Friday, November 25, 2011

'By the Sea...By the Sea...By the Beautiful Sea'

I was born and raised in Southern California and spent all my summer days  frolicking at the beaches along So Cal coast. Manhattan, Hermosa, name it, my footprints are probably still in the sand there somewhere. 

When I was young, my dear Auntie Junie would pack my cousins, Michael and Maggie, in the car 'bright and early' every morning, head down to pick me up, and off we'd go...picnic basket, beach towels and umbrella in hand.  Sorry ladies, we didn't have sunscreen way back then...hee hee!  Anyway, we'd body surf until the golden So Cal sun began to set on the horizon before packing up and heading home.  It was a glorious way to spend my childhood!

Recently, when Marjorie and I went on our mini-retreat after our wedding season ended, we headed to Bodega Bay on the Northern California coast for some R & R.  And this past week, my youngest daughter, Halley, and I were down in San Diego celebrating Thanksgiving with my son, Cameron, my daughter-in-law, Tiffany, and the Sanborn Clan; Missy Meagan, Steve, Marjorie and Craig, along with all the pups, of it just seemed fitting to grab a bit of inspiration from the ocean this week.

If you're planning your wedding on the beach, here are a few of the things I think are 'musts' for an InnCredible beach wedding....

A gorgeous mermaid dress...of course.  That just makes sense, right?  Mermaids and oceans just naturally go together...don't you agree?

A fantabulous pair of beach inspired heels.  These are a definite must!  And these Polka Dot ones rock! 

A campy little bridesmaids dress.  This one is too cute...and reminds me of the blue blue ocean and sea foam.  Perfect!

This amazingly InnCredible brooch bouquet complete with rhinestone sea shells.  Oh my it!

Star fish.  Oh wait, I'm sorry...Sea Stars.  I love them too and they seem to be everywhere on this 'InnSpiration Board'...LOL!

Some awesome beach/ocean decor...naturally!

A 'must have' arch.

  Cute, cute, cute table decor or favors

Some fun lanterns for the aisle or tables.
 Fab shell place cards.

And of course, some InnCredible flip flops!   I love these HavaianasOne cannot be at the beach without a great pair of flip flops...and these have star fish!  Oh dang, there I go again, I mean, 'sea stars'...sorry, I'm just a creature of habit!

Now...if I wanted to go 'over-the-top' and get a bit 'wild and crazy', I'd add more color...a lot more color.  Nothing like color to bring out the party in everyone!  Right?  Call me crazy, but I love this color combination and think it's perfect for a beach wedding with pizzazz!!!
Bright and cheery cake

Cool Candy Bar
Darling umbrella place cards.

So, that's what I would do.  How about you?  Share your beach themed wedding ideas, or your beach themed wedding with 'InnCredible Events' and I'll post it!

Until next time...

I'm off to the beach...don't I wish!

Marking your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It Takes A Village...'Our Wedding' Magazine Shoot

I spent most of my career in broadcasting...both in front of the camera and behind a mic, so I'm very familiar with television and radio production, but magazine, not so much.  So, when we were contacted by Debbie Hurst, Art Director for 'Sacramento Magazine', about doing a 12-page photo shoot at the Coloma Country Inn for their 'Our Wedding' magazine, I jumped at the opportunity.  And what I learned takes a village to produce all those fabulous photo spreads you see in the magazines.  Literally!  I have never seen so many people working on one piece in my life.  Talk about fun!  By 9am, the Inn was all abuzz with activity...

Now, I can't show you any of the photos of the set-ups for each shot, or the shots themselves, you'll have to wait for 'Our Wedding' magazine to come out in December for that.  But I can share the 'behind-the-scenes' of what goes on with something this spectacular.

First, I want to say a huge thanks to Beth Baugher from 'True Love Photo' for suggesting to the 'powers-that-be' at 'Sacramento Magazine' that the Coloma Country Inn would be the perfect backdrop for this fabulous shoot.  Believe me, something like this does not just drop into your lap, so many heartfelt thanks to dear rock!  Isn't she just as cute as can be?

Ok, back to the shoot.  First to arrive was the gorgeous bride/model, Kelsey Johnson. She was followed by hair stylist, Tina Romo, and make-up artist, Sherri Morris, and all their goodies!  First  Believe me, I had no idea what all went into getting those amazing hair styles we all covet in the magazines...but I learned very quickly that there was no way I would ever be able to recreate any of the styles Tina was able to pull off...LOL!

Not only did Tina come with an arsenal of tools for her magnificent creations, she also came armed with an entire bag of orange hair pieces to create magic with Kelsey's hair...and when 'Our Wedding' magazine is released, you'll be able to see how Tina transformed Kelsey's beautiful long ginger locks into her InnCredible coifs.

Once hair was done...(and it took about an hour for Tina achieve the look Debbie, the Art Director, was going for) was time for make-up.  Sherri Morris, owner of 'Brush Worxs Make-up Aristry', was the artist in charge.  And ladies, look at this make-up.  I was in heaven!  I don't think I have ever seen so many different colors of eyeshadow, have you? 

Or as many make-up brushes as Sherri brought with her.  Oh my!  I was like a kid in a candy store gawking at all these lovelies...hee hee.

And, best of all, they all came in this snazzy case.  I know, 'girly-girl' heaven, right?  Everything a gal could want, or need, all nicely packed in this great roller bag with a handle.  Pretty cool, if you ask me!

Oh...and just so you know, our bride was not the only one who had their hair and make-up done for the shoot.  Oh no!  Our very handsome groom/model, Ryan Ferguson, also donned the make-up chair.  Ryan's make-up didn't take nearly as long as Kelsey's, but it was still fascinating to watch Sherri work her magic and transform his look.

And once Tina was done with his hair, Ryan went from being just a 'regular' guy you'd see on the street to a gorgeous groom ready for his close-up.  'Oh, be still my beating heart!'  LOL!  Is this guy Hollywood handsome, or what?

Next up, wedding gowns.  We all know that wedding gowns are a must when you're doing a photo shoot for a wedding magazine...and oh my goodness, the one's the stylist chose for this shoot were beyond stunning!  Unfortunately, I can't show them to you either, you'll get to see them 'up close and personal' when the new issue is released,  but I can tell you they came from 'House of Fashion', 'Miosa Couture', 'La Soie Bridal'.   There were 9 fabulous couture gowns all together and each looked like it had walked the runway in NYC. Gorgeous...gorgeous...gorgeous gowns.

And, each of the gorgeous gowns came with an equally gorgeous price tag, so great care was taken to make sure NO dress was damaged during the shooting of this spread.  I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I can't help myself...bride Kelsey stood on a brown tarp when shooting many of the scenes on the grass.  Even with a high-end photo shoot such as this, 'if you break it, you buy it', and so the crew painstaking made sure the gowns were protected at all cost.  Ok, now that the 'cat's out of the bag', you'll all have to look and see if you can see it under her feet.  Hee hee. 

Of course, we can't forget about jewelry, can we ladies?.  Part of the stylists job was to match each gown with fabulous jewelry pieces...all provided by Macy's.  Wouldn't you love to have an entire store to shop from when you needed that perfect necklace and pair of earrings?  I know I would!  I have to admit, I was coveting a few of these fab pieces. LOL!

And OMG ladies, check out her ROCK!.  It's a train headlight!  No one would say where it came from. But I have an idea.  Hee hee!

And yes, there was a cake, of course!  'Sweet Cakes by Rebecca' delivered the most amazing cake I've ever seen.  It was used in several shots and when the magazine comes out, you'll be able to see it in all it's glory.  But for now, here are a few close-ups.  Check out the detail!  And yes, Styrofoam is under all those details.

And not to be outdone by the over-the-top wedding cake, were the flowers.  Katie Edwards from 'Ambience Floral Design' delivered the most amazingly beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets ever.  I absolutely love the calla lilies in the center of this springtime bouquet!  Unfortunately, what you can't see in this photo is the gorgeous broach attached to the wrapping of this bouquet.  Stunning...and it's in my office, even as we speak.  I'm one lucky girl!!!

And, that was not all.  Take a look at what Katie designed for the fountain in our 'Rose Garden'.  Spectacular!  I can't wait to see what the photos look like with the bride and groom and this floral display!  It's going to be InnCredible!

Ok, enough of the fun stuff...back to the business at hand...the photo shoot.  Now that hair and make-up are done, it's time to get our bride and groom dressed.  And this is not as easy as it seems...oh no!  In fact, Sarah Kreutz, Clothing Stylist for Sacramento Magazine, came all decked out with tape and binder clips to make sure each and every piece of clothing fit our bride and groom 'to a tee'.  Because, as crazy as it may seem, even for this photo shoot, the clothes didn't really fit our couple...but after Sarah worked her magic, you would never know these outfits weren't designed with the bride and groom in mind.

And here's a funny sidebar, Sarah had to borrow a black belt from Marjorie, my 'partner in crime', because someone forgot to bring one for the groom.  It's so comforting to know that even the most skilled of professionals forget things occasionally...thank goodness...makes me feel better...hee hee!  And yes ladies, even our groom needed a binder clip or two.  Evidently, in this business, one size does not fit all...hee hee!

Ok, let's not forget that village of people I mentioned because while the make-up was being applied, the hair was being done, and the gowns and jewelry was being picked out, there was a team of professionals outside deciding where to stage each photo. 

These folks had been hard at work since they arrived, not only scouring the grounds for the perfect shoot locations, but also for any wonderful treasures they could use in each photo shoot.  And believe me, the 'Coloma Country Inn' is a 'treasure trove' of fabulous finds.  Love this love seat?  Well, so did the designers, and you'll see it in one of the scenes!

When the team decided on a location and a look, and had all their goodies in hand, a crew went to work staging the area. 

Then, once the bride and groom were camera-ready and dressed, it was off to shoot.  Again, I'm not at liberty to show you any of those pictures but setting the scenes was pretty exciting!

Ok, now comes the easy part, right.  No way!  Taking one of these stellar pictures is not as easy as it seems, nor is it like a photo you and I would take with our phone or camera.  There were people all over the place, who you never see, making sure the lighting was right, holding scrims, checking meters, re-adjusting clothing, re-touching make-up and hair.  Oh my goodness.  Nine different locations...nine different clothing changes...nine different looks...all in a days work!

And in the middle of it all was photographer extraordinaire, Beth, crawling in on hands and knees for that perfect close-up, laying on the ground for another shot, laughing out loud with the most outrageous laugh you've ever heard to get an instantaneous, and spontaneous, laugh or smile from the bride and groom for that 'one in a million' shot.  She was a hoot!  And by her side every step of the way were her assistants.  You go girls, oops, and guy!

And when Beth gave her 'ok', the crew picked up and moved on to the next location, and it began all over again...and again...and again!  Talk about a long day.

Now you can understand why I said it takes a village.  For this one shoot, which started at 9:00am and went until well after 6:00pm, there were 19 people, and/or companies, who worked on turning Debbie's fab idea into a reality.  Here's a list of all those who worked this photo shoot:

Bride - Kelsey Johnson 'Cast Images Modeling Agency'
Groom - Ryan Ferguson – 'Cast Images Modeling Agency'
Art/Design Director, 'Sacramento Magazine' – Debbie Hurst 
Art Director, 'Our Wedding' magazine - Carly Cornejo
Clothing Stylist – Sarah Kreutz 
Sarah's Assistant - Sam  MacLeod
Photographer – Beth Baugher, 'True Love Photo' –   
Photography Assistant - Phoebe Verkouw
Photography Intern - Carrie Burkett 
Set Stylist - Dacy McWhorter 
Graphic Designer, 'Sacramento Magazine' - Miles Harley
Hair – Tina Romo, 'Tina Romo Hair Stylist'
Make-up - Sherri Morris, 'Brushworx Make-Up Artistry' 
Florals - Katie Edwards, 'Ambiance Floral Design' 
Cake - 'Sweet Cakes by Rebecca' -
Dresses - 'House of Fashion' -'Miosa Couture' - & 'La Soie Bridal' -
Jewelry - 'Macy's' -

So there you have it...a photo shoot in the making.  I know I can't wait to see the finished product.  'Our Wedding' is set to hit newstands on December 15th.  Please make sure you pick up your copy and tell me what you think.  

Again, I want to say another 'Thank You' to everyone who was a part of this photo shoot and to all who were responsible for choosing the Coloma Country Inn for this fabulous honor.  Along with the Inn, the crew also shot in and around the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park and at the historic Emmanuel Church. 

Until next time...*

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events

* I apologize for the layout of this post...for some reason 'blogger' wasn't cooperating with my spacing desires this time.  :(

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brides Come In All Shapes, Sizes and Colors...Thank Goodness!..

So, I purposely waited until after Bridal Week in Chicago and New York before stepping forth and reposting this fabulous article by Xochitl Gonzalez, co-founder of 'Always A Bridesmaid', which was featured in 'HuffPost Weddings' on November 3, 2011.  I wanted all the fervor to die down from the excitement of Bridal Fashion Week so I was sure to get everyone's attention.  What I'm going to re-post is somewhat controversial, but I think it speaks the truth. 

Aptly titled, 'Why Is There No Big Bliss on the Bridal Runway?', Ms. Gonzalez, speaks to the bridal industry turning a blinds eye to any bride that does not fit into their ideal.  As the mother of two beautiful, and amazing, daughters who do not fit into this 'Size 0' stereotype, I have felt their pain as they tried on one bridesmaids dress after another trying to find one that fit their personality and shape.  I can only imagine what this experience will be like when they become brides.  As a wedding planner, I've also heard horror stories from brides, and their mothers, about their dress buying experiences because they weren't in the norm...and it breaks my heart!

Personally, I believe any designer can make a gown look stunning on a runway model, but I challenge them to make the same gown look equally as stunning on the 'average' or 'plus size' bride.  In a perfect world, designers would pay attention to postings such as this and change their ways.  Will they?  That remains to be seen.  But at least we have women like Xochitl Gonzalez to hold them accountable.

So here, without further ado, in it's entirety, is Xochitl Gonzalez's article....Enjoy!

Why Is There No Big Bliss On The Bridal Runway?

'We are coming off of one of the biggest weekends for the wedding industry: Bridal Market a.k.a. Bridal Fashion Week. Taking place in New York bi-annually, it attracts buyers, editors, bloggers, event designers and planners and showcases the most glamorous designs the bridal world has to offer.

What it does not showcase however are any models that actually look like the average American bride. I know, I know, not
another article about how models are too skinny. But, here is the difference: the market for plus-size women looking to spend $3,000 or more on a Lanvin jersey dress for the office is only a fraction of the size of plus-size women looking to spend $3,000 or more on a wedding gown. Considering that more than 64 percent of women in the U.S. are overweight, and that wedding gowns range from $300-$30,000, my argument is that it simply makes SENSE to showcase on the runway how these gowns might look on body types that will actually buy them.

As a member of the wedding industry who has been working with brides for the past eight years, I've always been particularly horrified at the persona non-grata status that has been given to "plus size" girls getting married. I used quotations because I'm not just talking about women who are extremely overweight; I'm talking about the numerous women over size 10 who are traumatized by the joyous experience of wedding dress shopping because they can't fit into the very teeny sample sizes that most bridal salons carry. If you are reading this and had the experience of having a sample wedding gown placed on you, pinned in the back and trying to imagine what it would be like when it was made just for you... imagine if you couldn't put on the dress at all, had someone hold it in front of you and ask you to order it on blind faith that once in your size it would look great! To say that it would be the opposite of joyous is an understatement.

Equally horrible is the salon practice of only stocking sample sizes of gowns deemed to be "Plus Size Friendly" a.k.a. "Ball gowns" and "A-lines." Recently, we took a client of ours with a
hefty gown budget shopping and we stormed out of a very, very reputable designer's salon because its staff refused to show her anything but a ball gown, insisting that everything else would be "unflattering" to her size 18 frame.

Truly, I'm not trying to beat the dead horse of "why are fashion models so skinny?" That is an issue, but it's a life-workable issue. I don't have a model body and I don't have a super-model clothing budget and I mainly read fashion mags and look at fashion runway for inspiration. My experience of actually shopping is quite different--I take what "concepts" I saw that might work on my body and find the equivalent in my budget and size.

But when it comes to bridal, I've always felt that the experience of being a bride is part inspiration browser (ooh! Awesome escort card idea!) And part catalogue shopper (ooh! I love these earrings and this veil, where can I buy them?). The average girl reading a bridal mag or blog, looking at bridal runway or visiting a bridal salon is looking to
actually purchase one of these actual gowns. She isn't looking for "inspiration" she is looking for her dream dress and she is willing to drop between $500 and $10,000 on it.

I've often wondered why we never see more variety of body type or plus size models in these dresses at runway or in editorial. Honestly, even when you look at Real Weddings, you might think that no real brides are actually a bit thick or big or whatever term you might use for a girl who isn't model skinny. Why more designers/publications/advertisers aren't inviting potential buyers to imagine themselves in the dream gown vs. someone else's body is beyond me. It's funny that at a time of life when a woman has found someone else who loves her for who she is, the process of being a bride can make you wish you were someone else.

I know that everyone wants to sell idealized fantasy, but don't we want girls to still be themselves? (Then again, I maybe just don't get it. I also never understood why bridal runway models never smile... real brides do). I think this is the same principal that annoys me (even when we write about it on this very blog) about all these wedding weight loss ideas and diets. I totally appreciate that everyone wants to look their best--before my wedding I was in pilates two times a week and who knows if I ate any bread for months--but sometimes it seems just a hop, skip and a jump from "wedding body makeovers" and fitting into the dream dress to that horrible "Bridalplasty" show that was on E! for a while.

That said, I'm heartened to know that lots of people feel the same way that we do. Mayra, my business partner, texted me the other day to say that she couldn't get enough of "Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss." It takes the very awesome "Say Yes to the Dress" formula but showcases plus size brides who are able to see samples and sizes at Kleinfeld. The show was launched largely because Kleinfeld knows that these women have often arrived at the shop having had awful experiences at other salons and have been made to feel that somehow their bridal experience wouldn't be as special because of their size. Kleinfeld is able to turn the frown around because they have always devotedly stocked plus-size samples and buy gowns with many body types in mind. So, yay for "
Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss." Hip, Hip, Hooray for Randy Fenoli and company for wanting to make all brides feel amazing. I hope that we can all take a bit of a lesson from that and in the process make a little more room for all brides to feel comfortable being themselves.'

You can follow Xochitl Gonzalez on Twitter at:
So, chime in.  Tell me what you think about this article.  I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Until next time,

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events