Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wedding Wise Wednesday - January 30 (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

Every Wednesday I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

A wedding arch made of books. It's still January, and I've already decided this is the coolest thing I will have seen all year. Full-stop.

The Events
Sunday, February 3
 11am - 4pm
Bridal Show Open House at SeaCliff Country Club
SeaCliff Country Club
6501 Palm Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Admission: Free

The Deals:

The Little White Dress on Bunches of them, actually, all under $500. Thanks to Carrie our resident BAB Real Bride.

Wedding Chicks - Free Photo Save the Date Cards. Just insert your picture. They've got different styles, this is just my favorite. What's yours?

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, January 28, 2013

Angela and Reggie's Wedding Montage (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

An oldie from a wedding I coordinated a couple of years ago, but video makes it that much more...GORGEOUS. Enjoy!

So, what do you want your wedding to look like? Just let me know how I can help...

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wedding Wise Weekly - January 24th (Wedding Planners in Los Angeles)

Every Week I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And, if I get too slammed on Wednesdays, we call it Wedding Wise Weekly. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

The ultimate topper for the clumsy bride. Hah! Try not trip onto the cake while you're cutting it.

The Events:

Sunday, January 27
11am - 4pm
I Do! An Event for the Stylish Bride
The Langham Pasadena
1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106
Admission: $20

This really is one of my favorite shows of the seasons, and I'll be trailing around with a few of my brides. If you sign up online, you can use the code fancyfriend complimentary tickets . I'll see you there!

11am - 3pm
Sunday Funday Bridal Party
The Grand Event Center
4101 E Willow St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
Admission: $5

Monday, January 28
6:00 - 8:00pm
The Wedding Bootcamp in Los Angeles
465 South La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 
R-Mine Bespoke
12242 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
It is definitely the month for beautiful bridal shows. This involves a Q&A with some of the best vendors in the City, so enjoy! 
Admission: $25, use the code WSNC online for two complimentary tickets.

The Deals:

 Page Stationery -
buy 75 invitations and get 25 free with the code ido2013!

 My Wed Deal - This personalized burlap aisle runner is only $72, and yes, that includes shipping and taxes! 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopesmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, January 21, 2013

The I Do! Bridal Event- Meet Bridal Show Producer Christine Zobrabians

I love Bridal Shows. As a wedding planner, it's really important for me to see what cool and new options and ideas I can show my couples, but truthfully? I'm in it for The Pretty. The I Do! Bridal Event has been one of my favorites for the past couple of years, and I was so thrilled to get to talk to producer Christine Zohrabians, from Fancy That Events. This gorgeous, high-end show will be at the Langham Pasadena Hotel next Sunday, January 27th, from 11am - 4pm.

i do! An event for the Stylist Bride from BGS Productions on Vimeo.

Window Pane Seating Chart - Calligraphy Katrina
Photo by Becca Rillo
"What I love is how over the top our vendors are with their displays, just the sheer extravagance. Table after table is more beautiful and fantastic than the last! People really take the effort to design and create their spaces. We have some of the best designers in the industry collaborating with one another, too." Rental companies sharing  with florists, event designers with stationers and bakeries, highlighting the best and coolest offerings that each company has. Out of the 86 individual vendors that are participating in the show, 20 of them have teamed up. Her shows have been the first ones I've seen that have actively encouraged this, and, as you can see from the video, it really works. 

Each vendor is handpicked, either by Christine, or from the Langham's preferred vendor list.  The event's blog has featured two different vendors every day, so you can get a preview of all the glamour and gorgeousness before you go.

And, yes, there will be wedding dresses, of course! Lovella Bridal is sponsoring the fashion show (1:30pm!) with gowns from their stores' collections, including Kenneth Pool, Ines DiSanto and Amsale. 11H Entertainment will providing both live music and a DJ. Not only will there be a runway show, but models will be strolling the event floor on their gowns, giving participants a close-up look and a chance to ask questions. Another first that I saw at this show, that's pretty much been duplicated by every other bridal show I've been to since.

Cake by Fantasy Frostings
Photo by Bauman Photography
"It's an opportunity to do something fun during your engagement, and take part in something memorable and beautiful. Not only will you meet wonderful vendors,but it's great inspiration too." I told her that I think of high-end bridal shows as live wedding Pinterest boards, and she laughed, "Yes, exactly! Inspiration is incredibly contagious, and you never know what's going to spark an idea for your own wedding day."

Tickets are $20 each. They are available at the door, but use the code lizlove  and get 25% off when you register online. Oh, and vendors are doing giveaways through twitter, so be sure to use the hashtag #idobridal once you get inside. Valet parking is $12, but there is also street parking. Tons of complimentary desserts, cake and appetizers will abound, and a cash bar if you would like to try a few of the Langham's signature cocktails. I'll see you there!

See you at the end of the aisle,

 Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wedding Wise Wednesday - January 16 (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

Every Wednesday I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Weekly. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:
I was hired this week to coordinate a same-sex (hopefully legal by the time it comes around) wedding, and I love this couple's take on the white dress/black tuxedo concept for the their wedding. Out of the box and fabulous. Find out more about their day on Equally Wed.

The Events:

First of all, SAVE THE DATE for the I Do! Bridal Event on Sunday, January 27th. It's the high-end show of the Winter and one of my favorites. I interviewed producer Christin Z. last night, and she was kind enough to give me a discount for my readers - 25% off when you use the code lizlove. Our interview will be up tomorrow.

I Do! Bridal Event
Sunday, January 27th
11am - 3pm
The Langham Pasadena
1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106
Admission: $20 

Saturday, January 19 - Sunday, January 20
10:00am - 4:00pm
Los Angeles Convention Center
1200 L.A. Live Way (at Pico)
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Admission: $10 at the door, $8 when you register online
Sunday, January 20
10am - 2pm 
Braemar Country Club
4001 Reseda Boulevard
Tarzana, CA 91357
Admission: Complimentary when you RSVP

The Deals:

Alina Pizzano - pay no tax from now until January 19th. That's hundreds of dollars, people! Any gown from her collection or one you ask her to make, just for you. She's in Pasadena, so email 

Crane and Co.: If you have ever gotten a Thank You note from me (which you will after you hire me), it will be Crane Stationery. They are the iChing, baby. And they are having a clearance sale on their wedding stationery.

Weddingish: Treat yourself! This personalized engagement dish is perfect, yay! - inducing, and only $25.00

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Love Letter to the Newbie Bride (Los Angeles Weddings)

 The original version of this appeared in my weekly column for The Broke-Ass Bride, one of the best places online for wedding inspiration, spend, splurge or save. Go over there and see!

Oh, yeah. This is going to be fun!
Dear Newbie Bride,

Let me be the 50th person to congratulate you on your engagement. Welcome to Wedding World!
You’re going to love it.
First of all, at the end of all this, you’re going to be married to the love of your life. That’s cool. Second of all, Wedding World is very, very pretty, so you’ll have a lot of neat stuff to look at for the next few months. Third of all, you are going to learn so much. Not just about weddings, but about yourself, your relationship with the love of your life, and more importantly, about what you do and do not want, in general.

Here’s a hint: Just like in life, you can have pretty much whatever you want at your wedding, using whatever it is that you already have. Yes, I’m talking about money, but I’m also talking about personal skills and resources, and time. Time is very important in wedding world – you have plenty of it. Even if you don’t think you do, you do.

Ah, yes, money. Things can get kind of expensive in Wedding World. This can be daunting for those of who can’t spend untold thousands of dollars on one day. If you can’t afford it, then don’t spend it. Bottom line. REFUSE to spend it, and find alternatives that works. This is why God made the internet. I LIVE for wedding planning questions. Literally. Don’t give up. Giving up is stupid.

Will it be stressful? Well, of course. Yes, at some point, you’re going to want to run screaming away from everything. So, take a break, and run away. Your wedding will still be there when you return. Step back and remember what’s at the end of the aisle: Married to the love of your life, surrounded by your favorite people, eating cake, all while wearing a beautiful dress. When it’s over, you’re going to say to yourself, “wow, that went by really fast”, and it will. Enjoy it as much as you can, even if that means occasionally not dealing with it at all. And, if you feel like you need help, never be afraid to ask for it.

Did I mention all the pretty? Yes? Good. Did I mention how much fun you’re going to have? You are going to have such a good time. You are going to try on gorgeous dresses, and you’re going to have that Christmas Morning Moment when you see yourself in THE dress. You’re going to taste really good cake. You are going to laugh with the love of your life, and with your bridesmaids, and with your PHOTOGRAPHER even, over some inside joke, or something hilariously freaking funny/stupid thing one of you did or said. You will laugh about these for the rest of your life. On your wedding day, you will be surrounded by everyone you love and everyone who loves you. Your favorite music will be playing, your favorite foods will be served, and I’m not exactly sure what else you’ll need to have a great time. It’s all there for you.

And at the end of that aisle, you will have accomplished so much more than you ever thought you were capable of. You are going to feel like a Superstar. And you’re right. You are.

If you weren’t able to tell, I’m very excited for you. And I can’t wait to hear all about it. And remember, if you need help - just let me know.

See you at the end of the aisle,
Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, January 14, 2013

What You Don't Know About Your Wedding: Venues (Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator)

Here's the transcript of the teleclass I did a while back on Wedding Venues, with Erin Baagason of Calamigos Ranch:

Liz: Excellent! So, as I said, we’re recording this, thank you all very much for calling. Most of you know me from my newsletter, I’m Liz Coopersmith from Silver Charm, welcome to What You Don’t Know About Your Wedding. Today we’re going to be covering wedding venues with Erin Baagason - I’m sorry, I always have trouble pronouncing your last name...

Erin: It’s Baagason [Bog-gah-son].

Liz: Baagason [I completely pronounced this wrong again, by the way] of Calamigos Ranch. Erin, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Erin: Thank you! Thank you for having me. My name is Erin Baagason, I’m the director of special events at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu. I’ve been working at Calamigos Ranch for ten and a half years, I love my job, I love where I work, I love getting to work all different brides and couples and vendors as well.

Liz: Great! Yeah, we get to work on two weddings together next year. So, how does a typical first meeting with couples work with you?

Erin: You mean, a first visit?

Liz: Yes.

Erin: Well, usually, they come and see the site anywhere from six months to a year and six months before their wedding date, most of them are already engaged, some aren’t even engaged, yet. And I’d say that most couples come to Calamigos and Malibu as their number one first location, so we're their first stop on their location search. And I think a lot of that has to do with word of mouth, knowing a lot of friends who have attended weddings with us. And I think a lot of our couples have attended wedding [themselves] at our location in Malibu.

Liz: So, how many weddings do you guys host a year?

Erin: Well, we host over 300 weddings a year. We host a wedding almost every weekend day, we also do quite a few weekday events. We have a lot of destination couples, so everyone’s coming in from out of the country. So, in those cases, we do Tuesday weddings, Wednesday weddings, Thursday weddings, any day of the week is a possibility.

Liz: One of the things I talk to couples about as far as saving money on their weddings is to have it on a day other than Saturday. Do you actually offer discounts for that at Calamigos?

Erin: Yeah, basically anything for Fridays or Sundays, we offer a discounted rate - $10 off per person for Fridays and Sundays. And if you’re looking at Monday – Thursday, more during the work week, we have more flexibility on pricing, but also more flexibility on timing, like if you’re looking to start at 3:30 in the afternoon, rather than having to start at 6 at night. There’s just a lot of flexibility overall for Monday through Thursday dates.

Liz: Great. And I just want to let everyone know that if you do have any questions for Erin, you can text them to me at 310-801-3602, or email them to me at So, when you meet with couples, what are the three questions that they ask you right away?

Erin: Usually, everyone wants to start off with how much does it cost, which is a very, very good question, but it’s kind of tricky to get into that question once you realize that everyone does their pricing differently. With us, it really is all-inclusive price. So, we’ll start off with pricing and tell them that it starts at, say $90 per person, but they don’t realize that includes the venue, the food, the bar, the staff. And then [all they have to do] is bring a photographer and a DJ. Some people think that that’s just the food price, which is how it tends to be with other venues.

Liz: You also include the cake as well, right?

Erin: Right, and we don’t charge a cake cutting fee, that’s all included in the pricing. Every site also has a dance floor, so you don’t have to bring that in, and a choice of table linens. Each package also includes a dressing room for the bride and groom, and two hours set up time. It also includes a rehearsal time during the week. And for couples that have their own outside coordinator, we provide an assistant to help direct the processional. But it’s nice when couples have their own outside coordinator, because they can work as a team with our staff.

Liz: What do you feel are the questions that couples don’t ask, that you feel that they should ask?

Erin: They should ask what’s included in each package, before they ask about the pricing. I also think that it’s important for couples to find out where the hidden costs are. At Calamigos, we try to avoid any of those, but a lot of places you may have extra charges for things as basic as restrooms - some places will change you for a restroom attendant. Some places will charge a cake cutting fee. Parking fees can be very high, depending on the location. Calamigos has a complimentary parking valet at each site, and there’s no charge for that. We offer 12 different linen colors, and that’s included. And then bar services. [Our] basic bar package includes beer, wine and champagne unlimited for three hours, and we do offer the option to add hard liquor. So, we try to keep it as flexible as possible to accommodate every couple and their needs and budget.

Liz: So, going on with that, after everyone has booked – I know that you have a payment plan, and I think that one of things that people need to know [wherever you’re booking] is that you never have to pay everything all at once, you break it down into several different payments in the months leading up to the wedding.

Erin: Yeah, we usually break it down into four different payments.

Liz: Go into what the questions that come up at the second meeting, or before the tasting, stuff like that?

Erin: I think that a lot of the magazines and all the TV shows do a very good job at freaking our brides out – I’m sure Liz would agree with that! I think they do a very good job of scaring our brides into buying more magazines and books. I think you’re better off having a knowledgeable coordinator or a knowledgeable vendors to help you figure out what you really need to do. But checklists are good. So, at the second meeting, we’re usually giving vendor referrals, and getting into details about the theme and style. A lot of couples are looking into lighting companies, which go hand and hand into hiring a dj or band, and a coordinator can help you pull that all together.
and put together a wedding team. All of your vendors, especially if they don’t know each other already and if they’re willing to take the time, should get together and get on the same page.

Liz: So, what do you feel is the biggest challenge for couples?

Erin: You mean, when, they’re looking at other venues as well?

Liz: Yes.

Erin: The trickiest thing is pricing, definitely, no venue is going to have the same prices or the same packages. Hotels are more geared to corporate business, so most of what they offer is a la carte, from the bathrooms to the hours, to every table and chair. Where other venues will have some of those things included, but some might need to be outsourced. So, when we meet with couples, we always give them a sample invoice up front, so they have something they can walk away with when they try to compare other venues, apples to apples. You want to be able to factor in the possibilities, and figure out what else you’re going to need to bring in.

Liz: I always tell my couples that one of the things they should ask any venue is what’s not included. Most venues should be able to tell you that. Like with Calamigos – what’s not included is you’re going to have to get a DJ, you’re going to have to get a photographer, you’re going to need a florist. If you want extra lighting, you’re going to have to get that.

Erin: Right.

Liz: So, that’s another good tip when you’re meeting with a venue. Once they finish telling you what they do offer or what they have, is to ask them what they don’t.

Erin: That’s a very good question.

Liz: So, you should be able to take that and say, oh, okay, well, if I have a certain budget or I need this and that, what am I going to have to provide or bring in?

Erin: Exactly.

Liz: So, as far as a time line for the day, can you shoot me throughout what the set-up looks like, what a typical day looks like for a wedding, and then we can go from there to extrapolate to other places.

Erin: For a typical event, a wedding starts at 5:30 or 6, and goes until 11:00, so you can have a full five and a half hours for the party. For any event, we allow two hours set-up prior, and that would be for dressing room access and for all the vendors, the florist, the DJ, etc., to come in and set up. And most of our couples use that two hour time for photos. Which means that the bride and ladies have already had their hair and make-up done off site or at their hotel, and then they arrive for 3:30 for a 5:30 wedding. It’s very relaxed, and they can take pictures on site, and avoid rushing around. And each side [bride and groom] has their own hotel-sized room.

And the time frame for the wedding, in all honesty, the ceremonies are usually 15-20 minutes max. I’ve seen ceremonies that an hour and a half, I’ve seen ceremonies that are two or three minutes long. That can vary quite a bit, they’re usually fifteen, twenty minutes, and then goes right into the cocktail hour. A lot of times, now, the bride and groom participate in the cocktail hour, and you can get some great pictures of them with the guests. And then they move into the reception,so you can start the reception as early as 7:30, but it really depends on when the ceremony starts.

Liz: So, if you’re talking about starting at 7:30 or 8pm for dinner, and they have the venue…?

Erin: Until 11:30. At 11:30, we’re breaking down, and the couple and family might still be there to say their good-byes and get their things out until midnight, but the event has to officially end at 11 o’clock. But [there’s no real rush] ,we rarely have to shoo people out.

Liz: And, one of the things you should ask, if you think your set-up is going to be complicated [or time-consuming], is to ask how much time you’re going to have on either end, because those are the two things that are usually set in stone!

Erin: Yeah, that’s so important to ask! And we also really try to steer brides away from doing too much themselves. You don’t want to miss out on pictures because you’re folding place cards. The last thing you want to do is miss out on those wonderful moments because you’re hanging lanterns in a room. So, even if you think you’re going to be saving money, think about what you’re missing as far as time with your new husband or your family members. It might be better to hire a professional to do those things.

Liz: Yes, like the place cards, and favors, definitely. Do ever help out with that?

Erin: We can help with place cards and table numbers, but they have to be alphabetized, otherwise we’ll have no idea what to do with them!

Liz: Do you allow people to store their set up items on site?

Erin: Yes, at the rehearsal. They bring in the table numbers, place cards, family photos, stuff like that. As long as it’s in boxes and stack-able, we can store those in our offices. No wedding dresses or wedding rings, though! [Laughs]

Liz: How long can you store that for?

Erin: Well, you know, a couple of days. Most people have their rehearsal on a Thursday. Not too early, because we try to designate storage space for each wedding site.

Liz: Also another thing you can ask your wedding venue. Anything that you don’t have to carry from point A to Point B on the day of your wedding, go for it!

Erin: And I’ve helped out at a lot of weddings at hotel, and most of them won’t let you leave anything, not even a box, because they don’t have any place to store it.

Liz: And they have so many people coming in that they can’t even insure that it’s going to be there or where it’s a couple of days from now. But it’s also good to check. One of my rules is that if you don’t know something, you should ask. Even if you think it’s crazy or outrageous, or they’re never going to be able to do it, just ask. Because I’ve found that most venue managers – at least the ones that I’ve run into – want to help you if they can.

Erin: Yup.

Liz: And if they can’t, they can tell you what an alternative is.

Erin: Exactly.

Liz: And I know that it’s kind of weird because when you step into Wedding World, and you don’t know exactly what’s going on, and you don’t know how this works, you might feel a little tentative. [Laughs] But it’s your wedding. It’s your day, it’s money, and just asking a simple question – the worst thing anyone can say to you is “No”. So you might as well find out what’s possible.

Erin: And there is an alternate plan for just about everything, so you should definitely ask your vendors. [For instance] We had a very interesting situation this weekend, a wedding planner drove down from [Northern California] the day before with the wedding cake.

Liz: Wait, with the wedding cake??

Erin: Yes, she was the wedding coordinator and the Florist, and she expected us to store the uncovered wedding cake. And even if we had the space, it could get dropped, it could get kicked, it could fall over. There’s no place that wants to take on that responsibility.

Liz: So, what did you end up doing?

Erin: We just referred them to a company that had a refrigerated truck so they could store it. I mean, all the things that could happen to that cake just sitting out in the open, it’s just way to scary to think of. This was an entire day before.

Liz: Well, at least it was an entire day before the wedding! [Laughs]

Erin: It was the morning before, so it was 36 hours before the wedding.

Liz: Well, at least it wasn’t something like, two days before [or the day of, when they hadn’t told you that they were bringing it in or needed to store it]. So, did you have the refrigerated truck on the property?

Erin: Yeah, we had to have someone bring it in. I mean, we have a huge walk-in refrigerator, but hadn’t reserved the space for that cake, and we have 25 chefs walking in and out of there. It was too scary to even think about.

Liz: I have to ask, though, because I’m hoping that no one runs into this problem, but how much does something like that cost? Like, per day? And to keep it on?

Erin: About $200., so it’s almost like going through a U-haul place? They’re really small. And it [the cake] could have potentially fit into an igloo cooler, if it wasn’t already put together, right? But the tiers were already stacked, so no normal cooler would hold it.

Liz: Oh, boy. So, tip to you, if you have a problem like this, or some sort of version of this, basically, if you have to store something out of the ordinary – and most people know when it’s going to be out of the ordinary [hint: if you have to ask yourself, it is] your first call should be to your venue manager. Did she give you a call before she came down or did she just show up?

Erin: She just showed up. And if she had given us a call beforehand, we could have been more help if we knew in advance.

Liz: Another thing that I should point out, because I run into this all the time is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions if something is wrong, or some thing's going to be a problem. And that goes with all of your vendors. Because we’re all there working for you, so if there is something that they’re going to have to deal with, then give us a call. We are here for you. And as much as I hate to pull out the Jerry McGuire quote, it’s true – help us to help you! [laughs]. And we want to help you.

So, when couples are getting closer to the day, what is that they need to know? Especially, what is it that they need to get to you as it closer to the wedding?

Erin: Two weeks before, hopefully we’ve gotten through most of the basic planning, so we’re talking about finalizing the timeline. We want to make sure that the brides are thinking about their guest lists. We really don’t need a final count until the Monday before, but they really need to start thinking about that two weeks prior. It’s really nice if you can get the DJ and the photographer together in some way so that they’re on the same page. Just getting the team together. And making sure the bride gets some time to relax, herself. I think that’s very important.

Liz: And for a bride that doesn’t have a coordinator, do you help her with the time line? Do you help her contact the vendors is that something that she’s going to have to do on her own?

Erin: We’ll contact some of the vendors as we get closer [but either way] we want to get a list of all of your vendors. Lately, a lot of people are bringing in lighting, and they don’t realize that we need to know what kind of lighting. You’d hate to blow out the electricity in your entire building, which does happen. The more information you can give us, the better. Nothing is too small.

Liz: Right. And that’s also one of the things you should ask each of your vendors. Ask they what they need as far as power.

Erin: And photo booths. They can take up a lot of power, too.

Liz: Right. Ask them what they need as far as power, as far as equipment, as far as space, and pass that on to your venue. Basically, you want to have as little to deal with on your wedding day as possible. Even if you don’t have a wedding coordinator, you still want to be able to enjoy the day. You want to make everything run on auto-pilot as much as possible, that’s what you’re aiming for. That everyone knows what they’re doing, and everyone’s on the same page, and everyone knows what its going to take to get the job done. So, find out what it is that they need and when they need it. It will just make things go a lot easier.

Erin: And not just for the venue, but the DJ might need to know about the lighting company and what they’re doing as well, because end the end everyone is working together. The photographer needs to know what the DJ is doing. The venue needs all the information, but it’s good to have a packet, you know. Liz has a packet that she shares with everybody, but it’s great to give that information to everyone. Even if you think it’s more than they need, it can’t hurt.

Liz: One of the things that I do for my couples, to keep them all on the same page, is that that I put that all into a google document. Google has a system where you can store a document online, so that anyone you give access can see it and comment on it. I put every one's information on there, all the vendors on there. So, you have the DJ’s phone number and email, you have the photographer’s phone number and email, so at any time, your vendors can contact each other. It is very important to keep everyone on the same page, but it can be a lot of work!

Erin: Yes, I use google docs all the time. You can do updates, and automatically send those out to everyone, too.

Liz: Yeah, updates, and not only see the changes, but you can see when the last changes were made, too. And generally what I do is invite all the vendors to come in and make notes, and then about a week before the wedding, I finalize the timeline and let everyone know that that’s the final version. And with google documents, you just send out a link, or you can put the document itself into an email, whatever works for you. It’s just way better than trying to send out word documents. It’ makes things a lot easier.

Erin: Collaborative with everyone.

Liz: Yes, creative collaboration.

Erin: I just thought of two more things, if I have time to throw it in here. Linens, outside linens. You have to tell your venue if you’re bringing those in. With us, at least, we set up all the rooms, including plates and silverware, at the beginning of the day, so if you’re bringing in linens, then we have to re-set your whole room in the middle of the day. So that’s very important. We’re happy to set them up for you, but we need them the day before.

Liz: And don’t you have a final meeting before the wedding?

Erin: Yeah, we can as many meetings as the client wants, but sometimes even at the last meeting or at the rehearsal, couples forget to tell us about it. Not thinking about how much time it takes or that’s going to be a big deal.

Liz: And of course, you guys also trying to get everything set up as early as you can!

Erin: Right, and of course, and there is a certain order that things have to go, and you can’t set up the silverware and plates and centerpieces until you put down the tablecloths, so…

Liz: Yeah, and that’s another thing to remember, if you decide that you want to bring anything in, just make sure you let your venue know. So, your venue might not have to be your first call when that happens, but make sure that they’re your last call.

Erin: And we’re going to be the ones that the rest of your vendors are going to be checking in with, as well, and hopefully not bugging you or your family with questions. So, the more information we have, the more we can help.

Liz: Now, going back to storage – I’m thinking about couples who might have a lot of stuff left over after the wedding – do you ever let them keep it there until they can pick it up the next day?

Erin: We try to avoid that, but if there is nothing going on the next day, we’ll try and help as much as we can, find a corner where they can put it. We don’t lock up the room, but the property is locked up every night. But we just really tried to avoid that.

Liz: And I’ve found that it might be a little bit easier with the hotels, because most of the time you have a room, where you can put it, or the hotel can bring it up to your room. But either way, ask, Ask, ask, ask. That’s probably the theme of this whole discussion!

Erin: And we have events where they bring a lot of things, like we have events where they bring six foot trees in, it’s even really inexpensive to rent a u-haul truck to store it and keep it on site until the next day. Or rental furniture, any really big items.

Liz: If they need more than an couple of hours – something like that would definitely take more time – is that something that you’re flexible on?

Erin: Yes, now it would depend on the date, and what else is going on that day, but yeah. We just need to know so we can work on it logistically. You know, easy ways to get everything in and out, and we want to make it as easy as possible. Usually it’s not an issue at all.

Liz: So, if someone needs three or four hours, it’s okay. Or even they want to break it up into say, I need two hours here, or two hours there, they can break it up.

Erin: Yeah. And it’s rare that we have two events at a site on the same day, so we can make it happen. But something like – for instance, if a Florist is telling me that they need six hours to set up, it’s not because there are that many flowers, it’s usually because they have another job that they need to get to. So, that’s another thing to be aware of, and to ask about.

Liz: Right. And, since you have multiple sites, how many events do you do per site a day?

Erin: Normally, we only do one event per day per site. But occasionally, we do have a morning event at a site, a conference luncheon with 15-20 people, And we always leave a one and a half, two hour buffer between events, but it’s very rare that we have two events per day. But that’s a good question to ask. Also, we have a lot of picnics in the summer months, but those are always outdoors.

Liz: And I’m saying that because, from my experience, there are a lot of venues…well, I don’t know if I would say a lot, but enough venues that have multiple weddings at one site during one day. Definitely ask your venue about that, and ask them to keep you informed, if they do later book other events at your site that day. That’s going to affect your set-up time, it’s going to affect your break down, it’s going to affect a lot of things.

So, you we were talking to John Kinderman last week about catering, and all of your catering is provided. Do you want to talk a little bit about what you offer? You said that you also have bar [package], so do you want to talk a little bit about the difference and what to expect with in-house catering as opposed to when you bring everything in?

Erin: Sure. We’ve always done in-house catering, but the last couple of years, we’ve made the exception and allowed outside catering, mostly to accommodate for Kosher events, we do a lot of Indian weddings, but a lot of times couple do a blend of our catering and outside catering. Doesn’t always work with Kosher events, but definitely with Indian and Armenian, and a lot of other ethnic weddings. But each area has its own kitchen, you have your own chef on site, and you’re getting your food fresh off the grill. We also offer a choice of sit-down or buffet. We’re kind of famous for our buffet stations, around the rooms or around the deck. And you’ll have chefs at each station, sautéing, and there’s no lines, and everyone’s mingling, and it’s just a beautiful presentation. That’s another important thing as far as timing, when you’re planning to serve your guests. You can’t say, oh, dinner is around 7:30, but be ready to serve at 8, and expect your steak to be hot. You want your food on time. We also offer a lot of different hors d’oureves packages , and we’re doing a lot of hors d’ourves meals, where instead of serving a meal, they serve different heavy hors d’ouerves over a four hour period, you know, mix it up.

Liz: So, with buffet vs. sit down, is there a difference in price?

Erin: We charge the same. As a venue, with the set-up, it costs us a little bit more, but we charge the client the same.

Liz: So, with the buffet, do you always do the stations? Because I think that would be a little bit easier than doing the long tables, or something like that. Or do you do both options?

Erin: Well, we do stations because it’s a little bit easier than doing a double-sided table It also helps with lines and also for the look, we don’t want people waiting and standing in line for their food. Like, for instance, the salad bar is multi-level and people can be on all sides. And we have a chef’s pasta bar, where they’re sautéing and people can pick their ingredients and stand on all sides.

Liz: For some of the stations, how does that work, as far as staffing?

Erin: With the buffet staff, the salad bar is help yourself, but it’s constantly replenished, and you have chefs at the other stations, carving the prime rib, for instance, you have chefs with the side dishes, with potatoes, but you also have chefs back in the kitchen. And for us, it’s the same amount of staff, whether it’s a sit-down or buffet.

Liz: So, if you’re talking about 100 guests, what do you recommend as far as food? How many entrees, how many appetizers?

Erin: If you’re not going to have a long break of photos between the wedding and the reception, you don’t necessarily need hors d’ourves, but they’re fun at any wedding. People can be starving at that point, so what we do at Calamigos is to have the three passed hors d’ouerves, for an hour, you can choose your selections. And you have the staff out there with with trays of champagne, too, and we also serve wine and beer [at the bar]. A lot of people serving, a lot of people mingling.

Liz: But if couples want to serve beyond [the included hours in the bar], is it by consumption? How does the bar work with Calamigos?

Erin: We have the basic package, beer, wine and champagne for three hours, that’s part of the package price…

Liz: And how does that three hours usually break up? When does that three hours get used? I was just discussing this yesterday with another couple, and I think that a lot of people aren’t quite sure how that works out. They sit there and think, only three hours? Well, the wedding is going to be seven hours, or whatever it is, but how does that work?

Erin: I would suggest starting it right after the ceremony because that’s when everyone is expecting a drink. So, right after the ceremony, and then, we also do a champagne pass with the guests, everyone gets a glass of champagne with a strawberry in it. So, if you start the bar at 6 or 6:30, say 6:30, the bar with take you until 9:30. Most couples add an extra hour, to take you to 10:30, but even without that extra hour, you still have juice, coffee, tea service the whole time during the event.

Liz: And, if you’re talking about 6:30 – 9:30, and you add an extra hour…and if you don’t mind me asking, how much is that extra hour?

Erin: It’s only $5 per adult.

Liz: Okay, and if you add an extra hour, and if you’re shutting down things at 11:00, the one thing you want is for your guests to sober up before they get into their cars!

Erin: That’s a good thing, yes.

Liz: So, yeah, I really can’t emphasize that enough. So, don’t feel bad about shutting down the bar an hour before the end of your wedding. The shortest period of time I would recommend is 45 minutes before, but I feel better with an hour. And it’s just the DJ making an announcement that the bar is closing in 15 minutes, and then they’re done. Most people don’t expect a complete free for all. So, if you’re thinking, oh, I don’t know if I can tell my guests to stop drinking, most people like direction, plus you’re trying to keep them safe. So, yeah, 6:30 to 9:30 and you say that most people add an extra hour?

Erin: Or a half hour. But even if you end the bar at 9:30, it doesn’t mean that people can’t carry drinks around, we’re just not serving them anymore. So, before 9:30, they can get as many drinks as they want and drink them for the rest of the night. So, yeah, it’s nice to let them know that if they want to grab two beers instead of one, then go for it. But you might want to think about having a program or a sign at the bar that tells people what to expect.

Liz: That’s a great idea. So, this all being said, since we only have a few minutes left, do you feel that’s there’s anything else that people need to know, once they’ve made a venue choice?

Erin: Once you’ve made a venue choice, I guess, start with them as far as vendor referrals. At least here at Calamigos, we really want to help you find the best people, because the best people for the client are usually the best people for us, because they know what they’re doing when they’re here. And be wary to if anyone is getting any kickbacks, but here we really want you to have the best vendors, we want the client to be happy, because it’s also going to help us look good in the end, too!

Liz: Can you give referrals like, for instance, this photographer is really good and costs x amount, can you help them as far as what is going to work with their budget?

Erin: We don’t know all the facts about all the vendors, but the more that we work with a vendor, to an extent, we sure can. But another thing is that with coordinators, and I’m sure this is something that you know, is that even though the coordinator costs you money, they can save you money in the end, as far as giving you recommendations for vendors within your budget, because of the connections that vendors have with you.

Liz: And as far as the help that I can give with vendors, there are times when you have your heart set on a particular venue or vendor that might be more out of your budget, is that if you’ve decided that is what you’re going to spend $5,000 or $10,000 more on your venue, keep in mind that is going to take up about half of your budget. So keep in mind that you need to slash your budget in other areas. So, you need to find a cheaper florist, you need to find a cheaper photographer, and that’s definitely something that I’m good at. And you can cut out this, you can do that, and don’t get frustrated. Believe it or not, you have time. Every florist in Los Angeles, is not booked on your wedding date, Every photographer is not booked on your wedding date. And there are tons of good vendors out there. What you’re looking for is out there. But, it is 7:57, so I want to thank you for coming on.
Erin: Thank you for having me.

Liz: One of the reasons that I’d asked Erin to come on was that she’s just wonderful at customer service.

Erin: Well, it’s wonderful when you love your job and love what you do, right?

Liz: Exactly. Erin has been doing this for ten years, what did you say, 300 weddings a year?

Erin: Yes, I’m up to about 10,000 weddings.

Liz: Wow, so you definitely know the ins and outs of how to get the most out of your wedding venue. So, if you’re interested in talking to Erin, can you give them your best email address?


Liz: And is that that the website for Calamigos,

Erin: Yes, or

Liz: Well, thank you so much.

If you have any questions about your wedding, or how to maneuver and negotiate through catering menus, bar choices, and finding a venue that's right for you, just contact me, and we'll set up a complimentary consultation. How can I help you?

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wedding Wise Wednesday - June 9 (Los Angles Wedding Planner)

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

I am in love with this destination wedding save-the-date, by Lauren Ross Photography. Isn't it fantastic?

The Events:

Thursday, January 10
6:00 - 8:00pm
Let us Pamper You!
8591 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Join Beverly Harris for champagne bubbly, delicious desserts and make-up touch-ups. RSVP to and put "Please Pamper Me" in the subject line. FREE parking in back!

Sunday, January 13

Bridal Premiere Bridal Show   
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Hyatt Westlake Plaza
880 S. Westlake Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91361
Admission: $10 door/$8 online

The Deals:
 Monogram Lane - Personalized Stadium Cups, 50 for $49.00. Select your color, select your font, and go for it!

Totally Wedding Magnets - $1.59 each for 50.  GREAT Save the Date if you don't engagement pictures, yet.

Are you heading out to a bridal show this weekend? Which deal do you love the most? Let me know below. And, if you would like to talk about how to pull your dream wedding together, call or email me and we'll set up your complimentary consultation. Just let me know what you need!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Honeymoons and Dreams: Meet Travel Agent Gloria Emanuelson (Los Angeles Weddings)

"I'm like a honeymoon matchmaker for couples,"  Gloria says."I love creating an 'experience' for them that they are always going to remember."
I first met Gloria Emanuelson at a networking event about four years ago, right after I'd gotten back from my friend's destination wedding in Hawaii. We started talking about how much I loved it there, and how I love to travel. I wanted to plan a trip to Italy with my husband later on that year. I'd been before, but Zane hadn't, and I wanted to keep it simple with the same itinerary as the first time I'd gone - Rome, then Florence, then Venice. That led to a discussion about the relative costs of flying into Rome and out of Venice (I'm American, I didn't even know Venice had an airport), and how I still missed Florence some times. We talked about how Venice is a must-see but there's not much to do after the two things you're supposed to do (Canal ride, St. Mark's), and how Zane was a vegetarian foodie who loved pasta, so that would work out nicely. A week later, knee deep in wedding planning, I asked her to help me plan our trip. She did, and it was perfect. I still miss Florence, from time to time.
"My favorite part of my job is getting to know each couple and finding out what type of honeymoon you want," she says. " Relaxing, active, touristy? What part of the world do you want to go to? And, for how long? The best trip is between 5-7 days, but with time differences and travel times, that last question really affects the second one!"  She says. Last year, she created a Thailand honeymoon for one pair of newlyweds, that included a food tour all around the country. It started with a stop in Bangkok, where they were fitted for traditional clothing that they were able to pick up on their return, before they left. You know, right after the Elephant rides. "I loved hearing later what an amazing time they had," she adds. "That's what it is all about."

Gloria has been an independent travel agent since 2006, following 15-year stint at American Airlines.  She founded Honeymoon Dreams and Wishes last year. She travels out of the country to different hotels and resorts at least 2-3 times a year, herself, which is essential to building wonderful trips for her couples, and re-establishing the contacts that allow her to not charge them a direct fee. But, she can also help you book any trip, at any resort or hotel that you want to go to as well. Direct fees only come into play when she's asked to book a group of 20 or more for a destination wedding.
"For a lot of people, their honeymoon is a one-time trip, and for a special vacation like this, you want to use a travel agent," she says. It's not just where the best hotels are, or the ones within your price range, but what to expect when you get there. What are the unknown unknowns?" That's one of my favorite subjects, so, what are some of the unknown unknowns in traveling all around the world?" Off the top of her head, she says, "Things like, bring multiple swimsuits to a tropical destination. The water supply has gotten better in Mexico, but you want to pack Pepto Bismol tablets, just in case. You're going to need good walking shoes wherever you go in Europe, and a good tote or backpack. What's the latest exchange rate, and how do you maximize that? An experienced travel agent can get you all the information quickly. And I can tell you exactly where to go have the experience that they want."
Tahiti is her most popular destination request. "And, yeah, it is a lot of lying on the beach, and some couples really like that. But there are a lot of other things to do there, too. Lots of water activities -  You can go to Shark and Stingray feedings, get right in the water with them. On dry land, there are jeep tours, or you can rent scooters and go exploring on your own." Her second most popular request is Cancun.
"Wherever you want to go, I want to make sure you have a wonderful time," she says. "I'll order champagne for your room when you check in, or something like chocolate covered strawberries. I take a personal interest in whatever travel arrangements I'm making, to ensure that your trip is flawless.Your honeymoon should be special from beginning to end, and sometimes it's the small things that count. I takes all pressure off of you - you'll know that everything is taken care of." I can vouch for that, so much so that I put her in charge of our 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii next month. Zane wants to go on a helicopter tour of the volcanoes on Kona. Me? I'm looking forward to the big bed, the beach, and the hot tub. And, I can't wait to see what else Gloria has in store for us.

You can find out more about Gloria Emanuelson, and how to book your dream honeymoon at, or contact her directly at 310-430-0876, or

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Monday, January 07, 2013

Your Work vs. Your Wedding (Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator)
It’s 11am. You’ve been busy since you walked in the door with your Starbucks cup two hours ago. Started out with a meeting with your team, then a couple of phone calls to the other side of the country before lunchtime/as their day starts, round it off with 30 minutes tightening up tomorrow’s presentation. And it’s the presentation that gets you. You’ve been so good all day, but then you have to Google research point #5, and the shiny, shiny new ring on top of your mouse hits your peripheral vision one too many times. Wipeout!
It starts with The Broke-Ass Bride, since there’s always something new here everyday, then you go to your wedding checklist on The Knot or Wedding Wire, which moves you into their forums. Which, sigh, takes you to a reasonably-priced photographer…and her blog…and your twitter feed..which leads to a quick email to your venue about whether you can have candles…and the next thing you know it’s 2pm, and you haven’t even gotten up for lunch. Again.

Don’t think I can’t see you from here.

They say that it takes 40 forty-hour weeks to plan a wedding. That’s like having a second job, which a lot of you are already doing at your first job.  So, how do you stop it from showing? With all you have to do to plan the big day – 160 hours and counting, y’all! – how do you stay focused on what’s actually paying for it?
Wedding planners make it a lot easier. My brides email or call me if they want to check out x, y, and z, I usually get back to them with an answer in  24-48 hours. In the meantime they can continue their quest for world domination. Seriously, that’s like 85% of my work every day. And hey, even I get distracted by Huffingtonpost and Gawker. It happens to us all. And it’s like dieting: If you go cold turkey, you’re never going to make it. Truthfully, it can be hard to get a hold of wedding vendors during the weekends, because, well, we’re all busy, so you’re not completely out of line trying to get some of this stuff done Mon-Fri. But if you’re flying solo, here’s how to successfully integrate your new “job” into your current one:

1. Have a little patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your wedding won’t be, either. You do not have to find the perfect veil today, it or its equivalent will still be there tomorrow. Or next week for that matter. That being said…
2. Make two checklists before you go into the office each day. One for what you have to do for work, another for what you want to do wedding-wise. Do the work list first, because, you know, hello!  Keep the wedding list down to four things – two which have to be done during business hours (like phone calls to vendors) and two which don’t (like emails or research). Ask yourself, “do I really need to do this at work right now?” Well, do you?
3. Do not add more things to the wedding list if you finish the four you have for the day. Write a new wedding list for tomorrow, and go back to work. I mean it, you guys.

The paycheck motivator.
The Paycheck Motivator
4. Make rules. Just like when we were kids, when you finish your homework, you get to play. When you finish your dinner, you get dessert. So, after you lock down that presentation, you can call your caterer and schedule a tasting. Take 10  minutes (TEN, Dude!)  to surf for pre-owned dresses after you’ve double-checked on the widget inventory. Use the timer on your phone if you have to.
Wow, I sound like my mother. I guess that was inevitable, huh?

5. Think about what cool wedding thing your next paycheck is going to buy. The deposit on your cake? Ten Chiavari chairs? Sadly, your wedding isn’t going to pay for itself, you have to pay for it. Appreciate your job, it’s literally handing you that ribbon-tied black-lily bouquet you’ve been lusting after. Discipline the Pretty – it’s the only way to bridge both worlds.
So, how are you managing to stay focused at work? Or when did you realize that your wedding was taking over your 9-5 brain? Share below, please!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Ask Liz: Bridal Shower Etiquette is a THING. (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

I have a wedding advice column that runs every Friday on The Broke-Ass Bride. Here's a look at  this week:

Fill these seats carefully! (Photo by Pictilio)
Dear Liz,
My brother is getting married in May and his bride-to-be has asked for my help with planning the wedding. We will have to travel about four hours to where it is taking place. There will more than likely be 50 (or less) guests in attendance, which is what they want. She doesn’t feel terrible about leaving a lot of people out on her special day especially since she knows a lot of them wouldn’t want to make the trip. I was just wondering is it acceptable to invite uninvited guests to a huge bridal shower in her honor??

Shower Struggle

Find out what I told her to do, and see exactly how many people disagree with me so far on The Broke-Ass Bride. And, remember, if you have any questions about planning your wedding, set up a complimentary consultation with me, and we'll figure it out together. Just let me know what you need...

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wedding Wise Wednesday - January 2 (Los Angeles Wedding Planner)

Every Wednesday, I bring you the best wedding stories, events and deals in Los Angeles and from around the web. And we call it Wedding Wise Wednesday. Welcome!

Happy 2013!

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:
Martha Stewart Weddings brings it again! It's been so cold and rainy out here lately, just looking at this feels like Summer, you know? Wonderful idea for table numbers - fill a bottle with pink lemonade (or the beverage of your choice) and paint a big ole number on it. Sigh. Warmer weather. I can't wait.

The Events:

Let the Season begin!

Sunday, January 6
11am - 4pm
Bridal Showplace at the Queen Mary
1126 Queens Hwy.
Long Beach, CA 90802
$7.00 at the door, $6.00 if you purchase online

Sunday, January 6
11am - 4pm
Premier Bridal Shows
Sheraton Cerritos
12725 Center Court Drive
Cerritos, CA 90703
$10 at the door, $5.00 if you purchase online

24500 Town Center Drive
Santa Clarita, CA 91351
$8.00 at the door, $5 if you purchase online

The Deals:
Bride Rush - If your wedding is in the next couple of months, grab one of my available dates! And check out the other deals they have on Los Angels photographers, DJs, photobooths, anything you need and haven't found the time to get yet!
Amazon Local - $195 - Two-Hour Photo Booth Rental with Optional Extras. This deal is only good through Sunday, so GO. 
Wedding Chicks - A brand new set of free printables! Save the Dates! Ceremony and reception signs! Invitations! 

I would LOVE to talk to you about your wedding, and find out how I can help you have a fantastic and fun day. So, give me a call, shoot me an email, and just let me know what you need. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events