Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Photography is Important to Me

When I was planning my own wedding four years ago, there weren't too many "must-haves" on my list. Our budget was a modest $15,000 and I wasn't working in the wedding industry at the time. All I cared about was marrying Greg, wearing the gown I had fallen in love with, and having beautiful photos of the day. We had a great deejay, little cakes as centerpieces and Jones Sodas as favors, but nothing was considered fancy or over-the-top by any means.

I have talked about what I would do differently if I were to marry Greg now, however what I am still SO happy with are our wedding photos. The series above is from when I saw my grandmother for the first time that day, during family photos. She was admiring my gown, and I LOVE the way Jen Kroll captured this moment without me even realizing it.

Photography is important to me because after the wedding day, it's one of the only tangible things you have left to remember the day. Many of our clients choose to work with phenomenal photographers, and because of that, we have an amazing portfolio to share with you. The best part about getting married in Michigan? We have the most photographers (seriously!) to work with. There are stellar options in every price point so you're certain to find someone you want to capture your big day.

And because photography is important to me, the first thing we did when we found out we were going to be parents, is book Mindy Leigh for maternity, newborn, six month & one year photos of our first child. We don't even have a crib yet!

[photos copyright Jen Kroll Photography]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Aletha's List of Favorite Gifts to Give & Receive

I shared this list of favorite gifts with readers last January, but since it's the holiday season and people are getting geared up to put things under their trees, I thought I'd share it once again in case you missed it last time around.

I'm always on the hunt for the perfect gift. I actually buy things in advance for birthdays if it "looks just like so-and-so". I really, really loathe the last-minute gift because I am feeling I HAVE to find something.

So, instead of running around the mall trying to find the perfect thing for Aunt Georgie because you drew her name at Thanksgiving, try one of these...

  • This beautiful spa robe from Restoration Hardware is lightweight, cozy and amazing. My mom gave me the chocolate brown one for Christmas and I've been living in it. ($95)
  • Reed diffuser from Pottery Barn. The pomegranate one is my personal favorite. ($20)
  • Scarves are THEE accessory for 2010. This beautiful one This gorgeous one is from Anthropologie (and no longer available) but there are SO many to choose from! ($55)
  • Personalized stationery. These are gender neutral and gorgeous. Linda & Harriett has amazing selections for anyone. ($490 for 50)
  • I love this dainty necklace with an aqua bead from Sundance, personalized with an initial makes it a perfect gift for anyone. And for under $50? You can't go wrong. ($48)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harvest Inspiration from Perfect Bound

With Thanksgiving arriving in the United States on Thursday, let's not skip right into Christmas! I've resisted putting up our Christmas decorations until after Thursday and I have also not purchased one single present for anyone, which may prove to be a BIG mistake.

This morning while going through my daily blog roll, I came across this gorgeous harvest wedding palette from Perfect Bound. I love the soft, muted colors and know it could inspire an entire wedding. I can already imagine the fluffy, frilly floral bouquet the bride would carry down the aisle. Such a gorgeous look for the right bride!

[All images via Perfect Bound: Personalized Decorations for the Thanksgiving Table via Country Living. Photography by Julia Soler via Creature Comforts. Rhinestone Necklace Cream Caramel Topaz, $29, by Zafirenia Handmade Jewlery. Photography by Armosa Studios.]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Forcing Bulbs

Just a year ago, I talked about my miniature, indoor garden of amaryllis and paperwhites. This past spring, for the first time, I put the old bulbs that I forced last winter into the ground, and just last weekend I dug them up and planted them in their indoor winter rock garden. I am excited to see if they will bloom another season for me. Usually, I run to Horrock's and buy new ones, but this year I thought I'd try the recycle program.

I'm not sure what forcing fresh flowers throughout the winter makes me so happy, but I guess it's because I enjoy watching things bloom right on my desk. It doesn't happen overnight, but with a little TLC, I get to enjoy the beautiful flowers in a few months.

If you're in need of a winter pick-me-up, I swear by fresh flowers, and since cut ones don't last too long, and aren't cheap, try growing your own! There is a great document put together by Iowa State University that may help you if you're interested.

Happy winter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pearls Events Loves | Signature Cocktails

In my current, pregnant state, I am not enjoying cocktails, however at the last wedding I attended as a guest (and a bridesmaid!) in July, I enjoyed their bar selection. My favorite part was the couple choose to serve various signature cocktails, which made my time at the bar quick and the end result delicious.

I'm a wimpy drinker: I do not enjoy beer and am picky about my wine. Coming up with a drink that I am sure to enjoy can be tricky unless the liquor options are endless, which doesn't happen often at a wedding.

While I believe serving beer, wine & soda is certainly enough for your guests, adding signature cocktails - one or two is plenty - is a fun idea. While searching for interesting cocktail ideas, I came across Marions Kochbuch's cocktail recipes. I love many of the ideas they have, and encourage you to check out their recipes if you're looking for one or two (or more!) fun drinks to serve at your wedding reception - or even at your New Year's Eve shindig.

[images copyright Marions Kochbuch]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get Married in Michigan | Saint George Church & Conference Center

In the heart of Grand Rapids, tucked away amongst our vibrant city, is St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church and right next door, St. George Conference Center, a little known venue to hold your wedding reception. Debbie & Andy couldn't have asked for better weather - it was a gorgeous day for their wedding!

The super sweet Mae of Bryan & Mae Photography sent over these images from the wedding of Debbie & Andy. I absolutely love the chalkboard details - signs, table assignments & table numbers - and the simple flower centerpieces. Debbie's gown is stunning on her - what a classic bride!

To see even more of the images from this day, please see Bryan & Mae's post.

The details...
| St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
Reception | St. George Conference Center
Photography | Bryan & Mae
Flowers | Gail VanderLaan Florist
Band & Disc Jockey | Fred Knapp Trio
Caterer | West Michigan Caterer
Cake | Sea Sweet Bakery
Hair & Makeup | Jessie at Inspire Salon

Monday, November 15, 2010

Get Married in Michigan | Caberfae Peaks

Michigan is full of unique venues to get married at, and Caberfae Peaks is no exception. Check out this recent fall wedding of Kole & Megan at Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac, Michigan. I LOVE the details the couple designed - from the wheat grass centerpieces, to the thumbprint guest book - such a great way to celebrate a new marriage! And that little yellow cardigan Megan put on over her gorgeous gown at the end of the evening? LOVE that idea!!!

To see even more of this wedding, check out the photographer's post.

[all photos copyright Dan Stewart Photography]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Graphic Aisle Runner

A couple of years ago, I shared this graphic aisle runner, which is a complete show-stopper in my opinion. I love the idea of having a fabulous piece of art for your wedding party to walk on in a less-than-gorgeous location, such as the wooden deck, above.

[photo copyright Mary Basnight]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inspiring Holiday Decor

This time of year, the holiday catalogs begin arriving at my doorstep. And this year, because I've been working on our overall home decor, I'm ready to change my holiday decor over too. Instead of the same decorations I've had for the past five years, I'll be switching from festive red & green to sparkly white & silver. I've found new stockings & a tree skirt, finally found a large group of white ornaments, and am still working on the tabletop displays I enjoy putting together (tabletop because we don't have a mantle, so I substitute our sofa table!)

Every year Pottery Barn creates the most luxurious displays that make me wish a.) I had a fireplace mantel in the first place, b.) I could splurge on all the fancy trimmings, and c.) I could begin putting them all up NOW!

My practical side says I will wait until the day after Thanksgiving to cut our fresh tree down, and hang the here I wait.

What I love about all the decor inspiration that comes my way is seeing the different color palettes they put together. Sure, most of them are quite predictable, but others make me think twice about mixing gold & silver in event decor. If you've been reading for a while, you may remember my client who mixed gray & chocolate brown (and I about had a heart attack...) however, in the end I LOVED how it turned out.

Sit down with a cup o' cocoa and soak in all the holiday decor catalogs this season. Maybe you'll be inspired as you plan your next event - whether it be a dinner party for eight, or a wedding reception for 180.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bridal Shower Registry Tips

Greg and I celebrated out three year anniversary in June and we have lived in the same house - a little home built in 1950 on the SE side of Grand Rapids - the entire time. Over the past three years, we have had to store many of our wedding & shower gifts in our basement, since our teeny-tiny kitchen can't handle every odd & end. And don't get me started on the postage stamp-sized linen closet...

Many of you may be in the same situation - city-dwelling couples with less-than-ideal kitchen storage, linen closets and all-around space to stash your stuff. Instead of registering for another set of mixing bowls or something that will be used less than once/month, I encourage you to indulge in everyday luxuries you rarely purchase for yourself.

If I were to do it all again, I'd beef up the linen section of our registry like no other. I'm a huge fan of white towels & sheets - they bleach well (if needed) and go with any color I decide to paint the room. And believe me, I am not afraid of a little color on the walls! Currently our bathroom is orange, but in a few weeks, will be a subdued tan. Guess what? The towels will not need to be replaced!

And one thing I could not do without in our original bathroom, is a curved shower curtain rod, which adds amazing space in our 1950's shower. Seriously, if you've ever taken a shower and had the curtain liner stick to your wet arm, THIS is your solution!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Society of Typographic Arts 2010 Archives

I am SO proud of my sister, Victoria, who recently had her branding work for Pearls Events accepted into the Society of Typographic Arts archives for 2010. When Victoria was in high school, she took many graphic design classes, and then majored in it at Ferris State University. Our parents may have thought she was crazy - she didn't want to be a teacher, nurse or go into business like the other women in our family. And she needed a shiny, white MAC instead of a lame, black PC. Whoa!

After college graduation, she took a job at a small design firm in Lansing, Michigan, which she worked at for one year. Victoria then moved to Chicago in 2008 to try a new city on for size, and I'm SO happy she did, even though I miss her. She is living in a city she loves, doing what she is passionate about.

I am the oldest of five kids and have to say even though Victoria are I are four years apart in age, we get along well. She's creative. She is a perfectionist and a hard worker. Victoria doesn't give up easily and she wears her heart on her sleeve. And she's the best sister to all four of her siblings and an awesome aunt to her one nephew (and I'm sure she'll spoil our baby when it arrives in March!)

Congratulations to Victoria on having her work accepted into the Society of Typographic Arts archives for 2010! I am SO proud of you!!!!

[all images of Victoria shamelessly stolen from her Facebook page]

Monday, November 8, 2010

Real Wedding 2010 | Alicia & Marc

This is the first time I've done a Real Wedding recap with a video, but since Andy of Owen Video was super fast with the day-of trailer, here it is!

Alicia & Marc's October 30th wedding was anything but Halloween-themed. Mary, Megan & I arrived at the JW Marriott in the late morning. While I helped the ladies get ready in their hotel suite overlooking the Grand River, Mary & Megan waited for personal flowers to be delivered to the lobby by the ladies from Events by Ludemas, and kept tabs on the groom, so the couple didn't run into each other before the ceremony.

The Pearls Events team, plus the two ushers, were off to the church before guests began arriving, and everything started right on time - my favorite way to begin the day! Fountain Street Church is one of the most gorgeous churches in our city, and because the bride's family is the most musically talented group of people I've had the pleasure of working with (her father is professor of music, director of orchestras, and head of the graduate orchestral conducting program at the Michigan State University College of Music), the day was filled with amazing music.

After the ceremony, Megan helped organize formal photos with family & the wedding party in the sanctuary, while Mary & I were off to eve at The B.O.B. to make sure every last detail was in place. As guests began arriving for cocktail hour, the Clifford Jazz Trio set the mood.

The wedding party arrived and were introduced into their intimate reception and dinner began as scheduled. Cake cutting and dancing were after dinner, and at 11pm, the party was just getting started. Since everyone in Grand Rapids was out celebrating Halloween that evening, the nightclub opened to the public, and the couple & their friends danced until the wee hours, taking breaks in their private room adjacent to the dance floor.

It was a gorgeous fall day - clear skies, crisp air - full of family, friends and a lovely wedding & reception. We wish Alicia & Marc nothing but the best in the years to come!

The details...
Pearls Events Consultant | Aletha
Pearls Events Coordinators | Aletha, Mary, Megan
Ceremony | Fountain Street Church
Ceremony Musicians | Friends & Family of the Bride
Photographer | Friends of the Bride
Cinematographer| Owen Video
Reception | eve at The B.O.B.
Jazz Band | Clifford Jazz Trio
Florist | Events by Ludemas
Pastry Chef | MiraBella Confections
Linens | Pearls Events
Disc Jockey | Xtreme Creative Entertainment

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | A Contemporary Card Box

Two years ago, I shared Jessica Lynn's card vase right here on the blog. Since then, I have purchased the 25.5" tall BLADET vase from IKEA, and lend it to clients from time-to-time when it seems to be the perfect fit for their reception decor. It's a bit out-of-the-box (pun intended) for a traditional card box, but it is the perfect, contemporary card box, in my opinion.

Great idea, Jessica!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Get Married in Michigan | The Barn at Prairie Winds

Amy & LD were married on one of those amazing fall days that Michigan brides dream of. Their photographer, Mindy, emailed me these images because she LOVED all of the couple's DIY details. When I looked through them, I had to agree - this couple pulled together their rustic, fall-themed wedding to a T. And I LOVE the location - The Barn at Prairie Winds Farm.

This is only a small selection of their photos. To see even more shots, check out Mindy Leigh's blog post.

Ceremony | Zion Reformed Church
Reception | The Barn at Prairie Winds Farm
Florist | Personal friend of the bride arranged all the silk flowers
Cake | Cake Occasions, Emily Jonkman
Deejay | DJ's by Sean
Bridal Gown | Casablanca

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