Monday, August 31, 2009

Orchard Chic

This is how I spent my weekend! More to come soon, I promise. {}

Monday, August 24, 2009

Random Thought Monday

Happy Monday, everyone! It's actually almost over but there's still a few hours left to say those fine words. Today came and went in the blink of an eye. Yes, it is 9:30pm, but I feel like it should be about 1pm. I guess time flies when you're having fun.

I don't feel like I have anything brilliant to post tonight so how about another installment of 'Random Thoughts?' Quiet honestly, my brain feels a little like mush. It's probably unprofessional to say that and I'm sure there's some 'blog rule' about always portraying an upbeat, nothing-gets-me-down, I'm-on-top-of-the-world persona, but frankly, that's just not me. When things are good, I'll tell you. But when I'm tired and a little over-worked, I'm gonna tell you that, too. And, well, I'm tired and because of that, my brain isn't functioning at full-capacity right now. So, 'Random Thoughts' is the best I can do. Here goes:

  • My little brother's wedding is this weekend in northern Michigan. My older brother and his wife arrived from Connecticut this past Saturday just in time to fold napkins and press linens. Nothing like bonding over steamers and irons!
  • I am having an absolute blast planning the official ArtPrize events. If you live in Michigan, you can't miss this two-week exhibit. It's going to be spectacular! So, mark your calendars because the opening ceremony is just a few weeks away!
  • We booked an absolutely wonderful wedding last week for September 2010. It will likely be the largest wedding we've ever planned with an estimated guest count of 550+. It's gonna be an amazing one!
  • Have you tasted the new Wild Berry {real fruit!} Smoothie at McDonald's? I'm told that Grand Rapids is a test market for this yummy concoction. So, if you live in good 'ole GR, go get yourself one. It's delicious!
  • The kiddos start school a week from today. I can't believe summer is gone already! But, they're all set with their new clothes, shoes and lunch boxes {iCarly for Gretchen and Mario Cart Wii for Seth}.

Okay, now I need to get back to work. I've got a lot of bills to generate and send tonight. Hope you all had a great weekend! I'll try to post again before I head up north to rock Jason's wedding out!


Monday, August 17, 2009

A Sister to the Rescue!

So, this post has absolutely nothing to do with my work. But everything to do with my life :) I just have to show you this because I think it's so dog-gone adorable!

Remember my sweet sister who got married in November '08? Well, she's having a baby! A boy, in fact. When we went to Chicago together a few weeks ago, I brought along my Land of Nod catalogs for her to look through because I know she doesn't get any kiddo catalogs {yet!}. Well, she fell in love with this particular set and has ordered it. Isn't it adorable?

On Friday, I'm heading to her house in Lansing to help her figure out what more she needs to prepare for his arrival. Apparently she's having a hard time figuring out how much she needs of everything. She told me she bought 8 onesies and thinks that should be enough to get her started. Well, I guess someone is going to have to break it to her that newborns can poo and pee through 3 onesies a day without any effort at all!

Don't worry, Kara, I'm coming to the rescue! As you may recall, I was known for excess when I had newborns and after I'm done with you, you'll have enough onesies to ensure you won't have to run your washing machine for a whole week!

*photo credit: Land of Nod

Friday, August 14, 2009

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - Planning Tip: Consider the Economy, Cover Your Bases!

This past week, I was hunting down a special rental item as a surprise for Chris to have at our wedding (unfortunately, I can't tell you what it is because he reads this blog!) But anyway, in my search, a thought came to mind. What if I pay for this, and the company goes under before my wedding day? This particular rental place is a small business, after all.

When planning a wedding, think of how many vendors you actually work with. Event planners. Photographers. Florists. Caterers. Transportation companies. Reception venues. Musicians. The list goes on and on. That's a lot of contracts you will be signing and a lot of deposits you will be paying. And will these businesses all be fortunate enough to withstand current economic situations? Hopefully the answer is yes. But nothing is ever certain.

When you begin booking, ask the following questions...

- Will I receive my deposit back if the product or service becomes unavailable?
- Will I receive the full refund if everything has already been paid?
- Is it stated in the contract that a refund will be issued in the event the company cannot provide the product or service?
- How will I be able to contact this company and receive promised refunds if they close?
- Is there another business I can use as a back up plan if this company can no longer provide the product or service?
- What are the chances I will be able to book with this new company on short notice? (If your back up plan books far enough in advanced, you may want to create a list of several other places you can call, just to be safe)

Not everyone may be able to guarantee you exactly what you want. Different places will have different policies. But finding out this sort of information ahead of time and protecting yourself is well worth asking these types of questions!

~ Jillian

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Charger *Alert*

Mmmmm, I love a beautiful charger. And I was so excited when one of my favorite companies, Unique Tabletop Rentals, added these beauties to their inventory. It's called 'Burst.' And burst it does with class and style! I'm particularly fond of the chocolate brown one on the left. How cool would that look on an eggplant or moss green pintuck linen for a fall-themed event? YUMMY!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Secret Weapon

I'm letting the cat out of the bag. So many people have asked, 'Where do you find your event decor?' Well, from a lot of different places. But one of my favorites is Jamali Garden in Los Angeles. I love this store. I've gotten a lot of wonderful products here and thought it was only fair to share this knowledge with you. I'm sure you'll agree after you visit their site, this place is an event planner's dream come true!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Swag Bag

You've heard the term, but what is it? Well, simply put it's a bag full of goodies ranging in size and value. Hollywood coined the phrase 'swag bag' many moons ago. When celebrities attended events, retailers 'donated' goodies to go inside gift bags in hopes that the celebrity would wear or use the product. In turn, that 'endorsement' would boost sales and make the 'donation' worth it.

But how does this relate to weddings and events? Instead of the term swag {though I often use the term around the office} it's often referred to as the 'welcome' bag. In fact, it's becoming so popular that guests have come to expect them in their rooms upon arrival.

I can't think of a single wedding where we haven't put together some sort of gift for out-of-town guests. It's been as simple as a welcome letter and a bottle of wine to the more elaborate like a Land's End bag filled with all kinds of Michigan goodies in honor of the bride and groom's roots.

But is this all necessary? To some degree, yes. It doesn't need to be elaborate but I do think it's nice to place a letter in out-of-town guest's rooms thanking them for attending your celebration. This, paired with a wonderful box of chocolate or some snack mix and bottled water, is just one more way to let your guests know how appreciative you are of their presence.

Are you planning to put together a swag bag for your out-of-town guests? If so, what are you going to put in the bag? If you're already married, what did you do for your out-of-town guests?

*photo credit: Crate & Barrel

Friday, August 7, 2009

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - Don't Neglect the Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner. This is a topic that gets overlooked more often than not. But neglected or not, it is an important night for close family and friends to mingle, so make it a fun night!

My fiance's parents live on a hill over-looking the river. The view is beautiful to say the least. So immediately I said, "That is where we are going to have our rehearsal dinner!" I know this choice will allow my family and friends to really have a good time. Having your guests feel relaxed and comfortable is key. However, putting in a little extra effort to jazz it up will make it special and unique. And it is easier than you think...

My tips for planning the rehearsal dinner:
- Pull in colors from your wedding, just switch up the style. For example, my wedding will be preppy with some antique accents, but my rehearsal dinner will be a mix of modern and rustic. But for both events, navy and white will be used to act as the common denominator.
- Pick out a fun dinner menu. Why serve them filet mignon if they are going to eat it the very next night at your reception? Pick out something different that you know everyone will love!
- Forgo the liquor. It cuts back on costs and besides that, you don't need your key players showing up on your big day with hangovers.
- Add linens and flowers. Since rehearsal dinners are generally small, getting table linens can be relatively inexpensive. Same goes for flowers. You will not need a lot of flowers but they add a lot to the tables (go for something simple and full, like a hydrangea, to get more bang for your buck)
- Coordinate your dinner invitations with your rehearsal dinner style. Start with step 1 to really make this dinner fantastic. And actually, a general rule for any party you throw is to make sure all the elements flow with one another. So keep this in mind from start to finish.

If you go by these simple guidelines, you will have success! Also, in case you were curious, here are some details I have brewing in my head for my own rehearsal dinner...
- Navy and white color scheme
- Beautiful linens (color TBD)
- White rustic lanterns from Jamali Garden
- White folding chairs
- Old fashioned sodas in galvanized tubs
- Brown wicker chargers
- Roses pizza
- Local beer and wine
- Simple blue and white hydrangea arrangements from Modern Day Floral

So remember, don't neglect your rehearsal dinner. Take time to think beyond the wedding!

~ Jillian

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Happened to Posting Every Day?

Oh friends, I tried so hard to post every day last week and it just didn't happen. If you could look at my calendar and the schedule I've been maintaining you'd feel as sorry for me as I do for myself :) In this economy, I do not take for granted the blessings I have been bestowed. But, there are times when I want to cry, 'UNCLE!' I'm sure many of you can relate.

You might be wondering what my next event is. Well, it's my brother's wedding on August 29, in the middle of my parent's apple orchard in northern Michigan. Yes, the setting is as beautiful as it sounds. My parent's have owned this orchard since I was little. It's over 50 acres in size and is not only home to the apples but also to pears and bees!

I remember so distinctly roaming this land with my brothers and sister. We knew where the best running brook was with the coldest drinking water. Which pear tree had the sweetest pears. Where the bees lived {my Dad allowed a man to raise bees on a section of the property in exchange for bottled honey and fresh honeycomb}. And where the deer liked to rub their antlers.

As a child, I took this all for granted. But as an adult, I see the beauty of God's hand. I see how precious that land is to my parents {especially my Dad}. I see how hard they've worked to care for it. I see the pride in my Dad's eyes when he shows me the plot he's prepared for the wedding. And I feel the pain of my Dad's realization that he won't be able to care for this precious piece of heaven on earth forever.

Because my brother is the last of the siblings to be married, it seems fitting that he chose my parent's orchard as the location of this special day. Once again, we will all be gathered together on the land of our childhood for the final wedding celebration. And I can't think of any other place I'd want to be on August 29.