Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Coffee: have a holly jolly holiday party!

It has arrived....the holiday season is upon us! For most that means shopping, visiting friends and family, and parties!
Nick and I love to throw holiday parties and have a little trick to share: rent! Yes, renting items like plates, cloth napkins, and even cocktail tables will spruce up your party won't break the bank, and will make clean-up easy!

Most rental companies rent out glassware and dishes for about $.50 a piece; well worth it considering you can just pop 'em back in the box and return. No hours of clean-up!
You also have the luxury of picking cool and whimsical items like icy-looking cocktail plates, frosted martini glasses, and silvery overlays to perk up your holiday theme.
Add punches of color with bowls of ornaments, garlands, and colored napkins if you'd like.

Abbey Party Rents, Pedersen's Event Rental, Rented Elegance, and AA Party Rents all carry an assortment of these items in fun colors and textures and don't worry, you can rent as little as two items if you want!
Happy Planning,
Aleah + Nick

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hotel Monaco Fall Open House

We coordinated Hotel Monaco's Fall Open House last month and just got these fantastic pics from the lovely (and incredibly talented + sweet) Laurel McConnell . As there are so many fab photos, we'll post more in between our Monday Coffee and Nick's Picks postings this week. If you have never been to the hotel or Sazerac (delish restaurant/cater of the hotel), you must! It has such a whimsical feeling and, knowing me, I love the Mediterranean/Monaco feeling. From the wall paper to the furniture, it's totally Belle Epoque meets fun!

Floral by Ravenna Bloom
A peek at our table
Tallant House
We selected some of our most favorite wedding artists to take part:
izzy girl - Janet Maples creates the most stunning paper suites
Julep Nail Parlor - the perfect spot to take your bridal party pre-wedding!
glassybaby - they rent (yes, rent!) their glass votive vessels for weddings and special events. Not to mention, they make the perfect gift!
Ravenna Bloom - Wendy creates lush and gorgeous floral pieces (contact her for holiday party decor and floral!)
Calla Bridal - stocks gorgeous wedding gowns and frocks
Seattle Parties - Sean and Leslie certainly know how to get the party started (and keep it going)! Pedersen's Event Rental - for all of your fab party and wedding rental needs
Tallant House - absolutely scrumptious cakes and desserts
L & M Chair Covers - clean, crisp, and consistent chair covers to transform your table
Julep Nail Parlor

Happy Planning!
Aleah + Nick

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last week our Senior Associate, Amanda Graham, visited the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue for a lovely open house and tour of their mega-luxe expansion.
Here are some photos of the new event space; pretty amazing! From more intimate weddings to large corporate events, the new space has something for everyone!

The Grand Ballroom is adorned with whimsical, enchanting chandeliers (crafted in France) with blown glass spheres, bringing a rich glow to the room.

We encourage you to check out the space for your next event!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Coffee: to host or not to host...that is the question

Most of our clients want to offer their guests a full bar for the duration of their reception. Most clients, that is, until they get an estimate! Hotels and caterers usually offer a flat rate fee per hour for each guest. During that time they will have unlimited access to beer, wine, soda, and hard liquor (if you opt for it). However, offering a full bar can be extremely expensive and confusing.

Here are some easy-peasy tips for cutting the cost:
1. Offer the lower of the bar packages offered by the hotel or venue. Trust me; your guests likely won't know the difference between a "lower shelf" and "top shelf" vodka or bourbon. If they do, they won't say anything!

2. Cut the hosted bar during dinner. At most weddings guests are sitting during dinner and won't get up for another drink. Closing the bar during the dinner hour can save you thousands. Seriously. Calculate the cost of some hotel bar packages - $15/hour per guest x 200 guests = $3,000! Add gratuity and tax on that and we're nearing $4,000 for a virtually unused bar for one hour during dinner!

3. An option to keep guests happy is to either have wine on the tables or have table side wine service during dinner. You can also opt for a per-glass price during this time if Aunt Edna wants to get up for a glass of wine; it'll likely run you $6-8.By these simple cuts you're saving yourselves while still looking like the fabulous hosts you are!
Happy Planning,
Aleah + Nick

Saturday, November 21, 2009

As the holidays have arrived it means parties, entertaining, friends and family, and good food!
I like to have little gifts and fun food items on hand for when friends stop by or when we get invited to an impromptu cocktail party.
Here are little hostess gifts that won't break the bank.

Trader Joe's sparkling apple cider is so tasty and makes for a fun token to bring when stopping by a friend's house $3

Festive champagne glasses from Red Envelope are the perfect gift to bring to a gift exchange
Rosemary + lavender sea salt $11.50 from bella cucina

Cranberry Balsa Wood gift set $35 from bella cucina
Preserved lemon cream $12 from bella cucina

Sea salt caramels from Crate + Barrel - $19.95
Adorable snowflake soap from Crate + Barrel $1.25 eachHappy Holidays!

Aleah + Nick

Monday, November 16, 2009

So we have some brand spanking new fun blog posts coming - we've implemented a "Monday Coffee" segment where we offer real, down-to-earth wedding planning tips from our point of view. Free tips! What better way to start your week!
Stay tuned to Wednesdays where Nick will be lending his amazing, manly ideas to grooms in "Nick's Picks!"
Of course, we'll be consistent with our lifestyle, planning, and entertaining tips, recipes, and photos.
Thanks for reading!

Monday Coffee: Warning for the DIY Brides and Grooms - Floral

While we are all about helping our clients with DIY projects and ideas and money saving tips, it's really important to know that tackling certain DIY projects can be incredibly difficult, time consuming, and even expensive.

We recently had a bride and her mother create all of the centerpieces for their 200 guest wedding. That's 20 + arrangements!

We strongly recommended they order bouquets and boutonnieres from a professional florist (unless you, a friend, or family member is a florist, these are not simple to make). The flowers were ordered from a local floral wholesaler and were to be picked up the Thursday before the wedding weekend.

The problem came when half of the flowers didn't arrive early in the morning as requested. The bride and her mom had enough going on with prepping themselves for the big day and visiting with out of town guests. They had to come back later in the afternoon to get the rest of the flowers.

In the end a few bunches of special order flowers didn't make the shipment from South America. We stepped in and called around to locate replacements, but they made do with what was there.

The end result: while the arrangements looked good the bride's mother was stressing before the wedding. Not something we like. Unfortunately it's out of our control when clients take on DIY projects like that; there's no florist to call and get a back-up through or no recourse (though we were able to locate a secondary replacement flower). Floral wholesalers order and get what's available; even if you pre-order sometimes things don't make it. When our clients use professional florists we don't have this problem as they are prepared should something not come. It's their job to make sure each flower arrives, is fresh, and looks gorgeous.

Another important duty to consider when going the DIY centerpiece route - who will be dealing with the delivery and take-home of the flowers? Will it be your family? Your bridesmaids? Remember that while they are all there to help and make sure you enjoy the day, you don't want to stick them with something that's a burden.

The bottom line: Talk to a florist first to see what they can do and how they can work with your budget. When it comes down to it, is your time, dealing with a wholesaler, the cost of flowers, and purchase of vases really worth doing it yourself? Your florist will deliver, set up, and take away all of the flowers so you're left with nothing but fun (and stress-free) memories!
Happy Planning!
Aleah + Nick

Frank Ross Photography

Amore Studios

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wishing you a warm and cozy holiday season!

Stay tuned to our blog next week for the first of many "Nick's picks" postings and holiday decor and entertaining tips. Happy Holidays!

Photo taken on a winter trip to scout out a venue for our clients - Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Stephenie and Ryan!

What an awesome couple! Nick and I had so much fun working with Stephenie and Ryan on their gorgeous November wedding last year at the Woodmark Hotel.
Here are some photos from their special day - doesn't Stephenie look simply stunning in her gorgeous dress?
Wow! Look at that texture!

Aren't the flowers sublime? I love the deep purple calla lilies.
From the tasting to planning meetings, the four of us had a great time and we really enjoyed planning with them! I just love the fact that we're friends to this day - how cool is that?!
Happy Anniversary, Stephenie and Ryan!
Photos by La Luz Photography

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Joe and Jolene!

Photos by Kate McElwee

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Danelle and Jason!

Photos by Amber Roberts

Winter wedding details

Winter weddings are so much fun and you can really do so much in terms of ambiance, favors, decor, and other fine details that aren't seen all the time.
Here are some snapshots from some of our favorite winter wedding and event details!

This might just be my all-time favorite cake (with the exception of our own!) - Frank Ross Photography