Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sample Invitation

I wasn't able to download the sample invitation for my dragonfly bride Sunday, so here you go.

Envision a smaller dragonfly in orange....just perfect for an out door cocktail reception! Thank you Razzle Dazzle Creative Design!

Happy Planning!

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Dragonfly Bride

I am working with a precious bride who is getting married in March 2010. My favorite part about working with her is that she is so open minded and wants her wedding to be unique and fun for her guests...a.k.a , she wants to plan outside the box!

Mission: To deliver a beautiful wedding that is filled with detail and elegance while working with a strict budget.

With the economy the way it is, brides are having to cut corners a bit more these days. As a planner, it is my job to come in under budget while keeping this a secret from the guests and giving the bride everything she wanted for her special day.

Rule of thumb: Do not plan your wedding just like all of your friends. If you are going to cut corners to keep the price down, change it up a bit so no one notices the difference. For this wedding we are having a late afternoon outdoor cocktail reception instead of the late night band party that guests often attend.

Plan: A late afternoon wedding will not require as much food or alcohol. However, we have opted for the passed hors devours instead of a buffet. I think this adds a sense of elegance to a cocktail party...while keeping people from eating too much at the same time. We will also be offering a signature liquor drink, wine and beer instead of a full open bar.

Detail Number One: The main color of the wedding will be burnt orange and the bride's love for sorbet has led us in the direction of an orange sorbet cocktail. (haven't actually found a recipe we like yet, please email me if you have one).

The centralized theme for the wedding will be the symbol of a dragonfly. The bride's father passed away a few years ago and every time she visits his grave, she is always accompanied by a dragonfly. We both feel that the dragonfly would be a way to recognize her father and make her feel as though he is with her on her special day.

Detail Number Two: Razzle Dazzle Creative Design will be creating the invitations with a small dragonfly on the top.

Since this is an afternoon cocktail party, the invitation will be a little different from the norm. To save money on invitations, we are going with a burnt orange thermography print on a beautiful ivory card stock.

Detail Number Three..but only in our imagination: We had thrown out the idea of having a dragonfly release as the bride and groom left the reception...much like the butterfly release that has been done in the past. After a little research, I have come to find out that this is not allowed. Who knew that dragonflies eat other bugs and they can't be released because it will make that area unbalanced with bug life which effects plant life and so on. Butterflies are allowed because they die quickly and don't effect the ecosystem.
Like I have discussed in previous entries, flowers can break anyone's budget if you are not careful. We will probably leave the centerpiece small and unique!

Instead of using the small bird like things...maybe we can find an iron dragonfly??

This inspiration board will be pinned up to my bulletin board while I plan the rest of my dragonfly bride's wedding! Stay tuned for helpful cost saving tips. We are on a mission to find an affordable (but delicious) cake.

Happy Planning!


All the photos are from Style Me Pretty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

D.I.Y. Flowers

No matter what type of event you are planning, there is always a need for flowers. Whether you are having a small dinner party at your house, a corporate gala or extravagant are the essential element to your decor. Unfortunately, this is not always good news for your budget. There are some amazing florists in town that can truly turn your venue into a floral oasis. Since flowers are my favorite aspect of any event, I wish I could hire a professional florist for each and every occasion. However, as an event planner, I am always looking to help my clients keep their costs down. One way to achieve this is to encourage clients to consider a D.I.Y ("Do It Yourself") Arrangement.

D.I.Y Flower Arrangements:

1. Do your research. Take advantage of resources like Flower Magazine that always has a DIY project. Start looking now and keep of file of arrangements and projects that catch your eye.

2. Get familiar with your local wholesale floral shop. You do not have to be a retailer to shop there.

3. Purchase a few simple vases that can be used over and over again. I am fan of the round fish bowl vases and the small square vases. These are great to have around for centerpieces.

4. Practice makes perfect. Buy a bundle of flowers and arrange them in all different ways to get the feel for how the flowers will ultimately set and fall.

5. You cannot go wrong with using all one color. Different sizes and shapes in the same color can make a great low-risk arrangement.

Below are some of the D.I.Y projects I have done over the years. While they are a far cry from the pros, they were a nice addition to each event and best of all...the client was happy with the bill!

Happy Planning!

Friday, August 14, 2009

"The Big Event" Wedding

I had the pleasure to work as a "day of" wedding coordinator for a large wedding in Jacksonville, Florida this weekend. The Big Event out of St. Augustine was the planner for the wedding and they definitely know what they were doing! It is always nice to work with a new team of people and to learn different tricks of the trade. This wedding was different than any wedding I have ever been a part of before. The invitation requested that the guests arrive at 12:30 for the wedding, but the ceremony wasn't until 1:15. There was a cocktail gathering before the ceremony, a cocktail gathering after the ceremony and then a seated dinner with dancing. I am not sure if the guests really knew it was going to be a 7 hour affair, but I didn't see many complaints as the sushi was passed and the libations were flowing.

All of the festivities took place at the Sawgrass Club House. Kelly's Bloom Room did a fabulous job of transforming your typical clubhouse into an actual "bloom room." The combination of whites, creams and light pink flowers were absolutely beautiful! The room where the ceremony took place was roped off and guarded by a lady wearing black ( whose job it was to keep guests from entering the petal sanctuary too soon! We did not want guests trampling the rose petals that were placed down the aisle, so we strategically escorted each guest along the sides.

Take a look at the band of flowers across the top of the picture. These boards were taken down after the ceremony and mounted to the front of the stage in the grand ballroom.

**Hint: if you are going to re-use flowers, you do not want your guests to see you do it. There was a back door from the ceremony room to the ballroom that the florists used to work their magic while guests were enjoying the cocktail hour. If you can make this happen at any point during your wedding weekend, it can save you a lot of money!

Things you might want to consider:

The Club had lunch boxes set aside in small obsolete room for the vendors (photographers, musicians, etc) . Your vendors have to eat, especially if you have them working for 12 hours. The lunch boxes will keep your vendors from hanging around your buffet line.

If you are having a dessert bar in addition to your cake, see if there is a way for the venue to keep the dessert bar hidden until the cake is cut. You don't want to see your cake go to waste.

Your "throw away" bouquet can be used as a centerpiece during the reception to save a little money. See the blurry picture on the right...the top of the arrangement actually lifts out as a bouquet.

If the venue typically has fresh flowers in the lobby or hallways, then they probably have them done on a weekly basis. Ask if they wouldn't mind having their florist use your wedding colors in that week's arrangements. This will help with your flower budget.

The white flowers on the left were actually done by the venue's florist. We could not have asked for it to match more perfectly!

Ask your venue about their "roll away bars." Typically your wedding will be held in a room that does not have a permanent bar. I loved the look of these bars. They are classy and actually look like they are there all the time.

You very rarely see this nice of an ice bucket at a roll away bar, but I am going to start requesting it!

Water canister...$20 at Garden Ridge! The floating orchids add such a nice touch!

Seated Dinner:

We don't see as many seated dinners in Birmingham as planners do in other parts of the country, but it all depends on size and budget.

Having the menu at the place setting adds another detail to the table. If you are going to use your initials...use the brides first letter of her first name on the left, the groom's on the right and the first letter of your new last name in the middle.

Don't forget that you want your centerpiece to be high or low. Your guests need to be able to see each other. The bride wanted both...and it looked really nice!
The wedding went off without a hitch and we had vendors telling us that they wished all weddings ran as smooth as this one. The key to a successful wedding is all about the planning!

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not the same old bottle....

Tom is always bringing home little surprises here and there and most of the time it is a unique bottle of something. The bottles have been everything from voss water, cool vodka, a one of a kind beer or today's little surprise, tonic water. I am not sure where this little hobby of his came from, but it is just one of the millions of things I fell in love with.

I am all about jazzing up your bar for parties. Your bar should be treated like a decoration. Besides, it is usually the most popular spot at parties...why not play it up a little. For starters, choose a variety of glassware, offer up different mixers and garnishes (mint, raspberries, etc..) and try and choose bottles that are good looking and appealing to your guests!

Look how much better the tonic water on the left looks compared to the bottle on the right. I opted for a vodka tonic tonight after this cute little bottle surfaced from the grocery sack!

This vodka is in the same price range as my dear friend, Mr. Grey Goose, but it is a "small batch" vodka made in the United States and recently won best vodka at the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition. Now, I do not expect your guests to know this, but I bet they will be intrigued with the new look of your bar.

One of Tom and my (okay..not really mine) favorite stops in Atlanta is Green's liquor store. They have every kind of liquor and beer you could ever dream of. Seeing the thousands of different kinds of beer made me think about having a "beer bar" at my next party. You may remember one of my first posts about my obsession with dessert bars...well I guess you can say I am still stuck on the "bar" idea. I am not really a huge beer fan, but I love the thought of changing the beer scene up a bit.

See how lame the Budweiser and Bud Light look next to the Dos Perros and Session bottles. The guys would love getting to choose different beers throughout the night. I am envisioning 5 or 6 different kinds of beer iced down in different buckets on a table. You could even do some cool signage telling everyone about the beer and where it came from....kind of like a beer tasting. Alabama recently passed a law which allows stores to sell beer with a higher alcohol content. This means we now have a much larger selection of beers from unique and boutique breweries to choose from. While a trip to Green's will forever been in our future, we can now pick up some pretty cool bottles right here in our own city.

One other bottle idea I have for tonight...Why not wrap up this super cute surprise Tom brought home tonight with a bottle of lemon vodka, a lemon and some yellow cocktail napkins. Who would not love a "fresh" vodka tonic package. This would be a very cute hostess gift for a summer cook-out or stock the bar party. It would also be fun to take to someone who has invited you down to the their lake for the weekend.

I wish I had some cute napkins, cellophane, a whole lemon and ribbon to show you how cute the package could be...but this was the best I could do with what I had tonight.

Happy Planning!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mariée Ami's Wedding Planning Packages

Full Service Planning Package:

Some brides simply do not have the time to plan their dream wedding and some do not know how to even begin the planning process. Enjoy your engagement and let Mariee Ami handle the rest. We will create your dream day based on your style with our creative experience. Whether it is a unique intimate gathering or an extravagant affair the entire city will be talking about. Mariee Ami will make your dreams come true by making your decisions easier and taking the stress and confusion out of the planning process. After 8 years in the event industry, Mariee Ami can utilize its knowledge and resources to save you time and money.

Our Full Service Planning Package includes:

A consultation meeting with Mariee Ami to discuss the bride’s general ideas and wishes for her dream day

Unlimited hours of specialized planning services by the lead planner, Neillie Butler

Development of theme and style

Research and create the design plan

Maintain the bride’s custom budget

Assist and coordinate wedding attire shopping

Attend and Manage all vendor appointments

Oversee very detail of your wedding to insure a seamless event

Provide guidance on etiquette questions

Act as a constant sounding board throughout the whole planning process

Maintain and organize a variety of custom checklists to ensure a seamless event

Confirm contracts and schedule with vendors and entertainment Management all contracts and commitments with vendors

Insure all payments are taken care of and are distributed in a timely manner

Act as the liaison between vendors, family members and the bridal party during the wedding weekend

Handle vendor/entertainment setup and delivery schedule

Create a detailed wedding day itinerary

Direct the wedding rehearsal

Complete wedding day coordination by Neillie Butler and her experienced staff

Partial Planning Packages:

Have you have been dreaming of your wedding since you were young, but find that you do not have the time it takes to plan every aspect of your special day? We provide an array of specialized services including researching the different vendors or venues that fit in your budget, handling the confusing contracts that come your way, providing guidance and ideas to personalize your wedding and helping develop the overall theme and style of your big day.

Our Partial Planning Package includes:

A consultation meeting for Mariee Ami to discuss with the bride her general ideas and wishes

for her dream day

5-7 Planning Meetings

Recommend vendors based on style and budget

Manage the hiring and negotiating of three vendors

Provide guidance on etiquette questions

Act as a constant sounding board throughout the whole planning process

Maintain and organize a variety of custom checklists to ensure a seamless event

Confirm contracts and schedule with vendors and entertainment Management all contracts and commitments with vendors

Insure all payments are taken care of and are distributed in a timely manner

Act as the liaison between vendors, family members and the bridal party during the wedding weekend

Handle vendor/entertainment setup and delivery schedule

Create a detailed wedding day itinerary

Direct the wedding rehearsal

Complete wedding day coordination

Month Of Planning:

This package is for the bride who has planned it all, but wants to be stress free on her wedding day. I will sit down with you a month before the big day and help with any last minute planning or organization. Mariee Ami will ensure the bride’s hard work pays off and that her dream wedding day is everything she always imagined it would be.

Wedding Coordination Package includes:

A meeting one month before the wedding to go over the plans and offer up any last minute ideas or advice

Any planning that is needed during the last month

A wedding day itinerary

Confirm contracts and schedule with vendors and entertainment

Handle all communications with the vendors during the month

Manage any last minute changes or emergencies that may come up

Handle vendor/entertainment setup and delivery schedule direct the wedding rehearsal

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gather's House Party Packages

Yesterday might not have been a big day for you, but I do know it was a big day for Alabama Fans across the southern was the day that UPS walked with great pride up to the door steps of many great men as if he was Santa Claus! Football tickets have arrived and campers are finding their way to the famous town of Tuscaloosa!

However....UPS did not come to my house yesterday, so what am I to do this fall??

Hire Gather and throw a party!!

House Party!
Let Gather help you make your average house party a spectacular event. Whether it is a formal dinner, cocktail party, birthday party or backyard cookout, we provide expert event planning as well as the initial set up for your event. We know that you have more to worry about than icing down the beer!!! Concentrate on what you are going to wear and let Gather handle the rest. But don’t worry; we will be out of your way before the first guest arrives.

Our standard party package includes:

· An initial consultation to determine your desires and wishes for the event
· Expert event planning and design
· Coordination of vendors (caterer, entertainment, bartenders, etc.)
· Handling invitations and RSVP’s
· Coordinate delivery of supplies (ice, food, beverages, decorations)
· Complementary use of Gather’s available party supplies (ice buckets, vases, glassware and
· “Day of” set up (food, beverages, decorations)
· Event Coordination from the beginning of your event to the bitter end
· Supervision of entertainment, caterer and bartenders
· Take care of ice, cups, empty coolers, etc.
· CLEAN UP including tables, kitchen and trash

Little Extra Help!
If you are a planner yourself and find that you need just a little help, Gather offers customized services and consultations on an hourly basis. Don’t fret over what vendor to use or decorations, we can help! Our customized hourly services include vendor coordination, menu planning, party theme ideas, invitation design, decorating tips, logistical preparation and pre-party set-up.
These services are $50 per hour.

Happy Planning!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Going out with style...

If any of you send a funeral spray when I die, I promise to haunt you down!!

My sweet grandfather passed away yesterday after a long battle with Alzheimer's. We are all sad to see him go, but happy for him to finally be in heaven and have his mind back. As I sat at my grandmother's dining room table tonight, I couldn't help but notice the cluster of flowers that took up the entire table. I don't mean to be mean, but it looked like the florist ran out of flowers and used one of everything he had in the shop. It was the tackiest thing I have ever seen.

I know, I know...the flowers are not what is important. The funeral is a time to remember the life of the one who has passed, but I can assure you...even my poor grandfather would be deeply saddened by the bush covering his table. I am asking you now...Please do not remember me with a funeral spray arrangement.

The Will of Neillie Kirk Butler

I Neillie ask that my diamonds be given to sisters and my money be given to the poor, but please oh please have I ever asked for anything more.....

Happy Planning!

**Tonight's blog is in loving memory of Grr....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Destination Weddings

Tom and I traveled to Big Canoe, Georgia for Ethan and Jennifer's wedding this weekend. We had an absolute blast hanging out with friends and getting to be a part of our dear friends BIG day! You may remember Jennifer and her jump roping bridesmaids from an earlier blog.

While traveling to Big Canoe, I started thinking about destination weddings. One reason I like destination weddings is because it shows that the bride has followed my first rule...DON'T BE AFRAID TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!. Eizabeth Ralls, chief editor of Atlantan Brides Magazine, says it best: "work with couples who can look beyond the blind traditions to craft an unforgettable affair."

Destination weddings must be thoughtfully planned out and organized!! Unless you are super planner, Jennifer Pennington McDaniel, you might need the help of Gather to handle the details and feel of the weekend. Below are a few things for you to remember when planning your destination wedding.

Location: If you want a majority of your guests to attend, you need to pick somewhere close by. If your guests are anything like Tom and me, they have not been saving up to fly to an island on the other side of the world. Make it somewhere everyone can get to on Friday afternoon and leave on Sunday.

Theme: Once you have a location, determine a theme for the weekend. Whether it is a color, flower or a feel, you want to carry this theme through the entire weekend! As an event planner/designer, it is my job to help you create this theme and incorporate it throughout the weekend.

Paper Products: Save the dates are a must. Your guests need as much time as possible to coordinate work schedules, babysitters, etc. You will also need a schedule of events so your guests know what is going on throughout the weekend. Leave this in welcome bags (see earlier blog for ideas). Also, make sure your "paper products" go along with the theme of your wedding.

The place cards for a seated dinner...

match the menu (that is hard to see)...

which matches the program.
I love the blue and brown with lower case letters....oh yeah..that is what my invitation was.
(the above photos are from Save The Date Events)

This couple used the letters A&J on everything! They even had fireworks that came out as A&J...not asking you to take the theme this far!! (Style Me Pretty)

**Thought...I feel as though a destination wedding opens the doors to be more creative with your invitation. At least consider something other than the ivory card stock with engraved print...

Transportation/Lodging: Make sure you send out detailed instructions on how to get to the location and what the guests are to do when they arrive. This can be done through an email or a mail out...doesn't really matter how, but your guests will really appreciate it. As for lodging, you need to make arrangements for your guests (not pay for it...just organize it). Talk to the resort and find out what the best options are. My favorite thing about Jennifer's wedding was staying in a cabin with friends Tom and I had not seen in 2 years. We had an absolute blast going over Friday night's late night fun while sipping coffee on the deck Saturday morning.

Activities: It is nice to include a list of things your guests can do on Saturday while you are off getting beautified, but do not fret this. I actually like to leave Saturday open for your guests to relax and enjoy their time with friends. Tom and I spent this weekend with friends we see every weekend, friends we use to see every day and now see way too little and with new friends we just met...LOVE, LAUGHTER AND LIQUOR.....This is what destination wedding are all about!

Happy Planning!