Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Wedding Countdown Series

All brides want to look their best for their big day. You take so long to choose all the right details of the BIG day you want to look fabulous too. So what do you do, vow to loose weight before the wedding day. This only is a lot of pressure. Set a realistic goal. Do you normally work out? Do you loose weight easily? Here are some tips to help you reach your goal:

1. Do not go out and buy a gown smaller then your current size.  Brides planning a wedding is stressful enough, and stress affects us all differently. Know your body do you gain weight or loose when you are stressed. Do you tend to overeat, not eat at all? These are important things to know about yourself.

2. Design a excercise and diet plan.  All fads do not work. Every time you turn around there is some loose weight quick scheme. All diets do not work for all people. Just because your girlfriend lost weight on the Cabbage Soup diet or the Grapefruit diet does not mean this will work for you. Cut out or limit your sweet intake. I am not a dietician but remember "whites turn to sugar" you know rice, white bread, pototoes etc. Decide how many times you will excercise a week and stick to it. When I was going to the gym on a regular basis, although weight was not melting off of me, I felt more energized, focused and it was a great stress reliever for me.  Consult with a professional and discuss your goals, they can help you choose the excerises best fit for you. Don't forget to consult your physician as well.

3.Give yourself enough time to reach your goal.  Don't slack of all year and then two months before the wedding expect to drop from a size 12 to an 8.

4.Watch out for salty foods. Salty foods make your body retain water. Remember be healthy. This also goes for alcohol...another no no... plenty of empty calories ladies.

5. This is the most important in my opinion. Do it for the right reasons. Remember your fiance' popped the question just as you are. He loves you. This is the start of your life together. Excercise is always a healthy choice, but don't cause yourself more stress trying to become someone else or the idea of what a bride is suppose to be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vendor Spotlight: Casey Does Hair

Vendor Spotlight: Casey Powell

Your name? Casey Powell

Company Name: Casey Does Hair


Blog n/a

Years in Business: 5

How did you get started? I started out working in a full service salon that had lots of wedding parties come in. I started helping other stylists and found that I really enjoyed doing wedding hairstyles, probably more than any of the stylists I learned from! Since then, I've focused on and specialize in styling hair for weddings.

Best advice you can give to a bride: Have a trial run and have all of your vendors come to you!

What has been your strangest request? A bride asked if she could wear a painters mask while I did her hair because of the hairspray.

Do you work with an assistant? I have another stylist come with me if working on a large amount of people's hair on the wedding day.

What would you say is your style? I try to keep on top of the trends in Fashion, Hair and Makeup for my clients. So, I feel like my style is constantly evolving from the exposure.

Who is the person you most admire? Kimtasha Armstrong - I met her about a year into starting my business. She's a very successful Makeup Artist. I admire her professionalism, her amazing talent and beautiful personality. I try to model myself after her as a business woman.

Who is the person that inspired you? I'm going to say Kimtasha, again. Working with her has given me the inspiration to get my business where it is today.

What is your proudest moment in your business? Being featured in Jacksonville Magazine's Bride.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wedding Etiquette:Thank You Notes

Writing thank you notes at the end of the wedding can be a tiring task but it is something that should be done within three months of your wedding. Your thank you notes should be handwritten and you should try to match your stationery to the theme of your wedding. During the wedding process once you start receiving gifts you should have some method of keeping track of gifts and who sent them. One great program that I give to my brides is the IDO software for couples. There are some free programs out there such as The Knot and similar websites. You can even create a spreadsheet on Excel.

Gifts that arrive prior to the wedding should receive their thank you notes first. Thank them for attending the wedding, don't forget to mention the gift they sent. Don't just say..."Thanks for the great gift." that is not personal, and leads the guest to think you have no idea as to what they sent to you. Personalize each note.
You should also write thank you notes for guest that attended but did not bring a gift. Remember they still took the time out to come celebrate your wedding with you. You should also write a thank you to your vendors, especially for the vendors that went above and beyond. Vendors love receiving recognition for a job well done, and can put your notes into their testimonials. After all didn't you want to see testimonials from prior brides before you booked that vendor.

You should write thank you notes for your engagement party within two to three weeks of the event. Thank you notes for gifts received prior to the wedding should be written as soon as possible but prior to the wedding. You have up to three months to write thank you notes for gifts received the day of your wedding. If you receive any gifts after they wedding they should be written as you receive them.

If you received a monetary gift or chose to do a honeymoon registry, share with your note what the gift was being used towards not the amount received. For instance if you used the money towards the saving for a home, or things purchased for the home, etc. Remember this is the last impression your guest receive of you as a new couple.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Florida Times Union

Our "Wedding Wishes" winning couple Bobby and Leilani Jones were featured in today's Sunday paper. If you would like to read more and you don't live in this area or didn't get the paper today you can find the article online.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Fourth Ring Finger

A fellow wedding vendor posted this on facebook. I thought is was very interesting. You can't just watch it, you have to do it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vendor Spotlight: Ten23 Designs

Ten 23 Designs

Your name? Lauren Sarnoff Atwaters

Company Name: Ten23 Designs



Years in Business: Almost a year and a half, however I just kind of fell into business so my official launch in October 23, 2009 (2 weeks)

How did you get started? I designed many monogram elements in my own wedding & received my first order before the wedding day was over. The orders kept coming in after then… and I just kind of “fell” into business.

Best advice you can give to a bride? Don’t stress the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff. Just like the book my mother always told me to read. When the big day comes, all of the things that didn’t go the way you wanted disappear.

What has been your strangest request? I was asked to design a decal for a wife (which looked like her) to put in the corner of her husband’s television screen.

Do you work with an assistant? My husband & 11 year old son help me when a little help is needed. My 6 month old daughter watches over us making sure we do a good job.

What would you say is your style? Modtempvintiscalative (modern, temporary, vintage, whimsical & creative)

Who is the person you most admire? I admire my father for his strength & wisdom. He is willing to lend a helping hand to anyone even if he does not agree with them. He sets a good example for others to follow.

Who is the person that inspired you? I had many people tell me I should do this & they believe in me, but when I heard it from my son, Isaac, I heard it almost as a command. He looks up to me & even though he doesn’t know it, I look up to him too.

What is your proudest moment in your business? I have a “proudest moment” feeling each time someone in the industry shows interest in my work… such as yourself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to my husband!!

Happy Birthday to my husband Alonzo. I love you so much. Thank you for everything!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Real Weddings:Bobby and Leilani our "Wedding Wishes" Contest winners

Congratulations to Bobby and Leilani JONES!!!!!!! As you know we ran our "Wedding Wishes" Contest earlier this year. Leilani entered with their story written in fairy tale form you can see it here. Once we chose our lucky winner a date was set for September 27, 2009. We (the vendors) were off to give Leilani and Bobby a spectacular wedding.

What was the catch... the couple had no idea of what to expect. Everything was to be unveiled the day of the wedding.

The couple was asked to fill out a sheet listing, their favorite colors, their hobbies, and how they envision their wedding day. They weren't allowed to discuss it with one another or show the other what they wrote. From this simple assignment, I took their love for diving and created an Underwater Fantasy theme. The day was beautiful. We arrived at the Queens Harbour around 1:30 pm to set up the decor. The bride and her bridal party arrived for the brides appointment with Casey Does Hair. Leesa Askew was providing her make up.Kelley from Kelley's Bloom Room did an amazing job on the bouquets and floral decor. While the bridal party was getting ready we began transforming the dining room into the underwater fantasy with linens,lighting, starfish, seashells, and more. Before we knew it was showtime. I left my staff to make sure the little details were in place and made sure the guest were seated.

The beautiful aisle runner with the couples custom monogram was created by Customized Wedding Creations and shipped from New Jersey.
The bride chose her two sons to walk her down the long path to the aisle where her father awaited and blew a conch shell to announce the brides arrival. An old hawaiian custom.The ceremony was very touching as the couple chose to write their own vows and had a family friend officiate the wedding.The brides eleven year old cousin read a beautiful poem. They also decided to combine their union with the sand ceremony.
Once the ceremony was over, the guest enjoyed hors d'oeuvres while the wedding party and family took formal pictures with Corinna Hoffman.

When the guest entered they were in awe, the tables were draped in robin egg blue and white, each table setting had a menu with seashells adorned with various seashells, no two were the same. They each also had a small wooden blue and white box, inside they found chocolate seashells lying on a bed of sand (brown sugar).

It was finally time to announce for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Jones!!!! The couple went into their first dance. The wedding party outlined the dance floor as we all watched the love that flowed between the two. The bride then danced with her father (who recently retired from 28 years of service) was dressed in his army dress blues. Suddenly the music came to a screeching halt and the Twist by Chubby Checker blarred from the speakers. Leilani and her sisters (her Matron of Honor and bridesmaid) all surrounded their father and begin doing the twist, what was the shock was her father took it down to the floor. LOL!  Milton from McGee Entertainment provided the musical entertainment throughout the evening.

It was time to cut the cake provided by Metro Custom Cakes. Trish and her husband Steve Mullican did a fantastic job. The cake table was decorated with seashells and blue orchids and lights. The evening came to an ended when the couple drove away in the stretched limo courtesy of Actionville Limo and was retired at the one bedroom suite at the Homewood Suites by Hilton.

To see more pictures click here
Special thanks to the rest of the Wedding Wishes Team

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Your Photographer: Memories that last

You and your planner have poured a year of your life executing the perfect wedding.

No matter your budget you have invested a small fortune in your day.

You have chosen your perfect dress.

You spent hours deciding what color and types of linens you would use.

You are sick of cake because you tasted so many to get the right combination.

The venue, the shoes, your jewerly, his tux, your flowers, the decor, your grandmother Georgia.

You have guest flying in from all over the country and...Uncle Bob is taking the pictures.

The day finally arrives, you rip open the walmart packaging and you find pictures of the floor, dark shadows , blurred pictures of your dress, you thought he got that shot of you cutting your cake, must have missed that one. You never noticed that huge pimple on your cheek. You could have sworn the colors were more vivid than that on the day of your wedding. Why are there so many pictures of your co-worker Jill. No one is smiling in your posed shots.

There are no do-overs on your wedding day. While we all can't afford the most luxurious photographers out there. There are professional photographers out there within your budget. Hire them to take your engagement photos or some family photos and this will tell you how this particular photographer works and you can better tell if they are a match for you. Find out will they have a second shooter? Do they have a back up camera? How many hours will they be available? How much do they charge if the reception happens to go in to overtime? Basically do your research and don't jump at the price because they are less expensive. Remember this is an investment.

Out of all the wedding advice on money saving tips. Do not skimp on your photographer. You should ask to see more then one couples wedding. Ask for references, as the couple how the photographer worked with them. Do you prefer candid shots or posed shots. Find out what style your photographer uses. I had one wedding where the photographer actually brought in a back drop and monopolized all the couples and wedding parties time taking posed shots. Can your photographer catch you while you are moving or do you have to continually stop to get the shot.

Most photographers have a blog, follow them and you can see the style and have an idea of what to expect. Money should not be your primary goal making the choice. You will have these pictures for all time, do you want to think back and say..."I shoulda, coulda, woulda..." or do you want to think back and say..."Wow, what an amazing day, and I am so pleased with my pictures."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Real Weddings Sneak Peak: Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Jones

Our Wedding Wishes Contest Winners Bobby and Leilani were married on September 27th at the Queens Harbour. Everything turned out spectacular. I am sure it was hard for Bobby and Leilani, once they were notified that they had won the contest they were informed of the rules and stipulations. They were allowed to choose their colors, food choices, flavors of their cake, and tuxedo's but everything else was a surprise. They did not get to see anything until the day of their wedding. Can you imagine...lesson here... trust your planner and your vendors. I chose an "Underwater Theme" based on the couples love of diving.

I would personally like to thank my vendor sponsors for helping make Leilani and Bobby's dreams come true.

Queens Harbour
Corinna Hoffman
Collab Creation Films
Metro Custom Cakes
Kelley's Bloom Room
Its Everything but the dress
Royalty Events (Linens)
Customized Wedding Creations
McGee Entertainment
Actionville Limo
Leesa Askew
Casey Does Hair
Homewood Suites by Hilton (St. Johns)

You all did an outstanding job. I can not begin to brag enough. It was my greatest pleasure working with an amazing team. Stay tuned, this is just a teaser...I will post full details soon.

Happy Anniversary to Ariel and Rachel

Happy Anniversary to one of my many great couples! Ariel and Rachel were wed last year at the Wyndham Riverwalk. They were a fun couple to work with to design their fall inspired wedding. One of my favorite parts of their wedding were the candy apples that served as escort cards and favors. Congratulations on your first anniversary...and many more to come.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Hello Everyone.

My apologies for neglecting my blog. I am going to tell you a little secret that you can't tell anyone...promise...okay. Come closer....Wedding planners get burnt out. I know, you can't believe it. We put so much into our businesses and clients that it gets overwhelming and I am guilty.

I have been thinking am I blogging the right things, is anyone reading. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my fellow vendors and followers. I had no idea she had been keeping up with my blog. So no more I go.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society breast cancer is the most common cancer in the USA and the second second leading cause of death in women. We urge everyone to do self examinations, if you suspect a lump or not sure go to your doctor and have it checked out. Early detection is the key.  If you would like to find out more you can visit Brides if you would like to help you can donate your wedding gown or purchase your gown you can visit Sport your pink ribbon ladies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Kadeem!

Today you are 18. Where does the time go. Parents take plenty of pictures and enjoy every moment. Don't sweat the small stuff. Kadeem I love you very much. Even though society views you as an adult you will always be my baby.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Real Weddings: I give you Deon and Kimberly Aiken!

I would like to officially wish Kimberly and Deon a happy marriage. They were married on August 8th at the Friday Musicale.Just as promised here are the pictures, provided by Elizabeth Howard of Indigo Photos . As you can see Kimberly chose poole blue, silver and white. It was a fantastic wedding and ran rather smoothly.

The Recipe:
The greatest wedding planner of all time: Made of Honor Weddings
Linens: Royalty Events
DJ: M.Y.T.E. Enterprises
Flowers by Aunt Stephanie, no really its her Aunt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Facebook Fan's

Are you a fan yet.... join us on facebook!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wedding Day Activities

Keeping Your Guest Entertained
Submitted by Grace

I was looking through a magazine and was reading about games to play during the reception at a wedding. Help your guest turn awkward silence into warm camaraderie with clever games that will encourage socialization. Entertainment for your guests, you don't want the boring event where you are sitting there waiting for the next part. Games to play during the wedding that include bride and groom and also guest or games to entertain guests while bride and groom are going from table to table. One game that I thought was cute is the Kissing Tree Game, The guest pull a question from the tree, the DJ or MC reads question (questions about the bride & groom only). If the guest correctly answers the bride and groom will kiss. Giving a prize would be cute also.

Another game was I Knew You When…. This bold time line serves as a three- dimensional reminder of when you first met your guest. How to play: During cocktail hour, each guest sticks a flag into the year she met the bride or groom. How to make it: Save clip art on a disk. Have it printed on oversized paper and mounted to foam board at a print shop. Cut flags from origami or scrapbooking paper; punch two holes and thread a corsage pin though. Stick into fabric-wrapped foam bard on a try.

Double The Fun, Hoping your college roommate chats up your future husband’s childhood friend? Find- your-match cards are a sweet way to ensure they’ll meet. How to play: Announce the rules early in the evening. Each guest will receive a card with a name of one half of a famous couple-and will have until the end of the night to fine its mate. Make it: Download and print heart cards into cards stock. White a famous pair on each card, with one name on either side of the heart. Cut out card along their outer edges, and then cut each down the middle with decorative scissors. Place one card at each table setting.

Famous Couples
Adam & Eve

Beauty & the Beast

Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins

Bonnie & Clyde

Elvis & Priscilla

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire

Joanie & Chachi

King Kong & Fay Wray

Bogart & Bacall

Lois Lane & Clark Kent

Lucy & Ricky Ricardo

Daisy Buchanan & Jay Gatsby

Carrie & Mr. Big

Scarlett & Rhett

Romeo & Juliet

Charlie Brown & Little Red-Haired Girl

Tarzan & Jane

Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy

Ozzie & Harriett

Claire Huxtable & Cliff Huxtable

Blondie & Dagwood

John Lennon & Yoko Ono

My favorite game that I really liked was What’s In A Name; Some guests are too shy to share their life stories. Help them bypass the small talk and go straight for the good stuff with introductory cards that reveal shared interests or personal triumphs. How to play: When a guest slides out her place card she'll see an arrow pointing to the left with the name of the person seated there, plus an interesting tidbit ex: "Joel was a Connecticut tap-dancing finalist!.” A second arrow shares info on the person seated to her right. Make it: Download editable clipart, and then customize a card for each guest. Print onto card stock and cut out, using a craft punch to round the corners.

Martha Stewart Weddings

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vendor Spotlight: No Frills Dance

Your name? Tonya Bennett

Company Name. No Frills Dance


Years in Business. I’ve been teaching dance for over 10 years, originally in a franchised studio, and the last couple of years as an independent contractor.
How did you get started? I started as a student in a dance studio when I was in college – a friend took me to a “Champagne Guest Party,” and the first time an instructor in a suit held out his hand and said to me, “May I have this Waltz,” I was hooked! After taking Ballroom dance lessons on and off throughout college, I finished my Bachelor’s degree in biology and promptly joined the next available training class in the dance studio. Eventually, I worked my way back to my hometown of Jacksonville, where my teaching career really began to root.

Best advice you can give to a bride. Spend more time working on the relationship than you do on planning the wedding.

What has been your strangest request? Once, a mother-of-the-bride hired a couple of dance instructors to attend her daughter’s wedding reception, theoretically to encourage the guests to get up and dance. Once there, we found out that it was primarily so that the mother could dance a few solos with the male instructor. My job was pretty much to hand the music to the D.J. and make sure my partner got out of there safely!

Do you work with an assistant? Not formally, but a few of us independent dance teachers keep a casual association that allows us to help each other develop and grow.

What would you say is your style? “No Frills” – it’s not just a name! I’ve been in the business a long time, and I’ve created my own low-key, yet professional, style. I want to teach without the ‘strings’ or hassles that you sometimes find at the big dance studios, and I’ve found there are a few students out there who want to learn that way as well. I don’t have a big, chandeliered ballroom full of fashionable-looking instructors dancing amongst a student body of 100 people. But I do have excellent teaching skills, a love of dance, and a passion for passing along what I know at the pace and in the way that suits the individual I’m working with. All at a reasonable rate, with no long commitments or binding contracts. That’s what I call learning to dance with No Frills!

Who is the person you most admire? My husband! We are alike in all the ways we need to be compatible, and different in all the ways I need to grow. And when I am confronted with those aspects of me that are particularly difficult to change, I find that my weaknesses just happen to be his strengths.

Who is the person that inspired you? Originally? It’s hard to say because I came to dance later in my life than you’d normally expect. But back when I was new to dance, I loved to watch Fred Astaire’s movies – not for the plots, but for the dancing. I still think (and I’m not alone in the dance world) that he was the consummate dancer – he could do anything. If he were alive today, he’d be at the forefront of tap, hip-hop, Ballroom, you name it.

What is your proudest moment in your business?
My proudest moment came at the end of a long teaching day. My last lesson was a couple, and the wife seemed a little out-of-sorts during the lesson. We pressed on, and I gave it my best to make it as fun and easy as I could for her energy at the time. By the end of the hour, I was exhausted and unsure that they had gotten anything out of the lesson. They had only been out the door about 10 minutes when she called as they were driving home. She said, “You know, Tonya, I really had an awful day today, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to come tonight. But you know what? You were the best thing that happened to me today. Thank you.” In that moment, I knew exactly why I do what I do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Andre

I have to say Happy Birthday to my baby boy Andre, who is no longer a baby. he turned 15 today, wow. Thank you for being the best Andre, you help me tie chair sashes, glue pins onto seashells and many other wedding projects; when I know you don't want to, all because you love me. Heres to this year and many more,

Floral Friday: The Classic Rose

" A rose by any other name is still a rose..." it's still a rose but it has many names,colors and sizes. If you go to a florist and say you want roses... you will get ask well what type.There are over 100 species of roses. Today we are just going to focus on the classic rose. It is timeless, beautiful, elegant, and popular. When you think of a wedding, roses just pop into mind. From the bouquet, to the centerpieces, even the flower petals. Roses bloom all year and the price varies depending on the type of roses and the amount.

The meaning of roses varies, depending upon color and the actual number of roses. It ranges from love,purity,innocence, friendship, apologies, etc.