Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celebrating with Sparklers


Sparkler exits have been popular for years and with the Fourth of July holiday quickly approaching, I'm sure there are many summer brides planning on this grand exit this very weekend! Although it looks perfect in photos, coordinating this exit strategy is no easy task.

We have coordinated two sparkler exits in the past six weeks - one for Lauren & Greg on May 22nd and another for Emily & Tyler on June 4th. While it seems passing out sparklers and getting them going would only take moments, the reality is that you need to get all of your guests outside and assembled properly, which with 100+ people can take up to 20 minutes, especially if you're luring them away from a dance floor & an open bar.

After guests have their sparklers in-hand, you need to light them at about the same time so the newlyweds can gallivant through the middle & hop into their getaway vehicle. Easy, right? Well, the 36" long sparklers, which burn for four minutes, are difficult to light with a lighter, and with an ordinary match - forget about it. Sometimes a few 10" sparklers will be provided to help get them going, however in the past, these have gone missing.

We have found the easiest way to light the industry-strength sparklers are with tealight candles. Having candles burning, and available for guests to start their sparkler works quite well. And the sparklers tend to light best from one another, so getting a few going, and then "passing the flame" works well too.

My advice if you don't have a coordinator to handle this task, is to have your emcee make an announcement to gather outside to send the newlyweds off, have a few friends ready to pass out sparklers to each guests & make sure everyone is lined up properly, and then start a few sparklers on each end of the line you've created and have each guests pass their flame to the person next to them. You'll also need a fire-proof receptacle to gather the hot wires when finished - and be careful, the metal is hot!

It's such a dramatic exit - and one I absolutely love!

To save some money, don't order enough sparklers for each guest attending. While you may think everyone will stay until the end, chances are a few guests will leave prior to the newlyweds taking off.

Happy Fourth of July, United States readers! Have a safe & happy holiday. We have a wedding on Saturday and cannot wait to celebrate with them!


[top photo of Lauren & Greg, copyright Kelly Braman Photography; bottom two photos of Emily & Tyler, copyright Kai Heeringa Photography]

Monday, June 21, 2010

On Television | Ask the...Wedding Planner

A couple of months ago, my friend Dusty Brown told me WGVU was looking for a local wedding planner to join Shelley Irwin on local PBS show, Ask the..., and he gave them MY name. Me? Seriously?

I talked to producer James Holland, and within the day, I had Barb of Sweet Cakes Design and Ann of Forrester Farm joining me for the June 24th program on WGVU. It will be live(!) and viewers will be encouraged to call in and ask the three of us wedding planning & design questions. I'm already nervous with anticipation of NOT knowing an answer off the top of my head.

Nightmares go something like this...

Caller: Traditionally, what is the order of the receiving line at the church?

Aletha
: I actually have no idea, however, I have a fabulous book at home that I can look it up in. Or try Googleing it. May I get your email address and follow up with you?

Oy!

And because this WAS a real question from last Saturday's wedding, and I did NOT know the answer, you better believe I looked it up ASAP. And just in case you are wondering, a traditional receiving line is as follows...

  • Mother of the Bride
  • Mother of the Groom
  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Maid of Honor
  • All of the Bridesmaids
Traditionally, no men stand in the receiving line, except for the groom, of course. Child attendants also do not participate in the receiving line.


See? I'm nervous!

Barb, Ann and I got together a month ago to put together our design concepts to share with viewers, because we all know gorgeous linens, flowers, paper products and cake make my job much more fun from the outside looking in. The bold color palette - mango, magenta & avocado - will be making their appearance THIS THURSDAY at 6pm, EST. Stay tuned to see what both Ann & Barb create, as well as Abbey from Syd Design comes up with for all the little details for the show. I plan on blogging about it, especially if I get some good photos.

If you are a local reader, please tune in to WGVU from 6:00pm - 6:30pm EST on Thursday June 24th, 2010 to see me in action!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Made in Michigan | Pixel and Hank

Daisy Rizzo (top middle & bottom left), a 2008 Pearls Events bride, has been a huge fan of ours since we met to chat about her wedding. She has continually cheered me on as I continue to build this wedding planning business. And in return, I've had the pleasure of watching her grow her own business, Pixel & Hank, an Etsy store full of gorgeous goodies for anyone looking for a truly unique accessory.

Recently, Daisy teamed up with another former client, Bree (top left & bottom right) and their wedding photographer, Amy, to style this FABULOUS shoot highlighting Daisy's newest collection. I'm loving all the pieces and cannot wait to see where this takes Pixel & Hank in 2010 and beyond.

You may remember the contest we held with Pixel & Hank back in October...well, if you haven't checked out the Pixel & Hank shop since then, you should - Daisy has added SO many new & lovely things!

Congrats, Daisy, for following your heart with Pixel & Hank!

[all photos copyright Amy Carroll Photography]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Get Married In Michigan | Mackinac Island

As a Michigan wedding planner, a few perks slide across my desk from time to time. The most recent, was an invitation to kick off summer at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island. I could not turn down the generous offer, so Greg and I made the five-hour trek north to catch a ferry for Memorial Day weekend.

We had a great view of the lake from our room, the staff was attentive and we had an absolute blast with our dear friends Adam and Lindsey Nartker. We were treated to a carriage tour of the island and took advantage of our free time by exploring the island on foot. On Memorial Day, we rented beach cruisers and biked the perimeter of the island, stopping for ice cream halfway around. Neither Greg nor I had been to visit since we were kids and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And because I think about weddings a lot, we explored the wedding facilities, both inside and out. Mission Point is simply a gorgeous place to get married, especially if you're a water lover. The wedding photos of Cimbery and Chris, above, courtesy of Amy Carroll, were taken at their wedding at Mission Point in 2009. And the snapshots from around the island, were from my point 'n' shoot!

If you're looking for a truly unique location to tie the knot in Michigan, Mackinac Island should absolutely be on your list of places to scout.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gorgeous Vintage-Inspired Wedding Video

This short & sweet wedding video is absolutely gorgeous! John from Coastline Studios sent it my way, and although the entire film captures all the little details of Michelle & Joe's wedding day, my favorite part is at the very end of the one minute trailer, when the couple is riding in the car together.

If you're looking for vintage wedding inspiration, make sure to check out Michelle & Joe's wedding details in this video - you will not be disappointed!

[1940's-Inspired Wedding Teaser from Coastline Studios]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pink and Yellow Sweet Table

Remember that gorgeous yellow and ivory wedding I showed you a couple of weeks ago? Well, our upcoming photo shoot is approaching and I recently spotted this eye-catching display from Amy Atlas.

I'm thrilled to share we have partnered up with Ali from Iced Events on creating a custom sweet table for Pearls Events. I cannot wait to see what Ali dreams up for the shoot and I cannot wait to share the details once they are ready to share!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Real Wedding 2010 | Emily & Tyler


Listening to wedding ideas from the bride & her mom last October, I knew Emily & Tyler's wedding was one their guests would remember for years to come. And when Mary, Megan & I arrived for rehearsal, I was smitten with the location. Two tents were nestled among the trees, and the ceremony site was situated in front of the pergola - an instant setting for a magical evening. And magical it was...

The event design was spectacular and exactly what the bride & her gracious mom, Sheri, imagined - tents draped in flowing fabric, chandeliers to set the mood, gorgeous linens from La Tavola, and amazing place settings. Abbey from Syd Design set the stage with the adorable invitations, escort cards, table numbers and ceremony programs. Jenn and her entire team at Modern Day Floral did an outstanding job with every last design detail, down to the dishes, and we were honored to be a part of such a gorgeous day!

And although thunderstorms were in the forecast, only a couple of small showers popped up throughout the evening. Guests enjoyed hors d'Ĺ“uvres & a family-style meal catered by Grand Rapids' favorite, San Chez. They danced under the stars before the final farewell to the newlyweds with a grand sparkler exit - the perfect way to end a perfect day!

This is only a portion of the preview from Kai Heeringa Photography. To see even more photos, check out their recap blog post here.

It was such a pleasure working with this family! Congrats to Emily & Tyler!

The Details...
Couple | Emily & Tyler, 6.4.10
Pearls Events Coordinators
| Aletha, Mary & Megan
Bride's Gown | Custom made by Ruth Andrus
Bride's Hair | Kayley Heeringa
Bride's Makeup | Mary Leslie of Leslie Studio
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen attire | J. Crew
Venue | Private Residence
Officiate | Josh Mateer of Calvary Church
Caterer | San Chez
Photographer | Kai Heeringa Photography
Invitations Suite & Wedding Day Paper Products | Syd Design
Event Design & Flowers| Modern Day Floral
Sweet Table & Cake | Sweet Cakes Design
Entertainment | Entertainment on the Move
Valet Parking | Ellis Parking
Rentals | Cascade Rental & Special Events Rental

Monday, June 7, 2010

Real Event 2010 | Joey & Chris' Bridal Shower

I remember the phone conversation we had about her wedding to Chris planned for Fourth of July weekend in Grand Rapids. Joey, living in New York City for eight years, with tons of event planning experience under her belt, hired us to coordinate her 2010 wedding. Her mother, Shari, hired us to coordinate this sweet, sweet bridal shower in May. The shower was a day to remember for all the guests who were spoiled with a delicious luncheon, followed by the most adorable two-tiered personal wedding cakes I've ever seen.

It has been so much fun listening to all of the wedding details unfold - just wait until you see the wedding photos - I am already looking forward to July 3rd.

The Details...
Pearls Events Coordinator
| Aletha
Event Design | Stems Event Design
Venue | Cascade Hills Country Club
Photographer | Jen Kroll Photography

Friday, June 4, 2010

Real Wedding 2010 | Lauren & Greg

When I met with Margo last August, I knew I was going to enjoy planning Lauren & Greg's wedding day with her and the couple. From the amazing location in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids & the awesome lineup of vendors, to the delicious meal served & late night surprises for the guests & couple alike - it was an all-around amazing day!

The bride & groom enjoyed their day, the reception details were amazing, and guests danced the night away. Everyone enjoyed the sparkler sendoff of the newlyweds at the end of the night, and I could not imagine a more perfect way to begin Lauren & Greg's marriage!

Congrats to the newlyweds! We were honored to be a part of your big day!

The Details...
The Couple | Lauren & Greg, 5.22.10
Pearls Events Planner & Designer | Aletha
Pearls Events Coordinators | Aletha, Stephanie & Megan
Invitations | Syd Design
Wedding Day Paper Products | Events by I. Candy
Bride's Makeup | Allison Bower
Bride's Hair | The Heitz Salon
Ceremony | St. Robert of Newminster Parish
Reception | Bridgewater Place
Caterer & Bar Service | Applause
Photographer | Kelly Braman Photography
Videographer | Deep End Films
Florist | Forrester Farm
Cake | Sweet Cakes Design
Disc Jockey | Music Host Productions
Transportation | White Knight Limousine & Grand Carriages
Rentals | Special Events & Events by I. Candy

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