Monday, May 31, 2010

Watery Blue Birthday

Going blue for my birthday boy wasn't difficult, since I'm personally a huge fan of the color. What was difficult was when my son first requested a zu zu pet party, but thankfully must have seen my eye twitching and changed his mind.  I always attempt to give my boys an interesting and fun birthday without going over the top.  Being that I'm a planner, that can be hard at times.  I've learned from my oldest, though, that all they really wanna do is run around and have fun with their friends at this age.  A water themed event was the way to go for a hot Sunday afternoon and our sweet 4 year old birthday boy was more interested in playing in the sprinklers, and of course chasing everyone down with the hose was a perk too. 
We filled our yard with water loading docks for the guns, (way easier than having all the kids running inside to fill or attempting to use the hose), a few different sprinklers and of course a Gatorade fill up spot for the kids.
Needless to say I'm not a cake creator but I do my best.  This year the request was for a marble cake since his older brother had enjoyed one the prior month.  It must have been good since there wasn't a single piece left after 30 minutes.
I don't think I could have ordered up more perfect weather and the group of friends to spend the day with.  The night ended with a roaring fire in the firepit, an adult water gun fight and of course a super tired yet happy birthday boy.  Thank you to everyone who came and helped us celebrate! 

Tip: Offer a special area for kids to grab their drinks & treats.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

To display or not to display...

...that is the question.  There still seems to be a debate about whether a vendor should display their cards at a wedding or any other event. As nice as the fan of business cards may look at the edge of the bar or next to the cake, they shouldn't be there.  When the client has purchased an item, be it an outstanding candy buffet or flowers, as amazing as they may be, someone's wedding isn't the correct place to display the company information.  This day is about the couple, and while they have chosen vendors well, a good vendor won't feel the need to promote their work at someone else's gathering.

In the years of planning, I've seen many different vendors attempt creative ways to display their company name at a wedding. Some dj's will place a company banner behind the music set up, or sometimes even in front. A better suggestion would be to have a nice name tag with the company name and their name.  Nothing ruins a first dance photo like a huge company banner behind them.  I've seen cakes delivered with the cake company's logo on the cake board, and while this is a minor way of letting people know, it can be considered disrespectful unless cleared with the couple first.  The best idea is to  simply find the coordinator and give them a set of your cards.  This way if a guest asks, the planner can share the business card, or if they decide to ask the bride and groom, they can direct them to the coordinator.

Sometimes, such as certain sponsored events and charity events, this is different of course.  It would be advisable for any couple planning a more private event, such as a wedding, inform the vendors that if they would like, they may hand the coordinators a few extra cards just in case.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Vineyard Wedding

Congratulations to one of our favorite couples, Jacqui and Eric.  The vineyard setting was perfect for their eco-friendly wedding.  Guests were able to enjoy a glass of wine before wandering out into the vineyard for a memorable ceremony.  Surrounded by the  joyous friends and family, they became husband and wife underneath the arch that Eric built himself.

We worked hard to eliminate as much wasteful products at this wedding as we could.  We will be sharing how soon.  Once again congratulations Mr & Mrs. Fettig, and thank you for letting ESTOccasions be part of your day.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I'm thrilled to introduce you all to Jess Enos...she is one of our talented creators at estoPrints (our printed embellishment department of ESTOccasions).  When it comes to invitations, you have to have a passion for it, and needless to say Jess has it.  She has a creative outlook on creating something for everyone, even our clients on a budget.  We've been working to add to our vintage, nature, modern and classic collections.  If there is a piece of art you love, or a color combo but you can't locate the best match for your invitation, come see us.  estoPrints will be at our CT Bridal Event & the Spring Bridal Event.

Weddings, Birthdays, Events and more, estoPrints will have you covered.  Let us show you the best match for your event and your budget.  Consider joining us on Facebook and checking out more photos on their too.

The Hunt for the Perfect Wedding Professional

You’ve found the perfect venue.  It gives you the space for a cocktail hour, breath taking reception room, and the perfect size dance floor.  You find yourself looking through the venue’s pamphlet and you notice their preferred vendor list. It is important to ask if these vendors are preferred because of their talent, professionalism, and knowledge of the location or due to the fact that they have paid to be included on the list.  If they have paid to be on the list, this doesn’t mean that they won’t provide you with excellent service, but it is important to be aware of why they are being recommended. 

When working with one vendor, and recommendations are made for a photographer, cake designer, florist, or any other wedding professional, always ask what the relationship is between the vendors.  Ask if they offer a discount, or a referral fee, because these are important to consider.  (As a planner, we do not accept or offer referral fees, since we base our recommended vendors on their skills, passion, talent and professionalism. Plus, we do not feel that it would be honest to accept payment from a client and from a vendor.  This is why it’s one of the policies of ESTOccasions.)

When meeting with a vendor, consider it an interview process for you both.  It isn’t appropriate to arrive more than 10 minutes early or more than 10 minutes late for either party.  Make sure you connect with your vendor; you should feel relaxed and informed at the same time. If you have a planner, and want them to be there, make sure your vendor knows they will be meeting with your planner also. Ask them to bring along a copy of a contract to view.  Don’t be pressured into signing the contract, but do ask if you can have 24 hours to consider their offer and then sign.  If you take longer to consider the offer, it may expire and the vendor may have already moved on to another client. If you love the offer, don’t let the vendor get away. Also, if you know from the start that their packages aren’t in your budget, don’t waste your own time or theirs.  This is where working with a planner can help you find the right vendor for your vision and your budget, without wasting any time.  It is also not appropriate to make numerous requests for information from a vendor if you do not retain them.  Vendors are not free consultants; they are professionals that make their living providing services and advice. 

There are plenty of great wedding professionals and with some effort, time and research you can find the perfect match for you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fight or Flight

A few weeks ago, a bride friend of ours came to us with an issue.  The best man will soon be related to her and he also happens to hate her.  What to do?  How do we keep this issue from ruining the wedding day?  It is common to see old family issues and new ones arise during a planning process, and no matter who you are in the wedding it is important to remember that a wedding is no place to start an argument. 
For our bride, we told her to first discuss this issue with her fiance, and explain why it is important to sit down with her soon-to-be brother-in-law and have a conversation.  We don't recommend doing this the week prior to the wedding because it is important to put out the fire sooner rather than later.  Always remain calm and even if you can't be friends, then just find a middle ground and some peace to whatever the issue may be.  Maybe bringing some light to the issue will help resolve it.

Another bride has an issue, two of her four bridesmaids hate each other.  The simple solution is once again to explain to each other how important each of them are.  How important it is for them to get along, not cause extra stress and how you don't expect them to be best friends when all is said and done.  If they can't learn to deal with each other, then maybe they shouldn't be in the wedding.  Sometimes it is a hard choice to make but in the end it might be just what you needed to do for your special day.  Being honest right from the start is the best thing.

No matter what issue you may have with someone in the wedding party, or a  guest, a wedding is not the place to air dirty laundry. Consider the fact that you would never want someone to ruin an important day for you, so give that same respect to your friends and family. Always be the bigger person, don't fall for making a scene, and just smile and walk away if someone attempts to start a fight. 

It can be difficult, but in the end you will be pleased with yourself.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friendly Contract

We've all been there:  a close family friend, childhood neighbor, co-worker who also happens to have a talent (DJ,  photography, baking cakes, creating invitations), and offers their services for your event.  As an added bonus, it is budget what do you do now?? 

Okay, if you aren't interested in their services and are looking for the right way to handle the situation, just let them know that you have already booked the service.  Another way to handle it is if the person is attending the event, let them know that you would rather they enjoy the party instead of working it and thank them for such a kind offer.

Now, if you happen to be interested in the offer, here are some important things to remember.

~Will they give you the professional feeling you were looking for?  If you are thinking that your friend can take photographs of your special day, will they know the tricks of the trade, lighting issues, and how to catch those spontaneous moments that can't be captured in a reshoot?  Or, if you friend happens to know how to bundle flowers, will they be able to create the arrangements you have been dreaming about your entire life?  These are honest questions you need to ask yourself.

~Can you honestly interact with a friend or co-worker about their service?  As a perfect example, the bride went for her hair trial and hated it.  HATED it, but didn't feel that she could be honest because this was a family friend who had been doing her hair forever and this was a gift.  The last thing the bride wanted was to sound ungrateful, but she hated the hairdo.

~Ask for a contract!  Yes I said it, ask for a contract between you and the friend who is providing the service.  This is to protect both of you in the end, and shouldn't be looked upon as a bad thing.  There is a reason why all of us professionals have contracts and would never enter into an agreement without one.   Remember to state everything that is agreed upon, and that it is clear and easy to understand what trade will be happening.  This way, if your friend ends up agreeing to create 65  wedding invitations for free and you add an additional 20 guests to your list, you clearly understand that you will need to pay for this. 

These are just a few simple things to remember when planning an event and dealing with offers from your friends and family.  There are times that with an important event, sticking to professionals and having your friends and family enjoy the event with you might be the way to go!