Archive for February, 2009

New Headshots!

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I recently decided that it was time for new headshots – my old ones were taken way back in 2005 and didn’t really look like me so much anymore.  I was very excited when the lovely and talented Lisa from Red Gallery agreed to do them for me.  Normally, I really don’t like having pictures taken of me (I much prefer to be behind the scenes watching my brides and grooms get their pictures taken) but I knew I would be comfortable with Lisa behind the lens and that she would get some good shots.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I don’t wear makeup.  The daily extent of my makeup routine consists of Burt’s Bees lip balm and maybe a touch of mascara when I am feeling really sassy.  Because of this simple fact, I knew I needed help with my makeup for the photo shot.

That is where the lovely and talented makeup artist MelissaRoshan comes in – I told her that the last time I had my makeup done by someone else I wound up looking like a cross between a clown (way too much blush) and *ahem* a lady of the night (way too much eyeliner).  She swore she is the queen of natural looking makeup and to trust her – I am certainly glad that I did!  She did an amazing job and for me to say that is a big deal – I never think makeup looks good on me but she even did some fun false lashes and still managed to make me look like myself.  Exactly what I was hoping for!

So, what do you think?  All my gushing aside, I love how my pictures turned out – they are very me which is kind of the whole point!  I absolutely recommend both Red Gallery and MelissaRoshan. Thanks again ladies, I love how they turned out!

As a side note, these pictures might be a shock to some people as until a few hours before this photo shoot my hair was extremely long – almost to my waist!  I was finally tired of wrangling all that hair every day and chopped it all off.  I am pleased to say that the ponytail that my stylist cut off was long enough (over 11″) to send to Locks of Love – love being able to contribute to a good cause and I love having shorter hair again!

Flowers 101: Carnations

Friday, February 27th, 2009

You aren’t seeing things – that says carnations.  Yes, I am going there and I think you should too – keep reading to see why.

Click for the 101 on Carnations

Mini Series: Focal Points – Below

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Finally we focus our eyes down and hit the floor.

When it comes to the aisle, that walk scares some of my brides more than just about any other aspect of the wedding – I think it has something to do with all eyes being on them.  This is another bonus of creating focal points – it will feel like at least a few of the eyes are off you.

To be 100% honest, I am generally not a fan of traditional aisle runners (I have seen too many bridesmaids and guests trip and get tangled up in thin plastic runners and watched too many groomsmen struggle to roll those cheapies out) but I think custom aisle runners are pretty snazzy!  Hand painted or custom sewn with your design, these runners are heavy fabric that don’t slip, twist or trip you and your guests.  Your monogram or wedding logo as a focal point for the aisle ties things together and gives you a little piece of mind – maybe they are looking at the gorgeous painting and not how nervous you are!

Flower petals are pretty common but they make a great focal point – either along the side or blanketing the whole aisle.  I think the trick is not to skimp – if you want the aisle covered, make it a blanket and not a scattering.  There are lots of sites that sell rose petals and many have calculators that help you figure out coverage – if you want it to make an impact and make it a really point of conversation and focus, go heavy!

The dance floor is already a focal point – you will dance your first dance as a couple there, likely cut your cake somewhere around or on it and your nearest and dearest will toast your new life together on it – and of course, you will all get down and boogie on it – but so often a dance floor is just a plain old dance floor. There are things you can do to change that, of course!

Custom monogrammed gobos are simply plates that sit in front of a spotlight and shine onto your dance floor or a wall.  Surprisingly they are not expensive to have made and are really quite cost effective – you can generally get them made from $75 depending on the material.  From a single initial to a copy of your monogram, gobos look gorgeous during your first dance!

Wonderful Graffiti again!  Remember the monogram on the front doors that greeted your guests?  Put it on your dance floor as well and pull that focal point through.

Dance floors are often pretty plain – oak panel squares.  There are other options available now from most rental companies.  Lighted LED dance floors kind of remind me of Saturday Night Fever which may be why I think they are fun.  Imagine your first dance with the dance floor in your wedding colors!  They are still somewhat hard to find but more and more rental companies are carrying them – just ask around.   Another option for your dance floor is a black and white floor – completely classic and somehow modern at the same time.  These dance floors will cost extra above the dance floor included in most venue packages but if you are having a tent wedding and have to bring in a dance floor anyway – why not make it something special?


You have to have a floor, make it special. Hope our little mini series gave you some food for thought on focal points.  If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share in the comments!

Photo credits:
Ceremony: Event Bella Designs, The Flower House, The Knot, Florals Unique
Reception: The Knot, Wonderful Graffiti, LED Party Floors, Pacific Party Canopies

Mini Series: Focal Point – Eye Level

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Next up in our mini series on focal points is the walls and the doors of a venue.

Often ignored in the past, walls are now seen as an integral part of the decor.  Since they are often a blank canvas, there are actually a lot of things you can do with them to either make them disappear or highlight them!

If you have a blank wall behind you during your ceremony or behind the sweetheart table, you can always dress it up a little or make it a focal point.  One of my favorite ways to do that is Wonderful Graffiti.  They remind me of Colorforms – remember those?  They are thin pieces of vinyl that can go nearly anywhere and come off without leaving a mark.  The company has a ton of standard designs but they will create one to match your wedding as well.  I am not going to lie – they take some time to apply correctly but the results are amazing and totally customized!  Guests are always amazed that your logo or vows are a seemingly permanent part of your venue.

If you want to just completely cover up the walls or make a too big room smaller, fabric (or ‘pipe and drape’) is a great way to do that.  The reasons you want to cover up a wall are pretty obvious but why would you want to make a room smaller?  Say you are madly in love with a room that holds 250 people plus a dance floor but your guest list is only 125.  You can move the tables so there is lots of extra room but the room will feel cavernous and empty and frankly, cold.  If you add your own wall of fabric, you control how big the room is.  Not as complicated or expensive as it might sound.

Beyond the Wonderful Graffiti, there are tons of things that you can put on a wall as focal points.  I love the 3-D wall flowers – they attach to the wall with a tiny pin, barely leave a mark and can be moved and arranged as much as you like.  Obviously you have to take into consideration the type of wall you have – not going to work with brick.  They are only $37 for 25 flowers of various sizes so you could do multiple sets – huge visual impact, teeny budget impact!

I also love vases and candle holders that attach to the wall.  You could do a huge assortment on the wall behind your ceremony – half with single flowers, half with candles.  You can find candle holders that hold multiple tea lights but I am partial to the singles.  These all attach to the wall with nails or screws so be sure that your venue is okay with some repair work after the wedding.

The doors of the venue are the first thing your guests will see on the day of your wedding – more and more, brides are making them a focal point.  Why not make them as inviting as possible and part of your decor?

Wonderful Graffiti is great on doors, around doors, above doors – you get the idea.  If you have a set of glass doors leading into your venue, putting your wedding logo or monogram on them is a great way to dress them up a bit.  I think it is another sign to your guests that you have made the entire space part of your decor.

Round wreaths on the door are pretty common but why not mix it up a bit and use shapes – squares, triangles or monograms can all be lovely as door decor.  Flowers or greenery, paper, plastic or wood – door decor can be anything you can think of.  Don’t limit yourself to the most obvious choice (round and white) – think color and think shape!


Try taking those things we usually take for granted – walls and doors – and make them focal points. Next time we will talk about the floor – yes, floors can be focal points!

Photo credits:
Walls: Wonderful Graffiti, One Source Weddings, Shop Fosters, CB2
Doors: Wonderful Graffiti, Jamie Jansen, Wish Special Events, Pegeen

Mini Series: Focal Points – Above

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

This is the first in a mini-series I am calling “Focal Points.”  There are lots of ways to fill up a too big room, draw the eye away from something that doesn’t mesh well with your wedding or just create focal points for your guests.  The space above tables or above the dance floor, the wall behind the ceremony site or sweetheart table, the dance floor itself – even the grass of your ceremony site can all be adorned/dressed/gussied/prettied/fancied up in different ways to create a focal point.


Let’s start with the space above your head.

I love paper lanterns.  Hang tons of them over a dance floor or just a small cluster over the cake table and I will be happy.  My favorite source for paper lanterns is Luna Bazaar. Over 50 colors, 12 sizes – basically anything you could possibly want.  14″ are my favorite size and what is pictured above.  You can mix styles, sizes, colors and shapes all you like – as long as you like it, you aren’t going to go wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t even have to light them – they look lovely with no internal lighting as well.   If you do want to have light in your lanterns, Luna Bazaar sells lighting strings but for my money, I think LED Throwies are the way to go.  ‘Throwies’ are just a cluster of LED lights that you can attach to the interior of the lantern.  They are easy to make, simple to use, provide great light and as a super bonus they are good for the environment – perfect for a tent wedding where power is at a premium.  Here is a great tutorial on how to make them – don’t be scared, they are a really easy DIY project anyone can tackle.

Of course paper lanterns can be used as your base for something more complex as well – I simply adore this project from Kenzie Kate!  How gorgeous are these:

Click on the pictures for the full story – it involves a hot glue gun and a lot of time but the result is amazing!

Chandeliers are huge right now – they are popping up in design in and out of the wedding realm.

Crystal, Metal, wrought iron, even paper chandeliers are a great addition to a tent or outside venue – I love them hung in unexpected places like the trees around your tent.  Who says they have to be inside the structure?

Of course, just because your hotel ballroom has standard lighting doesn’t mean that you can’t bring in chandeliers more your style and hang them for the evening.

Most tent or rental companies will have options for chandeliers but you can find them at salvage yards, resale shops and stores like Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn, of course.  Make sure to look at thrift stores, flea markets and places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for nice pieces as well.

Talk to a pro if you want them lit – it can be complex depending on the venue and type of lighting needed but a good lighting company can take care of that for you.

Everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – looks better by candle light.  No exceptions to the rule.  It softens hard lines, it makes skin glow and it takes years off faces.  No one can look bad by candle light.   That is one reason that I think hanging candles all over your venue is a great gift for you and your guests.

CB2 is one of my favorite sources for fun hanging candle holders but mason and jelly jars work just as well.  You can make simple wire hangers rather easily with just a little time and material – see a simple tutorial here.

Be safe with the flames and make sure that they are contained – if you are mixing focal points and putting flame and paper lanterns near each other, be sure that they won’t be mixing.


There are a ton of things you can hang for your wedding to create a focal point – lanterns, chandeliers and candles are just the start.  Why not paper pom poms, balls of tulle, paper flowers, paper butterflies, crystals, garlands, swags of fabric or even just old school strings of lights?

Think over your head and draw your guest’s eyes up!  Next time we will talk about decorating those plain, flat, boring spaces we usually ignore – the walls!

Photo credits:
Lanterns: Clay Jackson, Nicole Dixon, Grogan Studios, Clay Jackson, Kenzie Kate
Chandeliers: Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, Once Wed, Evrim Icoz
Candles: CB2, Once Wed, Once Wed, D Videography

Flowers 101: Daisies

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Click for the 101 on Daisies

Postage Increase: May 11

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Someone really needs to talk to the USPS about their timing.  For the second year in a row, USPS has announced another postage increase set for prime wedding invitation season.  Someone tell them that March is fine, October would be great but May is not okay!  The price to mail a first class letter will increase 2 cents from $0.42 to $0.44 on May 11.  Postcards will increase from $0.27 to $0.28 at the same time.

Even if your invitations go out before May 11, don’t forget about your guests mailing back their RSVP cards.  If those RSVPs are due anytime around May 11, go ahead and buy the (not so pretty) forever stamps for your RSVP cards – better to have the Liberty Bell on your envelopes than risk having to track down a ton of missing responses.

And would SOMEONE please talk to the Postmaster General about his timing?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
I hope you are spending today with someone or the someones you love!

Flowers 101: Delphinium

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Click for the 101 on Delphinium

Attn: Wedding Pros – Blogging Bootcamp

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

You already know why you should blog.  We’ll show you how.

Blogging Bootcamp :: Columbus
presented by Liene Stevens of Blue Orchid Designs and The Smart Planner

Who: Any wedding professional who wants to effectively leverage online media to grow their business
When: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Time: 9 am – 4 pm
Where: The Studio at 2 South State Street
Cost: $150 per person

Since the launch of the Blue Orchid Blog in 2006, it has grown to include over 3000 unique daily visitors and is partially to credit for the launch of two new Blue Orchid Designs offices on the East Coast.  In the Blogging Bootcamp, Liene will share specific strategies and techniques she has personally used to grow the Blue Orchid Designs blog to where it is today.

This workshop is open to all wedding professionals, not just wedding planners.  Space is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis so reserve your spot now!  Laptops are optional and lunch will be provided.

Topics covered will include:
*How to discover and leverage your blogging voice
*How to maximize your blogging ROI
*How to develop killer content – consistently
*How to set short term and long term goals for your blog
*How to effectively analyze your stats and blog traffic
*How to increase your readership and keep them coming back for more
*Specific strategies and techniques to use your blog to improve your main website’s SEO or “findability” on Google
*How to promote your brand through your blog’s design and content
*Maintaining professional boundaries while still being personable
*And more!

The Blogging Bootcamp will not be a class on blogging philosophy.  You already know that blogging is a good idea.  We’ll be showing you how to do it so that it is worth your time. No topic will be off the table, and any questions you may have will be fair game.

Click here to register!

This event would not be possible without the generous support of Emilie Duncan Event Planning, Bliss Events, Red Gallery Photography and Blue Skies Videography.