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 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!

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


Inspiration and Education: Our Favorite Wedding Blogs

We spend a lot of time reading wedding blogs.  It’s a requirement of the job if we want to stay ahead of the curb in our business.  Also, blogs are a great way to zone out and immerse yourself in inspiration, and be educated by the advice that they offer.  I’m constantly being asked what my favorite blogs are, and it’s so hard to answer because they are all different.  The beauty of a good blog is that it stands out and offers unique content for it’s readers.  This is a long post, but definitely one for the bookmark.  I’ve featured my favorites which I am splitting into two categories.  “Inspiration” blogs are those that feature mostly real weddings and photo shoots.  They exist to inspire brides to push the boundaries when styling their events.  “Education” blogs feature mostly advice on wedding planning and projects.

All images are screen shots of the blog’s banners.  They are linked directly to that blog so you can just click the image and a new window will pop up for you to bookmark the website!

Inspiration Blogs

Ruffled caters to brides who love vintage weddings.  The editor Amanda started the blog after planning her own vintage wedding and not having any resources to turn to.  Today it is one of the best resources for vintage, rustic, eco-friendly weddings that a bride could have!

Green Wedding Shoes features eco-friendly wedding inspiration for all styles.  This is the bride that I personally feel more connected to because they are so relevant to the services that we offer.

Once wed began as a source for brides to sell their wedding gowns online.  Now it is a spetacular collection of some of the best wedding inspiration on the web.  Although there is a ton of content on this site it remains very user friendly.  As you can see from the banner below they categorize inspiration to provide the best user experience as possible.

The Wedding Chicks is a collection of fun, funky, and beautiful wedding images.  My favorite feature of this website is the Printables & DIY section.  They have collaborated with some of the countries best designers to create awesome DIY invitation suites, and accessories for your event.

Junebug Weddings is all about luxury wedding inspiration.  They feature the best of the best when it comes to photographers, planners, and designers.  The details they feature are always stunning with a focus on event design.

Every Last Detail is going to be my segway blog because it is probably one of my favorite daily reads.   There are a few reasons that ELD stands out to me as a constant source of both inspiration and education.

First of all, Lauren Grove the editor of ELD is a real person.  She isn’t afraid to put herself out there and be seen by her readers.  I actively follow her twitter feed as well as admire her instagram stream and of course her blog and she isn’t afraid to give her readers a glimpse of her personal life.  This makes you feel more connected with the advice that she gives and more open to taking it.

Second, this blog has great content that covers real weddings, inspired shoots, and relevant advice.  I’m not calling other blog’s advice irrelevant.  What I’m saying is that this blogger is a tenured event professional in her own right and knows the issues that engaged couples want to know and things that real wedding professionals want to share.  I think that the advice that is offered on this blog is priceless, and if there is any one blog to read daily this is it!

Next, They are broad.  ELD features weddings of all kinds.  You will find farm weddings, ballroom weddings, DIY weddings, and upscale events all featured on this blog.   They are focused on the details and providing their readers inspiration and education for replicating those details in their own wedding.

Last, they are selective.  ELD just doesn’t post any old content that comes through.  Being selective is good because a blog is supposed to provide readers with inspiration and she has done that by making sure that the details in the wedding she posts are flawless and her advice is good.

Educational Blogs

Oh Happy Day is the brain child of Jordan Ferney a San Francisco based party planner who features great DIY projects for events and home.

Eco Beautiful Weddings blog features both real weddings and wedding planning advice that of course focuses on eco-friendly wedding planning.  They also have a beautiful online magazine that they publish quarterly.

Engaged and Inspired is my newest obsession.  This is a great budget bride blog that features advice that is useful across the board

Martha Stewart Weddings is of course king in the wedding industry.  And I couldn’t in good conscience make a list about wedding advice resources without mentioning MSW Bride’s Guide.  No wedding planning experience would be complete without a weekly zone out to MSW!

Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite wedding blogs, what are some of yours?  Do you feel like we left anything off our list?

Natural Winter Boutonnieres For All Styles

With two children, a busy officer position for my local historic district, a business and a social life it’s rare that I find myself bored.  Alas, that very thing happened to me late last week and being one who isn’t a fan of idle time I quickly found myself with an impromptu craft project.  It is unseasonably warm in DFW this “winter” and my yard is about as confused as it can be.  This causes all sorts of concerns ecologically, but that’s a conversation for a different post on a different blog.  It is however fun for the floral designer in me having flowers blooming at the same time as holly berries and all.  So I went on a little foraging trip through my yard which turned up some fun finds!

Foraging between random supplies that I had laying around the studio and plants that I picked up outside produced some exciting results!  So I decided to play with different types of boutonnieres with these fun items.  They all share the theme that they are natural, but mixing and matching different elements can produce very different styles with simple changes.

Heather, dusty miller and an oxalis bloom gives this boutonniere a sweet and delicate feel.  I finished it off with a taupe velveteen ribbon and a jute tie to make it just a tad more masculine.  I would love to see these on groomsmen and perhaps add a billy button or head of ranunculus or gardenia for the groom.

For my next one I wanted to do something a little more glam, so I pulled a deep purple ostrich feather left over from some headpieces that I made for a friend and added some glitter to our little dusty miller. A bloom of cyclamen brought a delicate touch to this piece that was finished off with some metallic gold twine.  This reminds me a little bit of senior prom for whatever reason, but I like it!

Isn’t this flower amazing?  This is the same cyclamen bloom from the image above, only I have brought in the heart shaped leaf of the plant and opened the bloom against it.  This would be a great compliment for a mother corsage or even for a couple to wear in a civil union ceremony.  I love the cyclamen because it is one of the few blooms that stays hearty throughout the winter.  I have several of these plants in my yard that keep the beauty going from the end of summer until fresh colors come alive in the spring!

Here is another variation that is less flashy without the ostrich feather.  But the glittered up dusty miller still brings pizzazz to the table!

This is my personal favorite boutonniere from this project.  I’ve dubbed it my “rockabilly Christmas” piece.  The evergreen was taken from a holiday arrangement that I had in my living room and the holly berries came from the vine growing on my fence.  Of course it’s the bright polka dot ribbon that really stands out on this piece.  What I like about it is that it has elements that are very traditionally related to Christmas, but it doesn’t scream “Santa Clause”.   This could also transition into a springtime event and even complement a woodland themed wedding much like our recent photo shoot you may recall.

One of the events that I’m currently working on is an “upscale steampunk” wedding.  I’m so excited about this one because it allows me to push the boundaries on my creativity with a design style that I’ve never really experimented with.  (Unless you want to count the two weeks in high school that I dated a guy that drove a hearse, but we won’t go there!)  I tinkered with adding blooms and more color to this piece, but when it was all said and done it looked too “pretty” for the feel that I was going for.  I would pair this boutonniere with a bouquet of schwartswald (deep purple) mini callas, dahlia, garden roses, and tons of ostrich feathers (my client loves them) and wrap it in a complementing crushed velvet stem wrap and some mixed metal chains with an antique key.  (The key to his heart, get it?)  The idea is to mix delicate elements with heartier and heavier pieces.  See this Steampunk meets Anthro wedding featured on Green Wedding Shoes that is our inspiration.

How are you incorporating your personal style into your wedding?  How do you think that you can make a natural style work with a theme that isn’t historically related to being natural?