Organizing your event: Decor Prep


This week we are coming back from a little break and kicking it into high gear to prepare for a very busy fall wedding season. At this point all of our weddings are planned, the decor has all been procured, and now it’s time for us to get our brides and grooms organized for their big day.

For our clients we prepare an inventory check list that details how much of what needs to go where, and although in most cases we actually source all of the props and accessories for our brides; on occasion our clients do prefer to control this aspect themselves. When this is the case organization and clear direction is key. This is not only from a communication aspect, but more importantly that knowing everything is clearly dictated gives you a sense of calmness and keeps that inner bridezilla at bay.

Today we want to share our tips for how we organize all the little details for our client’s events, and how brides can keep their wedding items together and effectively communicate their vision for what these items are to be used for.

How we prep and keep props organized before a big event:

  • When we design an event for one of our clients one of the items that they will receive from us is a master document that outlines every detail, how many they ideally need for their particular wedding, and where to find them.
  • If we are sourcing the details for our clients, then we keep everything tagged and filed away in our studio.  Everything is separated by each event in a color coded box.  For example, the Albrecht wedding is a purple box, and the Mentzel wedding is a gold box.  We also have a master inventory list that is checked regularly to ensure that everything is on track to be secured prior to the event.
  • After everything is filed by event, we then have a secondary system where we keep items grouped by location at the event, i.e. place cards, favors, and guest book are in a separate box that is labled “sign in table”.
  • We often have several people who are assisting us as we set up for an event, so it’s important that each person know how to stage a particular area should I be off fighting fires prior to an event and unavailable to dictate to them.  For this reason we will have a sketch or photo of a mock up available with each box so that there are no questions or surprises causing a delay in set up.
  • Finally, we insist that EVERYTHING that can be done in advance is done in advance.  Years ago we had a wedding that was located at a private estate.  We had everything taken care of prior to the event, except for one big surprise.  The bride decided last minute to purchase sparklers for her sendoff, and remembered about an hour before the wedding was set to end that they were still in boxes in her closet.  So we ended up spending the last hour of the wedding unwrapping 250 sparklers that were individually wrapped inside four pack boxes.  It was no skin off our back, but it did take us away from doing other tasks that we usually assist with as a wedding draws to an end such as organizing everything to be packed away after the party is over, or getting the getaway car loaded so the bride and groom can take off.  The point here is that when more is done in advance, we, your coordinators, have more time to spend on YOU!

How can you to translate these tips to work for you?  As I mentioned earlier, many brides prefer to source their own details for their wedding.  This not only allows them to maintain a sense of control, but also saves a little money in the long run.  When this is the case, it’s evermore important for us to be sure that we as well as our clients are organized.  We want to be able to devote every moment setting up for an event to actually setting up, instead of tying ribbons on mason jars or figuring out what to do with 200 mini wine bottles.

 How to make wedding organization work for you:

  • Get boxes- or bags, or whatever is easiest for you to keep your wedding items organized in.  They don’t have to be nice, but keep in mind that the easier they are to organize your accessories in the easier your wedding day setup will be.   We suggest to our clients that they do it exactly like we would.  Separate items in boxes by the area that they belong in your wedding.
  • Create a checklist- Actually, you should create several throughout the course of your wedding planning, but for this particular area you should make one that details your details, where to get them, when you got them, and when you need them by.
  • Create a manefesto– this is different from a checklist.  See the image above that we found on apartmenttherapy.com in a great article about using technology to organize your home.  Give it a read, because it easily translates to prepping for your event.  Your manefesto should list every item that you have secured for your event, what should be done with it, and where it can be found.
  • Do the prep work-  I think we covered this pretty well above, but seriously, don’t expect the people setting up your event to have time to do everything.  If it can be done in advance do it.  If you don’t have time to do it in advance, pay someone.  You deserve to not stress about these little things.
  • Be clear in your delegation-  It doesn’t matter if it’s a rough sketch on the back of a napkin, an immaculate professional mock up, or advanced auto-cad rendering, the best way to explain your vision is to show it.  Never assume that your set up crew is going to assume what to do with an item just because you think it might be obvious.  This will cut down on unnecessary questions and people bothering you before you walk down the aisle, and it will save time for whoever is setting up your event.

If there is anything that you can do for yourself before your wedding, it is taking the time to get organized.  Just a little bit of time will save you a lot of grief, and make you enjoy your engagement so much more!

What steps are you using to organize your details for your big day?  We would love to hear new ideas!

xoxo
Ashley Paz
Owner | Creative Director
Vera Green Productions | Vivi Gray Design

Menu Planning :: Making the most of the seasons


Fall is officially here, even if the temps aren’t quite cooperating yet. And with that we have been dreaming of our favorite fall food staples. This is by far my favorite culinary season with so many deep flavor options. With apples and figs to wild mushrooms and every kind of squash you can dream up at their peak, the possibilities are endless! In today’s post we’ll be discussing why it’s so important to know what is fresh during the season of your wedding as well as sharing a fun fall menu that we used for a recent project.

People ask me all too often, “How can I make my wedding more ‘green’ where the food is concerned?” It’s easy to spout off the standard, “Use a caterer who sources local and seasonal ingredients.”  Blah, blah, blah!  In reality most people don’t know how to find those caterers, or the right questions to ask to make sure these companies are legit in their claims.  After all, it is difficult to be certain that they are actually using seasonal ingredients if you don’t know what those are. It’s also important to be educated about what is in season so that you can work with your caterer to create a custom menu for your event that satisfies your pallet using your season’s bounty. I.e., if you aren’t a fan of figs, then maybe you would rather substitute plums, or parsnips for turnips.

Fort Worth has some amazing catering companies that utilize the best of the season. Our favorites include Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Ellerbe Fine Foods, and Brownstone Kitchen. Chefs from all of these restaurants can be seen on any given Saturday morning shopping at Cowtown Farmer’s Market, so you know they are the real deal. These restaurants also have revolving menus, to keep their offerings fresh and utilize what is available locally, which is why we are thrilled to offer referrals for their businesses to any of our clients!

But you may ask how do you actually put this knowledge to use?

I was excited to put my culinary prowess to the test this past weekend as we kicked off our first big Texas cold front with a “glamping” (glamourous+camping=glamping) styled bachelorette party shoot. I just had to incorporate some delicious fall treats that highlight some of my favorite fall foods!

Our menu entailed:

  • Home made trail mix with mixed nuts, dark chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, and dried raisins and cranberries.
  • Antipasti platter of prosciutto, hard salami, fresh figs, champagne grapes, goats milk blue cheese, Irish cheddar, and soda crackers.
  • Baby kale salad with apples, figs, pumpkin seeds, and crumbled blue cheese with a blue cheese yogurt dressing.
  • Soup and sandwiches consisted of fire roasted tomato and carrot bisque with fresh ginger and greek yogurt served with fresh mozzarella and marinated tomato sandwiches on seeded rye bread.

And what camping trip would be complete without s’mores? We had a trio of cookies from my favorite Fort Worth bakery Artisan Baking Company, that we paired with gourmet marshmallows and fine chocolates.  Our flavors were:

  • Lavender shortbread cookies with vanilla bean marshmallows and Godiva white chocolate.
  • Cowboy cookies (oats, coconut, and chocolate) with toasted coconut marshmallows and Godiva 72% cacao dark chocolate.
  • Peanut butter cookies with salted caramel marshmallows and salted caramel milk chocolate.

Can you say yummy?

It’s not difficult for anyone really to create a unique custom menu that complements your season. I found this great guide on the Brenda Evans food blog and it is a great resource for those who are new to seasonal dining.

Seasonal Food Chart from Hubpages.com

If you are curious about creating a unique and sustainable dining experience for your foodie guests my suggestion would be to request to sit down with your catering manager and let them know that you would like to customize your menu. By educating yourself on this subject you are more likely to have foods that speak to your pallet, and showcase what you really love.

What is your favorite culinary season? Will you be customizing your wedding menu? We’d love to hear your feedback!

xoxo
Ashley
Owner | Creative Director | Green Wedding Guru

Growing Our Family, and Helping Others in Need


Ever write a blog post and realize that a month later you never hit the “publish” button?  Yes, this post is a bit overdue.  We officially launched this news exactly one month ago through social media.  Unfortunately the day after our website went live my beloved grandmother was admitted to the hospital where we said goodbye just over a week ago.  We’ll discuss that further in a later post.  In the past month we have received an unbelievable amount of support and interest in our new venture, and we are so blessed and excited to have so many great new brides with unique visions for their big day.

No, we’re not having another baby baby, but we do have a new little bundle of joy to present to the world . This has been a difficult process and after almost ten months of planning, late nights, heartburn, and long naps in the middle of the day to catch up on our rest she’s finally here! I proudly present to you Vera Green’s little sister Vivi Gray Design.  Vivi Gray Design will focus on event and floral design, as well as crafting and custom fabrication services that utilize eco-friendly sources and materials.  Our flowers will remain to be locally sourced, organic, or at the very least Fair Trade certified.  For the last five years we have created stunning wedding florals under the Vera Green brand.  This has allowed us to develop methods that are not only better for the earth, but also more cost effective and proven to maintain a longer shelf life for our blooms.  As a matter of fact, in our studios there is only one block of Oasis foam, and we use that to show our brides what we don’t do!

Before you go getting all worked up, Vera Green Productions isn’t going ANYWHERE! But we will no longer be offering event and floral design under that brand, but instead focusing the attention of Vera Green Productions on planning the stunning eco weddings that have made us famous.   As a matter of fact our Vera Green associates are working hard on some really exciting projects that we can’t wait to share.  Stay tuned for those exciting announcements :)

Hydrangea and Billy Balls

And with this announcement we are excited to present our fan base with a special offer that will also support a good cause.  Safe Haven of Tarrant County is a women’s crisis center that is dedicated to reducing domestic violence and providing women in dangerous situations a place for refuge.  Unfortunately their shelters are full and their resources are limited.  So in an effort to educate the public and assist the organization with raising funds to provide their crowded shelters with adequate supplies we will be donating 50% of proceeds from special occasion flowers to the Safe Haven organization through the end of August.  In addition to monetary donations we will be adopting these shelters for the remainder of 2012, and will donate arrangements made from left over wedding and event flowers to the shelter to bring a little beauty to these women’s lives during troubled times.  If you would like to help, but don’t necessarily have any special occasion flowers to send then we have a special edition hydrangea arrangement in a repurposed chalkboard vase (shown above) that can be purchased for $25 and sent to an anonymous domestic violence victim at one of the Safe Haven shelters, and 100% of the proceeds of the sales for this specific arrangement will be donated to the organization as well, indefinitely!

Again, we are so excited about this announcement and all of the great things to come!