sane wedding planning

wedding related ramblings revolving around sanity and practicality, with a little bit of geekery and crazy just for fun!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Evil Queen inspiration board

One of my favorite people is turning 40 this coming year and we are throwing an awesome party to celebrate. Because we don't do things halfway, it's going to be a tented, catered affair on her sports court with a DJ, a photo booth, and of course, costumes. More on the party later. Today, let's talk attire.

The theme for the night is Disney - everyone is to come in their favorite costume, and they are to put some thought into it. I want to share my inspiration board, because I am obsessing over it lately. I am going as the Evil Queen from Snow White.

But I'm putting my own special twist on the costume. Instead of the above picture, I am using the below one for my inspiration.

Yay!! I'm so excited! I have been poking around ebay, pinterest, and etsy and have come up with some pretty awesome ideas. Trying to piece this together on a very strict budget will be a challenge, but I think I've found some great pieces.

For my attire, I'm bidding on these items on ebay (cross your fingers, please!):

The dress will need a little work, but I know a seamstress or two that can help me whore it up a bit. I am loving the cloak, it's the second one I've bid on (the first one went over my allotted amount).

And how about these, for the accessories?

I'm pretty set on the clothes, but still playing around with the accessories. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I am planning decor for the upcoming Northlake Wedding & Events Tour and am super excited for our theme! We will be at the University Masonic Lodge and our inspiration is the Glee version of the song Baby, It's Cold Outside.

My vision, at the moment, is a 50's cocktail party, hosted by a male couple. I don't want to go Christmassy with this, because the tour is right before Thanksgiving (and I am a strong believer in one holiday at a time). So we are focusing on winter and family and friends, and warm intimate settings.

I've, of course, started a pinterest board with all my ideas.

Today, in trying to hone things down a bit, I'm working on my inspiration board. Tell me what you think, I'd love your feedback!!

I love this color pallet, first of all. So awesome! I found it on pinterest, of course, but click on the picture to go to the original blog.

Because it's winter, I am in love with this bouquet. Maybe for the tables? Maybe around the hot chocolate bar?

I'm really excited about the hot chocolate and coffee bar ideas below. With all the different pieces of furniture available to us from Vintage Ambiance, I know we'll come up with something equally keen.

Speaking of Vintage Ambiance, they have the coolest chandelier that I am hoping to use. The Vintage Ambiance one is on the left, below. I'd love to dress it up even more like the piece on the right. What do you think?

I'd love to be able to pull off something like this along one of the walls, with lots of candles and twinkle lights and maybe a few hurricanes filled with snowflakes and little gold balls ...

And of course, being a cocktail party, we need to have a bar area (too bad we can't REALLY serve alcohol at the wedding show). I'm pretty sure, again, that with something from the Vintage Ambiance collection of tables and trunks, we can totally make this look work.

You can't have a cocktail party without a place to sit down and put your drink.

And, finally, you can't have a 50's party without a little cocktail dress. Wouldn't this look great on a little metal dress form?

So there you have it. A little inspiration for my pretend cocktail party. I'd love to hear what you think!

Please join us at the Northlake Wedding and Events tour on November 14 to see how it all turns out!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Love and rainbows and a stiff drink

I love weddings, obviously. Even though the day itself is a long one, it is usually filled with some awesome moments, and there are always things I take away from each event. I spend my drive home after the wedding recapping the day, thinking about all the things I want to remember, trying to hold on to the happy feeling I have when I leave every event (because, come on, my clients are all awesome and I want them all to become life long friends). I have every intention of spending the day after the wedding blogging it all so I can have something solid to remember it by.

But then I wake up the next day. And I'm sore, and exhausted. And all I want to do is check out, rest up a bit, hug my kids, have the husband wait on me, have a stiff drink. And the blog never gets written. Three years (well, even more if you count all the hobby weddings) of beautiful weddings, amazing people, vendors I've enjoyed and want to wholeheartedly recommend, new friends I would love to keep up with ... it all gets buried as the next wedding comes up and the focus shifts.

So today I'm determined. The last two couples I've worked with have been so awesome, and so different. And then there's a third wedding that I didn't even get to attend (a pre-wedding consult). And you guys ... sigh. Awesomeness.

So I'm going to start with last weekend, because it was monumentous.

Last weekends was so cool. Lyndsey and Kamal were from DC and got married in her hometown of Gig Harbor. It was a mix of India (him) and America (her) and it was ... awesome. They blended their cultures together and they did it perfectly. I can't wait to show off pictures. But as a teaser, here are my totally lame cell phone pictures. And my promise that I will forever want to hire a Bhangra Dance Troupe for every family gathering I have, ever. And probably DJ Aanshul as well, because he's awesome and can set the vibe for a hell of a party.

Those strips of color waving from the tree are cut up Sari's. Such a beautiful ceremony!
A bit of a teaser of what all the vendors are up to while the ceremony is going on.

The Bhangra dance troupe. For real, do it!! 
This wedding was so much fun, for many reasons. But other than the Bhangra Dance Troupe which, again, totally rocked, and my new friend DJ Aanshul, who I will party with for a long while, the highlight to my evening was Kamal, the groom.

In our planning sessions, Kamal was a bit detail oriented and I was concerned with whether he would be able to let it all go and live in the moments of the day. But he did let it go, he did live in the moment, and he enjoyed the hell out of the whole damn night. And at the end of the night he talked a little about the Lovings, an interracial couple that took their right to be married all the way to the supreme court, and he endeared himself to me forever.
“When any society says that I cannot marry a certain person, that society has cut off a segment of my freedom,” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., 1958.
Until the moment he gave his speech, thanking this couple who fought 50+ years ago for the right to marry someone of a different race, it didn't occur to me that Lyndsey and Kamal might have any obstacles in front of them. The fact that they were of different races didn't even dawn on me. In my happy little world, love is love and everyone needs to chill the fuck out and let them spread their love around.

But I want to thank them both. I will forever remember Kamal, and his love for Lyndsey, and their passion for life and living and being happy and I will cheer them on. They are bringing us all a step closer to a happy world of love and peace and rainbows.

And for a brief moment, I got to be a part of it. I got to be part of their love, part of their passion, and part of a step forward.

This is why I love weddings.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Wedding crashing, of sorts

This weekend the hubs and I took advantage of the kids being away and cashed in on a thank you gift from a wedding last summer - a gift card to the Woodmark Hotel & Spa. Most awesome, I highly recommend you all do this (the weekend away part, it doesn't matter where).

The hotel, if you aren't familiar with it, sits right on Lake Washington and is a popular wedding venue. While we were there we got to see three different weddings. Doing what I do for a living, I couldn't help checking out some of the details, seeing if I knew the vendors, smiling at the happy and the love. I did, of course, chuckle to myself at the irony of the wedding planner "getting away" to a wedding venue. Obviously I didn't think that one all the way through, but it was a wonderful weekend none the less.

From my sister-in-laws wedding last summer at the Woodmark.
Beautiful photo by

One of the details I loved was from the first wedding we saw, Saturday afternoon. Everyone, all the guests and all the attendants, dressed in white. It made quite an impression - I heard people wandering around the local restaurants and shops talking about it. This is such a classy look and it really felt, as a bystander, that everyone in attendance played an important role in the day. It just felt happy and fun and I would love to see this done again! I wanted to take a picture (and now I'm really wishing I had, because I can't find anything online that compares), but I didn't really feel it was my place to do so. All in all, the effect was beautiful and will stand out in my head for a while.

The other wedding piece that we loved (especially my husband) was the third wedding we saw, on Sunday afternoon. At the entrance to the tent, the couple had designed a poster in the style of Mr. & Mrs. Smith to welcome all their guests. My husband actually had us walk the long way out of the lobby just to show it to me. Super fun, and seriously, who wouldn't want to pose for a photo shoot like that?!

I'd love to hear from you, friends and readers, about what things stand out to you from weddings you've attended in the past. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sounders wedding - the pictures

A while ago I did a teaser post about a Sounders themed wedding I was doing. At last, as I know you've all been dying to see them, I am excited to share all the fun Sounders touches they snuck in throughout the day. I just love these two, it was so much fun to look through all these photos!

Congratulations again to Josh and Alicia! It was an honor to be part of your big day, I love you both and I look forward to many more Sounders games in our future!!

Wedding photography by the amazing Fred Calma Photography. Check him out, he's pretty awesome!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Supporting small businesses

I saw this on facebook today and I keep thinking about it. These days especially, it is so important to support the little guys. In every aspect of life you will find this divide - the divide between the mega companies (in my world, that would be the Jennifer Lopez or Franck's of the industry) and the little people. There are a lot of people trying to make their way in the world, and I am a big advocate of giving the mom and pop businesses a chance first.

There is a reason we all do what we do. To those of us that are self employed, we do this because we love it. We do this because we are passionate, this isn't just a job for us. You aren't just another number, another commission. We genuinely want to help you, because it enables us to do what we love.

And by being able to do what we love, we get to help our families do what they love. And we all get to be better, happier people.

By supporting the little guys, you are doing so much more with your money than paying for a service. There's a cascading effect that you don't see, but it's magical. And appreciated so very much.

So from me, and from all my friends who own their own small businesses, thank you for your support.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Prom photo shoot

There has been some prom craziness at our house recently; the teenager was thrilled to get the Hugo Boss suit he'd been drooling over ("I actually cried a little when I tried it on, mom"). His good friend finally got to wear the Betsey Johnson dress and shoes (oh, those shoes!!!) she purchased last December for this very occasion. After a day of primping (mostly by her, but a little on his end too), we headed down to Gasworks Park in Seattle to do a mini photo shoot before their dinner reservations. I thought I'd share the fun!

It was a fun way to mark the occasion, but reminded me a lot of doing a wedding shoot. I hope this provides a little inspiration for a fun set of pictures, no matter what the event is!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

To frame or not to frame?

I am doing a wedding show this weekend with some awesome vendors at a beautiful venue. The theme we've chosen for our "reception" is English Country Garden, and it's going to be beautiful and classy and full of some awesome, vintage, antique furniture. It's not particularly my style, but it will be elegant and I'm excited to see it all come together.

So. I am struggling with one particular piece of my table display. I have my marketing materials done, my "sign up and win this awesome prize" put together. I have a rough idea of how to put it all together on the beautiful dresser that I get to use (I am seriously in love with this piece!!). But I really, really want to incorporate a little bit of funkiness to my space.

I do, after all, have blue hair these days.

I really feel that this picture totally breaks down the barriers and fits me to a T.

I want to put it in a little 4x6 frame on my table. But, though I can - and often do - swear like a sailor, I'm just not sure this is the right environment for it.

What do you think? Is it okay to swear while trying to attract clients? I can blur the offending word out, but I think the implication is still the same so it might not matter. I just go back and forth. I need some advice.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Worst. Date. Ever.

One of the local radio stations has a contest going right now for a Marriage Vow Renewal in Scottsdale, AZ. To enter, you have to talk about the worst date you ever had with your spouse.

We both, immediately, knew what story we wanted to share.

When the husband and I first hooked up, he was going to college about four hours away from me. We’d known each other for years and this long distance thing was exactly what we (I) needed at this particular time in our (my) lives. We talked on the phone a lot, and spent random weekends together when we could.

One weekend he decided he wanted to do something extra special. He’d saved up his money and wanted to take me out to dinner at the Space Needle (where I’d never eaten), then he made reservations at a very swanky hotel downtown for a little romantic getaway. We were both very much looking forward to our “weekend away” and had been excitedly counting down to it for quite some time.

Finally the day arrived. Outfit planned, bag packed for the night … all was going to be perfect. But as I was getting ready I started to feel a little ‘off’.

There was pain. Down there. And it hurt. A lot.

When he finally got to my place to pick me up, I was determined to suck it up and have fun, because this was a BIG. DEAL. But he took one look at me and decided maybe I should call the doctor.

And the doctor told me to head to the ER. Now.

It turns out I had a very severe bladder infection. I'll spare you the gory details.

After a few hours in the ER (in which we missed our dinner reservations), they gave me a prescription for the infection. The nurse told me “wear your oldest underwear that you don’t mind getting stained, because it will probably turn them orange.”


We decided to head to the hotel anyway. Even if our romantic weekend had changed course, it would still be more fun to laze around (in my oldest, grungiest underwear) in a swanky hotel rather than in my little apartment.

When we got to the hotel to check in to our reserved room, it turns out that they didn’t have any rooms available. More people than expected had decided to stay an extra night, and that, apparently, overshadowed our reservation. But they’d be happy to put us up in a different hotel at no charge.

Fine. Whatever. I just want to take my meds and be miserable in peace.

I mean, I just wanted to cuddle with the boyfriend.

The new hotel overlooked the freeway. It was an all-suites hotel, but it was a far cry from the elegance of the former hotel. After we checked in we realized that, late as it was, we still needed to eat dinner. So we tried to order up some room service.

The kitchen was closed for the night.

At our new locale, overlooking I-5¸we weren’t in walking distance to any kind of actual restaurant. So the then-boyfriend ran down to a nearby convenience store. Instead of our romantic seated dinner for two in our fancy dress clothes overlooking the city, we ate things like chips and salami and cheese from a plastic container. Curled up in our suite, listening to the romantic sounds of passing cars on the freeway. In my hole-y, gross underwear. That was beginning to turn orange.


Now it's your turn. Tell me about your worst date with the love of your life!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sounders & weddings; two of my favorite things.

Josh & Alicia are getting married this weekend at a beautiful venue in Snohomish and I am so excited!! I have been working with these two for over a year to help plan their wedding, and all that hard work will culminate in a most beautiful and fun event this Saturday evening.

From the beginning they told me they wanted their colors to be a Sounders blue and green, and there were a few items that they wanted to tie into their traditional yet "quirky" day. From our first meeting way back in early 2011, these were my two favorite ideas and I'm excited to give you a little sneak peak.

Wedding favors everyone can use AT the wedding! 

Set at each table as an alternate beverage choice for guests, Josh & Alicia asked the folks at Jones Soda to design personalized labels for their green apple, blue bubblegum, and vanilla bean soda's. The labels were another use for their super cute engagement photos, and there is even a special thank you from the couple on the back.

Awesome right? Just wait for the next one ...

Best. Cake topper. Ever.

You guys!


That look like the couple!!

On the cake!!

They had these specially made, using images of themselves, and an image of her dress. And, of course, the Sounders logo. These are so cool. I keep giggling and cheering every time I look at this picture.

Happy wedding weekend to Josh & Alicia! I am so excited to share in this day with you and your friends and families, and I wish you guys a calm, peaceful, fun and amazing day.


Monday, March 5, 2012

I got this!

This came across my facebook timeline this morning. It is still making me chuckle, hours later. It perfectly encapsulates what I do. If I could put this on my business cards, I totally would!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You are beautiful just the way you are!!

I was reading through Twitter earlier and came across a tweet from my friend @moodeous, a Denver area photographer. Rather than expound (too much) on the article she linked to, and my thoughts on the wedding industry when it comes to the pressure they add, I will just leave you with the following twitter conversation. Because it really says it all.

@moodeous: Ladies, as a photographer I want you to know I think you're beautiful the way you are and I bet your fiance thinks so too!
Me: I love this! Spread that message, it's powerful and beautiful.

@moodeous: thank you!!! Cause seriously, they asked YOU not someone you're going to be!
Me: Right!? Because there needs to be MORE pressure on women to look "perfect". Ugh. Stupid WIC.

She had linked to an article titled 15 Beauty Tips Every Bride Should Know, but I don't really want to give it any more attention by adding a link here. Because, obviously, I hate the message it is sending.

So, please. Take a moment to realize that you are beautiful the way you are. Your fiance fell in love with YOU, in all your glory, for better and for worse. You don't need to get a spray tan and a manicure and a professional make-over to be worthy. You just need to smile, and let that newly-engaged or newly-married or about-to-be-married glow do it's thing. Because it shines brighter than any make-over ever will.

You are beautiful just. The way. You are.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A plea to take a break from planning every so often

I got an email recently from a potential client, whom I had a meeting scheduled with, asking to reschedule because they were "waving the white flag" on wedding planning for the weekend.

That made me want to stand up and cheer for them both.

Wedding planning is a lot to take. Especially if you aren't a "planner" type person. Even if you are, though, it can get to be overwhelming. It can get to be too much. And I'm here to tell you it's okay to take some time off from it all.

Planning such a huge event takes a lot of work. Add to it all the things expected of you in everyday life as well, and sometimes it is just too much.

Some people power through and just do it. And sometimes that works. But sometimes it doesn't, and the wedding planning can break you. It stops being fun. It becomes something that stresses you out. It becomes something you just can't deal with anymore.

Where is the fun in that?

Regardless of the type of event you are having, I fully expect you to take some time and NOT think about it. Take some time to enjoy your person. Take some time to breathe, and remember why you are doing this all in the first place.

Remember that you are getting married, not just planning a wedding. And though this wedding thing can be a lot, it's just a small dose of what follows. Marriage is filled with ups and downs, lots of tests, and lots of love. Take some time, as often as you need, to remember why you want to marry this person. The rest of it will come together in just the right way. And then, THEN, you can start the rest of your life.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Washington Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill

Last night the Washington state Senate voted 28-21 to pass the gay marriage bill, and I was there to see it happen.

As awesome as it was to be in a room full of passionate people watching this all unfold, the part that will stick with me the longest is those few minutes it took for each senator to cast their vote. As the secretary was calling roll, I saw many couples holding hands, squeezing each other out of love and support (and nerves). 

The couple in front of me were nestled together, one tucked perfectly into the shoulder of the other. 

The woman at the end of my aisle had her head buried in her partners lap, she couldn't even look at the screen. 

The little girl who was there with her two mom's was tapping her feet, looking very anxious, holding both their hands.

We were all holding our breath. The tension and the excitement, you could almost taste it. And when the final tally was announced, the whole room exploded. Everyone jumped up, there were high fives, hugs, arms thrown in the air for victory. The group in front of me, one woman embraced the other two and said "I can't wait to get my wedding invitation!"

It was electrifying. Awesome. F*cking amazing!

There were so many great moments to come out of this debate, I wish I could put them all here in this post to remember them. Rather, I will link to some  written highlights here, and you can watch the full debate here. It's a little long, but, as Senator Murray (the main sponsor of the bill) said, “it was one of the best debates I've ever seen in my time in the Legislature ... and when we finally won, it was incredibly moving.” You can see Sen Regala at about the 58 minute mark, talking about why the definition of marriage should be updated to reflect the times (and how it has changed over the centuries) and Sen Ranker right after, talking about being raised by a gay father. Those two, alone, are worth the watch. 

Grab a tissue while you watch. 

And a glass of champagne, baby, because this is moving forward!