Monday, January 31, 2011

↓IMPORTANT↓ Everyday Next Month!

Stay tuned! Each day of Feburary we will be giving you a new tip on Weddings for Less . How to create your dream wedding without breaking the bank.
I want to help you organize and experience a beautiful wedding that doesn't break either family's bank account or leave you in debt for the first 3-5 years of marriage. In America today, the national average cost for a wedding is $25,000. That's enough money to use as a down payment on a house, car of boat!
With my daily tips, cost cutting advice, some resourcefulness and careful planning, we'll work together to make every dollar count and give you the event of your dreams.

So, the next 28 days you will get 28 valuable tidbits that can be applied anywhere to any type of wedding. I am so excited!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Every person has their own unique persona from athletic chic to city style. Glammed gals and goth guys we all have a "look" that's distinctly our own. The very best wedding day looks for you are dependent upon this style. Don't reinvent yourself but own your persona! Be the person you truly are (only better) on your big day! Not a high heeled girl? Go with flats or even special custom made Chucks. Don't follow the crowd... be you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Chic Alternative To Traditional Wedding Bouquets - Feathers!

Who doesn't love wedding flower bouquets? They're colorful, aromatic, vibrant and each one is totally unique. The only bad thing about a bouquet of flowers is that they just don't last very long. It's just a matter of days before all those beautiful living flowers begin to wilt and lose their vibrancy. Don't worry, you have options. Have you ever thought about having a feather wedding bouquet instead? These avant-garde couture alternatives can be made in nearly any shape, size and color and unlike feather bouquets, they will last forever. Take a look at some of stylish feather bouquets below we've found.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Wedding Gown - Royal & Memorable

The wedding dress is the first thing that every bride thinks about when she gets engaged. Finding that perfect dress to be married in is the most important detail to most brides, so can you imagine being Kate Middleton (whose title will be announced by Queen Elizabeth II) after her royal nuptials? With the entire world’s eyes on her, she will have to not only be absolutely stunning and unforgettable, but she must wear something that will represent royalty and grace and be respected by the entire world, not to mention the Royal Family. What she wears, not just on her wedding day, but every day of her life, is used as a marker of who she is.

According to People Magazine last week, Kate Middleton has chosen the designer who will create her wedding dress. The person's identity will remain a secret, as per the couple’s request. There is speculation the designer will be Bruce Oldfield, one of Princess Diana’s most beloved designers, who is also the top choice for those betting on the chosen designer.

Creating couture dresses for more than 30 years, his clients include Britain’s first lady Samantha Cameron, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Queen Rania of Jordan. Kate’s mother, Carole, and sister Pippa, were spotted in Bruce Oldfield’s London shop, causing rumours that he was "the chosen one."

Even though we might not be princesses, duchesses, or countesses, we can still be a princess on our wedding day and wear a dress that makes us feel like one. Think tiaras, elegant jewel sets, extra full ball gowns and, of course, a long train that goes on and on all the way down the aisle.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Wedding | Romantic or Chaotic?

Winter weddings can be so romantic, but with the chaos we've faced in the past month due to the snow, will newly engaged couples be in such a hurry to try make their dream of a white wedding a reality? I seriously don't believe that when couples in the south, even as southern as Florida thought when they began planning a winter wedding that there would really be a chance of snow.

We take a look at the pros and cons of winter weddings, and offer some tips on how to overcome some possible problems you may be faced with.

Guest Availability - Your wedding guests will probably not be away on holidays like summer weddings.
Off-peak Prices - It may cost less to get married during the winter with wedding off-peak season. Some hotels and wedding suppliers may offer a special rate during the winter months.
Availability of Wedding Suppliers - Your preferred wedding vendors may have availability during this traditionally quieter period.
Christmas Cheer - If you opt for a Christmas wedding, most of your guests will be on holidays, and full of the festive spirit. Christmas weddings are generally quite relaxed, as guests are not in such a hurry home the following day. Relations get to spend more time together during the holiday period. There is a great atmosphere with the Christmas tree, mulled wine and mince pies.

Weather - Although you’re not guaranteed fabulous weather for a summer wedding, winter weddings bring the possibility of bad weather. Snow and icy conditions may be hazardous for guests and suppliers travelling to your wedding.
Less Light - With the dark evenings arriving earlier, this leaves very little time for your photographer to get outdoor photos taken.
Accommodation Costs - Room rates over the Christmas and New Year period are generally higher, so it may deter guests from staying overnight at your wedding.

Helpful Tips to overcome winter wedding woes:
♥ Have a later ceremony. This leaves your guests and wedding suppliers more time to make their journey to your ceremony if the weather conditions are hazardous.
♥ Keep in contact with your wedding suppliers. Carry their numbers with you on your wedding day in case they get stuck. Ask can they line up a local wedding supplier to cover for them if they get snowed in.
♥ Holding your wedding ceremony in same venue as your wedding reception leaves less traveling for you and your guests.
♥ If you’re planning a Christmas or New Years wedding, check which days are bank holidays before you book your wedding, as this may affect your vendors.

♥ Have alternative indoor location for photographs if it is too dark or cold or wet outside.
♥ If you are having a church wedding, conduct your receiving line inside the entrance.
♥ Dress your bridal party accordingly. Have alternative footwear (rubber boots), keep those fingers warm with gloves, wrap up in a cute bolero or cape, and keep a fleece or blanket in your wedding car to through over you between photos to keep warm.

Have you had a winter wedding disaster, or a magical white wedding? Let us know. If you have any more tips for our brides, leave a comment below.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Introducing Our Newsletter {Coordinator's Corner}

I am thrilled to announce the launch of our monthly newsletter {Coordinator's Corner}. As a Professional Bridal Consultant and Event Coordinator in Eastern Carolina each month I have the opportunity to see beautiful venues, build working relationships with trusted vendors, see innovative ideas and attend inspirational events. Through this newsletter I hope to share the highlights of what is happening and what I have seen in area each month. Each edition will be filled with regular features including Design Tips, Real Weddings, and more! We will also be featuring local Wedding vendors, fantastic online sites, and keeping you in the know when it comes to the latest and greatest wedding trends, event developments and parties. Get an inside glimpse of what Julie, Melissa and I are up to, and learn some industry tricks and tips on making your events fabulous! Best of all: each month we will be showcasing special deals, draws, prizes and more! To sign up for {Coordinator's Corner}, enter your email address in the sign-up box on home page of our website -
Keep reading my blog for ideas for your next "Special Event".

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wedding Color Combinations

Beautiful color combinations are in store for 2011 weddings. According to a wedding experts, this year’s wedding color combinations are as follows: Stone, Shell, Navy; Honeysuckle, Plum, Mercury; Peach, Ivory, Mint; and Gold, Teal, Deep Blue. What wonderful colors to celebrate a wedding; these wedding colors are sophisticated and elegant with a pop of color in deep hues. Note the Navy, Plum, Teal and Deep Blue. Wonder what the wedding colors will be at the royal wedding? The Pantone wedding accessories at Advantage Bridal help brides choose the perfect color combinations.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Groom's Cake

An older tradition that is making a huge comeback is the groom’s cake. These cakes are a tradition stemming from the southern United States.
Typically this cake is placed next to the couple's wedding cake and later on in the evening the cake is often cut into individual pieces and placed into boxes. According to legend, it is customary for single women to take a piece home and place it under their pillow. At night the woman will supposedly dream of the man she will someday marry. A cute idea if you choose to box up the slices would be to include a small tag tied to the box explaining the tradition.
Your hubby to be will be excited to know that this is crafted after his personal taste. Not just flavor but for design as well. Usually seen as a smaller cake decorated to fit the groom’s personality.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why go to the Onslow Bridal Gala?

Why go to the Onslow Bridal Gala or any wedding show? This year the Onslow Bridal Gala will be hosting a special venue preview the evening before the actual show -plus- we will be at the Onslow Bridal Gala is the best reason I can think of!
Wedding shows provide the chance to meet with numerous vendors from your city and speak with them about pricing, services, and what sets them apart from other vendors. It’s a great opportunity to get a lot of research done all at once and even receive some free gifts and great savings in the process. If you already know your wedding date and have done a little research prior to going to the bridal show you can often even sign up with vendors while you’re there. Many times a vendor will give you a special “bridal show discount” if you sign up on the spot.
If you attend one of the larger bridal shows in your area, the sheer number of vendors can often be overwhelming. Don’t let it stress you out! Narrow down the types of vendors you’re looking for (i.e. DJs, photographers, florists, etc.) and grab fliers or brochures from any vendor that falls into these categories. When you get home you can sort through all the information and follow up with any vendors you’re interested in. Sometimes if you mention you saw them at the bridal show they will offer you a discount.
Wedding shows offer a wealth of information, tips and wedding ideas – and free cake! Be sure to attend the Onslow Bridal Gala or find upcoming bridal fair expos in your area, it will be time well spent!
The Onslow Bridal Gala is Sunday, Feburary 6, 2011 from 1-5pm at the Jacksonville Country Club, 2201 Country Club Rd, Jacksonville, NC 28540

The venue preview will be Saturday, Feburary 5, 2011 from 3-6pm at the newly renovated Marston Pavillion aboard USMC Camp Lejuene.

*Pre registration is required for the preview event.

visit for more information.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Cancelling an event

Bad weather today forced us to cancel our Sunset Soiree and I'm heartbroken. As I packed up the Hors d'oeuvres I had prepared and made the trek home in the snow and ice I convinced myself it could have been worse. Having to postpone and reschedule a wedding would be not only heartbreaking but a huge headache.

When a situation arises that causes you to postpone your wedding, you should make every effort to let your guests know as soon as possible. Many of them may need to cancel travel arrangements, which often have deadlines for refunds. Others will simply appreciate being kept informed. It is appropriate to concisely explain why the wedding is being postponed, such as "due to the snow storm" or "due to Bride's illness."

There are many reasons a couple may decide to postpone or cancel a wedding- none of them are happy or easy. But once you have made that decision, how should you tell your guests, and what happens to all the gifts?

Notifying Family and Friends - If the wedding has not yet been formally announced, you can simply tell your closest friends and family that you are postponing your wedding, who will then notify anyone else who asks. If invitations have not yet gone out, yet many guests already know of your original wedding date, send out a simple printed card, reading along the lines of: Due to a family illness, the wedding of Anne Scott to Kamau Thomas will not take place on October 14 as originally planned. A new wedding date will be announced as soon as possible.

After notifying family and friends, the next step is to notify all vendors. If the cancellation is due to a death in the family, illness, etc., contact your wedding insurance carrier. (Unfortunately, if you canceled because of cold feet, you will not receive any benefits from your policy.)Then start contacting your vendors, first by phone, then in writing. Check your contracts which should have a cancellation policy entitling you to a return of a portion of your deposit if you pull out by a certain date. The closer you are to the wedding, the less likely you are to get anything back. Still, it's good to cancel in writing so that no one will try to bill you for any more than you've already spent.

What to do with the gifts? You are supposed to return all engagement, shower, and wedding gifts you've received to the guests who sent them, along with a note thanking them for their generosity. Some people feel that monogrammed items are an exception, but since you probably don't need reminders of the wedding around, why risk offending a friend? You may have started using some of those early presents like kitchen utensils and linens; and in this case, it's probably okay to keep them.

Canceling a wedding dress - If you've special ordered your dress, you may not be able to get any of your money back. After all, they were making it especially for you and your measurements. Contact the dress maker as soon as possible to see what options are available to you. If it's early enough, they may be able to stop production and refund some money. Some dressmakers may be able to sell the dress for you at an upcoming sample sale or discount rack. But if the dressmaker says they can't do anything for you, you still have options. Many brides sell their dresses on ebay, while others turn to consignment shops, or simply donating their dress to charity. A few brides are even able to take their dresses to a costume shop to have the dress dyed so they can wear it to parties!

Don't forget to cancel the honeymoon. Your ability to recoup any expenses, particularly for airfare or cruise tickets, depends largely on what kind of ticket you bought, and the airlines or cruiseline's cancellation policy. If you bought trip insurance, it is only applicable in cases of illness, natural disaster, etc., not changes of heart.

Canceling or postponing a wedding is an event which no one anticipates or plans for, but there are wrong ways and right ways to get through even this unfortunate situation. The "bride" and "groom" and their respective families will do themselves proud and show themselves as caring to friends and family if correct etiquette is followed should such circumstances arise.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sandy's Sunset Soiree - The Art of Entertaining

I spent a good part of today preparing for my Soiree set for tomorrow night. A couple of months back I started holding an event I've designated Sandy's Sunset Soiree at my boutique.

This year we are introducing our new company "Sandy's Savory Bites" we are classified as a Specialty Catering Company. Our Specialty? ... Hors d'oeuvres!
I don't want to get into the large, full meals or buffets (way too much work), I love to cook, everyone that knows me personally can testify how I LOVE to cook. Cooking isn't my passion, Entertaining, the Art of Entertaining -is- my passion.

Why Hors d'oeuvres? you ask. Well, Hors d’oeuvres is translated as “outside the meal”. These one to two bite morsels are meant to stimulate the palate and appetite before the main meal. Today, hors d’oeuvres events are more popular than ever because of the wide variety of attractive, artful items that can easily be created. Hors d’ oeuvres are en vogue.
Hors d’oeuvres should be small, one or two bites. They should be flavorful and well seasoned, but not overpowering to shut down taste buds. They should also be visually attractive and compliment the meal to follow, or other hors d’oeuvres to be served.
There are really only two limitations on the type of food and manner of preparation that can be used for hors d’oeuvres the chef’s imagination and the foods at his or her disposal. The greatest ingredient you can add is your creativity. So, with that in mind, I felt that catering with a specialty is best suited for me.

Normally with hors d'oeuvres are cocktails. Personally, I like a glass of wine with savory bites and that's why I pair wines with my menu.
My marketing plan, once a month hold Sandy's Sunset Soiree with complimentary wine and Sandy's Savory Bites. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.

Our evening party or social gathering is held for no particular purpose.
Sandy has earned a reputation for her ability to create spectacular settings, celebrating life’s most anticipated occasions, now she just wants to create many memorable occasions for you and all of our friends!
Our dress code: Comes as you are, Shirts & Shoes required.
No invitation needed, just stop by our boutique (748-2 W. Corbett Ave-next to Stevenson Chevrolet on Hwy 24 in Swansboro) where guests are invited to listen to, play, or dance to music and enjoy complimentary bites and cocktails.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tips on How to Choose Your Bridal Party

Weddings can be chock full of drama… and sometimes, one of the hardest decisions is who will be in your bridal party? Here are some of the questions I hear most often from my brides and grooms:
Do we have to have a bridal party at all? Absolutely not! Consider it a favor to yourselves if you opt not to have a bridal party at all. Sometimes the decision can be so difficult with so many people pulling you from different sides that it just makes sense to keep things simple. All you need is each other.
Do we have to have the same number on attendants on each side? Nope, this shouldn't be a decision based on numbers. It should be based on the most important people in your lives… the ones you couldn't imagine not having by your side on your wedding day. If you have more groomsmen, then your bridesmaids are lucky enough to be flanked by two dapper guys, and vice verse!
But my best friend is a guy/girl…No big deal, they deserve to be by your side anyways! No need to stick to old traditions in this case.
What if I have two best friends? I find this more common for women, so I’ll address it as such. If they are both equally important in different ways, then it’s perfectly fine (even the right thing to do!) to have two Maids of Honor. Or maybe one of them is married and can have the title of Matron of Honor. Better to have them share the duties than to have one of them slightly soured by not being picked for the role of “best supporting actress.”
But let me emphasize one thing… don’t pick/ask your attendants too early! I’ve heard so often the tale of the newly engaged bride-to-be who immediately asked her seven BFFs, only to regret it six months later when things went awry with one or two of them. Take some time to really consider it and think about who are most important to you and will be there for you in the long term (…and not that new coworker of yours who you’ve just recently been hanging out with more!).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue

Ever wonder exactly what the "Something Old, something new, something borrowed, something blue really symbolizes?
Deriving from an English rhyme
The “old” remembers the bride’s family ties
The “new” should bring success to the newly-wed
While the “borrowed” is supposed to bring them luck
And finally the “blue” is said to symbolize fidelity and the couple’s 'purity'

Something Old: The old item has several different meanings, but one general theme: a link of continuity from the bride's past. Some say this is a desire to remain connected with your family even after you established a family of your own. Other sources say it represents the life you are leaving behind. Another idea is that the tradition of family values and the connection family brings is being passed down to you. It is safe to say that all of these assumptions are correct; the bride is leaving behind her past to start a new beginning, but not to forget where she has been. Things you can use for the something old theme are: jewelry from your mother, grandmother or great-grandmother, an old wedding photo from your family, a love letter from your father to your mother, a picture of your parents in your purse, an old handkerchief, a childhood pillow to hold your rings, a piece of lace sewn into the hem of your gown.

Something New: means optimism and hope for the future. It conveys the message that you and your husband are creating a new union that will endure the test of time. Many brides choose to use their wedding gown, flowers or rings to symbolize the "something new" in this tradition.

Something Borrowed: Again, there are several meanings behind borrowing an item from a friend or relative. Some sources say borrowing something is borrowing happiness from a happily married woman, so that their happiness will carry over to the new bride. Other sources have said it is symbolizes the love and adoration you have for the person from whom you have borrowed the item from. If you borrow an item from your happily married grandmother or mother, you can fulfill both of these meanings. Doing this lets your parents (or grandparents) know that you admire their marriage and the respect they have for each other and that you hope to have an equally happy marriage. The borrowed item also signifies to the bride that she can always count on her friends and family for support. Items that can be used for the something borrowed theme could be: family jewelry, a prayer book from your mother or grandmother, strands of pearls, or your parent's cake cutting set.

Something Blue: The color blue has been connected to weddings for centuries as a symbol of love, modesty, fidelity, good luck, purity and loyalty. Many brides incorporate this color into their clothing, by either wearing a blue stoned jewelry item or wearing a blue garter. However for a modern spin, you could use blue toe nail polish, blue eye shadow, a blue ribbon tied into your flowers, blue underwear, even wear light blue shoes! The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

A Lucky Sixpence: A sixpence in the bride's shoe represents wealth and financial security. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be worn in the left shoe. This tradition may date back to the Scottish tradition of the groom placing a silver coin in his shoe for good luck. Many companies sell keepsake sixpence pieces for weddings.
Brides have been honoring the something old, new borrowed, blue tradition for centuries. Although these items are supposed to bring good luck to the bride, many brides are following this tradition to honor people close to them on their wedding day.

Bridal Fairs - My Advice to Grooms

Last Saturday I attended a local Bridal Fair, it was kinda neat to see the amount of Grooms that attended with their Brides to be. I'd like to offer some advice to all Grooms embarking upon the journey of Bridal Fairs - Grooms beware of vertigo.

You may walk in and literally feel like an alien. I’ve worked at these shows and the look of Grooms’ faces is the equivalent of them being asked to suddenly give birth. This is her world; she is like an Avatar on the Planet Pandora. You need to forget everything you know regarding logic and reason and literally act like your dog for up to 4 hours. Just smile, nod at everything, and don’t speak. Treat every brochure like it’s the magic ticket to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory as they may be needed later and you don’t want to lose them or misjudge their value.

Don’t ask questions. You are an information gatherer, a census taker…that’s it. Just remember that the value of this show is in the process. It’s a test of stamina. You might get frustrated here but you have a long way to go.
Good luck and enjoy, because believe it or not, this is time well spent.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best Item to Insert in the Wedding Invitation - A Map!

A map to go with the invitations? Getting a wedding invitation is a nice treat, but when it's different, then it's even better. Cool is the word I can describe for an invitation map. Invitation maps are maps that are custom designed for your wedding guests and inserted in the invitations, or even send them with those save the date cards along with hotel accommodation information.

Using Wedding Mapper is another great way to ensure your guests are not guessing.
Just know that this not only sends the message that you are a savvy couple but it tells your guests that you really want them there to witness your special day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Keeping Your Maids Merry | 5 approaches to your bridesmaid dresses

Thankfully, today’s brides understand that happy, confident, beautiful bridesmaids only serve to accentuate a happy, confident, and beautiful bride. Still brides must wrestle with balancing the different personalities, body types, and skin tones (not to mention pregnancy) of their maids, with the other stylistic elements of the wedding.

There is a definite trend away from identical bridesmaid posses (same dress, shoes, hair & flowers) and a move towards a more personal, individual style. Brides, understanding the expense of being a bridesmaid (travel, attire, gifts), are also attuned to making sure the dress is wearable again.
Some ways we have seen recent brides handle the matter are:
All bridesmaids were asked to wear identical dresses, but were encouraged to show off their own personal style with their shoes, hair styles, jewelry, and accessories.
The bride selected the dress style, but the bridesmaids could select the color most flattering to their skin tone within the bride’s vibrant wedding color palette.
The bride selected a particular line and color scheme from a designer. The bridesmaids could select any dress from the line, allowing them to choose between strapless, cap sleeves, v-necked halter, and two piece dresses.
The bride selected a color palette and let her bridesmaids chose the design and color/ pattern.

Those are just a few tips to help keep the Maids merry...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wedding Invitation Etiquette Dilemma

Ann Landers Law of Invitation: “An adult should feel free to invite anyone he or she chooses to any kind of social event, regardless of who is talking to whom. It is then up to the invited person to accept or decline the invitation. If So-and-so says, “I won’t come if A, B, or C is invited,” the host or hostess should …say, “I’m so sorry. We will miss you.” Period.”

Questions often asked by brides:
Do we have to have “and guest?” No, you don’t. The rules are yours to make. If you decided to go with this, make sure it applies to everyone, friends and family alike.

Should we include our gift registry details in our wedding invitations? Some say never mention gift registries on anything associated with your wedding invitation. However, they are probably the same ones that say it is not acceptable to print your guests names, address and the postage from your computer.

Some of our guests haven’t RSVP’d? Your bridal consultant can help you with this one. She can make friendly calls to these people to see if they are coming.

Tip for the Reply Card
Pencil in a number on the back of reply cards, just in case the guest forgets to write their name. Your guest list should coordinate to these numbered cards and provides a way to look up whose card is being returned, even if there’s no name on it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Are you a Wedding Planner?

There are so many professionals that title themselves wedding consultant, I thought I'd run through the true professional differences.

Catering Manager aka Wedding Consultant: Your catering manager is there to make sure your menu is correct on the day of your wedding and the venue is properly staffed. The catering manager makes sure your place settings are set up correctly, and serve your food to your guests. They usually re-fill buffet, attend to beverage needs, and overall , just make sure the venue's rules are followed. If they want to attend all of your vendor meetings, go to the rehearsal organize and orchestrate that as well.... just make sure they know what they are doing. I am sure they make a mean Rotissaire Chicken, but can they handle mean Aunt Martha?
Church Director aka Wedding Consultant: Your church director is there to make sure the rules of the church are followed, and it is their job to ensure that your wedding planner pulls all of their hair out. In addition, they know the minister's needs and where he likes to stand, talk, and rule the house of God.

Private Events Director aka Wedding Consultant: The Private Events Director handles the needs of an exclusive club, they make sure their members are treated as VIPs, however, they also make sure that the club member's events don't get in the way of the members golf game.

Florist/Designer aka Wedding Consultant: Obviously, handle your florals, sometimes rentals, linens, lighting, and design. Your floral designer can make sure you know the difference between and peonies and a carnation. But sometimes doesn't know the difference between Fuchsia and Raspberry.

Fashion Consultant aka Wedding Consultant: Sells you a dress. Rents you a tuxedo, knows the difference between Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta. Or Calvin Klein and J. Crew. Has amazing taste in fashion and knows what not to wear.

None of these are Wedding Consultants, although they can call themselves a wedding consultant, because, well they consult the bride.... on very limited topics.
But us real Wedding Consultants are there for you through all of these issues, and knows the difference between a Peonies and a Carnation and what time they should be delivered. We are there to organize and orchestrate through the tremendous amount of details and make sure it all happens perfectly.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Special Events" by Sandy

Few occasions are celebrated as elegantly and flawlessly as a "Special Events" by Sandy Soiree. Our team is dedicated to arranging the perfect event for you and your guests in one of Eastern Carolina's most magnificent settings. Whether you dream of a lavish formal banquet for hundreds of guests, or an intimate gathering of your closest family and friends, we will work closely with you to tailor every moment to match your personal style and preference.
Contact us directly at 877-316-0387 or email:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Was Your Proposal Romantic, Unique or Do You Even Remember?

So you're ready to get married but not sure how to ask the love of your life? Well, ask yourself how do you want this moment to be remembered.

The memories of your proposal will last a lifetime, so why not make it as special as possible with a unique, one-of-a-kind, incredibly romantic and creative marriage proposal. No idea how to do any of above mentioned? Believe it not, it's easy. Here's some helpful hints:

1. If you take an idea from a website or a suggestion from anywhere else, make sure you don’t make it a carbon copy. Make it unique to the two of you, using your own memories and shared experiences and not somebody else’s.
2. It’s not all about how much you spend on the proposal! Some of the best engagement proposal ideas are the least expensive!
3. Consider the kind of mate you have! If he or she’s the shy type then more than likely they may not appreciate a public proposal at a sporting event! on the other hand, if your mate is an extrovert then proposing during an intimate dinner may be disappointing!
4. Make sure to include little touches that are really meaningful to the two of you ie; where you met, how you met, the first flowers you bought, the first movie you watched or meal you cooked, perhaps even an anniversary! These are the little details that you two as a couple will remember forever!
5. If you’re thinking about proposing on a holiday then stop and think why! Have the two of you been there before and shared in a special experience there? It’s far better to propose at the spot you first met or had your first picnic than flying across the world to propose somewhere you’ve never been!
6. You will need to plan you proposal out in every minute detail! Don’t leave anything to chance. Have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong and above all…try and be surprising! If you think about every detail and little mishap that might happen you will be more likely to have a successfully surprising proposal.
I hope these engagement proposal ideas give you inspiration and that you get the answer yes!

If you are already married, please share your proposal stories with us, maybe your story will inspire some of our readers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creative Coverings

As an event planner, I've been in the frontlines of banquet, party and soriee' productions and in this industry there is a requirement to keep up with the latest trends, our customers expect it. Some of the greatest value we deliver is that expert insight into what's happening, what's the latest, and what's going to be the hot new thing when their event takes place.

Specialty table linens are a sure-fire way to create a truly unique look for any event, it’s the best and easiest way to add a touch of platinum for pennies. My Company's design team are big believers in table linens in general, and having a printed linen makes the visual impact even more of a statement.

Event Design has always been my passion, I love this part of the business. Pulling colors together, bringing in the right textures to ensure there's depth and creating a fresh perspective on a space is my signature approach. It gets frenzied and exciting in its final moments as we see all of our tablecloth, napkin, overlays and chair cover decisions coming to fruition.
When you are hosting an event that we've designed you'll definitely feel the love. We fit all of our big ideas in a scale that fits your life, style and budget.
Visit our website and check out our linen rentals, then give me a call (910)325-7419 so that I can begin creating your event design.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Teamwork is Sharing the Planning Responsibilities

"Why is it that today's brides still carry the bulk of the wedding planning responsibilities?"..

The modern bride knows that times have changed when it comes to wedding traditions. No longer are we expected to wear our mother's wedding dress, cook a four-course meal for our own reception, and follow lots of other traditions our parents wistfully reminisce about with stars in their eyes (while we feel terror sink into our hearts.) So why is it that today's brides still carry the bulk of the wedding planning responsibilities?

Bride and Groom Wedding Planning Stereotypes
Perhaps it has something to do with the images of engaged couples we still see on TV and in movies, where the bride (or bridezilla) is just so grateful to be getting married that she goes overboard with planning and preparation - while the groom sits back and shakes his head.
The truth is that planning a wedding is a team effort, and can be a great way for an engaged couple to not only practice teamwork, but to learn that they are, in fact - on the same team.

Tasks for the Groom and Couple
If you're a bride-to-be that wants to ensure the wedding planning tasks are divided up, the following groom's checklist provides a great guide for knowing what you can plan as a couple, and what the groom needs to take care of on his own.

Feel free to post this list in a highly visible area, such as the fridge, the bathroom mirror, or wherever you posted the diamond ring flyer!

12 months before the wedding
Decide who will stand up for you in your wedding ceremony.Who will be your best man? Your groomsmen? Time to pick first draft and let them know!
(As a Couple) Choose the locations for your ceremony and reception. If you need some ideas, contact me via email

9 months before the wedding
(As a couple) Work on the guest list. You can refine the list later on to make sure you have everyone from your own side of the family, but the rough guest list outline can be done as a couple.

Plan your honeymoon.Thinking of your honeymoon will keep you inspired throughout the rest of the wedding planning work! Check out my travel page on our website

Register for gifts. So maybe you don't really have a vested interest in which type of china patterns you guys pick out - there will still be lots of other things that you can both have fun deciding to register for as a couple.

3 months before the wedding
Arrange for your tux and groomsmen's clothing. Whether you'll be renting or buying, it's time to figure out what everyone will be wearing. Check out ours: Sandy's Tux shop

Finalize your guests for the guest list. This means confirming you have the correct spelling of your great aunt's name (and don't include her ex-husband's name.)

8 weeks before the wedding
Purchase gifts for the groomsmen and bride. Gifts such as cufflinks for the groomsmen and pearls for the bride are often customary - if you're stumped for ideas, check in with some of your married friends and family or call me (910)325-7419 for tips.
(As a couple) Select floral arrangements. For a referral, stop by our boutique to check out our directory.
Finalize rehearsal dinner plans.

3 weeks before the wedding
(As a couple) Finalize reception seating plans.
Get marriage license.
Finalize transportation. Contact me for a list of Limos and carriages.
Confirm honeymoon reservations.

1 week before the wedding
Pack for the honeymoon.
Prepare your reception thank you speech.
(As a couple) Prepare payment options for wedding services rendered, including the priest/ceremony official organist, DJ, reception venue, etc.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sandy's Sunset Soiree' Jan 22nd

Our evening party or social gathering is held for no particular purpose.

For each event we coordinate my team and I create spectacular settings, celebrating life's most anticipated occasions.
Now we just want to create many memorable occassions for all of our friends!

No invitation needed, just stop by our boutique: 748-2 W. Corbett Ave, Hwy 24 Swansboro, next to Stevenson Chevrolet.

We look forward to seeing our old friends and making new ones!
Everyone 's invited to enjoy the music, complimentary cocktails and Sandy's Savory Bites.
More information

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Predictions for 2011 Wedding Trends

My head is filled with wedding ideas for this year. Here are my predictions for the hot trends in 2011. I hope they will give you some ideas for your wedding.

The overall theme for 2011 weddings seems to be “subtle luxury” with a heavy emphasis on creativity and personalization. Every element should be tailored to reflect you and your groom, but not cross the line into lavish or excessive.

Intimate weddings are still going strong: Even though wedding budgets are beginning to recover in 2011, a return to the traditional lengthy guest list will not make a comeback.

Couples will continue to buck “tradition-for-tradition’s-sake”: Heavy emphasis on personalizing every aspect of their wedding to reflect the bride and groom’s interests and personalities will be big again in 2011.

Wedding gowns are all about texture this year: In keeping with the subtly luxurious tone of all wedding trends this year, gowns are following suit with visually interesting and rich textures.

Non-traditional veils: Vintage or heirloom hair combs are really hot. Reusing old items are great for the environment and they are a great way to incorporate something special for a loved one.

More eco-friendly options: Outdoor weddings (saves on power), recycled paper or “plantable” stationery (reduces waste), vintage jewelry and décor (reusing saves energy and waste). Alternative times for weddings: Wedding brunches are big as couples try to spend wisely. The time change can save money on food and bar bills.

Technology is being used to its full potential using smart phone apps, and communicating wedding plans through social media, and personal websites.

Non-traditional reception seating: Couples will be using different shapes and sizes of tables at the reception to create a more casual “lounge” feel.

DIY and handmade wedding related items continue to grow in popularity: Hand-made, vintage, and rustic touches are being prominently showcased. Regardless of budget, many brides are getting into the DIY craze as materials are becoming easier to access and more affordable through major craft retailers and reputable online sources.

Couples are choosing to provide their guests with a dessert bar, a candy bar, cigars and a signature drink, coffee bars, or souvenir photo booth picture strips in lieu of the traditional wedding favor trinket.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2011 weddings. I hope that you will share some of your ideas with our wedding blog readers. Just post for me here on the wedding blog or send me an email to Also become a fan on Facebook (search: Special Events by Sandy) or follow me on Twitter (@SandyTEvents).

Your partner in perfect planning,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Predicted Wedding Color of the year?

I began today with the mindset of "PURGING" as I was driving to my shop I thought, new year-best time to purge the old stuff in the storage closets of my boutique. Once I arrived and before I flipped the open sign and unlocked the door I checked my calendar to ensure I had no scheduled appointments for today ( I didn't want someone coming in while I had everything pulled out of the closets). Before I began to pull things out and decide what stays and what goes I started searching for 2011 trends and found the following:

Predicted wedding color for this year...

This color is terrific for any season. I'm looking forward to showing you some ways you can incorporate this color into your wedding day. Honeysuckle is fresh, bright, vivid yet elegant. It can be paired with many different colors but the result is always the same.......GORGEOUS!

You have to check out these color put together by Michelle Mospens of a Wedding Sketchbook

..... And one of my favorite sites (favs) for playing with color combo is: FAVS#1

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The benefits of me leading your bridal team.

It's no secret that today's bride is quite different than those of the 70s. Having a full time career, going to school, and in some cases raising children doesn't allow for much "me time." So when it comes time to plan a wedding, today's bride can use all the help she can get.

Here is an overview of the benefits of hiring me and my staff:

Saving Time-The average wedding can take over 250 hours to plan so it's no wonder why brides are in desperate need of assistance. If going at it alone they can make careless decisions based on their availability of time or lack thereof. On the other hand I can fully dedicate the necessary time that every wedding needs because it IS my full time job.

Reputable Vendors-When hiring wedding vendors, brides must select one based on their credentials and reputation, but in order to verify this information brides must interview at least 3 professionals in every wedding vendor category. This means that she will have to meet with at least 30 people just to find out a little information about them in order to select just the right florist, caterer, baker, photographer, etc. However, if a bride hires a me, I already have a relationship with only the best vendors, so brides will not have to go through the grueling process of interviewing, as I have already worked with them or knows someone that has.

Saving money-In today's economy people are cutting back on their spending habits and when it comes to brides, there is no exception. Planning a wedding can be very expensive and although brides may think that hiring me is an unnecessary expense, that is the farthest from the truth. I can save brides money as I am able to negotiate with wedding vendors in order to get the best rates, fees, and services which a bride is unable to do by herself. Although it seems to be an additional expense upfront in the end the my services will pay for themselves.

Budgets-Before planning any part of a wedding or making any purchases it's important for brides to know what they can afford to spend. I play a vital role in the budget planning process as I will sit with a bride to determine how to allocate funds based on priority and importance. This wedding budget will act as a necessary guide throughout the planning process and will ultimately keep the bride financially on-target.

Sanity- Next to saving money, saving one's sanity is probably the best benefit of hiring me. I have the expertise and know how to pull all of the wedding elements together. For brides that handle everything on their own, they end up making costly mistakes and in the end only have poor memories of the day. I am in the business for not only the planning process but for the coordination and flawless execution of the event. It's a bride's special day so she should enjoy it and let a professional handle the details.

The engagement period should be full of excitement and a time for couples to really bond with one another and their families. Instead of planning their wedding brides should me to take the reins which will save them time, money, and most importantly their sanity.

"Special Events" by Sandy.... the wedding essential you can't afford to go without!

Monday, January 3, 2011

So you've hired a professional planner.

So you've made the decision to hire a professional wedding planner? Congratulations! In the months leading up to the big day, your wedding planner may very well become your new best friend. A professional planner helps you maintain your sanity by assisting with all aspects of the event, such as creating a budget, choosing ceremony and reception venues and incorporating a theme or design scheme.

Choosing a wedding planner can often be a leap of faith-after all, it's hopefully a one-time relationship, and you've most likely never hired one before. If you know other couples who've had a positive experience with a planner, you may want to consider asking for a referral. If that's not an option, you'll need to conduct a search for your own-no easy task in itself.
When meeting with a prospective wedding planner, don't rely on personality and likability alone.

To ensure that he or she will be able to achieve your vision and execute your special day without a hitch, don't sign a contract until you've received satisfactory answers to the following vital questions:

1. Can you afford them? If you're on a limited budget, look for a wedding planner that offers tiered pricing packages or a la carte options. Ask if they charge a standard flat fee, an hourly rate, or by percentage of expenses.

2. Are they detail-oriented? This is by far the most important trait for a wedding planner to possess. Don't just take their word for it-request references from previous clients. If a planner is doing their job well, they should have a repertoire of dozens of satisfied brides and grooms more than happy to rave about their experience.

3. Are they a control freak? Remember, unless you've instructed them otherwise, the wedding planner's job is to guide you through every step of the process, not to completely take over. Make sure the planner you choose is willing to let you have as much say as you want to ensure that your celebration is unique to you.

4. Does the planner have established relationships with local wedding vendors? Ideally, they should be able to make informed recommendations for florists, travel agents, caterers, and other merchants. That said, make sure they truly have your best interests in mind and aren't suggesting a company for the sole purpose of receiving a monetary kick-back. A good wedding planner should use their connections to benefit you, not themselves.

5. Are they willing to manage all of your vendor communications? This can be a huge time-saver, eliminating dozens of follow-up calls and confirmations. A comprehensive planning service should include the handling of all merchant relationships.

6. Is your prospective planner abreast of the latest trends and fashions for modern weddings? Unless you're striving for a period-themed event, you probably don't want your ceremony and reception to exude a dated air. An up-to-speed planner should be equipped to make recommendations for bridal fashions, innovative wedding favours, and contemporary twists on long-standing traditions.

7. Do they hold a certification or diploma from a reputable wedding planning school or association? Keep in mind that while a degree is preferred, it's not absolutely essential-education can't replace the value of seasoned experience and beneficial connections, however if they belong to some sort of association it helps to establish them as a reputable vendor.

8. What's their communication style? Are they easily accessible via cell phone and email? Are they available on evenings and weekends? The most in-demand wedding planners provide "on call" service to their clients.

9. Does the planner coordinate weddings as his or her full-time job, or are they just moonlighting? If they're committed to another "day job" and just plan weddings on the side, you may find it more difficult to track them down when you (or your vendors) need them.

10. Ask the planner if she is going to steal your fiancé like J.Lo in 'The Wedding Planner'. Ok, maybe this question isn't necessary, but the reaction sure is hilarious!

After getting all of the answers to these important questions, consider whether you get a "good vibe" about the prospective wedding planner. Never underestimate the importance of your own personal judgment. You'll be working closely with your wedding planner for many months to come, so it's crucial that you feel comfortable communicating with them. In the best case scenario, you'll emerge from the experience as a very satisfied bride who's gained countless priceless memories-and is prepared to share a glowing referral to other couples.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Why hire us as your Bridal Consultant?

Why hire Sandy, a Professional Bridal Consultant and her team to coordinate your wedding?

Creativity and organization takes practice. Wedding planning is an art form in motion. Hiring a professional means you get the benefit of our experience and knowledge.

The terms "consultant" and "coordinator" mean nearly the same thing. However there are slight variations so be sure to ask any wedding professionals you consult how they define their job. Generally speaking, a "consultant" is involved in the pre-wedding planning process with the bride and a "coordinator" focuses on making sure the actual wedding day flows smoothly.
Bridal consultants discuss coordinating or arranging a wedding with the bride and groom. They help in the pre-wedding stages to come up with ideas and contact caterers, florists, etc. An independent bridal consultant is not associated with specific vendors such as a florist or a caterer, and instead operates a self-contained business.
Wedding coordinators assist with planning a schedule for the wedding, then help conduct and coordinate the wedding day activities. In the south, a wedding coordinator may be called a wedding director. A church wedding coordinator is usually a member or on the staff of a church and their job is to make sure church rules are followed.
A Bridal Consultant is a project manager, orchestrating every detail of your big day, ultimately saving you time and money. A bride and groom often have many conflicting pressures and often need help bringing everything together.

In my experience, when a couple expresses an interest in my services I send out a questionaire. With the information they give me I begin to screen the vendors they may need to keep them within their budget and if no budget has been set, then I narrow it down to at least two or three that will match their style. We are there to help so that you can enjoy the most of this magical and perfect day.

Honestly, there are very expensive wedding vendors out there, but this is not the rule. You decide how much you want to spend and we provide the best value for your event. I have established my company with a variety of vendors, we don't limit ourselves to a perfered list of vendors. We can simply point you in the right direction, refer you to reputable vendors and give you ideas, or we can plan and orchestrate everything from the engagement party to the honeymoon. You decide.

One thing to consider; You should choose someone who has professional credentials and you feel a connection to. You will be spending a lot of time with your Bridal Consultant, so choose someone you feel very comfortable discussing personal aspects of your wedding with - inevitably, awkward situations will arise and you will need some trusted impartial advice.

We charge an hourly rate, fixed fee or a combination of these options. We recommend that our services be a part of your budget, and not an extra expense. The cost will be agreed upon in writing once you decide to use our services. We are committed to providing the best possible wedding, within your budget.

If you choose to use our services the initial consultation is free. If you just want some ideas and direction the fee is $75.00 per hour.

In preparation for your initial consultation we ask that you bring your dreams, photos and your written questions. Don't have too many people attend the initial consultation; the focus should be on you.

Yes. I am certified and a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants. What does that mean for you? With the Association of Bridal Consultants the education is extensive and once one becomes an certified consultant and works as a Novice to gain the experience and education points to advance to Professional Bridal Consultant one will be expected to maintain an air of professionalism and continue education, giving you the best in the business.

No wedding is too small. Usually a small wedding is charged at a flat rate.
How far in advance do you need to book our services?
Book as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. Some wedding venue locations are booked 18 months in advance. Wedding dresses can take up to a year to get. Keep in mind most weddings take up to 250 hours to plan and orchestrate. However, if you are short on time and we have time and space available, we will come up with creative solutions to make your day magical and memorable.

The difference in the stress level of a bride who has a professional planner and one who doesn't is palpable. When it comes to the day of your wedding, the most important thing is that you are able to relax and enjoy it. You are the bride. You don't want to end up being the point person for issues and questions that will inevitably arise. Hiring a planner frees you and everyone you love to live in the moment on your wedding day.

When you pick a venue they often give you a "wedding coordinator" from the venue to help coordinate the day. This person is NOT the same as an Professional Bridal Consultant. He or she is the venue's catering manager and their job is to make sure that everything having to do with the facilities runs smoothly. While they are helpful, they do not cover the scope of what my company offers.

Hiring me and my staff means Security: “Having a wedding coordinated by "Special Events" by Sandy® ensures less risk of anything going wrong and more security that all the details will be just right!” we are your creative partners as well as the logistical supervisors for the biggest event of your life.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Do Over...

Wishing you all a prosperous and successful New Year!

I began several days ago thinking of something to blog about on this first day as we all start the new decade and it was then that I realized that I should probably begin with a "Do Over". I started my blog during the month of August 2010 and in the four months I only posted two times. So, let's take it from the top.

Why am I here? and why should you read my blog?

I started planning events and weddings around 16 years ago when I was on active duty as a United States Marine. I have always been an "organizer" - one who enjoys making lists and schedules, verifying details, being the "go-to" person at events, coordinating teams of people, organizing special events. And I love weddings. So it only seemed a natural thing for me to start my own event planning company 7 years ago. It was a year ago when I decided to retire from active duty to work full time with my company. In May 2010 my husband and I opened our boutique and July 2010 I officially retired from the military. My dream was to have a business doing all the "organizing" that I love to do. My primary business focus is on weddings - helping Brides to enjoy their day without stress or worries. I am a "take charge" person but I love to do so within the parameters of what others expect. I love to see people able to relax and truly enjoy their wedding day without having to worry about details, problems, glitches of vendors, guests, bridal party or even family members! I love weddings - and I love helping to make each wedding not only unique but "dreams come true"! In 2010, I was so excited to expand my services to include rentals, honeymoon planning as well as becoming a Wedding Minister.

Coordinating events of all sorts, family celebrations, social events, fundraisers, corporate parties, etc. is my passion turned fulltime employment. I want everyone to know that having my own company has allowed me the opportunity to use my skills in many new, exciting and different areas, all the while knowing that I'm helping people pull together a great event, and making their job easier in the process.

As a resolution and promise to myself, I plan to do what my Mother taught me as a child; share... my goal is to blog my experiences, knowledge, tips and much more during this year. Stay tuned and please follow as I welcome your feedback and advice while I continue to grow during 2011.