Michele with Just Marry!

Weddings and everything surrounding them!

2008 Favorite Wedding Ideas and Vendors from A to Z, K is for Kids

Yes, I said kids.  I love kids at weddings.  Well behaved ones, of course.  Those are usually attached to caring and in control parents.  One of my favorite parts of a wedding ceremony is when the kids walk down the aisle.  They are just so adorable and you really never know what they will do.  But, there will most certainly be laughs, Ooh’s and Aah’s.  They will break the tension and they are great at helping the bride relax and get into a festive mood.  And I really love when the bride and groom really think about the kids experience at the wedding.  Great things come of that.  Well, mostly, happy kids.  Here are some neat ways to make kids feel special at the wedding.

1.  Include them in the ceremony, whether it be as a flower girl, ring bearer or JR bridesmaid or groomsman.  They can also be helpful in attending to the guest book or handing out programs.  If you have young kids involved in the ceremony, be sure to have somebody for them to sit with during the ceremony.

2.  Arrange for a kids party complete with activities and their own kid friendly food.  You can have a clown, video games, their own DJ for music and games.  How about a caricature artist to draw pictures of the kids?

3.  Keep them as part of the main reception party, but give them plenty to do.  After all, their kids and they have such short attention spans.  The best option is a kids table complete with butcher block paper and coloring crayons, pencils and markers.  A kid friendly centerpiece completes the look.  Create a mini kids buffet with some of their favorites.  What about a make your own sundae bar or a decorate your own cupcake?  If the kids will be seated with their parents, then be sure to give them a goody bag filled with some fun things to do when they get bored dancing!

Thanks so much to some of my wonderful photographer friends who gave me the following images.  I had such a hard time choosing, so I’m afraid this post may be a bit image heavy.  Kids take the greatest photos!

Images from Scott Watt Photography.

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Images from Abby Liga Photography.

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Image from Derek Smith from Sunshine Photographics.

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Images from Michael Wise Photography.

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Images provided by Limelight Photography.

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December 11, 2008 Posted by | Abby Liga Photography, blog, brides, caricature artist, centerpieces, clown, cupcakes, Decor, DJ, entertainment, flower girl attire, Food and Beverage, guestbook, happy kids, Ice cream, Junior Bridesmaid, Junior Groomsman, Just Marry!, Just Marry! Wedding Planning Secrets, kid friendly centerpiece, kid friendly food, kids, kids goody bags, kids table, kids wedding party, Limelight Photography, make your own sundae bar, Menu, Michael Wise Photography, Michele Butler, mini kids buffet, Orlando wedding planner, out of the box idea, professional planners, programs, Scott Watt Photography, special touches, Sunshine Photographics, Uncategorized, video games, wedding, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding planner, wedding planning, wedding reception | 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

Just Marry! Vendor Spotlight on Bonnie Garfield with the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

My newest spotlight is focused on one of my dearest friends in the industry, Bonnie Garfield. Bonnie is with the beautiful Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. Truly one of my favorite locations in the city for a wedding and so very beautiful! I invite you to learn a bit about Bonnie Garfield and see some of the amazing weddings that Just Marry! has done at the property through the years.

Here’s a picture of Bonnie,

How did you get started?

After 4 years of working for a doctor out of college, I realized this field was not for me. I answered an ad for an Executive Secretary for the Director of Catering at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge Ma. She really did not want to hire me as I was “over-qualified” to be a secretary but I begged her..the rest is history.

Where do you get your inspiration?

From the many friends in this industry that have guided me, mentored, and stood by me in the good times and bad..and still do. You all know I adore you.

What’s your favorite part of the wedding day?

I think seeing the bride in her gown. Since I have usually cultivated a relationship with each one, seeing them at their worst and at their best throughout the planning process, when they emerge in their ever so hand selected gown, they all feel so special and “princess-like”. I can feel their energy around me.

What is your favorite movie?

Paulie (It’s about a parrot who loses his owner and finds her at the end..i cry every time) go figure its about a bird.

What’s your best wedding story?

I did have a bride who misplaced her veil about 1 hour prior to the wedding. She insisted it was in her changing room which showed no signs of a veil. Upon investigating, we found that housekeeping thought the veil box was empty (they are quite light you know) and threw it out. I personally went into the dumpster and found the veil already crushed in the compactor. Now, as you all know me, fishing through garbage is not one of my favorite things to do. It had all kinds of food and condiments on it..with the help of my wonderful housekeeping department, they got it cleaned, pressed and placed on the brides head without her knowing. It was not until 5 years later and 2 other sisters weddings that I revealed the whereabouts of the veil. To this day, every time I see the mother of the bride she just laughs at how “cool” I was and never let on. Little did she know, I was sick to my stomach!!

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

I am loving the small plates menus. It showcases the chef’s food and allows all the guests to get a sampling of more than one entree.

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

Please, please enjoy your wedding. It goes by so fast and you will never be able to capture those precious moments again (Unless you have Jeffrey Stoner as your videographer..then you are golden).

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

I am a creature of habit and hate change..So, as Billy Joel says “Don’t go changing to try and please me”.

Do you have any pets?

I think everyone knows about my feathered baby birds..Cashew (little green Parrolette 11 years old), Nouba (Big boy..Black headed Caique 5 years old) and my little Windsor (parakeet 2 years old). LOVE THEM!!

What is the best color combo for weddings?

I am favoring the celadon green and chocolate brown.

What are your favorite blogs/websites?

What the hell is a blog..I just discovered them recently, so Just Marry! and E Events tend to be my go to’s. So girls..keep them current..they are fun to read.

What does the future hold for you?

Well, I guess I will be involved in this crazy business for a good while longer. I cannot see myself doing anything else but someday I want to retire in Long Boat Key and interior design my condo on the Gulf.

What do you do in your spare time?

Work out at the gym, drink pinot grigio or Pomegranatemartinis, travel with Howard and take my dear sweet mom out when I can ( the pinot grigio goes hand in hand with taking mom out!!).

Thanks Bonnie for sharing! We appreciate all you have done for us through the years and Susan and I both value your friendship so much.

Here are some photos of weddings that we have done at the beautiful Portofino Bay Hotel,

Photos from Kevin Keelan.

Dan Higgins Photography,

Sunshine Photographics

Jen Adams Photography

August 6, 2008 Posted by | blog, Bonnie Garfield, Cassarino/Abell wedding, catering managers, Dan Higgins, event venue, Jeffrey Stoner Video, Jen Adams & Associates, Just Marry!, Kevin Keelan, lunchtime reception venue, Menu, Michele Butler, photos, Portofino Bay Hotel, professional planners, rehearsal dinner location, Sunshine Photographics, vendor, wedding, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding day, wedding dresses, wedding gowns, wedding industry, wedding location, wedding night amenity, wedding planner, wedding planning, wedding reception | 1 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

Impress, Indulge, Inspire at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

It was an honor for Just Marry! to participate in the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes most recent wedding show. This show had the top planners and decor designers in the area featured. The planners involved were Susie Weiss with Wonderful Weddings and Lisa Konecny with E Events. And truly the creme de la creme of the floral designers in Orlando, Lee Forrest Design, Greenery Productions, Lee James of Grande Lakes Floral, Raining Roses, Flourish and Botanica.

The evening began with couples networking with some of the Ritz’s preferred vendors, Damon Tucci, John Unrue, Jeffrey Stoner and nu visions. Beautiful Music played some lovely background music during this meet and greet time. We planners and floral designers were in the ballroom putting the finishing touches to the tables. Each planner was able to do at least 3 guest tables. Just Marry! chose to do 4. We have to thank Lee Forrest for providing the beautiful decor and design ideas. It was great fun working with him. He is extremely talented. BBJ Linen provided us with the beautiful linens (table linens, napkins, chair pads) and PKS Rental provided us with the mahogany, black and white chiavari chairs that helped to finish off our tables. Our fourth table was added a bit later in the game and Stephanie Rounds with nu visions in photography suggested that we use some glass sculptures from Keila Glassworks located in the City Arts Factory in downtown Orlando. This made for a clean, modern look for our final table. Once all of the table designs were complete, the doors to the ballroom were opened and the guests entered and visited the various table designs before finding their designated spot at the beautiful tables. We had an amazing meal. Following was the official menu of the evening,

Appetizer

Duo of Dumpling Squash

Ravioli with Nutmeg Froth and Bisque with Vanilla Cream

&

Gulf Coast Crab Gnocchi

Fiddlehead Ferns and Corn

Basil Foam

Salad

Layers of Baby Greens

Pumpkin and Chevre Cheese Cake

Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette

Gingerbread Tuile

&

Layers of Baby Greens

Gorgonzola Wellington, Spicy Walnuts

Strawberry Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Entrée

Grilled Filet Mignon

Potato and Celery Root Puree

Spaghetti Squash, Jumbo Asparagus

Red Wine Jus

&

Cashew Crusted Halibut “Summer Roll”

Purple Thai Rice, Enoki Mushrooms

Preserved Ginger and Green Tea Broth

Dessert

Chef to Prepare

Chocolate Tart with Burnt Marshmallow

Flambéed Bananas, Espresso Ice Cream

&

Chef to Prepare

Lemon Curd Crepes

Grand Marnier Strawberries

Coconut Sorbet

All I can say is yummy! I’m such a foodie and this was so delicious. I especially loved the fiddlehead ferns. The dinner courses were also paired with some wonderful wines. Starting with one of Susan’s and my favorite wines, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. It really was a treat for anybody invited to the show as Arthur Murray Dance Studio performed to the wonderful stylings of the Ricky Sylvia with the Buzzcatz. This band is truly one of the best around! The evening ended with the couples being able to chat with the various A-1 vendors in attendance and enjoy some delectable desserts and after dinner drinks. It is always a pleasure to do a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton. Truly one of my favorite venues in the city! Following please see our table top displays, provided by our amazing sponsors. Thank you again to Lee Forrest! A true artistic talent. The following images were provided by Damon Tucci where noted and nu visions in photography. Thanks guys for the beautiful images.

Rhapsody Table by Damon Tucci

Fragile Masterpiece table by nu visions

April 2, 2008 Posted by | BBJ Linen, Beautiful Music, bridal show, Buzzcatz, City Arts Factory, Damon Tucci, Decor, E Events, Flourish, Food and Beverage, Grande Lakes, Grande Lakes Floral, Greenery Productions, Hotel Property, Jeffrey Stoner Video, John Unrue, Just Marry!, Keila Glassworks, Lee Forrest Design, Lee James Designs, Lighting, Linens, Menu, nu visions in photography, PKS Rental, Raining Roses, Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Susan Southerland, Table Settings, wedding, wedding planning, wedding show, Wonderful Weddings | 1 Comment