Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
So, I did get a copy of The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weddings, and I'm going to try and post a tip per day. These are in no particular order, except on what amuses me each day:
HOW TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE WEDDING:
1. Ask Family Members to pay for specific expenses - Have numbers ready to justify costs. If you sense resistance, threaten to elope or have the reception at a seedy nightclub. [Hee!]
2. Register for Wedding ceremony and reception components - Register for floral arrangements, the ban, limousine service, liquor for reception, and each course of the meal [Note - you can do this at Felicite.com,or Ourwishingwell.com
3.Hold a Raffle - Offer the guests a chance to buy tickets to win the wedding dress, a ride in the limo, or a chance to join the honeymoon. [Uh, maybe not the last one, so much. And maybe for a chance to wear the wedding dress?
4.Wash guests cars - Hire a student at a low hourly rate to sell expensive car washes to the guests as they attend the ceremony and reception. [I REALLY kind of like this one]
5. Procure Sponsors - Strike a deal with a local company. Agree to place its logo on the invitation,wedding dress, tuxedo, or cake. Have the band leader announce each song with, "This song has been brought to you by the good people at [name of company]." Hang company banners around the altar and behind the bandstand. Allow the company to set up a kiosk at the ceremony and reception site to dispense information, key chains, and other swag.[Another idea that could totally work with some minor modifications.]
Go forth and save money on your wedding!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Next workshop is Sunday, January 13th, and you can sign up at http://www.silvercharmevents.com/workshop.html. See you then.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Also, my wedding workshop is this Sunday, so drop by and ask me all the wedding planning questions you want for the low, low price of $20 person. RSVP by emailing me at email@example.com, or 310-801-3602.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sent from my iPhone
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
It's still a work in progress but Olivia's centerpieces are coming along. Sky flowers is going to add more hydrangeas,more of the little purple flowers, and we're good to go. I'll post the final product over the weekend. So far it looks great against a silk chocolate brown tablecloth, which White Night Design was nice enough to lend me for today.
Monday, November 19, 2007
As far as being able to have a wedding for $10,00? Well,my wedding was about that. But we only had 35 guests. And we only had five simple centerpieces of red roses, plus my wedding boquet and the bridesmaid bouquets, which I got at this flower shop that was literally down the street from our apartment . And I rented my wedding dress. So, yeah, I guess it's possible. If I had to do it all over again, I would have bought a dress. I am acutally the kind of girl would clean my house in it, or just hang out on the couch and drink beer. And now I know where to buy another one some day. Whoo!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Ani and Eric were married yesterday at St. Peter's Armenian Apostolic Church in Van Nuys, with a reception at Bistro Garden in Studio City. The gorgeous flowers were done by Designs by Christine in Tujunga,818-352-3533), linens by White Night Design (who actually lent me a couple of linens for another client's centerpiece sample, which was pretty cool), video and photography by Arka Photography, who were just so much fun, and brought like, five people, so they wre everywhere, recording everything.
And as you can see, this was my first wedding trying out the camera on my iphone:
Andy from DJ Groove (firstname.lastname@example.org,818-437-3177)kept the dance floor rocking with classic Armenian and American pop and rock songs - I didn't understand two-thirds of what was playing, but you can't argue with a dance floor, you know?
Why is this table empty? Because everyone's dancing!!
Another great thing about the iphone is that I was able to take a couple of pictures and then bring them out to Ani and Eric while they were waiting in the limo to make their grand entrance. This made the bride very happy. And we like happy brides. Also, much thanks goes out to my able-bodied assistant Maeline, if for nothing more than her exellent table number string-tying skills.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I have a Platinum (full-service) client, Olivia, who only wants to spend $25,000 for her wedding next August. for 150 guests This will actually be her second wedding, since they're also having a ceremony in Europe in June. No, I don't get to go to that one. Yes, I am kind of bummed about that.
We started off where everyone starts - Where to have it? Olivia wanted to have the ceremony outside, in a pictaresque location. I'd just done a wedding in August at Villa del Sol d'oro in Sierra Madre, this gorgeous Italian Villa, so that was my first recommendation. We went with her mom to check it out, but they also wanted to look at some place that had it's own catering. We went to the Altadena Town and Country Club next. They have a great menu starting at $69.95 per person, both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites, reception room rental starting at $3,000. Oliva reserved a date for next August.
I also suggested that if she wanted to save money on a dress, she could have it made - I know a great seamstress, Debbie LaFranchi at Debbie's Creative Costumes who could make her dress for somewhere between $500-1000. But Olivia had already found and bought a dress she loved that was way more expensive, but she LOVES it, like, her eyes light up when she talks about it, even. Since it's being spread out over a couple of weddings, and one of relatives is helping her pay for it, she doesn't want to add it to the total, though.
Total spent so far:
Coordination Fee: $3000 + Altadena Country Club:$16,217.50 = $19,217.50
...I know, just like that, right? The reception usually takes about 50% of your budget, so she's a little behind right now. Note that the total doesn't include decorations or alchol (which , which will be added later.
Time to find a photographer. When you're planning your wedding, always start with the most expensive line items first, like your venue and your caterer. Once you've got those nailed down, you now know how much you have left to spend on everything else. Olivia also has an advantage because she's starting out so early, so she can pick and choose a little bit more freely. If you don't have a year, I suggest going to Here Comes the Guide and being VERY specific about what will fit into your budget, pick your first five vendor choices in each category, and go from there.
Anway, photographers. I first introduced Olivia to Jen and Nate from B and G Photography, and she loved their pictures. I love their pictures, too (seriously, look at the pictures), and they are wonderful to work with, and they're pretty much my first recommendation for anyone looking for a photographer. They start at around $3,500, and that includes an engagement photography session beforehand, a photo print package, plus you're paying for two photographers, so it's a pretty good deal. Olivia's fiancee was hoping to spend a little less money, especially in liew of that the reception is costing, so I looked in my archive and found Enchanted Portraiture, which has a package where they hand you a disc with all your pictures on it for about $2500. It's very basic, but Curtis Bloom does wonderful work as well. Both photographers will have materials at my wedding planning workshop on December 2nd, so come on by.
Olvia's uncle is also part-owner of a banquet hall that's being built in Glendale, and is supposed to be ready at the end of the year. He offered a deal of $75 a person for the food, no venue rental fee, so she decided to go with that place instead.
Spent so far:
Coordination fee: $3000
Reception Hall: $11,250
Next time, we'll see how November is shaping up for her, and I'll talk about the wedding I have coming up this weekend.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
My fiance's friends are planning to throw him a stripper-filled bachelor party, which makes me sick to my stomach to even think about. I've told him how I feel, and how disgusting and inappropriate I think it is for a man who's about to be married to have to surround himself with naked women on his last night of "freedom." I don't want to take away his night with his friends, but do there have to be naked women involved? Is there any other alternative?
Bride vs. Stripper
It is a truth universally acknowledged that straight men like looking at naked women. They just do, and there's really not a thing we can do about it. Or would want to, really, because in certain circumstances it certainly works in our favor. Luckily, men also like looking at scantily clad women, preferably gyrating, and they'll settle for that if that's what's available. Which is why Burlesque shows are making such a strong comeback these days. It's all about the tease. There are a couple that I know of in the L.A. area - Forty Deuce in Hollywood, which is a nightclub where your fiance and friends can get as drunk as they like and whoop and holler at the progressively undressing dancers, or the Bomb Cherry Dolls, who regularly perform at Bank Heist in North Hollywood. BCD also does private shows, in case they want to do their whooping and drinking in private, or on some night other than Wednesday, which is when they're at the Heist. I can personally recommend either one, so if he's willing to try Burlesque instead, why don't you grab a couple of girlfriends and check the shows out. They're actually a lot of fun, will give you quite a few good ideas to use on your boy, and the looks on the guys' faces? Priceless.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
They had a mariachi band play them down the aisle, two more salsa and tejano bands during the reception,the dance floor was always full, and the line at the bar was always too long. My kind of party.
Today, I'm coordinating the Universal City North Hollywood's first Business and Community Expo at the Beverly Garland Hotel. Come on by and check it out.
Friday, June 29, 2007
May 1st was Maggie's Bat Mitzvah at the Friar's Club, an old Hollywood institution that everyone's heard of but no one's really been to, probably because you usually have to be a member to get in. The 150 kids and their parents were not members, but everyone managed to have a good time anyways. Maybe a little too good of a time, since I had to break up not one but two candy-throwing fights during the evening, which I just didn't get. You've got several jars of candy at your disposal, and your first choice is to throw it? Kids today!
May 13th Me and the Boy went to Philadelphia for his brother Zach's graduation from Wharton. Really nice to see him and the rest of Zane's familly, and for once, I was in charge of planning nothing. Bus Driver's holiday, indeed. Made me miss the East Coast some more, though. But if you're going to go, Spring is always a great time.
May 27th was Danna and Adam's Big Jewish Wedding. 250 guests in the backyard of their Rabbi's gorgeous house in Sherman Oaks. Catered everything, covered swimming pool, the whole nine. A lot of work, but everyone had such a great time that it was totally worth it. Danna and Adam own Menchies, a frozen yogurt shop in Sherman Oaks, where you get to pour the yogurt and all the toppings yourself, so if you're ever around the corner of Laurel Canyon and Riverside, check it out. Every time I drop by there, they're slammed. One lesson to pass on to you, though - when you're doing your placecards, especially if you have that many guests,make sure to print out to extra lists - a list of your guests by table, AND a list of your guests by last name that also shows which table they are at. The cross-referencing will come in handy, trust me.
June 9th was my acupuncturist Sarah Schwab's wedding to her girlfriend Pamela, at Orcutt Ranch, a historical site in Canoga Park. I'm big fan of historical sites (I used to work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation about 2 presidential administrations ago), and this one is just beautiful - all the gardens and orchards are still being kept up, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an outdoor site. This was also the first time that I'd coordinated a commitment ceremony, which, lead to also the first time I'd ever heard a bride ask her guests, "Okay, raise your hands - which one of us looks better in the dress?" Lesson to pass on to you: If your site gives you a specific time to get out or be penalized, make sure that is passed on to your vendors, and there some sort of agreement that that penalty will be passed on to them if they're late. In this case it was,but the rental company picked up 45 minutes after they were supposed to, which threw everything else off and cost the girls another $150. Which the rental company agreed to pay for, but really, why have the hassle?
June 22nd, I helped Scott throw a party for a few of his highschool friends as a pre-reunion celebration (their 30th) at his house in Hancock park. He works in the entertainment industry, so he hired me to get all the supplies, hire the caterer and get the rentals, and set-up and monitor everything all evening. Everyone was so happy to see everyone again, and it was funny how they all pretty much looked like they did in highschool, according to their yearbooks. One of Scott's classmates was also the director of Shrek, so it was really cool meeting her. Hey, I'm as much of a fangirl as anyone.
June 23 was Sarah and Victor's wedding in San Pedro at Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church, with the reception at the Doubletree in San Pedro. The florist didn't make half of the flowers, the backdrop and the vases for the centerpieces disappeared, and 30 unrspvd guests showed up out of nowhere, throwing the kitchen into a frenzy, but with the help of my trusty assistant Maeline (who was quite willing to make some extra centerpieces using some toothpicks, filched flowers from the hotel and a pair of pliers, which is why I love her), and various other incredibly professional vendors, we managed to pull it all together. And, man, could those non-RSVP'ers party! I once told a reporter many eons ago that my idea of a good party was if the dance floor was always full and the punch-bowl was almost always empty,and this wedding proved that once again. There wasn't a punchbowl, but the line to the bar stretched all the way to the dancefloor all night, and that's good enough for me. But here's a lesson to pass on to you, and seriously, one of my rules: PLEASE make sure that you're given between 2-3 hours to set up for your reception. Between putting out the placecards (300 of them in this case), and putting out the centerpieces (25 of them, in two pieces), and decorating the (3-tier)cake, you're going to need the time. If you're the second or last wedding in a room at a hotel...well, first of all, try not to be, becaue invitably the wedding ahead of you's breakdown time is going to cut into your set-up time, but if it happens anyway, insist on getting help from the hotel, or that you have plenty of help from your family, friends, or wedding planner and her assistants to get everything done. An hour of set-up time will not do it, not even for a wedding of 100.
Right now, I'm coordinating the UCNH Chamber of Commerce's Business and Community Expo on July 10, featuring the best of what the community has to offer. Admission is free, so drop by if you get a chance. On July 7th, I'm helping another wedding planner friend with a wedding, and on the 13th I'm going down to celebrate my best friend's birthday. Running around like crazy, but if you have any questions about your wedding, just drop me a line!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Now, on to finish planning the Bat Mitzvah. Event Planning! Not just for weddings any more!
Monday, April 30, 2007
Next weekend is my first Bat Mitzvah. The thirteen-year old's in question, too. I'm not exactly sure how I've been doing this for so long, and yet have not coordinated a bat/bar mitzvah, but there it is. I'm looking forward to it, though.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Sign up and find out more information at http://wedding.meetup.com/116/calendar5561265. It will be held at the Avery Schreiber Theater in North Hollywood.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
You might not know this, but the North Hollywood Arts District is the largest one west of New York City. If you watch that show on MTV about the Millenium Dance Theater? That's in NoHo. That and about 22 theaters, umpteen music and acting acadamies, etc. I invited a magician, a theater troupe, and a kid's Improv group to perform, and they were a big hit. We had a free wine tasting from Vendome, a free martini bar courtesy of Krol Vodka, and really yummy bread from La Brea Bread Bakery. Everything went over so well, I HAD to give them all a shout out, including Gary Justice, the DJ.
It's so great to work with people who love what they do. That's actually one of the things I would recommend with any vendor that you talk to - see if you can find not only the commitment, but the love. Someone who loves their job will not only be willing to accomodate you, but doing a great job will be important to them. So, don't forget to ask.
Friday, February 16, 2007
But I'm still doing weddings, in fact, Angel and Erik hired me to coordinate their wedding day in August. Congrats, you two!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Christina, if she couldn't convince Burke to elope, would probably want very little to do with planning it all, once she figured out where to have it and what to eat. That would be the hard part, and I'd count on it being really, REALLY hard. After that, I could see her being a little impatient about all the other stuff that traditionally goes into weddings - "Wait, I have to give everyone favors? I have to pick out flower arrangements? Seriously?" I can see myself saying over and over again, "Well, you can do whatever you want" and smiling sweetly while she sneers at wedding dresses.
Callie, on the other hand, is more the type to have grown up thinking about weddings, so she'd come with more concrete ideas about what she wanted for everything. So there might be a tad less flexibility, but I like being able to give my clients what they ask for, whatever it is. It might take Callie a little longer to trust me until she feels that I "get" her, but we'd be able to work it out eventually.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
There were a few other unique touches as well. After their first dance, Inez and Arjang had a parent's dance - but they didn't dance with their parents, their parents slow danced with each other to the song "Unforgettable", and were joined by other couples on the floor. One of the guests even pulled me onto the dance floor! I thought that was really cool, because once the dancing opens up later in the night, there are usually no slow songs, and, you know, sometimes you just want to dance cheek to cheek, ya know? And secondly, Janet, the bride's sister, had all 240 guests stand up and yell, "Congratulations Inez and Arjang!" at the end of her toast. Brought the bride and groom to tears. Me, too, actually.
Inez and Arjang also had a Lion Dance troupe perform right before the reception - two huge papier mache and cloth lions roaming through the crowd, and then saluting Inez and Arjang. Again, Nate and Jen's blog has pictures. And, on that note, I'd also like to give props to the Florist, Louellen Pigot from Elegant Designs in Bloom. She made these beautiful two tiered centerpieces, connected with a golden pole, that were supposed to line the aisle, and then be transferred to the reception hall later. First of all, way to multi-task. But it was a little windy on Sunday, and the centerpieces kept threatening to topple over. What did Louellen do? Louellen packed ribbon and shorter poles, just in case. The ribbon didn't work, but the shorter poles did. And that is why she is officially on my list of favorite florists. The bride and groom never knew a thing was wrong, which is exactly how I like it.
And kudos to my assistant Maya, who was pretty much the best back-up ever. She's an event planner, too, which really, really helped throughout the day.
Oh, and the guests were so enthusiastic that they broke the dance floor later on in the night. Seriously. Got love people who know how to party.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
One hilarious moment was Anthony's garter toss. Anthony tossed the garter...and no one reached out to grab it before it fell to the ground. Not quite ready for the big commitment yet, huh, guys? But they were definitely ready to dance - Candis, Anthony and their friends kept the dance floor jumping until the very end of the night. Anthony had requested that everyone bring their "very best electric slide" to the party, and their A-game was definitely in effect.
I was also really impressed with the service at The Grand. Everyone was very attentive, and the food (chicken piccata) was delicious. Good bread, too. Hey, it's important!
This wedding's tip: Make sure that your DJ keeps the music going smoothly all night, no matter what - or what isn't - going on on the dance floor. You never know how much you need even background music...until you don't have it.