Monday, June 29, 2009

Your Petal Palette: Green

My absolutely FAVORITE color is green... to me it signifies life.  The color green in fact means life, growth and renewal which signifies so much right now as we face our daily challenges.  Negativity surrounds us daily in the media so it's refreshing to be surrounded by amazing inspiration through beautiful flowers.

As a designer I find inspiration in not only the flower itself but through their amazing colors. The color palette green offers endless flower and foliage options from orchids to hydrangea and everything in between.  Believe it or not this fresh color is rather diverse coming in several varying shades; yellow green, sage/gray green, true green and even variegated green.  

I absolutely loved this fresh table centerpiece!  Our bride saved old wine and olive oil bottles to be used as unique vessels to hold single stems.  We then  added 4x4 cubes containing locally grown wheat grass which finished this organic centerpiece beautifully.  This arrangement is a perfect example of yellow, variegated and true green.

image courtesy of CoastLine-Studios

This sweet cake topper is made from what I call our work horse flower, the Peruvian hydrangea.  Some Hydrangeas can be temperamental when used in foam but not this chartreuse lovely.  Who doesn't love a flower that lasts for weeks and is available year round?

images courtesy of Dusty Brown Photography

I don't know about you but I'm in love with orchids especially Lady Slippers!  They are so incredibly unique and the color is spectacular.  Although this particular orchid variety is rather expensive it adds that perfect punch to what would otherwise be a very simple bouquet.  

<span class=
image courtesy of Brianna Graham

Have a fantastic Monday everyone and we look forward to sharing more exciting things with you this week.  Make it a great day!!!!  

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Making any Reception Site Beautiful!

So often I meet with brides requesting the same thing, how do I take a ordinary space and make it extraordinary all on a limited budget? Let me first start by saying that identifying your personal style is essential in creating a memorable event. Our first educational series covered that very topic. I would encourage you to first sit down and make a list of what's important to both you and your fiance.

In this post I thought it would be fun to share a wedding that took place at the infamous Cannonsburg ski lodge. In the winter you can find many hot chocolate milk faces and snow gear but who knew in the summer the lodge could be transformed into a reception location.

The brides request to create a Japanese garden reception was no small task in this rustic lodge. Our job was to transform this chalet style space equipped with wagon wheel light fixtures, dark wood and fieldstone fireplace into the couples perfect vision!





While on my site visit with the bride and her family we agreed there were areas that needed special attention. One of which was the wagon wheel light fixtures. Rather than work against the decor I chose to use the fixtures to our advantage. We first started by draping sheer chocolate and ivory fabric along with white chinese lanterns adorned in crystals. Next a unique floor plan was created by incorporating the use of 8ft. banquet style tables, hollow squares and square tables.


Rather than using the conventional front facing head table we actually placed two hollow squares in the center of the room. If you're asking yourself what in the world is a hollow square, I'll tell you. It's a combination of four 6 ft. or 8 ft. banquet tables designed in a square. This option worked perfectly for the couples head table not to mention the hollowed out center is a perfect place for a gianormous focal design.


Don't you just love the silk chinese lanterns with crystals. LED votives were used and last over 15 hours with fresh batteries. They are light weight and less dangerous than real candlelight. When on a limited budget I encourage people to spend the money on a few large focal designs vs. spreading a minimal budget over 20 to 30 tables.

Candles or floating blooms always make a great inexpensive compliment to any table.


Pink champagne runners were used on the guest tables while both head tables were dressed in full linens. I say if you can't afford to fully dress every table why not find a creative way to have a little of both. I promise it makes a huge difference!

My hope is that through this post and our educational series you gain a greater sense of how to create an event that is not only beautiful and affordable but uniquely your own.

Happy planning!

all images courtesy of Phrene Photography

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Going to the Chapel: Jessica and Bert

Introducing a fabulous couple with a white, silver and sophisticated wedding coming up this weekend!


Jessica Behan - Accounting at Kelloggs
Bert Bachand - Auditor at a local CPA firm

Tell us about the first time you two met!
"We met sophomore year at Western Michigan University where we had several mutual friends and classes together. It wasn't until our senior year of college, when we attended a work benefit together, that we realized there was something more than just a friendship growing. From that moment on we've been together ever since!"

What is your idea of the "perfect" date?
"It doesn't take us much to have a perfect date. We have the best time when we play a round of golf, spending time on the boat and meeting some friends for a BBQ and a bonfire."

What is the one thing about your wedding you are most excited for?
"We are so excited to be married in a beautiful church with our friends and family whom we love. The entire day will be amazing from the church and newly renovated Thousand Oaks Golf Course which will both decorated by Modern Day Floral to the tasty cake from Sweet Cake Designs. We just can't wait to see it all come together and to have Lisa Kae Photography capture the memories!"

Tell us about your proposal story!
"Bert took me on a stormy night to spend the evening on the beach in Grand Haven to have some ice cream and to watch the huge waves by the pier. After fighting a monsoon of rain on the drive out there, the sky finally cleared. He brought an umbrella in case there was more rain and we sat down on a blanket on the  beach. Just as the sun was beginning to set, Bert surprised me with a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him!"


Photographer: Lisa Kae Photography
Reception Location: Thousand Oaks Golf Course
Cake Designer: Sweet Cake Designs

All images are courtesy of Lisa Kae Photography

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Planning a long distance wedding: The do’s and don’ts

image courtesy of Ben Harrison Photography

So our very own Mrs. is back after an exciting couple of weeks, not only did they move into their first home but celebrated their one year exciting!!! However this post was worth the wait and you're in for a real treat. When I received the post this morning I could feel the blood, sweat and tears that went into planning this wedding from long distance. I'm sure you will find this blog to be insightful and incredibly helpful. Thank you Alishan for taking time out to share your experience with our readers!

Greetings! First, I must apologize for my absence last week. Mike and I were too wrapped up in the “Oh my gosh we’ve been married for a year already!” bliss and time just got the best of us.

When we became engaged we lived in Atlanta, Georgia but always knew we would get married in Grand Rapids. Both of our families live there and regardless of the jet setting, its home. Planning a wedding from a thousand miles away is a unique experience. Being away from the action and trusting others at all times to make your vision a reality can be overwhelming and intense to say the least.

With the help of my fabulous mom, I came up with this list of do’s and don’ts that we learned during the 20 month process.


  • Assume anything. If you have a question or aren’t 100% sure about something, ask the question.
  • Trust the color of things on line or in photos try to see them in person. While trying to match the perfect shade of pink on the invitation to the linens, escort cards, etc. it was hard to go with what we saw online. A lot of times computers can distort colors and leave you thinking you’re looking at one shade of pink while it’s completely different. Ask your vendors to send you a small swatch or sample of the things you are interested in so you can be certain of what you are getting.
  • Use vendors you do not feel you can trust. These individuals can make or break your day. You don’t want to have to babysit or constantly worry about when your vendors will show up, if they’re doing their job and what the final outcome will be. After the contracts were signed and the details set, I didn’t have to worry about my vendors at all. This allowed us to enjoy the day with friends and family without a care in the world.
  • Set unrealistic expectations of those helping you. As excited as everyone is about your wedding, no one is nearly as excited as you are. You can’t expect everyone in your life to have your wedding be their number one priority just because it is yours. If people are willing to help you plan, allow them to help you when they have time. Not when it’s most convenient for you which is probably 24 hours a day!
  • Be a vendor stalker. These folks are busy and have other brides as well as you. It goes back to trusting your vendors. I promise your wedding in not their first and they will be prepared for your day. There is no need to check and double check and triple check if you trust them to do their job.


  • Get everything in writing. This is for your protection and your vendors. A simple precaution that can save everyone a lot of time and stress later on.
  • Follow up. After a meeting, shoot a quick email to make sure you and your vendors are on the same page. Once you are sure they are, go back on your merry planning way! This follow up will make the week before your wedding enjoyable and stress free you and all of those around you.
  • Take a weekend to get to the wedding destination to see what you have been planning. We went to MI probably 3 or 4 times over the 20 months to meet with our vendors, see the church and the time was invaluable. It eased my nerves and really made things feel real.
  • Trust your vendors. Have I mentioned this already? J I mean it!
  • Be clear about what you want. Once I started planning, I knew I wanted simple, luxurious, elegance. The details may have changed, but as long as I stayed focused on those three concepts, I knew I would be happy in the end.
  • Have a team to help you though all the details. If at all possible have a point person at the wedding location/destination they can follow-up in person and relay information back to you on the spot or later. This person was my mom. I woudn’t have been able to plan this wedding without her. She lives in GR and did a lot of the running around I wasn’t able to. From picking up napkins from Jenn and taking them to the JW to have them folded to the many, MANY visits to the printer for one thing or another, my mom was able to handle it. If you don’t have that person, be sure to stay organized so when you do visit your location, you can handle everything while there. Make a list and stick to it!
  • Send out invitations, notices etc in advance so people from out of town know what they are invited to and can make arrangements. About 60% of our guests were coming from out of town. From the wedding website, to the invitations to all of the different wedding weekend events, we were constantly providing information to our guests. Your Aunt Mary may not need to know 5 times what time the ceremony starts, but your future husband’s college roommate may need the extra reminder. J
  • Have fun! This is going to be overwhelming if you let it be. So don’t and you will thank me later!

I hope this information helps even just a bit! Have a great week and of course, Happy Planning!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Vintage Garden Wedding

 Let me start by saying that Kari a/k/a bride is absolutely AMAZING!  Not only is she gorgeous but she is one of the kindest most genuine people you will ever meet.  I loved working with her because she understood the value of tiny details which made the creative process so much FUN!

During our consultation Kari shared her vision for a beautiful vintage garden wedding complete with lush peony, specialty linens and antique napkins, personal touches and a perfectly dressed table.  She even provided some of the great decor accents that were used with the centerpieces.  Pieces from our sterling silver collection were used to pull the entire look together.  

Rather than start with the table details I just had to share the amazing couple first!  

The dress was a beautiful Nicole Miller gown that looked as if it was designed specifically for Kari-simply stunning!


Seriously didn't I tell you she was gorgeous and look at those eyes!  Julie Strating our local make-up celebrity did a gorgeous job accentuating Kari's already flawless features.

Everyone loves a man who isn't afraid to show his softer side.  David wore a khaki suit with a crisp white shirt and a stylish green pin striped tie.  Not only did he look dapper he was our comedic relief that day.  

 Sweet vintage handkerchiefs were used to wrap the stems for her bridesmaid bouquets.  Just another fabulous find by the bride. 

Kari spent hours surfing the web and antique stores for the perfect vintage brooch, it matched beautifully with her necklace.

Couldn't resist sharing just a few more bouquet shots showcasing the brooch and white ostrich feathers.  I hope feathers stay in style for a long time because I'm absolutely in love with them.  You?  

 I'm so in love with the color of the bridesmaid dresses!  It was a cross between kiwi and kelly green, super cute!!!!  I'll have to ask Kari and get back to all of you on the actual color.  Seriously how fresh, flirty and fun!

Thanks to Jen of JK Photography we have this amazing collection of images to share with you.  I love how beautifully she brought out the vintage feel of this wedding through her photography.  I would also like extend a big "way to go" to Syd Design who helped create the lovely paper products.  And to the Pinnacle Center for being so accommodating in allowing us to get in early just so we could ensure the linens were pressed and dressed to perfection.  

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grand Rapids Bride Magazine Feature

Grand Rapids Bride 2009/2010 issue is here and we couldn't be more excited about our feature. Paul and Jennifer's June wedding had a fresh, clean, romantic feel and images captured by Ben Harrison Photography are beautiful. How great is the Stafford's Perry Hotel in Petoskey? Can't wait to get up there again before the summer ends. Enjoy!



XXL Grand Rapids Bride


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wedding Recap: Amanda and Adam

A few weeks ago, you read about Amanda and Adam's engagement story. Here is the inside scoop on their wedding day! We hope you enjoy the great shots taken by FireFly Photography and one of Amanda's co-workers!

Amanda's bouquet was a romantic European hand-tied of hydrangea, lisianthus, vendella and spray roses with just a touch of green hypericum.  My favorite touch was the lush ribbon loop collar.
Amanda was truly a gorgeous bride, so soft and feminine.

image courtesy of Amanda's co-worker

The centerpiece consisting of hydrangea, tulips and candlelight brought a simple yet romantic feel to the room.  Although the design was minimalistic the overall effect made a bold impact and fit the decor of the venue beautifully.  The best part, the vases were provided by Amanda and Adam making it easy to donate the flowers to a local hospital!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking Center Stage: Cascade Hills Country Club



Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Number of Years in the Business: 4 years in Event Planning; 10 years in Hospitality and Management


What first sparked your interest in event planning?
"Having the ability to work with all types of people, to fully serve them and to exceed their expectations are all things that entice me to the Hospitality field."

What is your must-have item on the job?
"I guess I would have to say I must have a pencil/pen and paper - there are so many ideas and thoughts that flow so fast from myself, vendors and the client... I want to make sure and catch everything."

Any great business advice that you swear by?
"I take a professional yet personal approach to business and this tends to work very well for me in this field. My "meetings" are more like conversations with a friend with a little business mixed in. Taking things as they come and full communication is imperative in this industry."

Are there any wedding styles or traditions that make you cringe?
"I can't stand the plain banquet tables that are skirted and left alone. Also the fan napkin fold seriously has to go."

What is the most important personal satisfaction you get with your job?
"I love to service people and take great pride in my work. Seeing something start from notes on paper and turn into something simply beautiful and seamless is worth every moment of effort."

If you could work with any one, who would it be?
"I would like to do one event with Rachel Ray as the chef... I think that would be such a blast!"

If you could have anyone as your client, who would it be?
"I would like to plan my own wedding someday so I'd have to say myself !!"

What does your normal day consist of?
"My normal day consists of working out, getting to work and returning the many emails and voicemails in my inboxes, attending the many meetings of the day, making sure the rooms are set up for morning and evening events, overseeing those events and planning future events in-between." 

Days off and down time are cherished in this industry. How do you spend yours?
"I usually do the mundane things of cleaning the house, washing cars and dogs along with working out. If I get a couple of days off in a row, I will definitely spend an evening with family and friends (movie, dinner, shopping, ect).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Event Recap: Glamourous Graduation

Last week Thursday we were fortunate to design another amazing event with the talented Jodi Bos of In Any Event. The occasion was a high school graduation and 18th birthday celebration.  In typical fashion, Jod gave us an unbelievable color palette of raspberry, tangerine and turquoise to work with and total creative freedom...gotta love creative freedom!

Nothing says, "welcome, we're so glad you're here" then happy little pom balls in a row! Over 100 daisy pomp blooms were used to create these cuties and tiffany blue double swiss satin ribbon added the finishing touch. 
How about that view of the pool?  Yes, it was as gorgeous as it looked in the pictures: 75 degrees, sunny and absolutely perfect!  
Attention to detail and creating the unexpected has definitely become Jodi's trademark and this candy bar is living proof.  How much do you love this yummy table and the whimsical cake created by Sweet Cakes Design is just the icing on the cake.  Our tiny contribution was the collection of 6x6 cubes containing locally grown wheat grass finished with raspberry double swiss satin ribbon. This display was definitely my favorite detail from this event.  You agree?
Selecting just the right container can make all the difference when creating a centerpiece.  Thanks to Accent Decor I was able to find the perfect containers, in the perfect shade at the perfect price-bonus!  Accent Decor has come out with a great new line of unique pottery in fabulous colors.  I loved them so much I ordered a case in some of my favorite colors; lemon yellow, rich aburgene and tiffany blue.
Magenta cattleya orchids, pin cushion protea, cherry brandy roses, red ti leaf wraps, craspedia, dancing lily grass and copper wire made this refreshingly fun color palette come to life.  

Special thanks to Jen Kroll for capturing this event so beautifully!  She truly is a master with the camera not to mention a total sweetheart!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going to the Chapel: Angela and Greg

Angela and Greg are getting married this Saturday and have a sweet and spicy color palette!!!

image courtesy of Schrader Photography

Angela DePerro - Assistant Banking Center Manager of Bank of America
Greg Mead - Senior Vice President of Investments for Bank of America

Tell us about the first time you two met!
"We met through our work but the time that we really first took notice of each other was at a Christmas Party three years ago. I was not sure if I really wanted to go or not and ended up going anyways. Angela was there and we started talking and ended up having a lot of fun. At work we are both very professional and confident and thought that the other had an attitude problem but it turned out once we got to know each other that we were the perfect match. The rest is history..."

What is your idea of the "perfect" date?
"During the day we like to do anything adventurous. We love being active together. Some of our favorite things to do are downhill skiing, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking, and tennis just to name a few. At night we like to go to dinner at nice restaurants and enjoy fine wine."

What is the one thing about your wedding you are most excited for?
"We are most excited to have all our friends and family together to celebrate. There are not too many chances that you can have all of your favorite people in one place and we are going to take advantage of it. The reception is going to be awesome but the people that are there are really what make it special."

Tell us about your proposal story!
"Greg won a weekend getaway through a work contest. We decided to make it a long weekend and stop in Chicago on our way to the destination. We had a fabulous day in Chicago at the Field Museum and then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. We bought two Vera Wang wine glasses among other purchases. That evening, as we were getting ready to go out on the town, Greg poured some wine in the new glasses and said a special toast which ended in "Will you Marry Me?"

Photographer: Greg Schrader

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Your Questions Answered from Mrs. Atlanta

Hey y’all! Happy Wednesday. Hope this finds all of you lovely readers of Jens blog doing wonderfully. Over my past two posts I have received a couple of questions that I wanted to address before delving too much further into team Alishan. It’s a seriously extensive list and I’d hate for these ladies to have to wait.


First from Erin: What was the best part of my engagement process?

Erin, that’s a fantastic question as I have never really thought about it before. I would probably have to say the growth Mike and I experienced in our relationship as well as the relationships that were created with some of our vendors. It was also great to plan with my mom. She’s a serious rock star and the planning process brought us even closer.

Planning a wedding is a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t change a single thing about mine. I was able to secure the vendors I wanted early on then sit back and relax for the better part of a year until the smaller details needed to be finalized. I was able to go to Miami for my bachelorette party with incredible friends. We made several trips up to Grand Rapids that were (for the most part) stress free and more about celebrating our love for one another and this joyous time instead of freaking out and running around trying to get things done. We could incorporate a lot of personal details because we had the time. It’s not for everyone, and at times it was frustrating because I just wanted to be married already, but again, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

Next from Cairn: Any tips on getting married in the Cathedral? Suggestions or ideas to make it our own? It's so beautiful I don't want to do much to it, but some personalization would be nice.

Cairn, also a great question. I first attended St. Andrews Cathedral when I moved to Michigan in 6th grade. It always stuck in my mind as gorgeous, but when we moved to Forest Hills, my family started attending St. Roberts. When time came to pick a church, I decided that I didn’t want to get married at St. Roberts for aesthetic purposes, but instead wanted to use St. Andrews. As you know it is beautiful beyond words. Every time I have been inside of the Cathedral, my breath was taken away. My mom and I didn’t think much decoration was needed at all and pretty much left it in the hands of our AMAZING florist Jenn. She and my mom met at the Cathedral when I was in Atlanta and they decided all the church really needed was something for the unity candle, an arrangement when you first walk in and an arrangement by the altar. It was important for us that whatever we added didn’t take away from the original beauty of the Cathedral and I feel we accomplished that. My advice would be to keep it simple and elegant. Those are two words you can never go wrong with! 






These were great questions and hopefully helped others out there. Whether deciding on having a long engagement or how in the world you are going to plan from across the country, I am here to help. J

I’ve got to scoot as my one year anniversary is this weekend and I’ve got all sorts of surprises up my sleeve to work on. Have a great week ladies (and gents) and next week we’ll get back to Team Alishan. Before I finish all of that gang I am going to touch on the ups and downs of planning a long distance wedding as well as some of my favorite wedding trends I did and did not use.




all images courtesy of Ben Harrison Photography