Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Weddings

The image above is one of the most searched for on this blog - from a post I wrote on January 8, 2008. It's a beautiful New Year's Eve wedding photographed by Becker and Jessica Claire, both Southern California wedding photographers. The Party Goddess designed the wedding, which took place in the bride's parent's backyard. I cannot get over all of the winter wonderland details that make this wedding over the top!

If you've been reading for a while, you may remember last January I shared Tracy & Chip's New Year's Eve wedding from Lizzie Weddings. It was a beautiful ballroom wedding in the heart of Grand Rapids on the biggest party night of the year! The couple was gorgeous, as were all the details, and Lynell of Lizzie Weddings captured the night just perfectly.

Do you see a theme here? Yep, I LOVE New Year's Eve weddings! I got hooked in 1999 when I was working as a banquet server and we catered a wedding for over 400 guests in Grand Rapids. Ringing in 2000 was quite memorable and every single guest seemed to be having a stellar time. Pearls Events is officially booked for December 31, 2010 and I am thrilled.

And because I absolutely LOVE what The Party Goddess designed for that December 31, 2007 wedding, here are a few more images that might make you fall in love with winter weddings.


[all photos copyright Jessica Claire]

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Your Wedding Gown Cleaned

This post was originally posted on February 7, 2008

I am one of those brides. The bride who waited to clean her dress. For seven months. I was married in June, rocked my dress on the beach in July, and hung it in the basement until January. I decided it was high time to get the sand out of the bubble hem and have it cleaned and preserved properly.

There are a few places in my area that clean and preserve wedding gowns, but I knew Tami at September's Bride would do a phenomenal job. And I was right - I picked it up and was excited to see my dress again! It is now wrapped in acid-free tissue paper, and I'm able to open the box, and check it out, show it to people, even try it on and enjoy it. Of course, I'm encouraged to wear the little white gloves that come with it, so I do not transfer any oils onto the fabric.

The total cost was $185 for my dress & lace jacket. If my daughter wants to wear it one day (here's hoping!) and ends up saving me a boatload of money in 2034 when dresses will most likely retail for five times what they do now, that's quite the investment!

[photos of fabulous 2009 client, Liz, copyright Lisa Kae Photography]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wedding First Dance & Dance Lessons

This post was originally posted on November 17, 2007

(click play to hear our first dance song)

I am not sure what year dancing went out of style - but what happened to those dances with random names like t
he Madison, the Swim, the Mashed Potato, the Twist, and the Watusi from the 50's and 60's?

I would guess a good majority of people between the ages of 10-40 do not know how to dance. No, that 7th-grade-turn-in-a-circle thing doesn't count as dancing, in my opinion. I didn't know what the heck I was doing either until I decided to take lessons to learn at least one dance to show off at my wedding.

Greg, surprisingly, was on board with the idea. We attended 5 lessons at The Social Dance Studio and learned the rumba. It's a really easy dance that anyone could learn. You learn the basic step and then add in a turnout here and a dip there and before you know it, YOU KNOW HOW TO DANCE! That's it. Well, and a bit of practice.

Find an inexpensive place to take dance lessons in your area - I hear that local rec centers and cities have programs with group lessons. Dancing is also great exercise and SO MUCH FUN! For $100, we know one dance and often dance to our first song, Better Together by Jack Johnson. And yes, we do the turn out and everything - even in our living room.

[photos of Aletha & Greg, copyright Jen Kroll Photography]

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Pearls Events

I hope those of you who observe Christmas are with loved ones today celebrating this joyous holiday! Greg & I will celebrate by opening gifts this morning at home with Miss Olive, then head to his parent's house for the afternoon, and then off to my extended family's celebration this evening. It's a busy day filled with lots of fun & family.

Share your favorite way to spend a winter evening
for a chance to win a copy of Southern Weddings. The little holiday contest ends this evening, so comment by midnight for your chance to win!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from Michigan!

[image sources | tree, hot cocoa]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays

I am in disbelief today is December 24th, Christmas Eve. It seems we just rang in 2009 with friends, however I am looking at the calendar and realizing that I have seven more days to make the most of 2009. Today will be spent wrapping the last of my gifts for friends & family, finishing up the laundry, and cleaning the house. I'm sure I will pop onto Facebook & Twitter, but for now, I'm going to start my day with a cup of coffee. This evening, Greg & I will exchange gifts with my side of the family, then attend church.

And if you still haven't signed up to win a copy of Southern Weddings, don't forget to do so by tomorrow at midnight. I look forward to sharing my second copy with one lucky reader!

[image sources | gift boxes, little Francesca, sparse tree]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Planning Tips | The Wedding Registry

Many modern couples have accumulated enough housewares to fill an entire home before saying I Do. Because of this, I often am asked "What do we register for? We already have a house full of things!"

Before you write-off the traditional task of gift registering, consider your guests may prefer to give you a useful gift instead of cash. What is a couple to do when they feel they don't need anything? Plan ahead, upgrade and stock up.

Because I had no idea if and when I would be get married, I donated my college wares, and upgraded to plush towels, a queen-sized bed and matching(!) dishes when I moved into my home. Greg and I had more than enough to get by when we were engaged nearly three years later, but I was excited to upgrade a few things, and also planned on stocking up on essentials for future use.

Currently, our tiny house suits us, however, after we begin expanding our family, we hope to move into a larger place. I cannot wait to unpack our never-been-used, timeless Pottery Barn Great White Dinnerware and Arctic Flatware, which has been lovingly stored since our wedding in 2007. Also arranged on shelves specifically build to store our extras are many of the seldom-used gadgets - including our waffle iron and blender.

Other things new couples can use - plush bath towels, luxurious sheet sets, feather pillows, a down comforter. And remember non-kitchen & bath items are not out of the question - camping gear, small electronics (digital camera, alarm clock), gardening supplies - anything that would be useful to you and your new life together!

And for the couple who truly has everything, you could invite your guests to donate water buffalo, sheep, honeybees, or any meaningful gift from Heifer International in honor of your special day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spotlight | TAK Photography

I am thrilled to be posting this photographer spotlight with the ever-so-sweet Theresa, of TAK Photography, right here in Grand Rapids. I honestly do now know exactly when we sat down for coffee, but I do know it was months ago and the afternoon we spent together was lovely!

I've enjoyed her work since our meeting, and I do hope you do too - check out her blog for lots of recent work - it's all gorgeous!

How long have you been photographing weddings & events?
My passion for photography began in middle school with my grandma's old Konika SLR. Since then, I have known that this is what I was supposed to be doing. I stayed busy with portraits and loved every minute of it. When I got the opportunity to second shoot a wedding in 2008, I was immediately in love. That was it! I knew from there on out that weddings were what I wanted to photograph. Since then, I have been blessed with two amazing seasons and am working on a third season that is shaping up to be just as wonderful!

What inspires you as you work with your clients?
Oh, so many things! Most of all, gratitude. I look at my life and my business, and feel SO blessed. I am truly 100% in love with what I do and I owe it all to the amazing people who trust me with the most important moments of their lives. What can be better than that?!

Why did you chose to photograph weddings?
As I said above, after helping out at that first wedding, I was hooked. Weddings are crazy with always something going on and always a moment to be captured. It's a thrill, it's exhausting, and its amazing! At the end of that very first night, I wasn't sure if I would be able to walk to my car - I was so sore! But, I was also so excited; I don't think I slept at all that entire night. I kept going through the day over and over again, and it was even better I got to relive the entire day when I went through the images. I was able to laugh at the funny moments captured and admire the love that the bride and groom shared. It was the best night ever!

If you could shoot a wedding for anyone who would you pick?
Oh goodness, what a difficult question! There is not a specific person that I can think of, but I just love the couples who are fun, and goofy, and a little funky! People who are able to totally be themselves in front of the camera.

Do you have one "gotta get it" shot at every wedding?
I don't have a specific shot, but any moment that captures the emotion of the day. Weddings have SO much emotion in them - happy, sad, nervous. The moments where the bride realizes "Holy smokes! I am getting MARRIED today!"; the father seeing his little girl all grown up; the ring bearer and flower girl who are SO bored sitting during the ceremony; moments where you desperately miss those who are no longer here with you; that moment right after the ceremony where the bride & groom realize that they are married; and moments that you think you're going to explode because you don't think that life could possibly get any better than this moment right now. All of the images I have selected for this most are some of the moments I have been so lucky to capture.

What is your favorite way to spend a non-working Saturday in the summer?
I am a shopaholic - I LOVE shopping. During the summer, if I have a Saturday off I would definitely start the morning off going to garage sales with my mom - something we have done for YEARS. I LOVE garage sales! Then I would just spend the day relaxing and re-energizing!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Introducing | GRunveiled

I am SO excited to be announcing the first wedding show I will be a part of - GRunveiled. This wedding show will be unlike any other show our area has seen and I'm honored to be a part of it on March 11th, 2010. Joy'l from Paper Nest Designs and I have been behind the scenes planning to details of the day - and I am thrilled to see it all come together.

Imagine a wedding show with no standard 8-foot tables, standard linens, or random handouts to sort through at home and ultimately throw away. Instead picture creative spaces (vintage furniture and unique ways to display cupcakes), and creative people who are there to showcase their creative services and goods.

This is a small-scale wedding show of all hand-selected vendors from the West Michigan area. This is a place where you can support local artisans who design and facilitate services & products for the contemporary wedding you are planning. It's a place where you can discover original designs, fresh concepts and talented individuals behind it all.

If you are a West Michigan bride, we invite you to join us on March 11th, 2010 for a night downtown Grand Rapids. All the information you need to attend is here and if you're one of the first fifty people to sign up, you will receive a cool bag full of goodies upon registration! You can also pay at the door if that works better for you.

If you are a unique wedding vendor who would like to be considered to be a part of this show, please email for more information. Please note that because of space limitations, not everyone who applies will be able to join us for the event. We also hope to be able to accommodate many different types of vendors as well, so once a category is filled, we will have to decline other applicants.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Technical Issues

Our computer has been out of commission since late last week, so we've been on a mandatory blogging break. We will be back up and running as soon as possible, however, with all the holiday happenings, it's been a nice little break.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2010 Color of the Year | Turquoise

I've been a fan of turquoise, the gem, since I was a kid. In the 1990's, it was most commonly found in Southwest-inspired jewelry that was too big for my preteen self, but I had a small pair of earrings that I loved to death. Fifteen years later, and it's Pantone's choice for color of the year, 2010.

When one of our very sweet brides showed me her bridesmaid gowns, I was excited to know she liked the bold color too. We haven't finalized linens quite yet, but she shared a photo with me that made my heart skip a beat - turquoise & dark silver linens, white flowers with clean lines and candlelight. I cannot wait to do her linen & floral trial with her florist at her modern reception venue come 2010.

Do you plan on incorporating the color of the year into your wedding plans? Did you already chose turquoise as your wedding color before it was announced?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pearls Events Loves | Bella Umbrella

We worked with Liz planning her October wedding day. We helped her decide on linens and paper products, flowers and cake flavors, but one thing we could not hand-select was the weather - and rain was in the forecast. Lots of rain. Thankfully, both the wedding & reception were planned for indoors, however her photographer loves to use natural light, and fun wedding party shots outside are always some of my favorite.

Liz hired one of the hippest photographers in Grand Rapids, Lisa of Lisa Kae Photography, and that woman rocks at her job. Lisa knew rain was in the forecast early in the week and put a rush order on the most amazing umbrellas I've ever seen. She rented them from Bella Umbrella out of Seattle, and I would absolutely use this vendor again and encourage you to check them out, or at least skim the website.

Lisa talked to the owner, Jodell and asked her to hand-select anything she had to go with Liz & Don's color scheme. The umbrellas that ended up on Lisa's doorstep were a perfect array of pinks, teals, brown & ivory - all completely unique & perfect for the rainy wedding day.

[photo copyright Lisa Kae Photography]

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Holidays Have Officially Arrived

I'm feeling thankful this season and wanted to share a little bit about what I've been up to besides work. I realize not everyone celebrates Christmas, but my family does, and I wanted to share the beginning of my holiday with you.

This is my third married Christmas. The first year Greg & I went to our favorite market to select a Christmas tree. Last year we were in Costa Rica and only hung our stockings & wreath. This year we decided to cut our own tree, like I used to do as a kid. I was excited to head to Vormittag Tree Farm and Greg enjoyed himself too. Here's how we spent the Sunday after Thanksgiving...

Finding one after about 15 minutes of looking and cutting it down at the farm.

Making Greg smile while sawing, hauling it to the truck and securing it for the ride home.

The official Christmas card shot for family & friends, taken by the owner himself.

It's decorated and ready for the season.
I'll be hanging cards in the kitchen this year (top), and stockings on the sofa table (bottom).

Since my office is quite small, I only decorate with the little red tree (bottom right), which happens to be laced with fiber optic lights - it's the perfect addition to my work space.

Share your holiday traditions with us in the comment section of this post and you'll be entered to win a little present from Pearls Events. Do you travel to see family? Do you sing carols in your neighborhood? Do you bake cookies with or for loved ones? Do you break out the snow gear and sled with your family? We want to know! **Contest ends Friday December 18th at midnight, EST. Winner will be announced on Monday, December 21st.**

The rest of my holiday schedule includes sending out the remainder of our Christmas cards, a cookie exchange, the annual slumber party I host for my high school girlfriends, church service on Christmas Eve, Christmas day with both my family and Greg's and ringing in 2010 on New Year's Eve at a party hosted by friends.

Happy Holidays from Pearls Events!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy

Allison and Ross were married on a gorgeous day in Bellaire, Michigan. I love how it was captured by husband/wife team, Dan & Liz of Dan Stewart Photography. The outdoor photos are stunning!

Ooh, the details - the dress Allison chose for her bridesmaids is one of favorite dresses I've seen this year. I LOVE the saturated teal color and absolutely adore the tiny ruffles down the placket. The reception details are simple, yet stunning. The hanging crystals in Bellaire Ballroom at Shanty Creek Resort are just fabulous!

Thank you to Dan & Liz of Dan Stewart Photography for sharing this wedding with me today!

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