Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wedding Salon in NYC at Roosevelt Hotel 11/2/09

If you stopped by Maggie Heinzel-Neel's booth at the Wedding Salon bridal showcase at the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC last night, you will have also seen my floral design work on her table (see image to the left). Brides from all over swarmed to the Show and I make a point to attend every year. But I was honored this year when Maggie asked if she could display my floral work next to her amazing portfolios. I worked with Maggie on a wedding at the Tarrytown House in Tarrytown, NY this fall and she is wonderful to work with, very professional, and has an eye for detail. She has a very warm and friendly personality that instantly relaxes her brides. She really captures natural emotion in her photographs and tells a story of the day as you look through her albums. Like most vendors in the wedding industry, she travels all over for her events so whether your wedding is in NYC, upstate NY or beyond, she'll be there!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quick tricks and tips in planning your wedding

Here are some quick tips that come to mind to help navigate your way through planning your wedding. There are too many to mention in one sitting but here are a few to wet your appetite!
1) Sign up for an email address that you use specifically for wedding research - give it out at bridal shows, to prospective vendors, etc so that you can keep your regular email clear of clutter after the wedding.
2) Going with the vendor on a preferred vendor list doesn't necessarily mean they are the best of the best- certain sites require vendors to pay to be on their "preferred vendor lists" but it can also be a good starting point to see what's out there - compare notes and see who is mentioned a lot, read reviews, meet vendors in person and decide for yourself. Seeing an ad in a magazine or visiting a vendor's website is not enough to make a decision off of.
3) Make sure you order extra envelopes with your invitation order and make sure your rsvp address is one that is a stable address (aka you won't be moving anytime soon). Otherwise, get a po box to rent for 6 months. Also remember that invitation quantities are by the # of addresses to send to not by the total number of guests invited.
4) Honeymoon registries - they say they are free, but beware, your guests are paying a service fee to make the transaction of depositing money into your honeymoon registry. If they really want you to have the full quantity of the dollar amount they wish to give you, they should just write a check and give it to you in your wedding card.
5) Budget bride tips - keep the guest count to the bare necessities (saves on the number of centerpieces needed for each table, on the reception price per person, and on invitation quantities), keep the bridal party small (saves on the cost of extra bouquets and gifts), have the ceremony at the same place as the reception (saves on transportation costs) and a place that has overnight accommodations is ideal to get discounted rates on your room (if not complimentary).
6) Favors - We've seen it all from candles to frames to cute little corkscrews and teaspoons... how sweet. But to the guest that isn't new to the wedding world... it's just something that they wish you didn't spend the money on. At anywhere between $3-$8 x 100 guests... that could really add up. If you think about it, the food, music, desserts... it's all one big favor to say thank you to your guests for coming and celebrating your day.
7) Registry information should not go on the invitation itself - these days you see it on bridal shower invitations or on wedding websites but never should it go on the actual invitation. It's improper to assume your guests are expected to bring a gift.
8) Cash bar - no, limited bar - better option (limits guests to beer,wine and soft drinks/juices), full bar- best option.
9) Champagne toast - could be costly just for a 5 minute toast. Instead, just have guests use the wine or other beverage they have at their tables if you're looking to shave a little money off your reception cost.
10) A good MC will make the difference between an ok party and an amazing party! They keep the flow of the event going, read the crowd, work well with the site in transitioning between events that happen throughout the evening, and get people on the dance floor!
11) You should feel very comfortable with your photographer and relate on a more personal level to them since that will shine through in your photography. I strongly believe you should never book your photographer without meeting him/her in person. An engagement session is a great way to have a "dry run" with him/her to see how well they can capture your personality and chemistry together through the lens. Many large photo studios just book a photographer for a wedding and you never get to meet them. I much prefer independent photographers that work for themselves since they are more invested in the work they are doing.
12) After the wedding, be sure to send a thank you letter to not only your guests for their wedding gifts, but to ensure you thank the vendors that worked so hard to make your day so special. It means the world to them to have that recommendation to share with others. Even a picture of you with the photographer, the cake, the flowers, etc...
13) One client of mine decided to bring some Santa hats to her wedding so that during the reception, she could get some Christmas card photos taken care of with her photographer to send to her friends/family later in the year. Very clever... always think ahead!
14) Get a credit card that has good points/rewards - putting your reception site costs, wedding dress, rings, etc on that can rack up some great honeymoon travel points! Just make sure you're financially responsible and don't spend what you can't afford and start off your new married life in wedding debt!
15) Being a fantastic host/hostess at your wedding - it's your day to shine and show friends and family how much you appreciate their presence. In the real world, we've never witnessed a Bridezilla... it's reality TV that gives brides a bad name. Even the brides that think they are bridezillas are not... it's perfectly normal to feel anxious and nervous about the moment you walk down the aisle. Remember to just stay cool - you're proving you are a grown woman and if any issues should arise at your wedding (and you don't have a planner to take care of things behind the scenes), you need to stay focused, calm and clear about what your plan b is. Throwing a temper tantrum is not one of the multiple choice answers, fortunately! :)

Happy planning!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Avant Garde's "aha moments" in the world of floral design

During my undergraduate years at Skidmore College, I took several art classes... one being avant garde. I didn't quite appreciate the concept until I actually started applying it over the years in my floral design and planning work. Avant garde is an innovative way of creating something out of the norm. How many times do you go looking for a vase for your flowers in the pipe section of your hardware store? Or see stretchy bracelets as a cool accessory to accent your bouquet? Sometimes it happens by accident. For example, one day when I was cleaning up the studio after a big event, I found one of my dangly earrings on the floor. I picked it up not wanting to lose it again and hung it over the top of my gooseneck vase. I thought to myself... "Now, how clever does that look! Vase jewelry!" Who knows if it will make it into a future bride's design ideas but at least it made me think a little more imaginatively about what can be done with a simple vase.

We're so used to following the rules, that when we train our brain to think outside the bubble, we see a whole world of options that are truly unique. Claim victory in defeating the rules of "you must do it this way, because that's always the way it's been done." Blah! If we all thought that way, we'd still be stuck with plastic bouquet holders with cascading bouquets of carnations and tulle. My inspirational thoughts for tonight would be to wake up tomorrow morning giving yourself the freedom to look past the obvious and let your mind find a new way to create something that turns into an "aha moment". At the studio, we are constantly experimenting to hit that moment and share it with our clients!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flower Themed Centerpieces

Imagine a different themed flower arrangement on each table in the reception room. One of our past clients asked us to create a flower arrangement for each table to create a garden effect as you looked through the room. The linens on the table were a vibrant kiwi green and the explosion of colors on each table was stunning. The bride loved flowers and this was the perfect concept to create a "garden" effect inside the reception hall.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Escort Cards vs. Place Cards

The role of the Place cards and Escort Cards seemed to have morphed together over the years. Place card table, escort card table... what is your venue referring to? Let's go to the beginning to decipher the true meaning of the place card vs. the escort card.

The Escort Card - Is a small envelope with the guests' name on the outside and on the inside, their table number. These cards are placed in alphabetical order on the "escort card" table. Guests go to this table to look for their name and then open the card to determine the table number they are seated at. This method works very well since the bride can switch around tables that guests are seated at easily by switching the table numbers in the envelopes. With so many last minute changes to deal with, this is a great remedy for dealing with last minute RSVP's! The con to an escort card is that they lay flat on a table unless you get something to prop them up.

The Place Card- In the traditional term, it is a tent card that has the guests' name on it and is placed at the exact place setting on the table that the bride wishes for that guest to sit at. Today, not many brides ask their guests to sit at a particular place setting (unless maybe the bride made custom gifts for each guest and requires they sit in a certain seat to get the correct favor). The place card many times takes on the role instead of an "Escort card" and in addition to the guests' name, the table number appears on the card and is placed on the "escort card" table in alphabetical order by the guests' last name. Since place cards prop themselves up, there's no need for extra gadgets to hold them up unlike a true escort card. The downside is that any time there's a last minute change to a table, a new card needs to be made up since the table number is printed directly on the card. This is the more popular choice for brides today but it's true that the escort card is a little more practical from a planning standpoint in it's ease of switching around tables at the last minute.

So really, the place card has just turned into the role of the escort card and the table where guests go to pick up their name and table number is the "escort card" table.

Friday, April 3, 2009

For NYC brides looking to get out of the city

If you're a bride in the city looking to get out and into the "country..", there are some hidden jewels that you might just miss if you're relying on big wedding magazines and internet searches instead of asking the pros who have seen it all.

One place I really admire for a small country wedding with a b&b feel is in Hopewell Junction, NY and it's called the Bykenhulle House. Tell Jackie I sent you and then call us to help you with any planning or floral design needs! - Sarah, NY Engagements, LLC.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Invitation Tip for a formal April 1st Wedding

April Fool's Etiquette: Create a very expensive wedding invitation with an evening ceremony time and at the bottom right hand corner write, "Black Tie Casual"... that aught to leave your guests wondering for days what to wear (courtesy of one of my recent clients :) )

Real life tip: It was an evening wedding at a formal reception venue in New Rochelle....My clients had initially wanted to write some attire wording on the bottom of their invitation that they wanted guests to attend in "casual attire". That never would have happened given the reception venue and the fact that it was an evening wedding. If they were looking for a casual, down home wedding where guests were to attend in khaki's and sun dresses, it would have had to take place at a more casual venue and they would most likely have decided on an afternoon wedding. Without evening mentioning dress code on their actual invitation, their guests arrived in the most fashionable attire I've ever seen... It was like they received an invitation to the Oscars! What the guests deciphered based on the venue, the evening wedding details, and the beautiful invitation is that they have a chance to get dressed up for this wedding. So the rule of thumb is, the invitation formality and the time of day and location should scream to the guest how they should dress. An exception...If you really want guests to attend in the most formal attire, dictate White Tie and dictate Black Tie if you want guests in black tuxes. Some country clubs have a Jackets required policy, so you could also dictate "Jacket Required" on the lower right hand side of the invitation or on the reception card. If after all that, a guest arrives in flip flops and bermuda shorts, well the jokes on him/her and you have our permission to point and laugh out loud.

Happy April - Fools in Love!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Versatile Wedding Canopy

A wedding this past Saturday featured our latest wedding chuppah constructed of sturdy birch trunks and branches with an elegant sheer canopy top with swagged fabric across the front. Trailing up the trunks are flowering Quince branches (perfect for a March wedding indicating Spring is right around the corner!). Cascading down from the top of the canopy are two floral pieces with a combination of Anna and Virginia roses, dendrobium orchids, green mini and white hydrangeas. It's a beautiful structure to transform any space and is the perfect size! It's also versatile to decorate - imagine hanging glass votives from the inside of the chuppah, or special gobo lighting illuminating the canopy. Or imagine all the other uses for this structure- it's not just for Jewish ceremonies. This can be used to indicate the ceremony area for any type of wedding, indoors or outdoors. It can also be used as a canopy to place lounge furniture under for a chic beach canopy or lounge space in a tented or outdoor wedding.

Having a background in planning, we also understand the need to setup the chuppah in a way that permits the videographers, photographers, and officiants to maneuver around easily. In addition, if our chuppah is to be used in a location that is hosting both the ceremony and reception, we can easily assemble and disassemble the chuppah in a half an hour to transition the event space. It is available for rent and if you're interested please call us at 914.393.2295.