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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Event Expo @ HOB

This year's Event Expo at the House of Blues was amazing! Keynote Speaker Michael Cerbelli offered some fabulous ideas for events; new products, unique entertainment, and other "wow factor" decor ideas. His presentation was inspiring and it was the highlight of the day!

The booths at the expo were wonderful to browse through. We saw other event planners, floral designers, rental companies, musicians, venues, caterers, promotional was a whirlwind of colors, ideas, creations and designs! I'm looking forward to working with the new vendors I met, and buying/renting some of the fabulous products we saw!

Thanks to all of the sponsors and producers of the expo. Well done...and I look forward to next year!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Green" Invitation Choices

There are many choices available for eco-friendly invitations. One of the simplest ways to eliminate waste is to forego the inner envelope. The inner envelope dates back to when invites were delivered by hand (on foot or by horse) and the inner envelope was used for extra protection during the journey. Eliminating the extra envelope is a good first step in conserving paper, and it doesn't have to compromise the style of your invite.

Choose RSVP postcards over the traditional response cards with envelopes. This eliminates another envelope from the equation. In addition, the cost of postage for postcards is less, so you can be eco-friendly AND save a bit on the budget!

There are also recyclable papers available now. Try Crane's & Co. or Neenah Paper for "tree free" papers. A local invitation designer, Invite Design, also has a line of green eco-friendly invitations available.

But don't stop at the paper! You can find printers who offer alternative ink choices; soy and vegetable based inks that are biodegradable in landfills. Soybeans are definitely prevalent in Ohio, so take advantage of this local renewable source!

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Beautiful Brides" Bridal Show at the Colonnade in Sandusky

Yesterday we had a booth at the Beautiful Brides show at the Colonnade in Sandusky (or Milan, technically). It was a special "homecoming" of sorts for us because my husband and I had our wedding reception there at North Coast Hall. We got to say hello to Beth Ackerman (who runs both the Colonnade and North Coast Hall) whom we hadn't seen in quite a while! We also saw Sherry from I Do Cakes in Huron, who we've worked with on several occasions...and Dave from DNA Entertainment in Norwalk, who we'll be working with at Mon Ami Winery for a wedding in just a couple weeks!

We'd like to thank all the brides, grooms and mothers who stopped by our booth to chat with us. I always love to hear about all the local weddings being planned... the locations, the colors schemes, special ideas... it was a pleasure meeting and chatting with everyone, and I'm looking forward to doing it again in the spring!

Here are a few photos of the show:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Distinctive Cocktails for Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour is for guests to (of course) grab a cocktail, get settled in, and get ready for the party that will follow. Why not welcome your guests in style? There are many ways to snazz up the cocktail hour with fabulous drinks that can not only tie in your wedding colors, but could also incorporate your favorite flavors!

The first and probably most popular way of personalizing your cocktail hour is with signature drinks. I distinctly remember one of my weddings from last year where there was a pink drink called "The Stacy" and a green drink called "The Chad", and those two drinks were the hit of the party. All night long people were ordering those drinks, and the bar finally ran out of the ingredients! The signture drink can incorporate your wedding colors and your names (or names that go with the "theme" of your wedding). A great bartender can come up with a special concoction created specifically for your wedding, like Stacy & Chad's idea...a recipe of your very own!

You could also offer a "flavor buffet" at your cocktail hour! Serve mini-drinks in a variety of flavors (shooters or other small glasses), so the guests can try a variety of palette pleasing libations! Vodkas, for example, come in many apple, grape, chocolate, raspberry.... mix them with a variety of juices to create a menu of flavorful mini cocktails!

Herbs are another way to create distinctive signature cocktails that compliment the theme and style of your reception. For example; cilantro & pepper martini, mint mojito, lavendar champagne. Here's a great recipe for a sweet strawberry basil cocktail!

1 oz. gin
1/4 oz. strawberry liqueur
1 oz. white cranberry juice
3 strawberries
lime juice
basil leaves

Pour the gin, liqueur and juice into a cocktail shaker. Add 3 halved strawberries, 3 basil leaves, and 3 squeezes of lime juice, and muddle. Add a lot of ice, shake, and double strain into a chilled martini glass.

Recipe from Jamie Walker, Global Ambassador for Bombay Sapphire Gin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Today's my mom's birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I love you so much, and I miss you like crazy! My mom is really like my best friend, and it's so hard to be so far away from her.

For those of you who don't know, my mom is fighting endometrial cancer. She was diagnosed in October and had a hysterectomy to remove the infected organs. She has started a lengthy process of healing from surgery, hyperbaric chamber therapy, going through radiation treatments, and now she's started chemo. When I spoke to her on Monday, she told me she was bald...and she actually sounded chipper, like she had a smile on her face. My heart broke, and when I hung up the phone I cried and cried, but I didn't let her know that. She is the strongest woman I know, and I only hope I can grow to be that strong in my life's journey.

Whether they read this or not, I have two people I'd really like to thank:

One is my best friend, Katie. She's going through a tremendous life-threatening sickness herself, and she still finds time to come over to help my mom with picking up groceries or prescriptions, or going with her to the doctor's for procedure thaat she can't drive herself to. It means so much to me that I have someone in my life that would go above and beyond what normal friends would do. I can't put into words how much I value our friendship, and what she means to me!

The other is my cousin, Rhonda. Rhonda is an RN, and just happens to work in the oncology office that my mom goes to for chemo. She has been a rock, a beacon, and a hand to hold for my mom during the chemo. It hurts me so much that I can't be there for her, but I'm glad to know that she has someone like Rhonda there with her through the treatments. I think that was a surprise blessing that Rhonda came back to work there right about the time my mom was diagnosed.

So, thats my blurb for today. I don't usually spill personal info into this blog, but I'm having a very emotional day and needed to vent. Please keep my mom in your prayers, thoughts, wishes...whatever it is you believe in doing. I love you mom, and I'm counting on many more birthdays to come!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cocktail Hour Music

The music at the cocktail hour welcomes your guests to the festivities and sets the mood for the night! Make a memorable impression on your guests with live music! You can find everything from solo musicians to quartets who play in all styles and genres of music. If you're on a budget, a soloist may be a better choice for you; for example, an acoustic guitar, piano or harp. Flute and piano make a wonderful duet, and a string quartet or trio is always very elegant for formal affairs.

A wedding I coordinated last year at the Catawba Island Club and had an aqua/tropical vibe. During the cocktail hour, we had a steel drummer and a conga drummer rolling out the tropical tunes. It was fantastic, and the guests were all entertained! Nothing brings on a tropical feeling like steel drums!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wishes for the Newlyweds on a Wishing Tree!

All this week we're blogging about ways to spice up your cocktail hour, and what better way to involve guests than asking them to participate in the wishing tree!

I've seen these done many different ways. The wishing tree is generally made of manzanita branches, birch branches, or even willow branches. The branches are anchored into a pot or vase, then decorated with flowers, crystals, greens, or other decor to tie in with your reception. Blank cards tied with ribbons and pens or markers are left on the table for the guests to write their best wishes for the newlyweds. Then, they hang their card on the wishing tree for everyone to see!

I've even seen smooth river rocks used instead of cards, on which the guests write their wishes with a sharpie marker and put the rock into a "wishing bowl". The couple then displays the bowl in their home to see their wishes every day!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Twist on Cocktail Napkins

Many couples like to have personalized cocktail napkins at their wedding receptions. They're generally monogrammed, in colors coordinating with the wedding, and all look the same. Change it up a bit by trading the monogram or generic picture with little known facts about the bride & groom, like in this photo. These funny little cocktail napkins will inspire the guests to mingle and trade facts!

-InStyle Weddings

These napkins say:

"Did You Know? Christine hs worn glasses since age 6. John wore corrective shoes when he was 6. Nerds find nerds."

"Did You Know? Christine was crowned an Acteen Princess. John received a perfect attendance award. No, they did not "peak" in high school."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Milan Villa

I recently toured Milan Villa in Monroeville (Norwalk) and OH.. MY.. GOSH! It is an incredibly beautiful bed & breakfast that can accommodate wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as other types of events. It is an undiscovered jewel in Ohio, a and I'm going to do my best to work with them in booking events there! Where was this place when I was getting married? It's exactly what I was looking for!

If you're getting married in Northern Ohio, I strongly recommend calling Kelly at Milan Villa and scheduling a tour. I have posted a few photos below, and you can see more on their website!

Photo Challenge: Scavenger Hunt with Disposable Cameras!

Too many wedding receptions have those handly little disposable cameras available, usually sitting on the dinner tables with a card saying "Pick me up and take pictures!"....or something to that effect. :) This usually leads to children having a hay day with them and getting pictures of absolutely nothing, or tipsy Uncle Joe cutting everyone's heads off in the get the idea. In the end, all those extra photos you thought you were going to have from your reception end up being not so great.

Here's a way to keep the disposable camera idea at your reception and actually get some good photos! Each guest can be given a specific type of image to capture using disposable cameras. Not only does this activity facilitate mingling, it also proves an ingenious way to ensure the cameras are put to good use! A photo challenge: Scavenger Hunt!

Create some cards with different specific photo ideas on each one. Children dancing, Grandma eating cake, the Best Man carrying 2 drinks, etc... You can have a printer create them for you, or you can turn it into a DIY project if you're craft savvy! Place the cards near the entrance to the reception so your guests can take a card and a camera as they enter. You can even add a sign and a flower arrangement to further decorate the table! Voila, a brilliant idea!

-InStyle Weddings

Monday, April 13, 2009

Themed Table Names and Escort Cards

One of my May brides, Larissa, is getting married at Mon Ami Winery in Port Clinton. We are creating escort cards and table #'s for her reception, and tying in her two themes - the winery (of course) and Brazil, her homeland.

The escort cards are wine corks, cut flat on the bottom with a slit cut on the top, and her escort cards slide right in.

Her table numbers are going to pay homage to Brazil. Each table is named after a famous loction in Brazil, and is accompanied by another folding card showing a photo of the location and an explanation of it's history and popularity.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Buca di Beppo

I had the pleasure of meeting Linda from Buca di Beppo in Westlake yesterday. We had a wonderful lunch and tour at her location, and found out how Buca di Beppo can accommodate rehearsal dinners, along with many other events! Their location is absolutely amazing, and their food is A+!! Contact me for a special coupon if you'd like to consider having your rehearsal dinner or other event at Buca di Beppo!

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