Soiree Special Events

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here a blog, there a blog, everywhere a blog blog

I've recently been exploring the blogging world, which is unfortunately just as addicting as The Knot message boards! Amongst random entrepreneurial and financial planning ones I've been reading, I've posted a few wedding-related blogs you might find interesting. I've definitely gotten a ton of great ideas! Here goes:

General wedding blogs:
Something Old, Something New (Laura's second favorite)

Oh Joy! Here Comes the Bride (Laura's favorite)

The Bridal Blog

Wedding Bee

Here Comes the Blog

Manolo for the Bride

Bridal Wave

Cupcakes on a Monday

You May Now Kiss the Blog

DC Nearlyweds

Local DC-area vendor blogs:

Regeti's Photography

Event Accomplished

Holland Photo Arts

K&R Photography

Events by Serendipity

Kate Triano Photography

Other random semi-wedding-related blogs:
Jessica Claire Photography

Wedding Photojournalists Association (WPJA)


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Free Chocolate!

As you may know, Soiree owns a chocolate fountain and rents it out for parties. We use a fantastic imported Belgian Callebaut chocolate, which is simply to die for. We recently had a request from a long-distance bride who wanted to try the chocolate before booking, so we opened bags of white, milk, and dark fondue chocolate chips and sent her some samples.

We have free chocolate to give away! Since this chocolate won't stay fresh forever in an open bag, we'd love to share it with our clients, friends, and fans. If you email us your mailing address, we'll send you a sample of chocolate! Make sure you tell us what flavor you'd prefer -- we love the dark but the milk and white are also delicious.

We're hoping to get all 6 pounds cleared out in the next day or two. There's no obligation or sneaky strings attached, so don't be shy!


Ceremony Decor Ideas

We've all seen the archway at the altar with rose petals scattered down the aisle. While it's still a beautiful and classic look, today's trendier brides are looking for something a little more unique. Check out the photos below for some different ceremony decor ideas:

1. Hang lit votives behind and above the ceremony area. Dancing candlelight will create a soft glow as you exchange your vows. This may not be suitable for a church with high ceilings or a beautiful altar, but more appropriate for a drab hotel ballroom or community hall.

2. Combine lighting and floral elements to create an over-the-top archway. This can be scaled-down for smaller rooms, and would even look phenomenal for an outdoor twlight ceremony. This style would be perfect at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Torpedo Factory, the Galleria at Lafayette Square, DAR, or the lawn at River Farm.

3. For a country or vineyard wedding, place some white or colored flat bed sheets over bales of hay! The rustic charm will bring your guests back to their childhood hay ride memories, and is a cheap alternative to renting individual chairs. Use this look at Rose Hill Manor, Veramar Vineyards, Alwyngton Manor, or the Knights of Columbus Barn.

4. Hang brightly colored kissing balls above and behind the altar area. These floral balls create a stunning backdrop and can be reused as funky centerpieces or to decorate the buffet or cake table. Different sizes, colors, and textures add interest. This works particularly well at sites that have character but need a little color. This includes Bristow Manor, The Mount Vernon Inn, Meridian House, Top of the Town, and the Newton White Mansion.

5. For sites with dramatic driveways or any kind of lush greenery, special uplighting will make natural features 'pop.' This helps invite guests into the outdoor spaces of your event and also prevents tripping over branches, rocks, or other hazards. This would work particularly well at Raspberry Plain, the Hendry House, or the Atrium at Meadowlark Gardens.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Random Thoughts from Laura

For some reason, this commercial makes me laugh every time: Holiday Hawk

On a different note, my sister-in-law found this and I thought I'd share: Switch Plate

She's also starting her own stationery company, so if you're looking for baby announcements/shower invitations/stationery, check out TellieGrams!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Congratulations to Heather & Geoffrey!

Heather and Geoffrey are our latest newlyweds!

The day started at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Arlington, where the newlyweds tied the knot. Father Tuz was quite the character -- always cracking jokes and keeping things light. To the delight of the bride, his dog came out during the ceremony and took a front-row seat under the altar!

After the ceremony all the guests traveled to the Fort Myer Officer's Club, which is just about a mile and a half from the church. The ballroom there is decorated very nicely, and I have to admit it's in much better shape than Fort McNair or even Fort Belvoir! The staff was great, like most of the officer's clubs, and the food was delicious too.

Our vendors this weekend included the fabulous Srinu & Amy of Regeti's Photography, DJ Sinbad of JK Music Productions, Springfield Royal Florist, Heidelberg Bakery (chocolate mousse cake...YUM!), and Sofya the videographer! It was great to see Amy & Srinu again (twice in a row) and of course eat some leftover cake :) Our amazing assistant was Julie, who owns her very own event planning business. Life is so much easier when brides hire quality vendors!

Here's some shots from this weekend, compliments of Regeti's Photography:

Heather gave her ladies pashminas in different colors

Sittin', Waitin', Wishin'

Just Married!

A Newlywed Kiss

Totally pretending, I promise!

Fort Myer Officer's Club

Placecards doubling as favors
(with truffles inside - yum!)

Chocolate cake, raspberry filling, chocolate ganache covering.
To. die. for.

Assistant Julie, Soiree Laura, Regeti's Amy (or is it Amy Regeti?), Video Sofya

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gowns Stolen From Breast Cancer Group

Read below:

Nov 6, 4:12 PM EST

Gowns Stolen From Breast Cancer Group

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- A trailer containing thousands of wedding gowns worth an estimated $3 million was stolen from a charity that grants the dying wishes of women with breast cancer. The 40-foot trailer and a pickup truck owned by Making Memories were taken Sunday morning, authorities said.

"They've stolen the last wish and dream and hope of someone who is terminally ill," said Fran Hansen, co-founder of the group, which resells donated wedding gowns to raise money.

Nick DiLello, who runs the Phoenix Bridal Show, donated three dresses to the group after the trailer was stolen, and is planning a charity wedding gown sale to make up for the theft.

"Gown donations are coming in quicker than we can find staging," DiLello said. Making Memories paid for four relatives from Italy to visit DiLello's mother in 2004, when she was too sick to travel there. She died three weeks ago.

This was the event that we volunteered at when it was in Arlington last weekend. We raised just over $20,000, which will grant 4-5 wishes for terminal breast cancer patients. They were hoping the Hollywood show would raise even more money to grant wishes over the holidays. For many women, this may be the last Christmas they are able to spend with their families.

See the Brides Against Breast Cancer website and their online information about the missing trailer. Fran is just the sweetest, most dedicated person I've met in a very long time, and it's heartbreaking to hear what she's had to go through this week. She brought us close to tears many times that weekend, simply telling stories about the women they granted wishes for.

If you're interested in donating a gown or financially contributing (ie: tax deduction), Soiree Special Events will be sending a mass shipment to their offices at the end of this week. The donation box will be set outside my home in Reston and I may be able to take gowns on Friday in Tyson's Corner. Email me if you need directions or more information!

For every gown we collect, Soiree will make a $15 contribution to the foundation to cover the cleaning and shipping costs of your gown.

Making Memories is also taking donations by credit card online. See this site for the direct link to their PayPal account!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Congratulations Melissa & Matt!

This Saturday was one of my favorite weddings of all. Melissa contacted me over a year ago, and I'm so happy she's finally married to the man of her dreams!

The wedding ceremony was held at Fairfax Presbyterian Church, which has a beautiful and unique sanctuary. The pews are situated "in the round" so the guests essentially face each other across the aisle. Barbara at Growing Wild created some beautiful pew bows, bouquets, and altar arrangements to spice up the simple decor.

The reception was held down the street at Old Town Hall in historic Fairfax. The food was catered by the ever-awesome Festive Foods, music by Greg at Kirkabee DJs, espresso bar by Bev Rage, flowers of course by Growing Wild, video by the OnPoint Group, and photography by the fabulous Kate Triano. Melissa chose to utilize Old Town Hall's upper floor for cocktail hour, and then have dinner downstairs with dancing resuming upstairs. While I've never seen an event handled that way at OTH, it worked out extremely well! Melissa thought that some of the more elderly guests would prefer to stay downstairs and chat where it was quiet, but everyone ended up staying upstairs and dancing all night!

Here's a few of my favorite touches:
Melissa created small frames with sentimental photos. She attached ribbon that matched her wedding colors, and gave each of her bridesmaids one to tie around their bouquets. Even her junior bridesmaids, mom, and mother-in-law received one, which was so personal and special. It really brought out my girlie crying side, which rarely comes out :)

Melissa and Matt chose to have a ceremonial wedding quilt made, which incorporated pieces sent from all their guests. From her mom's wedding veil to their son's baby blanket to old t-shirts from their high schools, it really symbolized and incorporated every facet of their lives. There's a woman in Arlington who makes these, and has started a company called Fiber of her Being. It was definitely the most touching aspect of the day -- seeing all her family find their "pieces" and reminisce.

Their 4-year-old son Landon (aka: "cutest kid ever") had a Winnie the Pooh doll dressed up in a tuxedo. So adorable! They also had kids bags with their monogram silkscreened -- so much cooler than a brown paper bag.

They first met at a Starbucks, so they offered an espresso bar after dinner. Unfortunately caramel lattes are my weakness. On their way out, guests received a personalized coffee mug with the wedding monogram and date silkscreened in the wedding colors. They were a huge hit!

The placecards were a tiny brown envelope with a printed name label on the front. The envelope held a small card which included the table number. Melissa hand-stamped both the envelope and card to bring out the fall theme and personalized touch. She used "Martha Stewart-style" leaf stamps. Of course they matched the table numbers and programs, which were also hand-stamped. The result was gorgeous and I was so excited to see them finished!


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Trunk Shows @ Hitched

'Tis the season for trunk shows! Hitched, the newest DC bridal salon in Georgetown, is holding several designer shows this winter. If you're looking for a designer gown, trunk shows are a great way to receive a discount and chat with the designers themselves!

Here's what they've got going on:

11/11: Judd Waddell

12/2: Kenneth Pool

12/9: Oscar de la Renta

1/18: Amsale Bridesmaids

2/3: Modern Trousseau

3/16: Homa Jewelry & Veils

Check the Hitched website for more information on their salon, directions, and other designers they carry.