Friday, February 27, 2009

So You're Engaged...Now What???

He popped the question, now what? Is your head spinning with the millions of things that you need to do until "happily ever after?" The venue, invitations, the dress, attendants, favors,'s enough to make the most sane person blow a gasket!!! I know it must seem extremely overwhelming, but just like any large task, you start with one thing at a time...

#1 - Develop a Vision
Take some time and sit down with your husband to be, and have each of you paint a picture of the "vision" for your wedding. You may want barefeet on the beach, while he was thinking more along the lines of a soiree in Vegas. Be open to each other's opinions and start to blend them together.

#2 - Organize your Ideas
Sure, it may start with a cocktail napkin and turn into a full blown binder! The trick is to keep everything together. Also, try using dividers with labels like - "Flowers, Attire, Food, etc." so you can find things quickly when a vendor calls asking what flavor of cake you wanted.

#3 - Choose a Date
Look at meaningful dates for the two of you - when you met, your first date, your first kiss. Also, do your research and find out the dates of holidays, family get togethers, vacations, etc. You'll want to try and plan your wedding for a day that "most" people won't have a prior commitment. You can't please everyone, but consult with a few key family members on each side. Also, be sure to find out if you have any events going on locally. You won't want your grandmother paying top dollar for airfare because the Super Bowl's in town (luckily, we won't have to worry about this particular incident for a while!). Pick a few dates, two or three for example, and be flexible! You may have chosen the most wonderful Saturday of the year and you find out that the venue charges half on a Friday. This will give you the opportunity to save alot of green!

#4 - Draft a Guestlist
Consult with each other and both families and determine how many people you'd like to invite. This will influence almost every aspect of the wedding - budget, venue, food, etc. When you do consult with each other's familes, be sure to tread lightly. Keep it very casual, "how many people do you think would attend?" Otherwise they may start telling your third cousin Arty that he will be invited to the wedding, when you were hoping for intimate wedding of twenty. There is no right or wrong on the number of guests, it's what works for you and your fiance.

#5 - Set a Budget
This should definitely be done as early as possible, to discourage irresponsible spending. To do this, you need to determine who is contributing to the budget. Is it just the two of you? Are parents or other family members contributing too? When people contribute their hard earned money to your wedding, they feel like the now have a say in the decisions for the wedding. So be sure to understand this before accepting these generous gifts, otherwise decline them thankfully and graciously.

#6 - Scout Ceremony & Reception Sites
You've got your budget and your guest count in hand, now it's time to find the place where you will exchange your vows. You must be quick about this, venues can be booked more than a year in advance! So, start shopping!!!

#7 - Select a Color Scheme
Remember that vision that you and your husband-to-be disussed? Were there colors in there too? You must take into account your venue. The pink wall of the ballroom may clash with your blue and green color scheme. You can do some great things with lighting and drapery to hide unsightly decor, but if that's not in your budget, then you must take the current conditions into consideration. A great way to develop a color scheme is by selecting from the season you have chosen to marry in. Oranges, browns and reds warm an autumn wedding, while pinks, yellows, and greens can geate the perfect atmosphere for a Spring wedding.

#8 - Ask Your Attendants
You've seen your best friend anxiously squirm in her seat when you are discussing the chandeliers of the site and great color scheme that you've selected, ease her tension and ask her to be your attendant. In the past, the number of guests you're inviting would dictate how many attendants you should have (ie. one pair for every fifty guests). But it's 2009, a year of change! What you say goes, you want 12 attendants for your 50 person wedding, or none at all? The verdict is - whatever works best with you and your fiance! Also, the old belief that you must have an even amount of attendants on both sides is also out the window! Don't ask or not ask someone to be in your wedding to create symmetry! That's just crazy!

#9 - Start Your Vendor Research
Get on the internet, to bridal shows, and start talking to people. Find out who you have a great comfort with. You will be working with these people for a long time so make sure you are happy with them!!!

#10 - Dress Shopping
I know this is one of the favorites! Some girls have been dreaming about their wedding their entire lives!!!! Grab your mom and your Maid of Honor (try to keep the opinions to a minimum) and start trying on dresses. Find the one that makes you feel beautiful and fulfills all of your expectations. Don't settle! Not that it is the deciding factor, but take into account your venue. A large tulle ballgown may become a pain when walking barefoot across a beach!

Well, that should get you started on your way to your most perfect wedding. Just remember to tackle one thing at a time and you are not superwoman! Be sure to ask those around you for help. You may be surprised to find out that your mother-in-law is dying to help you tie 100 ribbons for the favors!!!

For more tips on planning your own wedding or to schedule a "get to know you" session with us to start planning your big day, call us at 813.426.5280 or e-mail us at

Photo credits -,,,,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Country Club Wedding with a Girly Twist!!

I was so honored to be a part of Angie and Chris' wedding in New Port Richey on February 21! This couple is so much fun and their wedding was probably one of the most fun weddings I'd ever been a part of! This wedding was a girl's dream, complete with a color scheme of orange and pink, a horse-drawn carriage, and daisies everywhere! Angie completed the look with the poofiest (I'm not sure if that's a word) white dress I'd ever seen! She looked great and it fit her personality to a tee (county club humor!). The contrast between Angie and Chris' height was even highlighted by a pair of rubber duckies on the cake table - one much larger than the other! The outdoor ceremony took place on the first green of Timber Greens Country Club. It was a beautiful day! It was a little chilly in the morning and at night, but it was PERFECT at ceremony time! The personal florals were provided by Flowers by Jenny and Avalon West brought Diesel and his carriage to bring Angie down the aisle and the take the newlyweds for a romantic ride following the ceremony. Sword Sounds provided the ceremony and reception music, while a friend of the bride and photographer, Ashlyn, captured some great shots on the club property. I can't wait to see the sunset photos! The cake, covered with daisies and made by Chef Nelson, not only was it pretty, but delish!!! The couple also has an unbelievable family!!! They even insisted on helping us clean up at the end of the night!! We must've broke some record for quickest breakdown! Congratulations Angie and Chris! We wish you all the best for a long and happy life together! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your day!

On a side note, we also had one of our previous clients, Mindy, married last November, help us with the setup of this wedding. She did a great job! Here's her in action:

Thanks Mindy!!

If you'd like us to plan or coordinate your wedding, contact us at 813.426.5280 or by e-mail,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Unique Event Design on!!

We're on! Will you be our friend?
Check it out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brides Against Breast Cancer

As an ABC (Association of Bridal Consultants) member, we take part in an amazing program called, "Brides Against Breast Cancer." This program gives brides to be, an opportunity to find the wedding gown of their dreams (at an incredible) savings while making wishes and dreams come true. All proceeds for the gowns sold will be contributed to the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation who's mission is to grant wishes, including memory-making events, for metastatic breast cancer patients, while continuing to support, educate and increase resource awareness.

From the Brides Against Breast Cancer website -

"Brides Against Breast Cancer" gown sales continue to be important fund-raising events for Making Memories. Our more than 32 yearly shows provide brides-to-be with an opportunity to find their dream gown (at an incredible savings) while making wishes and dreams come true for women and men who are losing their fight against breast cancer.

The worldwide support of designers, manufacturers, bridal shops and individuals (who donate a most treasured possession) make possible our Nationwide Tour of Gowns sales. The proceeds from these events help bring a moment of joy into world of someone for whom a cure is too late.
"Brides Against Breast Cancer - Nationwide Tour of Gowns"

This unique opportunity allows brides-to-be a chance to find the gown of their dreams at a remarkable price, while helping to make wishes and memory-making events come true. Most gown prices range from $99 to $799*, including hundreds of beautiful new name brand and designer gowns valued up to $8,000. *Exclusive designer and couture gowns valued up to $20,000 are also available at an incredible 25% to 75% savings. We gladly accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and debit cards.

REMEMBER – more than half the gowns presented during each event are NEW designer gowns that arrived directly from designers, manufacturers and bridal retailers.

Our Brides Against Breast Cancer program has received more than 50,000 wedding gown donations, with an estimated resale value of over 4 million dollars. This generous endowment is due in part to Making Memories national media coverage, including magazine articles in Redbook, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Martha Stewart’s Winter Wedding, Time, Philanthropy World and Modern Bride, along with appearances on, Oprah Winfrey, CNN, MSNBC, Ananda Lewis and hundreds of television and newspaper interviews.

How to Donate Your Gown
How can you help make dreams come true? At this time, we are in need of contemporary gown styles, slips and veils dating from 2000 until the present day. Each gown that arrives at our organization is carefully prepared for our upcoming "Brides Against Breast CancerTM, Nationwide Tour of Gowns" sales. The thousands of generous donations we receive from designers, manufactures, bridal shops, and individuals worldwide, enables Making Memories to grant final wishes to women and men suffering from terminal breast cancer.

Until recently, we have been able to accept gowns from all eras and in any condition, which we sell nationally and worldwide or produce into quilted artworks. However, due to our extensive inventory of vintage, antique and retro gowns, we recommend all generous potential classic era donors withhold their contributions until we have room to accommodate these prized garments. We anticipate posting an announcement on this website when we once again have the ability to manage these treasured gifts with the respect they deserve.

Please ship your gown directly to our National Headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
Please send your gown to

Gown Donations Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation
2553 NW Division Street
Gresham, OR 97030

NOTE: This address is for shipping gown donations only, for information on dropping off or delivering a donation please call 503-491-8091.
503-491-1191 Fax

503-252-3955 Message Only

Donations from bridal shops or manufacturers wishing to make a donation when we are in your area may send an email to or call 503-491-8091Warehouse Processing and Gown Prep DonationBe sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope inside the package and if possible, an additional $40 gift to cover Warehouse Processing and Gown Prep. Although this amount may appear small, when multiplied by the thousands of dresses we receive it can exceed the cost of granting numerous wishes each year. Often gowns arrive requiring laundering or dry-cleaning and all garments must be steamed, priced, place on racks, and transported to our "Tour of Gowns" events.

Manufacturers and bridal shops along with individual contributors may drop off donations of new or previously cleaned wedding gowns during any "Brides Against Breast CancerTM" event where they will immediately find a position among the gowns on our sales racks. You may also send donations directly to the National Headquarters at the above address. All bridal shops and manufacturers wishing to make a donation, when we are in your area, may email or call 503-491-8091. for additional information.

Important Information
Prepare your gown for shipping by removing your items from any drycleaners storage boxes and selecting a carton just large enough to accommodate your gown and accessories. Since, freight companies calculate shipping cost by weight and box dimensions, these simple steps will save you between $12 and $15 in unnecessary shipping expenses.

Tax Deductions
Your gift, including shipping cost, is tax-deductible. Although Making Memories strives to ensure our gracious donors receive a charitable receipt, many of our mailings return undeliverable. Two of the most common occurrences are the mail service label (i.e. Mailbox etc) obscuring the sender's information and our own incorrect deciphering of return addresses. Therefore, regardless of your chosen method of shipping, please include a clearly printed self-addressed stamped envelope INSIDE your package to ensure a tax-deductible receipt reaches you. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.

Please note: Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation does not place the value on your donation. We ask that you consult your tax professional to determine the ultimate price of your contribution. If your gift is worth less than $250, a receipt is unnecessary to receive your federal income tax deduction. However, if your gown donation merits a value of $250 or more, please retain the Making Memories receipt for preparing your federal income tax return. Once you have sent your gown, you may choose to download the donation receipt directly from our website. Click here to download receipt.

Volunteer at an Upcoming EventWithout the dedication of volunteers like you, Making Memories would be unable to accomplish our mission. Make this a fun and rewarding group activity. Invite your co-workers, club, family and friends to join you in supporting this worthy cause. You will experience the joy of assisting a new bride as she chooses her "dream gown" while meeting some of the nicest people!

If you are a Bridal consultant, seamstress or cosmetic specialists (for example Avon, Mary Kay, Arbonne) who would enjoy assisting brides in preparation for their "big day," we invite you to join our volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer during a Brides Against Breast CancerTM event in a city near you, please visit our calendar of events then simply click on "Volunteer Registration.” You may also send an email to with “Volunteer (and your city and state)" in the subject line.

What to Wear for Events
Please wear dressy-casual attire with no blue jeans, the Foundation will provide each volunteer with a specially designed keepsake 'Brides Against Breast CancerTM' tee shirt to wear at the event. Although they are not required, we also recommend dressing in comfortable shoes.
Bring the Tour to Your Home Town

We are searching for donated space to hold “Brides Against Breast CancerTM” charity wedding gown sales in cities nationwide. If you or someone you know has 4,000 – 6,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space available to host our event, please contact

Host a Pink Envelope Project Wedding Reception or Shower
To make your wedding reception more meaningful, we invite you to support the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation™ by hosting a Pink Envelope wedding reception or bridal shower. Please feel free to
contact us or visit for more information. Make a pink envelope donation on behalf of your wedding guests
Delight your guests with the beautifully designed favor cards explaining your special donation, of $100.00 or more, made on their behalf or in honor of a loved one. Transform your wedding into more than a memorable day - make it a day that creates lasting memories for the families of women and men who have so little time left. Pass these cards out at your reception or place

them at your table settings for your guests to read.

Please click on the link at the bottom of this page to pledge your donation and request favor card quantity. Upon receipt of your donation, Making Memories promptly ships your Pink Envelope Project™ membership packet and favor cards. Most brides are contributing $3 to $10 per guest (minimum $100). However, the amount of your generous donation is a personal decision. A gift of $1000 or more automatically qualifies you as a Double Ribbon Donor. Join this exclusive group of donors and receive special recognition.

Pink Envelope Guests
Offer your guests the opportunity to participate in your Pink Envelope Project™. Attach a personalized message to your Pink Envelopes inviting them to enhance the significance of your special day by providing a gift of love in your weddings behalf. Remember to collect the envelopes at the reception or encourage guests to mail their donation directly to Making Memories. Each gift goes toward making a difference in the lives of individuals losing their fight against breast cancer.

Inform your guests that the PEP member number printed on each donation envelope will allow you to share the total gift amount with anyone interested.

Allow us to feature the account of your wedding reception, along with the pictures you provide, on the Pink Envelope Project's “Completed Activities Page.” Your generous efforts deserve admiration!

Thank you for Granting Wishes and Touching Lives Your Way!"

Please do your part by donating your dress or coming by and shopping for your gown!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Check out our New Digs!!

Yes, this is Carol and I modeling our new t-shirts!! That'll give us something to wear when we're running all around and hanging / placing things early on wedding day. Don't worry, we change into much more wedding-friendly attire prior to the ceremony. It just gives us a chance to represent!! ;)
You can also notice my new short 'do. I'm trying to work it!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wedding Planners vs. On-Site Planners

GREAT article I came across from Wedding by Socialites in Naples...

"I had 12 minutes before my clients were due to arrive at the florist on Friday, so I was really excited to take advantage of the time and read the new In Style Weddings. It's a great magazine, and their new wedding website is supposed to be launching soon. Anyhoo, I get to the etiquette section and here's what I read,

'I'm having a destination wedding at a venue that employs an in-house planner, and she hasn't consulted me on some decisions. How should I handle this?' While the answer given was good, it was very much incomplete. Here's why; the answer didn't explain that perhaps what the bride was expecting the planner to do, wasn't at all her job. You see, an onsite (or in-house) planner is typically only responsible for things that happen onsite and that are relative to the site and its staff- and NOTHING else.So, then what's the difference? I'm going to clear this up once and for all. The best way to find out what exactly your "included" planner will do...ask. Here are a few really good questions. And yes, the crazy seeming ones, I have actually had to do."Hello Onsite Planner (insert name here)! I have a few questions for you. Yes or no answers please.""Will you...

1. Call all the vendors on your preferred vendors list and see if they are available for my wedding and in my budget? And if not, will you get me 3 more options who are?
2. Create a budget for me for everything wedding day related?
3. Write and hand out both wedding party and guest list itineraries?
4. Compile all the goodies for the welcome bags and make sure all the hotels get them just before guests arrive?
5. Give me stationary and etiquette advice?
6. Keep my mother at the cocktail hour, far from me during photos, with a full gin and tonic and away from crazy Uncle Steve?
7. Schedule and attend all the vendor meetings with me?
8. Review all the contracts I'll have to sign?
9. Prepare a detailed timeline for my day as well as one for all the vendors working at my wedding?
10. Go out and find my new father-n-law size 12.5 brown leather lace free yet wedding appropriate shoes when his sole falls off during the ceremony and make sure that you're back in time for him to be introduced into the dinner reception?
11. Call and confirm all the vendors have been paid, are going to show up, if they need anything further, and that they do in fact know not to say anything about the surprise grooms cake.
12. Find a replacement tuxedo for the best man the morning of the wedding when it arrives blue and not black?
13. Help me create design options for my wedding?
14. Research and find favors, a unique escort card display and super cool fun things for my guests to do at my wedding?
15. Help me plan a welcome reception, grooms outing, bridesmaids luncheon, and rehearsal dinner? Oh, and a farewell brunch too? Oh, but not all at your site of course.
16. Figure out all the rentals I'll need, order them, and then oversee the installation?
17. Stay for the entire wedding and then check under every single table for lost shoes and purses after everyone leaves?
18. Run the rehearsal?
19. Email me when you find flip flops on clearance at Old Navy and then fight with them until they agree to send all 775 to you, even if it does clean out their stock?
20. Have an emergency kit prepared for me and my bridesmaids?
21. Make sure there are hospitality baskets in the restrooms?
22. Politely explain to the make-up artist that my eyes look ridiculous so I don't have to feel awkward?"

Here is one thing I want to make perfectly clear- onsite planners or coordinators are wonderful and very helpful and are responsible for an enormous amount of work that you will never even realize. I just feel that its important to know that what an independent wedding planner such as myself does, is not what 95% of onsite planners do...2 different job descriptions. Oh, and the 775 flip flops- the UPS guy thought he had seen it all until that delivery. And my husband, well, he "pointed out the 17 boxes in my living room" every day until we were down to 12 boxes. Now, "Remember when we had 775 flip flops? The 600 left seem like nothing huh?"

To start planning your wedding with us, contact us at 813.426.5280 or by e-mail,

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Baby Blue Baby Shower!

I was so honored to throw a baby shower for my best friend, Sherri!! She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Noah Ryan on January 22. He was 5 lbs, 9 oz. and 18 inches long. After a long, hard pregnancy, complete with MONTHS in the hospital and on bed rest, we were happy to throw a beautiful party welcoming Noah and Sherri home!

The traditional blue color was accented with the mom's favorite scheme of white and brown. Because of it being so close to Valentines day, we stretched a dollar for the florals, by using bunches of blue hydrangeas and white carnations. Lots of candlelight filled the room, since the shower was held on a Friday night. No cake, but a tower of cupcakes was the centerpiece of the food table and comfort foods such as quiches, quesadillas, and mini pizzas were enjoyed by all of the guests. We even had a signature drink called, "The Bubbly Baby Boy" (thanks Shannon!) which was a combo of champagne and white grape juice with a little blue food coloring. These were a major hit, even with the guys. I believe one gentleman even knocked back six! We wish Sherri, baby Noah, and all of the Calderon family all the best!

If you would like help or would like us to plan a baby or bridal shower for someone special in your life, feel free to contact us at 813.426.5280 or e-mail us at

Mmmmmm, Cake!!

I swear I love this industry, but my waistline does not! I had the great pleasure of meeting with Vicki from It's Icing on the Cake in St. Petersburg. She showed me a great portfolio of work that the chef, Gina Serkez, had created and even gave me a mini-cake to bring home to try!

It was a decadent chocolate cake with a raspberry filling. Normally, I'm not a big fan of raspberry, but this was to die for!! Be sure to give her a call if you would like a cake that is not only beautiful, but oh-so-delicious!!!!

It's Icing on the Cake
146 Second St. N. Suite 310
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Friday, February 6, 2009

Super Bowl Recap!

I had the opportunity to be a part of a great event!! No, I didn't plan it...I volunteered!!! I attended the "Kickoff to Rebuild Tampa Bay." When the Superbowl comes to town this organization, "Rebuilding Together" fixes up a few condemned homes, usually three. This year it really great, they broke the record by fixing up 20 homes in East Tampa. I was lucky to be a part of the team fixing up the Stewart house. We installed new carpet, blinds, landscaping, and even completely renovated the kitchen, complete with new appliances!

It wasn't all work, we played too! There were lots of celebrities there including the Denver Broncos cheerleaders, lots of NFL players including Will Allen from the Bucs, and even Subway's Jared!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

All "KNOTed" Up!!

We are so excited to now be featured on! If you have been under a rock, the knot is the premiere wedding planning website. 75% of all brides hit the knot while planning their own wedding. They offer a number of wedding articles, vendors, etc. We are featured under "Local Resources," "West Coast Florida," "Wedding Coordinators," and there we are! We have a photo gallery of 10 pictures that showcase our talent. In addition to the knot, we are also featured on and

This is an amazing accomplishment and we look forward to working with more brides and "knotties" because of this exposure!