Friday, August 19, 2011

UNIQUE Advice: Rehearsal Dinner

This blog is courtesy of our guest blogger, Amy Perrone, our Summer intern.

It’s almost time for the big day! You and your fiancĂ© have spent so much time on all the details of planning your wedding, and all of that planning is about to be history. The only thing left to do is decide the details of the Rehearsal Dinner. When it comes to planning the Rehearsal Dinner, many couples are left with question marks above their heads, not being able to decide on who to invite, who hosts, where to have it, etc.

Never fear! Here's some tips to help you along:

  • Traditionally, the Parents of the Groom are responsible for the Rehearsal Dinner. They may want to plan it all themselves or they may choose to have the Bride & Groom involved in the planning.

  • To select your venue and menu, make it personal! Ask yourself, "Is there a certain restaurant that you and your fiance love to go to?" "Is there a type of food that you and your fiance love?" Or even, "What did you eat or where did you go on your first date?"

  • Choosing who to invite can be a challenge. The Dinner can be kept very intimate, by only inviting the Parents of the Bride and Groom, or it can be a full-on shindig with the whole wedding party and family and friends.

  • A courtesy to your out-of-town guests, is to invite them to the Rehearsal Dinner. Chances are, they're hungry and worn out from traveling. They probably don't have plans for dinner.

  • When it comes to the formality and decor of the Rehearsal Dinner. Remember, it is a pre-cursor to the wedding. Don't try to outdo or copy the wedding.

  • The Rehearsal Dinner is a great place for both families to get to know each other. When the wedding arrives they will be great friends!

  • The Rehearsal Dinner presents a great opportunity for the Bride & Groom to thank their families, friends, and wedding party. It's also the perfect time for you to give them their gifts.

  • Cheers and good luck!

    Images courtesy of

    UNIQUE Wedding: Monica & Jorge at Sacred Heart Catholic Church & Tampa Yacht Club

    I LOVE this couple! Monica & Jorge were such a complete joy to work with! Through the planning process, we not only built a great client / planner relationship, but also a friendship! They wanted to have a wedding that not only included their own cultural traditions, but also was eco-friendly. They weren't interested in your typical green and brown, daytime eco-wedding. They wanted something that was colorful and spectacular! Each of the Bridesmaids wore their own little black dress and carried colored bouquets that matched the wraps that the Bride purchased for them in Colombia. The dining room centerpieces consisted of collections of vintage plates & vases and an array of vegetables & flowers. When the guests moved outside to the tent for dancing, we gathered all of the florals and produce, and created "Monica & Jorge's Famer's Market!" The guests were given recycled bags to take what they wanted on their way out.

    Monica & Jorge, I'm so excited to see what life has in store for your two! Be sure to keep us posted!

    Wedding Planner & Designer: UNIQUE Event Design...of course!
    Cake: It's Icing on the Cake
    Decor, Lighting, & Florist: MMD Events
    Entertainment: Shutterbooth
    Hair & Makeup: Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Group
    Hotel Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Tampa, Howard Johnson, & Marriott Embassy Suites
    Linens: Connie Duglin & Cloth Connection
    MC: Family Friends
    Live Music & DJ: Delite Entertainment
    Officiant: Uncle of the Bride
    Photographer: Pezz Photo
    Rehearsal Dinner: Viscaya
    Rentals: Coast to Coast Event Rentals
    Transportation: Jolley Trolley
    Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
    Cocktail Hour & Reception Venue: Tampa Yacht & Country Club
    Videographer: Gadi Productions

    UNIQUE Feature: Aly & Eric's Details

    Aly & Eric's "fruity" details have been featured on Get Married!

    Great job FH Weddings!

    Images courtesy of Kimberly Photography & Get Married.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    UNIQUE Wedding: Amanda & Jimmy at The Belleair Country Club

    Amanda and Jimmy are a sweet couple from the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Everytime they looked at each other, you could so easily see the love between them! Their wedding was soft and simple with shades of white and ivory, with black accents. The bride carried a gorgeous bouquet with long strands of blue ribbon (her 'something blue'). Their were mounds of rose petals and candles everywhere! It was truly a romantic setting for a romantic couple!

    Amands & Jimmy - We wish you all the best!

    Wedding Coordination: UNIQUE Event Design...of course!
    Cake & Cupcakes: Granny Bubba Bakery
    Florist: Roses Are Red
    Hotel Accommodations: Hilton Clearwater Beach
    Music (Ceremony & Cocktail Hour): Alafia String Quartet
    DJ: Digital Thunder Mobile DJ
    Officiant: A Florida Wedding Ceremony
    Photographer: Rachael Nicole Photography
    Rentals: Rent-All City
    Tuxedo Rental: Meredith's Formalwear
    Venue: Belleair Country Club

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    UNIQUE Feature: Threasa & Justin

    We are so excited! Threasa & Justin's wedding is being featured on Brenda's Wedding Blog!

    Image courtesy Brenda's Wedding Blog

    Congrats Threasa & Justin!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    UNIQUE Anniversary: Jennifer & Nick

    Happy Two Year Anniversary, Jennifer & Nick!

    Limelight Photography

    We wish you many more blessings and a life of joy, happiness, & love!

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    UNIQUE Experience!

    This blog was inspired by one of my recent escapades! I was in Orlando for the Inspire Smart Success Workshop, hosted by the ever fabulous Stacie Francombe (more to come about that)! The event was held at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Those who know me, know that I did not stay there...too pricey for my blood! :)

    We received the most fab giftbags with all kinds of goodies, including a gift certificate to the Waldorf Astoria Spa. I just chucked the card into my bag, with the thought that I would one day check it out. A pipedream. The next morning, I was getting dressed and I happened to look down at my sad toes that had barely been touched since May. I then checked my calendar and found that yes, there was an hour opening today! I immediately went digging in the giftbag to find that card! Finally, I had the gem in my hand! I called, and yes, there was an opening at the exact time that I was seeking. I then got dressed like a mad woman to make it to the spa early! There was NO WAY I was going to be late to this appointment!

    I texted Hubby and shouted it on Facebook. Yes, the country girl from Louisiana was headed to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a spa treatment! I entered the hotel with a sense of entitlement. I was not a visitor. I had business to attend to. I opened the door to the Spa and was greeted by name! They knew I was the 11:30am appt. The receptionist asked if I wanted to change into a robe. A robe? Really? I declined, thinking that's a bit much for little 'ole me! I was then escorted into the Tea Lounge. Yes, you read right. There was a lounge...with tea...before your pedicure. I was NOT used to this. I normally just hit the nail shop on the corner, where you wait to even be acknowledged. No fluff and definitely, no tea!

    The Tea Lounge was a magical land were the lights were dim, zen music was playing, and there was a selection of teas and trail mixes. I most definitely wanted to enjoy the full experience, so I prepared a cup of tea and munched on a few scoops of trail mix. The seating in the lounge area was plush and neutral-colored. I sipped my tea and looked around thinking, "wow, I could stay here forever!"

    The nail technician entered the room and introduced herself with a soft handshake. "Hello, my name is Vanessa and I will be taking care of you today." So nice! She then proceeded to grab my tea and snack, and carried it for me even though I had two capable hands. We entered the nail area and she asked me to pick out a color. She did not leave me, she asked me what my favorite color is and then began recommending some options. We decided on a duo color (mixing two colors) to achieve a pretty shade. It was Vanessa who recommended this, knowing that she had just doubled her work, she knew that it would satisfy me. The pedicure was great. I've had many in my life, so I knew the drill. She asked me a few questions about my stay and what I was doing in town, but for the most part she did not talk. She knew that this is a relaxing time and did not want to bug me with alot of chatter.

    I watched Vanessa as she took care of each toe. I was amazed how intently she was focused. Nothing was rushed, nothing was overlooked. When she began to put the polish on, she painted only one toe, and then asked me if I liked it. She was fully willing to take it off and try something else if I was not pleased. I was most definitely pleased! I commended her on her recommendation. When the pedicure was complete, she informed me that I was not to wear shoes for about an hour. There goes lunch, I thought. She escorted me back to the wonderous Tea Lounge so that I could dry. Now, to compare...I was used to being thrusted under the ultraviolet light, after paying of course, and not spoken to again. I grabbed another cup of tea and began to write this post.

    Now, the goal is not to tell you about my fab pedi (it was) or how fantastic the Waldorf Astoria is (it is), but to illustrate the difference between a PURCHASE and an EXPERIENCE. My toes look great and they could've looked great going anywhere, but only by spending more (almost double) do I have this story. Yes, I did have a gift certificate, but I would've happily paid for the experience of the Waldorf pedicure! Yes, we are in the midst of a recession and money is tight for everyone, but there are times that we do splurge. We get that $5 Starbucks coffee instead of the $0.99 gas station coffee, or we buy that one expensive pair of shoes while the wardrobe was purchased on sale, because...heck, we're worth it!

    When it comes to your wedding day, aren't you worth it? Why settle for the grocery store wedding cake or the do-it-yourself makeup. Are you approaching your wedding as a collection of purchases or is it an EXPERIENCE? Don't you want to walk away with stories and memories of drinking champagne at a dress fitting and having a complete table mock-up presented for your approval? You are a queen and you should be treated as such! If you are not, then you are not working with the right vendors. You need to look at more than just the price, but the experience that is presented to you when interviewing and working with your vendors.

    Sure, you can find a cheaper DJ, florist, planner, but will they truly listen? Will they take the time to get to know you as a person, and not just a client? Will they approach your event, as just another weekend of weddings, or will they personalize their services to your needs? These are the things you need to be looking for. Planning a wedding is fun and you should enjoy your planning experience. You need to align yourself with the vendors that speak personally to you. Don't just look at price, but value. It's not about what you're paying, but rather what you are getting for amount that you pay. Would I have paid the expensive price for my normal pedi experience? Nope. But, I got so much more out of the experience I did have, that I don't mind the higher price. Can I pay top dollar for all of my pedicures? No way. Contrary to popular belief, wedding planners are not rolling in dough, but would I splurge and treat myself every now and then? Yes, because I'M worth it. YOU also are worth it! You deserve THE BEST for your wedding and you should not settle until you find it. There's no do-overs for your wedding day, no second chances. You need to splurge on your experience.

    Now, it's time for me to show my fab toes all over town! :)

    A very special thank you to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Vanessa, the super sweet nail technician!