Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pop Up Party...

Tom, the girls and I went to Otey's for dinner tonight and we watched a girl pull together a 30th b-day party in 3 minutes. It was like she had a party in a bag. Maddie looked over at me and said, "Neillie are you their party planner." I simply said, they don't need a planner!

When Maddie jumped out of her seat to get a close look at the chocolate cake, I quickly found myself in the middle of the girl's set up. I introduced myself and asked her where she got such a cute invitation, banner and cup cake toppers. She explained that she is a graphic designer who is starting her own company. I have so much respect for anyone who can work such magic on the computer...I don't have a lick of talent when it comes to creating anything worth hanging on a wall. My new friend's name is Laura Money and I am excited about talking with her more when her graphic design business gets going! Stay Tuned!

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Eve Sneak Peak....

I am working on a New Year's Eve party for one of my favorite clients. I had the privilege of planning a sweet sixteen party for her this summer, so I am super excited to be planning another fun gathering. I don't want to tell you to much and spoil the surprise, but I thought I might give you a little peak of what we are doing in case you were looking for something to add a little fun to your New Year's Eve House Party!!

(photo from

I thought it would be fun to have a fire pit going in the driveway for all the guests to enjoy. Picture hay bails around a fire, throw blankets and what else but a S'MORES station. There is nothing better than a graham cracker with chocolate and marshmallow!

Happy Planning!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Rehearsal Dinner at Matt Jones Gallery

I recently planned a rehearsal dinner at Matt Jones Gallery and wanted to share a few details with you.

One of the things I like most about Matt Jones' Gallery is the decor that is already in place before you bring in the first flower. The artwork and drapery are so beautiful, you could almost get away without doing one thing! When I began planning this event, my client and I decided we didn't want the dinner to be overdone. We wanted a simple, elegant look for her guests to enjoy.

I began brainstorming of what I wanted to do and I came across this photo.

I love winter rye grass more than anything! I don't know's just really cool! When I saw this photo, I decided it would be the inspiration for the night. I believe I posted a few weeks ago about "growing our own rye grass." Well, I got too busy and decided to order it from my wholesale florist to save my sanity! Besides, when I went to Home Depot to buy the was far more expensive to grow my own!

The event was a week before Christmas, but I wanted to stay away from the traditional reds and greens, so I decided gold with a little green would be appropriate.

If you do anything with rye grass, remember the you will need to cover up the roots with something. I chose brown satin ribbon, but you can use flowers or whatever you wish!

Instead of having a slide show, we decided to hang baby pictures of the bride and groom from branches over the place card table. Guests enjoyed looking at them as they arrived. I thought this was a great way to show where the bride and groom came from without having to play a 15 minute video that your guests won't think is as cool as you do!

One plus for booking an event at Matt Jones Gallery is that the venue comes with table linens. We opted for ivory linens to keep with our neutral tone. To add a little kick, we used gold chargers under the plates. It was a really nice touch!

The centerpieces were simple 12" fish bowl vases with 4 mini calla lilies, curly willow and a floating candle. Simple, yet elegant!

The groom's father writes for the newspaper in Dothan, AL. When his son got engaged, he wrote a sweet article about their family expanding by one. I really wanted to incorporate the article into the event someway, so we had it framed under the photo tree.

My favorite part of my job is exceeding my clients expectations. As this client stated:

"There is no way to tell you how wonderful the rehearsal dinner was! The compliments I have received from the beginning of the night have been overwhelming. At least four or five people told me that is was the best rehearsal dinner they had ever attended....quite the compliment! Others talked about the tables, the trees and the grass, the beautiful colors in the gallery, the bowls on the tables, on and on. What a compliment to you."

Many thanks to Kathy G. and Go Pro Events for all you did! It was a lovely evening enjoyed by all!

Happy Planning!

A Gather Christmas!

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope that is has been all that you dreamed it would be!

For some of you that may mean a little BLING, BLING! If you are newly engaged, please give me a call for your wedding planning or coordinating needs. The 2011 calendar is filling up fast, but we still have weekends open! We are offering a $100 visa gift card to the first 5 brides that sign up between now and the end of January!

(Photo from

For those of you having a Christmas gathering at your house tonight, it is not too late to whip together some last minute decor.

Gather's modern version of a Christmas Tree.....made with thing I found in my garage last night.

Items Need: Manzanita branches, curly willow, red berry branches (forgot the real name), fake green berry branches I bought 5 years ago (they had so much dust on them, I had to wash them before I could use them :)) and Christmas balls made by participants at The Exceptional Foundation.

Items Needed: A paper white (my all time favorite Christmas plant), a big serving bowl you have sitting around, raindeer moss and organic looking balls bought from At Home years ago and never used.

Don't get discouraged...I do have the advantage of having left over flowers, vases and trees from the dozen events I had in the last 10 days.

Happy Planning!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not your normal recessional

When I first saw a couple dance up the aisle about a year ago when watching Good Morning America, I never really thought I would have a bride that would do it in Birmingham. I should have known right then and there that if someone was going to do it, it would be Mary Margaret Dorr and her three siblings!

The crowd loved it! The rest of the wedding was just as fabulous as this. More photos to come!

Happy Planning!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

As you know, Gather is as wedding and event planning group, but from time to time I am asked to pull together flower arrangements, decorate a table scape or decorate one's home for a party. I mentioned in my last post that I would be decorating two of my clients' homes for Christmas and you may be thinking..."wow, I didn't know she did that too." Well, the truth is I don't but I do have the resources to get things like this done.

When asked to decorate two homes for Christmas, I quickly called Buffy to see if she would come to work with Gather and help make this happen. Thankfully she said yes, and we immediately started planning the fabulous decor for the two houses. Given that Buffy has worked at Southern Living magazine for years, the magazine asked if they could shoot our trees for their Christmas Decor issue. My clients were originally responsible for getting their own trees and Gather would handle the rest. However, Southern Living was gracious enough to provide the trees for the clients in exchange for the photos.

Well......If you have been to Home Depot recently to scout out a tree for your home, than you will know what type of tree I had in mind for my clients. A pretty, full, normal sized tree that would be covered in beautiful ornaments, ribbon and much more. I still had that tree in mind when the trailer hauling the trees pulled up to my client's driveway today. One would say I should had known the massive size of the tree by the weight, but I assumed that everything would be fine. As we struggled up the stairs, into the front door and into the living room, we realized the tree was 4 feet too tall for the room. I quickly (it was not one of my brighter moments) decided to leave the tree on the floor and get the second 12ft tree off the trailer. We made it up the stairs, through the door and then into the den this time. We managed to get the tree into the tree stand and giggle with delight.

We told all children and dogs to back away as we cut the blue string that would release the branches in true Grizwall Family Christmas style. Thankfully, no glass was broken and the branches managed to fall without touching a thing (we had moved all the furniture aside and taken all the paintings off the wall just to be safe). I then decided that the tree needed to move back into the corner, so we all gave a little push. With that, the 300 lb, 12ft tree came crashing down!!! Thankfully the 4 other helpers were still standing by and were able to somewhat catch this mass of a tree. Three hours later and after an additional crew of 6 more people arrived, we were able to get the tree back in the stand and sturdy!

After the nightmare of the afternoon, we decided to carry the other 12ft tree (the one I originally left on in the living room floor) back out the front door and down the stairs. We exchanged it for a beautiful 8ft tree that is far more reasonable.
I tell you this, not to win your business, but for a good holiday laugh. I will be decorating the tree this weekend....more to come!

Happy Planning!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dallas Holiday Decor

Let me start by saying, I am very disappointed in the size of the photos. I took these with my iphone and I am not sure why I can not post them a little larger. I have debated on even posting, but here it goes anyway....

Tom and I hit the streets of Dallas today with no real purpose other than enjoying the pretty weather and the neat things this city has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised to come across store holiday decor that I actually wanted to remember for my upcoming holiday projects.

Our first stop was a store called Forty Five Ten. The store was a hodgepodge of high end items. The walls in the store were lime green so their Christmas decorations were all natural wood with a touch of the lime green (randier moss, pine cone ornaments, brown peacock feathers and lime green ribbon). I immediately thought of a client's home that I am decorating for Christmas next weekend. She asked for a "natural/organic" Christmas look and this store was exactly just that. The sales associates looked at me like I was a creep for taking photos, but they had not given me even a second of their time, so I didn't worry about it.

There is a saying that Tom and I like to reference from time to time and it just so happened to hang over their door in a neon light as if I needed a reminder of how things are for us from time to time..........."Happiness is Expensive!"

There was a restaurant connected to this store that was decorated with beautiful silver balls and ornaments. They hung from the ceiling at different heights with lime green ribbon.

The next stop was a store called Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. It was a furniture store with a modern flare. Besides a bowl of silver balls and Christmas music, you would have never known it was the holiday season. However, I loved the simplicity of the silver balls. It was a nice touch that wasn't overdone.

If you look closer at the TINY photo below (so frustrating), you will see branches potted on either side of the console table. There are different color balls hanging from the branches and it looks awesome. I was thrilled to see this design throughout Restoration Hardware.....I am installing this design into a clients home on Friday!!

You may be asking where you find these cool branches....well, the answer is anywhere you can find them. I just so happened to find a huge pile of great looking branches on the side of the road a few weeks ago. I pulled over and loaded every last one of them in the back of my car.

Happy Planning!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Inspirations!

If you are like me, the full feeling is starting to wear off and you are too embarrassed to tell anyone that you could probably eat again if someone would just heat up the stuffing and sweet potatoes. Instead of eating myself into a coma yet again, I am curled up on the sofa browsing through my favorite wedding inspiration photos.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Working on two barn events right now....this wagon is pretty cool!

I just got finished telling a client that the charger for her rehearsal dinner is a makes the tablescape look complete. While looking through Style Me Pretty tonight, I came across my new FAVORITE charger. Are you kidding me, these are so cool!!! My dad once cut down a tree and made me a cake stand out of a tree stump. I wonder if I can talk him into making 100 chargers???

You typically see an ivory wedding program with a touch of color. Why is this?? The program above is traditionally elegant while also having some character!

This bouquet is beautiful! One of the many floral meetings I had this week was with a bride who's favorite flower is a peonie. She was leaning towards soft, light colors, but I may have to show her this photo. I love the touch of hot pink..

I thought this photo was interesting. I frequently hear brides asking for a "rustic, but elegant" wedding. You typically see fabric hung in either a ballroom or more formal setting. I think I am liking the look of this fabric and soft lighting in the rustic barn. Interesting.....

I am a modern bride at heart, so I of course loved this photo. However, you don't have to be "modern" to use floating candles at your next event. It is a great way to fill in gaps without spending a lot of money!

When I get home from Dallas (did I say I was in Dallas this weekend? If not, now you know...) I am going to hit up Home Depot for some winter rye grass seeds. I am putting together this same place card table for one of my December clients. I will put together a "How To" post on growing your own rye grass. It is an awesome thing to use with Christmas arrangements.

Happy Planning!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gather Wedding: Meredith and Jeremy

I first introduced Meredith and Jeremy in my post titled "An Engagement to Remember." If you haven't seen this post, take a minute and check it out. Swan Lake Stables was where the engagement took place, so the couple felt like it was only fitting that the wedding also be held at Swan Lake.

The couple has a great sense of style and it shined through from the moment they got engaged. They wanted an organic, anthropology feel for everything. So, we hired Andy Hopper of KG Designs who I knew would be able to turn our vision into reality. The wedding and reception flowers included babies breath, pale blush pinks, greens and moss balls. The sign-in table had a brushed silver bucket that held the iced down bottled waters that were given to the guests as they arrived. My favorite detail was the antique copper bath tub I rented from Architectural Heritage for the gifts. It was a fabulous touch to our "anthropology" wedding. It looked like it came straight out of a photo shoot.....too bad NO ONE got a photo of it!

The barn has 2 horse stalls along each side of the barn. Each one opens up to the center of the barn. We decided to put a 60" round table in each stall and hang a candle chandelier over each table. Each stall became a private dinning room for guests to enjoy. (I know what you are thinking...."who in the right mind wants to eat dinner in a horse stall?") Well, the stalls are clean as a whistle. I actually heard guests commenting on how they seriously doubted if a horse had ever even been in them

Meredith's aunt had a good collection of little lanterns that we decided to hang from the ceiling over the food table to give the corridor a nice glow after the sun went down. Each lantern was carefully hung by the groom a few days before the wedding. The silver satin ribbon was a nice touch for the rustic, but elegant look. The tiny votives were lit minutes before the wedding and were blown out one by one after every guest and vendor had left (one reason why you hire a wedding planner).

Before Set Up

After Set Up

Meredith and Jeremy really wanted the "farm to table" meal for the guests. Kathy G. & Co. was able to prepare the most beautiful meal that fit right in with their organic look and feel. Guests were offered rosemary lemonade as the ceremony was ended.

Meredith is the store manager for Doree, a boutique in Homewood, AL, so the girl knows fashion. When it came to purchasing a dress, she headed to Ivory and White. Meredith loved her dress so much, that she has made it very clear she would be wearing it around the house for months to come. Meredith also had her heart set on a pair of heals that I begged her not to wear. The idea of grass and high heels made me a nervous wreck, but I should have known....the girl didn't have a problem at all.

Every bride strategically plans their "something borrowed" months before the big day and this bride was no different. Meredith wore a strand of her grandmother's and mother's pearls as well as her own.

Barb Sullivan created a beautiful cake that was stunning under the flower balls and chandelier!

Jeremy worked with A Bryan Photo when he got out of college, so there was no question who would be the photographer. I love working with Bryan Johnson and his team! Below are a few of my favorite photos from the day.

We all racked our brains for a "get away" car, truck, horse, whatever and nothing was working out. Finlay Jeremy came up with the idea to use a family member's old Cadillac Convertible and it was perfect!

Congratulations Meredith and Jeremy! Thank you for letting Gather be a part of your Big Day!

Happy Planning!