Friday, April 30, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Target Dresses

I posted in March of 2008 about two Issac Mizrahi social dresses. Since then, Issac has stopped designing for Target, however Target's private label, Merona, has set the bar high for reasonably priced dresses. I shop at Target for almost everything, so it's no surprise I've blogged about Target dresses before. I think it's safe to say that many women (size 0 - 16) will be pleased with the options this season!


I admit I was worried the quality would go down when Issac departed; little did I know that Target was ready to take mass-market, private label to the next level. Every time I go to the women's section, like I did last night on a grocery run, I'm amazed by the work and party-appropriate dresses from Merona. The fabric is lovely, they are lined, and the fit is great!


Target's women section has great signage, and their advertising campaign is genius - it's the only ad in the Sunday Press I look forward to - however their in-store merchandising isn't the best. Thankfully, their online store really makes up for it! I love how they showed this simple denim dress three different ways - at the beach, in the office, out for dinner!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Office Envy | K. Holly Studios

One of my favorite aspects about Pearls Events, is working from my home. It's a place where I meet clients, plan events, and work with our team. I love the cozy feeling I've created, and how it screams ALETHA. I display some of our published work on the walls, and personal items - photos of Olive, photos of my husband, and some of my favorite books.

I realize not everyone has the ideal situation for an at-home meeting space, so when other professionals create a personal space in their homes to meet clients in, I am thrilled to see it!

I shared Studio 6.23's funky space they created in their home in February, and today I'm sharing the brand spankin' new meeting space for local favorite, K. Holly Studios. Kristen has created a space that looks JUST like her - fun, colorful, bold, and sweet. If you're a client of K. Holly Studios, you are going to LOVE meeting in this space! I am already looking forward to the next time Kristen hosts me for one of our sporadic coffee dates (hint, hint...).

Thank you for sharing your gorgeous new meeting area, Kristen! Congrats on the loveliness - that sofa is amazing!!!

If you have an inspiring in-home office space you'd like to share with Pearls Events readers, please send them my way - I'd love to show off your space here to inspire other wedding pros who read along.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Cozy, Colorful, and Comfortable Event

It's spring in West Michigan and the newest Crate and Barrel catalog has arrived, tempting me with gorgeous outdoor living areas. I'll be the first to admit that our current patio furniture is anything but glamorous, however when (and if...) I have a great space to create an outdoor living area, I'm going for something like this...Cozy. Colorful. Comfortable.


I absolutely love the reds, oranges, and purples, grounded by the gray furniture and stone seating. I enjoy this color combo enough, I decided it would also be a great event color palette. Maybe not for an entire wedding, but at least for a bridal shower, or even baby shower!

Finding linens was a breeze - BBJ Linen had two great options - silver pintuck and silver twist. And upon further searching, Ami at Elizabeth Anne Designs pulled together some great details a few months ago, shown below. By adding fun containers and a lot of texture with flowers, plus lovely paper products - you'll have pulled together one fabulous party! Don't forget to add romantic candlelight for the comfy, cozy atmosphere!



[outdoor furniture; linens; tablescape via Elizabeth Anne Designs; purple invitation via Elizabeth Anne Designs. ring pillow via Elizabeth Anne Designs; Christian Louboutin Dillian pumps via Elizabeth Anne Designs]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flowy Frocks & Not-So-Dainty Accessories

Inspired by Aisha's post featuring these dreamy Vera Wang wedding gowns, I was dying to show off these beautiful gowns from Vera's 2011 Spring Collection. With ruffles everywhere, I'm loving the slightly softer style with excellent draping, and make-a-statement jewelry pieces to compliment the flowy frocks.

And with the recent news of Vera Wang partnering with David's Bridal, maybe these looks will be available to the mass markets within the year?!

[wedding gowns, Vera Wang via Dooby Design; accessories & bridesmaid dress, J. Crew]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Las Vegas Wedding | Jenn & Dean at Red Rocks

I had the pleasure of working with Jenn & Dean from Jenn Dean Photography about a year ago on the shores of Lake Michigan. Because of their chemistry, I assumed they were married. I soon learned that Jenn & Dean were not married quite yet, but planning on getting hitched.

Jenn & Dean were very recently married in a small ceremony at the famous Red Rocks in Las Vegas. Today I share with you five different sets of photos from local photographers who had the opportunity to capture their lovely wedding. I LOVE seeing a wedding from the eyes of a photographer, however this set of images is the same wedding from five different photographers! How fun is this?!

You can read Jenn's blog post about it - the wedding, her friends being there, and the emotion she experienced while being The Bride.

Here is Jenn & Dean's Las Vegas Wedding...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Wedding Receiving Line

In February 2008, I blogged about receiving lines at weddings. When my clients and I start discussing day-of time lines, receiving lines always come up. Last time I chatted about this, I got some great responses I wanted to share.

April shared "We went to each table during the reception, but I also really like the bride and groom releasing the pews...unless you have something like 500 guests :). Then it could take a couple of hours!"

Lisa said "My husband and I made sure we arrived in time for cocktail hour and schmoozed with our guests then. I also like what a friend of mine did, they dropped off a bottle of champagne at each table and toasted their guests."

Heather shared "...I heard of an interesting approach from a client of mine. They attended a wedding where the bride and groom stood by the buffet table and greeted their guests. That way there was only one line to deal with. The caterers had made them up plates before they opened the buffet. Once the last guest where greeted they went to their table and enjoyed dinner with their guests."

Here are a few more ideas that I shared in 2008...

1. Bride & groom receiving line - an option if you want a formal receiving line, but without the awkwardness of every guest hugging everyone in the wedding party.

2. Release by pews - where the couple returns to the ceremony and releases each row, greeting each guest as they file out.

3. Greeting each table
- the couple walks around to each table at the reception and greets the whole table at once.

4. Receiving line at the reception
- the emcee will announce that the couple will be greeting guests on the dance floor during cocktail hour (or whenever!)

5. None at all
- you don't HAVE to receive your guests. I usually tell couples to make an effort to greet guests that you don't see very often - your mom's Aunt Eloise, your parent's best friends from college, your former babysitter, etc. Since your friends will most likely be dancing the night away with you, there is no need to formally greet them, if you'd rather not.

I'd love some more ideas to share if you have them!

(photo copyright I Do Click Photography)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Event Design | Styling Your Event

After you've ordered the linens, paid for the flowers, picked out the cake, and proofread your menus, what's left to do? Set it up with perfection! Check with your reception venue to see if they will place your linens, put out your escort cards in alphabetical order and fold your napkins. After spending months planning, you'll want all the details in place when your guests arrive. If they will not care for your details, do yourself a huge favor and hire a day-of coordinator to care for all of the details.

What does a coordinator do? Our event management service includes ironing table linens, setting out chargers, folding & setting out napkins, placing all paper products - menus, table numbers, escort cards, place cards - setting up candy buffets, placing favors, etc. We make sure each detail you've designed is ready for guests to experience when they arrive.

We realize not everyone will have it in their budget to hire a coordinator, so asking a friend (or cousin, aunt, etc.) to take over all of the event styling may work best for you.

My biggest piece of advice? Don't stress!! Having a professional on-site the day-of your wedding is an easy way to relax - for both you, and your family!

Event Design | Designing Your Cake

If you're looking to tie in all the details, don't forget the cake! I absolutely love a show-stopping confection at the reception, and when Ken of MiraBella Confections dropped off this piece of work at our photo shoot last fall, I was thrilled! Unfortunately, for this project, the cake was inedible, however Ken's cakes taste as good as they look and I'm happy that my husband orders all of our personal cakes from Ken.

When talking to MiraBella Confections about the shoot, I shared the invitation design, and requested the cake was square, but other than that, I had no idea what Ken would design. I was happy he used the invitation design on the cake - a perfect compliment to all of the day-of paper products, including the escort cards, dinner menus, table numbers, and lamps used as centerpieces.

Cake designs range from simple to intricate, and the price will reflect that. Just like the florist, sharing your budget with your baker at the beginning of the process will be helpful. And if cake is important to you, makes sure it takes as good as it looks!

[cake design by MiraBella Confections, photography copyright Telltale Photography]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Event Design | Choosing Your Flowers


Floral design is my favorite part of the entire design process. The colors, textures and scent of flowers are unlike anything else. From a stunning vase of tulips, to the exotic look of orchids, designing both personal flowers & reception flowers can be fun, but also overwhelming.

I'm not a florist, so thankfully there are some amazing wedding florists in Grand Rapids. We had Natalie from Stems Events Design on board for this photo shoot and used shades of purple and green flowers, and a big array of blooms. I absolutely LOVED the Vanda orchid Natalie used in the centerpieces. Another fun detail were the various boutonnieres with three different flowers. I love the idea of each groomsmen having a different bout, instead of being matchy-matchy.

My biggest piece of advice while designing your wedding flowers? Share your floral budget. Being realistic with what you want to spend on fresh flowers from the get-go will make the planning process go smoothly. You don't want to fall in love with something you can't have because it's out of season, too expensive, or doesn't come in the right color.

Have you fallen in love with pink peonies, but getting married in November? My advice? Splurge on the peonies for your bridal bouquet, and come up with a great alternative (read: cheaper) option for the centerpieces. Having photos of floral designs that have caught your eye with be helpful as will having your color palette and linen choices.

Looking for floral inspiration? Check out Bride and Bloom's website for tons of great eye candy.

[floral design by Stems Event Design, photography copyright Telltale Photography]

Event Design | Designing Your Invitation Suite

After you have a color palette, a few ideas, and a graphic designer, creating custom pieces that will make up your invitation suite may begin.

What's in an invitation suite? The actual wedding invitation and the inserts your guests will need - an RSVP, directions, a map, accommodation information, etc. You can take the suite a step further to include save-the-date announcements, and thank you notes. If you plan on using any paper products at your reception, it's a great touch to have coordinating items such as table numbers, escort cards, and dinner menus.

When working with a graphic designer, I prefer letting their imagination run wild with your initial idea and colors. That is exactly what I do when I work with Jill Childs of Events by I. Candy. I sat down with Jill and shared our color palette and the only idea I had - stripes. Jill created at least six options for me and I ended up picking this funky, unpredictable stripe she came up with. I never would have come up with this playful design on my own, but it was perfect for this shoot.

I realize not every couple will hire a designer, but everyone needs invitations! Some may prefer to print-their-own, while others will order from a reputable invitation company. There are SO many great options out there, and invitation companies make ordering all the pieces easy as pie! Look for a company that offers paper and printing in the colors you desire to make the process stress-free.

[paper products by Events by I. Candy, photography copyright Telltale Photography]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Event Design | Choosing Your Wedding Attire

Try to resist falling in love with a bridesmaid gown until after you've selected your own gown, the venue, and overall style of your wedding. Once you have your wedding color palette, you'll have a better idea of what gown designers you're interested in, since not every designer has every color each season.

And although I love an event to flow seamlessly, your bridesmaids do NOT have to match the linens. There are so many ways to make everything flow, but putting your bridesmaid dresses in the same silver fabric that is gracing your tables is not the way. Instead, we use that great palette you've created to find another shade that will work well with everything.

The wedding gown, above, is a white taffeta, a-line gown with slight sweetheart neckline. And although very different from one another, both of the bridesmaid gowns work well with this dress because they compliment the gown. Try not to get caught up in matching necklines, fabric and details - instead, focus on finding a dress that all your ladies are comfortable in, look fantastic in, and match the overall style of the wedding day.

[bridesmaid dresses via JCrew, photo copyright Telltale Photography]

Event Design | Choosing Your Linens

You've heard me say it before, because I'm a fan of adding color and texture in the form of linens, but seriously, linens transform any table. Flowers make a big impact, but linens make those flowers look even better!

I never tell my clients how to spend their money, however I am also not a fan of table legs. I am up front with clients about how linens transform a space and if they are interested at all, to set aside some of their budget. Since I use linen samples when choosing a palette, I'm a step ahead when it comes to finding the perfect linens. If you've used paint or paper swatches, you'll need to find a linen company that carries various colors to suit your needs. If there isn't anything local, there are many companies that ship nationwide, so it's just finding the right company for you.

For each Pearls Events linen client, we put together a sample table using various linens in different colors and textures. We do this on-site at their reception venue, and have their florist on hand that day with centerpiece samples. From there, we decide on the final linen selection for all the tables - guest, cake, escort card, head table, etc. - and also tweak the centerpiece flowers, if needed.

Still want to work with white, but want something that goes to the floor and drapes nicely? When working with a white color palette, there are many beautiful options, with my current favorite being White Orleans Damask, which will be making a huge appearance at our May 21st wedding!

[linen samples via BBJ Linen, photography copyright Telltale Photography]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Event Design | Choosing Your Colors

After you've surveyed your venue's design elements, it's time to start narrowing your color choices. Unless you have access to a Pantone book, linen samples, or beautiful paper samples, the easiest way to play with color (for absolutely free!) is to head to your nearest paint department (visit Lowe's, The Home Depot, etc.) and start pulling various shades of your favorite paint swatches. Using these small chips of color will help you visualize the perfect shade of pink you're looking for in a bridesmaid dress, for example.

I don't know who made the rule of only using two wedding colors, but they were terribly wrong! My favorite way to design an event is to find two or three base colors, like green and purple above, but then use various shades of the same color. So instead of just eggplant and stem green, we mixed in lilac and loden green for a fabulous combination. This will help form your color palette and when a flower doesn't come in the exact shade of purple you're looking for, no worries, because it flows with the overall look. Using different shades of the same color adds visual interest and doesn't make your event design look too matchy-matchy.

[color samples via BBJ Linen]

Event Design | Working With Your Venue

Before any decisions are made on colors and other design details, you'll want to consider your venue. And West Michigan is full of unique spaces! Looking for a loft-like space? Check out San Chez and Baker Lofts. Want a traditional ballroom? Don't miss St. George Banquet Hall and Pantlind Ballroom. Pining for a rustic barn? You must see the Blue Dress Barn and Hitching Post Events. Are you feeling a more modern space? Consider EVE at The BOB or the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Why should you consider the space before landing on your event design? For the simple reason that you want everything to flow. If your ballroom is traditional with rich wood, plush carpet, and gold chandeliers, I'd play up what the room already has and accent that beautiful chandelier. By using soft colors on the tables, plenty of candlelight, and lush flowers, you will compliment the ballroom setting nicely.

And although I love a design to compliment a room, I am also one to break the rules. Surprising your guests with a unexpected design is a thrill. Think luscious linens & flowers in a tented, beach celebration where guests may expect starfish, blue and raffia.

For the photo shoot above, we used the same exact design in a modern, loft-like space, and then again in the rustic barn. It works well in both locations because they were pretty neutral to start with. We weren't designing around red velvet drapes, or a black & white tile floor. Instead, the funky lamps, loden green and eggplant linens work well because they compliment both spaces. In my opinion, it's an expected design for the loft-life space, and unexpected in the barn.

So, before falling in love with the pink damask linens and fluffy yellow floral designs, make sure they won't be competing with any red velvet drapes that the venue will NOT remove for you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Process | Wedding and Event Design

Many of our clients work with us to design their celebrations. We are thrilled when we are asked to bring our eye for design to the table, and even more excited to watch the process unfold with the client. From selecting just the right reception venue, to ironing & placing linens on the day-of the event, the design process is all about the details.

We work with clients suggesting venue options, color ideas, floral choices, invitation ideas, and even help with attire & accessories for the wedding party, parents & of course, the bride. We are here to select just the right font for the ceremony programs, make sure the cake flows with the overall design, and are here to source the perfect pink ribbon for the candy buffet.

We realize not everyone has the budget to allot for an event designer, so this week we will be sharing the breakdown of the process we use for our clients. We will be showcasing the Fall photo shoot pictures, taken by Melissa of Telltale Photography, throughout the week. And although I've been sharing them on Clover and Bee, you'll be seeing all of the detail shots I haven't shared with anyone!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | The Wedding Emergency Kit

In April 2008, I posted a link to a wedding emergency kit that I wanted to share again. As Pearls Events is gearing up for a busy 2010 season, I have been working on restocking our e-kit, plus putting together a second one for our associates, Kate & Amy, as they both have their own events this year.

If you don't have a day-of-coordinator on-site for your wedding day, I would encourage you to put a small kit together. This would include anything & everything you think you might need in a pinch - bobby pins for stray hairs, aspirin, a lint brush, mints, etc.

For the detailed, printable list, click here to get your own shopping list. Items I use the most? Sewing kit, hands down. A close second? Scissors.

[image source]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Your Wedding Day Manicure with Essie


I have never been a huge fan of french manicures. For some reason, even when done professionally at the salon, at least one of the white tips will chip within a day or so. And since no new wedding ring deserves to slip onto chipped nails, I wanted to share my favorite wedding day nail polish color - Ballet Slippers from Essie. Since Essie's site is flash, you'll have to go to their collection, here, and type in 'ballet slippers' to actually see it.

The reason it is my favorite polish? I only need one coat to get the faintest shade of pink, and even if it does chip, I can hardly tell because it's so close to my natural color.

While checking out Essie's site, I noticed their wedding collection, which seems to have some great shades included. Since I haven't personally used any of them, I cannot guarantee I'll like them as much as Ballet Slippers, however I would absolutely check out some of these faint shades for your big day if you're considering a (non-french) manicure!

Now if we are talking about pedicures - I'm more of a "bring on the color" kinda gal, with my current favorite shade being OPI's Deer Valley Spice, and my old favorite Cha-Ching Cherry.

What is your favorite polish shade? I would love to add some new ones to my growing collection!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Wedding Inspiration

Birds, tiny flowers, itty bitty details, ruffles, casual, comfortable -all words I would use to describe these images from Anthropologie's homepage yesterday. I popped in to see what was new, and was greeted by the above images - which inspired an entire wedding in my head yesterday afternoon!

What has been inspiring you as your plan your big day? What blogs do you read? Friends you go to for advice? My favorite "trend" of 2010 is seeing how each client of ours makes their wedding unique to suit their taste. And my favorite part about all of our clients is how different each wedding is.

I received an email from our first wedding client for 2010 - her wedding is 45 days away. 45 DAYS - that's it! We are more than ready to jump into the season, and are excited to see how everything unfolds.

Happy Spring, readers!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pearls Events Favorite | Pink Damask Cake


In May 2008, I blogged this pink, damask cake. I realize that damask is getting less popular as time goes on, however, I still love the detail of this beauty!

This cake design is a great example of how adding a graphic element to your dessert masterpiece makes your day more cohesive in the event design process. While most people remember that linens & flowers play a big role, don't forget to include your baker in the event design process!

[Wendy Kromer for Martha Stewart Weddings]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great Find | Mobiles

Since I am just a tiny bit obsessed with everything having to do with babies right now, I have been looking for a unique mobile that would compliment the room and also soothe the baby.

But how about a mobile for your wedding? They come in all shapes and sizes, materials, and styles these days and would add just the right amount of pizazz to your wedding!

What about a mobile made of paper where all of your guests could leave you a small wish or message for your new life together? Or a photo mobile created from photos of you and your sweetie for your guests to peruse while they wait for your big arrival? Or two long mobiles framing your aisle? Possibly a ribbon mobile to decorate certain areas such as your escort card table or gift table. Or for a fun twist on floral centerpieces, create a floral mobile! Get creative and make it your own, have fun!


Photo compliments of Sweet Paul.

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