Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2010 Grammy Awards

Tonight, the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards aired and as always we were paying close attention to the red carpet.  Most of music royalty took weeks to prepare (with their stylists) appropriate fashions as they were to celebrate some of the biggest names in music, including Taylor Swift, BeyoncĂ©, Lady Gaga, Pink and the late, great Michael Jackson.  And like this year's Golden Globe Awards, attendees flaunted their personal style with unapologetic flair.  But this time we'd like to mix things up.  Instead of taking cues from the red carpet for brides we'd like to point out cues for bridesmaids instead.  After all, your maids will share the "white aisle" with you on your special day and it's important for them to be in line with the latest trends too.  

Fergie wearing Emilio Pucci & Lea Michelle wearing Romona Keveza
(Inspired options for bridesmaids: Alvina Valenta;

Rihanna wearing Elie Saab Haute Couture
(Inspired options for bridesmaids: Jim Hjelm; Lela Rose)

Keri Hilson wearing Dolce & Gabbana
(Inspired options for bridesmaids: Saison Blanche; Love By Enzoani)

 Marissa Miller wearing Gucci & Ke$ha wearing Nicolas Jebran
(Inspired options for bridesmaids: Winnie Couture; Priscilla of Boston)

 Jennifer Lopez wearing Versace
 (Inspired options for bridesmaids: Alvina Valenta; Alfred Angelo)
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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Everything BUT "The Dress"

Those of us who love everything weddings and those of you who love planning your own wedding put lots of focus on "the dress" ... the garment you'll wear as you begin the next chapter of your life. But let's not forget about all of the other parties connected to your main event that you'll want to look fabulous for - like your bridal shower, your bachelorette party and the rehearsal dinner.  These events call for special attention as well, so you're looking your beautiful best. So, don't forget to shop for these and try not to wait until the last minute.

To get you started, check out a few ensembles I threw together for Spring/Summer parties. I hope they inspire!

Bridal Shower
Bridal Shower
(LANVIN dress; Burberry trench coat; Faith gold clutch; Jamie Wolf earrings; TopShop bangle set; LANVIN pump)

Bridal Shower 2
(ShopRuche dress; Luichiny bootie; Joan Shepp Clutch; King Baby Studio earrings, Kenneth Jay Lane cocktail ring)

Bachelorette Party
Bachelorette Party 2
(D&G jacket; All Saints crop pant; Christian Louboutin sandal; Jvin tote; Oasis cuff; Betsey Johnson earrings)

Bachelorette Party
(Alice + Olivia blazer; mirror ball dress; Giuseppe Zanotti sandal; Anya Hindmarch clutch; Aurelie Bidermann necklace; Coach earrings)

Rehearsal Dinner
Rehearsal Dinner
(Gypsy maxi dress; Tory Burch flats; Anya Hindmarch tote; Lee Angel necklace; Cathy Waterman earrings; American Eagle jean jacket)

Rehearsal Dinner 2
(Elizabeth and James dress; Alexander McQueen boot; Gustto suede bag; LANVIN necklace; Armani watch; Kew belt; gray pearl earrings)

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Queen For A Day, at Crate and Barrel!

It's time for Crate and Barrel's Wedding Parties! Be a queen for a day, the store's yours. Great food, good music, fabulous drinks and loads of advice on putting together the perfect gift registry. RSVP today and have fun!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Sneaky Deception vs. Fair Market Research

I just read an awesome post over at Sparkliatti that I could not help but share with my readers. Sparkliatti is a blog headed up by San Francisco based celebrity event planner Sasha Souza, and she recently shared some inside info that many of us planners are all too familiar with: new/up-and-coming planners using sneaky tactics to uncover and copy established planners' business models/plans/prices. These newbies actually "shop" you and it can really get out of hand.

Here's Sasha's article (which deserves a big "AMEN" at the end):
Over the past few weeks, I've been shopped by other planners no less than twice - and those are the planners that I actually caught doing it. I have my suspicions on three other info requests as well which we are handling with kid gloves.

Let me give you a bit of advice regarding pricing both yourself and figuring out who is charging what...

It Does Not Matter What I Charge:
Why? Because YOU are not ME. Your experience is different, your personality is different, your wedding type is different. Basically we are all different. What I charge is what I charge and sometimes I get it and sometimes I do not, it's dependent on what the couple is looking for. I also only do 20 events per year and all partial service events are planned by my employees. It's just plain different - but I've setup my company MY WAY. Besides, why do you care?

People Will Not Hire YOU Based On Price Alone:
A lot more goes into booking a client including, but not limited to: the number of events you've done that are similar to the look/style they are looking for; credibility of you as a planner or designer - have they seen your work featured? Know the name? That often is the first reason why people call us, they know the name and want the service associated with the name.

Where Are You Geographically?
This makes a difference - if you're shopping me at a destination wedding locale from either out of the country or someplace in middle America, the pricing will most likely be VERY DIFFERENT, and not even relevant to you.

It Makes You Look Sleazy:
And basically, we'll never speak again. I'm not into sneaky, rude or otherwise underhanded people in this business. I've been doing this long enough (15 years) to sniff out the good from the bad. I am not about to waste more of my time on people who have already wasted my time. Capiche?

Just Ask Me:
I can choose to answer you or not. That is my free will, but the chances are good I'll tell you straight up - unless you fall into the sleazy planner/designer category above.

I'm A Pretty Good Detective:
Not going to tell you how I find out, but just know - we're pretty savvy over here and have been shopped by some of the best & most renowned planners/designers in the business (you know who you are) and even they can't believe I figured it out. So, just remember...

Sneaky So, How Do You Figure Out What To Charge?
It's simple, figure out how much you want to make in a year, divide it by the number of events you want to do and that is a good starting point. Then, with experience, you will find that not every client is YOUR client and being middle of the road isn't necessarily where you want to be. The old adage about coming in the middle of pricing, like a contractor, only makes you mediocre. Do you want to be mediocre?

It does not matter to me what my peers are making in their pricing. I know I don't want to have the events that they do, those are not my parties. There is security in that and in knowing that I am always who I am and if they want somebody wishes for a wonderful wedding to them.
A note I'd like to add to all brides-to-be: DO NOT shop any vendor, especially an event planner, based upon price alone. Each vendor's prices are based on aspects of their business you'll probably never be able to uncover. If their prices are low, they could just be undercutting their more experienced competition...hoping you'll sign with them based on pricing alone. If their prices are high, this could be so because of high overhead and/or marketing they're responsible for maintaining or their experience simply warrants a higher price tag. DO YOUR RESEARCH, ASK QUESTIONS, HOLD EACH VENDOR ACCOUNTABLE. When shopping an event planner specifically, ask him/her "how many events or weddings they've planned from start to finish" ... "what training he/she has had besides planning their own event/wedding or events/weddings for friends" ... "what sets he/she apart from the competition."  Also, look out for copycats.  Pay attention to planners who strive to be original and aren't riding someone else's coattails.
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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From "Mr. Fabulous"

Guess who's offering a full line of wedding invitations in addition to being one of the most sought after event designers? "Mr. Fabulous" himself, Preston Bailey! Mr. Bailey says, "I want the bride to feel special about her event. That is why I created this gorgeous line of invitations. Each invitation tells a different story ... it is the first page of a wedding story."

Here's a look at a few of the newest designs, sold exclusively at Invitation Consultants:

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ask Rashana: Who Pays For What?

Dear Rashana,
As I begin planning my wedding, I'm most concerned about who's going to pay for what.  Many of my friends paid for their weddings themselves, with little to no help from their families.  However, our parents have offered to help with our wedding.  I know a lot has changed over the years where weddings are concerned, but traditionally what does the bride's family usually take care of and where does the groom's family come in?

- Toward Tradition

* * * * * * * * * *
Dear Toward Tradition,
You're right...who pays for the wedding has changed over the years.  But traditionally, the following should provide you with some guidelines:

  • Engagement Party
  • Reception (including caterer, food, wedding cake, beverages, entertainment, decor, etc)
  • Church (officiant, musicians, decor, etc)
  • Flowers (for bridesmaids, flower girl, church, reception)
  • Groom's wedding ring
  • Invitations
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Transportation (for wedding party)
  • Brides gown and accessories
  • Couple's toasting glasses/flutes
  • Wedding Consultant/Planner
  • Bridesmaid gifts
  • All rental equipment

  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Bride's engagement and wedding ring
  • Groom's cake
  • Flowers (bride's bouquet, corsages for mothers, boutonnieres)
  • Transportation (for bride and groom)
  • Marriage license
  • Groomsmen gifts
  • Honeymoon
Hope this helps!
(photo above courtesy of Atlanta Wedding Info)
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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You Deserve THE BEST Of Weddings

We were notified in November THE BRIDAL PARTY had been named a 2010 pick for The Knot's BEST OF WEDDINGS.  And now, the complete list of BEST OF vendors has been published on and in The Knot Magazine's Spring/Summer’10 and Fall/Winter’10 issues.  Remember, these lists are a must-read if you're planning a wedding because The Knot surveyed over 20,000 brides and only those endorsed by brides made the cut.

New Jersey brides ... run on over, definitely don't walk!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Bridal Party chosen to receive 2010 Bride's Choice Award

WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, announced earlier The Bridal Party is a winner of a 2010 Bride’s Choice Award™!  This award recognizes the top 5 percent of local wedding professionals from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service and professionalism.

The Bride’s Choice Awards™ are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds (brides and grooms) through extensive surveys and reviews, which means our past clients have spoken on our behalf and selected us to receive this honor.  This is our 2nd time receiving this award (having won the 2009 Bride's Choice Award as well) and we THANK YOU!

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2010 Golden Globes

Earlier tonight, the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards aired and the red carpet leading into The Beverly Hilton was quite damp, due to the rain, but still smoking with lots of fashion and glamour!  As always there were a variety of "hits" and "misses," amongst the barrage of picnic-sized umbrellas, and the stars definitely took a lot of risks. There were no themes as far as color or style.  This seemed to be the year of expressing personal style and my favorites were Ginnifer Goodwin's cobalt Vionnet (shocking that I favored a short dress this year, I know) and Chloe Sevigny's Valentino (which was unceremoniously ripped when an usher stepped on the train as she accepted her award).

Here are a few cues from the red carpet for brides:

Jennifer Morris wearing Luis Antonio
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Bellissima Couture, St. Pucchi Couture, David Fielden, Jenny Packham)

 Lea Michele wearing Oscar de la Renta
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Two By Rosa Clara, YSA Makino, Amsale, Oscar de la Renta, Romona Keveza)

Penelope Cruz wearing Armani Vintage
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Monique Lhuillier, Jasmine Couture, Elizabeth Fillmore, Demetrios)

Drew Barrymore wearing Atelier Versace & Maggie Gyllenhaal wearing RM Roland Mouret
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Kittychen Couture, Badgley Mischka, Pnina Tornai, Avine Perucci by St. Pucchi)

Ginnifer Goodwin wearing Vionnet
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Reem Acra, Legends by Romona Keveza, Amsale, Jenny Yoo)

 Dianna Agron wearing Lanvin
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Carolina Herrera, Lusan Mandoneus, Vera Wang, Songul Sarpbas)

 Christina Hendricks wearing Christian Siriano
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Oscar de la Renta, Lazaro)

 Chloe Sevigny wearing Valentino
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Reem Acra, Legends by Romona Keveza, Amsale, Jenny Yoo)

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by Rashana Anderson
Founder & Managing Director, THE BRIDAL PARTY

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