Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Celebration of Two Lives

This post is a continuation of a re-cap from one of my spring weddings. You can read the original post here.

As I touched on in the last post, we lost traction in much of the prep work the day before and never even had a rehearsal. This was extremely nerve-wracking, but the ceremony was flawless despite that fact. The only things that went wrong weren't relevant and were most likely only noticed by a perfectionist wedding planner.

A part of me was involved in the catering side of things since my dad took on the big task. This created a whole new dynamic for me. We made a great duo, and it was definitely one of the bigger challenges I had ever faced as I had so much more for which I was responsible. We had a fabulous team that scrambled to give these two and their families the day they deserved. I cannot be more thankful for the many hands that went into this day including my wonderful mother who took care of so many things behind-the-scenes. 

Photo by Taplin Photo

Photo by Taplin Photo

Amy had a rustic Anthropology vision and since she was marrying a farmer and big-time hunter, we incorporated this into the wedding as well. As some of you may know, making weddings as personal as possible is one of my goals. I loved the combination of everything in this wedding because there was so much we could do with it and make it about both the bride and the groom.
A Nurse Marries a Farmer

The bridesmaids dresses were watermelon pink so the colors we used in everything were shades of pinks, tans, and browns. Her flowers, done by the fabulous Lisa Brazeel at A Garden Party at Fortuna Floral, were a wildflower theme and were scattered throughout in random vases, mason jars, and other bottles we collected. We incorporated Steve’s farming roots by showcasing artichokes (provided by the farmer-groom himself) in the arrangements, as table number holders, and my favorite were the mini artichokes that Lisa made into boutonnieres.

Baby Artichokes!
Photo by Taplin Photo
Design By  Lisa Brazeel

Each table was decorated differently and not to mention beautifully!  

Design By  Lisa Brazeel

Design By Lisa Brazeel

Design By  Lisa Brazeel

Design by  Lisa Brazeel

We wanted to have a cigar lounge, and since hunting is Steve’s identity, we surprised him with a hunting lodge setting complete with couches, a coffee table adorned in cards and games, hay bale chairs, a fireplace, and appropriate decor. The trout was caught by his grandpa and was a very special addition to the wedding. 

Design by  Lisa Brazeel and EBC

As you can see, this wedding was beyond personalized. Steve had about 1200 pounds of produce shipped down from Salinas, which provided a gourmet spread. His family's famous sausage adorned the appetizer table and his family's own wine and champagne was served. I may be biased but I've never had a better pinot than Caraccioli Cellars.

Caraccioli Cellars-Photo by Taplin Photo

 We had a ton of DIY favorite!

Sign Made With Plasma Cutter, hanging twinkle lights, and tulle transformed this swing set by EBC
Pearls and Twine Hung From Wagon Wheel-By EBC

Beautiful cake and cupcakes by the fabulous Susie King and Table Design by EBC (Thanks Mom and Dad for having a goldmine of rustic antiques for me to steal!--I found that door in my dad's collection of....things!) 

My Favorite Cake-Photo By Taplin Photo

Candles Amy and I added pearls and bling to 

Hand-Written Seating Cards by Amy's Friend
Table by  Lisa Brazeel and EBC


Thank You Card at Every Seat Made by Amy's Friend

One of my favorite parts of this wedding was how much fun we had and all the friendships and family I developed through it all. The sadness that encompassed everything the day before turned into a celebration of two different lives-the life of a legacy and a new beginning. Both Steve and Amy's families have a very special place in my heart!  Thanks Amy and Steve for allowing us to be a part of one of the most important days of your lives!! 

Photo by Taplin Photo

Photo by Taplin Photo

A Ver Fun Bridal Party--Photo By Taplin Photo

Photo By Taplin Photo
I reached my limit for photos, but the whole album can be viewed here.

Wedding Planner and Deisgner: Events By Chelsea

Florist and Designer:  A Garden Party at Fortuna Floral

Photographer: Taplin Photo

Cake and Cupcakes: Susie King

Caterer: Wild Man Catering

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Love Endures All Things

With every wedding I’ve planned in my young career, I’ve had some sort of personal connection with each one; and I can’t fail to mention that burlap made a debut in each one thus far. I think rustic may be a huge part of my brand image! 

This last wedding will always have a special place in my heart for so many reasons. When I met with the bride, who is a childhood friend, I was second-guessing this career. I wanted to go back to school and study my other passion…nutrition. I prayed that she wouldn’t hire me. At the same time, I was praying that I would find new friends, as moving home after graduation was slightly lonely. God ignored the career change request and answered the friend prayer because this bride, Amy has become one of my best friends and a true gift from God. And through her, I’ve gained a handful of friendships including her now- husband, and we’ve all created memories that will last a lifetime.

Amy and I in Monterey

Me with Amy, Steve, and a really great group of friends! 

Planning Amy and Steve’s wedding never felt like work because I had so much fun with it, and as the days counted down, I was literally sad that it was almost over! We’d bake for Steve while decorating votives with pearls, bling, and burlap or we’d all sit around together and work on song lists while listening to the outdoor channel in the background. We even had an impromptu dance party in their living room one night to teach the bride and groom to dance.

As the week drew near, I began to get excited that all our planning was about to showcase itself. I was also aware that I knew a majority of the guests so I anticipated being a part of the celebration. The wedding took place in a local family’s beautiful backyard surrounded by date trees. We began set-up on Wednesday, and my family was highly involved as my dad decided to create a temporary catering service and cater the wedding because Amy is like a daughter to him.

We worked through the week, and by mid-Friday morning, things were coming together beautifully. I will never forget the paralyzing phone call I got while standing on a ladder zip-tying twinkle lights to a swing set frame.  The maid-of-honor called me in a panic informing me that Amy had called everything off because Steve’s grandfather had a heart attack while golfing with Steve and his dad and was en route to the hospital.  My dad and I commanded our crews to slow down but keep moving, and we rushed to the hospital.  As the whole family from different parts of the country huddled together and held each other, they were informed that their father, husband, grandpa, uncle, and hometown legacy had passed.

The entire tone of the weekend shifted and Amy and Steve had a decision to make. Are we going to have this wedding?  They could not have had a stronger support system. The timing of everything seems so unfortunate, but then again, it was an absolute blessing in disguise. How often is an entire family all together in one location at a time like this? Everyone was either on their way or already there, and the majority of the family had each other to lean into, and with full support and encouragement, Steve and Amy decided to have their wedding as planned because they knew that Grandpa Jim was going to be there celebrating with them.

Now from a wedding planner’s perspective, it was officially time to kick it into high gear. With having a wedding in a backyard that includes a makeshift catering company, there is a lot of work to be done-- from setting up extra electricity, to bathrooms on a trailer, hauling 220 chairs, preparing a guesthouse kitchen to feed 200+ people, and of course all the knick knacks that I deem necessary in any wedding I plan and so much more. We lost a whole day and went into overdrive to catch up, but I wasn’t nervous because first of all, proper planning set us up for success, and secondly, all those things suddenly were not as important, and I had faith that everything that needed to be done would be done.  Now, since this post has gotten lengthy, stay tuned for the recap on how we pulled off a gorgeous wedding without a rehearsal and in the midst of a tragedy. Pictures to come too!!  

The Sign We Built Could Not Have Been More Appropriate! 

Stephen and his Grandparents

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lemon Spring Wedding

I had my first small taste of a busy spring wedding season, and I must admit that I loved it! We had two weddings and a large fundraising dinner dance gala for my high school all within a month! It’s been a year since I’ve graduated, and I think I have a pretty promising future. It’s been an amazing experience thus far, and if it’s always going to be this fun, with a few challenges here and there, then bring it on! With the success of these past 3 events, I couldn’t have asked for things to go any better as an amateur event planner.

The first one of the season was the wedding of Clayton and Laura.  I always say that if you want weather in Yuma, have an outside event. Here, you either experience morbid temperatures into the 100’s or extreme wind. Well, on this special day we endured both! But despite it all, we ended up with a really great time! The wind that graced us cooled everything down as it blew tin pots of baby’s breath across the grass.

Laura and Clayton were such a great couple to work with and so easy going. All they cared about was being married! They were both involved in the planning. Naturally, Laura was primarily in charge, but when school got busy for her, Clayton stepped up and took care of business. It really created an insight into their relationship, and if they keep that kind of teamwork up, their marriage is guaranteed to be successful and happy! 

My favorite part of the wedding was when the bride, groom and their bridal party were able to walk around and take in all the decorations and enjoy the little time before before the party starts. This is one of the many reasons I love first looks. 

I couldn't be more than happy at the end of the night when the bride told me she didn't want to leave and had originally planned on leaving at 9:30! She was ecstatic, meaning I was too! 

The ceremony and reception were held at Yuma Catholic High School, and we placed the chairs around all four sides of the dance floor where the wedding party stood, which created a neat dynamic. Once the ceremony was over, everyone moved their chairs to their assigned tables. This was a great way to, first of all, save money on chairs and secondly, prevent having empty chairs and unusable space during the reception. 

Set-up began very early on Friday with the dance floor, chairs, and a first-for-me: a tulle and twinkle light wall. That was a definite project, but it ended up being beautiful despite the fact that the wind blew the tulle all over the place…lesson learned: tie everything down! 

My favorite crew rollin' in the dance floor that weighs a thousand pounds! 

Bring on the Wind! 

I remembered to snap a photo of the lit wall after I tore everything down at 1:00 AM, Naturally

Laura had a fun and simple vision. Her colors were grey, lemon, and white, and bunches of baby's breath were placed on the tables in vases filled with lemons. Tin pots of flowers were scattered around the lawn as well. Designs by Ta Da was behind the flowers and design. 

As always, I'll jump on the opportunity to get my hands on any DIY projects. I created this pinwheel wall as a backdrop for the escort card table. In my small town, creative paper resources are harder to find so I used a combination of napkins, scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, and large construction paper from the teacher's supply store. FYI plain grey paper is hard to locate! 

I used ceiling tiles my dad had lying around as the solid white background and hung it on the burlap wall I had used as  a  dessert table backdrop in a previous wedding seen here.  

Trays of lemon drops showcased the seating cards

I am not a graphic designer so I was particularly proud of this bar sign I created. It would probably take a professional 10 minutes to make this, but since I don't know my way around any design program I had to wrestle with it for a while!  Of course I didn't get a photo of it displayed!!


The following are shots I snapped mid set-up so bear with me. I'm hoping to showcase official shots with decor completed from the photographer soon!! 

Gift Table

Card Holder

 The lounge turned out super cute, and my pictures don't do it justice. We hung tissue puff balls created by the bride and her grandmother to frame the area. 

Cake Table with Yuma Couture Cakes' beautiful cake! 

Laura and Clay

Laura and Her Bridesmaids

 Thank you to Laura and Clay for allowing me to be a part of your special day! 

Venue: Yuma Catholic High School 
Photographer: Scott Dance Photography
Hair and Make-Up: Kristina at Painted Mane
Catering: The Crossing Grill and Bar 
DJ: DJ Money Morgan with Platinum Empire Records 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Weddings Are More Than Just Flowers

As a wedding planner, I’ve more and more noticed how families and family issues can affect weddings. I thought that that kind of drama was something I would only see on “Say Yes to The Dress” but in reality, families are dysfunctional….even mine! We each have our idiosyncrasies and not only butt heads and disagree with people outside our families but inside too. This can cause a volatile mess.

I am such a people pleaser and as an intern  to other planners, I was there to make sure the family had everything they needed and was completely comfortable. I always took this job very seriously. I had a few weddings where the mother of the bride was more needy than the bride and groom and was in my face all day requesting me to do things where the planner went “hold it, we have other priorities.” Sometimes things are already taken care of or the requests are just nit picky and unnecessary. There have been times where the family members (brothers and sisters) in the bridal party talk about “just keepin’ mom happy” which helps provide insight into the situation. Or when the bride is getting ready and she grits her teeth when she talks to her mom…calling her mother is another indication.

There’s always the issue of choosing not to invite certain family members , which can cause an array of issues. I have seen family members that were invited show their frustration over uninvited family members and help fuel more drama. I have witnessed uninvited family members show up before a ceremony and put the bride into uncontrollable tears that made me worry we weren’t going to get her to settle down and get her down the aisle.

The bride and groom’s relationship in itself is a whole other ballgame. They will disagree over certain issues, get frustrated over one another’s amount or lack of involvement, and in the process hopefully learn about compromise and all the little things they will deal with for the rest of their lives in their marriage.  Although I would never get in the middle of the relationship, I know that I will have people, especially brides, vent to me about these issues. It will be my job to help navigate the situation and help show different perspectives and ways the situations can be fixed.

Then there is always the inevitable situation with money.  Who is going to pay for what? With things like divorces, individual financial situations, people getting married at older ages, etc. this can cause very sticky issues. Some people think that because they wrote a big check to help pay, they have a big say in things and make it about themselves. Some couples don’t want to put burden on their families or deal with any drama so they try to cover the costs themselves even if it places them into debt.

Now, as a planner, you do more than just go through flower and music details. Many times you can wind up being the family therapist. I feel like I can offer support or advice, but I question how involved I can get in these situations. Do I tell a couple that they should forget about their feelings about certain family members and just invite them all? Do I advise against going into debt because after all, it is a day that is supposed to celebrate the rest of your life not put you under?

Every situation for me is going to be different and there is no formula for anything.  I am going to have to listen very closely to each and every situation and navigate them very carefully. It’s not ever going to be easy because weddings come with a lot of emotion. I as a planner have more than a timeline to create. I have to be a solid foundation and shoulder for the bride and groom to lean on for this very important day in their lives. It’s a big responsibility. 

Check out my Facebook

Monday, October 17, 2011

Being a Guest

As you may have noticed, I was a guest at the wedding I just coordinated. My older brother was the best man, and the groom has been like a son to my parents who were of course there and were there to help me through the whole process. . I have attended more weddings than I can count as a guest, and I have worked at many others. It was a bit of an awkward dynamic because I wasn’t really sure how to act. I knew the majority of the guests so it was impossible to avoid socializing. I kept questioning my own professionalism, as the bride demanded I join her on the dance floor. I wondered what the other vendors thought, but then I realized, I have done so much prep work, and I could see that everyone was doing their job, which allowed for the autonomy. Someone kept asking me when I was going to put my clipboard down and have fun, and my initial reaction was: Are you kidding? This is a blast! It’s what I live for!!

I realized that in coming to this small town, in which I was born and raised, I will be doing dozens of weddings in which I am either a guest or I will know a ton of guests there. I thought this was going to make me nervous at the last wedding, but it was actually comforting because everyone was so incredibly encouraging and supportive. Leading up to the event, I ran into numerous people who were beyond excited for me to reveal my work. The fact that I will always be surrounded by friends, families, and acquaintances is comforting. I feel like if I stayed in the "I'm at work" mode and can't socialize with you, then I wouldn't really be doing my best job to make guests feel comfortable. As long as I can show that there is no stress and I am not under a lot of pressure and have met and exceeded my clients' expectations, then I am showing I am doing and have done my job! 

My Brother, the Best Man, Giving His Speech
Naturally, it’s going to be hard for me to attend any weddings solely as a guest without wanting to step in and help, but I try not to force my help onto my friends. This last weekend I attended one of my best friend’s wedding, and it was hard for me not to jump up and start directing. It was also difficult leading up to it not to drill her with never ending questions to make sure she had everything done. She didn’t need me at all because her wedding was beautiful, and she was radiant as ever. It was held an hour outside of Tucson in the little art colony of Tubac at a BEAUTIFUL resort. Seriously, if you are ever in that area, visiting this town is a must! The town has the neatest atmosphere with friendly people, and the resort is so perfect for a weekend getaway. 

Beautiful Bride and Groom
 I have a broken camera so I am stealing Facebook pictures from everyone!

That brings me back to the questions: Is it okay to be a guest at my own wedding considering I don’t check out and ignore my responsibilities? Will I lose credibility and that sense of professionalism or will it enhance my job and my future in that field with the ability to mingle and market myself? 

Thanks for stopping by and I promise that as soon as I get pictures, I will show off the wedding! Feel free to follow me on Twitter 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Planner in Town!

I did it! I planned and coordinated my first wedding! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now officially a wedding planner!
I Do What It Takes to Make it Beautiful! 
Can I just say that despite a few minor things that I probably only noticed, the wedding went so incredibly well. I have a new found confidence and am ready to take this career by the horns or I guess bouquets? HA! I will say that I plan on demanding constructive criticism from the other vendors, the bride and groom, and their families. I need as much as I can get!

My favorite thing so far about this job? The relationship building! I have gotten to know and grown closer to so many people just through this one wedding! I am also rekindling a friendship of a girl I knew through elementary school when I was in preschool as I am planning her wedding for April. It's been so fun getting to know her all over again!

The bride and groom of Saturday's wedding are two of my brother's best friends. The groom Lance lived with us in college and Laura was always here cooking for him and taking care of him. I've been around these two as the little sister for almost 10 years, and through this project they've become fabulous friends of mine. I even joined them for the bachelorrette/bachelor party which is not common for the wedding planner. I was nervous about the perceived professionalism of the whole thing, but I rekindled friendships, met some great people, and had a wonderful time!

Another funny thing is that the Lance and Laura got a beach house in Laguna for their honeymoon, about 20 minutes from my house in Orange County. She kept telling me she wanted to BBQ with everyone despite the fact that it's her honeymoon. I missed the BBQ but she begged me to stop by on my way to town so I did, and we sat by the beach and fire and chatted about the wedding. I loved that Lance wanted to talk about it with us too and had some really insightful input.

I assumed she was never going to want to hear from me again for a while, but Laura's already planning on doing a styled one-year anniversary shoot, and we have plans to start a supper club beginning with a Halloween party.

I am eagerly waiting for the pictures from the photographer, and then I will do an official re-cap of the whole thing. I have a lot I want to share with you such as being a guest at the wedding you plan, how I set myself up for success, having my family on board...again, things I still need to work on, a re-cap of the wedding and vendors, and others but I want to keep it this short! I will leave you with a little sneak peak....I was bad and brought an uncharged camera so only got a few shots, but I stole some from Facebook :)

For now I am off to another wedding of a very close friend from junior high and high school in the little art town Tubac outside of Tucson. It's going to be such a beautiful wedding! It has definitely been the season of wedding festivities!

I love the signs we made for the flower girls. These girls were extremely proud of their jobs!

The Cigar Lounge..My Favorite Part! I Didn't love that the banner kept falling despite my glue dots, tape, and pins! 

BEAUTIFUL, Happy Bride!!