Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wedding Wise Wednesday - Februrary 26

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:

It looks exactly like this. Do not ask me how I managed to mess up
 my live picture of it last night, but I did. 
So, I was at this really cool networking event at The Loft on Pine last night, and of course, they were encouraging everyone to Instagram, #wanderfloftparty. EXCEPT here's the awesome - there was this small white box in the corner of the entrance that was capturing the Instagram pictures and printing them. No more trying to pull them from the website, no more trying to get them from your friends. Instagram to picture with your logo on it in 2 minutes. Go to for more rental info, or call Josh & Monica studio at 714-458-5770.

The Events:

Wedding Show Season is in full effect, people.

Saturday and Sunday, March 1-2
Wedding Show Weekend
Hosted by Country Club Receptions
35 Bridal Shows in 35 Country Clubs across the country. 15 here in Southern California.
I will be at this one, representing Great Officiants:

Brookside Golf Club
9:00am - 1:00pm
1133 Rosemont Ave.
Pasadena, CA  91103
Admission: Free

Others include:

Eldoradao Park Golf Course - Long Beach
Sea Cliff Country Club - Huntington Beach
Chester Washington Golf Course - Los Angeles
Knollwood Golf Course - Granada Hills
Coyote Hills Golf Course - Fullerton

Get more details here...

Sunday, March 2nd

Bridal Showplace - Pomona
11:00am - 3:00pm
Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center | map
601 W. McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768
Admission: $6 online, $7 at the door

Engaged! A Bridal Event
Taglyan Cultural Complex
1201 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Admission: $20
Gorgeous high-end show. Not sure if they're having an Oscar viewing party at the end of this, but you know, I would.

The Deals:

Groupon - $35 admission to the Make-Your-Own Wedding Invitations Workshop from Uniquely Yours Wedding Invitations. Valued at $75.

There's a J.Crew Bridal store at The Grove, FYI. :-)

My Wed Style - 10% off all aisle runners. All of them.

Come by and say visit me at Brookside Country Club on Sunday!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Email or call to talk about our your wedding:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Biggest Pinterest Board of the Week

Budget Wedding Tips, hands down. 65 re-pins and 995 followers. Like I always say, EVERYONE has a wedding budget. Check out Hollywood Glitz on a Budget, too.

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Contact me today for your complimentary consultation:


Saturday, February 22, 2014

(Sponsored Post) L.A. Wedding Sitter: Say Yes to Your Little Guests

Note: This is a sponsored post - I was compensated financially or with something else of value for this article. I only recommend products or services that my wedding clients or I have used in the past, or that I would eagerly recommend to them and my readers. 

"It doesn’t have to be one or the other, no kids or kids," says Jessica Flores, owner of L.A. Wedding Sitter. "This is another option, and everyone - your guests and their kids - can feel involved and not left out."

When she was a floral designer, Jessica had always loved working on weddings. At her own wedding, she wanted an adult-only reception, so she gave her guests a number for a local baby-sitting service. But she saw for herself how limited that that option was, once she attended a wedding with her own six-month old daughter a couple of years later. "The babysitters didn’t have much to do for little kids," she says. "They were great, and and they had a TV, but that was it. That’s when I came up with this idea, to have on-site wedding childcare, with crafts and games, movies, face painting, cupcake decoration, just lots of stuff for little babies up to older kids." 

For the past five years, L.A. Wedding Sitter has provided a fun and interactive environment for children, from newborns to teenagers, to enjoy during weddings and events. "An area where they can have fun, but also rest and nap if they need to. Basically, we create a party for them, too," says Jessica. 

One sitter is provided per every five children, and the number of sitters increases with the number of younger kids and babies. Jessica has almost 20 years of childcare experience, and every one of her staff is CPR and Child First Aid certified, licensed and insured. Jessica makes sure that all the safety bases are covered: Each parent is required to fill out and sign a medical form, detailing any allergies or conditions their child may have, and supply their cell phone number and reception table number. And, only parents are allowed to take their children out of the room, once they're checked in. "We have aunts and uncles, grandparents, who want to come by and see the baby, or, 'I want to take Johnny out to our table,'" Jessica explains. "But no child leaves the room without one of my staff going with them."

Visit L.A. Wedding Sitter on Facebook
for more photos.

Jessica works with you and your venue coordinator to find the best room for the childcare area. Usually, they're able to convert a space that's already been designated for the wedding party to use, so there is no additional charge.

Parents can come in and see their children at any time, and her staff any calls and texts from anxious parents, and sends them pictures on request. "Once their kids are settled, we really encourage the parents to go back and enjoy the reception. But sometimes they will come in, and say to their child, “Hey, let’s go to the dance floor,” and she won't want to go, because she's having too much fun with us!," Jessica laughs.

Every child receives a personalized
Goody bag.

L.A. Wedding Sitter's on-site childcare service, for up to four children, is $400 for a five hour period of time, or $880 for up to 11 hours. There is an additional discount for siblings. The service can also be broken down to cover your wedding party prep time, or your ceremony.   A preliminary list of children's names and ages is due three weeks before your wedding, with a final list due the week before. She also works with individual guests as a childcare resource, if a group service isn't necessary or possible.

"I love watching my clients' faces when they look in the room and see how nicely it's set up and how happy their guests and all the children are," Jessica says. "And the kid's faces just light up, too, when they realize that there's a special part for them at the wedding, and they've never experienced that before. It's wonderful to be able create that feeling for everyone."

Find out more about L.A. Wedding sitter at or contact Jessica Flores directly at, or 310-804-4561. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Friday, February 21, 2014

Video: Join me at Brides Against Breast Cancer, Today and Tomorrow!

I'm heading to the Brides Against Breast Cancer Gown Sale and Wedding Show today:

Anaheim Marriott Suites
12015 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Friday, February 21, 6:30 - 10:00pm
Saturday, February 22, 11:00am - 5:00pm
More info:

Great dresses, great deals, and a lot of fun for a really good cause. Text me at  323-592-9318 if you need directions. See you there!

...and at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Call or email me to schedule your complimentary consultation:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wedding Wise Wednesday - February 19

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:

Jolly Fine Tiara's seashell wedding bouquet. Perfect for summer, whether you're getting married on the beach, or want to bring the beach to you.

The Events:

Friday, February 21 - Saturday, February 22
Friday is preview night - first look at all the gowns, 6:30pm - 10:00pm

Brides Against Breast Cancer Charity Wedding Gown Sale and Bridal Show
Anaheim Marriott Suites
12015 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840

This is a fantastic event, whose proceeds go to support programs for women who have breast cancer, and their families. If you haven't found your dress, yet, this is the place to be - pre-owened beautiful dresses at up to 70% off retail. I volunteer for this event every year, but this time I'm going to be in the Bridal Show part. Come by, say Hi, ask a wedding planning question, and pick up your free gift, while they last.

Sunday, February 23
BrideWorld Expo Pasadena
10:00am - 4:00pm
Pasadena Convention Center
180 S Marengo Ave
(Marengo x Green St.)
Pasadena, CA 91101
Admission: $12 at the door, $10 online

This is a HUGE weekend for Bridal Shows. Check out the listings on Wedding Wire to find other events in your area.

The Deals:

The Knot Shop - $22.99 - The Knot's Ultimate Wedding Planner and Organizer. Timelines, worksheets, binders and pockets. Everything you need to keep track of your wedding.

Amazon - And here's a plan for how to keep track of your wedding, My book, The Mad Dash Down the Aisle: How to Plan Your Wedding in Six Months...Or Less. Available on Kindle for $4.99 and in paperback for $8.99

Oriental Trading Company - $20 per dozen: Black and White Wedding Custom Photo Candy Bars. Shipping is free on orders of $75 or more, so you're golden.

See you at the end of the aisle....and the Brides Against Breast Cancer Event on Friday and Saturday,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Call or email me to schedule your complimentary wedding strategy session:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What are they assuming about YOUR wedding?

My God,” I can hear you thinking, “Only three??  Yeah, three is about all we can deal with here. I've been doing this a while, so I hear by couples being told the same thing over and over. And over. Friends and family, man. They mean well?
You could, but they're still going
to give you  a hard time.
1. You’re spending soo much money. Like you don’t already know that.

But seriously, why does everyone think that you’re that you’re not weighing the costs and choosing your options carefully? To a certain extent, this stuff costs what it costs. Here's a few zingers you can zing back when they give you a hard time:
If you're going to have a wedding, you need to rent a place to have it. To rent a guest room in a hotel, for two people, is about $200 a night. Multiply that by 50, plus the labor cost of setting up tables, linens and catering service. And if they say, well, at least you get the hotel room for a whole day and night. Well, not exactly. In by 4pm, out by 11am? 
At the Olive Garden, a comparable Wedding menu - appetizers, salad, entree, and a couple of drinks, is $50 per person, including tax and service. Multiply that by  100 = $5,000. At the Olive Garden. Although...they DO cater.
Spend "too much", and they wrinkle their noses. Spend too little and they do the same. What's important is how you feel about the money you're spending. If you're not comfortable, that's one thing, and there are ways to cut back, moving forward, and you should start on that, and start feeling better, ASAP. If you have it to spend, and you like what you're spending it on, then don't waste time being ashamed or defensive. Either way, all you have to say is the truth: "I appreciate what you're saying, but we like the wedding we're planning." Like I said, they mean well.  

2. You should know what you’re doing. 
Yes, because your daily pre-wedding life included throwing parties for 100+ people every day. And, as you’re discovering, there are lots of unknowns, lots of potential mistakes that you had no idea you could make. There's lots of research, lots of vendors to meet, and tons of decisions to make about all of it. You want to create a wonderful day with the love of your life and with all the folks who love you both, and you’re doing your best to get it right - give yourself credit for that, right now.
And you’ve got to carve out time from your regularly scheduled life programming to do it. Wedding planning can and should be fun, you can and should enjoy and appreciate all the options and allll the Pretty, but you know what, it's also a lot of work. They say it takes 400 hours to plan a wedding, ten 40-hour weeks. Sounds about right, especially since figuring how to do anything new takes time.  This is the main reason I get hired, so they can use that 400 hours to live their lives, and not their weddings. I know all the pros, the cons, and the odds. You're not weak, you're not whiny, and you're not crazy. Although it might drive you crazy when your Aunt say, "why are you stressed out?? This is fun, this is easy! All you have to do is just find a wedding cake!” Sigh. 

Fondant vs. Buttercream vs.
Cake Topper vs. Your Head Exploding.

3. You don’t need my help. Why do you need my help?
These are usually the first people to complain about the decision you made without them. They don’t realize, if you’re asking for their help or their opinion, it means that you really want it. Bottom line? People don't want the responsibility, they'd rather hand out the blame. If it's your betrothed, then remind them it's their wedding too, and they need to tell you what they want it to look like (trust me, there is something). If it's your family, especially if they're helping you pay for the wedding, remind them that they will have to be okay with your decision. If it's your wedding party, and you need their help, turn it into a party. Dress shopping followed by Happy Hour. Invitation stuffing preceded by lunch. Turn favor-making into a wine-tasting. Schedule it and make it fun. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Contact me today to schedule a complimentary wedding consultation:

p.s. I'm going to have a table at the Brides Against Breast Cancer booth, Friday and Saturday in Anaheim. Be one of the first five to come up to me and say, "They're driving me crazy about my wedding!!" and you'll receive a very cool gift, one near and dear to my heart. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wedding Planning Break: It's All In the Kiss

Big blow-up version here. Now go out there and practice!

Ready to get back into it? Call or email me 323-592-9318 or to schedule your complimentary wedding consultation. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Saturday, February 15, 2014

(Sponsored Post) Your Wedding Soundtrack: Meet Composer Lauren Hanna

Note: This is a sponsored post - I was compensated financially or with something else of value for this article. I only feature products or services that my wedding clients or I have used in the past, or that I would eagerly recommend to them and my readers. 

Lauren Hanna, Wonderstruck Music
"A wedding is the start of a new season for every couple, and it’s always a time of hope and joy. Even if there's been the worst family drama that's happened leading up to it, everyone present is in complete awe of the love that these two people have for each other. And I love being a part of showcasing and expressing their love through my music. "

I was grinning the whole time Lauren Hanna and I  spoke, because her passion and enthusiasm - for her work, and her clients, and most of all, for the power of music, is so tangible. And it began very early for her:

"I started playing piano when I was 8 years old. And, I’m classically trained, jazz trained, musical theater trained, basically any genre you can think of, I learned how to play on the piano. Until I was 17, it was a hobby, I wasn’t really planning to do anything with it, and then I discovered that I had a knack for writing and composing music. And, I just absolutely fell in love with that."

She went to Cal State Northridge, which has one of best film scoring schools in the country. There she was able to study with some of the most prominent composers in the industry. Since graduating in 2011 and opening Wonderstruck Music, she's worked on several TV, film, and theater projects of her own.

Creating custom songs is a relatively new venture for her. Last year, she was in three weddings, and she wrote first dance songs for two of the couples as her wedding gift to them.

"One of the came to me and asked, 'Lauren, Lauren, will you please do this??'  And I said, 'Yeah, of course!" Lauren laughs. "And for the other bride, I just wanted to because I knew she would love it. And I after I did those two pieces, I thought, you know, I bet there are people out there who would love to give that gift of song."

Composing a wedding piece usually takes 4-6 weeks, Lauren tells me.  "I’ll talk to the couple, find out what their likes are, what their dislikes are. If they want lyrics, if they don’t. I’ll ask what kind of instruments they want, anything specific, " Lauren tell me. "I have all the instruments on a computer program, so if you want something like a trombone, I can give that to you, and it sounds just like the real thing." She can also set up a recording session with live instruments and other singers, if you would prefer that, instead.

"Under the Gazebo" - First Dance Song

Each couple receives a cd and an mp3 file with the final version of their song, which they can give to their DJ to play at their wedding. If a band or a live singer that will be performing it, Lauren will email the sheet music to the band leader or singer, too, and go over it with them personally . Her most popular requests are for first dance songs, followed by ceremony procession and recession music. 

"If they have lyrics, then I’ll incorporate those into the song. Or, if they want, I can write lyrics for them - we’ll sit down, and they’ll tell me about a life event they want to talk about, or a feeling they want to come across, and I’ll start sending them versions of lyrics until they have their song." She usually sings the lyrics herself, but she can also provide a male soloist, or a choir if the piece requires it, as this one below did:

Sound of many waters - Ceremony Processional

"Couples feel like the recessional music doesn't have to be so serious, it can usually be more personal, it can be playful, it can be more joyous, it can be anything they want it to be, a dance number, whatever," she says. "And those are really fun to write and perform."

Thespian's Theme - Recessional music

Commissioning a  first dance song, which is normally between 3-6 minutes long, averages around $500, depending on the complexity of the details. The cost for a 1-3 minute long ceremony piece, usually costs between $250 - 300. That's 1-3 minutes long with a few extra seconds, just in case."I come from a show choir background, so I understand that Day-of never goes as planned," Lauren explains."There’s always something that gets thrown into the mix, good or bad. So, I do get a general idea of how many people will be walking down the aisle, but then I’ll usually add another 15-30 seconds on top of that. And, the way I write those pieces, the end and the beginning can be put on repeat, so they can morph together in a loop, if they need more time to get down the aisle. So, if the flower girl has decided to stop halfway down the aisle and say hi to Grandma, and holds up the whole procession line, you're not going to run out of music!" 

The overwhelmingly positive response her custom wedding songs has lead to other requests, too. She's been commissioned to create music for marriage proposals, personal songs for babies, background music for baby showers, and has even composed personal theme songs. Lauren also works with small business owners and coaches. She created a meditation soundtrack for a business coach who helps right-brain creatives put together business plans, an is finishing up her latest project with personal trainer, who has created series of health and fitness affirmations that he wants to set to music. "It’s really a great ride, doing music," Lauren tells me."And as long as I get to bless people with music every day, I’m pretty happy."

You can hear more samples of Lauren's work on her website, - There is a great video clip of her conducting an orchestra playing on her pieces, FYI. Or, order your custom wedding music directly from her store at

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Love Letter to The 2014 Newbie Bride : Happy Valentine's Day!

This is the 2014 version of an article I run around this time every year. Welcome1

This? Is going to be FUN.
Photo: Elizabeth Messina, Kiss the Groom
Dear Newbie Bride:

Happy Valentine's Day! And, 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 work. This is why God made Etsy. And Ebay. And Pinterest, especially the tutorials. And, Craigslist, even. And, I LIVE for wedding planning questions. Literally, so don't be afraid to email or call me. And, don’t give up. Giving up is stupid.

Will it be stressful? 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, dancing, all while wearing a beautiful dress. At one point that day, you may find yourself doing all five at the same time. 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.

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 (I did mention the cake, right?). 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 it all, 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...

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wedding Wise Wednesday - February 12

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:

Via Pop Sugar
Happy Valentine's Day! This Cool Pretty is from an actual wedding, so now I have to find the balloons you go. Or here. Check out the Pop Sugar post for more awesomeness.

The Events:


Friday and Saturday
February 21-22

Brides Against Breast Cancer 
Charity Wedding Gown Sale & Bridal Show
Anaheim Marriott Suites
12015 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840

I usually volunteer, but I'm going to have a table at this show, too. Drop by, mention Wedding Wise Wednesday, and get a free gift. That is all. 

Sunday, February 16
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
California Country Club Bridal and Special Event Showcase
California Country Club
1509 South Workman Mill Road
Whittier, CA 90601
Admission: Free if you RSVP, $5 at the door

The Deals:

Groupon - Oh, THIS is interesting. Still looking for a wedding venue? You can rent Gallery 1528 DTLA for only $125 for 6 hours, or $180 for ten hours. Did I mention it's in Downtown L.A.? Has a sound system, and a bar, and I'm willing to bet good money you can bring in your own catering, too. GO.

Save 15% of your entire custom order invitations at Etsy Shop Yellow Hype. Thanks to for the find. 

Alfred Angelo - Their President's sale is on, February 14-22. Save up to $300 off your bridal gown, and 20% off your accessories. 

How else can I help you find what you need?  Call me at 323-592-9318 today to schedule your complimentary wedding consultation. 

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Molly Ann's Favorite Engagement Shoot Places

One of my favorite photographers (see their pictures of Tracy and Bub's engagement session and wedding), Molly Ann had her baby girl, Coral Eva, yesterday. Congratulations to her and her husband, Matt!  Here's a guest post she wrote for me a couple of years ago: 

Ah, Molly Ann, she of one of my favorite Ring Shot ever. Take it away:

In the earlier days of my wedding photography career, I used to have two or three favorite sites to photograph engagement sessions. The light and backgrounds were always great and I knew where to go and how to pose the couple so that I'd get solid imagery out of them every single time. After a few sessions, however, it started to get boring! All my pictures had different couples rotating through the same scenery which meant that yes, the sites may be beautiful, but they were simply no longer challenging to me. And on top of that, occasionally we'd bump into other photographers also in the middle of portrait or engagement sessions, and inwardly I was embarrassed and concerned that my couples might deem their engagement pictures not so unique and as special if they were obviously taken at a portrait hotspot. Overall, I didn't feel that the method was very personal to the couple, nor as stimulating as it could be for me.

So now instead of pushing the beach or a local meadow, I ask the couple what they like to do together, and then try to build a session around that, wherever it happens to be. Wendy & Sean enjoy playing video games together, and camping at Joshua Tree, so we photographed a morning video game tournament in their own home in Costa Mesa, and then the two of them in and around the rugged desert landscape at Joshua Tree National Park...which is gorgeous, by the way.

And to think I never would have had the chance to photograph a destination engagement session in beautiful Joshua Tree if I'd steered the couple towards my preferred local photo locations! In addition to that, this approach also challenges me creatively. I mean, how the heck do you make great pictures of a video game tournament in an uncontrolled home environment?

I will say that it obviously helps when the couple puts some thought into the session as well. Cat & Dylan had several beautiful sites that were special to them, but ultimately settled on Chapman University where they met, in part because it is a photogenic location with fabulous newer buildings and plenty of visual texture, so it was sentimental to the couple and great for photographs.

Of course, we did meet another photographer taking pictures of a couple while on campus (did I mention Chapman is a photogenic location?), but it did not concern me nearly as much as before, because now we were at a site that was of the client's choosing, and its romantic value was not likely to diminish just because someone else also had engagement pictures taken there. And the other couple did not venture inside Chapman's law library to continue the session, which was why it was very important to Chapman law-alumnus Cat. If we had picked Chapman just "because it is pretty", then the session would have yielded far less unique results!

When discussing sites with couples now, I ask them where they met, what they like to do together, where their first date was, where he proposed, or where they like to hang out. Some people, like my friend Trevor, take it a step further and commission us to photograph the proposal itself!

The result is pictures in a location that ties the entire relationship together; Trevor and Angela's first date was at Disneyland, and it was also where Trevor proposed, and now it's also where we made memorable images of them enjoying their newly-engaged status!

I guess you could say my favorite engagement locations are everywhere. Scenic and attractive is good, scenic and attractive AND special to the couple is better. When those three attributes meet for an engagement session, everybody wins!

Molly is the owner and primary photographer for Luminaire Images, which she operates with her husband Matt. In addition to personalizing happy couples' engagement sessions in and around Orange County, she and Matt have also been commissioned for weddings and destination events in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Napa, and as far away as Greece.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
Phone/Text 323-592-9318

Friday, February 07, 2014

What You Don't Know About Your Wedding Venue

Jessica + Rodger, Long Beach Museum of Art, Photo by Hazelnut Photography

I'm on the preferred vendor list for the Long Beach Museum of Art, but that's not the only reason it's one of my favorite venues. Let me count the ways, in no particular order:
- The ceremony and reception area faces an un-obstructed view of the San Pedro bay and the ocean beyond it.
-The food is incredible
- The staff is personable, professional, and a lot of fun to work with. 

It was a no-brainer, once I decided to re-boot my "What You Don't Know About Your Wedding" series, to talk to Sara Vasquez and Andrea Crane, the Special Events Coordinators at LBMA. When you're booking a wedding venue,  what don't you know, and what do you need to know?

So, starting from the beginning - what happens after a couple calls or emails about availability, or send an inquiry through a site like The Knot or Wedding Wire?

"We have a template of everything that we include, for their date and guest count, and build them a proposal in the first email we send them," Andrea says. "And it has our menu, and pictures. Sara added, "Yeah, we like to provide all the cost information right away, and that way they know up front if having a wedding here is doable, if they’re going to have to tweak a few numbers here and there, or if it’s just way out of their budget." 

The Museum's site fee is $4,000, and a food and beverage minimum of $4500 on Fridays and Sundays, and minimum of $6500 on Saturdays. The food and beverage minimum is the contracted amount you have to spend for food and beverage, in order to have a wedding or event there. This is a pretty standard practice with most venues and caterers. The catering at the museum is provided by their on-site restaurant, Claire's.

It's a very popular wedding site - they're set to host 53 weddings this year - and one of the most reasonably priced oceanfront venues in Los Angeles. They do have a few weekend dates left for this summer, plenty of Fridays, and are currently booking for 2015. As to their popularity, Sara and Andrea laud the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Claire's reputation, and well, you can't beat the view, Sara laughs. "You cannot have a horrible day here, because if you are having a horrible day, you just have to walk outside and look out at the ocean, and that takes care of that!

Every couple receives a proposal that includes two passed appetizers for the cocktail hour, a choice of entrees, and a hosted bar for 4 hours. It also includes all staffing and standard rentals - tables, chairs, linens, plates, silverware, etc. The museum staff is responsible for setting all of that up, and then breaking it down at the end of your wedding.

Each proposal also comes with a payment plan, as well. The site fee and a $1,000 refundable deposit are required to book your date. The next payment, based on 50% of your catering proposal, isn't due until 30 days before your wedding. Final guest count and payment is due two weeks before. 

I ask for something similar from any venue that my couples are looking at. It's very important to know what you're spending for exactly what you're getting. Most venues don't have a problem providing that, so don't feel shy about asking, either.

Daytime events at the museum are scheduled from 10:30am -2:00pm, and evening events from 5:30 - 10:00pm.

"Once they get the proposal, they might have some questions, and if they want to continue after we answer those, they schedule a tour of the museum," Andrea concluded.

What kind of questions do they ask?

"Mostly questions about the food and the bar, first, especially the guys!" Sara says. "We only have a soft liquor license - we don't serve hard alcohol, only wine, beer, and specialty soft liquor drinks." Soft liquor is fermented, not distilled, and the museum has a menu of cocktails they provide. "It leads to some interesting discussions of how much alcohol is actually in the alcohol! And, we discuss the advantages of that, that you won’t have totally belligerent people at the end of the night. People can can still get buzzed on soft liquor, we don't see the craziness that can come with hard liquor. " Menu tastings include soft liquor cocktails, and most people are surprised that it tastes almost exactly the same. 

Amanda + Nathan, Michael Jonathan Studios

So, here's the big question: What isn't provided?

The couples are responsible for bringing in everything else - the flowers, cake, DJ, decorations," Andrea says. String lights and chiavari chairs are also not included in the standard proposal (Just in case you were lusting after the ones in this picture), but the museum can give you a list of recommended vendors for them. "They’re also responsible for anything that needs to go on the reception tables, and for taking those out at the end of the night."

What are some of the challenges and traps they see couples falling into when they're choosing their venue?

People need to have a budget for the venue, and then a separate budget for everything else, says Andrea. "Our venue is different, because we do provide a lot of things. For couples who don’t have coordinators, or someone to help them manage their budgets, they haven't done this before, of course, so it can be a little bit confusing." A good formula to use is that 50% of your budget should go to your venue rental and your catering, and the other 50% goes to everything else. Another issue that often comes up, especially if a couple is trying to save money, is cutting down on the staffing or rentals. Not a good idea. "They need to understand how essential the staffing is, and that all the rentals that we provide are necessary." Staff isn't just the servers you see at the reception, "you’ve got... bartenders, chefs, cooks, managers." The rental list has to include extra plates glasses, and silverware, etc, in order to provide the best customer service experience. This is also a great thing to keep in mind if you're going to be responsible for all of the rentals at your venue. Ask your caterer or serving staff to look over your rental list, to make sure that they are comfortable with your numbers.

Couples should also remember that the event staff is limited to how much they can help you outside of the wedding venue. They can give you recommendations, yes, but, "Some people do have a tendency to act like we’re their wedding coordinators, like, 'Where should we book our hotel rooms, where can we do a rehearsal dinner?'" Sara smiles,"And we can steer them in the right direction, but we’re not officially in charge of that. And if they need help with dresses or invitations, then we definitely can’t help them with that!"

If you're interested in current wedding availability at the Long Beach Museum of Art, you can contact them at (562) 439-2119,x234 email, or fill out the Special Events inquiry form online.

Next Friday: What You Don't Know About Your Wedding Flowers, with florist Kim Williams from Enchanted Florist. In the meantime, if you would like to talk about your wedding, call me at 323-592-9318 to schedule your complimentary consultation. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Marriage Equality - A Primer

You're welcome! Pass it on...

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

Call or email me now to schedule your free wedding consultation.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Wedding Wise Wednesday - February 5

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

Cool Wedding Thing of the Week:

Photo by Carrie Logan Photography

A Twist on the Clink and Kiss - And, I quote: "So instead of automatically kissing every time their guests clinked their glasses, the bride and groom had a list of couples who were spontaneously chosen to stand up and show them how it's done. Needless to say, it added lots of laughter to the evening." Isn't that awesome? Click the link for pictures and more of the story. 

The Events:

Thursday, February 6
Girls' Night Out!
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Sunday, February 9

10:00am - 4:00pm
Brideworld Expo L.A. and South Bay
Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resort
300 N Harbor Dr
(near the Redondo Beach Pier)
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Admission: $10 online, $12 at the door

11:00 - 3:00pm Expo Bridal 
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
1107 Jamboree Rd 
Newport Beach, Ca 92660 
Admission: $7.00 for you and a guest when you register online

The Deals:

My Wed Deal - $75 Bridal Makeup Package from Sunfree Beauty Bar. Originally priced at $125. Includes a free makeup consultation trial, so you can try out different looks. 

Tradesy Weddings - Wedding Dresses, Bridesmaid dresses, accessories; save $100 off your total order of $1000 when you use the code wedding100 at checkout.

Ready to create the wedding you want without getting overwhelmed? Call or email me, Liz Coopersmith, at 323-592-9318 or, to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events