Sunday, January 31, 2010

Making it Personal

Incorporating monograms into a wedding is a trend that just doesn't seem to be going out of style. Monograms are a classy way to add a motif or theme to your event without going over the top. You can use it in something like your cake design or your stationary, as well as in fun decor items like parasols or aisle runners. Some people choose to use just the initial of the groom's last name, while others use their two first name initials. There are many options - here are some inspiration photos from and If you haven't checked out I Do Originals, they have adorable personalized decor items to make your wedding unique! If you are handy with a graphic design program or other computer program that can make monograms, you can easily do these yourself. However, if you don't have the time, knowledge, or patience, check out this Etsy seller who designs personalized monograms for only $5.00.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Brides Against Breast Cancer Gown Sale!

It's almost that time of year again.. the Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale tour is coming to Tampa on March 5th and 6th! It will be at the same location as last year, the Howard Johnson Plaza hotel in downtown Tampa. The VIP night is on Thursday and the regular gown sale is on Friday.

I love this charity and am very disappointed that I will be out of town on that weekend because I have volunteered at the event for the past few years. My first year, I even met one of our future clients there as she bought her gown! I can tell you that this is a fabulous event, but if you are interested in a gown, try to get there EARLY! They have some beautiful gowns at amazing prices, and all the proceeds go to the Making Memories foundation which grants wishes to women (and men) who are losing their battle against breast cancer. Many of us, including myself, have known or will know a person who has breast cancer, so this is an important charity for us all of us to support.

If you are not in the market for a wedding gown, consider volunteering at the event. It was always a very rewarding experience for me. Click here for volunteer information, or visit their website by clicking here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bride's Choice Award 2010!

We received more great news the other day. For the second year in a row, Flawless Occasions has won a Bride's Choice Award from! We are very excited about all of the great things that have been happening so far this year, and the year has only started! All of the winners will be posted on Wedding Wire at the beginning of February, so make sure you check out the website in a few weeks. We would also like to congratulate some of our friends in the industry who also won this award! Here is the email Beth received notifying us that we won:

Dear Beth,

Congratulations! We are excited to announce that Flawless Occasions has been chosen to receive the Bride’s Choice Awards 2010. This award recognizes the top 5 percent of local wedding professionals from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service and professionalism.

The Bride’s Choice Awards
are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds (brides and grooms) through extensive surveys and reviews, which means your past clients have spoken on our behalf and selected you to receive this honor.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's Hot in Headpieces

When choosing a bridal look, a very important part can be not what you are wearing on your body, but what you are wearing on your head. Headpieces can really set the tone for your entire style, and there is such a huge variety out there right now. Are you looking for something bold and modern like a brightly colored headband? Or are you more of the traditional type, with a veil and tiara. Do you want something with a wow factor, such as a cathedral veil that trails way past your train? Or maybe something short, sweet, and vintage, like a birdcage veil. Don't forget, you can always wear multiple pieces as well, like wearing a long mantilla veil for your ceremony and switching it out for a funky flower during your reception. Here are some of our favorite styles, and info on where you can find them in your budget!

The vintage bride... Lele Photography (Hi girls!) out in St. Louis captured this beautiful image of a bride with a vintage style headpiece with birdcage veil. Want something like it? Check out VelvetOwl's etsy store for custom pieces - average prices $60-$75.

The bold bride... Another one of our favorite photographers, Carolina Araujo, did an amazing bridal session with this bold and modern style bride who is wearing a black headband. This went with the black sash on her dress, which you can't see in this photo. But who says you need to match anyway? It's your wedding day, so if you want to wear a brightly colored headband and add a splash of color, go for it! Want this look? Check out -- this headband with feathers and beads is $4.80, you can't beat that price!

For the bride that wants bling... Tiara's bring that classic princess style that many women envision as their bridal look. It can be paired with or without a veil, and there are so many different styles these days as well as sizes. Our friends at Limelight Photography shot this gorgeous picture that showcases a beautiful bride and her bling'in headpiece. Want this look? Check out - they have a huge selection, with many priced under $100.00. They also have combs and smaller pieces if you decide a tiara isn't your style but you do want some sparkle!

The natural bride... Not all brides want the bling, but they still want something elegant, classy, and unique. Maybe you are planning a beach or garden wedding, or just have a love for nature and the outdoors. A natural flower in your hair may be the way to go. Not only is it beautiful, but it is very affordable! Just ask your florist which flowers hold up best in hairstyles (our brides have used mums, orchids, and roses, to name a few). With flowers being only a few dollars a stem, this is a very reasonable way to make a style statement. In this photo by Jason Angelini, our bride Kristen is wearing a larger, white mum in her hair which we picked up from the local grocery store.

The traditional bride... They say the veil makes you really feel like a bride. I think getting married makes you really feel like a bride. Ok, so I wore a veil and it felt awesome when I put it on. But I took it off for the reception and had a little bling in my hair, and I still felt wonderful. So I think it's all personal preference. If you think you are a veil-type-of bride, then you have a lot more decisions to make ahead of you -- length (short, fingertip, cathedral??), style (mantilla, beaded, blusher??), color (white, ivory, polka-dotted??) -- you get the picture. And this picture is from Joelle of Socialite Studios, showing how veils can enhance your wedding photos with their free flowing beauty. Want this look? Check out Delicate Spirits on ebay, with a huge selection and great prices as well as perfect ratings from other buyers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How to Throw a Backyard BBQ

Lately we have had several clients who want to do a welcome dinner as opposed to a rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, rehearsal dinners are for those in the wedding party only (and their significant others), but with so many guests traveling to weddings these days, many brides and grooms want to include everyone in their pre-wedding festivities.
A great way to accomplish this without spending just as much as you are on the wedding is by hosting a casual backyard barbecue. Now of course, if you do not have a backyard, this can be hosted at a local park or beach. It is a great way to have fun with your guests in a casual setting, enjoy good food, and invite as many people as you want within a budget. Here are some great ideas on how to put together and personalize a BBQ welcome dinner (and to my friend and bride-to-be Shannon, this is for and inspired by you)! :)

Food and Beverages -- Catered or DIY??
You can go either way with this but the best thing to do is check prices for both. How much does your local BBQ joint charge for platters of pulled pork and bbq chicken? How much would this cost you to make yourself and would it be worth the work? You could also do a combo of making some of the food yourself, like grilling meats, and ordering the sides from a restaurant. Weigh your options to see what works best for you!

BBQ Burger and Chicken Fixin's Station -- If you or a family member/friend is grilling up the burgers and chicken, make a station with all the fixin's and get creative -- lettuce, tomato, onions, relish, etc. are all good, but experiment with some other toppings like salsa and guacamole for a southwestern option, or feta and pesto for a gourmet version.

Specialty Beverages -- Choose a specialty drink to serve to your guests and serve in cute, old fashioned glass beverage dispensers. Here is a great recipe for the perfect backyard BBQ adult beverage --

Lemon Drops on the Rocks (from

Makes 6 cups; serves 12

  • 3 cups vodka
  • 2 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (from 10 to 12 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • Ice, for serving
  • Thin lemon slices, halved, for garnish


  1. Combine vodka, lemon juice, and sugar, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Transfer to an ice-filled pitcher, add lemon slices, and serve.
Decor -- When planning something casual in a backyard, natural elements work very well. Potted plants can add a splash of color to your tables, plus your guests can take them home as gifts at the end of the night. These are economical as well since typically a small potted plant from your local nursery will only cost around $5 a pop. You can also use mason jars with stems of daisies or whatever flower you like to add a bit of style. Try to stay away from the stereotypical red and white checkered tablecloths and consider making burlap table runners or going with other earth tones like greens, browns, and oranges.

Seating -- Make sure you have enough seating for your guests, especially if there will be older relatives or friends attending. Renting chairs and tables from your local rental place is not expensive if you go with the basic sets, and you can save money by picking up and setting up yourself.

Plan B -- If your backyard is open and uncovered, create a plan B in the case of inclimate weather. Will there be enough room inside your home for everyone to sit and move about? Where will you set up the food if the party is moved inside? Is there extra furniture from your living room that you can move into a bedroom to create more space? If you plan this ahead of time, it will create a much less stressful day for you and give you peace of mind. You should also set up a small area inside regardless, in case elderly guests need a break from the heat (this is very common in Florida, of course).

If you are thinking about throwing a backyard BBQ, party, or wedding, check out this blog - This former bride DIY'ed her entire backyard wedding and had some really cute ideas and details. Here are just a few photos from her site:

other photos by Th and Jason Angelini Photography,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the Media -- The Knot Florida Spring/Summer 2010

Have you picked up your latest issue of The Knot Florida magazine? We were informed before the holidays that Flawless Occasions had won 2010 Best of the Knot, however we did not know we would be featured in the actual magazine. We were very excited to find ourselves on page 22 of The Knot Spring/Summer 2010 issue. We were 1 of only 5 planners who won this award for the entire West Coast of Florida, and we were the only planning company who won from Tampa. It is just such an honor and we know that this is a sign of great things to come in 2010 for us. We want to thank all of our clients, past and present, who voted for us to win this award. You can also see the winners on The Knot's website by clicking here. And go pick up the newest issue of The Knot Florida magazine, on newsstands now!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jen and Corey's Winter Wedding in St. Augustine

Jen and Corey were married on Friday, Janaury 8th at the White Room Loft in St. Augustine. I first met Jen and Corey last spring when their plans were to have a long engagement and have a wedding in the local area. In October, they contacted me again to let me know they were ready to move forward with planning. Things had changed since our initial consultation and they were now planning an intimate January 2010 wedding in St. Augustine! I was so excited that they still wanted to have Flawless Occasions help with the planning.

In just three months (not to mention the holidays mixed in) we were able to get everything planned and their day turned out amazing. The only small issue was the weather which we obviously couldn't control. We all made the best of the record low temperatures though and Jen & Corey still had the wedding of their dreams.

The day was not only cold, but it was also rainy. Miraculously, the rain stopped just in time for their roof top ceremony. The White Room staff (Thanks Shannon and Courtney!) pulled out their heaters to help keep guests warm (plus Jen had purchased hand warmers for her guests). David Tagliaferri from River City Weddings did a personalized ceremony that had guests laughing and crying. The roof top overlooks the water so it is a naturally beautiful location but the floral arrangements from Dana Dineen , the chivari chairs provided by the White Room, and the damask aisle runner that Jen made really created a stunning ceremony site. It all turned out simply gorgeous!

Darla Stafford made the trip from Tampa too and did an amazing job on hair and make-up for the girls! You can always count on Darla!!

After the ceremony, the guests were able to enjoy the delicious food served by the White Room and the great tunes played by DJ Carlton McGee of McGee Entertainment. Guests were seriously on the dance floor from the very first song to the very last song!

Each guest table had a centerpiece with about 8 vases filled with water and floating candles plus about 10 votives and 10 tea lights which really made the room feel romantic. The pintuck linens and napkins (provided by Linens By The Sea) added to the elegant nature of the White Room and were complimented with pretty gold chargers.

Instead of traditional cake, Corey and Jen decided to have cupcakes which were from Defore's Cake Design. The guests were all raving about the delicious treat! Later, Jen and Corey surprised their guests with a late night snack of barbecue chicken bites and an ice cream bar. With all the great food, the little surprises and the awesome music - the guests had a fantastic time. I heard they even continued the party after everything at the White Room was over!!!

Below are some pictures I took at Jen & Corey's wedding. In the near future, I also hope to have some professional photos from Kris and Kate of Kris Graham Photography to share too.

The relaxed bride!

They used a Where's Waldo book as their guest book!

The delicious cupcakes!!

The steps that lead to the ceremony site and the patio.

Hand warmers so the guests could still enjoy the patio. The temperatures were down in the 30's!

That's the ice cream buffet behind the ring bearer! It was SO yummy!

I even had my own place card and was able to enjoy dinner with the guests and other vendors!

I truly enjoyed working with the White Room Staff and all the other vendors that were part of Jen & Corey's wedding day. It seemed like all the guests and the vendors really enjoyed the night.

Jen and Corey are a really fun, loving couple and I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to work with them. Jen and Corey - Congratulations and best of luck to you!