About a year ago, I wrote an article that outlined the top five reasons to hire a professional event planner. You can read it here. Well, my son just got married a few weeks ago, and I have a WHOLE NEW perspective on precisely why hiring a professional event planner is so important. Given my recent experience, I thought I’d take a moment to provide a fresh viewpoint as both an event professional AND as a host.


Not only do I have more than twenty years of expertise in the event industry, but I was one of the principal designers of my son’s wedding. I designed and produced the invitations, florals, centerpiece décor, and event signage. The bride’s mother and I made the bride’s veil and I made custom engraved wood hangers for the bride and all of her bridesmaids. I even created a custom ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) and wedding programs. I put together a detailed information packet for the wedding participants so everyone would know where to be and when to be there, as well as what to expect. I thought through every last detail and spent hours fine tuning a very comprehensive timeline. We had a group of our closest friends, as well as some of our vendors, willing to help run the event for us.

That was a mistake.

Having expertise in one aspect of event planning does NOT mean I have direct knowledge of other aspects of event planning. As a custom invitation and décor designer, I’m one of the vendors whose work is mostly completed and set up before an event even begins. I don’t generally see how those same events actually run in real time. Yes, I’ve put on a few parties of my own, and I absolutely have the skill set to manage a wedding. So it’s not that I wasn’t capable of managing things. But as I’ve now learned first-hand, a wedding, with more than two hundred guests, two different families, and the emotional attachment of this being for my own son, is a completely different animal from other kinds of events I’ve planned. I was mistaken to think that I could (or even should) manage the event myself, or rely on my vendors and friends to do some of the event management for me.

As I tell all my clients, “be a guest at your own event.” I also tell my clients “whatever happens on the day of your wedding would have happened whether you planned for it or not.” So no matter how capable you are, you simply cannot be a guest at your party when you have to manage all the “unplanned” mishaps that happen at every large event. Our mishaps included a member of the bridal party knocking over a vase in the ceremony hall during photos, spilling broken glass and gallons of water all over the floor. Another member of the bridal party missed most of the photos because she took too long to get ready. And the rental vendor mistakenly came back three hours early to pick up his rentals. Your event planner should handle these kinds of mishaps, not your friends, and certainly not the mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom.

We were very lucky because to our guests, our event went very smoothly. They didn’t see all of these “mishaps,” and only a few people even knew about some of the behind-the-scenes “drama.” Perhaps it’s part of our relatively easy-going nature that we were able to allow all of this to roll of our backs and not let any of it affect our enjoyment of the day (another piece of advice I give all of my clients). And my friends did a GREAT job and were absolutely incredible. But it would have been BETTER for all of us if we would have hired a professional event planner who was THE contact person for everything and everyone, and to manage the venue, caterer, DJ, photographer, videographer and all these little “mishaps.” You can still do a lot of the fun planning and design work yourself, as we did. But when it comes to the actual day of the event, having a professional event planner who has been on board with the planning from the beginning is key so that all of the details you carefully prepared can be implemented by someone who is dispassionate, who is not emotionally involved in the event, and who is looking out for YOU.


As I wrote in my last article, a professional event planner is a neutral, disinterested (as in not emotionally involved) person who you can turn to for direction and advice. He or she is hired to protect your interests. For example, we all know that some people have their own opinions about things, and not everyone will be happy with the details you choose or the choices you make. For example, at our wedding, guests were supposed to greet the bride in the downstairs outside patio. The venue manager, therefore, did not want our guests entering the reception hall before the ceremony, and was shooing people out. However, it was almost 100 degrees outside, and some of our elderly guests needed to get out of the heat. A professional event planner could have helped act as a buffer between what the venue operator thought we wanted and what our guests needed at the time.


This reason bears repeating. The best part of any event is participating fully. If you’re too busy worrying that the photographer is running late with photos (this happened to us), or that the videographer is yelling at the venue manager for moving his equipment without asking (yes, this happened at our event, too), or that one of your tables didn’t have enough chairs set up (yep…this also happened at our event), you won’t enjoy yourself. A professional event planner will act as the official point person to deal with any issues that may arise so that you can enjoy the ceremony and reception and be in the moment. As the host, neither you, and especially not the bride and groom, should even know about any of these behind the scenes moments.

Even though the services of a professional event planner are not free, what I’ve learned firsthand is that the cost can be well worth it because it will allow you to focus on what’s important to you: your family, your friends, and the joy of your event.

For a list of professional event planners I work with, contact me at



Decorate with Candles for a STUNNING Effect

Invitation Maven was honored to provide décor for Pedram’s 40th Birthday Party on March 31st, 2018. His amazing girlfriend Denise wanted to plan a party he’d remember forever. She wanted to accentuate the stunning views of the venue with accents of white and lots of light. Here are photos of our finished work. I’d say it was truly stunning indeed!

The client had a vision and we helped bring it to life!

Guests were greeted when they arrived at the party by a beautiful candle and flower display in the entry.

Read more

Ordering Custom Invitations – How Much Lead Time Do I Need?

I am often asked “How much lead time do you need to create a custom wedding invitation?” Well, the short answer is “It depends.” That may not sound very helpful, but every invitation design is unique, and because there is an almost endless choice of styles and printing techniques, the TYPE of invitation we’re creating largely dictates the amount of lead time we need.

However, here are some general guidelines to help you figure out your timeline for ordering custom invitations for your wedding or event. You’ll need to account for design and production time, as well as your mailing window. We’ll start with design and production.  Read more

I Have A Ring, Now I Need A Date – How to Pick a Wedding Date That’s Special, Meaningful and Unique to You

So, you recently got engaged. Congratulations! Now that you have the ring, you need a date for your wedding. But what date to pick? There are many things that can guide you in picking a date for your wedding. You may want to get married during a particular season or during a specific month. Perhaps you want your wedding to coincide with or avoid conflicts with other obligations or circumstances. You may (or may not) want to plan your wedding on a holiday weekend. Sometimes there may be religious constraints to consider.

We have some ideas for how you can pick dates that are meaningful for reasons that go beyond just “because it’s my wedding.” Picking a date that has meaning in and of itself is a way to add extra significance to one of the most important days of your life.  Read more

Use Custom Postage to Complete the Bat Mitzvah Invitation Design

One of my favorite aspects of invitation design is bringing the design “full circle.” What I mean by this is making sure that each element of the suite complements every other element in of the suite. As a designer, my favorite designs are the ones where the pieces aren’t all “matchy-matchy,” meaning where every piece is exactly the same design except for the details. Those are always nice, too, but what’s the most fun is when some of the pieces are a little different, and when put together into the full suite, all complement each other.

Not only is it important for the inside pieces to have cohesiveness, but it’s also important for the OUTSIDE of the invitation to reflect what’s inside the envelope. The best way to do that is with a custom postage stamp. I prefer Zazzle stamps over some of the other companies. Zazzle offers the widest variety of sizes, and their product is superior to others I’ve seen. They print their custom postage on glossy adhesive paper, which emphasizes any design and makes the printing *POP*.  Read more

Invitation Maven designs on!

Invitation Maven is proud to announce that a styled shoot we participated in and that was featured on Southern California Bride a few months back was reported on Aisle Society! Here’s a link to that feature:

And here’s a link to the original feature from Southern California Bride:



Glossary of Invitation Terms

Words you should know when designing your party invitations and event stationery

When I meet with clients to design their custom invitations, I use a variety of terms to describe the different elements of an invitation suite and other pieces of event stationery. There are also terms relating to different printing techniques and different types of paper. Some terms are self explanatory and most people understand what they mean. Sometimes, however, there are terms that are common in my industry that some clients don’t know. To help make sure you’re an informed consumer, I created this glossary of terms that you can use when designing or ordering your party invitations and event stationery. The terms are divided into the following categories:

  • Printing Techniques and Treatments
  • Invitation Design
  • Invitation Suite, Stationery and Event Signage
  • Typeface and Fonts
  • Paper
  • Presentation, Binding and Packaging

Use this glossary to help you understand what it is you’re getting before you place your invitation order. It’s also useful to help explain what the different elements of an invitation suite are, and whether or not you should add something to your invitation ensemble.

If you have any questions about any of the terms in this glossary, or if you want help designing and ordering custom invitations, event stationery and signage for your event, I invite you to contact me at Marlene@InvitationMaven.comRead more

Thinking of planning a mitzvah on your own? The top 5 reasons why you should hire a professional event planner instead

Many people don’t think a bar or bat mitzvah is as big a deal to plan as a wedding. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Often, bar and bat mitzvahs, even small ones, can have just as many (sometimes more) details to keep track of as weddings. And if you truly want to enjoy yourself at your party, hiring a good professional event planner is key.

Here are the top five reasons why hiring a professional event planner is a good idea:  Read more

A Classic, Romantic Celebration with Lush Florals in Beverly Hills

Invitation Maven created beautiful wedding invitations and wedding stationery for a lovely couple who were married at The Montage Beverly Hills a few years ago. The wedding was featured recently at Inside Weddings.

Here’s a link to the article:

A Classic, Romantic Celebration with Lush Florals in Beverly Hills

Some of our designs were featured in beautiful photos from the event, which you’ll see at the link as well as posted below.  Read more

Elegant Spanish Style Wedding Inspiration at Rancho Las Lomas

Invitation Maven was honored to participate in a styled shoot with an elegant Spanish-style wedding inspiration. The shoot took place at Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado, California, in Orange County and was published in Southern California Bride today!

Here’s a link to the article:

Elegant Spanish Style Wedding Inspiration at Rancho Las Palmas

Scroll through the photos to see the beautiful invitation suite I designed for this gorgeous and inspirational wedding location. And if you fall in love with any of the details you see, from the flowers to the attire to the make-up to the styling, all of the vendors who participated are listed at the bottom of the article. I am honored to be included among this very talented group!  Read more