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.