Tag Archives: Wedding

Ahhh..the wedding planner’s wedding – We’re gonna party like it’s 1999.

Ever wonder what a wedding planner’s wedding in 1999 may have looked like?  Well, I am opening the vault with some candid photos from my own wedding to Mr. F4 in November of 1999 in Atlanta.  These were shot mostly in black and white and let me just say, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Vendor List

Photographer:  Paula Gould – she was and is, awesome.  I had interviewed Priscilla Wanamaker and Denis Reggie as well.  Paula won.

Wedding Gown: Couture Melissa Sweet (fitted by Melissa herself!) Note: Melissa sold her company to Priscilla of Boston, which recently closed its doors, but you can find her new gowns in most upscale bridal ateliers.

Venue:  Burge Plantation, Social Circle, Georgia (used to be you could bring in your own caterer, but I am sure their new in-house service is lovely!)

Caterer: Affairs to Remember, seriously, the best off-premise caterer in the Southeast Region.  I loved loved the food at my wedding which included, get this (late 90s excess), a “tree” of lobsters, shrimp the size of my fist and cases of pink and Brut Veuve Cliquot.  Call them.

Tenting:  Classic Tents and Events.  We had a gorgeous, draped white tent and fantastic black and white dance floor.

Hair and Makeup: OMG, extensions and lashes and over the top beauty for all.  Richie Arpino (still a dear friend) not only did the hair and makeup, but sang a set with the band and blew the room away with his rendition of “My Girl”.  He still has the best salon in Buckhead – Atlanta, Georgia.  He’s also a renowned photographer.  Tell him I sent you!

Music:  had a gorgeous string quartet for the outdoor ceremony.  We also had a great soul band, but I cannot remember the name to save myself.  Probably because Richie (see above) brought the house down and was the most memorable, soulful singer of the night.  Except for me and the bridesmaids.  Mess.  Also see above re: Champagne.

Rehearsal Dinner: Antica Posta, Buckhead.  Marco and Alessandro Betti don’t mess around with their authentic Tuscan cuisine, a nod to our Italian roots. We had the most amazing,  family-style feast.  Imagine our shock, when, in Tuscany on our honeymoon, our luxe farmhouse was unstaffed and, hungry, Mr. F4 drove into town to fetch his new bride something to eat.  He came upon a restaurant of the same name – Antica Posta.  Guess what?  It was their parents and other two brothers, who promptly loaded up the car with grilled meats and fish, pastas, cheeses, olive oil and a case of wine.  Wow. Brava, Betti family!  What are the odds?

Bridesmaids’ Luncheon, Guest Rooms, Honeymoon Suite, After Party:  The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.  Really, there are no words to describe my love for that hotel.  Yes, there’s a Four Seasons in Midtown, but the RCB is home to us and treated us like royalty.

Floral Design and Cake: again, cannot find her name.  She was very well known in the wedding community.  I need to break out the wedding binder.  I chose a silver, purple, pale green and fuschia color scheme and the cake was simply stunning.  If any Atlantans recall a sweet older lady with a huge cotton candy bouffant with a very skilled way with flowers and cakes, let me know.  The cake was devil’s food, square, covered in fondant with a gift box look.

Shoes:  Giuseppe Zanotti silver and diamante stilettos – still have and wear them.

Bridesmaids’ Gifts:  Prada cosmetics bags

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: platinum column gowns by Nicole Miller

Secret: We actually eloped 4 months earlier at the DeKalb County Courthouse since the wedding madness was getting to us.  We were properly married in Christ the King Church in Buckhead at 2:30 PM on 11/13, then did a “renewal” and party at the Burge.  So, basically, I got married three times.  Hope it sticks!  And now, for the hilarity….(please keep in mind – 1999, people).

Jenner, Patti and I before the ceremony. Lawd.

Patti says, "Pete, would you get us more crabcakes?"

Paula, Patti, me and Meghan - how demure!

I may have forgotten my vows.

Is that a kiss or is he giving me my lines?

Yay, we are married, huh?

Richie Arpino gives a big kiss!

Check out the Italian hand motions!

Tabatha also had extensions. Guido and Pam look on.

Scott, one of my gay husbands, describing his Brioni tie. Seriously.

I still believe in a proper receiving line - if it's brief!

Sadly, I do not yet have the photos of the food, of the guests in lampshades, of the luxury buses playing “Steel Magnolias” and “Father of the Bride”, but I will.

Happy Wedding Wednesday – and a programming note.

Before we begin #WW with 3 blog post and a great big virtual hug to some of our favorite vendors, please don’t forget to comment on the YouTube story, as we’ll close the giveaway Friday for the $25 gift card.  Next week, we have another really wonderful giveaway, so share this blog with your friends – tweet it, FB it, comment aaaanndddd….we’ll see you all back here this afternoon for Wedding Wonders.   Our first post will be the best, newest, most thoughtful and gorgeous bridesmaids gifts that you probably have not thought of!

Now, off to my weekly tennis game.  I say that lightly, as I rather suck. We leave you with this photo of the most insanely beautiful peonies, courtesy of 1313 Photography.

Photo Credit: 1313 Photography

Wedding Wednesday – How to Hire a Wedding Planner

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It used to be that wedding planners were considered a luxury for the wealthy and/or celebrities.   Well, I’ve been doing this for about 15 years (over 300 weddings) and nothing can be further from the truth.  If you are recently engaged, or three months from your wedding and need a little help, here is a sensible, intelligent and real guide to finding that special someone who can get you down the aisle to your other special someone with style.  These are the quick, crucial bullet points you need NOW:

1) Talk to friends, vendors and sites that you trust.  Ask their recommendations.  Schedule meetings with at least three highly vetted consultants/planners after checking out their websites and seeing their work.  Come armed with questions and use this as your guide.  Most of all, follow your gut and see who you click with.  Those consultations should be by appointment only and of course, gratis!

2) First question: do you like their style (of manners, humour, dress,  organization)?  Does he or she make you smile/feel calm? If so, that’s a good sign you’ll be a great team.  Remember, a wedding planner is part budget guru, part organizational ninja, part shrink, part style consultant and part family therapist.  He or she (and their team) will be your sanity, your laugh, your respite and your guide.  Choose wisely!

3) How long have they been in business? How many weddings have they executed?  If the answer is “I planned my own wedding and it was SO much fun” or, ditto, “I planned my daughter’s wedding and it was so fulfilling!” then, run.  These are called hobbyists and there are hundreds of them masquerading as experienced pros.  Taking a class in wedding planning does not make a wedding planner, either.  You want to make sure your planner has done at least 50 weddings.  A good rule of thumb is also at least three years in business.  Do they have any lawsuits filed against them?  Bad sign.  Do they get lots of local and national press?  GREAT sign.

4) Do they have a variety of ways to plan, such as full-service (best for most brides), weekend of and hourly?  Are they reachable during most business hours and some after hours?  Don’t abuse it and call at 3 am in a panic, but expect that they will get back to you promptly when you have burning issues.  Planners live on their smartphones, so text and email as well.  They are super organized!

5) If they charge extra for rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, that’s a a red flag.  Great wedding planners will also take care of that and brunch the day after.  We even pack our clients for their honeymoons and make sure their car takes them to the airport.  Soup to nuts is why you pay a premium for excellence!  If you opt for a more abbreviated planning experience, expect great attention and excellence as well.  “Day of” is never really “Day Of” – your planner should start meeting with you a few weeks prior and know your wedding like the palm of his/her hand, double checking contracts, drawing up timelines, vendor lists  and being on-site for the big event, setup, breakdown and other parties.

6) Speaking of money – cheaper is never better with wedding planners.  A great wedding planner will pay for him or herself given they have the relationships will all the best vendors – they buy in volume and will get MUCH better prices for you on cakes, site rentals, floral design, stationery, photographers, caterers.  They know the BEST vendors in the business and will offer you many choices for each facet of your wedding.  Sadly, to a vendor, YOU are a one-trick pony (I know this seems harsh, but you only get married once, right?), but that planner is their bread and butter and they will go out of their way to please a planner.  What may seem a little steep is actually going to come out as a budget saver for you.  Great wedding planners will follow your budget to the letter and keep you there.  Awesome!

7) To that point, a wedding planner who takes kickbacks from vendors is NOT ethical or for you.  He/she is your advocate and charge you enough money.  This also means he/she will use the same vendors over and over, without regard for your personal style.  Double-dipping to line their pockets?  Run away.  It’s a valid question to ask.  It is unethical and  immoral.

8) Can your ideal candidates get you coveted appointments for the bridal fashion shows?  Get you a tasting at that great caterer?  Take you out to see a coveted band or DJ?  Get the most elegant papery quickly, without drama? They must be able to do this!  They should also help you spend time with your fiance and even order you to get massages, go to dinner with your beloved sans wedding talk and get your exercise and nutrition on track.

9) Do you get a good vibe?  Do they quickly provide you with references, a plan of action, an outline of their services that is crisp, professional and aesthetically pleasing?  Are their contracts easy to read and decipher? All good signs.

10) Does he or she take more than one wedding or event per weekend?  Ideally, you’d like to be the only one.  Also, in looking at their online portfolio, do you see many different styles of weddings?  The wedding should be YOURS, not the planner’s style.  This is so very important.  You’ll never see a client walk into one of our weddings and say, ‘Oh, this is so Dolce’.  It’s YOUR day – we are the hired help!

11) Finally, don’t be a diva.  Having a planner doesn’t mean you can order her around or belittle him or her.  That’s just bad manners and taste.  He or she is your partner and holds your big day in his or her capable hands.  If you have concerns, air them with grace and class.  A planner wants to please you, ensure a fantastic and gorgeous wedding experience and she usually has the answers you seek!  Now go and find your dream planner!

12) The right planner should make you feel like his/her only client.  Without a doubt.  You may see that they are busy, but you should always feel like top priority!  Also, follow them on Facebook and Twitter to get some creative ideas!  Great planners love social media and put great stuff out there for YOU!

A great wedding planner can be a lifesaver.  Do you really want to stand there in your gown and wonder if the cake arrived while getting your false eyelashes applied and listening to your mother ask about the escort card table?  A great wedding planner will no doubt have a huge suitcase filled with just about everything to ward off dress tragedies, hangovers, broken nails and annoying relatives.  They will order umbrellas if a monsoon blows in.  They can bring heaters if a cold snap comes.  They will dry your tears and deliver a gift to your groom.  They will make your beautiful day just beautiful.

To find a great wedding planner, go to the Little Black Book of Style Me Pretty or other blogs, ask friends, check out online guides in your area, ask the reception site that you think you love for the wedding and other vendors.  If you keep hearing the same names over and over those are the “go-to” folks.

Happy planning, beautiful wedding readers!  xoxo  PS: follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/dolceparties

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