Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Congratulations on your Engagement!

Congratulations on your engagement! This is an exciting time for you both and I know you're excited to begin planning your dream wedding!

The first thing you should do is decide on a budget! Then, find a knowledgeable Wedding Coordinator who will assist you with your wedding planning.

I offer complimentary initial consultations and have availability in 2011. I look forward to meeting with you and helping to make sure your wedding is "A Party to Perfection."

Please schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting Shannon at (479) 422-1697 or emailing at

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Trends: Catering

November through February is the busiest time for couples to get engaged. These couples are also in luck because all of the 2011 trends are being released so these couples can be first to incorporate them into the wedding theme.

The December/January 2011 issue of Event Solutions magazine asked experts in the hospitality industry for their suggestions and these are some of the trends they saw:

1) Pies for entrees and desserts

Pies will start edging out cupcakes as the "king of dessert" and they will be made with both sweet and savory fillings. Also, individually deep fried pies will be popular (my uncle's favorite!)

2) Mini food

Two bite hot dogs, tacos, burritos, and tiny pot roasts

3) Edible "dirt"

Dried and charred foods that look like dirt and add textures to dishes.

4) Old Italian

Familiar dishes like spaghetti and regional Italian ingredients.

5) Korean Cuisine

2011 will be the year that Korean Cuisine becomes mainstream

6) Down-home Southern cooking

Grits will become an all-purpose starch.Grits and shrimp could be a popular dish (if you're from the south, you already know this to be true!)

Other observations:

Middle Eastern cuisine like couscous, falafels, hummus, and other traditional ethnic foods (after studying in the Middle East, I would love to see this!)

Deconstructed salads (upscale salad bar for guests to create their own)

Unique serving methods, plating and presentation

A more health conscious approach to event catered food. It's all about offering delicious fresh and innovative healthy and organic foods.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 wrap up; A look into my first year of Wedding Coordination

It's amazing that we are already at the end of 201o! This was a very busy year for me and I want to thank all of my clients, their families, all of the wonderful vendors I was fortunate enough to work with, and my family for supporting me!

I thought I would share with you the valuable things I learned in my first year of wedding coordination! I can honestly say that no amount of studying for my certification, reading bridal blogs and magazines could have prepared me more than actual hands-on experience. Enjoy!

1) Make sure you truly know how much time it takes to be a planner! It is difficult to turn down a client, but sometimes it's better to say "I"m sorry, but my schedule is very busy and I do not think I will be able to devote the necessary time to your wedding that it deserves" then to short change yourself...and your client!

On an average week, I was spending 50 hours a week attending meetings, reading contracts, phone consultations, touring venues, searching websites, attending courses, marketing, etc.
This took me away from my husband and four year old son more than I had anticipated!

2) Work along side a wedding coordinator to get the true "behind the scenes" look into the workings of planning a wedding.

I had my twin sister assist me with an October wedding and she said to me "Wow, I had no idea what all it took to get a bride down the aisle!" You will definitely see months of planning shape up on the wedding day. The "fun" part of a wedding like selecting the dresses, flowers, food and your entertainment are just the facade of a wedding. You have to know the basics in order to make everything come together seamlessly. You need to know how to orchestrate the ceremony rehearsal, work with vendors, work with a nervous bride and groom, manage their families' emotions,handle the "unexpected", and make sure it's legal at the end of the day! Working first hand with a coordinator will definitely make you appreciate the months of planning!

3) You can never say somethings enough! No matter how many weddings I had this year, I always said "Don't forget to bring the rings and marriage license!" I always felt like I was stating the obvious, but I can't tell you how many times those two most important items were left at home!

4) Don't be afraid to speak up with vendors to make sure your clients' visions are carried through! I am the first to step down from a confrontation, but when it comes to making sure my clients get what they are paying for, I'll be the first to defend them. You want the best working relationship with your vendors in hopes of doing business with them many times in the future and having a mutual referral relationship, but they have to understand that you are working for their client too! I was once referred to as the "momma bird" for one of my brides, but I wanted to make sure SHE was happy with her wedding.

5) You are the professional! You have to make sure that no matter what events occur during the planning process or wedding day, you keep your professional appearance and demeanor. You are representing yourself and your company. Your client and vendors will appreciate your professional mannerism in the end.

There are SO many more things I learned in my first year, but these are the most important items I learned! I look forward to the many things I will learn even in my second year of wedding coordination and know that I can only continue to improve and it's not work if you love what you do!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Real Weddings: Jennifer and Ryan

I finally had time to do a little research and found the photographs taken by Kaitlyn with Photo Love for Jennifer and Ryan's October wedding.

Kaitlyn did a wonderful job capturing the true love, fun, humor, and spirit of Jennifer and Ryan!

Real Weddings: Jennifer and Ryan

I began working with Jennifer and Ryan on their October wedding in early January. Jennifer knew she wanted to incorporate the beautiful fall colors into their wedding day with a black and white base color scheme. It worked out beautifully!

The ceremony was held at 5:00 on top of Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville. It was a gorgeous and warm fall day with plenty of sunshine! The bridal party walked down a white carpet aisle runner in their black cocktail dresses and beautiful fall bouquets.

The aisles were marked with metal buckets of yellow gerbera daisies suspended from the pews with black satin ribbon and tied with black and white gingham ribbon; a precious touch!

A cascading arrangement of yellow sunflowers, red roses, orange lilies, white hydrangeas, and greenery sat on top of the podium.

The reception was held at Uncle Gaylord's in Fayetteville. The tables were draped in white pin tuck linens and topped off with glass vases filled with the beautiful fall colors.

The vases were all tied with black satin ribbon and the same black and white gingham ribbon used at the ceremony.

Tables in the patio were also adorned with tall cylinders with floating candles and a floating single yellow sunflower.

These are just a few of my photos and do not do the wedding full justice. I"ll post more once I locate them!
Vendors who helped to make this wedding a beautiful success:
Uncle Gaylords
Harp's Bakery

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pleasantries from a Mother of the Bride

What a joy to receive this in the mail today! It definitely is what makes me love what I do!

"Shannon saved our family! With the overwhelming task of planning our first daughter's wedding in six months. I knew we needed help. After meeting and talking with 2 other wedding planners, and feeling very discouraged, we met with Shannon. What a breath of fresh air!! We left that meeting feeling happy, relieved, and looking forward to the whole process.

Two things in particular about Shannon I really appreciate. Okay, three. Number one: she dresses, speaks, and acts like a professional. Her calm demeanor "unruffled" many feathers between my daughter and me. But don't let that fool you: when pushes come to shove say, with an uncooperative church rep, who was being very rude, Shannon was right there with mama bear instincts for her bride. Number two: She has great design and color sense: If we were stuck wondering which way to go on the reception tables, or the flower budget questions, she had really good ideas and suggestions. She was full of creative ideas, and shared them with us liberally. Number three: She and her assistants made the wedding day a relaxed and happy one for mother and bride! If there were any catastrophes, we didn't hear about them! We can look back to that day and still feel the "we're in good hands" aura that Shannon has. Thank you, Shannon, from the bottom of our hearts."

I definitely had a great team of vendors that helped to make this wedding day a true memory for the bride and her mother. You can check out who they were here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Real Wedding: Corina and Nick

I began working with Corina and her mother in June for her October 9, 2010 wedding. Corina is one of the most prepared brides I have ever worked with and made sure every detail was covered perfectly! I think there were obvious challenges with having a reception in a park, in October, but we were fortunate to have beautiful weather, no rain, and great vendors!

Corina's fall colors consisted of ivory, red, and persimmon.

Red lanterns suspended from the tents and were lit at dusk to provide more intimate lighting for the guests.

I was honestly surprised that we accommodated 240 guests under 5 dinning tents, but it worked out beautifully! We utilized the Gazebo for the photo booth and scrapbooking table.

We utilized the Gazebo by placing the photo booth and scrapbooking table underneath.
Just some of the props available to guests.

The new take on the guest book: If you are having a photo booth at your reception, definitely make sure guests can take home a memento, but leave one for you too!

We knew we would be fighting off mother nature with a butter cream cake so we suspended netting from the frame of the tent to help us combat pesky insects.

The bride's father built a custom dance floor and platform for the 22 person head table. The head table was covered in ivory linens and topped with a pin tuck persimmon linen to compliment the color scheme. The head table each had a place setting with a gold charger and water/champagne goblets.
The bride chose to assign guests a seat. Guests were directed to their chairs and greeted with red or bronze chargers topped with the catering menu.
*Note* I was taking these pictures before everything was finalized. The knives and forks are not in their proper location! We also had to place the champagne flutes inside of the water goblets due to the gusts of wind!
There were four round tables that displayed large floral centerpieces (not shown). The four round tables were adjourned by 4 long tables to seat guests.

Square bamboo vases were filled with red carnations and an autumn candle was tucked inside for a beautiful scent and ambiance at dusk.

Tables were clearly marked by large balloons with the table numbers threaded through.

The escort card table was draped in an ivory stripe linen and topped with a red organza overlay. Trays filled with coffee beans drew guests in to find their name and assigned seat.

The cakes! Oh, the smell! The bride's cake was four tiers with french vanilla and spice cake in a butter cream frosting. It was topped with the bride and groom's initials and red Hypericum berries and "flame" Calla Lillie's by Siloam Flowers.

Miles Witt Boyer will have much better photographs than me, but the groom's cake was
traditional chocolate on chocolate and was topped with a Razorback snow globe and running razorbacks lined the bottom tier.

A big thank you to all of the vendors who helped make sure this event was a success!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Real Wedding: Casey White and John Shaw

John and Casey were married on an extremely hot (96 degrees) and humid (almost 90%), but beautiful summer day!

They were married at Old Main Lawn at the University of Arkansas with a 7:00pm ceremony.

The morning started off with Festivities delivering and arranging 275 white wooden chairs.

Jules Design built this beautiful wedding arch that included yellow Gerber daisies, white Lillies, and green hanging Amaranthus. Julie almost fainted when I asked she and her assistant to move the arch to "center the aisle", but it ended up beautiful!

Shepherd hooks lined the aisle and were adorned with raffia wrapped mason jars filled with white and yellow Gerber daisies.

We created a wide aisle to accommodate their l6 person wedding party as they walked from Inn at Carnall Hall to the ceremony.

John and Casey provided hundreds of labeled water bottles in large galvanized buckets on stands, also adorned with raffia bows, to help their guests enjoy the ceremony.

The bride's mother created and made each ceremony program that also doubled as a fan and shielded the sun.
The reception took place at Pratt Place Barn in Fayetteville. Wreaths of yellow Gerber daisies and green buttom mums hung from the double doors.

The color palette of yellow, moss, and white echoed on the lanterns suspended across the pulley system.

Their signature drink was served in raffia wrapped mason jars; so precious and refreshing!

The centerpieces alternated heights of metal lanterns and vases filled with gerber daisies.
Metal spheres contained a yellow floating candle and white hydrangeas at the bottom.
All a glow!
Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe in Springdale created this beautiful cake, which was accented with raffia.
Every groom in Arkansas has to have a Razorback themed groom's cake!

Boom Kinetic also help the party get going and stay going and Catering Unlimited fed the masses with food stations that included a taco fajita bar especially for the bride!
I'm anxiously awaiting the wonderful details captured by Beaty Photography and their photo booth!!