Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing you more happiness

Than all my words can tell,

Not just alone for New Years Eve

But for all the year as well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Destination Wedding Planning

Wow, looking back on 2007, we have planned and executed 5 destination weddings. 5 isn't a big number, but 5 destination weddings is a big deal.
Just wanted to remind you we are passport ready and have added many locations we have visisted this past year:

Barcelona, Spain
Paris, France
Italy - several locations
Mexico - several locations
Turks Caicos
and now the Middle East!
And don't forget domestic travel all over the continental US.

Some things to consider when planning a destionation wedding:

1. Legal requirements to get married
2. How many people will really be able to join you?
3. Can you handle the stress of a destination wedding?

We have a questionairre / helpful hints document. Email us and we'll send it to you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Awards Gala

I had the best time this evening at the Omni Ballroom at the Colonnade this evening. I haven't had an event there in some time. This is a perfect location for those looking for sites away from downtown. The premiums and food and bev minimums for downtown location are easily 25% higher than other hotels like the Omni....but...I am posting as a guest and not an event planner.

So many wonderful people were honored tonight and monies were raised for young people in need of college scholarships. My new friends, Tino and Millie Duran, founder / owner / publisher of La Prensa have raised more than 1.6 million dollars for local scholarship recipients. The best part of event planning is these large fundraising galas. I was fortunate to be a guest of Dr. Kent Hamilton who owns the White Pearl Medical Spa. Dr. Hamilton is very generous and recently supported us over at the Rape Crisis Center. Our table was incredible, of course our host, Dr. Kent Hamilton, Judge Michael Mery (a long time friend of mine), Pascual Gonzales of Northside ISD, Judge Peter Sakai, Larry Ricketts (candidate for Bexar Co. Sheriff), and Chico Rodriguez. Randy Beamer, my favorite local anchorman was hilarious and kept it fun.

Tino and Millie are great people who have done so much for our community. I recommend you go out and buy La Prensa to show your support. It's been awhile since I read it, so I will be out looking for next week's addition real soon. pics coming soon.

Speaking of fundraisers, Eva Longoria's local non-profit, Eva's Heroes is hosting their first golf tournament. As I have said many times, I support so many community activities, but hers is dear to my heart. There are so many children with developmental disabilities and a large void in our community for them to have inclusive activities with their developing peers. My previous bride, Christianne Perkins-Garcia is the Executive Director of Eva's Heroes and although the fundraiser is a sell out, I know they could still use a donation. Click here to visit the website with contact information and to learn why the organization is called Eva's Heroes. I'll try to come back tomorrow and give a report. I am looking forward to meeting again comedian George Lopez. I know I will be laughing the entire time. He is a great entertainer.

Lastly, GO! Spurs! GO! I will be starting off the season right and trying to attend every single game. I can't even spell or pronounce our opponent tomorrow... the Cowboys and the Spurs, what a great year we are having!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Partner for Change photos

Lynn Blanco, President / CEO, Peter Holt and Governor Rick Perry

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The DARK side of weddings

"Woman gets prison for crashing weddings, stealing credit cards"
The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — A 31-year-old San Antonio woman was sentenced Friday to a year in federal prison for crashing weddings and stealing credit cards from the wedding participants while the couple said their vows. Robin Neafie pleaded guilty to federal access device charges in April and was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Friday.
Prosecutors said she found weddings by looking through newspaper announcements or local church listings and then showing up well-dressed for an event. While the ceremony was going on, authorities said she rifled through wallets and purses left unattended by wedding party members. Prosecutors said Neafie continued the scheme for four years before being caught in June 2006 after victims reported unauthorized charges.
Remember my post from last year? This girl came to one of our weddings we coordinated. She showed up about 2 minutes after it started. She said she was late, meeting her uncle who was already inside. She knew the bride and groom's name. The church coordinator showed her to the bathroom where she could change. The door to the bridal room was supposed to be locked - it wasn't....and she stole from my bride, Karen. Karen went on WOAI after returning from her Honeymoon. A policewoman who is a member of the church saw the report and started investigating and they caught her at the same church about a month later. Good work Karen. Very eery, when they flashed the perp's mug on the TV.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bridal Gown Sample Sale

As many of you may know, this is Fashion week up in New York City. Soon, the bridal salons will be placing orders for new designs.

Serendipity Bridal in Austin is having their Fall Sample Sale. You can 20% off already reduced prices on bridal and bridesmaids gowns. You never know what you can find if you are the right size!

Here is their contact information:
2438 W. Anderson Ln.
Austin, TX 78757
Appointments Preferred

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Partners for Change Awards 2007

Coming Together to help Make a Safer Workd
We have been working diligently on this event. Three agencies are coming together for an one of a kind awards gala. Here are the evenings three honorees:

Spurs Sports & Entertainment – The Rape Crisis Center for Children and Adults, along with Spurs Sports & Entertainment (Silver Stars) launched the Choose Respect effort, a national campaign to help youth form healthy relationships and to prevent dating abuse before it starts. The initiative targets 11 to 14 year-olds and the caring adults in their lives with messages that dating abuse is not just unacceptable, but preventable by choosing respect.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott – Across our state, General Abbott has made capturing online sexual predators a top priority of his administration. In 2002, he launched the Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets those who solicit children online for sex, and the Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children. Attorney General Abbott's initiative has resulted in more than 500 arrests of such offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against 57 people on child pornography charges as a result of the Cyber Crimes Unit’s activity.

McAfee,Inc., Industry-leader in consumer Internet security technology – The nation’s first secure online sexual assault hotline, launched by RAINN, and staffed by the local San Antonio Rape Crisis Center is an innovative tool offering live anonymous help to sexual assault survivors via instant messaging technology. To ensure the safety and security of sexual assault crisis intervention online, McAfee, Inc. provides secure server technology and infrastructure monitoring, and conducts regular reviews to further ensure the safety of the service. Anonymity and confidentiality were paramount concerns in the development of the online hotline, and the support of McAfee, Inc. ensures that users of the online hotline can be confident that their conversations are secure.

side note: Peter Holt is bringing the 4 championship trophies with him! Buy a ticket and get your picture taken with the trophies and the various Spurs who attend.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Colin Cowie on Oprah today

Join Colin and Oprah on Friday, August 24th to once again see some of the most spectacular weddings he’s ever designed, showcased in Colin’s latest book, Extraordinary Weddings.

The second half of the show peeks inside Colin’s home to see what "living well" really means. It’s an insiders glimpse of his up-and-coming book, Colin Cowie Chic, scheduled for release this coming December.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Take a picture with the 4 Spurs Championship Trophies

There is an opportunity for you to get your picture taken with the, count them all, 4 Spurs Championship trophy.

If you are interested, email us here. Details will be posted by Wednesday morning.

Word is there will be some players there as well, but I can't yet confirm which....You don't want to miss it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blogging from Miami

Last trip of the summer before school starts. We are blogging from Miami. At the last minute, I decided to attend Event Solution Magazine's idea factory in the gorgeous city of Miami. Tiffany Rose, another event planner was talking about the conference so I decided to come too.

I am looking forward to many of the events, and all their great event ideas. One great idea that I am trying to bring to San Antonio is liquid lasers. I will post pictures upon my return.

Keep an eye out for updates on the Partners for Change Awards with special guest, Governor Rick Perry.

I'm off to drink mojitos, and enjoy South Beach.............

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Everyman's Wedding Survival Guide

Found this great article on MSN. Click here. Some of these are hilarious, because we often give some lighthearted advice to the guys, like, please put your drink down for pictures, try keep your tux put together until the dancing starts, and for crying out loud, keep the toast CLEAN and short.

Don't bring a gift to the reception unless it's signed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Mail it before the event or up to a year afterward, says Carley Roney, co-founder of, a wedding Web site. Wandering through Crate & Barrel will tempt you to rekindle your frat days. Resist. (Unless, of course, musk incense sticks and a kegarator are on the couple's registry.) Instead, scour the registry for something you can attach personal meaning to, then explain in a simple card why you bought it. When in doubt, give cash.

The ideal speech lasts 3 minutes or less. Segue from humorous, PG-rated stories into tender moments. "Now that's what I call love," or "And yet, she still said yes." Remember, it's not a roast or a bachelor party. Keep it clean. "Don't say anything you wouldn't be comfortable whispering into the bride's mother's ear," says Roney.

An ill-fitting rental tux will conjure up images of the junior prom. The classic choice is a single-breasted peak-lapel jacket paired with a French-cuff shirt, says Kevin Harter, vice president of men's fashion at Bloomingdale's. Your shirtsleeves should reach the base of your wristbone, with a quarter inch of cuff showing. More nuptials in the offing? Buy your own tux and have it tailored. Wear it five times and it pays for itself.

Don't. This is the most important day of your friend's life, it's not karaoke night at Bennigan's.DancingIt's your best chance of wooing a bridesmaid, so ease on out there, Astaire. If your proficiency peaked in junior high, embrace slow songs or ones that revolve around jumping ("Shout"), simple hand movements ("YMCA"), headbanging ("You Shook Me All Night Long"), and hand grabbing ("We Are Family"), suggests Craig Michaels, author of Thirty to Wife: The Tell-All Groom's Guide to Weddings. And know your own limitations. "Never slide across the dance floor like you're stealing third," he says.

Weddings make women feel romantic, not slutty. "They're looking for long-term potential, not just a quick score," says Roney. Entice them by delivering a toast at the rehearsal dinner or reception. "If you're gracious and funny, women will approach you after," says Michaels. And remember: No woman can resist a man who's willing to slow-dance to Sinatra.

Put down your drink for photographs or risk being immortalized as a lush, says Tom Haibeck, author of Wedding Toasts Made Easy.DrinkingNothing kills the amorous vibe quicker than belligerence, so pace yourself until the cake is cut. "At that point, the important pictures have been taken and the older folks are leaving," says Roney.

If you're a groomsman, your job is to grease the wheels of the wedding. That means tipping the valet, waiters, bartenders, and musicians. Bring at least $100 in small bills, advises Michaels.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thinking of Hiring a Day of Coordinator?

$800 special
Day of Wedding Coordination

September 1st - Jennifer & Dana
September 8th - Dana
September 22nd - Jennifer
September 29th - Dana

Our Price: $800
List Price: $1250-$1750
Through some strange coincidence, our calendars are light in the month of September. The dates are available for either Jennifer or Dana to provide Day of Wedding Coordination services. Please review our Day of Coordination package below:

Two one-hour meetings with the bridal couple for the purpose of:
Appointment 1 (at the signing of the contract)
Assessing the arrangements made and identifying deficiencies
Create task list with deadline dates
Receive copies of all contracts and vendor information
Provide further guidance in planning process
Outline ceremony
Provide etiquette suggestions
Appointment 2 (two weeks prior to wedding)
Finalize a wedding week and day schedule
Approval of confirmation letters to wedding vendors
Approval of confirmation letters to wedding party
Unlimited phone and email support
Create a customized wedding task list for remaining planning projects
Send itineraries and information/confirmation letters to wedding vendors
Send itineraries and information letters to wedding party
Follow up vendor meetings the week of the wedding
Attend and direct rehearsal

Wedding Day:
Execute all wedding plans and details with vendors, families and guests
Handle any emergency
Oversee setup of ceremony and reception
Attention to detail: table number, seating cards, favor, program.....
Distribute final payments and gratuities
Assist Bride, Groom, Wedding Party and family
Direct flow: grand entrance, speeches, cake cutting, walking down the aisle....

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Blog I love

As many of you bloggers know, part of being a responsible blogger is listing other blogs. There are a ton I like, but I only link to those in the wedding and event industry. My links are mostly photographers. I just wanted to alert you to another one. Chris Mosley is an award winning photojournalist based in DFW area (Dallas-Fort Worth for you non-Texans). Not only do I love the blog, I love the work. I consider some photography art and was pleased to see his exhibit at Volitant in Austin. I have thrown a few great parties in this nice little gallery. I think the exhibit is likely gone by now, but I am sure he will be exhibiting somewhere else soon.

You can visit his website here and his blog here.

I have also placed two of his pictures here of the lovely Pearl Stables from an event in July. He travels, so feel free to contact him to come to San Antonio or travel to your destination wedding.

Notice the attention to detail. I have said many times, lighting is the key to ambiance. Lighting is the area where you get the most bang for your buck.

Our large fundraising event featuring Governor and Mrs. Perry will be held at the Pearl Stables. It has been a great addition to our event industry to have a location close to downtown that is not a hotel. Look for more posts on the big event. I had a sneak peek regarding entertainment awhile back!

side note: I mentioned Volitant above. They have some dates this fall that are open for parties at a discounted rate. Email me if you need those dates, I will look them up.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"Wedding-bill Blues"

Here is a great article I read in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Printed in the Fort Worth Star Telegram
Star-Telegram staff writer

If wedding planners tagged bridesmaids with skill levels, Arica Colley would quickly vault to master status. She's been a bridesmaid eight times and a part of the bride's house party so frequently that she's lost count.
The sunny 27-year-old from Arlington is the kind of friend who, on top of organizing bridesmaids' gifts, picks up knickknacks for the new couple's home and tells her soon-to-be-married gal pals to "just let me take care of the details."

Yet even Colley, a self-professed wedding lover, has become so exasperated with the over-the-top demands on the female members of the wedding party that she nearly split with one newly married friend after the wedding.

"We didn't talk for almost six months," she admits.

For the wedding in question, the bride had expected Colley to not only buy a dress, pay for alterations, pick up new shoes and jewelry, but to attend not one, but 10 showers. Oh, and the bachelorette party? A trip to New York City, paid for by the bridesmaids.

"I didn't really get mad about it at the time," Colley says. "It wasn't until after, when I started adding up all the receipts, and it was like, 'Whoa! I spent like $1,300!'"

Shelling out so much time and cash can make even the most devoted amiga wonder: Are brides pushing their bridesmaids too far?

Adding up the extras

"I think, certainly, a lot of them do," says Elise Mac Adam, an etiquette-advice columnist for

The average cost of a wedding is $26,000, an increase of 73 percent in the past 15 years, according to Fairchild Bridal Group. Bridesmaids can expect to spend $1,000 to $1,400 to be in a wedding, experts say.

"It's not the dress that's gotten more expensive," says Theresa DiMasi, editor of More events -- extra showers, brunches and spa days -- add up quickly. The trend of the bachelorette weekend -- an entire weekend of activities or, more commonly, a trip to Las Vegas or some other hot spot -- ratchets up the cost double-time.

Plus, as young people have spread out across the nation (and the world), wedding-party members have had to pony up more for travel expenses. And the mention of a "destination wedding" -- on the beach in the Caribbean or in a vineyard in France -- will cause any potential attendant to conjure visions of massive credit-card debt.

When Shelley Dodd of Arlington, a 27-year-old who has been a bridesmaid six times, was in her college roommate's wedding, she flew to San Antonio a few weekends before the wedding for the bachelorette party then drove down the weekend of the wedding, in addition to shouldering the cost for her attire and gifts.

She spent about $800 on the wedding and still got off comparatively light because of the short distance she had to travel for the party and wedding.
"You don't mind it, because it's one of your very best friends or your sister, but the cost is definitely something you've got to be aware of," she says.

Obsession with the 'blowout' wedding

Etiquette experts, by the way, say that all of Dodd's expenses, save the multiple shower gifts, are perfectly reasonable requests on the part of the bride.
April Ragsdale, a certified wedding consultant with Forth Worth's Princess Bride Productions, says she's seen the time commitment for bridesmaids increase considerably in the past few years.

"It's not the bridesmaid's job to help you address invitations or make the favors," she says, though many a bride magazine suggests often that brides "delegate" such tasks to friends and bridesmaids.

She blames the Western culture's increasing obsession with the "blowout" wedding.

Mac Adam says that she frequently comes across articles that encourage brides to add "traditional" tidbits such as brunches or extra showers to their wedding events -- which aren't traditional at all.

"They call it 'traditional-esque,'" she says. The bachelorette weekend, she says, evolved from the idea of a simple luncheon, and today's $300 bridesmaid dresses started as simpler frocks made by family or purchased at a discount rate from a friendly retailer.

'You should be able to say no'

These increased demands leave many young women with an uncomfortable dilemma: Disappoint a friend by turning down her request to be a bridesmaid or empty out the bank account for someone else's special day.

"A lot of [brides] come with unrealistic expectations. Anyone who thinks that it is a sign of an insubstantial friendship that someone says 'I can't afford something' or 'That interferes with my commitment to my career' is asking too much," says Mac Adam.

Recently,'s DiMasi says, an acquaintance pulled her aside at a cocktail party and asked for advice: She had agreed to be maid of honor for a woman she'd known since early childhood but was balking at participating as the expenses mounted. Tickets for the cruise-ship wedding alone would be $2,500, and because she didn't want to go alone, the maid of honor was considering inviting -- and paying for -- a guest. She also wondered if she should host a bachelorette party.

"And she works on her own, so she was looking at taking a few weeks off work when she wouldn't get paid," DiMasi says.

A bride asking for that sort of extravagance, without having an honest conversation with her bridal party about their ability to pay, is, frankly, inconsiderate and irresponsible, DiMasi says. She says she encouraged the woman to first weigh the importance of the friendship and then talk frankly with the bride to see if they could come up with a way to ease her financial burden.
Good advice, Mac Adam says.

"The culture that says, 'Oh, you can't say no to the bride' is devastating," she says. "You should be able to say no. You should be able to talk to her. This is your friend."

Which is why potential bridesmaids, Ragsdale says, should fight cultural pressures and not automatically feel like they have to agree to be in a wedding just because they were asked.

"An invitation is just that," Ragsdale says. "Because once you agree and the bride starts making plans, you really can't back out without causing her a lot of trouble."

Both Colley and Ragsdale stress that saying no -- whether to the entire idea of being a bridesmaid or to one particular demand -- needs to be handled gently and tactfully.

"If this person has asked you to be in their wedding, they obviously think of you as a close friend, and you don't want to hurt their feelings," Colley says. She once felt obligated to decline an invitation because she thought the soon-to-be-groom treated her friend badly.

Instead of saying, "I think you're marrying a jerk," she just said, "I really can't afford it." Then she offered to pinch- hit where she could, a strategy Ragsdale recommends for any girl who wants to shimmy out of the wedding party. Offer to throw a shower, to put together favors or to help on the wedding day, Ragsdale says.

Colley says that her experiences have taught her that the bride might be cooler than you're giving her credit for being.

"Sometimes, it's the bridesmaids saying, 'Oh, my gosh, we have to do this. She wants us to do this' when, really, the bride doesn't care," Colley says.And although brides do have a responsibility to not mistake their friends for paid staff, Colley says the bridesmaids will have much more fun if they remember that they need to support their friend, the bride -- even if she is being a jerk at the moment.

"She might be acting crazy right now, but she'll get over it," Colley says. "The thing to remember is that your friend is under a lot of stress. Her whole life is about to change. It's not her job to hold your hand. It's your job to hold hers."
Within reason, of course.

Overburdened-bridesmaid etiquette

What can reasonably be expected of me when I agree to be a bridesmaid?
Bridesmaids are not, contrary to what many do-it-yourself wedding instruction books indicate, stand-in wedding planners or coordinators. Here's what bridesmaids should expect when they agree to be in the wedding.
1. Purchase of dress, alterations, undergarments, accessories and, if specified ahead of time, pay for hair and makeup appointments. April Ragsdale, certified wedding consultant with Fort Worth's Princess Bride Productions, suggests that the bride pick up the tab on one day-of accoutrement or service, such as jewelry or a manicure, particularly if she's requiring bridesmaids to pay for extra maintenance.
2. Travel expenses
3. Lodging expenses. Generally, though, if a bridesmaid has to travel, the bride is expected to at least work with a hotel to negotiate a group rate. Ragsdale also suggests gathering together guests and the bridal party and calling an airline -- even if departure times and cities vary -- to try to get a discount code.
4. Attendance at one shower, the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.
5. Increasingly, being a bridesmaid also includes a spa day or a weekend getaway for the women in the wedding party. Ask the bride if she's planning either one of these activities and if so, how much of the cost you'll be expected to bear.

As a bridesmaid, how can I avoid spending more than I can realistically afford?
Ask the bride to set a budget upfront, even if talking about money feels uncomfortable. The bride is already budgeting the money that she'll be spending; it's not unreasonable to ask her to set a limit on what you'll be spending, too.
If I'm the bride, and I'm planning an event related to the wedding, do I have to ask the bridesmaids first?

Unless you're planning to pay for it yourself, yes. If you're coordinating an event, you have a responsibility to make sure it fits within everyone's budget.
What's the best way to keep from resenting the bride because I feel like she's piled too much on me?

Communicating expectations upfront is the easiest way to avoid bride/bridesmaid conflict. Brides: Detail exactly what's expected of your bridesmaids, including accessories; beauty maintenance, such as hair and makeup; event attendance; and travel and lodging expenses. Bridesmaids: Take the time to estimate your financial commitment, including alterations, shoes, makeup, travel expenses, etc., before agreeing to participate.

How can I decline to be in the wedding without losing the bride as a friend?
Be honest about why you can't participate. If you're in financial straits, tell the bride you simply can't afford it. Be sure to thank her for asking you and express your appreciation of her friendship. Then offer to help in any way you can. And be sure to follow through.

As a bride, how can I make sure my bridesmaids don't feel overwhelmed?
Ask yourself the following before assigning a task or making a request:
1. Am I treating this person like a friend or a paid employee?
2. Have I already paid someone to do this?
3. Would I want to do this for her for her wedding?
4. Will I remember this detail in a year?
Sources: April Ragsdale, certified wedding consultant; Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute, Elise Mac Adam, etiquette columnist for, Nicole Kraft, etiquette expert
The culture that says, 'Oh, you can't say no to the bride' is devastating, You should be able to say no.
The price of being a bridesmaid
$140 Dress
$75 Alterations
$25 and up Shoes
$40 Strapless bra
$150 Hair, nails, makeup (including tips)
$50-$300 Travel (gas, plane tickets)
$400 Gifts (shower, wedding, bachelorette)
$75 Bachelorette party
$150 Accommodations
$1,105-$1,355 Total
Sources:, American Wedding Survey
Tips on sticking to your bridesmaid budget
1. Be realistic about your budget -- don't underestimate how much you'll spend.
2. Be resourceful and don't pay for something unless you have to. Don't spend $50 on a store-bought cake for a shower. Have each of the bridesmaids bake a family recipe, and then present the recipe along with the sweets.
3. Corral the other bridesmaids and buy the bride one gift from all of you.
4. Don't assume that you have to have a crazy night out where you blow cash on Jell-O shots. Consider a low-key evening with a few activities that will be special to the bride.
5. Do your own hair, makeup, pedicure and manicure. Or consider going to a beauty college, where students will do hair, makeup, etc. for a reduced rate. Another alternative: Hire a friend who has experience with hair and makeup.
6. Negotiate with the bride. Ask if her if you really need to buy silver shoes -- or if you can wear the cute, strappy black ones you already own.

Source: Arica Colley, eight-time bridesmaid and sometime wedding coordinator

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tag, I'm it!

So, in the past few days, a phenomena of tagging (not the graffiti kind) has been circulating in the blogs all over. I was tagged by my friend Saundra Hadley, a wonderful wedding and event planner in Evansville, Indiana. So here are 8 things you don't know about me:

  1. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 21 but drove my own car with insurance since I was 15. I grew up in West Texas - who checks those kind of things out there. I even went to college in Dallas, yup, with a car, no license.
  2. Prior to my wedding & event planning business, I got a lot of use out of my Bio chem and Biology degrees working as an executive for agencies who provide services to individuals with disabilities. Nope, I was kidding, the degrees didn't do anything for me.
  3. I have 5 children, and only 1 girl out of the whole lot.
  4. I haven't worn my prescription glasses to drive in over 2 years. Just bought a new pair last week. Seems like I have issues with driving.
  5. I love to invest in the market: stock, mutual funds, emerging's how we are going to pay for all those college funds.
  6. I love politics. My politics are far to one side (I won't mention which) and my best friend whom I never see in person is far to the other side. We get along famously - it the whole Mary Maitlen James Carvel thing....
  7. We are one big green family. We recycle everything we can. My 4 year old can separate pull the paper off a can of green beans and separate the aluminum from paper. How's that!? Now, if I could just afford those solar panels.........
  8. I can't think of something, I will edit later

So now I am off to tag 8 others. Not sure if I have 8 others to tag. I read a lot of interesting blogs and some of these folks don't know me, but I am going to tag them anyway.

Karen and Winfield Little, great friends and great photographers

Brian Tsai, Life Mosaics, another great photographer

Vanessa Escobedo, and yet another photographer

Stara {last name unknown}.....I don't know this person, but my friend Kendra and I read her blog religiously. She apparently was married here in San Antonio. Her blog, Random Rantings, is just that. HI-larious. Hopefully she'll post her 8 things, we interested to read her response.

Regal Affair Boutique....coming soon

We have been working so very hard for the past 6 months on various merchandising ventures. Here is a sneak peek (a very small sampling) of some products for sale. We have tried to pick items that are useful as small gifts. These pictures are from our "bling" section. Look for the boutique website to go live by the end of August.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Changes are coming to Texas Marriage License Laws

Changes are coming our way.......but don't worry, you have time to plan. Changes are effective September 2008.

Our 80th Texas Legislature passed a new law doubling marriage license fees in an attempt to curb the divorce rate. On a positive note, if you take a state - approved 8 hour premarital course, your $60 license fee is waived.

This course will cover topics such as conflict management, communications skills and other key components of a successful marriage.

Couples who do not take a course will still be able to get a license, but will have to pay the full $60 plus local fees. Marriage licenses will continue to be issued by each of the county courthouses and be valid throughout the state of Texas.

To read more detail and a list of our State's counties please visit this resource at the Wedding Guide. This is also a nice site to look for local wedding professionals in San Antonio or Austin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lovely Wedding

I was surfing the net like I always do and came across an Austin photographer I had never heard of before - and I work there all the time!!! They have nice pictures in case any of your are interested....but the best thing I found was this post on their blog. It is a non-traditional wedding they shot on 7/07/07. What a day, and I too, like the blogger, wonder how many people were married that day. I love the minister's shirt. It is a spin off quote from a movie that I can't recall the name.
They are Serendipity Photography. You can check them out here. Appears to have great quality and the starting commission is amazing. $1000. Check them out soon before that rate goes up.

Wedding Planning 101 - Budgets & Guestlist - the first step

Welcome to wedding planning 101. A new series on the blog geared towards the thousands of brides out there. When working with a client, we typically ask about 100 questions. Here is our first two topics and the questions that go along them (what are your answers):

  1. Do you have a completed guest list yet?

  2. Is there a ball park number?

  3. Have you gotten the families involved in helping create this guest list?

  4. Have you all discussed finances?

  5. Who is going to pay for what?

  6. Is money coming from several different sources (fiance, groom's parents, bride's parents, bride, etc.)

In planning any event, these are the first two hurdles - money and how many people. It is difficult to discuss church, venue or even dresses until this is accomplished. What if you want a garden ceremony at a lovely museum, but your heart is set on a big ball gown style dress and you have 300 people....they just don't work together....Big gown = grand church, garden does not equal 300 people and so on............

Step One: So first task is to make your guest list. Make your list and count your for sures and your maybe and the I have to send it, but I know they won't come (don't be surprised if they do). Until you know how many people you expect, we can't start looking for the perfect place.

Step Two: Now that we know we are inviting every cousin, step cousin's girl friend's mother, we figure out if that is our vision. It is helpful when working with a professional to help create the dream but if anything to keep everyone in reality. Now that we have 300 people, can we afford this. I never recommend creating debt for an event. Save up or scale back. The best way to stretch a budget is to scale back on the people invited. Remember one invitation is roughly two people, but if you invite me and my family, we are 7! (yep, 5 kids, crazy, I know).

Step Three: Assign priorities. A professional wedding planner can take initial information and give you a ball park of what the budget will look like. We approach one of two ways: We create a budget based on your vision, or we create a budget, based on the number of people and average costs. Large robust centerpieces in San Antonio range from $85 - $185, depending on your style. Please email us for a wedding expense sheet (In excel). It lists all expenses and helps identify and track all expenses.

I find that most times 50% or more goes towards the reception. I also find that photography is a really important item and average for our clients in the past two years has been $5000. Not to say you can't have great photos for less, you absolutely can. In the end, you have your memories and your photos. I would say in San Antonio, you can have a very nice wedding for $25000 and you would need $40000 in Dallas or Austin. I am working on a wedding right now where the budget is $10k....all things are possible, so if these numbers are frightening, don't be.

Budgets and guest lists are the hardest part of kick starting your planning. Don't be afraid to ask questions, we are here to help. Get this first part completed and you are well on your way.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Favorite Locale for Destination Weddings

I keep posting my favorite destinations for weddings, Paris, Madera Wine Country in Mexico, Anguilla, Turks & Caicos, etc...well my new favorite place:

The Only and Only Palmilla Resort in Mexico

An old client of mine went there a couple of years ago with her good friend Eva Longoria birthday getaway (yep, that same one -seems we can't enough of her these days, that is also why this wasn't on the recommended honeymoon list below - she's already been there). Anyway, I have had my eye on it since then because the pictures of their fun in the sun. Well, all I have to say is the wait was worth it. If you have this place in mind, I will give you a discount along with the hook up of a great photographer who loves to travel. Hint, he is on my favorite wedding blogs list....and a great florist. Look for pictures soon

Click here for the resort.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker - married already!

at least legally....the big church wedding is on the 7th. It is 9:30 pm here in Paris. It is a true celebrity stomping ground this week. Kate Hudson was staying on the same floor as me! She was here for the fashion shows (so I hear).

Eva changed into this strapless white dress for the short ceremony. If I find out who it is made by, I will update.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pictures from Paris

Well, I have been in Paris since 5 am central time (Noon in the City of Light). Here are some sightseeing pictures. Celebrity pictures coming soon. There are tons of people here!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tony Parker and Eva Longoria - another Honeymoon Recommendation

Necker Island

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Top 10 Things Planners Should Know About A/V But Often Don't

Your boss is not going to be very happy if the audience can't hear that $20,000 keynote speaker or can't see the PowerPoint presentation of the new sales strategy. Yet A/V experts say many planners make basic mistakes over and over. According to Bob Cherney of Paradise Sound and Light in Orlando, and Bob Walker, vice president of creative services AVW-Telav in Dallas, lots of potential problems can be avoided if you understand these 10 things:

10. Give presenters more equipment than they asked for. These days, most presenters will use some or all of the following equipment, even if they didn't ask for it: flip chart, laser pointer, computer-to-audio interface, and wireless remote queuing for PowerPoint. Having these items ready if needed is not overly expensive and can avoid last-minute scrambling and potential embarrassment.

9. Know when you need an expert. Do not expect the person who spends his career pushing roll carts and carrying flip charts to mix monitors for your six-figure, big-name entertainer. Name entertainment requires specialists.

8. Don't try to put a screen in a room with a 10-foot ceiling. Let's say you want an intimate atmosphere for a 300-person dinner. Of course, a lower ceiling is one way to foster that. But if you also want to have a video presentation, you'd better rethink your options. The bottom of a screen must be four feet off the floor so people can see to the bottom. That means the screen can be no more than six feet tall, which in turn means you're going to need a lot of screens. A single six-by-eight-foot screen will not service 300 people. Three or four screens will be needed. Suddenly, the atmosphere isn't so intimate.

7. With projectors, brighter is better. Sounds obvious, right? But there's a catch. Every projector has an optimum "throw distance" to the screen at which brightness is maximized. Try not to diverge from that distance, because then, in order to still maximize brightness, you'll have to rent special lenses.

6. Beware of sheer-fabric drapes. Sheer drapes, particularly on windows facing east and west, give the room a nice glow -- and wash out the screen in the process. Make sure the venue you select has blackout curtains that can be dropped down behind the sheer fabric.

5. Know who is billing you for what. Rigging and power generally are not included in bids from AV companies. These charges typically will show up on your master account with the meeting venue. Be sure to take this into account when negotiating with the venue.

4. Give the A/V vendor complete, accurate and timely information. Planners often neglect to find out something as simple as what time and for how long they have access to a room. The A/V vendor needs to know that in order to budget the requisite labor. Also provide detailed floor plans and clear descriptions of all activities that will be taking place in the room. And make sure to find out from the venue complete information on where in the room things can be hung from ceilings.

3. A/V eats floor space. Many planners do not adequately gauge how much space A/V equipment consumes. Make that a priority when designing a floor plan. Remember that any space behind a screen is wasted.

2. Never put loud speakers behind the audience. Due to the speed of sound, in a large room you'll need to install "delay" speakers every 80 feet or so. These speakers digitally delay sound so that the audience hears the sounds from the stage and the speakers at the same time. The problem is, inexperienced planners often put speakers in the back corners of the room, trying to fill in the sound from behind. This is a terrible thing to do. The sound from the front and the rear will collide in the middle, and a good portion of the audience will hear nothing but mud. Speakers always must be pointed in the same direction.

1. Good A/V costs money. Cheap A/V is generally bad A/V. Unfortunately, some bad A/V is expensive.

Go! Spurs! Go!

Love these two, Spurs fans were scarce on Tuesday in the Q, but we will be there in force tonight.

Do you think Peyton will be there tonight...I would luv to get his autograph.

Well, All wedding related posts will just have to wait as I prepare to leave for Cleveland, Ohio in 1 short hour. I couldn't miss the fourth and final game of the 2007 NBA finals. I will be carrying a small broom with me on the plane. Since it is a private plane, do you think bringing a broom will be a problem? Do you think if I manage to get it on the plane I can take it into the Q Arena?

Anyway, I'm off, look for me on the floor of the arena when the Spurs when. If we happen to lost tonight, this post will self destruct and I will be so upset as I have to visit my Father for Father's day instead of going back to Cleveland for Game 5.

I couldn't find a picture of Eva at game 3 so this is from Game 2. Check out her shoes. My personal favorite, Mary Jane peep toe platforms by Christian Louboutin. HOT!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Honeymoon recommendation for Eva Longoria and Tony Parker

I have been told our most famous betrothed, Tony and Eva won't go on a honeymoon right away....since they have time to think about it, I will start posting some recommendations. Here is my first:


I have on good authority this mentioned location is secluded and private. If their website title is any indication: then it is a private island. I can't take the credit for this find. Our previous client, Brett and Diane honeymooned there in April. They haven't shared any photographs yet, but I am anxious to see them. CAYO ESPANTO is a private island off the coast of Belize.

"Discover your own private island at Cayo Espanto,
where paradise and luxury come together as one. This new, five star, world class resort is for the discriminating few who demand the best life has to offer. We
invite you to spend enchanting evenings and unforgettable days overlooking the
Caribbean while our staff overlooks nothing. Located three miles from San Pedro
in the calm waters of the Western Caribbean, off the coast of Belize, Cayo
Espanto is truly a spectacular and private retreat. Although Belize is less than
two hours from Miami and Houston, it remains virtually undiscovered"

Tony and Eva, for a paltry 12k per night, you can have the whole island to yourself. And like the staff at the St. Regis in Bora Bora last year, my husband, sister, brother, his fiance and I would be thrilled to ride around in jet skis all day keeping the paparazzi at bay. I am sure I can get a whole crew to come down with us to Belize.

"Serene days begin with a breathtaking sunrise
and breakfast brought to you in bed. Anglers come from all over the globe for
the unbelievable fly fishing on and around Cayo Espanto. Enjoy exhilarating days
of fly fishing within casting distance of your villa. Here bonefish and even
small permit thrive. Tarpon are but a short boat ride away. The second longest
barrier reef in the world is only a short distance from Cayo Espanto and
incomparable snorkeling and SCUBA diving are just a part of the adventure that
awaits you."

Here are some details:
  • Number of premium Villas = 5

  • Max. number of guests on island = 14
  • All houses are sea front and on the beach.
  • All cabanas have private pools.
  • Meals and drinks (excluding wine and Champagne) are included in the above rates.
  • Meals are served in the houses for private dining or on the various docks or in our dining palapa.
  • A varied cuisine is available. We tailor menus for each guests. They can meet the need of most special diets and requests.
  • Rates do not include a 9% Belize Government Tax charge, and a 15% resort fee.
  • Rates are per Night, per Couple, per House (except full Island bookings).
  • Rates include personal houseman, three tailored meals per day, snacks, all drinks (except champagne, wine and cordials), and non-motorized water sports.

So for about 2k per day, you too can have a honeymoon fit for celebrities. It is not that far off the price point. A 1500 square foot over water villa at the St. Regis in Bora Bora runs 12k per day....I don't mind sharing the island with 4 other couples. So on that thought, Tony and Eva, stay away from this locale a little longer so I can afford this fall....wink, wink....