Viewing entries tagged
wedding

Comment

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,

Shalyce


Comment

Comment

DC Wedding Planning: How To Choose Your Wedding Party

If you're engaged and wondering how to choose your wedding party, today's Tips Tuesday post is just for you!

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Now that you've got the ring, hired your planner and picked out your venue, you're likely turning your attention to picking your wedding party. You also might be stumped on this task and find yourself in one of the following categories:

  1. Before you got engaged, you had ideas of who your future wedding party would be, but now you're reevaluating to be sure

  2. You have so many friends and aren't sure how to pick who's in or out of the wedding party

  3. Your fiancé has more friends than you, or vice versa, and you aren't sure if it's best to have an unbalanced number on each side or alternatively if you should add more people on your side so that it is balanced

  4. You have just a few quality close friends, so you're not sure if a wedding party is even necessary

  5. You have no plans to have a wedding party

Whether you're in any of the above categories or more, today I'm breaking down some tried and true tips to consider before you select your wedding party. Additionally, for those in category 5 above, I've had many couples opt out of having a wedding party and it worked out beautifully for them. In that case, it's almost as if all the guests are your wedding party and the ceremony focus is all on you.

Now, for those of you who totally want your girls and/or guys right by your side, I suggest the following 5 tips.

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

  1. Think Quality over Quantity - Regardless of whether your fiancé has more friends than you or whether someone told you 5 was the magic number of bridesmaids to have, when it comes to your wedding party it's about quality and not a specific number. Ideal wedding party members are those who have your back, wholeheartedly support your union, are reliable, positive and always great to be around. Now if there are tons of friends/family who fit this category for you, it doesn't mean all 20 of them have to stand with you at the altar. I recommend sitting down with your fiancé and discussing the potential wedding party members you're considering, and get feedback from each other on who is essential for the role.

  2. Consider the Responsibilities - When someone accepts your invitation to be in your wedding party, they are essentially signing up to: be one of your bridal besties; stand in support of your union; help with some personal tasks you may need that are not handled by your wedding planner; buy their dress, shoes, and jewelry for the big day; pay for makeup and hair (if it's not gifted by you); help plan and attend your bridal shower and bachelorette party; show up on time for rehearsal, the wedding and other activities; and be a vital member in your bride tribe. While it's a fun job, for some that can be a big job or something they can't commit to due to other things going on in their life. Think long and hard about who would be all in or alternatively a headache, not able to commit, or unreliable.

  3. Choose from the Heart - Go with your gut and your heart when selecting your wedding party - NOT out of obligation. Just because someone has been your friend for years or because you were in their wedding party, doesn't mean you have to select them to be in your wedding party. Remember, just because someone isn't in your wedding party, doesn't mean they aren't very special to you.

  4. Children are optional - Nothing is cuter than a little flower girl and ring bearer! However, those roles aren't essential for every wedding. Perhaps you don't have children, nieces, nephews or godchildren to fill the role or maybe you don't want any kids at the wedding at all - that's totally ok. Alternatively, if you do want children in your wedding party, my suggestion is to choose children who will happily go down the aisle. On the flip-side, if they cry uncontrollably on day of, don't force them to walk down the aisle.

  5. Consider Other Roles - There are so many ways to celebrate your engagement journey with family and friends, so don't feel bad about not selecting everyone to be in your wedding party. For very close friends and family not in your wedding party, some other great ways to acknowledge them and roles they can fill are :

    • Reserved seat at the ceremony - this is a great option for aunts, uncles and first cousins

    • Ushers and Hostesses - these are other great roles to fill for the ceremony

    • Bridal Shower and/or Bachelorette Party Hosting - the wedding party doesn't necessarily have to host your pre-wedding celebrations, so if close family and friends volunteer to host and you love their knack for entertaining, let them throw your shindigs!

    • Bridal Gown Shopping - if you have a couple fashionista friends and family whose opinion means a lot to you and they are super positive and helpful, those are great folks to join you for your gown shopping

    • Have them wear a specific color - this is a great option for sorority sisters or fraternity brothers who'll be attending the wedding, and makes for a great picture at the reception

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

Photo: Christopher Jason Studios

A final thought I'd like to share for those who may struggle with people pleasing is something I tell couples all the time - "it's your day, so do what feels right for you two and you two alone". Never feel obligated or pressured to go out of your way to include family and friends in certain roles for the wedding, as that shouldn't be the sole indicator of how close you are or aren't to someone. Those who truly love you will be honored to simply attend and celebrate your nuptials, with no strings attached.

I hope you found these tips to be super helpful, and that you're better equipped to pick your I DO crew. Now let's chat in the comments - share some other tips you'd add to the list or questions you may have surrounding this topic. I'd love to connect with you!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

Comment

Comment

Meet Grace + Ivory

Happy Monday! Today, we're dishing on wedding gowns, and I have a special treat for you. 

I had the pleasure of attending the Grace + Ivory preview event in D.C. a couple of weeks ago, held at Bureau Studio and styled by Elizabeth Carberry. I went with the intent of learning about this amazing bridal company to share with all of my sensational brides. After leaving the event, I was so sold on Grace + Ivory, their stunning, affordable gowns and equally important, their mission. I immediately reached out to Tina Zysk, the Founder and Creative Director, so that she could share more about her amazing company here on the blog. She graciously accepted, and today I'm happy to bring you all the 411 from our conversation about Grace + Ivory and why brides should totally choose them for their wedding gowns.


MEET GRACE + IVORY

Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

When should brides reach out to you for their wedding gowns and what's the process like?

We recommend reaching out to start the process about 5-6 months before your wedding. You can learn more about setting up a design consultation, ordering a dress, measurements, shipping and the overall process here.

When designing your gowns, where do you find inspiration?

I like to think of myself as the Creative Director when selecting gowns for the Grace + Ivory collection. I work directly with a designer/dressmaker and she has the technical details and expertise when it comes to designing and dressmaking. I select dresses that I think represents today’s metropolitan modern bride – hip, on-the-go, hardworking, and kicking butt. I like having a variety of dresses ranging from pretty, soft tulle dresses with lace to a sophisticated, sleek look with hand-beaded details.  

Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

What is the starting price of your gowns?

Our dresses range from $695 to $1,595 plus tax. 

Do you also do custom work or customize gowns in your collections at the request of a bride?

Yes, we offer custom options to the gowns in our collection. If you love one of our dresses but would want to change something about that particular gown, contact us for a design consultation and we can discuss over email or over the phone about the custom options and any other questions. This is all before your dress purchase (if you decide to move forward).

Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

When patronizing your company, tell us more about the worthy cause customers are also supporting?

One of my biggest reasons for starting Grace + Ivory is to merge an awesome business making wedding dresses and being able to contribute to helping others who may not be as fortunate. As our mission is about women helping women, a portion of every dress purchase goes to helping women and girls in need. We’re currently supporting Plan International’s Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) Program, which runs programs in countries around the world focusing on girls’ health, education, empowerment, and community involvement. BIAAG’s call to action raises awareness about girls’ rights and the need for justice and equality. Grace + Ivory supports Plan’s belief that gender equality is central to achieving long-term change and the BIAAG call to action to ensure girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.

I love your dresses done differently slogan and that your gowns are made to measure. Tell us more about this.

I founded Grace + Ivory with the intent to do dresses differently by giving brides another option with a socially conscious approach providing beautiful, quality, made-to-measure wedding dresses. During the search for my own wedding dress, I felt that wedding dresses were overpriced and I wondered why. After doing some digging, this gave me the idea of partnering directly with a dressmaker, cutting out a middleman, which allowed me to offer gorgeous dresses of the same quality of those from other designer brands at a fraction of the price. Every dress is made-to-measure saving a bride on alterations costs and giving her a beautiful, custom-sewn dress made just for her.

If a bride has an eye on a dress, we encourage her to reach out for a consultation with us over email on our website. We can answer any questions about measurements and custom details all before you buy and no commitment is expected.

We start each individual dressmaking process once an order is received. Our personal design stylists are there to provide the best customer experience. Our design stylists work with a bride from initial inquiries, to helping with dress purchasing, custom requests, follow-up questions, and shipping and receiving. With our dress process, the made-to-measure and custom aspects, and being able to help women and girls in need, we’re doing dresses differently. 

Photo Credit:  Stefanie Kamerman

Photo Credit: Stefanie Kamerman

How can brides find you?

Visit us at www.graceandivory.com and feel free to email us at hello@graceandivory.com.

Thank you so much Tina for sharing with us today, and Stefanie Kamerman and Paca Lee for the lovely photos! If my hubby and I renew our vows, I definitely know who I'm calling! Brides, I hope you check out Grace + Ivory for your wedding gowns, and tell them I sent you! Share in the comments section the type of silhouette(s) that you love for wedding gowns.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

Comment

3 Comments

Meet Sensational Vendor - Rhea Whitney Photography

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today, I am spotlighting an amazing lady, who is not only a wedding photographer, but she also does lifestyle photography. I can personally vouch for her work, as I had the pleasure of being in front of her lens for the Sensational Soirees photoshoot in September. Working with Rhea, owner of Rhea Whitney Photography, was an absolute joy. The energy, attention and creativity she brought to my shoot was awesome, not mention we had so much fun. She totally understood the Sensational Soirees brand, and I couldn't be more happy with my new shots! Whether you are a couple planning to say I do, in need of newborn photos or looking for new brand images, I highly suggest checking out Rhea Whitney Photography.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rhea and learning all about her booming photography business. She was so kind to let me share the interview, and some of her work today on the blog!

Meet Rhea of Rhea Whitney Photography

View More: http://elledanielle.pass.us/ellementsretreat15

What inspired you to start your business?

I have always loved to take pictures; even as a child, I always had a camera in my hand. The inspiration for starting my business came while taking a professional photography course. The course allowed me to learn more about the industry and that this could in fact be a successful, full-time business.

When did you decide to go full-time?

In April of this year, and it was definitely a push from God!

What do you love most about photography?

I love being able to capture people during their most special and memorable moments and creating images that last forever. Whether it’s a business building their brand or a couple getting married, I just love capturing beautiful imagery and occasions.

DSC_4177-1

 DSC_9547

Do you have a favorite brand of camera?

Nikon honey! Yes!

Give us a brief overview of your photography services.

I'm a portrait and wedding photographer. I pretty much do everything from corporate clients’ head shots and events, brand images for entrepreneurs, family portraits, special events, and everything weddings from engagement pictures to bridal showers to the full wedding day.

DSC_6965-1

DSC_9634

 

How far in advance should engage couples book?

I always suggest for clients to book months in advance; earlier the better. 2016 is already filling up fast.

What sets you apart from other photographers in this area?

Personality mixed with my technical knowledge of photography. I’m in tune with details, lighting, and poses, and my overall ability to vibe with my clients is a plus. I’m proud to be a female photograpHER and my ability to find beauty in everything.

DSC_3810-1

DSC_4300-1

DSC_5354-74

Kudos to this awesome #photograpHER based right here in the DMV (and she travels, too)! To learn more about Rhea Whitney Photography visit her website and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Check out a couple of the awesome photos Rhea took of me for Sensational Soirees, and tell me what you think in the discussion section of this post. Stay tuned, as I will be sharing more from our shoot soon.

SensationalSoirees-56 SensationalSoirees-93

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

3 Comments

3 Comments

Wedding Wednesday: RBlovestory

Happy Wedding Wednesday! I love my sensational clients and receiving exciting emails! So when former sensational bride, Ryan, reached out yesterday to share she and her hubby's wedding day video highlights, my day was made...I've probably watched it 10 times already haha. The couple tied the knot on June 19, 2015 at Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, MD, followed by the reception at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, VA. Their love story is so beautiful, and I truly enjoyed being apart of their journey to the aisle. Their big day was nothing short of amazing, and you can take a peek for yourself  here.

daniel36

Special thanks to all of the amazing vendors, who helped make their day shine even brighter!

Wedding Planning and Stationery - Sensational Soirees

Photography and Videography - George Street Photo and Video

Florals - Ora's Flowers

Make Up Artists - Lola's Beauty Mark and Tiffani N Co

Couple's Transportation (pictured above) - Regal Limousine

Cake - Couture Cakes by Sabrina

Rentals - DC Rental and A Grand Event

Tell us what you think about this beautiful wedding in the discussion section of this post.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

 

3 Comments