Soiree Special Events

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vote for us on CityVoter!

::shameless promotion::

We have a listing on (cool site, by the way) and think you should check us out! It's super easy to create an account and you can add us as one of your favorites.

Yes that was my husband who commented..."Wonderful staff!" I'm not above taking freebies :)

Right now there's a poll to determine the best wedding planner. Of course we'd love it if you pick us! Click here to cast your vote for your favorite wedding planner in DC. Thanks in advance for your support!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Splendid Fare Open House

Last week we were invited to take part in an open house at DAR, hosted by Splendid Fare catering. I'm so glad we attended -- it was so much fun!Splendid Fare chose a peacock color scheme and decorated the room beautifully. Petal's Edge** created fantastic and unique centerpieces for all the tables and displayed some sample bouquets. Everything Entertainment provided background music, Prime Transportation showcased a shuttle bus, Jim at Perfect Honeymoons talked with brides about their honeymoon plans, Tamara Robertson gave makeup trials, Debbie at Cakes by Design handed out cupcakes, and Mary & Jennifer from Love Life Images shot away. Here's a photo of our table, complete with our signature pillow boxes from Telliegrams:I'm hoping that Mary & Jennifer will let me steal some of their professional images when they're ready. For now, my crappy Blackberry photos will have to do :)

**Congratulations to Rebecca from Petal's Edge who just got hitched last Friday!


Monday, February 25, 2008

Photobooths in DC

Thought about a photo booth for your wedding? While it's not an alternative for the formal shots your grandma will want for her 'Wall o' Grandchildren,' it's a really fun way to get informal portraits of your friends and family. Plus it's great entertainment for the folks that aren't into dancing.Poshbooth rents booths here in DC. Pricing starts around $1300. Check out their website to learn more!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sexy Brides?

Ryan came across an article in the New York Times and I thought it was interesting enough to share. It describes the trend of more and more brides wearing sexy little numbers down the aisle despite the traditional consensus that a bride should look conservative. One bride is quoted,
“For my generation, looking like a virgin when you marry is completely unappealing, boring even,” she said. “Who cares about that part anymore?”"

Check out the full article here. What do you think? Should brides maintain some classy dignity or va va voom their way to the altar? Does it even matter anymore?

(Photo by Joe Fornabaio of the New York Times)


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Upcoming Trunk Shows @ Hitched

We just mentioned the Anna Maier/Ulla-Maija trunk show but thought you might also be interested in these upcoming shows! Here's what Hitched bridal salon has in store for the next few months:

Judd Waddell
February 29th & March 1st

Augusta Jones
March 7th & 8th

March 14th & 15th

April 4th & 5th

To schedule an appointment to attend the show, call 202-333-6162 or email

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brides Against Breast Cancer Gown Sale

Get ready! The Making Memories Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale is coming to town! Remember after the last sale in DC their trailer was stolen with $1m worth of gowns inside? They need your help more than ever.

Mark the date on your calendar because you really won't want to miss this. It's a wonderful opportunity to find a fantastic dress at a fantastic price. Plus, you're doing something meaningful for a great organization and it's beneficiaries. If you haven't heard about the BABC sale, here's a quick overview:

This unique opportunity allows brides-to-be a chance to find the gown of their dreams at a remarkable price, while helping to make wishes and memory-making events come true. Most gown prices range from $89 to $799*, including hundreds of beautiful new name brand and designer gowns valued up to $8,000. *Exclusive designer and couture gowns valued up to $20,000 are also available at an incredible 25% to 75% savings.

Thursday, March 20th
**VIP Night! Shop the sale before any other brides. A donation of $75 gets you and a guest in the door. 8pm-10:30pm

Friday, March 21 @ 10am-8pm (FREE)
Saturday, March 22 @ 10am-6pm (FREE)

This year's show will take place at the Crowne Plaza in Tyson's Corner (formerly the Holiday Inn...right off of Rt. 123 by the mall). Proceeds from the sale directly benefit terminally ill women by granting their wishes. You can read more about the sale on their website. We'll see you there!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Splendid Fare Open House @ DAR

This Wednesday evening, Splendid Fare Catering is hosting an open house at the O'Byrne Gallery of DAR. From 5-8pm, stop in to check out the venue, the food, and several top-notch vendors! We'll be there along with Perfect Honeymoons, Prime Transportation, Petals Edge Floral Design, Cakes by Design, Makeup by Tamara Robertson, Jennifer Domenick Photography, and Everything Entertainment.

Click here for some more information on the event. Send me an email if you'd like to visit us -- the RSVP date has passed but we'd love to count you in. We'll see you there!


Giveaway from MK McKenna Photography!

Heard about MK McKenna? Of course you have! She's the one that shot this awesome wedding at the Reagan building this past fall. She also just returned from an amazing trip to Burma...scroll down a tad on her blog to check that out.MK's giving away a free Day in the Life photography session to one lucky family. They'll receive:
*A photo session at your home/park/any place you choose on March 1, 2008 within 60 miles of DC *Hi-resolution CD of 50 images, in both color and b&w *Online digital proofs hosted for 3 months on to share with family & friends *Coffee table book of your favorite 25 images

You must enter by midnight this Friday, February 22. Winners will be announced on the 25th! Check out MK's blog post for entry instructions and more information on the contest. Good luck!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Note on Contracts

Contracts are important.

They create the boundaries and rules of the game between vendors and clients. They also dictate the relationship by describing how services will be performed and how they will be compensated. Before signing any contract, please read all the fine print and ask questions if you don't understand something. Many vendors have very specific terms and are able to release themselves from the agreement if you don't follow the rules.

My friend Sara at Bella Notte recently told me about a Channel 7 On Your Side news clip which featured a bride and her disappearing wedding planner. The story is a little muddy but we must assume that both sides failed to follow the terms they agreed to. This left a very upset bride without a planner only weeks before her wedding. While it's sad story, the bride may have been able to protect herself better.
Regardless of a vendor's glowing referrals and friendly demeanor, do yourself a favor and read through the contract before you sign it. Mark payment due dates on a calendar and keep in touch with your vendors. Be sure to ask for a countersigned copy and a receipt for your payment as well. If things do end up going sour, you'll at least have a legal document and some evidence to help recoup some of the cost.

Disclaimer: Most of the wedding vendors in the Washington, DC area are fantastic and we love them to pieces. This is not meant to frighten you....just to make you aware that there are some bad apples out there. Why not take a few extra minutes to protect yourself?


Friday, February 15, 2008

Dress Your Wedding

While I don't have anything personal against David's Bridal, I have to admit that their new online "Dress Your Wedding" feature is rather creepy. You create a virtual you, virtual groom, and a virtual wedding party! It allows you to mix & match dresses and colors to see what your entire party will look like. I'm sure some brides will love this. Here's some samples that Miss Flamingo put together:What do you think? Useful? A little weird? The next big thing?


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pose Prints Giveaway @ Weddingbee

Weddingbee is giving away 25 customized 'Couple Cards' from Pose Prints. Check out this Weddingbee post for the rules and to enter. Be sure you do it by 8pm Wednesday!


Stamp Rate Increase! Again!

Yes folks, the US Postal Service will be raising our stamp rate by $.01. They made a $.02 adjustment last year around this time. May 12 is the official rate increase and first class letters will now cost $.42 to mail. Postcards will be $.27. I know this is a ways off but remember your RSVP cards! If you're sending out invitations with a response date after 5/12, your guests will need to add a stamp to get them back to you.

Remember that Forever Stamps are sold at $.41 and will be valid forever! Too bad they're kind of ugly....(we'll keep our personal opinions to ourselves).


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Don't forget to vote, Virginia!

If you live in the beautiful state of Virginia, please don't forget to vote in the presidential primary elections today. The polls are open until 7:00pm. If you're not sure where to go, check out this website which will find your designated polling location.

Anna Maier Ulla Maija Trunk Show @ Hitched

Still hunting for that perfect gown? Why not check out a trunk show! Hitched bridal salon is hosting Anna Maier Ulla-Maija the weekend of February 22-23. Here's what Hitched has to say about the designer and the show:
"This couture New York bridal design house loves to design striking gowns with stunning architectural details that allow the bride's personality to shine through! Whether it's a modern twist on lace, an elegant take on beading, or a sophisticated design in luxe duchess satin, wearing one of their gorgeous gowns you can feel confident that you look amazing and stand out from the crowd!

At the trunk show, you'll have the opportunity to try on their newest collection, and talk with the designers about any custom changes.The designers will be offering custom measurements and muslin fittings during the trunk show, too. Don't miss the opportunity to have a gown made-to-measure for your figure (trust us - this is a special treat!) "
To schedule an appointment to attend the show, call 202-333-6162 or email

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Venue Spotlight: Sequoia Restaurant

A few weeks ago I joined Taren at Sequoia restaurant in Georgetown to learn about their venue and try their yummy food. What a treat! Sequoia is right on the Georgetown waterfront and has such a beautiful view of the Potomac River and some famous DC landmarks. The two-level restaurant has two separate spaces....their main restaurant can hold about 120 guests and their smaller area seats up to 40 (perfect for rehearsal dinners). Without further ado, here are some photos of my visit:

Fountains outside the main entrance:The main entrance:From upstairs:
The upper level bar:
A view of the Kennedy Center and their outdoor dining patio area:The smaller private room ("The Deck"):
Private patio off of The Deck:The entire restaurant:I really enjoyed my visit to Sequoia and cannot rave enough about the fabulous food (the pork chops were excellent). If you're looking for a beautiful but 'low-maintenance' venue for your wedding, give Taren a call to arrange a visit of your own.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Signature Wedding Aisle Runners Giveaway

Every month the folks at Signature Wedding Aisle Runners host a giveaway on their blog. This month the prize is a customized 6'-long table runner. Entrants must describe the design they want and if picked, the Signature crew will hand-paint their design on it.

I think this runner would be perfect for a cake table, escort card table, on a table at the altar, or even on top of a chuppah. They have plenty of photos of their work on their site to check out. This image is not from their site but it shows a perfect way to display a personalized table runner:Check out their blog for more details on the contest. You must subscribe to their blog and follow a few rules but they're pretty simple. Entries are due on February 28th so get your thinking hat on and submit your best idea!


Monday, February 04, 2008

Soiree Classroom: How to arrange escort cards

Every so often a bride will give us her escort cards on the wedding day and they are not alphabetized. While we can certainly put them in order for you, we hate doing this on-site with 300 name cards at the very last second. When this happens we of course will make it work but it detracts from our ability to accomplish other things during this 'crunch time.' To help your wedding coordinator, here are some tips on preparing and alphabetizing escort cards!

First, escort cards and place cards are different but similar. Place cards denote one seat at a table. Escort cards tell them which table to look at. Therefore, a guest will find their escort card (on a table or other fun display), go to their table, and circle to look for their place card. Most brides end up skipping the place cards and somehow the terms ended up being interchangeable.

Once you've printed your cards, here's our technique on alphabetizing efficiently and accurately:

1. If you have a large number of cards, split them into groups. We prefer A-M and N-Z but you can pick the number of groups you want to work with.

2. Group your cards by the first letter of the guests' last name. We spread them out on a big table. 'A's go on the left and 'Z's go on the right. You get the idea.

3. Pick up the 'A' last names (or whichever you have first). Alphabetize by last name and then by first name. Here's an example:

Robert Abraham
Guest of Robert Abraham*
Henrietta Adams
Henry Adams, Sr.
Henry Adams, Jr.
Curtis Alder
Kathy Alder

"Ladies first" does NOT apply in this situation. If you are working with couples on each card, the same rules apply:

Mr. Robert Abraham & Guest
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Adams
Master Henry Adams
Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Alder

If there are children attending the reception they should receive their own place card. "Master" and "Miss" are appropriate titles. Believe us -- they will be thrilled to have their very own card.

4. Continue through the alphabet until you've sorted all the cards.

5. To store, fold them as they will be displayed and secure them with a rubber band, binder clips, saran wrap, or whatever you can find that will hold them together. Splitting them into groups for storage is fine too...your coordinator will be able to put the groups together. Please don't spend all that time organizing them and then throw them into a large ziploc bag or shoe box (yes this has happened!).

6. Be your wedding planner's favorite bride. Easy as that.

Here are some unique ways our brides have chosen to display their escort cards:

Ritu & Rohin used incense holders that doubled as favors:Miranda & Jerry went with mini pumpkins for their fall-themed wedding:
Ryfie & Jason clipped their escort cards to raffia wrapped around a tree. Inside, seed-embedded paper was an eco-friendly favor:* Make every effort to find out the names of all your guests. Sometimes having two entrée selections mandates separate escort cards for each guest. If your cousin doesn't know which girlfriend he's bringing, "Guest of" is an appropriate and acceptable title.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Things that Go Wrong

A lot of brides consider a wedding day coordinator and then shrug off the idea because they can ask their sister, aunt, or bridesmaid to set up the place cards and toasting flutes. While setting up the ceremony and reception are things that are included in our day-of coordination package, we also specialize in troubleshooting your big day (we call this 'event management'). To give you an idea of the types of mishaps we've handled, here's a short list of things we've seen go wrong at weddings:

* Cake was the wrong design
Can't do much about this one 20 minutes before the reception begins but we helped the bride get some money back afterwards.

* Dad was in the bathroom when the DJ announces his toast
The DJ told us he'd wait for our cue and then announced the toast anyway. We've also seen a similar incident with the bride and the cake cutting.

* Bride's bustle got ripped out (this one is popular!)
This one happens ALL the time!

* Limousine didn't show
Most of the time they're just late or get lost. In this case on a holiday weekend, we arranged for two town cars instead of a limousine to arrive before the ceremony finished.

* Caterer ran out of food
Yes...this unfortunately happened once. The bride ordered enough for 400, there were 325 guests, and they still ran out of food.

* 30 extra guests showed up
This was an extreme case but we see uninvited guests all the time (especially at ethnic weddings where 'the more the merrier' is the general rule).

* Marriage license was left at home
Our assistant drove to their house and found it before the officiant had to leave.

* Wedding rings were left at home
The bride & groom exchanged their grandparents' wedding rings instead so they could begin the ceremony on time.

* Florist was one bouquet short
We made them turn around and bring us another.

* Unity candle drips and starts a fire
Yep, this one happened too. We couldn't do much about it during the ceremony but now we make sure that whatever's under your candle isn't flammable!

We can re-confirm your vendors over and over and double check the details again and again but ultimately there will be unexpected problems on the wedding day. More often than not they're small issues that only you will notice. At the same time, why worry yourself with the details when we can troubleshoot your big day for you?Day-of Coordination starts at $945 and includes vendor confirmation, rehearsal direction, the entire wedding day, and much more. Check out our website for more info.

To the other wedding planners out there (I know you're out there), what common mishaps do you see at your weddings?