Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you have a wonderful new year filled with hope, new beginnings, dreams realized, and options abound.

I wish you all the best!

I look forward to bringing you inspiration, new ideas, sound advice, and a bit of craziness in 2010.


Honor Roll - La Prima Catering

I have worked with many caterers in DC Metropolitan area. While there are many great caterers, nobody offers such fantastic food, great personalized service, and offers a variety of rentals as La Prima Catering. La Prima's tastings are complete with different candle arrangements, different linen options, different place setting options, different chairs and different cushions. I have seen it myself - it's quite impressive. They lay all the options right in front of you.

One important thing to me, being a wedding planner, is to have the ability for my client to taste the food prior to signing the contract. Some places will not allow this and others will allow a tasting, but charge a fee. La Prima allows a tasting prior to signing. In fact, I had an African wedding where we wanted to combine the American and African food. La Prima was extremely accommodating in allowing us to bring the African food to the tasting - and went above and beyond to present it elegantly for the client (as it would be served on the day of the wedding).

The event staff is always attentive, and they always respond to questions right away. They take great care to work with each and every budget.

On the day of the wedding, the staff is extremely professional and the spread is always amazing.

It's all of these qualities that make them the easy choice of "best of" 2009 in catering.

When you contact La Prima, let them know that you read about them here.

Dina Silnicky
La Prima Catering

Honor Roll - Jessica Pi Productions

There are many wonderful vendors out there but there are very subtle differences between the ones that stand out - differences that are not necessarily noticeable when you call or interview a vendor. In my opinion, it's these subtleties that make all the difference.

Jessica Piscitelli is all of this and more. She is the epitome of "going above and beyond" for her clients. She does more than she needs to - to get the job done. She is passionate, professional, and pleasant.

She is a super quick responder and is always present. You can tell that she loves filming weddings. She moves quietly and quickly but she gets all the shots. Her eye for detail is impeccable, which is a rarity in the industry. More importantly, she works extremely hard and you can tell. Her product is top notch. In this day in age, I think it's extremely difficult to find a great videographer for under 5K - but Jessica is it! She is fabulous and her product is fabulous. Just take a look at her blog. Seeing is believing!

She is wonderful to work with and my clients always love her. It's because of these qualities that I name her "best of" 2009 in wedding videography.

Let Jessica know that you read about her here.

Jessica Piscitelli
Jessica Pi Productions

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Honor Roll - Rachel Smith Photography

An expert with the details, Rachel's style transcends time. Documentary in style, she tells her couple's stories through definite defined images - all of them crisp clean, meaningful and taken with purpose. Her use of lighting and the natural surroundings is superb.

I don't think I have seen anyone work like Rachel. She has a unique gift. She is quick and she has wedding hands (you can tell that she knows and loves wedding). Each and every wedding presents it's challenges, and she meets those challenges in extraordinaire ways. What to see an example? Take a look at her most recent blog post. I don't think there are many people who would travel to a wedding, take "beyond belief" pictures - and be as positive as Rachel during a blizzard. You wouldn't even know that she had to overcome insurmountable obstacles because each image is absolute perfection.

Amazing! I think that blog post says it all!

After the first of the year, I will share a set of amazing images that Rachel took. They are awe inspiring. Bravo!

It's because of her amazing ability to go above and beyond for her clients, her love for weddings, and an uncanny ability to capture details in extraordinary ways - that I name her "best of" 2009 in Documentary Photography

When you contact Rachel, let her know that you read about her here.

Rachel Smith
Rachel Smith Photography

Honor Roll - Joyce Mungo Make-up Artistry

I found Joyce while working with a Bride and I am glad I found her. Having worked on TV and in Hollywood, she is well versed with different skin textures and colors. This woman knows her stuff!

At her trials, she goes to great lengths to make sure everything is perfect and as the Bride wants it to be. She goes above and beyond to make sure her clients are satisfied and will stay until the Bride is happy, no matter how long it takes.

She works with MAC. She is available to travel anywhere for trials (Maryland, N. VA, or DC), and on the big day. I have seen her, first hand, work on the Bride and several Bridesmaids - on her own. Everyone was to absolute perfection. In fact, she takes time to touch up everyone at the end.

She is extremely versatile and accommodating - and this is why I named her "best of" 2009 in Make-up artistry.

When you contact Joyce, please let her know that you found her here!

Joyce Mungo Make-up Artistry
410 -300 - 0287

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Honor Roll - Dawn Bernard Photography

An amazing photographer based in Northern Virginia, Dawn is the perfect choice for any wedding. Her style is a bit more traditional than the other photographers and she excels at what she does. Her images are crisp, clean, and tell the story of the day. As she moves unassuming through the crowed, you can tell that her photography is not a job, but a passion. She goes above and beyond for her clients, even if it means that she stays a bit longer to get the shot!

She is an extremely hard worker, and will do what she needs to do to make sure the client is happy (including going out into the rain). Her prices are affordable, allowing her to bring her art to a wide range of clientele - never sacrificing service and quality. Most importantly, she's a helluva nice person.

It's because of these qualities that I named her 2009 "best of photographer.

Dawn Bernard Photography


Honor Roll - Spa and Custom Jewelry

For me, Racquel Allen was the best thing to come out of a Bridal show I attended. I don't believe in Superwomen, but Racquel Allen certainly does it all! She is a real talent, who from a young age, showed enormous potential. A salon owner and savvy business woman, she is able to harness her ingenuity, creativity and eye for beauty in a variety of ways that cultivates and nourishes the entire person.

Racquel has delighted her clients with custom made jewelry for 11 years. When you walk into her salon, you can see samples of her excellent creations. She takes the time to work with her clients to create the custom piece of their dreams.

An accomplished Jewelry designer, she is also able to give her clients a head to toe transformation through hair care, nail care, cutting, relaxing, up-styling, eyebrow shaping, extensions, nail care and make-up. She is also exceptional - and a leader in the field - with color.

Racquel is truly a forward thinker, a trend setter, and an extremely unique talent. She brings uniqueness to all of my brides, no matter the ethnicity. She is full of excellence and it's because of this that I name her 2009 "best of" in Spa and Jewelry services.

Racquel Allen
Statements Unisex Salon

Monday, December 28, 2009

Honor Roll - Borrowed Blue Photography

3 Adjectives that I would use to describe Natalie and Jamie - professional, dedicated, and fresh.

They will take your wedding and create a story - a real story as it was told on your wedding day. Documentary in style, you feel each and every emotion in each and every image.

Natalie and Jamie are absolutely fabulous to work with, move like ghosts amongst your guests, and create images that are unmatched by any other photographer in the area. They are always available to their clients and respond quickly to questions or concerns.

The awesome customer relations, their unmatched ability to create one of a kind images, their willingness to customize their services to meet their clients' needs, and frankly - they are just two of the nicest people - makes them my pick for "best of" photographer 2009!

Borrowed Blue Photography

Honor Roll - The Walters Art Museum

Sorry DC couples - this year, my favorite venue is in Baltimore.

Situated in the middle of the quaint and historic Mount Vernon, The Walters Art Museum is the perfect site for a sophisticated wedding. It's a hidden gem in a big field. Your ceremony and reception will be held in the sculpture court, which is large, light and airy -and can accommodate parties (with a dance floor) for up to 200. The openness of the space naturally lends itself to creativity in table arrangements and sizes. Your cocktail hour will be one of a kind with the ability to treat your guests to some of the finest art in the area.

Easily accessible, there is ample parking and elegant accommodations nearby -making it easy for your guests to enjoy the festivities.

Catering at the Walters is a dream. You have the freedom to "use who you want"! If your caterer of choice is not on the list, it's easy to get them approved. There are minimal roadblocks along the way.

The "rules" of the museum are not much different than any other museum. It's of utmost importance to preserve the priceless works of art, therefore, no red wine and music must be within a particular range. Tables and chairs must be moved in a certain way - but all of the logistics are cleared with your caterer prior to the big day!

The event director at the Museum is a dream to work with. He's easy, available and always willing to answer questions by phone or email.

All of these qualities make the Walters Art Museum my pick for "best of" venue 2009!

Photography by Rachel Smith

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Honor Roll - Wedding Vendors

Of all the vendors we worked with over the last year, these listed vendors stood out from the rest. They have gone above an beyond in their service to our clients. Over the next 5 days, we will profile each vendor and let you know what qualities put them on this distinguished list.


The Walters Art Museum - Robert Zimmerman


LaPrima Catering - Dina Silnicky

Florist/Floral Designer

Wicked Willow - Randy Woods

DJ - Evan Reitmeyer


Jessicapi Productions - Jessica Piscitelli


Thomas Graves Photography - Thomas Graves

Borrowed Blue Photography - Natalie Nadozirny and Jaime Suthard

Rachel Smith Photography - Rachel Smith

Dawn Bernard Photography - Dawn Bernard


Joyce Mungo - 410 -300 - 0287

Custom Wedding Jewelry

Roc Designs - Racquel Allen

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I wanted to take a moment to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate Christmas) or the best of holiday seasons (if you don't).

Happy Holidays to everyone!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stylish Tuesday - Ivanka Trump

This gown is incredible. Bravo to Ivanka and Vera for creating this masterpiece.

It's so simple in it's design with the couture ivory fabric (they used 3 different colors of ivory) and the fabu lace. The sleeves and bodice are absolutely monumental! This gown is spells graceful, tasteful and elegant. Ivanka radiates in this gown, and this is why this gown is my pick for "best of" 2009.

Happy planning!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eco Friendly Monday - Plantable Seeded Favors

Excite your guests, and protect the environment with these very cute and budget friendly favors. In most cases, the seeds are embedded in the favors. All your guests do is plant them. They will be delighted with a variety of wildflowers. In the case of the pink ribbon favor, 10% of proceeds will be donated to the Young Survival Coalition - an international charity dedicated to improve the lives of young women affected by breast cancer.

Happy planning!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vendor Spotlight - Terry Marshall, Pianist

Terry is one of the most talented artists that I have worked with. He is easy going, kind, but more importantly, a wonderful musician. I have had the pleasure of working with him, and he always conducts himself with the utmost professionalism. His versatility is unsurpassed in the industry.

Composer/Pianist Terry Marshall has performed in concert halls, night clubs and restaurants as far north as Toronto, Canada and as far south as Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Locally he has graced the stages of the most celebrated venues in the Washington, D.C. area. Including; Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, Twins Jazz, Wolf Trapp, and many others. His performances epitomize the essence of taste and artistry.

His talent has allowed him to perform with some amazing artists.

Mark Green (Of the R&B group 'The Moments')
Walter Bell and His Latin Jazz Unit
Sharon Clarke
Blues Legend Memphis Gold
Jerry Gordon
Terry has the ability to perform jazz, classical and popular music on the piano alone or in groups as large as 7 persons.

Terry is truly amazing. It's worth taking a few minutes to listen to samples of his work - it speaks for itself.

When you contact Terry, let him know that you heard about him here!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Course Prepares Couples to Adjust from Single Life to Married Life

Tying the Knot: A Pre-Marriage Workshop for Couples

Offered this January at Washington DCJCC

Marriage, like life, is a journey…and enjoying the journey is the key.

Whether you are planning a wedding or just considering engagement, it is important to explore your relationship and begin to develop skills to handle the challenges that arise when two people share their lives. Meet others who are about to tie the knot as well as this class will bring other couples together to examine and discuss a variety of issues, including marital roles and expectations; religion and spirituality; personality differences, communication styles, managing conflict, decision making skills, intimacy, money and finances; and household, social and leisure activities. Jewish values and traditions provide a strong context for a safe and supportive discussion on this deeply rewarding and challenging journey of marriage.

Facilitator: Dr. Deborah Perlman, Clinical Psychologist

This program is underwritten by the United Jewish Endowment Fund and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Date: 4 Tuesdays: January 12-February 2, 8:00–9:30 pm

Price: $75 per couple

Address: 1529 16th St NW Washington DC

Contact: Sarah Gershman at (202) 777-3237 or;

Register online at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bring it home Wednesday - The Tent

You will find quickly that your tents will be yours, your guests, and your caterers best friends. Since your tents ultimately become an integral part of your venue, and thus a very important component, it's important that you hire a reputable and reliable company. Don't skimp on this part - simply because, the tent is so important to the success of your event.

What makes a great tent company great - and worth the extra $$$$?

1. Customer service - they will come out to your house to speak to you about all the options, to measure, and give advice.

2. They will provide drawings.

3. They will attend the final walk-through to confirm all the last minute details.

4. They will be able to caterer to all of your rentals and flooring needs.

5. They will ensure a knowledgeable person on site not only during set up - but during the length of your event - in the event that something comes up.

All these points are very important and should be considered when you are planning your home wedding.

Home tip - Don't spring for Chiavari chairs if you are not springing for the subfloor.

Happy planning!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DC Council Approves Gay Marriage

A wonderful step for the LGBT community!

The DC council voted overwhelmingly to legalize same sex marriage in the District. It's an historic day!

Take a look

It's a positive step, and absolutely - the right thing to do! I am proud of the District and am extremely happy for the LGBT community!

Way to go!

Stylish Tuesday - Anne Barge

Anne Barge is my favorite designer, and has been since I began Elegant Event Planning and Design. My first bride wore an Anne Barge dress, which was a sleeveless, simple silk a line gown with boxed pleats. For over 7 years, that dress has stuck out in my mind as one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen. Anne Barge is known for her classic designs. Her dresses are of impeccable quality, both in construction and fit. She uses pure silk couture fabrics and simple clean lines and accents them with delicate embroidery and beading. Each dress is a work of art. Her work is classic, and reminds me of icons such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

The things I like about her dresses are their timeless nature. Whether they were a part of her 1998 or 2008 collections, the dresses are beautiful and relevant in today’s world – something I cannot say for many designers.

I want to share with you, some of the elegant simplicity that she has blessed Brides’ with over the last 10 years.


Happy Planning!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eco-Friendly Stationary

You can still be sustainable and be fashionable at the same time! To me, wedding stationary is of utmost importance! Why not, they are your guests first impression of your wedding. Your stationary should have the same style and flair as your wedding.

We love simple - understated - timeless. We love letterpress!

Check out this hot little number.

100% cotton invitation is printed with vegetable based inks.
A bit more budget friendly, but still as Eco-Friendly:

100% PCW cardstock printed with vegetable based inks

Happy Planning!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Registry Glossary

When registering and choosing patters for tableware, a bride needs to know basic terminology of classification in each group - dinnerware, stemware and flatware.

Dinnerware Glossary

Earthenware - Made from less refined clays than china, it is a low fired which causes it to remain relatively soft and porous. Because of this, it is less durable than china or porcelain, but more cost effective due to it’s rapid manufacturing. Brightly colored dinnerware often fall into this category, such as Fiestaware. Don’t let it’s durable appearance fool you, Earthenware is much less durable than china and bone china.

Stoneware - Bridges the gap between earthenware and china. Like china, it is fired at high temperatures so that it is hard, smooth and non-porous. However, it is made of course, sandy clays s which burn to a dark color. It has an earthy appearance often decorated with bright decals. It does lack the delicacy of fine china.

China - A ceramic made of white clay and pulverized stone, fired at a high temperature. It is thin, translucent, resistant to chipping and/or breaking. It will ring when tapped.

Bone China - In addition to china clays, this ceramic product contains a percentage of bone ash, giving it a characteristic whiteness. Neither china or bone china will absorb grease or water when the glaze is chipped.

Porcelain - A fine, hard translucent material made from kaolin, quartz and feldspar and fired at high temperature. It is translucent and hard. Like china, porcelain will not absorb grease or water and is just as durable.

Stemware glossary

Glass - Essentially a mixture of sand, potash and lime or lead oxide which is then melted under high temperatures along with other ingredients to give it specific qualities of color, strength and refraction. Once melted, the molten glass is either molded or blown.

Crystal - To qualify as crystal, lead oxide is added to the potash and soda.

Lead Crystal - Glass that contains at least 24%-32% lead oxide. The lead imports brilliance and is responsible for the bell-like tone that is produced when the piece is struck.

Flatware glossary

Sterling - The queen of flatware, made of 925 parts of pure silver and 75 parts of an alloy. The advantages to sterling are the following;

-it is the most hygienic metal known to man

- It does not give off substances that affect the taste of food

- it is hard and very wear resistant

- Sterling is a precious metal and lasts almost forever

- It becomes heritage for future generations, therefore a wise investment

- If used frequently, it will not tarnish. It’s easy to wash .

Silverplate - Made from a base metal and electroplated with pure silver.

Stainless - Made from a steel allow with chromium so as to inhibit corrosion and rust. The best quality stainless is marked “18/8” the ratio of chromium and nickel used to make stainless. This is the most price “sensitive option” due to it’s easy manufacturing. It also comes in a variety of patterns.

I hope this helps you to make some registry decisions!

Happy planning!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

20 or so musings about Lisa

I typically do not share things about myself to my clients. However, weddings are personal occasions, and my clients often share personal things about them and their family dynamics with me. Sometimes it’s nice knowing a bit more about the person you are working closely with, so now it’s my turn to share a bit more about me – and my thoughts. None of these musings are wedding related, but will give you more insight into my “quirky” personality.

I believe in…

1. Honesty and integrity are of utmost importance, but tact - even more so. I never understood why being hurtful teaches anyone a lesson.

2. I’m a Republican and Democrat – a conservative and a liberal. I see valid points on all sides, and also see misguided opinion on all sides. I just vote for the person that agrees with me most on the issues that most matter to me.

3. Make love, not war. However, if you are going to do it, it should be done with responsibility as to not hurt yourself, anyone else, or to get yourself in a situation you are not ready for.

4. Animals – they are so cute. As a child, I loved a Cockapoo for 15 years. Her name was Useless. Yeah, I know - it was my Dad’s decision. Pets keep you young. They are always there to love you – no matter what.

5. I met my first boyfriend at 20, and married him at 27.

6. Don’t ask me my age, it will probably be a lie.

7. I would say that my sense of humor is more “dry”. However, I cannot stand Woody Allen (too neurotic), and I LOVE Will Ferrell.

8. Love is irrational and is not to be understood – just felt.

9. I love the people in my life who make me laugh.

10. I love creating wedding planning and design proposals. It makes me excited to dream about all the possibilities.

11. I love my two children so much – it almost hurts. If I believed they were in danger, and I could save them by giving my life – I would in a second.

12. I idolized Dorothy Hamill – 70’s haircut and all!

13. Adequate back-up. Life is unpredictable.

14. My Dad died because he felt worthless in this world.

15. I played “first” clarinet in my elementary and Junior high school band.

16. I don’t understand why people kill to prove killing is wrong. However, I am a proponent of the Death Penalty. Not sure how to rationalize this in my mind - I’m conflicted. Good thing it’s not one of those issues I alluded to in item #2.

17. I’m a Capricorn.

18. I aspire to be the best. I am not afraid of it. However, I am afraid of lower standards - as being “good enough” is not “good enough” for me. Ultimately, it’s not the end result that matters – but the process.

19. Everything in life happens for a reason – we just might not understand it at the time.

20. I love the “Golden Girls” because they make me "laugh out loud". I have seen every episode 5 times – at least. It’s unfortunate that “they” don’t make TV like that anymore.

21. I spent 4 years in an advanced science and Math magnet in high school, 4 years at Smith College studying Biology and Chemistry, and 8.5 years in a PhD program in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Brown. It took me all that time to find my true calling. If that’s not interesting, I don’t know what is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We Happily plan Commitment Ceremonies!

We love working with same sex couples! Check out our profile on

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We look forward to helping you celebrate one of life's greatest moments!

Happy planning!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Vendor Spotlight - LaPrima Catering

LaPrima Catering is one of the premier full service catering companies in the region. There is no other that can do it better. What makes a catering company fantastic?

1. Client support – providing answers to questions throughout the entire process

2. Connections in the area – working with different rental companies so they are able to supply the client with what they need

3. Creativity – being able to understand the Client's vision

4. Personalized service - being able to meet budget requirements

5. integrity – honesty

6. Great food

7. Good attitude

LaPrima has all of these qualities and more. Working with Dina and the staff at LaPrima is a dream. No matter whether the wedding is a “year-out” or a “month out”, Dina is always there to address her clients’ needs – which, unfortunately, is a rarity. She makes her clients’ feel special, not because she has to, but because they are.

LaPrima is extremely versatile. With 10 locations in and around College Park, Baltimore, DC, Annapolis, Frederick, Alexandria, Fairfax, Herndon, Tysons, and Philadelphia, her clients are able to conduct tastings, and pick up items at a location that is convenient to them. In my case, there have been many instances where my clients needed to pick up a special dessert, and Dina has arranged for them to pick it up in a location that’s close to their house or work. What’s better about not having to worry about driving hours out of your way and taking time off of work – to taste their awesome Crème Brule?!

More importantly they have gone above and beyond for my clients – always! At the tastings, there is always an abundance of linen choices that would go well with the color or theme of the wedding. There are different decor ideas, from sample candle arrangements, different votive holders, different plate and glass options, chairs and cushion covers, and the like. They work with multiple rental companies, and therefore, are able to get almost anything. There is a level of comfort knowing that you are working with a company that is wholly dedicated to the success of your event.

Take a look at their website, and also at some of the amazing things that they have done this year - you will see the LaPrima difference.

When you contact LaPrima, make sure you let them know that you heard about them here.

Happy planning!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Receiving Line Etiquette

The receiving line is a lovely tradition. It gives the couple, their parents and wedding party the opportunity to great all guests. In a large wedding, this may be the only opportunity for guests to offer their congratulations to the newlyweds. The receiving line traditionally takes place at the reception, but can also take place at in the Church vestibule or on the stairs right outside - time permitting. A church is the ideal location to hold your receiving line, if all guests are not invited to the reception. Participants of the receiving line are as follows:

Who you include in your receiving line is up to you. I often suggest that you eliminate wedding party members (Bridesmaids and Maid/Matron of Honor) to save time – which may be a limiting factor. It’s totally acceptable not to include Fathers, and instead they can circulate amongst the crowed. If Mothers are remarried, Stepfathers can be included if you wish.

Just as some line tips.

1. As stated above, only include the essential members - so that your guests do not face a long and tedious wait.

2. Serve refreshments to your guests while they wait.

3. Conversation should be brief but pleasant.

4. The Bride (and Bridesmaids if included) should keep the bouquet in their left hands, or place it to the side while in the line.

5. Any accessories worn during the ceremony should be worn in the receiving line (hats, gloves, etc).

6. The Bride can kiss those guests which she knows well; otherwise a handshake is appropriate.

Some couples elect to eliminate the receiving line, instead, circulating with their guests throughout the reception. If you choose to eliminate the receiving line, you have the responsibility of greeting each and every guest at the reception.

As an alternative to the receiving line at the Church, the Bride and Groom can re-enter after the processional to greet guests as they exit the church - which eliminates awkwardness if the parents are divorced or do not wish to participate in a formal receiving line.

Regardless of your plans, it’s imperative that you make sure to introduce your new husband in the proper manner. There is a simple rule of thumb: When making an introduction, present the lower “ranking” person to the higher “ranking” person. Here is how to determine status:

  1. An older person outranks a younger person
  2. Someone senior or more important at work outranks someone less senior/less important at work
  3. An out of town guest outranks a local guest of equal status
  4. A person serving religious ministry outranks a lay person

So, when you are introducing your new hubby to your aunt (who is 20 years older), you would say “Auntie Charlie, may I present my husband, Bryant Nelson. Bryant, this is my Aunt, Miss Charlene Powell.

This indicates that your new husband would call your Aunt “Miss Powell”, until it is indicated that he can call her by a more informal name. It’s a good rule of thumb to use the formal name of a senior person.

Happy planning!

Bands and DJ's

This blog is not about whether a band or a DJ is better. When it comes to this topic, there is not one that’s better than the other. It’s about making the best choice for you, your wedding and your guests.

The entertainment portion is extremely important to the success of your event. If your reception is one where music and dancing are central, you will find that this will be the most important decision that you will make. It is clearly apparent when your guests are not being entertained because it becomes awkward if your band or DJ cannot get people on the dance floor. You will soon see that your guests become bored and begin leaving – en mass. Not good. So, I want to address some of the items you need to think about when you are debating between hiring a band or a DJ.

1. You need to think about you and your fiancé’s musical tastes. Are both you and your fiancé similar? Do you like one musical genre over the other, or do you like music from all across the board? Do you like hearing the music in its pure form (from the artist)? If you enjoy the music and are inspired to dance, your guests will follow suit - even if it’s not exactly their taste. It’s amazing how your guests will follow your lead. If you are not on the dance floor, it’s more difficult to motivate them to dance. If you are not motivated y the music, you will not dance.

2. What are the ages of your guests (average) or is your crowd mixed? If they are older, perhaps music from an older era would work better than the new stuff. Younger people might enjoy 90’s music, while an older crowed might not have as much appreciation. Depending upon your crowd, 80’s music might work for everyone.

3. Ethnicity – is our crowed mixed or largely one ethnic group over another? For instance, at a Korean wedding, one might have a higher percentage of Korean guests. Therefore, you might need someone who knows Korean music and is familiar with Korean customs.

4. What is your budget? Do you have an entertainment budget of $1,500.00 or $6,000.00+?

Bands are significantly more expensive than DJ’s. It’s just not the outright fee. It’s more expensive to feed 7 people than it is to feed 1 or 2. Band contracts often require that beer/alcohol be available to band members, which is unheard of for a DJ (make sure you read those contracts closely). In the Washington DC and New England areas, you should expect to pay at least $5,000.00 for a good 5-6 person band. Expect the cost goes up as you add pieces and artist. Additionally, the popularity of the band contributes to the price.

Bands are also less versatile than DJ’s. You have to find the band that best fits you and your guests. They come with playlists, and you must choose songs off the playlist. If you have a special song that’s not on the list, be prepared to pay the band (above and beyond their fee) to learn it. If you want an obscure version of a song played, you might have a hard time. Bands can always play CD’s, and do during their breaks between sets.

Bands have finite time for playing. If you are extending – be prepared for pricey extension fees.

With that said, there is something totally cool about live music. A band really puts people in the partying mood. I have never had an unsuccessful reception when there was a great band. A band lights up the room.

DJ’s are wonderful too. I love a great DJ who knows how to read a crowd! With a DJ, your possibilities are only limited by your imagination – and iTunes. If you have a special song, it can be downloaded. Not to worry about obscure versions of your first dance song. A good DJ will know how to find it!

With a DJ, you can also go across the board with music. You can play a little rap, a little light rock, R&B, and big band – whatever. You are not limited to defined playlists.

DJ’s are less expensive. In this area, a good DJ ranges in price $1,200.00-$2,000.00 – and this is only a fraction of the cost of a band. I would advise you to hire a knowledgeable wedding DJ. Weddings are unique events that require special talent and skill.

DJ’s are not live – and although a good DJ will keep the crowed going, it’s not the same as having a live band. Often times, for my clients who opt for DJ’s but still want live music, I suggest hiring a pianist, chamber players, guitarist, harpist, etc for the ceremony and cocktail hour. This way, you get the best of both worlds and the live ceremony and cocktail hour music is a unique touch.

In my humble opinion, and your pocket book can swing it, the best of all is to have both. The band plays and the DJ plays during the band breaks and after the band ends (if you are extending late into the evening). They work together beautifully!

Happy planning!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Night of Enchantment

Washington DC in March is one of the most beautiful places. New life abound – the cherry blossoms blooming – a first hand view of Washington DC’s most stunning monuments. With the floor to ceiling atrium windows, I cannot imagine a more beautiful wedding reception than treating your guests to a front row view of Washington DC -while cruising around the Potomac. This is exactly what this couple treated their 150 guests to – a night of enchantment.

This wonderful couple, brought together by fate, came from two entirely different backgrounds – hers Korean – and his American, but both totally in love. They combined their love to treat their guests to a multicultural affair that both they and their guests will forever remember. Adorned in a beautiful designer gown and him in a tux, they renewed their vows in high fashion-while docked in Washington DC’s SE side, known for its great harbor and even better seafood. After the ceremony, the ship “set sail” to a cruise of magnificent proportions.

After an abundant cocktail hour of heavy Hors D’oeuvres and drink, guests were able to order of menus and feasted on a 3 course meal fit for kings/queens! While eating, the Bride and Groom partook in many traditional wedding rituals; such as, the First dance and parent dances. After dinner, the 5 piece band opened the floor to all guests!

The Bride and Groom cut their simple 3 tiered cake, and quickly went to change for the traditional Korean bowing ceremony. Guests were treated to an elegant Chocolate Foutain, with a variety of fresh fruit and sweets as an accompaniment to the delicous yellow wedding cake.

Dressed in traditional Hanbok, the Bride and Groom made their way from table to table and bowed, offering thanks and respect to all of their guests. After the bowing ceremony, the Bride and Groom cut the traditional Korean Rice Cake, which we distributed with traditional Korean desserts as guests exited the vessel.

The night seemed to end as soon as it started. The simple set up lead to a magnificent evening full of light, love, Washington DC sites, but more importantly a memorable occasion for all!

Photography by Marais Studios

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Bouquets of Elegant Event Planning and Design

This is going to be a beautiful entry. Check out all of our clients' gorgeous bouquets. I hope you are able to get some fabulous ideas! It looks like roses have been very popular over the years.

White and black was the flavor for the evening. A simple nosegay of white roses with just a hint of pink makes for a beautiful Virginia evening. Look at the flower in her hair!

Gentle pink tones was the color scheme, but the pure white nosegay sets off her elegant, but simple look.

For a tall sophisticated bride, this is a very classic choice. This Bride had a Burgundy theme for their wedding.

Brides' love hot pink. These casual Gerber Daisies really set off this more nice home wedding.

Simple white and greenery makes for a classic wedding.

Red, yellow and orange has been very popular this year for us! Here is a non-formed nosegay of red, yellow and orange. Bridesmaids carried button mums.

Hot pink roses with a collar of greens.

Stately blue hydrangea and ivory roses set off this very elegant wedding.

A yellow and blue colors scheme with jewels and swans. We put tiny jewels in this bouquet. If you had heirloom jewelry, that would be perfect in a bouquet like this.

This wedding was in Newport, RI. She wanted things colorful! This large nosegay was hot pink, orange and Green - roses abound. On her tables, we had different colored silk overlays. It was gorgeous!

This Bride loved pink, so we designed a simple rose nosegay of pink and ivory.

Her colors were celedon and blue. We used celedon orchids with hints of pink, and then used hot pink for her accent color. The Bridesmaids carried blue and celedon hydrangea.

Her colors were Ivory, cappuccino, and celedon. We used ivory with a hint of light green roses to make the bouquet pop.

Her colors were ivory and hunter. Since Ivory doesn't "pop" from a white dress, we used peach to bring it out.