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