Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pearls Event Favorite | What I Would Do Differently

A couple months back Aletha looked back on her wedding and wondered what she would do differently and what would stay the same. And now, after having nearly three years to think about it, and being surrounded by weddings, I have come up with my own list!

What I wouldn't change:
1. The guy - Just as Aletha said, I wouldn't change the guy for anything, in fact I would go so far as to be a big dork and marry him all over again every year!

2. All of the personal touches and family traditions we incorporated - My husband was born and raised in France and with most of his family speaking French, not to mention family friends, and we didn't want anyone to feel left out. What we did was include the vows in French inside the program so they could know what we were saying to each other. We also created invitations, menus and a guest book sign in French. To add to the procession of the day we included a French tradition called the "Vin d'honneur," a champagne reception for only family and close friends in between the ceremony and reception.

3. Location - Our venue fit us perfectly and was over the top accommodating. They created a meal that was perfect for us, worked with the unique schedule we asked for and let us party into the night!

4. Photographer - To this day I still look at my wedding album often and am so happy we had the photographer that we did! I love the moments he captured and how he put it all together.

What I would change:
1. Flowers as centerpieces - For my centerpieces I was provided with great vases from my venue but I only filled them with bear grass and one white Lilly, half of which weren't open at the time of my reception! I would definitely have included more flowers, including height and color.

2. Having someone create all the paper products for me - We used a theme for our wedding: travel, so our invitations were passports, our escort cards were luggage tags, our menus were airline tickets, our card box was a suitcase, our tables were named after destinations we had traveled to as a couple, etc., etc. And while I loved all those touches, making the escort cards and programs took WAY too much time!

3. Bridesmaid Gifts - Because I wanted to make everything myself, flowers, escort cards, programs, table signs, decorations, jewelry for my bridesmaids, and on and on, I did not leave enough time to properly thank my lovely bridesmaids for all of their help, love and to show them what they meant to me, and their gifts were drastically lacking! I feel I may need to make it up to them on my next anniversary!

4. Linens - Oh if I knew then, what I know now, famous last words, right? When I was married (in October 2007) I didn't even know about luxurious linens, so I went with standard white. They were floor length, but they were quite drab. Today I would warm up the room and add wonderful textures and color to my tables.

5. Videographer - While we have amazing pictures, I would give anything to be able to watch our vows and parts of our ceremony again, even if I only watch it one more time!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Find | Rent Your Wedding Day Jewelry

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! When planning your wedding day attire do you lay awake at night thinking, "If only I had the budget to be dripping in jewels on my wedding day!" Well, dripping you in jewels might actually BE in the budget thanks to a few web sites that are now renting elegant jewelry that could give your gown that added touch you have been looking for.

You may be familiar with Bag Borrow or Steal , now called Avelle, from the latest Sex in the City movie, where Carrie's assistant shares the world of borrowed bags with her, but there are others out there as well, such as Adorn. Below is some information about each online store. Take a look, as well as at the others that are out there and enjoy beautiful jewelry within your budget!

Bag Borrow or Steal
* You may rent pieces for a week, or months at a time
* They have pieces that rent for under $40 a month and up to $400 a month
* Use a jewelry MatchMaker or style consultant for finding that perfect piece
* Enjoy free return shipping
* Rentals include $150 rental insurance coverage and you can purchase additional coverage

* Rent pieces for an event
* Insurance is covered in the price of the rental
* A charge of 5% of the retail value will be reserved on your credit card until the piece is returned
* Enjoy free shipping

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Non-traditional Ceremony Locations

In April 2008, I shared two unique outdoor locations to have your ceremony in Grand Rapids. Since people always ask me where to have an outdoor ceremony downtown, I thought this was worth sharing again.

Sara + Chad on the Blue Bridge
(photography by Amy Carroll)

Laura + Todd on the lawn of the Ford Museum
(photography by Paul Retherford)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Link Love | My DIY Wedding Day

We have been talking a lot lately about personalizing your wedding and how to make it stand out from the rest. I was doing my daily blog reading and I came across this site, My DIY Wedding Day. And if you love to crochet all day long and live for the day you can craft your wedding day, or even if the thought of DIY makes you shiver with fear, you will undoubtedly come away with some great ideas on how to personalize your day!

I love their sections on Link Love, filled with bunches and bunches of uniquely personal ideas.

Here are some of my favorites!

1: Tin can table numbers from 100 Layer Cake

2: Coffee filter roses from The Crafteteria

3: Seashell Mobile from Esprit Cabane

4: Tea light lanterns from Project Wedding

5: Cupcake toppers from One Charming Blog

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wedding Show | eightWest Wedding Party

We are busy preparing for an exciting wedding show coming up on Wednesday and we hope you'll join us! Pearls Events is honored to have been invited to be a part of eightWest's Wedding Party at Noto's.

This is not just any wedding show - there will be live music, wine tasting, engagement photos, ballroom dance lessons, a fashion show, spray tanning and so much more! And there is still time to register!

Pearls Events will be there to share some great ideas for personalizing your wedding. We have ideas for table numbers, guest books, escort cards, plus some great examples from real weddings, and much, much more. Amy and I will be there to chat with you and share all of our fantastic ideas!

Get a free engagement photo taken, learn some new moves for your first dance, try on wedding rings, and sit back and watch the most entertaining bridal fashion show in West Michigan! Bring your fiancé, your wedding party and your family for a fun-filled night with some of the most unique wedding vendors in the area!

Come party with Amy & I, plus eightWest at Noto’s on Wednesday, March 24th from 7-9pm.

* Find the look for your reception! The trendiest tables and centerpieces of the season.
* Play Dress up. Vintage gloves, purses, jewelry and more.
* Spice it up! Hot lingerie and accessories perfect for the honeymoon.
* Get ready for the Ring. Free paraffin hand treatments.
* Look your best in your dress. Free facial spray tans and great healthy living tips.
* Picture Perfect! Free Photobooth fun. Also mix and mingle with Bruce Boutet Photography, Terpstra Photography & Visual Inspiration Video Productions!
* Hair Help. Updo Ideas for brides, bridesmaids and moms!
* Inspiring invitations! Plus ideas for save the dates, programs and more!
* Cool Touch. See the latest craze in ice sculptures.
* Teeth whitening from WOW Smile! ($89 at event. $50 savings!)
* Jewelry available to purchase from Stella & Dot.
* Notos event booking specials on site.

eightWest goody bags!
And more……

or call: 616-771-9609

And check back next week for a recap and photos of the great show!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spotlight | Give Studio

When I first met Anne I could tell she was creative just from sitting with her for five minutes, that and of course how unbelievably sweet she is. Anne and her husband, Brian started Give Studio in 2003 and from then have been designing beautifully unique pieces that will offer you options to celebrate a friend's birthday, send personal stationery, delight in a one-of-a-kind wedding invitation, and even brighten a day with a whimsical "just because card." Hopefully you enjoy Give Studio as much as we have!

How long have you been designing wedding invitations/custom stationery?
Since 2003 when we got married - first invitation design was my own, using an old photograph of my grandma and her three bridesmaids (complete with hideous floral wallpaper and thick-rimmed glasses on the bride).

What inspires you?
I know it sounds cliche to say "everything" but I'm afraid it's true. Once I started using my own photography and doodles in my line, I couldn't stop seeing everything as a potential design. The time I feel most inspired is when I can escape the daily details of work and home, and let my mind push itself creatively.

How does the whole process work with a client?
I work with local and out-of-town clients, but prefer our first meeting to be over coffee so I can get to know the bride (and her various support-people). If the couple is further away, I do the initial meeting through phone or email. One of the things I enjoy the most about creating custom invitations is the ability to capture a couple's personality for their invitations. Since invitations are often the first impression of the wedding, I feel that it's important to start out right!

After the initial meeting, I gather all necessary information for the invitations, then put together a few design ideas for the couple. I pull swatches of color, paper, envelopes, ribbon, etc. so they can get as close a feel for the designs as possible. We narrow it down through tweaks and changes, often combining a couple of different designs. My favorite story from the design phase was working with a sweet bride, her mother, and her sister. When I pulled out the design ideas for them, the bride's mother started crying after seeing her daughter's name on an invitation. It was so beautiful and is why I love my job!

After the final design is decided, I place the appropriate orders and assemble away. I tend to get myself in trouble with time-consuming details, but in the end it's always worth it.

What sort of prices are your invitations/custom stationery?
Since everything is custom, prices definitely vary! I have options so a couple can pick and choose the pieces they'd like, whether it's just an invitation and envelope, or maps, menus, thank you notes and more. Since everything is custom, prices definitely vary! I have options so a couple can pick and choose the pieces they'd like, whether it's just an invitation and envelope, or maps, menus, thank you notes and more. I offer both letterpress and flat-printing in order to accommodate a variety of budgets. For a simple letterpress printed one-color invitation and envelope, prices start at $450 for 100 pieces; flat-printing starts at $250 for 100 pieces.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Depends on the day. Currently loving Phish Food by Ben & Jerry's.

What do you do on your days off?
Is that a trick question? Days off are for people that aren't starting businesses! But here is the hypothetical extracurriculars list, in no particular order: running lots of miles, as much friend-time as possible, making mojitos (current summer favorite) with mint from our trial-garden, dreaming about traveling, dreaming about new product design, reading design blogs, reading smart books and fun books, petting Whiskers the kitten.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Non-traditional Head Tables

Two years ago, I wrote about non-traditional head table configurations. I have many clients this year thinking outside the box when it comes to their head tables, and I wanted to share this post again on this week's Friday Favorites.

I am totally guilty of a traditional head table because of space issues at our venue. If I could do it again, I'd put our bridal party at the guest tables with their own dates, and Greg and I would sit at a sweetheart table by ourselves in the middle of the room.

What are you doing for your head table?

[image copyright Amy Carroll Photography]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wedding Show | GRunveiled 2010

Unlike planning private events, GRunveiled was a public event and Joy'l & I wanted everyone to attend. Slightly different than planning a wedding, we needed to solicit vendors, sell tickets, work with our publicist, and supply swag bags.

Like a wedding, Joy'l & I planned the layout of each room, confirmed with vendors, ordered linens, set up the day-of, and coordinated the evening. With the entire Pearls Events team - myself, Kate, Amy & Tara - and many of Joy'l's friends and her husband on hand, we had a great group of people and there were no mishaps.

Participating in the event as an exhibitor was a different aspect to tackle. Pearls Events has never participated in a wedding show. I knew that I wanted to have an eye-catching space, especially because I knew the other vendors were going to step it up a notch. I also knew I didn't want to look like "just another booth". I wasn't going for formal, expensive, uptight or unapproachable. I was going for fun, and from the photos above, I would say I got just what I wanted.

Most of the items that made up our cozy space on the landing, I already owned. I worked with Abbey from Syd Design to design a super-snazzy invite suite, Ken from MiraBella Confections to create a 1950's inspired wedding cake, hit up Blue Door Antiques for the cake table (which is now an end table in our living room), and Target for the polka dot glasses.

I called my grandma, who was married 57 years ago Sunday, to see what she did in 1953 for her wedding. And just as she did, we used yellow daffodils for the flowers and kept the cake all-white. I displayed her cake cutting photo by our cake, as a tribute to my wonderfully inspiring grandparents!

It was awesome to have our entire team together that evening. Amy & Tara manned the door, checking people in, collecting money from walk-ins, and passing out swag bags & magazines. Kate & I took turns manning our space and chatting with people who happened to stop by.

If you're a local engaged couple, please look for Pearls Events next Wednesday evening at eightWest's Wedding Party at Noto's! Kate and Amy will be there from 7p-9p representing Pearls Events and sharing a ton of ideas on how to personalize your wedding day. RSVP today!

[all images copyright Nicole Haley Photography]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Real Event 2010 | GRunveiled | Part III

Beside the delightful spaces (on the main level and the upstairs ballroom), unique wedding ideas, and gorgeous venue, we had plenty of exhibitors, guests, and friends join us last Thursday evening. I know not every single person was captured in photos, however this is a snippet of some of the friendly faces that came out to experience the first annual GRunveiled!

A GIANT THANK YOU to Nicole of Nicole Haley Photography for being our official photographer of the event. Nicole did an EXCELLENT job of capturing the creative spaces, guests, vendors and all the details that makes St. Cecilia Music Center a unique wedding venue. We cannot thank Nicole enough for taking the time to doing what she does best - capturing fantastic moments and all the details people notice!

Real Event 2010 | GRunveiled | Part II

After three-and-a-half months of planning GRunveiled, Joy'l and I were more than ready for March 11th to roll around. Load in & set up went smoothly throughout the day, and at 3:30, I headed home to print out the final pre-sale ticket list. We sold 182 tickets ahead of time and could have have been more excited!

After getting cash to make change at the front door, I headed back downtown to do a final walk through, and got ready to greet our guests. At 6pm on-the-dot, our first guests arrived, and until about 9pm, that is how it went! With the tickets we gave away to the media, the ticket sales at the door, plus family attending, (minus a few no-shows) my best tally is around 230 guests with us on Thursday evening! About 130 more people that we hoped for!

After guests left the main floor of St. Cecilia's, they made their way up the grand staircase to the Dexter Ballroom. This is a snippet of what the evening looked like upstairs. The Pearls Events space was strategically placed on the landing (top image), which I loved because I had a bird's eye view of the entry way, and had the advantage of greeting many of our guests as they made their way upstairs.

Look for one more blog post today with people images. I love how our official photographer, Nicole Haley, captured our exhibitors interacting with our guests!

[all images copyright Nicole Haley Photography]

Real Event 2010 | GRunveiled | Part I

Joy'l and I enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite places, The Green Well, back in November. We were catching up on life and business and she was telling me about the recent renaming of her invitation design company, Paper Nest Designs. Finally she mentioned hosting a wedding show for the hip Grand Rapids brides. She wanted no cheese, no fluff and absolutely no tulle. I listened to her talk about a show that she had been dreaming about for two years, and suggested a few locations I could think of off the top of my head that might be interested in hosting this show.

Then it hit me - she was asking me to be a part of it. A huge part of it! And I was on board right away! She called Carla at St. Cecilia Music Center the next day, and she was on board with the idea just like I was. We met with Carla a week later, and I happened to have dinner with Jen Huizenga from J. Studio Designs that same evening, coincidentally at The Green Well. As I was telling Jen what was in the works, she jumped on board to handle all the public relations for the Grand Rapids wedding show.

This will be a two part post, since there are MANY more images for me to share. This post includes all the wedding vendors who exhibited on the first floor of St. Cecilia Music Center. The next post will showcase all the ballroom exhibitors. Stay tuned for part two later today.

[all images copyright Nicole Haley Photography]

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