Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Our Favorite Things" - Bridesmaid Dresses

Photography courtesy of Steve Lyons

You know how Oprah has her "O List" of favorite things? Well, we have a few of our own favorites from this past wedding season (November 2008-November 2009).

My next few posts will detail the picks of the year. We'll start with our favorite bridesmaids' dresses!

First up is a fun and summery look from Caitlin and Joel's July 2009 wedding. Half of the bridesmaids wore summer bright green, while the other half modeled a fun tangerine floral pattern (both from David's Bridal). The two dresses coordinated perfectly. The emerald dresses were paired with tangerine shoes and vice versa. Except for the Maid of Honor, that is: her orange shoe/patterned frock ensemble made her stand out just the right amount. To tie the look all together, they all wore green sashes. Love it!

Photos courtesy of Shutter Think Photography

Another favorite from this past year is this beautiful Priscilla of Boston dress from Molly and Michael's October 2009 wedding. The dress is knee-length brocade with an empire waist and pleated bodice. Classic with a twist! The dresses were set off with strappy gold heels.

Each girl had a cute coordinating wrap to keep them warm in the chilly October weather.
Photo by Michael Bambino and Co

So, these were some of my favorite bridesmaid dresses from 2009.... next up are my favorite bridal bouquets. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet Our Newest Team Member

Hi everyone!

Well, I'm back from taking a way-too-long break from this page. It was a busy summer and fall -- full of events and excitement -- but that's no excuse for blog neglect! I am back now and, until the end of the year, will be featuring our favorite things about our weddings and events in 2009.

But first: one of the highlights of the fall was the addition of our newest team member. She joined the viva bella team on September 26. Prior to that date, she'd spent 9 months 'shadowing' me -- she never left my side... not even for a moment. She attended every consultation, vendor meeting and event with me, so she's full of first-hand experience! As a matter of fact, the day she joined us was the biggest event in viva bella's history!

I've been working hard on-boarding her over the last (nearly) 3 months -- it's been a time-intensive process, but I think she's worth the trouble. I can already tell she's going to be a great communicator, is going to really respond to my leadership, and is going to win over new clients in a heartbeat! (I also think I sense a real fashion sense developing!)

Everyone, please meet and welcome Miss Joy A. Manuel!

All images (c) Tine Hoffman.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Processional Like No Other!

I was sent a link today from a friend on Facebook and, while I wouldn't usually post a YouTube video on my blog, this was just too good and fun to pass up. The couple featured in this video really understand that your wedding day is Your Day and it doesn't have to be like anything you've ever seen before! This couple wanted people to be loose and happy and CELEBRATORY on their wedding day, and they made sure everyone could see their incredible JOY in being married to one another. So here's to people truly thinking "outside the box" and dreaming up the perfect wedding for THEM! Enjoy this...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Footage of Me on Channel 9!

As I stated below, I was asked by Cincinnati Wedding Magazine to appear on a morning news segment on Channel 9 to talk about "Wow Weddings". It was a very fun experience: though I was tired (yes, those are bags under my eyes! I'd been out until 1 a.m. the night before at a wedding!), it really was a blast to see a live television broadcast--and then be a part of it as an expert! The talent and crew at Channel 9 were terrific... I hope they use me again!

Anyway, here's the snippet. We had to video this off Sara's DVR, so the sound's not great (but it looks surprisingly good!). Watch me try to think fast on five hours' sleep!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Viva Bella on Cincinnati's Channel 9

In conjunction with Cincinnati Wedding Magazine, on Saturday morning, June 27th at 8:45 a.m., Dora will have an appearance on Cincinnati's Channel 9 to talk about how to create a "Wow" wedding! If you can get up that early on the weekend, check it out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

KC & Antwan... getting married this weekend

Meet KC and Antwan.

KC is a BEAUTIFUL, fun loving girl with some spunk. Antwan is an NFL linebacker and absolutely one of the biggest (no pun intended) gentlemen I've ever met! They have been a pair a long time and are finally getting married this weekend! I've had the privilege of planning their wedding over the last 5 months (yes, you can plan a wedding from start to finish in 5 months!)

Kortnee Kate did an amazing job of capturing their personalities during their engagement session, so I wanted to share a few of those pictures.
The above picture shows the smooth, slick side of this fantastic couple... but don't let it fool you. There is definitely some silly, fun lovin' happening between them, as seen below....

I am loving KC's shoes above.... Wow, how tall are those heels! I guess she needs them to be able to reach Antwan!

Beautiful smiles!!

The below picture is one of my favorite ones.... Antwan has an inspiring smile and kind nature. I feel this picture captures both!

I am really looking forward to this wedding on Friday night!! Can't wait! Check back to see photos from their wedding.

All images courtesy of Kortnee Kate Photography (formerly Simply Timeless).

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Ad!

I'm very excited about a new ad that's just come out in CINCINNATI WEDDINGS magazine. I know it might seem like nothing to outsiders, but my team works hard to make sure the message we're sending out about viva bella is right on. So can I tell you a little about our new ad?

First of all, this is Kristin (Humpert) and Nate Hagedorn. They were married on December 1, 2007 . I thought their photo, taken by the amazing Tine at TM Photography, was perfect. To me, it says romance, mystery (because you can't see their faces) and contemporary elegance.

Cindy Loon at loon + co helped me put this together, and we landed on the text to read "feel, experience, and remember." Over the last year, I've really been working on brand identity and these three words keep coming up as central to who we are as a company. The continued feedback we received from clients was that they felt and experienced something special at their event that they would soon not forget.

The unique half-rounded box (which always reminds Stevie of the Partridge Family opening sequence) was created by our web programmer, Chris Bollman, and we use it on the new website a lot. To us, it communicates different and cool and modern. Lastly, you see a lot of chocolate brown and toasted gold in the ad- those have become signature colors for viva bella, so we wanted them to figure in heavily into our print ads.

So it might seem a small thing to someone flipping through the pages of CINCINNATI WEDDINGS, but to me, it's a 4x6 representation of my brand and company to the whole world. Thanks again to Cindy Loon for her great work on our new ad!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Come On, Celebrity Apprentice Event Planner!

I've never big a huge fan of Donald Trump's product-hawking reality series, but when I heard that this season would feature Joan Rivers, Dennis Rodman, and Tom Green, I was IN for The Celebrity Apprentice.  I've been watching the show with the same fascinated cringing that most reality television produces: incredulous that people act this way, and desperate to see more.  I know, it's bad.

My event planning senses started tingling, though, when, out of nowhere, David Tutera, a well-known NYC-based celebrity designer (who I saw as a speaker at an Association of Bridal Consultants conference), appeared to work on a party/silent auction that was the final challenge for the remaining contestants. I had a professional interest in seeing what David would produce for Joan Rivers and Annie Duke (I commandeered the remote immediately, lest my basketball-loving husband found a playoff game to watch).  I had the same reaction as this report from Entertainment Weekly: all David seemed to be doing was throwing around buzzwords ("We need a total transformation of this space!") without giving actual, detailed oversight.  I voiced my disappointments, to the television.  Stevie sighed.

My mouth hit the floor, though, when it was revealed that David was so flustered by Joan that he just quit the whole show, pulling out on both Joan (who he later called "a monster" in a radio interview with Barbara Walters) and Annie as well!  Wow.

I know this all seems a bit dishy and celebrity gossip-y, but I do have a point:  I was stunned at David Tutera's inability or unwillingness to create a win (even if Joan was an awkward, demanding client... come on, this guy does events for Jennifer Lopez! You don't think she can be difficult?), and his departure from the show (and subsequent barring of the cameras from his office AND failure to call Annie and tell her he'd quit on her) seemed an unnecessarily unprofessional move.  So here's one of the 'best and brightest' in my industry, on prime time television, coming across as a petulant prima donna who didn't come through when the chips were down.  I looked at Stevie and declared, "they should have asked Colin Cowie to do it."  He sighed.

Suffice it to say that I, in contrast, believe in teasing ideas and sensibilities out of my clients, so that we can agree together on a design that excites us both and represents their dreams.  And I will never, no matter how frustrating the circumstances, walk off a job the night before the event! My sense of honor wouldn't let me (and my reputation is too important)!  I'm all about style, too, but when hip-sounding words are a mask for a lack of actual delivery, the lack of substance is an embarrassment.  

David's take on the whole goings on is represented here, on the front page of his website.  But, explanation or no, it'll take some doing for my faith in his company to be restored.  I just can't imagine letting that happen on any event.  My faith in reality TV, however, is as strong as ever...  :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cute Trend Alert: Wedding Wands!

At a recent Association of Bridal Consultants conference, I was exposed to a fun new trend called the Wedding Wand. The wands can be used in lieu of throwing rice or using bubbles to celebrate the exit of a bride and groom. A California based wedding planner I really admire, Mary Dann, sells these wands in her online store.

Another unique use of these wands is with the flower girl. Instead of a flower basket, or pave ball of flowers to carry, the young girl can make her way down the aisle waving her wand (or maybe two!). Below is a picture from a recent wedding where this happened. So cute! Your florist can supply these adorable wands for the flower girl(s). They'll be sure to love it, as will your guests watching her come down the aisle!

So keep your eye open for wedding wands! They're festive, have no cleanup, and may be coming soon to a wedding near YOU!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Featured Wedding on Style Me Pretty!

Last fall, I shared about Lauren and Jordan's amazing, "detail-licious" wedding that I was privileged to be a part of.  

I'm so pleased to announce that top wedding blog, Style Me Pretty, has featured this wedding!

Read the 2 posts about Lauren and Jordan's Dramatic and Retro Hollywood Glam affair here. 

(it was posted on Style Me Pretty on 4/27)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lizzy + Nick - The Fall Fairytale

Lizzy and Nick had an elegant, classic, loved-filled wedding last October! It was the perfect fall day. Below are a few highlight photos of their special event, courtesy of Geri of Ciulla Photography.

I love the first photo above. It lets a little sass show through with Lizzy's hand-on-hip-action, while also showcasing the beautiful architecture of the Hyde Park Community United Methodist church.

Lizzy's hairpiece complimented the jewel in her bouquet - both were stunning!
The jewel in her flowers belonged to her maternal grandmother, who Lizzy says was "known for her great collection of costume jewelry and overall style."  Although Lizzy never had the opportunity to meet her grandmother, carrying the jewel served as a way to celebrate her memory.

It's always so sweet when the bride and groom see each other for the first time. I love how Nick is looking at Lizzy in the photo on the right.
The wreaths on the doors that welcomed guests were gorgeous. I love the crimson and violet jewel tones together!

An upscale wedding such as theirs could not be complete without an exit to the waiting Rolls Royce! 
This picture of the bride and groom in their getaway car looks so vintage... Geri did an amazing job on all of these photos!
Here are Lizzy and Nick entering their reception at the Cincinnati Art Museum.  I've always loved the indigo Chihuly glass sculpture that hangs in the main lobby.
Below are beautiful reception details... I know I say I love everything, but I really love the jeweled votives they chose.  So pretty! I'm a huge fan of unique votives. Every event, really, requires votives, so when you choose something a little off the beaten path, it really lends a special touch to the occasion.
Lizzy enjoyed the reception with her friends, but why's she holding the train of her dress? The bustle fell out while she was dancing, but she didn't want us to fix it for her right away because she was having too much fun! (We did some 'construction' when the band took a break so she could keep dancing!)

It was the perfect wedding day. Lizzy left a very sweet message on my voicemail the Monday following her wedding.  I wanted to share it:

"Thank you for a wonderful evening. Literally the first thing we said when we got into the car after the reception was that we could not have done it without you! Thank you!"

And 6 months later, she wrote me, "We often reflect back on our wedding and how wonderful it was-- 100% fairytale!" 

There are few things more special than to look back on one of the most important days of your life and not want to change of thing. Now that feels like a fairytale to me!

The vendors involved in creating the beautiful decor of the evening were: Jones the Florist, Goodwin Lighting, All Occasion Rentals and Poeme.
All photos by Ciulla Photography.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chair 101

I must confess, I have a bit of a chair fetish. I have a strong opinion that a chair or chair cover can dramatically impact the design of an event.
So, let's review the different options for chairs and then I will share with you a new chair that I'm absolutely in love with!

Different chairs are suitable for different events. For instance, if you are having a garden or outdoor wedding, the white wooden folding chair is really lovely! The rental price for these chairs can range from $2.50-$3.50.

This white S shaped chair is a fun look for modern designed events, but they are pricey! It's been a few years since I've rented them, but I believe I rented them for this event below for $50 each!Another sleek look for a stylish event is the Ghost chair (as seen, or not seen, below). The most popular 'color' is clear, but I've also seen them in black, green and blue. This is also a pricey rental... $40-$50 a chair.A less expensive option, while remaining contemporary and sleek, is the Spandex chair cover. This is less popular for weddings, but terrific for events. The 2 photos below feature chair covers in black and in white. These are not the easiest to apply to the chair... it's a work out! The rental price for chair covers is usually $7-$10 per cover.

Poly cotton (below) or Satin chair covers are very popular options for weddings. And they are affordable! They come in various colors, the most popular being white, ivory or black. They can be rented from $3.50-$7 each.

The most popular chair rental for weddings, though, is the Chiavari Chair. I have long loved this chair. This is an elegant and beautiful chair. It can be rented in many colors: mahogany, gold, silver, black, white, ice (ice is VERY cool)... I've seen colors, too, like red. Rental prices for these chairs range from $8 - $11, depending on the vendor. 

Now, here is my new obsession.... The Chameleon Chair. 
I was first exposed to these chairs and chair covers last November, at the Association of Bridal Consultants annual conference. These chairs are already very popular on the West Coast, and slowly making their way into the Midwest (I know just one Chicago vendor who has them).

We'll start with the basic chair. It's lovely on its own, on a par with the chiavari chair.

Then you can start adding covers to these chairs, and whoa, you get an elegant look. 
Add fun frills for an fun After Party....

The photo below is from a Sasha Souza wedding in California. This just drips elegance to me!

Below is another event Chameleon featured in their email newsletter.  I love the chair on the right table.... those frilly tails on the chairs are both fun and elegant.

The Chameleon Chair rental prices range from $11-29 a chair, depending on the various covers and accessories you add. 

Is it worth it? 

I say yes (of course!), for the right event and the right chair obsessed bride.

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