I Said Yes but What Next?

Diamond Engagement RingAs a wedding planner I get excited during engagement season every year.  So yep I’m pretty much ecstatic from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day.  Wedding experts at weddingwire.com say that about 40% of engagements happen during this time.

I can see why many couples get engaged during this time.  There are so many festivities during those months and what better way to share such an important moment than with family and friends.  I’m getting all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.  I would say as a bride it would be one of the best darn Christmas gifts ever or a great way to ring in the new year.

The first thing I hear most brides say is that they have no idea how to start planning their wedding.   I tell all of my brides that you must determine your budget first, that’s not only the wedding planner in me talking but I also feel my inner accountant coming out.

Why Start with the Budget First?

Of course you can start with looking for your dress and venue, and even booking your favorite photographer.  Those items are very important too.  But what if you purchase your dream dress first and it costs $5,000.  Later you and your fiancé decide your budget will be $45,000.  You’ve already spent about 10% of your budget which doesn’t include alternations.  In my budget analysis I typically allot roughly 6-8% on my bride’s dress.  By creating your budget first, it should drive all of the other decisions you make in picking your vendors and items for your wedding.  Your planner can use this information to help you find vendors that fit your style and price point.

How Do I Create My Budget?

Gone are the days when the bride’s family pays for the wedding.  Often it is both set of parents, along, with the bride and groom themselves.  I would start by:

  1. First determining how much you and the groom are able to save from now until you get married.  But remember that most items will need to be paid 1-2 months prior to your wedding date, so you will need to consider this when deciding how much you will save.
  2. Next determine who else will contribute to the wedding including your parents, and even sweet Aunt Susie.
  3. Lastly, determine how much each will contribute.
  4. This should be your budget amount.  Note I would not consider income taxes amount or bonuses at their full amount in case you don’t get what was anticipated.

Where Should I Spend My Budget Money?

Below is a breakout that I provide my clients.  It is  rough estimate and can be adjusted based upon your needs.

Category Percent Breakdown
Bridal Attire & Beauty: 11%
Ceremony: 2%
Reception: 46%
Flowers & Décor: 9%
Entertainment: 9%
Photo & Video: 12%
Invitations & Stationery: 4%
Favors & Gifts: 4%
Accommodations & Transportation: 3%

There are so many details when planning your wedding which sometimes may seem a bit overwhelming.  This is were a wedding planner can help you get started and navigate you through all of those details.  It is very important to have the right planning tools and team in place to make the process seamless and enjoyable for you.

Our team would love to assist with your wedding planning process.  Let us know how we can help you by contacting us today!

 

 

 

 

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An Avenue of the Arts Succulent Wedding

Mandy and Justin married on a beautiful fall day in the picturesque city of Costa Mesa.  The day was filled with lots of love and laughter between the couple, their families, and friends.  There were so many special touches added to the day that represented the couple and the merging of the two families and cultures.  The bride chose her favorite color as the dominant color within her color palette which was plum, sage green, and gold.  The color palette also paired very well with the design of the venue.  As guests arrived they were met with smooth tunes from DJ Katar of Invisible Touch Events as they anxiously awaited the arrival of the bride and groom.  This was such a great and memorable day!


And that’s all she wrote, now off to their Happily Ever After

NYE Party Inspired Photoshoot

So what makes a great party?  It’s all about the atmosphere and setting the mood for your guests.  Take a look at our moody New Year’s Eve inspired party design.  I worked with some amazing vendors to pull together this intimate design where Pantone’s Color of the Year Ultra Violet served as my inspiration.

Why not start with appetizers as your guests arrive?

                  

Your guest will be wowed with the yummy bacon wrapped appetizers which can be paired with champagne as they enter the party.  Once apps are done it’s time to have a seat at the main tables.  I wanted to create an intimate feeling with the design.  So I decided to put the main centerpiece in the middle of the tables so all the guests could a great view.

Who wouldn’t want to gaze at this beauty all night.   I loved how Jay of La Petite Florist brought my vision to life.  I’m all about the details, and these amazing bling candles Jay created definitely set the mood for our dinner party.

Are you a details person like me?  Well if it’s details you want it’s details you’ll get.  Look at all the prettiness created.  Low centerpieces for our guest tables.

Black and Gold Dinnerware…so regal

Black Wine Glasses for your guests

Black Louis Chairs, I want a few of these at my dinner table.

Gray velvet linens, it’s about getting the right amount of puddle for your tablecloths.

Welcoming your guests for the last day of 2017

And I always like to have a little activity for my guests as we bring in the New Year.  Each guest has a 2017 and as we count down, we toss the 2017 out and replace it with 2018.

Now that’s what I call a party.  I still cannot believe it is 2018.  I literally just went to sleep last night and woke up to a new year.  How did that happen?  I’m so excited to be embarking on a new year and am looking forward to everything 2018 has to offer.  Happy New Year to you all!

 

Planning/Design: Erika’s Elegance Weddings & Events | Photography: BYC Photography | Venue: Avenue of the Arts Hotel | Rentals/Linens: MTB Event Rentals | Florist: La Petite Florist

10 things your bridesmaids should know before they say “I DO” to YOUR big day!

Who doesn’t want to have an awesome #bridesquad to help encourage them during the planning process but most importantly to stand with you as you say “I do” to the love of your life.

So what should your bridesmaids know about being a bridesmaid?

  1. What costs they can expect for the day.  It’s important to be upfront with your girls on the estimated costs they will be responsible for.  The costs often include bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair & make-up, jewelry and accessories, and travel and hotel if needed.
  2. Provide them with key dates and times they will need to be available for dress fittings, luncheons, and wedding rehearsal.
  3. What pre-wedding day responsibilities do you expect them to oversee, such as planning your bridal showers, bachelorette parties, taking on wedding planning tasks, or even running errands for you the weeks leading up to your big day.
  4. What is the Overall Bridal Party Look.  Provide them with details such as how you want them to wear their hair, specific nail color, shoe color and style, and wedding accessories.
  5. Who is your “go to” person for wedding day.  I know every body loves the bride and wants to help but there should be one contact person from the bride’s side and the groom’s side who will coordinate with the wedding planner in regards to timeline details and questions that need to be answered.  Having multiple people contact your planner with questions or feedback can become very confusing and time consuming.  You don’t want time taken away from you or the important details that need to be managed.
  6. What they need to do on Wedding Day.   Your planner will provide the wedding rehearsal and wedding day timelines.  You can also tell each girl any specific duties you have assigned to them such as taking your dress to the venue, making sure your wedding bag is packed, or carrying and responding to your phone calls/text messages.
  7. Provide transportation details for wedding day.  Although you will provide wedding day transportation to the wedding and reception but the bridesmaids will need to consider how to get to the designated meeting point and how to get their cars to the reception site (if different locations).
  8. Who will bustle your dress.  All wedding dresses have different bustling techniques.  You should make sure that at least two of your bridesmaids are able to know how to help bustle your dress.
  9. Be a listening ear. Wedding planning can at times become a little stressful when you have so many decisions to make.  A planner will help to minimize this stress but sometimes you just want to release with one of your closest friends.  Your girls should know that you love them and appreciate their support but sometimes you just need to vent, and that’s okay :).
  10. Lastly they are there to support you!!!  I know it is easy to focus on not liking the dress chosen, or their shoes not being comfortable, or even thinking they would do something differently during the planning process.  But it’s important to remember that it’s not about what they don’t like, it’s about what they do like and that’s YOU.  And the most important thing is to make sure that you’re happy and stress free on one of the most important days of your life.  Remember it’s about team #bridesquad not team #bridesmaidsquad.

Picking your bridal party is a very important task and it is a very fun role.  But with that role comes some really important responsibilities.  I think it’s important to share this commitment with your girls so they know exactly what’s expected of them so you guys can have a stress-free day and really enjoy the time together.

Next post we’ll be talking about some exciting ways to ask your Wedding Party to be a part of your special day.  We would love to hear from you, so how did you ask your bridal party to be in your wedding?

 

Picking Your Wedding First Dance Song

I can’t tell you how many times my couples have asked what song they should use for their first dance.  Well I think that depends on several things.

  1. Do you have a special song?  This can be one that reminds you of when you first met, your first date, or even the first time you heard the word “I Love You.”
  2. What’s your favorite type of music.  We often think first dance songs have to be slow, but if you are the type that likes to boogie, why not start your party off with boogieing to a smooth and groovy tune.
  3. Is your wedding following a certain theme/era?  If so then you may want to get your inspiration from that!  How cool would it be to dance to “It Had to Be You” at a Roaring ’20s themed wedding.  I can see it now a swing band with someone belting out the tunes (sorry I just got lost in the moment, lol)

But if you’re still having trouble, below are 10 of my favorites that I’ve seen couples get  get teary-eyed over the years while taking their first dance as man and wife!

  1. All My Life – K.C. and JoJo
  2. At Last – Etta James
  3. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Valli or Lauryn Hill remake
  4. Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra
  5. Lost Without You – Robin Thicke (this was actually used for my hubby and my first dance)
  6. For You – Kenny Latimore
  7. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  8. Your Song – Elton John
  9. So Amazing – Luther Vandross
  10. It Had to Be You – Billie Holiday

And so many  more….Tell us what song you are considering for your first dance and why you chose it?

Getting Started on Planning my Event

WOW!  Last week I had one of the best weeks a girl could ask for.  I was able to plan three different events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Sound crazy?  Well it could be a little crazy, but with your creative juices flowing and the right planning your event can turn out          amazing

So you have a party to plan or your wedding (which might I add, will be the most important event of the century). You have this vision of what you want it to look like in your head but you don’t quite no where to start!  Well you’re heading in the right direction.

It is so important that I stay with my client’s vision so that their event can have the “look and feel” they’ve dreamt about.  Below are three key elements I start with to get my creative juices flowing while planning an event.

Event Theme

The theme should be something that is significant to you.  It can be a hobby, a favorite sport, or even a certain era in time, such as the Great Gatsby era.  Once the theme is identified, it is important to pull the concept into every design element starting with the Save the Date cards through to the party favors.  Next we focus on…

Great Gastby Collage

Color Scheme

The color scheme is sometimes derived from the theme you’ve chosen.  Choosing the right colors is important because you want it to be representative of your personality and it will drive all of the design decisions made.  I love working with multiple colors in a palette and encourage my clients to pick one or two dominant colors, a sub-dominate color, and two accent colors.  Below is the color scheme chosen for the Great Gatsby event I am working on.  You’ll see black and gold has been used for the dominate/sub-dominate colors and are often associate with the Great Gatsby era.  Next we added a splash of deep red and black/white diagonals as the accent colors because the couple wanted to add a twist on the traditional Great Gatsby concept.  And lastly is your

Great Gatsby Color Scheme

Guest Takeaway

How do you want your clients to feel when they leave your event.  Do you want them to say that was the most awesome party in the world?  Or that it was the swankiest event of the century?  Or we partied like a rock star?  What ever you choose it should be incorporated in the elements you choose for your wedding.

As an event planner, I love being able to create the vision boards for my clients and rely on my past events and other event resources to find the perfect elements to complement their day.  One of the first sneak peeks your guest get into your wedding is the stationery.  There are so many great resources that provide Save the Date Cards, Invitations, and your other stationery needs.  I love to rely on my friends from Paperless Post when my creative juices start flowing because they have so many wonderful items to share.  Some of my faves for a Great Gatsby Themed Wedding from Paperless Post…

Paperless Post Konfetti Gold by Kelly Wearstler

Save the Date from Paperless Post

Konfetti Gold by Kelly Wearstler

Paperless Post Josephine Baker - BlackGold

Invitation, Menu Card, and Wedding Programs from Paperless Post

Josephine Baker also available in Black & Gold

Looking for more design inspiration? Check out these wonderful wedding invitations” target=”_blank”>wedding invitations and other stationery options that are sure to get your juices flowing from Paperless Post.

Are you hosting a party?  Would love to hear about your design ideas?

Take Care,

Erika

My Favorite Things

As an event planner, I find inspiration in many things BUT lately I have this growing obsession for lighting, specifically chandeliers.  I visit a lot of  of venues, and I find myself immediately gravitating to the ceiling to see what type of lighting they have.

These are some of my recent finds:

Chandalier 1
Fairmont Costa Mesa

This next one may be my all time favorite.  It is so whimsical…can you imagine this in the ceiling and your centerpieces having these same crystals dripping from the vase.  OMG how amazing would that be.  I see a vision coming to life :).

L.A. Hotel Downtown
L.A. Hotel Downtown

I’m not sure where I captured this one from, but it is not a traditional chandelier but it has so much flair.  It almost reminds me of having a sea of glass birds flying over you…How cool would that be?

Chandalier 3

If I could have a house full of chandeliers, I would be in heaven….I would keep the lights on all day, but that wouldn’t be very energy efficient and besides my hubby wouldn’t go for that, but a girl can dream can’t she? :).

What are some of your favorite things?  What gives you inspiration to decorate or throw an awesome party?  Leave us a comment so that we can share in your inspiration!

Take Care,

Erika

Give Me One Good Reason I Should Hire a Wedding Planner

I can do better than that, I can give you 5 reason off the top of my head why you should hire a wedding consultant.  The age old question is what do planners actually do and what value add do they bring?

BUDGET ANALYSIS

Do you have trouble budgeting in your day-to-day life?  Well budgeting for your wedding is equally as important.  Planners can work with you first to help you determine your true budget by walking you through all of the elements that should be considered for your wedding.  Although all weddings have some common ground, there may be things specifically for your wedding that would need to be considered.  Most planners have wedding checklists that includes a budget analysis.  A budget will tell you how much you should spend on each major element of your wedding, and it can also help you manage and track what you’ve spent and if you are in jeopardy of going over budget.  I also use the budget to help align my clients with great vendors that fit within their price point.

VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS

Who better than a planner to help you find vendors that fit YOU!  Event planners work with various vendors that all have different pricing, styles, availability, and personalities.  Because a planner works so closely with the bride and groom they understand their wants, needs, personalities, and style.  It is very important to be aligned with the correct vendor.  A planner will be able to take the knowledge they have obtained to pair the couple with just the right vendor.  I want my bride and groom to feel as comfortable with their vendors as they are with me.  The goal is to build an A+ team for my A+ client.

 TIME AND STRESS

Planning a wedding can be a full time job at times.  It takes about 250 hours to plan a wedding.  So add this time, to your already busy schedule of either working, going to school, taking care of family, and did I mention you have to fit sleeping in there somewhere.  If you are having issues trying to juggle everything and stay on task, you should hire a planner.  A planner can remove the stress of planning the wedding.  If only we could quantity the value of having a stress free life, I think we would all be rich.  It is so important for you to enjoy the planning process.  Don’t stress your planning experience away.

MONEY

Planners can help save you money.  Vendors often will give planners special pricing that is passed on to their couple.  Planners are also able to help negotiate fair pricing which can also save money.  I often save my full service clients between $500 and $2,000.

THOSE HIDDEN THINGS

Life happens and planners are experienced in handling sticky situations, as well as, warding off situations that may occur.  Often times, the little things that occur never get to the bride and groom because the planner and his or her team has already resolved it.  Who wouldn’t want the assurance of enjoying their day, knowing that the planner is taking care of all of the details?

These are just a few notes on the value that a planner can bring.  Often clients wished they had hired a planner.  Huffington Post published an article “Why We Didn’t Hire a Wedding Planner..But Wish We Had”  which gives a reflection from a bride on hiring a planner.  I got married 8 years ago, and although I had been a wedding planner for 10 years, I’m sure glad I hired someone to ensure my vision was brought to life.

Take Care,

Erika

Brides Against Breast Cancer – Anaheim

Brides Against Breast Cancer is back in Southern California and they are looking for all Brides, Vendors, and Volunteers interested in participating in their upcoming Charity Bridal Gown Sale.  This is such a wonderful organization and if you’re looking for an awesome gown and a wonderful price, this is an event you don’t want to miss!

Anaheim CA May 2015 Flyer

Brides you will find some awesome deals on gowns by well-known designers and get to see some of amazing vendors. All of this to support a wonderful cause.   BABC is a non-profit organization is committed to raising over $2 million dollars to fund free support services to anyone impacted by cancer.   You can find more info at www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org.

Erika’s Elegance Weddings and Events is also a sponsor of this wonderful event and will be hosting a booth.  We hope to see you there!

Take Care,

Erika

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day 2015I just want to take today to wish all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day.  I know that Mother’s Day can be an exciting time for some and harder for others who may have loss their mother or their child.  Today is often hard for me because I loss my only son to leukemia so I stand with those mothers and often struggle with wondering if I still am a mom.  BUT today, I celebrate ALL mother’s!  Celebrating those who are here, honoring those who have gone ahead and encouraging those whose children are no longer here.  We are all mother’s!  You deserve to be celebrated.

I hope you enjoy your day!

Take Care,

Erika