This Is Living

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reception at the Graves 601

Dave is the Audio/Video Manager of the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis.

He is responsible for all the lighting, sound, A/V equipment and production at the hotel.

The Graves is a boutique hotel. It is the only 4 star hotel in Minneapolis.

It is very upscale and dark and it is wrapped in exotic Paldeo wood.

Very chic and modern. This is Dave's type of place (he is very chic and modern). I however, find it rather different, as I am much more comfortable at the warm, cozy and charming Bed and Breakfasts of Stillwater (I am warm, cozy and charming :) ).

This is a wedding reception at the Graves. The photos were taken by the wonderful photographers at Studio 306.

The Graves 601 is a great place for your wedding reception or event if you are looking for the ambiance of very modern and definitely something different.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coordinator's Corner


This is the time of the year the wheels in the brain are turning. Rotating fast and steady.

New engagements bring new clients. Couples with their own spirit, styles, and sense of fun.

This brings out the new inspirations and creativity.

The wedding day is the first door that is opened as husband and wife. As they open the door and step on the path to begin their journey together through life it is important that in looking around they still see themselves, but also the combination of themselves molded together with the partner they have chosen for this journey.

This concept is what defines amazing wedding day design. A day that is not only true to each as an individual, but true to them as a couple.

It is the unique elements, the special touches, the things that scream this is YOUR wedding day that your guests will remember, and you will forever cherish.

As a guest at a wedding you need to remember. Every style is not for every body. How often have you been to a wedding and thought "Well, I wouldn't have done it like that". "Why did they do that?" "Melissa's wedding wasn't like this".

It is isn't about you (or Melissa!) You may not know what special meaning their color combination that you see as "ugly" and they see as "beautiful" means to them. You may not agree with many of their choices. It doesn't matter. It's not about you.

Don't get me wrong. There is a difference between disorganization, chaos, a true mess in the planning aspect and personal and couple expression.

Inability to hear the ceremony, being told to sit in a hot, treeless field with no parasol or water, getting caught in the rain with no Plan "B" in sight, lack of parking, seating chart hell, sitting thru 2 hours of speeches before even the salad is served, running out of food, (and heaven forbid cake!). These are not examples of personal or couple expression. These are examples of lack of proper planning, insensitivity towards guests, cutbacks in the budget but not the guest list, and sometimes plain rudeness. When you experience ANY of the above by all means:

"Well, I wouldn't have done it like that". (I sure hope NOT)

"Why did they do it like that?" (Because either they didn't know better.....and in that case shouldn't have been planning this on their own......or they didn't care.)

"Melissa's wedding wasn't like this". (Thank goodness and thank Melissa!)

Also, I will guarantee you.....if you are standing in the middle of a heavy downpour drenched like a wet dog trying to get thru the couples' vows, you are melting in the heat and nearly fainting from dehydration, you are standing at the entrance of the reception like an idiot because you have entered seating chart hell and have no seat assigned to you (and you did RSVP....if you didn't and you showed up anyway.....shame on deserve to be standing there like an idiot) and can't find an empty seat or if you have to leave the reception to go get something to eat because they ran out of food.......again, I can guarantee that point you are not going to care less what colors they had chosen!!! Complain all you want with my has now become about YOU!

Now that we have covered the difference between personal and couple expression and improper planning and reason to complain. We are going to focus on the personal and couple expression.

This part is fun.


Each couple that walks in my door provides me with it. The way they interact....are they romantic and kissy, are they witty and full of laughs, colorful and fun.

This is where the wheels start turning.

We reinvent the wheel every wedding. How can any wedding be exactly alike? No two people are exactly alike and certainly no couple.

There may be some similar elements, like colors, same locations, variety of flowers. But make it about the couple. What uniqueness about them should be celebrated and displayed. Shared with everyone.

In today's weddings there really is no right or wrong as far as design. Have fun with it, be creative and share your unique molded style. The molding of two individual people and their interests and loves joining together.

We design and put together inspiration (story) boards to show different aspects of a wedding day. We do these of complete weddings or just of cakes, flowers, linens, lighting, really you name it. It puts everything we have pulled or the bride has supplied us with together to compare, and see how all the elements are going to come together to form their wedding day look and design.

If you are planning your wedding; this is a great tool. Pull magazine clippings, photos, swatches, even other story boards; anything and everything and before you know will have your own story board and the look and feel of your individual elements pulled together of your own wedding day look and design.

Make it YOUR day.

This is a June wedding coming up. All the elements shown will be used. We were told to:

Think Spring
Think Garden
Think Pink with a "Splash"

(the cake is so fun. It is a cheesecake!)

Obviously something completely different than above.
Very chic.

How perfect for Stillwater.
Victorian and romantic.

A bubblegum wedding.
Unique and fun.

A summer bicycle wedding with a "green" aspect.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Coordinator's Corner

I just received my layouts for publication from Pat, a wonderful photographer (Sandhill Photography), who I had shoot a wedding we planned, designed, provided the decor and flowers and coordinated last fall. (Look at Kathy's beautiful flowers :) )

This is the ONLY wedding I have ever had that it was a complete downpour from start to finish, and, of course, it was an outdoor ceremony. Rain was not in the forecast, but we are always prepared! In Minnesota, if you have an outdoor wedding, you always have a Plan B (usually a tent (in this case a couple)). You never, ever, know what the weather is going to do.

The reception had originally been planned to be an outdoor reception on a rooftop, but due to many different circumstances, we had to change that just a week before the wedding (and had to totally redesign the reception). We did end up with it indoors, which worked out perfect for the weather conditions.

For so many reasons, and not just the pouring rain, I do believe this is the most difficult wedding and reception I have ever planned and "made the magic happen". This gives me all that much more fulfillment and gratification to see it take life and come together.

If you will notice the violinist, Jim. Bless his heart for playing in the rain. I do believe he is the only musician I know that would do that, and with good reason, those instruments are expensive and rather fragile with the elements. Most of the time we were holding an umbrella over his head as he strolled the pathway upon guest arrival. He insisted we do one quick shot without it.

These are the beautiful shots after everything came together. (click on photos to enlarge).

Beautiful Weddings Don't JUST HAPPEN

Now a look behind the scenes (remember this was all done in the POURING RAIN!) (this is why people hire us :) :

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Bride Has Spoken.........

The wedding reception for the July 25, 2009 wedding will be at:

You are all soooo good! I think that is what everyone thought would work best!

I am very excited. When I walked into the ballroom I knew it was the place for them. The groom's face lit up and all he could say was "Charlotte is going to love this!".

She did!

We are going on Wednesday night to nail down all the details and begin designing for linens, chair covers, flowers and lighting.

Since ya'll did so well, I'll be looking for your opinion more often. Don't go anywhere!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Test YOUR Wedding Coordinator Skills

I have been busy at work today.

I took a groom (the bride was busy in school) to look at different venues for their upcoming wedding reception. We have the location for their ceremony, but we need to find a location for their reception (July wedding).

We have it narrowed down to 3. I had never been in any of these 3 places before today. One of them I just LOVED!! Especially for this couple, when I walked in, it just felt so perfect for them. The groom's face lit up. I think he liked it too :). He is going to take the bride to these places tomorrow and see what she thinks and they will let me know their decision.

Let's test your skills and see if this may be the career for you:


Young couple. Would like something "different". He is in the Air Force and she is finishing her schooling to be a police officer. They are very traditional in their beliefs, dress, design style. They would like a large dance floor because dancing is important to them. Their colors are going to be maroon and gold (the colors of the Minnesota Gophers because that is where they met). They will have 200 guests, mostly from out of town, so hotels are important. The ceremony will be at Fort Snelling Chapel (military chapel).

Sidenote: (below are some photos of one of the previous weddings I have had at the chapel) The couple shown, Jessica and David, are an adorable couple. He is from England and has such a yummy accent. She is a major sweetheart. Her grandfather had recently passed away shortly before the wedding and was buried in Fort Snelling Cemetery (Veteran). Following the ceremony, we went over to his grave and Jessica took a flower that had been arranged in her bouquet to be removed easily, and took it out and placed it on her grandfather's grave. The photo of her kissing his marker is so touching, I had to include it.

Anyway, back to the wedding at hand:

We have the reception narrowed down to 3 places. They are all within $3,000 of each other.

1. Least expensive. Historic Ballroom, once was a theatre (back when Dave was a little boy). We can bring in our own catering to customize our menu and our own alcohol to cut costs (we will have licensed alcohol providers and bartenders). Located about 10 minutes from the ceremony location and a hotel that would offer shuttle service for the guests. I can arrange to have their name placed on the marquee outside. Lighting in this place would be amazing. Capacity is 320.

2. Second most expensive. Wine restaurant. 20 minutes from ceremony location. 2 large hotels directly across the street, but they do not have a shuttle service. Restaurant provides all catering and liquor. Tables would need to removed off of dance floor for dance. Capacity 200.

(Large ice sculpture they offer for appetizers)

3. Most expensive. 30 minutes away from ceremony location. Hotels approximately 10 minutes away. In a wooded area. Venue does own catering and alcohol. Large patio area for cocktail hour. Dance floor in another room. Dance area is sunken (requires stepping down into). Large fireplace for setting head table in front of. Large windows overloking grassy area and patio. Capacity 200.

What do YOU think? Which do you think would be perfect?

I'll tell you my choice and what they decide tomorrow after the bride takes a look.