Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trey and Terri 12/21/07

This was such a wonderful couple to work with.
The couple decided that with their wedding being so close to Christmas that they would continue with that as the theme for their wedding.
The ceremony and reception were held at Balcones Country Club. This is a second trip for me to Balcones. The first time they hosted the reception only. This time they hosted the ceremony and reception. The guest in attendance numbered just over 80. I think this was the perfect size for this. Too many more and it would have been crowded.

As the guest entered there was a Christmas Tree next to the front door. On the opposite wall was a table set up. There was the guest book and pen. Centered in the table was a 3 foot tall Christmas tree. It was topped with a gold bow and decorated with red and gold ornaments.
Next to the tree on one side was a white and ivory box for cards and the other side had a white basket with gold ribbon on it, filled with bubbles each with a red or gold ribbon tied to it.

Once the guest entered they were seated in chairs that had ivory chair covers on them and gold sashes. At the end of every other row of chairs was a pomades made with wood rose buds in red, ivory and pinks. The front of the ceremony area had a arch that was covered in gold fabric green garland and lights. in the center of the arch was mounted a crystal and gold snowflake. Either side of the arch had one ivory pillar. Atop the brides pillar was one hobnail jar with sand in it. And a separate larger hobnail jar that was empty. On the grooms pillar there was a matching hobnail jar with sand in it and a gold paper funnel. These were all used for the sand ceremony.

In the second room each table was covered in ivory table cloths. Silver place settings and clear water goblets. The centerpieces were poinsettia plants each covered with gold paper. Around the plants were ivory candles. At each place setting was a clear box filled with red and green M&M's. each box was tied with gold ribbon and a red rose placed on top of it.

The cake was at one end of the room. The sweetheart table at the other end of the room, and the dance floor in the middle. The cake was put together by a substitute cake person as the first baker had a death in her family and had to attend to that. She arranged for this other baker. The order was close to correct. She did show up with out any of the flowers for the middle layers of the cake. It was a lack of communication between the two bakeries, that was easily fixed with a run to the closest store for some roses. I was able to arrange then quickly and before anyone arrived to see the otherwise naked cake (which was not what the bride wanted).

The ceremony went smoothly with Mike Reinhart serving as minister. He did a wonderful service and the couple could not have been happier with him.

The guest were treated to appetizers and drinks and serenaded to by a group of costumed Victorian Christmas carolers while the family took photo's.

When photo's were done we introduced the couple and dinner was served. Balcones did a wonderful job with the meal. Beef tenderloin medallions with a holindase sauce served with Broccoli and a salad. I heard several comments on how good the food was.

After dinner the couple had their first dance to Silver Bells. It was a waltz that was pre-choreographed. After that they asked all married couples to join them on the floor for an anniversary dance.

This was followed by dancing and visiting. The guest all seemed to have a great time. The couple cut the cake and shortly after all were served and a thank you was given they were off.

We sent them off with bubbles. The couple was followed by the photographer and they wend downtown to take a photo of them in front of the capital building. Stunning photo.

The photographer was Bill Bastas and he did a fabulous job. I really enjoyed working with him.

Congratulations to Trey and Terri.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Thanksgiving

Well my husband and I took the kids over to my parents house for Thanksgiving. I decided the night before that we had not taken our Christmas photo yet, and so it was time. I scrambled to find clothes for everyone. So Thursday morning after breakfast I got the kids dressed and I went to get dressed and left the kids to watch the Macy's parade on TV. I am gone for 5 minutes and I hear the kids fussing at each other (not uncommon they are 3 and 5 and like to get each other going). I go and check on them and diffuse the situation.
My husband is ready so he goes to play referee and I go finish getting ready. We both spend the rest of the time trying to keep the kids clean. Finally we are out the door.
Its a 5 minute ride to my parents house. Somewhere along the way my youngest child gets something orange on her shirt. It's a fairly small spot on her tummy so I decide photo's anyway. We just have to put our hand over the spot. My sister is a senior in high school and taking a photography class so I ask her to take our pictures. At first my daughter doesn't want in the photo, because we won't let her stand on the stool. Then once we get that settled we proceed to take 30 photo's of those photo's everyone of them has something wrong with them. It's funny how annoyed my husband looks in them. I was there, he was not annoyed but it looks that way. Finally we have one or two we can work with. Then we head outside to take a couple of more.
It was cold. It is not usually cold in Austin for Thanksgiving, at least not this cold. We stand there trying not to look cold to get a couple of more photo's then we get some with the kids them selves. Finally as we are playing with the kids just before going inside my sister snaps a couple of other ones with the kids up in the air. Those are pretty fun too.
I have a slide show here that shows the photo's from the day.

After the photo session we went in the kids had cookies (yes it was before lunch but you try and keep them out of the sweets table that is set up in plain view).

My grandmother and grandfather that live next door came over shortly after that with more sweets. We had equal to a pie a person. On top of that there were cookies, fudge, and cupcakes.

We all pitched in and lunch and all the sides were ready at 1:30. We all ate more then we should like always and talked and laughed. After clearing the table we played cards and had a great time just hanging out with the family. I am glad my grandparents are here now to enjoy this with us.

(Blogger does not like my photo's right now. I will try to add the two photo's that made the Christmas card later today)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's Turkey time!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We would like to wish you a very happy and wonderful Thanksgiving from those of us at StressFree Events. To you and yours.

I won't be cooking at my house, but will be helping cook at my mothers house. It will be a big group of us but it's been bigger. At this time it will be My mom, and dad, my little brother, my little sister, my grandmother and grandfather, my husband and myself and our two children. Only ones missing this year are my other brother his wife and their baby as they are in Mexico visiting with her family. It will be a day of food, family and fun.

I am hoping we get the cards out and play for a little bit.

Again have a wonderful holiday.
Becky and the rest of the Stress Free Events team.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Green/eco-friendly weddings

I have had many brides that are wanting to make their weddings more eco friendly. There are many ways to do this and I want to list some of them here. The one thing to know is that in some of these ways you can save money in others it may cost you a little more, but think about the difference you are making on the environment.

Attire: Comfortable, loose natural clothing. There’s no need for attendants to match- just ask them to wear casual clothing they’re comfortable in. You'll probably want to focus on natural fabrics like cotton and linen. Polyester is very hard on the earth's resources, and other fabrics aren't particularly animal friendly. By all means avoid fur. For men the rental tux is not a bad option if still wanting a tux as it will get many uses as one purchased probably won't. Many people are going with matching shirts and slacks for the men. Like Mexican Wedding Shirts.
Brides can buy organic fabrics and have their dress made from that, or again think re-use and shop the thrift stores or family attics to find that special something. Also another great place is ebay see what they have there that has already been worn (just remember to ask for actual measurements in case it has been altered).

Flowers: Wildflowers or daisies, tied in a loose bunch. The look is that you picked them yourself just before the wedding. Also buy your flowers from a local grower that can assure you they are grown pesticide free. Also look into alternatives to flowers. Candles, lanterns, and baskets can be used as well. Scale down the number of flowers. Another option instead of fresh cut flowers on each table consider using potted flowering plants and give them to your guest as they leave or use them to start your own little garden.

Setting: In the woods or other beautiful natural setting. Consider parks, nature preserves, or botanical gardens near you. If you two have a favorite spot, its often possible to get a permit from the Parks Department- just be mindful that they may have rules about fires, trash, or amount of people. Ask around if there is a venue that has been certified green. I know if at least one in Austin, Texas. Check out their recycle policy.

Favors: I have more then once picked up bags and bags of Jordan Almonds that guest did not take, or fan, or various other items. These couples spent time and money putting these favors together, yet the guest do not seem to come to the wedding for the favors. Let your guest know how much you appreciate them by making a donation in their name to a local eco-friendly charity. You can leave a note on the table or better yet have it announced during the reception. Another option would be to give each guest seed packets for flowers and plants that grow in your area and they can help you make an imprint. Small tree seedlings are also available.

Menu: Serve organic food and wine, and perhaps a vegetarian or vegetable centered menu. Think lighter fare that will mesh with the beauty of your surroundings. If you're planning a vegetarian or vegan menu. Many caterers have this option now and it will not cost you nearly as much as you might think.

Invitations: Print your invitations on recycled paper. Also throw out tradition and the inner envelope. The way invitations are printed now you also don't need the sheet of tissue paper in there. That was there to avoid ink smudging or leaving an imprint on the rest of the invitation. So ask your printer to leave it out. Also limit your inserts. Create a wedding web page that guest can use to respond to and get all the maps and details. This saves on many additional envelopes (remember Aunt Mary that does not have a computer and make sure you give her a way to respond to you not all your guest will be computer savy but most will be).

Other ideas: Instead of a unity candle ceremony, plant a tree (this will only work in a park setting). Also limit the number of guest. Weddings are fun for friends and family, but not everyone of your parents co-workers are going to be as excited to come to your wedding. Save the invitations that would be sent to them. Also less bodies means a smaller venue with less energy used. Less food, and less waste is an option as well. Rent organic fabrics for your table clothes. Don't forget the plates. You can rent china instead of using paper or foam plates. Many caterers have the option to rent table setting and silver ware from them, just ask.

November the Slow

I have talked to several people (friends and colleagues) in the wedding industry and have found that it is not just me, but that November is just in general a slow month for weddings. I feel better knowing that.

I have decided not to let it get me down, but to let it get me motivated. I looked at my referral list and noticed I have many, many photographers that I can recommend and enjoy working with. Each one a little different from the other and some are a better fit for some couples then others. That is what I do, I get to know the photographers and then in getting to know the couple decide who will work best with them.

But then I looked at my list of bakeries. Well it was dismal at best. I have had several favorites, but over the past year things have happened and I have had to update the list. I had one bakery that after two negative customer service issues, I researched some more, and found out that it was not just me that was having problems. Their customer service is lacking. Its a shame the cakes are great. And then another of my favorite bakers moved out of town. (Any one getting married in Galveston let me know I have a name for you). And then another was a start up bakery. The cakes were great, and unique, they were fun to work with. They also were so cheap I just couldn't believe it. Well, it seems that their prices were too good to be true, they just didn't have the start up capital that they needed. Well with three bakeries off the list I need a few new cake and pastry contacts. So I made some calls, read some boards, talk to some colleagues, and well I came up with a list of 10 new bakeries that I would consider. I have been working this month on meeting with them all and tasting their cakes. Oh my this has got to be one of those perks you just don't get at every job. Free cake!! I am still in the process of weeding through the bakeries and individuals, but feel I have a better idea what is out there.

I have two weddings coming up in March I look forward to sharing those with you. One is a full on planning, and the other is a day of consultation. They will both be wonderful.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Salt Covenant

There are several stories and biblical scriptures that I have read in researching this. The general concept is that the bride and groom are entering into a covenant with each other, and it is signified by each bringing some of their own salt to the marriage and they combine it into one container of salt. The only way the marriage can be seperated or divorce allowed is when every single grain of salt is sperated and given back to the correct person. Since there is no way to do this its a symbol of a lasting covenant. I will paste below some information I got from other locations.

What is a Salt Covenant?During Old Testament times, agreements and promised were sealed by salt covenants. Each man would take a pinch of salt from his pouch and place it in the pouch of the other. Their agreement could not be broken unless they could each retrieve their own grains of salt. A Marriage Salt Covenant does the same thing by asking the bride and groom to combine their grains of salt. Their commitment to each other can not be broken unless they can each retrieve their own grains of salt. Since this is not possible it is a symbol of an unbreakable covenant and promise of love

Why do you use salt?Salt is considered a pure substance. Many people believe salt to be a good luck symbol and consider it to be a the purest of all earthly materials. It is used in many religious ceremonies as a symbol of purity.

Do you color your salt to match our wedding colors?No, we do not color our salt because then you would be able to separate your salt from your spouses and it would no longer be an unbreakable agreement

Can we perform the Marriage Salt Covenant during our ceremony?Yes, most churches will allow the Marriage Salt Covenant to be performed during the ceremony. Check with the church or minister performing the ceremony to be sure.

Do we have to perform the Marriage Salt Covenant during our
wedding ceremony?No, the Marriage Salt Covenant is a wonderful addition to your ceremony but it can also be done in a more intimate setting before or after the ceremony. You can use the Marriage Salt Covenant to enhance the commitment that you have made to your spouse anytime, Many couples choose to do it during their reception or during the rehearsal dinner.

Is the Marriage Salt Covenant just for newly weds?No, the Marriage Salt Covenant is great to renew a couple's commitment to each other no matter how long they have been married. It makes an excellent anniversary gift.

Can kids participate in the ceremony?Yes, we encourage children to participate in the union of their parents. We offer additional vials for children to be able to participate in the ceremony and be reminded that they to are a part of the commitment being made.

Is it appropriate to use the Marriage Salt Covenant to honor our
families?Yes, we often have couples looking for a way to honor deceased or living parents or loved ones use a Marriage Salt Covenant. You can purchase extra vials for them and have you or another family member or friend pour them into the unity vial with yours.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mark and Shelby Spire 10/6/07

Last Tuesday I was sitting in my Ladies Bible Study and we were talking about what is going on in our lives and such, when one of the ladies told us how she is getting no sleep as her wedding was coming up that Saturday and everything was just caving in on her. So after the study I asked her what was going on and what she needed help with. She and I have not talked much and she did not realize that I was a wedding planner. I volenteered to help her out and let her get some sleep. Friday I got to the location at 2:30 and meet up with a group of her family and some friends and we decorated the location. The wedding was in San Marcos at Aquarina Springs (wedding on the lawn reception in the old resturant). The brides mother was very prepared. She had mapped out where every table was going and gave it a letter. Then she put all the decorations for one table into a box and labled it with the letter. And then in the box was a diagram of the table and how the decorations should be set out. We had the tables set up in a matter of an hour and a half. That is including putting all the chairs around. I don't know her official colors but everything was fall. Browns and Ivory accented with red orange and golds. Very nice. Each of the guest tables had a white table cloth with an ivory runner set on it diagonally. In the center of the table was a gold charger plate. On the plate was a glass hurricane with a white candle in the middle. The candle was surrounded by pebbles (natural brown pebbles). The pebbles were on the charger a bit as well. Then there were three candle tea light holders that looked like fall leaves that surronded that and then loose fabric leaves in fall colors scattered on the table. Simple but nice. There were artificial flower arangements in brown and golds on the cake table and two wood gold initials of the couple. THe cake table itself was drapped with the train of an old brides dress (the mother picked it and a veil up at a yard sale for $15.00). It was a nice touch. The grooms cake was a red velvet cake frosted in an ivory color and was decorated with fresh flowers from the flowers used in the bridal party flowers. Brides cake was also ivory (chocolate cake) pain with peach ribbon on each layer and dots for the boarder. A small bride and groom on top were actually sitting on the edge. Fresh flowers were placed behind the couple and around the cake. Again simple and lovely. The ceremony site itself was basic white chairs facing Spring Lake. A Table was at the end. It had an ivory table cloth that was passed down from the grooms family. On it was the items they needed for a salt covenant (I will post later what that is for those not familiar with it). ANd there was a floral arrangment that matched the ones on the cake table.

Bride wore a white sleeveless dress with bead work at the waist and a detachable train. This seemed to continue the Simple but elegant theme going with all the wedding. THe bridesmaids were in strapless brown gowns that came just below their knees with gold stappy sandles of their chioce. The groom and groomsmen were all in brown pin stripped tuxes with ivory vest and ties and brown shoes. Very nice. Wedding was at 1:30 and started on time. Service was short and the pastor was the grooms father. There was definatly a lot of personal touches to the ceremony because of the family connection. The caterer was with the University and the only one allowed at this venue. The food was not what I would call great, but this is not a refelction of the couple they did what they could with who they were working with. They served Cheese Quesadillas (that all tasted a bit overcooked to me) with chips and queso (that actually was burnt and hard by the end of the reception) and then cheese and veggies with ranch dip. Those were fresh and no problems and had just about enough. There was also some great cookies sugar, peanut butter, oatmeal, snickerdoodles and there were pleanty of these. They only had one gallon of punch and three gallons of lemonaid with pleanty of water. The punch and lemon aid ran out very fast. The caterer said this is all the mother of the bride ordered. I talked to her and she confirmed it and just thought it would go further. But didn't want them to bring more so it was water for all after that. I can not beleive that they would not tell her when placing the order that would not be enough for 140 guest (ended up with 160). They also did not have enough plates for the finger foods. Guest ended up just using napkins eventually.
Bride and groom were sent off under bubbles and their car was shrink wrapped with paper stick to the windows and a trail of things behind the car. Including a few pvc pipes and an orange caution cone. It was a beautiful wedding and such a happy loving couple.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Just starting out

This seems as good as any place to put my thoughts and such on my business down on paper. Okay well maybe not paper but computer memory.

I am a wedding or event planner. If I am honest with myself its weddings that I love. Parties for kid are fun showers are always nice, adult parties usually seem like more work then they are worth, but weddings.... I have always loved weddings. So this was a perfect place for me in the world. I have been helping friends and family out with their weddings for years. But now it was time to start a business. So that is how Stress Free Events got started. I could go back and talk about past weddings and such but i think I will just keep it to the weddings that I have done as stress free events. I hope to add stuff all the time. This will be a great place to come back to and see how its going and what I did for various weddings.