Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In by 5, out by 9:30 - The Quickie Wedding

It happens. It's the wedding site of your dreams, but it has a curfew. Whether it's because of neighborhood sound ordinance or the owners just want to to home early, sometimes you've only got a few hours to have a party. But don't fret - it's totally possible.

Couple of things to keep in mind:

1. The pros and cons of putting an earlier time on the invitations. You know, 4:30pm when the ceremony starts at 5. It's my experience that folks usually show up 15 minutes or so earlier than the stated start time, so you might have a lot of people hanging around for 45 minutes. BUT, you know your guests. If you really feel that the majority of your guests, or rather, the really important ones like close friends or family, are prone to lateness, then go ahead. But think about having a back-up just in case, like an open bar or hors d'ouerves before the ceremony.

2. The pros and cons of shortening the cocktail hour. Like, making it a half-hour instead of a full hour. The cocktail hour isn't just a time for people to eat appetizers and drink, but also for your vendors to set-up for the reception, and for you to get your pictures taken. Everyone depends on that hour.

3. Food Service. A lot of places/caterers will not serve while there are other things going on, such as the first dance, toasts, etc. This is for your benefit, so everyone has their attention on you, and it's kind of nice, really, so don't just ask them to serve anyway. I recommend that you ask how much time they'll need to serve x amount of people, and incorporate that into your timeline.

So, a possible timeline would look something like this:

5:00-5:30pm - Ceremony
5:30-6:30pm - Cocktail hour, wedding party pictures, reception set-up
6:30 - 6:45pm - Grand entrance and first dance, followed by parents dances (you can shave even more time off of this if you and your fiance dance with your parents to the same song)
6:30-7:00pm -Dinner is served (again, check with your caterer to see how long this will take them, and adjust your timeline accordingly)
7:00-7:15pm - Family intros and toasts (make sure you know who is giving toasts, and ask them to keep it short)
(7:15 - 7:30 - Alternate time for first and parents dances, if you don't want to do it right after the grand entrance)
7:15-7:30 - Finishing dinner
7:30-7:40 - Cake cutting, served immediately afterwards
7:40 - 9:20 - Wow, look at all the time your guests have to eat cake and dance! And make up for anything that took longer than expected!
9:20 - 9:30 - Bouquet and garter toss. OR, you can use the last 10 minutes from your dancing time to do this, and end the party with a last dance by you and your new spouse.

Any questions? Email me at

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Directions: Keep it simple

One of my clients is just about to send out her invitations. She wanted to send directions from the church to the reception to just those guests living in California, and then give the out of state guests theirs at their hotel rooms. I pointed that it would be much easier to just send the directions to everyone in their invites. Even though it's a given that a few people are going to lose them/not bring them/forget them on the day of the wedding, you can always email the directions to the hotel, since the front desk will probably be the first place they'll go, and have a few copies of directions to the reception at the church with you. Much better than having to run around and drop stuff off on the day before your wedding, when seriously, you will have NO time, and you're probably going to be a little stressed out anyway. Plus, it's always a good idea to put as much information in the invites as you can.

Also, the re-design of my website is going up soon, and the advice column is moving to my blog. So, if you have any wedding related questions, send me an email at All questions will be answered, and published.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Congratulations, Lily and Shaun!

...who are that most rare of creatures these days: Highschool sweethearts. The wedding was at the Oviatt penthouse on Friday, which is starting to feel like my second home. 125 people, chiavari chairs, and brown satin tablecloths and napkins. The colors were brown and various shades of pink - very beautiful, very elegant. They had two favors - golf tees with their names on them, which Shauntold me they ordered from, and little brown boxes with pink ribbons on them, filled with small pastries. The cake was from Holly's - vanilla cake with tres de leche filling and fresh strawberries. Lily wore a lace-covered dress with a train and full cathedral length veil, that she had made for her. The bride and groom did actually see each other before the ceremony for pictures, but they had a private moment before that, and they were so cute! One of my favorite parts during any wedding is the first time the groom sees the bride in her dress, and Lily and Shaun were just glowing.

Flowers were by Hector Martinez and Edwin Portillo, huge arrangements of pink roses and an arch at the altar, 4 small vases with flowers at each table. The bouquets and boutenierres, were, of course, lillies. Gorgeous, gorgeous, 310-936-7409. They supplied the linens as well. The DJ did the lighting as well (Chris at, uplights for the altar, pinpoints for each table, and the music, well - my key for everyone having a good time is a full dance floor and a long line at the bar, and both were in evidence. Photographer was Toni Rosati,, and she was great. I've heard of her before, but hadn't worked with her, yet, so I can't wait to see the pictures in a couple of weeks. The vidographer were family friends from Northern California,and they were married by Lily's uncle. Catering was by Capri in Pasadena, 626-796-7652. This was the first time I'd done a wedding at the Oviatt where there was a buffet, and yours truly had to call everyone up by table. I wasn't sure it would work because it can be a tight fit with so many tables, but we were able to keep the line moving. Great food.

So, yeah,it was a very cool wedding. But they always are, actually.

Monday, May 01, 2006

First One Down!

So, the workshop went pretty well. Jen and Nate from B and G photography were wonderful, there was cake, questions were asked and answered, and now I've got to figure out how and when I'm going to do it all again this month. Big sigh of relief...

There was also a bridal show, and always, I found one new thing that was cool.Well, cool in a sort of scary way - you know how the average wedding in Los Angeles costs 25k? Well, can help you with that.

So, this week, I'm prepping for a wedding this Friday at the Oviatt. Oviatt weddings are also great, totally worth pushing back seeing MI:3 until Saturday.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Things I learned at a Bridal Show

For me, Bridal shows are a great place to find out what the "next best thing" is, a new product or service, or finding someone who does an old product or service in a new way. And sometimes I just find something that's neat.

At the bridal show I went to yesterday, I discovered three things:
1. Windsor fashions has finally and officially come out with a bridesmaid dress line. Actually, that's where I got my bridesmaid dresses, because they were cute, and tea-length, could actually be worn again and cost my girls about $70 each, if that. That was going on four years ago, so the line is only a little bit more expensive that now, but still totally reasonable. What I like about the "bridal collection" is that any of these dresses can be turned into a wedding dress just by buying it in white or ivory. Also, check out the prom section for more maid dress choices - A lot of these dresses can be found in your local store, too, I bet.

2. The television show "Bridezillas" is looking for more, well, Bridezillas. If you're getting married in the next three months, you can try out for season 3, and if you're getting married in the next six months, you can try out for season 4. To apply, email your name, wedding date, wedding budget and a photo to

Between you and me, I've never really seen any bride on that show that was truly a nightmare - although granted I may have a higher threshold than most people - and it always seems that the weddings were more complicated than the bride was. Absolute truth, since I get asked all the time, is that I've never really had to deal with a "Bridezilla". The bride has always been the least of my problems at a wedding. This has not, however, stopped me from having the Bridezillas theme song on my ipod.

3. Is "The Wedding Singer" one of your favorite movies? 'Cause it's one of mine. And now, they're doing a reality competition show called, you guessed it - "Battle of the Wedding Singers". On each show, two professional wedding singers will go head to head at a real life reception. And what do they need? Weddings! Email or call 310-248-6026 for more info.

And, hey, you've got 'til Friday to sign up for my workshop on Sunday in order to save $5 at the door.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ask the Wedding Planner: In Two Weeks!

I'm VERY excited. I'm getting a lot of vendors to give discounts to attendees: Not just a bridal shop, but a rental company, florists, my favorite bakery on the planet, a limo company, another company that makes Save-The-Date magnets, invitations, and just today, balloon decoration. And those are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. There's also going to be a full-fledged bridal show that day as well, so I'll have a booth as well. Space is getting more limited all the time, so register ASAP -

See you there!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Congratulations, Regina and Chuck!

They just got married at Cicada on Sunday. Gorgeous wedding in an art deco setting - the chuppah was made of tree trunks draped with lily-festooned strings. Ceremony seating was in the round, which was the second time I've seen this done. I'll post a picture just as soon as I get one. The chuppah and the centerpieces - tree boxes with more lily strings - were a bit complicated to put together, but the effect was well worth it, so I have to hype the Florist - Krislyn Floral Couture. If you go to "Objects" and then click on #16 to get an idea of what the centerpieces looked like. They're about $200 each, so not cheap, but man, GORGEOUS. But if you have the extra scratch, you might want to have them put it together themselves.

Also, you can now register online for my seminar at the end of the month. There's going to be a bridal show in the same building at the time, and a free ticket is included with admission. Jen and Nate from B&G Photography have agreed to join me to talk about wedding photography, too. Plus, I've lined up a lot of vendor discounts for you, too, on invitations, limos, flowers, stuff like that.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What I Love about weddings, part XXVI

...the gorgeous stuff people put together for them. I'm coordinating a wedding downtown tomorrow at this cool art-deco old-school place called Cicada. The bride hand-made these little tree branches with birds perched on them to b used to hold the table numbers. I'm not doing it justice, I'll have to get pictures. And the centerpieces look like trees with cherry blossoms hanging from them. Pictures tomorrow!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ask the Wedding Planner

I'm going to be holding a wedding planner seminar called "Ask the Wedding Planner" on April 30th. Tentative location is at the Olympic Collection in West L.A. It's basically going to be an extended Q&A session, where brides and grooms can come with their questions. And, oh, yes, there will be cake. And vendor discounts. And actually vendors - Nathan and Jen from B&G photography have agreed to come and speak about wedding photography, and answer some questions about that as well. I'll be posting more details on my website soon, but if you have any questions right now, email me at

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

So Far

I'm about two days from changing the website, I swear. I think part of the reason that I've been dragging my feet is that I really like my site, it's just getting creaky. It's time for a change, but, you know, I built it with my own two hands and latent html skills, and it will be so sad to see it go. Sigh. The new site's gonna rock, though.

Also, does anyone want to trade a Treo 700 for a day-of wedding package. Has to be Verizon, though. Yes, I'm serious.

The new InStyle Weddings is out, so there will be review of that by the end of the week.

And I'm going to start a new series called "Vendors" I love, about, well, vendors I love, and have worked with a few times.

So, lots of stuff coming up. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Top Ten Tips for a Charmed Wedding

If you go to the website right now, you can sign up to receive my Top Ten Tips for a Charmed Wedding. They're really good. Honest!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Made a few changes my website. Tightened up the text, changed the message in "About The Silver Charm" - which you'll enjoy if you liked Shakespeare in Love as much as I did. I should have an all new website up in the next couple of weeks (yes, I've been saying that forever), but I got tired of how the old one looked. Let me know what you think.

Oh, and the Chocolate Festival. DISAPPOINTED!! So, apparently they couldn't find enough chocolate vendors (!!) so they had two - TWO - bakeries, and filled the rest of the space with a flea market. So, there's one booth selling pieces of chocolate cake, and one booth selling chocolate strawberries, and in between were folks selling saris, and mortgage insurance, and, uh, cell phone service. So, while I was trying to get our money back, I asked the organizers what happened. And he said to me, "well, we sent out invitations to all the bakeries in Ventura, and only two responded." And then what did you do? What about the bakeries that would serve Ventura County, like Camarillo or Santa Barbara? I came from the Valley, just a hop skip and 50-minute jump away. What about bakeries in Thousand Oaks and Woodland Hills? Gah! A potentially good event just completely gone to waste. It hurts me personally because I used to do large scale events like this back in the day. Plus,it was just an insult to chocolate.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Meanwhile, back at Barnes and Noble

The boy and I just spent a couple of hours sipping coffee and reading at B&N. And they've already set up a special table for wedding books and magazines. One that caught my eye was "The Knot Guide for the Mother of the Bride". 108 pages, but I can sum it up for you in two words: CHILL. OUT.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Old Traditions, New Uses

I got into a discussion about wedding dresses with my sister-in-law, and she told me that she once went to a wedding where the bride wore her mother's wedding dress, which had also been her grandmother's wedding dress. Yes, that tradition. And she didn't change it anyway, either, so she was wearing a 50-year old dress, in a 50-year old style, at her wedding. Which is fine, if she was okay with it (everything's fine as long as you're really okay with it).

BUT, as I explained, there is an alternative. I've had a few brides who've been in similar situations where a passed down dress or traditionally ethnic clothing are involved. One of the best ways to handle it is to wear your own dress to the ceremony, and then change into the traditional clothing sometime during the reception. First/Parent dances are a good time, and you can throw in a little ceremony to honor your parents/grandparents/heritage in there, and then change back into your dress if you want to. It's a crowd-pleaser, trust me. You'd be surprised how many clothing changes there are in weddings these days.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chocolate and Errands

I consider this part a public service announcement: The First Annual Chocolate Festival is being held in Ventura this weekend - Me and the boy are SO there on Sunday.

Anyway, as wedding season is coming up fast, I've been thinking about expanding my services. I'm thinking about offering a service just for people who need help setting up for the wedding - you know, you've got all the candles, centerpieces and favors ready to go, but everyone who could set it up at the reception is going to be at the church? I've done it a couple of times, and I think it's a valuable service, it's just a matter of marketing it.

Plus, I also want to expand into other events as well. Parties, conferences, openings, you know, the stuff I cut my teeth on growing up as a young event planner on the hard streets of L.A.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Trying to find a place to have the darn thing

So, this week, I've been hired to find a place to hold a birthday party in June. I love research, so it's fun for me, but this stuff tends to be kind of frustrating for the person I'm working for. What you tell someone that you want, and the picture in your head can be kind of different. You might want a place with a balcony, but not if part of the balcony looks over a parking lot. You say you want a huge room, but not with that carpet! I always try and tell people that the process might take a while - start with three, and go from there. The first three sites usually gives me a better idea of what to really look for.

In other site news, one of my summer brides was mulling over how NOT to invite kids to her wedding. Liability issues with the site, mostly - the wedding's outside, around a big pool. However, not inviting children is considered, Emily Post-wise...somewhat rude. I'm all about having the wedding you want, but I just made her aware that she might piss some people off. You just have to decide if it's worth it to ya.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Magazine Review Time!

I was kind of shocked by both of these, actually - there were tons more advertisements than there usually are, which bums me out, because it's just that much harder to get to the good stuff. Ah, well. Everybody's got to pay the rent:

Martha Stewart Weddings:

- Round page. 31, There's an RSVP card for Crate and Barrel's Sunday Morning Engagements in February. I attended this a few years ago before I got married - it's just a chance to learn about registering, start your registry, and get some free food and gifts. Check out for more info.

- p. 78. The Advice Column. And all I have to add is: Fondant and a sunny, uncovered day don't mix. If you choose fondant for your cake, make sure it's covered.

p.98. "One thing I learned". A newlywed couple had a destination wedding in the bride's hometown of St. Louis. Their gift bags included Cardinal's tickets and favorite local drinks and foods. Great idea to make their guests feel welcome.

p.174 - Do you know how to tie a bow tie? How about just a necktie? If not, here's a quick tutorial.

p.308 - All about the diamonds. Different types, how to pick them, what to look for. Shiny, shiny, shiny.

InStyle Weddings:

p. 94- "Aislestyle". There's a great article on doing your wedding music via ipod. Includes tips on how to get the music (ask your guests to contribute their favorite songs), and how to categorize the music. I've had a few clients who've chosen to do this, and $299-349 for the ipod is a lot cheaper than what you can pay for a dj. And you get to keep the ipod.

p.131 - 20 ways to personalize your wedding. Ideas you can pull off even if you don't have James Van Der Beek's Dawson cash.

p.266 - "Bridal Beauty Countdown" starting 6 months out. I especially like their tips for a week and closer out - pay special attention to the beauty emergency kit. It's what I carry around at all of my weddings.