Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In Any Event on Inspired By This {Bride and Bloom Preview!}

{Photos: Courtesy of Inspired By This and Bride and Bloom}

While Jodi is out fulfilling meetings with clients and vendors, I get the distinct pleasure to introduce the exciting new post Leila put up today on her Inspired By This blog. We have been waiting for what seems like forever (or maybe it's just that we are so excited about this)... but we finally got our very first peek at the Bride and Bloom photo shoot we did! Leila blogged about her clients' recent features, and we are blessed enough to count ourselves as one of them. Many thanks to the Be Inspired team! Please hop over to her blog to check out the whole post!

~ Jillian

Friday, June 26, 2009

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - Wedding Dress Tip I Loved

Yesterday afternoon I got to escape my desk and go poolside with Jodi and Jen of Jen Kroll Photography. Seriously, why can't everyday be like that? Anyway, we were chatting up every topic under the sun, no pun intended, when we stumbled upon the topic of (you guessed it!) my wedding planning process. Jen immediately mentioned a website that she found and was so excited to fill me in! She wasn't kidding when she told me how much this company rocked! WhenI got home, I spent over an hour browsing their site.

It's called Once Wed. Ever heard of it? Well, I definitely hadn't. Once Wed allows brides the opportunity to find a beautiful designer gown without the typical designer gown price tag. Let's be honest, most brides nearly have a stroke the first time they realize how much that pretty white dress can cost. This site provides dresses that are simply gorgeous. The only catch is that they have been worn once. That's all. It's nice to know that owning a designer wedding dress is possible. Oscar de la Renta, Rivini, Carolina Herrera, Monique Lhuillier, Reem Acra, Priscilla of Boston, J Crew ...and many other designers and brands have a TON of dresses available.

So be sure to pop over to check it out. Each listing shows the original price of the dress and the asking price. So you can get a realistic idea of how much you actually save by buying your dress here. It's pretty impressive to see a Carolina Herrera dress go from an original price of $4,000 down to a $600 asking price. Huge score for brides everywhere! Thanks for the tip, Jen!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coolest Party Favor...EVER!

My friend, Robyn, over at Mix, Mingle, GLOW in Destin, FL, posted about the best party favor yesterday. It's one of the coolest things I have seen in an awfully long time. And you can bet this product will be showing up at a future event of mine!

Parker's Crazy Cookies is based in San Fransisco and specializes in creating cookies that look like the guest of honor. Here's the proof:

Isn't that fantastic! Can't wait to place my first order for these beauties. {Thanks for sharing the find, Robyn!}


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Demise of a Family

Reader's beware. I'm about to post something completely unrelated to my business and the purpose of this blog. I apologize in advance but I'm so bothered by this that I need to vent a bit.

So, I tuned in to Jon and Kate plus 8 last night after getting sucked in by TLC's commercial promoting the episode. This isn't a show I normally watch but my Gretchen likes to watch the re-runs from when the kids were little {notice I say re-runs as I have not allowed her to watch a single episode from this season}.

I'll admit it. I was hoping they were going to announce they were breaking their contract with TLC, walking away from the fame and fortune and working hard to repair their fractured marriage. But, as you probably know, that isn't the case. As of yesterday, Kate filed divorce papers after Jon's behavior over the weekend...to which she's refusing to elaborate on.

So, brace yourself because here comes my opinion on the situation. Never, ever would I allow fame and fortunate to come before the health and well-being of my marriage and family. Don't tell me for one minute that they don't have enough cash in the bank to be set for a very long time, either. This mantra that Kate keeps repeating that she's doing this for the kids and their financial security is garbage. I think she likes the fame and notoriety and the money's not half bad either.

Now, I do have to say that I think Kate's a bulldog and that she rides rough-shot over Jon. In fact, it's pretty painful to watch the way she talks to Jon. But seriously, Jon, grow up. You've got eight kids now. This is not the time for a mid-life crisis {ie. new black BMW, smoking, two diamond earrings in your ears!}. If you're having trouble coming to grips with everything going on in your life, GET SOME COUNSELING! Don't abandoned your marriage and family. And please quit telling yourself your kids come first. Because if that was true, you'd be working on your marriage and rebuilding your relationship with your wife. That's what it means to put your kids first!

Now, I'm dying to know what you all think! Did you watch the episode last night? What's your opinion on this whole thing?


Friday, June 19, 2009

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - The REAL Reason I Chose a June Wedding


This is the reason I wanted a June wedding. The peony. This is my flower. This is what my whole wedding has come to be based around. Peonies bloom for only a short time in the spring here in Michigan, then they are done. As done as can be. And I wanted this flower really bad. They are so fluffy and amazing. I mean, sure there's lots of other great reasons to get married in June (beautiful weather, not too hot, many flowers are blooming, etc) but peonies are HEAVENLY.

When Jenn from Modern Day Floral called me a couple nights ago to say "You HAVE to come down to the studio to see this color I found for you!"...you can only image how hopped-up, excited I was! So, of course I ran right down there the very next day. And when I walked in, Jenn had the arrangement shown above waiting for me! :)

And they were the perfect color! I had to try it out on their rendering table, to get the full effect...

{How beautiful is Modern Day Floral's rendering room by the way?}

Leave it to Jenn to find the most perfect flower ever. These blooms were the perfect shade of deep raspberry, and HUGE. She also had some white peonies as well. Which were equally as gorgeous.

{I think I will carry the white for my bridal bouquet. Look how huge they are in comparison to my hand! That's going to be one MASSIVE bouquet!}

Here's a quick little story about me...just so you understand where I am coming from (in case you're thinking, "Chill out Jill, it's just a flower"). My grandmother was very special to me, and we had a lot of similarities. Crafty. Girly. Loved pretty things. Anyway, grandma used to grow peonies all while my mom was growing up. Now my mom tears up every time she sees a peony because it reminds her of her mom. She is completely in love with them. My great grandma used to grow them as well. So I guess you can say it's kind of a family flower. It will be a very special detail at my wedding.

PS. ***FUNNY STORY ALERT*** Chris' mom has peony bushes outside their house. When I told Chris this cherished story of my mom and grandma, I said to him "It's kind of cool because your mom grows peonies, too!" This is how he replied: "Yeah, me and the boys used to run them over with our bikes when we were kids. Absolutely trample them." Seriously Chris?

I think this is prime example of how women think just a LITTLE bit differently th
en men.

~ Jillian

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Snow & Graham

Many of you know, I have a slight obsession with all-things letterpressed. Everything about it makes me happy. Like the deep-impression of a 100 year-old letterpress. The way the ink always stays within the borders of the impression. How the impression feels to the touch. The beautiful paper used for letterpress. It's all magic, in my opinion.

I received the most wonderful letterpress thank you note {as seen above} and gift in the mail yesterday {thanks, Diana!} and immediately flipped the card over to discover the name, Snow & Graham. I stopped everything I was doing and jumped onto their website. All I can say is, hold me back. Hold me back right now!

Ever so conveniently located in Chicago, this is one of the finest letterpress companies I have seen. Their products are fresh and inspiring. And I want one of everything! Lucky for me, the kiddos and I are going to Chicago with my mom next month and this store has just landed on the itinerary....right below the American Girl store!

Enjoy their website and thanks for introducing me to this luxury line, Diana!

{photo credit: http://www.redstamp.com/}

Monday, June 15, 2009

So, I've got an event challenge. This is definitely not something new. I always have challenges that need to be solved. Like not enough time to flip a room. Or not enough electricity to power everything that needs it. Solving these kinds of issues is all in a day's work for me. And not something that shakes me at all. {If it did, I should have gotten out of the business a long time ago}.

The most recent challenge, however, really had me shook. I'll admit it. How was I going to get 3 semi-loads of event necessities onto a beach with no pathway for a 4-wheeler to get through? The only option seemed to be hiring enough strong dudes to hand-carry the equivalent of 136,000 pounds of equipment down a narrow pathway. The thought of that made me break into a cold-sweat! And I could just envision the following conversation,' So, what you're telling me is you're not coming back because this job sucks and you're not making enough money.' {Here comes that cold-sweat again}.

What's a girl to do in this situation, you ask? Well, she talks to her brilliant husband and equally brilliant friend who together say, 'Rent a boat!' Well, duh. Why didn't I think of that?! So today, I secured myself a 53' duck boat from World War II to help transport all the goods from the local marina to the client's property.

So, in a couple of weeks if you're on Lake Michigan and you see some crazy girl riding in a 53' metal boat filled with chivari chairs and china, be sure to wave. At that point in the day, I could probably use a friendly wave or honk!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - Setting Up a Wedding Website for You and Your Fiance

{Photo: Courtesy of eWedding.com}

Why a wedding website? Well, there are lots of reasons. But the main purpose is to allow your friends, family, and other guests to have your wedding info readily available. Plus, it's just plain fun to post photos and other fun facts about you and your fiance, friends, and family. Being engaged is a great time to show who you are as a couple! So wedding website, here we come!

I've checked out a lot of sites lately. Here are some of the great features I've found that wedding websites offer:

- Custom Domain Name: To put it simply, your own a dot.com address! To be honest, I find ChristopherandJillian.com a tad cheesy (and can guarantee that Chris will want NONE of that) but you get the idea. You can personalize it however you want!
- Customized Design Options: You want your site to be clean and beautiful! If you spend all this time on it, you want people to want to look at it. The templates I like best include flash players.
- Registry Info: Here is a great place tell guests where you have registered. Don't even THINK about putting your registry info anywhere on your invites (wedding gifts are actually not required, and believe it or not, it's the bridal shower gifts that are not optional per wedding etiquette... but that topic is for another time).
- Upload Photo Albums: Getting engagement pictures? Put 'em up! Include pictures of your wedding party, too. They are definitely deserving of an introduction.
- Upload Video/Music: Getting a videographer? Have old, fun footage of the two of you? This is a fun feature to have for those reasons. And having an upload music option is a must, in my opinion. A good soundtrack makes everything that much cooler. :)
- Add Custom Polls/Quizzes: Take a poll of your readers on things like where you should have your honeymoon. Create fun quizzes like "Who knows us best as a couple?" These things allow interaction from the readers on your site.
- Maps/Accommodations/Directions: Include all these details so guests can always refer back to them. Convenience is key. Anything to help them get to your big event is well worth it.
- Calendars/Personalized Email Accounts: Include the dates for your bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and engagement party here. And of course, the date for the big day itself (not that anyone could forget, wink wink).
- Guest Book: This allows you to have your visitors sign in. See who is checking out your site.

So if you are looking to set up a wedding website of your very own, be sure to check around different sites to see who offers the features you want. Most of them are free, or as little as $60/year (which is only about $5.00 a month!). My top three favorite sites are...

* WeddingTracker.com
* eWedding.com
* WedShare.com

Be sure to check these sites out. What wedding sites did you use when you got married? Did you use one at all? If you are getting married in the near future, I suggest you check into these and don't miss out on putting up a site for not just you and your fiance, but for all your guests to enjoy!

~ Jillian

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In Any Event Featured on Inspired By This!

Ready for some exciting news? This morning I received an alert on my phone that Leila Khalil of Be Inspired PR (author of the wonderful blog Inspired By This blog) posted about In Any Event.

As I have mentioned before, Leila is an incredible asset to the wedding industry. I am so grateful to know her and to be able to call her my publicist. The post she wrote about my event planning firm is beyond kind, and I am extremely humbled by her words. Be sure to check it out!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cool Candle *Alert*

While looking through the 75% off section at Pottery Barn, I came across these awesome metallic bark candles for $5.99-$6.99! I think they would be perfect for a rustic or outdoor-themed event. And at that price, they're practically giving them away. If you've got the perfect event for them, snap 'em up now.

{photo credit: Pottery Barn}

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jillian's Graduation and 18th Birthday Party

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of planning a very special party for Jillian. Jillian just graduated from Rockford High School and was turning 18 and her dear mother contacted me to to plan something wonderful for her daughter.

This party was particularly fun to plan because Jillian's mom gave me freedom to design whatever I wanted. Since it was going to take place at the Egypt Valley Country Club pool, I decided to play off the turquoise of the pool and add pops of raspberry and tangerine to create something bright and summery. Here are the results:

Guests were greeted by a pathway lined with beautiful pomander balls. Aren't they so bright and cheery!

The low-tops were covered in Wineberry Bengaline linens from BBJ Linen. And the tangerine chair pads came from the Topaz collection at La Tavola Fine Linens. Special thanks to Special Events Rental for the great furniture collections as well as tables and chairs.

Seriously, can you believe that arrangement? Once again, Modern Day Floral hit it out of the ballpark with this design! The colors, the texture, the vase. Everything was spot-on perfect! And the client was over-the-moon for them!
Sometimes I feel as if my title should be changed to 'professional shopper.' I tend to surf the internet and hit the stores in search of the perfect accent pieces for each event. These pillows are a prime example. I scored these beauties at Pier 1. A frequent stop in my pursuit of decor perfection.

Who says candy bars are going out of style?! Surely not I because I love them. And this one proved to be a hit with guests. For a while, we had a hard time keeping it stocked!
Oooh, the cake. The beautiful cake! This lovely creation was made by our friends over at Sweet Cakes Design.

Guests were able to assemble little baggies of candy to take home. We even had a lollipop logo designed for the stickers.

Every graduation/birthday party at a pool needs beach towels as the party favor! What a hit these were!

We served yummy food to all of the guests. Mini burgers with the works for toppings. French fry cones. Ice cream sundaes. Signature drinks called, 'The Jillian.' Everything that 18 year olds love!

The beautiful Jillian. Isn't she darling? She's headed to Hope College in the fall where I know she'll do great!

Thanks for letting In Any Event be a part of this amazing event, Jillian! We loved working with you and your family and look forward to a wedding for your sister in the near future!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Random Thought Tuesday

I know proper 'blog etiquette' says you should never apologize for letting so much time pass between posts. I say, who cares about proper blog etiquette! I'm gonna go right ahead and apologize for not posting any proverbial loveliness in a while.

We're in the midst of final preparations for a swanky soiree on Thursday night. The color palette is spectacular. Turquoise, raspberry and orange. Lovely. Simply lovely! The fabulous Jen Kroll will be photographing this event and I can't wait to share the images with you!

So, I've got lots of random thoughts swimming in my head and thought I would hit on just a few. In no particular order, here goes:

  • Have you seen the latest issue of The Knot Michigan on the stands? Well, it's out there and it's wonderful. The wedding we designed for Curt and Liz got a five page spread and it's superb.

  • Got amazing news from my publicist yesterday! The wedding I designed for my sweet sister Kara, will be the featured in The Knot Michigan's next issue. WOOHOO!

  • My NYC clients are flying in this weekend for their table rendering. I've developed some wonderful ideas to make their beach wedding an event no one will soon forget. Jillian is finishing up the room sketches and putting the presentation boards together. It's quite a process but so worth it! I look so forward to the rendering appointment with my clients.

  • Last, but certainly not least, I just found out I'm gonna be an aunt x2! Both my sister and my brother are expecting babies within 3 weeks of each other! My kids are over-the-moon because they've been the only kiddos on my side of the family for a really long time! That also means I get to start planning baby showers. Game on!

Hope you all have a wonderful week. I'll try to squeeze another post in this week but don't hold me to it. It's chaos over here. In a happy, smile-on-my-face sorta way!