Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Courtney: Where are you?

If you have been wondering where I have been this week... I did not fall under a rock. Although, that might have been nice- I could have slept a bunch :)

I have spent the past few days at The Special Event here in San Diego. It is a great trade show and convention for the event industry and I have been getting some great inspiration and new education! So far, two of my favorite sessions have been with Sasha Souza and Tara Guerard of Soiree. The Wedding Lunch, designed by Kathy Wright & Co was gorgeous! I cannot wait to share photos and new fun things with you next week.

To make my busy week even crazier, we are moving on Saturday. Yep- lots going on in the Toney household. I am trying to stay calm- a big thanks to my in in laws and hubby for packing up my house while I am at the conference!

Once I make it through the weekend, I will be back with fun posts. Until then, I will try to sleep!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let us down easy

I have heard many brides wonder how to let a vendor know that they are not going to hire them for their wedding. The answer: just tell them!

If you have met with a vendor to find out about their services for your wedding, whether it is a planner, a photographer, a florist or any other vendor, but have decided to go with someone else, please let them know. It is just the nicest thing to do :)   After meeting with a bride, we here at Joyful typically hold their date for a couple of weeks while waiting to hear back from them. If we have not heard anything after a week or two, I will send a little follow up email to see if they are still interested. If I still do not hear anything back a week later, we will release that date.

Some of my brides worry that they will  hurt a vendor's feelings if they tell them they do not want to hire them. Trust me, vendors would much rather hear it from you than to feel like you are ignoring them. Vendors know that sometimes brides click better with other companies or that brides on a budget are looking for the best deal. Either way, a simple email to let them know what you have decided is so very much appreciated. Vendors won't hate you or get upset- it happens all of the time. I know I have much more respect for brides who let me know that they have gone with other options than those who just never get back to me. Even better- I so appreciate it when a bride will tell me why. Whether it is price or just a better personality click, it is helpful for me in reevaluating my business.

All that to say, don't be afraid to be open and honest with vendors. They will love you for it!

**Side note: The Wedding Chicks are at it again! They are giving away magazine subscriptions (Martha Stewart, Brides & Grace Ormande). Grab yours here .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Around town...

Lots of good stuff going around the web the past couple of weeks!

I love the Love Transforms marketplace put on by Poppytalk Handmade more than I can say. If I had $1000 extra dollars laying around, I would be able to buy half of what I want to. So much cute stuff. Check it out if you are looking for some fun Valentine's Day- or any day- goodies.

The Wedding Chicks have two great giveaways: A birdcage veil and a cool etched monogram.

One of my sweet brides, Michelle, has a great wedding planning blog: My Wedding Report. She wrote a couple of posts (#1  and  #2) on me this past week and she totally made me blush and made me thankful to get to do what I do. So excited for your wedding Michelle! Thanks again for bragging on me!

Christine of The Spiraled Stem and Dawn of Lavender Hill are launching a great series of classes on how to do your own flowers. Check out FlowerDIYvas.

I like these:
seen on VintageGlam 

Martha Stewart Weddings is having a contest through April- enter your engagement story and you could win an amazing trip to Disney World. I might just enter :) 

The lovely Kristin of The Treasured Petal shared another of one of our beautiful weddings on Wedding Bee Pro. Check it out here.

My friend and fellow wedding planner extraordinaire, Amanda, has become a weekly poster on the Elizabeth Anne Designs blog. Last week she featured a great article on what to DIY and what not to DIY and this week she cleared up some things on how to treat your vendors: food, tips, etc. 

So much fun. Goodnight!

No more pictures...

I realized this morning that I received three emails with very large amounts of photos overnight, which sent my email for a loop. If you emailed me last night or this morning and received a bounce back message, I would love you forever if you could resend your email!

Thanks so much! Sorry about that!

Some good stuff is coming this afternoon...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Giveaway Winners!

Happy Friday everyone!

The two winners of the OC Ceremony magazine, chosen randomly, are:

Suzy & Melissa

Melissa- I have your address, but Suzy, could you please email yours to me? Thanks so much! And thank you everyone for entering and, more so, for your super sweet and encouraging words!

Have a great weekend! Lots of fun coming next week!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A sweet and simple bridal shower

I love planning showers. I feel like I have more room for creativity and fun themes and I love crafting all of the details and the invites. So fun!

I thought I would start sharing some shower ideas with you, starting with a sweet bridal shower I threw for my friend Amy last fall.

When it came to inspiration for Amy's shower, I took a look at her wedding colors and her engagement story. Her fiance, Andrew, proposed while they were kayaking. The stopped for a moment, and he had a friend who was scuba diving pop up from the water with a ring. How cute is that? Their first date was also kayaking, so it made sense to incorporate that. So, for the invitations, I made a simple invite with a kayak on the bottom:
I made the kayak and oar out of fabric, then cut out the paper "a + a" (for Andrew + Amy) on my cricut . I glued them all together, taped it on the invite and then photocopied it onto cardstock. This a great way to cheat handmaking invitations. I was not going to have time to cut out all of the kayak's by hand, so this still give a cute handmade look, without the hours of work. I copied two to a page, cut them and then glued them to a shimmery pink cardstock backing. 

For the shower decor, we decided to go simple and keep to the "a + a " theme in the colors of her wedding: mainly a watermelon pink with accents of green. It was very fun and cheery.

I made this sign for the front door using Amy Butler paper from Michaels and my trusty Cricut.

It was a brunch, so we set up a small food table with homemade coffee cake, scones (made by me- my first time and they turned out delicious!), fruit and cupcakes (who doesn't have cupcakes with brunch?).
I made the labels with my cricut and double side taped them on to the platters.

My sweet friend Shae, who is an amazing baker, made the cupcakes for us. They were delicious! To make them extra cute, I cut lots of little "a + a"'s with my cricut (surprise, surprise) and we glued them on to toothpicks and stuck them in the cupcakes. I loved how they turned out!

In addition to coffee, tea and water, we also served pink sparkling lemonade. This is my go-to drink for showers. You can find it at Trader Joes.

We had all of the ladies write words of wisdom or encouragement for the Bride-to-be. How cute is that paper?

We set the tables in a U-shape so that everyone was close together. It created a great intimate feel.
Simple cheap placesettings, all purchased from Target. 
My good friend Holly, who co-hosted the shower with me, made the sweet arrangements, which we placed on sheets of the same shimmery pink paper from the invites to give a little more pop to the table.

Good old lanterns always make a yard more festive.

For favors, we put colorful jelly bellies in little favor tins from Target. To dress them up, I glued on the "a + a" logo. As you can tell, my Cricut was my best friend for this party.

I had extra a's cut out, so we sprinkled them on the tables as confetti.

I loved this banner I made, but I couldn't get a good picture of it because it was so windy.

We even incorporated the logo on the ground with a little chalk:

Since the shower was outside, we offered guests white paper parasols. (We have these available for rent or sale by the way)

Overall, it was a sweet, simple and fun shower.

I have often been asked for ideas for shower games (specifically those that do not involve toilet paper). My favorite shower game is a get to know the bride & groom game. We do a video interview with the Groom, in which we ask him guests about his bride (her favorites, what his favorite things about her are, and some other funny ones thrown in) and then turn it into a DVD. At the shower, we ask the bride the questions and she has to guess what he would say. After she gives her answer, we show his answer on the TV. It is always really funny and sweet. The guests have to guess beforehand how many the bride will get right and the guest that gets the right number wins.

Another fun simple one is to have guests list as many movies and books with the words "wedding" or "bride" in the title. They have a minute or two and the guest with the most at the end wins. I have to say, when I am a guest at a shower, I always win this one. I have an unfair advantage- most guests don't think about wedding planning books.

I'll be back in the next few days with more shower theme ideas. In the meantime, don't forget to enter to win a copy of Ceremony!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lindsay and Chase at the Hotel Fig

I finished off my 2008 wedding season with a jewel. Lindsay and Chase were married the day after Thanksgiving downtown at the Hotel Figueroa. If you are local and have not seen this hotel, you should definitely check it out. It is so cool! Total bohemian style- very unique and moody.

Lindsay and Chase are two of the coolest people I now (she is an amazing singer/songwriter and he played football for Purdue in college) and they are so super sweet. It was a true joy to help them plan their wedding. They had the right perspective throughout the whole thing- on their marriage and getting the most out of their wedding day. Lindsay was very specific about how she wanted her room- vibey, mellow, lots of good music, no stress. Brides- I highly recommend this! Figure out how you want to spend your time the morning and afternoon leading up to your wedding and communicate that to your family and bridesmaids. It will make a huge difference on your stress level and enjoyment of the day!

On to the wedding:

Isn't she gorgeous? 

I absolutely loved all the detail on her dress. It was stunning.

The Hotel Fig is a great spot for a unique, intimate wedding. Very affordable, flexible and they have a ton of decor and amazing furniture that they throw in.

Seriously, everything I just showed you was included in the rental price of the room. The chiavari chairs, the candles, the lanterns, the runners, the amazing dark wood huge tables- all included in the rental cost (which was less than $1000 for a weekday!). Made our job easy! 
The ceremony:

I hate it when I got caught in pictures!

Lindsay did not want any floral decor: just her simple ivory rose bouquet. So, we made it for her, which was a lot of fun! I tied it with ivory satin ribbon and applied some vintage-style lace ribbon tape (by Martha Stewart at Michaels). I wish I had taken a good picture of it. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was simply beautiful. 

The wedding was in the early afternoon, so rather than serve a meal, guests were served appetizers during the cocktail hour and then cool lounge-y pods were set up with delicious pita, hummus and other snacks for the reception. 

The area that the ceremony took place in was transformed into a comfy lounge area, complete with a real fire in the fireplace and oversized cushions to lay on. Lindsay and Chase had their first dance right in front of this area:

We set up a dessert bar featuring all sorts of black and white (most importantly- chocolate!) treats from Trader Joe's:

We embellished the jars with vintage lace ribbon tape and the bride used these cute cards from Paper Source for the labels. 
The beautiful cake:

Since Lindsay is a musician, the wedding was chalk full of good music. The bride painstakingly choose songs for every minute leading up to the ceremony: we had some Ryan Adams, some Coldplay, some Eastmountainsouth, and then the bridesmaids walked in to an Ingrid Michaelson cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love With You". Lindsay's entrance song was gorgeous: "Beyond" by Amel Larrieux. As a music lover myself, I adored all of the choices. The most fun moment though, was when the bridal had exited right after the ceremony, the guests were surprised with "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey. It was such a happy moment! 

Since the wedding was the day after Thanksgiving (aka the day I start playing Christmas music and get out decorations), Lindsay decided to throw another Christmas surprise in. During the reception, we set out a fun white tree with beautiful gold Snowflake ornaments. The ornaments had customized ribbon with the bride & groom's name and date and each guest took one at the end of the night as their favor. 

In lieu of a guestbook, we had guests write a love note to the bride and groom and stick in a gorgeous gold shimmery envelope. The basket Lindsay provided was handmade by women in Africa and was purchased from a company that raises money to support communities in Africa. A sweet way to give a little back from the wedding. 

They had a huge wedding party and it was such a blast! The bridesmaid dresses were very cute:

I know I have already posted so many pictures, but I just have to show you a few more of this gorgeous couple:

Lindsay and Chase: I cannot tell you how joyous your wedding day was for me. I, along with everyone there, could feel the love you two have for each other. I pray that God blesses your marriage greatly and I hope to make up to one of your shows soon!

Their vendor team:
*Photography: Robson Muzel 
*Cake: Wonder Bakery
*Limo: Prompt Limo 
*Live performance: Hope Hazlett