Tag: wedding


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 Marlene@InvitationMaven.com.



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

DIY Not Your Thing? Hire a Professional to Help Create Personal Details for Your Wedding or Mitzvah

As a professional designer of custom wedding invitations, I see all manner of design incorporated into a bride and groom’s special day. My absolute favorite events are those where the bride (and sometimes even the groom) create their own beautiful handmade details. I love these weddings because the details make the event personal and bring guests closer to the bride and groom. And with sites like Instagram and Pinterest, Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, is more popular than ever.

These websites provide a plethora of ideas brides and grooms can search for inspiration. Many of the ideas even include How To instructions and links for finding necessary supplies and materials. But what I hear most often from my clients who LOVE what they see is that they just aren’t able to do it themselves. Either they don’t feel like they’ve got the creative bug or they don’t have the time or inclination.

That’s where I come in.  Read more

Making Sure Your Guests Know Who the Party is For

Who Is This Bride and Why Am I Invited to Her Shower?

I had a client a few weeks ago who shared an interesting situation with me. She received an invitation to a wedding shower but did not know who the bride was, nor did she recognize the names of any of the hostesses. Her husband has a rather large family so she assumed the bridal shower was for the fiancé of a nephew, but she wasn’t sure. Given how uncomfortable this made her feel, now that she is creating a bridal shower invitation for the daughter of one of her closest friends, she wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to her. Here is some advice I gave my client to help her avoid the same issue.  Read more

A Unique Bridal Registry Idea: Dominos Pizza

I’m always reading news about what’s going on in my industry. It helps me stay on top of new trends and great ideas. Today I came across an article that made me giggle: Dominos Pizza started a bridal registry.

The tag line on their website reads “The first registry for couples who prefer delicious melty cheese to crystal gravy boats.” This is actually a great idea! It offers brides and grooms an inexpensive and fun option for budget-friendly gifts and some great tasting pizza to boot.

If you would like to create your own bridal registry at Dominos Pizza, here’s a link: Dominos Pizza Bridal Registry

And here’s a link to the article I read so you can read more about the idea: Dominos Pizza article


Number One Event Planning Tip: Enjoy the Process

Planning a special event can be a daunting task, whether it’s a small, intimate gathering of friends to celebrate a milestone birthday or a large life cycle event such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. There are thousands of choices to make and a myriad of details to keep track of. Sometimes, the details can become overwhelming, especially when you already have a full time job.

Many people search out advice about how to do this or that. But those lists leave out the most important piece of advice I give each of my clients: enjoy the process, because sometimes, the things that go wrong will become your funniest and most memorable stories.

But what does “enjoy the process” mean?

Events are usually planned months in advance and it takes time and effort to decide what to serve, who to invite, how to decorate, who to hire, etc. Clients often spend hundreds of hours or more planning every detail of the party. This process can often be very stressful. And with all the planning, the actual event itself is over within a matter of hours. So the reason why I tell my clients to enjoy the process is because if you don’t, you will miss out on opportunities to make memories. And if things go wrong, either on that day or in the days leading up to your special event, if you’re not enjoying the process, these mishaps can ruin your entire experience.

I’ll share an example from a client I had a few years ago to illustrate my point.

I designed some bar mitzvah invitations for a client (I’ll call her Julie). We were just about ready to go into production. She had just emailed me her signed proofs when she got a call from her venue saying they’d had a major flood and needed to close the venue to make repairs. They informed her that they could not guarantee that the venue would be ready in time for her event, which was then only 10 weeks away.

Well, anyone who knows about planning a large party knows venues book months and sometimes a year or more in advance. Finding another venue that could accommodate Julie and her 200+ guests at that late date would be challenging, to say the least. But rather than be discouraged, Julie called several local venues and was able to find a place that was available on her date.

While those first few days following the news of the flood added some unneeded stress, Julie recalled my advice and realized that although unexpected things sometimes happen, she couldn’t have planned for that, so she might as well make the best of it. She maintained her positive attitude and friendly disposition and as a result, was able to negotiate more for less, and ended up at a superior venue. And now, two years later, because she enjoyed the process, it’s a funny story she can recall with fondness, not anger.

So I’ll give you the same advice I give all my clients: enjoy the process!

And to help you get started, get my FREE “BIG PARTY GUEST LIST SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to stay sane when 100 or more people are celebrating with you!” by clicking here: SURVIVAL GUIDE.