Michele with Just Marry!

Weddings and everything surrounding them!

Something Exciting to Share Here at Just Marry!

First, let me start off this blog entry by apologizing for my absence from the wild world of blogging.  I have been focused on wrapping up a wedding for one of my favorite families, the Katta’s.  I first worked with them in 2007 when their daughter Sarah was married and this one was their son, Joe’s wedding.  I am a perfectionist and that led me to only being able to think, eat, dream and work on Katta.  The wedding was this past weekend and was amazingly beautiful.  I can’t wait to post my future blog, “The Tale of Two Weddings”, which will showcase both Sarah and Joe’s weddings.  So, keep an eye out for that.

Ok, on to the task at hand.  I’m so excited about this blog post because it includes two of my best friends, Susan and Kristy.  Here they are at a recent speaking engagement.

Here’s the recent press release including both Just Marry! and our lovely Kristy at Couture Consulting by Chenell.  Expect great things in the future from both companies.  I’m so glad to be a part of the bright future.

JUST MARRY! PARTNERS WITH COUTURE CONSULTING

Orlando, FL (October 3, 2008) – Just Marry! is pleased to announce it’s collaboration with wedding business consulting firm, Couture Consulting by Chenell, LLC.  The partnership will grow the Just Marry! brand globally as well as develop innovative concepts and products for brides and grooms.

As new values emerge for couples tying the knot, a strong focus will be placed on each couple’s individual aspirations, preferences, and desires while staying sensitive to the ever changing market.   The two companies will join forces to create helpful resources (both services and products) made to inspire brides and grooms of their vision and to help them bring that vision to life within their spending parameters.

Couture Consulting will work with Just Marry! to cultivate its brand essence, rich with experience, fervor, and vision.   As a team, these companies anticipate expanding Just Marry!’s services, offices, and visibility internationally.

Founded by Susan Southerland in 1992, Just Marry! is the Southeast’s premier, full service wedding planning company.  Southerland and associate, Michele Butler, lead a passionate and experienced team that has coordinated thousands of weddings around the country and the world.  Focusing on destination, luxury, and cultural clientele, Just Marry! has offices in Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah and St. Augustine.  Southerland shares her first hand experience with couples and industry peers alike in “Susan Southerland’s Just Marry! Wedding Planning Secrets” DVD.  In addition, Southerland and Butler recently released the anticipated “Susan Southerland’s Just Marry! 77 Secrets for Greening the Wedding Industry” DVD.  Just Marry! has been featured on the Style Network’s “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?” and TLC’s “A Wedding Story.” For additional information and to purchase resources, visit www.justmarry.com.

Couture Consulting by Chenell, LLC is a consulting firm for wedding businesses created by Kristy Chenell, formerly of The Ritz-Carlton and Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.  Based on the principles and standards of luxury services and products, Couture Consulting by Chenell, LLC provides inspirational ideas, innovative concepts, and customized solutions for wedding businesses that desire to strengthen their brand and increase sales.   For additional information, please contact Kristy Chenell at (720) 425-3610.

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October 14, 2008 Posted by | 77 Secrets for Greening the Wedding Industry, blog, brides, Disney's Fairytale Weddings, DVD, event business, event industry, green, green products, Just Marry!, Just Marry! Wedding Planning Secrets, Katta & Smalberger wedding, Kristy Chenell, Michele Butler, Morales & Katta Wedding, Orlando wedding planner, professional planners, Ritz-Carlton, Susan Southerland, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding day, wedding industry, wedding planner, wedding planning, Wedding planning DVD | Leave a comment

Just Marry! Vendor Spotlight on Tommy Murphy with Greenery Productions

For this Vendor Spotlight, I present to you Tommy Murphy with Greenery Productions.  Here he is with some of his close personal friends.

Here's Tommy!

Here's Tommy!

I have been working with Tommy for many years now because we are lucky enough to have close relationships with many of the same properties.  And of course because he’s uber talented.  My brides always love meeting with Tommy.  He’s so great at finding his way to all of their ideas and vision and then really turning it into a cohesive look.  Tommy is also one of my favorite people to be around in the industry.  He’s always fun at parties and he and his partner Raul are two of the nicest guys you will meet.  I invite you to get to know the infamous Tommy Murphy from Greenery Productions a bit better.

Where are you located?

Behind Universal Studios.

Do you travel?

Absolutely, have any overseas weddings you need help with?

Where have you traveled for weddings?

St. Petersburg, Tampa, Daytona, New Smyrna.

How did you get started?

I was doing freelance accounting work as well as working for an accounting company.  The recruiter was a friend of a local event company that ultimately hired me permanently.  Although I had nothing to do with the creative side, I was soon thrust into purchasing floral and all the décor for that matter.  It was so fascinating to understand the whole floral industry.  I am a true master at it now.  I have always been creative, I was the pastry and Garde’ Manger (yes that spelling is correct) at Isleworth Golf & CC back in the 90’s.  I personally created masterpieces for Janet Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallion and Shaq and his family.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I think inspiration is all around us which is the benchmark for everything we do.

What’s your favorite part of the wedding day?

I think handing the bride the bouquet.  It indicates the time is drawing closer.  And you can tell a lot about how that day is ultimately going to be by her expression and response when receiving the bouquet.

What’s your favorite movie?

That’s a tough one, I think Steel Magnolias.  I can watch it again and again and still cry. I also love The Birdcage.

What’s your best wedding story?

I don’t know that I have one.  A couple of brides coming up in December are really stellar.  My one bride is giving me the entire creative freedom with her floral.  Now that doesn’t happen.  The floral is going to be awesome.

What in your opinion is the coolest trend right now with weddings?

I don’t know that it is a trend, but creating different and unique designs for every aspect of the wedding.  Brides want the guest to experience something they have never experienced at other weddings.

If you could give brides one piece of advice, what would it be?

Trust your first instinct.  If you love it, go with it and stop looking through magazines and watching those shows.

What is one thing that you want everybody to know about you?

I love what I do and work very hard to make sure everything that has been promised exceeds their expectations.

Do you have any pets?

Tucker, my Hemingway Manx has seen it all.  He is about 13 now and was the third of five cats.  Hemingway Manx have extra toes and no tail.  Well, tucker has a nub and the right amount of toes.  He is such a cool cat.  Then there is the love of my life Sassy & of course Romeo.  They are Jack Russell’s.  Sassy looks like me and acts like my partner Raul and Romeo looks like Raul and acts like me.  Just ask me what I mean by that, it is so true what they say about pets.

What is the best color combo for weddings?

White and ivory are always safe, but I love color.  Orange, green and pink.

What are your favorite blogs/websites? www.greeneryproductions.com and www.greeneryproductions.blogspot.com.

What does the future hold for you?

Lots of weddings, retiring at 55, thinking about interior decorating classes and as much travel as possible.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love taking care of my yard, spending time with my partner and our dogs, hanging with friends and traveling.

Some photos of the amazing design work that Tommy and his designers at Greenery Productions do,

Here's a bride of mine, Nicole Cassarino

Here's a Bride of Mine, Nicole

Enchanted Wedding

Enchanted Wedding

Funky Cool at the Hard Rock Live

Funky Cool at the Hard Rock Live

Another Cool Look at Hard Rock Live

Another Cool Look at Hard Rock Live

You Can't Go Wrong With White

Portofino Bay Hotel

Portofino Bay Hotel Villa Piazza

Love the Red

Love the Red

You're So Square

You're So Square

Escort Card Table Lookin Fine

Escort Card Table Lookin Fine

September 17, 2008 Posted by | bat mitzvah, blog, bridal bouquet, brides, Cassarino/Abell wedding, country clubs, Decor, event business, event industry, events, floral designer, florist, Greenery Productions, Isleworth Country Club, Just Marry!, Michele Butler, Steel Magnolias, Universal Studios Orlando, vendor, wedding, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding day, wedding industry, wedding planner, wedding planning, wedding reception | Leave a comment

2008 Favorite Wedding Ideas & Vendors from A to Z – C is for The Collection!

Yes, C is for The Collection, located in Winter Park.  Right on Park Avenue.  So convenient for doing a bit of wedding dress shopping and then hitting the wine bar or one of the many wonderful restaurants on Park Ave.

I am moving up on 11 years in this crazy wedding biz and Millie and her beautiful store have been around the entire time.  The Collection has some of the most elegant gowns you will find in the Orlando area.  And you can expect to be treated like family in this store.  What better way to shop for that gown you will wear for that all important event, the wedding ceremony.  And this shop is not just about wedding gowns, but bridesmaids dresses, mother’s gowns and flower girl attire.  They carry gowns from some of the most talented designers in the world.

Vera Wang

Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier

Reem Acra

Reem Acra

Lazaro

Lazaro

And many of our brides are happy customers.  Here are some of our beautiful brides in their gowns from The Collection.

Sarah Katta at the JW Marriott

Sarah Katta at the JW Marriott, courtesy of nu visions in photography

Emily Hayes at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, courtesy of Damon Tucci

Emily Hayes at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, courtesy of Damon Tucci

Terri Oster at Jekkyl Island

Terri Oster at Jekkyl Island, courtesy of Karla Fountain

Nicole Gravenmeir at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, courtesy of nu visions in photography

Nicole Gravenmeir at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, courtesy of nu visions in photography

September 10, 2008 Posted by | blog, brides, bridesmaids, bridesmaids dresses, ceremony site, Curt Littlecot, Damon Tucci, destination wedding, event business, event industry, event venue, flower girl attire, Grande Lakes, Hayes & Looney wedding, Jekkyl Island Club, Just Marry!, JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Karla Fountain, Katta & Smalberger wedding, Lazaro, lunchtime reception venue, Michele Butler, Millie, Monique Lhuillier, mother's gowns, Nicole Gravenmeir, nu visions in photography, Orlando wedding planner, photographer, professional planners, Reem Acra, rehearsal dinner location, Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Stephanie Rounds, Terri Oster, The Collection, vendor, Vera Wang, wedding, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding day, wedding dresses, wedding gowns, wedding location, wedding planner, wedding planning, wonderful world of weddings | Leave a comment

The Greening of the Wedding Industry

Yes, yet another trip. Jeffrey and I ventured to St. Petersburg a few weekends ago. It was all business of course. Easy to say when all of our friends are in the event business.

Our initial reason for going was for Jeffrey to video Susan and Kristy speaking at ISES Event World’s conference. However, we managed to see some of our great friends from our Denver excursion.  We went to dinner with Kristy & Scott Chenell (Kristy and I managed to have the very same dress on for this evening, by accident), Lisa Konecny, Ryan & Elena Joseph and Susan Southerland and her fella Scott. Zoe from Botanica made a great recommendation for dinner and even took care of making the reservation for us. We went to this wonderful restaurant in Tampa called Mise en Place. The food was amazing and we had such a great time catching up with friends who don’t live in Orlando.

After dinner that evening, we headed back to the Vinoy so that Kristy & Susan could finalize their presentation. I hung out with the fellas. Always one of my favorite things to do. Scott toured us around the property. He and Kristy were married there and it was fun to see where their ceremony and reception were. They were at beautiful outdoor venues. I wish I had known them then.

This hotel is quite historic and really reminds me of how the wealthy must have vacationed back in the 20’s and 30’s.  I love that lobby!

The next day, bright and early was Susan and Kristy’s presentation. It was all about the greening of the wedding industry. I really enjoyed listening to the many ideas that they suggested. Some of my favorites were,

Using evites for other events surrounding the wedding instead of more paper.

Giving cloth shopping bags as amenities or guest favors.

Having a no utensil event. This is something that Kristy is working on with her Chef from the Ritz-Carlton Denver for an upcoming event. I can only imagine the level of creativity that would go into brainstorming those ideas.

Giving a tree as a favor or amenity. The tree can then be planted in the city where the event is being held or can be taken back to the guests home and planted there.

Using Microsoft One Note or the backside of scratch paper to take notes.

Instead of providing your guests with disposable cameras, give them rented digital cameras. No waste!

Have your corporate group or wedding guests do something charitable in the area where they are. They could donate some time at a shelter or assist with building homes for those less fortunate.

This was a very informative presentation and Susan and Kristy are wonderful speakers. If you haven’t seen them speak, then don’t miss the opportunity.

We also premiered our 77 Secrets for Greening the Wedding Industry. This is a great DVD that gives those in the event industry many suggestions on how to green up their way of doing business and also give their clients green ideas for their event.  How great is that cover?  Thanks Amy Morelli for giving it a fresh and fun look.

Here’s some photos from the speaking engagement and such,

Don't they look famous?  Everybody wants their autographs.

Don't they look famous?

Ah, come here little sis.

Ah, come here little sis.

Definitely up to no good.

Definitely up to no good.

Our cute fellas

Our cute fellas

My dear friend Kristy

My dear friend Kristy

Not nervous at all

Not nervous at all

This says it all

This says it all

Richard with who??

Richard with who??

The speakers themselves

The speakers themselves

This excursion was such a green weekend of great information! I loved every minute. And something must have rubbed off on me. Jeffrey and I returned home to our previously flooded dining room (thank you Tropical Storm Fay), ripped up our carpet and headed to Home Depot to find replacement carpet. Guess what we chose? Green carpet made from corn fibers. And we didn’t find that the carpet was anymore expensive than comparable brands that weren’t made with green products. So, you don’t always have to pay extra to be green! I guess there goes the phrase, “It isn’t always easy being green”. Thanks Kermit!

September 4, 2008 Posted by | 2 U Collection, 77 Secrets for Greening the Wedding Industry, amenities, Amy Morelli, Botanica, ceremony site, cloth shopping bags, Decor, Denver, digital cameras, dinner party, disposable cameras, DVD, E Events, enviroment, event business, event industry, event venue, events, evite, favors, Flourish, Food and Beverage, green, green products, Hotel Property, Ian Prosser, ISES, ISES Event World's conference, Jeffrey Stoner, Jeffrey Stoner Video, Just Marry!, Just Marry! Wedding Planning Secrets, Kristy Chenell, Lisa Konecny, Menu, Michele Butler, Microsoft One Note, Mise en Place, Orlando wedding planner, out of the box idea, outdoor venue, photos, plant wedding favors, professional planners, Renaissance Vinoy, restaurant, Ritz-Carlton Denver, Ryan Joseph, Scott Chenell, Scott Mifsud, speaking engagement, special touches, Susan Southerland, Tampa, Vinoy, wedding, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding day, wedding gift, wedding industry, wedding location, wedding night amenity, wedding party gift, wedding planner, wedding planning, Wedding planning DVD, wedding reception, wonderful world of weddings | Leave a comment

WD40

That was the name of the game at Warren Dietel’s birthday party, just last night. Still moving a little slow today. But, it was well worth it.

This was an important birthday for our cool friend Warren. The big 40! Warren Dietel is the owner of Puff n Stuff Catering here in Orlando. Truly one of the top caterers in the area. Warren certainly had lots of friends at his shin dig. There must have been over 200. Now, that’s a party.

It was an 80’s theme and most everybody dressed the part. I grew up in the 80’s and there is no doubt in my mind that we all looked ridiculous last night and in the 80’s. I just can’t believe that brightly colored, mis matched clothes, jelly shoes, lace with anything and parachute pants were ever really in style. Wow!

This party was definitely one of those parties that you wouldn’t want to miss and was held at the historic Ballroom at Church Street Station. Complete with amazing lighting, glowing furniture, dancers and video games that we all remember. I loved Galaga and had such a great time playing it last night. I was immediately transported back to when I was 9! The dancers and entertainment were amazing and even had my Jeffrey up on the stage at one point. Hillarious!

Oh and the food. Well, what would you expect from an amazing catering company? Great food!! They had a risotto station with choose your own toppings, a Caesar salad station, an antipasto station, RAW BAR (yummy oysters) and a carving station with great flavored meats.

As the party began to wear down, we were invited into another area for dessert, breakfast and some 80’s Guitar Hero. Fun! The ice cream was the coolest. It was frozen using liquid nitrogen. Quite an impressive process. To top it all off, the after hours area was called Ronnie’s after an old Orlando diner that has been closed for year, but obviously not forgotten.

We were so excited to be included on the guest list of this fab party for our friend Warren! Happy Birthday Warren. They say that 40 is the new 30!! Let me know.

Here’s our very 80’s photo from the night and you can view a slide show of the party at

www.stonervideo.blogspot.com

Us before we headed out to Warren\'s 80\'s Theme B\'day Party!

June 22, 2008 Posted by | event industry, event venue, Jeffrey Stoner Video, John Unrue, Just Marry!, Lighting, Live Entertainment, Menu, Michele Butler, networking function, Off premise catering location, professional planners, Puff n Stuff Catering, Scott Mifsud, Susan Southerland, Uncategorized, wedding, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding industry, wedding location, wedding planner, wedding planning, wonderful world of weddings | Leave a comment

A Casual Get Together at the Stoner/Butler Household

I really love what I do and the people I get to work with. So much so, that most of my dear friends are in the wedding or event industry. It’s great that way, as we can all relate to the in’s and out’s. Jeff and I had some of our nearest and dearest friends over for a potluck dinner party this past Friday. We made the entrée and had plenty of cocktails. Our friends helped round out the dinner. We had so much food! Bad planning on the planners part. But, you can’t argue with having leftovers and they were so yummy. Our dinner party invite list consisted of Susan Southerland and her fella Scott Mifsud. Susan is the owner of Just Marry! and also one of my best friends. Bonnie Garfield who is the director of catering at the Portofino Bay Hotel and her other half, Howard King. Lisa Konecny who owns her own wonderful wedding planning company, E Events and her handsome half, Marc Konecny. And finally, Jennifer Sharpe who is the sales manager at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes and her fun husband Joe. We even celebrated his birthday with a wedding sparkler on top of a birthday cake. I hope the guys managed to have a great time. Scott and my fella, Jeffrey Stoner are both in the events industry, but I can only imagine what it must be like for the rest of the guys. They are not. We in the wedding biz have been known to get together and yap about weddings endlessly. In fact, this get together was not without lots of that. Susan even debuted her new DVD. A quick tour of it actually. It looks wonderful and will be sold on Amazon. And there are more to come. I’m so excited to be involved in future DVD projects.

February 2, 2008 Posted by | Amazon, dinner party, DVD, E Events, event industry, Jeffrey Stoner Video, Joe Sharpe, Just Marry!, Marc Konecny, Portofino Bay Hotel, Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Scott Mifsud, sparklers, Susan Southerland, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding industry, wedding planner | Leave a comment

Catering Manager/Coordinator Happy Hour

Graze Dining Area

I recently organized a really fun get together of wedding coordinators. We met a few times. First at Luma and then at Il Mulino at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort. It was great and we were all able to talk shop. It then occurred to me that it would be a great idea to include the catering managers from the various hotels, country clubs and off premise caterers. We had our first coordinator/catering manager meeting at Graze in downtown Orlando. It was great fun. Very casual get together with drinks and food. Catering managers and wedding coordinators often work very close together. Wedding coordinators are sometimes seen as an extension of the hotel properties. Making a great team. So, it only seemed appropriate to have the entire group together. Attending at the initial group get together were Bonnie Garfield (Portofino Bay Hotel), Janine Boylan (Grand Bohemian Orlando), Christal Knowles-Feldman (Sunsational Weddings), Susan Southerland (Just Marry!), Aimee Sers (Just Marry!), Andrea Hall (Just Marry!), Susan Pelteson (Distinctive Weddings), Jenny (Doubletree Castle Hotel), Linda Helm (Heathrow Country Club), Jessica Lodispoto (Winter Park Racquet Club), Lisa Konecny (E Events), Stephanie Rounds (Nu Visions in Photography). We had a great time. The food was great, if not expensive and the drinks were extra yummy. We in the wedding industry love a good cocktail or glass of wine. Allows us to keep that smile on our faces in even the most stressful moments. One thing I can say about the restaurant, is that they are certainly lacking in service. It was a bad time to be lacking in that area as we all have big mouths and can be a source of future referrals. Regardless, we all made the best of it and just let our tips reflect any downfall in service.

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Aimee Sers, Andrea Hall, Bonnie Garfield, catering managers, Christal Knowles-Feldman, country clubs, Distinctive Weddings, Doubletree Castle Hotel, E Events, event industry, event venue, Food and Beverage, Graze, Heathrow Country Club, Jessica Lodispoto, Just Marry!, Lisa Konecny, ll Mulino at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort, Luma, Michele Butler, networking function, nu visions in photography, Stephanie Rounds, Sunsational Weddings, Susan Southerland, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding industry, wedding planner, Winter Park Racquet Club | Leave a comment

Halloween Party!

Jeffrey and I had our annual Halloween party again. It’s the 3rd year that we have hosted it. It is just simply good fun. Most of our friends are in the wedding/event biz. Are you shocked at all? With 10+ years in the industry, we don’t have much of an opportunity to socialize outside of our world. 65 of our closest friends were here to help us celebrate the spooky holiday. We always go with a cheesy Halloween theme. Nothing fancy about our party, except for some of our friends who come to play. This year, one of my favorite get up’s was Susan Pelteson, who took the (wear your favorite t’shirt) to a whole new level by adding red gloves and a tiara. And one our dearest friends, Kristy Chenell flew back in just to play at our party. She recently moved to Denver, Colorado to a new Ritz Carlton that will be opening sometime before the first of the year.

I really do love our industry and love that fact that we can all be such close friends. Even if we are in the same competing industries. Who else to best share the excitement and the woes with, than those who understand.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Aimee Sers, Andrea Hall, Annual Halloween Party, Bonnie Garfield, catering managers, E Events, event industry, Halloween, Jeffrey Stoner Video, Joe Sharpe, John Unrue, Just Marry!, Kristy Chenell, Lisa Konecny, Michele Butler, networking function, nu visions in photography, Portofino Bay Hotel, Ritz-Carlton Denver, Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Scott Mifsud, Stephanie Rounds, Susan Pelteson, Susan Southerland, wedding, wedding biz, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding industry, wedding planner | Leave a comment