Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Different Kind of "Bar"

It's not anything new for a wedding to involve a bar.. but lately some very different kinds of "bars" have been appearing. Brides and grooms are finding innovative ways to present something they like in the form of a bar or buffet.

One of the most popular is the candy bar. A variety of sweet and savory treats are presented in a buffet fashion where guests can grab a bag or box and fill it up. This is always a hit and guests love to get a sugar boost as they are dancing the night away.

For those with less of a sweet tooth but still looking to snack, there is a popcorn bar. You can order popcorn from a company like PopcornPalace.com and set it up in the same manner as the candy bar. There are so many interesting flavors of popcorn these days -- from jalapeno to strawberry cream, there is something for everyone. You can also mix up a popcorn bar with some chocolate covered pretzels to create a salty n' sweet bar. Yum!

Continuing on with the sweet trend, some other variations include a cookie bar with different types of cookies (don't forget the mugs of milk!), and a dessert bar with pastries, cupcakes, pies, etc. Some couples choose to celebrate their cultures by including specialty desserts from their ethnic backgrounds, or they use family recipes and include the recipe cards for guests to take home.

If sweets aren't your thing, consider including a raw seafood bar during your cocktail hour, or as a station during your reception. Shrimp, crab legs, and other seafood delicacies can be displayed on beds of ice or in an elaborate ice sculpture which looks sleek and tastes good, too. Another great non-sweets bar is the mashed potato bar. Anyone who knows me is aware of my obsession with all things potato, so this is my kind of bar. You include all the great toppings - bacon bits, cheddar cheese, sour cream, etc. and serve the mashed goodness in martini glasses. Speaking of martini glasses...
Beverage bars are also an option. Martini bars with specialty martinis or coffee bars with different flavors are both popular choices.

Whatever your taste, there seems to be bars of all kinds popping up lately. It's a chance for the bride and groom to have something unique and fun at their wedding, and guests just love them. And just an FYI - Flawless Occasions has set up many bars at our past weddings - we have beautiful glass containers and scoops available for rental; you just provide the treats. We set up and maintain the bar at no additional cost! :) Here are some great resources for supplies you may need for these bars:
Bulk Candy: www.candywarehouse.com, www.metrocandy.com
Popcorn: www.popcornpalace.com, www.thepopcornfactory.com
Personalized gift bags or boxes: www.foryourparty.com
Ice Sculpture for martini luges or raw bars: www.icecreamiest.com
And here are some inspiration photos:

Photo credits: Candy buffet by Beth Carrick, Seafood
buffet from MarthaStewart.com, Martini Bar from NYcityweddings.com, Popcorn Bar from TheKnot.com, Mashed potato bar from 217photography.com. Photo at top by Limelight Photography, Cookie buffet from weddingsbycolor.com.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What Can I Do With My Dress After the Wedding?

Many times after a wedding, the bride contemplates what to do with her beautiful white dress. This is a very personal choice, and there are many options to consider.

Some women feel very attached to their dress and therefore choose to keep it.
If you are going to keep your dress, you definitely want to have it preserved. A company like Affordable Preservation will take your garment, professionally clean it, and preserve it -- which means packaging it in an acid-free container so that it doesn't yellow or fade as years go by. Some dry cleaners will do this as well. This option is perfect for those women who dream about handing down their dress to a daughter or other special person, or for those who just want to keep the dress in it's original state as a memory of their day.

Some brides choose to have the dress changed into something such as a christening gown for a baby, throw pillows for a bed, or a quilt. Transforming your dress into something you can use again is a great way of saving the memories while being resourceful.

If you are not as strongly attached to your gown, you can always donate it. There are many wonderful organizations that will accept a donated dress.
Brides Against Breast Cancer is an organization that raises money to grant wishes to women who have stage 4 breast cancer. Through their annual gown sales and other fundraising efforts, they are able to grant these wishes. I have volunteered for this organization for 2 years now and am donating my dress to this cause.

But for another option, check out Becca's Closet. Created by a 16-year-old young woman in South Florida, Becca's Closet collects formal gowns to give to high school girls to wear to prom. These girls normally would not be able to afford a prom gown. The organization also gives away educational scholarships. Rebecca passed away in 2003 in an automobile accident but her spirit lives on as this organization has expanded with many chapters across the country. You may also want to encourage your bridesmaids to donate their gowns to this organization as well.

If you want to support our troops while donating your wedding gown, check out Brides Across America. This organization gives free wedding gowns to active-military brides and brides who are engaged to an active-military soldier. They rely solely on donated gowns from former brides and designers and select recipients to come in and find their dream gown for absolutely no cost.

If none of these charities appeal to you, you can always contact your local Salvation Army, Church, or School. A friend of mine donated her dress to the local high school drama department for them to use in their plays. She says she envisions someone gracefully floating around stage in her wedding gown. Love it :)

But before you preserve, cut up, or donate your dress, consider doing one last photo session wearing it. Although we get tons of photos on our wedding day, there never seems to be enough time to get everything we want, so having an after-the-wedding photo shoot is a great option. I recently participated in a photography party with some great local photographers: Carolina Araujo and Zekeshem Parson, along with some visiting photographers, Lele Photography, from St. Louis. They invited me and some of my former clients to do some shoots just for fun - I did a "Day After" shoot and Amy and Griffin did a "Trash the Dress Shoot". Let me tell you, it's been a little over a year since my wedding and it felt GREAT to be back in my dress. I will certainly miss it when I donate it to BABC but I now have these wonderful photos memorializing it forever. We had so much fun on my shoot in Ybor and Amy and Griff rocked it out at the beach. I adore these photographers and look forward to working with them many more times in the future. Here are some of our pics -- what do you think??

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Honor of Father's Day and All of the Special Men in our Lives

We hope everyone is having a wonderful Father's Day with their fathers, grandfathers, husbands, and other special men in their lives. A special Happy Father's Day goes out to our own fathers as well as some of our past clients who are celebrating their first Father's Day together! :)

In honor of Father's Day, we'll share some ideas of songs to use for father/daughter wedding dances. Doing a father/daughter and mother/son dance is a tradition that is still very commonly done at weddings these days. We have seen some variations of it, such as both of these dances together at the same time, or a bride dancing with her step-father, grandfather, or brother. Having a dance like this is just a wonderful way to acknowledge the impact this special man has had on your life. Brides often struggle with finding the perfect song that represents their relationship, so here is a list from http://weddings.about.com/ that will hopefully help in the decision. I like this list because it has the classic weddings songs but it also lists some newer or lesser-known songs and divides it up by genre. Whether you are looking for some smooth r&b, an emotional love song, or an upbeat oldies hit, this list has many options for the perfect father/daughter dance.
(photo from one of our past weddings at the Sandpearl Resort by Limelight Photography... and scroll down to the bottom to see a few more great father/daughter moments from our past weddings!)

Folk and Indie Father Daughter Dance Songs

Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
Daughter – Loudon Wainwright III
Gracie – Ben Folds

Rock/Pop Father Daughter Dance Songs

Sweet Child o' Mine – Sheryl Crow
Daughters – John Mayer
I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
How You've Grown - 10,000 Maniacs
You Got It – Roy Orbison
Thank You – Led Zeppelin.
Dancing on Daddy's Shoes - Leon Redbone.

R & B and Jazz Father Daughter Dance Songs

That's How Strong My Love Is Otis Redding
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder
Daddy – Beyonce

Country Father Daughter Dance Songs

I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Through the Years – Kenny Rogers
Do I Make You Proud – Taylor Hicks
There'll You'll Be – Faith Hill
I Loved Her First – Heartland

Classic Father Daughter Dance Songs

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof
My Girl – The Temptations
Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle
The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett
Isn't She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Some great father/
daughter moments from some of our past weddings... photo 1. Amanda and her father by Jason Angelini Photography; photo 2. Stacey being given away by Carrie of Studio Blu Images; photo 3. A funny moment between Amy and her father, by Joelle of Socialite Studios; Lauren's father escorting her down the aisle by Jason Angelini Photgraphy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lauren and Ryan's Pro Photos

Check out Jason Angelini's blog - he just posted some beautiful photos from Lauren and Ryan's wedding last weekend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lauren and Ryan, a Joyful June Wedding

This weekend we coordinated the wedding of Lauren and Ryan in downtown St. Petersburg. Lauren worked very hard on all the planning of this wedding, and I loved that she embraced the natural beauty of her venues and based her style around them. Their ceremony was at St. Mary's Catholic Church with the reception following at the Mirror Lake Lyceum. This vintage and simplistically chic wedding came together with some great vendors - Darla Stafford for hair and makeup, Dana Dineen Floral Designs, DJ Rob Sword, and Jason Angelini Photography. Catering was by Olympia, their 4 tier cake was made by Chef Michael of Let Them Eat Cake, and the delicious candy buffet was created by Tammi Law.

Lauren and Ryan's wedding had some really nice details. The color scheme was fresh and vibrant with red, fuschia, purple, and lime green accents. Lauren's red rose bouquet was wrapped in lace that matched her gorgeous mantilla veil. The couple exited in a white 1962 Rolls Royce they rented from All Star Limousine and all of their guests saw them off with sparklers. I loved when the groom's father started off his blessing by saying how wonderful it was for these 2 sides of the family to come together: the Italian side who makes the wine, and the Irish side who will drink it! There was a lot of love and joy at this event and it seemed like everyone had a great time. Lauren and Ryan, thanks for allowing me to help in creating your special day and I hope you guys have a great time in St. Lucia!

A big thank you goes out to Beth, who stopped by after some of her consulations to help me coordinate the ceremony, and to the Lyceum staff who are always so helpful everytime we work with them. Here are some of my personal photos from the day (don't forget to check Jason's blog for the pro photos coming soon).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Event at the InterContinental Tampa

I was so busy posting about all of our weddings in May that I had accidentally skipped over this great event Beth and I attended last month! Better late than never.

Our friend Robert at the InterContinental Hotel in Tampa invited us to a networking event last month where we got to meet tons of other local wedding planners and vendors. The room was very chic and modern with several lounge areas and lighted tables. The glowing bar was serving mimosas and smoking martinis (literally smoking.. they had dry ice in them) and there were food stations set up with all kinds of treats. The furniture rentals were done by Glenn of Ice Magic and we hope to work with him in the near future because he has some really great products!

It's been almost a year since we last did a wedding at the InterContinental but it's a fabulous venue and it was great to be back there. The Intercontinental has a very modern and contemporary vibe, and their chef creates some innovative dishes with unique setups. It's definitely a great venue. Robert, thanks again for inviting us and we hope to work with you again soon!
We had a great time last night at the Alfred Angelo event and we were excited to meet so many potential new clients, as well as see some of our current clients who stopped by. Thanks again to Katherine, Donna, and the rest of the staff who always make us feel at home in their beautiful bridal shop.

This weekend I'm getting ready for Lauren and Ryan's wedding down in St. Pete, and it's definitely going to be a gorgeous one. I get to work with some of my favorite vendors and meet some new ones which is always fun, too. I'll have some pictures to post in a few days so check back soon!

In the meantime I thought I would share a few photos from last weekend when I was actually a guest at a wedding. It's been over a year since I've been able to attend a wedding without working, and I have to admit it was kind of hard to just kick back and relax. Ok, it wasn't that hard... :) This was the wedding of my brother-in-law (my husband's brother), and now I have a new sister-in-law! We traveled up to Pennsylvania for the wedding which was held at the Mendenhall Inn. The ceremony took place in a pretty courtyard, and the reception was in the Gold Ballroom. I loved that Lauren, the bride, incorporated her job as manager of a cupcake company (Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes, which has been featured on the Food Network!) into her wedding; she used mini cupcakes as the placecards, so it was functional AND delicious. Congrats Adam and Lauren, hope you guys are having an awesome time in the Bahamas! And yes, that groomsman hamming it up for the camera is my husband, the one and only.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Come See Us This Thursday

Beth and I will be at Alfred Angelo again this Thursday, June 11th, for one of their monthly events. Come meet with us to discuss your wedding planning progress and get tips and advice.

There will be some other vendors joining us as well so it will definitely be a fun time. Macaroni Grill Catering will be providing some delectable treats. Get your hair and makeup done by the professionals from Paul Mitchell who can give you ideas and inspiration for your wedding day look. This is also a great time to shop for your wedding attire needs, and ALL headpieces - tiaras, veils, combs, etc. - are on SALE!

This event will be happening from 5-7pm so make an appointment by calling 813-872-1881, and tell them you heard about it from Flawless Occasions.

We hope to see you there! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

SuperBride Saves Family!

Lately there have been several TV shows and movies that have not been too friendly to the image of today's brides. Some of the shows portray brides as big spenders who will put their family and fiance into debt just to have the perfect wedding flowers flown in from China.. some show brides screaming at their bridesmaids so severely that it may take years of therapy to recover from it. These shows and other negative portrayals of brides by the media have caused the term "bridezilla" to become part of the normal vocabulary when having a conversation about weddings.

But there is a bright light here... a wonderful news story out of Connecticut that involves a heroic bride--not a Bridezilla at all, but a SuperBride! This young woman noticed a house on fire while riding in a car after leaving her wedding reception, and she leaped out to help while still in her wedding dress! Her wedding dress is now black and charred, but we might as well paint a giant "S" on the front because she truly is a SuperBride.

Here's the full story from the Connecticut Post:

Bride Saves Family from Burning Home

Farrah & Paul Take the Plunge!

Yes! Believe it or not, I had two brides with the same name (different spelling though) in the same week. Crazy!!!

Farrah & Paul are from Manchester, England and planned their May 27th wedding at the Tradewinds Island Grand site unseen! I have been working with them since they started planning so I was able to send them pictures and details of possible venues. Based on the information I sent them, they picked their wedding venue. They arrived at The Tradewinds the day before their wedding and were very pleased with their choice!!! (Big sigh of relief!)

Farrah & Paul planned a beach wedding and an outdoor reception for their 21 guests who were mostly from the UK. Luckily, after a week of nothing but rain - we had a completely sunny day for their wedding!

Farrah's color scheme was fuscia, aqua and white. They were perfect colors for a beach wedding and really looked great. Instead of bouquets, her bridesmaids wore beautiful wrist corsages and carried blue parasols. Farrah carried a stunning bouquet of pink philanopsis. Thai-rific did an amazing job with the flowers!!

She also incorporated the colors through paper lanterns hung all around the Breck Deck, personalized hot pink napkins, umbrella place cards and table name cards that she made herself. For the ceremony, we draped blue & white fabric on the bamboo arch (despite the wind) and lined the aisle in bright blue material strung between shephards hooks. We also scattered bright pink rose petals on the aisle. Farrah did a beautiful job picking out all the little details that really personalized the day.

Despite the heat, Farrah's hair and makeup (which were done by Michele Renee) stayed on and she looked stunning! Her Maggie Sottero dress was just beautiful too!

Rob Sword of Sword Sounds did a wonderful job officiating the ceremony and also DJ'ing the entire event. It was fun working with Rob again!

Tampa Wonderworks was there to video the event. Bryan & Tracey are a husband and wife team and I really enjoyed meeting them. I can't wait to see how the video turned out!

Jason Angelini was there to photograph the wedding. The teasers are already up on his blog, so make sure you check them out! His wife, Lucia, was also kind enough to share some additional shots with us so we could add them to our blog. (Thanks Lucia!!) Here are a couple of the detail shots that Jason took:

Farrah & Paul had a big surprise for their guests! About half way through the reception, Farrah snuck out to change to a different dress that was the same style as the bridesmaid dresses. This gave her room to really dance....and that is just what she did! After the dress change, Farrah & Paul were called up to do their first dance to Cascada's dance version of "Every Time We Touch". They started in the typical slow dance mode and then suddenly burst out into a fast dance. The guests loved the surprise and cheered as Farrah & Paul rocked the dance floor! They had taken lessons to learn this dance that was choreographed just for them!

One of my other favorite moments of the night was, after a long hot day, the entire bridal party jumped in the pool! Yes! They were still in their dresses and suits! I almost jumped in with them, but I really wanted to take some pictures too! What a fun group!!

Thanks to the Tradewinds staff, Farrah and Paul's wedding turned out beautiful! The BBQ menu fit the occasion perfectly and the staff were a lot of fun to work with. A special thanks to Fracisco who helped make sure Farrah and Paul were well taken care of!

Farrah & Paul - It has been a lot of fun working with you over the last 17 months! I hope you enjoyed your Florida beach wedding and your trip to the US. Happy Honeymoon!!!

Here are some pictures I took at Farrah & Paul's wedding: