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!






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,


Pantone’s Color of the Year Marsala – A Slam Dunk

Pantone Color of the Year

When Pantone introduced its new color of the year I was immediately captivated.  It’s a color that may be familiar to many of us, but I honestly haven’t taken advantage of the fullness of it’s beauty.  In fact, I can only remember having one client who used this color and I think it makes for a wonderful color palette.

Per Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us into its embracing warmth.”   And I totally agree, when I look at Marsala I get a cool feeling and can see it being used for invitations, bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen attire, linens, and so much more.

Marsala can be paired with so many other colors such as oranges, yellows, lavenders, and even reds to give it a vibrant pop.  Pantone even recommends the following options for Wedding Color Palettes.


So what’s all the buzz about?  Take a look and see how so many have been inspired by Marsala…

I love how the designer of this invitation paired the Antique Gold color with the hot sultry color Marsala

Pantone invitation

Check out this beautiful nail color by Essie, a nice touch for any bridesmaid or a bride who wants to add a splash of color to her nails on wedding day.

Pantone Nail Polish


Give me a splash of this lip color any day!

d and g lipstick

Now that we’ve seen some items to accessories ones beauty let’s take a look at some of the attire.  I love this bridesmaid dress.


Being a shoe girl myself, I couldn’t quite decide which pair I would wear, so here’s an idea why not buy them both!



And now something for the bride, she defintely would be the center of attention with this awesome bridal bouquet


And lastly check out these awesome wedding decor ideas




I don’t know about you but I am even more inspired by this wonderful color.  I can see myself using this color in wedding decor, home decor and even fashion in the near future.  Well I hope you guys have something planned this weekend.  After the launch of the color of the year, I realized that I have a purse in that color scheme that I will toting this weekend.  I am so excited and can’t wait.

I hope you guys have an awesome weekend and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Take Care,


Photo Credit: InvitationNails, Lipstick, Bridesmaid Dress, Shoes Photo 1, Shoes Photo 2, Bridal Bouquet, Wedding Decor 1, Wedding Decor 2, Wedding Decor 3

Engagement Season is Officially Here

dreamstime_xxl_37273881Between working a wedding yesterday and seeing a good friend post his proposal to his girlfriend yesterday, I realize that Engagement Season is here.  Well November 27th officially kicked off that time of the year that many men and women wait for.  It’s a time that we hear all the wonderful proposal ideas that happen during this time.  Yes engagement season is really an occasion that happens between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.  I especially enjoy this season because I often get the chance to help grooms come up with that perfect proposal idea.

The buzz this year has also been that many brides would LOVE to get engaged, and even married on December 13th of this year leaving them with an iconic date to remember of 12-13-14.  How cool is that???  Per a survey completed by David’s Bridal, there are over 20,000 couples slotted to get married on this date a huge jump from the 7,200 that got married on December 13, 2013.

So if you’re one of those lucky women who have already been proposed to, hats off to you, we share in your excitement! But if you are one of the ones still waiting to here those magical words, we can continue to dream with you about planning that wonderful event of a lifetime.  Stay tuned for more as we share some awesome proposal ideas, and I’ll even share how my hubby proposed to me, I still get Goosebumps thinking about it.

Have a wonderful day!

Take Care,


Blogging 101 – Say “Hi” to the Neighbors

Over the next few weeks some of my posts won’t deal with wedding and event planning.  Why?  Well I’m attending Blogging University by “The Daily Post” participating in their Blogging 101 challenge and I’m SUPER EXCITED!  I actually started the challenge with Day 3 so this post will be a hybrid that includes Day 1 “Introduce Yourself”, Day 2 “Say Your Name”,  and Day 3 “Say “Hi” to the Neighbors”.

Hi, I’m Erika, now live in Southern California life, but originally a Midwestern gal with a Southern twist – my accent is a mix of Saint Louis, Missouri and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I can thank my mother for that who was born and raised in Louisiana and took us to spend all of our holidays and summers there.  I love my life.  I am moving into my second career phase.  Previously I worked in Corporate American for over 18 years in Accounting and Project Management and loved it.  Now I’m the owner of Erika’s Elegance a Full Wedding and Event Planning Company specializing in planning fun and memorable events such as weddings, birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, wedding and business anniversaries, corporate meetings and events, non-profit events, silent auctions, bridal show, and galas.

I blog because I love what I do and want to share that with the world.  I also want to share my expertise with those who may be planning an event and are looking for ideas and strategies for implementation.  I want to be able to provide inspiration to others…

For Day 2 I toyed with changing my name and in fact did that once before.  I’ll have to mull over that for a while.

Now for the fun part, oh my gosh, Day 3 has been a blast.  I’ve never changed my tags and with adding just one new tag, I found so many awesome blogs.  I literally spent about three hours looking at the wonderful content out there.  I added the tags Event Planner (not sure why I didn’t have that before, only event planning), Florists, Parties, Bride, Bridal Bouquet.  And I have added so many new blog friends, it is amazing.

Going forward I hope to stay caught up so I won’t have to go on and on :).  I am very excited about participating in Blogging 101, I hope for wonderful results not just for myself but for all of y’all who are joining the challenge.

Have a great day!



Yes, It’s Gotta be Perfect!

The perfect gown, is a MUST for your perfect day.  Purchasing your gown is one of the most important decision you’ll make.  Saturday we did a post on the various gown types and which goes well with your body shape.  If you missed it, check it out.

Although the gown type or style is important, there are other important elements as well.  Finding the right material, the right color, and the right embellishments are all deciding factors.  Finding your gown should be a fun experience for you and those who join you.  Often I see brides get anxious, and I totally understand because you want to get it right, after all getting married is an iconic event.  But starting early in your process and going to a reputable bridal boutique will help to minimize some of the stress.

FABRIC – There are so many types of fabrics for gowns below are a few of my favorites.  You can have the same dress in a different fabric and it will give you a totally different look.

  • Silk is the most popular and my absolute favorite.  It is noted for providing a crisp and defined look.  It is a very durable fabric and provides an illustrious sheen.  There are different types of silk and all provide a different texture.  It is also one of the more expensive fabrics for bridal gowns.
  • Satin is a very common fabric for bridal gowns.  It is a smooth, heavy fabric and provides a high sheen on one side.
  • Taffeta is a crisp, smooth, plain woven fabric either medium-weight or light-weight.  It can be made from acetate, nylon, rayon, or silk.
  • Chiffon is very delicate and sheer.  It is made from silk or rayon and has a very soft finish.  It is often layered because it is so transparent and is often used for skirting and sleeves.
  • Organza is a crisp and sheer fabric very much like Chiffon.  However it is a little stiffer but flows better.  It is often used for the skirting and overlays of the bridal gown.

Bridal designer Sarah Nouri of New York uses a vast array of fabrics.  I was able to see her new collection this past week at the Luxe Wedding Event.  It was simply amazing.  Check out how the skirt flows on this gown.

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COLOR – Traditionally brides only had to choose from white and ivory, but now there are so many others to choose from.  Some of the fun colors that I have seen and worked with are blush, champagne, gold and for the bolder bride, even blacks and reds.  Check out this show stopper by Sarah Nouri which is a soft grey.  Simply marvelous.

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Although there are a lot of brides still opting for the traditional white and ivory, designers have made it easier for you to let your inner beauty and character flow through.

EMBELLISHMENTS are the last important element I want to discuss.  They can range from crystals (of course my favorite), lace, and flowers or even additional pieces that can be taken off to give a totally new look at the reception.  I loved what Sarah Nouri did with this bridal gown.  Two totally different looks in one.

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The key is to try on various types of gowns until you find the right one that feels good for you.  During my gown shopping process, I thought my dress would be the mermaid fit in white.  Little did I know I would walk down the aisle in a strapless, princess gown.  I still can’t believe it because I was so not the princess type.  But it worked well with my body type and I must say, I felt very beautiful.  That’s been almost six years ago and my choice would still be the same.

I always tell my brides, when you find the right gown, it is a feeling you’ve never had before.  I can often tell by their movement in the dress and the look in their eyes.  If you are looking for a bridal gown, contact me and I can let you know of some very reputable bridal boutiques that would be great for you.

In the meantime, check out some more of the wonderful Sarah Nouri gowns from the fashion show.

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Take care and until next time Happy Dress Shopping!


Bridal Gowns and Body Types

Your wedding gown is one of the most important components to your wedding day. But how do you know if it’s the right gown?There are many elements to consider when picking a gown. Two of the most important things a bride must consider is finding a gown that fits her overall wedding theme and one that compliments her body type making her look like a million bucks! Whether you have an hour glass or pear shaped body figure, there is definitely a dress out there for you that will make you feel confident, comfortable and chic.


Most brides are not familiar with the many styles of bridal gowns.  First you want to determine your body type and then look at the gowns that would showcase your body the best.


1.  SHEATH – The sheath closely follows the line of the body, creating a form-fitting look.  The Sheath, ,also known as the Column Wedding Dress, runs vertically from the shoulders down; the hem does not flair out at the bottom.  These dresses are body-hugging and work best for slim brides with balanced figures.  It is also suitable for petite brides – the sheath elongates the appearance of the body.  This dress also compliments those with a slim hour glass figure.  This dress style can also be used for receptions for the bride who may want to change.

2.  A-LINE – The traditional A-line wedding dress displays a close-fitting bodice, and a skirt that gently begins to flare away from the body, starting right below the natural waist. The dress is typically made out of a heavier fabric to help sustain its structure.  This dress works well with the pear body shape.

3.  EMPIRE– An empire-style gown features a high waistline (right under the bust), falling into a slimmer, yet not body-fitting skirt.  This is a very forgiving wedding dress shape and is great for many body types, but especially flattering on pear-shaped, petite, and full-figured brides.

4.  TRUMPET – The trumpet features a gradually-flared skirt and a close-fitting bodice that fits the body through the hips.  Most trumpet gowns begin to flare about mid-thigh.  As the name suggests, this gown’s gradual flare resembles the shape of the bell of a musical instrument.  It is very similar to a mermaid but it’s flare is more gradual than the mermaid.  This type is best for the hourglass body shape.

THE BALL GOWN – This gown is the most traditional and the one that we are most familiar with. It is characterized by a fitted bodice and a waistline leading to a very full skirt. The Cinderella Ball Gown is perfect for brides who are envisioning a fairy tale wedding. This silhouette pairs a fitted bodice with a full skirt that can either be one piece or separates. The ball gown is most appropriate for large, traditional weddings where the dress will be consistent with the formality of the event.  This gown works best for the Apple, Pear and Tall and Thin Body Shapes.

6.  MERMAID – The mermaid style contours to the body from the top to knee showing off all the brides curves and then flaring out to the hem.  This dress is perfect for the bride with the hourglass figure and those who are very comfortable in their skin.

There are so many different types of bridal gowns.  I have covered the most popular ones.  This post is just a guide to helping you pick out the perfect bridal gown.  The true way to find out what works for you is by going out and trying on gowns.

So what are you waiting for??? After all this is the most fun and exciting part of being the bride.

If you’re in need of a bridal gown contact me, I would love to recommend some bridal boutiques to you.  I have work with several boutiques and can walk you through the process.  Also, I work with an organization called Brides Against Breast Cancer a non-profit organization committed to raising over $2 million dollars this upcoming year to fund free support services to anyone impacted by cancer.  This is made possible by a Nationwide Tour of Gown sale in which they offer deep discounts on bridal gowns.  Click here, to check out their site for an upcoming event near you!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Take Care,

Thanks to weddinggownssquare.com for today’s images.

It’s a Bride’s Life!

Wedding season is here. The rush to find the perfect venue; finding the perfect centerpieces; adding last minute guests to your list; to attending a cake tasting for a cake you’ll only take a bite out of on your special day. At times it may seem a little overwhelming with planning every detail to your perfect wedding.

There is no other detail more important to a bride than her wedding dress. The wedding industry has so many gowns and styles to choose from. Ball gowns from Marchesa; Mermaid from Peter Langer; Sheaths from Angel Sanchez; Strapless from Carolina Herrera; One Shoulder and V-necks from Jenny Packham. My, oh my! What more could a girl ask for? So many wonderful bridal gown designs from fabulous designers.

Sebastian's Picture 2
Ines di Santo Spring 2014 Collection

Of course, no outfit would be complete without the perfect pair of shoes, to the jewelry, and to finish it off a beautiful handcrafted headpiece. Of course every girl needs her something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, but in time that will come.

Every bride wants to feel like a princess. What do you imagine yourself wearing on your wedding day? Are you a modest and classy, fun and girly, simple or dramatic kind of a bride? From Vera Wang, Azzaro and Pnina Tornai, the perfect dress awaits you.

Sebastian's Dress 1
Angelina Faccenda Gown

For every girl the hunt for the perfect wedding dress can be a challenge at times. Sometimes you may feel conflicted when searching for the perfect dress. Don’t fret, take a deep breath, you just haven’t found “the dress.” When you do, you’ll know. The emotions will show through laughter and tears. Always follow your vision! Don’t settle for less.

So as the countdown to your wedding begins take one more sip from your coffee mug and as you head out the door to start your day take a moment to scream out loud “I’m Finally Getting Married” then begin to crack down and put yourself on the hunt for the perfect wedding dress.

-Sebastian Michael Ramirez

Sebastian's Pic UpdatedI’d like to introduce you to our guest blogger Sebastian. Sebastian Ramirez is an intern at Erika’s Elegance who is currently pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Business at ITT Technical Institute and will continue on to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management. Sebastian loves writing about the daily life of a bride from finding the perfect dress, to finishing off the ideal bridal look.

What Kind of Bride Are You?

If you didn’t get a chance to take our “Bridal Style” test, take a few moments to look at our post from Saturday, March 8th.

So what kind of bride are you? 

Ann in Crystals

If you answered:
  • Mostly A’s you’re a Classic Bride
  • Mostly B’s you’re an Eclectic Bride
  • Mostly C’s you’re a Shabby Chic Bride
  • Mostly D’s you’re a Contemporary Bride

Classic is defined as traditional, enduring simple tailored lines in fashion year after year. This style is for the bride who is very traditional. Picture yourself walking down the aisle looking like a timeless piece of beauty. This style is ranked with grace and elegance.

Eclectic is defined as deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. This style is for the bride who likes the cutting edge of things. Similar to having the clean lines such as the classic, this bride wants what’s hot!!! Love the thought of being married on the rooftop of a skyscraper and then dancing the night away in a contemporary loft style New York building? With the advance in technology, as well as, the expansion of extended families, brides have a wealth of resources at their fingertips which allows them to pull elements from all over the country or even all over the world. The key is YOU! Determine what elements are most important to you and work with your planner to create an event space of a lifetime.

Shabby Chic = Vintage with a splash of femininity!!! Shabby Chic is where items are chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear. This style is becoming very popular and can add so much character to a wedding. There are even wedding rental places that specialize in vintage items that add so much character. When I think of Shabby Chic colors I think of soft pinks, greens, distress white, and grays….soft colors.

Contemporary is for the bride who is anything but traditional. Don’t picture your guys in tuxedos? Feel more comfortable with getting married in the meadow? The options are limitless with this style. How do you achieve it? Think of everything traditional and then do the opposite. This is for the bride who likes to go against the norm.

We’d love to get your feedback on what kind of bride you will be.  Please leave us a comment!

And of course no matter what the style, adding a little bit of bling is my thing :).  At Erika’s Elegance we love pulling our client’s concepts together. We would love to give you a hand in assisting with your special day.  Contact us today!

You’ve Got Style!

We are in the midst of wedding season and if your big day is coming up, I’m sure you are knee deep in the wedding planning process.  There are so many fun and exciting details to consider and lots of decisions to be made.  Do you go for the tall, massive centerpieces, or maybe you want something more simplistic like a simple rose surrounded by candles on your table?

During your planning, it is important to decide what type of bride you are.  Are you the Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge style bride with all of the glamour fit for queen?  Or do you like to kick off your shoes and run free through the grassy meadows?

 So what kind of bride are you?  Take a minute to answer a few questions.

Your Bridal Style

I hope you had fun taking our little test.  Stay tuned on Monday to see what type of bride you are.  At Erika’s Elegance we would love to help you tap into your bridal style.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

Have a great weekend.

Take Care,