oversized black flower in her hair added so much drama to our bride’s look. Classic and timeless what the look we gave our groom; he donned a traditional black tuxedo with a charming bow tie.

It’s all about drawing from things you love in life when dreaming up your wedding vision. If you are a music lover, bring in subtle pieces of sheet music and incorporate in your stationery goods or favors. If you love Paris, tie in Parisian textures, fabrics, or subtle touches like we did with our 1890s-style Parisian Ferris wheel “bouquet.” If you don’t want to wear a traditional wedding dress; don’t! We encourage our clients to create a wedding experience that’s a true celebration of them, not simple a replica of someone else’s vision. Just look around; inspiration can be found everywhere!

Shoot design, styling, and floral: Nick + AleahThe Good Life Special Events
Photography: Joseph and Jenny Llanes from Llanes Weddings
Stationery goods: Kristy Rice from Momental Designs
Bride’s attire: Bella Bridesmaid in La Jolla – Jenny Yoo - $800
Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Makeup by Char Sanchez
Linens: Wildflower Linen
The location: Tower 23 Hotel

Plan B: Tenting

It's our job as planners to ensure that all of our bases are covered in order to create not only a beautiful, but successful wedding or event for our clients. Many times this means providing our expertise in terms of rental items, staging, tenting, Plan B reservations, and overall logistical coordination when planning an outdoor event.

If anyone saw the Bachelor wedding last month, you likely cringed like we did when it started dumping on the wedding ceremony (though the couple actually had fun with it)! The last week or so in Southern California has been totally unpredictable in terms of weather (it's pouring outside right now) and we wanted to share some top tips to cover your bases in case of rain, wind, or extremely hot weather:

1. Do your research. Even if you are getting married in a usually sunny location, check the Farmer's Almanac or a local weather guide for weather patterns from years past. Though this is a good indicator, it's certainly not a guarantee. Thanks to El Nino, Southern California weather has been spotty lately and we've had wind and showers during normally warm and gorgeous months.

2. Have a back-up plan. If your ceremony and reception are outside, it's always a great idea to have a back-up plan: either an indoor location nearby where the events can take place, or tents that can either shade guests from extreme heat or protect them from rain and wind. Many clients don't think about having a tent for hot weather, but tenting your reception can keep guests shaded, cooler, and comfortable.

3. Talk to your rental company about their cancellation plan. Many rental companies will charge you a 10% deposit to hold a tent. Ask them how far in advance you can cancel the order; the worst case scenario might be a loss of your deposit but given an emergency tent situation, having one on hold can save your event.

4. Finally, make sure to include the important accoutrements with a tent: sidewalls to protect guests from wind, chandeliers or lighting, liners to cover the metal bars, and heaters to keep guests warm. Even if you have a gorgeous wedding day, summer nights on the ocean, lakes, and other locations can get a bit chilly. Come your wedding day, you'll be happy you had a Plan B, even if it's not implemented. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Happy Planning!
Aleah + Nick Photo from Zephyr Tent Rentals

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer is on my mind and I am so eager for endless warm nights, picnics, and pies! This inspiration board encompasses my thoughts for summer: it's a bit rustic, care-free, vibrant, unique, and elegant. I hope you enjoy! Aleah
1. Photo from Vinatran.org
2. Flower photo from Stressawaybridal.com
3. Berry pie photo from Countryliving.com
4. Place mats from Napa Style
5. Russian Portugal blue linen from Wildflower Linen
6. Toasting bells from Napa Style

Monday, April 19, 2010

A tropical vision

To polish off my tropical kick, I wanted to post this inspiration boad I whipped up for a summer party . The blue tones from the Yucatan Peninsula (see a few posts back) gave me some inspiration to create this board. Think mangoes, beautiful assorted blue tones, shell accents, and textured linens to create an elegant look that isn't too kitchy tropical. 1. Shells from our shoot with Llanes Weddings
2. Mangoes from Smitten Kitchen
3. Pearl charger from Classic Party Rentals
4. Bridesmaid's dress from J. Crew - Sydney dress on sale for $159.99
5. Shell garland from Terry's Village
6. Baja blue linen from Wildflower Linen
7. Shantung citron linen from Wildflower Linen
8. Rushing whirlpool glass from Anthropologie - $6
9. Life at the sea seahorse tumbler from Anthropologie - $14
10. From the deep dishes from Anthropologie - $14-24
11. Calais letterpress invitations from Bella Figura

Destination Wedding Planning, Part II

In our Monday Coffee post last week, we laid out some tips to consider when thinking about a destination wedding. Once you've decided that saying I Do in a tropical or destination locale is right for you, think about this when starting the planning process:

1. When you are looking at hotels (the majority of destination weddings are held at resorts), think about how many guests might want to stay at the hotel. Talk with the hotel about what kinds of perks they will offer you and your guests based on the number of guests that stay. Often times this is a free room for you or an upgrade.

2. Talk to different airlines. Many airlines (like Alaska) have perks or free tickets for brides and grooms who bring a certain number of flyers on their planes.

3. Plan ahead for your rehearsal dinner as well. If you take a pre-wedding trip to the destination, check out all possibilities for other activities like snorkeling, shopping, dining, and even locations for your rehearsal dinner or other welcome activities for guests. Again, negotiate with these places and restaurants for any perks based on the number of guests you bring them.

4. Again, negotiate. Many resorts have pre-picked wedding packages that very well might not suit you. Don't hesitate to ask about swapping their in-house photography package for a larger reception dinner for your guests. Resorts want your business and are likely willing to be flexible with what they offer.

5. Know what is required. In Mexico, for example, you will need to have a blood test approved before you tie the knot. This can be done at your resort by their on-site doctor and is simple, but you will likely need to be in Mexico at least three days before your wedding.
As always, Happy Planning!Aleah + Nick

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Inspiration: Yucatan Peninsula

Whenever we travel (or do anything!) I look around to get inspiration. It comes from flowers, people, clothing, buildings, the ocean, and virtually everywhere I look.

I wanted to share a few photos of inspiration I snapped on our recent trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. You can see that my mind was focused on all of the gorgeous tones of blue - aqua, turquoise, navy....I hope you enjoy!

The water on Isla Mujeres
Stay tuned for Part II of our destination wedding planning tips and some tropical vision boards based on this inspiration.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Coffee: destination weddings Part I

We just love destination weddings and happen to be typing this Monday Coffee post from our deck on the Yucatan Peninsula. I thought it would be fitting to offer up a few quick tips to help you determine whether a destination wedding is right for you:

1. location, location, location: deciding on a location should be based on a few key elements. Where do you love to travel to? We see the most popular destination wedding locales as tropical settings. Consider the type of hotel; will your guests be comfortable and is the hotel affordable? What are the amenities like? Think about the close proximity to airports, towns, and other activities. Select a location that has great reviews for both service, restaurants, a gorgeous setting, and stellar wedding services.

2. keep in mind that a destination wedding very well might not be less expensive than an in-town wedding. If your guest list grows and you take into consideration travel expenses to-and-from several times, the costs can elevate. However, if you do it right you can end up saving a great deal of money.

3. will you be happy not having a 200-guest wedding? Chances are if you invited 200 guests to your nuptials in Costa Rica they couldn't all attend. But keeping it simple can feel so good and celebrating with your close family and friends in a tropical (or other) locale can be the best type of celebration. Consider whether you'll have a hankering to throw a post-wedding bash when you return for those who couldn't make it.

4. Along with #1, really be sure to know what the hotel offers you for your wedding. We have seen our fair share of destination venues that simply have you pick your flowers or cake from their standard "look book" and don't stray too much from offering those designs. If you're fine with this then this type of venue provides a level of simplicity. If you still want to have a unique design, look, and feeling, be sure to relay this to your coordination team (or the on-site staff); as many destination hotels will still provide that level of simplicity but will bend over backwards to create a stunning look that isn't like other weddings.

A snapshot from last night's gorgeous wedding at the Omni Hotel

5. Ask the hotel how many other weddings might going on during your wedding weekend. Though this is a great question to ask at any venue, destination or otherwise, we've seen many destination hotels say that they might have 5 or 6 weddings going on at one time. While this might be okay for some people, most of our clients want their wedding to be the only big show that day.

6. Finally, consider the level of privacy you want and find a venue based on what they offer. Think about a tropical destination setting; you very well might have people walking by as you are saying "I Do" in their bathing suits.

Stay tuned for Part II: Hotels love weddings and as a result will likely offer you room upgrades, perhaps free nights depending on how many of your guests stay.........................

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Orcas Island photo love: Laurel McConnell

We just love Laurel McConnell and love poring over her blog for amazing shots we can share! If you don't know Laurel, be sure to check out her amazing site and fabulous blog - she's also on Twitter! Laurel is based in Seattle but loves to travel for weddings!

Here are some images from a beautiful wedding on Orcas Island, Washington; such a charming little island in the San Juan Island chain.

Don't you just love this image of the bride's Claddagh bracelet?

The above image reminds me of summers in coastal Washington

If you are ever in Seattle you must visit the Confectional in Pike Place - they have some mouth-watering cheesecake desserts.

Love this. Yep. Real things happen at weddings!

Cheers! Aleah + Nick


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