Crowning Inspiration: Bridal Shower Dinner

Intimate Bridal Shower at the Inverness Club

Earlier this week I had the joy and privilege to design a tablescape for a bride and an intimate group of ladies. The bridal shower was held in the evening at the Inverness Club. The ladies enjoyed cocktails on the back patio over-looking the 18th hole, followed by dinner in the Byron Nelson room, which also included scenic views of the course.

The Byron Nelson room is very plaid and traditional with its brass fixtures and navy, green and red decor. To lighten the room and create some excitement and energy, we dressed the table in chartreuse satin sheen linens, with matching chair sashes. We accented the bright green with gold chargers and gold votives. We mixed this energetic look with some traditional accents in the Battenberg linen napkins and antique china. Each setting included a vase napkin ring with pink florals to match the china pattern and a place setting card.

The centerpiece included green hydrangea, white gerbera daisies, tea roses, white daisies, snap dragons and white orchids draped at the corners. From the center of the floral arrangement were tree branches painted gold. This added height without obstructing the view. The total width of the centerpiece was 16w x 16h x 24tall.

The Inverness Club presented a beautiful display on all their entrées and each guest complimented the flavor of their meal. After dinner, a favor and dessert of four cake bites were served in flavors vanilla cake, mint chocolate cake, key lime pie cake, and red velvet cake.

The bride and her groom will be married August 8th in Sylvania, Ohio.


Danielle & Jonathan 07.24.10

Saturday, June 24th, Danielle and Jon were married in an intimate ceremony surrounding by family and friends under a gazebo at the Toledo Botanical Gardens. Danielle walked down an "aisle" surrounded by shade gardens to the harmonious sounds of Tapestry's harp and acoustic guitar. They exchanged vows surrounded by fountains and lily pads.

Guests roamed the gardens sipping on fresh mint mojitos and lemonade as jazz vocals from the band Vinyl Underground echoed throughout. They enjoyed a summer dinner that highlighted seasonal splendors such as strawberry soup, and berry accents to chicken and steak entrees, accompanied by fresh seasonal vegetables.

Tables were dressed in pink tablecloths with sparkle organza overlays, accented with roses, ranunculus, cymbidium and dendrobium orchids, white and green hydrangea and pink stock.
After dinner, guests enjoyed chocolate wedding cake and a variety of cupcakes that featured daisies, pink and green butterflies, pink flowers and hand-crafted fondant orchids and mushrooms.
The band changed tune and guests danced to classics from Styx, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones to name a few.

Ceremony & Reception: Toledo Botanical Gardens
Tent & Rentals: Meredith Party Rentals
Linens: Meredith Party Rentals
Ceremony Music: Tapestry
Cocktail & Reception Music: Vinyl Underground
Florals: Mary Fox, Dragonfli Flowers (Dayton)
Catering: Premier Catering
Cake: Myles Baker Street
Photographer & Videographer: New Image Photography
Coordination: Crowning Celebrations, Brittany Craig
Make-up: Dara Hays
Bridal Gown & Veil: Lazaro, Gallipos, Toledo

* images provided above were taken by Crowning Celebrations


Crowning and Cunning: Wedding Day Essentials Kit

To see the video clip, click here.
Here's "the list" from my segment on WTOL's Your Morning Saturday

Here are some of my essentials that I pack in my emergency kit.
I find these to be the most used items.

First Aid:
First Aid Kit including a variety of band-aids
Tylenol in “go packets” for easy sharing
Bach Rescue Remedy
Tums or antacid
Gas relief to reduce bloating (stop chewing gum!)
Contact solution with lens case
Eye drops
Trail mix (for low sugar levels) 

Beauty Essentials:
Breath mints or strips
Colgate Wisp brushes (or mini toothbrush)
Extra hold hairspray
Disposable shavers
Shaving gel
Nail polish remover
Manicure set
Clear nail polish
Cotton balls and q-tips
White-out (for touch ups on French mani)
Krazy Glue to fix broken nails
Foundation make-up
Make-up remover whites
Feminine products
Cough drops
Gift wrap tissue for blotting
Panty hose

Repair Kit:
Sewing kit
Pearled-tip corsage pins
Safety pins
Extra wristlet for corsage
Lint Roller
Portable steamer
Duck-tape (heamlines)

Mini Tool Kit:
Clear fishing wire
Stain remover
White Chalk
Extra sequins and pearls
Stick-on sequins
Krazy glue
Baby wipes, unscented, no aloe
Door hanger
Door stopper
Ziplock plastic bags
Large white sheet
White duck-tape
Bug repellant

Men’s Kit:
Breath mints
First Aid Kit including a variety of band-aids
Tylenol in “go packets” for easy sharing
Bach Rescue Remedy
Tums or antacid
Gas relief to reduce bloating (stop chewing gum!)
Contact solution with lens case
Eye drops
Trail mix
Black dress socks
Shoe Shine kit
Disposable shaver
Shaving gel
Sewing kit with black and white threads
Boutonnière pins

When you are finished with the kit, pass it on! Give it to the next bride or mother-of-the-bride for their use. Hopefully it will bring them luck!

Check out these fun tote bags for the Bride and Bridesmaids from


Crowning and Cunning: Bridal Headbands

Thinking about accessorizing with a headband for your wedding day look?
Check out these beautiful and chic designs on Etsy.

Many of these designers have fabulous cuffs, earings, beaded belts and shoes accessories to complete your wedding day look!


Crowning Inspiration: Hostess Gifts

I saw these in House Beautiful and just had to share!
These monogrammed plates by La Plate are the perfect gift for your summer parties.
You pick that pattern and the monogram. You can mix and match 'em, too!
They are also fabulous for college students, tailgating parties,
the cottage, picnics, poolside bbqs or the boat.

And the fun doesn't stop there! They also offer cutting boards, cups, totes, placemats (I gotta get those for my poochies!), napkins... the list goes on! If you love giving and receiving monogrammed gifts, then this is the jackpot!
 Perfect placemats for the kids!

This has Lola and Lulu's names all over it!!!


Running of the Brides, August 27th, Cleveland

If you are planning on participating in the ROTB 
 Friday August 27th  Cleveland, Ohio
 we want to hear from you!
Contact me with info on your team, your approach and your budget.

Filene’s Basement is known for its bargains on everything from fashions to home goods, but perhaps the store is most famous for its annual Bridal Gown Events when brides-to-be can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on designer wedding gowns.

The sale is held in selected Filene’s Basement stores once a year (twice a year in Boston). News reports so often compare it to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain that the event is now officially called the “Running of the Brides®.”

The day of the sale, brides-to-be and their helpers line up early. When the doors open, they run full speed towards the racks. In less than 60 seconds, the racks are stripped bare (store employees have to hold on to the fixtures so they don’t topple). The women grab whatever gowns they can, haul them off to a corner, strip down to their underwear and start trying on dresses. Minutes later the trading begins. Every dress, no matter what size, style or color, gets bartered for another, as each bride tries to find the gown of her dreams at a cut-rate price.

E-mail pat.boudrot@filenesbasement.com to request the “Secrets of Success—finding your dream dress at Filene’s Basement’s Running of the Brides®.”

More info on the Filene's Basement Facebook page


"Newbie "Wedding Planners" Plague the Professionals"

I took my day off to catch up on some reading... which even included some wedding industry news. I came across this article in Special Events Magazine, written by Lisa Hurley (see below).

I agree with many of the points expressed. But one thing I think many industry leaders and writers fail to share is what "newbies" are supposed to do and how they should really get their feet wet in this industry, as opposed to using your wedding as their 101 class. I just love how they criticize the "newbie" but don't offer any advise in exchange.

This is my 9th year in business. And I have recently expanded my resume to include teaching a Wedding Seminar at the University of Toledo. I've received my fair share of requests via e-mail and phone from students in the area who are looking for a practicum or internship. And while the opportunities are far and few between, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. But with only a select handful of seasoned planners in town, there are very few openings for such positions. Therefore, I recommend to anyone who is interested in the business of being a wedding coordinator is to DO EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to LEARN through EXPERIENCE by WORKING for SOMEONE ELSE (not yourself). Work for a florist, rental company, entertainment agency, volunteer for non-for-profit events, community fundraisers and festivals. But do not go down to City Hall and file for your vendors license and print up some business cards put yourself out there exposed and unseasoned. You will RUIN YOUR REPUTATION.

I could go on. But read this article. And if you feel so inclined, leave some feedback below.

Best wishes,


P.S. I love the photo they used!

Newbie "Wedding Planners" Plague the Professionals

Along with price-shopping brides who haggle over every penny in the wedding budget, veteran wedding professionals face another headache these days: the newbie wedding planner. Often armed with little experience—other than their own wedding—the newbies drive down fees and taint the value of experienced wedding pros, many in the business say.

Newbies are not a recent phenomenon, explains Joyce Scardina Becker, president of San Francisco-based Events of Distinction and founding president of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association. "However, they do come in waves," she says, "and right now it feels like a tidal wave!"

The San Francisco Bay area sees "at least one newbie a week," says Jenne Hohn, founder of Napa, Calif.-based Jenne Hohn Events. Although the recession has pushed the newly jobless to try to break into weddings ("I've heard of corporate planners who said they would never touch weddings now seeking advice on how to plan them," Hohn says), she thinks the problem started while the economy was still healthy. Many planners and vendors "saw that the wedding planners were doing well and decided to add planning to their repertoire a way to get a piece of the pie."


One of the most galling trends, Scardina Becker says, is the low-cost, "day of" wedding coordination service many newbies offer.

"I'm not sure how the term 'day of' coordination originated, but it is a term that needs to be eradicated from the vocabulary of the wedding industry," she says. "No wedding planner of sound mind, experience and education would simply show up on the day of a wedding, wave their arms in the air like a symphony conductor and expect everything to flow flawlessly." Instead, she says, a professional wedding planner would spend from 30 to 45 hours a month out from the wedding date, making sure all plans are in place.

Note: Hohn shares her thoughts in "The Myth of 'Day Of' Wedding Planning"


The problem stretches across the Atlantic to England, notes London-based wedding planner Siobhan Craven-Robins, a 15-year veteran professional.

Until 1995, weddings in England and Wales had to take place in a church or register office. But when the law changed, a wide range of venue options became available to brides, and wedding planning blossomed. Craven-Robins notes, "In the U.K., wedding planning is still a growing industry, and a difficult one to get into if you are not setting up your own business. Consequently there are always new planners setting up." She adds, "Most don't survive long as they have a somewhat rosy view of what the job really entails! I get on average four CVs [resumés] a day from people wanting to be wedding planners."

Although her strong brand has protected her business thus far, Craven-Robins sees the same problems with newbies in the business. "A number of planners have complained about the novices starting up and seriously undercutting on price," she says. "In the long run, it does no one any favors. They will be unable to sustain a business on such small fees, it devalues the brand, and makes the industry unnecessarily cutthroat."


Along with driving down fees, some newbies are compromising the reputation of wedding planning by their ignorance or—or disdain for—professionalism, some veteran planners say.
Colette Lopez, head of Santa Barbara, Calif.-based La Fête, said she was "floored" a few years ago when her client posted photos of the wedding Lopez created on the Web site of the new "planner," claiming they were her work. "I see a lot of blogs that are showing just table designs and set-up shots instead of actual events," Lopez adds.

Tara Wilson, founder of Tara Wilson Events in Fort Worth, Texas, has been pestered in recent months by callers pretending to be prospective brides. She knows why they ask detailed questions about her pricing and services: "It's very frustrating to have newbies calling and pretending to be brides to pick my brain," she says. "I would much prefer a start-up planner ask to take me to lunch and discuss her questions rather than try to sneak answers past me. I would be happy to share my insights about this challenging and unique business with the right person, but honesty is the best way to go about it."

Besides knowing little about the wedding business, many newbies know little about business period. For a presentation at The Special Event 2008, Scardina Becker polled wedding planners and learned that 45 percent did not carry business insurance, and 13 percent had no license. "This was a motivating factor for me to help start the Wedding Industry Professionals Association," she says; WIPA members are required to have a business license and insurance.

Yet the shortcomings of the newbie planner show up in time. "I hear all the time from my vendors all over," Lopez says, "that the florist, photographer, band emcee or head captain ends up taking over the event to keep it on track with planners that are not experienced."
Janice P. Blackmon, with more than 25 years in wedding planning, was called on recently to bail out a newbie herself. The head of Janice Blackmon Events in Atlanta—a market "saturated" with wedding planners, she says—tells the story of a newbie planner so ill-equipped to handle a wedding "that on several occasions she even asked the client what they should be working on next," Blackmon says. The worried bride checked with her venue for a recommendation on a planner, and Blackmon's name came up. "I was able to come in with two weeks until the wedding, pull everything together, and create and produce the flawless wedding that the bride had been dreaming of," she says.

Blackmon hopes for the day to return when clients "understand that to have the event they desire, it takes quality vendors and professionals to work together to achieve that goal." But with the bumper crop of inept newbies, "I fear we will continue down the road as we are today," she says, "with having to spend extra time explaining why we charge what we charge for our services and why we can't just give away our time and expertise."

Hohn, however, is more optimistic. "Ethical planners have held a constant fee structure as a way to maintain the integrity of the industry," she says. "These planners have found ways to reword their assistance structure and more clearly define what it is that they do. Not only that, they are educating brides along the way. This type of education is what will save the industry from the 'attack of the newbies.'"

Photo by iStockphoto.com / © Yarnica

Newbie "Wedding Planners" Plague the Professionals


Crowning Inspiration: Fantastic Fourth Tablescapes

Still looking for ideas for your Fourth of July table?
Or did you just find out your hosting a group of people for this weekend's festivities?
We've got you covered! Or, at lease we've got your table covered ...

Shopping List for Dinner table:
LED lights for votive candles and flower vases
Silver Lanterns
Blue and Red Votive cups
Bandanas for napkins
Flag garlands
Red and White dinner plates
Fun plastic bar ware, good for poolside and patios
Sangria & Raspberry Lemonade
Glow bracelets for stir sticks
Mason jars for flower vases, votives or drinks
Old blue sheet for tablecloth
Glow glassware and accessories for the bar
Swan Creek Candle company Lemon Grass votives
Tiki torches

Shopping list for Kids Table:
Glow Bracelets and Necklaces
Red wicker Lanterns
LED votives
Paper plates & napkins for kids table
Red & blue twislers and candies
Red and blue soda pop
Paper airplanes
Fun glow items like pom-poms
Glow-in-the-dark Sidewalk chalk
SPF sun lotion
Bug repellant
Plastic gingham tablecloth for kids table
Red & Blue bean-bags
Roll of craft paper

Toledo Shopping Hotspots:
Hobby Lobby
Swan Creek Candle Co.
Bumble Flowers & Gifts
Michael Crafts
Party City
Big Lots
Tuesday Morning

 These ideas and tablescapes were shown on WTOL's Your Morning Saturday.

If you are feeling crafty and have some extra time and scrap booking paper around, then you can whip-up the hottest trend in cupcakes and desserts - CUP CAKE WRAPPERS!

Here's a template from Skip to my Lou.
Cut to shape, then trim, stamp or punch
the edges for a unique and creative design.

Happy Fourth of July!
Wishing you a safe, fun and fabulous celebration!


Eventista - Oil Spill Affecting Beach Nuptials

Oil spill affecting beach nuptials

Written by Brittany Craig

The effects of the BP oil disaster are spilling over into the wedding industry of the Florida panhandle. Some wedding businesses are reporting as many as 60 percent of their weddings being canceled.

“By this time last year, I booked half of my weddings. Now, I don’t have any booked for next year. Brides are too scared,” said wedding coordinator Shelby Peaden of Shelby Peaden Events based in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. “I used to receive 30-40 inquiries a month. I haven’t received any.”

Fulfilling a bride’s dreams and desires is how many wedding professionals along Florida’s west coast make their living.

But the oil spill is causing them to re-think their future on the Gulf.

“One of my florists lost $60,000 in cancelations. I know photographers who have considered moving to the East Coast or another state and starting over. But that is very hard to do for a coordinator,” Peaden said.

Wedding professionals are reaching out. Natural disaster clauses are a standard for Florida wedding professionals who are used to dealing with hurricanes. But the BP oil spill is man-made, which makes brides who cancel accountable for the balance.

So they are bringing in the pros with Florida’s largest legal law firms.

“We are trying to be compassionate toward our brides”, Peaden said. “We will have to make a claim to BP to get our money back.”

Back at home, the beaches of Ohio’s Lake Erie Coastal Trail offer refuge to a bride’s destination dream. Locations such as Maumee Bay State Park, Catawba Island and Headlands Beach State Park offer natural beaches and spectacular sunsets.

Maumee Bay Resort, which has recently received many last-minute bookings, is seeing increased business resulting from the tragedy down South.

“We just booked an August bride who was looking forward to going to Florida, but didn’t want to chance it,” said Sara Sander, event sales manager for Maumee Bay Lodge.

The proof is in the picture. You don’t need to go far for sun-setting splendor.

“Create the destination feel by choosing a site where you can all stay together and be a family”, said Kim Koluch of Considering Lilies Photography. “Having that togetherness [is more important] rather than where you are. You can’t fake that. A beach isn’t going to make that happen.”

But for brides holding strong to their plans, there are many websites that update beach conditions daily.

“There are still many places that are untouched,” Peaden said. “We know what it looks like today, but we don’t know about tomorrow.”