Kid's Parties: Fab Five Soiree

In celebration of the first day of school here in Maryland, it seemed fitting to recap the birthday celebration of a special Kindergartener, who just happens to be my daughter. When the birthday girl turns 5, only fun and fabulosity will do! Cassidy’s Fab 5 was filled with special touches, a few of her favorite things, along with her favorite colors, purple and pink.

kids parties

Who says entertaining at home has to be boring? Not us! To ensure this soiree was not only beautiful, but functional for the birthday girl and her friends, we transformed a space in our home into a fun and fab party paradise. One area of the room housed adorably styled kids tables, complete with pretty place settings, fresh flowers, and personalized coloring sheets. To further enhance the space, a gorgeous greenery wall adorned with paper flowers and themed signage served as the backdrop.

kids birthday party

The birthday girl had some special requests for her girls only soiree, which were all cohesively weaved into the fun fab five theme and party activities. Cassidy loves girly fun, and she and her friends enjoyed plenty of it playing with dolls at our tutus and toys station, kids makeup at the glossy and flossy beauty bar, and even enjoyed a mini ballet class where they all got into formation with matching leotards and pearls.

kids dance party

Cassidy has career aspirations of becoming a chef and loves 3 local restaurants - Ledo’s, Sakura and Chic-Fil-A. Thus, I ensured all 3 were on the menu. To keep with the favorites theme, we played restaurant and gave each of the girls custom menus for Cassidy’s Cafe, where they could choose 1 of the 4 specials. I love how the little things like this bring a lot of enjoyment to children.

20190316 Cassidy 5th Birthday_136.jpg

Balloon art is certainly a trend here to stay, and beautiful balloon garlands of purple, pink and coral were such a vibrant enhancement to the dessert nook and custom photo backdrop. The birthday girl loves snacks and sweet treats, and we had so many beautiful and tasty options for her and her guests to choose from, to include: a gorgeous 2 tiered floral confetti cake, cupcakes, chocolate covered oreos, chocolate covered rice krispie treats, chocolate covered pretzel rods, custom cookies, and fruit snacks, popcorn and cotton candy in personalized packaging. 

dessert table

To thank the girls for celebrating with Cassidy, each guest took away a custom favor box that included a few of Cassidy's favorite things. Overall, this fun and fab soiree brought smiles and laughter to the birthday girl and her guests, and it was a hit! Want to see more? Check out the gallery below.

A very special thanks to the awesome vendors who helped me bring this to life for my daughter!

Planning, Design and Florals: Sensational Soirees | Photography: Natarsha Wright Photography | Entertainment: Smileleigh Faces | Custom Cookies: Sugar Studio | Desserts: Bake & Bash | Cake: Fluffy Thoughts | Signage and Favor Boxes: Noir Style Invites | Balloon Décor: B Pilar Events | Vinyl Backdrop: Lady Liv’s Boutique | Greenery Wall: D Nicole Settings

I hope you enjoyed Cassidy’s party details as much as we did. Tell us what you think in the comments.

Sensationally yours,




Virginia Weddings: Briana and Darin's Engagement Session

They say Virginia is for lovers, and next month that’s exactly where sensational couple, Briana and Darin, will say I do. Today, I’m happy to share their love story interview and sneak peeks at their stunning engagement session photographed by Charlie P Windsor Photography. These two love birds are set to tie the knot at the gorgeous Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery. It’s guaranteed to be one love-filled and beautiful day, and by the looks of their engagement photos, it’s going to be picture perfect, too!

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

How did you meet?

We met on tinder officially. Once we started talking though before taking the next step to meet in person and have our first date, we added each other on Instagram (mainly because I wanted to make sure I was going to be Cat fished! LOL) and I noticed a picture OF ME and him and two of my best friends from 2 years prior at a Halloween Bar Crawl in DC. The funny thing was, Darin was in a Ted bear costume, so covered from head to toe I never saw what he looked like and we never exchanged information we just saw "Ted" the bear, thought it was hilarious and danced/ took pictures with him and I remember feeling a connection from that moment. I got pulled away though by my friends and never thought about it again but fate made sure to bring us back together once the timing was right!

virginia wedding

Most memorable date?

I would say our first date was the most memorable. We have had many amazing dates after, but every little detail made it really memorable and meaningful. I had never been on a blind date, so going in very nervous to feeling completely comfortable as soon as we laid our eyes on each other, was awesome. Also, what was only supposed to start out as lunch turned into an entire day of festivities!

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Describe the proposal.

Darin told me he wanted to take me on a date because we both had been working really hard and hadn't spent much time together so we were going to brunch in Georgetown. We walked into Fisher's, Farmer's, Baker's at the waterfront which was packed and I could tell they had an exclusive reservation for us outside. As soon as we got outside, I was walking in front so I noticed the rose petals everywhere, a bottle of champagne and a bouquet of roses, then it hit me... He's proposing!!! I turned around and he was already on one knee with the ring. It was beautiful. Afterwards, he surprised me again nearby with our entire family and closest friends to celebrate with a small, intimate engagement party!

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

What about marriage are you looking forward to most?

We are looking forward to new experiences marriage will bring us and starting our own new traditions as husband and wife.

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

What do you love most about your relationship?

The friendship that we have built that allows us to have fun and really be connected. Even when things are stressful in life, we are right there for each other to help get through it.

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

What song would you dedicate to him/her?

Darin says- No Better Love by Young Gunz. Briana says- Make Me Better by Fabolous and Ne-yo

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

For fun...who is your favorite TV/Movie couple?

Martin and Gina (Martin)

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

Photographer: Charlie P. Windsor Photography

We are so very happy for Briana and Darin, and can’t wait to celebrate their nuptials! Show them some love in the comments section.

Sensationally yours,




Wedding Save The Dates and Invitations from Basic Invite

Congratulations to all the newly engaged couples! Valentine’s Day marks the unofficial end of engagement season, and the start of wedding planning season. At the SS headquarters, we’re in the thick of working on wedding photo save the dates and invitations for our sensational couples. I have great partnerships with stationery companies, and I’m happy to have added a new one to the list…Basic Invite.

pocket wedding invitation

I just received samples from them and was immediately impressed with the styles and quality. Many of our couples love photo save the dates, and that’s definitely one of the company’s specialities. The Basic Invite difference is they offer competitive pricing and over 180 custom color options to make your event stationery as unique as you are. They also offer picture perfect pocket suites, unforgettable flat or raised foil, and much more that I’ve highlighted for you below.

Free Wedding Websites - If you want a customizable website, just like your wedding invitations, they’ve got you covered! Their wedding websites are user and mobile friendly, and you can instantly upload your ceremony and reception details along with images and a map with directions which is super convenient for your guests.

free wedding website

Almost Unlimited Colors - Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options. So, you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it - down to the littlest detail.

wedding invitations

Custom Samples - As a major bonus, Basic Invite allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation, so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes - Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes, so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.


Over 900 Wedding Invitation Sets - To ensure all of your wedding stationery is cohesive, Basic Invite offers wedding invitation sets, where you can find everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even matching thank you cards!

gold foil wedding invitation

Free Address Collection Service - If you can’t hire a calligrapher, you have the benefit of using Basic Invite’s free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing. You can also simply upload the addresses if you have them already.

Wedding Coasters - The bar and your wedding favors just got better! You can choose from over 90 professionally designed looks. Each design can be personalized instantly to match your wedding colors. And there are no color limitations which means you are free to make as many changes as you would like at no additional cost. Each coaster is printed using the latest print technology and on a premium 200lb matte cardstock. Thanks to this technology your coasters will have crisp, clean letters, photos, and graphics.

wedding photo save the dates

If you’re looking for nice, modern invitations, without breaking the bank, Basic Invite is definitely a great option to consider! In addition to weddings, they also have a wide array of stationery for other events. In fact, I recently ordered invitations for my daughter’s 5th birthday party from them. Share in the comments what you think about what they have to offer, and check them on social media: Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Sensationally yours,


*This post is sponsored by Basic Invite, and opinions are my own.



DC Wedding Planning: When to Splurge or Save

As a DC wedding planner, I spend a great deal of time advising our couples, so that their big day can be all that they’re envisioning and so much more. One area where initial questions come up a lot is the wedding budget, and what items to splurge or save on. The Knot reported in 2017, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391, with higher spenders (those spending an average of $60,000 or more on their weddings) spending an average of $105,130 on their wedding day. The study further reported that the average for Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Suburban Maryland was $39,465. Our sensational couples, on average, budget $35,000 - $100,000+ for their wedding, while planning for 75 - 200+ guests.

Navigating wedding budgets can be overwhelming for couples to do alone, especially when they have no point of reference for how much wedding essentials are on average. This is why I happily talk budget with couples during our complimentary consultations and of course throughout the planning process, so you can feel at ease knowing you have a wedding expert in your corner that can provide sound advice on your wedding investment. For many weddings, the biggest bulk of the budget is spent on the reception - more specifically venue/catering, with florals/design generally next.

For couples working with a more modest and specific budget and wanting to avoid going into debt as you start your marriage, the question then becomes what should you splurge or save on, in order to still have a sensational wedding? Well, I’m glad you asked…here are a few initial options to ponder:

SAVE - Food and Beverage options

Exploring different food and bar menu options is helpful to uncover possible savings. For example, choosing 3 versus 5 passed hors d’oeuvres for cocktail hour and a choice of entree for guests versus duet plates. Also, whether you have an alcoholic or non-alholic bar, it’s best to have beverages available for the entirety of the cocktail hour and the reception (with the exception of last call 30 minutes to 1 hour before the end of the wedding). However, options such as signature drinks, consumption bar, and BWS (beer, wine and soda) over a full premium open bar may be easier on your wallet, especially if your guests aren’t heavy drinkers.

SPLURGE - Your Top 3

When working with couples, I also ask them what are their top 3 priorities or must haves. For some it might be food, entertainment and florals. For others it might be venue, attire and guest experience. Whatever is most important to you two for your big day, focus the bulk of your budget there.

SAVE - Trim your guest list

The number one way to save is by starting with your guest list. While I’m sure your draft guest list may be 300 people, realistically if you’re working with a modest budget, feeding that many people alone is nearly impossible. I always encourage couples to think quality over quantity. Thus, envision sharing your day with the group of people who mean the most to you versus everyone you know.

SPLURGE - Calligraphy or typed guest addressing for invitations

Your invitation sets the tone for your wedding. Therefore, if you’ve selected a beautiful invitation, go all the way with it by ensuring you’ve selected a calligrapher to address the invitations or have the stationery vendor type your guests addresses.

SAVE - Utilize as much as you can that your venue provides

To achieve your wedding vision, there may be some rentals you want to bring in. However, definitely consider using some of the things the venue offers and ask questions about possible options they could provide that may not be listed in your package. For example, they may have chargers, china, flatware, stemware, linens, tables, toasting flutes, easels, staging/risers, cake knife and server, and more in-house or could acquire at an affordable rate through a third party, thus eliminating extra delivery fees and contracts for you.

SPLURGE - Hire a professional photographer and videographer

You can’t re-do this day, so don’t eliminate the 2 vendors who will capture these valuable memories for you, or worse, hire an amateur.

SAVE - Consider chatting with your florist about standard versus premium flowers and arrangements

Having a professional florist is essential for your big day, as flowers add so much beauty. When you have a smaller floral budget, being flexible with the type of fresh flowers can be really helpful. Also, alternating short and tall arrangements and incorporating candles is useful as well.

SPLURGE - Go for the elegant seating

If your venue doesn’t provide chiavari chairs, ghost chairs or other elegant seating for your guests, you may want to consider adding these to your rentals budget in lieu of chair covers. Elegant seating really does make all the difference in terms of wedding design.

SAVE - Things to have for the sake of having

Sometimes couples think certain wedding items are traditional staples that you must have, without realizing certain wedding staples have evolved. For example, who says you still have to have an aisle runner, cake topper, guest book, toss bouquet and garter, and the like. Many modern couples are shying away from these traditional items and adding more personalization to their day. Don’t do anything for your big day for the sake of doing it or tradition; instead incorporate only the things that matter to you most.

SPLURGE - Your attire

When you look good, you feel good! You should select wedding attire that you absolutely love, rather than settle for something that you don’t. Now, I will say, buying something that you love doesn’t mean you should buy something you can’t afford. I recommend setting an attire budget, and finding something you love within that budget. Save yourself heartbreak by avoiding looking at attire beyond your spending threshold.

SAVE - Transportation options

If your ceremony and reception are held at the same venue, you can save by skipping the fancy transportation. Many DC couples are using more economical and savvy options such as UberBLACK or UberSUV, which offers high end rides with professional drivers.

Last, but not least is a SPLURGE and SAVE regarding wedding planning. It pains me to hear a couple say they can’t afford a planner because essentially they don’t realize they can’t afford NOT to hire a planner. So I’ve detailed more about why you need a planner here. Now for couples who truly can’t afford a full-service planning option, you can save by choosing a partial planning or even month of planning package. While more work will be required on your part with both options, you’ll still get the expertise of a planner that you need and more guidance on the many more other items to splurge or save on.

I hope you’ve found these options helpful! Share below other things you’re considering splurging or saving on.

Sensationally yours,




DC Wedding Planning: Top Qualities of Our Sensational Couples

As a DC wedding planner (and destination too), I’m in the thick of engagement season and loving every minute of hearing excited couples share their love stories and plans for their big day! Happy New Year to all the engaged couples reading this, and I hope that 2019 is treating you great so far!

Sensational Couple photographed by Underwood Photography

Sensational Couple photographed by Underwood Photography

Nothing thrills me more than bringing our clients' dreams to reality. I pride myself on truly getting to know each couple, what they like, their love story and vision and how our team can best lend our expertise. This relationship building has helped me to discover the top qualities and preferences of our sensational couples. You’re likely to be a perfect match for us and us for you, if you and your fiancé:

  1. Are deeply in love - We truly believe the happiest couples are the most beautiful.

  2. Want your marriage to be more beautiful than the wedding - We aren't just advocates for your sensational wedding, but also for your sensational, life-long marriage.

  3. Can't wait to hit the dance floor at your reception - Somebody cue the Wobble!

  4. Appreciate modern style and personalized details - If you have impeccable style and desire to create a one of a kind wedding that’s all yours, then we love you already.

  5. Recognize that you need a planner with expertise that you can trust - Some couples come to us with many ideas already nailed down, and others with very few. However, they all share the commonality in needing the assurance and events management expertise of a professional planner. We love sharing valuable information with prospective couples up front, so you can begin to experience our commitment in being a resource you can trust and that will deliver.

  6. Desire a stress-free and enjoyable planning experience - Our couples want to fully enjoy their engagement, rather than stressing at every turn. Thus, they enjoy allowing us to take on the heavy lifting that comes with planning a wedding. All of our packages are created to provide the support you need and full day of wedding management, so you can relish in the excitement of your day without having to worry about a thing.

  7. Need assistance with finding the best venues and vendors in line with your specific needs - Since weeding through a huge vendor directory and sending out tons of inquiries is no fun, our couples love receiving our personalized, vetted vendor and venue recommendations. This gives them the assurance they are selecting the right choices.

  8. Consider yourselves to be foodies - Our couples enjoy a good meal, ranging from local mom and pop southern restaurants to posh, downtown fine dining. Needless to say, the food tasting is one of their favorite parts of the planning experience.

  9. Want your wedding to not only look good, but feel good - We marry sensational design and a sensational experience, and we believe weddings should be a perfect reflection of the couple. Thus, big smiles, happy tears, good times, tons of selfies, great dancing, family and friends reunion, exquisite design and details, and best of all - lots of love, can be found at a sensational wedding.

  10. Plan to invest in making your big day special - Our couples understand that just like they have invested into the growth of their relationship, memorable weddings require an investment, as well. Every couple, wedding and budget is unique, which is why we always ask prospective couples what are their top wedding wishes and priorities, so we can help them assess an ideal investment with their must haves in mind.

There are so many more things that our couples value, but I figured I’d just share a top 10 today. If you see yourself in some or maybe even all of the above, let us know in the comments section. I’d also love to chat with you soon, as we have a few 2019 dates available and are also booking for 2020 weddings. We welcome you to submit your inquiry here, and we’ll respond shortly with some additional information and to get you set up for your complimentary consultation.

Sensationally yours,