Photo Friday

Today officially marks the start of my last weekend in South Florida. (spoiler alert! I’m moving!) While there are a lot of things I will miss about Miami, this view is at the top of the list. This is an image I took at Matheson Hammock quite a few years ago and it is still one of my favorites. (side note – this print is one of a number of prints I have for purchase, if you’re interested it comes single, matted or stretched on canvas. Email me!)

matheson1

Goodbye Miami! You’ve been a great home!

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Back in Action

I know a start every post with a “sorry i’ve been absent” statement, but i’m not entirely sorry this time. I’ve had some things going on lately that have left me with less than a desire to talk about all things weddings, lets be honest. I do however have a whole heck of a lot to talk about now. First things first – a recap of the wedding I did last month. Sara and John had a wonderful “winter” (come on it’s Florida) wedding the week after Christmas in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Sara’s father is a pastor at a beautiful methodist church in the area so naturally the ceremony/reception was on location and he performed the ceremony. I had a wonderful time working this wedding because Sara and I are friends from High School, so it was great to be involved with someone I had a history with!

Sara wanted a casual, laid back event with some slightly southern touches! The main inspiration for decor was mason jars, ribbon, lots of candles and flowers that looked like they were picked fresh from the garden. We created garden wreaths to hang in the reception (the whole thing was DIY btw) and even had mason jar tealights hanging from the trees outside. It was beautiful, but I will let you see for yourself. I am still waiting for more pics from the lovely photographers Kim and Eve but here are some sneaks in the meantime (there are more photos on their blog – all were posted on Jan 19):

All in all, it was a great day! Sara looked beautiful in her lace Casablanca gown. All of the ladies wore classic black dresses so that not only would they be comfortable to dance all night – but they were sure to wear their dresses again!

As you can see in some of the photos – they lucked out by having their wedding around the holidays. The church was already decorated with greenery and white lights which added wonderfully to the decor. We created a photo booth as guest entered the reception using fabric left over from the DIY table runners in the reception. Aside from Sara’s bouquet all of the flowers for the reception and the bridal party were made by family friends to save on costs.

To save costs and allow for an interactive reception, Sara and John used an interactive “jukebox” app (available on ipods/iphones/etc) that allowed guests to request songs throughout the night!

Congratulations again to Sara and John it was such a pleasure working with you on your big day!!!!

(all photos courtesy of TheBigDayBlog).

Simplicity at its best

Yesterday I had the opportunity to work a wedding at the Ocean Reef Club, a resort community in Key Largo. I was expecting a little hotel, maybe some extra restuarants and event spaces right on the beach. What I actually found was a very large “city” of sorts. Ocean Reef is a private resort with it’s own church, supermarket, golf course, residential community, hotel, private beaches, vacation rentals, and some of the cutest pimped out golf carts I’ve ever seen (vintage cars or classic cadillac carts anyone?).

My company does a lot of events down there, almost every weekend to be exact, ranging from small and simple to grand and uber expensive. This particular event was of the former and I absolutely loved it!! Their website offers a decent look at the property in general. We set up the ceremony right on the beach.

It’s hard to see in the picture but there is a pale green aisle runner in the sand as well. The reception was also on the water:

It was a pretty smal event (about 90 ish people) so there were only a few tables, circled around a gazebo which acted as the dance floor. Cloose up of the tables:

We also decorated the gazebo columns with fabric and flowers and hung lanterns from the ceiling:

As I mentioned, this wedding was really simple and I liked the style the couple chose. They had a string ensemble with the wedding, and a steel drum band with the cocktail hour which I absolutely loved!!!! For the reception they had a latin/island band play and simple food stations set up. Here is a picture of the sushi/ice station for their cocktail hour that they had the resort do:

It was a beautiful event. The weather was perfect! (thankgod because the entire event was outside) The bride seemed super chill when we met her earlier in the day delivering her flowers. She wore a sparkly short dress, which was very cute and age appropriate (she as a bit older of a bride), and the groom and best man (there was only 1 attendant on each side) wore khakis, boat shoes, and sports jackets.

All in all the wedding was very fitting for the locale and one of my favorite events to work as of yet. And I loved the steel drum band. 🙂

The Virgin at the Wedding

The virgin event planner that is. That’s right – this weekend I officially coordinated my first wedding as a Certified Wedding Planner. Let me start from the beginning. I completed my course certification almost a year ago and immediately began searching for close connections who were newly engaged that would happily be my guinea pigs. Read: Friends or friends of friends that don’t want to go through the process of finding and hiring a planner but desperately wanted help.

It's Official!

(I apologize for the crappy iPhone pic)

The first couple I had the pleasure of working with came to me through one of my sorority sisters, whose cousin had just gotten engaged. They are your typical loud, fun, South Florida Hispanic Family: full of energy and expecting one hell of a party. Right off the bat I knew there were going to be some challenges with this event:

  1. The couple was working off of a very small budget as they had just purchased and were in the process of renovating a brand new home.
  2. They have a large family which obviously means a potentially large guest list.
  3. They were hoping to move into their new house as soon as it was completed, but the bride is very traditional in that sense and wasn’t having it until she was married. Needless to say – they wanted a short engagement.
  4. The couple has a very tough schedule to work around, he DJ’s at night and she works for a promotion company, so I knew that our meetings would be few and far between.

The bride and groom had an extremely sweet engagement story – he proposed while planting a sapling tree at their new home together – and they really wanted to incorporate a garden feel for the wedding to reference their proposal story. Originally the plan was to host the reception in the backyard at their new home with a traditional garden tent wedding. I was totally game with this idea – I truly believe that weddings are all about you (the bride and groom) and aim to infuse personal touches into every event I create. There was one major problem however – this theme confronted us with challenge number one: small budget.

Most people do not realize how expensive weddings are/can be – especially when you are talking outdoor tent weddings. In this situation EVERYTHING has to be rented – even bathrooms. Also, people tend to underestimate the impact their region of choice has on the event. South Florida is expensive. South Florida weddings are extremely expensive. With much pleading, convincing and a number of personal hurdles to overcome (for both parties), the couple found their way into a reception hall wedding. In my opinion this was the smartest decision they could have made, as it was an almost all inclusive package and gave them more room in their budget.

So the planning began! Thankfully the bride had a huge support system from her family and her two sisters spent a lot of their time and energy assisting in the planning process. Though I did not have a full planning responsibility in this event, I was able to offer more of a consultation role for the bride and her fiancé. I am thankful for her sisters’ involvement; I’m not going to lie- often times they were an extremely difficult couple to work with (brings us back to challenge 3 and 4). There were moments where I doubted my ability to actually pull this off with what I was given. Their ceremony was planned to be a full Catholic Mass at their local church (cathedral?). The reception involved a lot of DIY projects that the family was creating – including favors, centerpieces, place seating cards, menus, programs, décor – the list goes on and on. Oh and did I mention the bridal party was 14 children below the age of 7? No, I forgot to mention that?

In the end how did the garden infused reception hall event turn out? You’ll have to wait for the next post to find out (and hopefully see some photos from the event itself – and I promise it will be overflowing with images).