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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Couture Sample Sale!

All you fashionista and recessionista brides!
Monique Lhuillier is having another sample sale for ONE DAY only! Here are the deets:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bridal and Ready-to-wear from 40%-90% off

Merchandise is "as is" and all sales are final

No alterations provided
No appointments are taken
First come, first serve

1201 S Grand Avenue, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA. 90015

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2.0 - Planning Your Dream Wedding During Tough Economic Times

Last week I listed five tips to lower your wedding costs. Here are the remaining five:

6) Decor. Choose flowers that are in-season. If there is a certain bloom you want, but can't afford try choosing an inexpensive one that looks similar. Remember that centerpieces, especially tall ones, will take up most of your floral budget. Opt for short centerpieces only. If you really want tall centerpieces, alternate between tall and short. The major advantage to alternating centerpieces is to give the room dimension without the "cookie-cutter" look.

You can also opt to do-it-yourself. There are a few website that sell flowers in bulk, like Delegate the task of creating all floral arrangements to someone you know and trust. Do not attempt to do it all yourself. Can't afford nice looking floral centerpieces? You can never go wrong with candles...lots of candles in various heights. It gives a nice glow to your guests' faces and it is a great alternative to lighting if you can't afford to hire a lighting designer.

7) Alcohol
. Alcohol can definitely increase your food and beverage budget. One way to keep your beverage bill low is to serve signature cocktails. Choose a cocktail that complements your colors or the both of you and give it a catchy name. The key to this is using house brand liquor as the main ingredient instead of premium liquor. Other options include serving beer and wine only, champagne only for toast, or you can serve alcohol during cocktail hour only.

8) Bridal fashion: The dress
. Finding your dream dress is not limited to bridal salons anymore. You can find affordable gowns in stores like J. Crew and Ann Taylor. Discount bridal salons like David's Bridal carry nice gowns at affordable prices. Are you absolutely set on purchasing a couture gown, but can't see yourself spending between $4,000-$10,000 on a dress you'll only wear for one day? Try your luck at designer sample sales. Designers like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier offers sample sales at least once or twice a year on their gowns. You can expect to save between 50%-75% off of your purchase. Another way to save money is to rent a gown or borrow your mother's old wedding gown, that is if it's in good condition.

9) Cake. The cost of wedding cakes vary depending on the ingredients used and the overall design, which can range between $4.00-$10.00 per slice. One way to save money is to simplify the design of your cake. Choose buttercream over expensive fondant. Have your florist decorate your cake with fresh flowers instead of using sugar flowers. Another way to save money is to order a flat sheet of your cake and have it served to your guests. A trend that has been going on for a few years is substituting the traditional tiered cake for tiered cupcakes. If you decide to follow that trend, make sure you have a baker make an 6"-8" round wedding cake for you guys to cut during the reception.

10) Hair, makeup, music, photography, and videography. Hiring a good photographer can be quite expensive. One way to cut costs on photography is to select a package that includes the hi-resolution images on a disc instead of an album. You can opt to create your own coffee table wedding album through budget-friendly websites like and If you know someone who's starting out in the photography or videography business, you might want to acquire their services since they will either do it for free to build their portfolio or charge you way less compared to established businesses. Student photographers/videographers or relatives who can capture the important moments can be another money-saving option.

As for music, hiring a DJ is more affordable than hiring a live band. Another possibility is to have an iPod wedding. Load your favorite music onto your iPod and assign someone to man the device.

You can cut costs on hair and makeup by doing it yourself. If that's not an option consider hiring a student from a beauty school for your wedding day. Another option is to get your hair done by your regular hair stylist and have your makeup done at a department store like Nordstrom or Macy's. If you decide to get your makeup done at a department store make sure you carry your makeup along for touch ups.

Our Anniversary

My hubby and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary yesterday. He surprised me with a new Nikon camera and we ate a nice dinner at PF Chang's, where we're considered regulars. I received a nice fortune and wanted to share it with all of you. It read, "You will make a name for yourself in the field of fashion." Bridal fashion? Wedding design? Very interesting prophecy, huh?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trend Alert: Wedding Trends for 2010 - Back to Basics

Look for more traditional and simple weddings in 2010. Weddings of grandeur are out. Do-it-yourself weddings with attention to detail are in. This is obviously due to the economy. An article from listed the top 10 trends for 2010. Here's a summary of what to expect:
  1. More focus on attention to detail.
  2. Smaller guest-list and more intimate weddings taking place at home. Casual and elegant events in the backyard.
  3. Big market for buttercream versus fondant. Fondant is actually more expensive.
  4. Personable favors to make your guests feel much appreciated will be making a comeback.
  5. Local destination weddings are in.
  6. Monochromatic and vibrant colors are in.
  7. Eco-friendly green weddings are a growing trend.
  8. A different approach to the typical photo montages will take place. Look for a growing trend of integrating video into weddings.
  9. Videographers are upgrading their filming quality to HD and Blu-Ray. However, it may cost a little more.
  10. Photographers or videographers may soon shoot via professional cameras that takes photos and films in HD quality all in one.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

1.0 - Planning Your Dream Wedding During Tough Economic Times

The state of the economy is affecting EVERYONE across the board! But that doesn't stop couples from getting married! It's no secret that the latest trend for today's couples is being frugal. As a result, couples are scaling back on hosting lavish events for more simpler ones emphasizing greatly on the details to help create an amazing event. Although my clients have different wedding budgets ranging from average to high-end budgets, they share the same desire...a fabulous wedding that won't burn a hole in their wallets. A lot of people ask me how this can be possible if their budget is tight. This two-part series will discuss how it is possible to do so.

1) Create a budget that's affordable...VERY realistic. I can't stress this enough. A lot of couples make the mistake of not creating a wedding budget first. By not creating a budget, you're spending can get out-of-control. It can be very easy to get carried away with the details. You see things you absolutely have to have in your wedding through television shows like "Platinum Weddings" and high-end bridal magazines like "Grace Ormonde: Wedding Style", but you need to ask yourself "can I see myself spending $2,500 on a custom gold-colored round dance floor?" Know where you need to allocate your money, which brings me to the next step...

Tip: Make sure you account for sales tax, service charges, set-up/delivery fees, and feeding your vendors at the reception into your wedding budget. For more info on "feeding your vendors" please read step #3)

2) Prioritize what you and your
fiancé(e) are willing to splurge on. Discuss with your fiancé(e) where you are willing to allocate most of your money and work your way down to the category you want to spend less on. For example, if you MUST have a designer gown then write that down on your list as priority number one.

3) Keep your guest list simple: Invite only those closest to you and your
fiancé(e). This factor is key to keeping your costs down. Reception food and beverage accounts for roughly 42%-50% of your total wedding budget. By inviting close family and/or friends you'll definitely save a huge bundle. A rule of thumb: if you haven't spoken to Aunt Kimberly or your high school BFF in more than two years then you shouldn't consider inviting them. I always suggest to my clients to create an "A" and "B" list. With each "will not be able to attend" RSVP response you can send out an invitation to someone from your "B" list. However, make sure you send these out well ahead of the RSVP deadline so the "B" list recipient won't feel like a last-minute invited guest. Trust me they'll know.

Not only will you need to feed your guests, but you need to feed your vendors too! One of my brides asked me, "why do I have to feed my vendors if I'm already paying a lot of money for their services?" Don't worry! You don't have to feed ALL vendors...only the ones who will be working on your wedding day for more than 6 hours and those who will be working during your reception. These vendors include your wedding planner and staff, photographer/videographer and their assistants, lighting technicians (if they are needed during the reception), and band members/DJs. This condition is usually stated on their contract. Ask the catering director if they provide vendor meals. Vendor meals (aka boxed lunch) are usually a little cheaper than the actual entree that will be served to your guests. Serving vendor meals are important especially if your reception site is in a remote area. I
f they have to go off-site for their meal the last thing you want is for them to arrive back late.

4) Get married during an off-peak season/day. It's obviously cheaper to marry during off-peak seasons usually between November-March. Some reception sites offer discounts and some don't. And remember just because you decide to marry on Christmas Eve, which is during an "off-peak month", doesn't mean that every vendor will offer their services for cheap. In addition, Saturdays, no matter what season, is the most sought after day to get married. Instead choose any other day like Friday or Sunday. Reception sites usually give a discount for booking your wedding on a less busy day. You can also opt for the less expensive luncheon or cocktail reception instead of a sit-down dinner reception.

5) DIY Projects. This economy has brought on this latest trend. Blogs and wedding planning portals like have tons of ideas and inspirations. is a favorite among many brides, especially for those who want to save money on invitations.

...Next week we will continue on part two of this series. Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wedding Tip #2: The Importance of Event Lighting

(Image via Amber Event Design)

As a wedding designer I always suggest to my clients to try to make room for lighting in their budget. It is one of the categories that is often overlooked. Lighting can dramatically change the mood and look of your event from monotonous to fabulous. With the help of lighting your centerpieces, interior space, cake and dance floor is immediately enhanced. Does your reception site contain bothersome decor like stained walls or peeling wallpaper? Lighting can help drop them in the shadows and focus on the strong points of your decor.

(Image via Amber Event Design)

A friend of mine attended a wedding a few years ago in Los Angeles. Each table centerpiece was decorated beautifully with elaborate floral arrangements costing the couple more than $10,000. However, the room was too dark to appreciate the centerpieces. If you're spending money on flowers, cake, or table linens you'd want to enhance these strong points with lighting. Not only will your guests look great in a well lit room, but they will go home with a lasting impression of your wedding.

Although lighting can get a little pricey depending on what is needed, there are inexpensive ways to enhance your reception decor:

1) String twinkle lights on trees or with ceiling swags of chiffon.

2) Dress tables with candles to give a nice glow. Most reception sites have dimmer switches. If your reception site has them, make sure the lights are dimmed about a third. Candles alone will not give enough light in the room if you dim the lights all the way down.

3) A gobo pattern or monogram radiating on the wall or dance floor can add an elegant touch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wedding Tip #1: Invitation Etiquette regarding "No Children" in the reception

Lately I've been asked by some of my brides and other people about how to word an invitation to reflect their desire to not invite children to the reception. Many question if doing so will it come across as being rude. Absolutely not! I know there is no easy way to address this to your guests, but the best way to approach the situation is by doing the following:

1) Mentioning the "no children" clause via word-of-mouth. Ask those close to you to spread the word to invited guests.

2) Reception cards. Make sure your invitation designer includes the phrase "Adult Reception".

3) RSVP cards. Make sure you include "Number of Adults" next to the line where your guests will write the number of people attending.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Trend Alert: Fresh and Fabulous Cake Stands!

The fabulous event planner, Kathy Jo Peterson, has created a beautiful line of cake stands that is sure to be a hit! If you're looking for something unique and fresh to enhance your cake and decor, check out her website: It's exciting and different from the old silver cake stands. Raise the Cake carries a pre-designed collection, but they give brides an option to design you own cake stand to match your theme/color. The Pre-designed collections starts from $60-$240 depending on the style and size of the cake stand.

It's very common for cakes to sit in the corner, which I truly dislike. I always try to convince my clients to show off the cake instead of placing it in the dark corner only to be seen when the newlyweds cut the cake. The cakes stands from Raise the Cake will definitely give your cake a fabulous couture look! I can't wait to feature her cake stands in one of my events!

(Both images via Raise The Cake)

Trend Alert: Colored Shoes

Do you love your colors so much that you have to extend the color scheme to your attire? Why not think outside the box and incorporate your colors into your shoes? This trend has been going on for some time. A couple of my brides are doing it. It looks fabulous in pictures. Need something blue? Why not buy a pair of "Something Blue satin pumps" by Manolo Blahnik's (retails for $945.00) as seen in "Sex in the City: The Movie"?
Or a fuchsia satin d'Orsay by Stuart Weitzman (retails for $450.00).

Stuart Weitzman Monroe
(Image via Stuart Weitzman)

Can't afford a pair of designer shoes? Purchasing dyeable shoes can be a stylish and inexpensive way without breaking the bank. Although this trend screams FUN, always remember that ivory and white bridal shoes NEVER go out of style!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fashion + Weddings = Inspirational Design (Colors)

(Image via Gucci)

As you know, I LOVE high-end fashion. I look to fashion, music, architecture, and art to draw inspiration to my event designs. Every once in a while I receive something in the mail from fashion houses like Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. Last week I received the above picture in the mail from Gucci advertising their Spring/Summer 2009 sale. I was completely in awe by the eggplant purple/teal color combination that I had to share this with one of my brides who is having a teal wedding in May 2010. It’s the perfect mix for a spring wedding…bold, fresh, and sophisticated. I’m so excited to use this picture as my inspiration to design her wedding, which will have a modern-elegant feel. Stunning don’t you think? Fabulous!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tidbit: June Weddings

June is one of the most popular months to get married due to the wonderful summer weather. But did you know that it is also considered the luckiest month to get married? According to Roman mythology the month of June was named after the Roman goddess Juno, the protector of marriage and relationships. Legend has it that those who marry in June will have a long and happy marriage watched over by Juno.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids

Images from Monique Lluillier via

Celebrity designer, Monique Lhuillier, has finally done it! Introducing the new collection of bridesmaids dresses! These beautiful designs will make you want to be a bridesmaid. The best thing about her designs? Well, they don't look like the typical bridesmaid gowns. The images above are only a few of the dresses we can expect to see. There are more designs to come. Absolutely gorgeous! So far these gowns will only be available in the Minneapolis flagship salon and run about $300. Make sure to check out her website for more information on this new collection.