Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 in Review

I started this year off with apprehension. Like most people I get apprehensive about the unknown and running my business while starting our family was definitely unknown. But what an amazing year we had here at Memorable Events! I cannot be more thankful for the AMAZING brides and grooms, the FANTASTIC vendors and venues, and my AWESOME crew.

This year was fun with the majority of our ceremonies being outdoors, which always involve their own unique twists. It was great to have so many challenges to increase our experience and knowledge. This industry is always growing and changing, it is wonderful to grow with it.

Some of the fantastic venues we were honored to work at this year included:

The Ravines Golf Course (Saugatuck)
Windmill Island & Gardens (Holland)
McIntosh Apple Orchard & Winery (South Haven)
The Wave Room @ Celebration Cinemas (Grand Rapids)
Spring Grove Park (Grandville)
Frederick Meijer Gardens (Grand Rapids)

It would take me forever to list all the amazing photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, musicians, etc., etc. from the past year. But I am so thankful to know so many talented people in the industry and know that I can call on them when I have an important project.

Our couples from 2009 were super creative and included so many fun and unique personal touches to their big days. Vibrant colors, romantic settings, yummy treats, every detail was gorgeous. I am so humbled that I was able to help them make their visions come to life.

This was the first year that I took on an intern to help Memorable Events and it was such a great decision! I had two lovely ladies from GVSU that assisted me with day of duties, Therese and Stephanie. They did a great job. Also, having my associate Amber around was a huge help as well.

All in all it was a great year and I'm so thankful for every moment. Looking forward to the future of Memorable Events!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Get To Know - AMB Paperworks

1. What type of services do you offer?

All types of design & printing really – everything from custom wedding invitations and coordinating items to birth announcements to corporate branding and marketing materials to personalized stationery items. Something for everyone!

  1. How long have you been business and where are you located?
I’ve been in business for just over 6 years now and run my business from my home in Grandville, MI.

  1. How did you get into making stationary products?
Funny story… It happened on accident! I designed and printed my oldest daughter’s birth announcements and sent them out to family, friends, and some of our neighbors. One of those neighbors had a daughter getting married and called me to find out who had done the birth announcements. She ended up being my first client. Happy clients and word of mouth has helped my business grow to what it is today.

  1. What do you think sets you apart from other vendors in the industry?

Personalized service. I LOVE shopping online as much as the next person, but when it comes to something as important as your wedding invitations brides what a little more personalized service. I meet most of my customers face to face. I get to know them and learn a little about their style and taste and then help them find or design the something that is them to a tee.

  1. What is your most requested product (i.e. Save the Date, baby announcements, wedding invites)?

Pocket style wedding invitations. EVERYONE loves these! They are so beautiful and they can be customized in so many different ways! I carry a line of papers called “Envelopments” and what you can do with their products alone is so amazing.

  1. When you’re not busy working, how do you like to spend your downtime?

Downtime – what’s that? In addition to running a business I’m a full-time stay at home wife & mom of two beautiful little girls. I stay busy spending time with my family – boating, running to gymnastics & music classes, volunteering at my daughter’s school, and staying involved in our church and community, reading, crocheting, and I’m a sucker for all types of home-parties!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Epic Save the Date

Amber Gustafson of Amber Events in LA posted about a 2010 couple that she is working with and their amazing Save the Date. Here is the link to their website, it's SO worth the download!

I have seen some really fun and unique ideas but this one tops the list for me, even my husband sat and watched it :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Get To Know - Sinful Cheesecake Company

1. What type of services do you offer?

Weddings by SCC provides tasting/consultation appointments for those who prefer something different in the dessert area. We provide our cheesecakes for weddings, along with dummy cakes for those who want a more traditional look without purchasing actual cake. We also provide delivery/set up services for our clients.

  1. How long have you been business and where are you located?

We have been in business for 8 years now. We currently work from a State Licensed kitchen in our home in Hudsonville.

  1. How did you get into making cheesecakes?

When we got married we decided we didn’t want to go the traditional route. We wrote our own vows, went barefoot at an outdoor ceremony, things like that. Neither of us likes cake all that much… so, we decided to have cheesecake. I found a recipe that was good enough but, it needed some tweaking. So, I adjusted it until it suited us. We served it at the reception and everyone kept asking “where” we bought the cheesecake. I laughed and told them we “made” it. People began encouraging us to go into business… so we gave it a shot and here we are.

  1. What do you think sets you apart from other vendors in the industry?

Wedding cheesecakes! There are very few companies that do them. We strive to provide a quality product that looks beautiful and tastes wonderful. I believe Weddings by Sinful Cheesecake Company is unique in a baking industry that mainly provides traditional wedding cakes.

  1. Do you have a favorite flavor of cheesecake? What is your most requested flavor?

Oh, yes I do… actually; there are two…Key Lime and Tiramisu. Our best seller is White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl. That one out sells every other flavor we have.

  1. When you’re not busy working, how do you like to spend your downtime?

Spending time with my family, decorating my house, planning something… I really do seek out creative outlets… even when I am not working.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Get To Know - En Gedi Bridal

1. What type of services do you offer?

En Gedi Bridal is a full service wedding and event specialist. We do not offer typical retail floral service, which allows us to concentrate fully on the goals and needs of our brides and event planners. From the first consultation to the delivery of your event you will deal directly with Jodi and Sara which allows us to get to know each bride's personality and dreams. This helps make your wedding unique and personalized in a way that is unparalleled by florist shops.

  1. How long have you been in the floral industry and where are you located?

En Gedi Bridal has been servicing brides in West Michigan for ten years. We are located in Holland, but have served brides from Grand Haven to Saugatuck and from Holland to Lowell.

  1. Is there anything that you specialize in?
Our specialty is weddings. Because we deal exclusively with brides and event planners we are not distracted by retail sales. Our goal is to get to know each bride and what she visions her wedding to look like, then we make it our priority to exceed that dream in quality and creativity with our floral design.

4. What do you think sets you apart from other vendors in the industry?

When a bride is dealing with a traditional floral shop she typically has a consultation with one person, another one orders her flowers, another one designs her flowers, and another delivers her order. This allows for the brides vision to be "lost in translation" and produces a mass production look. At En Gedi Bridal, the bride only deals with the designers, Jodi and Sara. We personally handle every detail of her event, making sure it is a reflection of her personality.

  1. Do you have a favorite flower that you like to use? Do you have a favorite color scheme?

A favorite flower is difficult to choose. Our favorite designs are ones which embrace the season of the event. Nothing is more beautiful than a red, orange and russet event in October, a vibrant pallet of hot pinks in July, or a crisp pallet of whites in January. We enjoy wowing brides with unique seasonal flowers and greens that make her event more special than the cookie cutter floral mix.

  1. When you’re not busy working, how do you like to spend your downtime?

Both of our designers are full time moms of very active children. We also both have a passion for interior design. Both Jodi and Sara are also active as volunteers in our churches and in our children's schools.

Contact them soon!

Jodi Dykstra and Sara VandenBosch

Friday, October 30, 2009

Get To Know - DJ Vybes

  1. What type of services do you offer?

DJ Services is my specialty. I feature in occasional club scenes and also cater to various functions including Wedding Receptions, Birthday Parties, Private Parties, Holiday Parties, Family Gatherings, Anniversary Parties, etc. Name it, I cater to it.

  1. How long have you been in the industry and where are you located?

I’ve been a Disc Jockey for over 10 years. I am based in Holland, Michigan but take pride in being open enough to go pretty much wherever the client is.

  1. Is there anything within your business that you specialize in?

Mixing music and incorporating various styles of the art, eliminating dead air, and playing tunes that move the crowd. My goal is to always infuse electric energy, keep the crowd on their feet and entertained throughout the night. I like the challenge of mixing genres you’d never think possible;, example a rock n roll song with a country ballad…

  1. What do you think sets you apart from other vendors in the industry?

A personal touch and great customer service! In addition to my DJ role, I wear the cap of an event planner/organizer. I like to pay attention to small details like getting to know the client’s taste, their guests tastes, themes, visiting venues before hand, etc. I also negotiate contracts or service terms on a client’s behalf. These qualities and more, I find, are key to pulling off successful events and make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.

5. What is THE most requested song? Have you ever had any really bizarre requests?

Wow! There are several but if I had to pick one song I’d have to say the “Electric Slide.” As for bizarre requests, none comes to mind at the moment. Each client/event is unique.

6. When you’re not busy working, how do you like to spend your downtime?

I somehow find myself mixing music for fun, listening to it, reading a good book, or watching a movie. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, jogging, and photography.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Traditions - The Bouquet Toss

Lately, at most of my consultations, my couples have one or more tradition that they want to stray from. When they tell me this they always get quiet and look at me like they are anticipating to hear "GASP!!! What!?" out of my mouth. But the answer they usually get is "Great! Let's make this exactly how YOU want it, nothing says you have to use all the traditions". So I decided I was going to post a little bit about the main traditions, their origins and other options you have. Let's start with...

The Bouquet Toss:

(okay, I had to use this picture I found here, for so many reasons!!! Talk about non-traditional!! Love the girl in the bikini.)

The origin of the bouquet toss goes back to the fourteenth century. Guests believed that it was good luck to get a piece of the brides dress. Often one of the ribbons tied into the dress to bring the bride herself good luck. The "well-wishers" would rush the bride to get this good luck. In a way to try and protect themselves and appease the crowd brides began tossing their bouquets at the guests.

If your guest list doesn't have many single ladies (you're singing right now aren't you?) or you just want to do something a little different. Here are some alternatives to tossing a bouquet.

  • Present the bouquet to a special friend or family member (either privately or publicly)
  • Have a "couples dance", where the DJ announces certain number of years (such as 5 years or less) and couples that have been married longer than that stay until you get to the couple that has been together the longest and give the bouquet to the wife.
  • Florists can make breakaway bouquets that would be multiple little bouquets all tied together and when thrown they break apart, that way multiple ladies win!
Whatever you decide to do for your big day, just remember one thing...have fun and be creative with it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Anniversary Journal

A few years ago I bought a journal. The title on the front says "Cherished Hopes, Treasured Dreams". It is a pretty book with a quote on every few pages like: "Recall it as often as you wish, a happy memory never wears out." - Libbie Fudim. The purpose of this journal was to record Derek and I's marriage so that someday when our children and grandchildren wanted to have that history it would be all written down for them. My goal was to write in it on every anniversary and tell about the past year in our life together. A wonderful and beautiful goal, I believed and still do.

I just came across this journal again while organizing and when I flipped it open I noticed I have only recorded one year of our six together. At first it made me sad, then I wondered why this is and I think that every time I come across the journal it isn't our anniversary so I set it aside until the next year. What a stupid thought! Just because it's not the exact date of our wedding doesn't mean I can't reminisce about the year that has just past us.

I think I'm going to sit down tonight and write in the journal - I'm only a month late this year. How can I not want to share the joys the past year have brought us...our son!!! And then someday when we are gone he will be able to share our love and our family with his own. Maybe I will even start adding a picture each year!!

Do you do anything special to document your years together? Maybe this would be a great thing to begin on your honeymoon together. Reminisce about the wedding and talk about your goals for the future.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Get To Know - Nine Mile Smile

Why do I love going to MWEP meetings? All the fun people I get to meet. And one of those people is Kurtis of Nine Mile Smile. Nine Mile Smile is West Michigan's premiere wedding band. Nine Mile Smile is a group of professional musicians with many combined years of playing and performing. 9MS brings the party with them wherever they go. From local bars and clubs to casinos, corporate parties and weddings - the energy level on stage is always high.

Get To Know...Nine Mile Smile...

1. Who are the members of the band and what do they play?

We have 6 full time members of the band and 1 Sound Engineer (part time). Rex plays rhythm guitar, and I (Kurtis) play drums. Together, we founded the band, and both act as managers when it comes to the business aspects of the band. We also both sing back up vocals. Katie is our lead singer, has been singing her whole life, and she has some major pipes! Tighe plays bass guitar and helps with vocals. We call him the musical rainman because he was born with perfect pitch. He can tell you what note your car horn beeps at! He also directs the ensemble and vocals during rehearsals. With all of us singing together, we have a pretty sweet 4-part harmony. Our two newest members are Joaquin, who plays lead guitar, and Matt who plays keyboards. They are spectacular, and really shine during their solos. For gigs like weddings, festivals and events, we bring on our sound engineer Ken. He is a master behind the sound and lightboards. It really becomes a full production when he is along!

2. How long has the band been together? How did you all meet?

Rex and I started a version of this band about 5 years ago. Back then, we were Midnight Detour and were just taking off in a big way when 3 members had new babies, and one moved to Tampa for a job. So, almost 2 years ago, Rex and I basically started over and knew we wanted to put together a band with great musicians. We scoured West Michigan and found Tighe and Katie, and an East Coast keyboard player that was only here working for a year. When he left, we hired Matt, and then added Joaquin to fill us out even more. I think we've found the right combination of folks to really make our performances something people remember.

3. What types of music do you play?

We play Top 40 Songs from the 70's-00's. Our main focus however, is 80s and 90's Pop. Think Michael and Madonna, Journey, the Bangles, the B-52s... even Neil Diamond! Stuff everyone knows but aren't necessarily expecting. Our favorite thing is a jam packed dance floor, and we like to keep it that way!

4. What are some of the most requested songs? What is one of the craziest requests you've gotten?

Everyone requests Free Bird. It got to a point where if someone requested it, we would stop right there and play the song. It was never on the setlist, but we played it every single gig. You should see the look on peoples faces when we pull it out. The strangest request? Well, we recently played something called the Harvest Moon Ball. Think Prom meets Shadyside Retirement Home. It was fun, but I dont think they were expecting a rock band. We had a couple requests for a Foxtrot, or a Waltz. It started a little shaky with them not knowing what to expect, but we take great pride in being able to feel out any crowd and we were able to give them what they wanted. It turned out to be a really fun night for everyone.

5. What type of events are you available for?

That's the beauty of our band, we are up for anything. However, I think we really specialize in weddings. I love being able to work with a bride to give her exactly what she's thinking for her reception. Besides that, we can do anything you can come up with. If you need something soft, we offer a whole night of just jazz. If you want to do a country theme we have a whole night of just country music. I'd have to say though, the best idea I've heard lately was having an 80's/90's prom party where everyone dresses up and we play only 80s/90s music.

6. Is there anything special you do for weddings or events?

We take weddings very seriously. This is your day, and we will do everything and anything to make sure it goes off without a hitch. From the day we are booked, I work very closely with the bride and groom to make sure every base is covered. From the introductions of the wedding party, to the first dances, to the break music in between our sets, everything is chosen to make sure the bride gets exactly what she wants. We also ask the couple to pick any 5 songs for us to learn and play on their day. It could be their favorite songs, it could be their first dance songs, it can be anything they want. It's a ton of fun to introduce "their song" before we play it. Because this is your most important day, we make sure we're up there presenting you in the most professional way possible. We're all very comfortable playing in our suits!

7. Why should someone book a band like yours rather than a DJ?

There is so much more energy at your event with a live band. It's an entirely different atmosphere, a different vibe. I think sometimes people are afraid to book bands because they think they are too expensive, or they are afraid a band wont be as professional. I cant speak for every band, but I will say with Nine Mile Smile, you get a very professional group of people that will treat your event as their own. A lot of bands don't enjoy doing weddings or corporate events, but we are the opposite. It really is our specialty! As for the price, we arent out to make a bunch of money. We all have "real" jobs. We arent trying to make it big. We do it because it's fun, and because we love to be the life of the party. I will say though, like with everything, but especially in the entertainment business - you get what you pay for!

8. Anything else about Nine Mile Smile you would like to share?

When it comes to booking entertainment, we know you have many choices. If you think that a DJ is the only way to go because of budget, ease, or because you think they can play everything, I urge you to talk to us and see what we offer. I can provide a list of past clients with their personal letters of referrals to help you make your decision. I know they were all skeptical at first too, but once you hear us, talk to us, and work with us - there's no question you'll want us!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Being Well "Groomed"

I recently read an article by Peter Scott author of "Well Groomed". The article included tips that every groom should know before he (tries to) helps his bride plan their wedding. Thought they should be shared...

1. Don't freak out if your bride puts a zillion items on your gift registry. Remember: Unlike that weird lamp you got from Aunt Zelda, registry gifts can be returned.

2. Just because you know someone in a band, it doesn't mean that group should play at your wedding.

3. It's nice if your best man is a good friend, but it's even more important that he be reliable.

4. If your bride and her mom have a disagreement about a wedding planning details, always side with your bride.

5. The fact that you've never met someone doesn't count as a good reason for not inviting him/her to the wedding.

6. If your bride has a mini-meltdown during the planning, just give her a hug and tell her everything's right on schedule (even if that's a lie).

7. Try on your ring before the wedding day to be sure it fits. You don't want to be combing the ballroom floor at 3 am because your ring slipped off.

8. Whatever amount you've budgeted for the booze, add 20 percent. And then another 50 percent. Now you've got an accurate number.

9. If you don't own a tux, consider buying one. It will look nice, smell nice, and actually fit. (And no matter what it costs, it will be cheaper than your bride's dress).

10. If you're writing your own vows, make sure your bride isn't speaking for 20 minutes when all you've come up with is, "You're awesome baby".

11. No matter where or when you take a honeymoon, call ahead and have a bottle of champagne waiting in the hotel room.

12. If you have friends who are guaranteed to make inappropriate toasts, don't pass around the microphone at the rehearsal dinner. In fact, why are those friends even at the rehearsal dinner?

I think my favorite for sure is #10, too funny!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amber & Derek - October 17, 2009

Well, my 2009 wedding season has officially ended. And what a great wedding to end the season on. Amber and Derek were married in Grand Rapids yesterday and followed the ceremony up with a beautiful reception at Frederick Meijer Gardens.

Amber hired Memorable Events for Set Up services, and from the first email exchange I knew I would love all of her details. Amber and Derek love everything earthy, organic and eco-friendly and that really showed in their decor. They did their own centerpieces which consisted of DIY glass cake stands (pieced together from second hand stores), DIY floral arrangements and greenery cut from the backyard. I loved all her small touches, such as the birch table number holders and the hand made caramel apple favors.

And I can't forget to mention the dessert table....oh the dessert table!!! There were 12, yes 12, pies from Grand Traverse Pie Co. and 2 cakes, a cheesecake, a tiramisu and chocolate pudding tarts from Marie Catribs. Amber had collected and pieced together all different colored and sized cake stands for this table as well. And in between the desserts we tucked cute little "cake toppers", like a Darth Vader and Storm Trooper Mr. Potato Heads, a tofu and bacon couple, and mini knights for Amber's love of medieval history.

Amber's sister surprised her with the idea of doing a photo booth area for the guests to take fun pictures and place them in a guest book for the couple. Very fun. There were a ton of props for the guests to use, including bride and groom Mickey Mouse hats!

I can't wait to see the professional wedding pictures from Lotus Photography!